And some people think they know it all. I know of a person who thinks he knows it all, at least about Aikido. I will call him Bob. Bob has been practicing Aikido for quite a long time. His Aikido is like a basics DVD. He has very good technical as well as philosophical background in Aikido. He knows the small details of each movement; he even knows the precise moments of when to pause in doing a certain movement to emphasize that he is able to completely control his uke (the pauses are for the photographer’s benefit as well).
Ask Bob about the terms, he is a walking Aikido glossary. Ask Bob about how to navigate through a technique, he will give you very detailed explanations. Ask Bob what you need to work on, and he knows it just by looking at you. Ask Bob something and he will tell you the answer. Ask Bob why and how and he will answer you with a dissertation along with the procedure.
Bob can say that a movement is correct. Bob can say that a movement is wrong or incomplete. Bob says these things and he means them. He knows the very truth of all things Aikido, at least, that’s what he thinks. He is perfect in his eyes.
Bob is now a Sensei. He started his own dojo. He has many students. His photographer is also his student. Do not argue with Bob. You will just be wasting your time. His students look up to him all the time. He is their Aikido hero. In their eyes, he is O’Sensei incarnate. But Bob denies this. Bob says O’Sensei’s Aikido is incomplete, just like Freud’s psychology was. He believes in the evolution of Aikido, and in the evolution of our art, he is among the pioneers, or so he envisions.
You see, Bob knows what is right and what is wrong in Aikido. When you talk to him he can pinpoint the mistakes of different teachers from O’Sensei down to the current Shihans of the art. They are missing crucial steps he says. Oh I just smile when listening to Bob! He is always right, and his Aikido is immaculate, at least for him. If you do not follow what he says, you are in the wrong and your Aikido is incomplete.
For Bob, his way is the only way.
I know Bob from a dojo I trained in before. At that time he was still in training. We talked sometimes. When I have questions, I can ask Bob and I am sure I will get an answer. He has touched the core of Aikido itself and has been basking in the very source of the ki of the universe, or so he believes. Bob knows the way to the gods of Budo and he is willing to show you if you follow him. He has a lot of followers. They believe in Bob. And Bob believes in himself.
Do you know Bob? Bob is judgmental, thoroughly critical, and entirely immature.
(Please also see: “Shoshin: The Beginner’s Mind“)