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Takuan
04-11-2006, 11:30 AM
My Sensei left me as well as two other senior students in charge of our dojo since he went to visit his family in Japan. A great honor for me since I've only been a Shodan for 6 months. One instruction he gave us which left me a little intrigued is to not accept new students during his leave that were not referred by existing students in our dojo. He also warned us to never accept any challenge made by anyone. "Call the Police if you must, but NEVER accept a challenge", he said.

I thought how incredibly rude someone simply walking in the dojo and calling on the instructor for a challenge would be. I know that O Sensei in the old days had that happen to him many times and was wondering if any of the instructors here had any such experience happen to them and how they dealt with it.

Meggy Gurova
04-11-2006, 11:53 AM
Isn´t that something that only happens in the movies? Like karate kid? :D Ok in Rio maybe it´s normal.
My sensei was kind off challenged in a way once. There was a big guy (like 2 meters tall) that came and wanted to try aikido, said he had 3 dan in judo, put on his black belt and started to challenge most off the the people that have been training the longest time in our dojo. He didn´t respect at all the advices off our sensei and try to do some kick boxing things in response to the techniques. My sensei try to help him through the techniques and said to him that his behavior was not acceptable . The 4 time my sensei went to him and with red face, pointed to him then to the door screamed when he talked (sounded like a huge kiai :D ) and throed him away. My sensei is like 1.70 meters short. The big guy got scared and left without any comment. But thats the way my sensei is. With the confidence that he has he can scare the biggest guys, he is almost 60 years old and maybe thats why he gets so much respect.

Dennis Good
04-11-2006, 01:11 PM
Since you asked. OK this did not happen to me but one of my instructors (who shall remain nameless) many years ago. At the end of a Saturday morning class, this instructor who is probably the fastest man I have ever seen was chatting with some students on the mat. On to the mat walks this guy that had been watching the class, complete with shoes and Tae Kwon Do jacket with disciples looking on. My instructor asks him to take off his shoes. This guy asks my instructor what he would do against a spinning roundhouse kick. My instructor in his usual non-chalant manner responds with "I don't know, I'll have to see it" Without missing a beat, Tae Kwon Do guy does a spinning roundhouse. My instructor enters in behind him, grabs him at the collar and belt, spins and drives him face first into the mat. He get up and just as non- chalantly says "I guess I would do that." Tae Kwon Do guy hobbles out without saying a word. It was beautiful.

Chuck Clark
04-11-2006, 01:34 PM
People walking into the dojo right onto the tatami with dirty boots on and challenging anyone and everyone used to happen in the early and mid 60's. It happened to me on a few occasions in the early 70's but hasn't really happened since. There was a period after that, though, where a few people came in and were a bit aggressive just short of challenging but that dropped off also by the mid 80's or so.

In truth, I sort of enjoyed it in the early days. That may very possibly be why it happened in some cases. That sort of stuff hasn't happened in many years now. I don't miss it.

Michael Hackett
04-11-2006, 04:42 PM
I've been told a story by several people who were there, so I believe it to be true. An aikido teacher was invited to a BBQ being held by a karate instuctror. The two men didn't know each other very well and the aikido instructor attended in order to get to know the karateka. The aikidoka was asked several times to "show us some of your aikido" by other guests and politely refused. Eventually, one of the karate students walked up to him and threw a strong munetsuki towards his face. The aikidoka got off line and took the fist in his hand and submitted the karateka by squeezing his thumb tighter into his own fist. When it was over, he thanked the host for the invitation and left the party.

Kevin Leavitt
04-11-2006, 06:07 PM
obviously outright challenges with the bad intentions is wrong! That said, I have challenged every instructor I have ever worked with! I have done it with sincerity and honesty. I have never taken anything at face value...I must know that they can practice what they preach.

If they are full of crap, then I usually politely don't bother coming back!

I also think we owe it to our instructors to challenge them every class and every minute, we as students must hold them accountable and keep them honest! In return they will teach us properly.

Accepting a sensei or instructor based on his/her stature, trappings, and such at face value is not smart in my book.

There is a right way to challenge them, and a wrong way. I'd never challenge someone outright or do it in a dishonest way, or deceive them, embarrass, humiliate them in anyway!

Chuck Clark
04-11-2006, 06:40 PM
The very basis of any system of education and practice should be to challenge and encourage each other with continuing problems we have to solve. The dojo is a "dilemma rich environment." It should all be done with "Best Use of Energy and Mutual Welfare."

I'm with you Kevin.

Perry Bell
04-11-2006, 08:05 PM
obviously outright challenges with the bad intentions is wrong! That said, I have challenged every instructor I have ever worked with! I have done it with sincerity and honesty. I have never taken anything at face value...I must know that they can practice what they preach.

If they are full of crap, then I usually politely don't bother coming back!

I also think we owe it to our instructors to challenge them every class and every minute, we as students must hold them accountable and keep them honest! In return they will teach us properly.

Accepting a sensei or instructor based on his/her stature, trappings, and such at face value is not smart in my book.

There is a right way to challenge them, and a wrong way. I'd never challenge someone outright or do it in a dishonest way, or deceive them, embarrass, humiliate them in anyway!

Hi Kevin,

I am a karate instructor in Australia, and I have competed as a contact Karate fighter in my younger days in both Australia an Asia with a fair amount of sucsess, I have had quite a few challenges from out siders coming into my dojo, when this happens I just ask them to leave, if they don't I call the police, simply because if we fight one of us will get hurt badly and I don't want to be having to explain things in a court of law, but more so this goes against what I teach and my belief in what Karate is all about, I guess its practicing what you preach.

On the point of challenges by my students, I encourage them to fight with me in a controlled way so they can see the techniques they are learning work, and sometime they get me and sometimes they don't, when they do I congratulate them and go off to figure out how they got me where was my guard down that allowed the success of the attack, if they don't I will work with them then send them off to practice so they can be more confident of getting the punch or kick in.

So in essence I agree with what you say, by letting our students challenge us in a respectful way we indeed challenge ourselves, to see the our techniques are still as sharp as they used to be or think they are.

Take care, train hard

Perry :)

Dajo251
04-11-2006, 08:12 PM
I dont know if this fits in but I feel like sharing. I was doing a technique with my sensei once and he asked me to totally commit to an attack, full out try and get him, now I am taller the my sensei by about a foot and out weight him by at least 60 lbs, and well I went at him at full speek, and he missed the technique, and ended up throwing me by my head....after I got up he stopped me from attacking again and told me, "that was the best challenge Ive had in years"

raul rodrigo
04-11-2006, 09:14 PM
We challenge our teachers at our own risk of course. One of my sempai was testing our Japanese shihan by trying not to go down during a katate dori sokumen iriminage. The shihan smiled and converted the technique into an elbow drop: he made it into a sacrifice throw where he fell on my sempai with his elbow in the center of his chest. We all thought: better him than me.

