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6th Kyu For Life
03-23-2006, 02:43 PM
I need to describe an Introduction to Aikido class in 70 words or less, for a college course catalog.

Here's the one we've been using for who knows how long:
The Aikido ExCo is an introduction to the basic principles and techniques of Aikido, a Japanese martial art that employs circular motion and blending in order to control and subdue an opponent without necessarily causing injury. Aikido is built around concepts of openness, relaxation, and being able to respond to any attack. As Aikido is not dependent on strength, it is suitable for all ages and physiques.
I thought we could be better. This is 67 words. "ExCo" (experimental college) is the program through which we offer the course. We are an ASU Dojo. Also, since somebody will ask, there is a demonstration we give at the "ExCo Fair," which is where people come to sign up for classes offered through this program, so potential students will see Aikido in action before they take the class. Our goal is to get as many people signed up as possible, because general retention rates for ExCo classes are around 15% by the end of the semester. (Last semester, 70 people signed up, 8 people tested for 6th kyu at the end of the semester)

Here's my attempt:
The Aikido ExCo is an introduction to the basic principles of Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art. Aikido teaches peaceful conflict resolution by blending and leading an attack, rather than fighting against an opponent. As a martial art, it is not dependent on stregnth or size, and can be practiced by everyone. Aikido--Peace Kicks Ass!
I dunno, I'm not quite satisfied.

Peace,
Tom Newhall

wmreed
03-23-2006, 03:13 PM
Here's my stab at the first part:

The Aikido ExCo is an introduction to the basic principles and techniques of Aikido, a Japanese martial art using circular motion and redirection in order to control and subdue an opponent without the need to inflict injury.

In my opinion, this next sentence won't make any sense to someone who hasn't studied some aikido already. "What do you mean by openness and relaxation?" is the question I can imagine. I don't have a suggestion as of yet: Aikido is built around concepts of openness, relaxation, and being able to respond to any attack.

Only a minor change suggested here: As Aikido's effectiveness is not dependent on strength, it is suitable for all ages and physiques.

SeiserL
03-23-2006, 11:23 PM
Aikido is a Japanese nonviolent martial art that emphasizes blending with an opponent rather than resisting them and taking their balance rather than hit or harming them.

Its origami with people, learning to blend and become one with the mat.

crbateman
03-24-2006, 12:58 AM
Lynn-san, would it not be better described as "helping others become one with the mat"?? :D

6th Kyu For Life
03-24-2006, 01:26 AM
In case it wasn't obvious in my original post, I was hoping people would post their 70-words or less description of aikido. Thanks to those who did. Keep 'em coming!

Peace,
Tom Newhall

MM
03-24-2006, 07:55 AM
Aikido is loosely translated as the way of harmony. Blending and redirecting an attack, Aikido uses the least minimal force. Strikes are often subtle and secondary. Aikido can be direct and quick or circular and flowing. The ultimate spiritual goal is dissipation of attack with defender and attacker unharmed.

Mark

SeiserL
03-24-2006, 08:34 AM
Lynn-san, would it not be better described as "helping others become one with the mat"?? :D
Maybe that's what I've been doing wrong. ;-)

akiy
03-24-2006, 10:41 AM
Our goal is to get as many people signed up as possible, because general retention rates for ExCo classes are around 15% by the end of the semester. (Last semester, 70 people signed up, 8 people tested for 6th kyu at the end of the semester)
Perhaps the issue here is, then, not that you need more people joining at the beginning of the semester but to take a look at the curriculum to see if what is being taught during the semester and how it is being taught should be examined?

Since this is an issue separate from the original intent of the thread, I've created a split-off thread entitled Beginners Retention Rates (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10053). Please direct your thoughts on this particular subject in that thread...

-- Jun

kaishaku
03-24-2006, 02:36 PM
I would probably make it 5 words:

"It's kind of like Judo."

I'm silly as hell though.

Lan Powers
03-24-2006, 11:45 PM
I would probably make it 5 words:

"It's kind of like Judo."

I'm silly as hell though.


I like that!! :p
Lan

kaishaku
03-25-2006, 02:48 AM
I was thinking about it more, and I think if possible I would actually make it something really weird and trite:

"PEM 1099 -- Aikido
Comes with egg roll and rice."

ikkitosennomusha
03-25-2006, 01:29 PM
Lets not rationalize with all the secondary mechanics which makes aikido work such as joint locking, blending, etc etc. Lets define aikdo as it is, as it was, pure and simple without extra generalizations:

Aikido: The path/way of harmonizing energy


Its all in the name. All of you are correct in one way or another but don't you think the very literal essence of the work "aikido" sums up everyones idea of what it is/ought to be?

