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Old 01-22-2013, 02:36 PM   #51
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
His massive lack of interest in organizations at any level has been mentioned by many of the uchi-deshi.

That's why I'm saying that calling it "the Founder's organization" is probably less accurate than calling it "Kisshomaru's organization".

Best,

Chris
I think in the beginning neither Morihei Ueshiba nor Kisshomaru had much choice in the matter. The Kobukan was incorporated in 1940 and it would seem that the pressure to do so came from Ueshiba's backers like Fujita Kinya. Kisshomaru would hardly have been in a position to contribute much and so it would be inaccurate to call the Kobukai 'Kisshomaru's organization'. Seko Seiichi did most of the work at this time and I knew him quite well, for he was my predecessor in the IAF. He and Fujita certainly had very strong support from Morihei Ueshiba.

Kisshomaru seems to have been more closely involved in the decision to reactivate the Kobukai, and to change the name, in 1948, when his father was still keeping his head down in Iwama. The main supporters of the new Aikikai were Morihei Ueshiba's old wartime supporters like Tomita.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:36 PM   #52
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

All very well, Professor, but then O-Sensei went around giving talks and radio interviews about how Aikido was the art of love and everybody should practice Aikido to usher in an era of world peace and mutual understanding. (Exaggerating only a little.) If he meant what he said at all, he surely recognized the need to spread the art, and of an organization that could do that. One of the most salient differences between him and Takeda Sokaku's other students was that he opened his art up, while the others kept theirs closed. And however little he may have been involved in the management of the Aikikai, he certainly supported it with his constant travels to different places to teach.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:49 PM   #53
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

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Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
All very well, Professor, but then O-Sensei went around giving talks and radio interviews about how Aikido was the art of love and everybody should practice Aikido to usher in an era of world peace and mutual understanding. (Exaggerating only a little.) If he meant what he said at all, he surely recognized the need to spread the art, and of an organization that could do that. One of the most salient differences between him and Takeda Sokaku's other students was that he opened his art up, while the others kept theirs closed. And however little he may have been involved in the management of the Aikikai, he certainly supported it with his constant travels to different places to teach.
Apologies, but could you point out more clearly where you disagree with me, if you do. My point is that to state that Morihei Ueshiba cared little for organizations, any organizations, is not quite accurate.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:57 PM   #54
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

Well, maybe I was really arguing with Chris. I'm sure I was arguing with somebody here.

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Old 01-15-2014, 06:18 AM   #55
Ethan Weisgard
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

What would happen if we didn't have the Aikikai?

The way I see it, the Aikikai represents the iemoto system, as well as being the practical headquarters of Aikido. If the Aikikai wasn't there, or was not supported, then we would be represented by the different leaders of our individual groups. That might work for the first generation, but then who would take over the representation after that?

The Aikikai works as an umbrella organization, and generally doesn't lay down too strict guidelines regarding the technical aspects of our Aikido. The Hombu instructors receive salaries, and there are quite many of them on the payroll. They don't receive high salaries, but even if it is a standard level salary, this will still be quite a large amount to be paid every month. I believe that the Hombu Dojo is not making a financial killing at the moment regarding the various payments that are coming in. If you look at the once -a -year Kagami Biraki list, then of course it seems like a large sum, but this is just once a year. Try to think of Tokyo real-estate prices, and take a look at the size and the location of Hombu Dojo, and factor this in to what their annual expenses are.

I know it must be hard for the Aikikai, because many people must be thinking along the same lines as what Chris Li has stated. His statements are quite spot-on, when thinking pragmatically about the situation.

But I do think one needs to ask the question - what if Aikikai wasn't there? To me, it seems obvious: Chaos, power struggles all over the place - and most of all, a lack of awareness of, and respect for the lineage of O-Sensei. I think it is our responsibility to try to imbue our students with an understanding and feeling of respect towards the creator of Aikido and the family that represents him. They are able to be there because of the Aikikai. I think we need to accept the fact that it is necessary for the Aikikai / Hombu Dojo to try to run things as a business, to the extent that they can keep themselves afloat, and thereby enable the core of the Founder's aikido to continue.

