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Old 01-20-2006, 08:16 AM   #1
LouieLouie
Dojo: A´kido Mochizuki - LÚvis, Qc, Canada
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Ai symbol Towards a unified A´kido ?

Hello everyone,

This question (or thread) comes from a 5th kyu.

I began A´kido 6 months ago and I'm really enjoying myself.

The first Dojo I visited followed the a´kika´ style and liked it. However, for personnal reasons, I had to change Dojo along the way.

Since there are no a´kika´ Dojos in my area, the Dojo I'm going to now follows another a´kido style, inspired by Sense´ Mochizuki (father). I'm really loving it. The sense´ and other students are really nice people.

Here is my question (or thread):

Yes, my first months at the A´kika´ Dojo helped me with my progression at the Dojo I'm going to these days. But, whenever I'm going to the Dojo, I can't help to think that going from one a´kido style to another is almost the same as going from one budo to another. Hence, if I would have been 3rd kyu or even shodan in a´kika´, I'm not sure that my rank would have been recognized as such in another Dojo that follows another style (Yoseikan, Yoshinkan, A´kibudo, etc.). The result : I would almost have to start all over again.

I would'nt say that this bothers me, but I'm still a bit preoccupied by the fact that seemingly, all a´kido styles are not made (or considered) equal.

That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all a´kido styles. Or are there ?

That would'nt mean to throw away all particularities pertaining to each style, but could we at least provide a unified cursus upon which each "style" would build on ? Like, say, in medical studies. You start off by studying medecine, and then you choose to specialize in, for instance, surgery. A surgeon is still a doctor.

Maybe I'm being heretical, or naive, of both, to bring this up. Keep in mind that I'm new to this

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Have a nice day.

Louis.
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Old 01-20-2006, 08:45 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Took me a while to get my head around this too.

IMHO, there is only one Aikido. That is O'Sensei.

There are many different organizations with different teaching styles and emphasis. That is as it should be because Aikido becomes an individual expression of the one Aikido. None are better or worse, only different. And, IMHO, not as different as they are similar.

Yes, your rank does not translate, but your experience and training does.

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 01-20-2006, 08:48 AM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all aikido styles. Or are there ?
There is not that I know of, but there are a lot of organizations which have friendship seminars, get togethers, and cross-training between styles and organizations.

Personally, I enjoy the differences, having trained with folks from Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Aikikai, Iwama, Daito ryu, and independents. I wouldn't wish any of them to change. In fact, I'm a little jealous that you have access to Yoseikan Budo. Those guys do a lot of different stuff very well.

As for ranking...if I were to switch styles, I would expect my new dojo mates and instructor to hold me to the same standards they hold themselves. Unless and until I could perform their basics and any other required material, I would not expect them to look at my rank as an indicator of skill in their dojo. My rank reflects my relationship with my current teacher and dojo (and some amount of skill with their curriculum). New dojo, new instructor, new curriculum, new relationship, new rank.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:18 AM   #4
Tom54
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

I must say that I agree totaly with Ron. Aikido for health, Aikido for martial arts, Aikido for sports, Aikido for MMA, Aikido for religion everyside has its pros and cons.

Aikido purists may say that this is what is the cancer of Aikido. But everyone has its own goal everyone has its own interest.

If aikido will be only one "unified aikido" in the future, maybe it is a sign that Aikido has found the ultimate "only one truth".

But I am sure that Aikido will have lost some of its richness.

Personaly I think it is our luxury to enjoy the differences.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:07 AM   #5
Mark Freeman
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Hi Louis
Quote:
That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all a´kido styles. Or are there ?
I completely agree with Lynn's post above.

Regarding the quote. You only have to check out aikido on wikipedia to see how many aikido styles are listed, to realise that the chances of them being all unified are probably slim to impossible.

Who would or could even attempt it? ( answers on a postcard please )

So I think Tom has it when he says:
Quote:
Personaly I think it is our luxury to enjoy the differences.
I'd say just focus on enjoying what you do, wherever, whatever style you practice. Aikido will take care of itself.

Cheers,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:14 AM   #6
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

One's rank is irrelevant, what matters is what one knows.

As for unifing Aikido, the first step would be to define what Aikido is... Just read any thread here and you'll notice that no one has any idea what such "grand definition" would even look like. Hence, no unification is possible. I'd even agrue that unification would be a bad thing(TM). What works for some, does not necessary work for others hence having many styles is a benefits. <zen> One mountain, many paths, yadda yadda yadda...</zen>

Just keep training with an open mind and you'll learn a lot. You'll develop YOUR aikido. At the end of the day, your aikido is all that matters.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:01 PM   #7
roosvelt
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Why don't we try to unify QC and rest of Canada first? It makes more economical sense.
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:04 PM   #8
James Davis
 
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Louis Tremblay wrote:
I would'nt say that this bothers me, but I'm still a bit preoccupied by the fact that seemingly, all a´kido styles are not made (or considered) equal.

