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Old 11-18-2004, 09:09 AM   #1
Bill Danosky
 
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Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

I read and enjoyed your postings in the "Voice of Experience" forum. You are my original Aikido inspiration and have influenced both my spiritual and martial path. That's why I was happily surprised to find an opportunity to learn a little more and mention my appreciation.

I, for one, hope from reading the quote below that you are still considering doing future postings. I'm sure there are quite a few people out there who agree that you're eminently qualified to speak on these subjects and the Aikiweb is diminished without your input.

So, (All together now!) "Thank you, Rev. Furuya!"

Quote:
My intention in coming into this website was to share some little bits of information. But as you can see, this did not work out very well and so many people are so offended. I guess I am surprised and shocked at how hurtful people can be, especially in the name of Aikido. Even with Aikido, I see that people have not changed much. My intention was only to share my experiences and knowledge and that is all. Anyways, and I really don't know why, my intentions have been misunderstand and there doesn't seem much I can do about this so this is my last imput here. Just a few of you have been very nice to me and to those people I would like to express my thanks. Anyways, best wishes to all,
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Old 11-18-2004, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

I agree. I always did enjoy reading his postings and was disturbed by his exit.
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Old 11-18-2004, 03:10 PM   #3
tony cameron
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

isn't there an old saying about not casting pearls of wisdom before swine?...
ok, here is my haiku dedication to Rev. Furuya Sensei.

Kensho Furuya,
stands in the circle of zen,
beaming like the sun.
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Old 11-18-2004, 05:56 PM   #4
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
David Enevoldsen wrote:
I agree. I always did enjoy reading his postings and was disturbed by his exit.
There are a lot of "full cups" floating around here. It's too bad because there are many more folks out there who have so much to offer but you'll never see them here because they don't want to deal with the attitudes.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-18-2004, 06:22 PM   #5
suren
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

I also would like to thank that person along with many other wise people here.
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Old 11-18-2004, 10:15 PM   #6
aikidoc
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

I too was sad to see him withdraw his wisdom and insights. Unfortunately, we have a lot of trolls on all the sites that could care less about courtesy and respect. A lot of these "so-called" full cups are actually quite empty (heated air comes to mind). I question the aiki spirit of such behavior. I echo the thank you to Furuya sensei and really don't blame him for not wanting to keep getting hammered.
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Old 11-18-2004, 10:30 PM   #7
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Truly, I echo the sentiment that Rev. Furuya is a smart guy and could contribute greatly to this or any other forum. I really haven't seen anything he's written here, but have read some of the things he's published (provided we're talking about the same guy). Honestly, though, I am surprised that someone can be so "put off" by morons and idiots that post stupid things on the forum. Some probably do it just to see if they can get a rise out of someone.
I would have thought that someone as experienced and centered as Rev. Furuya seems to be would not be "driven out" by mindless simpletons. He should say what he wants. If someone disagrees, doesn't mean he has to respond. Just because someone posts after you telling you you're wrong, doesn't make them right. These are not running arguements, these are open forums. Don't debate, just express you position....and screw the ignorant folks that refuse to hear what you have to say....

joe
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Old 11-19-2004, 02:08 AM   #8
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I was hoping this thread may just die quietly but...

I'm intrigued, I remember the threads and the attendant arguments (and the successive back-biting and drama queens after it all finished) but I would hardly call the people who disagreed with Mr Furuya trolls in any shape or form. In fact one poster in particular is a long-standing member of this forum whose opinion I may disagree with strongly but who's view on aikido I would listen to.

If you want to consider trolls, I'd actually look at some of the posts in this thread which are blatent attempts to stir things up while attempting to maintain some sort of moral high ground. Try using a mirror first folks.
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Old 11-19-2004, 04:25 AM   #9
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
I'm intrigued, I remember the threads and the attendant arguments (and the successive back-biting and drama queens after it all finished) but I would hardly call the people who disagreed with Mr Furuya trolls in any shape or form.
In my opinion that original exchange represented most of what is the worst of the internet. Rev Furuya, a well known and respected Aikido teacher, voluntarily offered his time to contribute to this forum and in return had his character assasinated. Now Rev Furuya is gone, we have all lost.

There are very few people at the top levels who participate in these forums. I talk to folks all the time about the forums and consistently I hear that the people who are in the top ranks don't feel they have time to put up with all the BS just to have some good exchanges. Lack of civiliity is a problem in this culture and it was quite evident in the exchanges with Rev Furuya. I was embarrassed by it. And now, the rest of us who appreciated the participation of an articulate, knowledgeable, published Aikido teacher are deprived of his presence on the board because of the actions of a few individuals.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 11-19-2004 at 04:28 AM.

