Dojo: Aikido Center of Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Apr 2002
Whenever these shows air on cable, I am always impressed with the fact that there are still so many people out there who have never heard of Aikido or who have heard of the Aikido name but have never seen Aikido and many who have wanted to practice Aikido but don't know where to go to find a dojo or teacher. I think as Aikidoists, we assume that everyone by now has heard of Aikido and generally knows what it is about. This is, by far, not the case. Because I am in downtown Los Angeles, I don't get many students as a result of these cable show airings but I know there are many who look up dojos in their own neighborhoods or come to this website and others searching for information. If these shows have the tiniest redeeming value of introducing Aikido to the general public or encouraging new, aspiring students to begin practice, I am happy.
I should also like to add that I have refused four shows just because they were so badly organized and not well thought out and I got into trouble with the film crews when they came to the dojo, but after hearing what they wanted to do, I just sent them back home. Most of these shows are done by independent companies who then sell their shows to the cable stations like Discover, A&E and History, etc. . . so they are only committed to anything they think they can sell to the stations. They are almost never done out of the pure love of martial arts or Aikido on their part, for them it is only a business. I don't know how many hands the tapings must pass through before the completed show is finished and ready for airing but they never seem to come out the way you may have intended your own segment to be. Many times, what you say may appear to be completely reversed from what you intended to say. Anyways, everyone should know, I am sure, that much of what you see in the mass media must be taken with a grain of salt. I really try my best but it is not easy and when I say something to them, they immediately talk about time, money and deadlines.
At the very least, however, I have never received any negative feedback from the general public about Aikido and I must say that, in almost all cases, when our Aikido segment is put in with other martial arts, our Aikido always comes out on top and with the most positive and most favorable impression. For this, I am very grateful. Again I say that I do wish I could be in more control over what they finally air about Aikido and correct any mistakes but, at least, it is a rare opportunity to give out the name of Aikido to the public and this has done some good. If, in the future, you may find that something that I have done is not up to your standards, please know that I am, at least, trying my best. I should add at this point, that, despite the results, I have worked with many many nice people who do these cable shows and they, too, always leave our dojo with a most favorable impression of Aikido so I am very grateful to them to give us a chance to mention Aikido on tv. Without this friendship and mutual understanding, it is very easy for them to ignore Aikido completely.
Finally, there is so much more interesting and thoughtful subjects to discuss about Aikido and I would hope that we can direct more focus to topics of techniques, idealogy, the philosophy of Aikido, its history, traditions and O'Sensei's teachings and the art of other respected teachers, and on and on. . . . . It is unfortunate that we must spend valuable on something like this. I always hope that more qualified people than myself can bring Aikido to the public and increase their awareness and interest in such a wonderful art as ours.
There is an old Chinese saying, "Even if you write one word, write it as if one thousand people will see and read it."
I hope this discussion and other such discussions will end here on a note of friendship and mutual understanding and, by all means, in the spirit of true Aikido. Thank you very much,