Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Re: Senshin Center's Exchange "Arriving"
Thanks for the reply. As I said, I think we have a lot of overlap in our positions.
As to your latest reply... Well, that's the federation viewpoint on paperwork, isn't it? I mean, they want you to think that paperwork reveals something and that it reveals something real and/or of merit. I mean the institution is dead once folks don't take its cultural capital serious. A lot of people believe in that stuff, so I won't say it is a crazy idea - it is just not my own idea.
For example, on paper, one could be a very outstanding person, aikidoka, teacher, etc., when in reality they are anything but. For this reason, I place more merit on spending time with someone over reading about them. I'm not sure how long you have trained, perhaps you've trained for a very long time, perhaps you've been fortunate all that time, but in my own experience, every ass I knew in real life looked great on paper (this is doubly true when it comes to Aikido). Alternately, if someone is an ass, hiding the paper that says it isn't going to hide the truth if you spend time with them. For these two reasons, you'll always find me giving more weight to spending time with a person (hence, as I said before, our month long trial period) over reading something about them. I give more weight to first hand experience over what others might say I should be experiencing.
Again - this is just my opinion, based upon my experience and even upon my own sense of justice and truth. Others will of course disagree and will thereby see a paper saying "8th Dan" as a guarantee that they are about to look upon someone who is wise, fair, just, perhaps even enlightened - incapable of pettiness, insecurities, fear, pride,and ignorance. Geesh, a lot of folks will even doubt their own senses because of that kind of paperwork being involved ("He can't really be the ass I think he is, he's a shihan! Right?") Heck, there has to be people out there that think like that, a whole lot of them. Equally then, there has to be a whole lot of people that look suspiciously at a man or a woman that simply says, "I am what I am - nothing more, nothing less. I seek nothing but to train harder tomorrow than I did today. You are free to join me, but if you do, you will gain no paper from it, no recognition for it - you will come to possess this same anonymity and this same ethic and that is all." If there wasn't these groups of people (i.e. the group that gives weight to paperwork and the group that sees a lack of paperwork as something suspicious), and if these groups of people weren't for the most part the same group of people, there wouldn't be 8th dans. So, yes, I can understand my own view as a bit "different" and thus as a bit scary. Nevertheless, for me, it is the one that rings true.
thanks, take care,