First off, I want to thank everyone who has voiced their opinions in this thread.
I've been involved in online discussions and forums since the late 1980's in one form or another. Most recently, my involvement in places such as the Aikido-L mailing list, Aikido Journal, and these very own AikiWeb Forums has been going on for some number of years. For me, these online interactions have been priceless in one way or another for my personal growth in aikido.
Personally, I do not consider any of these forums to be any sort of "dojo," nor would I want them to be such. Unless you personally feel like doing so, there's no need to call anyone "sensei," unquestioningly accept what someone else is saying/writing, nor adhere to any such artificial devices such as dan rankings or such. There is no such structure here.
However, I've heard it said that budo starts and ends with respect. Some people treat that as the "bow" that they do coming and going intoq the dojo, but, to me at least, respect goes far and beyond any physical trappings that may belong to a single country, a single art, or a single dojo. Rather, it's something that crosses all of these boundaries and is the connection that we share as fellow human beings.
The very first "rule" of these AikiWeb Forums speaks most loudly and clearly: "Treat your fellow AikiWeb Forums members with respect."
"Treat your fellow AikiWeb Forums members with respect."
I've been fortunate to meet many of the people with whom I have interacted in these sorts of Internet discussion forums. I consider many of them to be my friends and I believe the same feeling is returned by at least some of them. As such, I try very hard to keep my "online" interactions to carry the same tone that they would "in real life." In fact, I don't really see much distinction personally between what I do on these forums and in person; they're both very much a part of my own "real life," as it were.
I truly don't understand those who seem to come here to primarily exercise their ability to take on an acerbic tone, brandish sour words of division, and target specific people regardless of the subject matter. Quite frankly, I don't appreciate my website which I have personally spent hundreds if not thousands of hours to build being used in such a manner.
To clarify here, as people have taken this sort of thing a bit differently than I intended in the past... I am speaking more about the manner
and the tone
rather than the content
. Contrary views are welcome, of course; that's why these Forums exist. However, I believe there are many, many more ways to get a point across, to carry on a discussion, and to change other people's minds than to resort to using harsh, personal, and/or hostile rhetoric.
I apologize to people who have decided to join this community and found it lacking in one way or another. However, I do not apologize to those who come with intent to launch personal attacks, raise havoc and chaos, or to just feed off of other people's attentions through their behavior.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. If you are incapable of interacting with people here on the AikiWeb Forums with respect, please go find another venue for your thoughts. If you persist in a manner that belies this simple request for respect, please do not be surprised if your account gets summarily disabled. I have, as much as it pains me to do so, done so in the past and I will reserve the right to do so presently and in the future.
If you have any questions or thoughts regarding any of the above, please don't hesitate to send me e-mail
or contact me in any way.
I truly hate taking on this sort of lecturing tone, especially in this time of the year when we should all be celebrating each other's presence in our lives. I hope everyone here has a good end of the year and that next year brings happiness (and good training!) to all.