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Old 06-25-2007, 01:24 PM   #17
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Evaluation of "Spirit of Aikido"

Christian Moses wrote: View Post
The question becomes however, is that spread a good thing? Any teacher of a martial art has at some point to face the choice to expand and spread the word, or focus on a small group and pass on the tradition to the fullest extent. I would argue that these strategies are mutually exclusive, and certainly there are risks to either path.
I would say that where you come down on the issue of whether it was a "good thing" would very much depend on what you strive for in your own practice and what you think the point of Aikido's creation was.

For those of us who have devoted our entire adult lives to training and trying to get to what we see as the "goodies" it is apparent that
our standard for judging what we do is simply too high for the general training populace who are, as my friend John Messores calls them, "hobbyists". The average student isn't there to attain "mastery", they have no real desire to make that much of a commitment.

But is the point of the art to attain "mastery", whatever that is? O-Sensei certainly saw his art as something that had the power to change the world on some level... That certainly isn't going to happen with just a small number of devoted students who focus on trying to get to the highest levels in their training.

Perhaps the benefits to society and beyond simply derive from folks who train and set up communities of like minded people who also train. Folks get exercise, they share common practice, they focus on something "larger" and they enjoy doing it. Maybe that creates enough good Karma to make things better...

You know where I fall in this whole thing... I am fairly uninterested in anything apart from "mastery" of the art. I am not interested in Aikido-lite at all. But this fact probably has a lot to do with the fact that I have a rather small dojo membership-wise. My local is populated with high achieving folks with very demanding careers and families. It is difficult for them to train with me because my take on the art requires a consistent level of commitment to feel like one is making progress. Folks around here look at a BIG outside commitment as twice a week. They don't want the art to occupy more than a small part of their lives. Yet the ones who do train with me seem to get something out of it... something about the art speaks to them.

But only two or three are going to end up at Shihan level, at most. But if there are literally millions of folks out there like that, maybe that is the point... It's not my way, but my way is entirely unlikely to change much about the world at all.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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