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Old 08-18-2012, 04:40 AM   #71
Nicholas Eschenbruch
Dojo: TV Denzlingen
Location: Freiburg
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 315
Re: Aikiweb as a "Big Tent"

I find this thread challenging because I really sympathise with both sides to some extent. I think it is important to remember, in this particular conundrum, that it may not be enough for discourse to be rational and polite on the surface.

Here is a small collection of thought patterns that I personally find make things difficult. Some of them easily push people’s buttons and we simply will have to be careful about them:

Founder-related Legitimacy Digs:
telling somebody who practices aikido – especially if you do not practice it yourself – that they do not do what their founder intended is simply impolite and mostly pointless, even when presented in the most rational and polite way. Do not do it. I mean, you would probably not go on some religious forum and tell people their prophet was really not what they thought. Though there is historical evidence in that direction for many prophets. Slightly different field, same sensibility.

Aikido Arrogance: this is the assumption, strong but often denied amongst aikidoka, that their art is really the moral culmination of Japanese budo. And, lo and behold, also martially effective, for whatever that means. I may overstate it, but the sentiment is present in almost every post a few people here make.

The Empirical Gap: What I mean by this is an inherent refusal amongs the huge majority of aikido practitioners to have any form of empirical testing of what they claim to be able to do; I do not just mean the physical, but almost more so the spiritual/ personal/ philosophical benefit supposedly built into the art. Aikido just seems to be notoriously evasive outside of very circumscribed communities of practitioners.

The Martial Fallacy: it really does not follow from the word „martial“ being somewhere that the practice definitely needs to be about effective combat – however defined. It just does not. Words change meaning all the time, they really do.

The Shihan Mystery: If any of these Shihan practising with Dan who do not own up to the fact that they do should read this – you are doing a disservice to your art, to this forum and quite possibly to Dan. But until these guys own up to it, I think they should simply not be mentioned here again.

The Group Paranoia: There is no group. Dan’s stuff is just very persuasive to very diverse people, who may agree on little else in life and in budo. Live with it.

The Money Making Excuse: Its just too easy to accuse people of monetary interests of some sort if you have no other argument left. That’s almost the level of conspiray theories. Oh, you believe in those too – hm, why am I not surprised...

Not My Aikido: Unless some sort of direct evidence from the aikikai archives turns up („...and afterwards, he poured himself some sake, approached me and said, look son, this is what I meant:...), we will never know why he said it. He may have disliked the lack of harmony in the hall.

The Ueshiba Efficiency Fallacy:
Just because Morihei Ueshiba was a good fighter, it does not follow that he wanted others to be, and would thus disapprove of non-fighting aikido.

The Rationalising Mysticism Trick: We need martial experience to explain Ueshiba, but for reason XYZ we can really do without religious experience. We dont have much ourselves? Oh, that is just coincidence really.

OK, play with those if you like or add some more, there sure are...

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 08-18-2012 at 04:52 AM. Reason: devious, manipulative and duplicitous intent :-)
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