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Old 10-13-2007, 06:36 PM   #1
Mary Turner
Dojo: Joshinkan
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Organizations- How important are they to you?

Does the affiliation of a school affect you personally and how you train? Are you aware of political machinations going on? I am curious to hear the thoughts of the forum on this subject.

Thanks!
Mary
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Old 10-14-2007, 04:54 AM   #2
G DiPierro
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Quote:
Mary Turner wrote: View Post
Does the affiliation of a school affect you personally and how you train? Are you aware of political machinations going on? I am curious to hear the thoughts of the forum on this subject.
Organizations unquestionably do affect how people train, since if they did not there would be no point in belonging to them. Whether members of the dojo are aware of how they affect training is a different question. Obviously in any dojo the head instructor is going to have the largest impact on the type of training that occurs there, especially since in most dojos there is not much room to do things differently from how that person does them (or says to do them, which might not always be the same thing).

So then the questions are how and how much are these instructors influenced by the organizations to which they belong and how much are the students there aware of this influence. I'd say the answers to both of these questions vary from organization to organization, but generally it is in the interest of organizations to engender as much awareness as possible of the organization within its member dojos.
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:44 AM   #3
SeiserL
 
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

IMHO, a positive organization affects positively, a negative organization affects negatively. It may be subtle, but it always has an affect eventually. Choose wisely.

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 10-14-2007, 09:28 AM   #4
Mark Uttech
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

I consider organizations useful for two reasons: 1. Support
2. Credibility. Everyone needs to be a student and have a teacher in order to continuously advance.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:49 AM   #5
G DiPierro
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
I consider organizations useful for two reasons: 1. Support
2. Credibility. Everyone needs to be a student and have a teacher in order to continuously advance.
Can't argue with the first point. Organizations do offer support. In the eyes of a lot of people, they also offer credibility as well, but maybe that's because they take advantage of a flaw in human nature. If a lot people say that someone is good, then people naturally assume that this person must actually be good. So, why not get a bunch of your friends together, form an organization, and all call yourselves "soke" or 10-dan? That's exactly what many people have done, but most people here would not recognize those groups as credible or legitimate, although the average person might.

People here do recognize the major aikido groups as credible, but if you go to certain other Internet forums with other standards of credibility, such as martial effectiveness against an actively resisting opponent, you'll find that these same organizations are not held in such high regard. Even some people on this forum feel that way. So in terms of credibility, it all depends on who you want to impress. I think those who judge credibility by membership in an organization are abdicating their responsibility to think for themselves and reach their own judgment about an individual on his or her own merits. While I would say that there are some organizations in which membership would immediately call into questions one's credibility, I don't know of any organizations in which membership would make someone instantly credible to me.

Finally, being a student and having a teacher does not necessarily have anything to do with belonging to an organization. One can belong to an organization for political reasons without putting much faith it in its leaders as teachers. I know a couple of people who operate dojos and that by their own admission (privately, of course) fall into this category. One can also be a student of a teacher without being a part of that person's organization, assuming that person even has one. The student-teacher relationship is something that occurs directly, in person, between two people. It cannot be reduced to something written down on a piece of paper.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-14-2007 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 10-14-2007, 01:49 PM   #6
JAMJTX
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Not important at all any more. There was a time when perhaps they were. But politics has pretty much destroyed them and they don't really serve much purpose beyond providing incomes.

Before we had "organizations" we had teachers. Takeda, Ueshiba, etc. When Ueshiba started teaching, I don't know of anyone who asked hime which organization he was certified through. By today's standards, he'd be largely ignored and many would call him a phony because he's is not part of the proper organization of the day.

The knowledge and skills of a teacher are much more important than the logo on a certificate. I have encountered number of excellent martial arts teachers who are not members of any organization but just say "I learned from my uncle" or "my father taught me Judo and my grandfather taught me aikijujutsu". I'd much rather train with one of these types of teachers and get a hand-written certificate from them than have someone I never met send me copy of a massed produced certificate that is the same that can not only be earned politically, but can be denied due to politics.

