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Old 07-23-2001, 11:04 PM   #26
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 915
Now this is all based on what I've heard, not having been in Japan, or even alive during part of this: but it appears to me that Saito Sensei, Tohei Sensei, Chiba Sensei, the last Doshu,Imaizumi Sensei, Saotome Sensei, the list goes on and on but let's just stop there: their styles are all different, some a little, some a lot. But they are also similar. While some broke with the Hombu, and some returned, at the time of O Sensei's death they were all still teaching Aikido under him in Japan. Do I think their styles changed drasticly upon his death? Probably not. So did they each probably practice and teach in their own particular way in the Founder's presence? I guess so. And I would also guess he approved, or he would not have promoted them, given them dojos or allowed them to teach. So it seems to me if this variation in style was OK for him, it can be OK for me. I've only heard Saito Sensei talk at a couple of seminars, and while you can see the love he had for the Founder in his eyes, and hear it in his repetition 'this is exactly how the Founder taught me' I at least never heard him say the Founder did or would (if he were alive) disapprove of anything not matching what Saito Sensei was teaching us. If the student who of all O Sensei's students spent the most time with him can be that tolerant of differences, then perhaps we...
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Old 07-24-2001, 06:42 AM   #27
JJF's Avatar
Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
Location: Vissenbjerg
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 801

Originally posted by akiy
Jørgen, you do realize that Saito sensei is part of the Aikikai, right?

-- Jun
Hi Jun!

Your right. Thanks! My post was not precise enough and I stand corrected. However isn't Saito Sensei's Aikido concidered to differ in some important ways from 'mainstream' aikikai (if such a thing exists) ?
To clarify: I practice under influence of Shoji Nishio Sensei and I have been told that he and Saito Sensei in some ways emphasizes different aspects of Aikido. I have no experience with Iwama ryu though, but if my memory serves me right you do. Could you comment ?. My point regarding the division between clubs within the dojo still stands though.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:17 PM   #28
Dojo: The Toyoda Center
Location: Michigan
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 7
Re: Two Dojos in One (...by Ronco (tm))

I just happened to be perusing old topics and found this one so I thought I would revive it, if for no other reason than to give an update 4 years later

We were the "group" that Tim and Ed were speaking of and we are now the Toyoda Center/Yushinkan dojo in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the time Tim started the thread we had been training together as two-dojos merged for almost a year (maybe slightly less). Although there was some friction, it was not necessarily as bad as was posted. It is true that we had group discussions about the name issue because prior to our "merger" we had two distinct names (given by Toyoda Sensei), identities, and, of course, students that naturally felt strongly about keeping the essence of what they had contributed too. Understandable, right?

Anyways, the dojo-cho of Tim's dojo and I discussed this merger over several months prior to doing it as he was very concerned about the very things that were written in the thread; mainly that we were not going to "steal" his students by leaving in the future. A very valid concern that I acknowledged with a No Compete Agreement. In addition, all of the merging students joined the new dojo as members, paying full membership dues to the facility.

By the way, the reason this all came about is because, as Tim said, we were part of the same organization and had the same teacher (Toyoda Sensei). Our group had lost its training facility as a result of new ownership of the huge health club we were training in. As we began our search for a new training space we realized how silly it was that two good groups of sincere students were separate. I was far too busy to be running a dojo and simply wanted to keep training so I approached their dojo-cho and the process began.

From our standpoint, things were going well as we were all getting along and enjoying the combined training. For once, the students of that dojo were being exposed to the world of seminars and traveling to see all kinds of Aikido. In fact, what Tim failed to mention is that it was us who encouraged both he and another very good Shodan to continue teaching and, in fact, many of the "new" students really enjoyed their instruction, And why wouldn't they, they are both good Aikidoka and teachers.

Ironically, it was shortly after Toyoda Sensei's death on July 4th, 2001 that I received a letter in the mail from the dojo-cho stating "Your services are no longer needed, please turn in your door keys by mail" simply followed by a signature. No warning, no meetings, no discussions, no phone calls, no emails, no professional courtesy. I had buried the hatchet, relinquished my dojo memberhip to theirs, helped to build it up significantly both in quality and numbers and was effectively removed from the equation. (it is no coincidence that Tim's thread is dated around the time of Sensei's death)

If it werent for the phone call I received about an hour later I probably would not be teaching today. One of my original students called me and said meet me at the restaurant to discuss this event. When I arrived at the restaurant I was lead to a private meeting room where a group of +/- 35 students were seated. They were an even mix of my original students, students that joined after the merger and many students of the other dojo-cho. They were not there on my prompting as I had not told anyone about the "firing" so i could only assume they heard at the dojo. Upon hearing about the event they all walked into the dojo office, layed their keys on the desk and canceled their memberships. Not sure if thats what the dojo-cho expected but thats what happend. Funny how your worst fears come true...

Fast forward to today, we both have very nice dojo, great students that occasionally train together at seminars (including Tim, who began supporting us at our seminars about 6 months after this original post) and we both continue to simply do Aikido as we know it. We are about 3-4 miles apart and co-exist just fine, as I don't think either of us really believe in competition since there is enough to go around.

If you were to see the Toyoda Center today, which is by far one of the most beautiful training facilities in the world with full live-in facilities, classroom, Zendo, kitchen, laundry, and 1800sf +\- tatami area for training, you too would have to conclude that things happen for a reason and we would be silly for holding any animosity toward the leadership of the other dojo, for if it were not for their decision to split, we would not be where we are today.
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Old 03-10-2005, 04:01 PM   #29
Yokaze's Avatar
Dojo: Five Dragons
Location: Sonoma State University
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 93
Re: Two Dojos in One (...by Ronco (tm))

Ahh, the zombie post lives again!

For anyone in a similar situation, I thought I'd throw my coins in, even though we're several years removed from the incident itself.

Look, I understand that there "visitors" have different attitudes about WHY they are training, but aren't your GOALS the same? Your goal is to get better at Aikido. Their goal is to get better at Aikido. Does it really matter WHY you're getting better?

Secondly, I know all about dealing with people who are very rude and even arrogant. However, on the mat, it is very easy to slip into the motion of the training and completely ignore the attitudes of rude people. If you're training with someone who insists on correcting you and insulting you (for instance) while you practice, it is really very easy to ignore it and focus on the person as uke alone. Let the sensei correct you (and them, if necessary.) Outside of practice tensions may be high, but inside practice it is your responsibility to show a great deal of respect for yourself, your training partners (all of them) and your sensei. If others are not willing to show this respect, then they are missing the point of the exercise. However, you should not let that rob YOU of your improvement.

Thirdly, I suggest speaking to the sensei. Most sensei I kow of require silence on the mat at all times, and that may ease tensions a bit. Let him or her know what's going on and why you're upset and maybe he or she will do something about it. Maybe not.

All you can do is be the best Aikidoka and the best person you can be, and let others worry about their own self-improvement.

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

Rob Cunningham
3rd Kyu

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