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Old 06-20-2005, 09:00 AM   #1
ad_adrian
 
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Is aikido dying?

i have heard a few of you saying that aikido is slowly dying?

i have also heard other famous aikido instructors...saying that a lot of aikido dojo's...are mainly just dancers...they dont go through the hard yard...etc...

for example gozo shioda said "todays aikido is so dimensionless. its hollow, empty on the inside people try to reach the highest levels with out even paying their dues. thats why it seems like so much of a dance these days you have to master the very basics solidly with your body and then proceed to devolp to the higher levels....... now we see nothing but copying or imitiation with out any grasp of the real thing..."
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:21 AM   #2
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Is aikido dying?

No.
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:22 AM   #3
mj
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Re: Is aikido dying?

2 points, both generalisations.

1) Aikido as a singular presence in the Martial Arts community:-

I think the constant fragmentation doesn't help at all.

As there is no unifying authority I do worry that the dripdripdrip is slowly (very slowly, it will last longer than my lifetime,) killing Aikido.

Having said that some arts survive merely through the efforts of one family (such as small Kung Fu schools etc). Size isn't everything.

Some publicity would help. To be frank we haven't had any good publicity since Seagal.

2) Aikido as a Martial Art:-

Aikido has a terrible reputation in general as a martial art - that does not help because it puts people off before they even think about signing up so it lowers the grassroots participation.

For me Aikido is not primarily a self defence based art. But most people looking for a martial art will be mainly looking for self defence.

This should be addressed as a presentational difficulty first.

Obviously the first thing Aikido should do to regain some credibility is to add transitional techniques to the ground and some realistic groundwork applications. I only say this in relation to my 2nd point.

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Old 06-20-2005, 09:34 AM   #4
giriasis
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Re: Is aikido dying?

No, I don't believe aikido is dying. I believe the critcism just comes from people who want to make comparisons so they can raise up their belief in their own system by putting down others.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:41 AM   #5
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

as im only new in aikido...i cant say i know...and the dojo i go to...is one of the most respected dojo's in australia...with a high quality teacher....so im not in that crowd...but even some of the story's i have heard of other dojo's around here...of how the sensei was arrogent and didnt care about anything...kind of made me think...im lucky im at the dojo i am at
but im not putting anyone down just merely asking a question what you guys think
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:41 AM   #6
mj
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
No, I don't believe aikido is dying. I believe the critcism just comes from people who want to make comparisons so they can raise up their belief in their own system by putting down others.
Well the original criticism quoted came from inside Aikido, Anne.

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Old 06-20-2005, 09:54 AM   #7
james c williams
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Smile Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Adrian Stuart wrote:
i have also heard other famous aikido instructors...saying that a lot of aikido dojo's...are mainly just dancers...they dont go through the hard yard...etc...
I am going to stick my neck out on this one and say that I agree with those that make such statements. I have been to a few dojos and have seen some strong/borderline brutal Aikido, to dancing Aikido as well as precise and dynamic Aikido. Why is that?

Well for me IMO, the simple reason is everyone is different. Everyone practices for their own reasons and to their own limits. Either way this can help students/teachers push themselves more and more or comfortably stay static in the same place all the time because of comfortability.

The real question should be, what does one say or do with this type of laid back discipline?
There is nobody that states Aikido should be for this person but not for that person.
Whether it be Aikikai, Yoshinkan etc. all state that Aikido is for everyone, and the moment you open the doors to everyone expect to welcome in...well everyone and all sorts of types. Does someone start cherry picking after that? So what happens then? People learn and do as they perceive Aikido (a little like how all of O'Sensei's students did - they are not all the same are they?).

As for me, I question everything I see and do. Is this Aikido good for me? Too soft, too hard? Too much dancing?
Whenever I saw or felt slightly uncomfortable with a specific style of Aikido whether it was because of it being too sadistic or too soft I walked. I walked because even I had my own ideas how Aikido should be for me.
I have been to dojos where weapons training and techniques was done with such brutality and little safety that injury seemed almost inevitable - on the other hand I also participated in dojos that people would simply fall before shite/nage even started waza! Both pretty frustrating if what you are after is a hard, earnest training without the risk of constant injury but at the same time without an uke that is nominated for the Oscars. Such place is most often hard and sometimes impossible to find, why? Well it is the perfect place and perfect places are not a dime a dozen.

Is Aikido dying? I am sure it is. Aikido died when O'Sensei passed away. His students carried their Aikido and passed in onto others and so forth and so on. Will it cease to exist? I don't believe so, Aikido will stand the test of time. Aikido was different in the 30's and different in the 60's and even different in the 90's. It will evolve, the good news is that no Aikido will be the same, like everything else it will continue to evolve.

