“Rambled Thoughts on Change,” by David

“There is little else as divisive in Aikido as the hakama.

Of course, different organizations and their super-shihans have their own takes on Aikido as they understood it from Ō-Sensei, but when the practitioners of these different organizations get together for a good chat, technique is rarely a point of contention. By and large, we can all agree that we can learn from each other.”

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  1. Hillendflynn says:

    Hello there

    Thanks for your piece, it raises an interesting point.

    From where I see it our practice IS tradition (all BUDO is isn’t it?) and the only way to follow tradition and the aspects of the particular system one chooses is to initially learn to follow it ‘mindlessly’ and without question until that tradition or system becomes a part of the practitioner and one becomes ‘mindful’ of its necessity. So for myself to wear Hakama is neither here nor there. It is a no brainer. It is the way my teachers and my teachers’ teachers’ have followed all the way back to the Founder and before. Maybe some people bring their own opinions into practice way before they have matured as a practitioner thus make their own ‘new way’ too soon and there is a danger this new way leads away from the heart of what attracts us all to this beautiful art we follow. I don’t think there are many of us that practice that will find a better way than O’Senseis’ ‘way’, are there?

    Of course I don’t mean that the evolution of practice should be static or be followed mechanically without examination, the heart of Aikido is surely dynamic thus evolution and understanding must evolve and change. But this change must occur WITHIN the the tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. For me this way of following tradition leaves no grey areas on arbitrary things such as to wear/to not wear Hakama and leaves me free to concentrate on letting my body learn and my mind quieten – it’s going to take some time but at least I don’t have to worry about what I wear or if my hair looks nice.

    Once again many thanks for the post.

    Kind regards,


  2. Tradition/religion maybe the root cause of all war’s since the beginning of time…no need to continue this nonsense in today’s world…practice any way you won’t too.

  3. …i think the super-shihan bit has a number of facets, among them, “the good, the bad and the ugly”. the good is obvious. i have had the privilege of seeing and training under some awesome aikidoka. the bad is equally obvious, “well, you know, HE is one of so-and-so’s students…” that can be good or bad, but either way it can be at least divisive if not derisive. the ugly, of course, is that celebrity status helps fill the classes and pay the rent. no help, probably, for any of that.

    be like the wily fish. wiggle the bait off the hook. feed but don’t get caught.

  4. hillendflynn says:

    Taisho, thanks for your comment but religion and tradition are very different things the way i see them. I agree though people should aim to learn how they see fit, that said if you want to learn a classical piece of music you don’t as a relative beginner start to do it any way you want to, surely you need to learn the basics as taught by your seniors, assimilate the basics then make it your own?

  5. Breaking tradition is a good thing…Osensei did it on Daito Ryu…Mochizuki/Tomiki on Osensei…and MMA on all TMA’S

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