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Old 09-19-2014, 11:18 AM   #1
Dan Richards
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Third Wave Aikido

I'm taking the "third wave" expression and some of the concepts and principles from the idea of "Third Wave Coffee." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Wave_Coffee

The entry, timeline, spread and growth of coffee very much mirrors that of Aikido.

In one way, Third Wave Aikido would be a return to the original principles found in Aikido and other martial arts, but in another way, it would be a forward movement. And instead of spending so much time looking back into history, we focus more on the current time as well as moving forward towards a progressive evolution.

I'd like to get some input and take this discussion in two directions:

1. What do we have at our disposal today that we can use to make a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido?

2. What, within the current state of Aikido - including methods, practices, organizations, etc., is not working? Let's look at the crap and get rid of it.

The aim of this discussion, and the idea of Third Wave Aikido, is the moving away from the Folgers and Starbucks level of Aikido practice and move into a level of quality we're seeing arise in other industries that are using the highest quality principles, practices, methods, technologies, and communication to further the overall level of experience for everyone involved.

Cheers...
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:34 AM   #2
Dan Richards
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

One area that could be impeding the quality of Aikido is ranking.

Here's an interview with Yamada, in which he states:
http://www.aikido-yamada.eu/index.php/sensei/interview/

Quote:
Well, the ranking system in aikido is another headache. I personally disagree with this system. A teaching certificate is okay, a black belt is okay. But after that, no numbers, no shodan, no nidan, etc. People know who is good and who is bad. The dan ranking system creates a competitive mind, because people judge others – “oh, he is sixth dan, but he is not good, this guy is much better…” It is very difficult to judge in aikido. It all depends on how the examiner interprets aikido. Again the good things about aikido – flexibility and individuality – are also a problem because there is no standard of judging tests. In judo it is very different; if you don’t win, you don’t get a rank.
And more on rank at "Something's Rank..."
http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/...-belts-aikido/
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:08 PM   #3
CorkyQ
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Thanks for starting this conversation, Dan.

I am in agreement with the statements of Yamada Sensei as quoted as the ranking within the aikido community is arbitrary at best.

In my experience however, the biggest deterrent to progress in the art of aikido is the technique emulation model of teaching the art. I believe that the Founder has said that takemusu aiki is the highest form of aikido and that it is without form and outside of technique. Therefore it makes little sense to me to look to form in order to get to something formless.

Techniques are complex chains of elemental movements, and in order to learn such movements collusive ukemi is required. For the past ten years I have been developing a teaching model that only trains the elemental movements of aikido so that they may be combined into compounds that are more in alignment with the energy being expressed by uke in the moment of the attack. I have not taught a technique (as defined in the aikido world) in over ten years, yet my students have attained a higher level of understanding of the principles of aiki within a year or two than I had come to understand in ten to twenty years of training in the technique emulation model.

As a further benefit, teaching and learning without techniques as we know them requires a more thorough understanding of the nature of true attack. The collusive ukemi required for learning "traditional" techniques often calls for force to be applied to uke to produce the result the technique calls for. By learning to offer the partner authentic attack intention (without the intensity of a deadly attack for safety) requires nage/tori to truly harmonize or else there will be no aiki resolution (what we call a fall/throw).

Through this kind of practice we are more able to discover as aikidoka how our own actions and intentions affect the attack and the attacker either causing them to shift to defense or change their attack. In observing how our intentions are out of harmony with the intention to connect expressed by the attacker, we come to discover how our fears on an unconscious level, create the opposition to aiki. This attribute of our practice makes the adage masakatsu agatsu its operating principle, because no one will go to the mat unless we transcend our lower brain responses and come from a place of beneficent intention. In this way we feel we are best learning to express the purpose of aikido as we understand it - to unify with our partners so that we can truly make the world one family.

Thank you for this discussion.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:45 PM   #4
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
The aim of this discussion, and the idea of Third Wave Aikido, is the moving away from the Folgers and Starbucks level of Aikido practice and move into a level of quality we're seeing arise in other industries that are using the highest quality principles, practices, methods, technologies, and communication to further the overall level of experience for everyone involved.
But what does that actually mean? What would "higher quality" aikido look like? In what concrete ways would it differ from "current" aikido? -- keeping in mind that no one seems able to agree on what "current" aikido even is.

Revolutionaries without goals are just anarchists.

Katherine
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Old 09-19-2014, 01:19 PM   #5
RonRagusa
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
What would "higher quality" aikido look like? In what concrete ways would it differ from "current" aikido? -- keeping in mind that no one seems able to agree on what "current" aikido even is.
And therein lies the rub. Aikido, for better or worse, is no longer a single thing. Aikido has become a network with many nodes interconnected by principles that are relatively invariant and lineage that traces back to O Sensei. Third Wave Aikido is another attempt at standardization which will appeal to some, perhaps many, but will eventually be assimilated by the network.

Aikido is kind of like the Borg; "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated".

Ron

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Old 09-19-2014, 01:48 PM   #6
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

But we already have Intelligentsia Aikido, Stumptown Aikido and Counter Culture Aikido.

dps
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Old 09-19-2014, 02:13 PM   #7
Cliff Judge
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Lose the hakama, dogi, all Japanese cultural trappings, obviously.

Keep the beer.

But we need a better sound track. Black Metal. Up to 11, every class.

And...is it just me? All of this talk in other threads of in yo ho. It's time for some FRO YO HO, amirite?
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:57 AM   #8
Dan Richards
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Thanks for the contributions so far. Keep 'em coming.

There's an emerging consensus on ranking and teaching methodology as an impediment. And also on students being trained much more quickly to more advanced levels.

In the topic, Perhaps the tide is changing George Ledyard posted:
Quote:
If I were to be left completely to my own devices, I would have the student do static technique, and basic connection exercises of the type one would do with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei (or any of the internal power teachers) and spend 3 - 5 years getting the body / mind properly programmed. Than I'd start doing more technique in a dynamic fashion. I would not have the student do anything resembling what folks often refer to as "resistant" training until they had been training this way for 5 years or so. I would also teach the ukes to attack using the same principles used by the nage. Right now we have one person attempting to do very sophisticated technique against an attacker who is totally remedial.

I think at the end of 8 to 10 yrs of training properly, we could end up with someone who currently operates at a fairly high Dan rank. In other words, after 8 - 10 years of training we would have someone who functions at or better than what passes for 6th dan at this point.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:11 AM   #9
Dan Richards
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

In a recent interview with Yoko Okamoto she stated:
Quote:
In Japan, Budo Dojo have a very old-fashioned image. However, if we are to survive, we must appeal to the new generation. The art of Tea Ceremony and Kabuki for example, try to do the same. We must manage to reach out to the new generation without losing the important aspects of our art.

Personally, I want to update the old-fashioned image of Budo, without losing the essence. It has to stay a Budo, which means that it must retain some discipline and an intense dedication to training.
There is also the graph from Google Trends on Aikido over the last 10 years, showing the steady and rapid decline in interest.
http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=aikido&cmpt=q
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:50 AM   #10
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Why???
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:03 PM   #11
CorkyQ
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Dan, I find that my own views are congruent with Ledyard Sensei's views on this, particularly in the nature of ukemi that is effective for aikido training. While it seems natural to focus on the part we want to learn (aikido), it makes more sense to begin with an understanding of the nature of what gives aikido purpose - attack. Without attack, aikido is irrelevant as the practice Osensei founded.

I begin teaching students a kata of ukemi, rather than techniques of aikido on which most dojos focus and the way I was instructed. By having students learn how and why an attack on an aikido practitioner results in a throw based on the energy of the attack as it arises for the purpose of imposed connection to the central core of the target, they come from a more solid foundation in understanding how the movements of aikido facilitate the resolution without the force and coercion often seen in the application of aikido techniques. I call this teaching/learning model Aiki-Lab because it is largely a self-guided system, supporting the idea put forward by the late Kanshu Sunadomari Shihan that takemusu aiki is readily available for anyone with having to learn techniques, and that with an understanding of the principles of aiki, is learnable without a teacher.

I call the ukemi forms "stretches" for particular practical reasons. First so that they cultivate the feeling of how authentic attack energy must exit the body to be effective and how when the target (nage) moves properly, the attacker will naturally remain in an unbalanced state. When they then learn the elemental movements of aikido, which I hold are very simple and few, they can see how these movements provide for the safety of all by the ma'ai created, and also how the support they are then giving to their attacking partner keeps the attacker's system from registering the lack of balance so that the attack trajectory can manifest without the limbic system of the attacker being triggered to cease or alter the attack. Because of the supporting nature of the aikido part, I call the accompanying movement a "spot."

The word "spot" in this context means the same as it does in weight-lifting or gymnastics. It means to offer support to a partner, that is to be involved with what the partner is doing without interfering. By using the words "stretch" and "spot" rather than "attack" and defense" it first diminishes the effect of limbic triggers in the lower brain of the aikidoist, because the very notion of attack creates the perception of threat, where the viewpoint that someone is doing a stretching exercise that one intends to support for the safety of the person stretching allows a more relaxed approach and opens the brain transcend to higher consciousness functions. I have found in my practice that the ability to transcend nervous system responses to the perception of threat allow for the manifestation of ki no nagare in a way that transforms the intention of the attacker.

