Re: Article: Transmission in Aikido, Part II by George S. Ledyard
In comparison to the previous replies, I am going to probably sound like a heretic.
I think Sensei Leydard's proposal is a very good one, at least in the U.S. Our dojo was for a time right at the beginning of my current training associated with one of the large organizationsl in the U.S. This organization had/has teaching committees, and they seemed to try and address the issue Sensei Leydard is raising. We are now affilated with another organization, and I think it is just coming to grips with this issue.
I would love to have a structure where the ranking senseis in regions periodically "get dipped" and then bring that back. Also, regional "friendship" seminars would help.
However, at some point, and this is probably the heretical part, technique is technique is technique, even in it subtlest detail. Much of what, I think Leydard sensei is talking about is also concerned with the subtlties that come from the individual's integration of shown technique, and their own exploring. For instance, there are certain aspects of aikido that I see from my head instructor, that I wonder if I will ever master, and it is not because of the subtlety, but because his physical body is different that mine, and I will never have some of the attirbutes he has. So, from a physical point of view, I try and learn as much as I possibly can and then generally have a protracted amount of time in which I am trying to see how that technique interacts with my body so that I can achieve the desired result. So, I haven't changed the technique insofar as its intent, movement and deisred result, but it is subltly different to fit my body.
Also, encouragement should be given for instructors in the hinterlands to keep exploring the subtlties of the art themselves. Much of any worthwhile pursuit is discovered by the individual taking what they have learned, thinking about it, and exploring. In fact that is the only way the student will ever pass the master, which is needed for any art to survive. Of course this exploration needs to have some guidance so that what is portrayed as aikido really is aikido.