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Old 01-11-2011, 02:47 PM   #26
dave9nine
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

hi George,
definitely appreciate your post.
in my view, at least one factor in this phenomena seems to be the way in which rank is obtained in many MA organizations (making it more general here so as to point to a larger phenomena). setting the 'newbies' aside as a separate group that deserves some slack based on their time training, i wonder what the ranks were/are of many of those who attended the seminar(s) and never seem to 'get it.'?
i have always had some reservations about ranking systems where people are tested simply based on the number of classes they've attended and not based on ability. I saw this to an extreme as a teenager when i trained in TKD: folks who consider themselves "paying customers" of an MA studio instead of members of a 'place of a way' usually expect to be promoted based purely on the math of their attendance, and engage in American-style consumer-rights rhetoric when they want to advance, arguing that they pay every month and attend X number of classes, etc.

unfortunately i have seen some of this in Aikido as well.
i suspect that this issue is certainly at play in the scenario you describe.

thus, (and i guess this goes back to the other point about teachers and dojocho during their job) i think that at least one solution is for organizations to make rank promotion more based on ability and less on simply attendance. with this in place, perhaps people who attend over and over and never get promoted will finally one day 'get' what they are supposed to get to move on, or decide finally that the art is not for them and move on.

how to implement this, though, when comraderie and friendships are on the line--not sure.

does anyone train in an organization that promotes based on ability only?
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:07 PM   #27
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Personally, I was in the group that worked twice as hard for a long time. But, currently, I am in "conservation only mode", until my kids grow up. I am aware of the consequences of the change in mode, in my own progress (from considerable to slow degradation). It is a choice I made. I would not have expected others to pay for it.

Amir
Hi Amir,
My ex and I had 8 kids between us... It is natural that your training go through phases when there is more or less commitment. But if you trained hard to start, you have a foundation you never lose. I am also sure that, when you do train you are a good student. Your technique might get rusty but the ability to learn once you have it won't disappear.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:19 PM   #28
Aiki1
 
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

"When the teacher has to address the group on issues that are simple beginner issues, it means that the teacher cannot take the class forward and do the things he or she might be capable of teaching."

I certainly understand this, and have surely had my own frustrating teaching experiences in the past. At a practical level, my "solution" was to pre-screen individuals if I was going to be specifically teaching advanced material.

But lately, to some degree my perspective has changed and I've been thinking that perhaps Buddhist teachings have it right when they address the notion that attachment itself causes "suffering."

(I'm also reminded of the saying: "An interesting thing about life is, for every truth that is real for one person, somewhere in the Universe the exact opposite is likely to be just as true for someone else. And that somewhere may be very close at hand.")

Perhaps you have actually pointed to, in a round-about way, a deeper issue - instructors' attachments, not students' performance.

Maybe it really is better to be in the moment with what is, than to be attached to one's hopes, desires, and needs, and thereby miss the incredible opportunities present in what is actually happening, at whatever "level."

I have found that in the most simple teachings, the deepest, most profound truths really are revealed. I personally find this to be the case in literal, real-time training the most.

Skill in Aikido doesn't ultimately come through technical complexity, but from simple, basic, repeatable experiences that bring understanding and accessible knowledge that can be applied throughout the art. I see this developing more and more rapidly in beginners all the time now that I am beginning to understand it better.

Nor is it achieved solely through external training, as some are beginning to see. It is reached, first, internally, then with learning the seasoned skill of being able to externalize it properly.

I'm really not saying that "advanced training" is meaningless nor am I dismissing it, at all - simply that it isn't the essence of the art, nor ultimately the most important thing instrumental it's effective application, both martial and otherwise.

Perhaps the deepest truths can be taught, and learned, in the simplest form and most practical manner, and, along with a recognition and acceptance of where a student is at in that moment (a general notion fundamental to Aikido in the first place) this should, or could, be the most important priority, at any level. In that, I think the insight, understanding, attitude, and humility of the instructor are of paramount importance.

