Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Whose Aikido is right?

Jeff Duncan at Full Circle Aikido told me the other day he had a visitor from a school that bragged closer ties to Ueshiba's lineage than Tomiki's aikido. He seemed to imply that because of this, his system was more pure, or correct way to practice. Why is their direct system more correct?

You see I look around the attitudes of much of the aiki world and I see it like the churches from the bible belt I reside in. Every church seems to look to every other one with doubt and a critical eye. They do this even though they worship the same ideas and read the same books.

Aikido is really no different. Lowry Sensei was telling me that when he walking a different path he was taught to see other people's work through a lens of right/wrong. If aikido wasn't being done their way it was wrong.

I think we all can fall into that mode of thought. I regularly offer critical analysis of other artists work. God knows other artists offer it of mine. But really what Lowry Sensei says is the difference lies in preferences.


Some people like to make power technique. Some people like painful aiki technique. While these techniques do not fall into my model of what aiki is, its ok. The world is large enough for people to define it themselves.

One of the truths I have learned on this path is that today's understanding and preferences will evolve into something completely different tomorrow.


  1. Very true - good point. Reminds me of a thought I jotted down a while back when someone was dissing one of my videos:

    Keep the faith.

    RE: your example of Bible belt churches. I see what you're talking about but it reminded me of a story. Seems that someone asked Whitefield (Calvinist minister in New England) what he thought of Wesley's more Arminian ideas. The answer they expected was for Whitefield to rant about Wesley being a heretic. Whitefield said something to the effect of, "When we both get to heaven, Wesley will be seated so far ahead of me at the feet of the Master that I won't even be able to see the back of his head."

    I think most churches these days think that the things that make them distinctly different than the church across the street - that those differences are important, but not the basis of jihad.

    Martial artists (in general - not necessarily you in particular)could learn a thing or two at churches like that.

  2. Actually, they are correct. Tomiki founded Tomiki Aikido, aka Shodokan Aikido or Sport Aikido, which is largely considered to defy the core concepts of Aikido. But, that aside, the Aikikai are the original, and are the proper authority.

    Aikido isn't like a church. This isn't ancient, ages old mystery martial arts. When Ueshiba passed away, his son became doshu ("Leader of the Way"). He has since passed away, and his son, Moriteru Ueshiba, is now doshu. He leads from Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, where Tomiki and the others were taught. The Doshu dictates the way, and is the heir and authority.

    You really should know the lineage of your dojo and your art. When I was starting out, it was required.

  3. If these are, indeed, "arts" then the issue of "right and wrong" seems as silly to me as if you were to discuss right and wrong among "artists" of the conventional sense, such as painters: "Monet was right and Picasso was wrong!" Right or wrong about what? They just had different ways of approaching the same task, painting.

  4. I really hope you return to the KyuRyu AikiBudo blog anonymous. I think you will find your preconceived notions of Aikido will be challenged. It might save you from drinking the Kool Aid. Then again I might be too late.

    FYI - the gentlemen was not from aikikai, so your presumption was flawed. But anyhow thanks for proving my point. Your church is right. Mine is wrong.

    I enjoy the friendly verbal sparring anyhow, so don't let me chase you off!

  5. You are missing the point... Being closer to O-sensei's lineage Does not make you any more correct or incorrect in how you do YOUR Aiki... It just means you have not evolved from that rough draft that he laid out thats all... How you apply The Principals of movement are the defining factors of "Aiki" not how you got there.. Aikikai spins in circles to get there I don't...

    But then again You probably think that kicking, punching and Newaza are not Aiki.. It is ok I understand that the brainwashed cannot see the leaders of their cult in any other light. One day you migh be able to look to the sky and be able to move out of your self imposed limitations.


  6. A martial art is a training method. A "style" of a martial art is a more narrowly defined training method.

    Who's right and who's wrong depends on who is more successful on the transmission of knowledge.

    There are no clear answers, it's highly subjective, and it is intensely personal.

    While there are many styles of taijiquan, for example, there is one taijiquan. It's the same thing with aikido.

    My two cents.

  7. "Even though our path is completely different from the warrior arts of the past, it is not necessary to abandon totally the old ways. Absorb venerable traditions into this new art by clothing them with fresh garments, and build on the classic forms to create better forms."
    -O Sensei

    This is ancient, ages old wisdom. True art is filled with life force, and just like living beings, art too evolves. We stand on the shoulders of giants: though these mortals have passed, their art lives, grows, and adapts through us.

    My dojo is the earth, and it is the best dojo. There is no need to argue.

    When you point a finger at another, remember you are pointing three fingers back at yourself.

  8. LOL I love you Scooter, you know that..

    But you have not seen me point yet.. I use the whole hand all fingers and thumbs extended foward in order to not "single" one
    we will plan someting soon, I miss you guys.