Nov
24

“Proficiency and Aikido,” by Francis Takahashi

Perhaps not quite common knowledge, but it is no secret that the Founder, and Aikikai Foundation, the organization developed by the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, remained committed to maintaining appropriate and lasting relationships with most of the Founder’s students, past and current. Organizations such as the Yoshinkan (Gozo Shioda), Yoseikan (Minoru Mochizuki), Takemusu Aikido (Morihiro Saito), Nishio Aikido (Shoji Nishio), amongst others, retained positive and respectful ties to Aikikai Foundation, and still appear to do so. In terms of legitimacy and genuineness of purpose, there never was, nor should there ever be, any need to “rank”, or otherwise categorize any individual or organization by any standard other than the unconditional allegiance to the principles of the Founder’s Aikido.

“Proficiency”, which will always be a key goal of training, is not, nor should ever be a part of any conversation regarding any evaluation or comparison of the Aikikai Foundation’s system of Aikido, with those of any other Aikido system developed consistently with the Founder’s Aikido. For all such systems, the fact of proficiency in their own respective applications, is a given, and not a basis for comparison or contrast. They all have their roots, and legitimacy, stemming directly from their connection to the Founder, his vision, mission, and to the principles he advocated and lived.
To do Aikido “the right way”, then, when is it ever “good enough”? Does each student of Aikido need to aspire primarily to “martial excellence”, as opposed to the study and pursuit of any other values inherent in Aikido research and training? Was it the Founder’s intent to train “super warriors”, or to encourage and assist in the growth of extraordinary and accountable human beings?
When one learns a new language, or even the one native to that person, must it be with the purpose of being able to ultimately write scientific or literary articles, blockbuster novels or widely acclaimed treatises for a Phd. degree? Would any lesser degree of achievement be deemed a “failure”, or be ignominiously tagged with the status of being ordinary or even mediocre?

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