In light of this, in response to Eva Roben:

"….as a 3rd kyu with no special abilities and a slow learning rhythm I read through this and come to the conviction that I would certainly be one of the persons whose attendance at high level seminars would not really be desirable."

I find this conclusion sad. However:

"At the seminar there were LOTS of people like myself, and he did NOT get angry with us."

Glad to hear this.

"So, maybe from the point of high level aikidoka it is not so nice to have a lot of beginners swirling around during a good seminar, but still for us it is a necessary experience we are getting something out, be it limited, and I think we should be encouraged to go to those seminars."

Yes.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:45 PM   #29
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Isn't advanced just refinement of what I should have learned as basics?

Everyday and ultimately, I am totally responsible and accountable for my life (and training). While I certainly do not create everything, I do create my response to it.

As they say, everyone has experience. Some have one year of experience for many years of training and others simple have many years of experience for many years of training.

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 01-11-2011, 07:22 PM   #30
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Hello Ernesto,

Thank you for your post. I have a fairly low expectation of the possibility of any progress, given the current structure of large, open seminars. There is a certain mentality evident here, however, such that the same people can usually be found on the front row at such seminars, as close to the instructor as possible. Thus, the onus is on the student to make the experience as valuable as possible, given his or her own level of skill and knowledge. Such large open seminars are a feature of Doshu's visits anywhere. However, I suspect that here, there is also a view that merely being present at the seminar is of value, like attending a rally or a live-house concert,

Of course, the fact that the seminars are attended by many participants does not remove the responsibility involved in teaching, but it does influence how the teaching mission is conceived. When I first started coming to the Netherlands 'officially', I often sought advice from my own teacher here, now 8th dan. His answer was invariably something like, "They do not know you because they do not train with you every day. Do not teach techniques explicitly. Show a technique a number of times and then pass on to another technique. Leave them to figure it out for themselves."

Quote:
Ernesto Lemke wrote: View Post
- For a given seminar, what are your primary motivations for attending? I really don't understand how people can attend a seminar and not try to practice what the teacher is showing.
So I would turn the question round and ask from the instructor's point of view: For a given seminar, what are your primary motivations for attending ( = teaching at the seminar)? Why do teachers can keep giving seminars when the people attending do not try to practice what the teacher is showing? I gave you Tada Shihan's answer in a previous post. He has a very clear idea of what he has to do, which is to show people important segments of the aikido he does, since this is what he thinks people need to learn. I think Doshu's view is similar.

Of course, a smaller, workshop-type, seminar is quite different and is closer to the type of training in the early Kobukan or the Tokyo Hombu directly after the war, when numbers were far fewer than they are now.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:27 AM   #31
SeiserL
 
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
So I would turn the question round and ask from the instructor's point of view: For a given seminar, what are your primary motivations for attending ( = teaching at the seminar)? Why do teachers can keep giving seminars when the people attending do not try to practice what the teacher is showing?
I believe it was the Buddha who after gaining enlightenment did not teach. He believed that if you already have it there was nothing he could say and if you didn't have it there was nothing he could say. His cousin asked about those few people in between. He taught for over 40 years.

I appreciate those teachers who have the courage to share what they know even if very few are trying to get it and fewer yet will actually get it. And when you get a small piece of it, they show you there is still more to learn.

IMHO, because teaching and learning are two different ends of the same process that a teacher is responsible to teach and the student is responsible to learn.

When I am tori I am responsible to learn from that position and try to do what the teacher is showing/sharing. When I am uke I am responsible to learn from that position.

I am response-able.

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 01-12-2011, 02:37 PM   #32
kewms
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Eva Röben wrote: View Post
I never had the impression we, the lower grades, were not welcome, or that our low proficiency level was considered as an insult to the teacher. As a relative beginner, I think even people at my level can learn lots of things at the seminars, although we cannot pick up everything the teacher shows and are often stuck with our own ways.
The problem is not beginners. As a beginner, you're not supposed to know everything yet. The problem is black belts, including people who run dojos, who not only have obvious gaps but *still* have those same gaps year after year after year... and seem to think it's okay.

