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Old 06-28-2003, 07:43 AM   #1
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Smile What's a 'style'?

Hello all; as you guessed from the title; this is a bit of an odd quetion so here goes....

Last night, a friend of mine at work asked me (since I was, as usual, talking incessantly about Aikido) about the separate styles and how they differ. The question got me thinking a bit; as to what, exactly, makes up an Aikido 'style'?
My thinking went something like this: What makes a separate style? Different techniques? Different training curricula/requirements? Different philosophy?
Different styles use different techniques, of course; and those techniques that are shared among styles differ. But... separate dojos among the same style use different techniques as well and perform them slightly differently; especially if the linked dojos are far apart, as they are up here in Canada.
Different styles use different training curricula and have different requirements also; but as before; the same holds true of separate dojos or regions among the style as a whole.
Different philosopies? Well; the result is the same as the first two: in our case we have two superb instructors in two separate dojos who have two completely different views on ki-aikido; one almost entirely non-confrontational, one bent on the defensive aspect. (And I, for one, am rich beyond measure having both of them available to learn from.)
Using these two instructors as an example again; if an outsider were to compare Tony's and Dennis's Aikido; they would be certain they were witnessing two completely different styles - but they're both Shin-shin Toitsu; and both follow the precepts of the Ki Society to the letter. Interesting.
So; the answer of 'what makes a distinct style' isn't as clear to me as might be first thought. The answer is of course; a bit of all of the above, but I'm wondering where exactly along the line of differences one person's aikido becomes so different from his teachers' that it becomes a separate style?
Yii - one confusing question; I hope you have as much fun answering it as I did trying to write it in a legible manner.


Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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