As a teaching aid I created a movement chart based on the ways attacks manifest and the intention behind them, then paired them with sets of elemental movements in various combinations so that students get a chance to experience both how attacks are expressed in a meaningful way, and how the elemental movements they are learning as aikido (mostly ways of turning center to keep the flow of the attack a spiral that will inevitably be grounded) facilitate the support uke needs to not catch himself from falling or to abandon the attack because of resistance and seek the connection in a different attack.

The movement set chart is here: http://www.westlosangelesaikido.com/...n%20Chart.html

by clicking on the name of the stretch you will be taken to a page which shows each stretch from various angles including overhead, each initial spot to train the elemental movements that harmonize most readily from particular attack intentions, and then a video with the stretch and the spot combined to see how the movement align in harmony from the attack rather than aikido being something that is about forcing the attacker into a technique which may or may not be in harmony with the attack. Though I have chosen the 16 movement sets illustrated there, any "traditional" aikido technique can be dissected to expose the components of each.

In the Aiki-Lab system these initial sets of movements are not trained past their initial value as elemental movements by intermediate training in which the stretches are investigated as to how they can spontaneously change at various points in the expression of an attack. At this point students can see that it is not the technique they are learning but how the elemental movement training allows them to flow in harmony with the attack no matter how it changes. They quickly see early on (within the first six months of training) that it is the nature of the relationship between themselves and their partners, the connection we would say, that makes all the difference. They also see right away that what they are really training to do is to transcend their own fears in order to come from a place of beneficent intention. They can not help but notice then how smoothly aikido manifests when they are simply helping their partner's insistent move toward the mat while insuring the partner's safety and security during the action.

This demonstrates to each student at the earliest stages of training the literal truth of the idea that in its highest form aikido really is "the loving protection of all things." Better, rather than this demonstration be of a teacher showing the student, it is proof they experience in every interaction on the mat.

All advanced practice in the Aiki-Lab system is from random attacks, all of which are informed by authentic attack intention without the intensity that makes a true attack deadly. In that way we can as training partners give our partner enough energy, properly applied, for aikido to manifest, without triggering the fear that if something goes wrong someone will be injured. This takes the collusiveness that was inherent in the aikido training most of us have experienced out of the situation. It also insures that things Nage does that are not truly in harmony with the attack do not falsely create positive reinforcement for those errors, because uke will never go to the mat unless aiki has been created.
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:09 AM   #12
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
There's an emerging consensus on ranking and teaching methodology as an impediment.
You've cited Yamada as one data point in support of this. Do you have others?

(Not that I have a dog in this fight, but for the purposes of discussion, I think it's best to be cautious of asserting that a "consensus" exists without strong evidence)
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:37 AM   #13
Keith Larman
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
You've cited Yamada as one data point in support of this. Do you have others?

(Not that I have a dog in this fight, but for the purposes of discussion, I think it's best to be cautious of asserting that a "consensus" exists without strong evidence)
I very recently had someone tell me on a very similar topic that "there's a growing consensus among my colleagues who agree with me."

Um, yeah, okay...

Carry on...

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Old 09-22-2014, 09:11 AM   #14
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
You've cited Yamada as one data point in support of this. Do you have others?

(Not that I have a dog in this fight, but for the purposes of discussion, I think it's best to be cautious of asserting that a "consensus" exists without strong evidence)
heh. Einstein's relativity was attacked by the luminaries of the day in a collection of critical essays: Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein (A Hundred Authors Against Einstein).

Quote:
Einstein retorted by saying "Why 100 authors? If I were wrong, then one would have been enough!"

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:17 AM   #15
Dan Richards
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Mary, perhaps "consensus" wasn't the correct word. It would have read better as "an emerging trend..." I don't have a dog in any fight. Just a coffee on the table. And I love dogs. They're welcome to hang out.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:20 AM   #16
Dan Richards
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

I'm not making any declaration here. I'm making observations that are already occurring, and I'm interested in a discussion.

Martial arts are no different than many other areas of endeavour. As societies change and evolve, so do the martial arts of the times. Japanese martial arts, as it turns out, aren't so Japanese after all. And the aspects that would make them Japanese had more to do with the culture and times they were practiced.

Even Mas Oyama, going back 30+ years in one of his karate books showing pictures of his battered hands and fused bones, told people not to train like that any longer.

Times change, and so do martial arts. In my sig I have a constant reminder by Shoji Nishio, "Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn’t newer and stronger, it isn’t valid."