All of which should matter to you as a beginner, by the way, because if your teacher isn't learning, they've set a ceiling on what they can teach you.

Katherine
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:22 PM   #33
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

I'm thinking of my different teachers through the years, and their very different styles. When I was training karate, my sensei's teaching was extremely laconic, the name of a technique or "Eeeeeh, kata". Training there was very repetitive, the same thing in the same rhythm with very little variation from class to class. If you were doing something wrong, Sensei would show you once. If you didn't make the correction, he would not show you again, or say anything (although he would say something if he could see you were trying but needed some help). He would just go on and correct someone who hadn't gotten the lesson yet. He seemed to feel that if you'd been given the lesson and you weren't doing what he said, why bother to belabor the point? And although he was the most mild-mannered person imaginable, there were no congratulations at his dojo. The only thing was that sometimes he would stop to watch a student -- and if that student was doing the technique correctly, he would simply nod once. And the student, if they were doing the technique correctly, would never see it. You might see it if he nodded at someone nearby, but never if he gave you his single silent sign of approval.

I had a jo sensei who would say, "No. Again. No. Again. No. Again. No. Again," over and over. How I must have tried that man's patience! But I was trying, and he had patience with that -- and after another three hours of, "No. Again," the next week (or the next month) it might be another kata about which he said, "No. Again." I never, ever got past "No. Again," with him, not once, not for one day.

Now, in aikido, I train with a sensei who busts my chops continually, loudly and verbally. I don't know what it all means, if I've become a better student or a worse student.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:41 PM   #34
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post

So I would turn the question round and ask from the instructor's point of view: For a given seminar, what are your primary motivations for attending ( = teaching at the seminar)?
First of all, it's what I do for a living. Years ago I had a family, a demanding job, and my Aikido. I realized that I could only really do a good job at two of those. So I combined my work and practice and started to teach. I opened my dojo in 1989.

Now, the real reason was that I ALWAYS knew I would teach. Sensei told us when we were white belts that he was training professional instructors. In his mid that was the American equivalent of the Honbu Shihan.

Sensei always emphasized the "transmission" from O-Sensei to himself and on to us. Our own students are part of that.

Quote:
Why do teachers can keep giving seminars when the people attending do not try to practice what the teacher is showing?
I'm sure that for some, it's partly financial, as it is for me. But I also think that the vast majority of teachers I have trained with genuinely love Aikido, as they understand it, and want to pass it along.

For me, it's a love of teaching. I was born to do this. It's the best thing I have ever done in my life. I am at my very best when I am out on the mat with a group of folks who are "hungry".

Also, I feel that I was given this huge gift. I feel a bit like Gurdjieff with his "Meetings with Remarkable Men". I have never trained with a single teacher who was even mediocre. They have all been incredibly generous with what they have given me, and continue to do so whenever I see them. Most folks don't have the luxury of doing what I have done. So I feel a certain responsibility to pass on what has been given to me, perhaps predigest it for folks without the same background.. This stuff is what I call "old knowledge". It's developed over thousands of years. Now, I think that much of this is endangered. There are fewer and fewer folks who seem to want to train seriously enough to master these things. So anyone who has any inkling, should be passing on whatever he or she knows to as many people as possible.

Finally, because of the quality of the training I have had, I have a concern for the art in that I feel it is in danger of becoming just a nice hobby for middle class Americans (or whatever country you want to plug in). Aikido as a study with both technical and spiritual depth and breadth is vanishing. I am just egotistical enough to feel like I can effect the whole. If I can develop myself as a recognized instructor, I can get "access" to a far broader spectrum of the Aikido public than just the half dozen or so folks I can take to the top level at my own dojo. I see my role as a bridge to my teachers for the folks out there who haven't had the foundation to understand what they are doing.

Teachers like Saotome Sensei are passing away. They will all be gone shortly. We should be taking advantage of every second on the mat we can get with them. I don't care about the folks that aren't trying. But I care deeply about the folks that are showing up at these camps and seminars, spending their vacations training, really making the effort but getting little in return.

