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Old 11-21-2007, 12:12 AM   #72
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Re: significance to testing/belt rank?

John Riggs wrote: View Post
In one organization, I moved beyond their understanding and needed to change to grow-not their fault, well not totally. There was too much inbreeding with no external pursuits which is sometimes a problem in independent organizations when then become focused on the status quo.. In the other, I was simply not learning anything new and their style of aikido did not fit the direction I was pursuing. Then I found what fit me best and am quite happy with that since I have a lot to learn. I find too that I am more comfortable in a smaller organization with a closer relationship to the shihan.
Good post overall. Although I did have similar experiences to the ones you describe in your first paragraph with one aikido teacher that I studied with, albeit off and on, over the course of six years, I suppose the point I am at right now in aikido is probably closest to what you describe here. Over the past several years, I have made it a point to seek out several aikido teachers that I had never worked with before to see if the were doing anything I wanted to do, and each time I have been disappointed.

While I think that each does have something to offer, I find that the training method they employ is not useful for me. I don't get enough get out of doing compliant practice with their students to cause me to want to practice that way a regular basis, and I also don't get much out of taking compliant ukemi for them either. If I could do more resistance training, particularly with the teachers themselves, then I would be interested, but since I have not found anyone in aikido willing to train this way with me I have moved on.

The martial arts I have been getting involved in lately afford me the opportunity to work in a resistance training scenario both with other students and directly with the teacher on a regular basis. They are non-competitive and do not have a ranking system, and my opinion, based on what I have experienced in groups that do have such systems, is that if they did it would be detrimental to the quality of the practice there. One of these arts is somewhat like aikido, however I have not trained in that art very much yet though I might do so in the future. The other is very different physically but in many ways philosophically similar.

I still believe in aikido both as philosophic and physical approach to martial arts, I just have not found anyone in aikido doing the type of things I want and need to do. Instead, I have had to look to other martial arts and movement disciplines (such as yoga) to find the training I am looking for. And I'm far from the only person who has had this kind of experience in aikido. There's a long line of people who have had to go outside of aikido looking for aikido, starting with no less than Koichi Tohei. So I think I'm ultimately in good company in this pursuit.