Chris Li
03-25-2006, 01:53 PM
Lets not rationalize with all the secondary mechanics which makes aikido work such as joint locking, blending, etc etc. Lets define aikdo as it is, as it was, pure and simple without extra generalizations:

Aikido: The path/way of harmonizing energy


Its all in the name. All of you are correct in one way or another but don't you think the very literal essence of the work "aikido" sums up everyones idea of what it is/ought to be?

Pure and simple, maybe, but not everybody agrees with that translation of "aiki".

Best,

Chris

Adam Alexander
03-25-2006, 05:28 PM
I'd say (years of sales) that the first thing to be cautious of is trying to be the right thing for everyone.

Next would be to know your audience.

1)The Aikido ExCo is an introduction to the basic principles and 2)techniques of Aikido, 3)a Japanese martial art that 4)employs circular motion and 4)blending in order 5)to control and subdue an opponent 6)without necessarily causing injury. 7)Aikido is built around concepts of openness, relaxation, and being able to respond to any attack. 8)As Aikido is not dependent on strength, it is suitable for all ages and physiques.


Generally, when I send out an ad or write a paper, I start with something (such as your ad), then I very cynically consider everything about it. By doing this, I polish...So, don't get offended.

Number 1) (I numbered your ad) What as a customer does "basic principals" mean? It doesn't mean anything.

2)I think that's the diamond here.

3)Why, as a customer, would I care that it's Japanese?

4)As a customer, what does that mean?

5)As a customer, whta does that mean?

6)Why should I care? Who's the customer you're going for?

7)Way to advanced.

8)I think that's promising more than a person can swallow.


Advertise what you're selling. Are you advertising techniques? Then sell it...

"Want to know ten of the basic techniques you'll find in every MA?

Sign up for this course."

Just because you've got the space, doesn't mean you should use it.

Advertising an effective MA:

"Practice responses to twenty of the most common attacks, sign up for this course."

When you sell your product for people who are wanting self-defence and then they get there to find that they've got to work on rolls like an old lady for an hour, they lose interest.

The only person who can really write your ad for you is you. You know what you're selling.

What's the one thing that makes Aikido important to you?

Don't get caught up in the numbers. If you're a real-estate agent and you're doing an open-house, you want to get rid of most of the people who walk through the door because they're the nosy-neighbors and the people who can't afford it.

Your ad should do the same thing. If you're keeping fifteen people, ask those fifteen why they stayed--maybe you're selling something you didn't realize you were selling.

Just my opinion.

6th Kyu For Life
03-25-2006, 10:15 PM
It's kind of like Judo."I mean, yeah, you're right, but if I don't expect them to know much about Aikido, why should I expect them to know about Judo? Also, I think Aikido attracts a distinctly different audience than judo, for a good reason.
Aikido: The path/way of harmonizing energy I agree, simple is better, but I don't think that "definition" = "description" Not to mention, that translation of the work "Aikido" comes with a lot of ambiguity, and inaccuracy.
"Practice responses to twenty of the most common attacks, sign up for this course."
"Want to know ten of the basic techniques you'll find in every MA? Sign up for this course."Jean, I think that's a pretty good approach, but I also think that people (especially college-aged kids) aren't always looking for just how to defend themselves, but also at the life improvement aspect as well.

Good responses, but keep trying...

Peace,
Tom Newhall

Adam Alexander
03-26-2006, 04:59 PM
Jean, I think that's a pretty good approach, but I also think that people (especially college-aged kids) aren't always looking for just how to defend themselves, but also at the life improvement aspect as well.

Good responses, but keep trying...

Peace,
Tom Newhall

Note to self: Don't lose forest for the trees.

Note to self: People who ask for help shouldn't expect it, but only appreciate it.

Good lessons for me.

Thanks.

ikkitosennomusha
03-28-2006, 08:46 PM
I agree, simple is better, but I don't think that "definition" = "description" Not to mention, that translation of the word "Aikido" comes with a lot of ambiguity, and inaccuracy.

Good responses, but keep trying...

Peace,
Tom Newhall

I agreeTom that the translation doesn't give the best depiction of what the art is like but in the action of performing the joint locks, pins, throws, one must indeed harmonize energy to make it work, save, a steven seagal iriminage.

When asked, I usually just give the literal translation and if the curiosity continues, I explain in enough detail so perhaps they may want to come by and check out practice.

I would say to each individual that trains aikido, "aikido" istelf may mean something unique to that person. For example, one might train aikido because:

1. It workd in synergy with my religion

2 .I need to feel martially competant.

