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#348315 - 06/26/07 12:16 AM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: eyrie]
aikidonut Offline
Member

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 100
So, ergo, we can use genetics in these discussions?

I think there could be an interesting thread, here, and there is relevance, for anyone with an interest in aikido. But i digress.

A real aikido dojo is "real " only for the one who practices in it. Who is to know , or who on the outside looing in,can purport to know how much aikido truth is really imparted, without sampling the physical experience itself?

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#348316 - 06/26/07 12:25 AM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: aikidonut]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
No... it was an analogy. You can use analogies, but you can't discuss genetics here (well, not in this thread anyway)... because it's not relevant.

Yes, it definitely has to be felt (IHTBF).... although, if you have a trained eye, you can see some stuff. But when it starts getting too subtle, IHTBF.

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#348317 - 06/26/07 06:34 AM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Well, get out the tin foil hats again, folks... the power lines are calling Mark.

This "gene" argument in everything Aikido would be like me arguing that since I'm doing cable design, everyone either is able to do Aikido or not because they have the right equipment in their cable system. Random people train in Aikido, and their environment has more to do with their learning than anything genetic. If your Sensei sucks, you get bad information... if he's good, you get good information. No genetics... just a transmission of information as Eyrie said.

Copying the movements of others isn't a genetic trait that I'm aware of... and being centered (as I supposed Mark has been trained to do) is a matter of absorbing that kind of information... not a DNA characteristic. It is made up of those nuances I spoke of earlier.

I might like to discuss the DNA characteristics of Aikido players, but not in this thread... my screen doesn't have the necessary DNA to receive those discussions.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#348318 - 06/26/07 10:32 AM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: eyrie]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Quote:

Interesting you should use the word "mimic". Most people expect to and are expected to copy what sensei is doing.

On some level, I think that is necessary. However, the problem with mimicry is just that. It is an approximation of the original. Over time, copies from copies start to degenerate. A good example is making photocopies from successive photocopies. After a while, the quality of the copy starts to deteriorate.




My point exactly. If I miss something in the detail it stays missed because we never see that particular variation again.

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#348319 - 06/26/07 11:48 AM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: wristtwister]
aikidonut Offline
Member

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 100
Wrist,

let's keep on topic. I believe eyrie and I have already covered that issue.

Ok , I'll venture a comment re: a "real " dojo.
The word Dojo refers to the place where the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree, to gain his first enlightenment. Similarly, for the dojo and the practitioner. As long as it serves you well, and you respect its covenants, it's a real dojo.

That being said, for a real aikido dojo,for a more specific constraint, it should have a sensei, a teacher who has learned the art of aikido to a level deemed to be befitting for a teacher. How he is "certified" to do so depends on the particular aikido school.I believe that the sensei should be affiliated with a recognized aikido school ( why else would you call it aikido?) and the criteria for that recognition is another topic for another thread. The sensei should teach the techniques that would be approved by his affiliated headquarters, and there should be some outward statement of those requirements, such as the kyu and dan requirements, ie, "5 techniques from tsuki.." for 1st kyu. There should be promotions within that school. There should be seminars from other high ranking sensei/shihans offered to the student.

In other words, there should be a "vetting" process, a sort of oversight by peers committe that serves to ensure that the teachings are in accord with aikido. Otherwise, as eyrie says, you're compoundong all the mistakes of the past , by "cloning " wrong techniques.

I think those are the basics.

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#348320 - 06/26/07 06:52 PM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: aikidonut]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
From your favorite place , Wikpedia:

"A dojo is a Japanese term which literally means "place of the Way". As such it can refer to a formal training place for any of the Japanese do arts but typically it is considered the formal gathering place for students of a martial arts style to conduct training, examinations and other related encounters.

The concept of a dojo as a martial arts training place is a Western concept; in Japan, any physical training facility, including professional wrestling schools may be called dojos as well depending on the context.

