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Old 11-08-2005, 10:41 AM   #1
senshincenter
 
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Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Here in this link you will see some beautiful photos, at what obviously turned out to be a wonderful event:

http://www.pbase.com/cyberholz/aikido&page=2

I realize that a photo does not always reveal everything, and I realize that there are huge elements of technical applications that just have to be felt in order to truly be commented upon, etc., but still frame technology also has its place in the realm of refining body mechanics. Today, still frame technology has firmly become a part of any serious athlete's attempt at cultivating finer technique - no matter what the endeavor. It is through this avenue that I would like to begin a discussion on what I am calling "Rank Aikido." Here is how I would define "Rank Aikido." "Aikido that 'functions' only in accordance to both the rank of your own person and the rank of your Uke, where if your rank is greater (especially significantly greater) than Uke's, your tactical architecture will be allow to succeed no matter how ill-performed and/or ill-designed."

Please note that this is not meant as an attack on the current Aikikai Doshu, nor is it to a testament to the martial prowess of those who seek to train under him, etc. To participate in this discussion, one must move beyond the personality captured in the photos and instead focus in upon the issue of body mechanics as it often comes to be related to the institutional practice of issuing rank. Moreover, one must realize that such nice photos are hard to come by on the net,and that this topic is really a topic that is pan-Aikido federation. I, and I imagine it is the same for everyone, have never been in a place where "Rank Aikido" was not being practice by somebody in one form or another. In addition, it may very well be the case that some of us, perhaps most of us, came to the art of Aikido by seeing tapes of old Morihei practicing what could very well be described as "Rank Aikido." Lastly, and most significantly, one must realize that the heart of this topic is really centered upon our own practice, as we should be the one's most responsible for not coming to practice Rank Aikido, for not spreading it from generation to generation, from dojo to dojo, as we mature in the art and/or in the ranks of our particular governing bodies. This is a discussion about ourselves and our own Aikido - not Moriteru Ueshiba, East Asian Aikido, the Aikikai, etc.

In that light, I would like to address your attention to the following photos:

PB060285, 284,248, and 245.

Let us note that these still frames capture some key parts of the architectures related to at least the first three pins. If one wants to understand these pins more broadly, which is obviously fair to do, one could say that these still frames are capturing some key elements to entire tactical curriculum. That is to say, these are not pictures of some minor and/or irrelevant aspects of a once-performed rep. Moreover, for those that have seen/felt these exact versions, you very well know that you have also seen/felt these versions being performed by a great many other individuals - all over the place.

However, if you look at the photos, you cannot help but to notice a body alignment (i.e. a lack of body alignment) that would get most Nage to "fail" in their application of the technique. If one were to have a higher ranked Uke, this type of body mechanics would not provide the necessary mechanical advantage to function as designed or as attempted. This is not because a lower ranked aikidoka could not (i.e. unskilled) transfer their weight/center into their hands in order to apply enough weight/mass to bring Uke back from the outside to their centerline/center. Rather, this is because an Uke who could (equally) transfer their weight to their feet/base opts to do so if they have higher rank Nage but opts not to do so if they have lower rank Nage.

What are the causes of Rank Aikido? What are the ramifications of Rank Aikido? What are the solutions to Rank Aikido? How does one prevent Rank Aikido from popping up and/or spreading?

For me, the best solution is a simple one: An instructor must learn how to say these words, and say them often, until their Uke are cured of the virus of Rank Aikido themselves*: "Don't do that. Don't give me the technique. Just attack. If I fail, I fail. Stay true to the martial behind the culture, not to the culture that has given face to the martial."


What say you?
dmv

*In my opinion, the virus of Rank Aikido enters at a very young age in the art. It first attaches itself to the fear Uke normally feels when it comes to falling, being thrown, attacking, etc. Here's how: These fears are often somewhat alleviated by the instructions to follow Nage's lead, which in turns allows an Uke to feel that he/she should KNOW what Nage is going to do. It is this "knowing" which addresses the source of the fear of falling, being thrown, attacking, etc., because the source of these fears is ultimately a fear of the unknown. In a way, because instructors or seniors are often the ones that provide this instruction, "follow Nage's lead" institutionally comes to support a fear of the unknown.