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Old 11-19-2004, 05:29 AM   #10
happysod
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

George, while I understand your concerns, I have to disagree with your conclusions.

A forum is not an arena just for promoting your viewpoint, but one which is used for debate. Also, this forum (correctly I believe) prides itself on treating each poster on the merits of their words rather than any outside ranking. This can come across as rude and unruly behaviour by those who, rightly or wrongly, are used to being treated with a degree of deference.

Calling people who disagree with you Trolls is not conducive to sensible debate or a correct use of the internet term and I still cannot see how this thread could be interpreted as useful. I'm sure Mr Furuya would be delighted to get such messages of support, but surely either a personal message or as a welcoming message if he ever decides to rejoin the debate is less provocative method of communication.

His articles are still easily found at his own site free from trolling for those who enjoy his words.
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Old 11-19-2004, 06:38 AM   #11
aikidoc
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

"Lack of civiliity is a problem in this culture and it was quite evident in the exchanges with Rev Furuya. I was embarrassed by it. " I was too.

"A forum is not an arena just for promoting your viewpoint, but one which is used for debate." I agree, however, does the debate require people be rude and make personal attacks? I think it reminds me more of the direction the political discourse in this country. I simply don't believe spirited and intellectual discourse on topics requires the rude behaviors of others. My 2 cents.
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Old 11-19-2004, 09:05 AM   #12
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

"The great thing about the Internet is that anybody can say anything on it. The bad thing about the Internet is that anybody does"

I've been using the Internet before either the WWW or Linux even existed -- yes, that long! -- and if there is one thing I have learnt is: grew a teflon armour. I've been insulted, flamed and abused more time than I care to remember. Sometimes it was even with reason but most of the time it was just because someone thought differently from me and was abusive in thier way of passing this information. Hell, I've even been flamed on this forum more than once.
I'm still posting my view -- and if you don't like it, I have a theorm nuclear device waiting to be used... I got it cheap of EBay [1]

I think that either Rev Furuya was taken aback by the replies or he used the common Zen technique of shocking us into satori. I'm still not sure which it is but next time I am in LA. I'll ask him. Yeah, like _that's_ going to help!




--- Notes ----
[1] Just in case you can't work it out: THIS IS A BAD TASTE JOKE...

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
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Old 11-19-2004, 10:33 AM   #13
Chris Li
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
In my opinion that original exchange represented most of what is the worst of the internet. Rev Furuya, a well known and respected Aikido teacher, voluntarily offered his time to contribute to this forum and in return had his character assasinated. Now Rev Furuya is gone, we have all lost.

There are very few people at the top levels who participate in these forums. I talk to folks all the time about the forums and consistently I hear that the people who are in the top ranks don't feel they have time to put up with all the BS just to have some good exchanges. Lack of civiliity is a problem in this culture and it was quite evident in the exchanges with Rev Furuya. I was embarrassed by it. And now, the rest of us who appreciated the participation of an articulate, knowledgeable, published Aikido teacher are deprived of his presence on the board because of the actions of a few individuals.
OTOH, that's one of the virtues of this kind of forum - that you can interact with senior people without the imposed formality and heirarchy of the dojo. Yes, it sometimes deteriorates, but people usually learn how to handle themselves in those situations - which is a kind of Aikido practice in itself. In my experience, it is often the more senior people who have a difficult time adjusting to this kind of interaction. Part of the problems in the Furuya threads was civility, yes, but another part was that he wasn't (IMO) used to having his opinions and statements questioned/doubted in such a direct manner.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-19-2004, 11:35 AM   #14
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
In my experience, it is often the more senior people who have a difficult time adjusting to this kind of interaction. Part of the problems in the Furuya threads was civility, yes, but another part was that he wasn't (IMO) used to having his opinions and statements questioned/doubted in such a direct manner.
Certainly, anyone who expects to participate o a forum should expect to have his ideas challenged. I don't think it necessarily means that one should expect to be personally attacked.

One of the reasons the most senior people do have a hard time with these exchanges is that they have learned. over time, to be civil to one another. We all move around the Aikido community, we interact with one another, and our teaching is often our living. We have a stake in upholding our own reputations. Honor is an outdated term but would have been a central concern to any traditional Budo man.