In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:15 AM   #56
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

Sensei Dang Thong Phong - Tenshinkai Aikido - Westminster Aikikai - my original instructor for 12 years. - "No, again."

Sensei Frank McGouirck - Aikido-Ai - a source of early support and inspiration. - "Changes, Changes, Changes"

Compliments, congratulations, appreciation, and respect.

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 01-15-2014, 08:30 AM   #57
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

Quote:
Ethan Weisgard wrote: View Post
What would happen if we didn't have the Aikikai?

The way I see it, the Aikikai represents the iemoto system, as well as being the practical headquarters of Aikido. If the Aikikai wasn't there, or was not supported, then we would be represented by the different leaders of our individual groups. That might work for the first generation, but then who would take over the representation after that?

The Aikikai works as an umbrella organization, and generally doesn't lay down too strict guidelines regarding the technical aspects of our Aikido. The Hombu instructors receive salaries, and there are quite many of them on the payroll. They don't receive high salaries, but even if it is a standard level salary, this will still be quite a large amount to be paid every month. I believe that the Hombu Dojo is not making a financial killing at the moment regarding the various payments that are coming in. If you look at the once -a -year Kagami Biraki list, then of course it seems like a large sum, but this is just once a year. Try to think of Tokyo real-estate prices, and take a look at the size and the location of Hombu Dojo, and factor this in to what their annual expenses are.

I know it must be hard for the Aikikai, because many people must be thinking along the same lines as what Chris Li has stated. His statements are quite spot-on, when thinking pragmatically about the situation.

But I do think one needs to ask the question - what if Aikikai wasn't there? To me, it seems obvious: Chaos, power struggles all over the place - and most of all, a lack of awareness of, and respect for the lineage of O-Sensei. I think it is our responsibility to try to imbue our students with an understanding and feeling of respect towards the creator of Aikido and the family that represents him. They are able to be there because of the Aikikai. I think we need to accept the fact that it is necessary for the Aikikai / Hombu Dojo to try to run things as a business, to the extent that they can keep themselves afloat, and thereby enable the core of the Founder's aikido to continue.

In aiki,
Ethan Weisgard
Hmm...thread return after a year...

I think that there is plenty of chaos and power struggles with the Aikikai just as there would be without - it's the human condition. I don't particularly see what an organization has to do with respect, and respecting a genetic lineage went out with Kings and thrones (except on HBO).

Respect ought to be earned on one's own, not based on some distant ancestral connection.

There's nothing wrong with running things as a business of course - but remember that businesses serve customers and provide value or they don't stay in business long.

That being said, I'm not anti-Aikikai, but I think that it will have to make some significant changes in order to survive.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-16-2014, 04:21 AM   #58
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Sensei Dang Thong Phong - Tenshinkai Aikido - Westminster Aikikai - my original instructor for 12 years. - "No, again."
I heard that a lot when I visited a couple years ago. Said very softly. Thought I was hearing ghosts.
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:55 AM   #59
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

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Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
I heard that a lot when I visited a couple years ago. Said very softly. Thought I was hearing ghosts.
I still hear him an my head and my heart, but now he says "Yes, again please."

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 01-16-2014, 07:02 AM   #60
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

Happy New Year Chris (or even "Ake Ome")

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I don't particularly see what an organization has to do with respect, and respecting a genetic lineage went out with Kings and thrones (except on HBO).
My home country, the one I'm living in and plenty others all seem to get by with symbolic monarchs.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Respect ought to be earned on one's own, not based on some distant ancestral connection.
I'm afraid I totally disagree with this. Respect should be a default position. Showing respect is something one should try to do all the time without any "earning" needing to be done in advance from the recipients, be they family members, strangers, hereditary symbolic leaders, religions, cultures, organisations, the environment or whatever. They can lose that respect through their actions, but you give them all an equal chance on contact and even when they lose it, the "showing respect" part isn't just for them, but for everyone else too. The innocent bystander does not deserve to be dragged into one's disrespect for someone who transgressed. It's all a delicate balance between oneself, other people and the rest of the world.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
There's nothing wrong with running things as a business of course - but remember that businesses serve customers and provide value or they don't stay in business long.
I can't agree with this either. The Aikikai are better off sticking to their status as a legal foundation for propagating the art.