3. I need to excersie the mind and body to become one.

4. I like to throw people

4. I seen a Steven Seagal movie

5. etc.

So, people have different reasons for training and for the person that is in to aikido for spiritual benefits will highlight that atribute when aske the same question but saying "Yeah, we throw people and defend ourselves but it really works in harmony with my spiritual nature and helps me to get in tune with....yadda....yadda.

I might be rambling here but regardless of the various reasons that one "thinks" aikido is good for, there are invariant truths to the nature of training the art itself. No matter what, it will probably take the learning of 5000 techniques to master a few and truely gain the concept of what it means to devlop a path of harmonization to allude danger and restore peace.

Lyle Bogin
04-02-2006, 11:48 AM
It's what Steven Segal does.

Mark Freeman
04-02-2006, 12:34 PM
Aikido - A practice that will help you to co-ordinate mind body and spirit, the benefit being, you will live life more fully. ;)

ElizabethCastor
04-02-2006, 07:51 PM
AIKIDO: A modern Japanese martial art that borrows from older arts like jujitsu and judo. The tradition seeks to find harmony and non-lethal* resolutions even/especially in self defense stituations. Each participant finds thier own favorite part of aikido whether its physical activity, meditiation, balance, coordination or philosophy. Aikido is effective for many different body types and ages, so, come join us and find your own favorite reasons to practice.


I guess this is how I describe the art to my friends and family when I get questioned. Plus the ol' advertising bait at the end.

Good luck with your recruiting!

Elizabeth

PS) I put a (*) next to 'non-lethal' because I couldn't decide between peaceful {too frou-frou/frilly}, balanced or non-agressive {don't speak to the martial 'you-have-to-learn-to-fall/punch' aspect} but non-lethal is a little over the top to me too.... you'll have to fill in that particular blank ;)

Lyle Bogin
04-02-2006, 08:09 PM
To be serious, I'd say Aikido is a modern martial art of japanese origin that still retains much of the Japanese cultural aesthetic. It involves paired, contact training with a partner in which the primary role is alternated. The risk of injury varies, but is generally low to moderate as practice is ideally non-competitive. The techniques of aikido involve mostly throws, restraining techniques, and "ukemi" (falling skills). The philosophical orientation of Aikido's inventor and japanese martial arts in general allow for a wide variety of interpretations and philosophical associations. Aikido is studied for recreation, law enforcement, self-defense, and personal fulfillment.

Chris Li
04-02-2006, 08:19 PM
It's not 70 words, but The Aikido Ohana (http://www.aikidoohana.org) brochure is available here (http://home.hawaii.rr.com/bridgeone/brochure.pdf).

Best,

Chris

eyrie
04-02-2006, 10:03 PM
What Jean said in post #14.... find out what the customer wants, work out what you're going to sell, then advertise what you sell. Obviously there needs to be some congruence between what the customer wants, what you're selling, and what you say you're selling...the more congruent you are, the better the result.

Personally, I'd avoid attracting the Steven Seagal wannabees, they don't last very long.... ;)

there are of course exceptions to the rule...

Nick Simpson
04-03-2006, 05:11 AM
Aikido; a modern Japanese martial art derived from traditional Jujitsu, utilizes blending with an opponents energy and redirecting it to end conflict as easily and safely as possible. Throws, Strikes, Pins and Joint Locks make up the empty hand curricculum alongside Sword, Knife and Staff training, as well as multiple attacker drills. Aikido is not dependant on size or strength and as such is suitable for everyone!

heyoka
04-03-2006, 01:00 PM
I'll just whip up something relying on 'the horses mouth' (aikikai.or.jp):

Aikido is a non-violent martial art that focuses on a "firm and stable center with an emphasis on spherical rotation characterized by flowing, circular, dance-like motions. These pivoting, entering and circling motions are used to control and overcome the opponent. The principle of spherical rotation makes it possible to defend one self from an opponent of superior size, strength, and experience."

6th Kyu For Life
04-04-2006, 10:32 PM
Paul and Nick-

Good job, that's more like it.
Obviously this is a tough question, and any answer will, of course, have many shortcomings. Aikido may be principally simple but this simplicity is certainly not easy to apply or understand. It seems that the real question comes down to how to describe Aikido simply, while minimizing ambiguity and error. Keep trying!

Peace,
Tom Newhall

Olivier
04-05-2006, 02:23 AM
If people are curious about aikido, they will browse the web before coming.

Maybe just "Aikido courses - join us" + a nice picture.
Like an ad on TV : a few words + music + picture.

Trish Greene
04-06-2006, 02:08 PM
What I love about this discussion is seeing what everyones opinion of what Aikido is - to them!