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Old 09-23-2015, 02:38 PM   #12
Alister Gillies
Location: Taunton
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 33
United Kingdom
Re: Ethics in Aikido

Fred Little wrote: View Post
Dear Mr. Gillies,

The story is fairly mild in the great scheme of things, except to the extent that the portion of the story you tell suggests a) an extremely over-the-top response to offenses that are so minor in the larger scheme of things as to be inconsequential and b) that the title of the thread should be Etiquette in Aikido.

Of course, I may be jaded, as a former practitioner who is a former practitioner in significant part because I concluded long ago that most of what passes for ethics in aikido is little more a system of etiquette that has as its express intention support for the right of the seniors to abuse and/or take advantage of their juniors. In this case, you must excuse me for jumping to the conclusion that you have, however unintentionally, provided a sterling example of one of the problems at the core of the art's social organization.

Not that I'm asking for more details, because really, I don't think it will help your case to go there and I defer to your judgment that there are sound reasons not to do so. But I would suggest that you think on the extent to which what seems entirely meet, right, and proper inside the bubble may look very different from outside.


Fred Little
Hi Fred,

You are right of course. Outside the bubble all of this is inconsequential. I am understating the case, deliberately. But you do touch on a wider issue, that much of what passes for ethics in Aikido is simply etiquette that preserves the status quo - various forms of abuse as you say.

However, outside of Aikido we live in different types of communities where we operate within accepted norms and conventions about behaviour and conduct, moral or otherwise. Should such norms be ditched once we enter the dojo, and in what sense do we stop becoming moral agents simply because we practice Aikido?

The etiquette is there for a reason and is part of the training. In my view, and it is only my view, personal integrity is either present or absent. If it is present then it becomes part of the training and can even be completed within the training. So, for example, when you bow it is sincere and heartfelt. If it is merely paying lip service, then would tend to reinforce a superficial attitude and not amount to a great deal.

Last edited by Alister Gillies : 09-23-2015 at 02:44 PM.
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