That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all a´kido styles. Or are there ?

That would'nt mean to throw away all particularities pertaining to each style, but could we at least provide a unified cursus upon which each "style" would build on ?
You could start you own effort toward unification. Go to workshops and seminars taught by aikidoka of any association, and take what you learn back to your dojo. Share it with your fellow classmates.

Do it all.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 01-20-2006, 02:18 PM   #9
LouieLouie
Dojo: A´kido Mochizuki - LÚvis, Qc, Canada
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Personally, I enjoy the differences, having trained with folks from Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Aikikai, Iwama, Daito ryu, and independents. I wouldn't wish any of them to change. In fact, I'm a little jealous that you have access to Yoseikan Budo. Those guys do a lot of different stuff very well.
From that point of view, it makes more sense. In fact, I do like very much the Yoseikan approach. Somewhat different that A´kika´, but still very dynamic. I really enjoy sacrifice trows (they're called "sutemis" I think).

So, to sum up : diversity is not a minus, rather a plus. Right ?

I understand what everyone is pointing out. Being forced to move to another Dojo/style made me see a different approach, made me encounter different people. So with hindsight, I must agree that this was quite an advantage.

I guess that I was too worried about a possible kind of "return on investment" in the future if I'm forced once again to change Dojo.


I'm grateful for the replies you all made. Thanks for your time.

Louis.
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Old 01-20-2006, 02:35 PM   #10
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Glad to have helped...

On the return on investment (who's ROI???), the only thing lacking would be the 'rank' in the new dojo. Your own experience and knowledge would still be yours, and would actually seem to give you a 'leg up' on anyone else beginning in the new dojo. And maybe even the more experienced ones already there.

Best,
Ron (sorry about the ROI joke, couldn't help it...)

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-20-2006, 08:26 PM   #11
crbateman
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Re: Towards a unified Aikido ?

Rank is an insignificant thing compared with knowledge. By experiencing multiple styles and points-of-view, you are gaining a better foothold on what will become "your" Aikido. Just keep an open mind, a non-judgmental attitude, and a smile on your face, and people of all styles will commend your dedication, and will help you along your path in any way they can. Aikido, regardless of style, is replete with people of good character helping each other. Such is the common spirit of Aikido. Enjoy the journey.
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:52 PM   #12
aikidoc
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Too many egos to ever see a unified aikido. Ranks generally do not translate-the aikikai does not recognize rank from other organizations to my knowledge.
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:56 PM   #13
Ed Shockley
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

I trained for several months at a 6:45am class with a Penn student who had been studying Aikido since he was six years old. He was a very good martial artist and a military child so he had never tested past fifth kyu. In each of the countries that he visited he simply trained at whatever dojo was convenient and absorbed knowledge. There was something extremely instructive in his unique journey and I absorbed that lesson along with his marvelous demonstrations of technique. I have saved my battered white belt so that I can put it on again when appropriate as a symbol of my willingness to practice "mushin." As many people have said, "It is about Aikido, not rank." Enjoy the practice.
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Old 01-21-2006, 02:38 AM   #14
Edwin Neal
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

I do think an effort to unify aikido SHOULD be made for a variety of reasons... the most notable is the Mcdojo where some guy with little or no true knowledge or authority to teach starts claiming to TEACH aikido... this is a real problem for me... i enjoy the variety of aikido, but I want people to be getting aikido and not bunk being marketed by some unscrupulous fraud... and I think the fact that people say unification is not possible because of EGO's is patently ridiculous... aikido is supposed to be about harmony... if this is true then egocentrism runs counter to the fundamental principles of aikido... I explored this in a thread in the testing forum and was really disappointed in the response that most people gave a kind of apathetic "oh well that's just not gonna happen" we as students of Osensei must respect and cherish his legacy and ensure that it is what he intended and not perverted by frauds and egoists...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-21-2006, 02:54 AM   #15
Edwin Neal
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

heres the thread i started on this topic

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9597

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-21-2006, 05:48 AM   #16
Mark Freeman
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
I do think an effort to unify aikido SHOULD be made for a variety of reasons... the most notable is the Mcdojo where some guy with little or no true knowledge or authority to teach starts claiming to TEACH aikido... this is a real problem for me... i enjoy the variety of aikido, but I want people to be getting aikido and not bunk being marketed by some unscrupulous fraud... and I think the fact that people say unification is not possible because of EGO's is patently ridiculous... aikido is supposed to be about harmony... if this is true then egocentrism runs counter to the fundamental principles of aikido... I explored this in a thread in the testing forum and was really disappointed in the response that most people gave a kind of apathetic "oh well that's just not gonna happen" we as students of Osensei must respect and cherish his legacy and ensure that it is what he intended and not perverted by frauds and egoists...
Hi Edwin,
I agree with what you say, but still the question remains, Who would or could attempt the process?

