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Old 12-04-2011, 04:00 PM   #83
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Saotome Sensei's Training History

Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Of course, it's hard for people to educate themselves if the informations only held in back rooms. I think that it's important to get as much information out in a polite way while these guys are still alive (and most of them aren't anymore), and can respond if they choose to.

And yes, I think the details or particular persons accounts are important, especially as we get further away from people who were actually there. Where would we be today if Stan hadn't dredged up all those details? Note that just about everybody was alive while it was happening.

Personally, I think that the "whispering around the corners" that happens in Aikido sets up an unhealthy dynamic. It's okay to speak about things in private, behind people's backs, but not in public? In my book, if people are putting out information in a public venue then it is OK to question that information in a public venue. Nicely, of course.


I don't have an issue with history. History is what it is, although the interpretation of facts varies over time. But Japanese martial arts are all a matter of "relationships" vertical, horizontal, etc. You know as well as I do that the Japanese interpretation of "history" isn't necessarily what our is. In some ways it's more like the Soviet view of history... it serves the interests of the state, facts that don't do that become non-facts. People and organizations have their "stories". You want to go poking holes in those stories, it is within your right to do so. But, don't expect it not to have consequences. Don't expect the folks whose "stories" you de-bunk to be happy about it.

There's a line its better not to cross. You want to discuss the fact that the post war uchi deshi had a variety of "stories" and that these don't necessarily match with the facts, that's just fine with me. But you take a particular teacher and get into his "story" and not only decide to de-bunk it, but questions his veracity or motivations for telling that story, well no... I generally can't go there.

It happens that I am training with a good number of folks. I'd just as soon they all get along... but at the least I'd largely be happy if they were mutually unaware of each other. If one of them starts directly bad mouthing another one of them, my life gets a lot more complicated. I have no desire to be forced into a situation where I had to choose between any of the folks I train with. That could easily happen. To what purpose?

On the horizontal level, it's not such an issue. I have good friends who can barely be in the same room with each other. But neither one is going to stop being my friend because I am also friends with the other. But in our vertical hierarchical relationships that isn't necessarily true. As has been pointed out, loyalty is one of the traits deemed important in teacher / student relationships. You cross a line and call my teacher a liar or outright say that his motivations are unworthy, what are folks like myself supposed to do? You think I can bring someone to my dojo to teach who has called my teacher a liar? The public or private nature of things like this is crucial for the implications. You say something to me in private, I can tell you I think you are wrong, we can debate it, even agree to disagree. But when it goes on the internet, is blasted all over the English speaking world, once said, it can't be taken back.

It's like family... You could say something you didn't like about my wife to me directly and I'd simply tell you whether I thought you were correct or not. But you bad mouth my wife in public or to her face, you are going down. Same in the Aikido world... if you want to have any kind of relationship with me, then you have to be respectful of my other relationships. This isn't "whispering around corners", it's how complex social interactions are maintained.

Why do we have the forums and why do we have private messages? Because some discussions should only take place privately. They can't and shouldn't be held out in public. The folks who don't get this are usually people who burned most of their bridges a long time ago and now don't care. But I don't think most of us are in the position of not caring about the consequences. And there are definitely consequences.I'd just as soon take the path that doesn't close off other paths for me. Not all paths do that.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 12-04-2011 at 04:03 PM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside