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Old 01-14-2007, 07:24 AM   #17
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,371
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Re: Stealing techniques

Good discussion, I have read through much of the discussion between you guys, George, Ignatius, and Mike.

One thing that comes to my mind constantly reading through this is :

Accountability.

The teachers do have a responsibility to teach correct and relevant lessons.

Students have the responsibility to come to class, pay attention and apply themselves.

But what happens when we are teaching the wrong things? (George Ledyard talks about this above, when discussing Shodans and the like teaching classes, with little or no guidance and development).

So, I see the core is Accountability.

There is only one way to have accountability.

1. Develop a set of measureable standards upon which all are measured.
2. Then restrict the ability to teach to only those who can teach it correctly.

The problem is this:

How do you develop accountability in aikido? by the nature of it being a DO art, this becomes inherently illusive.

It is professed to be based on a martial art, so do we build standards of effectiveness based on physical martial skill? I think at some level you need to do this.

How do you do it without freely opening yourself up? (Open source foundation much like in the software world)

Using a competitive model? It does work successfully for other arts, but then it is professed in aikido doctrine to take away from the understanding of the basic goals.

It would certainly blow the world of aikido away as we know it if our Shihan had to present senior students in a competitive enviornment to face others to demonstrate the effectiveness of our teachers. We might just get down to who was martially effective or not.

That aside, lets take the argument the other way. Physical Martial Effectiveness is not primary, nor important, but only an aide to help you develop along the path of aiki.

Now how do you hold someone accountable for what they are teaching?

Do you say that they "get it" when they reach a certain level of understanding, which seems to inherently imply that they could be skillfull in someway that could now manifest itself in the unification of mental, physical, and spiritual?

How do you measure this?

At some level be able to demonstrate the mastery of this synthesis of mind, body, and spirit.

Don't give me the cop out, I could show you, but i'd have to kill you in order to do it, or it is much too dangerous to do this. Bull Crap! Someone with mastery should be able to control the situation adequately.

Personally I think there are very few people that can adequately do this without the props and norms that they are used to surrounding themselves with.

A noble idea, but if we did honestly try and hold the accountable, the world of aiki would be turned upside down.

However, I don't think the responsibilty lay solely within the instructors, but also with the student. We as students must demand accountability of our instructors. We must take charge and responsibilty for our own instruction...and NOT adopt a victim mentality and allow excuses such as, "I'am too old, too far away, too uncoordinated, I will put my faith in sensei."

It is a shared responsibility and we must question and hold our teachers and ourselves accountable.
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