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Old 05-25-2006, 02:28 PM   #76
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Real aikido question

Quote:
Nebojsa Mrmak wrote:
I'm not really informed in this area, but didn't O'Sensei make aikido as a compilation of other arts, such as aikijutsu, judo and the like (including weapons arts)?
Yes, of course he did. But he had studied arts which had traceable lineage. He had attained a very high degree of skill and had certification from Takeda Sensei in Daito Ryu. The additions and changes he made were supported by a very deep and strong foundation. When he needed to make changes from Daito Ryu it was, of course, necessary to change the name of what he was doing because it wasn't Daito Ryu any longer, that was a legitimate creation of something new. That is the way that we got most of our martial arts.

But the people I am talking about are the folks that didn't go the distance before they took off.

There is a teacher in my area who is an 8th Dan in Aikido from one of these non-Aikido organizations. Yes, he has trained and taught for many years. But the last recorded rank he had from anyone qualified to give rank in Aikido was Shodan from Honbu Dojo back in the sixties.

There was a gentleman at the Expo who had a Sixth Dan from an organization like this that, just a few years before, had left Hooker Sensei when he wasn't passed on his Nidan Test.

There is another instructor with whom I am familiar who is now a Soke and 8th Dan and Founder and who knows what else whose last Aikido rank from an accredited organization was 4th Dan.

This practice demeans the efforts of those who have spent the time and effort supporting their teachers and organizations, who have moved up the ranks "the old fashioned way". What does the 8th Dan of a teacher like Amos Parker Sensei (Yoshinkan) mean when someone in his style who is far junior, jumps ship and shows up later as an 8th Dan with beau coup credentials, all awarded by people who simply gave themselves the authority to make these awards?

I would rather find a teacher who says he is a 4th Dan, whose teacher I recognize as legit, whose association is accredited in some recognizable way, than associate myself with some guy with titles galore, whose great skill is in self promotion. The REAL people don't need to do that.

You hear folks whine about how rank is "just political". But you have to read between the lines when you hear stuff like that. When you hear about someone who leaves because "it's all just political" you are often (not always) looking at someone whose own ego couldn't put up with the other egos in the organization i.e. the peers, seniors, and even his teacher. Just look at the article this month by Goldsbury Sensei if you want to see an account of egos gone amuck.

There are certainly situations in which someone had to leave a teacher or an organization for perfectly legitimate reasons. But the correct response to that is to find another teacher and organization to associate with. Then get back to working your way up the ladder. When you hear that someone say that he can't find anyone that he wishes to associate with, well, what does that say about this person's social skills? A huge number of organizations and arts exist merely because the guy(s) who started them couldn't get along with anyone else.

There is a thread about "loyalty to ones teacher". What does that mean? Do you think that it means that you stay only as long as he affirms your self esteem? Do you jump ship just because he turns out to have human foibles just like the rest of us? I can tell you that the folks who have stuck with and supported their styles, organizations, and teachers through thick and thin have had to work at it. They've paid their dues. These other guys, who couldn't check their egos enough to go the distance, do not have my respect and I don't place any value on the ranks and titles they have essentially purchased.

I want to be clear here that I am not talking about the many people I know who felt compelled to leave teachers for perfectly understandable reasons such as people like Ellis Amdur Sensei have discussed at length in his books and essays. But those people have usually either stepped out of the system altogether (your 4th Dan with 35 or 40 years of experience) or they went their own way and were later recognized by someone whose credentials were generally recognized, as the case of Mary Heiny Sensei getting Sixth Dan which was engineered by Saotome Sensei even though she is not his student and isn't in his organization. They were secure enough in what they were doing that they didn't feel the need to join a bogus organization and inflate their credentials. Their experience and talent speaks for itself. In many of these cases, their accomplishments do get recognized with rank many years later by the folks in the mainstream. Those ranks are perhaps the most valuable of all because they were a recognition of actual contribution to Aikido.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-25-2006 at 02:33 PM.

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Old 05-25-2006, 02:30 PM   #77
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Real aikido question

Yes he did. apparently a few people thought what he created was worthwile. That is what makes a martial art legitimate for the most part.

