I confess, other than training with Harry sensei, I also trained with other sensei. Well, in this small island of Singapore, we have about 5 mainstream Aikido schools. Most of them used to train with Harry sensei before they branched out on their own. Now most of them stands on their own, and for reasons unknown, most of these teachers have discredited themselves from the source of their Aikido journey, Harry sensei himself.
I still make an effort to train with other sensei as and when the opportunity arises. Admittedly i have to ‘keep up with the Jones’. And see how my understanding and skills are measured in the Aikido ‘market’. And i do not hide these practices from Harry sensei.
Many of his past students have misunderstood Harry sensei, some of his past students has joined other Aikido schools, and made it obvious to hide this from him. I met a past student of his once, adn this lady told me not to tell Harry sensei that she is now practicing with XYZ Aikido school. Well, both Harry sensei and I had a good laugh over it, because it was an unnecessary secret. He would know through his own means the whereabouts of his students, if he wanted to.
Anyway, he sees to economics of things, we pay Aikido fees, and we pay to who we deem fit. Come on! its a consumer world here! If i don’t like his teachings, I bring my dollar somewhere else. its not about loyalty or ‘betrayal’ anymore. ‘
In fact, he does encourages us to go for such cross pollination of techniques. Despite of his openness about it, not many of his students ventured out. perhaps due to laziness, or complacency, or they simply finds no need to ‘keep up with the Jones’ as how i sees it. Maybe I’m just too free for such things.
I would certainly like to encourage those newly minted senior belts to do that, for a few reasons;
- There are a lot of Aikido styles out there, Harry sensei may teach a superior style but it is not the ONLY superior style;
- Aikido is about making friends, not only with those in out own dojos, but with other dojos as well; i met a lot of my friends through aikido training, not limited to Shoshin Aikikai Singapore;
- Spread Harry sensei’s teachings. I carry his teachings in my techniques, and when i practice with my peers from other dojos i can see if his teachings are effective, or not. more often than not, i am more efficient and effective using Harry sensei’s technique;
- Learn other techniques, Harry sensei cannot teach everything, and not everything he teaches is suitable for me.
Its an open Aikido spirit, we have to meet people, train with strangers, learn from others, then we can bring real value to our own learning. this way, we can truly bring our sensei’s teachings to immortality.