The people who act the worst on these forums are usually those with nothing to lose by doing so. They are not senior enough to have any kind of reputation to protect. Often they don't even have their own dojos much less get out in the larger community and have to interact with people. They have no essential stake in maintaining some standard of behavior and lack enough of a sense of personal honor that they feel the need to be civil in their interactions with others.

Actually, you are a very good example of what a forum participant can be. Your posts are always thought out, you are willing to challenge anyone's ideas but you never make it personal. In short, you act like a man of honor. If you and I disagree I don't feel attacked, I just feel like we are having an exchange. That doesn't diminsh either of us.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-19-2004, 11:45 AM   #15
aikidoc
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Well made points. Years ago I used to work in human resources management and one of the things we always taught managers to do was look at the person's performance or behavior and address how you diagreed with it or how it was not to a standard (civility for example). They were taught to never make the discussion about the person but rather the action, result or behavior against acceptable norms.

George's points are well taken. It is easy to hide behind the anonymity of a forum. It is also easy to posture and make attacks when you have nothing to lose reputation wise (I doubt you will see many shihan participating in such discussions). However, it is more challenging to engage in a spirited and aiki like discussion hashing out complex issues or topics while maintaining courtesy, respect and civility. I'm sure the good reverend realized that even though he was able to share his valuable insights that it was just probably not worth the aggravation. Afterall, Buddhism is about seeing the world in reality. Given some of his treatment it was probably a reality he did not want to continue suffering through.
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Old 11-19-2004, 11:50 AM   #16
tedehara
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
In my opinion that original exchange represented most of what is the worst of the internet. Rev Furuya, a well known and respected Aikido teacher, voluntarily offered his time to contribute to this forum and in return had his character assasinated. Now Rev Furuya is gone, we have all lost.
Hopefully we have learned from this experience.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
There are very few people at the top levels who participate in these forums. I talk to folks all the time about the forums and consistently I hear that the people who are in the top ranks don't feel they have time to put up with all the BS just to have some good exchanges. Lack of civiliity is a problem in this culture and it was quite evident in the exchanges with Rev Furuya. I was embarrassed by it. And now, the rest of us who appreciated the participation of an articulate, knowledgeable, published Aikido teacher are deprived of his presence on the board because of the actions of a few individuals.
One doesn't need to be a "knowlegeable, published Aikido teacher" to have respect shown. We should be showing each other respect all the time. It doesn't matter who is posting. From someone who posts on Voices of Experience to the newest member who wirtes their first introduction, they should all be shown respect.

Part of the problem was that he was published. Traditionally writing is a one-way street. The interaction of an online forum is quite a shock to someone who is not use to it.

The aikido community is actually quite large and fractured. If you state some strong opinion, you are very likely to be countered by someone else. In most cases you won't be able to "convince" the other person of your opinion. Then the thread usually turns into a series of rants and ill feelings are the final result.

All of this could be stopped by showing each other respect. But maybe that's like aikido movement...extremely hard to do because it's too simple.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 11-19-2004, 12:14 PM   #17
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

My thought when I started this thread was that- with a strong enough show of support- we might regain his valuable guidance. I realize now that online forums are for debating issues. That was my error, since the whole idea may be to present opposing viewpoints. For my part, I believe Reverend Furuya is to be revered and should be beyond any question of courtesy. If O-Sensei were participating in this forum, no one would dare to question his input (somebody PLEASE tell me I'm right about this!). I mean, look at his credentials- if one doesn't think Rev. Furuya, Sensei has enough credibility, who would? At our dojo, Sensei never even opens a door for herself. As marital artists, we're supposed to conform to a higher ideal. Respect for the teachers and traditions is probably (here, I guess I'd better say arguably) our highest one. Maybe if some people wore their dogis while they were posting, they'd remember they're slighting a foundation member of our art, just for the sake of an argument.
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Old 11-19-2004, 12:17 PM   #18
aikidoc
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Unfortunately, some, at their own peril, would probably question O'Sensei.
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Old 11-19-2004, 12:46 PM   #19
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Yes debate is to be encouraged, in a civil and respectful manner. Furuya Sensei was simplu viciusly attacked for having his convictions and sticking to them.
My take on Furuya Sensei is that he is a true Innocent. He has lived in his dojo in LA for forty years and doesn't leave much except to get food.He spends very little time in the outside world and simply has no experience of how inadvertantly and unintentionally cruel people can be- most of his interactions with people are in his dojo, on his terms, where he is the most senior and as such demands respect.
You just don't get to practice verbal aikido when you live & work in isolation...

