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Old 04-28-2008, 12:57 PM   #51
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
So if Saotome sensei passes away, will Ikeda sensei still be able to promote with aikikai signed rants (in effect giving him some super shihan privileges)? Or would he have to officially become aikikai? What would become of aikikai Summer camps? No we step THEN turn! NO we turn THEN step! It'd be a blood bath.
Rob, some adjustments will be made but plans are in place to transition. It is an issue that has been addressed but one none of us wants to put in place for several more years yet. Given the weekend we just had with Saotome Sensei there are many more yet to come.

Dennis Hooker

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Old 04-28-2008, 06:37 PM   #52
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
...
One of the problems about threads such as this is that people come and ask questions here, when they should really sending these questions to the Aikikai directly, addressed to Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu. I think that if Doshu received enough letters from ordinary aikido people, asking him questions like those you are asking, he might realise that he needs to give answers.
Hello Prof.,

Perhaps a good soul could suggest to the webmaster for Aikikai Hombu website to put in a Q&A section

Regards

David Y
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:41 PM   #53
dragonteeth
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
One of the problems about threads such as this is that people come and ask questions here, when they should really sending these questions to the Aikikai directly, addressed to Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu. I think that if Doshu received enough letters from ordinary aikido people, asking him questions like those you are asking, he might realise that he needs to give answers.
I for one wouldn't feel significant enough to expect an answer from Hombu. Maybe there is a perception of inaccessibility to the common student? I think there might also be a fear of losing face by asking a question that is either disrespectful/offensive from a Japanese point of view or seen as stupid because there, the answer is common knowledge. It's truly a privilege to have folks like yourself who have feet firmly planted in both worlds to answer these questions.

It would be a wonderful thing to see some of the issues discussed here captured in either an aikiwiki or aikido faq article, if it has not been already. There are a lot of organizational questions that some of us lower ranked folks might have but are afraid to ask (or unable to obtain an answer to through normal channels). Yes, most of it has very little to do with our training until we hit the middle dan rankings. Nevertheless, it might result in a lot of things making more sense along the way, especially if we have to change organizations mid-stream due to relocation.

Thanks again for all your patient answers!
Lori
(who was, btw, voted most likely to have a question by her graduating class!)
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:53 PM   #54
rob_liberti
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Rod,
Question. Why would the shodan from Tamura Sensei have needed your support to obtain his second dan? He would normally have asked Tamura Sensei to have graded him for nidan--that is, unless he had already abandoned Tamura Sensei as his instructor.
Answer, he was living in Connecticut for an indefinate amount of time. He trained in my dojo for maybe 2 years. I wasn't thinking too much about promotions until one day I really saw how great he had started moving and I thought this guy is sandan ability and shodan rank - I need to get him promoted to at least nidan. Later - sometime that week - he told me that he had decided to take another job in Europe. As far as I was concerned, had he remained in CT and he trained at my dojo with me doing my aikido, it was up to me. I don't really understand why Tamura sensei would have been involved with a promotion for that student (say for instance he had stayed in Connecticut for the rest of his life).

Hooker sensei - I certainly wasn't trying to knock Saotome sensei off!!! Just wondering how the shihan/super shihan deal worked post mortem.

Rob
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:52 PM   #55
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Answer, he was living in Connecticut for an indefinate amount of time. He trained in my dojo for maybe 2 years. I wasn't thinking too much about promotions until one day I really saw how great he had started moving and I thought this guy is sandan ability and shodan rank - I need to get him promoted to at least nidan. Later - sometime that week - he told me that he had decided to take another job in Europe. As far as I was concerned, had he remained in CT and he trained at my dojo with me doing my aikido, it was up to me. I don't really understand why Tamura sensei would have been involved with a promotion for that student (say for instance he had stayed in Connecticut for the rest of his life).

Hooker sensei - I certainly wasn't trying to knock Saotome sensei off!!! Just wondering how the shihan/super shihan deal worked post mortem.

Rob
Hello Rob,

My question was really about your own powers to hold grading examinations and award dan ranks. Would you yourself have graded him, or would your teacher Mr Gleason, or Saotome Shihan? For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 04-28-2008, 10:50 PM   #56
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.