This is detrimental to one's progress in the art since one's progress, in many ways, can be measured by how much one has reconciled his/her fear of the unknown - which is one of the most primal fears related to self-attachment and thus is a resistance toward the practice of love, wisdom, and compassion and/or any other human virtue worth intentionally cultivating. When this resistance, when the fear of the unknown is being institutionally supported through instruction, when this self-attachment by Uke connects to Nage's own ego issues (which are centered around a fear of failing, pride, and/or a lack of humility, etc.) you get a full blown case of Rank Aikido. This explains why Rank Aikido is a contract of sorts - a cooperation to defraud oneself for the sake of feeding one's own primal fears and/or attachment to the self. In Rank Aikido, Nage and Uke meet in a pact to feed each others fears and each other's propensity for self-attachment.

David M. Valadez
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Old 11-08-2005, 11:36 AM   #2
happysod
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

What say I sir? - methinks you're going to be off a lot of people's Chrissie card lists...

On a more serious note, I think the problem is not so much rank aikido and tanking uke's so much as a lack of self-assessment on the part of the teacher and the old "who's gonna tell the boss he's wrong" syndrome - which can easily lead to ill will and banishment to the nine hells of aikido.

You'll always get this problem in any group, not just martial arts, if there's a predilection to a top-down attitude without any outside constraints or objective criteria (yes Peter et al, I know, competition!).

I think the only solution in most cases is a "masterclass" where those who normally teach become students again within a constructive (and probably respectful) framework of honest and open critique.... next on we'll have a demonstration by the Barnsley flying pigs stunt team
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Old 11-08-2005, 11:59 AM   #3
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

But Ian, don't you think that this just doens't happen at the level of sensei/deshi but that it also happens at the level of senpai/kohai as well (perhaps even more so)?

On your other point - an excellent point I may add here - I think you are right on the money concerning how the top-down institutional structure works through and off of certain inter-personal "reactions." In other words, the institutional is a matter of making the personal (i.e. fear, pride, lack of self-reflection capacities, etc.) work socially (i.e. don't tell the boss he's wrong, since it will only defeat you in the end anyways). Once you are stuck in that quagmire - jeesh - forget about it.

It does seem that some sort of competition element could alleviate some of the negative ramifications of the top-down institutional strucuture, but I think the fact that Rank Aikido still shows up in Tomiki Aikido, for example, tells us that there is more to the solution than this. Larry Camejo has made a similar comment, not in terms of promoting competition, but in terms of utilizing more spontaneous training environments in order to "equalize" the field. I can agree with both efforts in part - meaning, I think both competition aspects and spontaneous training environments should have their place in our training - especially if we want to get away from the kind of delusions that Rank Aikido tends to present. However, a thing with spontaneous training environments is that everyone thinks they have them - when in fact they are only mistaking a habituated cultural trend for the "in the moment" whatever that actually should mark such environments. We thus often come to believe that acting habitually is acting spontaneously, when to act spontaneously is actually a matter of acting outside of habit.

Thanks for the reply, and thanks for taking the time to introduce the next act - Come on everybody, let's hear it for the flying pigs!

David M. Valadez
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Old 11-08-2005, 06:24 PM   #4
PeterR
 
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

That's an awful lot of supposition based on a few still pics.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:16 PM   #5
senshincenter
 
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

That Rank Aikido exists and has the potential to function at the top - even with Osensei himself? Or just that these are examples of Rank Aikido?

If it is the former, I would suggest that we don't need any pictures to be able to testify about such things. If one has practiced long enough, even short enough, one has seen examples of this and/or one should be capable of putting two and two together concerning choreographed training environments and how they are impacted by institutional practices like the issuing of rank and/or the establishing of hierarchy.

