“We are all working towards the same outcome.”
“We all aspire to the same things.”
“We all want the best for each other.”
In this debacle, the issue is aikido.
“We all want what’s best for aikido.”
No. We don’t.
We have a variety of agendas. We have different needs.
I could start listing the different things we want and I’d still be here next week. In brief, each of us wants something different. Even so, I see a few broad shapes.
– Some people are sick of the USAF and of all aikido organizations.
– Some people want to continue to achieve rank in an aikido organization.
– Some people don’t give a damn about organizations, but want to train.
– Some people make a living out of aikido, and want some kind of association of dojo cho.
– Some people are done.
– Some people remain committed to teachers who will remain in the USAF.
– Some people want a reason to stay with Yamada.
So if you’re someone who’s done, you’ll do and say very different things, in very different ways, from someone who is committed to staying in the USAF. Pretending otherwise is an error.
Moreover, there are many beliefs about what aikido actually is. I fall at one end of a spectrum: I don’t think aikido is intrinsically special. It’s a good tool for some people.
My take is, as I said, at one end of a spectrum. At the other end are people who believe deeply in the unique ability of aikido training to promote human potential. As a result of our different beliefs about what aikido is, we might have differing views about the importance of preserving a good image of aikido, or protecting a legacy.
That’s why you read me saying things that seem disrespectful or off-hand. Deep down inside, I don’t think aikido has any significance aside from the ways practitioners use it. I don’t care whether O Sensei retains admiration. I don’t care if aikido organizations succeed or fail. More accurately, I don’t care, aside from keeping friends happy and employed.
I am fairly certain that my attitude is not shared by everyone.
But even among people who care deeply about aikido (as opposed to caring about other practitioners), there are wide differences in what people want and need. Someone who has just started training might be interested in achieving rank. Someone who has rank might be interested in teaching in a hombu associated dojo. Someone else might care primarily about passing along their own skills. These are very different desires, and might lead to different tactics.
Let me get specific again. If you want rank recognized by hombu (and I certainly did), you have to train with people who have links to hombu.
That doesn’t have to mean USAF, but you might feel the need to be circumspect anyway.
You might live somewhere where the best training (by whatever measures you use) is in USAF dojos. If that’s the case you might feel the need to watch what you say, or to display deference. You might look for a reason to accept what YY says.
If that describes your situation, your needs differ from those of someone who has decided they want to be part of a cooperative dojo. The person who wants a cooperative might look into multiple arts as part of their training, and might not need (or want) hombu certification.
Pretending that you share the same perspective or needs doesn’t serve either of you well.
Those were general examples but I’m sure each person knows what they want, and can assess what others want.
Again, I think that assuming we all want the same things is a mistake. We have an alliance hoping for specific changes in the USAF. The actions we are willing to take if and when Yamada and the USAF leadership shoots down our common desires will differ.
Some of us are willing to stay in the USAF, although we’d prefer it changes. Some of us are not.
If you don’t realize that these are very different options, then you won’t be able to formulate a reasonable plan.
Another way of perceiving this situation: we have different aims, as a result we will favor strategies that achieve our own aims, not those of others. We will favor tactics that work within our strategies.
Again, that’s why I’m not very discreet. I’m already out. I don’t have to defer to YY or the board of the USAF.