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Old 11-02-2011, 11:08 PM   #26
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
@Grady. Yes, I was very sad to hear about Sugano-shihan. Although I have heard that Aikikai Australia can be sticklers for their rules, I have only ever heard good things about Sugano-shihan himself.

@Diane. Thanks for the advice. I will actually not be too far away from Tony, so it shouldn't be too hard to have a chat with him. I will also check out all the dojos in my area and see which one seems to meet my needs the best. Of all of the senseis in the area, the only one that I haven't met is the Aikikai Australia one, so that dojo is a bit of an unknown quantity to me.
I have known Tony Smibert for many years and have frequent contact with him. If you want any help, you can send me a PM in complete confidence. Or you can use the e-mail address given on the IAF website (aikido-international.org)

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 11-03-2011, 12:19 AM   #27
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Thanks Peter,

I have now been in contact with local Aikikai Australia dojo, and I think I will have a chat with them and see if we can work something out. I'm not yet convinced that they are who I want to train with, so I will observe some classes and see. I will probably also talk to Tony at some point. I'll let you know if I need a hand.
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:34 PM   #28
danj
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Just a quick follow up, there are several aikido organisations in Australia that are affiliated with Aikikai hombu and vary in their approaches to exclusivity. IMHO, and you seem to have a similar view, its about finding the right teacher too.
I've had some terrific practice with David Brown Sensei (Clifton Hill, Aikikai Australia) in the past as well as others in other organisation in melbourne (though am not a member of AA nor live in Melbourne)

best wishes in the search / decision
dan

Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:47 PM   #29
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Thanks Dan,

I absolutely agree. I'm happy to train in any organisation if I can find the right teacher.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:48 PM   #30
kewms
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Western organizations are certainly not immune to politics. It's easy enough to blame Japanese culture for this sort of thing, but in Australia (or the US) you have mostly Western students enforcing the cultural norms, up to and including (in some cases) calling the shihan's attention to the fact that this or that student has been "disloyal." Thereby forcing the shihan to respond even if he might have been willing to feign ignorance.

Before the internet was quite so widespread, it was relatively easy to adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I visited a dojo in San Francisco several times even though I would not have been welcome in the Boston-area dojo of that organization's shihan. It's harder now, although, again, internet use is much more common among the younger Western students than among the older Japanese shihan, so there's a question of why the students would take it upon themselves to support the restriction.

I think we have aikido-l and aikiweb to thank that this kind of restriction seems to be losing ground. When a shihan of an organization is openly promoting bridge seminars, it becomes somewhat difficult to keep students of that organization from training elsewhere.

Katherine
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:00 PM   #31
Larry Feldman
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Go to all the dojos available to you on a 'commutable' basis.

Evaluate the Aikido - good news here is you have some knowledge to help with this.

Ask them specifically about their policies concerning where you can practice.

Make a choice.

Just an odd thought - if you move to the new location and adopt new 'style' are you know somehow obligated to practice that forever? Even if you move back to your old hometown??
Are we talking contracts, blood oaths??? (just kidding).
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:09 PM   #32
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Talking Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Well, I'm friends with my current shihan on facebook. That's probably a bit of a giveaway.
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Old 11-04-2011, 03:53 AM   #33
LinTal
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Quote:
Scott Gledden wrote: View Post
Yep Aikikai Australia are pretty bad for that sort of thing and other unpleasantries.
To be fair, this would change from dojo to dojo, regardless of affiliation. Much like any other philosophy. Can't say I've been aware of these issues in the 18-months I've been training.

We're also an independent club, while still Aikikai. Be mindful too that there are many independent clubs I've heard of across quite a few styles. This offers greater complexity etc to the matter.

The world changes when you do.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:29 AM   #34
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Hello Daniel,

When I was in Australia, I met David Brown, had long conversations with him and also watched him teach.

A general point: where you have organizations with a very strong vertical structure between the shihan and the rest of the organization, the shihan's passing will inevitably pose serious questions. Do you try to carry on as before, or do you acknowledge that an era has passed and search for another way? Some Aikikai shihans actually set out to create a corps of senior 'clones' quite actively (the SHU-HA-RI paradigm, with the direct link between master and student, can be a convenient tool for this). But others are less active and when they go, the organization can have severe problems.

Sugano Shihan always led from behind, but he led, just the same. His passing, however, will also affect the relationship between Aikikai recognized student-shihan relationships in Australia and the Hombu.