If it is the latter, I didn't really want to focus too much on that. I tried to set things up so that one could just look at the pictures as if they were just pictures of any person with rank violating good body mechanics. That said, one thing about Moriteru's Aikido is that it is extremely capable of providing rep after rep without much variation. Thus, these pics are not just samples of a one or two reps done at a specific time and/or in a specific place. These pics are examples of tactical architectures done over and over again, time after time, place after place. If one knows his practice, been exposed to it, and/or felt it, one can tell that these pics are pics of the middle of his Ikkyo Ura (or this part as it is practiced in other pin ura architectures), Sankyo Omote, and Sankyo Ura. Nevertheless, I think the only way that one would not be able to draw such suppositions reasonably (concerning how these pics might be related to the practice of Rank Aikido) is if one could find at least one example in Ikkyo Ura, Sankyo Omote and Ura where it is advantageous and/or in line with keeping and/or producing a mechanical advantage by having a disjointed relationship between one's center, the center of the technique, and the center of contact. I personally know of no such example. Hence, why, for me, these pics are indicative of Rank Aikido.

I think any instructor/practitioner knows that one of the difficulties of Ikkyo Ura (or any related technique) is the tendency in the beginner to move away from the center of the technique (thus disjointing their own center from the center of contact and the center of the technique) as they proceed with the tenkan maneuver. It is very common in my experience to reveal this flaw in kohai by having Senpai Uke simply not move - since Kohai Nage are too out of place to move them and/or to allow them to move in the prescribed direction in any kind of tactical manner. However, whenever the rank roles are reverse, you very often see such disjointedness being practiced as if it was never problematic in the first place. That is to say, whenever Nage is Senpai, you see Uke no longer staying in place (demonstrating the disjointed alignment of such an application). Rather, you see Kohai Uke hurrying to get their ass around - providing the proper body alignment themselves at the middle or at the bottom of the technique.

It is this variance in what constitutes "mechanical advantage," as it is related to hierarchy and/or the issuing of rank, that I am here interested in discussing.

Last edited by senshincenter : 11-08-2005 at 08:25 PM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:22 PM   #6
nelsonhomer
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

IMHO

Everybody can be prone to this. We should always try to check our selves during practice regardless of our ranks to improve our aikido.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Is that possible that Doshu already is in the "exit from form" stage of his Aiki development?

In the old Chinese Marital practice, the students weren't taught any technique but standing still, or standing like a tree trunk literally. At cerntain ranking interval, the master would try to push over the students. Anyone who got pushed over had to continue to stand like tree for another year. Those who's talented enough to figure out how to connect his body as one and rooted to the ground got to the next stage.

The next stage, only 6 or 8 cata were taught. Again, the student had to demonstrate he's worthy of being taugh more at end of the year. Sometime, a tree pushing demo was done. Literally, the student push to bend a thick tree truck.

In Aikido, there is not test to show that the students understand the pricincples. You blame the situate on the dishonest lower ranking Uke?

I blame the Aikido hombo.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:42 PM   #8
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

http://www.pbase.com/cyberholz/image/51851457

Who's this old sensei? He looks like he knows what he's doing. At least he's got better form than Dashu.
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Old 11-08-2005, 10:00 PM   #9
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
Roosvelt Freeman wrote:
Is that possible that Doshu already is in the "exit from form" stage of his Aiki development?

For me, I wouldn't ever say that Ha level practice or Shu level practice would be a departure from good body mechanics. So I'd have to say that any "exit from form" stage would not exclude an aikidoka from practicing Rank Aikido if he/she demonstrated some sort of inconsistency in the effectiveness of their "mechanical advantages" in relation to the relative rank of their training partner.

David M. Valadez
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:03 AM   #10
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

You have pointed out something that I am sure many have noticed but most say very little or nothing.

Whenever I see a pic or video of myself I see things I dislike - and it becomes a training aid, without which no one would likely tell/correct me. So, I find 'revealing' pics of myself useful. But at the end of the day, we don't want everyone worrying about what they look like when doing Aikido - it is far more important to deal with uke in the moment, even though it might not be perfect - and no one is perfect. Also, I am sure you can find a not-so-good still picture of the most beautiful woman in the world. If people worry too much about what they look like we'll end up with mirrors on four walls and a weight-gym mentality where people prance around 'checking' themselves out.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 11-09-2005 at 12:06 AM.

