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Old 04-03-2007, 11:25 AM   #1
Alec Corper
 
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Dojo: Itten Suginami Dojo, Nunspeet
Location: Wapenveld
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 270
Netherlands
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the line between experience and fixed opinions

Hello all,

I've noticed a growing trend in the last years for people with some experience to have (and voice) very strong opinions, almost to the point of strident declarations that "my answer is the only right answer". After accumulating 30 years of MA training (16 in aikido) I still consider myself a student, as well as an instructor. I value the idea of shoshin, and consider humility a necessary byproduct of correct training. I have seen, felt and teach that there is no single right way to do anything, only principles that need to be absorbed into the body. I find myself increasingly disinterested in even talking to somebody who "shouts" the same thing over and over. Most of you guys seem to stay out of many discussions, (George being a current exception) I wonder why?
regards, Alec

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 04-03-2007, 01:50 PM   #2
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 679
United_States
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Re: the line between experience and fixed opinions

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
Hello all,

Most of you guys seem to stay out of many discussions, (George being a current exception) I wonder why?
regards, Alec
Read on.

Quote:
Alec Coper wrote: View Post
I've noticed a growing trend in the last years for people with some experience to have (and voice) very strong opinions, almost to the point of strident declarations that "my answer is the only right answer".
You have, perhaps, answered your own question. Some posters are extremely adept at the keyboard beat-down. It makes replying to many threads an exercise in frustration.

Quote:
Alec Coper wrote: View Post
I have seen, felt and teach that there is no single right way to do anything, only principles that need to be absorbed into the body.
I agree. It's been my experience that once students internalize the principles, their Aikido is able to flourish and grow with very little "outside interference" from the instructor. As an instructor I strive to allow students to experience Aikido from the inside out. In their own time they will cease being taught and begin to learn.

Ron
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:56 PM   #3
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 292
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Re: the line between experience and fixed opinions

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
Hello all,

I've noticed a growing trend in the last years for people with some experience to have (and voice) very strong opinions, almost to the point of strident declarations that "my answer is the only right answer".[\]

Most of you guys seem to stay out of many discussions, (George being a current exception) I wonder why?
regards, Alec
Hi Alec,

Aikido is an evolving art. To have both passion and experience in something you love, without having strong opinions seems not only unrealistic, but counterproductive. The world of aikido could be a lot better for frank discussion on what's not working, how to make things better, and sharing of new discoveries. Of course, it's easy to overstep the bounds of civility, and fall into dogma. Unfortunately these errors do tend to dull the ears of those who would otherwise be eager to listen.

It would be completely dishonest of me if I did not declare that I have a way of practice that I believe is better than other ways. In fact, I believe it superior to every other method I've had the opportunity to survey. When we possess something good, it is right that we want to share it with others. That being said, I do realize it might not be right for you, or even the majority of those who do aikido. But I believe profoundly in what I am doing and where my path has led me.

As to your other point, I can't speak for others. I don't contribute much at all to AikiWeb forums, though I write a monthly column. I do hang out on Aikido-L and contribute there with some frequency. Being involved in the world aikido community is an important part of being a professional aikido instructor, in my opinion. But even doing this full time, I can't possibly be heavily involved in every venue.

Maybe some high ranking folk have themselves ensconced in an ivory tower. Maybe others aren't really good expressing themselves in writing. Some would rather do aikido than talk about it. Perhaps some are just genuinely busy. Some might feel their authority will dampen free discussion. Some don't speak English. I think the reasons are many, some valid, some not so much.

But I do think your question is an important one. Where are the top names in aikido? Why are they not more accessible? Why are the kancho of the major and lessor organizations not mixing with the crowd? Are they even speaking to each other? Can they not use a computer? Have they nothing to learn from each other? Will they not share with those of us outside their organization? Are they uninterested in the concerns of the aikido world at large?

You've given voice to something I've been grinding my teeth about for a while now. Sometimes I've really felt like rattling the cage a bit to see if any of those archons of our art will come down from the mountain.

Once I wrote an article that helped me process the teachings of someone I held in high respect. I made it clear I was working through some things, was very complimentary of the teacher and the teachings, but that the ideas in the article were in process and were my own thoughts, not meant to speak for anyone but me. Much later that teacher excoriated me for the article, called it garbage, said I knew nothing of aikido. This was done publicly, in front of my own students and guests, in my own house, where we were hosting a reception in his honor.

Sometimes there is a real cost involved in going public.

And that's a shame.

Ross
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:28 PM   #4
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Dojo: Wherever I am.
Location: South Korea, Yongin
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United Kingdom
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Re: the line between experience and fixed opinions

While sometimes I wish I could have trained in one dojo uder one master and had an easy time of it, my meandering has at least introduced me to a myriad of ways to do techniques (caused me a lot of trouble for a long time, in more ways than one). And while wandering, what I have noticed is that each 'group' has their own way, and if you show them another way they simply cannot do it and assume that it must be wrong, or at least it is too different to bother with. Accordingly, I find that I judge people not by their ability at what they can already do, which always looks pretty good, but by their ability to pick up new variations instantly, which, I find, they often cannot do.

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