It's simply not true that you can't stay in business for long if you don't provide good service or value. You can and plenty do! Okay, we all have different ideas of what might be "good", but business is competition with winners and losers. Winning doesn't mean you did the best job. It might mean your virtual slave workforce is based in an "economic processing zone" making an ordinary product for a pittance that you mark up to ridiculous levels because your main outlay is on advertising and getting celebs to model it to impressionable youths. It might mean you run a Mcdojo that... well, you get the picture.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
That being said, I'm not anti-Aikikai, but I think that it will have to make some significant changes in order to survive.
I agree that it has to change with the times. There are some complicated issues. Liking or disliking different cultural practices (including Iemoto) is one, but I don't think it is the main one. In many countries it's not that unusual to have a hereditary symbolic figure, even for organisations as big as national governments. Having it for martial arts, the tea ceremony etc in Japan culture isn't such a big deal.

You talked about Osensei's "massive lack" of interest in organisations, even though his actions clearly show someone who took an active role in them. From village councilman to head of the martial arts groups such as the Budo Senyokai, throughout his life the founder was a supportive member of numerous organisations. Throughout his life he also gave and accepted accreditation in the form of teaching licenses and dan ranks, including from the hereditary head of a whole country (the Japanese Emperor). What would the founder have wanted?

Regards

Carl
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:22 AM   #61
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

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Happy New Year Chris (or even "Ake Ome")
My home country, the one I'm living in and plenty others all seem to get by with symbolic monarchs.
True of course, but the functional point here is the "symbolic" part. Nobody (except some of the uyoku fringe groups) beleive them to be "actual" monarchs.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I'm afraid I totally disagree with this. Respect should be a default position. Showing respect is something one should try to do all the time without any "earning" needing to be done in advance from the recipients, be they family members, strangers, hereditary symbolic leaders, religions, cultures, organisations, the environment or whatever. They can lose that respect through their actions, but you give them all an equal chance on contact and even when they lose it, the "showing respect" part isn't just for them, but for everyone else too. The innocent bystander does not deserve to be dragged into one's disrespect for someone who transgressed. It's all a delicate balance between oneself, other people and the rest of the world.
In the abstract of showing respect for all people - sure, I can agree with that. However, my point stands - I don't believe in automatic entitlement due to genetic heritage. I have no problem with automatically respecting the descendents of whoever or whatever, but that changes when they start asking to be sent or paid large sums of money. In that case the bar gets higher.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I can't agree with this either. The Aikikai are better off sticking to their status as a legal foundation for propagating the art.

It's simply not true that you can't stay in business for long if you don't provide good service or value. You can and plenty do! Okay, we all have different ideas of what might be "good", but business is competition with winners and losers. Winning doesn't mean you did the best job. It might mean your virtual slave workforce is based in an "economic processing zone" making an ordinary product for a pittance that you mark up to ridiculous levels because your main outlay is on advertising and getting celebs to model it to impressionable youths. It might mean you run a Mcdojo that... well, you get the picture..
I never said that they shouldn't stick with their status as a legal foundation for propogating the art, I don't know where you got that. The rest of your comments don't seem relevant to my point, which was in response to a statement that the Aikikai should be run as a business. I was pointing out that businesses are subject to normal market forces, and need to recognize that fact.

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I agree that it has to change with the times. There are some complicated issues. Liking or disliking different cultural practices (including Iemoto) is one, but I don't think it is the main one. In many countries it's not that unusual to have a hereditary symbolic figure, even for organisations as big as national governments. Having it for martial arts, the tea ceremony etc in Japan culture isn't such a big deal.

