Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
Location: Los Angeles, California
Join Date: Sep 2004
Re: Focus and Aikido Training
Glad to be back to exchanging perspectives, and learning important historical facts and nuances from you. I have the highest respect for your resources, and the awesome value of the results of your long history of classical research. Please continue to share your indispensible treasure trove of historical perspective with the rest of the Aikido community, as well as your unique example of humble leadership.
Yes, it is most appropriately reasonable to ask how the Founder himself trained in the development of his art, but unreasonable to my mind, to hope to emulate or accurately reconstruct those fundamentals he painstakingly discovered and formalized to make them work for him. Further, how can later generations remotely hope to report with any accuracy or veracity of the Founder’s profound discoveries, to the countless others who are equally in the dark as to the circumstances and realities of that time without experiencing them first hand.
History should remain a reference point, and not the primary guide for thoughts and actions for another time and circumstance. Attendant wisdom then, should only be trusted after years of serious study, appropriate training, and the encompassing vision to see all factors, favorable and otherwise, from those who proved faithful to the task of such research.
No, I was not there each time he did or did not admonish his direct students to focus on their own construction of their respective understanding of Aiki, and of their Aikido. Yet, accounts do exist that he was consistent with this advice, and confirmed by the late Doshu directly to me. It would seem that his Aikido was a byproduct of his personal journey of exploring and extracting value from his discoveries from Aiki, warehoused or not. And yes, I do believe that he meant it, but was tempered greatly by the person or persons he was attempting to advise or to enable for the purposes of character and confidence building.
Interesting that you appear to neatly divide what “treasures” that may exist in the Aiki “warehouse’” into a) “Ueshiba treasure” and b) “dross”. How can you, Aikikai, or anyone else claim such amazing and kami like abilities of discrimination, knowledge and wisdom? On what basis can anyone reasonably claim to make distinctions and doctrine on what the Founder clearly and consistently taught us to see as Aikido in its infancy, and not in its final stages of being. In my mind, he purposely left it to future generations to continue the inexhaustible search for Aiki truths, claiming only the initial pioneering effort.
Lastly, for now, what do you truly mean when you write “Look at Doshu for what is essential to the art that Ueshiba created, all the rest is optional,or even downright erroneous”? Are you stating that the Doshu is the primary, infallible, and irrefutable source for the Founder’s legacy, expertise, teachings and legitimacy? Please say that this is not so, that what the past and current Doshu practiced truly was “The Founder’s training regimen? I sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding on my part. I simply wish to have you make it simpler for me.
You mentioned at another time that I was an “Aikikai” member, yet did not elucidate or clarify your definition. For the record, my entire career in Aikido has been as a member of good standing with the Aikikai Foundation, counting the current and late Doshu, amongst others, as my esteemed associates in Ueshiba Aikido, deserving of my high respect and friendship in Aiki. They have seen it fit to award me with certain ranking, and the courtesy of recommending ranking for dan ranks of those I find deserving. Beyond this, I have nothing to do with Aikikai policies, decisions or acquired recognitions and social status. Any advice I would care to give the Doshu or the Aikikai has no more weight than yours probably would, as my history has clearly made abundantly clear.
When I first wrote the “Focus” article, it was my intent to remind others of the inalienable right for each person to choose their style of practice, and to be individually accountable for whatever, and wherever their search took them. All discussions of affiliations and dojo loyalties aside, the primary loyalty is to one’s inner vision, personal philosophy and to those who share the same standards and dreams.
For me then, true focus on one’s goals start, and culminate from within. Gathering any and all applicable and obtainable data, conversations, instructions, and, of course, countless hours of sincere training, is what happily happens in the time beween.