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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 11:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,556,851


In Training Competition in Aikido and Budo Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #38 New 01-15-2011 07:18 AM
Competition in Aikido and Budo You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you're down to your reflexes - that means your preparation. That's where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you're going to get found out now, under the bright lights.
Joe Frazier

I have nothing against sports; they train the body and develop stamina and endurance. But the spirit of competition and power that presides over them is not good. It reflects a distorted vision of life.
Taisen Deshimaru, The Zen Way to the Martial Arts

To fight yourself is the toughest fight. To overcome yourself is the greatest victory.
Hans-Heinrich Isenbart

I never met anybody who wanted to win as badly as I did. I'd do anything I had to do to increase my advantage. Anybody who tried to block the pursuit of that advantage, I'd just push 'em out of the way. Didn't matter who they were, or what they were doing.
from Hoosiers

A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you're not enough without one, you'll never be enough with one.
from Cool Runnings

This week Yuki Saito, the number one draft pick in Japanese professional baseball, started his first training camp. There were 200 reporters there. He's a very talented and promising young pitcher. He became famous at Koshien - the high school summer baseball tournament - in 2006 when he kept wiping his face with a blue handkerchief. He was given the nickname the handkerchief prince.

Teenage players can't play with the same speed and power as professional players and can't make the same kind of breathtaking plays. But they have something else - an innocence and a purity. So people who would never watch professional baseball watch Koshien. After the games the teams bow and shake hands and the losing players collect souvenir earth from the infield.

Sports can be wonderful. They can be a mirror of life with all its drama, nobility, humanity and sadness. Recreation means to create again. To become fresh by making again.

But Japanese martial arts - budo and bujutsu - are completely different. For hundreds of years people have studied budo and bujutsu without matches and competition. They are learned by studying basic movements and kata - stylized forms.

Some modern Japanese martial arts - gendai budo - like kendo and judo and karate do have a competition and sporting dimension. O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba the founder of aikido deliberately kept it free of contests and competition. He used a phrase, Masakatsu agatsu 正勝吾勝 winning over yourself, to emphasize this. There is another phrase in Japanese martial arts, kokkishin 克己心, that also means winning over yourself. The most difficult opponent is yourself. You have to overcome your own weak points, to cut them away until what is left is pure and real.

So in aikido we keep to that traditional way. Occasionally there has been external pressure to make aikido more competitive - for example from the Japanese education ministry - but the second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei said he wanted to keep aikido pure.

There is one minor style of aikido developed by Kenji Tomiki Sensei that includes some judo concepts. Tomiki Sensei was a judoka and his perception of aikido was always through the eyes of a judoka. In his book Judo and Aikido he even used the word judo to include aikido techniques. So he included things like judo matches and judo kata in his aikido. His logic was that everyone needed to test themselves against other people and the best way was through what he knew - judo-style competition. It is a rather minority viewpoint in aikido. Most aikido practitioners have a more traditional and purist vision of aikido.

Tomiki Sensei was right in one way. Competition does allow you to compare your level and it does show you your weaknesses. And participating in matches and competitions allows you to experience the adrenalin and tension of competition when it is not a matter of life or death. But in the end shiai - matches - are just artificial games.

The rejection of competition is one of aikido's strongest points. But it's a weak point too. It's a strong point only if you are strong enough yourself to train sincerely. Nobody will tell you if you are not training hard enough. You have to do it yourself.

articles about Koshien

articles about Yuki Saito, the handkerchief prince

great photo: judo by marsex http://sexinthelevator.deviantart.co...Judo-100029413 works on deviantart http://sexinthelevator.deviantart.com/ used by very kind permission

niall matthews 2011
Views: 5937 | Comments: 12

RSS Feed 12 Responses to "Competition in Aikido and Budo"
#12 01-17-2011 10:21 PM
Thanks Niall. It's always a pleasure to read your thoughts on aikido. I'll look out for updates on your travel plans, ha.
#11 01-17-2011 07:33 PM
niall Says:
Copy of my comment in the forum: kokkishin 克己心 victory over self (victory with a sense of beyond). This phrase is sometimes heard in martial arts including kendo. Kokkishin does contain the idea of competition - with yourself. In the sense that you go beyond the self of yesterday.And tomorrow you will strive to go beyond the self of today.
#10 01-17-2011 07:32 PM
niall Says:
Copy of my comment in the forum: masakatsu agatsu 正勝吾勝 correct victory self victory. Apparently this is a phrase or part of a phrase from Shinto. I have not heard it in a normal martial arts context other than in the words of O Sensei.
#9 01-16-2011 05:48 AM
niall Says:
Hi Billy. Thanks for that. We've had a few of those interesting coincidences recently - like the one about the signpost in Huddersfield! Yes kokkishin is one of the very important concepts in budo as Asoh Sensei always said. Cheers, Niall
#8 01-16-2011 05:44 AM
niall Says:
Thanks, Graham. Those are really important points - maybe they should be in the thread? I'm not sure if I'll make it in 2011 but I'll be in the UK in summer 2012 and it would be a pleasure to train with you. Regards, Niall
#7 01-16-2011 04:26 AM
Makochan Says:
Niall, very interesting blog. I glanced at it yesterday and was excited to see you had used the phrase Kokkishin. Last night there was a documentary on TV about Joe Frasier and the Manila fight with Muhammad Ali, very good. Interesting that you started with a quote from him. I like what you wrote. Keep the blogs coming. Best, Billy
#6 01-15-2011 10:37 PM
There is also a bizarre knee-jerk response to this support of kata: some people take it as a dismissal of the effectiveness of competition - hence the citing of the successful use of competition in certain styles; that's not the point: the point is, claims as to the superior martial effectiveness of competitive styles over kata, are baseless. PS: let me know when you next come to England - i'll come to train with you/try to get you to teach as a guest instructor.
#5 01-15-2011 10:36 PM
Excellent: calm, considered, rational, and non-prejudiced, as usual, Niall. The question of training methods during times of civil war/inter-clan rivalry was one that concerned me: if a training method - kata - is not martially effective, it will be found wanting in actual combat, and thus eradicated. However, if such a training method was popular, and thus survived, then that is unequivocal proof of its effectiveness - proving that those who dismiss it are wrong.
#4 01-15-2011 09:57 PM
niall Says:
Thanks Demetrio. I appreciate your careful comments. I replied in the forums thread. Especially the details about the timing of Tomiki Sensei's first involvement with aikido were helpful. I deleted that sentence for now. Great English as usual!
#3 01-15-2011 06:58 PM
niall Says:
Thank you very much, Carina. Yes kokkishin or masakatsu agatsu is a fundamental principle of budo and zen - and life.
#2 01-15-2011 02:36 PM
guest1234567 Says:
Niall also thanks for your personal mottos in this post, so I think it is very important for you and that is why I would like to add some things that belong to this "To fight yourself is the toughest fight. To overcome yourself is the greatest victory" To remain humble and always grateful to have health and time to train, to remain empathic,forgiving and helpful to other budokas even if they are not teachers just newbies and become open to your real friends.
#1 01-15-2011 02:35 PM
guest1234567 Says:
I learned something I didn't know so thank you very much for your clear and understandable post,and for always replaying all the comments and threads in this forum.I think you are one of the few teachers in this forum who treats everybody alike.

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