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Old 10-26-2010, 03:36 PM   #1
Ryan Seznee
Dojo: Does it matter?
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 102
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Different Standards in Different Federations

I had wanted to talk about this, but it was a little off topic in the thread that it was in. In the interest of perserving a topic, here is the issue that came up.

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote: View Post
I think that there are a lot of sub reasons - yes, I agree- but what's the real reason? To me, it's jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is the range of your authority. Standards are an expression of your authority. Once you have jurisdiction, then you express your authority in all sorts of ways. You make the internal rules once it is determined that you're the boss over a certain territory. Organizationally, then you protect your organizational "life" by guarding the perimeters of your territory. There is seeping incursions into your territory but you identify those and either "regularize" them into your group or you segregate them.

Organizations sell themselves by advertising higher standards, a better truer style, masters that were closer to the founder or understood his Aikido better, etc. Haven't you ever noticed how many "last" uchi deshi's there are or how the organizations say that their shihan was a favorite of the Founder. These are advertising methods that are intended to convince the followers that they are in the best group and that their group is superior. This is an ego enhancing method. Organizations must distinguish themselves from the others somehow. They drive toward distinctions. Distinctions keep them apart. They want to be apart because if they are all together, then jurisdiction disappears. Distinctions like "better standards" are an advertisement used to convince the followers to stay within the jurisdiction.

Best wishes,
Jorge
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:47 PM   #2
Ryan Seznee
Dojo: Does it matter?
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 102
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Re: Differant Standards in Differant Federations

My response to this is different federations, clubs, and organizations have different standards not because they are trying to be the "truest Aikido" or the strongest style, but because each Shihan who started their federation had a different take and different goal in their organization. For instance, some federations put jo and bokken kata in kyu testing and some only test empty handed techniques. This difference is not putting down the presence of weapons or empty handed training within the other organization, but they seek to make their students specialize in what they think is important to the art as it was presented to them from O'sensei.

That having been said, some organizations promote faster than others too. This is specifically what I refering to when I had made my earlier comments about some federations have higher standards for their students than others.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:03 AM   #3
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
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Re: Differant Standards in Differant Federations

Quote:
Ryan Szesny wrote: View Post
My response to this is different federations, clubs, and organizations have different standards not because they are trying to be the "truest Aikido" or the strongest style, but because each Shihan who started their federation had a different take and different goal in their organization. For instance, some federations put jo and bokken kata in kyu testing and some only test empty handed techniques. This difference is not putting down the presence of weapons or empty handed training within the other organization, but they seek to make their students specialize in what they think is important to the art as it was presented to them from O'sensei.

That having been said, some organizations promote faster than others too. This is specifically what I refering to when I had made my earlier comments about some federations have higher standards for their students than others.
When I originally answered , I was making reference to this sentence.

"I was wondering what the role of any National Aikido Federation should play. Should they aim to unite all Ryus of Aikido together??

In my country, the Aikido Federation does not seem to do that. It seems like an exclusive club by itself, recognizing only those dojos that it set up. It has its on Chief Instructor, Instructors & Assistant Instructors. It operates like an exclusive club. It does not take care of any other Aikido Ryus which is not their own."

My answer to that question was jurisdiction. My answer is still the same for what you have just said but it's now different in the aspect that you introduced. To me, you are now describing a smaller group breaking away from the larger group for more freedom. The larger group may have rules that inhibit personal choices and creativity so they break away. If a Shihan wants a certain "take" on his Aikido, and the larger group prohibits that - then he has the motivation to break away and form a new group so he can have the freedom to fulfill his goals and to explore his own Aikido to it's greatest potential. Yes, this is true but think about this - after he has done that, what does he need to operate? It's money or better put finances. Initially in fact, this is the one thing he doesn't have and that he needs the most so the initial drive will be to raise funds for the new organization so that it can stabilize. After things are stabilized, he will need even more funds so that he can accomplish his larger goals and expand his organization. This smaller organization is now headed up the road of the larger one that he came from. Soon , he will need to clearly establish his own jurisdiction and defend it's borders and then process begins again. All organizations strive for standardization and the life of organizations are the finances without which they cannot exist.

Things though do not not universally have to be that way. The ways to go around this merry go round are several. An organization can stay small and work with a small budget. They can also decentralize and separate the finances into regions to keep ambition and ego under control. They can try to use general standards instead of universal ones. They can decentralize authority by disconnecting the power people from the rule making committees within the organization (a highly unusual move).

While it is true that most Aikido groups are non profits, that is a complicated issue because that refers to the profit motive vs business model but it doesn't change the underlying needs of every organization. It just occurs on a smaller and more controlled scale.

Going back to this post you made though, please understand that when I mentioned having better shihan's and the "truest Aikido", I am referencing weaknesses and ego based arguments that people succumb to over time. I don't want to denigrate all organizations nor the many good people that lead Aikido groups worldwide. There are good, mature people that inspire others and lead them ethically and are in fact egoless (in as much as anyone can be that) and humble. It is usually the followers that attach themselves to people and groups that make them feel better about themselves. I guess I am referencing the trail that an organization can go down if they don't intentionally try to avoid it.

I do know this , that anywhere there are people, there will be ego, ambition and pride and we as humans need to resist the road that leads to authoritarianism. We need to emphasize gifting, freedom and creativity and encourage that organizationally so that our energies are funneled in positive and productive ways.

Best wishes,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:49 PM   #4
Ryan Seznee
Dojo: Does it matter?
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 102
United_States
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Re: Differant Standards in Differant Federations

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote: View Post
When I originally answered , I was making reference to this sentence.