Perry Bell
04-11-2006, 09:21 PM
We challenge our teachers at our own risk of course. One of my sempai was testing our Japanese shihan by trying not to go down during a katate dori sokumen iriminage. The shihan smiled and converted the technique into an elbow drop: he made it into a sacrifice throw where he fell on my sempai with his elbow in the center of his chest. We all thought: better him than me.


Hi Raul,

Thank you for your post, you made me smile, I remember my teacher doing the similar thing during one of my classes and the feeling was the same, better him than me, I sometimes find myself doing something similar things when students try to put one over me, it is so easy to get someone off balance if they totally commit them selves by trying not to go down. ;)

Good post

Thank you

Perry :)

DH
04-11-2006, 10:06 PM
Happened to me about a dozen times in the early to mid-nineties. I was teaching in a Judo dojo on a major route. The owner pasted a huge sign on the building saying "Jujutsu, the art of the nineties, as seen in the UFC" on the side of the building. Who was the jujutsu Instructor? Me! Needless to say I wasn't happy about it. But, not my Dojo.
Guys came in wanting to test it.
I enjoyed it for a few years and showed people just what jujutsu can do, but got sick of it. So to the question at hand. One night, unannounced I left. Told my guys I was leaving, and we dropped off the map. We have been in my converted barn, in the middle of the country ever since. Cannot be found unless you know one of us and have been reccomended.
Peace and quiet.

Today I would still accept a challenge and still go out to play with various styles.
As a teacher it is best to remain a student and never lose the openess and willingness to research.

Dan

George S. Ledyard
04-14-2006, 12:07 AM
I never had anyone "challenge" me... But two of my Aikido friendsfrom Montana, who are also long time law enforcement trainers, brought an officer friend who had been doing karate for some years. His karate teacher had told him not to bother with that "Aikido stuff" because it didn't work.

Fortunately this boy was quite buff and pretty indestructible so for two hours I disabused him of this misinfomation he had been given and when he left he was hoping he could find a place to train where he lived.

George S. Ledyard
04-14-2006, 12:11 AM
"The shihan smiled"

Oh yeah, THAT smile. That's the one that you see and say to yourself "Oh s***! Why did I just do that?)

Dennis Hooker
04-14-2006, 08:35 AM
Yes, in over 45 years of teaching and training I have been challenged twice.


When I lived in Pensacola Florida there was this top notch Tang Su Do instructor. He was in his school late one night when a man came in with a knife and tried to rob him. The next day the Pensacola News Journal did an interview with Jack and ask him what he thought when the man came in. He said “thank you god”. Oh, he took the guy apart.

Jory Boling
04-14-2006, 09:35 AM
...He was in his school late one night when a man came in with a knife and tried to rob him...

Of all the places to choose for a robbery- If the man had been killed, he'd definitely be a nominee for a Darwin Award.

And are you going to leave us hanging for any details (even small ones?) concerning your challengers? You brought it up!

Michael Neal
04-14-2006, 09:40 AM
There are people that come by our Judo dojo every once in a while with the intention of testing us, when we introduce them to Judo randori they quickly become a little more humble.

DarkShodan
04-14-2006, 10:33 AM
I get challenged about once a month. Let me clarify this...I don't consider them real challenges. We work out at a Recreation Center and I teach the early kids class so I am there to set up. There are a lot of kids running around after school, probably 12 - 18 years old. At least once a month one will walk in as I am setting up and test me. I can usually laugh and blow them off, call them crazy, tell them they need to rethink what they are about to do. Most of them will laugh it off with me. They don't really want to confront me, just talk I guess. Some of them will help me set up and say "Hi" to me when I walk in. I did have one kid a few weeks ago ask me to "Show me what you've got". I just laughed and walked away. He pushed me from behind, so I dropped my gear bag and turned towards him. The look was more like, "Oh Sh!t". Suddenly he didn't want to play any more. I smiled and invited him into class. We did some boxing, just messed around. It was cool. He's a nice kid. He just wanted some attention. :p

Mark Uttech
04-14-2006, 10:49 AM
Challenges are to be expected when you have a dojo. maybe you will get a couple of drunks, a middling martial art student, or an outright challenge. It is a challenge for you, there is no other way to talk about it. Your art should be your home, and you should be prepared to protect your home. If you do not protect your home, you have no home.

raul rodrigo
04-14-2006, 11:41 AM
Challenges are to be expected when you have a dojo. maybe you will get a couple of drunks, a middling martial art student, or an outright challenge. It is a challenge for you, there is no other way to talk about it. Your art should be your home, and you should be prepared to protect your home. If you do not protect your home, you have no home.


Our shihan in Japan once had a serious if rather rude challenger. The details he was willing to give are sketchy, but we had a definite impression the challenger did not leave that dojo in the best of health. The shihan is very closed mouthed about the whole thing. All he says is: "I have to protect my dojo.'

Dennis Hooker
04-14-2006, 12:14 PM
I know a shihan that nearly killed a man over a challenge and another that severally injured a fellow that falsely represented himself as a guest student and when ask to be uke he changed the attack and knocked the shihan down. A real bad mistake on his part.

As for my two one ended with a punch and the other with a laugh.

Michael Hackett
04-14-2006, 01:58 PM
A friend of mine has a BJJ dojo here in the southwest, near the border town of Mexicali. He is also a cop and Koga instructor, as well as a Gracie Graple instructor. He's 6-1, 185 and about ten percent body fat, always with a big smile and quick laugh. He was closing down the dojo one evening and a character came off the street; pretty muscular with lots of tattoos. The "visitor" asked him if he was the Sifu and was told that he was the Chief Instructor. The next question was "Are you any good?". Eric replied that he didn't know, but guessed that they could roll and figure it out. The visitor chose to leave without rolling. I asked him what his reaction would have been if the visitor pulled a knife or something and his reply was "I don't know, I guess we'd have found out."

Michael Douglas
04-14-2006, 03:33 PM
This is not a criticism, just an observation, maybe even a compliment.
Of the stories above, when the Aikido instructor is challenged, the response has never been a typical Aikido syllabus technique.
Anyone got any real info as to why ??

( Dennis Good ;
"Tae Kwon Do guy does a spinning roundhouse. My instructor enters in behind him, grabs him at the collar and belt, spins and drives him face first into the mat. "

Michael Hackett ;
" one of the karate students walked up to him and threw a strong munetsuki towards his face. The aikidoka got off line and took the fist in his hand and submitted the karateka by squeezing his thumb tighter into his own fist. "

Daniel Hulley ;
" and well I went at him at full speek, and he missed the technique, and ended up throwing me by my head...."

