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Old 12-22-2004, 12:09 PM   #76
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

. . . Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability or ECFA". J. Garcia.

So, does anyone have any thoughts on Jorge's idea. Here are mine.
1. Non-profit.
2. Organizational and individual dojo memberships.
3. Website with member dojos and their lineage history and latest verified ranks.
4. Grandfathering in organizations like: Aikikai affiliates (USAF, AAA, ASU, etc), Ki Society, Yoshinkan, Tomiki, etc.)
5. Board of Directors with power to accept or deny membership
6. Membership criteria and criteria for removing someone from membership (ethics)
7. Some kind of membership pledge statement to quote Dave Chappelle to "keep it real."
8. A publicized red flag list somewhat like the one above. By the way, anyone wanting to use those criteria in their area is more than welcome to steal anything they want from my suggestions.

This would be a extremely challenging undertaking but would definitely be interesting and worthwhile. Just my thoughts.
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:18 PM   #77
Fred Little
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
Lyle Laizure wrote:
ISo in short unless we go back to the day of dojo storming frauds will continue to pop up.
I think that there are steps that can be taken short of aggressive dojo storming.

There's a USAF dojo in Southern New Jersey that last year organized itself to do an Aikido Friendship tour. In the first year, they visited all the USAF dojo in New Jersey. This year, they've expanded the circle beyond their organization and are working toward a goal of visiting every dojo.

After an initial approach via e-mail and some correspondence to nail down a time that worked for us and them, they drove up and we played for an evening. When they visited the club here at NJIT, about half-a-dozen of them, ranging from mid-kyu students to their instructor, a USAF yudansha who was also a retired police officer were in attendance, which seemed like a good mix to a) see how any given dojo might deal with a range of experience and skill levels and b) provide a good skills base and head count if the dojo being visited wasn't so friendly.

Having seen some odd things presented as aikido myself, based on what I saw of their practice, I'm pretty sure that their visits have been eye-openers for students in some of the more out-of-the-way places they visited, in ways similar to Craig Hocker's account of his encounter with the students he is working with now.

Friendly visits. Reaching out. Making nice. Sometimes it works better than dojo storming.

Hope this helps,

Fred Little
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Old 12-22-2004, 12:25 PM   #78
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Good idea Fred. Another approach might be just for a bunch to show up and pay a mat fee for for training. Everyone could wear a white belt if they are not in your organization. Don't say anything unless asked and just train. Your training will show your quality. Then if they ask you you can tell them who you are and where you are from. Of course, you might want to leave out your purpose. Showing up at their seminars might also work.

Getting fraudulent groups to let you come train with them could be a problem-they often forbid their students from going to seminars as they might see something to make them question what they are learning. If it is done often, enough they might just quietly fade into the woodwork.
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:27 PM   #79
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Re: Aikido Frauds

I can't believe that anyone could think or write about this subject so much. What does it have to do with your training and your authenticity? I am from an independent dojo that recieves no recognition from anyone but I would not trade my training or my teacher for anything in the world. I could care less if anyone else finds it authentic. It works for me.
Mary Eastland
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Old 12-22-2004, 01:57 PM   #80
jimbaker
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Re: Aikido Frauds

The problem isn't with independent dojos or groups who, for the most part, simply state their lineage and their ranks. Their intention is to practice Aikido in a way that makes sense to them, in a way they like. They are happy to say where they learned the art and the rules of the dojo are there for the benefit of the students.

Frauds invent their lineage and ranks. Their intention is to lure and con students. Rank and lineage are marketing tools to be used to draw the fish to the frying pan. Lies have to be told to keep the fish..um ..students hooked. Part of the lie is to push away questions of where they learned what little they know of Aikido and the dojo rules are set up in a way that reinforces the con, which is never to the students benefit.

Why do they do it? Some are just out for money. Some like the money but also want the pretend power of being Sensei, but without all that effort and time wasted actually learning the art.

A con is a con. The same tactics are used regardless of the scam. Without naming names, one sensei with a self-inflicted rank who had his own Aikido group has recently given it all up. He's now running an internet based christian church (lower case intentional). The word "donations" shows up on the first page.