Quote:
Adrian Stuart wrote:
for example gozo shioda said "todays aikido is so dimensionless. its hollow, empty on the inside people try to reach the highest levels with out even paying their dues. thats why it seems like so much of a dance these days you have to master the very basics solidly with your body and then proceed to devolp to the higher levels....... now we see nothing but copying or imitiation with out any grasp of the real thing..."
Shioda Sensei's comments have a lot of meaning to those that follow his ways, and the ways he followed O'Sensei with. However, Shioda Sensei was one of the many students of O'Sensei - all great and all equally different.

Osu!

James
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Old 06-20-2005, 10:01 AM   #8
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Since there is no one pure form of Aikido, it can hardly die...Even Ueshiba changed his Aikido during his life. Aikido got its name 1942 which is after the Hell Dojo years. Aikido is ever changing and never meant the same thing to different people -- hence the different styles. That is a good thing in my not so humble opinion.

Sure some dojo are, teach and create rubbish. But that's true in all martial arts.

As for one unifying authority, dream on. It's never going to happen. It didn't happen during Ueshiba's life and it's not going to happen now.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:58 PM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Mine isn't. It is alive, well, and growing.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-20-2005, 01:18 PM   #10
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Aikido is EVOLVING, as O'Sensei intended.

Take Musu!
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Old 06-20-2005, 02:02 PM   #11
Mashu
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Aikido cannot die.

It can be forgotten or disregarded but it cannot die.
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Old 06-20-2005, 02:52 PM   #12
Efe Yucemen
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

putting niceties aside, unless you're in a position to do something about said death of aikido this question is nothing but idle speculation. at the end of the day unless you instruct then the only aikido you're responsible for is your own. just train buddy...
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Old 06-20-2005, 03:13 PM   #13
Don_Modesto
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Devin Hammer wrote:
Take Musu!
Is that like serotonin or echinacea?

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 06-20-2005, 03:50 PM   #14
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Lol...maybe at your dojo. Our our dojo it is alive and well.
mir
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Old 06-20-2005, 07:30 PM   #15
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

One thing I have become aware of is how most Aikido in Japan is quite similar. Of course, no dojo is exactly the same but overall, it is quite similar. In fact, watching Japanese Shodokan guys do their kata and you might be mistaken for thinking it was an Aikikai club. And given the dynamic way they perform those katas, a good Aikikai club. However, take one step overseas and the differences even within a style can be quite significant, let alone between styles. There is far more 'difference' - some call it flavours - overseas than there is in Japan. At least, that is what I see - although it is not easy to point to specifics. Anyway, in that sense, it does seem to be harder to keep on track outside of Japan. That being said, some Aikido outside of Japan is better (the problem being, everyone will think that it is precisely theirs that is the better). The only poroblem is how to judge it -- everything I see is just my own opinion; everything you see is yours.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 06-20-2005 at 07:34 PM.

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Old 06-21-2005, 07:41 AM   #16
CNYMike
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Adrian Stuart wrote:
i have heard a few of you saying that aikido is slowly dying?
Not as long as it's passed from generation to generation it's not.
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Old 06-21-2005, 12:20 PM   #17
tarik
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Aikido dies and is reborn in every instant and every moment that we practice.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 06-21-2005, 01:04 PM   #18
giriasis
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Mark Johnston wrote:
Well the original criticism quoted came from inside Aikido, Anne.
Yes, I know he was, Mark.

So Gozo Shioda was also saying that his aikido is dance like or that he is only copying or imitating the real thing? Was he really including himself in that statement. He refers to "today's aikido" as to compared to "yesterday's aikido". I inferred that he was including himself in "yesterday's aikido" since he teaches Yoshinkan which is a style of aikido that comes from "yesterday" so to speak.

I have no problem with people being proud of their system. But I do have a problem when people point fingers at others when they are not a part of that system -- Aikikai, Ki Society, etc. I also find it very tacky for an instructor to talk in such a manner.

I will give the statement the benefit of the doubt that it was taken out of context, though.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 06-21-2005, 01:14 PM   #19
Mike Sigman
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
Quote:
in re Gozo Shioda's "tacky" statement: "Today's aikido is so dimensionless. its hollow, empty on the inside people try to reach the highest levels with out even paying their dues. thats why it seems like so much of a dance these days you have to master the very basics solidly with your body and then proceed to devolp to the higher levels....... now we see nothing but copying or imitiation with out any grasp of the real thing..."
I have no problem with people being proud of their system. But I do have a problem when people point fingers at others when they are not a part of that system -- Aikikai, Ki Society, etc. I also find it very tacky for an instructor to talk in such a manner.

I will give the statement the benefit of the doubt that it was taken out of context, though.
I wonder what the heck Shioda meant by "without any grasp of the real thing" ?

