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Old 01-13-2006, 08:24 PM   #26
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

First there IS only one Aikido from Osensei ...he is the founder
I agree with Takemusu aiki we each make the art our own and develope ... I am not saying Homogenous every aikirobot diong the same waza in formation to the same teaching methodology...I am not saying this aikido is better than that aikido there is no this and that there is one aikido some folks may be better than I or not... everyone does their own aikido which comes from Osensei... even if you do it at several different dojos... aikido does and is growing and alive... I do not want to fight to prove my aikido is better... could a board or group of senior instructors hammer out a minimum or something... and sure there is a spectrum of Osenseis aikido through his life his young vs old ikkyo, but its ikkyo... i am again not even saying schools should change the way they test... my feeling is I would rather be a strong white belt than a weak(or totally ignorant) blackbelt...I THINK Osensei would not have to tell someone with absolutely no skill or knowledge or authority(permission) to teach to stop, his students would have politely done it for him, unless he did it first... Osensei was a warrior... i am not saying he would have killed them but he is reputed to have had a fierce temper to balance his loving gentle soul...shouldnt we as aikidoka have the responsibility to do some quality control and assurance for ourselves and potential students and the public...

lets try to keep this in a moderately general mode

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-13-2006, 08:34 PM   #27
James Kelly
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Re: Standards of testing???

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
a quick anecdote: [...] We did the "waza" as demonstrated and as we practiced it my partner and I added our aiki to it ie if he did something like kotegaeshi we slowly did a kote gaeshi.
In my opinion, you missed out... let your preconceived idea of what aikido is get in the way of possibly learning something. How do you know how much aikido training this guy had? Might have been very little, might have been none, but he had training in other arts and so had a different take on even little akido he knew. By just doing your own thing you lost the opportunity to see what he had to say. It's a conversation. He said, ‘hi' and you said, ‘where we come from, we say hello.' I'm not saying it might not have been a complete waste of time, but you lost your chance to find out.
Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
shouldn't we have some kind of authority as Aikidoka to make sure if you say you teach aikido that you do?
Absolutely not. Aikido already has too much centralization in my opinion. Who's style do we use as a base line? And who are ‘we' in the first place? If the guy wants to say he does Aikido, let him. How exactly does it affect your training?
Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
But could we just use a base line standard for shodan? say we all use one set of minimum requirements that could be added to but not abridged? or should we have some umbrella authority that recognized "authorized" instructors?
The last thing we need is a bureaucracy defining what is the proper way to do kote-gaeshi. (It's a kind of funny image though... everyone getting nervous because someone from the Ministry for the Protection of Purity in Technique is scheduled to show up and tell everyone exactly how the techniques should be done).
Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
there is only one aikido from osensei the different organizations came as a result of personalities and politics for the most part...'
Yes and no. Yes the organizations are mostly personal and political, but there is not only one aikido from O Sensei. He taught different things at different times in different places and even to different people in the same dojo. O Sensei's aikido was vast and varied and continues on as a living breathing art that changes each time someone new puts on a gi. He was one man with one body, and a set of students with generally a common cultural background. Transplant those movements into different bodies... try to use those movements on people with different cultures of movement... and you get something new. What works for you might not work for me. The only way to tell is to put in the hours and see how it goes.
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Old 01-13-2006, 08:58 PM   #28
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

James I know with no doubt that this guy had no training... at best a video or book... he did not do any aikido you don't point at someone and throw them with your "chi" his word choice... i appreciate senseis who do expose me to varitions to aikido techniques... this guy did NO aikido... there is ONLY one style of aikido... that comes from Osensei... other senseis teach aikido they may have there own way of teaching or variations of waza, but it is still recognizable as aikido... Gozo Shioda taught aikido he taught with insight, but he did not found aikido... Osensei did... choose any great teacher you want... if its nikkyo you will feel it ;-))...

Last edited by Edwin Neal : 01-13-2006 at 09:00 PM.

