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Old 03-26-2007, 07:21 PM   #76
senshincenter
 
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Well, personally, I'm in total agreement with Stan's summation - both in terms of how Osensei understood "Aikido," and also in regards to what Stan (so politely) calls a "deep psychological need."

That need, the need for external determinants, is what folks are supposed to be doing away with when they train - in my opinion. It is the fact that that need is so dominant in Aikido, or in any other martial art, that tells me folks (someone, anyone) are not training at depth. I imagine this is not so popular a view, but for me that need demonstrates only weakness, and thus ignorance. In that sense, for me, we not only should not live by that need when it comes to Hombu Shihan but also when it comes to American Shihan. You want to get rid of nearly every problem, especially the political ones, have folks start training in such a way that this need is purified out of their being. Poof - end of problems. All power-games gone - gone forever.

dmv

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Old 03-26-2007, 07:26 PM   #77
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

"George Ledyard wrote ". Perhaps it will result in a group that can form a leadership core that survives after the Japanese former uchi deshi have passed.

Anyway, I'd love to see us take responsibility for our own Aikido and run with it. I am not much in agreement with the direction Aikido has taken and think we can do better for ourselves. Aikido was never meant to have a "style" imposed on it but rather should be an art in which each individual finds his own expression.

If the next generation of teachers continues the politics and narrowness of focus of the previous generation of Japanese teachers, it won't make any difference if Japanese Shihan or the American Shihan are running the show.

Budo should be about personal relationships and not about organizations. I have a friend who was a senior member of one of the major Aikido organizations. He traveled all the time teaching and was a very popular and respected teacher within his org. Then he broke with his teacher and went independent... What happened to all those folks who used to invite him and loved his teaching so much? He basically dropped off the face of the earth. I think that is total BS. A true student of Budo doesn't pick his associates based on who is in favor or out of favor with some political group (or frankly, even with ones own teacher)."

Jennifer Smith Replied:
Thank You for this insight. I would like to note that I feel there is leadership right now even if the uchi deshi haven't passed.I've been training with them for years and I embody their lineage as well as do my students. We have the right to lead ourselves in as many manners as we choose and we have the right to teach and train to our level of expertise. If we focus in the small regional areas where we practice and seek out training partners, invite friends to train, reconnect with people who have gone away from the art out of cynical heartbreak, and DEVELOP OUR CHILDRENS PROGRAMS IN THE MODEL OF AIKI/CONFLUENCE/COOPERATION, then we have the leadership right now. It won't be huge, but that is good. Let's break it down again. Let's enjoy our regional 'cuisine' for awhile. I have been training and teaching for many years and I am quietly joining peoples hands in an egalitarian manner through this beautiful meal of California Aikido. I passed my teachers and found the voice of Aikido in Nature and now I help other people do the same through Aikido, through all variety of budo and fine arts. I have left the traditional veins of aikido organization and have begun something that is fresh and traditional. It is inspiring to see the path ahead. I believe in the power of this art to transmit itself through us. Let us step aside and welcome aikido into our dojo and see who comes with it. Not the other way around.
in aiki, jen smith

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 03-26-2007 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:35 AM   #78
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

I think people are stuck at the level of thinking that only the 'best man' or highest grade could run an organisation. In fact, it is most likely that the 'best man' (I include women in there too) to run an org would not be the one with the highest technical skill. Of course, this goes against the grain, but if one goes back to the past, there were no large traditional orgs. So, if you have a large org and want it to survive it might be time to start thinking outside the box. And if a younger Japanese were to come and take a senior role - I would have no problem with that. Why? That's what joe public expects, and whoever does it first is likely to succeed. We have to get beyond the 'rank' problem; at the end of the day, it does not really have much meaning and is all rather snobbish. (A different topic maybe, but a simple black and white 2-belt system would probably work better in the long run, just my own opinion).

Afterthought: The current Doshu would not be where he is if the Aikikai had followed rank.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 03-27-2007 at 02:41 AM.

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Old 03-27-2007, 07:02 AM   #79
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

It's great to see that this post has inspired some to look past the Japanese leadership and not be constricted to a style.