A proper Japanese martial arts dojo; is considered special and is well cared for by its users. In many styles it is traditional to conduct a ritual cleaning of the dojo; at the end of each training session (called souji, which translates from Japanese as "cleaning"). Besides the obvious hygienic benefits of regular cleaning it also serves to reinforce the fact that dojo are supposed to be supported and managed by the student body, not the school's instructional staff. This attitude has become lost in many modern, commercial dojos;koryu dojos; that are founded and run by a small group of people or instructors. In fact, it is not uncommon that in traditional schools (koryu), dojos; are rarely used for training at all, instead being reserved for more symbolic or formal occasions. The actual training is conducted typically outdoors or in a less formal area.

Many traditional dojos follow a prescribed pattern with shomen and various entrances that are used based on student and instructor rank laid out precisely. Typically students will enter in the lower-left corner of the dojo (in reference to the shomen) with instructors in the upper right corner. Shomen typically contains kamidana - an area for a shinto shrine and other artifacts. The term kamiza is frequently confused by martial arts practitioners with the Kamidana. Many other artifacts may be displayed throughout the dojo, such as kanban that authorize the school in a style or strategy, and items such as taiko drums or armor (yoroi). It is not uncommon to find the name of the dojo; and the dojo kun (roughly "dojo rules") displayed promiently at shomen as well. Visitors also typically have a special place reserved, depending on their rank and station. Weapons and other training gear will normally be found on the back wall."


One of the few times they actually have it about right.

Quote:

The word Dojo refers to the place where the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree, to gain his first enlightenment.




I must have missed that class, of course, with only 45 years training, it's entirely possible I haven't made it that far yet. I've always known it as a place of "those that have gone before", and “a place of the way”… nothing even vaguely related to Buddha and his enlightenment.

That being said, for a real aikido dojo,for a more specific constraint, it should have a sensei, a teacher who has learned the art of aikido to a level deemed to be befitting for a teacher. How he is "certified" to do so depends on the particular aikido school.I believe that the sensei should be affiliated with a recognized aikido school ( why else would you call it aikido?)

That sentence has so many parts I’ll have to approach it piece at a time…

That being said, for a real aikido dojo,for a more specific constraint, it should have a sensei.

That’s a good start, but not really necessary. A group of students can conduct business and run a class without someone sitting in the formal position of “Sensei”. True, in order to learn things, they must attend classes where a sensei is present, but many schools operate effectively with “senior students” or “approved students” running the classes. Often, they are uchideshi to a sensei, and are responsible for teaching classes in his stead.

How he is "certified" to do so depends on the particular aikido school.

Agreed, but not so much “certified” as “authorized” to teach. Many schools have teaching certificates that have several levels of teaching authorization, just as they have promotional restraints. You don’t have to be Menkyo Kaiden to teach a class, even up to black belt levels… simply proficient enough to get the job done. Oversight is what the organization is for.

I believe that the sensei should be affiliated with a recognized aikido school ( why else would you call it aikido?)

Not necessarily. My partner trained with Sogunuma Sensei, and is not “affiliated” with any school or organization , and he’s somewhere around Godan in rank now. He actually sits on the board of the USJA Aikido division, although he doesn’t promote through them. Affiliation isn’t a measure of skill… it’s simply a peer group to help you when you need it.

the criteria for that recognition is another topic for another thread

Okay, but every organization has its own standards and requirements. Whether you agree or not, is what determines what group you join. If you like Shin Shin Toitsu, you join Ki Society schools…
Nothing magic about that. You can even join the US Judo Association and practice Aikido under acceptable standards. Who is teaching, and what they know is what’s important. Fred Schmuck could be teaching, and if he knows more than some “name” sensei, he’s who I want to learn from.

The sensei should teach the techniques that would be approved by his affiliated headquarters.