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Old 11-09-2005, 12:20 AM   #11
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Im with David Valdez. Rank Aikido happens, and it happens all too often.

I wouldnt particularly give it that name, but it's definately false training. I know many people take things personally when something is said about their art, but this "Rank Aikido" is exactly why I quit training in Aikido. The art is great and offers great things, but I can not say it is "Martial" by any means.

I find Aikido to be more appealing to the older crowds that are seeking a softer style of martial arts minus the martial. Again, no offense

Devon Natario
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Old 11-09-2005, 04:05 AM   #12
happysod
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
t that it also happens at the level of senpai/kohai
I have seen it happen at this level, in fact in an old association I was amused to hear of one preeminent instructor (in their own mind at least) chide a kyu grade for daring to resist one of their techniques. I think this is one area where the misinterpretation of respect and "it's budo" comes to the fore at the expense of training. For me, I am not providing respect for my training partner, of any level, by providing a less than honest feedback to their technique.

Yes, there can and will be mitigating factors - dumping your teacher while they're doing a demo even I would consider perhaps a little excessive. However, in general I would expect people to react within normal training with the appropriate level of resistance to the technique that is warranted.
Quote:
That's an awful lot of supposition based on a few still pics
but it did make a nice shoe-in for a topic
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:20 AM   #13
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
For me, I wouldn't ever say that Ha level practice or Shu level practice would be a departure from good body mechanics. So I'd have to say that any "exit from form" stage would not exclude an aikidoka from practicing Rank Aikido if he/she demonstrated some sort of inconsistency in the effectiveness of their "mechanical advantages" in relation to the relative rank of their training partner.
I guess my bad joke wasn't funny

I'm totally agree with you about rank Aikido. Look at the Shioda Sensei video in 2nd Aikido Friendship Demonstration from aikidojournal. In every single frame, he's in good postrue and balance. OK, almost, in one suwari waza, he didn't sit properly and immediatedly got pushed over by a uke.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/media.p...subcategory=15

But what's the solution?
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:28 AM   #14
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
Roosvelt Freeman wrote:
But what's the solution?
It's uke's job to make sure that appropriate resistence is given. Sometimes, the technique cannot be done at full speed and/or resistence because sensei is teaching some aspect of it.

If you want to test your Aikido, there are plenty of ways to do it. Randori-ho is but one example. That's why I like our (read shodokan) training method [1]. It keeps thing at least somewhat real: if my technique is rubbish, I'll get dump on my arse by uke. It would be humbling if it did not happen that oftern.... *grins evilly*

[1] Note that I did not say it was the only way, just one way... Yeah, too many years on the 'net getting into silly flame wars because people did not read what I wrote but read what they wanted to hear. Me? Jaded? You jest?

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:22 AM   #15
Amir Krause
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Forget the pictures. That can only raise a scandal that is irrelevant to the interesting subject you have raised.

Rank Aikido happens. I remember a period I used to complain to many students fell due to my BB, not to my actions. Despite the well known Israeli Chutzpa, the general lack of respect to rank in our society and the urging of Sensei and Sempai.

I believe you pointed correctly at the reasons - fear of pain and expectation of a technique requiring premature escape.

The only solution I know of is to be aware of this and careful. To insist on Uke resisting at times, and to look for better Uke as one's qualifier.

Amir
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:42 AM   #16
happysod
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
It's uke's job to make sure that appropriate resistence is given
agree, but with a caveat - it's also the instructors job to ensure the climate within the dojo is appropriate and allows for juniors to provide resistance without that impacting negatively on them.

Quote:
That's why I like our (read shodokan) training method [1].
- insert long rant against the evils of competition here along with a snide remark on the famous rubber tanto and the non-budo aspect of "certain associations" - couldn't resist Yann, what can I say but I'm a traditionalist (gathers hakama and leaves)
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:56 AM   #17
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
Devon Natario wrote:
Im with David Valdez. Rank Aikido happens, and it happens all too often.

