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Old 06-03-2012, 04:54 PM   #1
RuteMendes
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Why people don't like Aikikai?

Heyy!
so... I'm just a begginer, I've been doing Aikido for the past 9 months, and I've been noticing on online websites and foruns a certain reluctance to Aikikai.
I actually don't really know what Aikikai is... is it a style? A school?

Why don't people like it?
Excuse my ignorance, I just want to understand this.

Peace,

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Old 06-03-2012, 08:30 PM   #2
Chris Li
 
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Rute Mendes wrote: View Post
Heyy!
so... I'm just a begginer, I've been doing Aikido for the past 9 months, and I've been noticing on online websites and foruns a certain reluctance to Aikikai.
I actually don't really know what Aikikai is... is it a style? A school?

Why don't people like it?
Excuse my ignorance, I just want to understand this.

Peace,

The Aikikai is a large umbrella organization that includes many different Aikido schools and organizations. It is headed by the Ueshiba family, currently Moriteru - O-Sensei's grandson.

We don't really hate the Aikikai - at least, I don't

However, the largest organizations have the most chances to rub people the wrong way, and the Aikikai has often been far from perfect.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-04-2012, 03:19 AM   #3
JJF
 
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Hi Rute

As Christ states the Aikikai is an organisation. It is probably the largest aikido organisation that covers many many different dojos in Japan as well as in the rest of the world. As far as I know they also handle hombu dojo - which is the 'main dojo' in Tokyo Japan.

Apart from running that dojo they also handle the international registration of all yudansha (black belt) grades.

Other organizations have been created over the years so that aikido can be found with little or no connection to the Aikikai. The reasons for this are numerous. Some want to emphazise differently in technique, some don't like the favourism that is bound to happen in an organization - especially one that is international...some just don't like organisations too much, and some think they are not given gradings as fast as they think they should. These are just some of the reasons.

All in all the Aikikai is the center of the cobb web that binds us all together. They supply a framework for organizing aikido, and they can lend credibility to any national organisation that meets the requirements. Sometime they even support us if we are starting something new or are in a difficult transition from one sensei to another (usually when the oldest one die or retire).

It is not perfect, but I like it since it provides a pillar on which to build our aikido. When Saito Sensei and NIshio sensei died in the early 2000's the two major Danish organisations that used to be connected to Japan through these two shihans had to find a way to work together and unify the contact to the Aikikai. Developing a new national organisation where we combine our forces and have one contact interface to the Aikikai has proven a good opportunity for learning new things and joining forces. This weekend we had a workshop where we all trained together at 20 different workshops on five different mat areas throughout a great saturday. Oh... and lot's of beer and good food afterwards

In my opinion Aikikai is like democracy. It may not be perfect but it is the best we have right now, and if one participate it is possible to help shape the organization and make it even better.

It is true that the value of the Aikikai has been debated a bit here lately. Don't pay too much attention to this. Right now you should just focus on having a great time learning a great budo.

Have fun

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

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Old 06-04-2012, 03:30 AM   #4
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

It's simply easier to hit a big target.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:37 AM   #5
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

I personally have a lot of respect and appreciation for the Aikikai and honor my direct lineage/affiliation.

IMHO, some don't like them simply because the Aikikai doesn't do what they think they should.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:14 AM   #6
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
Hi Rute

As Christ states the Aikikai is an organization.
Though aikikai would have us believe they are ordained directly by God, I have searched my Bible and I went online for various translations and I find the aikikai nowhere among Jesus' topics of discussion!

I think it's the spell checker on here. At first I liked it, but then I realized that it was converting "aiki" to "wiki" without my realizing it. Then I saw that "kiai" changes to "kiwi". You really have to be careful! I wrote "reigi" and it "changed it to "reign". I knew I didn't type it that way, but if you're a fast typist the word changes after you've breezed on past it. [/rant]

More fun than the law allows...

David

Last edited by David Orange : 06-04-2012 at 07:18 AM.

