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Old 09-25-2013, 11:33 AM   #34
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: Osensei's Feet of Clay

Representation and leadership are not necessary conjoined traits. Nor are competence and management. I think part of this conversation concerns the dissolution of O Sensei as a ideological or moral idol. I think part of this conversation concerns the role of management of the aikikai and how the aikikai community veiled some aspects of O Sensei's life.

First, I think you have to separate O Sensei personally from aikido. I recall (but cannot recount where) several instances of his personally making a religious claim about himself and that personal claim was separate from a professional claim he made about aikido. Something like, "Aikido isn't a religion. I mean, sure, I am a living god and a religious zealot, but aikido isn't."

Second, I think you have to separate O Sensei as a figurehead from O Sensei as a martial artist. I cannot imagine the political tightrope of the aikikai managing occupied Tokyo while being tied to a political person of interest.

I think we built a figurehead beyond his capacity and now we have to deal with some measure of disillusionment as we realize he was not the person we romanticized. I think much of the romantic notion was designed upon a pseudo-religious cult conditioning and delivered with some propaganda attractive to the masses.

All of this is probably at least helpful, if not productive, in re-examining O Sensei without the veil and re-examining some of his teachings without the religious perspective translated into the message.

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