Raul Rodrigo ;
"One of my sempai was testing our Japanese shihan by trying not to go down during a katate dori sokumen iriminage. The shihan smiled and converted the technique into an elbow drop: he made it into a sacrifice throw where he fell on my sempai with his elbow in the center of his chest. " )

And from memory of stories here, when O-Sensei was challenged the results were similar.

Fred Little
04-14-2006, 04:06 PM
This is not a criticism, just an observation, maybe even a compliment.
Of the stories above, when the Aikido instructor is challenged, the response has never been a typical Aikido syllabus technique.
Anyone got any real info as to why ??


Because the "syllabus" is primarily made up of kihon designed to teach principles, but challenge responses are necessarily oyo-waza, or "applied techniques."

Mind you, that's just a guess.

FL

Qatana
04-14-2006, 05:16 PM
I think one of my sempai is about to be challenged. I was walking through the parking lot at the dojo last night and there were these big bikers on big Harleys and they were talking about where my sempai works...maybe I am imagining things, maybe they want to pay him the money they;ve owed him since 10th grade, maybe they wanna see what he is made of., maybe they want to join the dojo....but he didn't show up for class and eventually they left

RebeccaM
04-14-2006, 11:57 PM
( Dennis Good ;
"Tae Kwon Do guy does a spinning roundhouse. My instructor enters in behind him, grabs him at the collar and belt, spins and drives him face first into the mat. "
That sounds like an aborted iriminage, and from that attack it's no surprise uke lost his balance earlier than planned. I've done some experiments on willing friends with iriminage out of grabs and punches. Almost without fail, they ended up falling forwards as I brought them down and around. I never got anyone to follow the arc up and into the backfall.

MaryKaye
04-15-2006, 09:30 AM
That sounds like an aborted iriminage, and from that attack it's no surprise uke lost his balance earlier than planned. I've done some experiments on willing friends with iriminage out of grabs and punches. Almost without fail, they ended up falling forwards as I brought them down and around. I never got anyone to follow the arc up and into the backfall.

My dojo doesn't do iriminage, and when I started to train at places that did, this was the inevitable result. I had to be taught to stay with the technique.

Mary Kaye

Amelia Smith
04-15-2006, 09:44 AM
What Rebecca said, and Mary seconded.

All of those instances sound like varriations on standard techniques. The thumb into the first sounds like a nikkyo. The head throw, well, we do those in my dojo all the time. The "sacrifice throw" also sounds fairly normal to me. My guess is that they don't look like standard aikido sylabus techniqes because the challengers don't know how to take aikido ukemi. They're unlikely to bend as we would, or follow in the same way, so the end of the technique is going to look a little different (so as to spare the attacker's elbow/wrist/neck, etc.)

I'm sure someone out there is going to say that if you're doing the technique properly, the person will naturally go where you put them. Maybe, but there are a lot of varriables, particularly with somebody who has trained in another system.

Ron Tisdale
04-17-2006, 08:04 AM
particularly with somebody who has trained in another system.

Yeah, (if the waza works) they tend to go 'thunk'...

Best,
Ron ;)

Amelia Smith
04-17-2006, 08:37 AM
Or "splat"

Dennis Good
04-17-2006, 09:20 AM
That sounds like an aborted iriminage

Actually it was more like a Tenkai Ikkyo but instead of using a limb for the takedown, he used the entire body.

Of the stories above, when the Aikido instructor is challenged, the response has never been a typical Aikido syllabus technique

I believe the "Syllabus" or kata style techniques are like the vocabulary of aikido. It is how you put them together and use them at any given time that makes poetry or total garbage. Its not a Attack A: respond with Defense B: There are to many possible variations to account for. Off the top of my head I cant think of any Kata's that have techniques designed against kicks. That doesn't mean that there are not a ton of techniques that can't be adapted to this purpose. It is the skill of being able to adapt what you know to the situation that I believe is the most difficult thing to learn and to teach.

Ron Tisdale
04-17-2006, 09:25 AM
Techniques designed against kicks? Well, I don't know if they are 'designed'...

Iriminage
sokumen iriminage (personal fav)
shomen tsuki / shomen ate
Ushiro nage

are ones I've used to good effect (mine, not uke's)

Best,
Ron

Dennis Good
04-17-2006, 09:55 AM
Exactly my point. Too many people get caught up in labels and just imitating what they've been taught instead of analyzing it, breaking it down, understanding HOW it works, and discovering how it can be applied to different situations. Imitation is definitely the first step but if your grasp of the technique ends there you will be missing out on so much. A lot of people believe if it falls outside the parameters of a kata or a traditional application it is no longer aikido which is just not true. As for kick defenses Ive always been partial to "foot"heneri into a take down my self.

MaryKaye
04-17-2006, 12:23 PM
I'm sure someone out there is going to say that if you're doing the technique properly, the person will naturally go where you put them. Maybe, but there are a lot of varriables, particularly with somebody who has trained in another system.

We did an hour's worth of jo-nage (uke tries to take the jo and nage throws him), including a lot of throws from the nidan instructor. For one throw, the two Ki Society-trained students took backfalls, and this looked like an obvious and natural result of the technique. The Aikikai-trained student took forward rolls, and this *also* looked like an obvious and natural result of the technique, though it startled the person throwing. This happened whether we were attempting to resist or to go with the technique--some difference of body position early on.

There may be a level of skill where uke always goes where you meant to put him, but it's awfully high.

Mary Kaye

Scott Josephus
04-17-2006, 01:38 PM
Just my two quick cents, my Sensei's Sensei was Shihan Fumio Toyoda. She studied under him for 13 years until his death a few years ago. One of the stories she relates is that when she was a White Belt, and had just started classes, someone walked during a class and demanded to know who the Sensei was. Toyoda Sensei stepped forward and acknowledged he was. The man told him flat out, "I want to Kick your #@$". Toyoda Sensei verified, "You wanna kicka my #@$". The man said "Yes". Toyoda Sensei said, "O.K., you can kicka my #@$, but we finish class first. To the class' astonishment, the man stood and waited. The bowed off the Mat and Toyoda Sensei asked, "You still wanna kick my #@$?". The man said "Yes," again. Toyoda Sensei said, "O.K., but we go outside first". He then held the door open for the challenger. The Challenger confidantly stepped outside, at which point Toyoda Sensei locked the door behind him, and laughed, stating, "He wanna kick my #@$!".

This, I think is the true spirit of Aikido - He resolved the conflict harmoniously without physically hurting the man, or humiliating him (and he could have - he was a Shihan . . .). Instead, he allowed everyone to safely be removed from the situation, with no one having to save face.