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-13-2006, 09:07 PM   #29
Edwin Neal
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Thumbs down Aikido Alert

AIKIDO ALERT

fans of battlestar galactic (i know you are out there)
aikido on the show
i call it ikkyo or ikkyo nage
what do you think?

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 12:04 AM   #30
MaryKaye
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Re: Standards of testing???

Quote:
Rebecca Montange wrote:
This is probably worth a thread in and of itself, but Mary, I'm curious. What is this style of ukemi that you speak of? I ask simply because I've always seen ukemi as something rather personal.[...] As long as uke is maintaining a good and honest connection and no one's getting hurt, what difference do the details make?
The easiest way to describe it is to compare the videos on ukemi by Ellis Amdur or Bruce Bookman (I am told--have not seen that one) with the one by Donovan Waite. I am not really proficient with either style but have been attending seminars on the latter kind for a couple of years, and I'm watching some of my Aikikai friends try to change their ukemi over. There seems to be enough difference that a kyu-rank with a few seminars behind them finds the falls easier than a dan-rank encountering them for the first time.

If I had to venture a description I'd say that Waite's style shapes the legs and arms into a wide V in many ukemi, rolls out of falls traditionally taken as hardfalls, and sticks to nage's body tightly rather than projecting away.

My impression is that at low levels (this changes among the senior people) it's difficult and unsafe to do a Waite-style ukemi if nage is trying to force a hardfall. (I certainly go splat when this happens to me.) So a dojo has to make a decision which style they are encouraging, or junior students will get splatted. It's hard to leave this purely to personal choice, at least at my level of experience. Nage's technique must permit uke to try this out, or learning it is too difficult initially.

No one in my home dojo (Ki Society) has ever thrown me in a way that naturally elicited a Waite-style ukemi, whereas in dojo where they are practiced, I have occasionally been surprised into one even when I planned to do something else. Nage's intentions really do matter. (Again, at my level; I'm sure this becomes less true with rank.)

Mary Kaye
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Old 01-14-2006, 12:32 AM   #31
RebeccaM
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Re: Standards of testing???

Hmm.

I am very familiar with Bookman's style having trained under him. I have not seen the Waite video though. To be honest I haven't even thought of different ways of taking ukemi.

Nage's intentions always matter. With seniority you may learn how to reverse a technique, but if nage is throwing you hard, you're falling hard, whether you planned it that way or not.

Last edited by RebeccaM : 01-14-2006 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 01-14-2006, 12:53 AM   #32
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

as your ukemi improves you should be able to take a harder throw and make it not so hard... you control how hard you are thrown...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 10:07 AM   #33
Mark Freeman
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Re: Standards of testing???

Quote:
First there IS only one Aikido from Osensei ...he is the founder
True, but not true. As far as I am aware the aikdo as taught and learned in the early pre war days has many aspects, that O'Sensei changed, modified, adapted , improved over the course of a lifetime of practice. The aikido he taught and was learned in his latter years was and had to be different. If we do not see this we do him the disservice of thinking that he hit on a good idea and just did the same thing over and over until he passed away. He knew that aikido would be taken out into the world by his students, and that it would continue to grow and change as is natural.

I agree with the desire for harmony, however, how could you reconcile the differences between say Yoshinkan and Ki Society where one has Ki Developement inherent in their grading process and the other does not?
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Old 01-14-2006, 10:33 AM   #34
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

true Mark, but not robust enough to really capture the essence... Osensei lived a long life and his techniques span the spectrum of that lifetime, okay so sure there is a spectrum of Osenseis aikido through his life his young vs old ikkyo, but its ikkyo... nikkyo... sankyo... He DID DO the same thing every day until he passed... thats the very nature of it takemusu aiki...
how about just a base line standard for shodan?
say we all use one set of minimum requirements that could be added to but not abridged?
so if you wanna throw in a bunch of ki developement exercises, and they wanna do bokken waza no problem... there would be a core that would be universal, and thus unify all schools...
or something like that...just a thought...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 02:26 PM   #35
ElizabethCastor
 
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Re: Standards of testing???

