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Old 02-19-2009, 01:50 AM   #15
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 11

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
So what I do is to keep the three 'hats' I wear as separate as possible.

In terms of training I see aikido as a much more general 'waza-related' art. I would include in waza everything being done by Akuzawa Sensei, Ushiro Kenji Sensei, Dan Harden and Mike Sigman, insofar as it directly relates to aikido. It is no longer 'sensei' related, at least for me.
Here, I was lucky... on the waza side, Saotome Sensei was pretty much all inclusive. He flat out said that Ushiro Sensei and he were doing the same thing. I was always encouraged to train as widely as possible. I did Iaido for a bit, trained with Ellis for a couple years, did a bunch of other minor stuff that wasn't relevant to "aiki" at all but expanded my martial education. All was fine with Sensei. He will, without much provocation, give you quite a lengthy lecture on Aikido having no style. So, I think he would be in basic agreement with you about all of the other teachers you mentioned as falling within what he would call Aikido from a waza standpoint. It is certainly the way I have proceeded for myself.

In terms of writing / translating, it is to do what Stan Pranin and Ellis Amdur are doing: to present as honest a picture of Morihei Ueshiba and the history of the art, warts and all, as possible.
My picture of O-Sensei was formed first and foremost sitting around with Sensei after class back in the seventies. Sensei talked about the Founder and his own experience as an uchi deshi all the time. For us, even though we had never seen the Founder or trained in Japan, it was impossible to picture Aikido without his presence.

Only later did I start to acquire books on the Founder, translations of his writings and talks, articles about him in Aikido Journal, etc. I think the historical research and translation work being done by Stan, Ellis, you and others is very important. It certainly is fascinating.

What I tried to communicate with my statements about "myth" and it's function was to express the sense I always had from the beginning in my own Aikido experience of O-Sensei as a figure somewhat larger than life. All of the uchi deshi I talked to over the years were profoundly effected by the Founder. He was "mythic" more than "mythical" I think. It is this aspect of him that continues to inspire and motivate. To this extent I understand the desire of the Aikikai to promote their own version of the story. My own vision of the mythic figure is a bit different than the one that's official but it is very important to me in my relationship to the art.

In terms of leading a large international organization, it is to be a major communication link with Doshu and the Aikikai, in a way that Japanese shihans despatched abroad by the Aikikai, could never be.
I really think this is extremely important. You are in a position to do a great service to the art. I would like to see a continued relationship between the art of Aikido as practiced world wide and the art in Japan and especially with the Ueshiba family.

I have talked extensively with Francis Takahashi on the subject. He also has a relationship with the family that allows him to communicate things to the doshu which few others get to. It will be the efforts of people like you two which may persuade the folks at Headquarters to see what has been happening overseas a bit more clearly. I think that is needed if ties with the homeland are to be maintained and strengthened as the generation of teachers first sent out by Hombu passes away. I think you are "fighting the good fight" so to speak. Thanks from all of us.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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