Thread: Online Decline?
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:48 AM   #34
Conrad Gus
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Dojo: Victoria Family Aikido
Location: Victoria, BC
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 268
Re: Online Decline?

Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Greetings Jun, and a Happy New Year to all worthy participants on Aiki Web.

I am in fundamental agreement with your purpose of having Aiki Web primarily as "a place to have meaningful interactions with others in the Aikido world". This cannot happily occur when disrespectful rhetoric, demeaning dialogue, superficially clever but non productive circular argumentation, and when disgusting "bully pulpit" tactics are employed to intimidate or otherwise dissuade well meaning people from freely and comfortably exchanging views on what they perceive as their practice, and their valid interpretation of O Sensei's Aikido. Where does it say that you must be famous, have a fearsome persona, or have a genuine pedigree to participate?

I have said before that "love is high maintenance", and if we want to keep Jun's Forum vibrantly alive with quality articles from enthusiastic and mutually respectful contributors, who readily commit to maintaining proper decorum, and who fully appreciate the reason for agreed upon boundaries. These people have a proven track record for staying focused on exchanging viewpoints rather than dogma, allowing us to return to what Jun has originally envisioned, and to what the original group of contributors signed on for. When this happens, I fully intend to participate once again.

In professional sales, there is a profound saying that "people don't care that you know, until they know that you care." When kind consideration for the rights and feelings of others guide the discourse, more people of good will will want to join in. Such an inviting atmosphere once existed here, and can once again.

Jun is correct in advising those who want to make a name for themselves by vigorously and unashamedly promoting their narrow agendas, to take their shtick elsewhere, thereby honoring what Jun wants for his Forum. It is, after all, his Forum, with us as lucky passengers and privileged guests along for the ride. I, for one, will fully support any and all actions taken to ensure a return to decency, compassion and simple good manners in our contributions. A primary ethic in martial arts is "Reigi Sa Ho". You are identified and categorized by how close you perform to this standard. It is a true shame that many of those who count their martial arts experience in years and decades, fail miserably in this light. It is an easy standard to maintain, if you so choose.

Lastly, I just do not understand this debate about "new information" vs. ideas presented in the past, and so archived. I hear people discuss constantly things like "what a nice thing to say", "Gee, the view from Haleakala is breathtaking", "we need more statesmen like that one to guide our political fortunes", "let's do a fund raiser for major disasters, providing a reserve for the next one", "proper shisei, proper ma ai and authentic tai sabaki are the goals of our practice", "let's all resolve to watch our tonality, our choice of words and be more respectful", etc etc etc… These are always good to hear, to repeat and to share. Good thoughts, fundamental understanding, and time tested truths never really get old. Like the "classics" of yesteryear, they improve with the retelling . Really, there is nothing "new" under our sun, but we can always come up with new and fresh ways of reminding ourselves. If any reader feels upset or disenchanted with "old stuff", move on to the next post, or simply maintain welcome silence and patience. After all, it is new stuff for newbies, oldies and veterans alike when it serves as welcome reminders of what has proven to be truthful and genuine.

When I started participating on AikiWeb, it was primarily to get information (because aikido was new to me). I think Chris is right that AikiWeb has such a rich history of threads that it is not usually necessary any more to post a question to get specific "information", but I can't believe that it's all been said before.

AikiWeb is especially interesting as a community -- finding out what's going on, what people are thinking about, how people are training. I love the articles, the "It Had to be Felt" threads, etc. I've connected with interesting people over the years and received gems of wisdom over PM from people I respect as teachers, even though I've never met them. I've helped beginners with simple questions that are relevant to them at the time (but would not interest the average experienced practitioner). All of this is dependent on people feeling comfortable enough to "put themselves out there" by posting something original.

I really like the fact that AikiWeb is non-profit and non-agenda. People with differences of opinion can openly disagree without being shut down by an angry mob or zealous moderator. I know this is the original vision and much effort has gone into trying to protect it. I think there is a critical mass of people on this forum that share this vision.

There are improvements that can (and will) be made, and it may be true that some people are no longer interested or would rather go elsewhere for an aikido community online. None of that makes the negative overall assessment of the OP true. For anyone who is bored or frustrated with the forums, there are two good choices: stop paying attention or become a part of the solution.

Finally, while I don't agree with most of the opinions of those sharing the "IP" perspective, I think it is a perfectly valid topic for conversation as long as the participators uphold the community standards, which have been stated clearly and often and are completely reasonable.

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