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Old 10-04-2002, 09:35 AM   #1
L. Camejo
 
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
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Exclamation Not so hypothetical situation...

So, you've been running the only Aikido club in your country for the past 3 years after taking over from your sensei who has migrated to another country. He had taught for 8 years in your country before that, having been taught at the hombu dojo of your style in Japan before that.

Suddenly you hear of a new Aikido dojo that has sprung up, but the instructor is well known in the country for his exploits (and marketing skill) in his own style of jujitsu and karate, which he has made into an international franchis. Having had some past worldwide achievements in karate demonstration, this person is generally regarded as the official voice on anything MA in this uninformed country and is seen as a local master/demi-god by his students and the uninformed alike.

Realising that it may be good to have links with another Aikido dojo in the country, you visit to see what is being taught. You are shocked to see that what is being taught is the same old system of jujitsu/karate re-packaged and called Aikido and fed to a bunch of unknowing students who have no idea of what Aikido is. You even find yourself stifling a laugh when this "master" does not even know the name of Aikido's founder or the techniques.

Suspecting that you know some Aikido the guy proclaims that he has the ONLY Aikido school in the country, that all the rest are fakes and that he has been in this "business" for over 40 years and is the only one who teaches "real" Aikido. Of course, his well-brainwashed students swallow this whole without ever thinking to question their great master's misguidance.

Maintaining centre, you do not reply, but wonder what effect this very influential person may have on your country's image of what Aikido is, and also, how it will affect the reputation of your country on the global Aikido world, which has so far been a very good one, created mainly by your instuctor, yourself and one other.

Any thoughts anyone?
L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 10-04-2002, 09:49 AM   #2
gasman
 
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sounds like something for the lawyers.

is he allowed to call it aikido if he holds no rank in the art? dont you have to be approved by some aikido federation?

(alternatively, go to the press)
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Old 10-04-2002, 10:03 AM   #3
eugene_lo
Dojo: Tidewater Aikikai
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This sounds like a very unfortunate situation. IMHO, I think that there is not much to be done. I suppose that you may want to introduce yourself to the instructor, and suggest to him that you would be happy for him to come teach a "seminar" at your dojo. Also, just let him know that his students are welcome to visit your dojo to train at anytime. Now, this could be inviting disaster ("my style is better than your style, you can't do this technique on me, etc,etc...) but see how he reacts. If he is open and friendly, then ok. If not, you know that a more passive approach is necessary.

Regardless of his attitude towards aikido or your dojo, I think that time is the major factor here. Time for his uninformed students to become informed about aikido, and hopefully, not just using that instructor as the single source for info. If/When they visit your dojo, then perhaps this will be the first step in their "education." In this case, the Internet should prove to be an important goldmine of legitimate sources of aikido info, especially condsidering your location.

I hope that this perhaps adds even a little insight into your predicament.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:16 AM   #4
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
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Well, this is just my nasty side taking over; but you could try the nasty, devious approach - the 'tenkan from Hell', if you would. (Downside - it'd be expensive, I think...)

Anyway, maybe you could invite the chief instructor of your style to the islands for a seminar; like we do with Kashewaya Sensei. I don't know how big Trinidad and Tobago is (although I want to; I may be coming down for vacation; I've heard so many good things about it), but if you put the right 'spin' on it, you could get the local media interested. (It's surprisingly easy to get the media interested in things like this.)

Then using the media, invite your opposition to the seminar, saying something along the lines of "Due to your high level of skill and accomplishment, (Whoever) Sensei (8th, 9th or whichever level Dan) would be greatly interested in a discussion of the differences in our respective styles; perhaps you would be willing to provide a demonstration as well."

That would put him in the position of either putting his money where his mouth is and attempting an Aikido demonstration for your chief instructor, or telling the media and/or his students why he's turning down such an offer.

Heh heh heh.

Dave

Last edited by DaveO : 10-04-2002 at 11:19 AM.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:42 AM   #5
Erik
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Hi Larry,

All I can say is that this sucks and I feel sympathy. I know of a similar situation here in California and have no idea what you do about it other than keep doing what you are doing. The toughest part is knowing that good people are going down a path that isn't what they think it is. The second toughest part is knowing that at least here there is really nothing I can do about it.

