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Old 02-28-2007, 02:53 PM   #1
gdandscompserv
 
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Who Does Aikido Belong To?

My sensei felt like after shodan, one should stop mimicking technique and start making it one's own. I hear people wonder if what we are doing is O Sensei's aikido or something else and if we haven't achieved something on a higher level than O Sensei did, we are falling short in some respect.
Here is my take on it. I am not nearly as dedicated as O Sensei was. I don't spend near the time perfecting my aikido that he did. And even if I did I may or may not ever surpass him. That is not important to me. I have assumed responsibility for my aikido. I have only so much time and money that I can spend perfecting my aikido. I am also limited by my own physical body. Would I like it if someone could tap me on the head with a magic wand and make me the bestest aikidoist in the world? Of course, but I don't believe that will happen so I spend my limited time and resources trying to improve. I try not to spend much time comparing myself to O Sensei or others who are at levels I will probably never attain, due mostly to my own lack of dedication. On the other hand, I spend a good deal of time and money at my and other people's dojos trying to improve my aikido.
O Sensei is dead, I am alive. He left a great legacy and a great many "followers." I am thankful for that but rarely do I ask if my technique is as O Sensei would want it to be. I just keep doing it and doing it, as I was taughtand as I learn it. And I like it while I am doing it.
So hear's to me and my aikido, and all of you and YOUR aikido.
May our paths cross often.
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:20 PM   #2
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Good Post Ricky.

I think Karma plays an important part in this.

You are who you are, by birth, circumstances, experiences, and choices.

You are a product of all this.

O'sensei had different experiences than you, therefore you have to be you and you could never be O'sensei no matter how hard you tried to emulate him.

I think you are correct.

You take the methodology that he gave us and use it to become the best YOU, you can become.

The important thing is to realize your self potential.

So take the methodology and use it to reach a better understanding of yourself, which in turn helps you better understand your realationship with the world around you.

Again, great post!

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Old 02-28-2007, 03:23 PM   #3
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

The Japanese model for understanding levels of learning is "Shu, Ha, Ri" Interesting subject to do some research on...

To my understanding we BEGIN to "make it our own" somewhere around yondan level. While we are shodan we can take responsibility for "our shodan practice level" but it isn't the level where we "make aikido our own."

Chuck Clark
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:38 PM   #4
Mark Freeman
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Agreed, good post Ricky.

Aikido is an art and as such I don't see how it can 'belong' to anyone. O Sensei forged this art from his own experiences. We all practice it for our own reasons in our own way, trying to follow, the best we can, the path laid out before us by our teachers. I agree with your sensei, at a certain point you have to make it your own. This is our individual responsibility to ourselves, and ultimately to any students who may come to learn from us.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:53 PM   #5
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Ricky,

Notice that each of Ueshiba's most dedicated and talented students understood Aikido very differently from one another. who is anyone to say they understand Aikido better than the next guy?
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Old 02-28-2007, 04:10 PM   #6
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
Ricky,

Notice that each of Ueshiba's most dedicated and talented students understood Aikido very differently from one another. who is anyone to say they understand Aikido better than the next guy?
Excellent point! I heard one of his top students, who is now a Shihan, say that O'Sensei told them to make Aikido their own. Also, look at Koichi Tohei Shihan. He is very much different than O'Sensei. He even stated in an interview I read, that when he went to Hawaii, he found that many of O'Sensei's techniques didn't work, and that he change them so that his Aikido became 70% his own and 30% O'Sensei's! I don't know what to say about that, but his Aikido is one of the best. We can also take note from Nishio Shihan. He made his Aikido by using his vast experience in Karate and the Sword and he too was also one of the best.

People also make adjustments due to size, height, and body type. What works for you may not work for me, even if they are both effective. All you can do is train and do alot of research.

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Old 02-28-2007, 04:39 PM   #7
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

I understand my own aikido better than anyone else can, including O'Sensei.

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Old 02-28-2007, 04:47 PM   #8
James Davis
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
O Sensei is dead, I am alive. He left a great legacy and a great many "followers." I am thankful for that but rarely do I ask if my technique is as O Sensei would want it to be. I just keep doing it and doing it, as I was taughtand as I learn it. And I like it while I am doing it.
So hear's to me and my aikido, and all of you and YOUR aikido.
May our paths cross often.
Didn't O sensei state, on his deathbed, that aikido is for everyone? I think I read that somewhere.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:41 PM   #9
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

IMHO, Aikido belongs to all of us and anyone who wants it as a tool.

