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Old 05-10-2012, 12:37 PM   #1
Conrad Gus
 
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Benefits of the Aikikai

In response to some of the "Aikikai - what is it good for?" sentiment I've been noticing on some threads, I thought it would be fun to hear from people about what they like about belonging to the aikikai. I'll go first:
  • Having an indirect relationship to people all over the world who share the same passion
  • Being accredited by a recognized international organization (I'm no mail-order black belt!)
  • Doshu is a great teacher and does a good job of "keeping the center" of aikido without stifling alternate expressions of the art

I'm sure others will have their own ideas.

Edit: Debate is fine, but I'm interested in benefits, not complaints. If you want to start an "Aikikai Sux" thread, fill your boots.

Last edited by Conrad Gus : 05-10-2012 at 12:39 PM. Reason: disclaimer
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
Chris Li
 
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
In response to some of the "Aikikai - what is it good for?" sentiment I've been noticing on some threads, I thought it would be fun to hear from people about what they like about belonging to the aikikai. I'll go first:
  • Having an indirect relationship to people all over the world who share the same passion
  • Being accredited by a recognized international organization (I'm no mail-order black belt!)
  • Doshu is a great teacher and does a good job of "keeping the center" of aikido without stifling alternate expressions of the art

I'm sure others will have their own ideas.

Edit: Debate is fine, but I'm interested in benefits, not complaints. If you want to start an "Aikikai Sux" thread, fill your boots.
  • As I said in the other thread, I like the idea of some kind of a general umbrella organization.
  • I don't know about the mail order stuff - you send in the applications by mail, they send them back by mail, and no one on the other side really has any idea what they're for. Compare that to the accreditation process of many peer organizations in academics and you'll find the process sadly lacking.
  • Doshu does a fair job of holding the center as the figurehead of the Ueshiba family, but he's not really teaching anybody (IMO).

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Old 05-10-2012, 01:57 PM   #3
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
  • Doshu does a fair job of holding the center as the figurehead of the Ueshiba family, but he's not really teaching anybody (IMO).
I've only seen him in person once, but I felt like I learned something. A lot of people like his DVDs as a baseline for technique.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:01 PM   #4
Chris Li
 
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
I've only seen him in person once, but I felt like I learned something. A lot of people like his DVDs as a baseline for technique.
Well, YMMV. I've seen him lots of times and felt the opposite - not in the least because the classes are too large for anybody to teach effectively.

Nothing against him - but the system is really not set up for him to give instruction.

Of course, I have Morihei on DVD.

Best,

Chrs

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Old 05-10-2012, 02:47 PM   #5
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Christopher: i'm curious about why you're so dismissive of the Aikikai (not a criticism: I have no dog in this fight, and am somewhat disillusioned with aikido right now...), given that you were recently awarded a high dan grade by it, weren't you?

Do they not object to those it regards as senior members of the organisation, disparaging, and undermining it?

Also: you have spent some time with Dan Harden, haven't you? - How do you relate his ability to that of the Aikikai rank-and-file teachers?
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
Christopher: i'm curious about why you're so dismissive of the Aikikai (not a criticism: I have no dog in this fight, and am somewhat disillusioned with aikido right now...), given that you were recently awarded a high dan grade by it, weren't you?

Do they not object to those it regards as senior members of the organisation, disparaging, and undermining it?

Also: you have spent some time with Dan Harden, haven't you? - How do you relate his ability to that of the Aikikai rank-and-file teachers?
I'm don't think that I'm dismissive, I've said quite clearly that I like the idea of the Aikikai, or an organization like it.

Doshu and his father, and his son, have always been kind and friendly to me.

That doesn't mean that it doesn't have problems as an organization, or that there aren't things that could be done better.

If you're in an organization, you really ought to try to make it better, don't you think?

As to comparing with Dan - well, there really is no comparison...