The only good news is that some people do eventually catch on and leave.

Good luck and I feel your pain.
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:29 PM   #6
JPT
Dojo: trad
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Let him get on with it, just go back to doing your own thing.

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Old 10-04-2002, 04:41 PM   #7
shihonage
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Just follow this easy 4-step process.

1) Call Mr. Miyagi for advice.

2) Ignore his advice and go beat up the school's instructor.

3) Apologize to Mr. Miyagi.

4) Take all the school's students.
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:45 PM   #8
tedehara
 
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Re: Not so hypothetical situation...

Quote:
François Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694--1778), French philosopher, author. Candide and Pangloss, in Candide, ch. 30, conclusion (1759) wrote:
We must cultivate our own garden...

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
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Old 10-05-2002, 07:41 AM   #9
L. Camejo
 
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Hi all,

Thank you for your greaat replies. I am getting a lot of insight from them.

As far as the media is concerned, that is a possibility that may prove itself without my doing.

Our dojo is carded to do a few demos during a week long open house by the Japanese Embassy later this month. My sensei, a sandan, is supposed to be here to help demonstrate. Since this event will be covered by the media, it is highly possible that his claim to being the ONLY club in the country will be uncovered then. After that, we will see what happens.

The only issue here is that this guy's word on MA is generally taken as doctrine by many people, including the government, and that kind of influence can have some interesting effects on Aikido in our country. He has already affected the karate and jujitsu schools with this ability to be heard.

In the meantime, I am maintaining our level of practice and keeping things going as well as possible.

On a related note, does anyone know of an Aikido association that gives out certificates with O-Sensei's photo on the cetificate?

Just wondering.

Please do keep the replies and insights coming.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 10-05-2002, 07:45 AM   #10
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Dave Organ (DaveO) wrote:
I don't know how big Trinidad and Tobago is (although I want to; I may be coming down for vacation; I've heard so many good things about it)
Hi Dave,

If you're ever in the area, drop me an e-mail and we can train and get in some biru waza afterwards.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 10-05-2002, 07:53 AM   #11
deepsoup
Dojo: Sheffield Shodokan Dojo
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Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
All I can say is that this sucks and I feel sympathy. I know of a similar situation here in California and have no idea what you do about it other than keep doing what you are doing. The toughest part is knowing that good people are going down a path that isn't what they think it is. The second toughest part is knowing that at least here there is really nothing I can do about it.

The only good news is that some people do eventually catch on and leave.

Good luck and I feel your pain.
Hi Larry,

I'm with Erik all the way on this one.

Except, just to add, I dont think you need to worry about the reputation of T&T abroad.

Budo of the McDojo variety doesn't tend to travel much, as far as I know. (Maybe there's too much risk of bumping into something a little more authentic.)

Your own reputation, and that of your dojo is not under threat, thats the main thing.

Sean

x
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Old 10-05-2002, 10:06 AM   #12
Bud
Dojo: Aikido Philippines
Location: Manila
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We had a situation like that in my country a few years ago. There was some guy claiming to teach aikido. What he was teaching was actually a mishmash of watered down techniques mixed with a generous amount of "street effective" moves from other MA. Eventually even that fraud was too small for his ego and started to call it his own MA. This eventually solved the problem coz at least he publicly called it his own art and not aikido.

IMHO if the public is informed and educated enough, frauds like what you have described get weeded out. If they read enough and ask the right people, the public will eventually find out the truth.
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Old 10-05-2002, 11:33 AM   #13
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
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I have seen this type of name patent happening with students of students who learn a particular karate, but then the home dojo demands that they join the home dojo for some fee, and teach the curriculum. Some teachers pay the money and include the curriculum, others decline and merely advertise their practice as a studio that teaches karate, or the teachers name with some indication of martial arts added on.

In the case of Aikido, that pretty much is a trade mark name of a particular style, although we have included it as a description of the practice we do, also. If it is a blatant copywrite infringement, then the people at Hombu dojo should be informed and legal diplomacy will take effect. If that is not enough, legal action will happen.

