Are you able to let go?

Does Aikido defines you? Gives you a sense of meaning? Purpose? Responsibility? Makes you a nicer person? Give you character? And all the other nice things? Does Aikido also provides you front and side air bags? If Aikido is really that good to you, like a cuddly teddy bear, then can you let it go?

I’ve not been attending class lately, perhaps it is simply a matter to reaching that ‘plateau’ again, where I don’t see myself ‘progressing’. The sense of plateauing has happened to me before, I’m not sure if it had happened to you, the last time I felt it was when I was in my 3rd kyu? Or later.

Right now I can look back and understand, again, the sensation of plateauing. It is a play of the ego, where the ego is not getting that adrenaline kick anymore. There is a sense of mental fatigue and no matter how hard I try, an irimi nage will always still be an irimi nage.

This time, it is not a sensation of the plateau. It is a sense of the self is telling me to give it a rest. Too much time and energy is spent on Aikido that other parts of your life is lacking. My presence in Aikido dojo, would means an absence at home as a father. It is a zero-sum game no matter how I look at it. I can only be at one place at a time, and sometimes I need to pull myself away from my regime to spend more time doing my other duties.

And this clinging, even to something as good as Aikido, is bad.

This is happening naturally, I don’t really miss Aikido, and frankly, when I’m in dojo, I don’t miss being a dad. There is sense of ease in the role and when there is an over-balance, the body, mind and spirit will automatically redress that, without any sense of angst or reluctance. Even though I said it is a zero sum game, I don’t feel a sense of scarcity, I just do more of this and less of that, and later time, more of that and less of this.

That gave me an epiphany, because we so often hear people say, that when they don’t get to train, they’ll feel uncomfortable. If they don’t go to the dojo and sweat it out, something don’t feel quite right. That means that deep in you, you hadn’t been able to let go. And this clinging, even to something as good as Aikido, is bad.

Nothing last forever, not even Aikido training. We must be able to let things go without attachment, only when we are able to do that, then we can take our skills, our life skills to the next level. Our Aikido existence is not a be all, and end all. Well if Aikido really matters that much to you, then you have to look somewhere else and see what other good stuff in your life you have been missing, doing your Aikido thing.

Aikido as an art of self defense

Many, many people sell Aikido as a self defense martial art. Even Harry sensei likes to use this cliche. That Aikido is an art that you can use to defend yourself in the unfortunate event of a combat. Or if you get mugged, or raped, or life and death situation.

Let’s be frank, in that kind of situation, anything, and I mean anything works. Beer bottles, claw, nails, wedding rings, scratch, kick, scream. In a real situation, in a fight, it is Applied Martial Arts, and anything goes to preserve life, mainly yours.

“Aikido is an art of self protection.”

I was struck with this epiphany. Aikido is a self protection art. You strive to ‘protect’ the self, which is a very different wordplay from ‘defense’. Protection is active, defense is reactive. You defend against something. You protect something. Defense is implied as a win/lose, attack/defend duality. something has to happen to justify a defense. When you protect, you simply protect, you can extend that range of protection, or you can protect others so that you protect self. You can collaborate with others to form a collective act of protect.

You do not have to wait for an attack to happen, before you protect. If you know the attack will be coming, you will protect your assailant, by preventing the attack from happening, because once the act of attack is initiated, it will only result in a consequence of attrition, everyone will get hurt.

Protection ironically is not about the self, but the world at large. We want to protect the ecosystem, we want to protect mother nature, we want to protect our loved ones, because in protecting these ‘extrinsic’ elements, it justifies our existence. If we fail to protect our loved ones and the person’s life is lost, what good is an art of ‘self defense’? When those people who validates our lives gets wiped out, what can a self defense system do? You need to protect them from harm, sometimes even at the expense of your own life.

