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Old 04-30-2007, 07:24 AM   #1
aikishrine
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loyalty a lost virtue

Hi there, recently in my dojo we have come across a situation that greatly saddens me.
We have a 3rd Dan that started with us and has achieved all that he has in Aikido with us, however he has grown very attached to another Sensei, and wishes to open up his own dojo under this Sensei's guidance and not our own.
I know that he has talked with my Sensei about it, and my Sensei is a very secure and great man, and while probably disapointed in his student is not going to harbor any ill will towards him, as a matter of fact both my Sensei's student and his new Senei came to our dojo for a seminar this weekend, a seminar that the other Sensei was invited to, to teach.
I was wondering what you might think about this situation and both of the particulars the student and his new Sensei.

Last edited by aikishrine : 04-30-2007 at 07:26 AM. Reason: mis spelled
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:33 AM   #2
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
Hi there, recently in my dojo we have come across a situation that greatly saddens me.
We have a 3rd Dan that started with us and has achieved all that he has in Aikido with us, however he has grown very attached to another Sensei, and wishes to open up his own dojo under this Sensei's guidance and not our own.
I know that he has talked with my Sensei about it, and my Sensei is a very secure and great man, and while probably disappointed in his student is not going to harbor any ill will towards him, as a matter of fact both my Sensei's student and his new Sensei came to our dojo for a seminar this weekend, a seminar that the other Sensei was invited to, to teach.
I was wondering what you might think about this situation and both of the particulars the student and his new Sensei.
It's very important that people find the teacher that they want and commit but that choice can and does change over time. It's rather like Zeb training in which there are often three teachers, each handling a different stage of the progression.

I had a student who had been part of our organization since she started. She got up to Sandan with me. She met John Stevens Sensei through a seminar in which we hosted him and ended up deciding that she really wanted to follow him.

She wrote letters to Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei thanking them for their many years of instruction, she thanked me as well, quite formally. Everything was above board and handled well. She now runs a dojo associated with Stevens Sensei but still comes by for seminars. I've been up to her place to teach as well.

This is a natural occurrence and when people handle things properly does not have to lead to bad feelings.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 04-30-2007, 07:36 AM   #3
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

In Japan I think such an occurrance would be very much frowned upon. In America? I don't see anything to get excited about.
IMHO, sensei's are up for adoption just as students are.
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:44 AM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Loyalty cannot be forced but must come from the heart, unless one subscribes to the whole kit and kaboodle of feudal culture.

Janet Rosen
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:54 AM   #5
Ron Tisdale
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Gotta say, what business is it of anyone elses?

The direct participants are all adults. I'm sure they'll figure out the best way to do things. Having it bandied about here does what, exactly?

I know this sounds a little harsh, and I don't mean any disrepect, but having been in these situations myself, I can only think that my reaction to reading about it from someone not directly involved on a public board would be...not well received.

Someone else's issues with loyalty are just that...someone else's issues. I'd prefer to focus on my on issues...of which there are many, I'm afraid.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-30-2007, 03:08 PM   #6
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

IMHO, loyalty is not a lost virtue as long as credit is given where its due, and everything is handled with honor. Even is you switch or train elsewhere, does not necessarily mean you are disloyal to your roots.

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 04-30-2007, 04:06 PM   #7
crbateman
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

People grow, things change, life goes on. Training in an Aikido dojo does not come with a blood oath of loyalty. If an individual decides to exercise his/her right to make a change, then who can expect differently, as long as respects are given, and class is shown? I did not hear anything dishonorable, devious or disrespectful in this story, so where is the harm? Personally, I cannot find fault with the idea of experiencing contrasting training from multiple teachers. How else is one to develop a broader perspective? Too many perpetuate the belief that "their" Aikido is the only Aikido. It takes exposure to other ways to show the folly in this thinking.
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:46 PM   #8
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
People grow, things change, life goes on. Training in an Aikido dojo does not come with a blood oath of loyalty. If an individual decides to exercise his/her right to make a change, then who can expect differently, as long as respects are given, and class is shown? I did not hear anything dishonorable, devious or disrespectful in this story, so where is the harm? Personally, I cannot find fault with the idea of experiencing contrasting training from multiple teachers. How else is one to develop a broader perspective? Too many perpetuate the belief that "their" Aikido is the only Aikido. It takes exposure to other ways to show the folly in this thinking.
Excellent post! Sometimes change is needed for growth. That can be a very positive things. Sometimes people feel stagnant and need a new direction in which to follow, which also helps them find the path that will eventually lead them to self fulfillment.

