Thread: Defining Aikido
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:27 PM   #16
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Re: Defining Aikido

Brion Toss wrote:
...currently is host to a sail loft, rigging loft, and a shop that builds and repairs wooden boats.
Oh, I am soooooo jealous!

Tom Read Sensei, the dojo-cho where I train, was formally authorized to teach by Hikitsuchi Shihan after training with him in Shingu; Hikitsuchi Shihan trained with O'Sensei. Tom talks about how things were at Shingu, and from my perspective tries to keep his taijutsu fairly pure wrt what he learned there.
We are, however, an unaffiliated dojo; furthermore, Tom's stickwork is very unorthodox.

Are we doing aikido? absolutely.
Are we doing O'Sensei's aikido? Probably not. Tom has never claimed to have been enveloped by a golden mist, and to my knowledge no one besides O'Sensei (even the doshu) has ever claimed that either.
Are we doing Hikitsuchi's aikido? Probably not. Not being Japanese, there are aspects of his training and spirituality that we just won't get.

Are we even doing Tom Read's aikido? No. We're trying our best to learn the philosophy and the laws behind what Tom does, but even those of us who, like him, are over six feet tall and built with legs like telephone poles, can't climb inside his head and be him.

The idea that *anyone,* anywhere, can somehow transmit anything to future generations in its absolute pure form is bs, doshu or no. But is the current Doshu doing Aikido? Of course he is!

It's tempting here to post my list of aikido foci, but really that's not very worthwhile. Trying to define aikido is like trying to define zen; the guys in japan doing sesshin with their 'compassion sticks' probably are doing some form of zen; the stuff that's sold in avon probably has noting to do with it, despite being labeled as such. Everything else either is or isn't, to varying degrees, but without examining it in person it's pretty hard to say.

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