“Impersonating a re-enactment may have some degree of
merit. But please do not mistake it for the real thing.”
In Aikido it is different. You don’t need to be able to prove you can survive any emergency or have served in any authorised capacity. Simply wear a hakama, an obsolete relic of a bygone era from another culture, quote a lineage, real or fake, it does not matter and hey-presto, you can go out and teach.
There’s people “teaching” what they claim is Aikido who don’t even know the names of the basic techniques or that they exist. Or what they are. They simply flow and there it is.
And then there are the profit making businesses that mass produce a semblance of something they label “aikido” with teachers who have never had any experience resolving real violence and don’t even know if they can. Something to be proud of.
Dilettantes like to skirt around the edges of the real thing. Others even form reenactment groups so they can reenact the safe parts but have nothing to do with the real work. Movie stars get paid big money to act a part, make believe some thing real which is fake, but look good for the cameras.
Why is it that with Aikido, personal ability is not considered a qualification?
In feudal times the teachers of budo were the battle-hardened who repeatedly and consistently gained experience and returned from the fields of battle.
The fake and the opinionated, or the unskilled, and those whose arrows missed, stayed behind fertilized these fields with their theories. Nowadays these are the ones who often “teach” and “martial arts” have become a fertile field for making money and claiming a position on a pedestal built on illusion.
What’s it all about?
The lofty claim is made that we “train to improve ourselves.” This suggests that we are becoming better at something. Exactly what? Since most dojo skills have no use in real violence.
A social club with politics where some exercises reenacting a mimicry of a distant form that resembles a dance more than something that can be applied serves what purpose? What part of ourselves exactly are we purporting to improve? Cardio? Social skills? Making eyes and smiling a lot? Spinal massage? Touching? Pushing? What?
Don’t get me wrong. There are numerous dojo who train safely and whose proponents have real budo skill they need to verify at work in real circumstances diffusing real violence.
What are the others achieving?
Skirting around the edges of anything does not improve anything more than the ability to skirt around the edges. If you have not survived an emergency, you don’t have a clue. So what exactly can you exemplify and transmit to those faithful gullible who may rely on what you impart to survive one day?
Quoting even the best “lineage” means nothing. What can YOU do? More than pass a grading and recite Japanese words with fake and poor pronunciation.
Ever noticed those schoolteachers that had never done a days real work, left University and became teachers? Their job was to impart like a parrot, not the fruit of experience because they had none, but simply quote out of somebody else’s book. A parrot, parakeet or a cockatoo would have done as good a job reciting and repeating. A tape recorder could have obviated the need to pay a wage.
What did they TEACH? Most merely provided temporally form of entertainment for unruly teenagers. Perhaps the better ones merely coached.
The inexperienced cannot teach as such. They merely recite.
In order to teach, you must have first proven yourself in the field you propose to purport. Then you must be a able to set the EXAMPLE and actually DO what you purport in real circumstances related to the subject.
Academia can be fun but it becomes positively pernicious if the theorist then “rises” to a position of authority over people on the ground who are dealing in facts not supported by the illusory theories.
That is the very reason the world of man is in the mess it is right now. Mismatched theories not supported by real fact and backed up with no meaningful ability.
I recall the best schoolteachers were mostly returned soldiers. Why this? Most likely because they carried themselves like somebody who had been there. And they were not frightened of a bunch of kids.
In those days they had no special “teaching” ability as such. Quite simply you wanted to listen and take note because, whilst they did not take any nonsense, they were simultaneously respectful. Firm and fair. Without even making mention of their past experience, the silent authority of experience carried and transmitted unspoken. You felt you were learning more than how to become another parrot.
Impersonating a re-enactment may have some degree of merit. But please do not mistake it for the real thing.
Indeed it will make changes and any regular discipline has some value. But don’t delude youself.
Aikido will transform you. But you have to address it as functional budo. To do this you have to at least make a semblance of an effort to THINK and give due consideration to function.
Archery for example is useful. In origins it was useful for catching a feed for the tribe. If one purporting himself a hunter returned empty handed but feeling all “spiritual” and posing in glossy hakama, the tribe would have likely given him a well deserved beating and assigned him more suitable, menial chores in keeping with his real status and ability. I hear there is an archery art where missing with a very “zen” attitude and a suitable pose is deemed acceptable instead of being relegated its true status.
It is really sad, how we as a species, when we no longer have to catch and grow food and are so well off someone else is doing the real work for us, how delusional to the point of psychiatric illness we can fall.
We need to determine what our Aikido is going to be. Whether an insubstantial pageant, or the cutting edge of self-correction with primordial challenge as the measure.
What you practice you become good at.