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Old 06-22-2008, 07:20 PM   #3
Gernot Hassenpflug
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 319
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

It is probably a bit tricky to ask people who know about certain aspects of internal skills (meaning they agree on the essentials which are not even worth discussing, and then have some exposure to and expertise is specific ways of development and usage of such skills) but do not do Aikido for detailed comments on the direction of Aikido. However, such people are far far higher up on a credibility scale than lay people in aikido who know nothing of such skills, so certainly some weight should be given as far as training goals go, even if the arts they know are radically different in culture (going back to the underlying similarities between Asian arts). I am also a supporter of those authority figures in aikido who do not possess any (or any advanced) such skills but who know and acknowledge this fact and are willing and eager to bring about their incorporation into training.

Aikido is (unfortunately for some, fortunately for others) a lot more than (and a lot different from) merely a dedicated solo and/or group method of training internal skills and applying them in techniques, as all of us who are/have been part of a large martial arts organization know.

It is important I think instead to have people with bona fide internal skills (even if not particularly high-level in development) scattered throughout the international aikido community worldwide, and their consensus (or what semblance thereof can be had with such a disparate set of cultures and societies) might reflect some underlying direction of the whole of aikido outside of Japan.

Other than that, one could rely on the traditional model; namely, taking leadership from the Honbu dojo, and from that wonderful counterweight and mediating organ, the IAF. Since obviously Honbu has lost some credibility (else this whole discussion would not even be happening) it might bear thinking that the IAF, through the mechanism above (scattered knowledgable people throughout the IAF's associated bodies), would exert some unofficial pressure through the mere existence of such people, on the Honbu dojo. After all, we do all take our mental cue from the originating body of Aikido and if there is real authority there in the form of skills then it makes sense to continue to take one's cue from there. I guess we are at the crossroads where an awakening is coming that aikido should be more about the development of bona fide skills than about social training, which is what I believe martial arts is most famous for in Japan since the Meiji period. However, I am sure many people will disagree on this point.

I am sure this thread will become a very interesting "layman's" thread parallel to Professor Goldsbury's scholarly column.

Regards, Gernot Hassenpflug

Last edited by Gernot Hassenpflug : 06-22-2008 at 07:25 PM.
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