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Old 02-01-2007, 09:38 AM   #26
dekodo
Dojo: AikiSpirit Dojo - Miami
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

A lot goes into credibility. How you conduct yourself, your level of respect, level of knowledge, as well as credentials and lineage. If we look at credibility only in terms of skill, this can be difficult whether moving from an independent to an affiliation, the other way around or moving from one affiliated organization to another. The issue lies in the fact that Aikido is a non-quantitative art. Progress, achievement and ability look different as we are not all doing the same thing (even within the same school). I have young athletes and much older individuals without the physical stamina for ukemi in the same classes. They can both have the same amount of hours on the mat and their aikido will look much different. The easiest way to judge ability is too look at the physical, but in doing so you would miss the fact that it's possible the less physically adept student has a firmer grasp on the deeper principals of harmony and conflict resolution. So who gets ranked higher? What happens when those students carry their rank out to another school where less/more emphasis is placed on the advancements that student achieved?

Comparison of aikidoka (especially from different "schools") is only valid if the goals they are trying to achieve are the same. I have rarely found this to be the case. Put two fighters in a ring, the fighter who walks out is the winner and therefore higher "ranked" in terms of their ability to win fights. But...aikido is deeper than that. We work on a million things to become...whatever it is we want Aikido to change in us. Aikidoka A is a weapons expert, knows every kata he has been taught. Ranked Nidan but has an anger management problem and has not incorporated any aikido outside the mat. Aikidoka B Has reduced stress, follows principals of keeping one point, is compassionate, also ranked Nidan and cannot pull off a koshinage for all the whisky in Ireland.

Who has more credibility? In their own dojo? In someone elses?

Since our goals in training are different there is no comparison to each other. We can only look at ourselves and constantly try to achieve in the areas we deem important for the particular life we are leading.

To the thought presented that it is difficult for independents to maintain growth without a high ranking shihan to guide them, let me present this:

As for progress and continued growth...everyone's perceptions are different and your experiences will form your opinions. As for me, my experience has been as follows: I cannot remember the last time I saw a seminar posted where it did not state "all ranks and affiliations welcome". This is great for me as in independent instructor as I can selectively go to any seminar I want and come back with the "good stuff". I have, however, had personal experiences with affiliate organizations (more then once) where dojos could only host other affiliates and in one case, where students were only permitted to attend affiliate sponsored seminars.

So you tell me, which scenario allows for more growth in the art? Expose yourself to everything and develop a very personal relationship with the art that cannot be compared to anyone because it is as individual as the person. Or,...hope "your organization got it right and the others got it wrong" and try to do things just like _________(insert Shihan here).
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:35 AM   #27
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Yes, a lot goes into the issue of credibility and herein lies the pitfalls for independents.
1. With no one to guide them other than seminars, how do they advance without falling into the sokey dokey or self promotion trap? This is especially a concern if the reason for leaving is related to not being recognized for your impressions of your skill level.
2. Although seminars are one avenue of maintaining or improving skill, regular guidance from a senior level yudansha is likely more effective. IT also leads to advancement and solves issue 1.
3. Relying only on seminars results in the risk of incoherent skills/knowledge. In otherwords, there is no consistent guidance but rather a mishmash of training-although it may be very relevant.
4. The tendency for insularity would seem to be greater for independents in general. Otherwise, why bother being independent.
5. Without guidance, how do you know you are progressing? Self-evaluation can be deceiving.
The above address the issues of internal credibility.

