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Old 06-09-2013, 07:41 PM   #1
Chris Li
 
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Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

New blog post!

"Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family- Aikido and the Aikikai, where does it go from here?"

Enjoy!

Chris

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Old 06-11-2013, 04:59 PM   #2
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

Hi Chris,

Ifve already discussed rank and organisation with you a few times on this forum. I think you skew things way too much to make a point.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
The Aikikai, however, is a horse of a different color. Sometimes it can be unclear, but (for the Aikikai) there is only one person in the entire world who can issue Dan (black belt) promotions - the current Doshu (now Moriteru Ueshiba). Everybody else, whether they be a local fourth-dan instructor or a world famous ninth-dan student of Morihei Ueshiba only issues a "recommendation" for promotion.
Doshu is the figurehead of aikido within the Aikikai and representative of its founder. You know that no one is saying he can inspect every person recommended for accreditation. In fact, I am not aware of Doshu ever overseeing an examination to recognise anyonefs skills in the art. I don't think that is Doshufs job. Aikido is the centre. Doshu represents aikido and its founder. Proper form, proper etiquette (Japanese reigi) are all recurring impressions left in the founderfs students. You know that the local fourth –dans and world famous 9th dan run the tests and make the call on recognising transmission. To do otherwise breaks lineages and potentially valuable views of the art leading back to the founder.
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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
What would I change? I think that is something that would have to be led (but not dictated) by the Aikikai, and endorsed popularly by the membership.
For a second, I thought you were going to suggest solutions to the things you think are problems...rather than just effectively saying glook, a problem... and here... another problem.h However:

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
As points for consideration, there are a number of models for successful professional membership organizations that unite people of common goals and interests into a structure that provides real benefits to their members.
What models? You say ga numberh but what organisations? How do they provide real benefits?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
There are also a number of models for successful peer review and accreditation organizations that maintain standards of quality and curriculum among educational organizations in a fair and impartial manner - again, providing a real benefit to the members of that organization - and perhaps, providing an object lesson in how to provide meaning for a real licensing system.
Again, what models of peer review? What do these models do to provide meaning for a grealh licensing system?

Regards

Carl
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:17 PM   #3
Chris Li
 
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Doshu is the figurehead of aikido within the Aikikai and representative of its founder. You know that no one is saying he can inspect every person recommended for accreditation. In fact, I am not aware of Doshu ever overseeing an examination to recognise anyone�fs skills in the art. I don't think that is Doshu�fs job. Aikido is the centre. Doshu represents aikido and its founder. Proper form, proper etiquette (Japanese reigi) are all recurring impressions left in the founder�fs students. You know that the local fourth "dans and world famous 9th dan run the tests and make the call on recognising transmission. To do otherwise breaks lineages and potentially valuable views of the art leading back to the founder.
Of course, he can't, that's the point. The problem with the lineage system on a large scale is that it breaks down and there are no checks, no oversight on it.

Imagine a system in which a doctor can license other doctors - who can then license other doctors on their own. Would you trust yourself to such a system?

That used to be the way things were done, but on a large scale it broke down for the very same reason that the ranking system has broken down.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
For a second, I thought you were going to suggest solutions to the things you think are problems...rather than just effectively saying �glook, a problem... and here... another problem.�h However:

What models? You say �ga number�h but what organisations? How do they provide real benefits?

Again, what models of peer review? What do these models do to provide meaning for a �greal�h licensing system?

Regards

Carl
There are dozens of professional organizations and assiociations in the US that provide resources and professional development for their members. The American Medical Association, for example. These organizations can also provide legal aid and advice, insurance, discounted membership purchasing programs and much more. In other words, tangible benefits.

Models for peer review are also quite common - virtually all US institutions of higher education are accredited through non-profit organizations and associations that provide peer review for those institutions. It seems to work well enough for accrediting Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

It seems to me that those two models are two concrete suggestions for solutions, but maybe that's just me...

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-11-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

I'd like to note that I have no problem with Doshu "representing" the Founder. But that doesn't mean that I think that people will kick up to the Ueshiba family indefinitely for something that happened three (or four) generations ago as an organization without more return than a mail order piece of paper. That's absent a value judgement as to whether or not I think that they should - in any case, I think that the days of that model are numbered.

