THE DOJO SYSTEM VERSUS THE CORPORATION SYSTEM By Hiroaki Izumi
Put simply, traditional corporations operate on a system of authority, while traditional dojos operate on a system of responsibility. Some may think that this difference is not very important or that to state such a difference is a contradiction of the concepts of authority and responsibility. One must remember that how people behave in organizations is not dictated strictly by the hierarchy of the organization, but also by their attitudes toward power, politics, their jobs, and the people around them. I guess I should start at the beginning and lay some foundation by describing first, a system of authority, then a system of responsibility. A CORPORATION AS A SYSTEM OF AUTHORITY When we talk of a corporate organization, we often think in terms of an organizational chart which shows who has authority over whom. The board of directors has authority over the president, who has authority over the vice-presidents, who have authority over the directors of various operations, and so on. In terms of traditional Weberian theory, a person fills a position which has certain corresponding authority. The authority, and thus power, given to that person comes with the territory. Along with that authority and power comes some responsibility for using that authority and power in a manner suitable for the goals of the organization. In management circles, we say that people are empowered to carry out certain tasks by virtue of their position. As you notice, in that statement, there was no mention of responsibilities. Responsibilities in this venue are an afterthought. In fact, responsibilities are discussed mostly in terms of the responsibilities that lower ranked workers have to the corporation, or that management has to the board of directors, and that the board of directors has to the shareholders. Little mention is made of the responsibilities that people higher in the hierarchy have towards those lower in rank — only the power and authority they have over them. In recent years, strategic management theory has begun to address the issue of responsibility of management to various stakeholders in the corporation. This means that management must handle the corporation such that the needs of groups like shareholders, suppliers, clients, and workers (all stakeholders in the corporation) are taken care of. Labor legislation, another field of management, has emphasized the responsibility that corporations have towards their workers. Also environmental legislation has forced corporations to take some responsibility for their activities which affect the land, sea, and air of our earth. Some companies have taken this to heart and have begun a new trend towards “responsible management” of corporations. Such “advanced” companies are finding that there are dividends to being responsible.* I think the days of the corporation as a system of authority are numbered. The public is getting tired of people and corporations who hold unlimited power and yet have no sense of responsibility for their actions except when they are sued. The world is getting to be so crowded and events occurring so fast that it has become a delicate balancing act just to stay alive. When a person or corporation refuses to take responsibility for their actions, they become like a whirlwind in a paper factory, upsetting the smooth operations and creating a disaster. THE DOJO SYSTEM OF RESPONSIBILITY Traditional dojos, on the other hand, have always operated on a system of responsibilities. The hierarchy describes not the authority that a higher rank has over the lower ranks, but the responsibilities that the higher rank has for teaching and looking after the lower ranks. In return, the lower ranks have certain corresponding responsibilities for learning, practicing, and looking after the needs of the higher ranks. The Sensei provides the Sempai with technical learning suitable to that person’s level of knowledge as well as knowledge on how to be a good Sensei by allowing them to practice teaching under the Sensei’s guidance. In return, the Sempai must look after the learning of the dojo members, make sure that the students pay attention to the Sensei in the correct manner, and teach some of the classes for the Sensei Similarly, other higher ranks must look after the learning and health of those below them while paying attention to their own studies with the Sempai This cascade of responsibility flows downward, like many things, until the newest person in the dojo is reached. The only responsibility that person has in the dojo is to those above and to his or her own person — to practice diligently and correctly. Authority, in this system, is not something that is provided with a specific rank. It is something that is won by each individual with the respect that others give that person because they have carried out of their responsibilities well. It is a meritocracy based on knowledge transferal and the carrying out of responsibilities rather than a Weberian bureaucracy based on knowledge held and the authority of position. This system is much more in line with the proper concept of authority. Modern management theory holds that authority cannot be taken — it must be given by those over whom an individual has authority. If a lower rank feels that the higher rank has no authority over them, then the higher rank has no authority, even though they may have the power to beat the lower rank into the mats. The lower rank can ignore any commands given to them by the higher rank until that higher rank uses his or her powers to enforce the commands.
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Deep insight into both the spiritual and technical demensions of Aikido
Aikido is a modern Budo founded by Morihei Ueshiba after he had mastered many traditional Japanese martial arts and engaged in profound spiritual training. Morihei maintained, "In true Budo, there is no enemy. True Budo is the function of love. A martial art solely concerned with winning and losing
is not true Budo. Victory is to thoroughly rid the mind of contention and conflict within ourselves."
This book was composed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Morihei's son and successor as the Second Aikido Doshu (the person who embodies the spirit of Aikido as inherited from the founder and is its living symbol ). Morihei himself taught Aikido in archaic, esoteric language, and limited his instruction to a
select few. In order to introduce Aikido to the rest of the world, his son simplified its philosophy and arranged the techniques so that it would be possible for any serious trainee to practice this martial art. Aikido is now practiced in eighty-five foreign countries-a testament to Kisshomaru's
achievement. The Aikido ideal of "refining one's mind and body to foster a spirit of harmony" has obviously struck a common chord among the peoples of the world.
This book is a compilation of Kisshomaru's writings on Aikido. It will provide the reader with deep insight into both the spiritual and technical dimensions of Aikido, and explain its central features-ki energy, breathing methods, posture, among others. The book is detailed with many dynamic photos,
depicting the author, and his son Moriteru ( present Doshu, and the author of The Aikido master Course), carrying out the techniques. It is a work that all Aikido practitioners, from beginner to master, will want to acquire.