I agree with Jennifer Smith.
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Old 03-27-2007, 08:39 AM   #80
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Man, I stop posting for a couple years and look what happens while I'm gone. Ledyard sensei, I was passed your essay via email and figured I would find discussion on Aikiweb (I don't touch the Journal).

I find many similar concerns that you have, and noticed for years, including within myself, that there tends to be a more overflowing show of respect for our Japanese peers and the leadership there, beyond what American sensei and shihan usually receive.

My question is what is the goal of your article/essay? What are the specific items that you feel we should be concerned with, and what do you suggest we do to act? I agree these discussions are intellectually stimulating, if not alarming, and make us think about a lot of fascinating topics, but I'm not clear on what we need to act on, and how?

My next question is why should the "Japanese shihan > American shihan" bother me? If I am pleased with my organization, my training pushes me hard on a minutely basis, then why do I care about the arrogance of another group, regardless of how worthy they perceive themselves? I love your attitude about openness, and my group is the same, with many visitors from places, and we have a freaking great time. Don't we need to apply that to anyone, regardless of origin and status. An old teacher of mine said "Don't play uke's game." Not a perfect application here, but close enough for me.

I think some folks will say that what happens in the organizational level at Hombu is important, regardless of my position, and I think you mention this in the article. Ignorance/NIMBY is not healthy, I agree. However, the "Japanese status vs American status" isn't a contest I'm interested in, and I think it is the wrong place to look. Our cultures are vastly different, with vastly different histories. Our ideals and goals are different, which is why you don't see 250 people lining up at an American dojo.

We are speaking a Japanese culture to an American audience, that, by and large, does not care. Instead of trying to get a step above our Japanese peers, shouldn't we try to fix our own backyard first? Can't we find a way to make aikido something appealing to Americans, in an American context?

Now, I will vacate. My apologies.

*Phil

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Old 03-27-2007, 09:19 AM   #81
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I think people are stuck at the level of thinking that only the 'best man' or highest grade could run an organisation. In fact, it is most likely that the 'best man' (I include women in there too) to run an org would not be the one with the highest technical skill. Of course, this goes against the grain, but if one goes back to the past, there were no large traditional orgs. So, if you have a large org and want it to survive it might be time to start thinking outside the box. And if a younger Japanese were to come and take a senior role - I would have no problem with that. Why? That's what joe public expects, and whoever does it first is likely to succeed. We have to get beyond the 'rank' problem; at the end of the day, it does not really have much meaning and is all rather snobbish. (A different topic maybe, but a simple black and white 2-belt system would probably work better in the long run, just my own opinion).

Afterthought: The current Doshu would not be where he is if the Aikikai had followed rank.
Well, Rupert, you've opened up a whole new can of beans here...
I question the whole hierarchical model, myself. If you look at the wasted talent that exists in our various organizations its appalling.

The idea that I have any talent for teaching just because I am competent as a practitioner is faulty, there is no necessary connection. There are folks who are not technically as adept but are far better teachers than some who are highly ranked. Just look at sports, the top coaches are seldom the top performers... but they can teach it and coach it...

I see people who are Shihan level in their respective fields whose talents are ignored by their Aikido organizations because they don't have senior rank. Men who run international businesses who don't have any input into the organization because they haven't done nikkyo as long as some Aikido bum.

I have a female friend who does leadership training for major corporations. She is on a fist name basis with a number of top CEOs. She is top level at what she does... But do you think that the organization can take advantage of her skills to make its leadership better? No way... she's only a 4th kyu or some such in Aikido and therefore no one treats her seriously. In the outside world she makes most of these folks look like pygmies but when it comes to the organization or even her own dojo, no one pay s any attention to her because she doesn't have the rank.

Who do we think does this stuff? Who gives up regular life to pursue decades of weird locks and sustained injuries? Who thinks trying to hit each other with big sticks is really cool? Not normal people. The folks that have been exceptionally devoted to their training are often the last people you'd want running things, they are unbalanced, narrow in their experience and often eccentric. The folks who should be running the show, the ones who would be best qualified to pull an organization together, to design a functional structure for the "transmission" of skills to the greatest number of people, the ones who actually do this for a living and get paid big bucks to do it, are out of the loop because they can't do their irimi nage as well as some other folks. It's completely dysfunctional, frankly.