This is the true meaning of Aikido, and I’d dare say, martial arts. You are willing to go the extra to protect what matters, sometimes you give up your resources to allow others to be protected. When you understand the concept of protection in a martial arts, you will readily give up your life to protect others, so that others may live. It is not an act of courage, but simply acting in the true spirit of Budo. Understanding why we must protect others to protect self, will bring you down to the most humble and harmless level, you will totally disarm yourself, and no one will be able to muster the ability to hurt you, because you can protect them from harm, and protect them from harming themselves.

If we think that the person can hurt us, then they can hurt us, and in order for us to prevent that, we will revert to self defense, in an attempt to protect us, but by then it is too late as we would have fallen into the duality of attack and defense. There is no opposite in the true spirit of protection. With our capability as human beings we can protect a lot of things without having to defend them from attack.

“self protection is about equilibrium”

Always remember, self protection is about equilibrium, we can protect ourselves and others, we do not need to worry about the various, immeasurable varieties of attacks, you simply protect. Attack and defense will swing, protection does not. You can offer protection longer than you can defend or attack. But protection needs the development of courage, having no fear or favour to attacks and defense, you come up with a quiet confidence to just protect, giving up attacking and defending for something more sophisticated and superior

Many, many people sell Aikido as a self defense martial art. Even Harry sensei likes to use this cliche. That Aikido is an art that you can use to defend yourself in the unfortunate event of a combat. Or if you get mugged, or raped, or life and death situation.

Let’s be frank, in that kind of situation, anything, and I mean anything works. Beer bottles, claw, nails, wedding rings, scratch, kick, scream. In a real situation, in a fight, it is Applied Martial Arts, and anything goes to preserve life, mainly yours.

“Aikido is an art of self protection.”

I was struck with this epiphany. Aikido is a self protection art. You strive to ‘protect’ the self, which is a very different wordplay from ‘defense’. Protection is active, defense is reactive. You defend against something. You protect something. Defense is implied as a win/lose, attack/defend duality. something has to happen to justify a defense. When you protect, you simply protect, you can extend that range of protection, or you can protect others so that you protect self. You can collaborate with others to form a collective act of protect.

You do not have to wait for an attack to happen, before you protect. If you know the attack will be coming, you will protect your assailant, by preventing the attack from happening, because once the act of attack is initiated, it will only result in a consequence of attrition, everyone will get hurt.

Protection ironically is not about the self, but the world at large. We want to protect the ecosystem, we want to protect mother nature, we want to protect our loved ones, because in protecting these ‘extrinsic’ elements, it justifies our existence. If we fail to protect our loved ones and the person’s life is lost, what good is an art of ‘self defense’? When those people who validates our lives gets wiped out, what can a self defense system do? You need to protect them from harm, sometimes even at the expense of your own life.

This is the true meaning of Aikido, and I’d dare say, martial arts. You are willing to go the extra to protect what matters, sometimes you give up your resources to allow others to be protected. When you understand the concept of protection in a martial arts, you will readily give up your life to protect others, so that others may live. It is not an act of courage, but simply acting in the true spirit of Budo. Understanding why we must protect others to protect self, will bring you down to the most humble and harmless level, you will totally disarm yourself, and no one will be able to muster the ability to hurt you, because you can protect them from harm, and protect them from harming themselves.

If we think that the person can hurt us, then they can hurt us, and in order for us to prevent that, we will revert to self defense, in an attempt to protect us, but by then it is too late as we would have fallen into the duality of attack and defense. There is no opposite in the true spirit of protection. With our capability as human beings we can protect a lot of things without having to defend them from attack.
“self protection is about equilibrium”

Always remember, self protection is about equilibrium, we can protect ourselves and others, we do not need to worry about the various, immeasurable varieties of attacks, you simply protect. Attack and defense will swing, protection does not. You can offer protection longer than you can defend or attack. But protection needs the development of courage, having no fear or favour to attacks and defense, you come up with a quiet confidence to just protect, giving up attacking and defending for something more sophisticated and superior

First published: Nov 9, 2015

Your first Aikido sensei

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Christmas 2014

Who is your first Aikido sensei? Who is my first Aikido sensei? The fellow teaching you how to turn, roll and wears a funny black pleated skirt-looking pants?

