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Old 03-24-2007, 07:58 AM   #26
statisticool
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
It would be interesting to see Aikikai Hombu Dojo send young leaders" to preside over all of the dojo outside Japan, only to have those young Hombu-trained "leaders" have their behinds handed back to them on a sushi dish by their lower-ranked Western aikidoka who have Ueshiba's internal skills -- which they learned from men like Sigman, Harden, Akuzawa, Ushiro...
Even if the Sigmans and Hardens of the world have some real skills, would it still be Aikido if it is something the Ueshiba's did/do not teach? Probably not IMO.

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Old 03-24-2007, 08:01 AM   #27
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Just invite Akuzawa or someone like Chen Xiao Wang, who is a living, breathing person able to demostrate Ueshiba-esque feats to one of these Expos.
I'm not sure I've ever seen anything spectacular by either on videotape that wasn't in a fixed drill/'play nice' environment. I'm not sure it is wise to base martial effectiveness on such demos.

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Old 03-24-2007, 10:33 AM   #28
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

I have plenty confidence in Peter Bernath, Harvey Konisberg, Clyde Takeguchi, Andy Demko, Donovan Waite and Claude Bertiaume to lead our organization. They are not only incredible aikidokas but leaders as well. They are fully capable as shihan and 7th dan to lead our organization. (They are not SINO - Shihan In Name Only or Shichidan In Name Only. They have earned these ranks and have the skills and leadership abilties to go along with them.)

I think the USAF learned a hard lesson after Tohei Sensei and later on when Kanai Sensei passed away. We are already dealing with the consequences of losing our leaders and are taking steps to prevent the chaos that follows when a strong leader passes.

I also don't see this happening in Chiba Sensei's organization either. He's taken quite a big step forward with his Birankai Organization, which is now recognized under the Aikikai umbrella - as are their shihan.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 03-24-2007, 04:56 PM   #29
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Scenario 2: my preferred vision. Aikido 2050

The aikikai continues it role as a central leadership entity for maintaining grading standards and consistency. However, it recognizes that although Aikido is culturally a Japanese art contributions and evolution of the art can come from many sources. Efforts by various senior level instructors and shihans elevated by the aikikai in the late 1990s and early 2000s reflects a growing development of the internal aspects of the art. These instructors pushed their instructors to impart what they knew as best they could and sought out external sources to fill in the gaps on internal skills. All with the knowledge and blessing of the aikikai. Modern educational techniques were used to develop these skills in the next line of senior instructors. The philosophical aspects of the art continue to attract students after the devastating long term effects of terrorism and war activities of the early 2000s moved leaders and the populace to seek higher level solutions to conflict resolution. Aikido's popularity grew as people sought to live a more humane lifestyle while also recognizing the fact that radical factions can perpetuate violence at any time. Also, seeking to learn better internal control and develop internal strength skills made Aikido attractive after it strengthened it's own resolve in this area with a paradigm shift in the 2010s, Senior instructors increased their search for and emphasis on developing the lost internal aspects of the art which resulted from lack of or weak transmission levels. Although no one has yet attained the reputed skills of O'Sensei, many senior instructors have developed incredible internal skills and methods to teach them to their students. This evolution has also influenced the aikikai to improve their development programs in the same areas as well. Aikido continues to spread and grow as people recognize its strengths. Children programs have also grown considerably as parents have recognized the importance of aikido philosophy and training versus teaching punching and kicking skills that were in vogue during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Martial arts movies have evolved to show more than simply the physical side of the arts as well. With over a hundred years of stability, the art appears to be here to stay.

The aikikai has also recognized the development of senior instructors in other countries and has promoted several to 8th dan. The aikikai teaching staff has also become international with additions of shihan from other countries with excellent teaching skills.

Last edited by aikidoc : 03-24-2007 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 03-24-2007, 05:51 PM   #30
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote: View Post
Even if the Sigmans and Hardens of the world have some real skills, would it still be Aikido if it is something the Ueshiba's did/do not teach? Probably not IMO.
How do you know Ueshiba didn't teach it? What if it was what made his Aikido what it was, but no one "got" that part of it? Does that mean it shouldn't be taught now?
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Old 03-24-2007, 06:56 PM   #31
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

In my experience, I found that there is fierce Aikido rivalry in Japan too, albeit, a rather more silent kind of rivalry. People are also aware of MMA but discount it as it not what they are after. A couple of my Japanese aikidoing firends have communicated directly/indirectly that they are doing Aikido, Karate or whatever because it is their heratage; they want to feel Japanese (it can even lead to jobs, especially in university). MMA does not do that for them. This might also explain why people buy those old cowboy colts - expensive - instead of a brand new, far more effective automatic.

