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Old 02-29-2008, 01:02 PM   #1
Chris Parkerson
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What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Thesis

As times change, as time speeds up, as cross cultural influences impact a globalized Aikido, a trajectory must occur when reading the words of Founder. The trajectory takes the "intent" of the author and interprets it for a specific generation, culture, etc.

Challenge

How would you create and maintain an Aikido orthodoxy? Should it maintain a direct connection with Asian teaching methods? Asian thought processes? Should Americans (being pragmatists), for instance, find ways to shorten and improve the process to answer the challenge of how so few people have the kind of time to devote to the art like people did 60 years ago? Can Aikido have a family-bonding element that may not have been addressed by Founder?

Your thoughts would be most appreciated.
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Old 02-29-2008, 04:32 PM   #2
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Everything changes

Very interesting question.
I am sure that aikido changes, all the time. There is no way of hindering it, if one would like to. Even those who claim to preserve a kind of aikido they claim to be the original one are changing it, unknowingly.

I have seen vast changes of aikido during the 35 years I have trained it, and most of them are clearly to the better. For example, I have the impression that it is getting softer and more elegant. Some people say that it also makes aikido less effective as self-defense, but I am not at all convinced of that.

I have seen an increasing number of different "styles" of aikido. Although this means that we get a growing number of groups tending to isolate themselves from other aikido, which is sad, it also leads to innovation and discovery. And I regard diversity as a good thing in itself.
There should be many ways to do ikkyo.

I think that what remain are the basic principles of aikido - the gentle meeting of the attack, the search behind and beyond mere self-defense, and so on.
The development and increased diversity of aikido will refine it as an expression and application of those principles.

With patience and curiosity, we will get there.

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 02-29-2008, 04:44 PM   #3
Chris Parkerson
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

I too have seen many changes. I fact I posted an old 1974 photo of Fred Levrett teaching at my home dojo on myspace.com (chris Parkerson) What a difference.

I think some of you older cusses that devoted all those years saw how so much have changed. Can some of you tell us about it? Surely evaluating the past changes can point us to some level of forecast for the future.
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Old 02-29-2008, 05:49 PM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Only at it 13 years.
I have changed a lot.
Don't know about others.
In 10 years I hope to still be training.
Your other questions just seem too big for me to handle.

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 02-29-2008, 06:56 PM   #5
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Less hair and bigger love handles...

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:03 PM   #6
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
As times change, as time speeds up, as cross cultural influences impact a globalized Aikido, a trajectory must occur when reading the words of Founder. The trajectory takes the "intent" of the author and interprets it for a specific generation, culture, etc.
Everyone should at all times resist the inexorable lure of tulips.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraor...ness_of_Crowds

"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!" Charles Mackay

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
How would you create and maintain an Aikido orthodoxy?
Orthodoxy: "Right teaching."
Generally speaking, the way that right teaching is maintained in most places is to respect proven tradition, value organic innovation, promote thoughtful explanation, and demand rigorous application.

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Should it maintain a direct connection with Asian teaching methods? Asian thought processes?
Yes -- except to the extent that it should not.
Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Should Americans (being pragmatists), for instance, find ways to shorten and improve the process to answer the challenge of how so few people have the kind of time to devote to the art like people did 60 years ago? Or are their other things that take time?
There is a reason that boys are boys and only later grow to men -- the most important developments are not continuous -- nor should they be -- things have to be made ready for important changes..

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
Chris Parkerson
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Eric Mead wrote:
Quote:
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds,
The biggest problem with "groupthink" is how, when it turns into mass insanity, it can look quite sane to a herd animal.

I never was much of a herd animal. More like a little coyote who views ideas of win and lose as sophomoric tripe. But still I like a solitary "howl" when the moon is full.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:15 PM   #8
MikeLogan
 
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote:
Should Americans (being pragmatists), for instance, find ways to shorten and improve the process to answer the challenge of how so few people have the kind of time to devote to the art like people did 60 years ago?
No offense to us americans, but pragmatic is not the first thing that comes to mind. Impatience, Pragmatism's evil step-brother, is the more predominant.

Finding ways to meet the challenge of competing with the demands that people place on their own time, ways to instill the idea of a quality of life(serenity, health), over quantity (TGIFriday's, iPods), this is up to an inspired teacher.
To shorten and improve the process of communicating something of worth is to teach better.

You can't get something good if it is cheap and fast, nor something cheap if it is fast and good. Is it too convenient to propose that aikido simply attracts people predisposed towards patience?
Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote:
Can Aikido have a family-bonding element that may not have been addressed by Founder?
While I don't what Ueshiba might have addressed regarding aikido in the family, I know I would very much enjoy helping my siblings bond with the mat I am still trying to get my 3 younger siblings on the mat sometime this year.


Quote:
Erick's quote of Chris wrote:
Or are their other things that take time?
I don't see this in the original post. . . ..?

Last edited by MikeLogan : 02-29-2008 at 08:18 PM.