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:55 PM   #7
dave9nine
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

to lend further input towards Chris' point:

there is a corpus of academic study that bridges Communication studies and Business called Organizational Communication, or Organizational Studies; within this area, the Aikikai situation would be a textbook example of an organization that suffers from a number of issues (noted by Chris), primarily rooted in communication processes and including cross-cultural communication.

this is an example of work that is done in this area:
http://iag_puc_2007.msimoes.dyndns.o...%20et%20al.pdf

i guess i bring this up to further back the notion that a criticism of Aikikai need not be interpreted as 'dissmissive' or derisive or negative, and folks should take care in interpreting it this way. Critical organizational communication scholars would submit that it is perfectly within the realm of approriatness for a member of an organization--at any level in the hierarchy--to offer critique of the functioning of the organization. In fact, to not do so would be considered an example of an organization member giving up their agency and voice within the system, thus contributing further to any dysfunctions that may be present at any given level.

as a communication grad student i find it all pretty facsinating -- someone in my field could do a dissertation on this...

(*looks around, whistling)
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #8
aikishihan
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

The Aikikai Foundation was meant to happen. Like any other visionary construct brought into functional reality, it was doomed before it began, as a cure all, be all, and do all, final answer to the reasons for its creation. Constructed by fallible humans, guided by incomplete thinking, questionable purposes and truly finite means, it nonetheless came to be in the aftermath of a horrendous world war and its destructive affect on the psyche and vision of a battered nation. It was here to stay, despite the challenges it faced, and the immensity of the task being taken on by its supporters. For these reasons alone, it deserves genuine respect, tolerant criticism, and patient compassion.

The United States of America is undoubtedly the greatest success story for democratic ideas being the basis for a nation unsurpassed in its vision, its achievements, its hope for the rest of the world, and its undeniable impact on the fortunes of many nations. Yet, it wallows in its own excesses, threatened from within from the rot of good intentions mixed with foul, and with the same engine that has caused other engines to falter, even as it tries mightily to right itself. Do we cry in despair, or do we follow the example of our forefathers and say, “we can fix this”, and proceed to do just so. I am proud to be an American, and count me in to the end of this fight. I also am a follower of a man named Ueshiba, his vision and his example. I too stand to be counted on, and in, for a similar fight for survival of the model, and for individual excellence.

It is said that the Founder was not in favor of such an organization, did little to encourage or substantively assist Kisshomaru Doshu in his labors, and pretty much tolerated the otherwise amazing efforts, mistakes and early successes of the pioneering efforts of all involved. He was content to remain in his role of a working genius, focused inwardly and perhaps selfishly on what pleased him, and inspired him most.

How well did the Doshu do? Opinions definitely vary, and honest research and fair assessments will invariably come up with a mixed bag of results, expectations and judgments , both from those who know, and the often times raucous majority of pundits who remain aggravatingly clueless. Such is the price of fame, success and authority hard won after decades of fighting the good fight for prosperity and purpose.

One must be careful to remember that the Aikikai Foundation was, is and will always remain essentially a uniquely Japanese creation, representative of many centuries of custom, tradition and easily misunderstood foundational truths. To expect such a traditional entity to become modern overnight, sensitive to international concerns, and to be responsible for satisfying any foreign appetites for and too often suspect motives demanding recognition and accountability is beyond ludicrous, and downright idiotic. The Aikikai Foundation and its leadership will never bow to such selfishly induced demands, nor should it ever feel the need to change simply to conform or to appease. If you don’t want to play, simply go away. Oh, and leave your Aikikai ranks behind.

Is the Aikikai Foundation perfect, or even reasonably attentive and heedful of its foreign based membership and their quite often valid complaints? Not even close, with no apologies or explanations that will suffice, or be offered anytime soon. Is this reason to deride and condemn the principals for not being “sensitive” to the “new realities” of modern sentiment and international reasoning? No. A thousand times no. It is the outside voices that must be moderated, and honor the fundamental basis for the Aikikai’s reasons to exist, and to carry forth their admittedly self assured policies and practices.

