Re: Article: An Aikido Journey: Part 10 by Peter Goldsbury
You wrote: Of course, Mr Kitahira is a very good aikidouka, but he does not regard himself as a 'special' student of anybody and has no 'special' students of his own. There is no uchi-deshi, senshusei or kenshusei system here. He practices, and teaches what he practices to those who want to learn from him. Actually, knowing him and training under him for nearly 30 years has led me to call into question the traditional master-student paradigm referred to above and Mr Kitahira himself had some pretty caustic remarks to make of those who claim to be 'uchi-deshi of the Founder' (with a special master-student relationship), when they were really 'special' students in the dojo and occasionally accompanied O Sensei on his trips to Iwama or elsewhere. So my relationship with Mr Kitahira is not the traditional master-student relationship, as I was led to conceive of this before I came to Japan. The relationship has endured over the years and I am now regarded as one of his senior yudansha. But I do not think it is quite the same relationship as the quasi-'mystical' relationship enjoyed by someone like Chiba Sensei with his own students. The reason is that Kitahira Sensei simply does not conceive of the relationship in the same terms--and I am not convinced that the quality of his aikido training and teaching suffers as a result.
Would you be willing to expand on Mr. Kitahira's "caustic remarks about the Founder's uchi deshi?" And when you say Chiba Sensei has a "quasi mystical relationship" with his students, what exactly do you mean?