Re: Hungry for Aikido
I think Mr. Ledyard makes some very thought provoking arguments as usual. I too see a lot of disciple-ism in aikido but like Charles I'm not sure that is a bad thing. It may be, if it becomes a form of cultism or if you become isolated. At one time I tried to attend every seminar within 12 hours of me but I found that it was taking away too much time from my own training. It's good to attend seminars to see what the neighbors are doing but at the same time you don't want it to interfere with you learning the way as defined by your own teacher or system. So now I don't try to attend every seminar but discriminate more carefully as to which ones I think I can most benefit from. I also agree that we are now losing those direct "Links" to O'Sensei so it is important that we try to learn something from Them while we can.
As far as training hard, I wouldn't equate not attending seminars with not training hard or being committed. However I do agree that overall, many of todays aikidoka do not train as hard, deligent, or consistent as in the past. To me the key is finding a teacher who is a mentor and constantly working at what they lay out. I believe in leaving my blood, sweat, and tears on the mat. Many instructors don't want to push new students too hard or make demands of them for fear that they will leave. Where karate can give too many belts, aikido can give too much philosophy. Nothing can take the place of hard training to forge the spirit in my opinion. I think that I'm with most on this thread in saying that I feel out of place at times because I don't think many others understand how much this practice means to me. I can't say where I end and aikido starts. It is intergrated into all that I do. It's not a 9-5.
I applaud Mr. Ledyard for speaking out to incite a hunger in us for the art. To me that is what I get when I do go to seminars. Not just to see another way of doing ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, etc. That's nice but to me getting the message behind a Shihan's interpretation of a technique is what gets me amped. It tells me about that Shihans view of aikido and how it relates to his/her own growth within the art. I can then see the possibilities that lay ahead. That is the goal of my aikido. Not rank or throwing someone. Exploring the potential within me and pushing the limits is what I enjoy. O'Sensei left us a road map. Why shouldn't we surpass him?