My Aikido (which admitedly isn't all that good) belongs only to me (I've tried to give it away but no one wants it) but is hopefully still within the framework of O'Sensei's Aikido.

See beyond the duality of his-or-mine and see both-and.

Zen Koan: Who is it that Aikido would belong to?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:01 PM   #10
Qatana
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Me! Its mine, mine , all mine That's MY iriminage you're doing, give it back now!
oh, er, was I using my Outside voice?

ouch.

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-01-2007, 01:11 AM   #11
crbateman
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Your Aikido is yours. My Aikido is mine. But together, yours and mine are ours. That's the beauty of it...
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Old 03-01-2007, 06:19 AM   #12
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

I think that every post here is excellent. We are on the right track. When I started my dojo, I was always doing someone elses Aikido because as a student, that's what you should try to do-what you are being taught. The day I stepped out as an instructor independent of every one else was the first time I could do whatever I wanted and not get in trouble for it. Right or wrong, good or bad, it was my Aikido. There are so many ways to do a technique, I wasn't even sure what I would teach. As I went out there, I found that my first concern was for my students. I wanted them to be well rounded and informed, so I would show them the different ways to do a technique. I identified the ways diffferent shihans taught it and then I would show them what I liked and why. It was then that I started to discover what I prefered and why. My own Aikido started to take shape. I am fortunate that my Shihan believes your Aikido is always your own. He will show you his way but he doesn't force or demand it. That freedom of not having to be a clone has been a new life in Aikido for me. I have enough sense to know that he is a genius and that everything he does is superior to me but if I want to try something different, it's ok. In the course of teaching the 60 plus hours that I teach every month, I have discovered accidentally some new movements and variations. I have experimented with them and am always surpised how they appear. It is in the course of teaching, that new things come out because I am pressing the envelope and am not trapped within it. I know enough Aikido to know what the boundaries are and that I have to pay respect to what I have been shown but at the same time, my mind is free. Recently, we had a demonstration and I showed four techniques that I have developed out of concepts my shihan taught me. After the class in the car, he said to me, " I see you are still learning. You have improved very much in this past year." His approval meant very much to me because it told me I was on the right track. I am following the guidance of my teacher and I am trying and wanting to do O Sensei's Aikido but I can only do it in my context and at level of understanding. I think that it is like a house. What we learn of the Founder from our Shihan's is the foundation, what we learn and do of neccesity (body type, needs of the studnets, etc.) is the framework and what new help we receive is the dressing. I have since met other teachers who have things to offer I had not seen before. This has also helped my development. I have a long way to go, a lifetime to travel, but it is a great joy to travel in a land of freedom and discovery. That journey has been guided by my master instructor, Hiroshi Kato Shihan. I still deeply appreciate Akira Tohei Shihan (who has passed on) and new friends such as Michael Moreno Shihan and Terry Ezra Shihan.
I am now running two dojos with about 80 students. I find that their needs continue to form the parameters of my practice and teaching. I always guide them back to the foundations. Sometimes, I have to say to them, "Don't do that, That is something I am working on, I didn't mean for you to imitate me. Do it the basic way for now. Later, you can experiment with that for yourself. For now though, keep it in your mind and think about it but do it the basic way for now."
I have come to realize that it is from the fundamentals that they will branch out and that is what I owe them. I learned that in the freedom of your own environment is where you learn and grow but you must remain tethered to the foundation. In that sense , the Aikido belongs to O Sensei and to me together. Because I am tethered to the foundation, he is still teaching me but with a freedom that is corrected by my teachers.

Best wishes,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:29 PM   #13
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

It is a scary step isn't it!

I have not ever professed to teach aikido by any stretch of the imagination, only integrated aikido principles/techniques in my teaching.

However, the day I looked up and realized I had a bunch of people looking at me as the subject matter expert of our training, and that I had to start explaining what we were doing and why...I had to stand on my own two feet!

It was a scary thing! Still is sometimes!

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Old 03-03-2007, 09:42 AM   #14
Mato-san
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

Very nice thread......In Japan people a taught from an early age to conform....it is nice to have a Sensei that respects your own form based on his principles! I love this talk. I love innovative Aikido based on the principles and a good instructor that says "hey that works well based on the foundations that I gave you" let us explore that!" Nice stuff!!!

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:25 AM   #15
Mato-san
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Re: Who Does Aikido Belong To?

would you agree that a tall mans Aikido differs from that of a short man...equally effective but differs...not in strength or power but in movements and physics.....again making Aikido ones own in accord with ones own body structure! ....Again what a nice topic!

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