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Old 02-08-2006, 03:56 PM   #76
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

i would submit that is exactly why he chose a psuedonym... fear of retribution...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-08-2006, 05:36 PM   #77
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Well, "James" broke this site rule about using his real name, are we sure everybody here is using his/her real name?

If the opinions (even dumb ones) posted here can be the cause of punishment from dojo-cho, sensei or organizations who are interested in their self-web-image, people is going to stop posting about sensible issues (yes, there is the "anonimous" posting option).

I would't like to see fear about posting in Aikiweb or a lot of people posting as "anonimous", and you?

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Old 02-08-2006, 05:51 PM   #78
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Re: Regarding James Smith

This is a great term Demetrio - "self-web-image."

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-08-2006, 05:52 PM   #79
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

a very good point that i had not thought of Demetrio, i enjoy having you in the discussion and enjoy your 'other' posts... thanks again... with respect...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-08-2006, 06:42 PM   #80
RebeccaM
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Here's a thought: we don't have the full story. Nor are we really entitled to the full story. Mr. Berhard has already pointed out that James's punishment wasn't just about his conduct on Aikiweb. Only the members of James's dojo and organization know what was going on off the web and that's why I won't call it fair or unfair. It just is. However, from what I've gleaned here, James was given a choice: to either learn a lesson or to leave. This is what teachers do at times - they give the option of either taking their lesson or going home. He made his choice. He can still make a new choice. It's between him, his ego, and his Sensei and really none of our business.
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Old 02-08-2006, 06:44 PM   #81
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Re: Regarding James Smith

There are people who do not post much, not because of fear of punishment, but because they know that when they post they are representing their teachers.

- Mike
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:14 PM   #82
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Rebecca said, "Here's a thought: we don't have the full story."
i totally agree, but if they want to talk about it, then how about transparency, honesty, and openess as fundamental principles... what would warrant such a punishment? what wrong act in the dojo? we have no evidence that he did anything... in fact read the first post again...

David Bedard wrote:
On the mat "James" was very quiet only asking questions from time to time. Once we were aware of the situation we were able to identify who James Smith really was.

sounds like a witch hunt methinks... clearly until he was outted his behavior was "unremarkable" in a GOOD way... not the kind of thing that warrants dismissal... just interested in the whole picture, the true nature of reality... with respect...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-08-2006, 07:21 PM   #83
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Mike that is a shame, because no one should be held accountable for another persons deed's... must everyone continually run a disclaimer that their views are in no way representative of so and so sensei's opinion etc... face it your sensei doesn't need you to represent him... he does that for himself... as we all must do...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-08-2006, 08:38 PM   #84
vjw
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Re: Regarding James Smith

"James Smith" may join my dojo. He will be pushed as hard as any army recruit I've trained. He will know nikyo and yonkyo intimately. He will leave each class physically drained and knowing exactly how much I dislike what he has done. If he does not return it will be his choice.

His actions on aikiweb have caused some great discussions and made all of us think about how we should handle such a situation. For this I think he deserves a second chance. So "James", come and meet me.... and my pal, Yonkyo .
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Old 02-08-2006, 09:04 PM   #85
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

don't be so scary there Victor, all he did was write some less than inspired, indeed stupid posts, but nothing that should get anyone's hakama all mussed up... its funny how when some other people say its his choice they seem to mean they have made up their minds and are inflexible... insert pithy story about the oak and the willow and strong winds here... with respect...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-08-2006, 09:33 PM   #86
Paul Schweer
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Making your stuff public includes responsibility, like it or not. It's part of the deal. Maybe the most pertinent result, in fact. When I speak there are consequences. Good consequences? I hope so. But words are funny, very inexact things, and precisely what might be taken from what I say is beyond my control.

This does not mean I am not responsible.

If it sounds as if I attribute extraordinary power to ordinary words… good. That's what I'm trying to say. Everyday ways of talking, stuff you might not necessarily notice, can be very powerful. With power comes responsibility.

If I am lucky, somebody somewhere cares enough to hold me accountable.

Paul Schweer
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Old 02-08-2006, 09:56 PM   #87
Edwin Neal
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Wink Re: Regarding James Smith

words can and ultimately are empty of all power and meaning other than what we give them... sticks and stones etc... if they mean zero that means zero responsibility unless they are given meaning... if a tree says an irresponsible and powerful word in the forest and there is no one there to hear it does it make a sound?... how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go???

Last edited by Edwin Neal : 02-08-2006 at 09:58 PM.

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-08-2006, 10:03 PM   #88
vjw
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
don't be so scary there Victor...
My bark is worse than my bite.

