Erick Mead wrote:
I find it interesting that this is the third or fourth time that this anecdotal statement has been mentioned. I also find it very interesting as to the standards of acceptance of the points in debate on either side. Where is the similar critique of language or circumstance or finessed translation on what O Sensei supposedly meant in the anecdotal event mentioned here?
You keep bringing this point up. Here's an example from an interview with Kenji Shimizu that is posted on Aikido Journal at the moment:
Kenji Shimizu wrote:
Was O-Sensei irregular about coming to the dojo?
Yes, he was. When I was actively practicing there he often came and went. When he showed up everyone immediately sat down. At first, I thought that people were being courteous toward him. However, it wasn't only that. It was also that the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do. Once he lost his temper at us. No one realized that he had come and he shouted: "What you people are doing is not aikido." His shout was so powerful it felt like the earth was trembling. He was then in his seventies but his voice nearly pierced our ear drums. Everybody just became quiet and looked gloomy.
So it's clear that O-Sensei was unhappy with what was being done in the dojo. What is not clear, I'll give you, is why he was unhappy and what he felt was missing.
If you think aikido today is better than aikido was then, and that we have moved closer to O-Sensei's ideal, then soldier on. I don't know that I can agree that aikido today is appreciably different from aikido as it was practiced then. If it is, I'm not sure that it is *better* than it was then.
All we know is that O-Sensei was telling them in no uncertain terms that they had it wrong, and that they didn't know what to do to make it right. It's a depressing thought, but also an inspirational one. It's inspirational because there are people with direct links to the training O-Sensei had who are pointing to practices that make for more effective aikido that appear to be known only to a minority of aikido practitioners today, if any. I don't know how anyone can see a statement like "the practices we were doing were different from what O-Sensei expected us to do"
from someone who was there
and not be in the least bit interested in seeing what's out there while the people who have it are generous enough to show it.
I have a hard time believing that O-Sensei would be that upset if they were practicing the right techniques with the wrong attitude. I think they were doing something fundamentally different from what he wanted.