As for breaking lineages and violating proper etiquette - it's not very hard to argue that this is what Morihei Ueshiba and the post-war Aikikai already did, isn't it?

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-12-2013, 10:11 AM   #5
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

Thanks for taking the time to reply Chris.

Also thank you for giving some examples of benefits and how you think things should be run. You said the following regarding my comment that no one expects Doshu to inspect every person recommended for accreditation:
Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Of course, he can't, that's the point. The problem with the lineage system on a large scale is that it breaks down and there are no checks, no oversight on it.
I think you missed my point. You still appear to refuse to accept that a dan ran rank examined and grecommendedh from that 9th dan is a rank earned from that 9th dan. I think it is his name that goes in the examiner field of the Yudansha booklet.

Since you mentioned academic accreditation, I have a couple of university degree certificates signed by someone I do not know and whom Ifm pretty sure never read my thesis or vetted any of my work in person (especially the parts I did on exchange at a university in another country).

And we are talking about a glineagesh (plural) system in my opinion. You have not shown how there are no checks or that there is no oversight on what I perceive as a system of lineages gathering around the iemoto-supplied figurehead.
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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Imagine a system in which a doctor can license other doctors - who can then license other doctors on their own. Would you trust yourself to such a system?
So who gives licenses to doctors if not others qualified to be doctors? As for gon their ownh are you saying that there is no discussion among the gdoctorsh before or after testing within the renmei or higher up? That no one is rejected by panels of other gdoctorsh within their gfieldsh of medicine?

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
There are dozens of professional organizations and assiociations in the US that provide resources and professional development for their members. The American Medical Association, for example. These organizations can also provide legal aid and advice, insurance, discounted membership purchasing programs and much more. In other words, tangible benefits.
I think the gwhatfs in it for meh reason for membership is not a good reason for membership.

Glancing at my degree certificates again, I don't think I get any of these benefits. All they do is show that I completed a couple of programmes. Whether I actually gained any skills in doing so is another matter, but compared to the guy who has nothing to show for his studies, I have an indication of the possibility of transmission.

The medical profession is a bit different in that if you donft have the skills, people donft get better, get worse, die etc so even to the layman it tends to be obvious early on in that glineageh if you arenft getting the basic gwazah.

Again, I wonder if you have contacted the Aikikai directly. Are you publishing your complaints internationally on the internet following the rejection of your ideas?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
As for breaking lineages and violating proper etiquette - it's not very hard to argue that this is what Morihei Ueshiba and the post-war Aikikai already did, isn't it?
I donft know. Are you suggesting Aikido is a motoha of Daito-ryu? Even a motoha is a facet of Japanese organisation and etiquette.

Regards

Carl
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:50 AM   #6
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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I think you missed my point. You still appear to refuse to accept that a dan ran rank examined and �grecommended�h from that 9th dan is a rank earned from that 9th dan. I think it is his name that goes in the examiner field of the Yudansha booklet.
Sure it does, but technically speaking, only Doshu can actually issue a certificate - even the paperwork submitted by the 9th dan says "recommendation for promotion" at the top.

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Since you mentioned academic accreditation, I have a couple of university degree certificates signed by someone I do not know and whom I�fm pretty sure never read my thesis or vetted any of my work in person (especially the parts I did on exchange at a university in another country).
Sure, but in that case there is a system of checks and accreditation in place by impartial parties (or as impartial a system as can be devised). That's why most people won't accept a degree from an unaccredited institution.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
And we are talking about a �glineages�h (plural) system in my opinion. You have not shown how there are no checks or that there is no oversight on what I perceive as a system of lineages gathering around the iemoto-supplied figurehead.

