I am really grateful to so many of you for your understanding. I have really agonized in doing these cable shows - but I went ahead anyways because if I did not do them, these companies would probably cover some weird, off the wall Aikido which would not give a decent representation of Aikido at all. I really thought and hoped that these shows would go unnoticed by the Aikido population because they are really for the general public who have never seen or have known of Aikido before. I tried not to show myself too much and used my students, who are younger and more good-looking than me, as much as possible!
One point I wanted to add to all of this conversation is that if I show a very strong, aggressive Aikido, emphasizing its combat effectiveness - we are immediately lumped together with all kinds of other martial arts including full-contact sports and competitions and everything else you see on tv and in the media which they call "martial arts" but is nothing like what our art of Aikido is. The general public, many of whom are seeing Aikido for the first time, are automatically comparing us to the other martial arts also presented in these shows. These viewers have the same experience that you well know about seeing all the action-martial arts films, Kung Fu movies, contact-fights in La Vegas, etc. and everything which is so distant from what we understand and do in Aikido. Most of the readers here are all experts in Aikido, but we must appreciate that those in the general public who know nothing of martial arts or Aikido often lump everything together and assume that one martial art is not too much different from the next.
Part of my intention is to keep Aikido from automatically being lumped into the rest of all this "stuff," we see today. So, I decided to just show very simple basic Aikido, what a dojo should look like - it is not a wrestling ring, and its discipline and how we practice. For trying to be low-key, we still received a very good and warm response from many people. I am so happy that one of you in the last entry to this section here could appreciate this!
For example, in one instance, the interviewer was surprised when I insisted that they show the students cleaning the dojo after practice. I thought they would cut it out of the show but for some reason they left it in the final cut. There was a great deal of positive response to this from the public because they could see that Aikido was more of a discipline and a Path of self-cultivation - as opposed to a sport or more commercial form of martial arts. Trying to show the circular, blending movements in Aikido in just a few seconds was difficult to tape well and for even the cable crew to understand. If we show too soft of a movement, the public will interpret Aikido as just an exercise, if we show Aikido as too hard or too dynamic - Aikido will be interpreted as a "fighting" art or competitive sport. Not knowing what will be left in and what they will cut out on the editing room floor in the final cut creates even greater difficulties and challenges to out-think them and work in such a way, that in the very worst scenario, they will still have a decent idea of what Aikido is. I hope that if any of you have occasion to do one of these shows, you will begin to appreciate some of the challenges and points that you always must keep in mind. . . . . I am really grateful to many of you for your support, understanding and foregiveness in my efforts. Some of your harsh criticisms of me personally are probably well justified here in this website, but I worry very much how such criticisms will negatively effect the morale and attitude of my students who are totally innocent but did work very hard to help me in these projects. I am not a movie actor, by no means, I still am an Aikido teacher and my main concern is the practice of my students and I would hate to see anything like these criticisms here jeopardize their training or make them discouraged with their practice. Although it is a wonderful thing to be able to express your opinions and ideas so openly and honestly here. My main and singular duty and love is to my students. Many, many thanks again.