It sums up to me perfectly my favorite statement about Aikido: "We train hard in Aikido in hopes that we will never have to use it."

If you want the story in my Sensei's own words, It is in the Introduction of her book, Seeding Your Soul (which is a religous text, not an Aikido one).

Just something to chew on: Let's not forget that Aikido is about harmony, and not putting yourself or others in a dangerous situation if it can be avoided is part of the mindset of AIkido.

DH
04-17-2006, 07:12 PM
This is not a criticism, just an observation, maybe even a compliment.
Of the stories above, when the Aikido instructor is challenged, the response has never been a typical Aikido syllabus technique.
Anyone got any real info as to why ??

I would guess that most folks-the vast majority perhaps- haven't a clue about what their Aikido has been trying to teach them in regards to body skills. At its root it can be practically unstoppable. If you knew what you were doing. A judoka throwing you should feel like he is trying to throw a statue. A jujutsu going for a double or single leg should be drilled into the ground. Your throws should not be throws that express anything but formless projections. Your strikes should be devastating with the ground and your center alive in your hands. I've not met the man who has fought me who has not been convinced otherwise. And I stopped training in Aikido long ago, before making Shodan. That being said, I would simply stand in front of anyone you care to pick in Aikido, of any rank, and I will do Aikido waza and I will not be thrown or locked.

As for challenges and whether it is advisable to accept or not?

What does it say to have turned them down?
What does it say to have enjoyed the challenge and never lost?
Is there a moral imperative to turn them down?
Does it speak to anyone as an act of "Taking the high road?" And is the acceptance then the obverse? Of a lower, base, or coarseness of character?
Then what of your ancestors and the forebears of these many arts... including those in Aikido.
What of Ueshiba's challenges and doubters?
And what of Tesshu?
Kunii Zenya?
Tohei?
Kano?
Takeda?
Mifune?
What of hundreds of others like them?
Are they lesser men?
Truly most, not many-MOSTLY ALL, of your predecessors took challenges and succeeded. It is one of the ways they learned. Perhaps one of the most worthwhile. And for most of us (not all) why we followed. In Martial arts it is the way of things. What is there to fear? Are we fighting men? Budo men? What? What is the harm in a physical questioning of voracity in a method?
For myself, I enjoyed the challenge and took no moral offense. I offered none in return and that with them being tuned and owned. Why on this earth would someone who is practicing a martial art think that way? But where I enjoyed the challenges and prevailed continually. In and of themselves, they were meaningless exercises except for self-fulfillment and experimentation. In fact it is not the winning or losing that matters. I am certain that few Shihan could withstand or even adequately cope with various people I know- including myself. Their certain failure would mean what? And to whom? Not a thing! It is just training. If you do not train to fight in, and against, an aggressive style you will not prevail. Period. To think otherwise is Hubris. But I caution you to review before you judge others or believe you are on a higher road..
To refuse is understandable. But to denigrate those who would ask or doubt speaks to me of character flaw of different kind. And not that of the challenger, but the challenged

If you do not train agressively, do not accept. It just isn't worth it and it can get annoying if you are trying to teach.But if you do, it can be fun and it can be a learning process for YOU and them.

Cheers
Dan

roosvelt
04-18-2006, 08:16 AM
I've heard enough of those glorified Aikido instructor stories. How about some less glamerous result stories?

Richard Langridge
04-18-2006, 08:35 AM
Dan, just out of curiosity, why did you stop training in Aikido?

Kevin Leavitt
04-18-2006, 10:05 AM
who wants to admit they train with a sensei that sucks?

Michael Douglas
04-18-2006, 01:18 PM
Nice to hear someone standing up for actually accepting challenges, like the old-timers did.
If the challenger takes the time and effort to come to your dojo, surely that is enough to skew the perception of the encounter away from simply unprovoked harmful violence to a potentially useful, and potentially aikido-ish combat experience...

mriehle
04-18-2006, 03:07 PM
Nice to hear someone standing up for actually accepting challenges, like the old-timers did.
If the challenger takes the time and effort to come to your dojo, surely that is enough to skew the perception of the encounter away from simply unprovoked harmful violence to a potentially useful, and potentially aikido-ish combat experience...

OR

It could be an opportunity for someone's ego to be stroked.

Whenever I see the words "combat experience" used in reference to Aikido, I cringe.

I've defended myself with Aikido. Yet, I cannot use my Aikido in a competitive situation. As soon as I enter a competitive mindset, my Aikido effectively evaporates. Self defense situations are not about competition, not an issue.

This challenger, though, that is a competition. By definition.

1) I know already that if I take this challenge someone will be hurt and if it's the challenger I can be sued and possibly brought up on criminal charges. How stupid do you think I am?

2) This challenge does nothing to promote good Aikido among my students. It might make me feel like a hotshot if I flatten the guy and don't hurt him, but it creates an unfriendly environment in the dojo overall.

3) This challenge isn't about whether what I'm teaching is effective self defense, it's about whether the challenger or I have the more extensive training and - pay attention - I don't care. I know that I can defend myself. I know that my students can defend themselves (and have done). I don't care about the UFC idiot who wants to come prove what a bad*%# he is.

I've had people come into the dojo who want to fight. I just encourage them to leave. We're just wasting each other's time.

Mike Fugate
04-18-2006, 06:52 PM
Pretty kewl stories that I have read on here. As for my Sifu, he has been challenged..I dont know if he was in the school or not, but I know he was on the street. An individual came to his home with a gun and lets say he didnt do that or anything else again after.
His teacher, a Shaolin Grandmaster had a few challenges too...one time a very large guy walked into the school very loud and rude and damanded a challenge cuz, " This oriental stuff doesnt work"....Grandmaster Dee told him to come on in and he would get one free lesson. The guy walked onto the mat with his shoes on and once near Grandmaster he took a swing at him. Grandmaster Dee never lifted his hand from his sash..and beat the shit out him using only his shoulders. Took one mistake for the attacker and he left never to return.
Also a Karate 'master' froma rivaled school challenge him once at a tourny. He accepted and durring the begining of the match the 'master' went and kneeled as if he had hurt Grandmaster Dee :confused: so GM went and did the same thing, to kinda mock him. The guy then chraged in at him to hit him with his back turned, and with out ever looking, with his back turned fliped out a kick behind him and stoped him in his tracks, then finished him with strike..KO....those were the good days :ki:

Takuan
04-18-2006, 10:26 PM
Thank you Scott for the story about Toyoda Sensei. Wonderful course of action, I think I'll try that if I'm ever challenged :-) Very interesting missive by Dan too, with a whole other outlook.