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Old 04-30-2007, 05:41 PM   #9
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Loyalty goes both ways. If the student - teacher relationship needs to change then both student and teacher should be loyal to the needs of a healthy relationship. There's definitely a proper way to go about it though.

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:04 PM   #10
Mary Turner
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
People grow, things change, life goes on. Training in an Aikido dojo does not come with a blood oath of loyalty. If an individual decides to exercise his/her right to make a change, then who can expect differently, as long as respects are given, and class is shown? I did not hear anything dishonorable, devious or disrespectful in this story, so where is the harm? Personally, I cannot find fault with the idea of experiencing contrasting training from multiple teachers. How else is one to develop a broader perspective? Too many perpetuate the belief that "their" Aikido is the only Aikido. It takes exposure to other ways to show the folly in this thinking.
I completely agree, Clark! What a well written post!
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:01 AM   #11
aikishrine
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

I appreciate all the feedback, however i think maybe i didnt explain myself well.

What i was getting at is i dont have a problem with my Sensei's student learning from another instructor, and really loving him and his Aikido, what i have a problem with is him wanting to open up a dojo under this new instructor's guidance, when he has been affiliated with our dojo for about 15 years or so, and earning his sandan under my Sensei.

And as far as the post stating that in the west loyalty isnt followed as much and doesnt need to be is completely wrong. why study an art if you arn't going to follow it completely, and learn all aspects about it i am pretty sure that that is what the word BUDO entails as part of its tenants, and maybe one should look up the word BUSHIDO before making a statement of that kind.

I hope that i wasnt to harsh, but i now know the answere to my question of loyalty in this situation. If my Sensei's student wants to open up a dojo he should do it under the guidance of the man that taught him, learn from as many people as you want, that is the proper thing to do, but have some devotion to the WAY in which you have achieved your present status in AIKIDO or any endeavour you seek. Thank you for your input.
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:33 AM   #12
crbateman
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Brian, now that you have focused your question a little more for us, let me say that the opening of one's own dojo is, to be realistic, as much a business decision as a moral or philosophical one. Perhaps this decision weighed into your colleague's thinking. Also, many prefer to look to the future, rather than dwell on the past. If his "new" Sensei has accepted his grading, and will be responsible for his training henceforth and making future gradings of him (which is still a matter of your friend's personal choice, new dojo or not), then his umbrella would be the proper one to be under. Once again, it is sensible to continue to be open and proud about one's roots, but this is not always the way it happens.
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:38 AM   #13
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
And as far as the post stating that in the west loyalty isnt followed as much and doesnt need to be is completely wrong. why study an art if you arn't going to follow it completely, and learn all aspects about it i am pretty sure that that is what the word BUDO entails as part of its tenants, and maybe one should look up the word BUSHIDO before making a statement of that kind.
So by virtue of your statement above, you consider your Sensei your Lord to whom you must remain loyal? The loyalty inherent in the code of Bushido is to your Lord. He is the one who feeds you, shelters you and your family (via the stipend you receive) in return for your service. Does this sound like the relationship you have with your Sensei?

Last edited by dbotari : 05-01-2007 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 05-01-2007, 07:22 AM   #14
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
And as far as the post stating that in the west loyalty isnt followed as much and doesnt need to be is completely wrong. why study an art if you arn't going to follow it completely, and learn all aspects about it i am pretty sure that that is what the word BUDO entails as part of its tenants, and maybe one should look up the word BUSHIDO before making a statement of that kind.

