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Old 10-07-2001, 11:12 PM   #1
Brian Crowley
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Aikido & Community Service

I have been very impressed by what I have read on Gaku Homma's web site regarding his organization's commitment to (global) community service.

If your dojo regularly participates in community servive I would love to hear some of your experiences (good/bad).

If your dojo doesn't, how do you think the members would react if there were a policy that members were expected to help out with certain projects during the year as part of their membership ?

My opinion is that the benefits of a policy like this would be great for a dojo (and the members), however I realize that with the busy schedules of teachers & students, it might not be very practical for many dojos.

Brian Crowley
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Old 10-08-2001, 12:48 AM   #2
Datamike
Dojo: Aikibudo Turku ry.
Location: Finland
Join Date: Sep 2001
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Thumbs down Community Service

What you are suggesting is not a bad idea. In fact, it's great idea. But I think it's a bad ruling to expect the members of your dojo to do community service as a requirement. If they want to participate, fine, but give them the opportunity to decline.

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Old 10-08-2001, 06:46 AM   #3
ian
 
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Yep - I also think its a great idea but worry about making aikido have religious or political implications. Although has affected my own ethics I would like to follow Ueshibas example and not force religious or ethical beliefs on anyone. Aikido is primarily a self-defence for me, and the ethics comes out of my understanding of aikido, rather than my understanding of aikido being based on the ethics.

Saying this - I would like to hear more of how you organise this as some people in N.Ireland (often the most religiously zealous) view martial arts in a very poor light and I would consider setting a voluntary scheme by the side of aikido - but not directly related to it. (Like anything - its not the titles or classifications we give our-selves and others that matter, its what we do).

Ian
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:58 PM   #4
Irem Bray
Dojo: Turunc
Location: Marmaris
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

Hi Brian,

I had the honour of meeting and even hosting Gaku Homma in my home for an afternoon, here in Marmaris, just as I was starting Aikido. Our dojo started as a voluntary project, and Gaku Homma I heard later from my teacher gave his blessing. It had been a year since we started teaching village kids. Recently a father has become a student as well. I will post more staff about us elsewhere later.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:41 AM   #5
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

Onegaishimasu. I have always been a believer in the idea of the
'village dojo'. The dojo should naturally be a place of refuge, where young and old alike can gather, to exercise and learn their natural right of self defense. That said, taking care of the community is a form of self defense.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 06-17-2008, 06:55 AM   #6
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

Quote:
Brian Crowley wrote: View Post
If your dojo doesn't, how do you think the members would react if there were a policy that members were expected to help out with certain projects during the year as part of their membership ?
I think the reaction would be pretty strongly negative, and with good reason. I don't believe that "community service", by any definition, is implied in the title "aikido dojo". Like any organization that takes up space, we have a certain basic obligation to be good neighbors, which we are: we don't park on people's lawns, we don't have late loud drunken parties, we keep up our grounds neatly, etc. But what, precisely, is the aim of compelling members to take part in some kind of "community service"? To gain brownie points? To force members to serve sensei's notion of a worthwhile cause? Maybe sensei is big on programs for preschoolers, and maybe I personally believe that the elders of our community are more underserved. Or, radical thought this, maybe I've got an elder or a young child of my own at home who needs my care and attention. Let people decide for themselves when, where, how and if to put their shoulder to the wheel. You can't compel charity.
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:20 AM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

I think that service to the DOJO community is what I would consider appropriate. Anything else makes dojo members subject to the dojocho's world view vis a vis social issues, culture, religion, etc when it comes to selecting a "service" to do.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:35 PM   #8
jennifer paige smith
 
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Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I think that service to the DOJO community is what I would consider appropriate. Anything else makes dojo members subject to the dojocho's world view vis a vis social issues, culture, religion, etc when it comes to selecting a "service" to do.
I agree with this with the caveat that the Dojo does not make claims that they are providing for 'the community' (meaning the broader community) by providing services only within their own walls to a benefit greater to themselves than to the benefit of the "the community."

Indeed, it should be discerned what someone means when they say community.

I've been greatly impressed and inspired by Homma Sensei's Mission and I follow in-step because it suits me and my mission of service for this world, which also translates to my dojo as I'm the dojo-cho.