Best wishes,

PAG
Peter,
In my case, my 'lineage' being started by Iwao Yamaguchi, will other shihan have nothing to do with any of my dan promotions? I have never attempted (or desired) a dan grading since returning to the US, but I am a bit curious. You do seem to be in a very informative mood.
Ricky
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:31 PM   #57
rob_liberti
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Rob,

My question was really about your own powers to hold grading examinations and award dan ranks. Would you yourself have graded him, or would your teacher Mr Gleason, or Saotome Shihan? For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.

Best wishes,

PAG
Peter, sorry for being unclear.

About the previous affiliation, I simply take it as a given that if someone in that situation is asked to test they would let me know if they are still staying with their original lineage or not. As far as I understood he was living in CT forever (and Tamura sensei doesn't visit me - but he's very welcome to do so of course!).

As far as I go, I have no power to promote dan ranks. What I meant was as his active teacher, I would have put him up for promotion in the ASU. It would certainly be at Gleason sensei's dojo while one of the ASU shihan were there. Even if it weren't necessary, you kind of want the students to be known by the main teachers.

When Akira Tohei sensei passed and Kanai sensei passed, students in their lineages were already officially in the aikikai so I can see how their students could continue to promote aikikai dan ranks. My curiosity was sparked when I read that ASU is not officially in the aikikai, so the obvious question is what will happen in terms of aikikai ranks when we no longer have a super shihan. I get the feeling that the subject is taboo. I had no idea. Apologies...

Rob
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:40 PM   #58
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Hello Lori,

A few more observations.

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
I for one wouldn't feel significant enough to expect an answer from Hombu. Maybe there is a perception of inaccessibility to the common student? I think there might also be a fear of losing face by asking a question that is either disrespectful/offensive from a Japanese point of view or seen as stupid because there, the answer is common knowledge. It's truly a privilege to have folks like yourself who have feet firmly planted in both worlds to answer these questions.
But if you never ask the 'silly questions', you never realize whether and why and how they are silly. In my opinion, the sheer magnitude of the postwar shift in aikido, from being an exclusive, elitist art centered round the Founder in a collection of individual dojos headed by a direct disciple who trained all the hours of the day, to being a vast international operation, available to anyone to pursue, depending on time, family responsibilities, available options etc, is still not understood by many people in the aikido world, especially in Japan. It was certainly not grasped by the Founder.

I was having dinner with an 8th dan Aikikai shihan recently and the conversation turned to his life as a deshi at the Hombu. (As usual, I was the one asking the 'silly' questions.) What was looking after the Founder really like? What did he talk about, when he was not consciously being The Founder, giving one of his arcane discourses? Did he ever make small talk? The shihan looked a little stunned and confessed that in all his years as a deshi, he had never, ever asked O Sensei a question. This was simply not the kind of thing a deshi would do. I could not believe it!

I was reminded of Ellis Amdur's story about Terry Dobson. Terry once asked O Sensei a question about the triangle, square and circle and O Sensei told Terry to find out for himself. What Ellis did not mention was that Terry probably did not endear himself to his Japanese fellow-deshi by breaking ranks in such a way and, as it turned out, he had no place in the Hombu after O Sensei died.

I have never been treated as Terry was by O Sensei. The only 'blunt' answer I have ever received was from a certain shihan, now passed away, who told me to wait until I knew enough Japanese, so that I could really understand the answers. Actually, I remember Kisshomaru Doshu telling me at some point that he was very happy that I had learned Japanese, because now we could talk. However, even Kisshomaru Doshu was not someone you could argue with.

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
It would be a wonderful thing to see some of the issues discussed here captured in either an aikiwiki or aikido faq article, if it has not been already. There are a lot of organizational questions that some of us lower ranked folks might have but are afraid to ask (or unable to obtain an answer to through normal channels). Yes, most of it has very little to do with our training until we hit the middle dan rankings. Nevertheless, it might result in a lot of things making more sense along the way, especially if we have to change organizations mid-stream due to relocation.
Well, in my experience it is the middle dan ranks where all the trouble starts. The most difficult ranks are 3rd, 4th and 5th dan. If you relate this to the supposed equivalent skill level, the lower ranks are still too low: you do not know enough, whereas in the upper ranks you have gained a certain maturity. You know all the issues and it is most likely at this level that you have gained the humility that is essential for you to see what your skill level really is--and accept it. However, even 5th dans need to be nurtured, to feel that someone knows their problems and is there when needed. Many very senior shihans cannot play this nurturing role effectively.

