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Old 03-31-2005, 06:40 PM   #1
RonRagusa
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New Age Dojos

Several times I've seen references to 'New Age Dojos' in various threads. I'd like to know how folks define a new age dojo. Does it have to do with how Aikido is taught or perhaps the philosophy being espoused or a combination of both? Is Aikido being taught at a new age dojo at odds with the teachings of O-Sensei? And do people believe they have the right to impose their judgment on anyone else's interpretation of Aikido?
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Old 03-31-2005, 08:02 PM   #2
Mashu
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New Age Dojos

I'd say that any dojo or group that has odd or esoteric practices and affectations that seem to serve no practical purpose other than mystifying their students into believing they are special would be New Age.

Is this at odds with what O'Sensei taught? If it doesn't work then it isn't Aiki so I guess it would be at odds.

There is little that other people can do about it so I don't see how they can impose their judgement on people involved with New Age dojo. What are you going to do? Run in and knock over their incense? Have the Doshu call for an Inquisition or Reconquista?
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Old 04-01-2005, 07:18 AM   #3
giriasis
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Re: New Age Dojos

Ron,

I think some people refer "New Age Dojos" as a derogatory way to describe people who prefer "soft aikido". It is a term ment to incite and push people's buttons who prefer the spiritual/ mental benefits of aikido.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-01-2005, 08:54 AM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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Re: New Age Dojos

Hmmm, 'New Age' aikido...

I remember Don Modesto refering to a dojo where he had the instructor having fits because he 'made a fist at someone'...I don't know, mabye that's a new age dojo.

On the other hand, there is a dojo in my area where I am priviledged to be allowed to drop in from time to time. Now, I have heard one of the instructors say (I'm paraphrasiing) 'we already pretty much know how to hit people...what we are doing here is learning something else.' I believe in the entire time (maybe two years?) I've been able to work out with these guys, the instructor demonstrated a technique with an atemi once (a kaiten-nage, I believe). He was very casual about the atemi, but if you weren't paying attention, I'm sure you'd get bopped.

Some might think 'now that is a new age dojo'.

The thing is, the yoshinkan people I know who have trained with this group say things like 'those guys throw HARD.' 'They do so much suwari waza, these guys are really tough'. 'Don't go there unless you are up for some hard training'.

My own experience has been that sometimes I've left there shaking with exhaustion. They talk even less than your typical yoshinkan dojo...they don't talk at all. They train. The instructor teaches. That's it. They did a gasshku I participated in...I had to skip one of the five classes because I just couldn't hack it...too tired. I'm not in the best shape...but I've done some pretty intense training in Daito ryu (Don M. was there, he can vouch for the intensity), yoshinkan aikido, and other stuff...these guys train and throw HARD. But they are a very 'soft' style of aikido.

So, if I walked in there, and 'made a fist at someone', I'd probably be asked if I wanted to learn what they were teaching, or if I wanted to find another place to train. That, in and of itself, would not make them a new age dojo, in my opinion.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-01-2005, 09:01 AM   #5
Dazzler
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Re: New Age Dojos

Nice one Ron..

way I see it is that everyone has their own path and goals.

Who is so perfect that they can chip in and say 'thats wrong'.?

If people spent more time looking for the good in aikido or anything that matter then they might just see something to enrich their own lives or practice.

Seems like some just wanna criticise everything!

Thanks

D
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Old 04-01-2005, 09:08 AM   #6
Mike Sigman
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Re: New Age Dojos

Google : aikido + "new age"

Results 1 - 10 of about 54,000 for aikido + "new age". (0.41 seconds)



I hope the trend of the thread is not to pooh-pooh the idea that Aikido has become associated with the term "New Age" or to indicate that only one person in the world has this idea and that the idea is TOTALLY unjustified. It would imply something about the thread.

But wait..... maybe if we can denigrate anyone who brings up the idea (even the owners of Google), we can make it go away. Let's attack any messengers we disagree with! That will show that we're spiritually far superior and thus our superiority will shine through.