That and effectiveness...however you judge that. which then goes back to the first sentence...people find it worthwile.

end of disscussion really. it is as simple as that.
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Old 05-25-2006, 02:58 PM   #78
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Re: Real aikido question

This is why I dont even ask rank when I meet people. I dont care what their rank is. I will train with them, they will either impress me or not impress me. My aikido instructor is independant and I dont belive he holds offical rank with aikiki or any 'major' org. His rank was given to him by his instructor. It doesn't matter to me, all that matters he is teaching me things i find value in. I dont care if he's a 5th kyu or a 10th dan or if you call it yoga, aikido, or mauy thai.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:19 PM   #79
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Real aikido question

George,

How do you measure "deep understanding" and how do you know if someone is really up to snuff in aikido. It seems so hard to be judgemental when it is hard to measure.

Or is it simply "you know it when you see it"?

Lineage seems to be the judge for the most part, but there seems like there should be more out there than that.

One thing that has always concerned me in aikido is parochialism and group think. If lineage is the only and main measure that there is alot of room for interpretation and erosion.

lineage if it is maintained with a high degree of quality I suppose would be a good standard that is if proper transmission of knowledge is occuring.

I do, however, tend to agree with your observations.

I do think that there are other ways to measure legitimacy and effectiveness. However, most people are not really in a position to accurately separate the guys that are only slightly better than them...and those with a "deep understanding". Therefore, there is plenty of room for what quantifies a 10th Dan....that is most unfortunate!

That is why I have my own criteria for judging someone's abilities to teach. Yes, lineage is a part of it...but I also look at other things as well.
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:23 PM   #80
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Real aikido question

YOu really think anyone looks at lineage to the exclussion of all else? I would personally find that hard to believe...

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-25-2006, 03:45 PM   #81
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Re: Real aikido question

Has anyone considered that the word "Real" may mean something different in Serbian than it does in English? It may not, but I for one would like to know. Anyone speak Serbian?

Peace,
Tom Newhall
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:02 PM   #82
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Real aikido question

I don't know Ron. I mean how do you quantify "effectiveness" in aikido? it is difficult isn't it?

I mean it has to be more than "feels right", and more than "you know it when you see it".

I think lineage plays an important role when you are talking Aikido as it tends to be esoteric.

I studied martial arts for years only to discover that "you know it when you see it" and "feels right"...was not "right" at all when I got into some fully resistive training scenarios with the Army.

Not saying that this is how you should measure effectiveness in aikido, as there is more to aikido in the transmission than tactical application.

So how do you measure it if not by lineage?
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:24 PM   #83
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Re: Real aikido question

Lineage tells you where the knowledge came from, rank tells you how far that person progressed in acquiring that knowledge. You would not want a person to do surgery on you if they only had one year of medical school and learned the rest from pay per view tv or video tapes.
Just because you are an independent school does not mean what you are teaching is not effective or valid. But at least be honest with your students, let them what you know and where you learned it. A teacher that will not be honest about rank and lineage has something to hide.
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:25 PM   #84
Mark Uttech
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Re: Real aikido question

I agree wholeheartedly with George. I have met people with 'inflated ranks'. But something that is true and real will always be recognizable by folks doing the practice.
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:46 PM   #85
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Re: Real aikido question

Mark, but what do you mean by "true" "real" and recognizable. What criteria do you use to judge?
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Old 05-25-2006, 05:42 PM   #86
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Re: Real aikido question

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
What criteria do you use to judge?
Proof of lineage and rank would be a good place to start.
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:48 AM   #87
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Real aikido question

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Or is it simply "you know it when you see it"?
People who have it, can recognize it. It's true that egos get involved and folks have a stake in their own styles or systems... but that's one of the things that makes someone like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei really special; pretty much everyone who met them seemed to agree that they were "special".

