View Single Post
Old 12-02-2010, 01:36 AM   #67
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: YouTube: Golden Center Sword

Graham Christian wrote: View Post
HI George,
May I congratulate you on an excellent response.Why do I say this? Because I see it is heartfelt, considered and sincere.
I have never been on a forum before and thus am learning many things here so it's all good to me. I find many of the responses interesting as I didn't expect it and so I learn I have been quite naive.
Now, as to going in to a big defence of my Aikido I have refrained from doing so for I have nothing to prove, my purpose is not to say look at me and how good I am, rightly or wrongly I did it as an experiment. Only recently, this year, someone pointed out to me that the Aikido I do was taped on camera and proceeded to show me how to make it into little vids. On doing this I was amazed because in all the 30 years of practice I had never seen myself do it. On looking at the vids my friends and students past and present got me to put them on youtube. It was all good fun for me yet I could see that not many people would understand what I was doing and that if I ever made any teaching videos they would have to be different to these, step by step, with commentary.So here in this forum I wondered what people in the Aikido fraternity would summise and boy did I find out!
I was trained in a private dojo, by invite only, so let me tell you just a little about my teacher. After being there for five years I remember asking him why he wasn't in a federation like Aikikai, or Yoshinkan etc. He told me that in the early days in this country he came to a dilemma in himself, he said many of those he trained with seemed to be going down the macho force route and refusing to develope on the Ki side of things, ie: have the Ki tests as he showed us as a major part of their training. He also said , rightly or wrongly that he thought if he made a stance politically at the time it would possibly cause a big split with some following him and others not. So he decided to go independant and was no longer interested in big organizations.
As for me, after 15 years it was time to go my own way, and to me from now on the world, the streets, work, would be my dojo so I ended up teaching privately whoever happened across me and liked what I had to offer. I never wanted to be an organization and so have never done Aikido as a business or club and only recently gave my style a name. I did hope that showing it with a different name ie:Golden Center, would show it is not the Aikido you are used to seeing and thus not cause offence.Once again naive.
On the point of collusive training believe it or not I wholeheartedly agree with you and see the conclusions drawn from my videos gives this view 100%. I now know if I want others to actually see through film the effect of what I do on a 200lb wrestler IT would take a different type of video. So, as with showing people flying at me and me taking them and projecting them into a nice dramatic breakfall it all gives me a dilemma. I am not promoting my Aikido, or Aikido as yet for that matter, yet if I put anything on a public forum then I should do it in an expected manner which would then enter the field of promotion. So once again I have a decision to make and a lesson to learn.
As far as the situation worldwide to do with Aikido being on the decline goes then not being involved in organizations and the politics of it all then this comes as an unwelcome surprise to me and explains some of the touchyness I have encountered here. But here I must state my view clearly and give a message to all those who have had their confidence knocked or their hopes for the future of Aikido shaken. IT IS EASY TO BLAME OTHERS WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL. The answer is ALWAYS in your own scene.
I have had a couple of people insist I watch a video called samurai spirit and say how it inspired them and it promotes Aikido. Well I have watched it and can see how it could do that for some or even many, all be it very contrived, but what I say to them is this: If it is good promotion you want then make some good ones yourself, or get your organization to do it and stop crying like little babies. There is no honour in destructive criticism and blame and thus no center, no samurai spirit, apart from no manners or self discipline.
So I will finish off here with something you may find interesting as it is from someone not immersed in your organizational world of Aikido. The people I know, the ones I work with, friends and associates of mine get to know me and thus know I do this 'thing' called Aikido. Many have tested me, many have questioned things I do like Ki-atsu for example, but none disrespect me. I am never rude or belittling or critical, be they a doctor, a shop owner or a drug dealer. Yet when they are in trouble they know I can help. This I find applies in life and the reason I am saying it here is because in my experience everyone who has experienced my Aikido hasn't got a bad word to say about it. I have advised many people on Aikido and sent many people to Aikido clubs over the years for I have no opinion as to that ones better than that one I only tell them to find the one they like.I have people who come to me from various martial arts now and again for advice on what they do which may be an art of which I have no experience or knowledge but I get them to show me what they are getting stuck on and almost always help them to a solution for I can see the principles of what they are doing and thus where they are failing. This doesn't make them want to do Aikido but they go away and overcome that which they were getting stuck on in their own art and in this way I maintain a respect for Aikido from them. So in my zone of influence the people see what I do as disciplined, helpful and when they need it -useful. If I was a brash, arrogant, 'superior' kind of person then I am as sure as the sun shines that it would give Aikido a bad name. So from my viewpoint and experience I suggest All Aikidoka should look at their own behaviour as a major factor of peoples perception of Aikido and even in this forum for people are not stupid and by and large they do believe that Aikido is a more harmoniouse form of martial art and so expect the adherents to be very well mannered, polite, reasonable, helpful and strong in mind and spirit. Samurai if you like.(The good ones anyway)
Well if you have read this then thank you for listening.
Peace. G.
Hi Graham,
Thanks for your response. You know, the good stuff looks fake... It even feels fake in that your mind is telling you that shouldn't have worked, even as you are headed to the floor.

At the first Aiki Expo, I met a friend in the hallway who had just walked out of Angier Sensei's class in disgust. He said it was terrible, the ukes were just tanking and the whole thing was fake. Well, I had actually trained several times with Angier Sensei before then. I told him to get his ass back into that class, go to the front row, and not leave until he had felt it, then he could tell me it was fake. I met him again later and he thanked me for saving him from making a big fool out of himself.

As I said, there's a bunch of stuff out there that's as close to magic as anything I am likely to experience. It's magic because I don't understand it and don't know how to even go about thinking about it.

Yet, at this point, I am better than I ever thought I would be. I am doing stuff on the mat that I used to think only the 8th Dans did. But it's no big deal... it's explainable and teachable. I can get a brown belt to do most of these things if you gave me 20 minutes to half an hour. So what was, at least, magical is now commonplace and other things I have encountered have taken the place of what I once thought was unattainable.

So, ok. I'm not going to be the one who says you can't do what you think you can. If you had better training than most of us did, which in the Aikido world wouldn't have been hard, and you were lucky enough to have found a teacher who really had the goods as some of these folks I encountered at the Expos clearly do, then I think there is every likelihood you could be that good. No way of knowing... not without heading for the UK and trying it out. My perception could be quite wrong. I have seen a number of things that looked phony that I know for a fact weren't, so I have learned not to invest too heavily in my own opinions on these things. If you were closer I'd simply come play and we'd see.

So, we can leave it at that... I can't see it, but you say you've got it. I suppose you are in a better position to know about that than I. So no further argument is necessary or desirable.

Someday, you and I will have met and one or the other will have learned something, possibly both. Someday I will have met Sczepan and he can find out whether I can do what I say I can... he doesn't see it when he looks at my stuff either.... I swear, before I die, I am going to figure out how to stick someone to a wall like Vlad and Okamoto Sensei can do... It's all part of the process for all of us who are really training. If we put ourselves in the way of knowledge it will come, maybe not in a comfortable manner, but it will come.

So good luck in your efforts. I applaud the fact that you didn't get all defensive and belligerent when you got rained on. That's quite a bit more than many of the bad asses here can manage. So I'll reserve my own final judgment and keep watching your stuff. Maybe I am simply missing something that I will better understand after more time messing with this stuff.

But I still say, lose the hats. There's no way anyone will take you seriously with those hats...

- George

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
  Reply With Quote