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
Osensei lived a long life and his techniques span the spectrum of that lifetime, okay so sure there is a spectrum of Osenseis aikido through his life his young vs old ikkyo, but its ikkyo... nikkyo... sankyo... He DID DO the same thing every day until he passed... thats the very nature of it takemusu aiki...
Edwin,
In the same manner that the ikkyo I did in my first classes is not the same as the ikkyo I apply today; and that today's ikkyo had better not be the ikkyo I apply in the future (be that 2, 5, 10 years from now) . I'm don't believe that O'Sensei's ikkyo in his 30's is actually the exact same ikkyo he did in his 60's. I'm sure that the principle was the same. However, as you point out, he worked on it daily. He will have refined over that amount of time; whether intentionally or not (I believe intentionally, myself). I certainly hope that through application, repitition, and contemplation that my ikkyo develops too!

In addition, bodies respond differently as they age... the dynamic of the movement must have changed too. These subtle differences lead to the different Shihan developing different areas of focus from what their experience of O'Sensei was... ki, power, direction, philosophy, etc.. They ALL do come from O'Sensei! These are the branches of the aiki-tree, they share the same roots and core: O'Sensei. I'd much rather enjoy the different branches than learn from a single, arrow-straight stick... where's the depth in that? AND were is there room for my voice, contribution, growth, reflection and understanding that O'Sensei calls for?
Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
how about just a base line standard for shodan? say we all use one set of minimum requirements that could be added to but not abridged? so if you wanna throw in a bunch of ki developement exercises, and they wanna do bokken waza no problem... there would be a core that would be universal, and thus unify all schools... or something like that...just a thought...
It's my understanding that pretty much everywhere they are learning the same unabridged set of standards. Everybody in aikido is learning O'Sensei's principles of ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo, iriminage, kotegaishi, tenchinage etc.. When I go between different dojo's I learn something that is on the list of "things to know by shodan level." In my mind those ARE the minimums. I'm not sure, but it sounds like you are suggesting an actual world-wide "curriculum." Something that says you are training for test-X so all you will study is techniques X, X, & X plus we like to train in Y and Z as well so we can add that in, too. If that is the suggestion I ask what if the student isn't there yet? Some arts place different concepts of O'Sensei's (ex: ki development, or dynamic movements, or ? ) as a CORE concept... something to be prioritized, understood and internalized before moving into more advanced movements. This is done because that was how O'Sensei spoke of aikido during his life, or how he taught his pupils a one time. Why should we be rigid in the RULES FOR ADVANCEMENT when O'Sensei taught, encouraged, and even forcefully demonstrated the need to be flexible, understanding and flowing. "Grounded" and "stuck" are similar but very different.

Lastly, why not accept the varitey of aikido as it is? If we look at the huge and the tiny we see peaceful co-existance. Huge galaxies filled with energy of different sorts from brilliant stars to black holes. Tiny atoms with protons and neutrons. Polar opposites, but they are needed to keep the balance stable. If you have one without the other the system collapses. Same thing with the aikido system: different dojos serve to answer the varoius needs. But in the end, the system is still grounded and balanced in the same principles ikkyo, nikkyo.... etc. Its only when we fight the natural need for dichotomy that the equation gets screwed...

Anyway, that's my two cents here (FWIW)

Elizabeth
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Old 01-14-2006, 02:43 PM   #36
RebeccaM
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Re: Standards of testing???

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
as your ukemi improves you should be able to take a harder throw and make it not so hard... you control how hard you are thrown...
Not really. You can control your landing, but if you've got a good nage and they want to smear you all over the mat, well, you're going to get smeared all over the mat (try resisting your sensei or sempai and you will see what I mean). All the ukemi's going to do is keep you from getting hurt in the process.
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Old 01-14-2006, 04:26 PM   #37
Edwin Neal
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Smile Re: Standards of testing???

