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Old 04-12-2008, 10:05 PM   #26
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Hello Jonathan,

I think I need to make another couple of points.

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Hello Peter,
While I understand why the Aikikai is moving away from sending Japanese instructors abroad, I wonder why they would go with a blanket rule against Japanese instructors moving overseas to teach. What if they move for non aikido reasons (other job, marrying a foreigner, etc)? I also wonder about all the areas in the world where there are no high ranked instructors, if others are not allowed to come in from the outside, aikido may not make it into areas where it might be well received.
There is no such rule. What I wanted to stress is that the early postwar period, of Japanese instructors like Yamada, Kanai, Sugano and Chiba being despatched to the US or UK to teach aikido as their sole profession, is past. The job description, if you like, has changed and the supply of this kind of instructors has stopped. Of course, there are other Japanese instructors who live outside Japan and teach aikido as a secondary activity, supplementing their main profession and this will probably continue. I think the issue here is the possibility of being a traditional deshi, or uchi-deshi, at a time when the organization is much more attuned to working as a commercial operation. Actually, this is the main gripe of the older Japanese 'super' shihan.

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
I also have questions about moving from one organisation to another. This must happen very regularly, as it is not particularly exceptional for someone to change cities or countries for work or studies and most organisations have a fairly limited geographical coverage. So what happens if you move to an area and join a dojo in another organisations where the last common point in the lineage goes all the way to O-sensei, where the head person may not even be on speaking terms with the head of you last organisation. I can't imagine that the Aikikai would require you to retest a rank they have already issued you. Doesn't one of the International Regulations of the Aikikai state that a Hombu recognised organisation must honor all dan ranks issued under the authority of the Doshu?
Yes, it happened in my own case and my instructor (Chiba) wrote to the Hombu to tell them that I was coming to live in Hiroshima. The Hombu informed the local shihan here and the transition was quite smooth. If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.

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Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Of course, your right that for most people, these things just don't come up much. I was personally lucky (in my opinion) to have only moved once and stayed not only in the same organisation, but moved to a dojo that regularly invites my initial teacher for seminars and where I already knew several people.
As I suggested earlier, the real issue is groups who want to join the Aikikai (and there are a few known to me), but whose leaders are not members of the Aikikai, with dan ranks given by the Doshu.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:23 AM   #27
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Shannon Frye wrote: View Post
BINGO! I think this quote is so worthy of standing out.
In short - get into Aikido, get out of politics.

Shannon
Here is the issue, yes get rid of the politics - but you want continuity...which an organization can help keep. - Its just they are not focusing on continuity but power.

So if I move, its a whole different ball game.
What I learn in 6th, 5th kyu, etc is totally a different program than another dojo.

For the sake of easily picking up where you left off, and to keep a certain degree of quality, the Hombu could begin to focus on these issue and not worry about how many dans are running around.

If it had continuity, and if I were a 6th dan, etc. I should be able to go to the moon and back and give black belts to who ever meets the requirements set forth.

As it is now, every dojo has a different view of what is required...anyway...

Peace

dAlen
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:29 AM   #28
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
As I suggested earlier, the real issue is groups who want to join the Aikikai (and there are a few known to me), but whose leaders are not members of the Aikikai, with dan ranks given by the Doshu.

Best wishes,
But I suppose from how I understand it, this would not be a problem for me...yet.
As of now I am not a dan grade.
So hypothetically an organization would take me where Im at now...consider my time of traning, test me, and rank me according to their rules?

After all my testing is probably going to be different then theirs if what I see is an reflection to what i will find when moving back stateside...and they wont accept any papers given to me showing my kyu rank...

Peace

dAlen
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:46 AM   #29
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Jonathan,

I think I need to make another couple of points.

There is no such rule. What I wanted to stress is that the early postwar period, of Japanese instructors like Yamada, Kanai, Sugano and Chiba being despatched to the US or UK to teach aikido as their sole profession, is past. The job description, if you like, has changed and the supply of this kind of instructors has stopped. Of course, there are other Japanese instructors who live outside Japan and teach aikido as a secondary activity, supplementing their main profession and this will probably continue. I think the issue here is the possibility of being a traditional deshi, or uchi-deshi, at a time when the organization is much more attuned to working as a commercial operation. Actually, this is the main gripe of the older Japanese 'super' shihan.
Thank you for the answer, this makes much more sense to me. Of course, many of the super shihan have their own deshi systems. For example, some of the new USAF shihan were uchi-deshi at the NY Aikikai.