In the karate dojo I first practiced in, my teacher held a third dan from his teacher who had trained under Chow in Hawaii. His teacher used the Chow logo to give his students certificates of promotion. When Chow died and his inheritor took over, a whole new set of rules, fees, and organization called Kara-ho karate took over. My instructor was instructed not to display the Chow logo or there would be a problem. When he and I confronted the person who was making the request on what would happen, he alluded to there being a black ops mentality .. if it could not be quietly handled.

It never came to violence, but the actual mentality of an inheritor who would send people to tell former students to either join up or there would be violence?

For you situation ...

Get your facts in order. What certificates does this fellow hold, from whom, where, and when did he get them? Then check your facts to make sure he is not a child molestor, like the fellow who set up his karate studio in my area a few years back, with certificates that looked real. He got away with murder for a couple of years ... until he was recognized by a former student he molested at a tournament.

Facts are very important before you take action. Then respectfully go through channels to alert the shihan who is charge of your area, and the situation should quickly resolve itself.

Last edited by Bruce Baker : 10-05-2002 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:06 PM   #14
L. Camejo
 
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Exclamation Facts, figures etc.

Hi all,

Thanks for your great replies. You have shed a lot of light on this subject.

As far as checking of credentials go, this was a very interesting endeavour. My first attempt was to call and find out. I was met with this reply from the person on the other end of the phone: "Master ..... is a master of jujitsu and has been teaching it for over 40 years. Aikido came from jujitsu and so he is qualified to teach Aikido, as he is a jujitsu master. If you question the master's abilities, you should call back and arrange to speak to him yourself...." (Remember, this guy is pretty much a celebrity in this country)

So, I took their advice. Since these classes were conveniently being held at the same days and times as our training times, I took a day when we had no class for some reason and went to see for myself. The "master" saw me sitting in the crowd and interestingly, he asked me to step into his office to talk (something he does not usually do with people who come to watch). In speaking with him, I let him know that I studied some Aikido previously, and that my instructor has left the country indefinitely (did not give all details about currently operating a class, since I had reason to believe he already knew this). He went on to show me a black and white "certificate" on his wall with the face of O-Sensei printed on it. At that point I wondered if any Aikido association gave certificates with the face of O-sensei printed on it.

Nevertheless, we spoke a bit about Aikido, where he told me that the founder of Aikido was a jujitsu guy called Moroto Ueshiba. He went on to give this misinformation to his students later in the class. For some reason he did not demonstrate any techniques that night, but the black belts in the class went through a series of techniques that looked like a bad Steven Seagal movie. The word clothesline was even used in reference with the correct application of irimi nage.

Having seen this and other things, I reckoned that even IF (and that is a BIG if) this guy was legit, the techniques and essence to the training was unlike any Aikido I've seen between my country and the USA, where I've also trained. Having done a bit of jujitsu myself, the applications had a closer resemblance to that MA than Aikido.

Having said all that, I welcome your advice and input. I am now unofficially banned from returning to that dojo, their reason being that I may copy what they are teaching and open a dojo of my own.

I hope they aren't too surprised when they see us doing our demos later this month. Anyway...

Domo Arigato Gozaimashita.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:29 PM   #15
Aristeia
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Re: Facts, figures etc.

Quote:
Larry Camejo (L. Camejo) wrote:
For some reason he did not demonstrate any techniques that night, but the black belts in the class went through a series of techniques that looked like a bad Steven Seagal movie. The word clothesline was even used in reference with the correct application of irimi nage.
No problem there, I use the word clothesline in reference to the correct application of irimi nage all the time - "To do this correctly, it should not be..."

Sounds like the guy is a total charlatan (albeit possibly (?) knowledgeable in jujitsu). It would be interesting to check with some other highly ranked jujitsu-ka in the area and see what their opinion of his abilities in that art are. Is he now claiming to be an aikido "master" because Aikido is experiencing a boom in your area, or has he just been run out of jujitsu circles?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 10-10-2002, 11:32 AM   #16
Alphete
 
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Cool Diving and Aikido

Quote:
Larry Camejo (L. Camejo) wrote:
Hi Dave,

If you're ever in the area, drop me an e-mail and we can train and get in some biru waza afterwards.