Elizabeth thank you for your thoughts... let me begin by saying that the reason that i started this thread was to see how people would understand and more importantly Misunderstand what I was suggesting, so that i could refine it and make it as clear and straight forward as possible... unfortunately many posters seem to get many of the same misconceptions that you are expressing... so before i reply to the main points of your post, i want to say that you have a nice way of exspressing yourself, and i look forward to your continued (hopefully) postings...

i think alot of people are confusing waza, technique, principles etc... i think there is a bit of semantics (dancing around the same point...very aiki!) going on... my point here is TAKEMUSU AIKI... there is infinite creativity and variety in aikido by Osensei's design... in a certain sense you can never do the "same" ikkyo twice, each is different, but they are all valid ikkyo... I am not advocating static, unchanging, uniform aikido curriculum/testing from school to school or aikidoka to aikidoka... nor am i advocating pruning the "aiki-tree"... again this falls under takemusu aiki... in aikido there is room for (indeed isn't it Required?) everyone's voice and contribution etc... the reason I continue to talk about the idea of a "shodan standard" is my response to the following: ( i think this is an issue ALL aikidoka Must address)

"I have noticed recently there seems to be a quite a few aikido frauds cropping up in various places and some are being exposed by various forums. This seems to be increasing. By frauds, I categorize them "aikido frauds" based on the following criteria:

1. Lofty ranks awarded by organizations that cannot be identified or located. Lots of 6th to 10th dans (usually the person is in their 40s).
2. Start their own "style" of aikido with weak credentials to do so. Usually no traceable lineage. Many have never held higher than 3rd dan in a legitimate organization.
3. Organization sites which have dubious, non-verifiable rank histories or questionable promotions.
4. Promotions and styles are often sanctioned by dubious Soke Organizations which frequently sell their ranks. They say they don't award ranks just document earned ranks.
5. Websites frequently have dubious claims about their skills or they have studied under masters that no one has heard of or can verify.
6. Aikido ranks being awarded by non-aikido organizations: karate for example.

How do we stop this from happening? I don't have answers and don't know if we really can. My concern is we are going to end up with a public being duped and legitimate aikido ranks will be watered down. Many times the new student public does not have the experience or knowledge to see through the bovine feces. They see the 10th dan or 5th to 6th dan and don't have the knowledge to realize they are bogus degrees. "

I am quoting that from another person's posting because, like your postings, I feel he expressed the point very well. I have been to one of these places... and the "waza" shown were only superficially anything like aikido... the guy did not even KNOW or use what I consider "baseline, standard" terms like ikkyo, nikkyo... etc. something all organizations already agree on in a certain "fuzzy" core of terms and ideals. You go to different dojos and yet you still see ikkyo, you say ikkyo and an aikidoka who speaks a different language for example understands ikkyo... I am suggesting a baseline(not a ridgid rules for advancement!) that if you are a sensei (shodan) that you have a certain grasp of "Aikido culture"... this culture or core is Already shared by all aikidoka... but frauds are really what I am trying to get at so perhaps posting this under testing may be causing this misunderstanding. I, like you, accept and love the infinite, and subtle variety (takemusu aiki) of aikido... shouldn't we protect this from scam artists, and for all future aikidoka?
I look forward to your response...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 08:58 PM   #38
Tim Heckman
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Re: Standards of testing???

I've been training for a little over two years, and I find this subject interesting. I'm lucky to live in Chicago. I'm in an organization that is currently not recognized as Aikikai due to a split, but the parent group was a split from Ki society that was reaffiliated with Hombu about ten years ago.

I really enjoy training with different groups. I've trained with USAF, Ki Society, Fugukukai Tomiki, and with the Abe sensei folks so far, as well as the Aikido World Alliance/Aikido Association of America that is the basis of my training. It's my contention, based on my varied but limited experiences, that the state of American aikido is not so bad.

So far, I haven't found anyone that is training on a level that bears no resemblance to a commonly accepted reality. I'm not saying they're not out there, but I am saying that they are on the fringes. And there will always be goofballs on the fringes...

