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Old 10-27-2010, 07:49 PM   #4
Ryan Seznee
Dojo: Does it matter?
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 102
Re: Differant Standards in Differant Federations

Jorge Garcia wrote: View Post
When I originally answered , I was making reference to this sentence.

"I was wondering what the role of any National Aikido Federation should play. Should they aim to unite all Ryus of Aikido together??

In my country, the Aikido Federation does not seem to do that. It seems like an exclusive club by itself, recognizing only those dojos that it set up. It has its on Chief Instructor, Instructors & Assistant Instructors. It operates like an exclusive club. It does not take care of any other Aikido Ryus which is not their own."

My answer to that question was jurisdiction. My answer is still the same for what you have just said but it's now different in the aspect that you introduced. To me, you are now describing a smaller group breaking away from the larger group for more freedom. The larger group may have rules that inhibit personal choices and creativity so they break away. If a Shihan wants a certain "take" on his Aikido, and the larger group prohibits that - then he has the motivation to break away and form a new group so he can have the freedom to fulfill his goals and to explore his own Aikido to it's greatest potential. Yes, this is true but think about this - after he has done that, what does he need to operate? It's money or better put finances. Initially in fact, this is the one thing he doesn't have and that he needs the most so the initial drive will be to raise funds for the new organization so that it can stabilize. After things are stabilized, he will need even more funds so that he can accomplish his larger goals and expand his organization. This smaller organization is now headed up the road of the larger one that he came from. Soon , he will need to clearly establish his own jurisdiction and defend it's borders and then process begins again. All organizations strive for standardization and the life of organizations are the finances without which they cannot exist.

Things though do not not universally have to be that way. The ways to go around this merry go round are several. An organization can stay small and work with a small budget. They can also decentralize and separate the finances into regions to keep ambition and ego under control. They can try to use general standards instead of universal ones. They can decentralize authority by disconnecting the power people from the rule making committees within the organization (a highly unusual move).

While it is true that most Aikido groups are non profits, that is a complicated issue because that refers to the profit motive vs business model but it doesn't change the underlying needs of every organization. It just occurs on a smaller and more controlled scale.

Going back to this post you made though, please understand that when I mentioned having better shihan's and the "truest Aikido", I am referencing weaknesses and ego based arguments that people succumb to over time. I don't want to denigrate all organizations nor the many good people that lead Aikido groups worldwide. There are good, mature people that inspire others and lead them ethically and are in fact egoless (in as much as anyone can be that) and humble. It is usually the followers that attach themselves to people and groups that make them feel better about themselves. I guess I am referencing the trail that an organization can go down if they don't intentionally try to avoid it.

I do know this , that anywhere there are people, there will be ego, ambition and pride and we as humans need to resist the road that leads to authoritarianism. We need to emphasize gifting, freedom and creativity and encourage that organizationally so that our energies are funneled in positive and productive ways.

Best wishes,
The biggest problem that I have with what you are saying is that you keep referring to an Aikido federation or group of schools in terms of big business or a government. You have a laundry list of what is wrong with federations, but these complaints seem uncharacteristic of my experiences. Who are the these people and where do they live? I don't know of anyone who has complained that their federation has stood in the way of their creativity or goals (at least that I didn't suspect had alternator motivation for doing what they were doing). Joining a federation doesn't mean you will have a shihan drop by and criticism your school's teaching and demand you do it this way and only this way, in my experience at least. Most demand payment, but offer things in return (access to good instructors, an organization that will advertise your dojo, aid in keeping your dojo running, and a community of aikidoka that are there to help you).

Frankly, there aren't many rules to staying in most federations, they just demand you be technically component in the style of aikido that they are trying to promote and you pay their fees (which is used to keep the organization running so that they can do for someone else what they did for you). I don't know where you are getting this stuff about stunting their creativity, this has not been my experience and I have been to half a dozen different federation dojos. Sure, everyone has a fairly distinct look, but there is a lot of variation within that to express individuality. Care to name names?

As for having "truer" aikido and better shihans, I have never heard this from someone who didn't appoint themselves shihan or combine aikido with some kind of other boxing or grappling art to "complete" it. If you have other experiences, please enlighten me.
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