Dojo: Tidewater Aikikai
Join Date: Sep 2002
[Aikido is evolving, not ncessarily diluting. If you want a stronger concentration, find a school that trains hat way. If you want a different concentration, there are those schools too. Its nice to have choices. So many doors that open into Aikido.]
-quote from L.Seiser
Is this just semantics then? You use "evolving", which connotates a positive change. I use "dilution" which can be neutral but in this sense, I feel it is my negative connotation.
I understand that there is a multitude of styles/attitudes/philosophies/dojos/teachers out there all revolving around aikido. These are the "choices" you refer to, yes?
Maybe this is the problem; maybe this is the dilution. Dilution implies weakening; however, I am not implying that EVERYWHERE you go, you will see a weakening in the philosophy and technique of aikido. But, it is there, and it is a significant presence. It is plainly evident in some of the discussion topics here on this very forum. (Need I point out examples: UFC vs. aikido, separating the sexes, I'm worried my sensei has not taught enough of the test, and a year from now I will have not made any progress, etc, etc.) It is plainly clear how angry some people get just talking about these things, and how stauchly defensive they get about them, even to the point of throwing childish, personal insults.
Maybe the problem is that we think we have the liberty to have a wide variation and selection. That we can create our own niche in aikido, our own "style", and split off from there. Granted, styles will naturally change as aikido progresses from personality to personality. But maybe we should be doing something to retard this.
Could our culture have anything to do with this? I study cross-cultural interrelations, and am happy to be able to find connections (even mistaken) between aikido and my work. We are taking a Japanese art, created and developed in a Japanese cultural context, and are modifiying it, deliberately or not, in an American cultural context. The very existence of aikido in America implies inevitability of change. Could our very innate (and thus almost undetectable to our own judgement) value of individuality and freedom be the reason that we so value the "choices" we have in aikido, instead of looking at them as a dilution process?
Maybe we need the constraints applied by history; maybe we need the framework set by the older generation, by the Founder. Maybe we do need to look back as far as we can at what O'Sensei said and did, as well as his son and grandson. For me, the opportunity to train with or observe one of O'Sensei's uchideschi is rare; outside of the dojo, I live on videos and books showing O'Sensei, his students, current Doshu, etc.
For me, the dilution is very real. And I do not refer to what I witness in my own dojo, but, it is there at times as well.
Some might say this: What dilution? What are you talking about? I've seen/felt Donovan Waite's (just an example pulled out of the air from my first post)/Dennis Hooker's/pick your favorite shidoin. No dilution there, as one guy put it. So why worry? Even if there is dilution, maybe I'll be dead before I see it. NOTE: For me, not likely; I've got another good 50 years on this planet before I take the final "breakfall."
First off, my intention was not criticism of their technique; I am no one to criticize technique. And, actually, Waite Sensei's technique, I feel, is almost carbon copy of Yamada's, so maybe a bad example.
My point is, dilution is there. You see the differences. To ignore it... well, would be ignorant. O'Sensei said to make aikido your own, or something to that effect. IMHO, he didn't mean to only look out for aikido in your lifetime. He meant to preserve it for others. But I also feel that he didn't mean we all get carte blanche to branch off "literally and mentally" as we please. He would have never forseen the change in aikido as it exists today. He never would have imagined the change in humanity as it has become today. WW2 was only a taste for him, and enough to prompt him to pursue the spirituality of aikido fervently.
So, what's my point? What is wrong with sticking to tradition, in the strictest sense? Why look forward to see how we can continue to modify aikido to serve our needs? Why not go back to the roots, and stay there/ Will aikido become "stagnant" if we do not make it modern? Japanese, Asian in general, culture remains intact despite deeply rooted values of tradition and reverence for the past. Aikido was nurtured in this framework. What is the fear, what will we lose if this is continued?
IMHO, the dilution will stop.
Once again, sorry about the length. This is VERY important to me, and I don't just want to walk away from aikido for all it has given me.
Last edited by eugene_lo : 10-28-2002 at 11:35 AM.