As to outside credibility, some thoughts.
1. I personally think this suffers with larger organizations no matter what. Instructors and organizations are more inclined to recognize rank issued by other mainstream, whatever that means, organizations than independents. This could be for several reasons. Dan ranks are likely to be pretty shakey on getting recognized. The Aikikai does not recognize dan ranks from other organizations. Period is the latest word.
2. There is a risk for independent dojos to have inflated ranks. Many who set up their own organizations bump themselves up via bylaws or joining sokey dokey organizations. If there is much of a gap in their rank and their skill, they suffer credibility. Especially the 40 year old 10th dans .
3. Many makes claims that in my opinion are not valid. I see a lot of indepedents claim to teach Aikikai Aikido. Really? Unless you are affiliated with the Aikikai I don't see how that is possible. One I am aware of made this claim and was E-Budoized in the bad budo section when the student went to an Aikikai dojo in anothe state and learned much to his surprise that they were day and night different. The claims were made and are to this date being made based on the fact the instructors' instructor had trained with Tohei who at one time been an Aikikai instructor. Technically Splinter cubed. Even though they were a Ki Society splinter group of a splinter group. Kind of stretching it if you ask me. When you look at the lineage of such claims, the connections are far removed or remote and I personally think this does not give the claim any validity at all. And, if I don't mind observing, if you claim to be Aikikai, then why split from them in the first place?
4. Grade freeze-if you are a legitimate independent, at some point, depending on the rank you were when splitting, you are going to have to give in to grade freeze. Your rank cannot progress unless you award it to yourself or get it from your juniors. This is not viewed favorably in a system based on rank being traditionally awarded from top down.
5. Another credibilty issue is holding your organization out as being comparable to another long established organization. This is difficult to do as an independent. THere are cases where the quality is good when splits occur in the 7th or 8th and even 6th dan levels. However, this is not the case in a lot of independent split offs.

I'm not trying to diss indepedents but rather point out the issues and concerns. Personally, I think we should all be under one organization, but that's me.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:44 AM   #28
dekodo
Dojo: AikiSpirit Dojo - Miami
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Yes, a lot goes into the issue of credibility and herein lies the pitfalls for independents.
1. With no one to guide them other than seminars, how do they advance without falling into the sokey dokey or self promotion trap? This is especially a concern if the reason for leaving is related to not being recognized for your impressions of your skill level.
2. Although seminars are one avenue of maintaining or improving skill, regular guidance from a senior level yudansha is likely more effective. IT also leads to advancement and solves issue 1.
In no way are seminars the only way to advance. Simply engaging in the dialogs here we are all growing and developing our ideas and perceptions, and therefore, our aikido. More importantly than all the things we do to learn is the idea of self correction(not promotion). One can train and take lessons from that training and apply them..repeat, repeat, repeat. All this done without somebody telling you your foot is in the wrong place. Self reflection will present the answers if we are clear on the goals we are trying to achieve.
If this was not the case Aikido would degrade over time until there was nothing. Imagine, No shihan I know of have said they grasped 100% of O'Senseis teachings. So they get a part. Their deshi get a part of that and so on. If there ware no way to advance outside of direct teacher to student transfer on knowledge, the whole thing collapses.
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
3. Relying only on seminars results in the risk of incoherent skills/knowledge. In otherwords, there is no consistent guidance but rather a mishmash of training-although it may be very relevant.
Agreed. If the goal is to move like..., act like..., train like a particular person...outside ideas will present inconsistent messages. However, even in the most buttoned up corporate environments I've worked, There was never one way to do it. You build on the work of others and do things your way (maybe not a huge change from the norm...but a little), and you make the process your own. As in life...as on the mat.
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
4. The tendency for insularity would seem to be greater for independents in general. Otherwise, why bother being independent.
Again, I agree. It is up to the independent to build bridges to as many friendly dojos as possible and that can be difficult. I would however present that many large affiliation are just as insular with respect to there own members...they just have a lot more
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
5. Without guidance, how do you know you are progressing? Self-evaluation can be deceiving.
The above address the issues of internal credibility.
It is a struggle to push yourself to grow, but you have got to be kidding me with the "how do you know you are progressing?" question. Even the slightest bit of self awareness will allow for this. Conversely, If someone tells you that you are progressing and even goes so far as to give you a shiny new belt, does that mean you are progressing. I would hope the individual is a better judge of their progression than a passive observer.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
2. There is a risk for independent dojos to have inflated ranks. Many who set up their own organizations bump themselves up via bylaws or joining sokey dokey organizations. If there is much of a gap in their rank and their skill, they suffer credibility. Especially the 40 year old 10th dans .
A major issue with [some] independents.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
4. Grade freeze-if you are a legitimate independent, at some point, depending on the rank you were when splitting, you are going to have to give in to grade freeze. Your rank cannot progress unless you award it to yourself or get it from your juniors. This is not viewed favorably in a system based on rank being traditionally awarded from top down.
Yes, if you want to be ranked my Hombu, you need to find a school under that umbrella and sign up.