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-26-2006, 07:24 AM   #88
Mark Uttech
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Re: Real aikido question

There is one kind of test that I've heard of: Shomenuchi Ikkyo.
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Old 05-26-2006, 09:59 AM   #89
Steven
 
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Re: Real aikido question

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
During his second stay in Tokyo in 1993 at the famous Yoshinkan (the school of master Gozo Shioda 10. Dan), his way of thinking was confirmed. Even though he was working in his own style, by the end of his stay he received great honor. He got to meet great Shioda, who rarely received visitors, because of his age. Shioda honored him with a diploma that he personally signed."
_

Who was his sensei when he received his 1st dan? Was there a 2nd Dan? Did he receive rank when he was at Aikikia Honbu? Did he receive rank when he was at Yoshinkan Dojo?
A couple of years ago, I spoke to someone at the Yoshinkan honbu dojo that had direct knowledge of this alleged training at the Yoshinkan. It was relayed to me that the person in question attended a one day clinic, with many others, and at the end, he, as well as everyone else, received a participation certificate.

He did not receive any kind of ranking in Yoshinkan Aikido and all he got was a certificate showing he participated in a clinic, that was signed by Gozo Shioda. As did everyone else who attended.

The above is what I was told by someone who was there and in a position of authority who would know the truth. Make of it what you want.
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:10 AM   #90
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Real aikido question

It is often funny how someone relates something on a web page, and then you hear the story from someone else that was there.

I always worry when I write reviews of seminars that someone who was there will post "????? where the heck where you??? I was there, and I didn't see that at all!!!!"

Oh Well...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:20 PM   #91
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Real aikido question

George Ledyard wrote:
Quote:


People who have it, can recognize it. It's true that egos get involved and folks have a stake in their own styles or systems... but that's one of the things that makes someone like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei really special; pretty much everyone who met them seemed to agree that they were "special".
Thanks George for the additional information. I think this is what is key to judging.
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Old 05-26-2006, 02:33 PM   #92
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Real aikido question

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
It is often funny how someone relates something on a web page, and then you hear the story from someone else that was there.

I always worry when I write reviews of seminars that someone who was there will post "????? where the heck where you??? I was there, and I didn't see that at all!!!!"

Oh Well...

Best,
Ron
Hi Ron,
In the end it's always best just to be straight, be ourselves and let what we know and can do to speak for itself. You can never really get into trouble that way.

I just had a wonderful e-mail from David Lynch in New Zealand who described one of those moments which all teachers of Aikido have when no one shoes for class and you do "Why did I spend all these years learning and teaching something which no one cares about?" In his case this thought was immediately followed by the appearance of an old man who looked just like O-sensei, who just dropped in and played some amazing music on his cello in the dojo. I think it was really O-Sensei coming back to give him encouragement...

Anyway, the fact that we have spent our lives working so hard on something which the vast majority of folks don't know or care about, and even the folks who also study it may not have any real appreciation for what one does... This creates a pressure to try to over-sell oneself. It's not that any of these guys makes much money... They'd probably make quite a bit more just doing a regular job and not have the headaches.

t's the desire for recognition for the efforts you've made. I mean, I have students who have more students than I do... One really has to work to maintain the detachment from all that. EVERYONE wants to feel appreciated for what they have done. Some folks feel compelled to hold up a flag, so to speak, and say "Notice me! I am here."

The problem is that the folks who do it by inflating their honors and titles, starting their own styles because they don't get recognized in the styles they've studied, can't interact with the rest of the community. They end up needing to isolate themselves and their students because their exaggerated presentation can't be backed up with knowledge and skill.

All of us who have spent decades developing our arts have the feeling that we have something to offer the other folks out there who are also on the Path. But the way to do it is put oneself out there and let the folks who encounter you decide. If what you have is valuable, others who appreciate quality will find you. Did you ever notice that, on the forums, the folks who really seem to know what's what all know each other? You don't need to bullshit people to be recognized. You just need to let folks know what you do and the people of quality will find you and you will find them. It's actually quite magical...

