Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido
The future cannot be predicted with any certainty. However, it can be somewhat anticipated and in some cases designed. One of my concerns about the art is the lack of planning. What happens when a shihan suddenly dies as did the case of AAA with no heir apparent?
Futurists use the concept of scenarios to identify some of the possibilities given certain events occcur. I will attempt to lay out one possibility in this one and maybe others later.
As Japanese instructor who have studied directly die off and fail to transmit what they had learned, especially the internal aspects, the skills and knowledge of the next generation are watered down. The decreasing importance of martial arts in Japanese society makes all arts and aikido as well of little importance. With decreasing enrollmen, it becomes impossible to make a living teaching martial arts for pretty much everything. Foreign schools still fascinated with other cultures provide a source of income. However, with the skill levels being relatively comparable to Japanese instructors who are able to eke out a living, foreign aikidoka start looking for more say in the "organization". A lack of willingness of the Japanese to share power and the lack of an heir apparent by the yondai doshu split the aikikai into factions with most leaving. Power struggles abound and many small organizations tired of "big organizations" develop. Ranks become inflated and start to have little value other than in the small group or dojo as has happened with Taekwondo and other arts. Aikido is now pretty confusing to the public since it differs so greatly from dojo to dojo. Globalization results in greater societal mobility with the desire to be able to have rank comparability or interchangeability. Once this reality sinks in that rank has little meaning other than in the individual dojo, enrollments decline and people look for arts with more consistency, fewer power struggles, and rank interchangability across regions. Ultimately, the art loses its identify and dies-looking nothing like the original art
Pessimistic. Yes. Are there trends out there suggesting this could happen? Yep.
Organizations are the glue to hold groups together. They inherently have problems, however, they do serve a purpose or several purposes: standards, recognition, succession opportunities, functioning systems, etc. Problems within organizations are generally caused by people with agendas more self-serving than group serving. Such political rifts destroy the group dynamics and trust.
Many other scenarios can be developed or one can design a future. I will attempt to design a better one tomorrow and throw it out as well.
Last edited by aikidoc : 03-23-2007 at 10:45 PM.