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Thread: having a vision for the hobby

  1. #1
    Daihonmei
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    having a vision for the hobby

    Having a vision for the hobby

    There is no shortage of strong opinions as to what the future of the amateur koi hobby should be. Most newbie visions logically break down to the idea of large numbers of people. Anything that can create more people who own a koi, the better the hobby is in the mind of the enthusiastic newbie politician. Indeed this perspective drifts into many of our koi shows where words like ‘Extravaganza’, “greatest show on earth” and ‘Best show in the country’ are common hyperboles/ goals within this mindset.
    And like the American flag, clean water and saving America’s starving children, hardly a koi politician exists that doesn’t enlist the koi community in the battle cry of “spreading the hobby to all”. This usually goes hand in hand with a cry to tear down the walls between water gardener and koi snob. I have personally been in rooms where this is put out there and seen its power to be as strong as the power of calling someone a racist holds, if they don’t agree with you (the ultimate political tool for most real life politicians).
    So we have: the politician that wants greatness and large numbers as a sign of a successful hobby
    And we have the koi politician that wants equality and a space for the other water gardening hobbies as one big happy family of ponders
    And we have the politicians that are interested in building edifies or structures to prove the hobby is real and tangible. And in some cases, wealthy. The definition for some is a Large Treasury = a strong hobby. This is a good point in that money does make things possible. But is it the meaning or purpose of the hobby—indeed is it something that really matters in the long run?

    Here’s a crazy thought—what if the politicians focused only on the fish? What if the people just sort of ‘came along with the fish’? What if the koi culture was more important than the money, the power brokering, parliamentary fine points and state non-profit issues? Indeed many koi societies don’t even have a koi culture or tradition beyond people activity. Rather they are organized around treasuries and trade shows.
    I was recently amused to see on the website of a new organization that the judges were first and foremost teachers and that was the mission and purpose of every locally certified judge ! The very words I uttered in our annual ZNA president’s meeting not three months ago ( I suppose I should be flattered that someone was listening! LOLs)
    Consider this:
    What if a koi show was about only three things- education, kindred spirits and friendly competition and the dinners and extravaganza meant little if anything?
    In ZNA, all our chapters are one large club. Like arms and legs of one body. Not an association, not an affiliation, not a political entity. Just a focus on our culture and our koi. This is the culture that all other associations flow from. So at the end of the day, koi politicians are mortal and they will come, and yes, go. The culture is the thing that lasts. It outlasts generations and trends and political strife. That is because in the end, it is now about power brokers or shakers and movers—it is about the koi. All the rest is a tribute to ego and vanity.
    I’m getting off my pulpit now. But do think about what I said. For those entrenched in blood feuds and struggles to the death, I ask you to put the war hammers down for a moment, take a deep breath and think. It’s been said many times and in many ways and even co-opted by the politicians of this generation soon after I said it on these boards—"The koi are innocent". Burn one another down if you must, as it is a normal human activity and part of our human DNA. But don’t destroy the culture of koi in the process. A word to the wise-- JR

  2. #2
    Tategoi Yamato's Avatar
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    I would like to ask in line with this post the following:
    Why do people join forums?
    why do people keep Koi, and what are their objectives with this hobby?
    At the same time I wll give my answer as silly and as controversial it might be...
    I personally joined forums because:
    I learn a lot...and I can ask if in doubt...
    I made lots of friends, Koi friends, and some are calling me regularly from the USA...
    I can show off my babies and at list one will say how cute they are , though my Koi are crapagoi...I guess mother"s pride is the cause for this...
    I also enjoy helping other people when I can...
    I like to share sad news...happy news...and I always get compassion, encouragement...
    All this makes the hobby for me more interesting...pleasant...
    Why some people keep Koi and what are their objectives?
    Some keep koi as pets...love them no matter what..good looking or not.
    Some keep koi to bring the hobby to another level...showing...that competitiveness makes them more involved...and at a different level...
    Now some of this people are more concerned with the winning part...of it..
    and there is nothing wrong with that.
    when it bothers me is when they use it as means of showing how wealthy they are and are condescending and rude with people who can not afford the same caliber koi...like me! he he he!
    Some use their Koi as means of recognition...attention...power play...politics...not to better the hobby but to promote themselves...
    Some people keep Koi for profit.
    This is just my humble observations, but I can be wrong...
    I am sure U can add some more ....
    But bottom line is: there is money involved in the hobby...and money brings in people all kinds of negative pursuits...
    also power struggle...is the same type of negative activity fetrimental to the hobby.

  3. #3
    Tategoi Yamato's Avatar
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    One more question:
    why do people join clubs? I never did so U can answer that , and that can answer JR...

  4. #4
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yamato View Post
    One more question:
    why do people join clubs? I never did so U can answer that , and that can answer JR...