What needs to happen, in my opinion, since the hierarchical structure isn't likely to go away, is that the senior folks like myself need to stop being so impressed with themselves and start looking for talented people within their organizations. They should seek out these people and get them engaged. As far as I am concerned, one of the functions of the seniors should be to champion the ideas of more junior folks who would not normally have access. In other words, part of our function as seniors is to be good managers. We need to be the conduit for ideas so that good ideas can flow upwards from down below rather than just have a steady flow of mediocre ideas from ill qualified people at the top.

So you have a 4th Kyu who is an executive leadership trainer? Plug her in and have her do that training for your seniors... You have a guy who runs an international business but is only a brown belt, get him plugged into helping the seniors folks think about how to do a better job with their organization. These folks can make it possible for the senior teachers to be able to teach, which is ostensibly what they do well.

It may be too much to ask... too many egos would have to be set aside... but it is what should happen. And the only ones in a position to make it happen are the senior teachers.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 03-27-2007 at 09:23 AM.

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Old 03-27-2007, 09:34 AM   #82
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think the decision has establish a single successor for the art of aikido has ultimately resulted in extensive splittering of political aikido factions, and the promotion of diluted technical curriculum. In many older Japanese arts the leadership of a ryu is divided between a political figurehead and a technical instructor. O'Sensei chose not to apply this leadership structure when he designated his son to succeed him as both political and technical leader of aikido. I am not suprised the organization of aikido is experiencing growing pains related to O'Sensei's decision to combine the political and technical leadership of aikido.
I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of history, there. Ueshiba did not, in fact, combine the political and technical leadership into the role of his son. When he died Kisshomaru was made Doshu, which is simply another fancy word for "iemoto", or "soke". He was, basically, the political figurehead, the administrative head of the Aikikai. No one knew his place in the technical hierarchy better than Kisshomaru himself, and as I understand it he never represented himself as the technical leader.

When Ueshiba died, Kisshomaru became Doshu, and Tohei had already long been the Shihanbu-cho. He was the technical instructor. Ueshiba left aikido in the state just as you describe: political figurehead and technical instructor. Unfortunately, there were issues, and the two top men could not work out their differences resulting in the split.

Josh Reyer

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Old 03-27-2007, 09:43 AM   #83
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Phillip Johnson,

I agree with you whole heartedly. Americans should run with Aikido and make it our own. Our society is different and our needs are such that the art should reflect who we are.
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:24 AM   #84
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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James Young wrote: View Post
I don't know if chastised would be the right word, but it was pretty obvious that no "higher-ups" from the USAF organization were in attendance at the Aiki Expos (which by design transcended organizational barriers), even despite the last one being held in Southern California where there is a significant presence of USAF dojos. Was that just a coincidence?
James,

That is no coincidence. I have never known any high ranking USAF shidoin or shihan who would agree to officially participate in events outside of their organizations, like your Aiki Expos. The reason is simple: in Japanese organizations, giri and gimu require that one stays within one's organizations and not cooperate with "competitors". American shidoin and shihan within the USAF adhere to this principle as a way to show respect to their seniors.

This certainly has nothing to do with public chastisement.

Jory
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:30 AM   #85
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
After reading this post very carefully I would say it's one of the best and most inspiring posts I have ever read here on AikiWeb. Thank you.

No worries about being just a Nidan... I am too after 17 years. Perhaps I will be a Sandan this year who knows... I don't much care for rank so remember... your "rank" is never a true reflection of your Martial Spirit. Keep up the good works.

William Hazen

William Hazen
Thank You Mr. Hazen.

The issue of my Nidan is an essential illustration of how rank doesn't matter, also. I train with people who I watched begin and who are now sporting Godan status. Good for them!!!! They rule!!!!
I've taken on more responsibility since beginning my own organization(check out the aikiweb news today) and I suppose I could describe myself as 'Kancho' if need be. However... most of my students and friends( and now even my own mother) call me 'Jensei'. I love this name the most. We are all friends.jensei.

