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Old 07-23-2010, 09:28 AM   #13
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 950
Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Politics and Japanese martial arts seems to be synonymous. I have no special insight to Aikido's organizational politics. I didn't come up that route in my training. I have not been that fortunate to be a close to any organizational Aikido leader to be a political.

But what I have learn about the Japanese culture and the things I have read from organizational leaders and Stanely Pranin and others it seems to me as the saying, you can take the girl out of the country (a country girl), but you can't take the country out of the girl. It seems true for the Japanese.

It seems the samurai culture fueled by personal power resulting in conflict and warring states still exists. It is as times have changed but people haven't. It seems that Japanese leadership and the structure of organization is never without political aspirations among the ranks. There is always in the ranks plots and schemes to take over the leadership in someway, to create rivalries, to brake off and compete and establish dominance. Watermarks of the past feudal culture.

That might be because those who are attracted to martial arts subscribe to that feudal thinking. That is it is part and parcel for Japanese martial arts to be political, because those interested in martial arts have a feudal mentality. It is like people who like to fight become fighters. The fighting is no longer on a physical level, but a political level.

I often wonder that sometimes some Japanese martial arts leaders subscribe to the samurai format of how they run their organizations. They may say, the past is old fashion and out of date, yet they mirror it very well. It seems such people look upon their students as samurai and act as Daimyos or a Shogun. They compete with other organizations for wealth and recognition equaling power. All of which where the two things the Daimyo sought after through conflict and politics.

It seems to me that the modern leadership that came after O'Sensei had no other model that what came before them in running organizations. Such people attracted to martial arts and all that it means from a Japanese perspective are predisposition to be political, to imbibe in the same spirit that fueled feudal Japan.

What carries that political culture on in places like Australia and other parts of the world, generally speaking we accept playing samurai. We absorb and subscribe to the politics as part of the art of Aikido. It is part of the whole exotic experience of a Japanese martial art. Those of us who don't accept this are either jaded from it, or just focus only on technique, not paying attention to much else.

Also the whole structure of Aikido because it is a martial art has the political feudal structure or platform, O'Sensei keep that in Aikido. He didn't eradicate the inherent political stuff of budo, he altered the perspective of the inherent violent out comes resulting from the politics. Rank for example is a political statement, so is all the other terms and duties for offices in a dojo or organization.

So, it is my opinion base on what I observe Japanese Aikido politics and martial arts are infused and can't be separated. The Japanese in rank and file, a leadership position model the leaders of feudal Japan. They aspire as martial artist, or budoka subscribe to what that means. The Japanese leadership in martial arts because they are interested in martial arts follow the models of feudal Japan.

Yet we expect them to act differently outside of what they know, who they are and where they came from. To act like us. We fail to see it is in their genetic cultural code to be political, to act as Lords over their fiefdoms to secede and form their own organization for their own interests and agendas. Look at Emperor Hirohito, and why it took him so long despite the result of the first bomb to surrender, and all the dynamics involved. For example, he didn't want to lose face, he wanted to stay in power and be seen as a god, even it modern times. That shows the importance and how politics are so deeply infused in Japanese culture and leadership.

Yes, not everyone is like this, not everyone's sensei is like this, and this is all in general terms. It is my opinion. I don't want people to think am attacking anyone or anything. I can see how they might. But the truth is this is my observations and a result I have no problem with Japanese Aikido politics and leadership. For me it is a matter of you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. I am not involved in the politics where it is a concern. I have come across political situations and accept them for what they are as well as the outcome and stuff. I recognize it for what it is. I am not an insider. I am merely making my observations from the doorway.

My purpose of this post was to provide by view point in order to help the original poster possibly Japanese martial arts politics as I see them. In this way, it might provide an added navigational instrument around the politics.

Last edited by Buck : 07-23-2010 at 09:33 AM.
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