In the next few columns of this series, I plan to examine in more detail the activities of teaching, learning and ‘stealing’, especially as these applied to Morihei Ueshiba and his immediate disciples, and also the crucial relationship between these activities and their own (and our own) personal training regimes.
As they progress with their training, aikidoists tend to encounter various problems, when they are led to question the validity of what they are doing. They practice under the supervision of a ‘Sensei’, who has also practiced—and perhaps received his license to teach, from another ‘Sensei’ and the pattern then is to trace the lineage and also competence as an aikidoist and an aikido teacher, right back to O Sensei, who is generally considered to be the Source (acknowledgements to the Wachowski brothers), hence the etymology of the Japanese term Sensei [before + life/living].
The problems arise when these aikidoists encounter exponents of other martial arts, who tell aikidoists that they are lacking in their technique and training, and also when they encounter other exponents of aikido who are from a different lineage to their own. How is it possible that aikido can be lacking in such essential skills, given that the Founder was the Source, and how is it possible that there can be so many different ‘schools’ of aikido, when there is only one Founder/Source? The problems have led to much discussion, especially on dedicated websites like AikiWeb, and have also led dedicated aikidoists to question severely their own training history. There is no point in going into denial here. The problems exist and the most honest approach is to admit this and then try to find a way to resolve the dilemma in the best traditions of 文武 BUN/BU: study and training….
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