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Old 01-20-2008, 08:07 AM   #36
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5

George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
But I find myself hopeful. I see people from other arts, for various reasons, being willing to share what they know with Aikido people. Many of the teachers who have spent their lives acquiring what, for want of a better term, I will call classical knowledge, are finding that the majority of the folks who are interested in what they have to offer are the Aikido folks. It worries me that the folks who seem most inclined to take advantage of these opportunities are not to a large extent the next generation of teachers but rather the folks in the next tier down. If they are not careful we might see a generation of Aikido teachers who have waited thirty years for their "turn" at the helm finding they are steering an empty boat. I see a large number of folks at the mid dan levels getting out and finding ways to augment their training. I see a certain frustration with many of the seniors who toed the official line and did what was asked but now show glaring holes in their knowledge and stagnation in their own practice.
Hi George:

I think we agree that there's going to be a gap. Partially, IMO, there will be a gap because some people won't grasp that there's a change. Some people will suddenly see that there's a credible "change" but that the change is actually just a filling in of the blanks and it makes a lot of the old discussions suddenly make sense.... but they won't be able to do it, even though they understand it academically, because the change is not really that easy to do (as is born out in comments by Ueshiba, Tohei, Inaba, and many others).

It's too bad, in a way, that Ueshiba Sensei couched a lot of his discussion in spiritual terms, because in function he was preaching an ideal which has been around a long time.... defeating and attacking enemy by utilizing and conforming with the "natural laws of the universe". It tends to make some people focus on the wrong target when they interpret everything in terms of spirituality (Aikido is not the first or only martial art to do this with the ki aspects, BTW... a lot of the older martial arts did this, too.).

Personally, I think you're going to see a schism develop. There will be many people who won't change and there will be a slowly growing number of people who do change. The people in the "gap" will undoubtedly find various ways to go, but there's little anyone can do to stop the change. Besides, what real enthusiast of Aikido would really want to miss filling in the gaps?

In terms of finding that the majority of people who are interested in these things are Aikido people, I'm not sure if that's really true, although I understand your perspective. From a personal perspective, I see more people interested (and I've done these kinds of things for years) from other arts like Chinese martial arts. But those people are fragmented in their beliefs, training methods, perceptions, etc. Aikido, even though it has a certain amount of fragementation, still represents a more disciplined monolith than the wide spectrum of people doing various Chinese martial arts. I.e., as a place to experiment with teaching methodologies, Aikido is a good "out of the box" place to do it, particularly for me since I have some Aikido background.

Other people of course have different motivations. I think the main commonality is that as people get their foot in the door with the ki/kokyu skills, the "of course!" epiphany becomes so obvious that there is a compulsion to point it out. However, pointing out a missing essential is not the same thing as being an expert, either in the skills themselves or in Aikido. So ultimately, Aikido is going to have to move forward under the tutelage of people who not only have these skills but who also have true Aikido skills (these two must become one). That's the fun part that is hopefully coming down the pike.


Mike Sigman
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