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
all he did was write some less than inspired, indeed stupid posts, but nothing that should get anyone's hakama all mussed up...
Then why all the discussion about his remarks?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
its funny how when some other people say its his choice they seem to mean they have made up their minds and are inflexible... insert pithy story about the oak and the willow and strong winds here...
I make up my mind about lots of things but I'm always willing to re-consider my decisions. If I was inflexible I would not have suggested giving him another chance. However, when you take on the responsibility of running a dojo, you are called on at times to make decisions for the good and benifit of the dojo and its members. Making a decision and sticking by it does not make you inflexible.

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
with respect...
hmmm, in my days in the army, when a soldier said to an officer "with respect, sir", it was a said in a way to let the officer know he had no respect for him

I'm flexible enough to give "James" a chance. How about we all agree to say no more about it if he logs on in his own name and apologises for his remarks?

Last edited by vjw : 02-08-2006 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:20 PM   #89
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

i think the point of this discussion has centered more on his expulsion from his dojo for alledged actions other than his web postings, and i did mean with respect although we did the same as what you describe in the navy, but we usually meant it more like you don't have a clue let me help you out... that is not what i am doing here... Making a decision and sticking by it does not make you inflexible, unless you are wrong and refuse to admit it, then it is... with respect in the literal sense...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-08-2006, 10:50 PM   #90
RebeccaM
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
Mike that is a shame, because no one should be held accountable for another persons deed's....
Ah but that's what being a leader is about and that's also what being a representative is about. When we post here we are acting as ambassadors for our dojos. When we go to seminars we are representing our dojos. If we screw up, people wonder what exactly goes on on our mats. This is true off the mat as well. When we grad students get up to give talks we're not just representing ourselves; we're representing our labs as well and if we screw up not only do we look really dumb, but our advisors also looks bad for either not training us properly or for letting us get away with a stupid mistake. If my labmates and I skip seminars, not only do we students look bad, but the higher ups in the department bitch at my boss about how he needs to get his lab more engaged in science (this happened last spring). Our failings become his.

I am sure this phenomenon is not limited to science labs either. In fact, I know it's not. I've met people who despise Americans because of the way we behave as tourists. I've seen similar sentiments expressed towards Germans, Swedes, Hungarians, and so on.

When I was a crew chief on the rescue squad on my college campus I was responsible for everything that happened on my scene. Didn't matter if it was one of my crew members screwed up. I was the one held accountable. This took on an extra edge on the nights when I was the only fully certified EMT on the crew. So, both for the sake of my patients and to cover my own rear, I took steps to keep my crew members in line, just as the crew chiefs I was under while I was training kept me in line. Similar story with the ambulance I volunteered on as well. You are responsible for the people you lead. This is part of why leaders even exist in the first place.
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Old 02-09-2006, 04:30 AM   #91
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Quote:
Rebecca Montange wrote:
When we post here we are acting as ambassadors for our dojos.
Sorry, but i don't get it.

Imho, people posting here are ambassadors of themselves, not their dojo/organization unless they state otherwise.

Under your point of view, should i say: when Mr. Goldsbury posts is the IAF who posts?, when Mr. Leavitt posts is the US Army who posts?

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Old 02-09-2006, 04:39 AM   #92
happysod
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Re: Regarding James Smith

I'll add a "me too" for Demetrio. Didn't we also have some earlier ( and quite heated) threads where it was generally held that rank on the mat did not equate automatically to rank when posting ? Has aikiweb underwent a change somewhere? (I missed the memo, probably by being a freeloader)
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Old 02-09-2006, 06:19 AM   #93
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote:
Sorry, but i don't get it.

Imho, people posting here are ambassadors of themselves, not their dojo/organization unless they state otherwise.

Under your point of view, should i say: when Mr. Goldsbury posts is the IAF who posts?, when Mr. Leavitt posts is the US Army who posts?
Mr Cereijio,

I agree. I believe that posts in an Internet discussion forum reflect you (or anyone) as the person you are, enriched (or otherwise) by your aikido training.

Whenever I post here or in other forums, I 'represent' myself unless I state otherwise. However, I also think the matter is not so simple.

Though I sometimes like to think that I do, I do not in fact post in a vacuum and people who read my posts might well make the connection with the IAF. So, in a real sense I am regarded as a representative or ambassador of the IAF. Even though I attempt to keep this 'public' area (Peter Goldsbury as an IAF/ Aikikai Hombu official) and my own 'private' area (Peter Goldsbury as an aikidoka) separate, I cannot guarantee that these attempts will be understood or accepted by people who read my posts . There is a certain creative tension here and I think this is felt by other posters, not just by myself.

When I talk of a creative tension here, I am thinking of how the 'public' influences the 'private' and vice versa. and I also think tha there is no clear demarcation line between the two.