Quote:
If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.
Yeah, I've heard some pretty bad stories of yudansha moving into new dojos and having trouble being accepted. Of course, sometimes they don't help themselves. Word to the wise, if you're a shodan in a new dojo, be careful who you try to correct, he/she may be a sixth dan with 30 years of experience.

As for politics. You can't run any kind of organisation without politics, and that includes small independent organisations. The only real question is what kind of politics. The question I would ask is whether the leaders acting in the best interest of their members and the art of aikido, or simply in their own best interest. I don't agree with everythying the leaders of my organisation come up with, but without the political ties they represent I would not have had the opportunity to train with so many high ranking and skilled instructors. I mean, how many small independent groups could organize seminars with several of O-sensei's direct students.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:23 AM   #30
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.
Yeah, I remember when I started attending a dojo in southern California. I had attained the rank of shodan in Okinawa. All of a sudden, I was one of the higher ranking students. I felt some anymosity, and weirdly enough the dojo-cho required that I pay a memership fee to join his organization, which was ASU. I wondered how this would work since I was already a Yudansha with the Aikikai. Turns out, my money disappeared and I never received any type of document in return for my money. I ended up "leaving" the dojo to begin my own place. I put "leaving" in quotes because I still train there every so often. Funny thing is, it wasn't long after my appearance at that dojo, that several of his students who had been waiting quite some time to receive shodan's, were rapidly promoted. I was happy for them as they certainly had earned it.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:50 AM   #31
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Mark,
I am fine, thank you. I retired at midnight on March 31. A few days beforehand, the President gave me a piece of paper looking rather like a dan diploma, which stated that I was a Meiyo Kyouju (Emeritus Professor). I do not know what this means in the US, but in Japan it means that you have retired as a 'normal' prof.
Congratulations, sensei! Although, I'm not sure about the meaning of Meiyo Kyouju. Still, your accomplishments have stood out over here in the U.S.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
What will I do? Well, I have loads of books on Japanese culture and other subjects which I still need to read, but I intend to write at least one. I would like to write an aikido novel, a thriller with an intense and convoluted plot and lots of mysterious murders done by a serial killer (who clearly seems to be an expert in 'internal' skills), probably set in some intensive summer training seminar. Something like The Name of the Rose or the Cadfael thrillers, with an honest but 'dumb' hero, who is constantly aided by 'experts'.
An interesting idea. I would like to read it once you are done. However, if you're going to write it in Japanese, just give me some warning ahead of time so I can continue my studies.

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
You state that that there are 'tons of questions'. Well, ask a few.
PAG
You've answered a couple in your later posts, thank you. I'm guessing then, that the Aikikai is "changing" the role of "super shihan" through attrition and once all the designated super shihan have passed on, there will be no more?

If part of the change is that no more Japanese will be sent abroad primarily for aikido, then how will the Aikikai change to the fact that there will be less Japanese shihan abroad?

If the Aikikai is going to a more organizational model, are there plans to reach out and work with the independent organizations?

There are very interesting organizational ties throughout the aikido world. For instance, a semi-independent organization will have ties to a major organization (like the Yoshinkan) and the semi-independent might be able to gain Aikikai certifications through that major organization. Will this still continue? Or is the Aikikai looking to clean up those lines of diploma issuances?

When the super shihan are gone, and there are only shihan outside Japan, how will the Aikikai look at dan examinations? Will they keep the two model that is currently in use (shihan able to issue within their organization and shihan who can only issue at his/her dojo), or will they narrow it down to one model?

The world always changes.

Thank you,
Mark
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:16 PM   #32
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Thank you Peter.
I always look forward to reading your contributions.

Asim
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:47 PM   #33
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
If you are a yudansha with the Aikikai, then your dan rank is valid in any organization recognized by the Aikikai, though the new shihan might not like it very much.
Mr. Goldsbury...With all due respect, you need to elaborate on this further, I think you have made an untrue statement. Please, clarify this for all.

Mickey
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:40 AM   #34
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Mr. Goldsbury...With all due respect, you need to elaborate on this further, I think you have made an untrue statement. Please, clarify this for all.

