Mark Freeman wrote:
.... For aikido to flourish in the modern world it has to adapt to the modern world, if this means keeping up with developments in learning how to learn, then this is what should happen.
Right now there are what, 1.5 million Aikido practitioners all over the world? And new dojos popping up all over the place. The one I go to didn't exist prior to 1997 AFAIK. If that's not "flourishing," even considering how rare martial artists are in our culture AND that up to 90% of the people who start quit within a year, I don't know what is. Looks to me like it's doing just fine!
..... The Japanese can lay claim to being the birthplace of aikido, but they do not own the rights to aikido, and if the global community takes it and translates it into their own language, and puts their own spin on it, 'great' I say. Old school Japanese teaching methods worked for them and their culture back then. There is no reason that this should be the way that we all do it today. And no reason for that to be seen as a watering down either, for as long as the principles of the art are being passed on, then the art will not only survive, but also flourish. I know there maybe some old die-hards that disagree, but along with the dinosaurs their time will eventually come.
As a couterpoint, I just talked about this thread with my Kali instructor, and he said, "If I did Aikido formally some day, I wouldn't dream of doing it anything other than the traditional way. There's just so much history and culture there." And yes, this is coming from someone with both feet rooted in the eclectic martial arts movement. If you want to talk about mixing it up on the street, that's another matter, but as to how things are done in an Aikido dojo, he won't have an opion. And he's heavily influenced my thinking on this.
If you throw out the cultural references, what have you lost
? Have you really gained anything? Are you missing out on something that you'd otherwise have? The reason for being careful about change is simple: You don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. O Sensei wanted Aikido to change and adapt; he said it's at the heart of Aikido. But he also said, "it is not necessary to totally abandon the old ways." Gee, maybe he had a point?