Stop .. just stop trying to figure out the founder, picking apart his life, picking apart aikido history as if there was some secret hidden deep in the intersecting coincidences of fate as people come and go .. it is what it is.
Just like looking into a mirror … you have to figure out what you want and who you are.
Who do you want to be? What do you want your Aikido to be?
All this formulation of a caste system to teach aikido and trying to be Japanese is unimportant in light of … what Aikido is. The applications are much more important than the method to learn what is applied.
Sadly, Aikido has become a system of learning Japanese as Americans, and people all over the world, become more familiar with the system of teaching and learning, but if it were formulated in Africa, or India, or even by Eskimos (not to offend any ethnicity) what would be we be trying to learn in light of the ethnic and social customs of those people to learn their version of Aikido? MAYBE we would be dressed in their garb and learning their customs .. you can’t tell until it happens.
Don’t get too seriously attached to being polite and learning the social customs and the methods of teaching from a Japanese derived system of martial arts, but do respect the system as it does seem to work for its goal of teaching. There are some good things in there to learn.
Find the middle-ground where where you are neither head-over-heels in love nor angry and hating your love-affair with Aikido, but find the clarity in the middle. Learn the lessons, apply them to your life, and thank your teachers and classmates for being such good sports.
STOP .. with all this analyzing of the founder’s history, and how the personal lives of people contributing to the success of Aikido might be your ticket to finding the secret that will make you a master or reveal aikido’s secrets. Get a clue! ONLY your training and your mind can reveal any secret! READING words might help, but only training will clarify the meaning of words!
Aikido is what it is … the combination of techniques as interpreted by the founder then interpreted by his students, then interpreted by the students of students and so on and so on …. until it gets to you.
Just like a message the loses its original meaning because it is a story told, retold and retold a hundred times you may have to research the old words and pictures to figure out where and when it got changed and who reinterpreted the original teachings. Fact is .. the founder reinterpreted what he was taught trying to keep the original techniques intact.
Aikido is what it is … figure it out for yourself … even if you occasionally need to ask for help from people around you … realize .. it is you that figures it out.
Don’t get me wrong, human nature is what it is. We talk, we read, we do the things that we tell ourselves not to do, but at the end of the day … what was important? For Aikido … what is important? Can you do the techniques? Do you have the right outlook and attitude? What did it take to give you these things?
I often think … there are so many other martial arts from around the world that have many similar techniques to what we practice in aikido, but they are scattered about and not all used the same way, so why is training in Aikido important? It is only one piece of the martial arts training puzzle, one style that works against a variety of attacks and defenses, but sooner or later… someone will figure out how to neutralize aikido and then what? Will Aikido evolve or remain stale and rooted in the old ways? I hope not. I hope it will adapt and evolve while maintaining the old with the new, don’t you?
For now .. it works. It works as a young man’s training, and old man’s training, let alone it works most of the time in a variety of situations. I just get annoyed when people try to pick apart the life of the founder and the people who contributed to keeping aikido alive when it is the practice and the techniques we keep alive as we remember those who lent their energy and their spirit to keeping it alive.
Ya want to know the secrets? They were all human beings with flaws trying to be better then they were. Some flaws were obvious, some were hidden. YOU need to work on figuring out what your flaws and strengths are and work on becoming a better human being. THAT is the secret agenda of Aikido.
And … in many ways … the only agenda you need to reach for when practicing any martial art.