It is the outside membership that must do a much better job of appreciating the cultural differences, and arrive at new strategies to maintain the conversation with Aikikai leadership, and ultimately arrive at mutually satisfactory changes and implementation of those results. Yapping at their heels like disowned mutts is not the answer. It demeans the rest of us who truly value the Aikikai’s history, the preservation of the iemoto line of Ueshiba males, and the actually favorable basis of mutually accessible and viable communication, and exchange possibilities with Aikikai leadership and Moriteru Doshu. Let’s begin by acting as honorable diplomats, giving credit where it is due, and with politeness, logic and tact, continue cultivating the currently tenuously existing relationship with Aikikai Foundation.

Times are changing, and so is the Guard. Have more faith, more patience, and more examples of constructive and affirmative behavior, and the needed changes will happen sooner than later.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:01 AM   #9
Chris Li
 
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
One must be careful to remember that the Aikikai Foundation was, is and will always remain essentially a uniquely Japanese creation, representative of many centuries of custom, tradition and easily misunderstood foundational truths. To expect such a traditional entity to become modern overnight, sensitive to international concerns, and to be responsible for satisfying any foreign appetites for and too often suspect motives demanding recognition and accountability is beyond ludicrous, and downright idiotic. The Aikikai Foundation and its leadership will never bow to such selfishly induced demands, nor should it ever feel the need to change simply to conform or to appease. If you don’t want to play, simply go away. Oh, and leave your Aikikai ranks behind.
I'm not making any particular demands - I'm just saying that this is the reality of the situation. Demands or no, the ties that bind people to the Aikikai are fading fast - without a reason to maintain them they will fade completely.

If rank is the only tie...then they're definitely in trouble.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-11-2012, 11:39 AM   #10
hughrbeyer
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
It demeans the rest of us who truly value ... the preservation of the iemoto line of Ueshiba males...
Wow. If you wanted to crystallize and bottle everything I do NOT care about in my martial arts training, you couldn't do much better than this.

As for the Aikikai rank... I value my rank because of the guy who gave it to me, not because of the organization that stamped it.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:49 PM   #11
aikishihan
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Mr. Beyer,

Despite your admitted uncaring and unappreciative show of disrespect for the Iemoto legacy, your Shihan of record certainly appears to maintain such respect, as well as for a deep sense of humble gratitude for the privilege.

As a faithful and honorable ex uchi deshi of the Founder, and of the late Kisshomaru Doshu, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei fully appreciates the principle of Ongaeshi, a moral obligation to repay kindness, and does so on both his own behalf as well as for yours. Perhaps you feel no such tradition based obligation to him yourself, although I sincerely hope that you, and others, do.

The fact that Saotome Sensei has always had the option and capacity of conferring his own ranks on his minions, makes it all the more remarkable that he still honors his students with Aikikai ranking, and with the concomitant direct, ongoing and official connection with the Founder’s legacy. Who amongst his students can knowingly doubt his deep sincerity, and dare rebuke his profound reasons for choosing this path?

A truly major misconception, that gives constant rebirth to an abortive fallacy, is that Aikikai ranking is a mere rubber stamp process, and otherwise meaningless. The truth of the matter is, despite epidemic ignorance and ego driven misdirection, this is a privilege earned by selected official representatives of Aikikai Foundation, who have been vetted over the decades by their proofs of faithful service. They are necessarily and heavily counted on to maintain quality control by their recommendations, as recommendations they will always be. It remains the purview and authority of the Doshu to accept or refuse such recommendations, both actions that both Doshu’s have taken in times past. I take my such privilege very seriously, as I believe Saotome Sensei does as well, since this represents the continuous link to the Founder’s legacy via his official organization.

If anyone feels that this is privilege to refuse, do so post haste, including the immediate return of all other ranks received under false pretenses, and kindly let your Sensei know the reasons why you feel that he has made such an egregious error.

This Aiki Web forum has declined immensely, and regrettably, over such a short period of time, in terms of valid and positive content, accountability for etiquette, the appreciation for basic human respect, and for the sharing example of good behavior to those new to its presentations. I believe we can and should do better.

In oneness,
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:55 PM   #12
Gorgeous George
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

'minions' - haha.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:11 PM   #13
Chris Li
 
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
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'minions' - haha.
Everybody who wants to be a minion - raise your hand!