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:03 PM   #81
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

"I can't believe that anyone could think or write about this subject so much. What does it have to do with your training and your authenticity? "

Actually, with my own training and authenticity-absolutely none. However, it does affect the art and it is increasing. I found 5 organizations of this ilk in about an hour and can think of another 4-5 I have run across in the past. This is so prominent in some arts that it has virtually destroyed the credibility of any ranking and only makes rank valuable at the individual dojo level. As a member of the art, I don't want to see the egos of a few destroy the credibility of those who have actually worked at it. Again, I'm not criticizing the nature of independent dojos-I received my shodan from one, although I changed to the aikikai later. They have their place and value-as long as people keep it real-realistic grades, promotion/advancement criteria, and a lineage to aikido. Some don't even bother to have a loose connection-they saw it written somewhere, like the word and have never taken a legitimate aikido class. Yet, they use it anyway. The public does not know enough about the arts to sift through the bs. It is luck if they know more than the terms kung fu or karate. Unfortunately, they probably have a belief we are all honest and have high integrity in the arts.
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:03 PM   #82
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Mary,

I don't think that anyone here is against the idea of independant dojo or instructors. The main concern is people who, to put it bluntly, lie. They take the new unaware student's trust and use it to feed their egos and wallets. These are the people who need to be watched and exposed, not the independant teacher who is honest about his history and training.

To quote Ray Charles mother from the movie Ray; "scratch a liar find a thief"

IMO

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:10 PM   #83
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Jim: He has a dojo in Oregon now (type his name in with sensei). I checked after your private e-mail.
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Old 12-22-2004, 02:43 PM   #84
MaryKaye
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
I don't think that anyone here is against the idea of independant dojo or instructors. The main concern is people who, to put it bluntly, lie. They take the new unaware student's trust and use it to feed their egos and wallets. These are the people who need to be watched and exposed, not the independant teacher who is honest about his history and training.
The concern is that we should be careful not to write standards that discriminate against legitimate independent dojo. It is easier to assess the legitimacy of association dojo (we can, hopefully, count on the association to do some of the policing) but that's not a good reason to make things hard for the independents. That's why I like tests based on how the dojo is actually run more than ones based on lineage or association standing.

I also wonder a little about lineage. I study under someone who appears to have had a wide variety of teachers, and who therefore is uneasy about claiming any one of them as "her teacher." She also holds her highest dan rank as a result of winning a taigi competition, so the question "Who gave you yondan?" has no very straightforward answer. (Tohei Sensei did, technically, but not because she was his student at the time, as the flat statement would tend to imply.)

The rest of the dojo, with more conventional lineages going back to Tohei Sensei by an intervening step or two, notoriously regards her as the reference model for checking correctness, especially in taigi. She has extraordinarily precise aikido. I don't know how she did this without a singular teacher/student relationship but clearly she did. I expect there are other people like her, and it would be a pity to throw them out along with the frauds.

Mary Kaye
(not the same Mary)
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Old 12-22-2004, 04:03 PM   #85
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Re: Aikido Frauds

I have found this thread, and others regarding questionable credentials/experience/etc very interesting. The watchword (or should that be phrase?) might be 'Caveat emptor' for those of us who care about the lineage and credentials of a martial art instructor. For me, the point is being assured that the instructor is going to teach you what you want to learn (i.e. I wouldn't want to learn about obstetrics from a plumber :P ). There are plenty of instructors out there who are after a fast buck, and I have had the misfortune to have encountered a couple of them. If in doubt about the credentials of your instructor, then do research on the instructor, the art and the organization. If we want to learn anything, then we'd better be prepared to ask questions and expect replies. I am extremely grateful that I'm beginning Aikido training again (after a long layoff) and that I have been fortunate to find an instructor who trained under Morihiro Saito sensei for quite a few years. I researched the instructor and the parent organization thoroughly, and am looking forward to getting back on the mat and learning some good Aikido (but not, knowing my abilities, doing good Aikido :P ). Another latin phrase that I'm partial to, and will probably become my training motto is 'Illegitimi Non Carborundum' - good advice for anyone.
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Old 12-22-2004, 04:55 PM   #86
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Good points Robert. It's sort of like starting college. If I'm going to commit 4 years or more to something I ought to spend the time to check it out.
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Old 12-22-2004, 07:42 PM   #87
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
Mark Mueller wrote:
Hmmm....a man grows up studying a variety of martial arts......breaks away from his primary teacher and develops his own interpretation and name for a "new" type of martial art....claims a spiritual connection that seems to many to be "divine" ,develops almost a cult-like following of disciples....claims the title of "O'Sensei" or Great Teacher.....sound familiar?