"I am Aikido and I am nothing else."-morihei ueshiba
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:35 AM   #86
Erik Johnstone
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

George:

The points made in your last post were excellent.
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:41 AM   #87
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
It's not that I am anti-organization... it's that I don't think that most of the ones I have seen function very well in encouraging the transmission and further development of the art. An organization with a structure designed to actually accomplish the transmission efficiently and encourage the growth of it of the skills within its membership would be a very positive thing and is actually necessary if the mass of folks out there are to experience Aikido in any depth.
George, there's a current thread running elsewhere on Aikiweb, I believe it's called "To Test or Not to Test." It basically describes one person's experience in dojos that seem to have no standards for promotion, other than whimsy. This is just a simple example of what can go on in dojos that are outside of organizations. The purpose of organizations is to provide standards and practices for members, so that everyone knows what is what, and to provide qualified instructors so that the needs of students are met. While I agree that some of the politics is ridiculous, I believe that the "value" provided by organizations is critical to the future of aikido. There has been too much diffusion, much of it with a negative impact on standards and practices.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I think that, all in all, large organizations have been very good at encouraging the growth of the art here and abroad. I also think that they have in many cases restricted the growth of their senior members in favor of creating good organization men and women. The seniors have been actively discouraged from training outside the box both especially within the Aikido community.
This "outside the box" thinking that you seem to emphasize is valuable ONLY if value is delivered by the process. This requires that outstanding individuals perform the process. In most cases, "outside the box" is a way for someone to split off from some organization for reasons that are negative, rather than positive, and seem to lead to a devolution of our arts.

Jory
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Old 03-27-2007, 10:53 AM   #88
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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...Who do we think does this stuff? Who gives up regular life to pursue decades of weird locks and sustained injuries? Who thinks trying to hit each other with big sticks is really cool? Not normal people...
This correctly answers the situation of replacing the leaders of American aikido associations with Japanese instructors. Other people have pointed out that Aikikai has not replaced chief instructors in American organizations. It is doubtful that they really have anyone to send.

It is no secret that Japanese work best with other Japanese. To send a Japanese person to live among foreigners and teach a martial art is committing social suicide. How can you raise a family in the United States and expect them to remain Japanese? Japanese corporations that send executives and their families over for a two year stint have run into tremendous difficulties trying to get the families to readjust back into Japanese life.

Why would a normal Japanese person give up a chance to have a professional career or salary job in Japan to become a martial arts instructor in the United States? This is not post-WWII Japan or America.

Are there talented, young aikido instructors in Japan? Certainly. Are there young instructors to send out to head foreign aikido organizations? Probably not.

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Old 03-27-2007, 11:02 AM   #89
PhilJ
 
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Just to be clear, my desire to fix my backyard is not to culture any kind of us vs. them, elitist attitudes regarding other countries -- there is no equilibrium in that approach.

Rather, I think we stand a good chance of success since we DO have extensive experience in the shihan in the States, and most of them grew up in American culture, so they have insights that others may not. Different cultures mixing together is amazing and so wonderful, and we should be able to simultaneously apply our culture to aikido.

Look at how aikido is adapted for those practicing more orthodox religions, for people without a religion, and everyone inbetween. They are no better or worse than I, and neither are people just because they are from "another country". I know this isn't what's being said by Mr. Ledyard, but I want to ensure you good folks don't think I'm saying that.

Here's how I think of this: it's not "Japanese Aikido", "French Aikido", "Christian Aikido", and so on. Notice these groups leverage their culture heavily when teaching in their area -- so why is it so "bad" if we did the same in the US? The benefits a foreign culture provides should permit people to grow inside of it, not feel chained down by it. When you reach the latter, then the culture becomes irrelevant (as Mr. Ledyard said). So, do we in the US act to add our culture and break down some of the rules? What do we do? Not that it would be called "American Aikido", but like aikido in other regions, it would be called "also Aikido".

Or something like that. I'm looking for the "next step", or what folks think it should be, I'm interested in the results.

*Phil

Last edited by PhilJ : 03-27-2007 at 11:11 AM.