No one ever taught them how to train in a way that would result in higher level skills. No one ever gave them a principle based understanding of what is happening and why the whole thing works. So they go year after year to these events and they just don't get it. I have literally sat with a friend in tears after another class with a particular teacher in which he once again dazzled us with his ability and utterly failed to get folks to do it. She was so frustrated that she was saying she was going to stop even attending his classes because she got nothing out of them except seeing him do cool stuff and no one else could do it. This is a serious practitioner with a 4th Dan, not some newbie.

Anyway, I have been able to work with people like this, in seminars I teach or by training with them in seminars taught by other teachers, and I have been able to give them enough of a framework that they've started to be able to learn again from these teachers. It's very gratifying.

So for me it's searching for those folks who are "hungry", finding the ones who want help, and mentoring them. I feel that's the only real way I can repay my own teachers for what they have given me.

Quote:
I gave you Tada Shihan's answer in a previous post. He has a very clear idea of what he has to do, which is to show people important segments of the aikido he does, since this is what he thinks people need to learn. I think Doshu's view is similar.

Of course, a smaller, workshop-type, seminar is quite different and is closer to the type of training in the early Kobukan or the Tokyo Hombu directly after the war, when numbers were far fewer than they are now.

Best wishes,

PAG
My only objection to what has happened with the spread of the art far and wide is that the teacher student relationship has been entirely screwed up. Most folks have no idea that, for most of these teachers, what they teach when they are doing their international travel, teaching their soto deshi can be quite different from what they are teaching their own seniors at their own dojos.

Someone like Tada Sensei or the Dojo decides could reasonably be expected of a bunch of folks all over the world, maybe even the non-uchi deshi in Japan. They created a simplified art and developed a training program to create instructors who teach that curriculum. At a certain point, folks start thinking that this simplified thing now called Aikido, is the art and not the "Cliff Notes" of something that these same teachers are doing with their personal students. Very few people will admit to wanting to do Aikido-lite, yet that is what they are being offered, often without knowing it.

Of course it's not much better when the teachers have not gone this route and have genuinely tried to show folks the "full meal deal" and then failed to organize a method of transmission geared to helping people succeed in getting there.

So, for me, I believe that I personally can do both... within the limits of my skill and understanding. If I understand it, I can teach it. I am now at the point at which I understand most of what my teachers are doing and I can pass it on. If I do so to a wide enough audience, then a generation of students still have time to benefit from thee amazing teachers before they are gone forever.

That's why I get so upset with the folks that simply aren't trying... There are folks who are really trying. They need help. But the folks who don't want to make the effort are wasting everyone's time. I have started holding seminars to which I only invite the people whom I know to be serious and students recommended by other teachers of my personal acquaintance. I have no interest in holding big schmooze fests so that un-serious people can feel good by hanging with people who are serious. Anyway, that's my take on it and I'm sticking with it. There are plenty of other alternatives for folks who think I am too snooty about this. Only twenty dojos in the immediate Seattle area to choose from.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:09 AM   #35
dps
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

They are making their own Aikido as per O'Sensei.

Who says they have a responsibility to learn?

Most people don't want to change themselves let alone the world.

Your worry too much about what other people are doing.

Your expectations of other people are too high.



David

Last edited by dps : 01-13-2011 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:00 AM   #36
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Someone like Tada Sensei or the Dojo decides could reasonably be expected of a bunch of folks all over the world, maybe even the non-uchi deshi in Japan. They created a simplified art and developed a training program to create instructors who teach that curriculum. At a certain point, folks start thinking that this simplified thing now called Aikido, is the art and not the "Cliff Notes" of something that these same teachers are doing with their personal students. Very few people will admit to wanting to do Aikido-lite, yet that is what they are being offered, often without knowing it.
Hello George,

If I understand you correctly, I have to disagree here, for I do not think, by any stretch of the imagination, that what Tada Shihan shows at seminars could be interpreted as Aikido-lite.