As people have said, the different groups in Aikido are due to personality/money/political differences. No matter what the reason, these differences are still very fresh in many senior instructors minds, even if the reason for the split is fifty years old. I see no way to reach/impose a common standard for shodan, but I think that the existing standard for shodan is actually closer to being uniform than most of think.

To me, right now, the best thing that I feel I can do for worldwide aikido is to get on the mat and train. The next best thing is to study and see how different people have interpreted O'Sensei's aikido, so that I can work on finding my own.

Of course, anyone else's mileage might vary...

"Shut up and train."-- Fumio Toyoda
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Old 01-14-2006, 09:48 PM   #39
Edwin Neal
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Grr! Re: Standards of testing???

thanks tim i guess that the level of shodan is probably pretty standard across aikido now, but my real issue is with the frauds... How do we as Aikidoka and heirs to a rich tradition from Osensei to the newest newbie responsibly define maintain and TransmiT our art and maintain a certain level of competency in knowledge and skill in the face of frauds... saying that we should just ignore them they'll go out of business is NOT responsible... I mean I'm not suggesting we go out DojoBusting (yes i am, no im not....;-))), but how do we make sure that this stops. This guy here went outta business for a while, then opened a new dojo; HOWEVER he did not advertise aikido any more soo...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 11:27 PM   #40
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

rebecca with regard to ukemi... i did not mean to imply RESIST the throw, quite the contrary, Blend, and absorb and control... it doesn't matter how hard or far you are thrown as long as you are in control... like a car --- drive as fast as you want as long as it does not exceed your maximum safe operatin speed...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-15-2006, 07:44 AM   #41
Mark Freeman
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Re: Standards of testing???

Elizabeth,

Your posting was the essence of what I wanted to say, you just did it more eloquantly and more elegantly, thanks!

Edwin,

I really do agree with desire to limit the damage done by the charlatans. Although the damage is not to those who are already practicing with a 'proper' Aikido teacher. As you point out, it is the unsuspecting beginner who is most likely to suffer.

I just think that your idea that:
Quote:
how about just a base line standard for shodan?
say we all use one set of minimum requirements that could be added to but not abridged?
so if you wanna throw in a bunch of ki developement exercises, and they wanna do bokken waza no problem... there would be a core that would be universal, and thus unify all schools...
or something like that...just a thought...
is admirable and desirable but unfortunately not plausible.

Can you imagine the heads of all the different Aikido Federations/schools/styles, sitting down and quietly agreeing a common minimum for shodan. When many new federations were borne out of rancorous splits between two high ranking officials? Unlikely.

I think all we as serious aikidoka can do is to continue to practice with sincerity, passing on our knowledge without watering down the principles given to us by OSensei. If and when we come across bogus teaching, it is our privelige/right/duty to expose it for what it is.

The problem lies with how and who make the distinction between what is bogus and what is not?

I personally practice Ki Aikido, so am used to a particular way of doing things. I have seen but not practiced the Aikikai style, I appreciate the difference and am aware that they both belong in the large and ever expanding world of Aikido. When I first started out, ( especially around green belt level ) thought that the what I was doing was the 'right' way to do aikido. I might have thought at that time anyone not practicing my style to be bogus.

Older and wiser now ( hopefully )

Lets face it there are good teachers and not so good teachers in all schools and styles, it's up to each individual to find their own way in all of this. I heard this when I first started "Follow the way, not the teacher" I think it is worth podering on for more than a moment.

Cheers guys.
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Old 01-15-2006, 05:30 PM   #42
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

as i have said the main point i have is with frauds... the thought of an authority that would grant a legitimate shodan(sensei) the right to call what he is teaching aikido, and be sure that if some one claims they teach aikido they understand things like ikkyo, nikkyo, the different "styles" of aikido, ways of practice. etc...

on a slightly side note... this the so called art of harmony why would it be inconcievable that different "styles"(i hate that term) could agree on basic fundamental core concepts which we all basically agree on anyway? "Rancor" doesn't sound very aiki... reconciliation does...

