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Old 11-09-2005, 12:00 PM   #22
John Boswell
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Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Steve Mullen wrote:
I think the general point put across by the thread starter is a good one and a true one, but i think that the vessel used to make this point is inherantly flawed. still photos take a snapshot of reality, every woman's magazine editor knows this only too well, they always have pictures of 'gorgeous' people looking uglier than sin. does this mean that becuase there was a picture of halle berry with sweat patches under her arms that she always sweats? no, it means that for in that snapshot she was.

The same applies to this, because the doshu had 'bad form' in a few photos doesn't mean he has bad form all the time, similarly it doesn't mean that uke was taking a dive. Aikido IMHO is all about it's subtleties, what's to say the doshu hadn't taken uki's balance in the micro second before the photo was taken and was on his way to regaining perfect posture.

We look at a photo of an apple falling and don't assume it is floating
This sums up my thoughts very well. My emotional response was more a reflection on the other author who chose to attack all of aikido itself, rather than the original poster. But let's go back to the original post:

What are the causes of Rank Aikido? What are the ramifications of Rank Aikido? What are the solutions to Rank Aikido? How does one prevent Rank Aikido from popping up and/or spreading?

For me, the best solution is a simple one: An instructor must learn how to say these words, and say them often, until their Uke are cured of the virus of Rank Aikido themselves*: "Don't do that. Don't give me the technique. Just attack. If I fail, I fail. Stay true to the martial behind the culture, not to the culture that has given face to the martial."
What causes rank aikido, ramifications of it, solutions to it and how do we prevent it? We train.

I'll be testing for 1st kyu next week. I'm not kidding myself, my technique is lacking in many ways. But do I know the techniques? yes. Can I do them? To a certain degree, yes. Do I feel worthy of passing that exam? No, but then again, I'm not the sensei.

Standards need to be kept high and maintained well. ANYONE can be looked at and have "flaws" pointed out. Doshu wasn't even born when Hiroshi Kato Shihan was sotodeshi under the founder, so to expect Doshu to be as good or skilled as Kato Shihan, or many other shihan, just isn't fair, imho.

Fakes need to be found and pointed out. Aikikai as an organization needs to set high standards and maintain them. In practicing aikido itself, attacks should be committed, nage should be pushed to do better, faster in accordance with their rank.

I'm sorry, and I'll freely admit this, I did NOT read every single word the orignal poster said. I speed-read his post because it wasn't just long... it was L...O...N...G...! Too much analysis of something can be a flaw in itself! You want aikido standards to be higher? Get on the mat! And when you find examples of poor aikido, point it out and make people aware, which I fully give credit for.

But in all honesty, I think to much credit is being given to Doshu because he has the title of Doshu. Me? I'm realistic. I KNOW the man would make me look bad, but then again I don't assume him to be the end-all, be-all in aikido either. He's good! But we all have bad days. That is why he travels: to see what others are doing, learn from who he can, teach who he can and generate interest and respect for a martial art that IS in fact martial when done properly. I dare Devon N. to test the skill of a shihan and tell me aikido is not martial. Kato Shihan would have a few things to say about that as well, I imagine.

Now here I am rattling on for page after page. *sigh*

Off to lunch...

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