I don't think a large org can transmit Aikido in depth on a large scale. It is more likely the opposite. Small scale has much more chance of passing on skill, but the condition is that they have skill to pass on.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 03-24-2007 at 07:04 PM.

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Old 03-24-2007, 06:59 PM   #32
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Anne Marie Giri wrote: View Post
I have plenty confidence in Peter Bernath, Harvey Konisberg, Clyde Takeguchi, Andy Demko, Donovan Waite and Claude Bertiaume to lead our organization. They are not only incredible aikidokas but leaders as well. They are fully capable as shihan and 7th dan to lead our organization. (They are not SINO - Shihan In Name Only or Shichidan In Name Only. They have earned these ranks and have the skills and leadership abilties to go along with them.)

I think the USAF learned a hard lesson after Tohei Sensei and later on when Kanai Sensei passed away. We are already dealing with the consequences of losing our leaders and are taking steps to prevent the chaos that follows when a strong leader passes.

I also don't see this happening in Chiba Sensei's organization either. He's taken quite a big step forward with his Birankai Organization, which is now recognized under the Aikikai umbrella - as are their shihan.
While I am not saying it couldn't happen, it would basically be a first if, after Yamada, Sugano, and Chiba Senseis are gone, the next generation managed to keep things together in a harmonious whole.
Usually, once the big guy(s) is gone, all of the different aspirations of the various individuals start coming out and they find that they have widely differing ideas about where things should go...

Mark my words, I could easily see the Aikikai Hombu dojo thinking it should send a new generation of Japanese teachers over to preside over the folks you mentioned, despite their ranks and Shihan status. If I had money to spare I'd bet on it...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:17 PM   #33
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
... I am wondering however if the few screaming voices we hear in online forums regarding a general lack of knowledge in Aikido is truly representative of the feeling towards training in the real world at large. From people I have met and trained with, it seems like the online "reality" may be illusory.
I tend to agree. People come here for exploration because they want to find something. Thus, those who come here are self-selected to acknowledge they are missing something to begin with. Myself included. I just don't feel I am missing what they do.

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Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
The bottom line is that the majority of Aikidoka have no objective idea what they are doing because they have no objective means of verifying and judging what they are doing. This is why it is so easy to move them with alternative ideas. Until this is addressed there will always be questions, even if we are overflowing with ki/chi or are totally independent of any organization in our attempt to find the "true" path. We are responsible for what we achieve or don't achieve.
That is why I find it astonishing that almost 40 years after the Founder died we have no comprehensive description of aiki principles in purely Western, objective, physical terms. At best we have but halting and partial attempts at such a description. I do not pretend that such a effort would be complete in itself, by any means. But the concepts underlying aikido will remain alien in the West and at risk for their future transmission until they are fully nativized in objective physical terms .

The present lack of such an approach to the description of mechanical priniples is one reason why western students have difficulty making objective assesments of their own progress, in a cooperative training art. Not everyone is a physicist, but the knowledge of practical mechanics is very widespread, and in the English speaking world, particularly so.

Having an objective set of physical principles to rely on makes it far easier to dissect one's mistakes, identify a problem, and make a correction to poor movement. My effort in working out such a description for myself has so far been limited, but frutiful, even so.

What I have worked out I have described in part here in various posts, and blog entries. Using these descriptions of what I do and see others doing, I have seen real gains in my ability to perceive problems of movement in a more detailed fashion. I have increased my the ability to identify components of movement more particularly, and more objectively, and thus to pick out those that are problematic. I am able better to describe in purely physical terms what I am doing. I am better able to describe for students what they are failing to do in their practice in ways that they can grasp because it has a root in an objective, physical action they can envision.

