Thread: Schisms....
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Old 07-08-2002, 10:15 AM   #22
Blaine Feyen
Dojo: Yushinkan Dojo/Toyoda Center/Grand Rapids,MI
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4
Re: Power struggle/ minorities

Originally posted by Bruce Baker
Although I am an outsider, and generally I don't care about politics, it seems the void created by the death of Toyoda sensei is beginning to show its internal cracks in the AAA?

Whether the student is aware of it or not, there is a whole drama of egos, politics, and power struggle going on behind the scenes is all of the Aikido organizations. Some deny it, some divert the subject, and some try to cut to the truth of human failings, but in the end we are all subject to the humanity we prescribe to in being human beings.

It isn't the first time an individual will break away from an organization, and it won't be the last.

I don't know the details, but as long an individual is recognized by Hombu and approved by the them within the political hierarchy, then they will continue to be within the Aikido designation of martial arts.

I have already seen some minor politics, and I don't really care for them, but then my livelihood, and life's work is not Aikido? Don't most of us consider Aikido our hobby, not our life's work?

Which brings up another thought about instructors who burn the candle at both ends, in the middle and up aroun the sides? We will leave that go for another time.

If this situation is not serious, it will work out in time with another organization recognized by Hombu. If not ... well ... let's just concentrate on practice and let the politicians bump heads. There is enough ego in regular life without bringing it into the dojo.
Bruce, you have brought up very valid and important points regarding politics! Most students are unaware of the politics that occur behind the scenes in ALL organizations. They wouldnt be organizations if there was not some form of politics involved. Organizations have been formed to more efficiently disseminate the information they feel is important to the masses. No, we are not blind to the fact that it is also a business for the head of the organization but those of us who chose to follow a particular leaders teachings chose not to really care, we understand at some level that if it werent run as a successful business, we would have a hard time finding a place to train. I really value Chris Li's opinion regarding the plusses and minuses of being affiliated with an organization, however, his feelings about organizational affiliation are, and I could be wrong Chris, probably because he lives in Japan and can go train at any one of 100 dojo. In America, we are forced to be a little more discriminating in our choice of dojo because Aikido, Judo, and Kendo are not required physical education courses in our culture and there are not dojo on every street corner in every town. Nobody has to affiliate or be part of an organization, it just happens if you are lucky enough to have happened upon a great teacher like Toyoda Shihan or Sato Sensei, you would never question affiliation. In fact, Mr. Moore and his students preached the very same thing until he was no longer affiliated, now its taboo.

You are absolutely right, Bruce! It is a hobby for most people and should remain that way for the real value of O'Sensei's teachings to come through. But for those that wish to spread the teachings to more people, it is very tough to do without stepping into the business and political world. Politics is there whether you choose to see it or not. Just as we cannot see the air that we breathe, it is there and our inability to see it does not make breathing any less important! It is vital to our survival! There are many who feel that Aikido should be a grassroots movement where it is free to train anywhere you go and everyone can just go to the local park to do it, maybe they are right. But that is not the case today and the pioneers like O'Sensei, Doshu, Toyoda, Saotome, Yamada, Chiba, Kobayashi, and the dozens of others who have started their own organizations have opened doors for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of like minded people around the world to see, hear, and feel the message that is Aikido.

You have also made a very pointed observation regarding the death of Toyoda Shihan and the apparent cracks in the organization. That is what this whole "schism" forum has been about, the necessary and immediate removal of the cause of the cracks! Unfortunately it sounds much worse to the people reading these forums because they are so far removed from the situation and completely unaware of the full details, as well, they should be. It really is unimportant to those who just wish to train. For the people who are at the epicenter of all this, it is much bigger because we have all lost a treasure with the passing of Toyoda Shihan. To many, including Mr. Moore, Toyoda Shihan was more than just their Aikido teacher, he was their friend, their mentor, a loving husband and a father. For the friends of Mr. Moore, they feel forced to make a tough choice: Leave behind most of their Aikido friends and other teachers to follow Mr. Moore or stay where they are and say goodbye to the few who chose to leave. Those who chose to leave were not, contrary to popular belief, forced out or threatened if they left. People will always be welcome to train wherever they wish, including Mr. Moore's dojo and the AAA dojo's. It is important to note, however, that those who felt they had no choice but to leave and felt threatened if they did so, felt that way because of the actions of their leader. Not because the organization made them feel that way. Anybody at anytime is supported if they wish to go "do their own thing", in fact, in Mr.Moore's case it was strongly encouraged by Toyoda Shihan and would have been financially supported. All of us who have our own dojo have been encouraged and supported to go and "do our own thing", though nobody else has tried to take over or destroy any organizations while doing so. Those for whom recognition and quality instruction is important, they will choose a recognized dojo and leaders, for those who dont care yet, I recommend you investigate wherever you decide to train to make sure the dojo and teachers are right for you. As a few have pointed out, the piece of paper and the signature on it is, in the grand scheme of things, unimportant. What is important to all of us is good instruction, good leadership, good friendships, and good training. If you can find that at an unaffiliated dojo (which I am quite sure you can since we are all human beings), feel free to do so and feel free to go and visit any and all dojo you wish to further your training. That is what Aikido training is about and should continue to be about.

And Yes, You are right again Bruce, this small blip on the screen of Aikido training will pass in time. The dojo, as much as people would like it to be different from their daily lives, is really just a microcosm of life and reality. One cannot escape reality by going to the dojo, only learn to accept life's difficulties and get back up after being knocked down time and time again. That is what the AAA has done, that is what Mr. Moore's group has done and as many of you have pointed out, let us learn from our experiences and continue training!