In response to Mr. Delucia's statements about my posting.
O.K....I will not deny that O'Sensei practiced sumo, or that he wore a thu...or a loincloth...or even, might have been naked at some point in his life....but show me a picture or tell me a story you have heard of O'Sensei or his Deshi or any other Shihan or high ranking instructor with lineage and legitimate credentials practicing AIKIDO with blood on their chest, muscles flexing, and in tights. What is the purpose of displaying such pictures of yourself on a web site Mr. Delucia, is it to promote Aikido or to promote yourself? If it is the former and not the latter, then you have failed miserably IMO, and maybe you might want to consider (as some others here have suggested as well) re-designing the site. I have worn kneepads and knee braces and other bandages (haven't tried a loincloth yet
), etc. during my Aikido practice, but I was also wearing a keiko-gi and/or hakama at the time. I even have a drawing of O'Sensei given to me from Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei (he was one of O'Sensei's earliest students and he is the last 10th dan in Aikido living in the world, whom I had the opportunity to practice under him at one point)where O'Sensei is in a loincloth pulling a large tree out of the ground...but the picture is about a story from his history, not about his practice of Aikido. I don't want to keep splitting hairs over the statement I made about the description of your outfit on the site. IMO it was an example of what is wrong with your website. I was not trying to be flipant, or clever, nor was I trying to attack you Mr. Delucia, and in fact have posted a follow up pointing this out from the original post.
I will also not deny that O'Sensei took on challengers in his life...particularly the earlier years of his martial arts training. But I have heard stories, directly from Uchi-Deshi, of O'Sensei, as well as read from his and his Deshi's writings, that challengers were not allowed in the AIKIDO dojo...when they approached and demanded challenge they were denied or kicked out by the students. Why would O'Sensei deny challengers and do such things, if he truly was this purported great martial artist. Aikido is not combat, it is not fighting, it is not meeting aggression with aggrerssive response. Do your reading, asks high ranking legitimate instructors, and even preferably O'Sensei's direct students if you get the chance...I have Mr. DeLucia. ALL of my kyu and balck-belt rankings have come from direct students of O'Sensei. I too have practiced in Japan, and had the great opportunity to travel in Japan and meet and practice under a number of Shihan. Do I step into rings to test the effectiveness of my Aikido? No, and neither do your Mr. Delucia. Don't delude yourself or others into thinking you are practicing Aikido in a MMA ring. As I stated before...you may be applying some of the techniques and principles you learned in a dojo..but you are not practicing Aikido there. I don't deny that you may be a very good or even great martial artist...but just like me, you have a long way to go in your Aikido practice, and I wish you the best in that endeavor. Reading books, watching videos, and 10 years of Aikido practice doesn't give anyone a unique vision of Aikido, at least not insofar as to claim to have developed something new and better.
As to myself and why I think I can post an opinion. First of all, this is America and anybody can do so...hardly the best reason, but one none-the-less. I love to see most of the opinions and ideas shared here on the boards, rather from non-practitioners, beginners, different countrymen(and women), experienced practioners, and even those from other MAs. Rergardless wether they are an expert on some subject or not. Everyone has something to offer, including you Mr. Delucia...but here is my Caveat Emptor...keep it rational, respectful, and non-threatening. Don't hurl insults and challenges to others because they disagree with you...I try not to do so myself, and if something comes accross that way, I apologize immediately...It is simple courtesy that we all need to apply here, and sometimes, I guess, courtesy is not that simple, and needs to be practiced constantly...that is part of Aikido...not from my mouth, but from my instructors'.
Let me put some of your statements about me, into a question/answer format. Do I step into competetive rings to test myself? No. Have I ever? Yes. Do I put my body on the line to test my Aikido or myself? Well, that is a complicated question that deserves a little longer answer. My current Aikido instructor is in law enforcement, he prefers not to tell everyone precisely what it is he does, but he has no problem with me stating the fact that he was a street cop for a few years and worked drug vice in Baltimore. Now, his mettle was tested everyday he went to work...both in direct physical confrontations, and his communication and interaction with criminals and citizens. That is true life and death....not a contest in a ring. He is my instructor, his views and take on Aikido have been tested and developed directly in life and death struggles... someting interesting he has related to me is that everytime he got into a contest of trying to aggressively "beat" or "conquer" someone, it turned into a struggle of muscle to muscle and who was biggest and fastest. As he began to progress further in his Aikido, he learned how to manipulate aggressive criminals through Aikido principles...never thinking about winning/losing, defeat/conquer...but instead allowed the aggressor to "find where he/she needed to go". His instuctor in Aikido is a Shiahn and Uchi-Deshi of O'Sensi as well, that is where my instuctor's lineage comes from. He brings all of this to the dojo, and in fact I left another instructor and school to train with him because of precisely those reasons. So, do I need to go out and pick fights to test Aikido and see if it works? No I don't think so, I'll trust these guys.
We practice very hard in our dojo, with a critical eye toward the practical application of the physical and internal sides of Aikido, while not loosing site of the tradition and principles as of non-aggression...these things are not mutually exclusive...I don't say that from an "armchair" perspective either...
Not to turn this into a diatribe of self-aggrandizement, but you have inferred that I am both stupid and a coward for having the audacity to relate my opinions about your website...it doesn't really concern me that YOU think so, but I also think that if I am going to legitimately keep posting on this subject, I have to answer those allegations. Let me relate where I come from and why I study Aikido...I deal with life and death everyday too..I am constantly in harm's way...I work as a professional firefighter in the 9th largest city in the US. I can't even count how many times I have been in life and death struggles. I have been shot at while trying to stop the bleeding of patients; I have been inside burning building while they collapse around me; I constantly deal with the effects of crime, disease, and natural disasters and the harm they do to other people (including the crewmen I am responsible for) and myself. I have no delusions about the profession I have chosen, nor do I expect praise from others in order to do it...I know what I signed up for from the beginning.
What I do expect is not to be called a coward, I don't think I deserve that. As for being stupid...well, there is no denying that I have done stupid things...but I hardly think that qualifies me as wholly stupid. I have earned a college education and have promoted in my profession to the point that I now am an offcier in command of my own crew...There must be some trust in my intelligence from my superiors to be placed in such a position. Now, in my job and daily life, I have not had to engage in a direct physical confrontation with anyone...although I try to apply the principles of awareness, correct action, and courtesy in everything I do. What I have had many times is the opportunity to avoid physical confrontation, and help others to do so, when things have gotten heated, and I attribute this to my Aikido practice. I took striking MAs for years also, and competed in tournaments, but got tired of that stuff and decided to seek something else out...(there is nothing wrong with other MAs, I simply am doing someting else now). So, yes, Mr. Delucia I have and do put my life on the line...and am responsible for looking after others who do so also. Its not a ring with a referee, its real life, and it is where I try to test the mettle of myself and Aikido. I don't think any of that qualifies me as an "armchair martial artist".
None of my words were fighting words Mr. Delucia, they were simply opinions that you and others have the opportunity to discuss the legitimacy of, about your website. I also spoke respectfully about you to one of your students in a private message and on this thread. I never stooped to saying I am an expert on anything, or hurling insults or veiled challenges. I did say I had no knowledge of you as martial artist or instructor... I have no intention of fighting or competing with others Mr. Delucia, I have enough of that to do inside of myself. I do wish you, and your students, the best in your martial arts and personal developement...but I still stand by opinions about your website.
PS. I'm not a pacifist either...but that's for another thread...