Mickey
Another way of restating what I said in my previous post is that the whole point of the Aikikai's International Regulations for overseas organizations is to establish a common framework for examinations and dan grades, that is dan grades awarded by the Doshu as a result of a test or recommendation given by someone who is authorized by the Aikikai to do so. So, I am a member of the Aikikai and my dan grades are validly awarded. if I moved outside Japan and trained in an organization recognized by the Aikikai, those grades would be valid in that organization. The shihan of that organization would not be in a position to state that they were not valid Aikikai grades.

So, with respect, I disagree. I think it is up to you to point out in what respects you think the statement is untrue and if you have a valid point, I will have to take it up with Doshu and the Aikikai.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:52 PM   #35
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Mr Goldsbury,

As per your re-statement, validation of any dan ranks is only within those organizations within the umbra of the Aikikai Foundation. Therefore, not to any valid organization recognized by the Aikikai Foundation, which is where I find the discrepancy in your first statement. Am I understanding this correctly?

Train well,

Mickey
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:28 PM   #36
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Mr Goldsbury,

As per your re-statement, validation of any dan ranks is only within those organizations within the umbra of the Aikikai Foundation. Therefore, not to any valid organization recognized by the Aikikai Foundation, which is where I find the discrepancy in your first statement. Am I understanding this correctly?

Train well,

Mickey
Not quite. On its website the Aikikai has a list of organizations it has recognized. The ASU, however, is not on this list, but the Shihan, Mitsugi Saotome and Hiroshi Ikeda, deliver valid dan ranks signed by the Doshu. There are also organizations that have applied for recognition but have not yet been given it. These organizations are usually visited by someone from a recognized organization, or a shihan recognized b y the Aikikai, who can deliver valid dan grades.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:05 PM   #37
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Dan grade proof

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote: View Post
If you ever travel to Japan and the Aikikai Hombu dojo, bring a photo copy of the certificate and they will verify it as one of theirs. They keep some very meticulous records....
When you get your first Aikikai dan grade, you also get the Yudansha card, which is a kind of passport within Aikikai. If you have an Aikikai Yudansha card, you know that your grade is proper Aikikai.

Usually, the Yudansha card is what students training at Hombu dojo hand in at the reception, and the Hombu staff check with their records while you are at keiko.
Nothing to it.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 04-23-2008, 06:12 PM   #38
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Retirement writing

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I retired at midnight on March 31. A few days beforehand, the President gave me a piece of paper looking rather like a dan diploma, which stated that I was a Meiyo Kyouju (Emeritus Professor). I do not know what this means in the US, but in Japan it means that you have retired as a 'normal' prof.

What will I do? Well, I have loads of books on Japanese culture and other subjects which I still need to read, but I intend to write at least one. I would like to write an aikido novel, a thriller with an intense and convoluted plot and lots of mysterious murders done by a serial killer (who clearly seems to be an expert in 'internal' skills), probably set in some intensive summer training seminar. Something like The Name of the Rose or the Cadfael thrillers, with an honest but 'dumb' hero, who is constantly aided by 'experts'.
Dear Peter, I did not know that you retired. That is good news for the IAF - now you have limitless time to spend on our organization

So, you plan to write a book? Great. We have something to discuss as colleagues in Tanabe. The Name of the Rose was delightful, although I would have prefered to actually read Aristotle's work on comedy. Might you have some thoughts on it?

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:51 PM   #39
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Might I inject a couple of really stupid questions? I ask them with complete respect, but also in complete ignorance. I have never trained in a Hombu affiliated dojo and so I'm completely clueless about how some things work within that organization....

Why is the ASU not on the list if Doshu signs their dan certificates? Is the AWA in the same category? Are there others with that status?

If only shihans can grant dan ranks either within their organizations or at large, how do recognized organizations not headed by someone of shihan rank issue those rankings?

Thanks!
(heads back over to the stupid newbie corner)
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Old 04-24-2008, 03:35 AM   #40
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
Might I inject a couple of really stupid questions? I ask them with complete respect, but also in complete ignorance. I have never trained in a Hombu affiliated dojo and so I'm completely clueless about how some things work within that organization....
They are not really stupid questions. Just that they need only be asked and answered on comparatively rare occasions. In themselves, the answers do not really add one iota to the quality of one's training.

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
Why is the ASU not on the list if Doshu signs their dan certificates? Is the AWA in the same category? Are there others with that status?
The five organizations that do have recognition are on the Aikikai website. I am not American and have no experience of the complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US.