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Old 03-27-2007, 11:27 AM   #90
Marc Abrams
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
Jory Liebman wrote: View Post
James,

That is no coincidence. I have never known any high ranking USAF shidoin or shihan who would agree to officially participate in events outside of their organizations, like your Aiki Expos. The reason is simple: in Japanese organizations, giri and gimu require that one stays within one's organizations and not cooperate with "competitors". American shidoin and shihan within the USAF adhere to this principle as a way to show respect to their seniors.

This certainly has nothing to do with public chastisement.

Jory
Jory:

I could not have put it any better. As long as the USAF and Aikikai Hombu dojo continue to view the Expo and other venues as "competitors" they simply hasten their path to irrelevancy. O'Sensei was open to outside influences, so why not now? I am obviously not going to reveal names regarding my previous post, but chastisement and being shunned happened EXACTLY because of this distorted notion of other organizations and venues as being viewed as "competitors" Gee, I thought that the goal of Aikido was to NOT create competition. Our seniors in the Aikido world exist both inside and outside of organizations that we may or may not belong to. They do deserve our respect. The respect is diminished and even lost when our seniors create petty "turf wars."

marc abrams
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Old 03-27-2007, 11:41 AM   #91
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

George:

I absolutely agree with your belief about the optimal use of people within an organization. An organization is just like a living organism and always seeks to survive by maintaining itself. You know as well as I do that a Japanese hierarchy does not operate in the manner that you described. They tend to function as benevolent dictatorships/monarchies that are capable of being malevolent in order to protect "the structure."

A dojo is run with the teacher dictating the nature of the teaching. As you have said in other posts, people have the right to accept the teacher or find another dojo. Could you foresee problems with students trying to go beyond the bounds of "authority" that you give them when you have them carry out certain tasks within the dojo/organization? Shin-Budo Kai operates on a model similar to the one that you described. For the most part, it has run relatively smoothly, but there have been problematic issues and periods. Typically, when they have occurred, Sensei simply "weighed in" and the issue(s) were resolved/concluded according to his wishes. Certainly a hybrid and imperfect system that has it's shortcomings, but still working...

I frankly think that we owe it to our juniors and our students to give them the respect that they deserve by listening to their ideas and even implementing their ideas and/or skills, when it clearly helps. I was always taught that respect is a two way street. We should not demand that which we are unwilling to give. The other obvious aspect is that we can never be good at everything. Why not simply admit our shortcomings and allow others to assist us for the greater good of the organization itself. This model will only work with those whose egos do not need constant recognition and massaging.

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Old 03-27-2007, 12:36 PM   #92
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

George,

Many thanks for a thoughtful and thought provoking essay.

I see many of the same issues in my professional life.

The first thing that I would point out is that none of the "designated leaders of the future" in any organization are under forty.

The second thing that I would point out is that most of the "designated leaders of the future" -- whatever their technical qualifications or personal qualities -- have an adult life in which they have gained experience as reliable supporters of leaders, and not as leaders in their own right.

The third thing that I would point out is that a small but growing number of dojo own their own facilities.

The fourth thing that I would point out is that a significant and growing number of dojo are set up as not-for-profit organizations which are, as a condition of their incorporation status, run by boards with very real legal responsibilities.

The fifth thing that I would point out is my anecdotal observation that, across all organizations, the median age of large seminar attendees has been going up for some time.

My immediate conclusion is that, without regard to which organization we look at, the "designated leaders" have a lifetime of experience that is largely if not utterly irrelevant to the organizational issues that loom on the horizon, a comparatively short tenure as leaders ahead of them, and a demographic base that is narrowing, not expanding.

That is a starkly different situation than that faced by a young shihan at or near his physical peak, with great personal charisma and first-hand experience of the Founder, sent to a rich country in a time of social ferment, demographic bulge, and a widespread cultural fetish for Asian exotica.

The political situation of aging regents is very different from that of young princes; this is especially so when there is no heir in the wings, and many of those who are viewed from above as subjects view themselves as clients with a wide range of unresolved service delivery issues.

And that's enough meta for now.

