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Old 09-04-2006, 02:02 AM   #25
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 113
Re: Article: An Aikido Journey: Part 10 by Peter Goldsbury

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
This year there were 7,500 persons actually doing demonstrations, over the space of about five hours. The demonstrations ranged fron the superb to the awful, but the fact that there were so many participants was publicized, as if it was a major sign of health in the world of aikido, as this is seen by the Aikikai.

One would not go to such a demonstration to find out how to practise aikido, nor, I think, would one go to a seminar like the Brazil seminar to pick up the latest tips about how Doshu now does irimi-nage. It would be impossible to see what he is doing.
A pure and simple show of support for the Aikikai empire.
Nothing wrong with that, but yes, I see your point as to the ‘Doshu's stamp of approval / endorsement' being sought. Obviously it IS perceived as important to some Aikido organizations.

That points to another interesting change in Aikido:

Older sensei that actually trained with O-Sensei (or at Hombu while o-sensei was alive) had the choice of whether to join in on official functions, etc. without ‘choosing camps', for the most part.
That's not true anymore for the newer Aikido sensei, and they don't have the ‘get out of jail free' card that the original crew had.

It seems like organizations are choosing allegiances again in recent years.
We have already seen a number of Aikido organizations that left Aikikai rejoining after a very long time, and you have seen a couple make the choice to break away.

Why the sudden need to make alliances again, I wonder?

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
It reinforces the sense of belonging to a large organization and there is a strong sense for foreign aikidoists of pilgrimage, of visiting the 'motherhouse' of aikido: the place where it all began. In this case, Doshu is the embodiment of an ideal taught to them by their own shihan.
This I find a bit weird, and it must be a Japanese thing that I don't understand.
If I were to draw an analogy, it's a bit like if Lisa Marie Presley's son ran around doing Elvis conventions.
In this situation one would expect the grandson of Elvis to either be:
(a) A musician who has developed (created) his own musical style/talents, possibly incorporating some element of his famous grandfather's style in his own (quite within his providence), or not.
(b) A non-musician that hosts Elvis event (so that there is a Presley presence at a Presley event).
One would not expect the grandson of Elvis to imitate Elvis's voice as it was, or to wear Elvis-style clothes, or to wear Elvis wigs, or to dance like Elvis (i.e. somehow imitating Elvis's ‘charisma').
It would seem tacky and odd.

Which leads us to…

Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Thus an organization which purports to offer the transmission of such 'charisma', which in myh opinion is an intensely personal experience, has to renew itself constantly, since its charismatic 'health' depends on the health of the individuals who are part of it.
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
His son and grandson are much more conscious of the need to preserve the essential elements of a tradition, but this immediately raises the question of continued creativity. Where will it come from?
Now that, I think touches the heart of what I was getting at with my second question.
If we establish that the current Doshu, and Hombu dojo in general, exists as some sort of ‘Ueshiba as I remember it' society (a difficult goal given the disparate views of ‘Ueshiba's Aikido' while he was still alive - let alone now after two generations), where will one look for today's Aikido.
There are only so many sensei that trained with O-sensei left now a days, and they are getting on in years.
We are stuck with a bit of dilemma:
(a) On the one hand, what a crime it would be if they are not able to transfer their ‘charisma' and skills onto their successors so that the next generation will benefit from their experiences
(b) On the other hand, what a crime it would be if the successor only preserves or imitates their sensei's ‘charisma' / skills and never grows beyond this to create their own ‘charisma'

So the question of today's uchi-deshi - where should they spend their time?
(a) Learning the ‘preserved works of Ueshiba', hopefully someday being able to grow their own from the same master roots
(b) Mastering one sensei's Aikido (regardless of whether or not it is ‘closest' to Ueshiba's Aikido) and spending their life preserving it
(c) Seeking to create their own Aikido, after taking what they can from their sensei

Hard decisions, none of them unworthy pursuits, and perhaps we are already seeing some of this happening already in Mr.Goldsbury's "Modern Learning: A Decline in Stealing?" article on AikidoJournal (

By the way Mr.Goldsbury, I find it cool that you can put your finger on the current pulse of Aikido and tackle real issues in repose.

Last edited by BKimpel : 09-04-2006 at 02:07 AM.

Bruce Kimpel
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