You first Aikido sensei is your parents.

Your mother showed you love, and affection, your father protects and nurtures you. They are the foundations of love and harmony that Aikido is all about.

I watch last evening as Harry sensei taught this young Aikidoka how to roll properly. As I watched, I came to this realization that he is like a father teaching his son. I can feel that because I am a father myself, and I would use the same energy, attitude, of unconditional effort, openness, hands on to teach my sons, whatever they are learning. I saw that in Harry sensei last evening, the effort, and unconditional love is the same.

It was a very profound experience as the whole relationship paradigm in my Aikido training was radically shifted. I left the class with a feeling of total awe, and more importantly a renewed sense of humility.

It was more than that.

Training with NUS students has opened another level of understanding for me. These young boys and girls, is easily 20 years my junior. And I had almost 20 years of training in Aikido. That said, what about Harry sensei, he has close to 50 years of training! He has been training long before anyone one in class was born!

So when I look at the faces of my young fellow Aikidokas, the youth is still there, the innocence are still present. I can sense that because, given another 10 years, my elder son, Ian, will be 19 years old, about that age of a NUS student.

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With Ian in Hong Kong 2011

They still carry the dreams and aspirations their parents have for them. Edna, Jia Hwee, Tri, Glenn, Jade, Darius, Cathryn, Rachel, just to name a few names, their parents gave them the names, very much like how I bestowed upon my sons, theirs. They came to class, to NUS with their parents, in spirit and in faith. Hence, you are not simply training with that person, you are training with a person who has been exposed to love and affection, with understanding and attention long before they stepped into an Aikido class. So they are an expert in their 18- 19 years of living, and me? I’m just a beginner in their lives!

That can be said for Harry sensei himself! He has parents, his parents has aspirations for him, perhaps they’d wanted him to become someone of stature, or they had other expectations, I wondered, had his parents came back and look at him now, taking a class, 6th Dan in Aikido, would that had been what they wanted from him? Certainly my parents didn’t expect me to embark in Aikido training.

More often than not, we did not choose to embark on our Aikido journey, but somehow stumbled into it, and continued because of certain circumstances that compels us to continue, it was probably one of the last thing our parents expects of us.

We need to give back, our parents has been our first Aikido sensei, and now when we learn how to love and live in harmony from someone else, we need to give this back to them, perhaps now that we’ve grown up and our parents might have thought that their kids no longer need so much love and care, but they still do care and love us, just as much, or perhaps more. Now that we are adults training in Aikido, we need to love them back. Things we learned in the dojo, we need to practise it with our parents, let them know that their love and efforts has manifested, their kids has not wasted their love and effort, well we may not be everything our parents wants us to be, but we can let them know that their love and efforts hadn’t gone to waste, their children has done fine and is now learning how to love on the foundations that they have given us.

First Published: Nov 26, 2014 6:32 AM

As of current: Harry sensei is now 7th Dan Shihan.

Over Correcting

White Belt

A couple of lessons back, a chirpy white belter, Mary asked me if what she was doing was correct, as I partnered her. I told her that just enjoy the moves, as it will be too much to correct as almost everything she is doing is ‘wrong’.

We need to understand that getting from ‘wrong’ to ‘right’ in martial arts, takes a heck of a long time, and sometimes, you will go from wrong to right and back to wrong. Personally for me, as long as the Aikidoka enjoys the moves, and stay relaxed, avoids injury, that is a decent session of Aikido.

One thing we must be careful as beginners is the penchant to over correct, we analyze over the nitty and the gritty, until we think that everything we do needs improvement! Well, duh, that is precisely why we come to the dojo right? To day by day, unlearn our habits, and learn something that is closely resembling Aikido.