Regards,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-21-2006, 06:06 PM   #17
Edwin Neal
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

WE the aikidoka in order to form a more perfect union...
no singular LEADER is going to be able to do it... it will take a determined effort by rank and file aikdoka, not just the HEADS of organizations... many of whom as has been pointed out suffer from EGO... this art of piece was given to us by Osensei in order to improve the relationships among all people isn't it ironic that followers of such a noble and visionary idea/leader are in such disarray and disunity... understand that I am NOT pointing fingers or making accusations, BUT the word hypocrisy jumps to mind...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-21-2006, 07:30 PM   #18
crbateman
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

The reason there will be no reunification is the same reason the segregation began in the first place... differing ideas, philosophies and priorities. The only difference is that now, instead of singular leadership of varying "styles", there is segregation of thinking throughout the burgeoning membership bodies made up of the succeeding generations. Regardless of whether the idealistic thinkers within the major organizations would like to see a move back toward unity, none of them wants to give up their autonomy, or their license to practice the techniques of their respective "founders".

Tohei Sensei started his organization so he could teach HIS way. Tomiki Sensei likewise, and Shioda Sensei as well. Even the Iwama style, which remained close to Aikikai largely because of mutual respect and because of Saito Sensei's intense loyalty to O'Sensei, has now moved away under the direction of Hitohiro Saito Sensei.

Add to that the widespread organizations of AAA, USAF and ASU, to name a few, who, although connected to Aikikai, are still largely autonomous. None of these organizations wants to give back the ground they've earned on their own.

There are many who say that this diversion of thinking would not have happened on O'Sensei's watch, but much of it began while he was alive. People with strong beliefs will do what they need to do to further their ideals.

I think that a more realistic goal for Aikido today is to embrace the differences, thereby gaining respect for each other, and promote the harmonious exchange of useful ideas, without the feeling that one has "cheated" or disrespected his own style. This is something that can start with the individual, but not flourish without the support of the organizations. I hope that this will eventually happen.
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:41 PM   #19
kokyu
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Louis Tremblay wrote:
Hence, if I would have been 3rd kyu or even shodan in a´kika´, I'm not sure that my rank would have been recognized as such in another Dojo that follows another style (Yoseikan, Yoshinkan, A´kibudo, etc.). The result : I would almost have to start all over again.

I would'nt say that this bothers me, but I'm still a bit preoccupied by the fact that seemingly, all a´kido styles are not made (or considered) equal.

That said, I'm wondering why there aren't any effort put in unifying and consolidating all a´kido styles. Or are there ?

That would'nt mean to throw away all particularities pertaining to each style, but could we at least provide a unified cursus upon which each "style" would build on ? Like, say, in medical studies. You start off by studying medecine, and then you choose to specialize in, for instance, surgery. A surgeon is still a doctor.
I used to be bothered by rank, but after training in Japan with people whose rank I will probably never reach in my lifetime - the goal has shifted to just getting better and trying to train regularly. Also, once you build up enough experience, you'll probably grade faster in a different style because the basic ideas are similar.

As for consolidating styles, who is going to judge whether a movement or teaching deserves to be in or out? For example, the Ki Society has a distinctive 'hop' in some of their movements... which I've not seen elsewhere... the Yoshinkan has a particular form of moving which sees a straight back leg - again, something which I have not seen in either the Aikikai or the Ki Society.

Having said this though, I believe there are some Sensei who have tried to blend the different Aikido styles... so this may be a step in the direction you are proposing.

I like your idea of having a basic 'course' and then specialization. However, each style has a unique way of doing even the most basic techniques. According to Total Aikido (Yoshinkan) by Shioda Sensei, kokyu dosa is done with uke pushing or pulling. Even though I'm not from the Yoshinkan, I can appreciate the logic behind it. However, the Aikikai or Ki Society don't seem to practice it this way... Again, how does one judge if one way of doing the technique is better than the other?

