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Old 08-06-2005, 01:37 PM   #26
Conan Pieter Arnold
Dojo: ki-aikido rotterdam
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Re: starting your own aikido style

I think I will start my own aikido style ... But Only If I Have reach 7th Dan or more .. That is Because I have still A lot to learn .. And also it's rather cheap to start a new style if you didn't even have a Yellow belt ..

Anyway, I think Anyone that is doing Aikido can start their own style.. But, In order to make their new style successful, their must at least have reach 1st dan or higher..

O, and about people leaving the old school to start a new school with a NEW style.. I think that is acceptable.. But only if their have reach 1st dan or higher...

Well, what do you all think about my text??
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Old 08-06-2005, 02:14 PM   #27
Roy
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Michael Fooks,

I think the other reason I'm drawn to study with this guy, is the fact that he works as a doorman/bouncer. He has for 16 years ,and still is currently working at some pretty rough clubs, so he has that "Hands on experience" type of skill. He is a head/manager doorman, and gets involved in all the major altercations, lawsuits etc... Therefor, I think he knows what works and what doesn't, and he always informs us on the legal ramification of the techniques, or what is considered appropriate self-defense, to avoid being charged with excessive force etc... Something I learned to hard way

So, my point here is this, if you see a Dojo that teaches you to be overly excessive, for example, nasty throat attacks, bone breaking etc... I think this is also a sign of a bad Dojo

Last edited by Roy : 08-06-2005 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 08-06-2005, 04:24 PM   #28
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
From the standard point of view (e.g. a federated point of view), that happened like around 8 years of Aikido training with vapors of nidan around me
Thanks,
dmv
David,
You created your own aikido style after 8 years of aikido training?
I understood it well?

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-06-2005, 04:26 PM   #29
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Quote:
Conan Arnold wrote:
Anyway, I think Anyone that is doing Aikido can start their own style.. But, In order to make their new style successful, their must at least have reach 1st dan or higher..
Conan,

Shodan means "first step".... not even "middle of the way" step.

If that shodan has been training for 25 - 35 years and has equal skill to most organization's rokudan or above then they may have the goods to create their own style. The way to determine their skill is for them to get outside their own neighborhood and see what they can do compared to the other organizations' rokudans, etc.

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-06-2005, 05:34 PM   #30
senshincenter
 
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
David,
You created your own aikido style after 8 years of aikido training?
I understood it well?

Szczepan,

LOL! Hardly. The question from Rob was about seeking independence - which is a political question in my mind, not an artistic one. As I said, and as one can read, I never set out to do anything different from anyone - least of all my teachers. So we aren't talking about a new style of Aikido. Artistically, I see myself as still very much connected to my teachers. Though one has passed on, and one is no longer politically shielding me, I still feel their presence very much on and off the mat. Regardless of where I might be politically, I would be nothing without them and without their continuing influence over me.

Anyway, one can look at my Aikido very easily at our web site - it would be challenging to see that as a New Type of Aikido. I don't believe in new types anyways - let alone types.

Hope that make sense, if not, please feel free to ask more,
david

David M. Valadez
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Old 08-06-2005, 06:44 PM   #31
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Re: starting your own aikido style

meant to add...


S - you are still thinking in years - how very federated of you. ;-)

You got the hours, do the math, then add in all the other relevant factors, etc., that is what I am about, that is what I did, and still do, when it came to noting the path before me. It's the center of our school. And in the end, no matter what we want or think, through this path, we are what we are, as I am what I am: Still training, still walking the path. :-)

d

David M. Valadez
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Old 08-06-2005, 06:58 PM   #32
Aristeia
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Roy

That's a good point. On another forum I was having a debate with someone about creating a new martial art. He was of the opinion you could cherry pick the best techniques from several arts and put them into a new whole (sound familiar?). My position was to actually create a new art in any meaningful sense you have to be in one of two positions. Either
1) Very Highly accomplished in each of the contributing arts so you can make informed decisions about what techniques to include and how they fit into other techniques at a very technical level
or 2) In a position to be fighting alot, so you've got real world experience to point to and draw from (how it was done originally right).