Best wishes,

P Goldsbury

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Just a quick follow up, there are several aikido organisations in Australia that are affiliated with Aikikai hombu and vary in their approaches to exclusivity. IMHO, and you seem to have a similar view, its about finding the right teacher too.
I've had some terrific practice with David Brown Sensei (Clifton Hill, Aikikai Australia) in the past as well as others in other organisation in melbourne (though am not a member of AA nor live in Melbourne)

best wishes in the search / decision
dan

P A Goldsbury
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:37 PM   #35
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
In my opinion, there's a difference between exploring other aikido styles through seminars or the occasional visit to a differnt dojo on the one hand and actually training in another dojo on the other. I have little understanding for dojos forbidding the former, but I do have some sympathy for dojos forbidding the latter. When you join a dojo, you're expected to conform to their style. (In due time, of course, you can't just flip a switch to switch styles.) Training in another dojo with a different style or regularly returning to your previous dojo, is not the best way to confirm your membership of the new dojo.
Actually, my own experience differs... Back in the early 80's I was relocated to the Seattle area. Saotome Sensei told me I should train with Mary Heiny Sensei whom he knew from Japan. So, I was a member of her dojo while it was still understood that I was Saotome Sensei's student.

Then Bruce Bookman Sensei moved to Seattle after training in Japan with Chiba Sensei. He did various things that Heiny Sensei did not do so I also paid dues at his dojo and split my time between the dojos. This, despite the fact that our teachers had a number of differences and didn't really get along. We simply decided that it was unnecessary to carry over issues that started years before in Japan that had absolutely nothing to do with us.

When Mary Heiny Sensei left for Canada in 1986, was asked to take over the dojo, which I did for three years. We were members of Chiba Sensei's Western Region of the USAF. I was given Fukusdhidoin papers, actually signed by Yamada Sensei, although I am sure Yamada did not know who I was and it was really done by Chiba Sensei. So, I trained at two different dojos while being a student of a third teacher, then ran one of the dojos in an organization run by a teacher, not my own.

I look at myself as a triumph for the idea of getting past political BS and just being able to train. In 1989 I opened Aikido Eastside which is within the ASU. I am still close friends with Bookman Sensei and Mary Heiny Sensei as well... Bookman Sensei recently asked me to participate in his 30 year anniversary seminar since I was actually a member of his very first dojo.

People should be free to train wherever they want. When it comes to Rankings, well, that's another story. If someone wants a rank from me, especially a Yudansha rank, they need to be training with me and supporting our dojo. Giving rank is really creating an association in people's minds between a certain student and a certain teacher. But if a student doesn't want or require that from me, he or she is free to train whenever and with whomever they wish. All my teachers knew that I would get whatever rank advancement was appropriate from my own teacher, Saotome Sensei.

While I understand that my own experience is almost totally unique, at least in the US, I think it points out that everyone can benefit from putting all the politics aside. My own training was better because of the breadth of teaching from very different teachers. I like to think I was an asset at each of the dojos I trained at, helping each to be a bit better because I was there. Anyway, this was only possible because some really wonderful teachers cared more about the art than the politics and a couple of Japanese Shihan chose not to impose their differences with each other on me. If things were more this way as rule, we'd all be a lot better off.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:41 PM   #36
danj
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Hi Peter,
Thanks for the wider view, its interesting grist for the mill from my own microcosm of experiences through the Ki Society fragmentation in Australia 10 or so years ago and being a part of the growth phase of a newer organisation (Yuishinkai), with some freedoms to explore more widely by way of its approach and a professional life that allows some wanderings.

Hi George,
Again thankyou for sharing your personal experiences and reflections on it. Quite helpful for me (and I guess others) who end up following similar paths through circumstances and/or a desire to explore the art more widely.

best to all,
dan

Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:56 PM   #37
robin_jet_alt
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Hi Peter,
Thanks for the wider view, its interesting grist for the mill from my own microcosm of experiences through the Ki Society fragmentation in Australia 10 or so years ago and being a part of the growth phase of a newer organisation (Yuishinkai), with some freedoms to explore more widely by way of its approach and a professional life that allows some wanderings.

