Thanks for very interesting articles.
Now I understand better why some Japanese aikidoka say that aikido can't be fully understood by non-Japanese. May be you, as long term resident in Japan, can realize all these social, political, historical and economical implications, but for most of us in Occident, we can't. It is kind of scary. Looks like really every aikidoka have to go to Japan for few years to feel this culture on his own skin. The theoretical knowledge from the articles as yours is only the top of iceberg….
This post gives me much to ponder, especially the comment I have emphasised in bold above.
As someone who has trained in Japan for the last 13 of my 14 years of study, I'm in no position to compare the benefits of training here versus training back home.
However, one observation I'd like to share is this: In my dealings with Japanese people who start aikido, I sometimes find myself gently encouraging them to look into a bit of the background of the art they have decided to study. Only the other day I suggested to an obviously well-educated and intelligent middle-aged gentleman beginner to google 'Ueshiba'. This was in response to him asking me who the person was in the picture on the dojo wall.
I sometimes wonder if a higher percentage of western aikidoka have a better understanding of aikido background and philosophy than the average Japanese student! Coming to Japan might not necessarily be advantageous as I suspect that the key factor is who
one's sensei(s) are rather than where
one lives. In some of the larger centers of learning in Japan, it would be unusual I think for a modern shihan to freely lecture on aikido history and philosophy to beginners.
In any case, the issue of the differences between aikido study here versus outside Japan is of vital interest to me. I hope that Professor Goldsbury will one day produce a column for us on this matter.