I have always believed in putting my students interests first, before my own. (The reason for this idea, is suffering in the past from my seniors thinking about themselves and I having to suffer for their mistakes). There are many others who feel they are much more important than anyone else. This has always been the case of splits or divisions within Aikido organisations in the United Kingdom. There are also others who feel they have to bend the truth when it comes to matters of importance. I have never had to lie or bend the truth when it comes to my principles. If I don’t agree with anything, however big or small, I speak out. If it’s not acceptable to the parties concerned, and it affects my students, actions are taken to equal out the wrong doings, or move on.
My Aikido career has been long and bumpy! But I have always travelled along the path to the best of my abilities. If I am challenged by inconsistencies, I will face them. My traditional values will always come in to conflict with more modern thinking. I cannot stand by and watch someone or something being incompatible with who Aikido should be governed.
Ten years ago, I decided to join the Aikikai. Not something I have ever seriously thought about doing, other than a brief brush with the BAF in the 80’s. I agreed to join as a 1st Kyu, and underwent gradings to Shodan then Nidan. I encouraged my students to participate in every way, as that was required as a Dojo collective. As with any journey, it had its moments. But on the whole, we were extremely happy, especially with the 6-7th Dan tuition from Japan and Europe.
When you go in to a shop and buy an item, you are often given a guarantee. It is a list of terms and conditions; the item is covered for. Once obtained, you feel solace in the fact that it is a backup for any future developments. If those terms and conditions are changed long In to the future, you will begin to feel or wonder if the original product is worth what it was. Especially if it is going to impact others. It doesn’t really make any difference to the reason why those terms are being changed. You have to think whether that change is going to make a larger impact. In my case it would. I didn’t really want my students to have a watered-down commitment, nor did I want to have to revise my original promises of what they would expect. This is why I left the Aikikai, and the association we were attached too.
I personally do not harbour any bad feeling, as it was a transaction of my own making. I felt we were not being offered the same deal, which was stated at the very beginning. It was a natural progression to move on. Some will probably not understand the move to where we went. But for me, it was joining something I trust. The trust element is very important to me. Looking at the negative view, it can be hard to understand why others want to cloud the truth, or shield others from innocent questioning? No one leaves anything on a whim. There is always an underlying reason for something.
O’Sensei stated, in Aikido we are the centre of the universe and everything moves around us. There are no blocks, nor should there be any bending of the truth. What happened is stated above.
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