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Old 01-10-2005, 11:16 AM   #26
John Boswell
John Boswell's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
Re: Poll: Do you think your aikido organization would surive without its chief instructor(s)?


I concur with you on the father-son comparison. It shouldn't happen but it does. No two people are ever the same and such debates are best left unsaid, but it is human nature to compare.

All one can do is to be true to oneself. I came to the conclusion long ago that I am my own person and refuse and sometimes put down all forms of discussion having to do with "X wasn't as good as Y." Whether it is father/son, teacher/student, founder/successor, etc. Whenever such comments come up I try to be quick in coming out with the truth:" X is NOT Y so don't even go there!"

Kato Shihan said at a seminar I was lucky enough to attend, that one's aikido needs to be fluid as water. That relates to this situation as well. When people try to compare themselves or you to another... let it roll on by. To "fight" such arguements gives validity to their argument... and that strenghtens them. Telling everyone you will allow no such remarks and end it... thus letting it pass, I believe is the best way to work it and be done with the matter.

I hope that makes sense.

All the best to you and your practice in the future! From what you have said, you have a fine organization that is well grounded and strong. I hope it is and that it remains so for many years to come.

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Old 01-11-2005, 10:09 PM   #27
NagaBaba's Avatar
Location: Wild, deep, deadly North
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,193
Re: Poll: Do you think your aikido organization would surive without its chief instructor(s)?

Philip Smith wrote:
I wonder how many talented Aikidoka we have lost because people have expected them to be likr their father?
you can be only yourself.
Not very many children of japanese shihans practice aikido, interesting, no?


ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 01-12-2005, 07:56 AM   #28
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 27
Re: Poll: Do you think your aikido organization would surive without its chief instructor(s)?

Interesting thread. I wonder if it is even possible to preserve a chief instructor's aikido after they have passed on? I would not expect the next chief to be the same. I would welcome a different perspective in keeping with the same testing requirements. This is why I attend seminars. I imagine that it will, as I progress, keep my own aikido fresh. I am fairly new to aikido, but it seems to me that it is a fluid art on several levels. How can freezing it in one shihan's manner be healthy? Little grows in frozen ground. I think honoring the founder/shihan is good…but I wonder, if the shihan were still alive, would his aikido be the same as when he died? An instructor of mine said something interesting to me the other day. He said don't look at where the teacher was….look to where he was going.

I am surprised that an art that (to me) is about harmony could find it's instructors at war with each other. Perhaps I was just naïve in thinking that people who have studied such a beautiful art/way for so long would automatically believe and act in harmony. One reason I left TKD was the ugly politics that I saw as I went up in rank. I guess it is not necessarily the path that gets one to the destination.

In response to Philip's post, I would have no problem with a son or daughter inheriting the right to an organization and having his/her own aikido…given that that person has "paid their dues" as someone else put it and not just had a "crash course". A crash course and full take over seems, well…I'll say it… immodest to me and a bit out of the aikido spirit. I do feel loyal to my instructors. I am so grateful to them for taking the time and having the compassion and patience to help me. I would feel disrespectful stepping into a position of power over them before I had put in a few decades of mat time….no matter what my bloodline. It would be like being given a live blade before I had barely had experience with a bokken.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:18 AM   #29
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Re: Poll: Do you think your aikido organization would surive without its chief instructor(s)?

"He said don't look at where the teacher was….look to where he was going."

Excellent point Tanya. It often happens that students love their master instructor so much that they do not want to evolve their aikido beyond what he or she was teaching. Yet, if you look at the aikido of the master it evolved over time.
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:00 PM   #30
Dojo: Zenshinkan - Worcester, MA
Location: MA
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1
Re: Poll: Do you think your aikido organization would surive without its chief instructor(s)?

I have had the unfortunate experience of having gone through this event on a couple of occasions (and oddly enough this topic was discussed at last night's class).

The first being nearly 10 years ago when my original sensei, Paul Sylvain Sensei (1950-1996 -- 6th Dan, Shihan - Valley Aikido, Hadley, MA - USAF) passed away in an automobile accident. Fortunately, we were a dojo with a deep bench of very experienced yudansha. Sylvain's sensei's widow (4th Dan herself) took over as dojo-cho and the chief instructor role was shared by the two senior students both who were 5th Dan (Larry Levitt and David Stier).

Due to career choices, I had moved away and after searching for a few years located a dojo to continue my training (Zenshinkan, Worcester, MA - AAA). Sadly enough, I found that we shared a common bond as they too had lost their instructor - Edward Haupt Sensei (1943-1999 -- 4th Dan). A handful of his senior students made the decision to continue the dojo on in his memory. During the first couple of years, Damon Apodaca Sensei (4th Dan -- Enshinkan Dojo - Newport, RI -- AAA, now USAF) served as our chief instructor at the recommendation of Toyota Sensei. Soon thereafter, the mantle of chief instructor transitioned directly to Toyota Sensei who served in that capacity for us until his passing in 2001.

While no loss is easy to tolerate, having long-term and dedicated students in a dojo that can assume the mantle of leadership and continue its operation is a huge asset that can make the transition easier. While no one person can fully capture and transmit the skills and experience of a teacher who has passed, those that remain have incorporated bits and pieces of their teacher and that teacher's influence will go on. This has been true throughout the lineage of Aikido - O'Sensei may be gone but those who have been directly taught by him have passed on their knowledge to those who come after.

Remember that tomorrow is promised to no one and yesterday gets harder to remember as time passes. For those of you who have not lost a teacher, count yourself lucky and take full advantage of each class that you do have and glean as much knowledge as you can for you never know when you may be called upon to carry the torch.

Last edited by nellas : 01-25-2006 at 02:05 PM.
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