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Old 06-22-2008, 10:05 PM   #11
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Rob wrote:

My plan was to continue to teach aikido in the normal way and let those who are interested in approach me for before/after class instruction in what I'm doing for myself I'm not sure if I'll continue that plan in the future. The reason is that a bit of delusion sells to beginners. I think there should be a happy medium where you have enough "beginner's program" to keep paying the rent and insurance, so that the serious folks have a place to train.
Funny you should mention this. I have discussed this issue with a number of people over the past year. Knowing what I know now about martial arts, proper training, and all....

(I will be the first one to say it that knowledge is a reflection of my own identified shortcomings! know...those that do, do...those that can't but can talk about it...teach....)


I think that if we were totally honest and had someone come to the dojo to learn aikido and they said that they were interested in learning it, we'd send them to something akin to a yoga class full of developmental exercises like Mike and Ark taught us. We'd have them show up doing suburi every night...then after a year we'd start putting them through Ki test to see if what they have developed gave them a good enough base....

Anyway you get the picture...

Well I think they would say...well that is great and all...but I want to learn to redirect someone's energy, put them in a joint lock, etc.

We'd not have many students either! nor would we be able to pay the bills!

The fact is that the pareto principle is alive and well in aikido as it is in anything else. 80% of the people are there for reasons other than what the serious 20% are their for. Out of that 20% ....probably less actually will figure out a few other things.

Our culture is different than Japan when Aikido was started. Thus, the point of entry into the arts must also be very different. I can only imagine since I have never been to Japanese or experienced it pre and post war in Japan.

So, I think we bring people in however we get them in, and alot of them will leave, some will stay and dabble, fewer are willing to put in the time to really develop skill.

I know I am training differently today than I did a few years ago. I feel I have been fortunate to have been exposed to some very good martial artist both in MMA and in the "Aiki" world in the last few years. They have taught me alot about what is really important and that boils down to developing a good base.

I went to a yoga class with my wife tonight. It is humbling and embarrassing that I cannot do some very basic things that as a aikido practicioner I should be able to do if I had good core or internal development.

If I cannot demonstrate these things in a simple yoga class, how could I ever expect to do well at MMA, Aikido, or any other martial art?

So, at what point do we become honest with people and tell them, "you are wasting your are not putting in the work necessary to improve".?

At what point to we stop teaching them?

How do we change the focus of the dojo to focus on core skill development?

Do we risk on changing how we do business and conduct classes at the risk of a mass exodus of unhappy people because we are doing "Aiki yoga" when they came there to learn a martial art or "blend and harmonize"?

I think Rob Liberti has the right approach personally.

Change slowly and those that want to go this way will gravitate together. Maybe the rest will follow if they start seeing the advantages gained!

Good discussion.

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