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-11-2012, 01:28 PM   #14
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Everybody who wants to be a minion - raise your hand!

Best,

Chris
is minion a step up from devil-spawn or a step down? if step-up (maybe down depends on the level of badness) then i am in, but no to less. i do have standards to maintain.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:37 PM   #15
Chris Li
 
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
is minion a step up from devil-spawn or a step down? if step-up (maybe down depends on the level of badness) then i am in, but no to less. i do have standards to maintain.
Definitely a step up from devil-spawn, but maybe a step down from devil-dog.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-11-2012, 01:48 PM   #16
Fred Little
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
The fact that Saotome Sensei has always had the option and capacity of conferring his own ranks on his minions, makes it all the more remarkable that he still honors his students with Aikikai ranking, and with the concomitant direct, ongoing and official connection with the Founder's legacy. Who amongst his students can knowingly doubt his deep sincerity, and dare rebuke his profound reasons for choosing this path?
Mr. Takahashi,

One must hope that your use of the word "minions," was not a willful attempt to offend but rather, a careless choice, or perhaps a reflexive projection of your own feelings about your own relationship with the Aikikai onto others who -- for historical, cultural, and personal reasons that may be distinct from the basis on which you construe your relationship to the Aikikai -- have a very different view of the situation which is not only (perhaps) no less legitimate than yours, but (certainly) rather more widely shared.

Best regards,

Fred Little

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Old 05-11-2012, 01:48 PM   #17
Cliff Judge
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

It is kinda neat that I can walk into the Hombu dojo and train there without letters of introduction and all that.

Though I got totally lost when I tried to find it when I was in Tokyo in March.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:57 PM   #18
Chris Li
 
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
It is kinda neat that I can walk into the Hombu dojo and train there without letters of introduction and all that.

Though I got totally lost when I tried to find it when I was in Tokyo in March.
Actually, I never had a problem walking in - even before Saotome reaffiliated.

Worst case, they'd make you pay the Aikikai registration fee (10,000 yen?) and then up you go...

It's an interesting place to visit, but I think that there are many better places to train in the Tokyo area if you want personal contact with an instructor.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-11-2012, 02:59 PM   #19
Michael Hackett
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

EVERYTHING is a step down from being a Devil Dog - even Phi knows that.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:28 PM   #20
Marc Abrams
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

I have sat back and watched with mixed feelings, this debate. I think that George Ledyard Sensei raised a valid question awhile back, when he questioned the relevance of Aikikai Hombu Dojo as we move into future times. There are outstanding instructors outside of Japan who will never get the recognition from Japan for the level of their abilities and their teaching abilities. This brings into question the claim as to the headquarters playing the role as judge, jury and executioner for the quality of people being brought up for rank certification.

Another valid point that Ledyard Sensei made was in pointing out that there are more Aikidoka outside of Japan than inside of Japan. Given that fact, I find it hard to believe that the "judges" from Japan are really able to put the attention to detail in making ranking decisions with those metrics.

The Aikikai is more than happy to allow Aikido groups to affiliate with them. It allows them to appoint someone from Japan to "oversee" the groups, as though that oversight is really necessary. What if the head of that particular group happens to be more highly skilled than the person doing the oversight? Respect should work both ways.

On a more personal note, my teacher was a direct student of O'Sensei. He was given the honor of traveling with O'Sensei's ashes to bring them home to their final resting place. One would think that his level of commitment to O'Sensei would transcend the fact that he left Aikikai to follow Tohei Sensei, later to branch out on his own. Each time, he left on respectful and good terms with both Aikikai and with Ki Society. The following is but one example of what I consider to be ridiculous and unacceptable behavior from the Aikikai headquarters. One of my Kohai who moved to another country and began training and teaching in a dojo that was affiliated with Aikikai. I was informed that Aikikai would not honor his dan rank! This rank was earned directly from a direct student of O'Sensei and under a criteria far more stringent that that of Aikikai. I just wonder if the person making that "informed decision" was also a direct student of O'Sensei. Here is another example of disrespectful and unacceptable behavior. I privately wrote to the Doshu, asking for a personal letter of acknowledgement that could have been included in a book that we created for my teacher to celebrate his 50th year of Aikido. The message that I received back from one of his minion, was that this was impossible. Impossible? Is this the respect that is given to someone who traveled with the ashes of one's grandfather?

