Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido
Here are a few opinions for your consideration:
Organizations do not teach aikido, teachers do.
Organizations matter most to people who care about rank and other external trappings of legitimacy, as distinguished from proficiency.
Organizations provide a means to financially support teachers. I note that the following people do not teach martial arts for a living, despite their proficiency: Akuzawa (salesman); Amdur (therapist); Harden (architect); Sigman (military retiree); Ushiro (inventor, engineer).
Organizations offer a way to organize "teaching events" such as seminars, but they need not do anything else. For example, there is a French organization which exists for the sole purpose of bringing Saotome-sensei to France every summer. Stan Pranin was able to put together three Aiki Expos with no organization other than Aikido Journal. Jun Akiyama was able to put together several friendship trainings with only the resources of AikiWeb.
An organization's increase in size may give rise to an "administrative" class of students. This is usually accompanied by a decline in the intensity and quality of training.
When an organization grows to a size sufficient to support a teacher financially, completely apart from the income that teacher receives from the dojo (and his or her other work), it becomes financially possible for the teacher to step back from teaching and training. As a teacher withdraws from the daily grind of teaching and training in his or her dojo, the quality of teaching and training in that dojo usually declines --- unless the teacher has placed his or her confidence explicitly and publicly in a reasonably charismatic successor who is technically competent.
Last edited by Jim Sorrentino : 03-23-2007 at 03:29 PM.