I am not talking about good vs bad teachers or "styles" of aikido... I am not saying that, FOR EXAMPLE, Ki society is real aikido and anything else is bogus... I am talking about the aikido community taking responsibility to ensure that if some guy hangs a board in front of his dojo listing aikido that he is qualified by experience, and knowledge of aikido... since shodan is when you start getting called sensei i thought the idea of a shodan minimum or standard would address the issue ie if he says he is a sensei of aikido then he has a certain universally accepted core of aikido cultural literacy...
I feel our responsibility is to future students and present students is to ensure people who "follow the way", but have teachers that have no legitimate experience, knowledge or authority to teach aikido, don't get fooled...
see my earlier post#23 for my experience... which is most of the impetus for this discussion... my freind who is also an experienced karateka "somewhat" jokingly suggested that we dojobust ie just beat him and his students up and take over his dojo... thats how it used to be done... i am not suggesting we do that (yes i am, no i'm not... ;-)))... has anyone else had a similar experience??? tell us your story...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-15-2006, 06:09 PM   #43
ElizabethCastor
 
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Re: Standards of testing???

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
my point here is TAKEMUSU AIKI... there is infinite creativity and variety in aikido by Osensei's design... in a certain sense you can never do the "same" ikkyo twice, each is different, but they are all valid ikkyo... I am not advocating static, unchanging, uniform aikido curriculum/testing from school to school or aikidoka to aikidoka... nor am i advocating pruning the "aiki-tree"... again this falls under takemusu aiki... in aikido there is room for (indeed isn't it Required?) everyone's voice and contribution etc...
Huh...
Well, then it seems we agree on the need for continued creativity in aikido. Awesome, that's what was worrying me most!

As for the rest
Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
the reason I continue to talk about the idea of a "shodan standard" is my response to the following: ( i think this is an issue ALL aikidoka Must address)
Quote:
"I have noticed recently there seems to be a quite a few aikido frauds cropping up in various places and some are being exposed by various forums. This seems to be increasing. By frauds, I categorize them "aikido frauds" based on the following criteria:

1. Lofty ranks awarded by organizations that cannot be identified or located. Lots of 6th to 10th dans (usually the person is in their 40s).
2. Start their own "style" of aikido with weak credentials to do so. Usually no traceable lineage. Many have never held higher than 3rd dan in a legitimate organization.
3. Organization sites which have dubious, non-verifiable rank histories or questionable promotions.
4. Promotions and styles are often sanctioned by dubious Soke Organizations which frequently sell their ranks. They say they don't award ranks just document earned ranks.
5. Websites frequently have dubious claims about their skills or they have studied under masters that no one has heard of or can verify.
6. Aikido ranks being awarded by non-aikido organizations: karate for example.

How do we stop this from happening? I don't have answers and don't know if we really can. My concern is we are going to end up with a public being duped and legitimate aikido ranks will be watered down. Many times the new student public does not have the experience or knowledge to see through the bovine feces. They see the 10th dan or 5th to 6th dan and don't have the knowledge to realize they are bogus degrees. "
....
but frauds are really what I am trying to get at so perhaps posting this under testing may be causing this misunderstanding. I, like you, accept and love the infinite, and subtle variety (takemusu aiki) of aikido... shouldn't we protect this from scam artists, and for all future aikidoka?
I guess threads like this one and the presence of aikiweb and other aikido websites helps us all to prune off the deadwood from the aiki-tree. I have to accept that these "frauds" are out there and that they get students into their classes. My hope is:

1) ...that if they are interested in the art that they do a little research as they grow (whether encouraged to do so or not). A little looking will find them some answers, especially if/when something seems fishy (PS... my sensei encouraged me to look into things a little and I too have heard of questionable folks who kick people out for even asking about another dojo's aikido flyer seen on a street corner )

2) ...that all of my shouting from the mountain tops (living near the Rockies its a little easier to do! ) about how great my practice is and how much I learn from it spiritually, emotionally and physically reaches the ears of a disgruntled Mc-aikidoka

3) ...that the people who defend the questionable Mc-sensei are feeling as fulfilled with their "art" as I do with mine (i can't judge what isn't my experience)

Really, I'll say it again: I have to accept that these "frauds" are out there and that they get students into their classes . I can't change that, it's part of the natural polarity that exists universally. Plus, I want to focus my energy on building. Building myself, building my dojo and building the aiki-community (eventually... somehow). If I spend my energy busting Mc-dojos I lose because I run out of energy before I can do my building. (BTW I understand that you are NOT advocating the old school style of dojo-busting!)