From my limited experience, each Sensei's Aikido is an expression of his character, and depends on his interpretation of O-Sensei's teachings. Thus, it becomes a bit difficult to unify Aikido because it's not a science like Medicine. Aikido comes from the heart and everyone's different. Personally, I'm in favor of variety as it makes training interesting and stimulates the evolution of Aikido.

Having said this, it might be good to try out different styles as part of a 'basic' course and then settle on the style that suits your personality and interpretation of Aikido. Hopefully the style will give you what you are looking for, although your demands may change as time goes on...

Just sharing my humble thoughts.
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:12 AM   #20
Qatana
 
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

The art of Piece?

Q
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:24 AM   #21
Mark Freeman
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
The reason there will be no reunification is the same reason the segregation began in the first place... differing ideas, philosophies and priorities. The only difference is that now, instead of singular leadership of varying "styles", there is segregation of thinking throughout the burgeoning membership bodies made up of the succeeding generations. Regardless of whether the idealistic thinkers within the major organizations would like to see a move back toward unity, none of them wants to give up their autonomy, or their license to practice the techniques of their respective "founders".

Tohei Sensei started his organization so he could teach HIS way. Tomiki Sensei likewise, and Shioda Sensei as well. Even the Iwama style, which remained close to Aikikai largely because of mutual respect and because of Saito Sensei's intense loyalty to O'Sensei, has now moved away under the direction of Hitohiro Saito Sensei.

Add to that the widespread organizations of AAA, USAF and ASU, to name a few, who, although connected to Aikikai, are still largely autonomous. None of these organizations wants to give back the ground they've earned on their own.

There are many who say that this diversion of thinking would not have happened on O'Sensei's watch, but much of it began while he was alive. People with strong beliefs will do what they need to do to further their ideals.

I think that a more realistic goal for Aikido today is to embrace the differences, thereby gaining respect for each other, and promote the harmonious exchange of useful ideas, without the feeling that one has "cheated" or disrespected his own style. This is something that can start with the individual, but not flourish without the support of the organizations. I hope that this will eventually happen.
I think you have hit the nail squarely on the head there Clark!

I also think that Edwin's point that it is the responsibility of rank and file aikidoka to keep the spirit of O'Sensei's teaching alive, is right too.

Regards,
Mark

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Old 01-22-2006, 09:26 AM   #22
Mark Freeman
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
The art of Piece?

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-22-2006, 02:59 PM   #23
SeiserL
 
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
The art of Piece?
Two or different "pieces" have a choice to be discord or harmony.
Aikido is the way of harmony ( at least theoretically).

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 01-22-2006, 04:16 PM   #24
James Kelly
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Had another funny thought. So we unify Aikido under one flag of compliance. We're all told the proper way to perform the techniques. The inspectors come from Honbu (or wherever) annually to keep us in line. The word Aikido can't be used except by those deemed acceptable. The end of the McDojo.

But there is descent in the ranks. Factions who question the status quo. They travel from dojo to dojo spreading their subversive ideas about what is and isn't aikido. The Aiki terrorists. You never know who's one. Is the guy in line next to you a subversive? The girl you just practiced with...? Should you bow to them? What if they're exposed...? will you be implicated? And of course, Honbu will insert their counter agents, assigned to infiltrate the subversive ranks... I see Keefer Sullivan as the head agent for Honbu, or Steven Segal... who plays the leader of the subversives...? Maybe David Carradine... we have a hit on our hands!
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Old 01-22-2006, 04:23 PM   #25
LouieLouie
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Re: Towards a unified A´kido ?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
I do think an effort to unify aikido SHOULD be made for a variety of reasons... the most notable is the Mcdojo where some guy with little or no true knowledge or authority to teach starts claiming to TEACH aikido.
Yep, that's the point. One school goes with hakama. The other one not. Some at 3rd kyu. Some encourages comptetition. The others not. Some doesn't like atemis, others encourage them. The problem is that I can go on and on about this.

This variety, yes, can be considered as so many rich contributions to the art, but still, one can't help thinking that "anybody" can come up and say what he's doing in his Dojo is called A´kido since it is not possible to define precisely what is the "true" A´kido.

IMHO, I can't help to think that isn't there any need for somebody to draw the line somewhere ?

And I will add the fact that for the beginner, entering into A´kido is very confusing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still very happy with A´kido. I'm beginning, but very passionate. I just would like to send a message, as somebody who's starting and willing to go a long way into this, that some consolidation wouldn't hurt.

Just my two cents.

Thanks.
Louis.
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