Precious few people are in either of those postions which is why elcelctic arts always make me wince. But the point is you're right, having an instructor (or even a student) who provides real world feedback is invaluable.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-07-2005, 01:09 AM   #33
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
(Chuck, I feel the same way. But many people don't own their own space, and so have to pay the rent/mortgage bills, they are vulnerable. )
What makes you think I own my own space??? If the people that have chosen to train with me can't afford to pay our rent, then whoever is left will train in the best space we can find... a garage, a large living room, the park... I've done all of these over the years and am quite willing to do it again. I do not accept students to pay the rent and I don't worry about making a profit from anyone. If you haven't figured it out yet... we are all vulnerable all of the time. It's one of the tenets of good budo, not to mention understanding the way of things.

Last edited by Chuck Clark : 08-07-2005 at 01:14 AM.

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Old 08-07-2005, 08:22 AM   #34
rob_liberti
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Chuck,
Quote:
If you haven't figured it out yet... we are all vulnerable all of the time.
Well you are right to call me confused, but that is becuase I was taking the position that "we are all vulnerable all of the time" (especially to delusions-4-sale aikido) and I thought that you were taking the position that you would not be vulnerable. I don't mean to be in this apparent arguement with you.

I don't do it for profit either. I don't expect the people training with me to do anything but help pay dojo space rental and insurance. For about 10 years or so (during a time in my life when I could afford such a loss) I ended up paying the rest when there wasn't enough money from reasonable dues. (At present, I have other larger expenses named "Max" who is 19 months old, so I wouldn't be able to do that now.) Luckily (and with a bit of hard work), the place just about breaks even and I'm quite happy about it. It took a long time to find a place cheap enough to do that, and to get enough people who were interested.

If that place were to suddenly become unavailable. I suppose I could set up shop in basement or a garage - which I assume someone in the dojo would "own" - unless that wasn't available; in which case we'd be looking to rent for cheap or simply put out of business.

It could also happen that through attrition I can no longer support my current place if new students are all getting sucked into a "delusions-R-us aikido" in town - which was the point I was trying to make.

Maybe cheap spaces or new students are in abundance in your area. In my area, and I guess many areas that would just not be the case. (the cheap areas are generally no where near the people)

Rob
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Old 08-07-2005, 09:22 AM   #35
Lyle Bogin
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Re: starting your own aikido style

To me it seems very simple. If you wanna open a school, go ahead, and let people who come to train with you decide if it is worth their time. I don't think there is any need to feel threatend or offended.
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Old 08-07-2005, 01:23 PM   #36
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Rob, I think you still miss my point. The paradox of being vulnerable or open, available, etc. is that when you really understand that, you are very powerful and "hard to get".

I'm absolutely not worried about your following scenario. "It could also happen that through attrition I can no longer support my current place if new students are all getting sucked into a "delusions-R-us aikido" in town - which was the point I was trying to make."

"Maybe cheap spaces or new students are in abundance in your area. In my area, and I guess many areas that would just not be the case. (the cheap areas are generally no where near the people)"

Cheap places or an abundance of students is not what makes a good dojo. I'll pass on to my folks that we're very fortunate that we have a cheap space and that they came to the dojo because there's an abundance of students.

And, if you think this has been an argument.... I have no reason to argue with you. I don't even know you. In my understanding, this is a discussion.

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-07-2005, 01:35 PM   #37
Conan Pieter Arnold
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Cluck Clark wrote:

Quote:
Conan,

Shodan means "first step".... not even "middle of the way" step.

If that shodan has been training for 25 - 35 years and has equal skill to most organization's rokudan or above then they may have the goods to create their own style. The way to determine their skill is for them to get outside their own neighborhood and see what they can do compared to the other organizations' rokudans, etc.
Cluck..