There were two sizable Aikikai organizations in the US: the USAF and Saotome Sensei's organization (which I suspect did not need recognition and so never requested it). In any case, the Aikikai once had a rule that it would recognize only one organization in each country. The other organizations either came into existence later, or were recognized by the Aikikai later, after it changed this policy of one-organization-per-country.

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
If only shihans can grant dan ranks either within their organizations or at large, how do recognized organizations not headed by someone of shihan rank issue those rankings?
The Japanese shihans who originally left Japan to teach aikido abroad were genuine pioneers and so could grade anywhere. They still have this power (so Doshu signs the certificates). However, the Aikikai have gradually changed the rules and made organizations eligible for recognition if the person in charge had 4th dan. The organizations were supposed to rule by committee (and not by the whim of the individual shihan). The Aikikai also changed the rules to confine the scope of the shihan rank to the organization in which they trained.

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
Thanks!
(heads back over to the stupid newbie corner)
As I suggested above, I have been around ling enough to know the value and, especially, the limitations of aikido organizations.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 04-24-2008 at 03:45 AM.

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Old 04-24-2008, 05:33 AM   #41
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Ahhh!!! The 15-minute editing rule!!!

I meant 'long enough' in the last post.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:33 AM   #42
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Thank you for answering the questions sir. Like I said, I don't train in a Hombu affiliated dojo right now, so in fact that has zero impact on my training. However, if I happen to relocate to another area at some point that may not always be so. The Japanese culture seems to put significant stock in one's lineage and association, so I thought a passing understanding of how it all worked might be useful some day.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:44 AM   #43
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

i haven't read all the posts--so i'd say the lineage is probably easier to trace than the associations. maybe i am really wrong on that assumption--but the associations never made that much sense to me.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:51 AM   #44
Dan Rubin
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I am not American and have no experience of the complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US.
But I'll bet you hear some great rumors!
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:41 AM   #45
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
I am not American and have no experience of the complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US.
Hello Prof Goldsbury,

The complexity of Aikikai aikido in the US is understandable with the number of ‘super shihan' and organizations located there. On a conservative side, assuming the average number of Aikikai aikido practitioners in each state in the US is about 500, then 50 states will have an aggregate of 25,000. There are 5 bodies recognized by Aikikai Hombu and assuming everything is constant, then, there will be an average of 5,000 members in each organization and this is assuming that there are no independents.

This complexity is nothing compared to Malaysia. First of all, the aggregate of Aikikai trainees is less than a thousand at any time; yet, we have 3 bodies/groups recognized by Hombu and 2 other independent dojo. One of the independent dojo is under the technical supervision of Etsuji Horii shihan. In total, we have 3 authorities for grading of yudansha, viz:
  • Malaysia Aikido Association has Sugano ‘super shihan' 8th Dan of NY Aikikai
  • Aikiki Malaysia Association has its own technical and grading committee headed by a 5th dan and a member of IAF.
  • The Akademi Aikido Jyuku Aikikai Malysia group is under the resident shihan, Jun Yamada 7th dan. Jun Yamada sensei; he has been a resident of Malaysia for the past 35 years and the senior members of Aikikai Malaysia Association technical and gradings committee are mainly his former students.
Then more complication - a dojo cho under the Aikikai Malaysia body is a key member of its grading and technical committee that can grade its members up to 3rd dan but the grading of his own dojo members is conducted by Etsuji Horie shihan. Within that body, members are getting signals that he has two sets of standard for grading and upgrading of yudansha.

Finally, the last and truly independent dojo, headed by a senior member of the local Aikikai community, has also approached Etsuji Horie shihan to grade its members. Two scheduled grading sessions were cancelled at the last moment as it seemed Doshu did not give his approval to Horie shihan to conduct the gradings. Apparently, except for the Malaysia Aikido Association which is under a "super shihan", Hombu has directed that all recommendations for promotion and including grading outside the jurisdiction of AMA (i.e. 4th dan onwards) be referred to the resident shihan. Another exception is the dojo existingly affiliated with Etsuji Horie shihan. So the only resolve for this independent dojo to upgrade its yudansha members is either issue its own certificates (acquiring a McDojo status) or affiliate with one of the 3 recognized bodies.

Is the current development here consistent with your understanding of Hombu's rules?