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
5. Another credibilty issue is holding your organization out as being comparable to another long established organization. This is difficult to do as an independent. THere are cases where the quality is good when splits occur in the 7th or 8th and even 6th dan levels. However, this is not the case in a lot of independent split offs.
Who is comparing? And what does 7th 8th or any number have to do with quality? There is a tendency to hide behind those numbers. How does this work with the statements made in the beginning. When these (good quality) 6th and 7th dans split, is that it. they cannot grow because they do not have an instructor above them. What if one of those 6th Dans broke off when they were Shodan and continued to grow? When are you allowed to go it on your own?
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:24 PM   #29
"Bill W."
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Yes, a lot goes into the issue of credibility and herein lies the pitfalls for independents.
1. With no one to guide them other than seminars, how do they advance without falling into the sokey dokey or self promotion trap?
Going to a seminar/workshop was how the founder and others learned Daito-ryu from Takeda Sensei.
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
2. Although seminars are one avenue of maintaining or improving skill, regular guidance from a senior level yudansha is likely more effective. IT also leads to advancement and solves issue 1.
However you can also learn to pick-up the bad habits of senior level yudansha. Especially since they are guiding you.
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
3. Relying only on seminars results in the risk of incoherent skills/knowledge. In otherwords, there is no consistent guidance but rather a mishmash of training-although it may be very relevant.
Of course it is always up to the individual to provide their own consistency within their practice. Even though you may practice only under one teacher, your training is primarily your responsibility.
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
4. The tendency for insularity would seem to be greater for independents in general. Otherwise, why bother being independent.
Which means, as an independent you will need to make a conscious effort to go and learn from various instructors. This should be no different than if you were a member of a large organization.
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
5. Without guidance, how do you know you are progressing? Self-evaluation can be deceiving.
External validation can also be deceiving. There is no Office of Standards for the martial arts.
Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
4. Grade freeze-if you are a legitimate independent, at some point, depending on the rank you were when splitting, you are going to have to give in to grade freeze. Your rank cannot progress unless you award it to yourself or get it from your juniors. This is not viewed favorably in a system based on rank being traditionally awarded from top down.
This is the major concern for any independent dojo. This is probably the reason why you don't see many independent dojos around.
Even if you personally don't care about rank, you might be concerned about your students' future ability to gain rank and opportunities that come with it. To do that, you need to join some organization of dojos to get some general credibility for your students. There is a big difference in credibility between a national organization that has international affiliations in Japan and a national organization with no international affiliations to Japan.
There is a third way besides becoming independent or being affiliated to an organization. Lets assume you don't see much of a future being affiliated to the green national group. After researching things, you realize it would be easier to be affiliated with the yellow national group. Both the green and yellow national groups have the same affiliation in Japan. You might be able to switch from one national group to another and still keep the same affiliation to Japan. Your ability to take such an action depends on your political skills.
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:37 PM   #30
Ron Tisdale
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

You might even join the purple national group, which is affiliated to yet a different hombu dojo in Japan.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-01-2007, 02:28 PM   #31
aikidoc
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Darren: nope not kidding. A while back at a demo a high ranking shihan watched a variety of independents and aikikai instructors demonstrate.. In reference to a couple of independents who thought they were doing amazing stuff (one has even written a book), the shihan's tactful comment was: some people are OK to teach but others are OK to be students. He was nicely commenting that there was a bunch of crap being demonstrated. Yet, these people had self evaluated themselves and thought they were really doing high level aikido. Trust me, this instructor knows what he is talking about.

