Mike Grant wrote:
I guess I'm going to get my knuckles rapped for this, but this woman seems to be typical of the kind of new-age whackos who seem to latch onto aikido as a way to make themselves a quick buck-whilst in the process dragging the name of this venerable martial art through the dirt and making serious practitioners of the art into a collective laughing stock.
I think this is pretty harsh... I know what you are saying but the fact is that the number of people who do an art is small. the number that do it to any level of competence is smaller still. But the number of people who are affected by that art can be quite large.
It would be hard to over estimate the effect that a small group of serious Buddhist teachers have had on the mental health community. Folks like Jack Kornfield have taught workshops and conducted retreats for mental health practitioners for years. there are thousands of folks who use the "concepts" of what he taught but have never really practiced in any consistent fashion.
Terry Dobson in Giving in to Get Your Way
and Tom Crum in The Magic of Conflict
put these ideas out there into wide circualtion many years ago. People who have no idea whatever about the basis for these principles in technique have been using the concepts for some time. They were put out there by legitimate Aikido teachers precisely for this purpose.
My Uncle worked for the State Department and was the Ambassador to Zaire at one point. When he retired from State he was involved in work at a think tank which did resaerch on plans for peace in the Middle East. He sent me a copy of a paper written by some folks who were quite consciously using what they understood to be Aikido principles as the basis for negotiations. I am sure that the authors knew nothing about Aikido as a martial art; they only knew about the principles.
If Aikido is thought to be a practice that would potentially change the world, one would assume that this would be one of the ways in which that could happen. Considering that only one percent of the population will ever do any martial arts training and of that only a small number will do Aikido, one can't see any other way but for Aikido's influence to extend beyond the community of practitioners.
I have met a number of people who seem to understand the principles of Aikido off the mat better than many of my colleagues seem to. Skill in one area does not necessarily result in skill in the other. The lady in question is a professional doing work for various business interests. I would expect that, if she wasn't pretty good at it, she wouldn't have much of a customer base, especially in an area in which referals are so important. I'll tell you one thing... I wouldn't trust a lot of the Aikido people I know to work in customer service or any area in which dispute resolution is called for. They may do Aikido but cranking a nikkyo on someone isn't a very good form of conflict resolution in the real world.