Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei
Thanks for your responses. Hi Daren, nice that you remember me. I was sorry to miss your big demo -- working. Yes, there is some crossover in our locality, but not that much.
I agree that these are interesting times for aikido, partly because it's possible that aikido is already an art in decline. The whole Internal Skills issue offers hope, and there are clearly lots of people looking (fumbling?) around for answers. I think ki aikido has certain things to offer, but my experience was of quite an insular culture -- though I don't assume that this is everyone's experience. But if the the lessons of ki aikido are to find their way into the contemporary melting pot, then its' exponents need to get out more. This situation may be different in the US where Tohei was such a massive influence anyway.
When people practice in a different way, they generally have to go through a period of struggle (at least I did), which is a bit bruising on the old ego. I think this is partly responsible for the culture of insularity I found within ki aikido, reinforced by an implication that others don't "practice with ki". Ki or no ki, I found that I had to go back and do more kotai training to build up more of a foundation. In fairness, I think lots of people are just happy with their practice and don't want to look elsewhere. Also, some senior teachers just want to train students who'll do as the're told and not be shopping around for other ways. Whilst I personally find this frustrating, it's up to them -- it's a voluntary relationship.
If aikido training is viewed as being on a firmness-lightness spectrum, then ki aikido clearly specialises on the light end, which is fine. Even though I used to get bored with ki testing and want to get on with the aikido, I can better see its' value now. But I don't think Aikikai will ever adopt Tohei methods as it would be politically untenable.
Bill Gleason made some other points too. That without the "jutsu" there's no "do", which is a particularly danger in ki aikido. When asked "What happens if someone doesn't feel ki?" my old teacher used to say "They get hit." Well he could hit (karate background and a mental ability to "turn it on"), but lots can't. And towards the end of the interview, Gleaso Sensei mentioned the need for HQ not to try to control aikido, which, with so much exploring and soul-searching going on, could hardly be more important.