You talked about Osensei's "massive lack" of interest in organisations, even though his actions clearly show someone who took an active role in them. From village councilman to head of the martial arts groups such as the Budo Senyokai, throughout his life the founder was a supportive member of numerous organisations. Throughout his life he also gave and accepted accreditation in the form of teaching licenses and dan ranks, including from the hereditary head of a whole country (the Japanese Emperor). What would the founder have wanted?

Regards

Carl
Those were organizations he joined, but that's quite different from being active in forming your own organization for Aikido, which he never did. I think the historical record is clear that he showed a "massive lack" of interest in that respect (that's actually a direct quote from Shoji Nishio, by the way, who was so worried about the lack of interest that he went out and started organizing Aikikai groups on his own).

At best, he sat back and let Kisshomaru do the lifting.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-16-2014, 02:56 PM   #62
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

As usual, thanks for your response Chris

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I have no problem with automatically respecting the descendents of whoever or whatever, but that changes when they start asking to be sent or paid large sums of money. In that case the bar gets higher.
Is payment a new thing for being a member of Osensei's organisation? I agree that many people find membership expensive, but that goes for all kinds of organisations, irrespective of whether they are traditionally run.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I never said that they shouldn't stick with their status as a legal foundation for propogating the art, I don't know where you got that.
Sorry, I couldn't quite see where you were coming from in the related paragraph I quoted. In any case, my main disagreement was meant for the part about businesses providing quality.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Those were organizations he joined, but that's quite different from being active in forming your own organization for Aikido, which he never did. I think the historical record is clear that he showed a "massive lack" of interest in that respect (that's actually a direct quote from Shoji Nishio, by the way, who was so worried about the lack of interest that he went out and started organizing Aikikai groups on his own).

At best, he sat back and let Kisshomaru do the lifting.
I'd agree that Osensei didn't take it too seriously and let the kohai do the lifting (although I heard that when it came to actual lifting, he had a rice-hod specially made so that he could carry much more than the average man).

Regards

Carl
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:14 PM   #63
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Re: Aikikai Kagami Biraki Promotions

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Is payment a new thing for being a member of Osensei's organisation? I agree that many people find membership expensive, but that goes for all kinds of organisations, irrespective of whether they are traditionally run.
I have nothing against payment, I'm just saying that it changes the relationship and the expectations.

I respect the Pope (especially the new one), but I'm not sending him any money. If I did, or if he expected me to, I'd think that our relationship and expectations of each other would be quite different.

This bit I posted further up the thread summarizes my thoughts on why the Aikikai should be thinking about changing how they handle their relationships:

Quote:
In the past much of the value was in the relationship.

Shihan X trained at Aikikai Hombu and feels a personal obligation to support them. He pays up.

Bob, who trains with Shihan X, has no particular personal relationship with Aikikai Hombu, but pays up because his teacher pays up.

Bill, who trains with Bob, has no particular personal relationship with Aikikai Hombu, his teacher Bob has no particular personal relationship with Aikikai Hombu, but pays up because his Shihan X pays up.

Bruce, who trains with Bill, has no particular personal relationship with Aikikai Hombu, his teacher Bill has no particular personal relationship with Aikikai Hombu, , Bill's teacher Bob has no particular personal relationship with Aikikai Hombu, but Bruce pays up because...why?

This is the point that we're getting to now in the history of Aikido. Most people have never been to Hombu and have no personal relationships there. They send in money and get (by mail) a piece of paper from someone who has never met them and doesn't know who they are.
The old relationships, which were the basis for the organization, are laregely gone for the average practitioner.

"Send money we're supporting world Aikido" doesn't seem (to me) to be an effective sales pitch to maintain the organization into the future (especially when there isn't really much in the way of actual support). Neither does "Send me money because my great-grandfather started this organization", or "You should send money to be in our club. What do you get? To be in the club".

They need to come up for a reason for people to want to be associated with the organization other than what is today, essentially, a mail-order certificate. There are many membership organizations worldwide that offer real benefits to their members (peer accrediting organization and professional organizations come to mind), it's not like re-inventing the wheel - but it will take a change of mindset.

Best,

Chris

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