"I was wondering what the role of any National Aikido Federation should play. Should they aim to unite all Ryus of Aikido together??

In my country, the Aikido Federation does not seem to do that. It seems like an exclusive club by itself, recognizing only those dojos that it set up. It has its on Chief Instructor, Instructors & Assistant Instructors. It operates like an exclusive club. It does not take care of any other Aikido Ryus which is not their own."

My answer to that question was jurisdiction. My answer is still the same for what you have just said but it's now different in the aspect that you introduced. To me, you are now describing a smaller group breaking away from the larger group for more freedom. The larger group may have rules that inhibit personal choices and creativity so they break away. If a Shihan wants a certain "take" on his Aikido, and the larger group prohibits that - then he has the motivation to break away and form a new group so he can have the freedom to fulfill his goals and to explore his own Aikido to it's greatest potential. Yes, this is true but think about this - after he has done that, what does he need to operate? It's money or better put finances. Initially in fact, this is the one thing he doesn't have and that he needs the most so the initial drive will be to raise funds for the new organization so that it can stabilize. After things are stabilized, he will need even more funds so that he can accomplish his larger goals and expand his organization. This smaller organization is now headed up the road of the larger one that he came from. Soon , he will need to clearly establish his own jurisdiction and defend it's borders and then process begins again. All organizations strive for standardization and the life of organizations are the finances without which they cannot exist.

Things though do not not universally have to be that way. The ways to go around this merry go round are several. An organization can stay small and work with a small budget. They can also decentralize and separate the finances into regions to keep ambition and ego under control. They can try to use general standards instead of universal ones. They can decentralize authority by disconnecting the power people from the rule making committees within the organization (a highly unusual move).

While it is true that most Aikido groups are non profits, that is a complicated issue because that refers to the profit motive vs business model but it doesn't change the underlying needs of every organization. It just occurs on a smaller and more controlled scale.

Going back to this post you made though, please understand that when I mentioned having better shihan's and the "truest Aikido", I am referencing weaknesses and ego based arguments that people succumb to over time. I don't want to denigrate all organizations nor the many good people that lead Aikido groups worldwide. There are good, mature people that inspire others and lead them ethically and are in fact egoless (in as much as anyone can be that) and humble. It is usually the followers that attach themselves to people and groups that make them feel better about themselves. I guess I am referencing the trail that an organization can go down if they don't intentionally try to avoid it.

I do know this , that anywhere there are people, there will be ego, ambition and pride and we as humans need to resist the road that leads to authoritarianism. We need to emphasize gifting, freedom and creativity and encourage that organizationally so that our energies are funneled in positive and productive ways.

Best wishes,
Jorge
The biggest problem that I have with what you are saying is that you keep referring to an Aikido federation or group of schools in terms of big business or a government. You have a laundry list of what is wrong with federations, but these complaints seem uncharacteristic of my experiences. Who are the these people and where do they live? I don't know of anyone who has complained that their federation has stood in the way of their creativity or goals (at least that I didn't suspect had alternator motivation for doing what they were doing). Joining a federation doesn't mean you will have a shihan drop by and criticism your school's teaching and demand you do it this way and only this way, in my experience at least. Most demand payment, but offer things in return (access to good instructors, an organization that will advertise your dojo, aid in keeping your dojo running, and a community of aikidoka that are there to help you).

Frankly, there aren't many rules to staying in most federations, they just demand you be technically component in the style of aikido that they are trying to promote and you pay their fees (which is used to keep the organization running so that they can do for someone else what they did for you). I don't know where you are getting this stuff about stunting their creativity, this has not been my experience and I have been to half a dozen different federation dojos. Sure, everyone has a fairly distinct look, but there is a lot of variation within that to express individuality. Care to name names?

As for having "truer" aikido and better shihans, I have never heard this from someone who didn't appoint themselves shihan or combine aikido with some kind of other boxing or grappling art to "complete" it. If you have other experiences, please enlighten me.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:05 PM   #5
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Offline
Re: Differant Standards in Differant Federations

Quote:
Ryan Szesny wrote: View Post
The biggest problem that I have with what you are saying is that you keep referring to an Aikido federation or group of schools in terms of big business or a government. You have a laundry list of what is wrong with federations, but these complaints seem uncharacteristic of my experiences. Who are the these people and where do they live? I don't know of anyone who has complained that their federation has stood in the way of their creativity or goals (at least that I didn't suspect had alternator motivation for doing what they were doing). Joining a federation doesn't mean you will have a shihan drop by and criticism your school's teaching and demand you do it this way and only this way, in my experience at least. Most demand payment, but offer things in return (access to good instructors, an organization that will advertise your dojo, aid in keeping your dojo running, and a community of aikidoka that are there to help you).

Frankly, there aren't many rules to staying in most federations, they just demand you be technically component in the style of aikido that they are trying to promote and you pay their fees (which is used to keep the organization running so that they can do for someone else what they did for you). I don't know where you are getting this stuff about stunting their creativity, this has not been my experience and I have been to half a dozen different federation dojos. Sure, everyone has a fairly distinct look, but there is a lot of variation within that to express individuality. Care to name names?

As for having "truer" aikido and better shihans, I have never heard this from someone who didn't appoint themselves shihan or combine aikido with some kind of other boxing or grappling art to "complete" it. If you have other experiences, please enlighten me.
I think that in the sense of your experience, you're correct. I've had a great experience in the larger organizations. There are aspects though in which very large groups can have their issues. I think though that on the bridge of experience, we may have too much distance between us to easily relate to things so I am willing to concede the point to you.
Best wishes,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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