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Old 01-11-2007, 03:28 PM   #15
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Article: The Elusive Aiki by Lynn Seiser

Mark Murray wrote:
As for the Expos. They were all West Coast. I never did understand that reasoning. If you're going to bring together that many great teachers, why not locate it centrally where everyone can reach it? If you want to reach the people, you have to be reachable. There are a lot of Aikido people out there who can't afford to fly to California but could carpool to say St. Louis. Or have one on each coast rather than all three on one coast.
People have managed to get to Las Vegas by the millions for their vacations, gambling, and the showgirls... I suspect that folks who really wanted to do so for the training could have done so.

As far as LA went, California has more people doing Aikido than just about anywhere else. Stan had local assistance from folks in the community putting that on.

I regularly travel across the US to attend Aikido Camps and have done so for many years. I live in Seattle. Everything major in Aikido, aside from Mary Heiny, requires substantial travel. My own teacher is on the opposite Coast and getting there is not optional. I get a bit impatient with people who claim that the reason that they didn't go was because it wasn't convenient for them.

Stan Pranin lives in Las Vegas. The events, which took him pretty much full time work for a year to put on and which didn't make any where near enough money to justify the time and effort he put in, were where he could more easily put them together. The folks who purposely ignored the events for political reasons are largely located on the East Coast so trying to be closer to them wouldn't have improved things I suspect. Anyway, I know that Stan was considering a centrally located venue for the future but folks didn't support the concept so now there won't be any more Expos. The folks who were waitin gfor the event to come to them will now be waiting for Godot.

People take training way to much for granted. I date from a time when access to high level teachers was VERY limited. I was unusually fortunate to be able to stumble onto Saotome Sensei in Washington, DC. But the exposure I've had to teachers of that same level has often required substantial effort on my part. Now everyone thinks that events should be convenient for them to go.

People had the chance to train with the most amazing line-up of instructors to ever appear in the states and they chose not to go. Now, training with many of those folks will either require a journey to Japan (just a bit less convenient than the West Coast I'd say) or attending a series of events in the US that may take years and years and far more expense before you'd come close to covering that roster.

When you are serious about your training you find a way to get to the training you need. If you run a dojo you can pay a lot of money to host a high level teacher and hope that the event pays for most of the expense. If you can't do that then you are limited to traveling to get to see folks. We have such a surfeit of Aikido teachers traveling these days that we come to think these things will simply appear on our doorstep. But there are fantastic teachers out there like Kondo Sensei, Okomoto Sensei, Endo Sensei, Kato Sensei, etc who come to the states to only limited locations; perhaps only one or two. Teachers like Angier Sensei get out very little at all these days. If you have the opportunity to train with one of these people, then you find a way to swing it. To have the opportunity to have trained with an entire array of people at this level, all in one place at one time and to have chosen not to... well, I just don't get it. That's why God created plastic... For most people there is always some way to swing it. Very few people are truely unable to find a way to get to something like that if they REALLY want to.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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