…is very un-instant gratification

Nobody gets it right at the onset, so why even bother to try? It is a long arduous process that is very un-instant gratification. The more you try to get it right, the more wrong it will get, for beginners, there is only a general sense of body movement, positioning and effectively use of our strengths. the other stuffs we learn along the way.

So everytime I go to class, I will look forward to enjoying the movement, enjoying the company. Right movement will come from right attitude, and when you enjoy your movement, you will be cultivating the right attitude.

untitled.png

A couple of lessons back, a chirpy white belter, Mary asked me if what she was doing was correct, as I partnered her. I told her that just enjoy the moves, as it will be too much to correct as almost everything she is doing is ‘wrong’.
We need to understand that getting from ‘wrong’ to ‘right’ in martial arts, takes a heck of a long time, and sometimes, you will go from wrong to right and back to wrong. Personally for me, as long as the Aikidoka enjoys the moves, and stay relaxed, avoids injury, that is a decent session of Aikido.
One thing we must be careful as beginners is the penchant to over-correct, we analyze over the nitty and the gritty, until we think that everything we do needs improvement! Well, duh, that is precisely why we come to the dojo right? To day by day, unlearn our habits, and learn something that is closely resembling Aikido.

…is very un-instant gratification

Nobody gets it right at the onset, so why even bother to try? It is a long arduous process that is very un-instant gratification. The more you try to get it right, the more wrong it will get, for beginners, there is only a general sense of body movement, positioning and effectively use of our strengths. the other stuffs we learn along the way.
So every time I go to class, I will look forward to enjoying the movement, enjoying the company. Right movement will come from right attitude, and when you enjoy your movement, you will be cultivating the right attitude.

First published:  Jul 15, 2015 10:33 PM

White Belt

A couple of lessons back, a chirpy white belter, Mary asked me if what she was doing was correct, as I partnered her. I told her that just enjoy the moves, as it will be too much to correct as almost everything she is doing is ‘wrong’.

We need to understand that getting from ‘wrong’ to ‘right’ in martial arts, takes a heck of a long time, and sometimes, you will go from wrong to right and back to wrong. Personally for me, as long as the Aikidoka enjoys the moves, and stay relaxed, avoids injury, that is a decent session of Aikido.

One thing we must be careful as beginners is the penchant to over correct, we analyze over the nitty and the gritty, until we think that everything we do needs improvement! Well, duh, that is precisely why we come to the dojo right? To day by day, unlearn our habits, and learn something that is closely resembling Aikido.

…is very un-instant gratification

Nobody gets it right at the onset, so why even bother to try? It is a long arduous process that is very un-instant gratification. The more you try to get it right, the more wrong it will get, for beginners, there is only a general sense of body movement, positioning and effectively use of our strengths. the other stuffs we learn along the way.

So everytime I go to class, I will look forward to enjoying the movement, enjoying the company. Right movement will come from right attitude, and when you enjoy your movement, you will be cultivating the right attitude.

Loyalty illustrated

When I saw this Youtube post, I know what ‘loyalty’ looks like.

What makes me said that? Look at the video, at the 2.50 mins mark, Saito sensei‘s uchideshi, Tristan Da Cunha demonstrate very strongly and visually the true spirit of loyalty. He held his sensei up, and be on his fours for his sensei, his loyalty mirrors deep respect and commitment to his sensei.

In our capitalistic and consumer centric society, we, students pay a fee, so technically speaking we are customers, and take this attitude with us when go to learn martial arts. Martial Arts schools on the other hand, clamor even more for membership so that they can keep their school alive, pay rentals, make ends meet. Poor service=unhappy students= less students= no more school. Some teachers, hope to get rich this way, some do, many doesn’t.

