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Old 01-31-2011, 12:58 PM   #26
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,154
Re: Legacy and the Founder

We have an obligation to carry aikido from generation to generation. Each generation is different and each require different motivation and different dissemination tactics. If we were talking business, everyone would be nodding their heads in agreement; heck, we even name the generation so we can complain about what aspects they bring to the table.

In today's aikido I am more compelled to train under someone whom I respect as a capable martial artist, rather than someoine who throws out names; yeah, I once saw that guy too. In the early days, there was a filter that could limit who trained. Many of the older students can almost recall everyone in their dojo who trained in earlier days; now, I can't even recall the names of the people who came and went last month. The was a value to name association because of quality control and confirmation, not to mention that shidan or uchi deshi or whoever had the only goods. Today, there is a greater selection of competent aikido people who satisfy the needs of those who train. Why train under a shihan if you do not aspire to be a shihan? Just train under the local guy... The filter of quality control has diminished as the number of practioners grew.

Today (or probably starting 10-20 years ago), we have more non-shihans in training than ever before... Trouble is we're now running out of existing shihan.

Takahashi Sensei touches upon an important point, many of the shihan were great martial artists, but they were also human. But they stepped forward. I think we are emerging from a generation of aikido people who did not step forward; we have a bunch of non-shihan senior instructors. We need new shihan to lead the curriculum and develop new (and better methods) of instruction, disseminated in a teaching method that may be consumed by its students. "Martial Arts" are dying; the military style of education is fading. The time and dedication to the art is waining. We are in need of revising the curriculum to teach more in less time and deliver the information within a new teaching paradigm.
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