Thus (1) to take two examples from this forum, I have formed a pretty clear idea of the kind of dojo that David Valadez heads and the kind of organization that Chuck Clark leads. The way they post indicates to an 'outsider' like myself the way they train and so, were I to go to their dojo as an anonymous visitor, I would expect a certain (intense) level of training and also a certain (very clear) type of dojo etiquette.

Thus (2) I think this is why someone like Moriteru Doshu would never post in an aikido discussion forum. For Doshu, the tension or balance between the 'public' and the 'private' is always weighted in favour of the 'public' and so his private thoughts are never made public. I think this is also true of all the Hombu shihan I am acquainted with: they never post unless it is in the form of interviews or responses to questons. Aikido-Online is a good example of such a forum.

I myself have often been criticized for posting on general Internet discussion forums because I am IAF Chairman, therefore I should be 'silent' and live on the aikido version of Mt. Olympus (or Mt. Fujii?). I have never accepted this argument and have always responded that, unlike Doshu, I am elected--and can always be removed from office if the electors do not like what I am doing (which includes extensive postings on Internet discussion forums). They choose.

As for the issues concerning 'James Smith' (apologies for the time it has taken to get to this point), I am somewhat concerned that he was asked to leave his dojo, but I also understand that the real issues involved are almost never revealed on Internet discussion forums. To give a more important example, the issues relating to the split between Tohei Sensei and the Aikikai have been debated many times on the Internet, but always in the absence of hard data, especially from the Aikikai. Without such data, it is impossible to arrive at a balanced view of the dispute.

Best wishes to all,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-09-2006, 07:18 AM   #94
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Peter sums up my thoughts nicely.

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-09-2006, 09:24 AM   #95
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Well, let's not forget that David B. wrote:

"We asked "James" to write an apology and tell everyone who he really is but he has chosen not to. Due to his refusal to take responsibility for what he has done we have asked "James" to leave our dojo at this time. I would like to make it clear that "James" does not represent our dojo or Jiyushinkai in anyway. "

The letter states that "James" was not problematic at his dojo - that they wouldn't even have figured out who he was - that he was there - if they hadn't received an email, etc. All he did was ask a few questions from time to time - they say - which I take to mean, HE DID NOT STAND OUT/HE WAS NOT A PROBLEM. The letter clearly says he was expelled because of what he did on the Internet and because of his refusal to feel sorry for it and to see himself as a delegate of the dojo in a field he obviously considered to be private.

This "other stuff" that supposedly explains why he really got kicked out and why the dojo in question felt they had to post everything on the Internet, only came out after the fact of this thread - which in my opinion makes it more worthy of suspicion than of trust. Moreover, I imagine this "other stuff" came about only after the dojo in question pressed their issue upon James and he pushed back. I am sure he "disrespected" some folks when they started pushing at him - but really that should be understood as James no longer respecting - not as James setting out to disrespect. There is a difference: when someone no longer respects you its because of what you did first (i.e. pushing on James by trying to tailor his private life and/or by trying to make him a delegate for the dojo - a position he probably would not want and/or should not have as a beginner); when someone disrespects you it is because you have maintained a position worthy of respect.

On this "other stuff," could you imagine that coming up in any kind of system of judgment that wanted to uphold itself as reasonable and fair? Could you imagine that the prosecution keeps coming up with additional charges once the previous ones are found to be without fault? Sure, a dojo does not have to be reasonable and fair, but then go with that - that is the way I see things. Why all this smoke and mirrors to look reasonable and fair in front of folks that have nothing to do with your dojo? Why? Because that is really what this issue was about for James' dojo - about a "self-web-image". Let's not kid ourselves that it is about anything else.

Additionally, if one wants to be reasonable and fair, there is some issue here of jurisdiction. I seriously doubt that James' dojo told him ahead of time that he is to think of himself as a representation of the dojo, even in his private life - even when that private life is carried out under a pseudonym. Wow - could you imagine how many folks you'd drive away from your dojo if you came at them with that from the beginning?! If one is so in agreement with this idea, then post it up front on your website - put it in your signature, put in your yellow page ad, etc. Let folks know that this is how your dojo understands things - be proud of it. Yet, I seriously doubt anyone would do that for fear of the actual image that would come of it - which does not come up when one gets all high and mighty so as to build some kind of contrary position to a 19 year old kid. Again, I find it extremely hard to believe that the dojo specifically told James ahead of time that he should understand the Internet as an extension of his Budo training environment - even should he use a pseudonym. Additionally, this may very well be a tenet of the Jiyushinkai BUT James was NOT a member of the Jiyushinkai. If a dojo is going to let folks join their membership but not have to join their federation, if the dojo does not have the same protocols as their federation, etc., and/or if the dojo does not make it known that it does have the same protocols, then fairness and reason demands not that James fixes the self-web-image of the dojo but that he be told to stop what he was doing, that he be informed of the dojo's expectations (for the first time and/or again), and that the dojo continue onward with its tutelage of James' body, heart, and mind. If you want to reach out across one's own set jurisdiction, then forget it all - go with complete and arbitrary power. Forget the bylaws and all that stuff - just do it all on a whim. However, if you are going to set out with federation codes and boundaries, then be ready to NOT TO ACT when someone has fallen out of your jurisdiction according to your own bylaws.