So many modern schools makes it friendly for students to keep paying, the last thing on my sensei’s mind is being  ‘customer’ friendly. sometimes his rebuke can be harsh, (although he has toned down significantly), some of his remarks can be callous. In our ‘customer service’ centric society, Consumer is king. Why should I pay to have someone pass insensitive remarks at me and hurt my feelings?

Loyalty is not a popularity contest. Loyalty is being there day in day out. Loyalty is the ‘boring’ thing. Taking my sensei’s bad mood with his jubilation. Loyalty seems to fit uneasily with consumerism. After i watched it, there is not more question. The fee I pay for the experience i get and the lessons, is far beyond any monetary exchange. My sensei is not keen about the fees as well. His presence as the sensei and my presence as his student cuts through dollars and cents. He need me as much as i need him, that is what loyalty is about. Without the both of us, there is no Aikido. The importance of our existence is not over hyped, it’s just is.

Who can be sure that we can be with our sensei until death? Can I carry on my sensei‘s teaching and still learn from him until his last breath? Will I be there when my sensei dies? After I saw what Tristan did for Saito sensei, I know when that time comes, loyalty will not longer be a question to ask.

When I saw this Youtube post, I know what ‘loyalty’ looks like.

What makes me said that? Look at the video, at the 2.50 mins mark, Saito sensei‘s uchideshi, Tristan Da Cunha demonstrate very strongly and visually the true spirit of loyalty. He held his sensei up, and be on his fours for his sensei, his loyalty mirrors deep respect and commitment to his sensei.

In our capitalistic and consumer centric society, we, students pay a fee, so technically speaking we are customers, and take this attitude with us when go to learn martial arts. Martial Arts schools on the other hand, clamor even more for membership so that they can keep their school alive, pay rentals, make ends meet. Poor service=unhappy students= less students= no more school. Some teachers, hope to get rich this way, some do, many doesn’t.

So many modern schools makes it friendly for students to keep paying, the last thing on my sensei’s mind is being  ‘customer’ friendly. sometimes his rebuke can be harsh, (although he has toned down significantly), some of his remarks can be callous. In our ‘customer service’ centric society, Consumer is king. Why should I pay to have someone pass insensitive remarks at me and hurt my feelings?

Loyalty is not a popularity contest. Loyalty is being there day in day out. Loyalty is the ‘boring’ thing. Taking my sensei’s bad mood with his jubilation. Loyalty seems to fit uneasily with consumerism. After i watched it, there is not more question. The fee I pay for the experience i get and the lessons, is far beyond any monetary exchange. My sensei is not keen about the fees as well. His presence as the sensei and my presence as his student cuts through dollars and cents. He need me as much as i need him, that is what loyalty is about. Without the both of us, there is no Aikido. The importance of our existence is not over hyped, it’s just is.

Who can be sure that we can be with our sensei until death? Can I carry on my sensei‘s teaching and still learn from him until his last breath? Will I be there when my sensei dies? After I saw what Tristan did for Saito sensei, I know when that time comes, loyalty will not longer be a question to ask.

First published: Aug 6, 2010 5:02 PM

 

When I saw this Youtube post, I know what ‘loyalty’ looks like.

What makes me said that? Look at the video, at the 2.50 mins mark, Saito sensei‘s uchideshi, Tristan Da Cunha demonstrate very strongly and visually the true spirit of loyalty. He held his sensei up, and be on his fours for his sensei, his loyalty mirrors deep respect and commitment to his sensei.

In our capitalistic and consumer centric society, we, students pay a fee, so technically speaking we are customers, and take this attitude with us when go to learn martial arts. Martial Arts schools on the other hand, clamor even more for membership so that they can keep their school alive, pay rentals, make ends meet. Poor service=unhappy students= less students= no more school. Some teachers, hope to get rich this way, some do, many doesn’t.

