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Old 06-09-2009, 10:49 AM   #14
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Principles of Aiki

Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi Janet, I'm surprised to hear you say that...

Hey Ron,
I understand Janet's comment... The folks who connected with various teachers at the Aiki Expos got their own lines into this material. Aside from that, there has been quite a bit of discussion about these things via the forums. But, the fact is, that even though the info is right here, how many folks have bothered to plow through all the "noise" to get at the good stuff. Many folks I talk to just don't read a lot of the material because the vituperation outweighs the content. They just got turned off.

Also, you really have to "feel" what these things do to understand just how central and important they are. How many folks have read or heard about these issues and then gone out of their way to experience directly what is being talked about? Out of the thousands of folks practicing Aikido and reading these forums, how many have tried to attend an event with Mike, Dan or Ark?

People generally do not want to get out of their familiar and safe social group. Training with those guys meant that you had to be on the mat with folks from all sorts of martial backgrounds... classical, mixed martial arts, aikijutsu, etc. Most folks sit and wait til one of their teachers gets out, experiences these things, digests it himself, and then starts to feed it to them.

Look at all the folks who simply couldn't see what Ushiro was doing... they just saw karate. Then Ikeda Sensei takes what he got from Ushiro and turns around and presents it all in a way folks think they recognize and it's all great.

I think it will take a while before there is a foundational shift in Aikido as a whole. There are Aikido teachers who are connecting with folks from outside our art who are incorporating very deep stuff into the art... way beyond just the internal power stuff, which is actually fairly basic once you know what you are working on. Some of the teachers I know who are seriously doing Systema or training regularly with Ushiro Sensei are working on stuff that goes way beyond the physical.

I think it will take a few Aikido teachers making this material seem accessible and comprehensible before Aikido as a whole starts to shift. And don't think it will be an easy transition. Aikido Journal had an article by Homma Sensei in which he basically said it was all physical and one simply had to get strong. Half the interview he bad mouthed Ushiro Sensei (without actually naming him). So when you have established high ranked teachers actively resisting a change to something better, you know it's an up hill battle.

I think that the folks who end up at the forefront of these changes will be women and men of smaller stature who find that suddenly they can actually throw people twice their size. Also, Aikido is an art in which we have an older demographic. The purely physical technique espoused by some people will inevitably deteriorate as they get older. I think that as people get more sophisticated, the value of actually having some "aiki" in their Aikido will be self evident. Personally, I am looking for an art which I do better at 90 than I did at 50.

It will take a while... but with folks like you out there (I never know where you might turn up) putting themselves right in the path of new experiences and teachers, it will happen eventually.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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