    Great questions! Clubs serve multiple functions. But first a 'tiny' ramble to put some perspective to your questions and my responses---
    Koi, beautiful koi, don't just exist in a vacuum. They are not like say, tropical fish that are identical in appearance and are pretty much all sellable. As you know, koi are bred in astronomical numbers! And then culled down to tiny numbers. They are housed in large ponds and indoor facilities, the cost of electric and water is high and the physical work is demanding. And so you could say, after seeing the final product, that koi breeding is expensive, wasteful and obsessive! J
    The results are wonderful illusions of course, as what we are left with are only beautiful and fairly uniform, yet unique individuals in the hundreds. Hundreds that started in the tens of thousands.
    Two points to take away from that—
    1) Koi are bred for a purpose- the koi show
    2) Koi are expensive due to the effort and costs associated with producing excellent show fish.

    The history of the koi show is one of the organizations of amateur enthusiasts so as to share their charges with other koi kichi. The competition is fun, exciting and rewarding. But the lesson in understanding why one koi is considered better than another koi is the point. This can be looked at as an exercise in pride but it is also a practical learning experience for the hobbyists as a consumer.

    Now here’s a shocker--- dealers are not all honest individuals. Indeed some are hobbyists making dealing koi a business (often to support their ‘habit’) .Others however are pure businessmen and could just as easily be selling dogs, antiques or Portland cement! If a consumer is clueless regarding what makes one koi worth $1000 and another worth $10, I assure you they will own $1000 koi worth $10! J That story is an old as ‘the hills’.

    Beyond that, there is the issue of the learning curve. This is a cruel master! Most beginners will leave the hobby in total disgust as they kill $1000 ten dollar fish over and over. They will cruise the internet and slowly kill less and less koi but they are just as often destine to be into ‘roses’ or some other hobby by the following season. That dream of a Zen garden and beautiful living jewels swimming at their feet soon evaporates as the learning curve takes its toll. In this area the koi club is the difference between success and failure.
    Like a lot of things in life, the more opinions you get from dealers (most beginners deal with multiple koi sources) the more opinions you get from overnight wonders on the internet, the more dangerous these fragments of information become. At a club meeting, you will tend to get consensus opinions as these folks have been working together for a while!

    So – even with its ‘warts’ and ‘drawbacks’ and even with the political/ego nonsense ( people will be people no matter if the object of their desire is a boat, a collectors car, a horse, a dog or a guppy!) a koi club will provide:

    1) A support system for the beginner
    2) A sound board for an advanced hobbyist changing his/her system
    3) A chance to see and interact with kindred spirits
    4) A better/deeper understanding of koi
    5) A chance to be a better consumer
    6) A chance to volunteer and give something back to the hobby
    7) An important support system for the koi breeder
    8) A purpose for good koi – IE the koi show
    9) An educational service
    10) A chance to be part of something bigger than one’s self



    JR

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    I've made this POINT many times so my apologizes to those that have heard this before!

    Those who cruise the internet and but koi from Ebay and see the club/hobby system as way too political and maybe 'old fashioned' in its perspective need to consider this--
    Although you might think that koi can exixt without koi clubs and a koi culture, you need to think again!
    KOI are produced for the koi show, The awards and recognition system set the value of the very best koi produced in Japan. often the fish you buy on ebay or from internet dealers are the cast offs from the effort I just described. In other words,
    The amateur koi club creates the show
    The show creates the demand
    The demand creates both scarity and standards
    The scarcity creates and supports the price
    The price motovates the breeders
    The breeders make the best koi as their goal

    Now lets assume, the AKCA and ZNA went away. The dealers would likely put on all the shows in the country in order to fill the need. They would have shows and bring in their breeder/supplier who they just bought the fish from and the breeder would rank his own fish that customer's bought. The 'other' dealer would point out that this breeder was picking his own fish. And of course, the more expensive fish would be the winners. But the 'other dealers' fish certainly would not be picked for top awards- after all that is not the purpose of the exercise!
    Exhibitors would curry favor with the dealer so as to get the 'best' fish for that show. In short, the integrity of the show would be questionable ( even if the dealer and breeder were as pure as the white driven snow)
    This would not be what we call on wall street-- an arm's length transaction! Fox watching chickens comes to mind.
    Without the objectivity of third party judging, soon we would accept that koi shows were rigged or 'coordinated'. Why pay $5000 for a koi if the other dealer's man in Japan is coming to judge?
    Now I hate to air this dirty laundry but I have personally witnessed a group of Japanese breeders refuse to judge all tanks and constantly returning to the same three tanks of showas that one of the breeders sold to the exhibitor ( a dealer exhibitor). That is just wrong. Doesn't happen all the time, but the fact that it can happen makes the show tainted IMHO.