I wouldnt particularly give it that name, but it's definately false training. I know many people take things personally when something is said about their art, but this "Rank Aikido" is exactly why I quit training in Aikido. The art is great and offers great things, but I can not say it is "Martial" by any means.

I find Aikido to be more appealing to the older crowds that are seeking a softer style of martial arts minus the martial. Again, no offense
So let me get this straight:

Aikido is a martial art... minus the martial aspect of it, it's great for "older" people because it is "soft", it's false training, you no longer practice aikido... but you come here to an Aikido Forum and tell us these things and then ask us to NOT be offended?

Guess what? I'm offended you think anyone here stupid enough to listen to all that and NOT be offended!

Go re-read your post, insert your martial art in place of aikido and tell me how you would react.
____________________________________________

As for the original poster who found 3 or 4 pics that showed bad form or posture or whatever... I have a question for you:

Ever had a bad day?
Ever mess up a technique and wish you could do it over again because you knew you were better than that?
Ever had a lower ranking person tell you how you are doing something wrong?

This whole thread is bogus. Interesting questions, and definitly something to think about. But, imho, the whole damn thing is speculation based on incomplete information... and I'm being nice in saying so.

Last edited by John Boswell : 11-09-2005 at 11:08 AM.

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Old 11-09-2005, 11:19 AM   #18
senshincenter
 
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Sorry about missing the joke Roosevelt, it was right on the money, and that's why I didn't see it - so many folks talk like that you know, "Well, the reason why he's not making a mistake is because he's beyond mistakes, and you would know that too if you were not still stuck in the land of Making Mistakes." My mistake.

I think Yann is onto something here - having a more mindful Uke and/or placing a great deal of the solution on Uke. For the most part, all over the world, we see that kind of solution to this problem taking place between peers - folks of the same rank and/or near enough. These kinds of pairings seem to ring more true. I'm sure everyone has seen these types of pairings or even been in one - where you had that one person (or more) in your dojo who was near your rank and with whom you could be more honest with as Uke, requiring each other's Nage to be more honest tactically and biomechanically.

Let's look at that a bit more…

Honesty, what does it mean, where does it come from, and why is it so likely to not be present in places where Rank Aikido is practiced? If I look at these questions, the thing that stands out for me is that honesty is related to intimacy. One needs intimacy to be honest without it being insulting and/or damaging. Intimacy allows one the interpersonal privilege of relating to another through and with the Truth. For example, we have no problem (or maybe just a little problem) with our spouse saying, "Gee, I don't really think that shirt goes well with those pants." We can take that in and use it better as a guide on what to wear or not to wear. However, if we hear that phrase by someone just passing us in the street, our heart/minds are not able to process the information in any kind of proactive or positive way. We cannot use it. Almost immediately, we feel a breech in the contract we have with strangers (people with whom we have no intimacy): "You remain cordial, and you do so even at the cost of not speaking the truth (even if that is just the truth of your mind)." We start to focus in on this breech of contract more than anything else. I would say this is what you see happening in Ian's example of the high-ranking practitioner chiding the kyu rank for "resisting" the technique. He/She was unable to see what such resistance (since it always takes two forces to cause a resistance) was saying about his/her technique. He/She could not use the information proactively and instead just got stuck on the breech of contract which had a non-intimate practicing honesty in a place where there was no intimacy.

Competition is one way that we allow ourselves to be honest with each other without necessarily having or needing intimacy. It is a kind of culturally approved way of revealing the truth of things and of each other without needing or wanting any kind of open and/or lasting relationship with another person. Nevertheless, even in competition, especially in good matches, and particularly when folks are able to get beyond the pride issues that often accompany competing, you can still break through the cultural contract, through the honesty, to the intimacy that it usually supports and is supported by. At this point, competitors become very appreciative of their competitor's honesty and actually feel very close to them as well.