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 04-01-2005 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 04-01-2005, 09:10 AM   #7
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: New Age Dojos

I have a friend who travels a lot on business and has visited many more dojos than I have. Sometimes he complains that when he's visited some dojo or other people have been really put out by the fact that he actually throws them, and sometimes resists a bit in ukemi. Dojos where the uke falls down for no good reason can be very annoying to train at for those of us who are used to a relatively vigorous workout. Maybe these are the "new age dojos" that people are talking about here. It might also go along with spending relatively more time on ki exercises.

--Amelia
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Old 04-01-2005, 09:55 AM   #8
Ron Tisdale
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
But wait..... maybe if we can denigrate anyone who brings up the idea (even the owners of Google), we can make it go away. Let's attack any messengers we disagree with! That will show that we're spiritually far superior and thus our superiority will shine through.
I can't speak for anyone else here Mike, but for myself, let's be clear...I respect you and your opinions, even when I don't agree with them. I am in no way attempting to attack or denigrate you or others who speak of 'New Age Aikido'. I hoped that by referencing Don Modesto's experience (someone for whom I have much respect) I would make that clear.

This thread is about a definition of what a New Age dojo is...one topic associated with it has been atemi (or the lack of atemi). I simply meant to address that portion. Are there other things you wish to put forward as part of that definition?

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:22 AM   #9
Jake Karlins
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Talking Re: New Age Dojos

Maybe the idea of a New Age dojo has to do with Aikido being taught as way of self-improvement or personal growth (and people who denigrate so-called New Age dojos are saying that the problem is that this side of the art is taught to the exclusion of martial technique, realistic ukemi, strong intent, etc.?). I think the irony is that often the more martial/realistic the training is, the more you can learn about yourself, grow, and all that other nice hippie stuff. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/images/icons/icon10.gif
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:24 AM   #10
rob_liberti
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Re: New Age Dojos

I don't really know exactly what the term means. I always considered New Age dojos to be dojos that lack tai-atari. In my opinion, the training can be soft or hard, slow or fast, but I dislike evasion. (Obviously, I like evasion very much when I'm using it to get/maintain superior position, but I mean from the point of contact.)

Rob
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:27 AM   #11
Mike Sigman
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I can't speak for anyone else here Mike, but for myself, let's be clear...I respect you and your opinions, even when I don't agree with them. I am in no way attempting to attack or denigrate you or others who speak of 'New Age Aikido'. I hoped that by referencing Don Modesto's experience (someone for whom I have much respect) I would make that clear.

This thread is about a definition of what a New Age dojo is...one topic associated with it has been atemi (or the lack of atemi). I simply meant to address that portion. Are there other things you wish to put forward as part of that definition?
I honestly didn't think much about "New Age Aikido" when I did Aikido, although I ran into an uncomfortable number of dojo's where it was obvious they didn't have a clue about Aikido as a real martial art and there was a lot ambiance indicating that they were more of a social club than a martial arts group. But then I had a discussion one day with Karl Geis down in Houston in about 1980. For people that don't know him, he did Tomiki Aikido at that time (I think he's part of Fugukukai now) and he was a world-class judo competitor from back in the 1950's and forward. He wouldn't even talk to people from Aikikai, etc., because he hadn't met any of them who could do anything but talk and they were being taken over by (expletives deleted) of the New Age. That was the first time I realized there was this tremendous internal split (bigger than I had ever realized) in Aikido. I also have to add that on the other side, I played a guitar in a bar near Central Avenue in Haight-Ashbury in 1968 for a few months, so I've known the "New Age" types pretty well for many years... and underneath the facade of love and spirituality, they tend to be pretty self-absorbed and vicious when they show their true selves. Look at some of the posts on the "Equitable" thread and you'll see what I mean.