I ask my teen students to provide service to someone, be it mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor or putting time aside to help their siblings do their homework. And we, as a dojo, tithe $ and goods to the greater community. My dojo is not a non-profit, and so it is my choice to do this with our funds. And I 'spose having a program that runs in out of the way places to provide aikido to people who wouldn't otherwise be exposed is a form of service. But the bottom line is I do this because it does my heart and the heart of the dojo good.

To each their own.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:49 PM   #9
lbb
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

Jennifer, I think what you're talking about can be an okay thing if it's upfront, and people coming in that it's part of what the dojo is about (which they definitely would at Nippon Kan). I do see a potential for problems in a situation where there's a nonspecific statement like, "We have periodic fundraisers for charity," and then one individual (or a few individuals) decide which charity is worthy based on their own personal values. The potential for problems turns into a likelihood, IMO, when people join the dojo and then afterwards someone decides that the dojo has a charity mission and starts putting the arm on people.
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:52 AM   #10
Aviv
Dojo: Aikido in Fredericksburg
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

For those who are interested in community service to the "Aikido community", I suggest you check out Aiki-Extensions.org. Aiki Extensions is a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring aikido principles off the mat and into the world.

Peace, Aviv Goldsmith
Aikido in Fredericksburg
www.aikidoinfredericksburg.org
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:47 PM   #11
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Jennifer, I think what you're talking about can be an okay thing if it's upfront, and people coming in that it's part of what the dojo is about (which they definitely would at Nippon Kan). I do see a potential for problems in a situation where there's a nonspecific statement like, "We have periodic fundraisers for charity," and then one individual (or a few individuals) decide which charity is worthy based on their own personal values. The potential for problems turns into a likelihood, IMO, when people join the dojo and then afterwards someone decides that the dojo has a charity mission and starts putting the arm on people.
Thanks
Yeah, no kidding, that is a problem. In that instance I would leave the dojo. And If you look back at my post again you can see that I do allude to some of the duplicitous or unjust uses of other peoples money or volunteerism( is that a word?) that can occur in such situations. In other words there needs to be agreement, transparency and integrity. Walk your walk. (This is starting to sound a lot like Aiki technique.hmmmm.smiles)

In my dojo (literally mine as I operate a sole proprietorship dojo) we haven't had any fundraisers(yet). I use portions of the 'profit' of my privately funded business in charitable ways.If we were to have a fundraiser it would be transparent and up front exactly where that $ was going. Hopefully raising social awareness through transparency.

I would like to move even more toward the model of the Nippon Kan. That is a part of the character of my dojo and IMO it is a portion of the character of living a spiritual life in support and in protection of all living things. And I'd like to inspire others through my acts, just as Homma Sensei has done.I do have hopes that other dojos in my area, and in other areas, will read this and take up a similar way of operating.

But,again,that is my dojo and to each their own.

Thanks for your great response.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 06-21-2008 at 03:58 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:50 PM   #12
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

Quote:
Aviv Goldsmith wrote: View Post
For those who are interested in community service to the "Aikido community", I suggest you check out Aiki-Extensions.org. Aiki Extensions is a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring aikido principles off the mat and into the world.
I attest to the quality and work of this organization. I'm a member and I'd encourage others to join and to join in.

Gambatte!

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:47 AM   #13
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

If you are on the Central CA Coast this coming weekend you might consider attending this super fun event thrown by Ted Mancuso's Chinese MA Academy. This fundraiser is to benefit St. Judes Children Hospital.

All on the up & up.

Charity BBQ and Martial Arts Demo - An afternoon of good food, raffles, music, and Martial Arts Demonstrations. All proceeds benefit St. Judes Children's Research Hospital. Sat., June 28, 1pm. Academy of Martial Arts, 1570 Soquel Dr, Santa Cruz, 831.475.1429.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 06-25-2008, 06:44 PM   #14
JamesC
Location: Fayetteville, AR, USA
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Re: Aikido & Community Service

How do you all feel about requiring your students to work around the Dojo itself?

Cleaning the mats and practice area should be a normal activity anyhow, but what about places that might require more? Perhaps gardening, cleaning of the changing rooms, bathrooms, etc. Stuff that keeps the Dojo going in an efficient manner?

Or do you see these as duties of the owner?

My personal opinion is that the practice area should be cleaned regularly by the students. As for everything else I would say it is the owners responsibility. Not saying that volunteering wouldn't be appropriate, but I don't think it should be expected.
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