Re: Future of Aikido
Stanley Pranin made a lot of friends and a lot of enemies when he began his research into the art of Aikido. Stanley Pranin made even more friends and enemies when he put together the Aiki Expo series in the United States. Understanding the past is helpful in understanding the present and navigating into the future.
I was fortunate to be able to attend every expo. Mr. Threadgill was one of the people whom I was fortunate enough to have met. He, along with some other teachers from other arts and traditions, opened our eyes to recognize that some of the cherished opinions that we held about what our Aikido was, were less than accurate. Some of us were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to pursue some of these arts and traditions, NOT with the intention of leaving Aikido, but to help Aikido live up to it's potential. If the founder of Aikido was able to look for inspiration and influences in other areas throughout his life, then should this not be our legacy as well?
Living in the moment is not that simple. This moment is made up of the past, the immediate perception and the future. I applaud the Aikido teachers who are firmly anchored in deeply understanding the past, giving fully in the present and aiming toward the future. I think that the opportunity to look around at the larger world is one that should be seized. It has been my experience that when I have done so, I have developed a better ability to understand what my teacher was doing. Through this exploration, I also try and explore ways to deeply understand the roots of what I am doing so that I can display it in the execution of the art and to teach the art.
I think that a myopic perspective is easy to develop when we stop looking outside of what we are doing. Another great benefit is that meeting and getting to know some of these other people, Toby Threadgill, Dan Harden, Kenji Ushiro, etc., is a gift that is contained not only in who these people are, but in what they have to offer us.