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Old 07-06-2006, 05:16 PM   #84
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
Location: Cortland, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 980
Re: Brawling with a friend

Don Magee wrote:
Except for it has been changed. Nobody teaches aikido the way O'Sensei taught it. Nobody teaches karate the way it was taught 100 years ago. Nobody teaches judo the way Kano taught it. Every instructor changes the way he teaches to meet his views of what the art is. If they didn't we would have a bunch of parrots and there would be no linage wars in kung fu, there would be no discussions on how different teachers teach, and no questions on what schools are good schools. Tohei added ki exercises to his aikido. O'Sensei didn't have them. They believe they help them extend and move with ki better. Was this an insult to O'Sensei? Tomiki added competition and sparing to aikido? Was this an insult to O'Sensei? .....
Well, in both cases you're talking about people who left the Aikikai fold. Whether O Sensei (no apostrophe -- he was Japanese, not Irish ) flet insulted is a matter of speculation (although Tohei left in 1974, so it would be kind of hard to check that).

However it is also true that O Sensei did want Aikido to change over time. And it is also true that none of the people who learned from him at any given time taught it the same way he did or the same way as each other did. He didn't want Aikido locked down, unchabeable over time. Every source I have says how "personal" Aikido techniqes are; that we all have different takes on Aikido is built into the equation.

However, I think that even with wiggle room built in, there are still boundaries you don't want to go past if you want to be true to Aikido. It's like driving on a multi-lane highway. You can be anywhere you want on that road, as long as you go in the right direction, and as long as you don't go off that road. But if you do go off the highway, or turn off onto another one, you can't say you're still on the first one, are you?

So if, God willing, someday I teach Aikido, no, I will not teach it exactly the same way any of my instrucotrs teach it or exactly the same way any of my peers do it. But I still wouldn't decide to change things willy-nilly. I couldn't do that, call it Aikido, and live with myself.

..... I see a lot of talk about respect in the martial arts. I see a lot of it as fake respect and insult taken only to act like we are something deeper then we really are. If I take your teachings, change and reteach them you should be happy that I have made my own opinion and grown from my training with you. You should not be insulted that I dare question your methods. I should not have to respect you simply because you wear a darker colored belt than I do. I should respect you because you are deserving of respect.
So, if we met in person, you would be a disrespectful horse's @$$ to me until I earn it by proving I could beat you up? No, of course not. You'd stick your hand out and say "So you're mike? Nice to meet you. Want help with your bag?" At least I hope you would.

Asian cultures do have a slightly different take on respect than the west does, but a lot of it is how they express simple courtesy. Just as you wouldn't misbehave when being introduced to someone in polite company, you shouldn't misbehave in martial arts.

As to challenging what you are taught, well, if I know more about a subject than you do, how can you claim to know enough to challenge me? You can't. If I am a nuclear physicist, and you are just learning the subject from me, coukld you say, "I don't agree with that?" No, of course not.

I am still very new at Aikido. I don't question the methodology because I don't know what the outcome is it's looking for. I have my specualtions, but I won't know until I get there. But to just challenge my sensei, who after 35 years knows the material a lot better than me, would be rude, impolite, and just plain ignorant. How can I reasonably question something I don't know all that well to start with? Doesn't pass the laugh test.
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