Re: Legacy and the Founder
Greetings Mr. Reading
I very much appreciate your valuable input on this thread, and want to thank you for your contributions on other threads that I truly enjoy reading.
There are several profound issues confronting the smooth and harmonious transition and transmission of the authentic, authoritative and legitimate Aikido understanding of the Founder’s original model by succeeding generations. I will attempt to address a couple of these.
The acceptable, correct and verifiable transmission of the Founder’s true message, overall vision and the martial validity of his system of Budo was initially entrusted, by default, to those direct students who kept the faith of their lessons, and attempted their very best to accomplish this herculean task. Such individuals were both from within the Aikikai system, as well as from without. Some began in the Aikikai system, but were compelled to leave and pursue their own directions. Further, the Ueshiba identity, via the Iemoto System of natural inheritance, was not unlike that of the Pope of Rome who, when speaking “Ex Cathedra”, was deemed to be infallible on church doctrine, implying that any true and final interpretation of the Founder’s Aikido was to be unquestioned if from the Doshu position.
Much research, discussion, and the prolonged first hand experiences with the actual conduct of these otherwise amazing individuals has caused the above notions to be seriously questioned, and almost universally discarded as being applicable or true. This is not to say that they were or are without merit or deserving of our respect and gratitude. It simply means, to my mind, that the Aikido of the Founder, as he repeatedly expressed it to be, is a continous “work in progress’ for succeeding generations to make necessary changes to concomitant with the new epiphanies, discoveries and understandings that naturally accrue for such novel ideas and workable systems. To err is human. To admit to humanity is enlightenment. To persevere mightily is genius.
As to any obligation any one should have to carry the Aikido tradition and essence to succeeding generations, I believe to be way beyond the abilities of the average student. Rather, it falls to those talented and driven few to make the conscious and voluntary effort to internalize lessons and research acquired, and to engineer the necessary breakthroughs for the current and succeeding generations of dedicated students of the Founder’s Aikido. The Founder himself implored us to do so, not in homage to his invention, but in honor of the real momentum of the truth of his findings, that we must improve ourselves, our art, our craft and our growth on a daily basis. This is his Aikido envisioned.
Shihan designations are at best arbitrary, confusing, inaccurate and not representative in the least of proven authority, skills, status or accomplishment. There really is no “gold standard” to compare any individual to, as no attempt was made to create or maintain one by Aikikai Foundation. To say that political, economic and personal considerations were the norm is unfortunately more accurate than we might want to believe. This is not to say that those who have been accorded such designations are not worthy of respect or appreciation. Most of them certainly are. This means only that other considerations and factors play as equal if not more an impact on treating our instructors with appropriate accord and support.
It is also my opinion that there are in fact hundreds of proven teachers throughout the Aikido family who are deserving of the designation of “Shihan”, and that the real proof of who is or is not, should rest in the real support they enjoy, the quality of the teachings they have to offer, and the quality of students they are able to produce over time. No need to wait for them to be anointed. They are already here, and only require our recognition and daily support.
Let’s get started yesterday!
And thanks Phi for the background music!
Last edited by aikishihan : 01-31-2011 at 05:53 PM.