Hi George,
Again thankyou for sharing your personal experiences and reflections on it. Quite helpful for me (and I guess others) who end up following similar paths through circumstances and/or a desire to explore the art more widely.

best to all,
dan
Hi Daniel,

I didn't realise you were with Yuishinkai. We might even have met then. I was at one of Maruyama sensei's seminars in Byron Bay (possibly 2003??) I really enjoyed it, even if the new denim floor covering did dye my gi blue. I also visited Maruyama Sensei's dojo in Tokyo in 2005. I was really bummed that I couldn't train with him regularly. I live really close to his dojo as the crow flies, but the train lines are inconvenient and I wouldn't finish work in time to get there.

Robin
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:30 PM   #38
danj
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Hi Daniel,

I didn't realise you were with Yuishinkai. We might even have met then. I was at one of Maruyama sensei's seminars in Byron Bay (possibly 2003??) I really enjoyed it, even if the new denim floor covering did dye my gi blue. I also visited Maruyama Sensei's dojo in Tokyo in 2005. I was really bummed that I couldn't train with him regularly. I live really close to his dojo as the crow flies, but the train lines are inconvenient and I wouldn't finish work in time to get there.

Robin
Hi Robin,
Yes I was there, probably there was some anonymous wrist grabbing or some such. I think that was his second visit after emerging from the temple..pretty exciting times.
I still get to Sensei's dojo(s) in Tokyo most years, I had a fellowship at Keio university some years back and get back there often, mostly its a schlep from Kanegawa which takes some time.

I think the Aunkai guys are around there somewhere as well!

best,
dan

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Old 11-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #39
robin_jet_alt
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Hi Robin,
Yes I was there, probably there was some anonymous wrist grabbing or some such. I think that was his second visit after emerging from the temple..pretty exciting times.
I still get to Sensei's dojo(s) in Tokyo most years, I had a fellowship at Keio university some years back and get back there often, mostly its a schlep from Kanegawa which takes some time.

I think the Aunkai guys are around there somewhere as well!

best,
dan
Yes, I'm pretty sure it was his second visit. He brought his wife with him, and we talked a lot because I was one of the few people who spoke Japanese.

I haven't heard of Aunkai before. Is that another Ki Society offshoot?
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:40 AM   #40
"just-want-to-train"
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

hi all, I'm the OP, and i apologise for not updating this thread for over a year. thank you all for your replies and relevant insights. although i don't really feel the need to maintain my anonymity anymore, i guess i'll still use my original pseudonym for a sense of continuity.

just a quick update on my situation since my initial plea. after checking out a few aikido dojos, i managed to find a dojo really near where i live, where the sensei is possibly the nicest guy around.

Sensei Robert from Aikido Yuishinkai Bentleigh not only welcomed me to his dojo, he was extremely generous in allowing me to continue grading with my previous dojo/affiliation, of which the most recent was my shodan grading. in my mind, he could've easily insisted that i choose to grade under him, or at least, do a parallel grading, but he thought that unnecessary, and told me that he would recognise my new rank. i'm not 100% sure, but from my limited understanding of how this works, i'm thinking that Sensei Robert is being extremely magnanimous with this. he also no qualms with using me as his uke regularly rather than favouring his "own" students.

Migrating to Australia from a different dojo himself years ago, I think he had similar experiences/worries about the politics and such, so he now warmly welcomes all to his dojo with open arms.

The cherry on top is that my previous dojo will be hosting a seminar/gasshuku in January with a visiting sensei from Japan, and Sensei Robert has signed up to attend the interstate event. I know I'm really plugging him here, but i'm really impressed about how he practices what he preaches. that seems to be rare quality in lots of people IMHO.

so if you're ever down Melbourne (Australia) and wanna have a worry/politic-free training experience, hop on by to Bentleigh!
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:07 PM   #41
"Same Issue"
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

Hi All,

Much like the first poster, I ended up with Yuishinkai. The guys from Aikikai Australia were all very nice, but I had a few issues with technique, training times, and fees. The Yuishinkai instructor, on the other hand, had also had experience training in Japan, and his style was more in keeping with what I had learned previously. On top of that, his technique is very compelling and he is able to clearly show why he does each movement that he does, and he is a good teacher. The dojo is very open to people who have trained in other styles and we have people who started out in Aikikai, Kokikai, and Yoshinkan.

Maybe I will get to see Daniel at a seminar at some point.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:51 PM   #42
danj
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Re: aikido politics - implications on training opportunities

I'll keep an eye out for someone in a white panama hat and wearing a red carnation

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