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
Thanks again for all your patient answers!
Lori
(who was, btw, voted most likely to have a question by her graduating class!)
No problem, but please understand that I could never come on this website and claim to speak on Doshu's behalf. I do not have such a role.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 04-29-2008, 12:00 AM   #59
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
When Akira Tohei sensei passed and Kanai sensei passed, students in their lineages were already officially in the aikikai so I can see how their students could continue to promote aikikai dan ranks. My curiosity was sparked when I read that ASU is not officially in the aikikai, so the obvious question is what will happen in terms of aikikai ranks when we no longer have a super shihan. I get the feeling that the subject is taboo. I had no idea. Apologies...

Rob
Rob,

I think there is a misunderstanding here. At Kisshomaru Doshu's funeral I met Saotome Shihan for the first time. My understanding is that the ASU is very much in the Aikikai. Simply, it is not one of the organizations listed on the Aikikai's website as having Recognition from the Aikikai, given in accordance with the Aikikai's posted International Regulations.

Apart from the USAF, which was recognized when the IAF was founded, all the organizations listed have sought Recognition from the Aikikai and received it. However, Saotome Sensei established a different connection with the Aikikai, via Kisshomaru Doshu directly, and I am pretty sure that this has been maintained by the present Doshu. I am also confident that if anything were to happen to Saotome Sensei, the Aikikai would take all the necessary steps to maintain the relationship.

However, I might be wrong. I am assuming in this post that yudansha whose the dan ranks are awarded by Saotome Shihan have numbered Aikikai membership cards, receive numbered dan diplomas signed by Doshu, and also have dark blue yudansha passports. Is this not the case?

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 04-29-2008, 12:25 AM   #60
rob_liberti
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Rob,
I am assuming in this post that yudansha whose the dan ranks are awarded by Saotome Shihan have numbered Aikikai membership cards, receive numbered dan diplomas signed by Doshu, and also have dark blue yudansha passports. Is this not the case?
That is the case. Thanks. It is very confusing even after reading the clarification. So, if I have this right, ASU is in the Aikikai but not have "Recognition from Aikikai". I do not 100% follow why a connection with the Aikikai established via Kisshomaru Doshu directly does not automatically get the ASU listed on the Akikai's website as having Recognition from the Aikikai. I take it that must require some jumping through unnecessary hoops (for no further gain) or it just became one of those "because that's just not how it's done in Japan" type of things. (Like how a green traffic light is called "blue" in Japanese?)

Thanks for taking the time. -Rob
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:04 AM   #61
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
However, I might be wrong. I am assuming in this post that yudansha whose the dan ranks are awarded by Saotome Shihan have numbered Aikikai membership cards, receive numbered dan diplomas signed by Doshu, and also have dark blue yudansha passports. Is this not the case?

Best wishes,

PAG
Peter,
You are indeed correct. My certificates, after 4th Dan have all come from Hombu Dojo (my earlier certificates were from Saotome Sensei directly - before the rapprochement) and we all have the standard passports... although mine is one of the old ones that doesn't have the cool Doshu pictures...
- George

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Old 04-29-2008, 04:07 AM   #62
Alex Megann
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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David Yap wrote: View Post
Hello Prof Goldsbury,
The complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US is understandable with the number of ‘super shihan' and organizations located there. On a conservative side, assuming the average number of Aikikai aikido practitioners in each state in the US is about 500, then 50 states will have an aggregate of 25,000. There are 5 bodies recognized by Aikikai Hombu and assuming everything is constant, then, there will be an average of 5,000 members in each organization and this is assuming that there are no independents.

This complexity is nothing compared to Malaysia. First of all, the aggregate of Aikikai trainees is less than a thousand at any time; yet, we have 3 bodies/groups recognized by Hombu and 2 other independent dojo. One of the independent dojo is under the technical supervision of Etsuji Horii shihan. In total, we have 3 authorities for grading of yudansha, viz:
You should come to the UK!

We have (at time of writing) five Aikikai-recognised groups here, one Japanese shihan and several native shihan. Two of these organisations (the BAF and the UKA) invite a shihan from Hombu Dojo to teach their respective Summer Schools: in fact Y. Kobayashi Shihan and S. Sugawara Shihan both come every year and alternate between the two groups. Despite this, there is no official contact between the two federations! The Scottish Aikido Federation and the British Aikido Fedaration are closely aligned under Kanetsuka Shihan, but are still recognised separately by the Aikikai: I think the original argument was along the lines of "if England and Scotland can have separate teams in the World Cup, they should have separate Aikido federations" (even though the BAF nominally represents England AND Wales). Apart from these, these is a group affililated to Chiba Shihan's Birankai, and one under Terry Ezra, who also invites shihan from Hombu Dojo.