A fool evaluating a fool will only have a foolish evaluation. Let's face it. Most are rarely capable of unbiased and legitimate self-evaluation. Most are not willing to recognize and admit to themselves that they don't know S#*T. If they have no one instructing them, to do so would invalidate their own training progress. Ego man. It's a hard hurtle to get over for most. Why else would they go independent unless they started that way? A lot like a lawyer defending themselves-they are viewed to have a fool for a client.

Yes, there are many ways by which one can progress. It is much more difficult for the independents IMHO. As I mentioned in my earlier example , this "6th dan" I'm aware of thinks he's legitimately a 6th dan comparable to others out there. His basics have eroded so much due to his insularity that I don't think he could pass an aikikai shodan exam. Yet, he has a group of sychophants that think he could even be ranked higher without anyone thinking it was a bad decision. Not. Everyone in the area familiar with them would just snicker. Sort of like the politician statement by I believe Lloyd Bentson to Dan Quayle when he stated he knew Jack Kennedy personally and Qualye was no Jack Kennedy.

Last edited by aikidoc : 02-01-2007 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:09 PM   #32
dekodo
Dojo: AikiSpirit Dojo - Miami
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
A fool evaluating a fool will only have a foolish evaluation. Let's face it. Most are rarely capable of unbiased and legitimate self-evaluation. Most are not willing to recognize and admit to themselves that they don't know S#*T.
I agree whole heartedly...but why is it you think the shihan are exempt?
If we follow those above us because we are incapable of self-evaluation...and those in turn follow those above them...eventually you wind up at the top fool.

If that individual is misguided (self or otherwise), those mistakes become truths and are passed along.


If you believe the quote on your home page...

"Aikido is not something to learn from others, but to learn by oneself. Ideally, the practice should be for oneself, and it should be rigorous and sternly self-disciplined, by one's own choice."

How do you reconcille that with the idea of a top down teaching methodology? How could the Shihan in your demo example have evaluated a practice in others that, per the quote, is for oneself. What criteria is being used for the evaluation?

I have trained with blackbelts that could not fight themselves out of a wet paper bag, but the critera used to award the rank was not solely martial. It could not be witnessed in a demo on the mat. You need to sit with them, discuss their lives. how they deal with people, how aikido has changed them.

At that level, back rolls and sword forms are irrelevant.

again...different criteria.
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:09 PM   #33
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
Darren Koski wrote:
I agree whole heartedly...but why is it you think the shihan are exempt?
If we follow those above us because we are incapable of self-evaluation...and those in turn follow those above them...eventually you wind up at the top fool.

If that individual is misguided (self or otherwise), those mistakes become truths and are passed along.


If you believe the quote on your home page...

"Aikido is not something to learn from others, but to learn by oneself. Ideally, the practice should be for oneself, and it should be rigorous and sternly self-disciplined, by one's own choice."

How do you reconcille that with the idea of a top down teaching methodology? How could the Shihan in your demo example have evaluated a practice in others that, per the quote, is for oneself. What criteria is being used for the evaluation?

I have trained with blackbelts that could not fight themselves out of a wet paper bag, but the critera used to award the rank was not solely martial. It could not be witnessed in a demo on the mat. You need to sit with them, discuss their lives. how they deal with people, how aikido has changed them.

At that level, back rolls and sword forms are irrelevant.

again...different criteria.
I never said the shihan were exempt (I have even heard it said some were not very talented), however, they have a whole lot more foundation to evaluate with. They grabbed O'Sensei-most spend their lives trying to figure out what he did on a constant and never ending quest. They had the opportunity to feel it from the top and at least know what it should feel like.