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Old 06-04-2012, 09:19 AM   #7
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Rute, this article might shed some light on various phases of learning.
http://www.aikidofaq.com/essays/tin/shuhari.html

There are some who are in a phase that learn from and protect the school (Shu). There are some who may then have a dislike and detach. (Ha). And there are some for whom the organization and techniques become irrelevant (Ri).

Keep in mind that all these phases contain all the other phases within them. This video gives a good illustration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEw8xpb1aRA

Last edited by Dan Richards : 06-04-2012 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:22 AM   #8
Chris Li
 
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Though aikikai would have us believe they are ordained directly by God, I have searched my Bible and I went online for various translations and I find the aikikai nowhere among Jesus' topics of discussion!
That's the other thing of course, the Ueshiba family clearly believes that Aikido is a family art - and that tends to annoy those who have branched out into other organizations.

Personally, I think that it's grown way too large to be controlled/managed in the way that a family art is usually handled, but I'm sure that many people disagree

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-05-2012, 05:10 AM   #9
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Though aikikai would have us believe they are ordained directly by God, I have searched my Bible and I went online for various translations and I find the aikikai nowhere among Jesus' topics of discussion!

I think it's the spell checker on here. At first I liked it, but then I realized that it was converting "aiki" to "wiki" without my realizing it. Then I saw that "kiai" changes to "kiwi". You really have to be careful! I wrote "reigi" and it "changed it to "reign". I knew I didn't type it that way, but if you're a fast typist the word changes after you've breezed on past it. [/rant]

More fun than the law allows...

David
Wow... the spell check made my post so much more entertaining.... alas my intention was to write 'Chris'... not to drag religion into this.

Guess I should slow down my typing a bit and pay more attention to the details. Come to think of it, the same thing applies to my Aikido

Now I'll be off to the dojo for my next lesson. I believe it is 'walk on water' or 'feed the hungry' today...

JJ

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Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:16 AM   #10
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
That's the other thing of course, the Ueshiba family clearly believes that Aikido is a family art - and that tends to annoy those who have branched out into other organizations.

Personally, I think that it's grown way too large to be controlled/managed in the way that a family art is usually handled, but I'm sure that many people disagree

Best,

Chris
Hi Chris,
Chris,, the Ueshiba family I would say might well see Aikido as a business first , art later.Certainly any offspring [male ] has a instant promotion to the top spot.A bit like Prince Charles and Wills here in Blighty.Why could I have not been born to such high faluting parents??Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:34 AM   #11
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Rute Mendes wrote: View Post
I just want to understand this
Don't bother with politics, dear friend.
The path!
The path of Aikido you should try to understand, and let the others deal with "systems" and "politics".

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Old 06-11-2012, 08:25 AM   #12
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
......Certainly any offspring [male ] has a instant promotion to the top spot.A bit like Prince Charles and Wills here in Blighty.Why could I have not been born to such high faluting parents??Cheers, Joe.
If by which you mean it's an hereditary lineage, that is the Japanese way. I think you will find though that waka sensei (Ueshiba Mitsuteru) has put a fair bit of time into aikido training and is fairly proficient at it, as is his father, and was his grandfather and great grandfather......

In answer to the original poster, I think some dislike for the Aikikai is probably a result of things that have gone on in the past, mostly politics, and maybe very valid to those concerned, but I think a lot of it also comes from misconception, lack of knowing the full story and "Chinese whispers" over the years.

I'm sure that the Aikikai don't lay claim to being a perfect organisation, equally I'm sure that the Japanese way of doing things doesn't always go down well with some of us westerners. Ultimately, we have a choice to live with it or do something else, and many have chosen to do so over the years.

For my own perspective, I actually quite like it and am happy to have a direct link to the Aikikai.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:47 AM   #13
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote: View Post
If by which you mean it's an hereditary lineage, that is the Japanese way. I think you will find though that waka sensei (Ueshiba Mitsuteru) has put a fair bit of time into aikido training and is fairly proficient at it, as is his father, and was his grandfather and great grandfather......

