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Old 01-23-2011, 08:20 PM   #59
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
This simply cannot be ignored.
That George and others like George, put themselves out there in venues unfamiliar to them places them head and shoulders above the average martial artist.
I had a question asked of another senior martial art practitioners, of whether or not "he had it" (meaning IP) I said no not in any significant way. Then I asked the one asking the question "Have you crossed hands with him or done weapons with them in their art of choice. They said "No, I haven't."I said "Trust me he can hand you your head!"
Of course it's not about just being able to fight; there is also the issue of knowing an art and having expertise in executed said art to consider. An area where the self same IP guy would fail.
I have sparred with Gleason any number of times, but when asked to do don't want to know what I look like in comparison to Bill in doing Aikido!!

We can't go on to applaud Ikeda, Ledyard, Gleason, Amdur, then the next level teachers like Drachman, Liberti, Abrums, Beebe, etc for being stand up guys and testing themselves, then shoot them down at the same time for not knowing everything.
We also cannot go on letting an IP guy state "it has to be felt" then shoot down those they haven't felt, and telling those teachers and students who have felt IP guys that they don't have any ability to judge that either. What then was the point in IHTBF?
Doing so smacks of agenda to me.

An open door
I was/am hoping that when the doors to these men's lives opened that this movement was going to be a positive one; that it was to be a free exchange of information to help in bringing back to aikido what we have come to agree went missing from the art.
How does it help to then turn around and denigrate the efforts of the people who are trying to bring it back into the art?

We certainly do not have expertise to do that work do we? Those teachers who know me, know my answer when I am asked "How do we incorporate it into our art
"That's your job. I'm not qualified!"

It is difficult to read and see things that are a bit off in various description and videos (even sometimes seeing people going in a different direction from what you taught them) but I allow for growth, learning curve and experimentation. While certain forums have delighted in tearing down the efforts of those just learning and critiquing them...I have no part in that.

So George, If I was in any way party to what you have described, you have my sincerest apologies. The way I see it is "Yes, I have things you do not know." What needs to be stated here clearly is that "You have an "expertise" in areas I cannot approach.
All the best
Thanks, that was very classy. I certainly have no interest in getting into personalities here. I just wanted some folks to know why I don't extend myself publicly on the forums when it's getting into areas that I am not yet totally confident in.

I think Aikido is at an interesting junction right now. The old generation is passing away and soon we will have the next generation of leadership taking over. This offers a unique freedom for many experienced folks to look around and try new things that perhaps they didn't feel ten or fifteen years ago. This corresponds to a situation in which people like you , Mike, Ark, Toby, etc are willing to share things with the Aikido community that previously were unavailable to anyone outside of some pretty obscure styles of martial art. In some cases these skills wouldn't even have been taught to guys like me because I wasn't Chinese or some such.

Anyway, although here on the forums I try to be very open about what I am willing to discuss, I am still careful. Aikido folks are, as a community, actually quite judgmental. Saotome Sensei used to say "Aikido people, most angry any martial art." Because this art is so ill defined, the skills pretty murky in terms of what really work s and what doesn't, people have a sort of insecurity about what they do. I think this is one of the things that has lead to so much violence and injury on that mat over the years and it also leads to the kind of mutual intolerance you find when a community isn't secure and confident about what it does.

So folks who have some recognized authority in a given area have a lot of influence over opinion in our community. Someone in a position of influence starts bad mouthing a member of our community it can have a negative effect. In the case of the folks who are involved with trying to help Aikido fix some of the problems that occurred during its too rapid post war growth, their credibility and ability to engineer this change is retarded when one of the very folks who is offering to help is sabotaging us at the same time. I agree it smacks of an agenda.

Aikido folks need to a) be far less judgmental than they are and b) be willing to look foolish learning new things. One of the things that I found training with the Systema folks was that they are the "cleanest" folks I have ever worked with. Virtually no judgment from the senior folks at all. I realized that this lack of judgment, the absence of the need to be posturing , always worried about what everyone thinks, that is the training atmosphere that they have created gives one the complete freedom to really learn. You can really let go, look foolish, fail over and over and no one cares, no one thinks less of you, I found that I was far more likely to really let myself go to a really vulnerable state working with Vlad, Ryabko, and the various seniors, who are extraordinary folks in my opinion, than I would ever let my Aikido compadres see me in. And that state allows the deepest learning, the most profound changes, to take place. Aikido folks, and a lot of others could learn from these folks.

I have to say that you also create this kind of atmosphere. You are at least as excited about passing on what you know to interested folks as I am in passing on whatever I can about Aikido to anyone who will listen. Your excitement about what you do is infectious. I can't remember seeing anyone, except maybe Howard, who has a better time teaching what he knows. And it shows in the folks who have gravitated to you to learn. Everybody just wants to learn. No judgment if you either can't do something (injuries or whatever) or can't seem to get it... the assumption is simply there that you will.

Aside from not wishing to open myself up to getting cheap-shotted behind my back, I don't actually care much. The person I believe responsible doesn't happen to think that anyone else (maybe three or four people in the world) has these skills the way he understands them. So I am in good company along with the rest of the 6 billion folks on the planet. Not worth worrying about. But I think Aikido folks would always do well to find out for themselves what anyone can and cannot do rather than listen to anyone else. People can make choices based on second hand information that they regret later because they passed up opportunities to work with someone and later discovered that they has a lot to offer.

I think it is funny that we are often so judgmental about other arts we know nothing about or other teachers we have never even met. When Aikido was the new kid on the block, it was always the art that no one thought worked. I'd get guys from karate coming in to the dojo saying their teacher told them not to bother with Aikido because it didn't work. After two hours of (nicely) wiping the mat with them, they'd have another idea when they left. But if course their teacher never came to play... Now we have Aikido folks pooh poohing stuff that they have absolutely no direct experience of. Systema is fake, Ushiro Kenji doesn't have the goods, Okamoto's ukes are just tanking... oh, and the ever popular, "we have the same stuff" when talking about internal skills. Didn't we learn anything when it was Aikido everybody thought was fake?

Anyway, thanks again. Missed you for KB, was hoping Josh and some of us could tap you for some more goodies. Hope all is well!
- George

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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