I hope that i wasnt to harsh
Nah, perhaps a little rash but certainly not harsh. The culture of BUSHIDO is a time long ago in a far away land. If you are determined to carry this loyalty thing to great length may I suggest shinai. Both of your dojo's could have a "mock" battle in which you would meet and re-enact scenes from a land far away and long ago. Even better would be to stage these demonstration in public places. It would expose the public to aikido and you would be able to demonstrate your loyalty your sensei's by giving spectacular performances of aikido. If it were me, I'd even play it up a bit. It might become a popular local community event.
In the end I am sure most of you would end up on friendly terms.
Yeah, I can easily see this turning out real good or real bad. It's up to you folks.
This calls for a BUSHIDO renaissance.
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Old 05-01-2007, 07:37 AM   #15
Basia Halliop
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

So what is the 'traditional japanese martial attitude' to gossiping about others behind their backs? I guess I'm with Ron that it's none of your business. You can choose to do differently if you're ever in that situation yourself.
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Old 05-01-2007, 07:56 AM   #16
AsimHanif
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Hi Brian.
I'm not sure if I had a chance to practice with you this past weekend but I had a great time at your dojo.
I think there may be considerations you are not aware of. Knowing the principles involved, I'm sure everything is fine.
I would just state that loyalty can take many forms in budo. Who you open a dojo under is many times a business decision, and not indicative of lack of loyalty or respect.

Peace,
Asim
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:43 AM   #17
aikidoc
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

You did not fill in all the info. Is the new sensei higher ranked? Is he in a different organization? Sometimes students feel they have learned either all they can or what they want to learn from a particular instructor and need to move on for their own growth. It should be handled respectfully but it happens.
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Old 05-01-2007, 11:38 AM   #18
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

I would suggest re-reading posts# 5,6,15,16

While the internet looks like a really big place, in some situations it isn't. Publicly insinuating upon the quality of someone's loyalty to another, or to a group as a whole, is rash at best.

Learn from the example of James Smith

michael.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

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Old 05-01-2007, 02:15 PM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

I considered bowing out, but then thought better of it.

Quote:
and maybe one should look up the word BUSHIDO before making a statement of that kind.
That is actually good advice...and if you take the time to follow your own advice, you will find the following:

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
On Nitobe:

http://ejmas.com/tin/tinart_buchner2_0200.htm

and from one of numerous posts on e-budo:

link to the entire thread:http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/sho...=Nitobe+bushido

Just for a little perspective...

And no, I don't particularly embrace it, as I don't find it all that accurate a depiction of the traditions I practice.

I would like to think that my keiko is leading me to at least begin to understand 'Budo'...and that is tough enough as it is. Without adding in too much 'made up' stuff, whenever possible.

RT
Amoung many other references to "bushido" being mis-used by the military elite, MAists the world over, Nitobe, and just about anyone else who bothers to use it. But hey...don't take my word for it...look it up!
Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 05-01-2007 at 02:17 PM.

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Old 05-01-2007, 02:37 PM   #20
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
Loyalty goes both ways.
Yes! I often had this thought when folks prattle on about loyalty.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 05-02-2007, 04:02 AM   #21
aikishrine
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Again people are not thourohly reading my post, i have not gossiped i havnt mentioned any names, and i have also talked to the particulars about this situation, and it still doesnt make any sense, what you have to remeber is that this is a concern i feel i can have an opinion about, after all it does concern my dojo, in my city which isnt very big, and having essentialy another dojo open up within a few miles, that i would accept graciously, and actually welcome it if was under the proper guidance.

I will make this my last post on this subject, because we all seem to have a very different view on this subject, and for the most part i am greatly out numbered, which is a shame because i dont see how you can truly train in an art and not try to adhere to all that it should encompass, i geuss we should all take our GI's off, not train in suwari waza, and no more bowing, hell why even call your intructor Sensei, just call him teacher or by his name, lets take out all of the tradition about the training in AIKIDO, maybe i am wrong about this, or maybe i am the only one on here that is correct, that is subject to debate, which has already happened, and i do apprciate the banter, as this is what i asked for, Thanks all

P.S. as far as being higher ranked my Sensei is a 6th dan and the other sensei is a 7th dan, the difference between 50 years of practice, and 40+ years of practice,the only difference, that makes up there rank, oh by the way my Sensei is very close to 7th dan and will probably be promoted so very soon, they are both great men, and Aikidoist or Aikidoka which ever you prefer, and both Senei are a part of the USAF, and being ones teacher is supposed to be a special thing, hence representing a lord type figure of sorts, after all when the Meiji period ended and all the Samurai were no longer needed they went into teaching, for the most part anyway, again thanks

