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Old 02-09-2011, 06:22 AM   #14
Dojo: Aikibodo
Location: Arcata CA
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 150
Re: New Internal Style of The Wooden Staff

George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Private matters are best left private... but you've put yourself forward as a teacher of a Bo style. I have trained off and on with Tom Read for 30 years. I have watched him evolve his Bo style over that time. He first showed his stick work at the Aiki Expo ten years ago at which he was the very first demonstration in the whole event,

Tom's use of the staff is unique in execution and conception. While he does have rank from Hikitsuchi Sensei in Bo, his own work is totally different from the Shingu Bo work. It is his and his alone. It is not "public domain" stick work. Anyone knowing Tom's Aikibojitsu will recognize, as Jeremy did, where you got what you are doing. You have taken something someone else developed and was kind enough to teach to you and have set yourself up as a teacher in your own right, not only without permission, but in actual opposition to the wishes of the Founder of this style. Furthermore, you received no rank or teaching certification in Aikibojitsu. So, now you have repackaged something which, in my opinion, only a creative genius like Tom Read could have developed, and given it a new name and made yourself a teacher of it.

There are a number of people who have undergone strenuous and lengthy instruction in Tom's Bo style. They have been granted rank. We have one certified teacher up here in Seattle at Two Cranes Aikido. For whatever reason Tom Read Sensei chose not to give you rank and you did not receive permission to teach what you were shown. Doing so under another name, as if you developed the style yourself is simply an end run around a systematic teacher certification process which Tom designed to ensure proper transmission of both the technique and underlying spiritual foundation which is central to practice of Aikibojitsu.

As the English would say, "bad form". Since you have now set yourself up in the public arena, I think people should know what you have done and decide for themselves. If they think what you are showing has merit, I would advise them to go to the source because I guarantee that anyone else's imitation of his lifetime's work will only be an ersatz version, lacking in the real depth of Tom's conception.
There's no reason to go into detail how Aikibodo fundamentally differs from Aikibojitsu on this forum. First no one here including you practices either art and wouldn't understand the descriptions, second making comparisons can only be viewed as judgements against. If there's one thing I learned from my first time on Aikiweb is that it's really bad form to critique anyone, especially a stranger let alone one's former teacher regardless of history, who's not directly asking for advice.

I will say what Aikibojitsu and Aikibodo do have in common is the use of the asymptotic strike. But this is not at all unique to either art. It is in fact quite common in others, most obviously in bo katas of traditional Karate and generally so in certain Chinese arts of Xingyi and Taiji. There are thousands of videos where one can see this either open hand or with weapon. Most importantly I've seen O Sensei use them definitively and phenomenally with the bokken. I can't recall precisely if he did it on film with the staff but I've seen it many times in the Iwama line. It's visible in much of Morihiro Saito's yokomens, and going by the National Geographic clip I would argue Hitohiro Saito has improved on them from his father with the staff.

I have atoned for my mistakes and despite your demand for private information it's frankly none of your business. There's still some freedom in this country and nobody owns Aikido or staffwork. I have no problem sharing what I did with any of my future students, as it was one I made of passion(getting upset at someone for one minute, barely raising my voice) out of the love I had for Tom Read, my former students, and the dojo. I considered them family, including the parents of my former students. Everyone I've told what I did has agreed it's not beyond what any morally conscionable person could make in the context. Mistake yes, crucification far from. This is not why I left the dojo nor do I intend on sharing the compendium of events that happened. I'm keeping that information private not for my protection but in order to exercise compassion, the essence of Aikido, for something this painful. Obviously I know Tom can and does teach well, but a line was crossed between him and me, nobody else. Leaving the dojo was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but it was the right decision. There was no pride in it. I've been on my own for over a year, and it's time for everyone to move on.

Aikibodo is a culmination of my whole life and I've helped out a lot of people along the way. Your misinformed ad homs are not welcome, nor are any second-hand ‘rebuttals' you may desire to attempt.

Finally, I've been to enough seminars in other dojos and seen things morally grotesque occur right out in plain view, by very high ranking people. Never a word on Aikiweb. Couple years ago Ellis Amdur was kind enough to let me in on a few astonishing ‘community secrets' as well. There're many glass houses and I suggest you understand that before beginning another crusade.

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