that's one helluva post...
Why change what you are doing? you know that those who you teach, appreciate what you have to offer. There will always be folk who believe what they want to believe. One only has to look around the world to see that people will believe all sorts of stuff, regardless of fact or proof, Creationists and Scientologists are prime examples of this all too human capacity. Folk will kill and die to protect, weird ways of thinking. So a few martial artists getting steamed up about a history that will probably always be in dispute, is not really that much to worry about.
Unless they have a direct impact on your own wellbeing, why be concerned at all?
The truth of budo is on the mat and in actions in the world, not on the page or in pixels. How people conduct themselves, is one measure. Can they deliver is another. Can they pass on their knowledge and wisdom? there's a question..
I had a series of long conversations over the last two years that I have been doing this. And another series of topically unrelated, yet strangely similar discussions last night and this morning with a group of teachers who are really pissed off by certain things. This thread, and Mr. McGrew have angered more than a few people and has brought certain issues to the surface. I have noticed an incredible double standard between what is acceptable behavior, both coming from, and then toward Japanese teachers, and the way those Japanese teachers treat their students and the way those student/teachers treat other teachers in contrast to the way they treat their Japanese teachers. The double standard can be quite profound.
With Saotome here, I was the first lone voice offering readers to review the context in which these things are discussed and an understanding of how it is perfectly acceptable. I also expanded to include the fact that Saotome was among the bright lights who was not exactly treated with the level of support from Hombu that lesser lights were offered. I was also the one to go out on a limb in pissing off other teachers who host me, by stating that I think that Saotome was the best modern practitioner I have seen and no one in the aikikai I have seen comes close.
That will undoubtedly cost me!!
I thought about for quite a while before I wrote that. I said it in support of him, because I believe it is true.
I was insulted over and over, had statements twisted that were not true, old attackers showing up, and had my motives painted in an incredibly poor light. Okay. fine. Then spin off threads going after me. All approved and accepted. I got it. Have you ever been invited to a dinner party where you didn't really belong and then subtly put in your place? If you are like me, you don't really mind the perceived insult as your host would like, I have a confidance, well earned, on what I can actually do, versus many of these internet jocks who's own teachers can't touch it never mind themselves. But you get the intent behind the set up, and the message, loud and clear.
Now, understand, that in fact, (real facts-as in proof, not Japanese fact, as in an agreed public farce) I have made certain sacrifices in certain places where I have taught for hours and hours at a deeply discounted rate in order to "help." It sure as HELL was not to my benefit. Now, imagine reading how much of a bastard I am or "Thanks, but your just another date on my dance card." That's cool, no big deal, but it helps to see the value of my efforts. Hence my own choice to draw back in and reduce efforts to those who understand what I am doing and why. There are any number of people who have been after me to teach and I have turned them down in support of prior commitments.
What I am doing is very hard to do and there are VERY.. few of us attempting this-fewer still when you add in provable results! And the few Japanese that have anything at all, suck at teaching it. It isn't always fun, the traveling really...sucks. When I teach seminars I will sit in the back seat, pay for my own meals when I can, refuse the sensei treatment, and try to be as low maintainance as possible. I don't hold back information, and try to get as much hands on time as possible with each person, then I give free training time after the seminar.
Contrary to the incredibly insulting, many times singular treatment I have received here, I could do seminars with larger crowds, offer less hands on time, systematize and really use it to make much more money and be the bastard I am accused of being almost on a regular basis here. There are too many of us who are resolved and understand the nature of the work, and it's place in history, its place in the arts and how it effects Aikido, to squander my time with just anybody.