Jim Mc Coy
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:04 PM   #7
Tony Hudspith
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Hi Mary
If you're after personal opinions then you can have mine if you want it.
The organisation I belong to is Dynamic Aikido in the traditions of Master Andre Nocquet (D.A.N). It fills me with great pride that I belong to an organisation that is steeped with pedigree and heritage. Master Nocquet was an uchi deshi of O'Sensei and went on to teach my instructor Sensei John Emmerson. This would make me and my fellow Aikidoka 3rd in line from O'Sensei himself in theory.
This give me a greater sense of pride and the need to uphold the beliefs and training practices of both Masters and Sensei creates enthusiasm. It is my responsibility to carry on their training and so therefore increases my "want" to be better.
I hope this makes sense but you did ask for personal opinions
Hope this helps

Tony Hudspith
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:20 PM   #8
Keith R Lee
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

I could care less. If the training is good somewhere, train there. If not, don't. As I'm in it purely for training, stuff like: rank, org, affiliation, etc. don't mean squat to me. If i had some desire to be a teacher or open up a dojo, I could see where it could matter. However, purely from a student's perspective, I don't see where it should matter.

Well, unless it actually prevents a student from training with whom he wants to train. I think everyone has heard stories where someone with one org was discouraged/forbidden from training with another org. Of course, that's just another reason to shy away from orgs really mattering.

Keith Lee
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Old 10-14-2007, 06:18 PM   #9
aikidoc
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Although organizations can give credibility by association with a recognized shihan or standard of performance, credibility is something you gain in the community through your performance and behavior. Organizations serve a purpose by providing standard and somewhat consistency in grading expectations. They also serve as a connection to the aikikai-if you are so inclined.

As Mark noted, they also provide a teacher of sorts although one can belong to an organization and not really receive much instruction. Politics is an issue.

Personally, it does not affect me a lot as to how I train. I have always been one to seek out my training rather than let it come to me. However, it does somewhat affect my style in the sense of trying to learn what a shihan is doing with regards to technique. If I train with someone it is because I have sought the person's training so it helps me in that regards.

I have been in political organizations in the past and they definitely are not my cup of tea.
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:07 PM   #10
Angela Dunn
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

I think for me as a person who really does not know a lot about other organisations beside Dynamic Aikido (and even then my knowledge us pretty limited to pretty much what Tony has said above actually and as he explained it so well I am not going to attempt to put it in my own words. ) or politics between them it does not matter so much. Whilst it is nice to say that I train with an organisation that does have that type of history and in a way get a sence of pride and honour that goes with that for me its not the be all and end all. I train with them because the teaching is fantastic and if I had not stumbled onto that organisation then I would not be doing aikido.

I guess for me its more about loyalty to a group of people who made me feel really welcome and I feel that I can trust and have a lot of respect for. And for me that beats the history of a club etc.
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Old 10-14-2007, 07:29 PM   #11
Mark Uttech
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post

People here do recognize the major aikido groups as credible,
That is exactly what I mean about credibility being my second reason. And lineage goes right alongside that.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 10-14-2007, 07:59 PM   #12
Shannon Frye
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Well said! I agree. Find good aikido, and people you can trust. It's hard, but I hope not impossible.

Shannon

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Angela Dunn wrote: View Post

I guess for me its more about loyalty to a group of people who made me feel really welcome and I feel that I can trust and have a lot of respect for. And for me that beats the history of a club etc.

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:08 PM   #13
Shannon Frye
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Sorry to double post, but I wanted to say something about this as well. Recently, a few yudansha (myself included) have become very disillusioned with our various "name brand" aikido dojos/organizations. We grouped together, and founded a fellowship to teach, practice, and continue learning. We've not had one student thumb their nose at us because we were not paying fees back to Japan. But we HAVE been made to feel 'illigitimate" by established ( high power roller) organizations. And we can also trace our lineage right back to O'Sensei, just like the big names can. We're just not paying Japan for their "ok".

Sure, you want to avoid quacks, and inflated/fake rank teachers who will teach bad aikido. But I think too many people put their trust in an organizational membership. If your a new student, organizations are a good reference point - but students also need to look beyond the annual membership fee.
Just my humble opinion..

(not picking on you, Mark )
Shannon


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Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
That is exactly what I mean about credibility being my second reason. And lineage goes right alongside that.

In gassho,

Mark

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:46 PM   #14
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

From a ranking point of view, organisations can be quite important. Imagine qualifications in other skills, such as medicine. Although I’m sure there are some excellent “bush doctors” out there, saving lives in volunteer clinics every day using just a coat-hanger and gaffer tape, given the choice, I would want the surgeon operating on me to be certified by a recognised authority. It’s still no absolute guarantee of competence, but there’s a good chance the guy won’t be a quack.