In the first line quoted above you wrote the Dojo, but it seems that the Doshu would make more sense. However, if this is the case, the buck stops further back, with Morihei Ueshiba himself. As you know, Budo (1938) is a training manual with 50 different waza, compiled at the request of the Japanese military, to be taught to Japanese soldiers. I do not think these wartime 'Cliff Notes' could be called aikido-lite. In addition, one of the more interesting discussions that Ellis Amdur conducts in Hidden in Plain Sight is that Ueshiba himself reduced the number of Aiki(budo) waza from the plethora of Daito-ryu waza, in order to allow aiki(budo) to remove the kasu sediment from the body more effectively, which he also called misogi. I had always thought that Kisshomaru Ueshiba did this, but, after reading HIPS, I am not so sure.

Certainly, Kisshomaru did away with the arcane Omoto-kyo terminology and those I have talked to suggest that this was a collective decision, supported by Tomiki, Tohei, Okumura, and Osawa, who were all involved in resurrecting the old Tokyo dojo. But I am less sure that he reduced the waza. At some point in my Aikiweb columns I will make a detailed comparison between the two technical manuals published under the name of Morihei Ueshiba and the early manuals published by Kisshomaru

I chose Tada Shihan as example because I know that you teach aikido for a living. One of the severest criticisms made against the present Aikikai Hombu by some shihans who were taught by O Sensei is that the Aikikai have lost, or abandoned, the idea that aikido training--and teaching, is a calling, a vocation, something that you know you have to do, regardless of the consequences. The consequence is that the Hombu becomes a business, geared to the market, one result of which is that students come to be regarded as customers and their satisfaction--established by means of the latest market research--becomes paramount. Training has to cater for all these customers, or essential market share will be lost. I do not know whether Doshu compares notes with Yoshinkan, just down the road, but I do know that the Aikikai is very anxious about the dwindling number of Japanese students who enter university aikido clubs.

Tada Sensei has never made this criticism of the Aikikai, but he certainly believes that he had a calling to be a deshi of O Sensei. He also twists the knife somewhat, and states that the number of deshi taught by O Sensei who actually believe(d) this is in fact very few. If it is a calling, however, then other considerations do not enter into it. Here, the teacher-as-model is an appropriate metaphor. Tada answered the calling very early on--and went to Nakamura Tempu as part of the answer, along with his training at the Aikikai. I do not know whether he was supported financially by his family. He once told us that he was descended from pirates in the Seto Inland Sea, who used to control merchant shipping between Japan and Korea. (Think of Somalia, Japan-style.)

What Tada Shihan does in his two-day seminars in Hiroshima is a distilled version of what he does in the week-long Summer Schools he conducts in Italy, which I have attended on several occasions. I mentioned him earlier because he never, ever, talks about the responsibility of the student. Yamaguchi Seigo Shihan never did, either (though I believe that the two men were like chalk and cheese). I think that Tada Shihan strives to embody the shihan: understood as 'teacher-model' (which is what shihan means). So he teaches by showing--but with no strings attached at all about the responsibility of a student, over and above what would be considered as obvious.

Of course, Tada Sensei has students, and I was privileged to know one of them very well. Giorgio Veneri was one of Tada Shihan's students when the latter went to Italy to start aikido there. Giorgio (and his wife--this was quite important) clearly knew him very and I myself have seen this very close relationship. (You can think of your own relationship with Saotome Shihan here.) When Giorgio died, I expressed condolences to Tada Sensei when we next met. He turned, with just a touch of moistening of the eyes, and said, simply, "He was my friend for 40 years."

But there were areas in that friendship that Giorgio never entered.

Apologies for any thread drift here and, of course, any misunderstandings I might have had in your earlier posts.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 01-13-2011, 07:42 AM   #37
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello George,

If I understand you correctly, I have to disagree here, for I do not think, by any stretch of the imagination, that what Tada Shihan shows at seminars could be interpreted as Aikido-lite.