Don't get me wrong on this.....but there are some interesting parellels with other modern day martial artists that we label "frauds"


Maybe its all in the marketing................
If the people we're talking about in this thread were as skillful than O'Sensei obviously must have been, then I don't think anyone here would have a problem with them calling themselves Soke, Grand Super Dooper Trooper, whatever.
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:38 PM   #88
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

There's the test Stuart! When their "style" of aikido spreads across the world and starts turning out master instructors the quality of Saotome, Yamada, Chiba, Kobayashi, Saito, Kato, Shirata, Tohei, Tomiki, Shioda, etc., etc., then we'll know they really deserved their claims to fame and we were just jealous.

I don't think Ueshiba Morihei gave himself the name O'Sensei.
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:42 PM   #89
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Re: Aikido Frauds

The best defence really is the different forums such as aikiweb and e-budo among others.

You can no longer hide.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-22-2004, 10:01 PM   #90
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
I don't think Ueshiba Morihei gave himself the name O'Sensei.
Actually, I've always wondered about that, but my hunch is that he did - probably in imitation of Sokaku Takeda, who also used that title.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-22-2004, 10:39 PM   #91
David Humm
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Re: Aikido Frauds

The ONLY way that "frauds" can be exposed is to do this in such a way that sends this information to a wide audience and is available to whom ever wants it.

The problem is four fold.

1) The legal issues involved in naming a person or organisation and having somewhere to present that information. IE a well known aiki website

2) The willingness of 'someone' to undertake an investigation which is solid enough to stand up to cross examination by anyone who wished to challenge it.

3) As I've already mentioned... *Some* are just not willing to accept what 'truths' may be presented to them no matter what evidence/proof is available.

4) Not all newcomers are forthright enough to research an instructor before joining their dojo thus, efforts (often efforts which cause the investigator greif) are essentially a waste of time.

And I speek from direct personal experience on all 4 points.

Don't get me wrong, the discussion of this issue is worthwhile however, unless anyone here is willing to pick up the mantle and actually do something other than discuss the problem, we are... blowing smoke up our own hakama (for those who wear them )

Last edited by David Humm : 12-22-2004 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 07:17 AM   #92
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Re: Aikido Frauds

I see that that you are not pinpointing independant dojos. However, I think you are using fear and sensationalism to promote fundamentalism. 5 to 10 dojos out of the several thousand in the United States is not enough of a percentage to implement the rigid rules and regualtions you are exploring.

Adults are adults and don't need your protection. They can discover and dicard just as we did. It is part of their process.

Going to another dojo with motives to uncover "frauds" is not at all in keeping with Aikido principles. My understanding of O'Sensei's teaching's is to focus on my own path, that testing and competing would only harm me, and I think the Art.

I appreciate your concern. I also think that Aikido has something bigger watching over it and we will be ok.

Mary Eastland
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Old 12-23-2004, 08:15 AM   #93
aikidoc
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Re: Aikido Frauds

"I think you are using fear and sensationalism to promote fundamentalism. 5 to 10 dojos out of the several thousand in the United States is not enough of a percentage to implement the rigid rules and regualtions you are exploring."

