I recently overheard a conversation between an Aikido student of a few years, and a very experienced martial arts teacher who had never studied or learned much about Aikido. The conversation was quite amusing. It was filled with contradictory statements that were also true, depending on the style of Aikido you studied and what your view of martial arts is. This conversation really got me thinking about Aikido, and how it is a very hodgepodge system.
Hodgepodge means a mishmash of different strange often contradictory things, mushed together. As much as we may not what to admit it, Aikido is a hodgepodge. It is based on many elements of Koryu martial arts, but is so absolutly not a Koryu martial art.
So many things wrong ...
First, aikido is *not* a hodgepodge art or system. If you consider what you are training is a hodgepodge system and you're calling it aikido, I would strongly suggest you find a qualified teacher of aikido to help guide you in the right direction. Or quit calling what you do, aikido.
Second, please list your bona fides in the koryu community so that we can better understand how you *know* that aikido is "absolutly" *not* a koryu. Do you have enough qualified years in a koryu to make that statement? Are all koryu the same?
Understandably, if we look back to Japan in the mid 40s (ish), we find that a Japanese Organization was trying to categorize aikido and it did not fit their views of koryu or judo or etc, so they named it aikido. But, you didn't mention any of that. So, back to koryu ... how do *you* know?
Third, Morihei Ueshiba's main, primary martial influence in the creation of his aikido is Sokaku Takeda, Daito ryu and Daito ryu aiki. You failed to mention any aspect of the spiritual part of aikido, do you even wish to go there? How about giving us your research and experiences in Omoto kyo, Deguchi, Reiki Monogatari, the Japanese version of Takemusu Aiki, etc. Are you fluent in Japanese, new and old?
Please don't look to me for answers. I am not the one who posted false statements.
So my real question is, how can our system continue to survive? Considering how easy it is to find very confusing and contradictory information about our system, it seems to me that we could go the way of the "dodo" quite easily. Most Aikido teachers, while well meaning, good hearted individuals, are just as confused as the general public. Who wouldn't be, our martial art is a confusing subject. In a very short time Aikido has had quite a rich life, which even a true scholar would have a difficult time tracking down.
What do I think we need to do? I've spent the last few years groping my way through this mess, and I've come up with no solid answers for Aikido as a whole.
In my travels and short stints at training, I have found exceptional teachers who have a solid direction and path in front of them. George Ledyard, Bill Gleason, Marc Abrams, etc, etc, etc. Not to mention those I haven't met, like Chris Li. And these people have a core group around them that are all looking ahead, understanding where to go, how to get there, and seeing a bright future for aikido.
I would strongly suggest that you do quite a bit more research, quite a bit more training with qualified teachers, and re-assess what you are doing. The answers are there for those open enough to empty their cup. The aiki of Morihei Ueshiba can be found, can be trained, and can be attained.
Do you really not understand who some of these people are and what qualifications they have *earned* through hard work, long years of training, and sometimes great sacrifices?
George Ledyard has posted about his training with Saotome. Start attending his seminars.
Bill Gleason trained in Japan with Yamaguchi at his private dojo. Start attending his seminars.
Marc Abrams has trained with Imaizumi since 1988. Where were you in 1988? If Marc had seminars, I'd suggest you attend them.
To post information that categorically goes against what these (and other) fine teachers have stated is bordering on lunacy, unless you have the experiences, years in training, and abilities that they have. Do you? You want to know the future of aikido, how about putting yourself out there and finding out in person? Go train with these highly qualified teachers. You want to know what aiki is beyond it being spoon fed to you via pixels on a screen? Seek it out and train. Morihei Ueshiba didn't sit at home when Sokaku Takeda came to Engaru. Morihei Ueshiba did *not* demand that Sokaku Takeda come to *him*. Had he done so, there would never have been aikido.
And history loves to repeat itself. Because all those who demand that this "aiki" come to them are going to be left with ... nothing. Those, like Morihei Ueshiba, who went to train have found aiki, have found what made Ueshiba, Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, etc great. Have had their eyes opened to true budo. And all those sitting on the fence? Time is ticking away. I have lost count of the number of people who have said, I wish I'd have found this (aiki) when I was younger. And those standing in the way? hahaha. In the very apt story about Ueshiba having men push on him and the men slid backwards, taking tatami with them ... Who is Ueshiba? Who were the men?
Your training is in your hands, but at least have the decency to do the research before posting false information. The only hodgepodge is in the mind of those who truly do not understand aikido. Empty the cup. Find the qualified teacher. Train.