What does an absence of intimacy say about an art that claims to reconcile the world? It has always been very strange to me how Aikido is posited by a great many of us to be a way of purifying the heart/mind, of cultivating wisdom and compassion, of practicing Love, or as a path to reconciliation, etc., while at the same time there are these federation wars, these dojo clicks, these warnings about trusting or having too much faith in your instructor, etc. It seems self-defeating, even contradictory or hypocritical, to speak of things that require the lowering of boundaries and the taking of interpersonal risks and/or the exposing and sharing of our inner self, but to go on remaining guarded, partitioned off, and closed toward others (i.e. everyone). From this light, Aikido's "a way to reconcile the world" looks like the biggest pile of crap -- a modern version of hiding one's own alienation in the garb of an old adage, one that was never really meant to take place. Imagine how silent the phrase "love your neighbor" would be today if it was immediately followed then (when it was first uttered) by the caveat, "but you got to be careful, not every neighbor is worth loving."

If a tradition will not allow room for intimacy to be used proactively in providing truth, honesty, and integrity via the interactions that we can and should have with other human beings, and if that same tradition admonishes the normally accepted social contract of competition, which allows honesty without intimacy, then that tradition is going to be slave to delusion. Not all delusion is going to be attributable to learning curves and safety issues, nor even to Shu level training and/or the significance of forms practice, etc. (Let us note here that nearly all other traditions have learned to face these things without such widespread delusion -- especially at the top of the social hierarchy.) The problem here is that Aikido, following Japanese models, uses a lack of intimacy to mark and establish hierarchy. This is why we can be more honest with our peers than with our senpai or our sensei in practice. Concurrently this means that the greater the spread in rank, the more our Uke are forced interpersonally to remain dishonest (or suffer the social consequences of breeching the contract we have with strangers). For most of us, it would seem impossible to have intimacy and honesty with our teachers but to also be respectful and courteous at the same time. However, is this not one of the things we are supposed to figure out how to do? Is this not the level of heart/mind cultivation we are supposed to be heading toward, one where we are not trapped on the spectrum of friend, foe, and the non-intimate we respect?

In our dojo, looking at things now, which is just one way of many, we seek out this intimacy, because we know it is necessary for honesty to be present -- we know that it is necessary for delusion to be purified. There is a lot of self-revelation going on because of the self-reflection that happens as a result of utilizing others in our training (to dialog with, to disagree with, to compete with, to train with, to be defeated by, to gain victory by, etc.), and all of this cannot helped but to be shared because it happens as a result of everything taking place within a community. Looking at this now, I can see that we help folks foster this honesty in their training by utilizing things like competition and also by utilizing protocols that set things up for honesty within the Nage/Uke relationship (a thing I posted on here a while back that caused quite a stir for some -- one can find it on our web site). However, the end result is to generate a capacity for intimacy. Once a person can establish this intimacy, once one is in a place where it is expected, we can be honest with each other's practice without it being in the least way insulting, disrespectful, and outside of the bounds of what is expected.

Thus, that would be my solution: the cultivation and expectation of intimacy. Find a place where it is expected. Find a system where you can cultivate it outside of the friend-foe-non-intimate we respect spectrum. Aikido is supposed to have it. Aikido needs it to survive. We need it to survive.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:24 AM   #19
senshincenter
 
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:

As for the original poster who found 3 or 4 pics that showed bad form or posture or whatever... I have a question for you:

Ever had a bad day?
Ever mess up a technique and wish you could do it over again because you knew you were better than that?
Ever had a lower ranking person tell you how you are doing something wrong?

This whole thread is bogus. Interesting questions, and definitly something to think about. But, imho, the whole damn thing is speculation based on incomplete information... and I'm being nice in saying so.
Well John if you could forget the pictures then, perhaps you can shed more light on this topic by sharing more of your experience and/or feeling - it would be appreciated.

Not wanting to ignore you, I think I posted above on what you write here when I replied to a similar comment made by Peter.

