Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And now a Confession...

Ok, I've felt bad about this so I'll publicly apologize for it. Before SJ went to Midland, I had used her as a guinea pig now and then for some Aikido ideas or for working something out. She'd asked me what I was doing then I'd explain (at length) what it was...she doesn't ask anymore, lol. When she said she was going to an Aikikai affiliated place (I'm part of the Fugakukai), I warned her that Aikido is Aikido, but there may be some slight cosmetic/flavor differences. In my past experiences, the people who happened to be Aikikai were a bit elitist. When I first started Aikido I was anxious to learn everything I can and compare notes, etc. Each time I ran into someone who was less than friendly, the HAPPENED to be from the Aikikai. I'm definitely not saying everyone or even the majority are like that, those were just my initial experiences and unfortunately I warned SJ she might run into that. I say unfortunately because when she did have a slight bad experience instead of saying "I'm sorry" I said "I told you so". I thought myself better than doing something like that, but I did. All I did was perpetuate a stereotype of different styles or schools of the same martial art having some kind of animosity towards each other, and despite what I said, I don't. It has made me cautious, but I don't hold any lingering grudges or anything. I disrespected what I was taught, and hurt SJ's feelings in the process and I publicly apologize to her and to the Aikikai and anyone it I may have inadvertently offended with this post


Aeralyn said...

Apology very much accepted. Regardless of whether being reminded of it was necessary, you did, in fact, tell me so. My experience with the Aikikai was definitely elitist and I definitely spent more than hour doing falling practice and there were a lot more bells and whistles than I've seen in your classes at the Y or heard you refer to when talking about Pat's dojo. Not all of it was bad. Honestly, if I could find an Aikikai affiliate that was a little more...helpful?...I probably would have really enjoyed it. Still though, as you once pointed out to me, [stereotypes] develop for a reason. I don't think that every member of the Aikikai is a jerk nor do I assume that I'd be more comfortable sampling some other "flavor," but I just thought I'd share my impressions.

Also, the place I attended perpetuated their own stereotypes. When asked if I had studied Aikido (or any martial art) beforehand, I said no, but I've been encouraged to try Aikido by you. He asked who you learned from. He looked up Pat's place. The differences between the Aikikai and the Fugakukai were promptly explained to me, and not in a fair way. The explanations I received from you were much more circumspect and much more balanced. Yours were mostly factual as in, "they do it like that and we do it like this." I got plenty of those sorts of comments here in Midland, but they were mostly stated while looking down their noses at me. So, yes, you're right - it's not fair to make a generalization about either organization, but remember that stereotypes often exist for a reason and are often perpetuated by both/all sides from time to time.

A John-esque disclaimer: for the record, I'd still happily attend an offshoot of the Aikikai. Just not the one in Midland. I still think Aikido is Aikido, and the bit that I learned in Midland was great in and of itself.

Aeralyn said...

Someday I will learn not to respond to blogs in novels. ;)

But not today.