My Sensei told me not to accept challenges so I won't, and that's that. The old days of matial artists trying to defend their discipline are over. You could be dealing with a nut who has 3 or 4 friends waiting outside to come to his aid, or he may come back armed, who knows? Very risky to say "if I'm challenged I will accept because after all I practice a martial art", legally you could be in a lot of trouble here. You break the guys neck or something and later you're expalining to the police and a judge, "oh, so sorry but I was challenged". That won't stick. I expect more out of an aikidoka than accepting some lame challenge to prove himself. I truly believe we stand for something much greater than competing, even if we're provoked. And there is no way I could possibly compare myself with Ueshiba Sensei or Tohei Sensei!! Those are incredible masters! I'm just some lame Shodan barely scratching the surface of the aikido I hope to practice for many, many years.

roosvelt
04-19-2006, 08:28 AM
O

Yet, I cannot use my Aikido in a competitive situation. As soon as I enter a competitive mindset, my Aikido effectively evaporates.



I went a language school to study "spanish" for a few years. Before I went to Spain, I asked my teacher what I should know. The teacher replied sheeply that I couldn't use what I'd learned in his school. I asked why. He said if I use the "spanish" I learned in his school, I can't communicate with the people in spain. Then I asked him what usage of the "spanish" that I learned in his school. He said that I can use it with other people from the same shcol or other school from the same "spanish language" organization.

Do you think that I've been studying "spanish" or some gurberish.

Ecosamurai
04-19-2006, 09:10 AM
This, I think is the true spirit of Aikido - He resolved the conflict harmoniously without physically hurting the man, or humiliating him (and he could have - he was a Shihan . . .). Instead, he allowed everyone to safely be removed from the situation, with no one having to save face.

It sums up to me perfectly my favorite statement about Aikido: "We train hard in Aikido in hopes that we will never have to use it."


Reminds me of something a guy I knew did (he's never done any martial arts at all btw), there was some issue as to who spilled a drink in the pub, the big guy said to my friend that he was gonna knock his block off etc etc. My friend said, ok then lets go outside or we'll get barred from the pub, the other guy agreed. Once out the door my friend just turned to the bouncer and said "He's trying to beat me up can you help?" The bouncer said no problem and let my friend back in and barred the other guy from the pub.
We all thought it was very funny.

Mike

Rocky Izumi
04-19-2006, 09:32 AM
I've heard enough of those glorified Aikido instructor stories. How about some less glamerous result stories?

Got challenged in the dojo once. Failed miserably. Still working on that Rubik's Cube after 15 years. They kid did it in about a minute and a half.

Rock
:hypno:

Rocky Izumi
04-19-2006, 09:36 AM
I've heard enough of those glorified Aikido instructor stories. How about some less glamerous result stories?

Another time a GJJ guy wanted to play with me so we had some fun until I grabbed him in a sankaku-jime with my legs and laid out a long and wet fart. He didn't want to play anymore. No fun. He said it wasn't fair.

Rock :crazy:

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2006, 10:00 AM
Rocky-san, you crack me up. ;)

Best,
Ron

mriehle
04-19-2006, 12:07 PM
I went a language school to study "spanish" for a few years. Before I went to Spain, I asked my teacher what I should know. The teacher replied sheeply that I couldn't use what I'd learned in his school. I asked why. He said if I use the "spanish" I learned in his school, I can't communicate with the people in spain. Then I asked him what usage of the "spanish" that I learned in his school. He said that I can use it with other people from the same shcol or other school from the same "spanish language" organization.

Do you think that I've been studying "spanish" or some gurberish.

Not the same thing.

My point about a competitive situation is the idea that I have something to prove, rather than simply trying to resolve things and get on with my life. These are very different.

I've come to believe, in fact, that my Next Big Step in my training will be to treat a competitive situation exactly as I would a self defense situation. I'm not sure why I can't today, but it's clearly a personal glitch.

The Spanish thing you are talking about is a commonly known problem with the language. I have the same problem. The Spanish I learned is pretty much they way they speak in a certain region in the interior of Mexico. My wife's family, OTOH, speak a whole different dialect. I can understand a lot of what they say, but when (if!) I reply, they either don't understand me or look at me in that funny way that says, "Why would you say it like that?". Most of the time it's 'cause I'm too formal.

Regardless, even if I get past my personal glitch with the competition thing, I would not accept a challenge. If that idiot gets hurt as a result of such a challenge I would have to deal with all kinds of liability issues that I don't need.

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2006, 02:01 PM
Good answer.

Best,
Ron

Rocky Izumi
04-19-2006, 03:39 PM
Rocky-san, you crack me up. ;)

Best,
Ron

Actually, this is all true. It is one of my favourite and most effective techniques against grapplers!

Rock

Richard Langridge
04-19-2006, 04:22 PM
Hehe, carefull Rocky, or you'll have a ton of BJJ fanatics telling you how that wouldn't work in the street! :D

Budd
04-20-2006, 01:38 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with being appropriately challenged. Sometimes that's how it's done when you're the student or teacher, in order to learn something. At the very least, you should always be challenging yourself to get better. The only ones that I really cut loose on in a "challenge" sense are the training partners with whom I share the most trust. I know that they'll acknowledge superior position and "tap" when they need to (whether it's grappling, mma-style or aiki-randori -- each area has merits as a training tool) and I'll do the same with them. We can push ourselves closer to the edge because the trust is there that we're working towards mutual benefit.

I also don't believe that the physical skills that you develop in budo need to be sectioned off as something that can only be applied against resistance in a self-defense setting -- as that seems to imply a lack of control or ability to actualize one's learning unless in a high-stress, reactive state of alarm (ironic, since I think a primary goal of aikido training is to be able to diffuse a situation before it gets to that point).

It's interesting that proponents of both sides of this debate bring up the ego as a reason for engaging in or avoiding certain types of challenges. From the side of the fighter that regularly tests themselves, the practitioner that refuses seems to do so because he or she doesn't want to look bad. From the other perspective, the physical practice is an art that shouldn't be lowered to the level of engaging in 'thuggery' or random, competitive practice.

Assuming that no one is talking about felonious illegalities, I believe that both sides have merit and, like many things, there is no clear answer or best practice to a subjective area that likely requires a case by case approach.

Having said all of the above, my personal view is that I look for ways to challenge myself and my practice from both the standpoint of "Does it work the way it's supposed to?" (based on no one's criteria but my own) and "Am I honoring what my teacher(s) expect(s) of me?" Personally, I hope I wouldn't fall for the bait of someone looking for a fight. But if someone presented themselves with good character and wanted to "workshop" their stuff with me, I probably wouldn't say no, either.

Case by case by . . .

