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#127071 - 10/24/03 02:19 AM Compassion and Tolerance
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I had the honor to train with 2 of the top women in the Martial Arts this weekend, Grandmaster Roberta Trias-Kelley, daughter of O'Sensei Robert Trias who opened the first dojo in the United States, and Miyaku Fujitana Shihan, Steven Segals first wife and the leading female Aikidoka in Japan. I was very apprehensive about talking with them as I left the very roots that both of them teach. Neither were opinionated, or condescending. Fujitana Sensei was very open with me about the nature of Aikido. She told me the story that O'Sensei Ueshieba use to answer every question about a technique, with, "this is my Aikido, do your own" At first Fujitana Sensei said she thought that O'Sensei meant to do Aikido the way it felt right. Later on she said O'Sensei would say do "Aikido from the heart" not from the head.(kokoro)She told me that she came to realize O'Sensei wasn't talking about Aikido, but to practice with a good heart and what is best for you, that style didn't exist. She told me that the message of O'Sensei has been lost. People are too concerned with their own style and crticizing others for how they choose to practice, this is not from the heart. She also said by protecting your art, and always doing things that was told to you, you don't learn for yourself, that the most important lesson is that you learn for yourself, and appreciate what others do.
Hanshi Trias went a step further, and said no one has the right to criticize how one chooses to train. I felt she would be the least understanding of me not practicing my roots. Her compassionate answer was "are you happy, do you enjoy what you do?" She also went on to say when you learn something you use it, however you may not use it the same way it was shown. She said there was no one best art, one best organization or one best path, rather a path for everyone of us, and each should be respected no matter how others choose to train, and follow a path. As a matter of fact she had the highest respect for what I had accomplished and admired me for continuing to be a student, and not a 'peacock', a Sensei who just struts around, but one who continues to learn.
I think we all can learn a lesson from the 1st generation students. Here are the ones you would think would be so traditional that varying from their path would incite their rath. On the other hand, they respected everyones opinion and how they chose to continue their path. Many times we get too concerned on who says what, and who's opinion is better. Everyone likes to offer their opinion of what people do, and in reality, its none of our business. There was a comment made about my nickname, that for some reason bothers people or effects this post. My name, nor my position, have anything to do with my opinion or the path that I have taken, yet we look at these little things to comment on, when our leaders are more concerned with tolerance and compassion. A lesson we all can learn from.

#127072 - 10/24/03 04:04 AM Re: Compassion and Tolerance
dazzler Offline

Registered: 09/22/03
Posts: 296
Loc: England
I thought we'd put that 'sensei' comment to bed Lou so no real need to dig it up again. You have your view, I have mine...I'm not losing sleep over it so nuff said.

Anyway good post...I mentioned in a previous post the attitude of our technical advisor who wears a white obi even after 50 years on the mat. Another who is always learning.

I think this is a great example to all of us who aspire to be better than we are.

Anyone that thinks they are perfect certainly isn't!



#127073 - 10/24/03 10:47 AM Re: Compassion and Tolerance
the504mikey Offline

Registered: 06/19/03
Posts: 790
Loc: Louisiana, United States
Good post, SenseiLou.

I often hear the advice to take techniques I am learning and "make them my own", and what you posted seems to include that idea but also go beyond it.

I agree that we should be tolerant of the truths that others discover for themselves, bacause we have no frame of reference for judging them anyway. Still, I do get angry about what is sometimes passed on as valid self defense these days. I think there are unscrupulous "masters" out there who do a grave disservice to their students.

Anyway, thanks for sharing... it is appreciated.

#127074 - 10/24/03 12:10 PM Re: Compassion and Tolerance
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I totally agree, tolerance is something that all too often is sadly lacking in martial arts. We should be able to discuss differing opinions/attitudes without inciting anyone's wrath.

#127075 - 10/24/03 01:04 PM Re: Compassion and Tolerance
Joe Jutsu Offline

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 575
Thanks for the post Sensei Lou,

First off, I'm envious that you got to work with Miyaku Fujitana Shihan, I've heard alot of good things about her.

I really wish that this sort of martial intolerance would be obliterated. It smells a bit like racism to me, i.e. "aikido is the only true way and you're a fool for studying american jujutsu" or "chinese arts are the superior arts" etc. I think that there are better paths for different people, and if one is truly striving to improve oneself how much of an asshole do you have to be to criticize them for it?? I think all this intolerance of which you speak comes from the speaker's insecurities, plain and simple.

mikey- I too have heard that eventually you have to "make a technique your own." I agree with this whole heartedly, but have to add that when you are a beginner I believe it is imperative that you reproduce a technique as closely as it was shown to you. I think around shodan, or beginning level, one should be making the techniques his or her own. So that is in the distant future for me. [IMG][/IMG] With regards to the first generation students, I think that they took O Sensei to heart and made aikido their own. I was reading an interview with Koichi Tohei yesterday, wherein he made the claim that his aikido was probably only 30% of O Sensei's techniques, 70% of his own. He cut out alot that didn't seem "practical" to him, and added alot that did evidentally. He also went on to talk alot about O Sensei, who according to Tohei Sensei became sort of "jealous" when Tohei started teaching aikido with ki principles. Tohei Sensei claimed that O Sensei would walk into Tohei's classes, esepecially when teaching women, and say to "not listen to Tohei. Aikido is mine, not Tohei's." Anyway, I found the interview pretty interesting and thought I'd share a bit.

Thanks again for the post Lou. Right on man.



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