Thanks for the reply,
dmv
ps. If one is too stuck on the pics and the "unfairness" of their usage, etc., please feel invited to check out pictures of my own practice at our web site - there are videos and pics. Hopefully, one can take this gesture in good faith and thus be able to talk about the topic.

Last edited by senshincenter : 11-09-2005 at 11:30 AM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:34 AM   #20
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Hi John, and everyone else too.

This thread makes me uncomfortable, and I believe it is supposed to. I believe it makes me uncomfortable because it touches on the heart of many contradictions in aikido which David has very clearly stated. I cannot say that any of his statements are false. I feel uncomfortable because I in fact know that his statements are generally true, and because of the fact that I see myself in the pictures used as an example when I train with both sempai and kohai.

It might have been nice to express these ideas with an example from someone else...not the current Doshu. But David's very point is that we are dealing with a hierachical structure, and that this particular problem comes from the top of that structure, and filters down to each and every one of us. He could just as well have found a picture of any of the leaders of the major organizations, and we would be in the same place.

John, can you honestly say that the statements reflected here are untrue? They are not politic, they are not comfortable, but aren't they true? Leave aside if you will the examples given, the person given, the fact that still shots are hard to judge by (I personally don't know what to make of some of the shots contextually). Are these statements untrue? And if they are not, does the manner in which they are made invalidate their truth?

Uncomfortably Yours,
Ron (who is glad there are not sooo many pictures of my own bad technique out there)

**Honesty check ** I have posted some of my thoughts about the context of these photos on the corresponding thread on www.budoseek.net.

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 11-09-2005 at 11:37 AM.

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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:36 AM   #21
Steve Mullen
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

I think the general point put across by the thread starter is a good one and a true one, but i think that the vessel used to make this point is inherantly flawed. still photos take a snapshot of reality, every woman's magazine editor knows this only too well, they always have pictures of 'gorgeous' people looking uglier than sin. does this mean that becuase there was a picture of halle berry with sweat patches under her arms that she always sweats? no, it means that for in that snapshot she was.

The same applies to this, because the doshu had 'bad form' in a few photos doesn't mean he has bad form all the time, similarly it doesn't mean that uke was taking a dive. Aikido IMHO is all about it's subtleties, what's to say the doshu hadn't taken uki's balance in the micro second before the photo was taken and was on his way to regaining perfect posture.

We look at a photo of an apple falling and don't assume it is floating

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 11-09-2005, 12:00 PM   #22
John Boswell
 
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
Steve Mullen wrote:
I think the general point put across by the thread starter is a good one and a true one, but i think that the vessel used to make this point is inherantly flawed. still photos take a snapshot of reality, every woman's magazine editor knows this only too well, they always have pictures of 'gorgeous' people looking uglier than sin. does this mean that becuase there was a picture of halle berry with sweat patches under her arms that she always sweats? no, it means that for in that snapshot she was.

The same applies to this, because the doshu had 'bad form' in a few photos doesn't mean he has bad form all the time, similarly it doesn't mean that uke was taking a dive. Aikido IMHO is all about it's subtleties, what's to say the doshu hadn't taken uki's balance in the micro second before the photo was taken and was on his way to regaining perfect posture.

We look at a photo of an apple falling and don't assume it is floating
This sums up my thoughts very well. My emotional response was more a reflection on the other author who chose to attack all of aikido itself, rather than the original poster. But let's go back to the original post:

Quote:
What are the causes of Rank Aikido? What are the ramifications of Rank Aikido? What are the solutions to Rank Aikido? How does one prevent Rank Aikido from popping up and/or spreading?

For me, the best solution is a simple one: An instructor must learn how to say these words, and say them often, until their Uke are cured of the virus of Rank Aikido themselves*: "Don't do that. Don't give me the technique. Just attack. If I fail, I fail. Stay true to the martial behind the culture, not to the culture that has given face to the martial."
What causes rank aikido, ramifications of it, solutions to it and how do we prevent it? We train.