DH
04-20-2006, 03:16 PM
Bud
Good post and I agree.
I think its a sense of ownership as well. Some fellows are asked not to accept- even if they wanted to. I would suspect that a given teacher would want them to wait till their skills are polished to a point they make a reasonable representation.
So in fariness you do have guys that have an obligation not to accept. And that is not ego. It is actually "lack of...." and just them being responsible to an art or teachers judgement.
I think others are scared, or have doubts. Still others don't care and don't see a need or interest to go there. Its all fine. No one should have trouble with any of them as long as they are honest to and with themselves and others. I just don't think we need denigrate thos who ask or accept. Well, Depends on how rhey ask. Of the many challenges I have had only two were fellonies in the making and I did it anyway. Most are just guys with experience who wanted to test it. "It" being the operative word. I never take it personal.
I recently messed around with some CMA guys -none of them were concerned I was challenging them or their style. We went at it and had fun. They had fun as well and we are going to meet again. So there is a way to test things and not be advasarial in doing so.
For some guys there is too much emotion invested in a loss. As if there is some tacit understanding of their art being unbeatable. I think that defies reason. The best in the world "lost" to learn to win. Then you may be on a winning streak then lose. It doesn't invalidate anything. Its just training and learning. Rolling in an increasingly amped up venue should be fun and made and thought of that way. So that when you have to fight you are more prepared.
I keep hoping to lose... by a method. Not a person so much-as in "Oh hell, he got me with a "this or that" I already know, but rather some great method. To see something else substantial and interesting in my old age.

I found it in Koryu weapons. But not in body arts.
Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
04-20-2006, 03:27 PM
Reminds me. About two years ago at my military post gym I was working out with a few guys doing aikido. One of the Sergeants in my Battalion was grappling with some of his guys in the same room. The guys we were instructing became curious what each of us were doing and it led to a polite discussion about the differences in training.

Anyway, he and I would talk, he kept encouraging me to train with him, I dismissed it for the standard excuses afforded to ground fighting by aiki types. Over a year we'd go back and forth. Finally he roped me into a "challenge" I accepted a NHB match fully expecting to take him out no problem.

Well he "owned" me, not once, but twice. Then proceeded to demonstrate a fair understanding of aikido, found out he was a nidan in judo, blue belt in BJJ, among a few other things.

Well, I accepted him as my teacher. He moved on back to the states, but he hooked me up with some other guys that were his mentors and I study with them!

It was a hard blow to my ego at first, but I am good to go now!

the fine print: Don't take this as a slam on aikido, I have different goals than what the wonderful art of aikido focuses on. So my comments are related to ME only, not aikido!

DH
04-20-2006, 03:36 PM
Kevin
Good points. But what if doing these things IMPROVES a persons ........Aikido?
Seems to me thats a good thing
I Trained with an Aikido teacher last Friday. He stared at me saying " What the......?"
I tell em the same thing everytime. "Here...take this home. Make it you're own."

Cheers
Dan

Neil Mick
04-20-2006, 03:47 PM
If the challenger takes the time and effort to come to your dojo, surely that is enough to skew the perception of the encounter away from simply unprovoked harmful violence to a potentially useful, and potentially aikido-ish combat experience...

The point of Aikido is to avoid conflict, not seek it out.

Firefighters train to fight fires, but I am told that good firefighters aren't "looking" for a "good fire" to fight. Most would rather avoid entering a burning building. It's the same thing with Aikidoists, and fighting.

Kevin Leavitt
04-20-2006, 03:54 PM
I understand where you are going Neil, but I think avoiding is the wrong term. If you avoid conflict, you ignore it. It doesn't go away.

Firefighters do train to fight fires, but when the happen they don't avoid them they fight them.

I think your analogy is false. there is a big difference between avoidance and seeking. We should not seek conflict, but we should also resolve it when we can!

Also a big difference between fighting and conflict resolution, but I am too tired to think of a good analogy right now!

Cheers!

DH
04-20-2006, 04:10 PM
Neil

Who says what stopping violence means?
Aikido founders and first teachers took challenges.
And isn't it worthwhile to become very proficient at
a.Verbal descalation
b. Implied body de-escalation
c. A physical skill set that is capable of man handling most people and controling them with out much harm?

I'd be willing to betcha that faced with an assualt without any choice: Most Judoka and MMA'ers would be able to "apply" Aikido non-violence theory better then most Aikidoka. If the idea is to stop violence. It is not always advisable nor expediant to do so by avoidance. Sometimes ya just have to step-up-to the plate. In order to make a peaceful resolution of the matter we better no what we're about. Accepting challenges and or venturing out to mix it up is a good way to get there.

As for the corollary to Fire fighters? Thank God there are fire fighters who actually train to put them out expediently and efficiently and when called upon are willing and able...er....fire fighters. I feel the same about Cops, military and my mechanic.
Some Budo guys train to stop an actual fighter and like to practice on actual fighters. For them accepting a challenge is ....training. It makes them better at Budo, and at not harming others so when they are called upon they are willing and able and ready...er....Budo men.
How do we train to stop violence without experiencing any to train to stop? Nike ryu? It is an old dilema faced by many generations.
There are many guys who do BJJ, Judo, MMA and Aikido. I think they're none worse the wear. While they are engaging in "friendly" challenges-they are challenges none the less and they learn how to bring what they learned it into their Aikido. Seems very logical and efficient to me
It's all good.
Cheers
Dan

Mark Freeman
04-20-2006, 07:04 PM
I'd be willing to betcha that faced with an assualt without any choice: Most Judoka and MMA'ers would be able to "apply" Aikido non-violence theory better then most Aikidoka.

I'm curious to know why you would bet on this generalisation Dan?

regards,

Mark

Jory Boling
04-20-2006, 07:49 PM
In my kenjutsu class, my sensei challenged us every night. At the end of our suburi and dueling sessions (with shinai and bokto- no bogu), he'd stand at one end of the dojo and we'd line up at the other (5-7 of us). He'd take us all on and win every time. I always respected that approach. You can't take on all of your students at one time, win, and fake your skill. Beginners to senior students would participate. I've been trying to locate him since college. Christopher Weller is his name, if any of you know him!

Kevin Leavitt
04-20-2006, 11:10 PM
Mark, I wouldn't make the statement that Dan made if for no other reason it opens you up for arguments!

What I would say though is that Aikidoka do not have the corner on this market either.

I try hard not to be judgemental because you don't know the scenario, but I do say I am suprised that there are not more stories here about how a guy came into the school trolling for a fight, and the instructor used words, talked to the guy, tried to gain an appreciation and understanding of why he felt the need to fight him, and adapted his strategy for engagement this way.

Now it may be that the guy simply is being absurd and is not genuine about the reasons for his challenge. I'd let him go on his way without the challenge. I think my students would certainly see that I was skillful in aikido if I attempted to constructively engage him and turn the situation into a positive matter.

