I want to be clear that I fully realize that many people are invested in a process and in teachers whom they love. Some have taken my observations of the Asian teaching process and of Aikido to a level far beyond my intent. We all know of and have felt Japanese Aikido teachers who have it and those who do not. My issues are not with the level to which they have it, but whether or not they can or will....teach it. That becomes a difficult problem in that some who have it- really and truly want to teach it- but they don't know how. They learned it, absorbed it through training, without a language or need to teach it through a Western process. This has happened in the Chinese arts as well.
It is important to understand the discussion of connection, moving from center, Internal strength and aiki is not singular to any culture or art, or to any teachers Japanese, Chinese, or otherwise. It is a broad ranging topic and issue going from India or China to Koryu to Daito ryu to Aikido. It is also important to realize that finding active ways to teach it- even within those cultures- has been difficult and inconsistent.
The process becomes muddled in determining who does and who doesn't have it, compounded by the fact that those that do, by the admission of many students, and sometimes themselves, have struggled to find a clear way to teach connection and aiki to the next generation. I think our goals -together- should be first and foremost to get it for ourselves and then secondarily to teach it to others, and in so doing to help the art. The side benefit is that it will help the senior teachers above us as well, by giving them a language and skill set to teach their stuff to their people.
There is a down side for some. There are dearly loved Japanese teachers, who just don't have it. There is nothing I can do about that. But here again, we can help them and help our fellow budo-ka, none-the-less by sharing.
My goals and the goals of those who are working with me
Is not have people leave aikido, Not lord it over others, Not to hide their training and not share. Instead it is to get people to re-invest in Aikido and to make it one of the most powerful arts the world has known-just like it's founder was. This is something we can do, regardless of age and experience.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Communicating in a written format is clearly not one of my strengths. Many senior teachers I train-while they delightfully rib me and roll their eyes at my God awful way of communicating on the net, none-the-less have widely lauded my ability to articulate and create metaphor to a learning process in a hands on environment that truly helped them. One fellow I just got off the phone with said "I just wish I knew a way to get the seminar you.... to write!!"
Can you hear his loud "Sigh??" I could!
Suffice to say that the many wonderful relationships that are being formed will hopefully give people a better feel for what I am like off-line, and what we are accomplishing together, rather than my often times too casual correspondence here. If I did not truly care, were I not so seriously invested myself in a long term plan in helping, I would not spend so much time helping Aikido teachers to eventually go on to teach this without me.
So, we have each invested heavily in what we do. For this reason we sometimes see things with a narrow view. Perhaps for a time, the narrowing of view created something worthwhile for each. Here is hoping that understanding continues to grow.
I've been thinking about writing a comment to this post for a few days now.
Nothing came out particularly well, so, I'll just keep it simple
All credit to you Dan.I realise that you didn't have to post this for any objective reason.
It certainly won't make a difference to your abilities and skills, or your practice, or the personal relationships you have formed through teaching and sharing, but, to me, it shows you are willing to engage with others who have invested in ostensibly different paths. I hope they (and I include myself) are prepared to reciprocate, for the good of the arts many of us cherish. It's a long road that we all must walk.
So, with all my respect.