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Old 10-16-2007, 02:19 AM   #19
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I agree that martial arts, especially aikido, have different ranking procedures and organisational styles than the medical profession. The principle of people pooling their knowledge within an organisation to establish standards that are recognised was my point and the analogy with martial arts and medicine can be applied to many other arts and professions, regardless of their inner workings or inherent accuracy in ranking. If one feels rank is important, recognised authorities are relevant.
The problem I see in martial arts, including both aikido and almost every other art, is that just about anyone or any group can claim to be an "authority" and that claim is never questioned by the majority of the people. Or when it is questioned, it is done so haphazardly by people with arbitrary standards that are based more on the political indoctrination and ideology of whatever group they belong to rather than any kind of meaningful objective measure of skill as a martial artist.

This is generally not true in real professions like medicine, law, and academia because there are established standards that are universally recognized and competitively administered. Of course, there are still politics in these fields, like any other human endeavor, but the systems are designed to take that out as much as possible and create an objective measure of training, qualification, and regulation that even people with differing political ideologies can all agree represents a fair and credible standard.

There is no such system in martial arts. It is quite easy to get a group of martial artists together and call yourselves authorities and nobody will ever do anything to stop you. Maybe some people on an Internet martial arts forum will say bad things about you, but other than that nobody will care. Try the same thing in one of the regulated professions I mentioned earlier -- for example, start calling yourself a laywer because your uncle was a lawyer and you claim he taught you every thing you needed to know -- and see what happens. You will have a lot more problems than what people on the Internet say about you.

As I said, martial arts are a specialty hobby that nobody cares much about unless they practice them. It doesn't really matter whether somebody is teaching something that will actually work because most people practice just to have fun and play at being a martial artist with their friends. They aren't training to actually use what they learn so why should it matter if doesn't work? And to be quite honest, if people did care enough about martial arts to establish the kind of objective standards of quality that exist in real professions, I think a lot of people with solid credentials from major organizations that you would probably consider to be "recognized authorities" would have a tough time meeting them.

From where I am on my path, things look very different. I see friends going back to countries where their skills will make a huge difference to their personal safety and the safety of their students. For that matter, I'm sure there are plenty of doormen, cops, military personnel, paramedics and others in your own country who would also view that very differently.
I know cops, military guys, doormen, court and corrections officers, etc. Many of them have been and are students of mine. None of them train in traditional martial arts as a primary means of self-defense. Although they might occasionally use something they learned in such studies on the job, they practice MA because they enjoy it. If your life is at stake you need very different training than you get in a martial arts class. In most cases your first stop should be the firing range. Even the unarmed DT courses that cops take are a very different animal than traditional martial arts, and the trend in such fields is and will continue to be towards the use of non-lethal technology, like the taser, to reduce the need for hand-to-hand training as much as possible. Anything that takes hundreds of hours just to start learning the basics well enough to practice them is impractical for those who risk their lives professionally.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-16-2007 at 02:23 AM.
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