I'll be testing for 1st kyu next week. I'm not kidding myself, my technique is lacking in many ways. But do I know the techniques? yes. Can I do them? To a certain degree, yes. Do I feel worthy of passing that exam? No, but then again, I'm not the sensei.

Standards need to be kept high and maintained well. ANYONE can be looked at and have "flaws" pointed out. Doshu wasn't even born when Hiroshi Kato Shihan was sotodeshi under the founder, so to expect Doshu to be as good or skilled as Kato Shihan, or many other shihan, just isn't fair, imho.

Fakes need to be found and pointed out. Aikikai as an organization needs to set high standards and maintain them. In practicing aikido itself, attacks should be committed, nage should be pushed to do better, faster in accordance with their rank.

I'm sorry, and I'll freely admit this, I did NOT read every single word the orignal poster said. I speed-read his post because it wasn't just long... it was L...O...N...G...! Too much analysis of something can be a flaw in itself! You want aikido standards to be higher? Get on the mat! And when you find examples of poor aikido, point it out and make people aware, which I fully give credit for.

But in all honesty, I think to much credit is being given to Doshu because he has the title of Doshu. Me? I'm realistic. I KNOW the man would make me look bad, but then again I don't assume him to be the end-all, be-all in aikido either. He's good! But we all have bad days. That is why he travels: to see what others are doing, learn from who he can, teach who he can and generate interest and respect for a martial art that IS in fact martial when done properly. I dare Devon N. to test the skill of a shihan and tell me aikido is not martial. Kato Shihan would have a few things to say about that as well, I imagine.

Now here I am rattling on for page after page. *sigh*

Off to lunch...

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Old 11-09-2005, 12:14 PM   #23
roosvelt
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
Steve Mullen wrote:
I think the general point put across by the thread starter is a good one and a true one, but i think that the vessel used to make this point is inherantly flawed. still photos take a snapshot of reality, every woman's magazine editor knows this only too well, they always have pictures of 'gorgeous' people looking uglier than sin. does this mean that becuase there was a picture of halle berry with sweat patches under her arms that she always sweats? no, it means that for in that snapshot she was.
What are apples and oranges?

Those photoes weren't taken inside Dusho's home when he got out of bed or relaxed in a couch with a beer on hand. He was taking down a real opponent in a professional demonstration.

If any those of your "gorgeous" people had a habit of looking uglier than sin in the cat walk or the movie sets, they'd find theirselves out of any job very quickly.
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Old 11-09-2005, 01:38 PM   #24
Nick Simpson
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

He was throwing/pinning an uke, not 'taking down a real opponent'. Just to nitpick. Interesting thread, I was discussing this the other day, sometimes a flaw in technique is a bad thing, sometimes it is not. It's these little idiosyncracies that make each of our aikido our own. Yes, I agree, rank aikido does happen, I have seen it, It's not the best thing in the world but as long as you practise sincerely then forget about what others are doing.

In most aikido, we are told to keep our feet on the floor, grounded, strong posture etc etc. I have seen pictures of shioda sensei on one leg while slamming someone into the mat, looks like incorrect technique? Well, yes it does. But, being on one leg while you tansfer weight to the other one during the throw allows for more body weight/drop behind the technique. Much like when you punch, you punch with your body moving, rather than from standing still and flat footed.

No aikido is ever going to be perfect, with photography we can see these inherent flaws in any aikidoka, however, someone like Shioda sensei or the doshu is still going to be better than the vast majority of aikidoka out there. They are/were still learning, just like the rest of us, eh?

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 11-09-2005, 02:00 PM   #25
roosvelt
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Re: Rank-Aikido (pun intended)

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:

No aikido is ever going to be perfect, with photography we can see these inherent flaws in any aikidoka, however, someone like Shioda sensei or the doshu is still going to be better than the vast majority of aikidoka out there. They are/were still learning, just like the rest of us, eh?

I know O'sensei had a policy that any of his student can attach him anytime in the dojo. Is there a similar policy in Hombo Dojo now? Can the current Doshu perform the "jo-trick"?

I rest my case.

Happy training, in the right way or wrong way so long it makes you happy.
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