So who gives licenses to doctors if not others qualified to be doctors? As for �gon their own�h are you saying that there is no discussion among the �gdoctors�h before or after testing within the renmei or higher up? That no one is rejected by panels of other �gdoctors�h within their �gfields�h of medicine?
Where are the checks and where is the oversight in Aikido? I think it's self evident that there is no system in place in the Aikikai - it's entirely a system of delegation down the line. The doctors are subject to a system of checks and accreditation, the same as the universities above.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I think the �gwhat�fs in it for me�h reason for membership is not a good reason for membership.
There always has to be some reason for a person to be a member. What is the reason today? In the past it was personal connection - but those connections are very, very thin these days.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Glancing at my degree certificates again, I don't think I get any of these benefits. All they do is show that I completed a couple of programmes. Whether I actually gained any skills in doing so is another matter, but compared to the guy who has nothing to show for his studies, I have an indication of the possibility of transmission.
You get practical benefits from the accrediting system. Just try to get a job with a degree from an unaccredited institution.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Again, I wonder if you have contacted the Aikikai directly. Are you publishing your complaints internationally on the internet following the rejection of your ideas?
Have I spoken about these things to people at the Aikikai, sure. But that's not the point. As members of the Aikikai these discussions are important - and that's not just bitching about it to people at the headquarters office (who often agree with many of the points privately), but developing a public discussion and a consensus among the general population.

IMO, the top down approach won't work - the Aikikai no longer has the leverage or the prestige to impose new rules without the active consent and participation of the community and organizations worldwide.

It may look different in Japan, where there is more direct contact - but abroad many (most?) Aikido students today don't even have a clear activity of what the Aikikai is or how it's organized.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I don�ft know. Are you suggesting Aikido is a motoha of Daito-ryu? Even a motoha is a facet of Japanese organisation and etiquette.
My point was that Stan Pranin has very clearly demonstrated that the post-war Aikikai (and even Morihei Ueshiba) made some questionable actions if you're talking about strictly adhering to the rules of etiquette and lineage in their relationship with Sokaku Takeda and the historical place of Daito-ryu. It seems to me that this history weakens a demand for loyalty based upon "etiquette" and "lineage".

Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of a general umbrella organization like the Aikikai that connects people and groups with a common interest.

I do think, however, that the current model is unworkable over a large scale, and the sooner people realize that the better.

On the other hand, realistically, I think that it is unlikely that we'll see a major restructuring, and that the Aikikai is likely to slide into a condition of increasing irrelevance as an organization for most students of Aikido.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-12-2013, 06:35 PM   #7
Dan Rubin
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

Perhaps we should be talking less about a solution to the current system and more about a reaction to the current system. For example, dojos could react by offering their students a choice of receiving a dan promotion from Hombu (expensive) or from the head teacher of their dojo (inexpensive). Same test, same standards, same incentives to seek promotion, same bragging rights. The Hombu track versus the dojo track.

There might be a benefit to the Hombu promotion for a student who expects to move to a different part of the country (or world), or who hopes to someday establish a seminar practice. As for students on the dojo track, they would know that if they ever desire a Hombu promotion they will have to start all over again. Over time, the comparative value of each would be revealed.

I wonder if Hombu would allow such a system in a member dojo. Then again, maybe some dojos already do that.

As for the idea of some sort of independent accrediting organization, its first and perhaps impossible mission would be to define what is and is not aikido.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:07 PM   #8
Chris Li
 
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
Perhaps we should be talking less about a solution to the current system and more about a reaction to the current system. For example, dojos could react by offering their students a choice of receiving a dan promotion from Hombu (expensive) or from the head teacher of their dojo (inexpensive). Same test, same standards, same incentives to seek promotion, same bragging rights. The Hombu track versus the dojo track.

There might be a benefit to the Hombu promotion for a student who expects to move to a different part of the country (or world), or who hopes to someday establish a seminar practice. As for students on the dojo track, they would know that if they ever desire a Hombu promotion they will have to start all over again. Over time, the comparative value of each would be revealed.

I wonder if Hombu would allow such a system in a member dojo. Then again, maybe some dojos already do that.

As for the idea of some sort of independent accrediting organization, its first and perhaps impossible mission would be to define what is and is not aikido.
Hombu can get a little testy when this kind of thing happens - here's Gaku Homma's experience with "Mr. T" (actually, it was Masaki Tani, from the International Department):

http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_ar...rofiteers.html

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-12-2013, 10:26 PM   #9
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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As for the idea of some sort of independent accrediting organization, its first and perhaps impossible mission would be to define what is and is not aikido.
And its second and, unfortunately all too possible mission, would be to bury all the creativity and diversity of Aikido under a mountain of regulations and standards in order to make all Aikido "styles" as cookie cutter identical as possible. No thanks. We don't need to scrap the Aikikai in order to replace it with yet another useless bureaucracy.