What's going on here, in my opinion, is the same thing you see when two men let their egos get in the way - violence ensues. James did what he did, the dojo pushed at him, James didn't yield, so the dojo pushed harder. Not very Aiki at all - who can't push harder when someone pushes back? All we need is a bar and some stools or some high school kids to form a circle around them and we'd have the complete scene. What do we always say when two egos battle like this - "Someone has to be the bigger man." Here, in my opinion, the dojo should always seek to be the bigger man. However, here, the dojo allowed its ego to push it into a corner, into a contest, where like with every ego-driven action, it was forced to keep pushing and could not back down without having more of their self-image threatened. If the dojo wanted to be the bigger man it would have taken responsibility for James, not pushed to have James take responsibility for the dojo. Could you imagine how we all would have responded if David B. wrote the following:

"It has come to our attention that a member of our dojo has said some things on this forum that we ourselves find to be rude, ignorant, and offensive. We would like to apologize if a member of our organization has caused any readers here grievance and/or stress of any kind. Please know that he does not represent us and/or our understanding of Aikido and/or the world in general. Please, bear with us as we continue to educate this youth in the tenets of the Way..."

Had they written that, we would have all said, "Wow! What a dojo that must be! I got to meet this David B. guy.", etc. And, we would have said, "Please, no need for you to apologize, we understand newbies, and we understand how ignorance takes time and effort to become wisdom." And, we would have said, "James is just lucky to belong to a dojo like yours." Etc.

When the ego drives us, there is always only one way to act - the way we are acting. When the ego is not driving us, wisdom opens up before us and we see the infinite amount of choices that are always ours. From there, we can find the option that satisfies all parties in a way that the ego-driven single option never can.

dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 02-09-2006 at 09:27 AM.

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Old 02-09-2006, 10:25 AM   #96
happysod
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Re: Regarding James Smith

David, while I think we're in general agreement, I wasn't reading as much intentional malice into it as you seem to be implying, rather a misunderstanding of internet forums and their place in general communication as regards their dojo and their authority.

However, having read some of the "pro" posts, perhaps they're not as far from the truth as I originally thought. I'm also wondering whether this is a result of an age difference in posters?

Quote:
..Moriteru Doshu would never post in an aikido discussion forum ..
Sorry Peter, but I now have this image of him logging on to bullshido under a pseudonym just to be able to vent about aikido, but your post was appreciated as ever.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:31 AM   #97
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

when you judge someone or a group based upon the actions of another individual or small section of that group there is a name for that... prejudice... it happens in life all the time as Rebecca pointed out, but when good people say nothing or admit it as the status quo they empower and embolden these trends... in essense they become accomplices... speak up! it is not disrespectful to tell the truth or seek it...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-09-2006, 10:35 AM   #98
RebeccaM
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote:
Sorry, but i don't get it.

Imho, people posting here are ambassadors of themselves, not their dojo/organization unless they state otherwise.

Under your point of view, should i say: when Mr. Goldsbury posts is the IAF who posts?, when Mr. Leavitt posts is the US Army who posts?
When you're on this board making statements about your dojo or organization, you are representing your dojo or organization. If you say something false or embarassing about your dojo or your organization, your sensei and shihan could feel embarassed by that and may feel the need to take action. This is what happened with James.

It has nothing to do with rank. It more to do with the people who are reading.
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:43 AM   #99
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

David Valadez said, "could you imagine that coming up in any kind of system of judgment that wanted to uphold itself as reasonable and fair? Could you imagine that the prosecution keeps coming up with additional charges once the previous ones are found to be without fault?"

well we only have to look back to the clinton years don't we??? love him or hate him the special prosecutor keep fishing until he caught him... as i said before if we allow questionable principles and behaviors by authorities to continue with no review and accountability we allow our freedom to be diminished... i'm not talking about a revolution or disrespect, but fairness, transparency and honesty... no one is above the law or infallible... we should all practice sincerely, and with an "open, free mind or spirit" for the "mutual benefit" of all...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-09-2006, 10:48 AM   #100
Edwin Neal
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Re: Regarding James Smith

Rebecca after careful review i find no mention of 'James' dojo although i did ask him directly for this information... if i am mistaken please share the post you are refering to... here is a search of all 85 of James' posts to help in your search...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search...8&pp=25&page=1

Edwin Neal


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