Not necessarily. When I started in karate, I learned what my sensei knew, from the ground up. He taught me the way he learned, and used the methods he had learned from. He didn’t have a list of techniques to teach me… He just paid attention to where I was, and built on the techniques that I could already do. There was no “headquarters” at that time, and nobody was issuing training modules for us to learn from. You learned what your teachers knew, and what you developed on your own.

there should be some outward statement of those requirements, such as the kyu and dan requirements, ie, "5 techniques from tsuki.." for 1st kyu. There should be promotions within that school. There should be seminars from other high ranking sensei/shihans offered to the student.

That’s all “organizational malarkey”. Every organization has its own requirements and benefits, and promotions are based on merit or ability up to a point, and after that, it’s all gratis. With your rank certificate and 50 cents, you can ride the bus. Like anything else tied to money, organizational promotions are to collect fees.

In Judo, we had promotions called “batsugan”… which meant “instant promotion” for people who showed exceptional skill… and they were free. You might show up at a tournament as a brown belt and leave as a black belt if your technique was exceptional. Everybody there was watching your skills, and any one of them could promote you, so it blows quite a hole in your theory of “so many techniques for this rank” and “so many for that rank”. In Japan, at one time, if you had one technique that you could throw from anywhere for ippon (full point), you were shodan… if you had two techniques, you were sandan…. But throwing qualified judo players isn’t that easy, even when you’re good, so it meant something. It was more than simply being able to regurgitate 5 techniques from tsuki, or shomenuchi, or yokomenuchi for your rank. You had to have ability and execute the techniques effectively.

In other words, there should be a "vetting" process, a sort of oversight by peers committee that serves to ensure that the teachings are in accord with aikido.

I have no problem with peer group reviews, only the last part of that statement… “are in accord with aikido.” You and I have major disagreements on what Aikido actually is, and someone from your “peer group” would consider my techniques blasphemy. That’s why the hombu had numerous teachers leave to start their own styles. I wouldn’t think someone doing Yoshinkan would want to be considered the authority on Tomiki, or Shin Shin Toitsu . They should have a voice in a peer group, but not be considered “the authority” of the peers… but , of course, rank also plays a part in that.

This is as good a place as any to review something else you said once, regarding what “O’sensei’s intentions” were. NOBODY knows what O’sensei’s intentions were… just like you can’t read my mind and I can’t read yours. He developed an art… I’ve practiced it for 23 years… and I will never know what was in O’sensei’s mind, and neither will you. John Stevens and all the other writers who have produced remarkably good books about O’Sensei didn’t know what was in his mind. They, like you, were venturing a guess. I’ll give you an example:

Shimabuku Sensei developed Isshin Ryu karate. He was a masterful technician, and has a following like Aikido that is worldwide. He also had a sense of humor… so every time he promoted somebody to black belt that was going back to the United States, he told them “You’re in charge of Isshin Ryu in America”.

It didn’t take long for the different factions in America to start fighting among themselves for control of Isshin Ryu. Every one of them had been sent out and told they were in charge… every one had been “authorized” by Shimabuku Sensei to take over Isshin Ryu in America… and it has taken years for that to settle down. Nobody knows what’s in somebody else’s mind. Shimabuku Sensei laughed over that for years.

“Otherwise, as eyrie says, you're compounding all the mistakes of the past , by "cloning " wrong techniques.”

I hate to break the news to you, but techniques are techniques. You do them well or not, depending on your skill. Is what you teach the same as O’Sensei?.. probably not. Is it using the same principles?... maybe, maybe not. His technique was his, mine is mine, yours is yours. How well they match up is a matter for randori.

