Thread: Equitable?
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:27 PM   #76
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 104
Re: Equitable?

In response to Mike Sigman's thoughtful response, I'll take your points in order.
First, I consider gross gender disparity non-extraneous, and I believe that addressing said disparity need not constitute pandering (def: "To cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses.") Far from it, I believe that addressing it can be good for the art.
Next, I began practicing when the earth was still cooling, and my own physical abilities were somewhat less limited than they are now. Nevertheless, I clearly remember my sensei making specific admonitions to us, as individuals as well as a group, to take each others' abilities into account. That way we could practice safely together, and dial up the intensity where appropriate. Granted, this can easily degrade into a "hey, take it easy big fella" dojo environment. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. But I think your contention here is a bit of a straw dog; it doesn't have to be that way.
And yes, you had better take other people's abilities and limitations into account, if you expect to practice with them. I neither said nor implied you have to consider "every move or statement," but you do have to consider some moves and statements, if you truly hope to practice "in a fair manner and a correct manner."
Finally, I don't believe I ever mentioned "world peace", let alone "New Age spirituality", let alone "a glib and superficial New Age interpretation of what Osensei said..." I spoke in general terms about the importance of harmony, and mentioned the "reconcile the world" quote. Not in any detail, nor with any intent at detail this didn't seem like the place for that but only to get across the idea that there might be something to the thread subject. What I DID say, and what you seem to imply agreement with in your last lines, is that Aikido is not just about technique. The only question remaining then, is what else is it about, and to what extent?
Carrie Sutton's letter seems to describe the kind of dojo I like, where people can rise to levels that they might not have otherwise, in an environment where they are expected to surpass themselves, but not forced to. I hope I'm reading it accurately.
Please bear in mind that I have no intention of imposing my preferences, ideals, or glib interpretations on anybody; I am engaging in a discussion.
Brion Toss
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