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Old 07-15-2003, 08:15 AM   #15
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420

The problem is that generalities simply don't work very well. (Pardon the generality.) ;-)

I do know that when I've been to seminars, I've really enjoyed working with the people who have been there. They have been supportive and friendly. Beyond that, comparisons don't work too well.

At one camp I attended, nearly half the people there were women. My dojo has always been mostly attended by men, so working with that many women was a new experience. I tried to draw some conclusions about any differences between men and women doing aikido, but ended up concluding that rank for rank, person by person, there was too much variation to draw a valid conclusion regarding women aikidoka in general.

The same could be said for the larger group of all people who study aikido.

You ask:
So, if we are not producing people with greater 'spirituality', better morals, better self defense skills, happier, or better general health over other activities, what has aikido got to offer the world that is different or better than anything else?
That question is valid on an individual scale, but not a mass scale. I feel aikido is better for me than Tai Kwon Do, which I studied as a kid. I find a unique outlook on spirituality and ethics in aikido that I've found lacking elsewhere, etc. But that's just my experience. True, a number of other people feel the same way, but that doesn't mean that everyone who studies aikido feels that way.

One last point: I think internet discussions have a tendency to sink to the lowest common denominator. It is easier, and less offensive, to take a position that emphasizes the similarities among arts than to try and argue that one art has advantages over another art. This can lead to the impression that "all arts are basically the same." I believe that it is up to us as individuals to discern if there's truth to that statement.

Who cares what anyone else thinks, anyway?



-Drew Ames
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