My sensei's quote on my webpage was based on his belief that people cannot be taught but have to learn from exploration, self-examination and guidance. He frequently uses dama des when instruction-that's not correct. To assume someone's pursuit is accurate or the way when bad principles are being followed does not hold water. My sensei does not focus on your style of doing a particular technique so much as the movement principles you are using. He will correct bad form or bad basics.

As to applying such a principle to the demonstration mentioned, bad basics or bad movement or bad use of aikido principles, etc. are all bad form. Just because someone appears to be doing aikido does not mean it is being done with good form or kihon.
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:42 PM   #34
tenshinaikidoka
 
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

OK, so a Yondan becomes independant, for whatever reason. Opens a dojo and begins to teach. How does a Yondan get promoted beyond his current rank? To my knowledge, isn't it a time in rank thing, promotion of the art, teaching seminars etc!!!?????

Martial Arts were created by men and women, who had experiencein other arts, created and packaged thier flavor and voala, there is a new system. O'Sensei did this, heck, it could be argued Takeda did this with Daito Ryu (history is not so clear there). O'Sensei had a teachng license in Daito Ryu, went on to create Aikido, and then awarded rank in "his" system!!! How is this, completely different then an independant Aikido school issuing rank etc? It really isn't, it just means that the independants are not playing by someone elses rules, won't be recognized by the Aikikai (boo hoo) or some other "branch" of Aikido. MOST, and I stress most independant dojo's I know, openly send and attend seminars whenever they come available. Most Shihans do not spend a great amount of time with the dojo's under them other than at seminar time. Not the case in all, but it is in most.

O'Sensei had to find his way to make Aikido. I think everyone has to find thier way. O'Sensei certainly didn't have anyone teaching him during his years of creating Aikido (after he left Takeda). And look how good he is. It just always amazes me how today we can shoot down dojo's/systems because they may not fit into category X.

I am independant, and I would have it no other way. It is not completly by choice, I moved to an area where I am it, so here I am teaching and training, but I will attend seminars and even visit other schools to keep my own skills up, but by teaching, I think that also helps keep skill levels up!!!

My points might not be taken as valid by all, but these are things to maybe consider before judging any dojo (independnt or affiliated), for what it is worth!
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:12 PM   #35
aikidoc
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Brandon, I'm not judging indepedent dojos or the concept. Yes, O'Sensei did break out on his own-but had a teaching license. He was obviously talented as his deshi still are trying to figure out what he was doing. Are all these independents as equally talent?

Some are able to figure things out on their own. At a 4th degree? Many shihans don't start taking you seriously until godan.
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Old 02-02-2007, 12:30 AM   #36
senshincenter
 
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

I think some folks here are confusing independent dojo with dojo that want to form their own organizations (even if it is an organization of one). There is a difference. Many of the "difficulties" being suggested here are only faced by groups of the latter persuasion. In contrast, we are an independent dojo. We don't have "rank" issues because we don't buy into rank (i.e. we don't make an issue of it). If someone from our dojo leaves to train somewhere else (and no one ever has), they go in as they are welcomed in. If that has them at "sixth kyu" - that has them at sixth kyu. No big deal. You train to train - not to travel.

If we want to progress (and we do), we explore outward from the basics, and we practice them harder and harder every opportunity we get, under more intense conditions, with higher degrees of violence at risk, and in environments necessitating higher degrees of awareness, technical prowess, and physical conditioning. You don't need a seminar for that. In fact, there's no way you can do that at a seminar or a summer camp, etc.