That's just the "offical" organisations. The British Aikido Board, an umbrella body recognised by the Sports Council, has dozens of groups affiliated to it, of which twenty-two at the last count are nominally "Aikikai" or "traditional" in orientation. None of these has more than a thousand members, and many have fewer than a hundred.

There are long-standing feuds, of course; one group maintains a website dedicated to "British Aikido History", but which devotes most of its effort in attacking a certain prominent individual who they claim has misrepresented his own aikido career.

Aikido history here is certainly labyrinthine...

Alex
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:11 AM   #63
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter,
You are indeed correct. My certificates, after 4th Dan have all come from Hombu Dojo (my earlier certificates were from Saotome Sensei directly - before the rapprochement) and we all have the standard passports... although mine is one of the old ones that doesn't have the cool Doshu pictures...
- George
Hello George,

Thank you. At some point I received a new passport without asking. My assumptions have been confirmed. You might remember a similar discussion about this before: why the ASU is not on the list and why the ASU does not have shihan, shidoin and fukushidoin.

Well, I asked Doshu and he answered that the ASU has special arrangements via Saotome Sensei directly. I do not think it occurred to him that there was an issue for some people that the ASU is not listed on the Aikikai's website. Why? Because nobody tells him. He would need to know there is an issue from the ASU itself.

Certainly not from me. My main duty is to the members of the IAF, of which I am Chairman. Which in the US is the USAF. I have the impression, perhaps wrongly, that relations are somewhat cool between the ASU and the USAF, but I suspect that this is due in part to the history of both organizations in the US.

Anyway, I bow out of this discussion.

PAG

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Old 04-29-2008, 04:26 AM   #64
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
...Well, in my experience it is the middle dan ranks where all the trouble starts. The most difficult ranks are 3rd, 4th and 5th dan. If you relate this to the supposed equivalent skill level, the lower ranks are still too low: you do not know enough, whereas in the upper ranks you have gained a certain maturity. You know all the issues and it is most likely at this level that you have gained the humility that is essential for you to see what your skill level really is--and accept it. However, even 5th dans need to be nurtured, to feel that someone knows their problems and is there when needed. Many very senior shihans cannot play this nurturing role effectively...
This explains most of the complexities here in Malaysia.

Thank you, Prof. Goldsbury.

Kind regards

David Y
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:33 AM   #65
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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This explains most of the complexities here in Malaysia.

Thank you, Prof. Goldsbury.

Kind regards

David Y
David,

I have just sent you a PM.

PAG

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Old 04-29-2008, 07:28 AM   #66
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Hooker sensei - I certainly wasn't trying to knock Saotome sensei off!!! Just wondering how the shihan/super shihan deal worked post mortem.

Rob
Rob, I never thought you were.

Dennis

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Old 04-29-2008, 07:38 AM   #67
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter,
You are indeed correct. My certificates, after 4th Dan have all come from Hombu Dojo (my earlier certificates were from Saotome Sensei directly - before the rapprochement) and we all have the standard passports... although mine is one of the old ones that doesn't have the cool Doshu pictures...
- George
I got a passport somewhere. George the folks are looking forward to your seminar at the Shindai Dojo in July in Orlando. (Are You Nuts) you know how hot it is here in July? Why you let them talk you into a summer seminar I don't know but I'm looking to get out that time of year. Hay maybe I could go to your dojo in July

Peter, I do not believe there is a problem with the ASU not being listed in the Hombu web site it was just a misunderstanding among a few folks as to the nature of the relationship. We, that is the senior teachers in the ASU, needed to pass along information we never thought to pass along.

Dennis Hooker

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Old 04-29-2008, 07:44 AM   #68
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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He would need to know there is an issue from the ASU itself.

Certainly not from me. My main duty is to the members of the IAF, of which I am Chairman. Which in the US is the USAF. I have the impression, perhaps wrongly, that relations are somewhat cool between the ASU and the USAF, but I suspect that this is due in part to the history of both organizations in the US.

Anyway, I bow out of this discussion.
Thanks for your explanations. I have no idea ho to approach Doshu and I doubt it would be my place to do so on behalf of the ASU, but maybe someone reading this...

