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Old 09-25-2013, 08:51 PM   #48
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,154
Re: YouTube: Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu

Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Maybe this gets put in the "stuff Kisshomaru did to ruin Aikido" bin these days, but Aikido is supposed to transcend a contemporary adversarial relationship.

In my personal experience, whenever I share Aikido embu videos with friends and family who are not martial artists they find them very interesting and fun to watch. There is rarely a question of whether it is fake or not. They remark on the smoothness and flow, and the circularity of the movement. This is a WIN as far as I am concerned. It is typically people who have spent training hours in an aggressive/fearful mental state, trying to use their muscles to force an opponent to do something they don't want to do, who look at Aikido and the only explanation they can come up with is "it's fake."

It is also a huge win when a good Aikido embu follows a set of koryu embu. After sitting through koryu guys demonstrating kata after kata, you get to see a constant, dynamic, spontaneous, ever-changing explosion of energy.

I am not sure I am in a "ruined aikido" criticism mode. I think the point is valid that what Doshu did was to package aikido in a manner that would be attractive to a large audience. I think he did that well, as evidenced by the diversity in aikido and the propagation of aikido across the world. I think this type of stylized demo was one of those tools and I want to stay focused on that...We are taking about a 50+ year-old model of presenting aikido.

My criticisms are:
1. The accessibility and availability of exceptional aikido practitioners has grown. The visibility of koryu systems, educational materials and sister arts has grown.
2. There are many contemporary martial arts that provide good training opportunities.

I would like to see our aikido demonstrations take advantage of prospective martial artists who possess more knowledge and are interested in an art they can practice that empowers them in a contemporary world. You quoted my comment about the contemporary adversarial relationship, but possibility under the misinterpretation that I was implying a sport-fighting or other physical relationship. I advocate aikido is a great martial for changing to meet contemporary conflicts, be that popular sport fighting, verbal conflicts, battery and other popular civilian assaults and a myriad of new attacks such as cyber-bullying. I think this is an advantage over koryu - we have the flexibility to change and address these new relationships.

Second, I also have many non-martial artist friends who enjoy enjoy aikido vids I send their way. The trouble is they are not martial artists, nor do the vids entice them to begin training. I am not arguing whether demonstrations are enjoyable to watch; I am pointing out the market to which the demonstration is oriented is not necessarily the market that is going to consider aikido a viable martial art to meet their needs. I advocate that if we want to reach the contemporary market, we need to consider what these individuals are looking to achieve and consider including their needs in our demonstrations.

I think Donna Reed was one of the most beautiful woman in film. In describing beautiful women to anyone under the age of 30, I would not use Donna Reed as an example. As to whether you want to argue it is my obligation to find a contemporary example or the other person's obligation to learn who is Donna Reed, that is another thread...


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