If a person doesn't want their training to grow stale, you train every day, as many hours as you can, all the while aiming toward a perfection you can never reach. You don't try to spread yourself out - instead you look to penetrate the art you have. You don't try to stop yourself from becoming complacent or bored because these things have nothing to do with getting on the mat and working your ass off. Complacency and boredom are only issues for the less disciplined, and the less discipline will never NOT grow stale in the art - no matter their teacher or where they train. Depth, not breadth, is key to continuous progress. The idea that one gets better by having lots of teachers is totally false - this is a modern perversion. If you want to penetrate the depths of an art, in the beginning, you get one teacher, and you seek to understand his/her way only. If they are good, the universal is in their way, and that means that all ways are in their way. If you understand, you will not only find their way and all ways, you will come to find your way. The best way of preventing this from happening is to adopt the salad-bar approach to training - so in vogue nowadays. Whenever you add superficiality to superficiality, as one does when they look to breadth for progress, you only get more superficiality. To suggest that insularity is somehow antithetical to progress is to entirely miss this truth. On the contrary, depth, mastery, progress REQUIRES insularity. Additionally, this depth, this mastery, this progress, is gained only through one's own efforts. So even if you are federated, a person better learn how to stop being so dependent - being more independent when it comes to their practice.

Somebody that has been training long enough to gain a base of knowledge, which doesn't (shouldn't) take as long as some here might think, doesn't need anything but hard work and perseverance to grow in their understanding of the art. This is a foundation in all martial arts training. The idea that you are supposed to be spoon-fed for 20, 30, 40 years is also a modern perversion - in my opinion. If you need someone to hand-feed you after five to ten years of practice, to tell you what is right and what is wrong, then, in my opinion, your training environments are not realistic enough - not fast enough, not violent enough, not stressful enough, etc. Now, yeah, if you are within a setting that does not allow for hard, fast, violent training, or that only allows it under anomalous conditions, you're going to need a teacher to tell you things (e.g. "You have no connection with the ground," "That's the wrong angle to control the center from the contact point at the elbow," "Your spirit is too Yin to enter correctly," etc.). However, if your environments are fertile, in the way I mentioned above, they will tell you these things themselves, only they will do so in ways no teacher, no matter how close he/she was to the founder, can ever do - in ways so powerful, transformation and progress becomes inevitable. Again, this is true inside and outside of federations.

I write this not to say that one is better or worse. That decision depends. If you don't have a base - for example, somewhere between 5 years of daily training with several hours a day to ten years of four to six days a week with one to two hours on those days - then you need a teacher to help you get that. Look for the best teacher you can - whether they are inside of outside of aikido federations. If you got your base, you need training environments of a nature that can replace a teacher's wisdom, so that your explorations into the depths of the art remain viable and truthful and come to produce your Aikido (as opposed to your teacher's Aikido). If you can find these training environments inside a federation - go there. If you find them outside a federation - go there.

My opinion,
dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 02-02-2007 at 12:36 AM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-02-2007, 02:52 AM   #37
happysod
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

I sometimes read John's posts regarding federation/non-federation with a bit of a wince - sorry John, but all I can say is you must have met some of the worst examples of independant dojos I've heard of at the same time as meeting the best a federated group can be. Unfortunately, I can't say my initial contacts with a federated dojo (long time ago admittedly) was that impressive, in fact mysogenist bastards with a penchant for fraud would be a better description - so perhaps its more indictative of luck and circumstances than anything else. Good people make good dojos, the banner they work under seems less important than this simple point.

However, I can't quite get behind Davids call for insularity with regard to improvement, perhaps it's just my misunderstanding of your point. In particular
Quote:
The idea that one gets better by having lots of teachers is totally false - this is a modern perversion.
I find strange. Several of the more legendary martial artists were reputed to have studied several systems under several instructors to form their own synthesis.

Applying the same logic to other spheres of endeavour would suggest that a small research group cloistered away from all others in their field would be the ones to come up with the great ideas. My own experience of cloistered researchers is they end up being strange and dogmatic rather than truely adding anything to the whole or advancing the field of study, so why do you hold martial arts work differently?