Last edited by aikishrine : 05-02-2007 at 04:11 AM. Reason: needed more content
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Old 05-02-2007, 04:37 AM   #22
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
......hell why even call your intructor Sensei, just call him teacher or by his name, lets take out all of the tradition about the training in AIKIDO, ......
My Sensei is an Aikikai 6th Dan. I was over in Japan visiting his dojo on my annual visit a couple of weeks back. I noticed that hardly anyone called him sensei, most were calling him directly by his name, as they were also doing for a 7th Dan that also heads up the dojo there. I asked him about it and he replied "in this dojo we only use 'sensei' for professional instructors. I'm not a professional instructor, nor is Hamazaki san. We are not teachers, just older students, we practice Aikido together".

I replied that I've been calling him "sensei" for 11 years now, he just laughed. I must admit it feels very strange referring to him by name, but I dare say I'll get with it over time. The path of Aikido is one of adaption and change.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-02-2007, 07:26 AM   #23
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Brian Northrup wrote: View Post
I hope that i wasn't to harsh, but i now know the answer to my question of loyalty in this situation. If my Sensei's student wants to open up a dojo he should do it under the guidance of the man that taught him, learn from as many people as you want, that is the proper thing to do, but have some devotion to the WAY in which you have achieved your present status in AIKIDO or any endeavor you seek. Thank you for your input.
Look, people grow (hopefully).. the teacher may go in directions the student doesn't wish to follow. The student's interests may change. Elsewhere on the forum we had a discussion about a guy who arrived at a dojo and wanted to train differently than they did, The consensus was that he should train elsewhere, not pursue his private agenda at a dojo that wasn't his.

Most places, there simply isn't room for someone to go off and train with different people and take his training in a different direction than the teacher's. I would say that this would be especially true if ones teacher was Japanese.

There are only two solutions available... if one is still relatively junior one needs to find a new teacher who can take his training in the direction he now wishes or, if he or she is senior enough, it may be time to simply thank ones teacher and open ones own place.

I have had students do both. People do what they have to do. My Aikido has gone through many stages and I have found that students collected at one stage may not be interested in moving along with you to the next stage. Many people seem to want their teachers to give them a nicely packaged program of development, strictly defined, so that they can feel like they are making progress towards something. If ones ideas keep changing and ones focus shifts every few years, as mine has, it's hard for that kind of student. So they go find someone to train with who fits what they are looking for. Or they decided that it's time to leave the nest and open their own places. It's just natural.

Students are not serfs, tied to a dojo for life, the property of the feudal lord. People are free to make their choices. Does a teacher appreciate the student who hangs in there through thick and thin, sticks with him or her as he develops his art? Of course. I have some students who have been with me for over fifteen years. I value them tremendously. But I am quite cordial with those who left to do their own things. I invite them to teach, I go visit their places. No need for any hard feelings.

Loyalty that comes from some feeling of "ought to" isn't what you want. Loyalty that comes because people really feel it is natural and doesn't even need discussion. it is given freely and is highly valued when it is.

Now if you are the kind of person who sees his highest aspiration in the art as supporting a given teacher in his or her own efforts to put Aikido out there to the public, then that is great. There are some absolutely awesome Aikido people who no one even knows about because they have defined their own mission as supporting a given teacher's efforts. Not everyone can open a dojo. Probably too many people have already. Teachers need that kind of support and it's a laudable path. But it has to be chosen, not imposed.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-02-2007 at 07:33 AM.

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Old 05-02-2007, 08:33 AM   #24
Ron Tisdale
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
Teachers need that kind of support and it's a laudable path. But it has to be chosen, not imposed.
Quite agree. It also shouldn't be bolstered by unsubstantiated, overly romanticized, myth. Taken way out of context as well...

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-02-2007, 09:51 AM   #25
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Re: loyalty a lost virtue

Quote:
i would accept graciously, and actually welcome it if was under the proper guidance.
Quote:
the other sensei is a 7th dan
Maybe it's just me, but I find these two comments a bit in conflict with each other. Would a 7th dan not be under the proper guidance?
On the surface, I would have to say there's a deeper issue not being shared?
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