Re: Perhaps the tide is changing.
Yannis, I completely agree with you about not stripping away the essence. But then I would add that it gets tricky when we start looking at things like dress and protocol, because even those changed over time during its development by M. Ueshiba from the initial aiki-jūjutsu days through to modern aikido.
The hakama is a perfect example. In the early days of Ueshiba's aiki-jūjutsu everyone on the tatami had to be in a hakama - even if it had bright stripes and was borrowed from your grandpa. After WWII material was in such shortage that people were making hakamas out of anything they could find - sofas, curtains, foton covers, etc. And then it was decided that only yudansha needed to wear a hakama.
Even the dan/kyu system. It wasn't in effect during the aiki-jūjutsu era. And in fact, the dan/kyu system came from the game, "Go."
My point is, even such things as hakamas and kyu/dan grades are the result of "trends and tides" that have little or nothing to do with the "essence" of any of these arts.
Speaking of "essence," I trained a few years ago with Mike Sigman. I ended up being his uke for most of the two day seminar. We were all in sweats and tennis shoes. What I got through Mike - in two days - pound for pound - contained more "essence" in it than I got from years of training in dojos and with top-level aikido shihan. I've continued to develop what I "experience" through Mike, and have passed it on to many people. I also continue to explore what I learned from Shoji Nishio - which was, more than anything, to explore and examine.
There's a big difference between being sold fish by others, and being taught to fish for ourselves. And it's a funny thing; the highest-level teachers to really teach us about catching fish are, ultimately - the fish.
Last edited by Dan Richards : 02-07-2013 at 01:52 PM.