Ron Tisdale wrote:
Japanese culture is EXTREMELY group oriented...I can not see how aikido wouldn't be at least fairly group oriented.
My own personal take on this is that this group orientation is a major cause of personal trouble for the average Japanese. For Americans (and other westerners?) it is the opposite. If I was being nice, I`d say that this is why Japanese shihan in the US wait so long to promote students to shodan. Most Japanese conform quickly and gain some skills in a more timely manner. In my experience, many Japanese aikidoka get stuck at this basic level, not being able to discover their individuality after gaining the basics. I find that many Americans, on the other hand, have a hard time conforming and trouble getting to even a basic level. (Of course, these are gross generalities.)
I agree that Aikido is group oriented but I feel that the goal is to break free of this, and then to integrate with the group as a centered individual, the old shu, ha, ri thing. I also wonder if Aikido, as a kind of therapy designed for Japanese students, is appropriate for non-Japanese in its traditional format.
I`m guessing that some specific occurance led Peter to start the thread. I`d like to hear about it, if so.