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

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:15 PM   #9
Gary David
 
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Say Chris......
In my 35 years we have gone from seeing the internal (and not understanding) to pushing the limits of technical ability with the limited understanding of the internal that goes with that back to a lot of folks seeking the internal again. In the 30 years I've known John it is clear that a few have always pushed the internal, but the effort limits the number to stay with it and benefit. Because of this those who had insights into and pursued true aiki have been few, tho' I see that changing.as more and more see that something is missing. In the 10 years I've known you I have seen you change....who would have thought you would every post on an Aikido forum. What the next 10 years holds....it could be everything or back to technical excellence, what ever works......the few will always seek what is hidden (and as Ellis says "in plain sight"). See you sometime soon......
Gary
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:29 PM   #10
Chris Parkerson
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Hi Gary,

Haven't talked for a while. Good to hear from you. There is a method to my madness. Times are critical and change is coming fast. Dialogue is essential to help folks prepare for fast-as-lightening-change.

I hope my posts have maintained honor and respect to John.

Regarding the internal stuff, that's for others to debate. I like maintaining a "wholistic approach" and keeping it intact via "balance".
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:33 PM   #11
lbb
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

I predict that in ten years, aikidoka will still be drinking beer, eating pizza, and making bad jokes.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:54 AM   #12
David Yap
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Hi Chris,

FYI, I have answered your questions in my original thread.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote:
I predict that in ten years, aikidoka will still be drinking beer, eating pizza, and making bad jokes.
That's a given

Cheers

David Y
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:53 PM   #13
mathewjgano
 
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
The trajectory takes the "intent" of the author and interprets it for a specific generation, culture, etc.

How would you create and maintain an Aikido orthodoxy?
Speaking as a relatively untrained aikidoka, I think the key point to be made is that interpretation, which is subjective by nature, forces any doctrine or prescribed "way" to differentiate. For all I know there is one true concept of but the expression of that concept will be shaped differently by those who cultivate it.
I think any orthodoxy maintanence occures in the direct connection between students and teachers. As the teacher evolves over time, more recent students and older students differentiate more and more. We can see this in the direct students of O Sensei, all of which learned a method of . Add to this the individual characteristics of those students and we see another element of change or deviation. It's not unlike chaos theory, if I understand it correctly enough. A series of small changes can add up to some pretty drastic ones.
That said, the human form is still fairly universal. We all pretty much have the same muscles; the same tendons; etc. Our brains are more or less of the same set of functions and thus our perceptional mechanisms as well, so it's not crazy to assume something like Aikido can remain more or less the same over time. Having trained a bit in Shodokan and a bit more in a style of Aikido which is (I believe) based quite a bit on Tohei's form, I see very much the same thing going on. To borrow a phrase, they're "same same, but different."
Quote:
Should it maintain a direct connection with Asian teaching methods? Asian thought processes?
Not necessarily, in my opinion. I think this kind of thing comes down to the individual level of things. Different people best learn different things differently. On the other hand, I think that to discount the method of another culture simply because it's not the culture one grew up with is ridiculous. Like our vision, we need different vantage points to better perceive something in depth.
Quote:
Should Americans (being pragmatists), for instance, find ways to shorten and improve the process to answer the challenge of how so few people have the kind of time to devote to the art like people did 60 years ago?
I think any good student seeks to learn as quickly as possible, but as it was pointed out in another post, impatience can blind a person too. Like in most things, one has to find that golden middle. I'm not convinced pragmatism is a defining characteristic of America...more to the point, the question of what is practical depends upon the goal. Planned obsolesence is practical for a business, but not the consumer. If all I want is to learn muscle memory which will make me physically more powerful than most, I'm sacrificing time for other skills, such as EQ.
Quote:
Can Aikido have a family-bonding element that may not have been addressed by Founder?
I think this is implicit to the Japanese culture which shaped kaiso's approach and may have been taken as a given much of the time...I'm not much of an expert on Japanese culture though. Sempai look out for kohai; kohai halp take care of sempai; this symbiotic relationship seems pretty familial to me. The sensei-deshi relationship is just another form of this, as I understand it.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 03-02-2008 at 08:56 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-09-2008, 01:59 PM   #14
Bill Dockery
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post

How would you create and maintain an Aikido orthodoxy? Should it maintain a direct connection with Asian teaching methods? Asian thought processes? Should Americans (being pragmatists), for instance, find ways to shorten and improve the process to answer the challenge of how so few people have the kind of time to devote to the art like people did 60 years ago?
Practically all artistic endeavors seem to be a process of improving self-awareness and our relationships with the world. Since we all have differing levels of awareness, and certainly different preferences, I suspect there will be greater diversity in teaching styles. One camp will favor one technique over another, will come in contact with another art and become influenced; the mix of students that pass through the ranks will each have their own effect on the evolution. Expect to be able to find a dojo that's "just right" for you if you live in a fairly populated area.