I totally agree with you regarding the need for a solid foundation with a single teacher or group of teachers within a dojo. However, at some point I think you must expose yourself to more than one teacher and art, even at the superficial level of seminars, just to ensure you have some sort of reality check on your training.
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Old 02-02-2007, 06:06 AM   #38
aikidoc
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Sorry, but I can't buy the insularity either. All groups have their problems. However, in my experience, having the best teacher possible is to me the important aspect. Just when I thought I was starting to understand a little about the art I met with and joined my instructor (Kato shihan). Now sometimes I feel like I'm a 5th kyu again. Which is good because it pushed me to figure out more of what he is doing. I'm sure he felt like that with O'Sensei as he says he's still trying to figure out everything he did. That's a good mindset to have and a good place to be as it challenges the individual-in spite of what the group is doing. Yes, I've seen bad independents and good federations and the opposite as well. When involved with the bad, I have always used seminars, tapes, DVDs etc to challenge me to keep exploring. I was lucky enough to get a sensei who gave me the tools to teach myself when necessary. A little push helps though, which I have now.
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Old 02-02-2007, 06:53 AM   #39
tenshinaikidoka
 
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Maybe what I typed was not put right. Rank is not an issue with me, and it should not be an issue for anyone, really. But, honestly, I could care less if a Shihan doesn't take me seriously because I am not a godan, or higher. I am not here to impress a shihan. I want to train and gain as muchknowledge as possible. Now, my main point was when doing something as an independant, you train and do things on your own. When you are part of the Aikikai or another org. chances are you have a shihan that you train under. The only difference between the two (in theory) is that once and a while, the shihan will train with you and possibly test/issue rank etc. But in both cases your probably teaching and doing things on your own, one just doesn't have the shihan or affiliated recognition.

Honestly, when I go to seminars or other schools, I wear my white belt. If someone asks what rank I am, I tell them and if they should tell me that I should represent my rank by wearing it/hakama etc, then I will. But I respect the enviornments I am in and also that my rank is not recognized by all orginazations.

Now that I have randomly covered the spectrum!!!! HAHAHA!!
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:38 AM   #40
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Insularity is a part of progress every time you say, "Okay, wait, I think I'm on to something. Everybody shut up and get out," or "Hey, let me try this, come in with tsuki." Etc. In that sense, it is the key to depth. Seeing a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, hearing a little bit of this, and hearing a little bit of that, feeling a little bit of this, and feeling a little bit of that, etc., is nothing more than the accumulation of data. Collecting as much data as you can doesn't mean you are producing anything of depth. At some point, if you want to understand the data you have, you got to stop collecting and researching and you got to start looking toward development. Metaphorically speaking, development always happens behinds close doors. Now before anyone starts getting all upset and frightened of mad scientists locking themselves up and going it alone, before anyone feels threatened by folks that have come to be a little doubtful of the common point of view regarding seminars and camps, etc., you can try to think of a master (of anything) - look and see if you see this. There is a time of exposure and breadth, and then depending on the "genius" of the individual, you will see a time of insularity sooner or later - the time where they really come into their own and achieve the level of mastery that they have become famous for.

This is not to suggest that I'm for folks that stay away from other other folks for reasons of ego or fear. I am not. No mastery of any art, especially Aikido, can come out of ego or fear. What this says for the federation folks that don't cross train with other arts or with other folks from other federations (even with other dojo in the very same town), in fact, speaks volumes. However, I am suggesting that insularity, or a fear of insularity, should not be a justification for federating because of the supposed problem it causes in regards to progress.


I'll try and write more later on insularity.
thanks,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-02-2007, 09:43 AM   #41
happysod
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
Now before anyone starts getting all upset and frightened of mad scientists locking themselves up...
Excellent, I always did have a soft spot for pinky, unfortunately I now have a wonderful image of you striding off to a darkened dojo thundering out "tonight sempai we shall conquer ikkyo"...
Quote:
However, I am suggesting that insularity, or a fear of insularity, should not be a justification for federating because of the supposed problem it causes in regards to progress
fully support you on this one.

I suppose one of the reasons we're in disagreement is partially because of the word "insular" in itself as I've always found it to be an unhealthy mind-set, bringing to mind duelling banjos. Any alternative we can use as I think we're in agreement regarding the need to focus within your own dojo to improve your training, but I wouldn't think of this as insular, just normal practice.

