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Old 02-23-2011, 08:13 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,241
Re: Injury and Responsibility

Hello Susan,

In connection with your last post, I have two anecdotes of my own. All concern high-ranking Japanese shihans affiliated to the Aikikai. For the purposes of this thread, they are Shihans A, B, C and D.

It came to my knowledge that a case of violence, leading to injury and also sexual harassment, occurred in a dojo run by Shihan A (8th dan). I brought up the matter with Doshu directly and the general question of dojo injuries was subsequently discussed at an IAF meeting. Shihan B (8th dan), who was at the IAF meeting, was very alarmed for two reasons. One was that he mistakenly thought that I was referring to him (as Shihan A). The other was he had been brought up to believe that suffering injuries during training was the natural order of things. He then qualified this comment with the observation that 'things had changed' and that the new generation of shihans had a duty to teach the importance of 'injury-free' aikido. However, as I looked at his practice, I cannot help thinking that he did have a certain nostalgia for the old ways and did not spare his ukes very much.

The second anecdote concerns Shihan C (7th dan), who had been injured by Shihan D (8th dan). They had been training together and Shihan C received some injury that was regarded at the time as minor. However, his wife informed me after practice that Shihan C was very happy, since he had been 'blooded' (as in fox-hunting in the UK) and could now look Shihan D fully in the face. Of course, there are complex Japanese cultural issues here and one cannot simply apportion blame to any of the shihans involved.

By way of a conclusion, I have been practicing aikido long enough to realize that people sometimes intentionally cause injuries during training and that this sometimes leads to outcomes that were not foreseen--like death. When this happens the injured party cannot come back and protest, 'No, it was all my fault. My ukemi was terrible.' Based on my own knowledge, I could actually rewrite your article with the fatal result, but the final comments would have to be made by the dead boy's parents. What was stunning for me was that the boy's parents actually started aikido, in order to understand what had happened to their son. If I had been the parents, I would have sued the club to extinction.

Best wishes,


Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-23-2011 at 08:16 AM.

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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