Ron

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Old 06-12-2013, 10:41 PM   #10
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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And its second and, unfortunately all too possible mission, would be to bury all the creativity and diversity of Aikido under a mountain of regulations and standards in order to make all Aikido "styles" as cookie cutter identical as possible. No thanks. We don't need to scrap the Aikikai in order to replace it with yet another useless bureaucracy.

Ron
I don't think that it's a given that accreditation = cookie cutter - after all look at the great variety of opinions and methods in higher education, all of which are accredited.

OTOH, I don't think it that likely a thing to actually happen.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-13-2013, 08:02 AM   #11
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
Perhaps we should be talking less about a solution to the current system and more about a reaction to the current system. For example, dojos could react by offering their students a choice of receiving a dan promotion from Hombu (expensive) or from the head teacher of their dojo (inexpensive). Same test, same standards, same incentives to seek promotion, same bragging rights. The Hombu track versus the dojo track.

There might be a benefit to the Hombu promotion for a student who expects to move to a different part of the country (or world), or who hopes to someday establish a seminar practice. As for students on the dojo track, they would know that if they ever desire a Hombu promotion they will have to start all over again. Over time, the comparative value of each would be revealed.

I wonder if Hombu would allow such a system in a member dojo. Then again, maybe some dojos already do that.

As for the idea of some sort of independent accrediting organization, its first and perhaps impossible mission would be to define what is and is not aikido.
It's my understanding that Chiba sensei's organization operates under such a system. When he promotes people, he issues them a Birankai certificate for the rank, signed by Chiba. However, the student does have the *option* of paying the Aikikai promotional fee to get their rank 'certified' by the Aikikai. I have no idea how many of his students opt to do this. I personally don't think I'd bother. I mean, who's going to question a rank issued by Chiba sensei?
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Old 06-13-2013, 08:38 AM   #12
Dan Rubin
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
- here's Gaku Homma's experience with "Mr. T"
An interesting article by an interesting guy.

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
And its second and, unfortunately all too possible mission, would be to bury all the creativity and diversity of Aikido under a mountain of regulations and standards....
That would happen if aikido became a sport. "Judo" is defined by it's rules and regulations. Without competitions, such a task would be a waste of time and effort.

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I have no idea how many of his students opt to do this.
I would be curious to find out.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:12 AM   #13
Cliff Judge
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

I think the article critically underestimates the typical nth generation student's knowledge of and interest in the Hombu.

It is sort of taken as a given that the further you get away from Hombu the less the typical student knows or cares about the Aikikai. My assumption is that any Aikido school that is in a relationship with the Aikikai is going to have students put on Japanese martial arts clothes, bow and clap, use Japanese vocabulary, etc when training. It seems a little odd that people who would enjoy spending their time doing such things would be so diffident to the idea that there is a five-story dojo in Tokyo that is packed with 7th-9th dans.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:40 AM   #14
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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I think the article critically underestimates the typical nth generation student's knowledge of and interest in the Hombu.

It is sort of taken as a given that the further you get away from Hombu the less the typical student knows or cares about the Aikikai. My assumption is that any Aikido school that is in a relationship with the Aikikai is going to have students put on Japanese martial arts clothes, bow and clap, use Japanese vocabulary, etc when training. It seems a little odd that people who would enjoy spending their time doing such things would be so diffident to the idea that there is a five-story dojo in Tokyo that is packed with 7th-9th dans.
There's nothing wrong with the building, I enjoyed the years that I spent training there, but that doesn't mean that I (or the typical Aikido student) therefore wants to support them financially with no particular relationship and no particular return - that's my point.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-13-2013, 11:40 AM   #15
Cliff Judge
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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There's nothing wrong with the building, I enjoyed the years that I spent training there, but that doesn't mean that I (or the typical Aikido student) therefore wants to support them financially with no particular relationship and no particular return - that's my point.

Best,

Chris
Right. My point is that I question the assumptions that lead you to believe the "typical Aikido student" shares your judgment of that there is "no particular return."
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:47 AM   #16
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Right. My point is that I question the assumptions that lead you to believe the "typical Aikido student" shares your judgment of that there is "no particular return."
Sure, but I think that many do - what exactly do you get in return?