I guess it depends where you are in the aikido world – I’m sure there are people on the fringes improving lives with unrecognised, unaffiliated aikido, but on those fringes, you’ll probably find plenty of “quack aikido” too. Going back to the medical certification analogy, I have a great deal of admiration for those recognised and fully qualified doctors who go to third world countries working for NPOs. I’m sure they learn as much as they teach. The same goes for aikido masters who do the same sort of thing.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:31 AM   #15
G DiPierro
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
From a ranking point of view, organisations can be quite important. Imagine qualifications in other skills, such as medicine. Although I°«m sure there are some excellent °»bush doctors°… out there, saving lives in volunteer clinics every day using just a coat-hanger and gaffer tape, given the choice, I would want the surgeon operating on me to be certified by a recognised authority. It°«s still no absolute guarantee of competence, but there°«s a good chance the guy won°«t be a quack.
I'm not sure why people keep coming back to the idea of martial arts ranking being in any way like professional qualifications. They are different in very important ways.

The AMA has a monopoly on the qualification process for doctors of allopathic medicine in the US. This process is open, rigorous, and competitive. You take a competitively graded exam to get into an accredited medical school, pass a competitive admissions process, then take and must pass many courses taught separately by independent instructors and also graded with competitive exams before you receive a MD degree.

Martial arts organizations have no central qualification process but each establish their own guidelines. Imagine if there were a dozen different medical associations in the US each claiming that they had the authority, through lineage, skill, or any other claim, to authorize doctors to practice their "style" of medicine. And then imagine that these organizations do not competitively test their entrants but simply allow the tester discretion to individually pass or fail each applicant on any grounds, with no explanation. Now imagine that they do not even have any open guidelines for their MD degree but just choose who they will award them to by recommendation. Would you want to go to a doctor that had a diploma from that kind of school or one who graduated from an AMA-accredited school? It's not a tough choice, is it?

Now if I want to study an art like kendo then sure, ranking is something I will look for. In kendo, every rank is tested for based on centralized, competitive standards and the goal of organizations like the IKF, I suspect, is to establish a standardized kendo that is taught more or less the same everywhere in the same way that McDonalds tries to have food that tastes more or less the same no matter where in the world you buy it. It's a very modern approach to martial arts, and if you want the "taste" of IKF kendo, then look for rank from IKF-affiliated groups. Simple.

The contrast to this model is the koryu-ha, which are organizations designed to limit and restrict knowledge and thus to maintain an unique, local "flavor". I think aikido is fascinating to look at and also quite problematic because it tries to combine these two very different models. This is particularly true in the aikikai, which allows a great deal of freedom for its affiliates to follow their own style under some general guidelines. When you look at people like, for example, Kato and Chiba, both direct students of the same man, their styles are so different that it's almost as if they are doing different martial arts.

Perhaps groups like the Yoshikan and Shodokan try to establish a more standardized practice throughout their organizations, but even here these are quite different attempts by direct students of the same man as the other two trying to take their own interpretation of what they learned from him and standardize it. The interesting thing about the aikido Moriehei Ueshiba taught is that it seems as if it was never meant to be standardized, which I something I personally like about it. The problem is that this makes it a very bad martial art for building an organization.

The aikikai has tried to walk a fine line between maintaining the spirit of allowing individual "flavors" of the art while still trying to establish enough general standards (or perhaps just the illusion of them) to build a worldwide organization. One problem is that these standards are in no way clear or rigorous enough to support a ranking system that means anything, so you have an aikikai shodan, for example, that is completely different in pretty much every way you want to look at it depending on where it comes from. The idea that belonging to such an organization or having qualifications from them is a very good measure of credibility is very much questionable.

Again, I'd be more inclined to look at rank as an important qualification in other organizations that try to create a more standardized curriculum, but that assumes that I'm only looking for that particular flavor. And even those standards are no where near as rigorous as those of an organization like AMA, so there's still no meaningful comparison there, nor does there need to be. Martial arts are just a hobby that people do for fun. Nobody's life is at stake, and if it is, they shouldn't be getting their primary training studying a traditional martial art.

