The future of Aikido is not important to me. I train in the present day. Now is all that is.
Today we had three students: one man in his late 50's, one woman who is 66, another woman who is 50, Ron who is 63 and me at 53.
We had a wonderful class. We all can take ukemi. We train very regularly so everyone is in good shape. Today we focused on connection, Ki development and waza. We explored so much together that was perfect for the combination of people that gathered to practice Aikido at that moment.
Accepting "what is" is an imporatnt part of training to me. If a teacher spends time whining about what is, what used to be, and what may happen, the teacher cannot be in the now. Can a teacher be centered and be whining about what is lacking? Blaming and wishing take away from positive mind. All that we need it right in front of us.
Woman and older or younger people are not place holders for young athletic men. Whoever is on the mat provide the picture of Aikido for that day.
If Ron waited for just young men to teach he would be very lonesome in his practice. Embrace the students you have, let go of the past and future and enjoy each class for the beauty and fun it brings.
We get on the mat with who shows up in a gi and we train together.
Here, grab my wrist and follow me to a centered moment where our energies mingle and creat a feeling of powerful peacefulness.
Aikido happens. All is well.
I understand what you are saying... but I do think it is important to be "intentional" about what one is doing. I noticed that you guys are independent but that you came out of the Kokikai. Decisions like that aren't made simply by focusing on the present... usually they come about because we realize one day that where we want to go, the direction we wish to pursue, isn't where we will go unless we make some change.
One of the reasons one encounters people who do not get better with each passing year, they just keep doing the same stuff over and over, is the lack of intentionality in their training. They just train expecting things to take acre of themselves. I sincerely doubt that you and Ron do that. You have your own school... that doesn't happen without effort and planning and a long term effort to be ready from a technical standpoint and organizational efforts that require planning, etc.
One of the reasons that I post about the future of Aikido so frequently is that I want to encourage everyone
to realize that they are the future of Aikido. And folks who are teaching, even more so. In the same way I look at my own training and direct it towards the set of skills I wish to end up with ten or twenty years down the line, I have to do the very same thing with my students. I have to provide direction to their training so that they have what they need to be their own teachers when I am gone.
I am sure you guys do the very same thing with your own training and with the training you provide your students. It's only one step beyond that to look at not only your training, and not only your dojo, but your larger Aikido community. For me, as a member of the ASU, I think about what I can contribute to make the organization better... but why stop there? If I really think I have something positive to offer the folks in my own organization, why shouldn't I take that out into the larger Aikido community?
Often, folks go independent because they get tired of all the BS with a given teacher or organization. They look around, and probably correctly, realize that they'd find the same stuff anywhere else they went so they simply break with the whole system and become independent. Often, they simply drop of the face of the Aikido earth so to speak. I think this is a terrible shame. Quite often these folks could be a huge help in getting Aikido back on track. But once you are independent, you lose "access" in the way you might have had it when you were formally part of a larger group.
So folks like you, who love Aikido, are willing to do it without the support of some organization or Shihan, just because, should care about the future of the art and should be intentional about how they might go about creating the future they'd like to see. I think all of us who are teachers should feel that responsibility. The future is coming regardless...we can have hand in creating that future. There is no reason for folks to limit their thinking to their own little world. If what you are doing is of value to the folks at your own dojo, it is probably of value to the larger community beyond. But making that happen requires intentionality. Making a difference in the larger scheme of things requires direction and that involves something more than just being in the present.