So many modern schools makes it friendly for students to keep paying, the last thing on my sensei’s mind is being  ‘customer’ friendly. sometimes his rebuke can be harsh, (although he has toned down significantly), some of his remarks can be callous. In our ‘customer service’ centric society, Consumer is king. Why should I pay to have someone pass insensitive remarks at me and hurt my feelings?

Loyalty is not a popularity contest. Loyalty is being there day in day out. Loyalty is the ‘boring’ thing. Taking my sensei’s bad mood with his jubilation. Loyalty seems to fit uneasily with consumerism. After i watched it, there is not more question. The fee I pay for the experience i get and the lessons, is far beyond any monetary exchange. My sensei is not keen about the fees as well. His presence as the sensei and my presence as his student cuts through dollars and cents. He need me as much as i need him, that is what loyalty is about. Without the both of us, there is no Aikido. The importance of our existence is not over hyped, it’s just is.

Who can be sure that we can be with our sensei until death? Can I carry on my sensei‘s teaching and still learn from him until his last breath? Will I be there when my sensei dies? After I saw what Tristan did for Saito sensei, I know when that time comes, loyalty will not longer be a question to ask.

When I saw this Youtube post, I know what ‘loyalty’ looks like.

What makes me said that? Look at the video, at the 2.50 mins mark, Saito sensei‘s uchideshi, Tristan Da Cunha demonstrate very strongly and visually the true spirit of loyalty. He held his sensei up, and be on his fours for his sensei, his loyalty mirrors deep respect and commitment to his sensei.

In our capitalistic and consumer centric society, we, students pay a fee, so technically speaking we are customers, and take this attitude with us when go to learn martial arts. Martial Arts schools on the other hand, clamor even more for membership so that they can keep their school alive, pay rentals, make ends meet. Poor service=unhappy students= less students= no more school. Some teachers, hope to get rich this way, some do, many doesn’t.

So many modern schools makes it friendly for students to keep paying, the last thing on my sensei’s mind is being  ‘customer’ friendly. sometimes his rebuke can be harsh, (although he has toned down significantly), some of his remarks can be callous. In our ‘customer service’ centric society, Consumer is king. Why should I pay to have someone pass insensitive remarks at me and hurt my feelings?

Loyalty is not a popularity contest. Loyalty is being there day in day out. Loyalty is the ‘boring’ thing. Taking my sensei’s bad mood with his jubilation. Loyalty seems to fit uneasily with consumerism. After i watched it, there is not more question. The fee I pay for the experience i get and the lessons, is far beyond any monetary exchange. My sensei is not keen about the fees as well. His presence as the sensei and my presence as his student cuts through dollars and cents. He need me as much as i need him, that is what loyalty is about. Without the both of us, there is no Aikido. The importance of our existence is not over hyped, it’s just is.

Who can be sure that we can be with our sensei until death? Can I carry on my sensei‘s teaching and still learn from him until his last breath? Will I be there when my sensei dies? After I saw what Tristan did for Saito sensei, I know when that time comes, loyalty will not longer be a question to ask.

When I saw this Youtube post, I know what ‘loyalty’ looks like.

What makes me said that? Look at the video, at the 2.50 mins mark, Saito sensei‘s uchideshi, Tristan Da Cunha demonstrate very strongly and visually the true spirit of loyalty. He held his sensei up, and be on his fours for his sensei, his loyalty mirrors deep respect and commitment to his sensei.

In our capitalistic and consumer centric society, we, students pay a fee, so technically speaking we are customers, and take this attitude with us when go to learn martial arts. Martial Arts schools on the other hand, clamor even more for membership so that they can keep their school alive, pay rentals, make ends meet. Poor service=unhappy students= less students= no more school. Some teachers, hope to get rich this way, some do, many doesn’t.

So many modern schools makes it friendly for students to keep paying, the last thing on my sensei’s mind is being  ‘customer’ friendly. sometimes his rebuke can be harsh, (although he has toned down significantly), some of his remarks can be callous. In our ‘customer service’ centric society, Consumer is king. Why should I pay to have someone pass insensitive remarks at me and hurt my feelings?