Organizations, including the aikikai, have been very successful at making this art available to a lot of people who might not otherwise have any exposure to it. I think it's important to respect that. However, this does not mean that these organizations should be accorded the kind of blind loyalty that many who belong to them often offer, generally at the encouragement of those very same organizations who are competing with other organizations and independent teachers for money and student loyalty. Organizations should serve people, not the other way around. Use them if they suit your purposes, discard them if they do not.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-15-2007 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:25 PM   #16
aikidoc
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

True, an aikikai shodan can be different in how they execute a technique based on the lineage of their instructor. However, the aikikai establishes the techniques to be tested on as a minimum. Organizations can and do expect more.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:58 PM   #17
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
I think those who judge credibility by membership in an organization are abdicating their responsibility to think for themselves and reach their own judgment about an individual on his or her own merits. While I would say that there are some organizations in which membership would immediately call into questions one's credibility, I don't know of any organizations in which membership would make someone instantly credible to me.

Finally, being a student and having a teacher does not necessarily have anything to do with belonging to an organization. One can belong to an organization for political reasons without putting much faith it in its leaders as teachers. I know a couple of people who operate dojos and that by their own admission (privately, of course) fall into this category. One can also be a student of a teacher without being a part of that person's organization, assuming that person even has one. The student-teacher relationship is something that occurs directly, in person, between two people. It cannot be reduced to something written down on a piece of paper.
I couldn't agree more.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 10-15-2007, 10:11 PM   #18
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Thanks for your comment and I'm sorry you didn't like the analogy.

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
I'm not sure why people keep coming back to the idea of martial arts ranking being in any way like professional qualifications. They are different in very important ways.
I agree that martial arts, especially aikido, have different ranking procedures and organisational styles than the medical profession. The principle of people pooling their knowledge within an organisation to establish standards that are recognised was my point and the analogy with martial arts and medicine can be applied to many other arts and professions, regardless of their inner workings or inherent accuracy in ranking. If one feels rank is important, recognised authorities are relevant.

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
The idea that belonging to such an organization or having qualifications from them is a very good measure of credibility is very much questionable.
Credibility and actual skill can be very different. I would agree that a qualification in aikido is not necessarily a very good measure of actual skill. However, it is still a measure and with regards to recognition, my opinion and experience is that a qualification from a small organisation that no one has heard of is not afforded the same kudos as one from any of the bigger organisations. I'm not saying that's fair, but that's how it is so it just depends how important having a recognised rank is to you. Regarding skill, some martial arts genius could land on your doorstep, but the ranking you receive from Kev's Boondocks-kai will probably not travel as well as those awards handed out by a well known organisation. Fortunately the skills will. I personally think the skills themselves are way more important than recognition of them.

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Organizations, including the aikikai, have been very successful at making this art available to a lot of people who might not otherwise have any exposure to it. I think it's important to respect that. However, this does not mean that these organizations should be accorded the kind of blind loyalty that many who belong to them often offer, generally at the encouragement of those very same organizations who are competing with other organizations and independent teachers for money and student loyalty. Organizations should serve people, not the other way around. Use them if they suit your purposes, discard them if they do not.
I totally agree with this and rest assured that no blind loyalty was expected or given here. A cool feature of aikido is that since we are all different, we all have our own individual path to walk. On the way, I've tried a few flavours while looking for a balanced diet that suits my pallet.


Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Martial arts are just a hobby that people do for fun. Nobody's life is at stake, and if it is, they shouldn't be getting their primary training studying a traditional martial art.
From where I am on my path, things look very different. I see friends going back to countries where their skills will make a huge difference to their personal safety and the safety of their students. For that matter, I'm sure there are plenty of doormen, cops, military personnel, paramedics and others in your own country who would also view that very differently.

Kind regards

Carl
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:19 AM   #19
G DiPierro
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I agree that martial arts, especially aikido, have different ranking procedures and organisational styles than the medical profession. The principle of people pooling their knowledge within an organisation to establish standards that are recognised was my point and the analogy with martial arts and medicine can be applied to many other arts and professions, regardless of their inner workings or inherent accuracy in ranking. If one feels rank is important, recognised authorities are relevant.
The problem I see in martial arts, including both aikido and almost every other art, is that just about anyone or any group can claim to be an "authority" and that claim is never questioned by the majority of the people. Or when it is questioned, it is done so haphazardly by people with arbitrary standards that are based more on the political indoctrination and ideology of whatever group they belong to rather than any kind of meaningful objective measure of skill as a martial artist.

This is generally not true in real professions like medicine, law, and academia because there are established standards that are universally recognized and competitively administered. Of course, there are still politics in these fields, like any other human endeavor, but the systems are designed to take that out as much as possible and create an objective measure of training, qualification, and regulation that even people with differing political ideologies can all agree represents a fair and credible standard.