In the first line quoted above you wrote the Dojo, but it seems that the Doshu would make more sense. However, if this is the case, the buck stops further back, with Morihei Ueshiba himself. As you know, Budo (1938) is a training manual with 50 different waza, compiled at the request of the Japanese military, to be taught to Japanese soldiers. I do not think these wartime 'Cliff Notes' could be called aikido-lite. In addition, one of the more interesting discussions that Ellis Amdur conducts in Hidden in Plain Sight is that Ueshiba himself reduced the number of Aiki(budo) waza from the plethora of Daito-ryu waza, in order to allow aiki(budo) to remove the kasu sediment from the body more effectively, which he also called misogi. I had always thought that Kisshomaru Ueshiba did this, but, after reading HIPS, I am not so sure.

Certainly, Kisshomaru did away with the arcane Omoto-kyo terminology and those I have talked to suggest that this was a collective decision, supported by Tomiki, Tohei, Okumura, and Osawa, who were all involved in resurrecting the old Tokyo dojo. But I am less sure that he reduced the waza. At some point in my Aikiweb columns I will make a detailed comparison between the two technical manuals published under the name of Morihei Ueshiba and the early manuals published by Kisshomaru

I chose Tada Shihan as example because I know that you teach aikido for a living. One of the severest criticisms made against the present Aikikai Hombu by some shihans who were taught by O Sensei is that the Aikikai have lost, or abandoned, the idea that aikido training--and teaching, is a calling, a vocation, something that you know you have to do, regardless of the consequences. The consequence is that the Hombu becomes a business, geared to the market, one result of which is that students come to be regarded as customers and their satisfaction--established by means of the latest market research--becomes paramount. Training has to cater for all these customers, or essential market share will be lost. I do not know whether Doshu compares notes with Yoshinkan, just down the road, but I do know that the Aikikai is very anxious about the dwindling number of Japanese students who enter university aikido clubs.

Tada Sensei has never made this criticism of the Aikikai, but he certainly believes that he had a calling to be a deshi of O Sensei. He also twists the knife somewhat, and states that the number of deshi taught by O Sensei who actually believe(d) this is in fact very few. If it is a calling, however, then other considerations do not enter into it. Here, the teacher-as-model is an appropriate metaphor. Tada answered the calling very early on--and went to Nakamura Tempu as part of the answer, along with his training at the Aikikai. I do not know whether he was supported financially by his family. He once told us that he was descended from pirates in the Seto Inland Sea, who used to control merchant shipping between Japan and Korea. (Think of Somalia, Japan-style.)

What Tada Shihan does in his two-day seminars in Hiroshima is a distilled version of what he does in the week-long Summer Schools he conducts in Italy, which I have attended on several occasions. I mentioned him earlier because he never, ever, talks about the responsibility of the student. Yamaguchi Seigo Shihan never did, either (though I believe that the two men were like chalk and cheese). I think that Tada Shihan strives to embody the shihan: understood as 'teacher-model' (which is what shihan means). So he teaches by showing--but with no strings attached at all about the responsibility of a student, over and above what would be considered as obvious.

Of course, Tada Sensei has students, and I was privileged to know one of them very well. Giorgio Veneri was one of Tada Shihan's students when the latter went to Italy to start aikido there. Giorgio (and his wife--this was quite important) clearly knew him very and I myself have seen this very close relationship. (You can think of your own relationship with Saotome Shihan here.) When Giorgio died, I expressed condolences to Tada Sensei when we next met. He turned, with just a touch of moistening of the eyes, and said, simply, "He was my friend for 40 years."

But there were areas in that friendship that Giorgio never entered.

Apologies for any thread drift here and, of course, any misunderstandings I might have had in your earlier posts.

Best wishes,

PAG
I didn't mean to imply anything in particular about Tada Sensei I never trained with him. And most folks would have died and gone to Heaven if their Aikido could have been as good as the Nidai Doshu's... despite what was left out compared to what Saotome Sensei or Chiba Sensei learned as uchi deshi.

I think these teachers chose to teach a core or what they thought was important at seminars. And that core was high quality and as sophisticated as each knew how to do.

What I meant by Aikido-lite wasn't something fluffy or anythi8ng like that. It's more that typically, these teachers had their own dojos and their own deshi and what they did with them was usually broader and deeper than what they could do with a bunch of folks who only trained with them a few times a year at most. So those foreign students ended up focusing on a seriously reduced presentation of the art and thought that this was the whole thing.