Regards

David Y
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:57 AM   #46
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

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But I'll bet you hear some great rumors!


PAG

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Old 04-25-2008, 10:27 AM   #47
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
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Hello Prof Goldsbury,

Is the current development here consistent with your understanding of Hombu's rules?

Regards

David Y
Hello David,

I am aware of all the points you make in your post, but I still do not claim to understand the complexities of aikido organizations in Malaysia. So I think it would not be appropriate for me to say anything here. Beyond stating the fact that over the past few years I have spent a long time corresponding and talking with people closely connected with aikido in Malaysia, from Doshu downwards. One aim of this is to attempt to establish a common framework of understanding, which does not exist at present.

I think that any system of rules has to be clear (easily understandable) and transparent (easily seen to be applied fairly wherever the rules have application). I think that this is true for a dojo as much as for a large organization like the Aikikai and the IAF. However, I doubt whether this is the case with the Hombu's International Regulations and is a source of some concern for the IAF.

I visited Malaysia last year and the main aim was to get to know better the IAF-member organization, which has been through a few upheavals recently and needed some urgent support. I think the visit was quite successful.

Best wishes,

PAG

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:06 AM   #48
David Yap
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Thank you, Prof. Goldsbury, for the reply.

As a Malaysian who has been practising Aikikai aikido for the past 15 years, I cannot claim to understand complexities either. My observation about the word "budo" is that it is mainly for lip-service and not to be practised as far as leadership is concerned. I guess by examining the complexities historically, the more passionate students here would probably find the common elements or personalities. I have written to the presidents of AMA (past & present) suggesting that it be made more apolitical and open its memberships to all Aikikai yudansha so that IAF is accessible to all and effectively making AMA a federation. For some reasons, it still remains a very tight-lid group.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
...
I visited Malaysia last year and the main aim was to get to know better the IAF-member organization, which has been through a few upheavals recently and needed some urgent support. I think the visit was quite successful.
I was informed that your trip to Malaysia was cancelled at the last minutes due to illness and I was looking forward to attend your classes. Perhaps you will inform us here on Aikiweb about next trip to Malaysia.

Regards

David Y
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:11 AM   #49
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

The thing that strikes me hear about recognizing someone's rank from Tamura sensei, is that it is highly likely that if you have rank from Tamura sensei EVERYONE is going to recognize your ability. I had a shodan from Tamura sensei show up to my ASU dojo in CT. I was immediately impressed by his ability. I would have ranked him nidan by my standards. He watched my class. He took the next one. We took each other's ukemi. We evaluated each other favorably and had a wonderful time working together. He moved back to Europe before I could get him promoted, but I'm certain I could have made it happen.

So if Saotome sensei passes away, will Ikeda sensei still be able to promote with aikikai signed rants (in effect giving him some super shihan privileges)? Or would he have to officially become aikikai? What would become of aikikai Summer camps? No we step THEN turn! NO we turn THEN step! It'd be a blood bath.
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:45 PM   #50
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Making sense of aikido lineage/associations

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
The thing that strikes me hear about recognizing someone's rank from Tamura sensei, is that it is highly likely that if you have rank from Tamura sensei EVERYONE is going to recognize your ability. I had a shodan from Tamura sensei show up to my ASU dojo in CT. I was immediately impressed by his ability. I would have ranked him nidan by my standards. He watched my class. He took the next one. We took each other's ukemi. We evaluated each other favorably and had a wonderful time working together. He moved back to Europe before I could get him promoted, but I'm certain I could have made it happen.

So if Saotome sensei passes away, will Ikeda sensei still be able to promote with aikikai signed rants (in effect giving him some super shihan privileges)? Or would he have to officially become aikikai? What would become of aikikai Summer camps? No we step THEN turn! NO we turn THEN step! It'd be a blood bath.
Hello Rod,

Question. Why would the shodan from Tamura Sensei have needed your support to obtain his second dan? He would normally have asked Tamura Sensei to have graded him for nidan--that is, unless he had already abandoned Tamura Sensei as his instructor.

One of the problems about threads such as this is that people come and ask questions here, when they should really sending these questions to the Aikikai directly, addressed to Moriteru Ueshiba, Aikido Doshu. I think that if Doshu received enough letters from ordinary aikido people, asking him questions like those you are asking, he might realise that he needs to give answers.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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