Going from zero to "Fight" in a few minutes, to me, shows a tremendous lack of skill and personally i'd be very disappointed and let down by my instructor.

I'd be more impressed seeing this guy skillfully taken through the process or having the police called to remove him from the premises.

I have no problems with challenges, as I stated earlier in this post I have challenged every single one of my instructors, albeit in a postive, sincere, and constructive manner. I have also accepted challenges again, postive and constructive.

In all cases my challenges took place over months with dialogue and situations, not a "one fight" to see who wins!

I'd say in most instances if an instructor were to stop class and accept a "5 minute" challenge shows a tremendous lack of skill in conflict resolution. At that point it is more about the ego than anything else.

Some of us preach that aikido is special because it somehow is able to show a better way to resolve conflict through blending and redirecting, then we have instructors who show us the exact opposite and take on a challenge like any other proclaimed martial artist? Doesn't make sense to me!

I'm betting this is what Dan is getting at.

xuzen
04-21-2006, 04:57 AM
I think Aikido-ka makes poor challenger. Apart from the Tomiki people, most of us do not participate in a contest type event. We just practice and practice and should one day, our skills are tested in the street, we just hope and pray that it will not fail us.

Should a challenger come to me for a challenge, I will admittedly be quite at lost to what to do to them, aikido-wise. As most aikido dojo do not participate in any competition of any sort, whose rule should we be agreeing on? The challenger's rule? We will surely we playing his game, and therefore easily defeated yes? Aikido rule? Problem is we have none. So how do we accept challenge?

I can see how Judo, BJJ, Boxing etc can easily accept challenge (as in ring fight) because there are already an accepted set of rules.

BTW, I quite often get to challenge people to fights nowadays... by inviting my judo mates or being invited by them for a good round of judo randori. It is fun, with an agreed set of protocol and done in good faith. YAY!

Boon.

p/s This resistance thingy in judo, IMO is overrated. Grabbing each other and running around the mat is quite silly if you ask me in terms of self defense. It is like fighting multiple opponents while in the guard. Just a perspective from a Judo noob.

Mark Freeman
04-21-2006, 06:28 AM
Mark, I wouldn't make the statement that Dan made if for no other reason it opens you up for arguments!

What I would say though is that Aikidoka do not have the corner on this market either.

I try hard not to be judgemental because you don't know the scenario, but I do say I am suprised that there are not more stories here about how a guy came into the school trolling for a fight, and the instructor used words, talked to the guy, tried to gain an appreciation and understanding of why he felt the need to fight him, and adapted his strategy for engagement this way.

Now it may be that the guy simply is being absurd and is not genuine about the reasons for his challenge. I'd let him go on his way without the challenge. I think my students would certainly see that I was skillful in aikido if I attempted to constructively engage him and turn the situation into a positive matter.

Going from zero to "Fight" in a few minutes, to me, shows a tremendous lack of skill and personally i'd be very disappointed and let down by my instructor.

I'd be more impressed seeing this guy skillfully taken through the process or having the police called to remove him from the premises.

I have no problems with challenges, as I stated earlier in this post I have challenged every single one of my instructors, albeit in a postive, sincere, and constructive manner. I have also accepted challenges again, postive and constructive.

In all cases my challenges took place over months with dialogue and situations, not a "one fight" to see who wins!

I'd say in most instances if an instructor were to stop class and accept a "5 minute" challenge shows a tremendous lack of skill in conflict resolution. At that point it is more about the ego than anything else.

Some of us preach that aikido is special because it somehow is able to show a better way to resolve conflict through blending and redirecting, then we have instructors who show us the exact opposite and take on a challenge like any other proclaimed martial artist? Doesn't make sense to me!

I'm betting this is what Dan is getting at.

There seems to be a fair amount of betting going on here ;)

I agree with your post, and would like to add that I wouln't mind betting ( I get to play too ) that there are people out there who have never stepped foot inside a dojo who could shame many martial artists including aikidoka with their conflict resolution skills.

My own contribution to the stories given so far would not be very exciting because they both involve just words, no pyrotechnics, just plain old saying the right thing to diffuse the challenge. Mind you as far as I'm concerned that is aikido.

I think the question in my mind is, if someone walked into my dojo and wanted to challenge me, what is it they want? And why give it to them by engaging in their selfish wish.
Do they want to prove that their 'art' is better than mine?
Are they that arrogant that they think they are capable enough to take on a perfect stranger.?
How do they know I would play by their rules?
Who are these people who go around 'challenging' others.

A way out of a challenge to our art is to tell the challenger that he is in the wrong place, we are not doing a martial art, we are practicing a sort of dynamic yoga, so it really is of no interest to him, ( I doubt that may yoga teachers get challenged! ) Then when he has left, go back to training.

There are plenty of arts out there for those with a 'fighting mind'. Personally I would like them to leave me alone so that I can practice my aikido. I'm just not interested in preparing myself for 'real life street fighting', for pitting myself against other martial artists in a ring ( cock and dog fighting has been banned but we dont mind the spectacle of humans beating the living daylights out of each other ), does that make me a coward or a wimp? I don't care.
Aikido is an art that has many faces, the "it doesn't work in a real fight" debate is for me at least, tedious and unhelpful.
Through aikido practice we get glimpses of what it truely is like to be the calm at the centre of the storm, to find the path of no resistance. We learn what it is in ourselves that hinders these moments from happening more often. We slowly chip away at the years of accumulated rubbish that stops us from shining our light into the world. Aikido provides a practice for young and old, weak and strong, to practice together in a spirit of co-operation, all helping each other to improve. No competition, non-contention, a true practice to co-ordinate mind body and spirit.
Why would anyone want to challenge that if they had spent more than a moment to think through what they were doing?

Aikido is not the be all and end all of anything, it may or may not be a 'martial art' as soon as we argue about it we are in uneccessary conflict, I think.. who cares? at the end of the day it is something that some of us do, some as a fighting system, some as a spiritual path, some as a keep fit program, some as a way to meet fit people of the opposite sex.
The core philosophy as understand it is that the founder called it 'The art of peace' and that it was for everyone and so it should be.

In my my daydreaming moments I imagine a dojo in every school and a school in every village in the world, boys and girls together learning mind body co-ordination from an early age. In one generation the world would be a much more peacefull place.