Aikikai is and will always be a Japanese organization, based upon a long cultural history. We, who go out of our way to show respect for that heritage, do not ask for much in return. We do recognize that Aikido is a Japanese martial art that is now on an international scale, so much so that there are non-Japanese teachers who could easily walk into the Hombu dojo and teach people there at a very, very high level. If this organization wants to retain any kind of genuine relevance, outside of a lasting family tradition, then they can no longer hide behind the cultural ways of the past. We live in an international world in which mutual respect is a starting point between different cultures and groups of people. When that does not happen, the respect is not only lost, but very hard to re-establish. Double standards simply do not cut it for many of us as any kind of acceptable explanation for some things that do and do not occur from that organization.

Marc Abrams
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:29 PM   #21
sakumeikan
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
Mr. Beyer,

Despite your admitted uncaring and unappreciative show of disrespect for the Iemoto legacy, your Shihan of record certainly appears to maintain such respect, as well as for a deep sense of humble gratitude for the privilege.

As a faithful and honorable ex uchi deshi of the Founder, and of the late Kisshomaru Doshu, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei fully appreciates the principle of Ongaeshi, a moral obligation to repay kindness, and does so on both his own behalf as well as for yours. Perhaps you feel no such tradition based obligation to him yourself, although I sincerely hope that you, and others, do.

The fact that Saotome Sensei has always had the option and capacity of conferring his own ranks on his minions, makes it all the more remarkable that he still honors his students with Aikikai ranking, and with the concomitant direct, ongoing and official connection with the Founder's legacy. Who amongst his students can knowingly doubt his deep sincerity, and dare rebuke his profound reasons for choosing this path?

A truly major misconception, that gives constant rebirth to an abortive fallacy, is that Aikikai ranking is a mere rubber stamp process, and otherwise meaningless. The truth of the matter is, despite epidemic ignorance and ego driven misdirection, this is a privilege earned by selected official representatives of Aikikai Foundation, who have been vetted over the decades by their proofs of faithful service. They are necessarily and heavily counted on to maintain quality control by their recommendations, as recommendations they will always be. It remains the purview and authority of the Doshu to accept or refuse such recommendations, both actions that both Doshu's have taken in times past. I take my such privilege very seriously, as I believe Saotome Sensei does as well, since this represents the continuous link to the Founder's legacy via his official organization.

If anyone feels that this is privilege to refuse, do so post haste, including the immediate return of all other ranks received under false pretenses, and kindly let your Sensei know the reasons why you feel that he has made such an egregious error.

This Aiki Web forum has declined immensely, and regrettably, over such a short period of time, in terms of valid and positive content, accountability for etiquette, the appreciation for basic human respect, and for the sharing example of good behavior to those new to its presentations. I believe we can and should do better.

In oneness,
Dear Mr Takahashi,
Minions -poor choice of word to describe the membership .Please remember its the minions who help to pay the rent .Without them what would any patrician do??
Cheers, Joe
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:58 PM   #22
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Hello Francis,

お久し振り,

I note your remarks about the Aikikai in Post #8. Would you have the same view of the Kobukai, created in 1940, of which the Aikikai is a postwar continuation?

As for iemoto, I recollect that Kisshomaru Doshu disliked this term, but the present Doshu does not. He occasionally uses it in connection with the Aikikai. Of course, the validity of the term for any particular supposed example lies in the vertical links created by the iemoto with those who are part of the system. In this respect Kisshomaru Doshu was remarkably successful (though I think the jury is still out on Moriteru).

It is sometimes forgotten that the Aikikai, like the Hombu, are terms for the organization, but the organization is collection of individuals who carry out their assigned roles with varying degrees of success.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:52 PM   #23
aikishihan
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Hello Peter,

Kochira kosoo. Nanadan no koto, O medetoo Gozaimashita!

My scholarship is most meager as to be non existent. Yours is the counsel and legitimacy of research that I would seek in any matters of history of fact.