So you can see the split. My point is that to pretend there is no such thing as New Age Aikido is absurd. To start another obvious passive-aggressive "let's kill the messenger" thread won't do anything to make the problem go away, either. I've actually seen advertisements for dojo's assuring people that no aspects of conflict or fighting were involved and they were "meditation oriented". I have to laugh at rhetorical attempts to pretend "New Age Dojos" are somehow a figment of the imagination of evil people that should be tossed out of dojos and off AikiWeb. The 54,000 hits on Google associating "Aikido" and "New Age" is glaring proof of that which some people want to deny.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:42 AM   #12
Mike Sigman
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Jake Karlins wrote:
Maybe the idea of a New Age dojo has to do with Aikido being taught as way of self-improvement or personal growth (and people who denigrate so-called New Age dojos are saying that the problem is that this side of the art is taught to the exclusion of martial technique, realistic ukemi, strong intent, etc.?).
Well, it's the same old question of whether something is "Aikido", a term that O-Sensei adopted for his art and which some people are purporting to teach. I see some people talking about how they handle people that don't "conform" to their way of thinking in their dojo and I would point to other posts (and massive conversation on the outside) about people who dropped Aikido like a hot potato when they found out that it wasn't really much of a martial art and they were being forced to "conform" using quasi-Japanese bs. The central question is "can you call anything you want 'Aikido' ... i.e., make people conform in your dojo to your ideas while at the same time refuse to conform to the original idea of Aikido?". It's a thought rife with tautological arguments, isn't it?

Mike
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:59 AM   #13
rob_liberti
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Look at some of the posts on the "Equitable" thread
Especially post 190, where Lynn was quoted with "sarcasm is for the ignorant and arrogant" and Mike responded "Strange coincidence... that' s exactly what I think about psychology, Lynn." I believe that term "passive-aggressive" you like to bandy is a psychological term.

I would like there to be a "New Age" where we reap what we sow...

Rob
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Old 04-01-2005, 11:07 AM   #14
David Humm
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
Ron,

I think some people refer "New Age Dojos" as a derogatory way to describe people who prefer "soft aikido". It is a term ment to incite and push people's buttons who prefer the spiritual/ mental benefits of aikido.
Hi Ann... By "soft" do you mean aikido which is practiced without martial intent or, Aikido which emphasises a greater degree of blending which; brings about less physical or 'conflictive' contact between partners ?

Kind regards
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Old 04-01-2005, 11:15 AM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
My point is that to pretend there is no such thing as New Age Aikido is absurd.
I'm not sure someone is saying that...I know I didn't say that.

I am sure that I am saying that the definition is sometimes somewhat unclear, and that such dojo may not be as prevelent as some might think. Google hits aside, anyone can post a phrase that gets picked up, how you qualify the person posting it is something else (context, context, context). I certainly do not live my life or make my decisions by what others post on the web. In the proper context though, the web can be a valuable resource.

I have much respect for the Karl Geis's out there...they add a refreshing level of honesty to Aikido that many other forms would do well to consider. Even if after consideration they choose another path to that level of honesty.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-01-2005, 11:22 AM   #16
Ron Tisdale
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
Hi Ann... By "soft" do you mean aikido which is practiced without martial intent or, Aikido which emphasises a greater degree of blending which; brings about less physical or 'conflictive' contact between partners ?

Kind regards
By 'soft' (man, I hate that term), I meant *very* relaxed upper body, movement concentrated in the hara, not much easily visible emphasis on atemi, not much easily visible attention to form. Feels like not much power, looks like not much power (until uke hits the mat, that is). I'm slowly realizing that except for the emphasis on atemi and form, the best of yoshinkan is much the same...

Best,
Ron (always a slow learner)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-01-2005, 11:37 AM   #17
Nick P.
 
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Opinions

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
Several times I've seen references to 'New Age Dojos' in various threads. I'd like to know how folks define a new age dojo. Does it have to do with how Aikido is taught or perhaps the philosophy being espoused or a combination of both? Is Aikido being taught at a new age dojo at odds with the teachings of O-Sensei? And do people believe they have the right to impose their judgment on anyone else's interpretation of Aikido?
IMHO, I would choose the words New Age if.....hmm.
You know, I would no longer use those words.
I would simply place the dojo in one of two columns. "For Me" and "Not For Me". Of course, over time, maybe they would all end up in the "For Me" column, or swap places.

But I think one important thing needs to be said; arguing what is and what is not Aikido (or is or is not New Age) is like arguing that blue is a nice color. What shade and how nice is only the beginning of an impossible argument.