Thanks for telling me of these important Details,

Last edited by Conan Pieter Arnold : 08-07-2005 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 08-07-2005, 02:48 PM   #38
Mike Collins
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Quote:"Rob, I think you still miss my point. The paradox of being vulnerable or open, available, etc. is that when you really understand that, you are very powerful and "hard to get"."

Chuck, have you written, or will you write, more about this concept? I think it's a useful thing to consider, but it's relatively new to me, at least in this context.
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Old 08-07-2005, 03:25 PM   #39
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Hi Mike,

Yes I have written a bit about this before and it is dealt with in a substantial way in my book. Hopefully the pictures and art will be done by the end of the year and off to the printer.

Something of this sort would not be appropriate on a discussion board.

Take care,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 08-07-2005, 10:14 PM   #40
aikidoc
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Rob's question is of interest to me as I had a very highly viewed and rewarding thread some time back on aikido frauds.

Several issues come to my mind:
1. Legitimacy-that old fraud thing again. Self promotions, adequate credentials, etc.
2. Credibility-do you have enough rank credibility in the art(s) to be taken seriously.
3. Can you truly create a different style or is this just a political pissing contest because of being unhappy with your current organization due to slow promotions, etc. To me, it would seem that you need some serious rank in aikido and at least one more art to even have the knowledge base necessary to integrate two arts (like the example of aikido and arnis). Does adding aikido principles to the techniques of another art make them aikdo?
4. How are promotions going to be determined, especially yours? Problems were brought up on another site where the instructor was promoted to a high rank by low ranked yudansha.
5. How are you going to prevent stagnation and receive instruction to advance your art?

Creating another style of aikido is a serious undertaking, one to not be taken lightly and without considerable planning and work.
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:25 AM   #41
rob_liberti
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Thanks John.

Chuck, I think the main trust of my point with respect to our tangent is that when a cheap place near an abundance of newbies is taken by someone selling "delusion" I have witnessed that the idea that "such a dojo will NOT stand the test of time" IS FALSE. People are happy to buy whatever "snake oil" strokes their ego as total beginners and then they get more and more invested into where they have been putting their time and energy. A dojo run by a charlatan will pass the "test of time". The majority of aikido is not tested at all and so the excuses for why something is hopelessly surface level are infinite. Ron suggested "voting with your feet". The newbies don't know enough to understand how to vote - which is why we have an age limit on voting. In normal "voting" we want a certain amount of maturity before we ask someone to vote. By the time someone has any maturity in aikido to know how to vote, they can easily be fairly hopelessly sucked in by a charlatan.

Quote:
Cheap places or an abundance of students is not what makes a good dojo.
What you does make a "good dojo". I'm not clear on your point about the paradox of understanding vulnerability which would make you invulnerable (I hope I got that right!). As I see it, the best teacher in the world is not a teacher without students, and the best group in the world is not a dojo without a place to train - regardless of your personal understanding of any paradoxes.

Rob
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:34 AM   #42
rob_liberti
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Also, David thanks for sticking your neck out and helping me get some insight as to what you were considering when you decided you should no longer be in your organization. That information was particularly helpful in shaping my opinions on some things. - Rob
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:39 AM   #43
happysod
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Rob,

Firstly, apologies, your first post (especially the bit I quote next) seemed to imply just a specific agenda, nice to read your expansion in further posts

Quote:
How about if people from a martial arts organizations give you honorary rank in aikido? As an aside, what's the deal with that anyway? It seems to me that you should at least have to be a teacher in aikido to do that.
Tricky one this, I've known at least two relatively senior aikido instructors come under this heading (although the word "honorary" I feel is a bit misleading).

The first was a jump from 3rd dan to 5th under a ma association which included aikido but was not exclusively aikido, so assertion of knowledge of aikido by the umbrella organisation could be argued either way.