Again, thanks for a lively discussion!

Elizabeth

PS) Sorry it took me so long to post this... my computer was acting funny!
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Old 01-15-2006, 07:41 PM   #44
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

Hey Elizabeth... great post... your aiki-tree is very insightful... i don't think of mc dojos as deadwood, but as parasites like vines that attack and possibly kill the tree. Deadwood I consider to be branches of the aiki-tree that lost Osenseis aikido(the aiki-root/trunk?), but thats a different discussion...
not all people do research, but they should... not all senseis encourage students to question or explore, and make informed decisions for themselves... I DID bust this guys dojo... I talked to a couple of his students and they told two friends and they told two friends... la la... the jist was that after being informed his dojo finally just dissolved... too bad now I guess many of those people may NEVER again give any thought to trying aikido or any martial art. Are we as Aikidoka acting responsibly if we allow this to happen? Do we owe these students some kind of respect, and see our duty to lovingly protect them from scammers. As to fulfillment... are we fulfilled if we are filled with lies and deceit...
I do think the answer lies in some form of Unification/reconciliation among the various aikido organizations... sort of an aikido council of Wyrms... if you get that...there are more and more schools and organizations and styles everyday making it even more difficult as time passes. I think we could use your aiki-tree and make sure all the alledged branches connected, and codify that
looking forward to more discussion of these things...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-15-2006, 08:46 PM   #45
ElizabethCastor
 
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Re: Standards of testing???

Hey Edwin,

I see your point, that when you happen upon a dojo that sells aikido instruction completely unconnected with the aikido from O'Sensei... AKA "frauds"... there is a sense of uneasiness. If I were in a situation like that I would try it out a few times, ask some questions (of the sesnsei, of the students, of aikidoka I know and trust, etc) to get a feel for the situation. If I'm still feeling uneasy I would find a new place to practice. I may (depending on the circumstances) offer a book, pamphlet, this website or other resources (that *I* consider reliable) on aikido. I would probably discourage anybody checking things out from going to this place. And I would leave the situation alone from there. I just don't think that it's my place to tell someone that they can't teach aikido.

It sounds like that was how you approached the above scenario. And I have had sempai and sensei guide me here and there in regards to checking out other places. So, it feels like the tradition is a grass roots, word-of-mouth thing anyway... and it seems pretty respectful to me.

As for reconciliation... I have seen videos of the Aikido Friendship Seminars (which were held a while ago) and other summits/seminars on a HUGE scale held in Japan and other places. These seem to offer the closest thing to your idea of getting together. Basicly, all the different styles, Sensei and Shihan are invited to participate and provide a demonstration so that anyone who comes can listen, learn and harmonize. I've only seen some of the footage, and other will undoubtedly have better details and information. Hopefully they will post here too!
Plus, I think the the whole getting together thing happens more often than you think, its just at that grassroots level though. Senesi all know who's who in their general region and I think that they talk to each other pretty often.

My personal example here in Denver shows the interconnectedness (how's THAT for a big word!) of my own training. I train 3 days per week at my HOME dojo {aikikai}, but I go Thursdays to an ASU dojo that is housed in an unafilliated dojo. The ASU guys needed the space and found a community ready and willing to help. Today I went to help the ASU guys building the new dojo in a space they just leased. This new dojo will house not only the ASU family but a Ki Society Dojo on the off days too. Students are encouraged to check out this alternate style, learn, grow and share with the other ASU students (as appropriate). There is alson a Denver Aikido Summit held every spring that seeks to bring together as many people as want to come. I'd love to know what "comming together" events other regions/areas/places have!