In answer to the original poster, I think some dislike for the Aikikai is probably a result of things that have gone on in the past, mostly politics, and maybe very valid to those concerned, but I think a lot of it also comes from misconception, lack of knowing the full story and "Chinese whispers" over the years.

I'm sure that the Aikikai don't lay claim to being a perfect organisation, equally I'm sure that the Japanese way of doing things doesn't always go down well with some of us westerners. Ultimately, we have a choice to live with it or do something else, and many have chosen to do so over the years.

For my own perspective, I actually quite like it and am happy to have a direct link to the Aikikai.
Dear Bryan,
I think that if one studies any Japanese martial art the study must be a two way process.By that
I mean each party learns from the other much like the relationship between Tori /Uke.Can we really say that the Aikikai is adapting to the needs and aspirations of Western aikidoka or is the Aikikai a modern day feudal system, with a Shogun at the helm?Ever big institution has C.E.O but at least the shareholders get the opportunity to make their views known to the directors and the C.E.O .If the shareholders are not happy they sell the shares or do not support the objectives of the company and sometimes this lack of support causes the company share price to drop or the firm closes down.Over the last few years I have seen movement of groups drifting away from the Aikikai connection.The question is why?I would say categorically that for the vast amount of aikidoka there is little if any feeling of a real meaningful relationship with the Aikikai.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:36 AM   #14
Alex Megann
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Bryan,
I think that if one studies any Japanese martial art the study must be a two way process.By that
I mean each party learns from the other much like the relationship between Tori /Uke.
Hi Joe,

As you and I both know, that kind of relationship is a rare thing in the real world...

Alex
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:59 AM   #15
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
... must be a two way process.
Why?
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:05 AM   #16
JJF
 
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

So... Joe... should they 'keep it real' or should they conform to the wishes of the 'customers'?

It's a bit like parenting. I try to change and become better at being a dad as long as my children grow up and express different needs and wants, but I also have to stick to my core principles. I can't change my decisions based on what my kids want since they change opinions every other day, and since what they want might not take the big picture into account.

As I see it Aikikai is not a business but an organisation - which in my book is closer to a family. It will develop and change, but not always in a way that every member approves on, and often in a more moderate pace than some might want since the incentive for change must come from within.

Therefore we are not shareholders - we are members. If you don't like the club - you are free to leave it, or you can choose to go into a fruitful cooperation and try to influence it from within. The latter takes time and effort but as I see it that is an approach much closer to the uke/nage relationship that you mention.

JJ

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Old 06-12-2012, 05:10 PM   #17
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Why?
Dear Carsten,
Do you think the Japanese have the monopoly on Aikido?In the 60s /70s Japanese Judoka were the kings, now the European/Korean guys are just as good.No one person has all the answers.There are many talented Aikidoka who are not Japanese.Tissier for example probably has more students than Hombu.In France the French out number the Japanese in aikido students..I would have thought most people would prefer a relationship where both the Japanese/others would interact and discuss issues with each other rather than one group be subordinate to the other.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:28 PM   #18
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
So... Joe... should they 'keep it real' or should they conform to the wishes of the 'customers'?

It's a bit like parenting. I try to change and become better at being a dad as long as my children grow up and express different needs and wants, but I also have to stick to my core principles. I can't change my decisions based on what my kids want since they change opinions every other day, and since what they want might not take the big picture into account.

As I see it Aikikai is not a business but an organisation - which in my book is closer to a family. It will develop and change, but not always in a way that every member approves on, and often in a more moderate pace than some might want since the incentive for change must come from within.

Therefore we are not shareholders - we are members. If you don't like the club - you are free to leave it, or you can choose to go into a fruitful cooperation and try to influence it from within. The latter takes time and effort but as I see it that is an approach much closer to the uke/nage relationship that you mention.

JJ
Dear Jergen,
As a parent your needs, your viewpoints and how you perceive things are your own.These views may not be the same as your childrens views etc.If an organisation fails to change or adapt where necessary , it may well become redundant in time.Fruitful cooperation between groups are always welcome.Nevertheless there can be occasion where for one reason or another a fruitful , c ooperation between parties is not always the case,Tohei Sensei /Aikikai for example is the classic case in point. Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:47 PM   #19
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
J�rgen Jakob Friis wrote: View Post
So... Joe... should they 'keep it real' or should they conform to the wishes of the 'customers'?