In the second (4th to 6th) the association did not (as far as I'm aware) have any senior aikido people associated with it. However, the (Japanese/hombu associated etc etc) group which the second instructor was previously a member of only ever graded up to 3rd dan and all further ranks were awarded. So as the further increases in dan were "political" anyway, again I can see arguments either side.

In short, after having seen "ranking aikidoka" both within and outside established aikido groups, I'd plump for the old "what do they feel like on the mat".

John, you like your frauds well done don't you...

1."Self promotions, adequate credentials," : against self-promotion, still fuzzy on what would represent adequate
2. Credibility: not interested in someones rank, just what the dojo feels like, but I can see the obvious problems with highly ranked beginners with regard to gaining students (we need more competition! )
3. Can you truly create a different style: not joining in this one, needs its own thread (again)
4. Promotions: umbrella organisations seem to work for the independents I've seen if the higher grades are initially missing
5. How are you going to prevent stagnation : hardest one of all, seminars are not really that useful for this, I've found other dojos/different ma to be better.
Quote:
Creating another style of aikido is a serious undertaking
aggree with you whole-heartedly, but I would make a bigger distinction beween attempting to create a new "style" and creating a new organisation
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Old 08-08-2005, 09:57 AM   #44
rob_liberti
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Ian,

That section was under "How far can this be extended?" and "As an aside" but well, my agenda was specifically that I was trying to wrap my mind around some of the issues. I do know of the extreme case where someone got honorary rank in "aikido" from people who don't do aikido, and created his own style of aikido based on those credentials. It does happen. People aren't informed enough to "vote with their feet" until they are quite invested so the "test of time" fails us, and hurts the business of the people who are legitimately teaching aikido.

When a student from such an independent dojo contacts me and tries to explain all of their teacher's rationalizations, I am left with the problem of how to talk about the topic in a positive and constructive way. This thread has helped me think about such things and work them out a bit so I can give much more thoughtful and considered answers to such inquires and requests for private discussions.

I was a bit disappointed that no one had addressed the honorary rank aside, so thanks for doing that. I think getting skipped kyu rank is just fine. I agree that most organizations appoint rank over sandan for time-in and loyalty and I just don't like that at all - but at least the assumption there is that they know aikido and have seen you enough to make the judgment of your ability. How the heck does a karate guy make such a judgment about aikido? If I give you an honorary medical degree from Yale, (which I have no authority to do) would you consider yourself a Yale doctor? - AND open up your own practice? I mean you probably can do what my general practitioner does. "Hmm, let me prescribe some antibiotics. If this doesn't work, I'll prescribe different antibiotics!" or "Let me refer you to a specialist." The surface level is easy, but that doesn't make you a Yale doctor even if what you do on the surface level is similar to what a real one does.

Rob
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:29 AM   #45
Mike Collins
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Re: starting your own aikido style

People will always sell stuff that is of little or no value. The only option would be to license teachers of Aikido, and that would serve to prevent legitimate would-be founders of their own branches from doing that. I know that if you are highly invested in being mainstream, that might sound like a good thing. Ultimately, though, people need to be able to pursue that style and form of art (and Aikido is an art), that most affects them personally.

As to a small pool of students, I think this is a myth and a complete misnomer. Proof of this is the TKD boys, who can virtually swamp a town with dojang, and yet they manage to all make a living, even if a few go belly-up, over a period of a few years. The pie (market) is not finite. The greater the exposure of an art in an area, the greater the acceptance as a suitable pursuit by a greater percentage of the population, and the greater the participation by an increasing percentage of that population.

If what you do is of value, it will stand on it's own. If what you do is sell snake-oil, it will eventually collapse and go away. If your competition is able to build a community that has "legs", you might want to consider that it might not be your idea of true Aikido, but it might have value for the people that support it, over a long haul.

If your competition is selling BS, you should HOPE that he gets a lot of new people interested in Aikido. When he eventually goes belly-up, there will suddenly be an influx of new student base, as long as you don't alienate them before he does fail.

"Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer" might be the thing to consider here. Make friendly overtures, work out some way to get his students exposure to what you do, in a non-threatening way. Try to do a seminar/gasshuku with him/her. Build community. Be an attractor, not an evangelist. You just might find that a bigger, more friendly, family type relationship serves you, him, the larger community far better than an adversarial relationship. If he never fails, you might still be just fine. And you sure won't have as much negative energy weighing you down.

There is more of a base of students in your area than you are presently aware of. They'll find you when you have what they are wanting.
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:35 AM   #46
happysod
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Quote:
I do know of the extreme case where someone got honorary rank in "aikido" from people who don't do aikido, and created his own style of aikido based on those credentials
Now I agree, this sounds scary.

I'm going to have to go with a fuzzy, you should have a solid grounding under a recognised group before you could go with your own style and still call it aikido. Of course, the gaping holes now start.. What should you consider a solid grounding - is it rank (I've met some brilliant first dans and absolutely dire 3rd dans), time spent in the art (taking rank = meaningless to the nth).

Next comes the who should you consider respectable/recognised? Is the student of an independent (who used to have a link to a major aikido group) to be as recognised as one of the mainstream and all the lovely lineage wars that can result.

If a student was to join your dojo from another association, whatever rank, I'd suggest you just give them a probation period and tell them where you think they should start. If they're good, allow them accelerated promotion, but working from the ground up is nothing bad, I've done it four times and I'm still happily crap... sorry, meant to say it didn't do me any harm.

With regards to your karate-man example, I'm less certain. I understand the point your getting at in that even a high-level rank in another martial art would probably miss the nuances that would be needed to test at high levels, but even there someone from say judo or jujitsu should be able to say "that's bollocks" if a complete nonce tries to pass themselves off as a master.

(personal musings...sometimes, I wonder about having a non-aikido person on the panel to give an "outside experts" opinion on the grade, I always worry about too much insulation in my ma)
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Old 08-08-2005, 11:49 AM   #47
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Re: starting your own aikido style

As one might imagine…

I tend to agree much more with what Ian is saying than what John suggested earlier. Ian's list seems to be touching more upon what is real, what is important, and thus on what would be affecting students in a more real and important ways. In fact, I would suggest, what makes Rob's example even possible is that for many such elements as in John's list are actually considered viable. If more folks adopted a position similar to Ian's there would be much less real fraud in the martial arts.

On the subjective side of things, it takes a while, it takes a kind of maturity, be that in life in general or in a skill (e.g. martial arts) in particular, to understand that what is REALLY REAL can never be defined, marked, or captured by an institution. Because newbies cannot figure this out, they are often sold (with good and/or with ill intention) something that is not as real as it should be. In my opinion, it is vital to understand that the Path is in many ways counter cultural -- meaning, for example, it cannot exist within the institution. That may mean several things we may want to discuss elsewhere, but here are two very central elements that are often overlooked by the newbie in this regard:

- The institution cannot help but to lie about the Way (because the Truth of the Way is beyond the institution's means to identify it).
- To truly follow the Way we must move beyond the institution (for to be dependent upon the institution is to be stuck in our following of the Way -- it is to adopt a lie as truth.).

Again, the beginner just cannot understand these two things -- not enough experience has been accumulated for these things to make sense. In fact, one may very well want to define a beginner as someone that is ignorant of these two points. Yes, that means you could very well have someone that is a beginner with decades of experience. From that point of view, yes, Rob, I would agree, that such places as you mentioned do stand the test of time. This is especially true if we compare them to ourselves while we too have adopted the institution as our main means of legitimacy. Beginners, as I have defined them above, are very vulnerable to such places, and thus such places are very likely to "succeed" at some sort of material level.