Mike
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Old 06-21-2005, 01:48 PM   #20
Steven
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Personally I think the statement was taken out of content. I believe this quote was taken from Aikido Shugyo. Odd that a Yoshinkan person would ask this question when a new Yoshinkan dojo is forming in his own country. Australia is a breeding ground for Yoshinkan Aikido schools and practitioners.

.. and for reference, Gozo Shioda is listed as 9th dan in Aikikai. In one of the interviews on Aikido Journal, the Second doshu points this out, though I can't find the link at the moment, so you'll just either have to take my word for it, or not. I don't care either way.

I also believe that Shioda was talking in relative terms and based on how he himself was trained as compared to what he saw going on at the time. I don't believe he was pointing fingers at any one group or another.

But then again, that's pure speculation and only Shioda knows what he really meant.
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:06 PM   #21
Adam Alexander
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Lord knows, I'm no expert. And although I agree with the previous post, I'm compelled to interpret Shioda's statement.

I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to an Aikidoka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.

That's because he didn't know the music was playing. He didn't know it was time to start dancing.

When I read that book (couple yrs. ago) I percieved him to be referring to Aikidoka, but not Aikido as an art.

I think most people would rather engage in enlightening discussions about Aikido (I think that's great!) but they don't put the same level of interest into the physical part.

IMHO.
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Old 06-21-2005, 03:55 PM   #22
tarik
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to an Aikidoka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.
I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to a karateka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.

Quote:
That's because he didn't know the music was playing. He didn't know it was time to start dancing.
Bingo. Really it's a problem that is hardly unique to aikido, it's a universal problem that arises any time one attempts to take something to the masses that can only be deeply taught one on one (relatively speaking).

A certain loss of quality control.

Quote:
I think most people would rather engage in enlightening discussions about Aikido (I think that's great!) but they don't put the same level of interest into the physical part.

IMHO.
Most? Based on what? Here, perhaps? There's always a fringe of people who show up (in places like this) and talk about aikido but never get on the mat. It shows up pretty quickly though.

People who do train consistently, and with similar goals, tend to recognize it in other people, even when they do not agree with details.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 06-21-2005, 04:28 PM   #23
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Steven Miranda wrote:
.. and for reference, Gozo Shioda is listed as 9th dan in Aikikai. In one of the interviews on Aikido Journal, the Second doshu points this out, though I can't find the link at the moment, so you'll just either have to take my word for it, or not. I don't care either way.
Shioda recounts it in "Aikido Shugyo". He tested for 9th dan in Iwama with Morihei Ueshiba in 1951.

Best,

Chris

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Old 06-21-2005, 04:43 PM   #24
Big Dave
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Re: Is aikido dying?

From a beginner's point of view, having done aikido now for 18 months, I think that the competing sensei' s and fragmentation of aikido into all of the different styles can cause students to lose interest/faith in aikido. For example, here in Hartford and its suburbs, which is a relatively small urban area, we have 2 ASU Dojo's, 1 USAF dojo, 1 ki society, 1 AAA and three independent dojo's. The process of trying to choose the "right" one can be overwhelming and confusing. It's like trying to choose the right religion - you can only hope that when it counts, you chose correctly.
IMHO, I personally think that Aikdo would benefit immensely if there were a parent organization in the United States.

Secondly, why are there so few children's programs? It wouldn't hurt to have feeder programs that could create lifetime learners. I think that in Japan children's programs are quite common.

Just the random thoughts of a newbie.
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Old 06-21-2005, 05:57 PM   #25
tarik
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Not bad thoughts.. a few of my own follow...

Quote:
David Peling wrote:
From a beginner's point of view, having done aikido now for 18 months, I think that the competing sensei' s and fragmentation of aikido into all of the different styles can cause students to lose interest/faith in aikido.
Personally, I think that the multitude of approaches actually appeals to MORE people, rather than less, which may be a part of the 'problem'.

Quote:
For example, here in Hartford and its suburbs, which is a relatively small urban area, we have 2 ASU Dojo's, 1 USAF dojo, 1 ki society, 1 AAA and three independent dojo's.
Do you realize that the 2 ASU, 1 USAF, 1 AAA are all affiliated with the Aikikai, the organization run by the Founder's grandson?

Quote:
The process of trying to choose the "right" one can be overwhelming and confusing. It's like trying to choose the right religion - you can only hope that when it counts, you chose correctly.
What are you choosing for? Combat effectiveness? Unlike religion, where you find out when you're dead, if you aren't dead, you can always change your training.

Quote:
Secondly, why are there so few children's programs? It wouldn't hurt to have feeder programs that could create lifetime learners. I think that in Japan children's programs are quite common.
We have a childrens program with something like 120 members. Our link to Japan suggests to me that while this exists in Japan, it's on a much smaller scale [when not involved in the school system].

Quote:
Just the random thoughts of a newbie.
Keep thinking aloud, they're good thoughts.

Regards,

Tarik

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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