I think I have a fairly clear idea of what I think Aikido is; my job is to have my training line-up with that vision. Do I hope it is in keeping with O-Sensei's vision of Aikido. Of course. Could I be wrong. Of course! Do I care what others around me choose to believe. Not so much. Do I learn from others I train with who have wildly different opinions. Hell yes. But never will I say "What you believe is not in line with my beliefs, so therefore your view is wrong." We disagree. Period.

The more I try to impose my judgment on someone with different views, the more conflict will result.
The more I try to impose my judgment on someone with identical views, the more we reinforce how wrong non-believers
are.

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Old 04-01-2005, 11:53 AM   #18
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
By 'soft' (man, I hate that term), I meant *very* relaxed upper body, movement concentrated in the hara, not much easily visible emphasis on atemi, not much easily visible attention to form. Feels like not much power, looks like not much power (until uke hits the mat, that is). I'm slowly realizing that except for the emphasis on atemi and form, the best of yoshinkan is much the same...

Best,
Ron (always a slow learner)
Ron,

Next time Maruyama Sensei is in Philly you might try to attend one of his seminars. His Aikido and your idea of 'soft' are quite the same.
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Old 04-01-2005, 12:06 PM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: New Age Dojos

Hi Ron (change your name!),

I take that as a VERY high compliment. One of my greatest disappointments is that I didn't know about Maruyama Sensei or aikido when he was here. I have had the pleasure of being exposed to some of his students though. Too bad I didn't fully realize what it was they had to offer, at the time.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-01-2005, 12:56 PM   #20
giriasis
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
Hi Ann... By "soft" do you mean aikido which is practiced without martial intent or, Aikido which emphasises a greater degree of blending which; brings about less physical or 'conflictive' contact between partners ?

Kind regards
To me "Soft Aikido" really is focusing more on blending, leading, really trying to use the attackers momentum and strength with much circularity. This practice can still be rather martial and does not dilute the art. But when I hear people refer to "New Age Dojo" I think their definition is that "soft" is without martial intent, and as a result such a practice "dilutes" aikido as a martial art.

Soft can also be the way you train, as you take soft falls, using a gentler technique over a more painful one. It can be doing techniques more slowly learning to control you partner and really focusing on the details. You can train hard, but being intently focused on your physical training, really pushing yourself physically stamina and endurance wise. This is the way it is where I train.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 04-01-2005, 01:05 PM   #21
DevinHammer
 
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Re: New Age Dojos

The irony here is that in the grand scheme of things, people in other martial arts generally consider Aikido as a whole to be quite "new age", which I suppose it is in that context. And here we are quibbling about which parts are more new age than others.

[insert your favorite appropriate O'sensei quote here]
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Old 04-01-2005, 01:37 PM   #22
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Re: New Age Dojos

Food for thought:

"I worry about the conflicts that I see arise between different styles and schools of Aikido...

...Aikido has but one principle - the universal reality of life. In their own nature as living human beings all possess the basic secret of Aikido. The purpose of Aikido is to better people's lives, to make their spirits blossom and become strong, and by making better people to make a better world. Aikido exists in this principle and this purpose, not in the style of movement or the technical details through which Aikido is taught. If the principle and purpose are present, any technique can be Aikido. If they are absent, so is Aikido." --- Mitsugi Saotome, "The Principles of Aikido".

and

"The main purpose of Aikido is to build a strong mind, body and spirit for use in daily life. In addition, however, Aikido also trains its students to learn to live in harmony with themselves and with one another...

... Uyeshiba discovered the spiritual potential of the martial arts. He believed that the basic principles of the universe are harmony and love and that these can be attained through the martial arts. He believed that a doctrine which does not teach these principles is not a true martial art." --- Yoshimitsu Yamada, "Aikido Complete".
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Old 04-01-2005, 01:52 PM   #23
rob_liberti
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Re: New Age Dojos

Those are wonderful words for us to consider. Ironically, it is quite well known that Saotome sensei and Yamada sensei have had major conflicts about their different styles and schools of Aikido. So much so, that as a teacher under Saotome sensei - last I heard which was not too long ago - I am not supposed to attend USAF seminars - as if I could care at all what those two were arguing about. On the positive side, I do attend USAF seminars now and again because not everyone is stuck in the results of an argument that happened several decades ago.

