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Old 04-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #38
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: Has anyone surpassed O'Sensei?

Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
Yep.. it's just so much easier to evaluate once you got statistics... "O-sensei were able to do 27 throws in one minute" just dosn't have the ring to it does it?

Yeah. Here's a thought: Even though O-sensei undoubtly was a great martial artist and innovator, the image of him presented to us is always the result of a communication process. The Aikikai should honor his remarkable work, but they also need him as the common fulcrum for all Aikido acrosse the world. We all may honor one or the other shihan who have been defining for the type of Aikido that we do, but we all agree O-sensei was unique. If we - just for arguments sake - were to agree that he was not, and that some other sensei had surpassed him... then what? how would this change the landscape of Aikido - especially the Aikikai?

This is one of those interesting intersections between the Japanese way and the western tradition of (over-)thinking and analyzing... so I'll just shut up now and go do my suburi

Na-ah.. no way! but my dad could wipe you'r dad out any day... can too
I am glad some one got that reference...

My opinion is that at some level, aikido needs to embrace modern role models who represent a high level of skill, leadership and ability to navigate the emerging landscape of modern arts. Right now, I believe there to be a number of individual shihan making these steps. Not all of these shihan are linked to the Aikikai or other aikido organizations - this means lesser influence over the entirety of the aikido community. Part of O Sensei's influence was the result of a different landscape of aikido, over which he held significant influence.

Now, if O Sensei was declared "without equal" and opined his skill was beyond our conmprehension. Case closed. I think the argument here really focuses on the idea of a metric by which to critically assess the skill of our leadership. In November of last year, Saotome sensei took a few minutes to discuss his personal goal of elevating his senior students beyond his skill level, thus creating a real expectation that is driving both his instruction and the learning curve for his [senior] students. I applaud this model, not necessarily because it is right or wrong, but because sensei is clearly moving in a direction that indicates his expectation is that his students should surpass him.

Instantly, this changes the perspective we have when we are on the mat with sensei. He is now doing things and then looking at you, expecting you to get it. And what's worse is his teaching is becoming better... Dammit, I know he knows that I know how to do that technique... This puts some amount of pressure on performance that has existed in a lesser degree. "Well, he's sensei" isn't quite good enough to excuse [your] inability to so something now...

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