Aikido is a martial art. Nothing revolutionary about that statement. But what kind of martial art is Aikido? There are many different types of martial arts. Martial art systems designed to be used in many different contexts. So what is the proper context for Aikido?
There are many kinds of martial arts. Systems designed to do all manner of things martial. Some systems are designed around weapons, some around environment, some based on stealth, and some for sport. The world of the martial art is deep and rich with diversity. However most of us pigeon hole the martial arts into one small category: unarmed one-on-one combat. When you say the word “martial art”, most people will immediately think of: Karate, Tae Kwon Do, MMA, or Kickboxing. This is what most of us limit our concept of a martial art system to. However this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Generally we attempt to classify a martial art system into one of two or three categories. Commonly when someone asks what type of martial art something is, they are asking if it is an unarmed grappling system, an unarmed striking system, or possibly an unarmed throwing/projecting system. These are the categories that even accomplished students of the martial arts sometimes use to classify a “type” of martial art. While these are good and true martial categories they are a very limited way to look at the world of martial arts. Again, the importance we put on these categories is a byproduct of our over enfaces on unarmed one-on-one fighting methods.
When looking at all martial arts in terms of unarmed one-on-one fighting, it seems that all martial arts must fit into one of these three categories. Trying to put Aikido into one of these categories will be very difficult. It doesn’t properly fit into any of them; lets take a brief look.
Few people would say that Aikido is a striking system. Although there is some lip service paid to the idea, and a comment by the founder that Aikido is 90% atemi (striking). Yet unarmed striking is something Aikido decidedly lacks. The technical unarmed striking syllabus in Aikido is very limited. No formal punches, kicks, elbowing or kneeing technique. On top of lack of unarmed striking techniques, Aikido doesn’t have a method of practicing these techniques. Unlike Karate, or Boxing, we don’t practice hitting anything, we don’t break boards, strike targets or hit bags. And most importantly we don’t practice techniques on other people who are trying to strike us back. One would be hard pressed to justify that Aikido is an unarmed striking system.
Many might try and classify Aikido as a grappling system. At least this makes some kind of sense. Aikido has grabbing techniques, that we practice applying and escaping, this is an undeniable part of a grappling system. We also have locking and pinning techniques, another necessary part of a grappling system. However Aikido seems to avoid all of the common unarmed grappling holds. There are no: headlocks, bear hugs, or body pin/hold techniques or escapes. Some Aikido schools might have a limited practice where they do some bear hugs etc., but these practices didn’t come from the founder. Aikido doesn’t have any universal techniques against, or for a clinch. Aikido also has no ground fighting technique, aside from a limited set of suwari waza (siting techniques). Adding to the lack of technical diversity, we don’t have a grappling practice. That is to say we don’t have a free play practice where we wrestle and try our techniques out full speed, with skilled opponents. This lack of technique, and methods for improving technique allows us to decidedly say that Aikido is a poor unarmed grappling system, if it is a unarmed grappling system at all.
So last we are left with throwing/projecting systems. The first problem we run into is, most throwing/projecting systems are part of a larger grappling system. This is because, for the most part, its very difficult to throw someone without first getting them into grappling range (the clinch). Putting this aside for just a moment though, Aikido may indeed seem to be a throwing/projecting system. Traditionally Aikido has 6 techniques that are called “nage” (roughly translated as throw): Kokyu nage, Koshi nage, Kaiten nage, Irimi nage, Shiho nage, Juji nage. This means a large part of Aikido’s syllabus is dedicated to “throwing” techniques. Further, projecting or shoving/pushing, is something that Aikidoka train to resist and/or flow around. We practice a from of rooting to the ground that makes it very difficult to shove an centered and grounded Aikido practitioner. We also practice movement techniques that let us get out of the way of someone pushing us. So we do train some defense against projections. Despite Aikido’s focus on these throwing/projecting techniques, there is a lot left out.
Aikido comes no where near a complete system of unarmed throws. There is only one high amperage throw (Koshi nage), this results in a real lack of power throws as one would see in Judo. When the idea is using the ground as your weapon, this makes for a weak throwing system. There are few good follow ups to throwing techniques, most Aikido throws don’t end in a pin, or controlling technique. There are no leg sweeps or tripping techniques. And perhaps most important no defense techniques to any of these. This is very strange; especially strange if you consider that this may be the only unarmed category Aikido fits into. Further without a grappling system attached to it, how are you ever going to get into the proper positions to do these throws? Why are Aikido’s throws so weak in comparison to Judo throws, or throws found in Chinese throwing styles? While one could make an argument that Aikido is an unarmed throwing/projecting style, it would be a very poor example.
So trying to put Aikido into one of these three unarmed categories (striking, grappling, projecting/throwing) we find that Aikido is a system that is most decidedly lacking. However this is only if we keep our very myopic view of the martial arts; the martial arts are limited to one-on-one unarmed fighting. How do Kendo (sword arts) or Kyudo (Archery) fit into these three unarmed categories? They are weapon arts, so you may put them into the striking category, because that’s what weapons do, strike. However using unarmed strike defense against these weapons would be a bad idea. Similarly, training with swords and bows is not going to help you throw a better punch or kick. With this little conundrum we can see a new category arising, and it will be the first of a much broader set of super-catagories: Weapons.