Re: Legacy and the Founder
It is definitely logical to grant the original pioneer instructors from Japan due credit for their magnificent work over the decades. Short of granting them a “mystique”, I feel that it is more appropriate to grant them deep respect and genuine gratitude for their efforts, having little to compare them with at the time. It is no secret that we have been witnesses as well to their human frailties along with their proven strengths over time, recognizing them to be just as human as we are in every way imaginable and observed.
Since then, the Aikido movement in the United States, and throughout the world, has witnessed immense growth and increased stature as an authentic martial art, accepted as a positive choice of study for many, and recognized widely as a cultural phenomenon with unique emphasis on harmonious interaction and social responsibility.
Inevitably, we have been witnessing the loss of most of these pioneers to illness, incapacity and death. I do not believe that regret, feelings of inadequacy, or even profound sadness over the passing of these early mentors is appropriate or helpful. Rather, let us rejoice in the fact that we did have them to guide us, and to gratefully acknowledge that they were instrumental in grooming excellent replacements for the future of Aikido’s growth and stability in the ongoing teaching of correct Aiki principles and techniques.
There is no argument that those fortunate enough to have trained under one or more direct disciples of the Founder undoubtedly received a rare, unique and even priceless education for their persistence. Yet I cannot accept any notion that this very fact places these fortunate students in any preeminent position of implied authority, expertise or entitlement for special status. The range of teaching styles and actual teaching abilities of these direct students is so wide and varied as to discount any necessary favorable advantage over those who did not have that privilege. It is my viewpoint that culture, social development and human capacity for wisdom and knowledge is cumulative in nature, kind of like fine wine that improves with age and accumulated experience.
At the San Diego Bridge, the AI Seminar in New Jersey, and other venues of bridge building attempts to expose previously isolated groups of Aikido practitioners is indeed the way to go for preserving the varied legacies of the original uchi deshi of the Founder, as well as the legacies of their respective progeny and the instructors we are now cultivating through our dojos. The upcoming Bridge in Orlando, Florida in March promises to be awesome!
This bodes well indeed for the future of Aikido, not as it originally was, but as it was envisioned to become in the eyes of the Founder and his son, the late Doshu. We have merely scratched the proverbial surface of the true nature of Aiki, its potential, and the opportunities for present and future giants to make their mark and enhance the magic of Aikido and its relevance to humanity.
Yes, I do believe that we are on the same paragraph at least, George, if not necessarily on the same page. I thoroughly enjoyed our brief time together in San Diego, and look forward to even more stimulating exchanges in the future.
Thank you too, Clark, for the important points you make, although they appear to be tantalizingly beyond reach and of our control at the present time. We simply must humbly accept the inevitability of loss and change.
But lo, let us remember to include the promise of renewal, rebirth and regeneration of the traditional concepts via the fresh minds, energetic creativity and passionate sense of purpose from our current and future crop of students of Aikido.
O'Sensei's legacy, along with the legacies of his direct students both from within and beyond Aikikai, should serve as the foundation for future legacies to be formed from our current and future pool of geniuses and innovators. I have every confidence that this has been already happening, is happening and will continue to happen, primarily because the benefits from studying Aiki Principles are too evident and enticing to ignore.
And Niall, call me Francis.
Last edited by aikishihan : 01-23-2011 at 02:32 AM.