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by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #68 (August 1985)

With the exception of AIKI NEWS, every major Aikido publication I have come across over the years represents a particular organizational viewpoint to the exclusion of others. To my knowledge, none of these publications have been or are financially successful, their continued existence being dependent upon the support of the organization behind them.

In terms of content, several of these Aikido publications adopt a polemic approach where issues (almost always of a political nature) are openly discussed and criticisms appear concerning various individuals and groups of the opposing side. The other, more common practice, is merely to publish articles and reports which disregard the existence and activities of other groups. Historical pieces when appearing (and they have been few in number) will usually present an insider’s view of the organization or individuals in question while neglecting to provide a wider context. Readers of such publications are typically unaware of the diversity of approaches to Aikido which actually exist unless they have practiced for a long period of time or have traveled about extensively. In this connection, it is always interesting to observe the reactions of foreign practitioners, who upon arriving in Japan, discover a multitude of training options they never imagined existed.

AIKI NEWS readers know that the content of this magazine covers a broad spectrum of Aikido-related subjects. For example, anyone who has read a few issues will know that many styles and organizations exist, the individuals around whom they are centered, the emphasis of their particular method, their geographical location and so forth. Moreover, I believe it would be fair to say that these multiple viewpoints are presented in a nonjudgemental manner, something we are all proud of.

In this regard, as chroniclers of Aikido history, we quite naturally come into contact and maintain regular relations with numerous persons. Perhaps the only common denominator among all of these individuals is that they have been or are practitioners of the art. Fortunately, our display of interest in their viewpoints usually elicits a positive response in return. As a result, many warm friendships have developed adding a great deal of satisfaction to our work.

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