Q
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Old 11-19-2004, 03:53 PM   #20
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

I found this in one of Rev. Furuya's posts:

Quote:
True Power of Faith in Aikido
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In between practice at Hombu, I used to help in the office when I was not cleaning this or that or trying to sneak in a little nap. At the end of the genkan or lobby of Hombu Dojo you now see a beautiful memorial plaque to O'Sensei but, in the old days, an old soda-pop machine used to stand there in its place. During the summer months, everyone would buy soda from it on their way out after practice and during the very hot, humid days, the coin box would fill up right away. One of my jobs was to empty the coin box and count the monies and prepare it for deposit to the bank. We used to go the bank almost every day or every other day in those days.

Every once in a while, I would find a slug instead of coin in this coin box but there was a period when someone was using many, many slugs to get the soda. It became a very serious problem so I mentioned it to Doshu.

"Sensei, look at this, someone at Hombu after practice is using these slugs to steal the soda from the soda machine!" I said.

Doshu looked at me very angrily and reprimanded me, saying: "I cannot believe that anyone practicing Aikido here would use a slug to get soda from our machine. Obviously, it is someone from outside who doesn't practice Aikido who comes in and does such bad things. All Aikido people are good people and don't do such things."

When he said this, I was so mad inside. How could he think such a naive thing? Who would walk into Hombu Dojo to use our soda machine when there are plenty of machines on the street outside? I thought to myself. This is ridiculous to say such a thing! Well, I didn't argue with Doshu but inside, I was very upset when I knew I was so right.

Some time later, I realized that Doshu was teaching me a very valuable lesson. If we practice Aikido, we must have faith in our fellow humans, good or bad. Doshu had such a strong faith and love for all of his students and I think this is what made him such a great teacher in his own quiet way. I learned a lot on the mats but Doshu continually taught me so many great lessons like this off the mat as well. This is one episode I always think about each day when I am teaching Aikido to my students, even today.

Today, we rely on our intellect so much and we are so smart (like I was in my younger days!) and sometimes we leave no room for the power of love and faith in our Aikido practice. This lesson always reminds me not to make such a big mistake in our training. . . . . .
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Old 11-19-2004, 04:17 PM   #21
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Certainly, anyone who expects to participate o a forum should expect to have his ideas challenged. I don't think it necessarily means that one should expect to be personally attacked.
For better or worse, the nature of the medium seems to require the expectation that one will (or in any case, is likely to) be personally attacked. I assume that this is one reason why the "Voices of Experience" forum was created - but you notice that not much goes on there, in general. In the open forums you get a more dynamic wellspring of opposing viewpoints - I suppose that this is the tradeoff.

Yes of course, everybody ought to behave honorably, but realistically everybody knows that there will always be exceptions. I can't control those people, so my choices are to learn to live with it or pick up my marbles and go home. IMO, learning to deal with distasteful situations and people without withdrawing is part of the package.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Actually, you are a very good example of what a forum participant can be. Your posts are always thought out, you are willing to challenge anyone's ideas but you never make it personal. In short, you act like a man of honor. If you and I disagree I don't feel attacked, I just feel like we are having an exchange. That doesn't diminsh either of us.
Gee, now you've got me blushing .

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-19-2004, 04:27 PM   #22
Chris Li
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
My thought when I started this thread was that- with a strong enough show of support- we might regain his valuable guidance. I realize now that online forums are for debating issues. That was my error, since the whole idea may be to present opposing viewpoints. For my part, I believe Reverend Furuya is to be revered and should be beyond any question of courtesy. If O-Sensei were participating in this forum, no one would dare to question his input (somebody PLEASE tell me I'm right about this!). I mean, look at his credentials- if one doesn't think Rev. Furuya, Sensei has enough credibility, who would? At our dojo, Sensei never even opens a door for herself. As marital artists, we're supposed to conform to a higher ideal. Respect for the teachers and traditions is probably (here, I guess I'd better say arguably) our highest one. Maybe if some people wore their dogis while they were posting, they'd remember they're slighting a foundation member of our art, just for the sake of an argument.
No offense to Furuya, but he's hardly a "foundation member of our art". I've trained with any number of people more experienced than he is, and they all opened their own doors - but that doesn't mean that they were any less respected.