I actually believe that relations between the organizattons have never been beter. Ikeda sensei and Rick Stickles sensei have been doing some very successful "building bridges" seminars.

I did have a weird experience trying to attend a USAF seminar when Suganuma sensei was coming to CT (where I live). My wife called up to preregister, and she was asked why we wanted to come. (I've attended USAF seminars and summer camps without problems for years.) She explained that we've been visiting Suganuma sensei 's dojo for about a month out of every year for the past decade or so, and since he is in town we would like to see him. My wife was told "why don't you just wait till you see him in Japan again" So... We waited outside before the seminar, greeted him, and carried his bags in for him. We signed the book, paid up, and had a wonderful seminar. I even had a good time getting to take Yamada sensei's ukemi. Since then, I get an email every year inviting me to USAF summer camp.

I'm sure that weird stuff will always continue both ways. But really, no weirder than when I train in the ki society, or any other aikido line with a slightly different orientation towards how to best train.

The thing people need to remember is that 99+% of the people training in USAF or ASU chose the organization based on how close the dojo was to their house - as opposed to whatever politics happened before they were born.

Rob

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Old 04-29-2008, 08:03 AM   #69
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Rob, I never thought you were.

Dennis
Rob, my first name is Dennis and I would be more comfortable if you would drop the Sensei and just call me Dennis. OK?

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Old 04-29-2008, 11:52 AM   #70
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
George the folks are looking forward to your seminar at the Shindai Dojo in July in Orlando. (Are You Nuts) you know how hot it is here in July? Why you let them talk you into a summer seminar I don't know but I'm looking to get out that time of year. Hay maybe I could go to your dojo in July
Hey Dennis,
It wasn't your boys who talked me into it... it was the only weekend I had open. Been traveling like crazy. I will look forward to seeing you there!!!!
- George

George S. Ledyard
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:36 PM   #71
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Peter, I do not believe there is a problem with the ASU not being listed in the Hombu web site it was just a misunderstanding among a few folks as to the nature of the relationship. We, that is the senior teachers in the ASU, needed to pass along information we never thought to pass along.

Dennis Hooker
Hello Dennis,

I didn't think there was a problem, either. I had a long conversation with Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan last year and he had no idea of which organizations in the US had Hombu Recognition (apart from the USAF). So I finally looked at the Hombu's website. The list of organizations is new and appears only in the English section, which Yamada Sensei wouldn't read anyway, and, of course, the ASU does not appear.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 04-30-2008, 10:17 AM   #72
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Dennis,

I didn't think there was a problem, either. I had a long conversation with Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan last year and he had no idea of which organizations in the US had Hombu Recognition (apart from the USAF). So I finally looked at the Hombu's website. The list of organizations is new and appears only in the English section, which Yamada Sensei wouldn't read anyway, and, of course, the ASU does not appear.

Best wishes,

PAG
I'm actually surprised that Yamada Sensei was not aware of the other US organizations with Hombu recognition. So am I to guess correctly that the American-based shihan from the different organizations don't communicate much with each other?

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:12 PM   #73
AsimHanif
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Hi Jennifer.
I think it would be fair to say - some do, and some don't.

Please tell Ed, Carlton, Sulaiman, Cliff etc....I said "hi and I'll see them at camp", if not before.

Regards,
Asim
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:23 PM   #74
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Jennifer Yabut wrote: View Post
So am I to guess correctly that the American-based shihan from the different organizations don't communicate much with each other?
I have no idea about this.

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Old 04-30-2008, 04:57 PM   #75
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Peter,
I am really curious about this comment;
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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
For the Aikikai Hombu, that person's 'lineage' was started by Tamura Shihan and I myself (for example, had he been living here in Hiroshima) would have had nothing to do with his dan promotions unless I knew from Tamura Sensei that this lineage connection had been broken. The Hombu regards this connection as vital.
Iwao Yamaguchi was my sensei at Okinawa Aikikai. At the time I was to be tested for shodan I believe he was yondan. As a result, Moriteru Ueshiba came to our dojo in Okinawa to conduct yudansha testing. I tested for shodan before Moriteru Ueshiba. Now, for my questions;
Is my 'lineage' with Iwao Yamaguchi or with Moriteru Ueshiba?
Would my 'connection' to them need to be clearly broken before another shihan would have anything to do with subsequent dan promotions?
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