L.C.
If I ever have the change to visit T&T, after practicing some SCUBA Diving, we could met also to train...that'd be great.

Diving and Aikido...too much of a good thing.

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Old 10-14-2002, 12:15 AM   #17
aries admin
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Hey BUD:

Sounds like you are referring to Combat Aikido, right? It used to be called BOKAIDO then Combat Aikido and now TAPONDO. TAPON means throw in local Dialect and Pondo means foundation. Lit. Throwing Foundation. Not really sure about this though. Yep you are right he claims he founded the art.
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Old 10-14-2002, 08:00 AM   #18
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
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It sounds like a lot of hype for this teacher to expand his business, we have a simular case of crossover here.

For years, a fellow who calls himself Kum Sung, teaches Tae Kwon Do, but then he enlists people from other styles with black belts, or brown belts to come to teach in his facility, or to train to be black belts in his style.

With this diversity of membership, he advertises that his training covers all styles of martial arts withing the training of his style. Many of his techniques are based on years of study, taking what works in other styles, and there is some martial arts attitude that translates into good techniques, but the validity of advertising for being certified in Aikido, or Judo, or Jujitsu is still based upon international recognition of a certificate.

He is another poser who sometimes appears in Black Belt Magazine, and his son has been a stunt double for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.

I thought that your investigation and talk with this person might reveal who certified him to teach, and that would lead to either bring in outside authorities or not.

Let it go.

The way of the world is to take shortcuts. Once those who are enamored with the glitz of quick training have run the gamut, the craze will fade as they find better instruction. If it does not, then this charlatan will have to find accredited people who will teach for him, and he will learn to correct his style ... just as our local charlatan has had to do to keep his students

Last edited by Bruce Baker : 10-14-2002 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 10-14-2002, 09:30 AM   #19
L. Camejo
 
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Hi guys,

Thanks for all the great replies. Since I could get no answers personally, I did some online researching to see if I were wrong in reacting to this in such a manner.

In checking for any Aikido relations with this guy, I found that the guy may have had some exposure to something called Shintaikido which is a mixed martial art that has some Aikido elements to it. The founder of this style trained under Pat Hendricks and Robert Nadeau.

He may have also been exposed thru something called Taikenjutsu as well.

Though it appears there's a link, I am not sure that our guy ever made Shodan in Aikido(he claims dan grades in many many many martial arts). To give him his just due, I think he is great at what he does, which is jujitsu. The ukemi standard of his dojo is higher than mine in many ways, which is good I think, and it comes from their jujitsu training.

My only beef is that I really think he is only marketing Aikido cuz it's something "new" to our country and people are very ignorant about what it really is.

Regardless of what training he may have been exposed to, what I saw him execute was not Aikido from what I've learnt, experienced or read about(and I have trained abroad in other styles of Aikido than my own). The techniques looked similar, but they were all forced muscle movements, the aiki, the blending and coordination was nonexistent. They even train using a karate-like front stance.

The reason I started this thread is because very soon it will become apparent to the country and his students that there is more than one Aikido dojo in the country. Because of all his claims and the sheer size of his sphere of influence, I am hoping this does not bring any sort of friction between the 2 organisations.

I have already let go of this subject Bruce, thanks for the advice. I really believe that the truth will come out. After that, it's up to the free will of those who know better. I'm cool either way.

Arigato Gozaimashita

L.C.

P.S.: Pablo, if you're in the area drop me an e-mail and I'll hook you up with a good divemaster

Last edited by L. Camejo : 10-14-2002 at 09:35 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 10-14-2002, 12:59 PM   #20
bcole23
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Everyone wants to be an "O-sensei".

I would use an analogy of how I use Aikido in driving to relate to what I think you should do.

Aikido driving:

Blend with the traffic.

If people around you are speeding and driving like maniacs but still end up right next to you at each light, does it change how fast you're getting where you're going? Be the eye of the storm...

IOW, just do your thing and have honor. Don't worry about the other guy, UNLESS he hurts you, covertly attacks you in ANY way, etc. Then take action.

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