If Morihei Ueshiba were online now then I certainly hope that people would be question his input - that's the nature and strength of the medium. Otherwise I might as well just be reading a book.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-19-2004, 04:42 PM   #23
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
My thought when I started this thread was that- with a strong enough show of support- we might regain his valuable guidance. I realize now that online forums are for debating issues. That was my error, since the whole idea may be to present opposing viewpoints. For my part, I believe Reverend Furuya is to be revered and should be beyond any question of courtesy. If O-Sensei were participating in this forum, no one would dare to question his input (somebody PLEASE tell me I'm right about this!). I mean, look at his credentials- if one doesn't think Rev. Furuya, Sensei has enough credibility, who would? At our dojo, Sensei never even opens a door for herself. As marital artists, we're supposed to conform to a higher ideal. Respect for the teachers and traditions is probably (here, I guess I'd better say arguably) our highest one. Maybe if some people wore their dogis while they were posting, they'd remember they're slighting a foundation member of our art, just for the sake of an argument.
Mr Danosky,

In the dojos down here in Hiroshima the Dojo-cho (he is rarely called 'Sensei') opens his own doors and also folds his own hakama, as do all the yudansha\which indicates to me that there are various ways of showing respect.

Japan's is a culture where respect for one's elders and 'betters' (the latter in rank, strength, wealth, or influence) is deeply ingrained. However, in an institution like the university where I work, this has very undesirable consequences, since it limits the free exchange of knowledge and ideas and tends to stifle independent thinking. I think the importance of the Internet lies in this aspect, but a consequence of this is that the Argument from Authority (that the truth of a proposition depends on the credentials of the person who states it) is often shown to be what it is: of dubious value and sometimes downright false.

In aikido the Argument from Authority is taken very seriously indeed, principally because aikido depends so much on the formation of good habits through training on the mat. It is assumed that the longer the training, the better the habit formation\and the better the waza\and this assumption is usually correct. The assumption underpins the meaning of the word 'sensei' in Japanese. What is much more questionable is another assumption that is often made, namely, that long aikido training also allows one to pronounce with authority on other matters rather less closely related to training.

Another problem for aikido is connected with the history of the art. Aikido has been a Japanese preserve for the best part of the last century, but this is changing, rapidly\and the pace of change is being accelerated by the Internet. I remember the dispute involving Mr Furuya quite well and his opinions, strongly held and based on his own culture, were questioned by those in a position to do so. I often see this here in Japan and many Japanese find this extremely uncomfortable. I suspect that there is a similar discomfort about American values currently under test in Iraq.

I think respect is a value closely associated with one's national culture and the Internet is essentially supra-national: it transcends national borders and it is thus to be expected that respect will be shown in various ways. This is quite a sensitive issue, but I myself do not think that Mr Furuya was viciously attacked at all, as some have stated.

I think one of the legacies of Kisshomaru Ueshiba was that he downplayed the prewar religious aspect of aikido and stressed the importance of aikido as a Way, and of training. This also involves having a good sense of one's own training history: the good things and the bad things, the progress, the false turns and the road blocks. These are more likely to come under scrutiny on the Internet, relying as it does on openness and free exchange of ideas.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 11-19-2004 at 04:45 PM.

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Old 11-19-2004, 07:47 PM   #24
Chris Li
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I think respect is a value closely associated with one's national culture and the Internet is essentially supra-national: it transcends national borders and it is thus to be expected that respect will be shown in various ways. This is quite a sensitive issue, but I myself do not think that Mr Furuya was viciously attacked at all, as some have stated.
That's an important point. The assumption that he was viciously attacked seems to be primarily based upon his assertion (or implication) that this was the case. I didn't see it that way either.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-19-2004, 09:01 PM   #25
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Thank you, Rev. Furuya!

Goldsburysan,
That was very interesting- I wondered how much the differences between American Aikido culture and Japanese Aikido culture impacted the original events we're discussing. Given the unpopular opinion about Americans worldwide, I try on purpose to be overly-respectful of other cultures. Good manners are never a mistake, so if I'm going to be wrong, I'll err on the side of formality. I'm thankful to be at a dojo where ettiquette is stressed, so if I'm training abroad someday, I'll well represent my dojo and sensei.

To the original point- Since my only intention here is to support a person I know is good, I have no attachment to winning. Therefore, I can not lose.

I think it's interesting how this thread is turning out. I'm a recent convert to Aikido and very new to Forumjutsu. What's my next move here- blend and turn? (now where's that smiley face button?)

Last edited by Bill Danosky : 11-19-2004 at 09:14 PM. Reason: wanted to spell check but didn't see it in this menu
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