Re: Managing Change in Aikido
George Sensei, thanks for your thoughts. Always a pleasure and inspiration to read your stuff.
I think what you describe is a great opportunity for aikido, for learning, for martial development and personal growth. It is there for anybody who is interested and has the commitment. Seminars, DVDs, private visits. Personally, I work with teachers who I believe can help me in my development in "aiki" as well as in "do" in accordance with my personal commitment (which is, admittedly, now less than it was ten years ago in my twenties). None of these people post on discussion boards. And while I cannot compare them with frequent posters who I have not met, they can do a lot of the stuff that has been described here as result of serious "internal training". In all, I find it very challenging and exciting.
In addition, the opportunities created by cheap long distance travel, new means of communication etc., are phenomenal. Ikeda Sensei apparently shared his approach with people from all over Europe in France this summer, and it is being passed on.
So my chances to get a lot better as an average MA practitioner (30s, low to mid dan ranks, +/- three evenings a week) are probably higher than they would have been 20 years ago.
If I am worried about anything at all, it is that I find "aiki" gets a disproportionate amount of attention in comparison to "do" in all these internet based discussions about change in aikido. I find the widespread idea that you somehow automatically become a better person (or even acquire wisdom) by just going through the physical motions for decades more misleading than unsubstantiated fantasies of martial applicability. Lots of "aiki" without any "do", power without personal development, would not do it for me.