Elizabeth

Last edited by ElizabethCastor : 01-15-2006 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 01-15-2006, 09:15 PM   #46
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

in some places... rural north carolina jumps to mind... any aikido to be found tends to be in larger more urban areas and spread out so there are rarely any publicized events, mostly organizational events that are only advertised to organizational members, and fringe aikidoka hear about them after it is all over if ever
to me a bit of it seems to be ego and complacency... the older generations of aikidoka seem happy to leave things alone for a variety of reasons that fall into those categories... but it seems to me that the lines or trenches between organizations is hardening (it is also softening in some instances), and I feel this is likely the direction it will continue in... this too will help frauds continue to con people... Boulder sounds like a great place to practice and live... maybe one day I may be lucky enough to get a chance to visit... but I'm still stuck on the farm, but Osensei was a farmer too so maybe there is hope for me yet eh?

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-16-2006, 12:15 AM   #47
MaryKaye
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Re: Standards of testing???

It may be true within Aikikai that everyone learns the same list of techniques, but it is not true between Aikikai and Ki Society. The founder of Ki Society removed or revised some techniques and most KS dojo have followed him in this: koteoroshi is done rather than kotagaeshi, specific kokyunage rather than iriminage, and koshinage is generally not done at all. Clearly if Aikikai leaders proposed a unified curriculum Ki Society leaders would probably not accept it, and vice versa.

I haven't found this to be a problem in my cross-training. Once one has the general feel of how aikido works, which either style can teach, learning the technical differences is not so hard. This leaves me completely unconvinced that a standardized curriculum or set of criteria is necessary or useful.

I think that standardization proposals miss the boat, to be honest. They would have the most effect on legitimate and conscientious dojo; but that is not where the problems lie. How could anyone enforce meaningful standards on dojo which don't care about them? Some yoga organizations have been able to enforce their ownership of ther techniques, but those techniques started out proprietary. Aikido didn't, and now belongs collectively to everyone who teaches it. How, practically speaking, could anyone get themselves in position to successfully take aikido away from "unworthy" schools? And wouldn't there be a terrible temptation for politics to get into this process? Gods know, organization politics can get very ugly. I am personally glad there are independent dojo and multiple organizations, so that no meltdown can seriously jeopardize the future of aikido as a whole.

I think the thing we can do, as a community, is to sponsor and publicize excellent seminars, camps, workshops and demos. If people see and feel good aikido, they are less likely to be suckered by bad aikido. If what they really *want* is McDojo, rank without effort, you will not be able to stop them and I don't think it's necessary to try. People eager to delude themselves can always succeed. It only becomes our problem when sincere seekers are also being fooled, and the best we can do about that is to create rich opportunities for sincere seekers to find the real thing.

Mary Kaye
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:26 AM   #48
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

thanks mary
as most people have expressed an opposition to any kind of standard, i have stopped considering it... However i still feel a need to protect the innocent would be student from this form of fraud... to me it seems we should do something more proactive than simply send out a memo or put on a demo and hope it goes away... if not a standard level for shodan how about something like an "aikido instructor acreditation" organization, although how that will stop unscrupulous individuals from claiming to teach aikido i don't know...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-16-2006, 12:33 AM   #49
Aristeia
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Re: Standards of testing???

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
not all people do research,
How much effort do we put in to "protecting" people who are not taking rudimentary steps to protect themselves?

As Mary said, some people may want the mcdojo and there's nothing you can do to stop that. You set up an organisation to "approve" schools, they set up their own one and you're back to the same argument. Just gotta accept that this is inevitable and try and be an example.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:46 AM   #50
Edwin Neal
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Re: Standards of testing???

whether or not grandma is protecting herself... don't you wanna pull the mugger off her?
yeah i agree with the circularity of the organization approach, but there must be a way or something...
still thinking...
my problem is not with people who want to be role play MA, but role play Aikido instructors...

Edwin Neal


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