We live in a much safer overall society today. There are much stricter weapons laws, personal assault laws, and self-defense laws. Marc MacYoung is a good place to start.

We have access to more information than ever before. We can communicate, discuss, and share ideas. Gone is one-to-many communication. We've been in a many-to-many society for nearly 20 years. And this is not only growing, but we're refining it over time. The average person has access to affordable media production and publishing tools.

Martial artists are no longer training in relative isolation, but in an interactive field of more open communication. And this is affecting the development and evolution of martial arts.

And there is a big movement in our society to get back to the "essence" of things, whether it be coffee, beer, wine, food, martial arts, physical culture, individual rights....

Aikido is no different. And many of the so called "traditional" martial arts are not traditional at all, and were, in many cases, slapped together and packaged ad hoc after WWII, and then introduced on a more public scale and to the West as something exotic and ancient and culture/nation-specific. And, in many cases, the teachers sent abroad didn't even have that much experience. Especially with the 4th generation students, who were mostly still in the Shu stage.

On a global level there are more aikidoka and martial artists who are in the Ri stage over the last 10 years. And the Ri stage is not for everyone.

Shu = first wave = martial apprentice
Ha = second wave = martial craftsman
Ri = third wave = martial artist

Of shuhari, Seishiro Endo stated:
Quote:
It is known that, when we learn or train in something, we pass through the stages of shu, ha, and ri. These stages are explained as follows. In shu, we repeat the forms and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb the forms that our forefoxes created. We remain faithful to these forms with no deviation. Next, in the stage of ha, once we have disciplined ourselves to acquire the forms and movements, we make innovations. In this process the forms may be broken and discarded. Finally, in ri, we completely depart from the forms, open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we act in accordance with what our heart/mind desires, unhindered while not overstepping laws.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:54 AM   #17
kewms
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

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Dan Richards wrote: View Post
On a global level there are more aikidoka and martial artists who are in the Ri stage over the last 10 years. And the Ri stage is not for everyone.
I think there are a lot more people who *think* they have reached the "ri" stage. Whether it's objectively true is not quite so clear.

Katherine
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:10 PM   #18
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I think there are a lot more people who *think* they have reached the "ri" stage. Whether it's objectively true is not quite so clear.

Katherine
There you go - exactly.

90% of American men think they are above average drivers (yes my old canard).

ShuHaRi has always been a dynamic rather than distinct stages but they old Confucian system works best when there is an outside evaluation. Actually an argument for a well structured grading curriculum.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:26 PM   #19
Dan Richards
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I think there are a lot more people who *think* they have reached the "ri" stage. Whether it's objectively true is not quite so clear.
I would agree, Katherine. And I'd also figure that there are a lot more people who are afraid - or just plain disinterested - to enter it. It's not for everyone.

That doesn't discount that there are still more in the world now than ever before.
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:32 PM   #20
dps
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
I'm not making any declaration here. I'm making observations that are already occurring, and I'm interested in a discussion.
Unless there is documentation to back up your premise of what is already occuring, then your observations are from your personal perspective and not objective.

dps
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:50 PM   #21
CorkyQ
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Whether there is a consensus or not, I understand what you mean, Dan.

I have been meeting many individuals from around the world who are looking for progress in aikido, both in their own personal evolution and in the general approach to training they see in their dojos, their dojo's parent organization, and the aikido world in general as presented through the ready access to examples of training and teachings all over the world.

More clearly than ever, we are able to look at our art through many eyes, to see how our fellow aikidoka approach the art. Through the wonder of our state of global communication we can now meet those who find themselves on congruent paths.

Your questions, and your use of the example of Yamada's quote about ranking are clear though there may be fewer individuals who believe that the art of aikido is evolving than you expect. However, the evolution for some is very clear, as well as the direction they evolving toward. The ones I am speaking of specifically, at least the ones who come to mind for me when I ponder your question, seem to me to have certain ideas in common, but then again, I am sure that I am much more cognizant of those who are on a similar path to my own. One example of an evolution in aikido that can be easily charted through records is that of Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei. When one looks at early teachings compared to current teaching, it is not difficult to see where aikido has lead him.

Once in a conversation with a protege of Roderick Kobayashi Sensei, this long term deshi told me that Sensei had told him "to take Aikido further" than he had. I asked him how he thought Sensei would have been expressing aikido if he was still alive, and his reply was "He would be getting softer and softer." Clearly this student of a great teacher could see that his teacher saw aikido as an evolutionary process and that he was expecting his students to carry on, not just with what he taught them, but to let the truths of our art expand ever more through their own practice.

