Re: When Systems Falter
Recognizing Ledyard Sensei's concern about the quality of aikido, I would also be very concerned about any committee empowered to select organizations for membership or exclusion based on their alleged quality.
We are still seeing organizations of high quality denied recognition due to the opposition of influential individuals for reasons known only to themselves.
In the years ahead, it would be good to see an umbrella organization develop in the U.S. that allowed the issue of recognition for organizations to be insulated somewhat from individual power struggles.
If, however, the U.S. organization is taken over by a faction that defines "quality" in terms of hard or soft, internal training or form, weapons this or weapons that, and that faction tries to exclude the others, have we advanced?
It's the age-old problem of politics, and there's no clear solution.
To play the devil's advocate to Ledyard Sensei, would we better served by forcing the aiki-less or aiki-dance organizations to join separate organizations from self-proclaimed aiki-budo dojos, or should they be encouraged to stay and join cross-training seminars instead?
Some will see nothing, and change nothing. But others will see something, and try to transform. Not a bad outcome.
I've also seen seminars where the "hard" men learned nothing -- charging at each other and getting an intense aerobic workout, but missing most or all of the fine points the senseis were trying to get people to focus on; sticking together and testing each others' strength and not bothering to train with lesser beings who had only just started to train in that style, but some of whom seemed to be on the path to understanding more about it.
Obviously, some kind of quality checks need to be in place. But I would argue that we need to err on the side of inclusion.