No academic understanding can substitute for the feel of proper movements. Routine and rigorous training is indispensable. However, objective description of the physical priniciples is seriously lacking. My working out of these physical principles in kokyu, aiki and the nature of musubi very likely lacks a great deal, and definitely has a long way to go. But no one else that I have discovered is approaching the material in this way. That, in my view, underlies much of the concern with the reliablity of transmission in our technologically oriented Western culture.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:19 PM   #34
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
How do you know Ueshiba didn't teach it? What if it was what made his Aikido what it was, but no one "got" that part of it? Does that mean it shouldn't be taught now?
Assuming the conclusion establishes nothing.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:22 PM   #35
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Jorge Garcia wrote: View Post
I think this is the point everyone is missing. Of my 80 students, I have not been able to find anyone else reading Aikiweb, even among my black belts and senior students ...
I mention this to say that everything that is posited as real online doesn't correspond to our reality here. I am not saying what is posted is wrong. I am saying I haven't seen the same concerns or experiences here and no one I have here seems to care about the online disputes. They don't even read them.
Ditto, here. I hope for an engaging conflict to reveal some truth. It is the calling I have and the reason I come here. Not all have the same calling, nor should they.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:23 PM   #36
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Your point is well taken, George. I wonder if the Aikikai responses would be consistent from one group to another, though. The situations at Iwama and Chicago seem to indicate that perhaps they would not. There are also legal relevancies from place to place, organization to organization, and even person to person, which may make this difficult to implement. There are also those who think that Aikikai is already too political, or not tolerant enough of outside ideas. This would seem to make any thoughts of a reclamation, for want of a better word, by Aikikai more idealistic than realistic. People will naturally react to protect what they perceive as their own turf. Would you hazard a guess as to how it would be received in the ASU?
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:27 PM   #37
Cady Goldfield
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Assuming the conclusion establishes nothing.
That some can discern what Ueshiba had -- even if you and many others can't -- takes those individuals beyond the need to assume anything.
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Old 03-24-2007, 09:28 PM   #38
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Mark my words, I could easily see the Aikikai Hombu dojo thinking it should send a new generation of Japanese teachers over to preside over the folks you mentioned, despite their ranks and Shihan status. If I had money to spare I'd bet on it...
SIR:

But you haven't explained your basis for saying this. It seems to be more like a hunch on your part than a clearly telegraphed intention on the part of Hombu Dojo. And you haven't explained why it would be in Hombu's interest. It would stir up a hornets nest and could cause quite a few groups to break away--in other words, it would be self-defeating. Instead of reasserting control, it would provoke the loss of control. Kind of like the British trying to impose their will in the 1770s on the colonies. (The recent reassertion by Hombu of control over the Iwama dojo seems to be a special case that may not apply to an entire country like the US). Kanai and Toyoda passed away without a Japanese replacement being sent over. If you have more specific reasons to be suspicious of Hombu's intentions, perhaps with regard to the ASU itself, please explain.
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Old 03-24-2007, 10:13 PM   #39
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Good article by Sensei Leonard. I also agree that most of the online lament about the "decline" of Aikido should be taken with a large grain of salt.

One should ask themselves the following question

Does Aikido suck or...

My Practice?

I have found in only a few rare occasions that the answer is both. LOL

William Hazen
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Old 03-24-2007, 11:55 PM   #40
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
That some can discern what Ueshiba had -- even if you and many others can't -- takes those individuals beyond the need to assume anything.
Which "some", and which "individuals"? My impression is that you are just setting up one vague question-begging fallacy to buttress another, despite the fact that the prior one has been called out. Who exactly, that actually experienced what Ueshiba had, and therefore has a legitimate basis for comparison, is discerning it in whom? If not you, why are you making this claim, and on whose behalf are you making it?
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Old 03-25-2007, 12:48 AM   #41
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
How do you know Ueshiba didn't teach it? What if it was what made his Aikido what it was, but no one "got" that part of it? Does that mean it shouldn't be taught now?
I don't know, I said "if". But I'd have more confidence that O'Sensei, the creator of aikido, would pass aikido stuff down to Kiss. Ueshiba to Mor. Ueshiba, than somehow skills getting transmitted to some random Americans.

