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Old 04-21-2011, 11:47 AM   #46
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: Is Aikiweb an open Aikido Forum ? Or is it a

Well, groups almost always form. The problem with evaluating this, however, is that sometimes the dynamic is a sort of negative thing, others it is simply what happens when people who are experienced and who have similar views are in the same place. You can call it a clique if you don't agree, but if that group is disagreeing with you out of their honest and valid experience, well, maybe it is time to pay a little attention to what they're saying? Sometimes there is the one or two guys valiantly fighting against an oppressive status quo. Yup, that happens all too often on on-line forums. Most everyone disagreeing with you should cause you to reflect. Either you're right and everyone else is wrong *or* maybe you should pay attention to what they're actually saying. Because maybe, just maybe, you're reading their opinions through a filter of your biases of those things you hate.

Honestly I don't disagree with *some* of your comments about the quality of Aikido as displayed by many in the world of Aikido. However, I also find blanket, automatic condemnation of anything other than a certain view close-minded and provincial.

Me, I train in an offshoot from Tohei sensei that focused on maintaining his exercises, his theories, but also keeping it firmly grounded and effective. No ki-balls flying here. We split off 30 years ago. I also try to keep an open mind and I hit whatever seminars I can. I've had the opportunity to train with shodothugs. And with Harden and Sigman. Hope to get on the mat with Popkin and Ushiro one of these days. I've also been lucky enough to have been invited on occasion to train with people from old stuff that usually don't invite outsiders (occupational benefits). None of this indicates that I find my style insufficient. None of it indicates that I think any one style is any better than any other because answering that question requires a much larger discussion on why people are training. The reality is that my life has been spent as a full-time student -- I just love learning new stuff. So what's my point? To everyone, open your minds. If someone wants to be hyper critical, well, fine. I reserved judgement of Dan until I met him because a lot of what he wrote seemed familiar to me and not "revolutionary" per se. Just more of what I had always been looking for in all my studies. I very much enjoy time I've spent with Toby Threadgill because it's like looking into a window of 150 years ago. More like where we came from which really helps understand what we do today. And to notice the vestiges of the past in our stuff that we maybe don't fully understand.

Anyway... Being critical is fine, especially if you've got the stuff to back it up. Being dismissive of things you simply have never seen is foolish. Which makes the criticism hollow at best.

Yeah, cliques form. Whether that is good or bad really depends. When the clique is composed of multiple people with 30+ years experience who get together with folk outside their arts to actually pressure test their stuff honestly and fairly, well, sometimes, maybe one should not be quite so dismissive of that group.

'nuff from me. I will admit to tremendous forum fatigue.

End of Keith's long ramble of the month...