There is no such system in martial arts. It is quite easy to get a group of martial artists together and call yourselves authorities and nobody will ever do anything to stop you. Maybe some people on an Internet martial arts forum will say bad things about you, but other than that nobody will care. Try the same thing in one of the regulated professions I mentioned earlier -- for example, start calling yourself a laywer because your uncle was a lawyer and you claim he taught you every thing you needed to know -- and see what happens. You will have a lot more problems than what people on the Internet say about you.

As I said, martial arts are a specialty hobby that nobody cares much about unless they practice them. It doesn't really matter whether somebody is teaching something that will actually work because most people practice just to have fun and play at being a martial artist with their friends. They aren't training to actually use what they learn so why should it matter if doesn't work? And to be quite honest, if people did care enough about martial arts to establish the kind of objective standards of quality that exist in real professions, I think a lot of people with solid credentials from major organizations that you would probably consider to be "recognized authorities" would have a tough time meeting them.

Quote:
From where I am on my path, things look very different. I see friends going back to countries where their skills will make a huge difference to their personal safety and the safety of their students. For that matter, I'm sure there are plenty of doormen, cops, military personnel, paramedics and others in your own country who would also view that very differently.
I know cops, military guys, doormen, court and corrections officers, etc. Many of them have been and are students of mine. None of them train in traditional martial arts as a primary means of self-defense. Although they might occasionally use something they learned in such studies on the job, they practice MA because they enjoy it. If your life is at stake you need very different training than you get in a martial arts class. In most cases your first stop should be the firing range. Even the unarmed DT courses that cops take are a very different animal than traditional martial arts, and the trend in such fields is and will continue to be towards the use of non-lethal technology, like the taser, to reduce the need for hand-to-hand training as much as possible. Anything that takes hundreds of hours just to start learning the basics well enough to practice them is impractical for those who risk their lives professionally.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-16-2007 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:17 PM   #20
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

Thanks again Giancarlo, for taking the time to respond my comments.

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
The problem I see in martial arts, including both aikido and almost every other art, is that just about anyone or any group can claim to be an "authority" and that claim is never questioned by the majority of the people.
I'd agree with that, which is why lineage is also important, although also no guarantee, then actually giving it a go is your next best indicator. I know that unlike the medical profession, people aren't usually choosing sensei as a matter of life and death. I think the thing that's grating with my analogy is this idea:
  • Big Organisation = in safe, professional hands
  • Small or unrecognised organisation = quack that will probably get you killed

Sorry, I didn't intend to push that opinion, although I do think the equivalent of a quack is more likely to go unexposed outside of the collective knowledge bases. I was addressing ranking. I came from a small, unrecognised organisation myself and what I've noticed is:
  • Big Organisation = Ranking usually recognised
  • Small or unheard of organisation = no one believes your grade until they see you in action or hear something about lineage.

It's superficial, but true. The latter case is sometimes a good thing but some people do practise aikido professionally. You mentioned that you have students of your own. I'm not saying it would be fair if people didn't go to you because you weren't part of a larger organisation, but it would probably happen. It's a cross you would have to bear. It's in this aspect that I think organisations are important for ranking, but ranking isn't the be-all-and-end all and it's no big loss if you don't have the recognition, especially if Aikido is just a hobby. Lineage and ultimately actual skill are more important than rank for most people anyway.

I guess there are already enough threads on the combat effectiveness of aikido. I fall into the camp that believes in it, and this of course affects my opinion on professionalism within aikido too. I'll happily admit that it's not an exact science. Aikido is such a young martial art anyway (albeit with ancient roots). Some of the founder's direct students are still teaching the art and people who were born after Osensei passed away can still get to be his magodeshi. We're still building the art and we're still trying to understand what Osensei created. I wouldn't write it off as a mere hobby.

Respectfully

Carl
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:30 AM   #21
G DiPierro
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
... I do think the equivalent of a quack is more likely to go unexposed outside of the collective knowledge bases.
I'm not sure I'd agree with this. What I have found is that within a certain community (including the majority of people who practice aikido as part of a major organization, as many people on this and other aikido forums do), those who are not part of a major organization are immediately suspect and it is often considered acceptable to insult and ridicule them for their offenses, whether perceived or real. On the other hand, people who are part of a major organization, and especially those who are higher up in such organizations, are automatically considered legitimate and are usually afforded the benefit of the doubt. Instead of subjecting them to criticism, any errors that they appear to be making are rationalized in various ways to make those errors seem unimportant or irrelevant, and those who do dare to engage in any criticism of them are the ones more likely to be attacked for being "disrespectful".

