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Old 01-26-2003, 01:01 AM   #1
AikiWeb System
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,316
AikiWeb Poll for the week of January 26, 2003:

How important are organizations in aikido?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Crucially important
  • Very important
  • Important
  • Somewhat Important
  • Not very important
  • Not at all
Here are the current results.
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Old 01-26-2003, 02:06 PM   #2
Choku Tsuki
Choku Tsuki's Avatar
Dojo: Bond Street Dojo
Location: New York, New York
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 123
In short: Very, and, Not At All

[There are a lot of generalities presented here; they reflect my limited personal experience and personal perspective in dealing with vertical organizations.]

"Organization" implies order. Order implies uniformity which in turn implies standards. Imposing a standard over distance and time has benefits, the most important benefit is the preservation of tradition, and this is very important.

Preservation requires conformity and conformity is reinforced through camps, seminars, testing and promotions (not necessarily achieved through testing).

Promotion rewards conformity. Promotion is status and status is power. Promotion elevates the status of everyone involved, most importantly the "promoter." The higher a student's rank the less likely they'll leave an organization. This relationship binds an organization and reinforces the status quo.

So what's the problem?

Isolationism. Fear of retribution for practicing outside an organization. Fear of speaking up against perceived wrongs. This relationship demands that organization officials be incorruptible paragons of altruism and virtue. This is too much to ask of any human being..

Happily the (un)spoken rules about training outside one's organization are melting away. As the next generation of sensei become figureheads, each will have their own connection to Hombu Dojo and hopefully the problems cited here will lessen (if there's anything to be learned, then there's hope).

So, organizations are important when they function to preserve tradition. They're not at all important otherwise.

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Old 01-27-2003, 03:28 AM   #3
mike lee
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 646

That's exactly what I would have wanted to say if my brain didn't freeze when I saw the question.
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Old 01-27-2003, 02:20 PM   #4
Russ Qureshi
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 29
Well said Chuck!
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Old 01-27-2003, 03:07 PM   #5
Alan Drysdale
Dojo: Enmei Dojo
Location: Florida
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 28
I guess organizations also support the "higher" exponents of the art.

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Old 08-02-2004, 02:27 PM   #6
Jim Saba
Dojo: Mushin Dojo
Location: Deland Florida
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 15
Re: Poll: How important are organizations in aikido? (reply saba )

I understand the need for some organization. If nothing else but to be a piratical solution to day to day happenings. However , any organization is only as good as the people who control it. If the people who control it misuse it, then it really doesn't , matter about rest.

Unfortunately , it seems that any organization that gross over time becomes more and more bureaucratized, and that seems to serve the ruling elite more than the general populous. This generally leads to huge disproportionately that does not have to be legitimate to exist.

There are plenty of examples of this in human history. People seem to be very willing to give up power to others quite readily it seems.

We tend to put certain people on pedestals it seems. It's human nature.

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Old 08-02-2004, 04:28 PM   #7
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Re: Poll: How important are organizations in aikido?

Unfortunately, Chuck there are still organizations or instructors out there that have problems with training in other organizations. One of my students moved recently. He wanted to train at two different schools with different organizations (both aikikai though). The one instructor told him he had to chose. The other was totally fine with training in two "styles" of aikikai aikido.

Over time organizations generally lose the flexibility they were initially formed to promote. As an organization gets larger, it seems they need to impose more restrictions and controls on the members. For such restrictions, the individual dojos or groups also are likely to receive less individual support. Often, this results in several breaking away to join other less restrictive groups or to form their own "organization" with looser rules.

I do see several advantages though in the areas of promotional uniformity, training opportunities and support of higher ranking instructors. By having a board address promotions of dan ranks, individual biases tend to be less (assuming of course there are no political games).
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Old 08-02-2004, 05:43 PM   #8
Dario Rosati
Dojo: Zanshin - Milan
Location: Milan
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 71
Re: In short: Very, and, Not At All

Chuck Kuske wrote:
So, organizations are important when they function to preserve tradition. They're not at all important otherwise.
I agree, but as a newbie, I would add a second important (and apparently opposite) point: an organization should have the courage to recognize new talents (both in practicing and in teaching) and mantain the teaching and didactical core of the organisation up-to-date.

Since MA organisations are strictly pyramidal and sometimes "genetic" in nature, It seems to me that they unfortuantely tend to stagnate or split too much, focusing too heavily on "fading away" figures or parental links and not supporting in time (or adeguately) new real talents, losing them due to frustration.... as Jim stated, too many pedestals out there.

Tradition is good, but progress and talent are good, too; only a wise mix of tradition and renewing (expecially from a didactical stand point) may keep a MA in good health, IMHO.
Traditions are the roots, but innovations and new practiotioners are the leafs: all of them may fall while roots are still living, but only a strictly cooperation between them makes the tree shine trough decades and sometimes centuries.... and the fallen leafs contribute to the roots strengthening.
No roots and the tree dies; no leafs and the roots cannot survive for a long time. Want a healthy tree? Take care of both.


Last edited by Dario Rosati : 08-02-2004 at 05:54 PM.

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Old 08-02-2004, 07:35 PM   #9
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Re: In short: Very, and, Not At All

Dario Rosati wrote:
I agree, but as a newbie, I would add a second important (and apparently opposite) point: an organization should have the courage to recognize new talents
These organizations that have been around awhile crystallize at the hierarchical levels and sometimes, those there previously become turf oriented and resist new talent. In one of the largest groups, it has become increasingly difficult to get promotions unless you are favored or do a lot for them.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 08-03-2004, 09:23 AM   #10
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
Re: Poll: How important are organizations in aikido?

IMHO, organization provides for the perpetuation of the art on a larger scale, while it does limit some indivudal expression. Too many organization add too much politics and confusion and subtracts from the art. All we need is more people thinking that they personally understand Aikido and O'Sensei vision. Or worse yet, simply follow their own ego.

Have respect and honor in lineage and organizational alliagence.

Beware McDojos and McSenseis that misrepresent their style, affiliation, and rank.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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