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Old 06-02-2012, 08:27 PM   #297
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Spiritual and i/p

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi David,

once you get your teeth into something, you don't let go do you?
If you come down to Birmingham while you're in the US, I'll buy you a steak and you can watch me tear up a salad!

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
I can't see for the life of me, how Graham can bring real damage to those who follow him. They are adults and they follow through choice, as all aikidoka do their own teachers. How would this damage manifest, physical, mental, spiritual?
Maybe it's only minor. What harm would it have done me to continue training under the false student of Mas Oyama? I would be living a lie without knowing least that.....but if I then assimilated his philosophies and even followed him when he announced that he had "added judo" to kyokushin and created "kyokushinjukai" or something....maybe it would lead me far, far from respect for truth.

Today I took my seven-year-old son to a rock and mineral show. There must have been a million dollars' worth of geodes, crystals, sliced agate, every kind of gemstone...just tons and tons of beautiful rocks and minerals on display.

My purpose was twofold: to get some nice crystals to improve the feng shui in my home and to get my son several nice samples of minerals and gems for his nascent collection (he loves nascents).

But I noticed something I never saw before until recently. Many displays included "dyed" crystals--low quality stones that had somehow been injected with some kind of dye to impart strange, unnatural but vivid colors.

My boy thought these things were wonderful.

I had to explain to him that they were a waste of money. I had to help him establish the value of natural form and beauty--the power of nature--and guide him to understand the difference. He did get some "rubbing rocks," but after we spent a fair bit of money, we came away with amethyst geodes, quartz crystals, polished tiger eyes, gypsum roses, rose quartz...just beautiful bunches of 'the real thing'.

Of course, there's no way I can influence anyone who attends Graham's classes, but I see aikiweb as more or less a dojo. In a real dojo, often, there's a person who is always there and sometimes you can come to dread going to the dojo because you know that person will be there. Usually, this is someone of higher skill. Those of lower skill and a lot of ignorant opinions can be wearisome to the higher level people, but the one who is dreaded is generally the stronger and far more experienced person. The lower-skilled hates to see that person because it raises the bar for their own performance. If that person isn't there, you can do whatever you want. But when the more powerful and experienced person is around, you have to work hard to keep up (or just keep from puking).

To me (just to be absolutely clear), Graham is offering something "new and different"--dyed crystals which not only are not natural, but which represent the ruin of something that was natural and good. That stupid dye cannot be removed from the dyed stone because it is pressure-injected (as I understand the process).

Have you ever trained in Japan, by the way? Could you imagine Graham walking into a Japanese dojo (a good one--say Iwama or Yoshinkan hombu), with his rasta hat and showing the same stuff he shows on his vids? What do you think would happen?

I'm not seeking out Graham's students. I'm talking directly to him and as you can see, when I play back his own statements, turns out the meaning has changed since he said them....


Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Well David, you are no Dan Harden, and I say that, without having met you yet. Nobody can be someone else. Why would they want to be?
You don't have to meet me to know I'm not on Dan's level. That's why I went to try to learn from him. At least I did step up there (as you also did) to at least find out whether you've "been there, done that," as I think Graham has literally claimed somewhere. You know you can't do what Dan does. I know I can't do it. But it seems Graham is convinced the he can do it, even after you met him and judged (by what I read of your statement) that he can't.

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
As it happens, thats not what I said, for the record, I said:
"....Would Graham benefit from meeting Dan? Probably...."
I did note that you said Graham's aikido is no less martially effective than your own. That's interesting. But you seem about 1000 times as open-minded as Graham, who seems utterly committed to remaining convinced that there's nothing under the sun he hasn't seen and mastered--including Ueshiba's esoteric Japanese terms and their varying translations.

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
I'm not sure why you have such a strong reaction to all he stands for, why not let him do his thing?
You mean, let him take those passive-aggressive shots and make those bizarre statements about translations and what Ueshiba really meant without question?

I'm not really stopping him, am I?

But I think it's good for him to have to at least hear some responses to what I consider to be very bad statements from him. If you hit me, your hand should hurt. I remember once a Canadian guy who sat at the edge of the dojo with his feet sticking out onto the tatami. Tezuka Sensei saw this and looked at him like one of the temple guardian statues and told him to pull his feet back. Similar response to a guy sitting on a window sill. He didn't hate the guys, but he clearly thought they should know better, so he looked a bit put out and spoke sharply to them. Part of that was a budo response and part was "just being Japanese." But he was an incredible master, in any case.

That kind of experience pressure-injected budo values into my crystalline structure. I'm not sure what that vivid colorful stuff is in Graham's teaching, but it hits me like seeing him lying down on the mats.

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
We are all in this game, for our own ends...
Well, we can have our own reasons for training, but we also have a responsibility to the truth of the art. We are not free to present just anything as "aikido".

I mean....yeah, we're free to do whatever, like the karate guy was free to claim that he was a black belt under Mas Oyama....but the real black belt was not only free to call him on it: as Oyama's real student, it was his duty. And I am glad he did tell my father (I was 17) and get me to come to his classes instead. He gave me a tremendous example of kiai that I can still hear in my heart.

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
I'm sure if you were ever in London, and you visited Graham, you would receive the same welcome as I did.
I don't doubt that. Graham seems like a nice guy and I'd probably enjoy talking about a lot of things with him, chillin'....heck, I'd even wear a rasta hat (after training, when I'm in my normal Superman attire).

Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
No doubt you would both enjoy the encounter, and I can't imagine that you both wouldn't come away having learnt something about each other and possibly yourselves. Till then, it's all just hot pixels, padding out a thread.
I consider Graham to be every bit my equal, as a human being. But I think I'm a better writer. I probably know more about some subjects than he does and he probably knows a lot more about some things than I do. But I do think I'm a more rigorous thinker than Graham and in particular, I know a lot more about Japanese things from A to I just wish he wouldn't pontificate so smugly about those matters when he clearly doesn't understand them.

And, seriously, I do hope you'll call on me if you get down my way in the USA. It would be my honor to act as your host. Also, if you should encounter troubles on the road, I would hope you would get in touch with me.



Last edited by David Orange : 06-02-2012 at 08:35 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"