View Single Post
Old 01-24-2006, 11:13 AM   #10
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Article: Teaching Aikido as Michi - A Path Up the Mountain by George S. Ledyard

Ted Ehara wrote:
The one thing I do fault are people who try to use the founder as a focus for a charismatic cult. Of course, since the person "knows" what Morihei Ueshiba concept of Aikido is, you need to buy their book, DVD, CD, go to their seminar, attend their style/school, etc., etc. This is not aikido. This is marketing.
I'm trying to figure out who you'd be talking about in this statement... I don't know anyone who is using O-Sensei to form a "charismatic cult" ... in fact the people I know who are most passionate about keeping O-Sensei's take on Aikido alive in their own interpretation of the art have a small to moderate following and make an inconsequential amount of money doing their Aikido. If you were indirectly referring to myself, I can tell you that my seminars that I teach and the videos I sell have, as of this last year (my 29th in Aikido) didn't quite cover what I spend on my own training
and my Federal Taxes (which I typically can't cover through my Aikido and Defensive Tactics teaching). Maybe someone else is making some real money doing this but I don't know who they are...

Another thing that focusing on Ueshiba's concept of aikido does, is to lose the individual. If we spend our time chasing after the spirit of the founder, then we can't effectively discover what we have to offer. All of us from the highest ranked instructor to the first day student, has something to offer. If we are responsible, we will discover that gift and share it with others. Like Morihei Ueshiba did.
I fail to see how having anyone more advanced in an art than oneself as a model causes one to "lose the individual"... It is not the case that we chase the Spirit of the Founder... it is the case that we use his example as one of the best ones we have to guide us as we train ourselves. That doesn't mean we are exclusive about this, we should train with anyone who has something good to offer, but ultimately it always comes back to the individual and his own hours of hard work. But hard work alone does not guarentee anything. There are plenty of people who are working very hard but are not receiving good direction. The idea that, simply because they are sincere and are putting time and effort in, they will get to a high level simply doesn't hold up. Most people doing Aikido do not have the benefit of training with any regularity under a Shihan level instructor. That means that most of the "Transmission" of the art is being handled by people of only moderate understanding. The only way to get past this is for people to set their sights high and go out of their way to get exposure to teachers of a high level... not all highly ranked teachers are the same so in picking who one wishes to spend ones very limited resources pursuing, my preferabce is to use O-Sensei as my model. Those teachers who seem to be pursuing a form of Aikido, either technically, or spiritually, that fits with my own understanding of what the Founder was doing are the people I want to train with. Whereas, I know that I, myself, will not attain the level attained by the Founder, I have no interest whatever in pursuing a style of training which will never, no matter how much time one puts in, result in either technical skill even remotely of the type he had or any notion of the spiritual understanding he had. If that was all that was available to me as Aikido, I'd be doing Katori Shinto Ryu with Relnick Sensei instead.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-24-2006 at 11:16 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
  Reply With Quote