Loyalty is not a popularity contest. Loyalty is being there day in day out. Loyalty is the ‘boring’ thing. Taking my sensei’s bad mood with his jubilation. Loyalty seems to fit uneasily with consumerism. After i watched it, there is not more question. The fee I pay for the experience i get and the lessons, is far beyond any monetary exchange. My sensei is not keen about the fees as well. His presence as the sensei and my presence as his student cuts through dollars and cents. He need me as much as i need him, that is what loyalty is about. Without the both of us, there is no Aikido. The importance of our existence is not over hyped, it’s just is.

Who can be sure that we can be with our sensei until death? Can I carry on my sensei‘s teaching and still learn from him until his last breath? Will I be there when my sensei dies? After I saw what Tristan did for Saito sensei, I know when that time comes, loyalty will not longer be a question to ask.

Credibility

 There is a recent growth in Aikido practitioners marketing their skills as teachers here in Singapore.

Well, as a potential student, one perennial issue is, the qualification. Certainly when a reader read my blog, the reader is also looking for certain qualities that suggests I know what I am writing about. What about an Aikidoka selling his/her ability to teach?

I don’t know, I don’t have the slightest idea on how to set up a dojo or becoming an Aikido Teacher. Perhaps that statement alone will not qualify me to make these comments, but hey, this is my blog, I will comment what I feel it is right to comment.

Basically, in Singapore, until recently, there are only a few Aikikai-style senseis in Singapore who has been teaching for a long time, namely, my sensei, Harry Ng, of Shoshin Aikido, Freddy Khong sensei, of Singapore Aikido Federation, Philip Lee sensei, of Shinjukai, and George Chang sensei, of Ueshiba Aikido. These senseis has been the mainstay of the Aikido fraternity in Singapore. And most of them were students of the late Teddy Lee, and Teddy Lee himself was a student of Nagazono sensei. Nagazono can be credited for planting the seed of Aikido in Singapore. Well that is how the lineage should be, accordingly to my memory.

Hence, if I was given a choice and opportunity to start Aikido, I would credit my linage and teachings to Harry sensei, and from Harry sensei to Teddy Lee sensei and Teddy Lee to Nagazono sensei. Which would in effect make me the 4th generation sensei, in accordance to this lineage.

However, there are some Aikido teachers here, who also share the same teachers as I do, and through these teachers, attained their high ranking, decided for their own reasons, branch out and start their own school. In their website, they not only did not pay homage to their sensei, instead they orientate themselves to another high ranking shihan as their ‘technical adviser’. Some even decided to lurk in the murky depths of the past to align themselves as distant relatives to certain dead sensei. Of course there is no way to dispute nor verify that casually, but why go that extent to gain credibility?

We practice a traditional martial arts, and these arts have a culture of lineage, typically, or at least personally for me, I do not ‘sensei-hop’ and Harry sensei has been my sensei, the only sensei. He is not perfect, and I am not his favourite student. But the skills I got, I got it from him, and I cannot ignore that fact. I can kind of guess why these new Aikido teachers ignore acknowledging their sensei, perhaps it is due to some differences or disagreements, which is probably the very first reason why they decided to open their own school and be their own Aikido boss. If that is the reason for doing so, then it is the excessive works of the ego. I told myself, I would only open a dojo, with my sensei’s blessing, there is no other way to do so. We simply cannot go about opening a dojo and not give credit when credit’s due, this is against the spirit of Aikido as a martial arts.

It is also a general rule of life, we cannot ‘disown’ our parents, our spouse, just because of some differences. It simply cannot work this way. When we sever ourselves from our source, we will only be creating more problem for us, because the students we groom, will in due time, ‘disown’ the teachers, the same way the teacher, disowned the teacher who taught the teacher. In fact, this perpetuation has already started.

First published : May 8, 2013