Actually, I was as surprised as you are.
I suppose my main issues with Aiki Extensions are: (1) the name, and (2) the very high 'ideological' content. I will take these separately.
(1) The Name
I think Carsten had a point in asking about the 'Aiki' in Aiki Extensions. In Hiroshima people have found that if you add 'Peace' to a name, it becomes much more marketable. So a glance at the telephone directory reveals dozens of companies that use 'Peace' in their names or advertising, from bus companies to builders. Why? Because 'Hiroshima' is all about peace, isn't it?
I think you can see the specious logic here. However, with 'peace', things are reasonably clear. Everyone knows what the word means, even the Japanese. (However, there is 'peace' (the bare absence of conflict) and 'peace' (the solving of all the human problems which afflict society generally).
With 'Aiki', things are much less clear, because there is no agreed definition of the term. So people can use 'aiki' to mean whatever they want it to mean. Yes, I know about 'matching of KI', but there is no agreement about the derivations, such as the idea that 'AIKI' really
means conflict resolution.
(2) The Ideology / Moral Aspects
Aiki Extensions advertises itself as a kind of trans-cultural 'good thing': something that anyone who 'seriously' or 'honestly' practises aikido would naturally embrace as an 'extension' of their dojo training. However, I do not believe that the concept of 'aiki' in itself possesses these built-in ideological or moral aspects. Nor do I believe that 'aiki' in itself has an extrinsic moral imperative (that people who believe in 'aiki' should, as a result, live in such and such a way). Nor do I believe that people who practice aikido need to 'extend' their 'aiki' activities outside the dojo, as a direct
result of aikido practice. They might (want to) do this, but there is no moral or ideological imperative to do so.
By the way, have you ever talked to Saotome Sensei about aikido and ideology?
George S. Ledyard
That's unfortunate and not in keeping with the folks I know who are involved... I don't know the situation but many of the folks involved have been my friends for years. Doesn't sound like them, although there can be a bit of the true believer coupled with a dose of pc-ness" with a few in the org. I am very sorry you had that experience, it surprises me.