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Old 03-25-2007, 01:11 AM   #42
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
SIR:

But you haven't explained your basis for saying this. It seems to be more like a hunch on your part than a clearly telegraphed intention on the part of Hombu Dojo. And you haven't explained why it would be in Hombu's interest. It would stir up a hornets nest and could cause quite a few groups to break away--in other words, it would be self-defeating. Instead of reasserting control, it would provoke the loss of control. Kind of like the British trying to impose their will in the 1770s on the colonies. (The recent reassertion by Hombu of control over the Iwama dojo seems to be a special case that may not apply to an entire country like the US). Kanai and Toyoda passed away without a Japanese replacement being sent over. If you have more specific reasons to be suspicious of Hombu's intentions, perhaps with regard to the ASU itself, please explain.
This is simply my opinion. I could be wrong but I've had quite a few conversations with people who have had intimate dealings with Hombu. Take for instance that if you go on the Hombu Dojo website, there is a list of overseas instructors. All of the names listed are Japanese. The American Shihan are not listed. When confronted with this by two of the most senior American Shihan the response from the folks at Hombu was that when people are traveling and they want to find an instructor, they are looking for a Japanese teacher... This is pretty much a representative attitude.

Everyone I know who has had close dealings with the folks at Hombu have said that Hombu still believes that they are the source from which Aikido flows out to the rest of us. There is almost no understanding that we have been training over here for a long time and that perhaps it isn't flowing that way any more. Hombu is at risk of finding itself increasingly irrelevant in my opinion, and I am not alone in this. With all of the great teachers that have developed overseas, has any one of them ever been asked to teach in Japan (I am not talking about the Yoshinkan here as they have had a very different attitude)? When any one of our American "Shihan" gets asked to teach at Hombu or someone like Christian Tissier is invited I'll perhaps change my view.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-25-2007, 01:16 AM   #43
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
If you have more specific reasons to be suspicious of Hombu's intentions, perhaps with regard to the ASU itself, please explain.
The ASU succession is quite clear, it's Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei. There will no particular turmoil associated with this I don't believe. Ikeda Sensei is pretty universally respected, admired and liked.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-25-2007, 02:36 AM   #44
Edwin Neal
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

never gonna happen... and i think some of OSensei's students "got it" and others will get it and this will continue... unfortunately so will the politicizing and organizationalizing and splitting... i have lamented that on this forum... for all its "way of harmony" aikido is probably the least harmonius of the martial arts... and with the distance that some styles have travelled from other styles i don't see any sort of reconciliation, or a takeover by the aikikai... never gonna happen... i too have no money to spare, but i'd take your bet...

Edwin Neal


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Old 03-25-2007, 05:57 AM   #45
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The ASU succession is quite clear, it's Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei. There will no particular turmoil associated with this I don't believe. Ikeda Sensei is pretty universally respected, admired and liked.
No way would Ikeda Sensei's qualifications be in question. But I think what many are asking is this: Even though ASU might have put this mechanism in place, and Saotome Sensei himself has designated a successor, how would you and the other folks in ASU react when that time comes, and suddenly some other Shihan jumps off a plane with a letter from Aikikai Hombu putting him in charge, rather than Ikeda Sensei. It seems that you are proposing that Aikikai should be within their rights to do this to everybody, and I just can't see it as realistic, even in your own organization. Imagine the difficulty with those organizations whose ties with Hombu are looser, or whose internally-chosen successors are perhaps not Japanese.
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Old 03-25-2007, 07:02 AM   #46
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

IMHO, the future of Aikido depends on the larger organizations (over which I have no control) and my individual training, participation, and contribution (over which I have at least some control).

The future lies with all of us to stop the infighting and start practicing in our communications and relationships with each other what we have been practicing on the mat.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-25-2007, 07:23 AM   #47
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The ASU succession is quite clear, it's Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei. There will no particular turmoil associated with this I don't believe. Ikeda Sensei is pretty universally respected, admired and liked.
SIR:

Yes, I was aware that Ikeda Hiroshi is Saotome shihan's designated successor. That wasn't what i was driving at. I meant to ask: do you believe that when it comes time for Saotome to hand over ASU to Ikeda, or, alternatively, when Ikeda will in years to come pass on ASU's reins to an American successor, Aikikai Hombu will step in and impose its own candidate for succession on ASU? Is there a precedent for Hombu to do so with a federation in another country? And is this procedure of imposing a succession one that Hombu will likely impose on other US federations like USAF?
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Old 03-25-2007, 07:51 AM   #48
Marc Abrams
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Looking at Aikikai's Hombu Dojo's response (or lack thereof) to the Aiki Expo's, looking at Aikikai's Hombu Dojo's response in Iwama should make it clear to anybody that they are intent on trying to preserve THEIR version of the legacy of the founder. THEIR form of "orthodoxy" typically removed from almost all outside influences, is not the "closed" attitude that existed when the founder was alive. George's point regarding their website listing of shihans is another indication of THEIR desire to try and control a legacy that is far beyond their control.

If Aikikai would attempt to do what George has suggested (I would bet on that line as well), they would simply fail. The legacy of Aikido is beyond their control. The teachers that George speaks of (I would include his name in the list of future leaders) are seriously engaged in trying to further "Aikido" and it's legacy. Their students are the legacy of that aim and their students speak for themselves. The more that the Hombu dojo of Aikikai tries to exert control by insisting that people stay within the limits of their closed sphere, the more irrelevant they will become (my opinion only).

The teachers that George speaks of clearly are engaged in amplifying the "internal core" of the art that some have lost sight of through senseless repetition of movements (waza). If the Hombu dojo were to truly recognize the legacy of these sincere and gifted teachers, it would only serve to help the organization grow together. The Hombu dojo's actions (or lack of actions) simply reduces the influence and authority of their organization by not publically recognizing and promoting these gifted individuals. A "smart" organization recognizes true and gifted leaders and integrates them into the leadership structure. "Dumb" organizations stick to rigid, political hierarchies and typically become less nimble, effective and successful and time goes by. Aikido will continue to grow as an art, with or without, the relevancy of the Aikikai Hombu dojo. I can only hope that the growth of Aikido is a positive growth, and that the organizations lessen their dependency on political concerns.

marc abrams
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Old 03-25-2007, 08:40 AM   #49
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Having lived in asia for 8 of the past 9 years, and trained at least annually at the Aikikai Hombu dojo and watched the politics as a neutral outside observer, my impressions are completely the opposite. The Aikikai is the standard bearer. Doshu executes his techniques without the little eccentricities, but the rest of the instructors there have them. Yasuno Sensei's class is radically different from Miyamoto Sensei's class or Endo Sensei's class or Fujita Sensei's class. Each is unique and expresses their aikido quite differently. If you're impression of the Aikikai orthodoxy is correct then these individuals who teach the bulk of the classes at hombu dojo would not be so different.
I don't understand your concern. Toyota Sensei past on, the Aikikai did not send someone to replace him. Tohei Sensei, (USAF Midwest) past on, the Aikikai sent no one to replace him. Kanai Sensei past on, the Aikikai sent no one to replace him.
Where does this idea that the Japanese are going to jump off a plane and say, "I'm in charge here" come from? and what exactly are you afraid of losing?
In fact, I think there is a greater danger of us trying to assert our version of Aikido on them by demanding changes to accommodate us.
And as far as whether or not these "young replacement shihan" could hold their own or have the "special internal" skills to stand up to our reinventing US selves, don't count them short, unless you've been there recently, you don't know what they are capable of, nor what they are doing.
Here are a few rhetorical questions for you to think about: When was the last time you trained at Hombu dojo? Took the Doshu's class? Trained with any of the other shihan instructors there? Invited one of their instructors to teach at your organization's annual camp? Invited the Doshu to attend any special party of event for your organization?
The Japanese like most asian cultures attribute great importance to personal relationships. You cannot show up a stranger and expect to be treated as a intimate student. You'll be treated well, but before you are recognized you have to be more than a stranger. You have to give as well as receive. So, what have you done for the Aikikai lately other than just run your dojo?
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Old 03-25-2007, 09:01 AM   #50
Mato-san
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 290
Iceland
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Nice and heart felt but is it time we accept evolution and that is exactly why he gave it to us and exacly why he sent his boys off to discover their own form and spred the love. Sorry very heart felt post in the journal G but you know? you guys can pee on me all you like evolution is natural and if I am mistaken (I am not) aikido evolves too and you either run with it or you hide from its potential......just a thought from a mere me!

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