    But I digress--- The point of this post is NOT to run down dealers-- we NEED them! many are great sources of honesty opinions, information and --- KOI !!!!!

    In the end, the koi pricing system crumbles without amateur koi shows and as it crumbles, breeders walk away. As they walk away, high standards slip and quality deteriorates. Still, nice colored carp will always be with us-- but excellence in koi? NOT so much. JR

  6. #6
    Tategoi Yamato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    I've made this POINT many times so my apologizes to those that have heard this before!

    Those who cruise the internet and but koi from Ebay and see the club/hobby system as way too political and maybe 'old fashioned' in its perspective need to consider this--
    Although you might think that koi can exixt without koi clubs and a koi culture, you need to think again!
    KOI are produced for the koi show, The awards and recognition system set the value of the very best koi produced in Japan. often the fish you buy on ebay or from internet dealers are the cast offs from the effort I just described. In other words,
    The amateur koi club creates the show
    The show creates the demand
    The demand creates both scarity and standards
    The scarcity creates and supports the price
    The price motovates the breeders
    The breeders make the best koi as their goal

    Now lets assume, the AKCA and ZNA went away. The dealers would likely put on all the shows in the country in order to fill the need. They would have shows and bring in their breeder/supplier who they just bought the fish from and the breeder would rank his own fish that customer's bought. The 'other' dealer would point out that this breeder was picking his own fish. And of course, the more expensive fish would be the winners. But the 'other dealers' fish certainly would not be picked for top awards- after all that is not the purpose of the exercise!
    Exhibitors would curry favor with the dealer so as to get the 'best' fish for that show. In short, the integrity of the show would be questionable ( even if the dealer and breeder were as pure as the white driven snow)
    This would not be what we call on wall street-- an arm's length transaction! Fox watching chickens comes to mind.
    Without the objectivity of third party judging, soon we would accept that koi shows were rigged or 'coordinated'. Why pay $5000 for a koi if the other dealer's man in Japan is coming to judge?
    Now I hate to air this dirty laundry but I have personally witnessed a group of Japanese breeders refuse to judge all tanks and constantly returning to the same three tanks of showas that one of the breeders sold to the exhibitor ( a dealer exhibitor). That is just wrong. Doesn't happen all the time, but the fact that it can happen makes the show tainted IMHO.

    But I digress--- The point of this post is NOT to run down dealers-- we NEED them! many are great sources of honesty opinions, information and --- KOI !!!!!

    In the end, the koi pricing system crumbles without amateur koi shows and as it crumbles, breeders walk away. As they walk away, high standards slip and quality deteriorates. Still, nice colored carp will always be with us-- but excellence in koi? NOT so much. JR
    I would like to know your opinion of Koi as pets...what place do they have in all this?

  7. #7
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    But, JR, think how much happier we would all be if we did not learn what high class koi are all about? ... Ponds full of 1960s quality koi and delusions they are worth a fortune, although we bought them within our budget!

    Clubs are each different in the prevailing level of knowledge and style of governance, but so much alike in members' enjoyment of seeing how other ponds are set-up and seeing more koi.

  8. #8
    Tategoi Yamato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    But, JR, think how much happier we would all be if we did not learn what high class koi are all about? ... Ponds full of 1960s quality koi and delusions they are worth a fortune, although we bought them within our budget!

    Clubs are each different in the prevailing level of knowledge and style of governance, but so much alike in members' enjoyment of seeing how other ponds are set-up and seeing more koi.
    He he he! Mike!
    Are U saying Koi shows have taken some of the pure enjoyment of Koi out of the hobby, and burdened people with overspending?

  9. #9
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yamato View Post
    One more question: why do people join clubs?
    One of the best places to get answers to questions about pond building, where to buy pond equipment, and sources for Koi, is from other successful Koi pond owners who live in the same area you do.

    The internet is valuable, but can not replace the opportunity of seeing, asking questions, and viewing other people's ponds and Koi in person.

  10. #10
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    But, JR, think how much happier we would all be if we did not learn what high class koi are all about? ... Ponds full of 1960s quality koi and delusions they are worth a fortune, although we bought them within our budget!
    Clubs are each different in the prevailing level of knowledge and style of governance, but so much alike in members' enjoyment of seeing how other ponds are set-up and seeing more koi.
    Mike is correct... different "Koi clubs" have different objectives.

    I belong to two local "Koi clubs" (one should be called a "pond club").

    One club, the members in general, are not interested in showing, do not sponsor a Koi show, and are mostly interested in a pond as an addition to their landscaping.

    The other club is ZNA, the members (in general) are interested in show quality Koi, sponsor a Koi show, and have members that are ZNA certified judges.

    Koi forums are the same... some want to include everybody and promote goldfish and water gardening, while another one is more for the serious Koi hobbyist.

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