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Old 03-23-2007, 05:36 PM   #16
Pete Rihaczek
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 61
Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Ah, the politics of Aikido. Politics exists in every art, but where there are no objective standards of ability, it really runs rampant.

There is no universal solution because people have different reasons for training. Some just *want* the politics to advance in rank. Others don't know much about the wider world of martial arts, and will just muddle along for some time. I think the more pointed question is, what does Aikido offer to the discerning martial artist? Is that not the target audience, or do you want to focus your attention on the politicos and the clueless? The latter two groups will always exist, so in my view it's the sensible people who want to see some results that you have to address; the others will follow.

"Show me" is in line with the American spirit of invention to begin with, we don't have the traditionalist don't-ask-questions mindset. That has always been the case, but now with the exploding popularity of MMA, all arts are under scrutiny for any claims of effectiveness, even the implicit claim of simply being a martial art. IMO the internal skills are what really make Aikido interesting and worthy of attention (as well as backing up the martial art claim), and to the comment made earlier, no it is not a "magic pill" - if you master that, the waza is practically secondary. That's the last "magic pill" you'll ever need.

Just invite Akuzawa or someone like Chen Xiao Wang, who is a living, breathing person able to demostrate Ueshiba-esque feats to one of these Expos. Some people will freak out, but at least there will be no more denial that these things are real, and the cat will really be out of the bag. Then it's on and let the chips fall where they may. It may also motivate any reticent Japanese instructors who have any of these skills to show them more openly and stop holding back. Take the mystery out of it and encourage people to share what they know. It's not the American way to pay with your time and money to get a lot of nothing in return. We have a word for that: "sucker". Getting a practical training program in place is another non-trivial matter, though Akuzawa's program clearly gets results. But proving that ki skills are something real gives the serious martial artist something to shoot for, and a real reason to believe that Aikido really was something.
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