Because of this tendency to assume that qualifications from a major organization are beyond question, these organizations often enable people of lesser skill who have managed to climb the political ladder to maintain a veneer of respectability based on the illusion that they have a lot more skill than they do. In my opinion, this starts at the highest level in the aikikai (which is a good example since it is the biggest and most widely recognized organization) and is a widespread problem there. The overly-compliant style of ukemi used in that and many other aikido organizations allows this practice to continue without the majority of the students noticing what is going on. They are told, explicitly or implicitly, never to challenge the teacher, and many never think to ask why because they just assume or are told that this is the "traditional" way and that this is how things should or must be in a dojo (never mind that in any number of other arts this is not the case).

Because martial arts organizations do not have rigorous, independently verified, competitively administered, objective standards as professional organizations do, such people never have to be challenged on their lack of skill by those outside of their own dojo or organization either. As long as they manage to keep the one or two people in charge of issuing their credentials happy, they can have the backing of a major, well-respected (in certain circles, at least) organization and can avoid having their skills tested in any meaningful way. It's not hard to see how such a system is inherently prone to corruption and thus would be considered wholly inadequate for any professional or any other kind of organization where failing to maintaining a certain level of quality could have real consequences.

If you want to respect the rank that comes from major aikido organizations, as many people here and elsewhere do, that's up to you. Organizations are not inherently bad and they have done a lot to contribute to the art, although they do have a tendency to take on a life of their own and advance their own goals at the expense of those of their membership. Usually in a big organization you are assured of at least a certain typically mediocre level of quality, and while there are a few outstanding people, the excellent people who stay in the organizations tend to be pulled down towards the norm and are often prevented from exploring new avenues of discovery that could take them away from or beyond what other people in their group are doing. This is especially true in the big groups with large, established hierarchies and this trend will likely continue as their styles become more standardized. On the other hand, those of truly no talent usually do not end up in positions of power in major organizations, as they often do in the soke-dokey groups. So if you are happy with mediocre and don't have the ability to recognize total crap when you see it, then an organization is a safe choice. If you want the best, you will have to evaluate individuals for yourself, and you might be just as likely, if not more so, to find what you want outside of an organization as inside one.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-17-2007 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:35 PM   #22
Avery Jenkins
 
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

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Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
I'm not sure why people keep coming back to the idea of martial arts ranking being in any way like professional qualifications. They are different in very important ways.

The AMA has a monopoly on the qualification process for doctors of allopathic medicine in the US. This process is open, rigorous, and competitive. You take a competitively graded exam to get into an accredited medical school, pass a competitive admissions process, then take and must pass many courses taught separately by independent instructors and also graded with competitive exams before you receive a MD degree.
In fact, the AMA does *not* have a monopoly on the qualifications/licensing of physicians in the U.S. That was decided by the U.S. District Court Judge Susan Getzendanner, who stated that a the AMA had engaged in a "lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott" designed to reliminate the profession of chiropractic as a competitor in the U.S. health care system.

Of course, the AMA failed, because people have demanded an alternative to one-pill-fits-all medicine, and chiropractic physicians such as myself are working overtime to meet the demand.

In the same way, aikido has developed many branches, because it serves many needs.

Last edited by Avery Jenkins : 10-17-2007 at 07:36 PM. Reason: spelling correction

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Old 10-17-2007, 08:58 PM   #23
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

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I'm not sure I'd agree with this. What I have found is that within a certain community (including the majority of people who practice aikido as part of a major organization, as many people on this and other aikido forums do), those who are not part of a major organization are immediately suspect and it is often considered acceptable to insult and ridicule them for their offenses, whether perceived or real. On the other hand, people who are part of a major organization, and especially those who are higher up in such organizations, are automatically considered legitimate and are usually afforded the benefit of the doubt. Instead of subjecting them to criticism, any errors that they appear to be making are rationalized in various ways to make those errors seem unimportant or irrelevant, and those who do dare to engage in any criticism of them are the ones more likely to be attacked for being "disrespectful".
Actually, the only thing I disagree with here is the idea that it is often acceptable to insult any organisation, big or small. Apart from that, I fully agree that for some people, not being in a major organisation is regarded with suspicion. That was the point I was trying to make in the first place. Of course the reverse exists too with people within small organisations claiming the larger ones don't offer the real deal. In either case, the smarter people confirm or dispel their suspicions. Regarding the reality of the situation, if big organisations were to have poor standards, it would be more beneficial to help them out rather than just making generalisations and trying to discredit them. Aikido is not a competition and if a small body truly has more to offer, surely they should endeavour to share it with all of us?