It's a bit like parenting. I try to change and become better at being a dad as long as my children grow up and express different needs and wants, but I also have to stick to my core principles. I can't change my decisions based on what my kids want since they change opinions every other day, and since what they want might not take the big picture into account.

As I see it Aikikai is not a business but an organisation - which in my book is closer to a family. It will develop and change, but not always in a way that every member approves on, and often in a more moderate pace than some might want since the incentive for change must come from within.

Therefore we are not shareholders - we are members. If you don't like the club - you are free to leave it, or you can choose to go into a fruitful cooperation and try to influence it from within. The latter takes time and effort but as I see it that is an approach much closer to the uke/nage relationship that you mention.

JJ
Well, I'm not a child and Doshu ain't my Dad .

I've said it before, but the family art model doesn't really work, IMO, with a large international organization composed of people who have never met each other. I know a lot of 6th dans who have never been to Japan, never met the Ueshibas, and whose name Doshu wouldn't even remember. Where's the family?

Of course, everybody's free to leave, and that's a big problem - for the Aikikai.

The people who walk out don't really lose much, because they weren't really getting much in the first place. If the Aikikai, on the other hand, wants to keep things together, then they have to create a model that gives people some reason to stay and send them money.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-13-2012, 01:59 AM   #20
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
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Well, I'm not a child and Doshu ain't my Dad .

I've said it before, but the family art model doesn't really work, IMO, with a large international organization composed of people who have never met each other. I know a lot of 6th dans who have never been to Japan, never met the Ueshibas, and whose name Doshu wouldn't even remember. Where's the family?

Of course, everybody's free to leave, and that's a big problem - for the Aikikai.

The people who walk out don't really lose much, because they weren't really getting much in the first place. If the Aikikai, on the other hand, wants to keep things together, then they have to create a model that gives people some reason to stay and send them money.

Best,

Chris
Dear Chris,
Over a forty year plus career in Aikido my personal contact with the Aikikai/Doshu could be put on the head of a pin.My Aikido has been formed by a few individual teachers over the years.Other parties namely every student I meet or have met have assisted me and I am indebted to each person for this assistance.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:38 AM   #21
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Do you think the Japanese have the monopoly on Aikido?
I think the term "monopoly" does not fit to this situation.
As far as I understand, the aikikai plain and simpel is the school of the Ueshiba family. (So: not the aikikai itself is a family. Even if it feels like for many people.) It is clearly organized in the form of an iemoto structure. And the hombu in tokyo is - the hombu.

This to me does not seem as a matter of quality. (There are koryû where soke doesn't even practice and the hombu is not used for training.)
It does not compare to a sales-oriented company. Even if it seems so, this not the core of it.
It is not a family. It is lead by a certain family.

Quote:
Tissier for example ....
Seems you have never discussed this issue with him?
(If so you would be aware, that he is a very bad example for you critics.)

I don't see any obligation nor any motivation for the aikikai to take up a democratic structure or to discuss things.
And I don't see any necessity to be connected with the aikikai if democratic structures or discussions are important. You can practice, you can attend seminars of every teacher you want. There simply is no need to belong to an organization that does not fit to one's own interests?
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #22
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Stelios Papadakis wrote: View Post
Don't bother with politics, dear friend.
The path!
The path of Aikido you should try to understand, and let the others deal with "systems" and "politics".

Yeah, more idiots (in its etymological sense) is what aikido needs.

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:59 AM   #23
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I think the term "monopoly" does not fit to this situation.
As far as I understand, the aikikai plain and simpel is the school of the Ueshiba family. (So: not the aikikai itself is a family. Even if it feels like for many people.) It is clearly organized in the form of an iemoto structure. And the hombu in tokyo is - the hombu.

