George S. Ledyard wrote:
It's true that many people do not want to admit that they have put so much time into something and they still cannot "ride the bike". So they redefine the art to fit their own attainment. But that only works until the folks around them see someone who is actually performing on a different level. Then it's impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. That's why many senior folks are so reluctant to go out and train out there in the big bad world... they might have to admit to themselves that there are realms of knowledge that they don't know.
But that trap is really for the seniors, the ones with an investment. I generally find the less senior folks to be quite open to anything that they see as helping them be better. It's our job as teachers to set the standards, to show what our art should be and could be. People see that and they do respond.
I think those are good and accurate points, George. The standards are already changing, I think, so I'm curious to watch how a lot of this falls out.
Oddly enough, I'm in the middle of trying to sort my feelings about exactly how much of a change I'm really pulling for. Ultimately, I want to see enough of a change so that Aikido, Taiji, and other arts done by westerners clear a threshold where they are "viable as martial arts, for sure", but I'm not sure how much more I wish for. For the record, I think that level is now assured. Some people are already getting it, which means that others must follow.
But it's worth pointing out that to really get the level of skills that would be appreciated in the old traditional world of martial arts probably takes more effort than most people will ever put out, so getting beyond this first step will be hard for most. Secondly, there are viable reasons for limiting information in the way that O-Sensei and others (in many different arts) have done.
Regardless, maybe the real point to make is that "stealing a technique" actually is a poor term in the sense that it implies you can get something by subterfuge, etc., without having to work so hard. The counterpoint I'd make is that even if you "steal it", you're going to be in for a lot of work to perfect it.