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Old 11-26-2009, 01:44 PM   #1
dps
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Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective"

"This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

William Shakespeare

dps

Last edited by dps : 11-26-2009 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 11-27-2009, 06:25 AM   #2
Brett Charvat
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

As much as I love the quote above and appreciate its relevance to the topic at hand, it may be important to keep in mind that it comes from a speech given by a character that most Shakespearean scholars agree was supposed to be seen as something of a befuddled old idiot. Polonius isn't supposed to make the audience believe in themselves here, he's supposed to make them laugh at what an old sot he is. Just saying.
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Old 11-27-2009, 08:40 AM   #3
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

Quote:
Brett Charvat wrote: View Post
As much as I love the quote above and appreciate its relevance to the topic at hand, it may be important to keep in mind that it comes from a speech given by a character that most Shakespearean scholars agree was supposed to be seen as something of a befuddled old idiot. Polonius isn't supposed to make the audience believe in themselves here, he's supposed to make them laugh at what an old sot he is. Just saying.
I think that adds to it in a nice way though, with a beautiful touch of irony. Besides isn't one of the classic views of the Fool that he has a special role with the truth? ...Or something like that? I particularly like that concept because it means one has to really be paying attention in order to pick the wisdom from the tripe...and somehow that seems very fitting to the game of life.

Ok so I decided to do some research and here's another wikipedia quote I may regret using:
Quote:
Shakespearean fools are usually clever peasants or commoners that use their wits to outdo people of higher social standing. In this sense, they are very similar to the real fools, clowns, and jesters of the time, but their characteristics are greatly heightened for theatrical effect.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 11-27-2009 at 08:43 AM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:10 PM   #4
MikeLogan
 
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

I would like to make a formal request that if threads are split off, the "new" first post should have a link in it to the originating thread. I have no idea what is being discussed. Not a big deal, but it'd be nice.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:14 PM   #5
dps
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote: View Post
I would like to make a formal request that if threads are split off, the "new" first post should have a link in it to the originating thread. I have no idea what is being discussed. Not a big deal, but it'd be nice.
My apologies Mike.

My post is in response to Francis Takahashi post at http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17230
I could not respond on the "Voices of Experience" thread.
David
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:17 PM   #6
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

actually I must apologize, I didn't read all the way down the right side. I figured that since you did not reply in thread, that the subject strayed from the original thread, and I could see nothing actually relating to subject line, etc, etc, no prob. I'll go back to my left-overs

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 11-28-2009, 11:31 AM   #7
Mark Uttech
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

Onegaishimasu. The first loyalty should always be to your own heart, and most likely your first teacher; the one who taught you how to bow.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 11-28-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

I was initially taught that my loyalty should be to my instructor and the dojo.
Then the instructor who taught me that did not show loyalty to the dojo and lied publicly to save face.
Obviously I have had other teachers and other dojos since then.
I am respectful to my teachers. I am respectful of and in my dojo. I am loyal to my principles.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-28-2009, 02:48 PM   #9
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

Thank you Janet. Couldn't have said it better myself.

This is not to take away from what Mark said. The right teacher is surely well deserving of the respect to which he aludes. Finding such a teacher...

Always be very careful about giving up your own autonomy.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:39 AM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I was initially taught that my loyalty should be to my instructor and the dojo.
Then the instructor who taught me that did not show loyalty to the dojo and lied publicly to save face.
Obviously I have had other teachers and other dojos since then.
I am respectful to my teachers. I am respectful of and in my dojo. I am loyal to my principles.
I think that this is a difficult area for Americans. We tend not to think of relationships in terms of loyalty but when we decide to enter into a set of hierarchical relationships with a figure at the top, we often then go too far.

Virtually every major Asian spiritual system that came over here in the sixties and seventies (Zen, Vipassana, Tibetan Buddhism, Yoga, etc, martial arts included) had serious scandals in which the community had to deal with the fact that their teacher was acting irresponsibly and immorally. In almost all cases the "loyalty" factor caused people to from really dysfunctional co-dependent relationships in which the membership basically became "enablers".

I think that people should look at "loyalty" as "commitment". You have the freedom to pick any teacher you want. When you have done so you give that teacher full commitment as long as you are training with him. If the relationship at some point stops being positive, you say thank you and you leave.