[warning - anecdotal only]One of the better examples I heard of in-training in aikido was the group who changed hand position when releasing the ikkyo pin before standing. Apparently it came about as the main instructor had an increasingly bad back and needed the extra leverage to stand up. From there it passed into standard technique. [/end anecdote]

While probably not true (unfortunately) I have encountered several students whose instructor you can spot immediately. While this can be good if the instructor is good, I find such imprinting is often a bad idea as the student rarely has the ability to only mimic the good bits without altenative examples.
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:05 AM   #42
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Excellent posts, and comments. I can say I agree. It is nice to have a topic of debate and not get all worked up, just good solid debating!!!
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:11 AM   #43
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Nice to see the thoughtful dialouge. Most who are reading this have probably already read this but just in case...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...123#post167123

(really don't know if the link will work, in case not it's to the thread on Terry Dobson and Arikawa Sensei) I think Ellis's point about O'Sensei is relevant to this discussion. The point i'm referring to is how all types trained under him and he didn't discriminate- scoundrels to saints. I think this is relevant b/c it is one of the factors in our dojo's potential decision to leave an organization. if this was O'sensei's way of doing things then perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising that his deshi follow suit.

On a totally different subject (yet relevant), does anyone have any information in regards to the current Doshu's use and view on atemi? I've heard that he has specifically stated that atemi will not be a part of aikido, in other words getting rid of the use.
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:14 AM   #44
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

I have not heard about getting rid of atemi, and I know O'Sensei used it alot!! Seems wierd that you would get rid of something that you need to learn against!!!!! If that is the case, no matter, I will continue on the course that I am on, and I assume many others will too. But that seems shocking to me that this would happen. But stanger things!
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:20 AM   #45
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

just to clarify- i'm not saying this is the case. i don't want to perpetuate this rumour. personally i don't believe it...or maybe i just don't want to. if it is misinformation i want to confront the source.
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:57 AM   #46
aikidoc
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Sandai doshu's Best Aikido and Best Aikido 2 both seem to put atemi in an improtant role. I don't get the impression anyone is wanting to get rid of it.
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Old 02-02-2007, 12:42 PM   #47
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Experienced with both types of groups - one who switched and an independent from day 1.

The group who switched (many years ago, Dave Humm I think was with the same lot) didn't do that well in my opinion as the instructors were not really of a level or temperament to sustain it in terms of dojo longevity - so it is a valid concern.
Amazing how my name appears in your reply Ian. I also see your "opinions" as having an agenda, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Just for your information; I've been a member of a hombu affiliate since 1994 (UKA) And; I can't see how you could hold your opinion considering the UKA is the second largest hombu recognised organisation in the UK, perhaps you have your facts wrong ?
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Old 02-02-2007, 03:44 PM   #48
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Hi Ian,

yeah - i can see that. no problem with the word change - it's the idea/principle, i'm trying to point to.

thanks for sharing,
d

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-02-2007, 04:27 PM   #49
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Ian, what's wrong w/ dueling banjos?!
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Old 02-05-2007, 08:38 AM   #50
happysod
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
Amazing how my name appears in your reply Ian. I also see your "opinions" as having an agenda, but please correct me if I'm wrong.
??? Too much caffeine David? But you're right, I have a really evil agenda... perhaps I'm wrong here but I believe you were around (say about 87/88) when the independant East coast aikikai society formed out of the Hull, Grimsby, Skegness and Scunthorpe dojos (a true NE riviera bunch).

Now from what I gathered at the time, this was not plain sailing and you'd mentioned that you'd later went on to affiliate your own dojo with a hombu federation. So here's my evil agenda, I thought it might be nice to have another viewpoint from someone who'd done the reverse of what was proposed in the thread. So, you've cracked my nefarious scheme to add another viewpoint to the pot, well done.

PS check your PM

anon - have you ever seen deliverance??
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