My information was gleaned from snippets of conversation overheard from those Japanese folk with direct ties with O Sensei, Kisshomaru Doshu, Osawa Sensei, Fujita Sensei etc.. The accuracy of my recollections is also most suspect, and I would appreciate any corrections and updates you would be so kind as to furnish.

As to Moriteru, his time is not yet past, so I believe that restraint, relevancy and respect is in order prior to offering any current judgment.

in oneness,

francis
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:56 PM   #24
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

Mr. Takahashi:

"My Shihan" Saotome Sensei's relationship with the Aikikai is pretty much a matter between him and them. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment on it.

I think you read a little more disrespect into my words than I intended. I personally give loyalty to people, not institutions--but I respect the loyalty and commitment of those who see the world otherwise. I am simply not Japanese enough to have any particular commitment to a Ueshiba house family martial art. A commitment to Aikido as a universal art is quite another thing, and it seems likely that was O-Sensei's own vision--though I understand an argument can be made the other way as well.

Peace,

Hugh
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:06 PM   #25
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Re: Benefits of the Aikikai

I came late to this...

I think I am clearly on record, over the years, as to what my feelings are about my own personal relationship with Hombu. My teacher was trained there, I "grew up" on stories of the personalities there, later in my career I was actually able to train myself with a number of these, for me, almost mythical figures. In every case, without exception I was treated with a generous spirit that went beyond any expectation.

This was especially true of my brief time with Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who not only taught me and used me for ukemi in his classes I attended, but also had me in his home, shared tea with me, and signed my copy of his book which I had brought with me just for that purpose. It was a huge honor for me and I'll never forget what a gentleman he was to me.

My teacher continues to maintain his relationship with the Aikikai for reasons that I suspect Francis understands better than I. The current Doshu has no idea who I am nor does anyone currently teaching at Hombu (maybe with a couple exceptions who might perhaps remember brief meetings when they were younger and not yet the big dudes). I have openly questioned the relevance of the Aikikai to my own training. I do not see the Aikikai as fostering an Aikido that seems to have much of the Founder in it from a spiritual / philosophical standpoint nor do I see them developing an instructor corps that is technically manifesting the kind of Aikido that I find interesting these days. I feel we have more going on here in the States than they do there. That's my opinion and others are certainly free to have a totally different take on things.

Personally, I would be quite happy to have my certificates come directly from my own teacher. He is, in my opinion once again, one of the giants of post war Aikido and no certification could possibly have more credibility or mean more to me than his.

But he is my teacher. And with that relationship I inherit a network of his relationships. If Sensei still feels that there is something that motivates him to maintain his personal relationship with the Ueshiba family and the Aikikai then that is also my relationship as well. I have nothing against the relationship, it's just that any relationship I have with the folks in Tokyo are through Saotome Sensei personally. The ASU isn't even a recognized overseas organization... it is Saotome Sensei personally that has the relationship with Hombu and our relationship with Tokyo is through him personally. If he says that's the way it is, then he's my teacher and it is his call. If he were to decide to go his own way again... well, that would be his call as well.

I was one of the last round of promotions that Saotome Sensei did back in the day just before the rapprochement with Hombu Dojo. It was my 4th Dan and the certificate is signed by him. If you visit my dojo, that's the certificate that you see when you enter my school. My Fifth and Sixth Dan certificates are elsewhere. Sensei has looked at that the certificate and never said a word, he doesn't need to, he knows. I am his man. If Sensei thinks I should have my ranks signed by folks in Japan I have never met, because it is important to him that it be so, then that's what it is. It is more for him than it is for me. He knows that too, so we don't have to have further discussion on the subject.

I found myself a Japanese teacher of a Japanese art. I may not be Japanese myself, and therefor have my own ideas about these things, and I am pretty open about sharing them. But I long ago "bought in" and that doesn't entail taking just those things I prefer and leaving the others. If this is important to my teacher, than I am supportive. It's his history, his set of relationships, and his call. All that goes with his being my teacher.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-11-2012 at 09:09 PM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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