Most Americans leave for trivial reasons. I had two students leave because I didn't make them feel "validated". Having been trained by a Japanese teacher myself, I didn't realize that that was part of my job. I have had people leave because of some particular phase that my practice went through that they weren't interested in. Of course, I have changed many times over the years. Each time some students chose to mot stay with my process, as if what I was doing at the time was going to be what I would do forever.

I went through a very painful divorce at one point. It was all I could do to get on the mat to do my classes. I had a student come up to me and complain that my classes hadn't been as inspiring as usual, as if it were my job to inspire her practice. There was no, "how are you doing?", "is there anything we can do to help?" So "loyalty" is about the two way street in the relationship between the teacher and the student.

But when the relationship becomes unproductive in that it is not taking where you need to go (long term) in your training or it is dysfunctional in that you are required to suspend your own sense of what is right or wrong in order to maintain the relationship, it's time to leave. The proper way to do that is to thank the teacher for everything they have given you, tell him how much you appreciate what you have received but that it is time for you to move on.

The teacher student relationship should be a two way street. If you want the teacher to invest in you, then you need to invest in the teacher. And that doesn't mean just paying dues. Be committed when you are in it, don't abandon it for trivial reasons, but if it's time to make a change, then do so. Never stay when you know you should go, just out of some misguided sense of loyalty.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:26 AM   #11
jonreading
 
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective"

To me:

Loyalty is an alignment of goals and ideals. I am a loyal Vanderbilt Commodores fan because I attended school at Vandy. I will cheer for my football team every game...though often not to victory.

Trust is an alignment of action. I trust my instructor to teach me the correct aikido techniques. I cannot train if I do not trust what I am learning is correct.

Respect is an alignment of morals and etiquette. I show respect for those whom I believe is upstanding and significant to the community. I understand that even if I do not share in the same beliefs or convictions, I can respect an individual for theirs.

As a social comment, I also think Americans have trouble with these concepts. First, these three concepts are not interchangeable, nor are they compound. I can be loyal to someone, but not trust him. I can trust someone but not respect him. I can respect someone but neither trust him or be loyal to him. Similarly, just because I trust someone will correctly make a decision does not mean I must also be loyal to that person.

In aikido, rank can interfere with our ability to correctly assess to whom we place our trust, loyalty and respect. The instructor position can also interfere with the correct assessment as well. Sempai? Yep. We experience interpersonal relationships in our training that require us to evaluate if that person is worthy of our respect, trust and loyalty. Social etiquette can sometimes make those decision more difficult then they need be.

It is a sad occurance when someone in an influential position of respect chooses to abuse our [read "students"] trust and loyalty. It is for that reason that we should respect those who have earned that right, give our trust to those who have proven to correctly act in our interests, and be loyal to those who have demonstrated they care for our interests with the same conviction as they care for their own.

Last edited by jonreading : 11-30-2009 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:04 PM   #12
Carrie Campbell
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective"

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
To me:

Loyalty is an alignment of goals and ideals. I am a loyal Vanderbilt Commodores fan because I attended school at Vandy. I will cheer for my football team every game...though often not to victory.

Trust is an alignment of action. I trust my instructor to teach me the correct aikido techniques. I cannot train if I do not trust what I am learning is correct.

Respect is an alignment of morals and etiquette. I show respect for those whom I believe is upstanding and significant to the community. I understand that even if I do not share in the same beliefs or convictions, I can respect an individual for theirs.

...We should respect those who have earned that right, give our trust to those who have proven to correctly act in our interests, and be loyal to those who have demonstrated they care for our interests with the same conviction as they care for their own.
I am fortunate that I can feel loyalty, trust, and respect for my head instructor, who happened to be teaching the first day I came to aikido and practiced. That was almost six years ago. I respected him as a teacher right from the beginning. He is respectful toward his students and their contributions to the dojo community, and maintains a professional yet friendly atmosphere. He sets a good example for us by arriving early, beginning class on time, cleaning and otherwise maintaining the dojo as well. I hope he realizes his efforts are appreciated. We are lucky to have three instructors with 20+ years of experience to share the teaching responsibilities, and students willing to help with random tasks.