A lot has dropped out when compared to what I know of Saotome Sensei, Chiba Sensei or Imaizumi Sensei's training. These teachers came to the states and did attempt to pass on the breadth of what they knew. But I don't think that is happening generally, especially back in Japan at headquarters.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:03 AM   #38
MM
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
In the first line quoted above you wrote the Dojo, but it seems that the Doshu would make more sense. However, if this is the case, the buck stops further back, with Morihei Ueshiba himself. As you know, Budo (1938) is a training manual with 50 different waza, compiled at the request of the Japanese military, to be taught to Japanese soldiers. I do not think these wartime 'Cliff Notes' could be called aikido-lite. In addition, one of the more interesting discussions that Ellis Amdur conducts in Hidden in Plain Sight is that Ueshiba himself reduced the number of Aiki(budo) waza from the plethora of Daito-ryu waza, in order to allow aiki(budo) to remove the kasu sediment from the body more effectively, which he also called misogi. I had always thought that Kisshomaru Ueshiba did this, but, after reading HIPS, I am not so sure.

Best wishes,

PAG
Hello Peter,

Just some of my thoughts. If they're any help, great.

When Ueshiba first met Takeda, it's very unlikely that Ueshiba would have been taught aiki at that first seminar. Not impossible, just unlikely. We know there were 2 more 10 day seminars to follow. So, there is a slight possibility that Ueshiba either was taught aiki exercises or was astute enough to "steal" some.

In 1916, we have more training with Takeda. We have to assume that jujutsu techniques were taught along with aiki:

1.Because Ueshiba knew the techniques. A lot of them. In an interview, Mochizuki wonders why Ueshiba trimmed down the Daito ryu techniques.

and

2. If Ueshiba had not started some sort of aiki training in 1915-1916, then he would never have progressed so much in 1922. Ueshiba's daunting phsyical strength was a large detriment to the start of building aiki. So, by 1922, he had to have progressed enough such that Takeda could make a martial giant out of Ueshiba that year.

We also know that Ueshiba started learning from Deguchi around 1920.

By the time Ueshiba opened the Kobukan dojo in 1931, he had at least 9 years of merging Daito ryu aiki and Omoto spirituality/misogi/etc.

I think Ueshiba was *still* working out and building aiki in his body (building aiki in the body can be done separate from techniques) in those Kobukan years plus he had all the demand for "technique" driven jujutsu. I think that's why the prewar students got something. Ueshiba was still working on some aspects of aiki within jujutsu driven techniques. But for other aspects of aiki, he had merged his spirituality and even the prewar students didn't understand him.

And while working out and merging his aiki with spirituality, I think he tossed out things (techniques) that he didn't think he needed. I think that he took the Daito ryu concept of it being a formless art and merged that with his spirituality such that only a fraction of Daito ryu techniques were really needed by him to showcase his "Aikido".
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:19 AM   #39
dave9nine
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
The consequence is that the Hombu becomes a business, geared to the market, one result of which is that students come to be regarded as customers and their satisfaction--established by means of the latest market research--becomes paramount. Training has to cater for all these customers, or essential market share will be lost. PAG
this is exactly what i was trying to get at. it helps crystalize a thought, such that i think i can now frame it:

this is about 2 different paradigms. people seem to either approach the art from 1) a business/customer relationship, or 2) a traditional sensei/deshi relationship.

i think the scenario described in the OP is a product of #1. especially nowadays as people are raised more and more as consumers, developing passive, download-life-while-sitting-at-home sort of interfaces for learning (the way most schools are set up seems to reinforce this). in this context, then, a seminar is much like a rock concert; people are paying money to go and see an 'act', to live vicariously through the 'star' as it were, and to be able to say that they were there.