Best regards,

FL
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Old 03-27-2007, 12:50 PM   #93
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

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Jory:

I could not have put it any better. As long as the USAF and Aikikai Hombu dojo continue to view the Expo and other venues as "competitors" they simply hasten their path to irrelevancy. O'Sensei was open to outside influences, so why not now? I am obviously not going to reveal names regarding my previous post, but chastisement and being shunned happened EXACTLY because of this distorted notion of other organizations and venues as being viewed as "competitors" Gee, I thought that the goal of Aikido was to NOT create competition. Our seniors in the Aikido world exist both inside and outside of organizations that we may or may not belong to. They do deserve our respect. The respect is diminished and even lost when our seniors create petty "turf wars."

marc abrams
Marc,

I'm sorry, but you have turned my meaning around 180 degrees. I am not criticizing the upper ranks of the USAF for not participating in non-organization events, but commending them. I do not believe that they are on the path to irrelevancy at all. They have produced a strong organization with a large number of extremely talented aikidoists who will form the next generation of teachers. They promote extremely high standards, and there is a strong feeling of comradeship amongst members of the organization, from low-ranks to higher.

If their exclusivity has led to this admirable state of affairs it is to be commended.

I wonder if the strength of your organization will continue after the passing of your shihan?

Jory
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Old 03-27-2007, 01:54 PM   #94
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Jory:

My teacher put it simply: "Person X built a shrine to Aikido and O'Sensei, my students are my shrine." He is beyond the concern about the legacy of "his" organization. He is not politically petty. His direct students speak for themselves. His legacy is as a direct student of O'Sensei. My legacy, like others in our organization, is as a direct student of his. He is open to us training in whatever art we chose, and train with whatever teacher we chose, regardless of whether it is Aikido or another art. The legacy should not be the organization but the people who practice the art- simply my opinion.

I am criticizing the USAF for not participating in non-organization events. Once again, O'Sensei encouraged an openness that is conspicuously absent in the USAF. The USAF should be proud of it's students and encourage them, as a matter of policy, to interact with the Aikido and budo world at large, as opposed to remaining in an insular environment. They can accomplish everything that you talk about WITHOUT having to take the political, self-serving position that they do. I frankly see the ASU model as being a healthier model from an organizational standpoint than the USAF. I belong to neither, owe allegiance to neither, and make my comments from where I stand. I commend George for speaking out inside and outside of his organization. I commend the ASU for having seminars with people from different martial arts and different styles of Aikido. Xenophobic thinking has never helped any societies survive over long periods of time, so why would it be different from organizations within Aikido.

I do not wonder about the strength of Shin-Budo Kai when Imaizumi Sensei passes away. He would not support that kind of thinking. He is concerned about teaching those who want to learn from him. That was the legacy that he received and is passing on. That is the legacy that I have chosen. My Aikido and martial arts skills have significantly improved by being exposed to many different influences. It has better helped me to understand from and learn from my teacher. My teacher has fully supported all aspects of my learning, both from him and from other teachers. My concern as I teach my students is to share with them the knowledge that others have been gracious enough to share with me. The people and organizations do not "own" these teachings. The organizations and people would be well served to put their ego's aside and be open to learning from and experiencing the world-at-large. Knowledge is best served by being shared, rather than being "owned and kept for a select few." Knowledge "shrinks" when this happens, it "expands" when it is being shared.

Marc Abrams
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:00 PM   #95
Fred Little
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
Jory Liebman wrote: View Post
They promote extremely high standards, and there is a strong feeling of comradeship amongst members of the organization, from low-ranks to higher.
Jory
Dear Jory:

Do those high standards include a minimal level of historical accuracy on member websites?

Your own dojo's website states:

Quote:
In 1964 the Founder of Aikido, O-Sensei, sent Yoshimitsu Yamada to New York City to establish Aikido in the USA. Yamada Sensei established New York Aikikai that year.
A survey of the interviews with Yamada Sensei at www.aikidoonline.com makes it quite clear that he came to New York in order to demonstrate at the 1964 World's Fair and had no further charge at that time, although he did manage to parlay his trip into a position as Chief Instructor at NY Aikikai, which had been established on 19th Street in 1961 by Ralph Glanstein, Eddie Hagihara, Virginia Mayhew, Barry Bernstein, Fred Krase, and Maggie Newman.

For my part, such a glaring inaccuracy in a matter of simple fact is troubling. But then, I'm cantankerous that way, even if I set aside the possibility that it was a deliberate attempt at revisionist history of a type I have seen all too many times.

