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Old 07-22-2009, 10:33 AM   #72
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: non-Japanese cannot become shihan anymore?

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Oy!! How have you survived this long? Bless you Peter.
After saying "hello" it sounds like everything they say is any bodies guess as to true meaning and intent.
I was hoping in your reply that you let your hair down as much as you can and offer some opinions on the state of affiars.
Where and how you think the situsation may be in flux.
Whether they are truly listening to feedback or repercussions.
How it is being aborbed in Japan etc.

I think all will beneift from your views on things -more than just the statements from the IAF-where you may be free to offer them. Of course I realize many are talking privately-which is the best venue-but a certain public feel might be beneficial to a broader group.
Peter's insights here are priceless as far as I am concerned... The one aspect of this that I have begun to understand is that, in the minds of the Japanese Shihan who were uchi deshi, there is a complete distinction between Hombu Dojo and the organization of which it is headquarters and the Ueshiba family. I think that Saotome Sensei feels a deep sense of loyalty to the family and the Doshu as the head of the family. I do not think that he has any particular investment in the organization.

So, for all of us this is an important distinction. What does Hombu Dojo represent to us? Is it an organization that we feel a connection with or is it more a personal connection with the Ueshiba family and the Doshu as the grandson of the Founder? Or maybe you don't feel strongly about either. Personally, I need a reason to care about an organization... which would usually have something to do with an organization caring for me. But I have some sense of connection to the family. The Nidai Doshu was extremely kind to me when I visited Japan. It is a sense of personal relationship. Now, the current Doshu would have no idea who I am. This is certainly completely my own doing as I have not taken the trouble to go back to Japan. I was broke when Saotome Sensei went back with a group so I have never had a chance to meet the current Doshu. But I loved his father. I think he was an old school gentleman, a totally classy fellow. So I feel at least some direct relationship with the family, especially as my teacher has stressed to us that we are in a direct line of transmission from O-Sensei, through himself to us. But this is all personal and doesn't have much to do with organization.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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