First, I don't think anyone is using fear and sensationalism to promote fundamentalism. Tolerance for different styles of aikido has been expressed throughout the thread. Although the posters surely have their preferences I don't think anyone wants to promote fundamentalism-generally to me that means an extreme group with very narrow views. I found 6 "styles" some of which have more than one dojo in about an hour and with little difficulty. I know of at least another 4. Now, we are not trying to point those out and as Jun asked keeping names/organizations out of this. However, there is a bigger issue here. The number over the last few years has been growing regularly. I know of other arts, which I do not want to comment about, where the problem has become so large that rank has become meaningless except for individual dojos. This in itself allows more perpetuation of fraudulent activity/ranks. So, do we just sit back and not address the issue and allow aikido to become like such other arts? I for one would rather elevate awareness and hope aikidoka become more cognizant of the problem and maybe take steps to prevent it from proliferating.

I have run into 4 of these frauds personally in my short career. One of which I was a participant in getting him kicked out of his own dojo and stopping his claims of teaching aikido. They are out there and in my observation growing. Especially with some of the soke organizations out there that will certify anything for a buck. The public knows little about martial arts and less about aikido.

"Adults are adults and don't need your protection. They can discover and dicard just as we did. It is part of their process." Really! Personally, I think this is overly optimistic. Cons perpetrate frauds on adults on a regular basis. Charismatic cons can make people think they are getting something of value. It costs the public money and leaves them with a bad feeling about the martial arts. The values most arts promote are thereby diminshed. The public looks on us with disdain when that occurs and undoubtedly prefer not to expose their children to such bad role models. My feeling is the martial arts has a lot to offer in terms of ethics, getting kids to exercise which is a rarity in schools now days, teaching discipline, etc. I don't want a fraud to burst that bubble.

"Going to another dojo with motives to uncover "frauds" is not at all in keeping with Aikido principles. My understanding of O'Sensei's teaching's is to focus on my own path, that testing and competing would only harm me, and I think the Art." I think most of the comments in this regard were tongue in cheek. Although it might be fun and solve some of the problems, I don't think anyone really feels this is a viable option given legal issues.

"I appreciate your concern. I also think that Aikido has something bigger watching over it and we will be ok."

I think the something bigger watching over aikido has to be legitimate aikidoka. It is my feeling we have have to be vigilant of the deceptions and do whatever we can to prevent them and educate the public. A legitimate instructor can for example arrange an interview or spotlight on his art and school. This would be a good place to highlight some of the red flags for example. The public then can take it upon themselves to use a screening tool to see if the local frauds measure up. Often times students will start looking at the literature and tapes and books and hold their instruction up to such a yardstick. They will also sometimes start to research instructor backgrounds and lineage on their own out of interest. They may not like what the find-no one likes to be duped-but eventually they get the point. However, some charismatic instructors can convince the pope to change religions. Elevating awareness and where possible doing things to bring light of such practices while not creating legal problems may be all we can do. It is better than nothing.

Last edited by aikidoc : 12-23-2004 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 08:44 AM   #94
Fred Little
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Good idea Fred. Another approach might be just for a bunch to show up and pay a mat fee for for training. Everyone could wear a white belt if they are not in your organization. Don't say anything unless asked and just train. Your training will show your quality. Then if they ask you you can tell them who you are and where you are from. Of course, you might want to leave out your purpose. Showing up at their seminars might also work.

Getting fraudulent groups to let you come train with them could be a problem-they often forbid their students from going to seminars as they might see something to make them question what they are learning. If it is done often, enough they might just quietly fade into the woodwork.
John:

I've seen surreptitious "visits" go badly precisely because the home team felt that what was going on was dojo-storming, even when that wasn't the case.

So one of the things I liked about the "Friendship Tour" approach is the frame. Nobody is singled out, either positively or negatively. The visitors are upfront and it eliminates a lot of potential problems at the outset.

If places are closed to visitors, that may be a sign, though of what varies from place to place.

Best,

Fred Little
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:04 AM   #95
MaryKaye
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
Fred Little wrote:
I've seen surreptitious "visits" go badly precisely because the home team felt that what was going on was dojo-storming, even when that wasn't the case.

So one of the things I liked about the "Friendship Tour" approach is the frame. Nobody is singled out, either positively or negatively. The visitors are upfront and it eliminates a lot of potential problems at the outset.
I like to visit other dojo when I'm travelling, and sometimes it seems in retrospect that this has made the local sensei feel "under scrutiny" even though that's far from the case.