In a conversation with Dai Sensei Kanshu Sunadomari, he told me that even at the age of 84 he was still discovering deeper levels of aikido. I took from this conversation that he too saw aikido as an evolutionary process, and in his case it seemed to be what he called "removing animosity" from his heart.

In a conversation with Mary Heiny, she told me that her teacher Hikitsuchi Sensei had told her that we must remove the word nage (as defined as "thrower") from the vernacular.

When I look at the statements above, at least through the filter of my own vision of aikido, I see a definite trend. The way I would categorize this trend, as minimal as it might be when compared to the multitude of approaches to aikido, is that progress in the art could be seen as moving closer to the ideal of aikido being an expression of love.

The things that take aikido out of the "starbucks" dojo and into the realm of experience I would like to share with the Sensei I have referred to above, is that which increase our consciousness of how aikido principles can be utilized to eliminate pain and suffering.

More and more I find myself in contact with others who are increasingly unable to live with the idea that aikido when described as non-violent contains pain compliance techniques and throws that would injure anyone who didn't know how to roll. I see that as evolution.

More and more I find myself in contact with aikidoka who resent their teachers or their dojo's parent organization forbidding them to explore other approaches to aikido outside the organization's or teacher's pedagogy. I see this as an evolution, because fear of dilution of teaching can create stagnation. Teachers who feel that the art is complete have no room for finding the deeper levels Dai Sensei Sudadomari described.

More and more I find myself discovering others in other disciplines and practices who recognize the universal truths common to spiritual evolution and how they create the space for peaceful resolution of conflict.

What makes the idea of evolutionary aikido difficult for some to visualize is that it may be a metamorphosis more than steady, gradual process. Sometimes it is an awakening that precedes the most profound changes. Perhaps this inevitably occurs in individuals more than in the art as an institution. I remember reading an interview with K. Sunadomari speaking of his revelations which was affirming revelations I had then recently received about aikido. Then I looked at the date of the interview - it was conducted several months before I had begun my aikido training more than 25 years earlier!

As for disposing what "doesn't work" while promoting what does in the aikido community at large, it will take a critical mass to affect the paradigm shift that will produce the most profound changes in the art itself as a collective. Though those who are aware of the path of this evolution as suggested by this inquiry are perhaps few in number, in my experience that number is growing. A critical mass is not necessarily a majority, and we could see a sea change in the art at large in a very short amount of time depending on the evolution/metamorphosis of individuals. In that case I imagine the things that work and don't work will sort themselves out.

Last edited by CorkyQ : 09-22-2014 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:00 PM   #22
Dan Richards
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Unless there is documentation to back up your premise of what is already occuring, then your observations are from your personal perspective and not objective
David, there have been a number of observations and experiences related by others (Yamada, Okamoto, Ledyard, etc.) cited in this thread. There's even been some hard data presented - if you care to dig in and pull up a chair.
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:11 PM   #23
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post

1. What do we have at our disposal today that we can use to make a radical and progressive evolution in Aikido?

2. What, within the current state of Aikido - including methods, practices, organizations, etc., is not working? Let's look at the crap and get rid of it..
That is what everyone is doing with their Aikido already.
Are you trying to get all people who practice Aikido to practice the same way?

dps
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:21 PM   #24
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Unless there is documentation to back up your premise of what is already occuring, then your observations are from your personal perspective and not objective.
A quibble. "Personal perspectives" are not, as such, "not objective." Perspective is a objective measure of diminishing detail and increased distortion as a function of remoteness and point of view -- but also diminishing field of view as proximity increases. It is a geometric and physical issue, and quite objective.

Any particular perspective is necessarily incomplete or less precise depending on the point of view and distance from the topic -- far observers see the forest and less of the trees. Proximity of view can suffer from the same problems of incompleteness and imprecision -- they see the trees -- but not the forest.

Both perspectives can be objectively true - neither is complete.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-22-2014, 01:31 PM   #25
dps
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Re: Third Wave Aikido

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Dan Richards wrote: View Post
David, there have been a number of observations and experiences related by others (Yamada, Okamoto, Ledyard, etc.) cited in this thread. There's even been some hard data presented - if you care to dig in and pull up a chair.
With over a million and a half people practicing Aikido ( http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9550), you need more than a handful of people you referenced to establish this is as a trend.
The evolution of Aikido started when Osensei evolved his martial art into his Aikido that he passed on to his students to make it their own and to pass on their Aikido. It continues today on this personal level.

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Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Let's look at the crap and get rid of it.
The crap that you don't want in your Aikido might be something essential to another person's Aikido and the essential elements in your Aikido might be crap to someone else.
dps
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