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Old 11-11-2010, 07:47 PM   #80
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Diff. styles, 1 Aikido

Jorge Garcia wrote: View Post
My statement was,
"The Aikikai is the parent organization of Aikido and represents the last developments in the art of Aikido as taught by the Ueshiba family."

I was making a statement as to the official teaching of the Aikikai as espoused or taught by the Doshu as the representative of the Ueshiba family. Lots of Senseis within the Aikikai who teach under the Doshu have a different style including my own teacher. Those aren't the last developments of the Ueshiba family. Those are the last developments of Nishio Sensei or Saito sensei or whoever.The only official teaching of the Aikikai Foundation is represented in Doshu. Last time I checked, Doshu wasn't doing Nishio style nor are Nishio's books being sold by the Aikikai Hombu dojo.
Thanks for your comment anyway. I know you were trying to help.
Well, if you believe, as the folks at the Aikikai seem to, that Aikido is the Ueshiba family art, then this is a potential line of reasoning. I think it ignores that many of us have the impression that what is happening at Hombu is not the latest "development" of the art but is rather a lack of development or a subtraction of what was once there in favor of a simpler and more easily taught variation. The young deshi get nothing like the training my teacher was given,rather they seem to be trained to do and teach a certain curriculum.

I happen to think that the art was O-Sensei's art and that he transmitted various parts and different understandings to a number of people, which would include his family. Then, since his death in 1969, these people have taken their Aikido in various directions. The Aikikai seems to have opted for mass instruction of standardized techniques. Other teachers worked out their own methodologies or forms of the art. I definitely do not see the Aikikai as representing any kind of pinnacle or model for the art. In my opinion the best and most interesting Aikido is being done elsewhere. This would even be true when talking about the senior Hombu Dojo instructors who see to have a "party line" instruction when teaching at headquarters and another, far more interesting and individual take on the art when teaching at their own private dojos.

If we keep buying into this idea that Aikido proceeds outwards from the "source" which is Japan and Hombu Dojo, then we as the senior foreigners, students of the art trained directly by the uchi deshi, with every bit as many years of experience as some of the Japanese teachers now actively instructing at headquarters, will never really be treated seriously by our fellow Aikido practitioners.

When foreign Shihan are invited to teach at Hombu Dojo, I will perhaps start to invest in a Hombu leadership role. But right now, we don't participate and no one at headquarters seem to question that. I do not look to them for direction at all. What I am doing and trying to develop simply isn't even being taught there, that I have seen. I could be wrong. I haven't been there in many years. But I see the videos of the Embus and talk to folks who do pass through to train and I have heard anything that would contradict this view.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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