I particularly remember a tense moment when the sensei of an independent dojo said "Oh, Ki Society would do a 'ki test' here" and gave me a shove. Their novice student said wistfully "I think that would be really useful, balance is such a problem for me--" and there was a moment of quite uncomfortable silence. I was not meaning to poach on their students--the idea honestly hadn't crossed my mind--but I can see why it crossed sensei's.

If we visited each other more often in general this problem would likely go away, along with many problems involving unnoticed fraudulent dojo. I went to a seminar recently where we did a closing circle and asked people to name themselves and their dojo: there were six different dojo of, I think, four different traditions. If we encouraged that actively, frauds would stand out by their absence. (Of course, so would a few legit dojo with strong bans on cross-training; but it would be a start.)

I would volunteer for a Friendship Tour like a shot--it sounds like fun in itself, as well as positive for the community. Doing it cross-tradition does take some delicacy, though: you don't want to learn "Hey, we don't teach the breakfall from that--" the hard way. (Been on the receiving end of that one myself; the person who threw me said apologetically "You looked as though you knew what you were doing....")

Mary Kaye
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:07 AM   #96
David Humm
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
...Adults are adults and don't need your protection. They can discover and dicard just as we did. It is part of their process.
Mary, If I may, I'd like you to answer the following questions if you'd indulge me?

How would you, after say 10 years of dedicated study feel if you discovered the following:

1) The person you considered your Sensei had attempted to forge a dan grade and coaching certificate with the intent of misleading a Sports Centre ?

2) Your Sensei had publically (Via the internet) attempted to claim he was one of the first people in his country to study Aikido (and this had been proved incorrect)

3) Your Sensei attempted to inform the masses that he was "The only Westerner to have ever been made a Master of aikido" When this is in fact an absolute fabrication

4) Promoted himself to lofty yudansha ranking and began refering to himself as "shihan"

5) Claimed to have been THE FIRST person to study Karate in your country (despite that being proved incorrect)

The list of examples I could present is endless, all of which have been tried by several individuals here in the UK alone.

The point I'm making is that these pillocks have attempted to con people for one reason only - Personal Gain which is brought about through EGO. Unless the general public are made aware of these people and their activities they are going to be taken for a ride. And THAT is not Aiki in principle.

Dave

Last edited by David Humm : 12-23-2004 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 12-23-2004, 09:45 AM   #97
kironin
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
I would volunteer for a Friendship Tour like a shot--it sounds like fun in itself, as well as positive for the community. Doing it cross-tradition does take some delicacy, though: you don't want to learn "Hey, we don't teach the breakfall from that--" the hard way. (Been on the receiving end of that one myself; the person who threw me said apologetically "You looked as though you knew what you were doing....")
differences in ukemi is much more tricky than differences in technique,

Friendship tours for positive reasons of building bridges I am all for.

I think Friendship tours that have a covert idea of ferreting out frauds had better have only people with excellent ukemi skills. The nature of aikido practice being what it is.

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Old 12-23-2004, 10:03 AM   #98
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Quote:
The point I'm making is that these pillocks have attempted to con people for one reason only - Personal Gain which is brought about through EGO. Unless the general public are made aware of these people and their activities they are going to be taken for a ride. And THAT is not Aiki in principle.
More to the point: It is truly NOT Aiki to let such injustices slide by. A sin of ommission, or a crime of non-action (however you want to put it) is going against the harmony of your world and art, is it not?

I love finding a good "Thought to ponder."

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Old 12-23-2004, 10:11 AM   #99
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Aikido Frauds

Dear Dave:

I think I would feel duped and betrayed. But I am an adult. I can deal with those feelings. I am training to not be a victim . I don't need to be rescued.
I am not saying we should protect people like this. I just feel like the regulations that have been proposed are too rigid.

I think that information passed about individuals who are fraudulent would be better than trying to regulate Aikido.


The very things I appreciate about being independent such as, no politics or systematic sexism are threatened by some of the regulations that are being proposed.

Mary Eastland
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:44 AM   #100
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Re: Aikido Frauds

"Systematic sexism???"

I can't find any mention of gender in this thread...

Q
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