However, I would like to point out, such places are always tested by the Truth; they are always at risk to having the lie of the institution exposed. Usually, it takes about five years to have this vulnerability actually make a dent in their budget, but it does happen. One must be patient. Nevertheless, it can happen at any moment at an individual level. If we as a "competitor" are not playing the same game with the same or with a similar set of stakes, if we are more sided on what is real and what is important, then whenever we come into contact with such places such places risk having their lie exposed. This is how I meant it is wiser for us to be more concerned with what we are doing than with what they are doing -- this is where our advantage lays.

When you can do this, when you can side with what is truly real, as far as the current of students goes, it will always flow toward your dojo and not to theirs; you will always get their students and they will never get yours. It is not that you set out to achieve this, but this will be the inevitable and natural result of what happens when the Real Truth meets institutional truth, when the Really Real meets the institutional real.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 08-08-2005, 11:50 AM   #48
rob_liberti
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Re: starting your own aikido style

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If what you do is of value, it will stand on it's own. If what you do is sell snake-oil, it will eventually collapse and go away.
I know it is your desire that such a statement would be true, but alas I can show you a dojo like this that's been in busines for a long time and I see no end of people willing to trade in dollars for delusion. Currently, they look down on "tranditionalists" and highly discourage their students from going to anyone else's aikido dojo for a class; forget about a seminar - how convenient! Maybe when sells his business the new person will have a different philosophy about exchanging with other dojos and he will bring balance back to the force.

About getting an outside expert on the panel, now that is a cool idea! I was actually watching a nidan test where Saotome sensei explained "try aikido" to the two gentlemen who had broken out into a really nice karate exhibition. It would have been really funny to hear a karate sensei correct their kicking and blocking! (The guy's aikido was just fine for nidan, but he had an injury going into the test and apparently he fell back on what he believed would protect him best when the pressure was added. I thought it was really odd but kind of cool that his uke was more than comfortable switching paradigms with the nage mid-stream.)

Rob
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Old 08-08-2005, 12:24 PM   #49
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
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Re: starting your own aikido style

Hi Rob,

I would have liked to have seen that test! Sounds like a hoot!

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Ron suggested "voting with your feet". The newbies don't know enough to understand how to vote - which is why we have an age limit on voting. In normal "voting" we want a certain amount of maturity before we ask someone to vote. By the time someone has any maturity in aikido to know how to vote, they can easily be fairly hopelessly sucked in by a charlatan.
Well, I suggested getting on the mat to train, **then** voting with your feet. Beginners don't usually have a clue. That's the same with most endevours. You can watch a few classes, but if you don't know what is happening, it doesn't really tell you much.

But if you get on the mat and *train*, then take that experience to other places and *train*, and then get together with some friends in other arts and *train*...enough *training* and you'll eventually get to where you can make a right decision for yourself. The key word through all of that is.... *train*.

And *then* vote with your feet.

Best,
Ron (I never said it was easy or quick!)

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-08-2005, 09:45 PM   #50
guest89893
Dojo: Jihonjuku/ St.Pete. FL
Location: Palm Harbor, Florida
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Re: starting your own aikido style

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Rob Liberti wrote:
but alas I can show you a dojo like this that's been in business for a long time and I see no end of people willing to trade in dollars for delusion. Currently, they look down on "traditionalists" and highly discourage their students from going to anyone else's aikido dojo for a class; forget about a seminar - how convenient! Rob
The truth is as you've stated Rob. In many places the "Snake Oil" Dojo survives for many years and often grows. And it is often the case that they discourage their students from attending other styles classes or seminars. Or if they attend they train only with their group. What we must remember it is not just the art that attracts people to a Dojo. It is the instructor, too. So what happens is the students bought into the Snake Oil style, and believes in the message. True in religions, politics, and martial arts.
So I guess you have to ask yourself, "If Jesus, when He was walking the Earth couldn't convince every person who heard Him. Why then do we think we can convince every single student studying under a snake oil dojo. We can't. It's more like every now and then a student, from that style hungers for more and shows up and sees the difference and leaves the snake oil dojo. That's the one that makes you cherish the smile on a student's face.
peace,
Gene
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