Trying to "beat the system" by exaggerated claims and false titles... Well, that only fools the folks that can be fooled. The folks that really know aren't fooled and think less of you. It just makes it that much harder to be taken seriously by anyone who really is serious. It's like Dillman. He started out by legitimately pointing out that there was quite a bit of meridian content in the Okinawan Karate forms that most of the practitioners were not aware of. He ends up as someone that no one who has real integrity takes seriously. No one I know has been successfully knocked out by these guys with the one-touch knock out. Now they are doing no-touch knock outs. Some good focus and a strong kiai on a partner who has been conditioned properly and no problem, I could do the same thing to those same partners. My own students however just move their faces out of the way.

Look at someone like Rod Sakarnoski. The actual principles involved in taking hits without getting injured are quite interesting and worth study by anyone in any art. But the guy is a person of no personal integrity. He couldn't just let his skills peak for themselves. Now he has the dubious distinction of having an entire thread devoted to him on E-Budo. That would be fine if, like Don Angier or Saito Sensei it was because of his tremendous skill but instead it's in the Bad Budo section. What a distinction! A life time of work and no one in the respectable world of martial arts would have anything to do with you. Even association with someone like this will tarnish your reputation! Quite an achievement, I must say.

Live your life and pursue your art in a way that doesn't require excuses. That's the only way to go. If the guy can beat your technique by lifting his toes, fix the technique.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-26-2006 at 02:36 PM.

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Old 05-31-2006, 03:11 PM   #93
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Re: Real aikido question

Friends: I am optimistic about the possibility of new martial arts to arise. Why not? Judo and AIkido arised at some precise moment, and History goes on.

And maybe what they practice is very effective. Why not? What I donīt like is when they become so high ranked (10th Dan???? How old are they?) and when they believe themselves to have THE THING in their art, and every other system is comdemned to hell. This is Bullshido for sure.

Respectful regards
DudSan
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:41 PM   #94
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Sorry, I just really liked this part of the web site

emphasis added:
"There are no 'styles' of Aikido. It is like cheese cake. You can cut it in wedges or squares or just dig in with your fork but it is still cheese cake!

Aikido was originally developed by one man, O Sensei. Many students who trained under O Sensei decided to spread their knowledge of Aikido by opening their own dojos. Due, among other things, to the dynamic nature of Aikido, different students of O Sensei interpreted his Aikido in different ways. Thus different styles of Aikido were born."

Jim Mc Coy
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Old 06-02-2006, 12:47 PM   #95
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Seminar Certificates

"He did not receive any kind of ranking in Yoshinkan Aikido and all he got was a certificate showing he participated in a clinic, that was signed by Gozo Shioda. As did everyone else who attended."

This is a good reason to stop this practice.
There is a widespread problem with people passing these "souvenier" certificates as "rank" and "title" awards.

I have several of these, and although I can not read the Japanese, I essentially know what it says. I know someone who has the same certificates as mine, that basically says I was there that day and took that class, and they tell thier students it's a 10th Dan certificate. In this case, the teacher was only a 7th, so how he promoted this person to 10th, I'll never know.

Jim Mc Coy
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Old 06-04-2006, 01:20 PM   #96
Mark Uttech
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Re: Real aikido question

Lucky for the rest of us, the seminar certificate thing never really took off in this country...
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Old 09-13-2006, 01:34 PM   #97
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Re: Real aikido question

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRBC84CV5Xs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Liak3sZ8iE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ6sw-KwUQs

I'am practitioner of Real Aikido, I'm traning for 9 years 1kyu. My sensei is Bratislav Stajic 8.dan, he is on the third video, in the second there is 3 masters and one of them is Soke Vracarevic
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Old 09-13-2006, 03:51 PM   #98
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Re: Real aikido question

Soke is not a title traditionally used in Aikido. Who awarded him soke and his dan ranks?
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Old 09-13-2006, 04:40 PM   #99
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Re: Real aikido question

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Soke is not a title traditionally used in Aikido. Who awarded him soke and his dan ranks?
John, try searching for "Real Aikido". It's something slightly different.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 09-13-2006, 04:52 PM   #100
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Re: Real aikido question

I know, I've been to their site. I did it when checking out the proliferation of 10th dan sokes cropping up under the "aikido" umbrella. If it is something different, why is it called Aikido? It's too bad the name was not trademarked or copyrighted.
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