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Old 02-23-2009, 06:53 PM   #56
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Underqualified Sensei

Joe McParland wrote: View Post
Just to be clear, by "lineage holder," I meant explicitly a confirmed transmission back to O-Sensei, originating from O-Sensei, confirmed by O-Sensei.

Whether I am somebody or nobody, if I am a teacher, I can confirm that my student has at least my understanding of what I am teaching. That does not speak to my understanding, though.

When I hear intra-lineage squabbling or criticism within Aikido, I can't help but wonder if a side-effect of knowing that you are "right" doesn't also often - and possibly inadvertently - carry the extension "the other is wrong." I've seen at seminars senior folks of this style critical of that style, and that style critical of this style, joking and mocking. This is transmitted to all in attendance, and it came from (or was allowed by) somewhere up the chain - evidence of an imperfect transmission at best. What can these people ultimately know about aikido?

In the pools of ordinary folks, we're destined to hear one complain that another does not know what he is doing. It's no surprise.
Hi Joe,
I generally try not to but I catch myself at times. As I stated on another thread there are folks doing "Aikido" whose approaches are so divergent as to seem different arts...

One person I knew once hit the Sensei with a shomen strike. This person received a long lecture about it being their job not to hit the Sensei. Then, at another school, after delivering a half hearted strike, this same person was told that it was his job to hit the Sensei and the Sensei's job not to let him. Needless to say the student was confused. It is hard for the students of these two Senseis to respect and understand each other. One group thinks the other is a bunch of hard asses and the other group thinks the first have no intention.

It's very hard not be judgmental when you strive for a way of doing something and another group is doing the exact opposite. I've tried hard to relax and soften my technique over time. I can go to a seminar and there will be folks there who think it's proper technique to grab my arm and rip it out of the socket. I am sure they believe that my technique isn't the real thing because I am not hurting them, I have a hard time taking what they do seriously because it pretty much doesn't work on me. That won't stop them from trying though...

People always think they want to do the best thing. Why would you train in a style which you didn't think was good? So when confronted by other approaches, it is fairly predictable that they reject the other approach. We are not very good at simply holding opposing ideas in our culture. Our mindset screams for some kind of resolution. We are different and we can't both be "right".

The only way I see around this is to simply focus on what you are doing and not worry over much about the other guys. This apparent "conflict" doesn't need to be resolved. Folks will find the teachers who are right for them, maybe not on the first try but eventually... Not everyone wants to do the same things with their Aikido. I try to be more non-judgmental but I slip occasionally. There is Aikido that I just think is bad and it's hard not to give way. Maybe when I am enlightened...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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