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Old 02-23-2009, 10:08 AM   #51
jennifer paige smith
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Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,049
Re: Underqualified Sensei

I really am enjoying the thoughts and discourse that have been in this thread. I have a few I'd like to offer. Many of them were inspired by the posts involving George. Thanks George.

One thought is in regards to who is a 'lineage holder' . The short answer would be me. The long answer is that, in my case, this distinction comes from an experience that occurs between a teacher and a student; energetically from human to human, i.e. 'transmission'. The heir of a lineage may not only be the person who most directly carries the style, form of a lineage. It is a, sometimes, silent relationship in a chain of exchanges. It may be the person who carries the energy, essence, or heart of that teaching. I believe there are examples of people like this in every 'system' I've met. Both technique,spirit, essence.
This is my relationship with Motomichi Anno Sensei of the Shingu Lineage. I have trained extensively with him and it has been an amazing communication of spirit, training, guidance and heart. He, in fact, implored me to 'lose form now. you're good.You know the technique.' For years, I was his uke when he came to Santa Cruz and it is through that transmission that he expressed his feel, his ancestry, and his direction. It was obvious and consistent. I hold that lineage, & the heart of it, in my body. I believe if you were to ask him he would tell you this is the case.

The concepts of professional aikidoka vs. hobbyist aikidoka are familiar. What George described as a hobbyist, I agree with. I believe the label points to a reality. I don't feel the name given is important. I believe acknowledging different levels of focus and energy put towards training is. Not for an ego cause. But, for the cause of knowing there is diversity in approach and honoring that.

Which leads me to my next musing:
I really consider myself a working class aikidoka(my phrase) and I always have. I was a waitress when I began training and I'm a gardener now.On every level of approach I have put in my time from the bottom floor up. I've worked to support my training from the time I started. I've trained vigorously and daily from the day I began with very few 'vacations or sick-days'. I trained in the interest of a 'job well done' and meeting my daily commitment to learning to be a helper to myself and to others. I also became involved in service to the dojo at a very early age in training and that has set the tone for being a good aikido neighbor to everyone I can.- Hey, if your dojo needs to borrow some milk or a cup of sugar, come on over!-------------- I also got pounded by the big dogs. woof-woof.

Since I began my own dojo(s) several years ago that approach hasn't changed a lick. I am now a 'professional' in the sense that I get paid to teach (although, I am still a gardener) and I do make some of my living in that respect. But my approach is still working class. I believe that because I view it this way my training is cohesive and lacks the dichotomy of student vs. professional ; I always have the same goal and I believe in working hard and trying easy. It is my opinion that when folks can embrace the working class ethos in training their training will improve across the board. They will treat it less as desert and more as dinner. There will be less airy-ness, entitlement, expectation,politics, confusion or power abuse. In it's place you will find a balance with grounded-ness,roll up your sleeves hard work, teamwork, generosity/confluence, and equanimity. (Unless you're already really working class and then you'll just break out in a blue collar. LOL). When your day is done, you will likely have produced something. Tomorrow you will begin again.

Perhaps this is just because my name is Smith..... Forge ahead!

Thanks for the ear.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 02-23-2009 at 10:18 AM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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