Re: Off and On
I teach English (and aikido as a PE course) at a community college, and I teach students who have never done research to do short research papers. So I gripe about Wikipedia as a source, just like I gripe when they find something off the Internet and stick it in their papers as a source, and we find they're citing a 2nd grade project. It's my English teacher thing. Ross has heard my Wikipedia rant before, but I"ll give you the very short version. Several years ago, one of Wikipedia's editors who claimed to be a professor at a "leading Eastern university" (whatever that means) was discovered to be a 19-year old community college dropout. So although one can often find excellent information on Wikipedia, it's not a reliable source.
About my column, the incident didn't happen in Japan. It happened in a YMCA-type setting in the US, at a dojo where I was considering enrolling my child. I do agree that I was an outsider to this dojo culture and the sensei knew the child much, much better than I did. (I didn't know him at all.) Still, I thought the teacher's behavior extreme. I tend to be fairly self-righteous, and often when I go back and reread what I've written years before, I cringe. When I dug out this old article, I thought I might feel that way, and I know one of my teachers thought I over-reacted, but today I feel the way I felt that night. I decided that teacher was not the one to teach my child. BTW, I wrote him with my objections and we engaged in a civil dialogue. According to him, the parents of the child involved had no problem with the incident, and as far as I know the child continued his practice in that dojo.
About embodying aikido off the mat, I think it's a process, just like learning "good technique". "Little by little" applies here as well as on the mat.
Thank you so much for reading my article, and thank you for all your research, study, and hard work documenting the history and traditions of aikido.