Best regards,

FL

Last edited by Fred Little : 03-27-2007 at 02:04 PM. Reason: spelling and precision
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Old 03-27-2007, 02:49 PM   #96
Rod Yabut
 
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
I commend George for speaking out inside and outside of his organization. I commend the ASU for having seminars with people from different martial arts and different styles of Aikido.
Can this be done in a dojo level vs. an national level? You would be surprised how many dojos incorporate other martial arts.

Quote:
I am criticizing the USAF for not participating in non-organization events. Once again, O'Sensei encouraged an openness that is conspicuously absent in the USAF. The USAF should be proud of it's students and encourage them, as a matter of policy, to interact with the Aikido and budo world at large, as opposed to remaining in an insular environment.
If this is truly the case, then the tide has turned. Recently, Murashige Shihan was part of the Unpont seminar, and Takeguchi Shihan was a guest in a CAA camp.

Rod
"Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything." -- Miyagi Sensei
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:13 PM   #97
Marc Abrams
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Rod:

I would not be surprised how many dojos incorporate other martial arts. The sad part is that they typically have to do so "under the radar". I do not think that instructions in an art should necessarily confuse students by adding a bit of this and a bit of that.... However, exposure to, and utilization of common underlying principles are important. Likewise, applying techniques to attacks from other martial arts are also important.

I can only hope that the tide is turning. It was simply pathetic that the Aiki Expo did not work because of several major organizations opposition to these seminal events. I am glad to see that people in the US are replicating this model on a smaller scale. I can only hope that there is enough impetus to push us all to create a viable and financially successful international venue that should have been the Aiki Expo. In many respects Stanley Pranin is a visionary ahead of his times. His efforts to help Aikido have been and are truly amazing.

marc abrams
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:17 PM   #98
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
Rod Yabut wrote: View Post
If this is truly the case, then the tide has turned. Recently, Murashige Shihan was part of the Unpont seminar, and Takeguchi Shihan was a guest in a CAA camp.
You'll know the tide has truly turned when instructors from these host groups appear as guests at a Federation event...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:21 PM   #99
Rod Yabut
 
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

Quote:
You'll know the tide has truly turned when instructors from these host groups appear as guests at a Federation event...
I agree and I hope.

Rod
"Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything." -- Miyagi Sensei
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:29 AM   #100
jliebman
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Re: George Ledyard on the Future of Aikido

All,

This will probably be my last post on Aikiweb. I have encountered what I consider to be a good deal of hostility in posting on this thread because I espouse an unpopular view or belong to an unpopular organization. Frankly I expected better. I did not expect aikidoists to sink to the level of discourse that exists in our political sphere, with underserved ad hominem attacks on persons who, whether or not you agree with their philosophy, style or practice, were direct students of the founder.

Marc Abrams wrote, in thread #94:
Quote:
My teacher put it simply: "Person X built a shrine to Aikido and O'Sensei, my students are my shrine." He is beyond the concern about the legacy of "his" organization. He is not politically petty....
Though he doesnt specify Person X, he does identify him as "politically petty." I wonder on what personal acquaintance with Person X does Mr Abrams base his judgement. It doesnt seem to occur to Mr Abrams that Person X is operating within standard behaviour for a Japanese person who is involved in an organization, and can basically act in no way other than those prescribed by his culture. I have made no ad hominem attack on Imaizumi Sensei, under whom I trained for 2 or 3 years and of whom I have none but the fondest memories, but Mr Abrams feels as though he is not under the constraints of good behaviour.

He also stated in the same thread:
Quote:
He is open to us training in whatever art we chose, and train with whatever teacher we chose, regardless of whether it is Aikido or another art
That is great, but the art we practice, the focus of this website, and the interest of most of the people who come here is AIKIDO, not "whatever art we chose." Aikido is a defined set of arts that are practiced by people, with some room for variation between instructors, and of course students, and nikkyo is nikkyo whether it is USAF, ASU, Shin Budo Kai or Yoshinkan! Aikido is the sole focus of the USAF, not whatever art we choose, and I, for one, am for that.

Well, that's it for me. I bid aikiweb a fond adieu.
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