#2, on the otherhand, is a mentality/cultural understanding that is harder to maintain/develop/instill as generations progress, particularly in a world economic context where advanced capitalism has gotten to where it is now. is it a stretch to suggest that the aspects of 'traditional' koryu are/were culturally interwoven with the fuedalism surrounding them? and that it was precisely the movement away from that era that coincides with the changes in the approach to MA in general?

with all this in mind, i think the answer to the OPs question depends on which paradigm people operate under:
if it's #2, the 'responsibility' in training is to humble oneself and focus intensely on soaking up all that sensei has to offer/teach; to serve sensei and sempai with dilligence, and to be the best training partner one can be, and to learn with the understanding that one day whatever was learned will also be passed on to others to continue the 'way.'

if it is #1, then im afraid that 'responsibility' disappears...

my 2 pesos, anyway....
-dave
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:38 AM   #40
kewms
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Dave Lewin wrote: View Post
with all this in mind, i think the answer to the OPs question depends on which paradigm people operate under:
if it's #2, the 'responsibility' in training is to humble oneself and focus intensely on soaking up all that sensei has to offer/teach; to serve sensei and sempai with dilligence, and to be the best training partner one can be, and to learn with the understanding that one day whatever was learned will also be passed on to others to continue the 'way.'

if it is #1, then im afraid that 'responsibility' disappears...
I don't think those are the only two choices at all. You can be absolutely equal to your instructor in everything except your knowledge of aikido, but still have too much respect for him and the other students to want to waste their time.

Aikido training is a group endeavor. If any member of the group doesn't hold up their end, the training of the whole group suffers. If you don't like the feudal baggage of the traditional sensei/student relationship, then consider a football team where one person doesn't bother to study the playbook, or a writer's workshop where one person hasn't read the work being critiqued.

Katherine
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:14 PM   #41
Basia Halliop
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

I've been to many seminars that had some classes that were divided by rank, e.g. yudansha only, or ikkyu and up, etc. Or on the other hand yukyusha classes where yudansha could still attend but with the understanding that their focus was on helping the yukyusha. No reason you couldn't have a seminar that was sandan/yondan/whatever and up... Or private 'by-invitation-or-recommendation-only' seminars.

Although I've also seen some teachers are remarkably good at teaching both in the same lesson... e.g. teaching something that's superficially simple that the beginners have a chance of picking up something from, but that more advanced students will be able to see more layers to.

Another related issue is the size of the seminar. The way you teach and what results you can expect sometimes have to be different for a 'presentation' vs a 'tutorial' style (i.e., how much it's possible to interact with the individual students). Small seminars can be awesome...
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:59 PM   #42
RED
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
They are making their own Aikido as per O'Sensei.

Who says they have a responsibility to learn?

Most people don't want to change themselves let alone the world.

Your worry too much about what other people are doing.

Your expectations of other people are too high.

David
Sure, it's just too bad that Aikido requires partnership to train. My partner's failures effect my training.
Many of great martial traditions, and even non-martial traditions, have seen their end in a few generations for many of the reasons discussed in this thread thus far. For anyone who loves Aikido, you can understand the frustration.

MM
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:34 PM   #43
dave9nine
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
"You can be absolutely equal to your instructor in everything except your knowledge of aikido, but still have too much respect for him and the other students to want to waste their time"

"If you don't like the feudal baggage of the traditional sensei/student relationship, then consider a football team where one person doesn't bother to study the playbook, or a writer's workshop where one person hasn't read the work being critiqued"

Katherine
im sorry, i dont understand either of these statements and im not sure how they address what ive said...
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:02 PM   #44
kewms
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Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

Quote:
Dave Lewin wrote: View Post
im sorry, i dont understand either of these statements and im not sure how they address what ive said...
You offered two possible paradigms:

#1: Customer - vendor, with the customer expecting to simply receive the product with minimal effort on their part.

#2: Master - student, with the student expected to humble themselves in the hope that the master will deign to teach them.

I am proposing a third paradigm, in which teacher and student are social equals, but the student understands that learning requires his active participation, for both his own sake and the group's. And I offered a football team or a writer's workshop as examples of that paradigm that lie outside the feudal baggage that you saw as entangled with the traditional master-student relationship.

Katherine
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