During practice, I can trust my instructor with any amount of energy. He is experienced enough to provide the least unpleasant fall; he won't hurt me. If I give too much, he'll "ground" it (like I've been planted in quick sand), and I can adjust to use less energy next time. This means I can commit fully continually and not worry about injury so much. I find safety to be more important to me regarding trust than the techniques themselves.

However, the techniques are great too. All my instructors are able to catch much more seminar aikido than I, and are able to share the insights gained. This is extremely helpful in practice as it allows for improvement for those particular aspects and tends to lead to other related applications. When the next seminar with the same instructor comes around again, it is easier to see more parts of the technique and take even more away to practice together.

If my sensei is in the same town I live in, I will practice with him whether it's in a dojo, a community center, a park, or anywhere else. So far, I am "affiliated" with his style, whatever it happens to be, and his instructor(s), whoever they are. I've always felt he was my main teacher in aikido. When I moved away, it was rough. The reason I returned to practice each week was because I wanted to learn aikido and Obrecht sensei would be disappointed if I quit. I never knew if I would ever return to Lincoln or see him again. And yet, I had developed enough "loyalty" in that first year to carry through the next year, and my subsequent return to Lincoln. Perhaps Ledyard Sensei would believe my loyalty was misplaced or too strong, but I am glad I have continued to practice aikido.

Just thoughts of a student
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:29 PM   #13
Michael Hackett
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective"

As both a military and law enforcement leader, I use to tell all of my subordinates that I demanded complete loyalty from them. I went on to explain that complete loyalty by my definition was NOT blind obedience, unwarranted trust or subservient respect, but rather the courage and loyalty to tell me when they thought I was wrong or heading in the wrong direction. I also explained that we could discuss their point of view unless we were dealing with an emergency situation and sometimes I would agree to their suggestions, find a compromise, or sometimes maintain the course I set. At the conclusion of that discussion, I expected that we would walk away and get on with business by implementing the decision finally made as if either one of us, or both, was the intellectual architect of the decision.

Loyalty was a two-way street as well. My subordinates could count on my loyalty to them; to not put them in unnecessary harm, to trust their judgment and back their decisions, to always let them know where they stood with me and with the organization, and to take care of their needs.

As for respect and trust - that's exactly what I hoped to earn.

My relationship with my teacher is very much the same. I feel free to question his decisions in the appropriate setting and know that he will hear me out. Oftentimes I learn a great deal when he shares the benefit of his thinking. I know that he has my best interests at heart and will give me his best. As a result, I hold him in the highest esteem with the greatest of trust, respect, and admiration. If either one of us were to betray that trust, then we would part ways very quickly indeed.

Michael
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:44 PM   #14
Daniel Wilson
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective"

Teachers and students must be loyal and respectful to one another. A teacher who does not reciprocate the loyalty and respect of his students is not worthy of that which has been given.

Now, by loyalty to one's teacher and dojo: I mean that the student has a responsibility to respect the teachers of his sensei and thusly to dedicate himself to learning them. To study fervently and respectfully. Also, he/she should respect the word of his/her sensei. This does not, ofcourse, mean you should crawl over broken glass for your sensei - only that if he tells you something then you should respect his word enough to listen.

By loyalty to one's students: I mean that a sensei must respect the efforts of his students enough to train them honestly and safely; to care for them and not to abuse the trust that they place in him/her.

All things meet in the middle.
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:07 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The teacher student relationship should be a two way street. If you want the teacher to invest in you, then you need to invest in the teacher. And that doesn't mean just paying dues. Be committed when you are in it, don't abandon it for trivial reasons, but if it's time to make a change, then do so. Never stay when you know you should go, just out of some misguided sense of loyalty.
Just quoting the end, but the whole post was great, George!!!!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 12-05-2009, 11:40 AM   #16
Rob Watson
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Re: Response to "Loyalty, an Aiki perspective"

None of my teachers ever mentioned loyalty, trust or respect. They just taught aikido. I can't recall any of my seniors ever mentioning it either. Both simply led by example and it was left up to me to figure it out.

Naturally, I've failed all my teachers and seniors miserably on all counts and yet they continue to lead and teach me. Humbled is where I sit with a long road ahead and many debts to repay.

It is my self assigned mission to provide the best I can to the students that came after me in hopes they do not repeat my mistakes for lack of knowing better. Of course, I have failed them as well and yet they still look up to me and I am chagrined.

Aikido with a conscience is a heavy burden.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

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