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In the same way, aikido has developed many branches, because it serves many needs.
Nice point. I'd add that trees are nourished from both roots and branches.
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Old 10-18-2007, 03:25 AM   #24
G DiPierro
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

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Avery Jenkins wrote: View Post
In fact, the AMA does *not* have a monopoly on the qualifications/licensing of physicians in the U.S. That was decided by the U.S. District Court Judge Susan Getzendanner, who stated that a the AMA had engaged in a "lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott" designed to reliminate the profession of chiropractic as a competitor in the U.S. health care system.
I never said anything about "the qualifications [or] licensing of physicians." I said that the AMA has a monopoly on "the qualification process for doctors of allopathic medicine in the US." Since you are a DC, I'm surprised that you are not aware of the distinction between medical alternatives, including chiropractic, and allopathic medicine. No court has ever challenged the AMA's monopoly on the licensing of persons allowed to prescribe legend drugs and I doubt that one will any time soon. Why? Because the AMA's standards are fair and objective. If you want access to those substances as a way to treat your patients, you do what they say, and nobody has any serious problem with that.

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Avery Jenkins wrote: View Post
Of course, the AMA failed, because people have demanded an alternative to one-pill-fits-all medicine, and chiropractic physicians such as myself are working overtime to meet the demand.

In the same way, aikido has developed many branches, because it serves many needs.
Your implication that allopathic medicine and chiropractic are like different forms of aikido makes little sense. While alternative therapies have their place, they are not based on objective, scientific proof. Because there is no proven alternative for conventional medicine in any kind of critical situation requiring immediate medical attention, the AMA must ensure that those to whom it issues credentials have qualified through a universally accepted, competitively administered, objective training and testing process. Since no aikido organization can make a similar claim of legitimacy based on widely accepted, objectively-proven standards, there is no support for the notion that credentials from any aikido organization or group of organizations should be considered similar to professional qualifications in medicine, law, or academia. Unlike such professional credentials, aikido "credentials" from any organization are neither necessary nor sufficient indicators of proper training.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Regarding the reality of the situation, if big organisations were to have poor standards, it would be more beneficial to help them out rather than just making generalisations and trying to discredit them. Aikido is not a competition and if a small body truly has more to offer, surely they should endeavour to share it with all of us?
Well I can't speak for other independents but I myself would be happy to help the big organizations by sharing my suggestions on how to improve their standards and practices. If any people from such organizations would like my advice on this matter, either in person or in written form, please feel free to contact me. However, my experience leads me to believe that organizations both big and small are not interested in such outside input and would prefer to keep doing things the way they are they currently doing them. If I'm wrong about that I'd be happy to see them change, but realistically I don't have very high expectations. I've seen how deeply people are entrenched in their own way of doing things and how hard they will fight to stay there, even when they have been freely shown a better way.

This is true not only in aikido but in almost all areas of human behavior, although aikido organizations by their very nature tend to promote such reactionary behavior rather than working to create an environment where people are encouraged to experiment and innovate. I don't think many people would argue with that characterization of aikido organizations, including those who consider them to be like professional organizations in medicine, law, or academics where such innovation is built into the system. Without this key principle, all you have are a bunch of people maneuvering for political clout, always afraid to do anything that might upset the status quo. As I suggested, I think the only reason people tolerate this in aikido and other martial arts organization is because these groups really don't matter to those who are not members of them. They are truly much closer in structure and function to religions and social clubs than they are to any kind of professional group that the general public must rely on for essential services.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 10-18-2007 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:15 AM   #25
dps
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Re: Organizations- How important are they to you?

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We grouped together, and founded a fellowship to teach, practice, and continue learning.
Another organization.

Basically, an organization is a group of people intentionally organized to accomplish an overall, common goal or set of goals. http://www.managementhelp.org/org_thry/org_defn.htm

I would not be practicing Aikido now if not for the USAF and JAA/USA.

Credibility and respect are earned by your behavior, not by your membership in an organization.

David

Last edited by dps : 10-18-2007 at 08:19 AM.
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