My personal hopes are:
1) we all lose the hakama. It hinders the ability to see what's going on (doesn't help transfer knowledge), costs extra, more laundry, and you aren't likely to have it on outside the dojo. Nothing natural in that. (sweats and some rubber sole shoes! even wrestling shoes are bit more real world).
2) we spend a bit more time striking. I'm no expert, but at least I have some Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing exposure. I'd still like to get better at striking. I see a trend that those with only aikido background couldn't punch their way out of a wet paper bag and that makes it harder to train.

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Can Aikido have a family-bonding element that may not have been addressed by Founder?
Aikido definitely has the family-bonding element. I've seen Dave and Kerry Nettles enjoy aikido as a couple and as the heads of our organization. Bob and Ian King are a terrific father-son duo. How many times would we as teenagers loved to throw Dad across the room!? As parents, loved to knock some sense into your kid?! Bob and Ian perform some explosive techniques. Never thought about it till now. Maybe that's why! Then there's Angel and Marissa Quinones. Great couple, both highly skilled. You can easily sense the special bond between them. I expect that Aikido has some part to play. One of my favorite aikido memories is when I watched the "reverse Soccer Mom" event. I know Marissa is an active parent and cheers from the sidelines for her children's events. Boy you should have seen her kids cheering on Mom in the Randori tournament finals. Ain't that a switch!
But that's just the genetic family part. How many of us feel great kinship with those we practice with. I suggest that most of us that stay with this art do so out of our sense of family at the dojo.

Now, if I could just convince my wife to put on some sweats, wrestling shoes, and punch me in the mouth
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:15 AM   #15
Amir Krause
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Realistic answer:

In another 10 yrs you will have more dojos with more teachers, each giving his own personal interpretation. Some will be more "spiritual" others will be more "traditional" and others will be more "practical", each, according to his own interpretation of the reality.

As more people practice and teach, variety increases.

Amir
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:27 PM   #16
dps
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Can Aikido have a family-bonding element that may not have been addressed by Founder?
Not sure what you mean. O'Sensei taught his son his Aikido, then made him in charge of it. Then his son did the same for his son. It seems to me there was a strong family bond.

David
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:50 AM   #17
Chris Parkerson
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Re: What will Aikido be and look like in 10 years

I have just returned from Sensei Ledyard's seminar in Oberlin. I am quite excited about how Aikido is changing: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Each item, in my opinion portends a good-luck token for the art.
"Something old"- Aikido is sure to maintain the respect of its founding teachers and current elders. Its active teachers will maintain the essence (the core truth) of aikido that makes it different from other arts.

"Something new" -- As Aikido is confronted with the stresses of modern society (we all cannot spend 8 hours a day in the dojo), modern scientific analysis will begin to observe, isolate, classify and reproduce the simple physics, emotion-mind-body connections, and human physiology that combines to make what once appeared to be "movements of magic". Once undergone this process, the "secrets" will be fully out of the bag and modern pragmatism will streamline the learning process. What is today spoken of as "hidden in plain sight" will become, "Oh, it's just this" feel it, explain it, understand it, let your body believe it, do it.

"Something borrowed" -- Aikido, is also currently confronted, through modern connectivity, with the cosmopolitan corpus of global martial information and practices. Here, I also have an optimism and hope that other martial experiences will be included and grafted into its future life without suffering the status of becoming a "less-respected step sister" or experiencing the loss of its core identity. We will discover that there are many paths to developing structure, power, blending, focus, etc. We will see that any one, without the whole, can be defeated with countermeasures. We will see that the exotic method or practice is only made meaningful when it is grafted into the root and when it becomes part of the whole.

"Something Blue" -- The only real "blues" I see that may confront Aikido over the next ten years is in its leadership's potential negative reaction to change and the pressures of "hard times" (economic, political, social, climatic and geological disruption) that the world is about to face. Conflict is at hand right now and will increase globally for several years. During conflict, people often build barriers and become fearful of outside influences. When balance is restored, we all will have changed a bit, and so will the process of how we inject meaning into the symbols we live by. On the other side of this period of conflict and imbalance, Aikido's changes will probably a seen historically as a series of changing emphasis. First, Aikido will become more martial and finally, when we tire of excessive contention, it will become a "dance" of blending energies that is nearly devoid of competition and ego.

But the real "blue" that Aikido maintains and I am sure will continue to maintain throughout this decade is its core connection with that color's symbolic ideals of love, modesty, and fidelity.

Sensei Ledyard is certainly on the cutting edge of this change. He is married to the art (Marry in blue, lover be true) yet he is open-ended, ready to navigate a future pragmatic course.

As for me, my time is coming to an end as a writer on this forum. My work is seriously increasing as times are getting rougher and as conflict and imbalance grows both at home and abroad. I have met several new friends on this forum and am excited about working out with them face-to-face. I hope also to see and meet more Aikidoka in the local dojos I am able to visit in the course of my travels as well as at seminars.
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