Rob
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Old 04-01-2005, 02:01 PM   #24
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
Those are wonderful words for us to consider. Ironically, it is quite well known that Saotome sensei and Yamada sensei have had major conflicts about their different styles and schools of Aikido. So much so, that as a teacher under Saotome sensei - last I heard which was not too long ago - I am not supposed to attend USAF seminars - as if I could care at all what those two were arguing about. On the positive side, I do attend USAF seminars now and again because not everyone is stuck in the results of an argument that happened several decades ago.

Rob
And you will be welcomed in our dojo to train, and my sensei is close to Yamada Sensei. Also, I don't remember ASU people being turned away from USAF seminars -- at least the ones I've been too -- Yamada Sensei seminars included. Go figure.

I agree that the differences should rest between the men themselves rather than carried out and perpetuated by their students.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 04-01-2005, 03:09 PM   #25
Mike Sigman
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Re: New Age Dojos

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
Food for thought:

"I worry about the conflicts that I see arise between different styles and schools of Aikido...

...Aikido has but one principle - the universal reality of life. In their own nature as living human beings all possess the basic secret of Aikido. The purpose of Aikido is to better people's lives, to make their spirits blossom and become strong, and by making better people to make a better world. Aikido exists in this principle and this purpose, not in the style of movement or the technical details through which Aikido is taught. If the principle and purpose are present, any technique can be Aikido. If they are absent, so is Aikido." --- Mitsugi Saotome, "The Principles of Aikido".

and

"The main purpose of Aikido is to build a strong mind, body and spirit for use in daily life. In addition, however, Aikido also trains its students to learn to live in harmony with themselves and with one another...

... Uyeshiba discovered the spiritual potential of the martial arts. He believed that the basic principles of the universe are harmony and love and that these can be attained through the martial arts. He believed that a doctrine which does not teach these principles is not a true martial art." --- Yoshimitsu Yamada, "Aikido Complete".
I've met both of them and they seem nice enough to me, but the point is that both of them have bona fide martial arts accomplishments and can fight. Both have. They don't teach "peace and harmony is Aikido". Learn the martial art first... then you're qualified to use it (And remember, "harmony" does not mean exactly what most of the New Age thinks it does) to accomplish the philosophy. It's not correct to approach it backwards with "my martial part of it is not so hot, but since I teach peace and harmony it must be Aikido".

I remember when Saotome came uninvited to the US and wound up in Yamada's turf. He didn't get the OK from Hombu Dojo or anyone else and IIRC he thought he would somehow get a blessing from someone and become part of the USAF or something along those lines. Didn't happen, so he set up his own schools and promoted people willy-nilly to get the organization going. Then (man this is vague because it's all so long ago) Yamada did something at a reconciliation meeting in NYC like turn his back on Saotome and walk off the mat (correct me if I'm wrong). Ultimately I believe Saotome's organization got Hombu recognition, but it's still separate because, ultimately, of that old turf battle brought on by Saotome not getting permission to come to the US (I think he "had a vision" about O-Sensei telling him to come, IIRC).

The point I'm trying to establish is that we're all human and fallible... and we're all capable of doing good things. But we all put on our pants one leg at a time (well actually, I hold mine and jump in with both legs at the same time) and we all make pronouncements that don't necessarily reflect what we really do. If I remember correctly, Saotome's Aikido admonitions include "destroy your enemy", incidentally. Back to the real world. My apologies.

Mike
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Two Dojos in One (...by Ronco (tm)) Magma General 28 03-10-2005 04:01 PM
Dojos in N. Japan - need advice! Adam Garrison General 4 08-27-2003 10:13 AM
Is there an 'intensity' rating for dojos? jaxonbrown Techniques 3 08-14-2002 10:04 AM
Going to other dojos Kat.C General 18 03-18-2002 02:57 PM


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