Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido
Having lived in asia for 8 of the past 9 years, and trained at least annually at the Aikikai Hombu dojo and watched the politics as a neutral outside observer, my impressions are completely the opposite. The Aikikai is the standard bearer. Doshu executes his techniques without the little eccentricities, but the rest of the instructors there have them. Yasuno Sensei's class is radically different from Miyamoto Sensei's class or Endo Sensei's class or Fujita Sensei's class. Each is unique and expresses their aikido quite differently. If you're impression of the Aikikai orthodoxy is correct then these individuals who teach the bulk of the classes at hombu dojo would not be so different.
I don't understand your concern. Toyota Sensei past on, the Aikikai did not send someone to replace him. Tohei Sensei, (USAF Midwest) past on, the Aikikai sent no one to replace him. Kanai Sensei past on, the Aikikai sent no one to replace him.
Where does this idea that the Japanese are going to jump off a plane and say, "I'm in charge here" come from? and what exactly are you afraid of losing?
In fact, I think there is a greater danger of us trying to assert our version of Aikido on them by demanding changes to accommodate us.
And as far as whether or not these "young replacement shihan" could hold their own or have the "special internal" skills to stand up to our reinventing US selves, don't count them short, unless you've been there recently, you don't know what they are capable of, nor what they are doing.
Here are a few rhetorical questions for you to think about: When was the last time you trained at Hombu dojo? Took the Doshu's class? Trained with any of the other shihan instructors there? Invited one of their instructors to teach at your organization's annual camp? Invited the Doshu to attend any special party of event for your organization?
The Japanese like most asian cultures attribute great importance to personal relationships. You cannot show up a stranger and expect to be treated as a intimate student. You'll be treated well, but before you are recognized you have to be more than a stranger. You have to give as well as receive. So, what have you done for the Aikikai lately other than just run your dojo?