“Real” dojos are anywhere you train in your art. As long as you train effectively, give it “real effort”, and stick to the principles of the art you practice, it can be a garage floor or a Budokan. It’s the training that makes it a dojo… not the snobbery to say “your’s isn’t real Aikido” because “blah, blah, blah…” Look at some of O’Sensei’s old films… those guys would almost get crushed, and he hardly noticed. Kisshimaru Doshu had a different movement to his Aikido from that of his father, but I don’t think my films of him ever support the idea that his Aikido wasn’t real… it was different.
There are no “perfect dojos”… only players that train hard or not. Hard, soft, it doesn’t matter… that’s just style or understanding. Aikido is what it is.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#348321 - 06/26/07 11:08 PM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: wristtwister]
aikidonut Offline
Member

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 100
Quote:

I must have missed that class, of course, with only 45 years training, it's entirely possible I haven't made it that far yet. I've always known it as a place of "those that have gone before", and “a place of the way”… nothing even vaguely related to Buddha and his enlightenment.





a quote from "Zen Buddhist practice: Recent thoughts on the matter"
by Robert Aitken Roshi :

" The Buddha Shakyamuni was fixed in position under the Bodhi tree, in his bodhimanda, his dojo, his "place of enlightenment.

Although we generally think of dojos as places where martial arts take place, the word "dojo" is also widely used with repsect to the practice of zen buddhism, which has many corollaries to aikido. I put that lesser known definition of a dojo to stimulate thought about how one practices one's art with honesty and intent.

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#348322 - 06/26/07 11:47 PM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: wristtwister]
aikidonut Offline
Member

Registered: 12/27/06
Posts: 100
Quote:

I have no problem with peer group reviews, only the last part of that statement… “are in accord with aikido.” You and I have major disagreements on what Aikido actually is, and someone from your “peer group” would consider my techniques blasphemy. That’s why the hombu had numerous teachers leave to start their own styles. I wouldn’t think someone doing Yoshinkan would want to be considered the authority on Tomiki, or Shin Shin Toitsu . They should have a voice in a peer group, but not be considered “the authority” of the peers… but , of course, rank also plays a part in that.




yes, I would like to clarify my statement:

Quote:

a peer committee that serves to ensure that the teachings are in accord with aikido.




of course, I understand we have major disagreements ( or maybe not?) about what constitutes aikido. So therefore, the selection of which peer should be from peers who are in that school. e.g., a yoshinkan school should be subject to vetting by other yoshinkan peers. Obviously, not hombu peers. WT, your particular aikido has high ranking individuals in it, so that peer group should not contain hombu, or yoshinkan or tomiki people, etc....

So, one might then argue, what use is it, to have others from the same school have oversight? Well, I believe that this becomes a form of self governance, that says, hey , our school is honest.

Therefore, it doesn't matter if our definitions of aikido differ, the vetting process is with respect to its own school, and own set of peers. If you are a teacher of aikido ( I assume you are ) , then it would lend credence to your dojo,if you could say, yes, members of my community hold me, as sensei, in high esteem. ( I'm only using you as an example, not suggesting you have to do this ).

I suppose the real test of this defintion comes when someone breaks off from the aikido fold, be it Ki soc., yoshinkan, hombu, and starts his/her own dojo, and calls it aikido. What do you do then?

Well, if it is someone with obvious talent and understanding , such as Shioda, or Tohei, then the question is moot. But then what happens if the person was not so well known,or knowledgabe/talented, and he just wanted to start his own school? Refer back to our discussion re: Nihon Goshin, is it an aikido school? That's when my definition of a "real " aikido dojo would state, that it should be a recognized school of aikido. I think that if any worldwide body of aikido ( and nihon goshin is not recognized by any,) recognizes the school then you have to allow it.

Of course, this is getting too administrative. The most important issue is whether the practitioner himself feels it is real, and worthwhile studying. I have no right to stop anyone from practicing where he chooses.

There is nothing to stop Joe Shmoe from putting up a sign in the community , that says " aikido " , and getting tons of students. There is no law ( in the US ) that prevents that.
I am not an aikido "snob", but I do demand a little more of Joe Shmoe,since he is not Shioda, or Tomiki, or Tohei,or Saotome, to prove he is teaching aikido.

The reason I am sensitive to this is because I was fooled by such a school. I didn't know any better, and got sucked in. The guy was a fraud. He had no aikido technique, couldn't do or teach nikyo,but he would always say, in class, "this is what they do in aikido.." and we would believe it, who knows any better?