This to me does not seem as a matter of quality. (There are koryû where soke doesn't even practice and the hombu is not used for training.)
It does not compare to a sales-oriented company. Even if it seems so, this not the core of it.
It is not a family. It is lead by a certain family.

Seems you have never discussed this issue with him?
(If so you would be aware, that he is a very bad example for you critics.)

I don't see any obligation nor any motivation for the aikikai to take up a democratic structure or to discuss things.
And I don't see any necessity to be connected with the aikikai if democratic structures or discussions are important. You can practice, you can attend seminars of every teacher you want. There simply is no need to belong to an organization that does not fit to one's own interests?
Dear Carsten,
I do not know Tissier Senseis viewpoint of the Aikikai.I simply pointed out he has a large group of students affiliated to his organisation. No more no less. As far as being a critic I simply express my own viewpoint. You view the situation one way I an other. I do not call you a critic , I simply see you as having a different view from me.Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:37 AM   #24
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
I do not know Tissier Senseis viewpoint of the Aikikai.I simply pointed out he has a large group of students affiliated to his organisation.
Well, "his" organization is kind of "pure aikikai". Don't know, how to express this right:
Christian Tissier does no't have any administrative function in the FFAAA. He is only one of 39 members of the "Collège Technique".

Actually his "function" is his strong connection to the aikikai/hombu. As shihan he is the link - or maybe one strong link beside others. And his loyalty to hombu/aikikai is kind of paradigmatic. And he is like a door opener for Europeans at hombu. Or at least used to be for a lot of teacher I know who got their letter of recommendation from him. And, kind of other way round, as far as I know he was the one who invited Endo seishiro for the first time in Europe?

So Christian unites two positions in himself:
He has no problem to state that there is very good aikidô outside of Japan. Not pointing to himself this way, but talking of so many, many high level teachers and commited students all over the world.
On the other hand his loyalty to doshu/aikikai/hombu is - like I said above - kind of paradigmatic: He himself is one of the important representatives of this school in Europe. And he allways makes unequivocally clear that his deep loyalty is with the aikikai.

So, I think, you chose a "wrong" example, for it points just in the opposite direction, you wanted to show us.

Quote:
... As far as being a critic ...
I apologize: I don't mean "critic" to be something negative!!! In my (german) vokabulary it is a very "honourable" word!
But Christian is sometimes used as example in this way or is asked for exampel what he feels about the aikikai not giving out hachidan to non Japanese. And he does not like that and feels misunderstood. Because he kind of "is" aikikai.

------------

I think the only thing you get from being member of aikikai is being member of aikikai. No more, no less. Just this.
And everyone can decide whether this is meaningfull or not. It doesn't affect or change practice in any way.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:57 AM   #25
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Re: Why people don't like Aikikai?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Jergen,
If an organisation fails to change or adapt where necessary , it may well become redundant in time.Fruitful cooperation between groups are always welcome.Nevertheless there can be occasion where for one reason or another a fruitful cooperation between parties is not always the case,Tohei Sensei /Aikikai for example is the classic case in point. Cheers, Joe.
Hi Joe
You are right that sometimes a breakup is unavoidable. My point is - and it might just be semantics here - that it is not fair to say the it is due to 'organisation failure' issue. I think the Aikikai should further develop their structure with respect to what they perceive good Aikido is. If this is not aligned with everyone in the organization - and it most likely will not be so - then it's NOT the organization that is failing. Neither are. Sometimes a split is unavoidable, but chalking it up to being somebodys fault is not the right way as I see it.

I have a small dojo, and I teach Aikido the way I think it should be. If some of my students decides it is not what they want then I will be happy to help them find what is right for them - be that boxing, Yoshinkan Aikido, fencing or what ever. I don't change my teachings to suit the requests of my students. Of course I listen to them, and I get influenced, and I use their comments to reconsider what I'm doing, but in the end I need to decide what I believe is right, and teach that.

The Aikikai needs to do the same. Stick to what they think is core and listen to those voices that speak up in a respectful manner and work the system.

Cheers..
JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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