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-13-2013, 12:08 PM   #17
Cliff Judge
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Sure, but I think that many do - what exactly do you get in return?

Best,

Chris
The sense that my training is part of all the Aikido training that is going on in the world, a sense of connectivity to the roots of Aikido, and the right to drop by the Hombu if I am in town without having to work connections to get an introduction, etc.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:26 PM   #18
Janet Rosen
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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The sense that my training is part of all the Aikido training that is going on in the world, a sense of connectivity to the roots of Aikido, and the right to drop by the Hombu if I am in town without having to work connections to get an introduction, etc.
I know I'm not going to be going to Japan to train...I'm a hobbyist, not aiming to be a professional instructor...for me, since I was a 5th kyu attending the first all-styles aikido-l seminar in 1998 I've felt deepy a part of a world-wide community, read about and feel very connected to the roots of aikido, and have felt welcomed at every dojo of any style I've ever visited in the USA.
I am not sure why paying money to an organization in Japan would lead to increased feeling of enhancement.
Definitely a matter of YMMV....

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:37 PM   #19
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

In France and in Belgium (among other countries) there is a system of double ranks Aikikai and National Dan, where the person (not aikidoka at all) representing the Ministry of Sport supervises tests and sign national dan diploma.
How about such solution? LOL It is really funny IMO.
Also, there are few dojos I know, that many years ago abandoned Aikikai ranks system, and in fact don’t deliver ranks at all. Then suddenly after many years of practice the students realized they have nothing to prove their involvement and commitment to the art.
For sure the best solution would be getting rank from own teacher – but such diploma will have the value proportional to the reputation of the teacher. So many would prefer to replace it with Aikikai reputation LOL

Nagababa

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Old 06-13-2013, 12:53 PM   #20
Cliff Judge
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

One way to look at it is, the issues that come with large democratic bureaucracies setting standards and such....the Japanese style vertical hierarchy with a figurehead at the top is basically a solution to that.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:34 PM   #21
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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The sense that my training is part of all the Aikido training that is going on in the world, a sense of connectivity to the roots of Aikido, and the right to drop by the Hombu if I am in town without having to work connections to get an introduction, etc.
My hunch would be that dropping in at hombu isn't high on the list for the average person. If they do, it doesn't take connections or introductions, just pay your money and go upstairs. Worst case is they make you pay the Aikikai entrance fee - about $100, but still less than testing fees.

What if your instructors weren't affiliated with the Aikikai? Would that make any difference at all to a sense of "connectivity"? When I started with Saotome he wasn't with the Aikikai, and all of my early ranks came directly from him, not from the Aikikai. As I recall, nobody cared, really, or felt less "connected" to the roots of Aikido, or felt more "connected" once he reaffiliated with the Aikikai (test fees went up a lot, though).

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-13-2013, 01:35 PM   #22
Chris Li
 
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
One way to look at it is, the issues that come with large democratic bureaucracies setting standards and such....the Japanese style vertical hierarchy with a figurehead at the top is basically a solution to that.
Not much of a solution, IMO....

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Chris

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Old 06-13-2013, 02:24 PM   #23
Cliff Judge
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
My hunch would be that dropping in at hombu isn't high on the list for the average person. If they do, it doesn't take connections or introductions, just pay your money and go upstairs.
Right you can pay your money and go upstairs because you are part of a worldwide organization.
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:40 PM   #24
Chris Li
 
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Right you can pay your money and go upstairs because you are part of a worldwide organization.
No, I meant that they let anybody pay the fee and go on in, membership in the worldwide organization or not.

I've never had a problem just walking in and paying the daily training fee, even when I wasn't with the Aikikai.

The only people I've heard about that had a problem had to pay the membership fee (about $100, far less than testing) and then they went up without a problem - without having to come from an affiliated organization.

Anyway, I don't see that as a major draw, especially considering what the training at hombu is like.

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Chris

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Old 06-13-2013, 03:14 PM   #25
Dan Rubin
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Re: Four Generations of the Ueshiba Family

Aside from the annual dues (now $75?) from every yudansha in the world, does hombu require affiliated dojos to sell a minimum amount of product, er, send in a minimum amount of testing fees annually?
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