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Old 02-12-2012, 02:15 PM   #4
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,202
Re: Integrity in our Aikido Community

Marc, I don't take any issue at all with your commentary on the various definitions of or approaches to aikido. I do wonder, however, if there's any point in talking about "the aikido community". I know that there are a lot of people out there who think that "the aikido community" would come together if all those people out there would just get their heads out and see the light, and maybe it's true in a sense, but it's a little like my sister's belief that world peace will come when all of Russia converts to Catholicism -- you might as well replace it with "when geese lay golden eggs", and it'll all come true at the same time.

I think that the word "community" is misused much more often than it's used correctly. It's got such a nice feel to it, with overtones of mutual support and mutual interest and all that. The problem is that, because of those positive associations, I think people are often tempted to use it on situations where it isn't merited, maybe as a sort of wishful thinking that whatever they're so labeling will indeed become a community if they just call it that. Or sometimes (and aikido may be a case of this), something that was once a community, truly isn't any longer. I don't think that there's a hard and fast definition of "community", but I do think that you can point to certain situations where community really isn't possible -- as when you've got a large number of people. Thus, communities can grow to a point...and then they can calve new communities, or they can decline due to attrition, or they can become bigger and keep calling themselves one community, but I can call myself a llama, and that won't make it true.

I don't think that there is, or can be, such a thing as "the aikido community", and that trying to create unity or consensus in this "aikido community" is destined to failure. We would do better to begin by recognizing what is, or what can be, and then going from there in deciding what we (as individuals and as entities that are more properly called "communities") want it to be. For some of us, the answer will be "nothing". I don't know that I want anything from the world entity of aikido, any more than I want anything from the world entity of, say, software development.
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