WT , I don't suspect you are one of those, quite the opposite. But I wish there was a better way of keeping these frauds out of the MA world.


Edited by aikidonut (06/26/07 11:54 PM)

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#348323 - 06/27/07 12:11 AM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: aikidonut]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Quote:

"A dojo is a Japanese term which literally means "place of the Way". As such it can refer to a formal training place for any of the Japanese do arts but typically it is considered the formal gathering place for students of a martial arts style to conduct training, examinations and other related encounters.




I would think that this definition sufficiently encapsulates ALL "do" arts including zendo - which is the more specific and widely used term in reference to the Zen Buddhist place where zazen is practiced, although the term dojo can also be used in that context.

However, in the interests of being pedantically correct, Bodhimanda (place of enlightenment) would be the more appropriate Pali word in reference to the place where Sakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment - not dojo, which is a Japanese word.

As far as corollaries to Aikido is concerned, that may be true, but... Zen is derived from the Mahayana (exoteric) school of thought. Ueshiba's philosophical framework for Aikido is based on his Omoto-kyo worldview, which itself is a bastardization of primarily Shinto paganism and Shingon Mikkyo (esoteric) Buddhism. Very different schools of thought and I don't think it is the same thing.

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#348324 - 06/27/07 12:44 AM Re: What is a "real Aikido dojo"? [Re: aikidonut]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I don't want to sound too aloof about this, but you're way too tedious about the practice and development of Aikido. It's a skillset, and a practice... it isn't the solution to world peace, or how to stop nuclear fission. It's training.

Hucksters have been around ever since before I started in the martial arts(1962), they'll be there after I'm dead and gone because its A way to make money... so they'll always be around. The best way to dismiss them is to study and find out what's actually an art and what's . That way, you can simply pass by their door... because you'll always find "their students" who will fight you tooth and nail to declare them legitimate. Who cares?

Ai-ki-do... same energy way, the way of blending ki... "intrinsic energy blending"... to me, "O'sensei's stuff"... it doesn't matter what you call it, what matters is the practice and whether you're any good at it. I don't care if he's doing aiki-jujutsu, Aikido, or whatever, as long as the techniques work and my technique improves through it... and I don't care what he calls it. I could study "Fred" if Fred would help me in my fighting skills.

I disagree with you about the peer review thing. Anybody with the kind of skills it takes to be a "reviewer" should be able to distinguish "style" from "art", so regardless of whether the guy is Yoshinkan or Hombu, he should be able to see the movement, the footwork, and execution of the technique and know whether you're any good. The dynamics of shihonage will always be the same, regardless of how you get there, as will kotegaeshi, iriminage, etc... so it's really a bluff when I said "you wouldn't want a Yoshinkan guy making judgements on Shin Shin Toitsu or Tomiki. The dynamics and skills are the same... they just look different from the "school" of training where they originate.

Don't take this wrong, but it's guys like you that make style interchange difficult. Unfortunately, there are many different ways to skin a cat, but few to make the cat like it. Aikido's no different.

The techniques of Aikido are infinite, and nit-picking stylistic changes, etc. creates friction more than understanding between styles. There are lots of people I've trained with that weren't worth $hit in Aikido, but they had good hearts and put forth a lot of effort. I've also trained with some people who were almost magical with their techniques, but had the personalities of a ham sandwich. It takes all kinds.

I don't care who trained under whom and historically picked their nose with their left hand... it means nothing to my training. If they can explain the technique, or point out a flaw in my footwork, or mention something I'm doing that is different from their style... I want to hear from them. The rest of that crap is just that.

My very first martial arts teacher was Sensei Bob Alexander, yondan in Isshin Ryu. When we were training one day, I mentioned to him that I wanted to work for a promotion. He said "learn the technique, and don't worry about rank, organizations, and all that stuff... If you can kill everybody in the dojo, you can wear whatever belt you want.". Everything else is window dressing.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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