Aikido does not need defending it just is what it is. If someone runs down aikido as being ineffective, laugh and agree with them ( they may or may not be right ). Take them to the pub, have a drink and talk about something else. If aikido practice works for you keep training, there are levels to be reached that you may have seen but not felt yet, or felt but not understood, there may even be undiscovered aspects that none of us have found yet, we must keep pushing the/our boundries, we must keep looking.
Getting involved in fighting with others only hinders us on the path.
If we reach the end of our lives and think "I think I've nearly got it" we can pass on with a smile on our faces. :)

Thanks for prompting me to write Kevin, I've enjoyed your fairly prolific but well considered posts recently. (Not much to do where you are stationed?? ;) )

regards,
Mark

Steve Mullen
04-21-2006, 06:45 AM
I would have to respectfully disagree with xu's post

The fact that aikidoka don't practice sparring with a set rule structure in place should not make us poorly prepared for anyone to challenge us from any kind of martial art.

Now i'm not saying that because we do aikido we will win, i just feel that us being aikidoka isn't a detriment when it comes to challenges made to us (either in dojo or street settings). I think that many people get lost in this idea of aikido being non-confrontational in its nature to the extent that it becomes thought of as only being a defensive art.

One of my Sensei teaches a technique whereby Tori initiates the attack, by throwing jodan tsuki at uki, when uki guards his/her face ikkyo is applied. This just highlights the idea that Aikido can be used to take the initiative in a situation.

But not everyone practices this style, even so, someone challenges you they already have in their mind to go on the offensive, therefore we, as aikidoka, can sit back and deal with what they throw our way when it happens. This is by no means playing by the challengers rules, we if one fills himself with the mind of waiting for the challenger to make the move then dealing with it, we are playing by our rules, but in a way which makes them think they are controlling the situation

Is this not true Aiki?

Just my 2 pence worth

dps
04-21-2006, 08:48 AM
If your challenged would you not use all of the tools available to you? Would you have time to pick and choose what art or technique you would use? Your reaction would be from instinct as a result of training.
If you limit yourself to a rule of only using Aikido in a challenge you are forcing yourself to think before your reaction and thus slowing your response to an attack.
It is about the artist, the art is the tool.

jonreading
04-21-2006, 12:05 PM
I love it. Aikido instructors set up elaborate demonstrations to "share" aikido with observers, but then criticize "challenges" as boosts to ego. Talk about he who speaks with forked tongue...

In my opinion, challenges are issued for one of two purposes: to discredit the instructor challenged, or to establish a hierarchy of dominance in physical skill. In either case, challenges are immature in nature and maybe that's why they are frowned upon in aikido. However, when someone issues a challenge to me, I need to study the purpose behind the challenge in order to address the issue. If someone walks into my dojo with intentions to discredit me or my students, that is a serious offense; if the challenger is honestly looking for an assessment of physical skill, that is a more noble request. I may entertain sparring or comps for those challengers that are respectful and worthy of the experience, even if that means I get my assed kicked.

The problem is there are more instructors physically inferior as martial artists, which makes for a distrustful history when aikido instructors choose to decline a challenge. Rather than admitting the challenger is better (kudos Kevin) and learning from the experience, these instructors excuse themselves for (insert reason here) and leave the challenger to doubt the authenticity of the excuse and skill of the instructor. Honesty is a great policy here and I don't think that we [aikidoka] use honesty in this situation; I think because fighting is what we are "trained" to do, we are embarrassed to admit we're not better fighters than our challengers.

I remember a fight once (in my TKD days) when I thought I'd intimidate my opponent by holding a split kick to his throat a la Van Damme. He puched me very hard in the crotch and proceeded to beat me to a pulp on the school parking lot. I never did that again... :)

Kevin Leavitt
04-21-2006, 12:32 PM
Mark Freeman wrote:

Thanks for prompting me to write Kevin, I've enjoyed your fairly prolific but well considered posts recently. (Not much to do where you are stationed?? )

Your on to me! :) I am by myself. I train guys in my battalion in BJJ/MMA, interject a little aikido, but nothing to intellectually challenge me...so you guys are my dojo!

Anyway, great post!

Jon, I think you cut to the chase. I was having a hard time going there because I didn't know how to word it but, I think you are dead on. Right to the core of the matter.

bratzo_barrena
04-21-2006, 01:37 PM
Just my 2 cents.
As for what I have read and heard, O'sensei was against competition, but he wasn't against challenges. He himself accepted many challenges, and agreed to his students to accept challenges.
If I remember properly, I read a quote, supposedly from o'sensei, the wording is not exact but the idea goes kind of like this:
accept a challenge as a way to test the sincerity of your training.

So accepting a challange should not be to prove yo are better that the challanger, or than you are invensible, it's just a way to know your own strengths and weakness and improve your Aikido.
And that is not affected by what the challengers intentions may be.

And for those who say that Aikido teaches you to avoid conflict (physical), they're so wrong. They don't know what they are talking about.
Aikido DOES NOT TEACHES TO AVOID CONFLICT, Aikido teaches to solve conflict (physical) and for that reason Aikido techniques/principles were develope.
Aikido techniques/principles were not developed to call the police, to run, or to just walk away from conflict.
Aikido techniques/principles were created to solve conflict in a non-violent, non-destructive, but efficient fashion.

Nick Pagnucco
04-21-2006, 02:22 PM
Aikido DOES NOT TEACHES TO AVOID CONFLICT, Aikido teaches to solve conflict

I just wanted to compliment you on this; its a clear wording of something I've been trying to figure out for a while. Aikido acknowledges there is violence & conflict in the world, and is willing to actively engage it in the effort to resolve it. I cringe at comments about not wanting to aikido to be 'martial' specifically because I am interested in its philosophical statements. Without the martial element (however defined), aikido starts to avoid conflict, or even worse, ignore it. Dealing with violence effectively must be an organizing principle for aikdo's version of budo.

If I had more coffee, I could explain how that connects to Ellis Amdur's comment that there is no tenkan without irimi... but its friday afternoon. My brain activity is... limited.

As this has nothing directly to do with instructor challenges, I'll now apologize for the thread drift :)

Neil Mick
04-21-2006, 04:30 PM
I understand where you are going Neil, but I think avoiding is the wrong term. If you avoid conflict, you ignore it. It doesn't go away.

Wrong.

If I swerve to avoid a car while driving: I am not ignoring it. I am, literally, employing technique to miss a collision. No accident, no conflict. It DOES go away.

But certainly,

avoidance does not = ignoring it.

Firefighters do train to fight fires, but when the happen they don't avoid them they fight them.

Neither, do firefighters with a healthy sense of their jobs, seek them out. This was my point.

there is a big difference between avoidance and seeking. We should not seek conflict, but we should also resolve it when we can!

This was not my point.

Neil Mick
04-21-2006, 04:39 PM
Neil

And isn't it worthwhile to become very proficient at
a.Verbal descalation
b. Implied body de-escalation
c. A physical skill set that is capable of man handling most people and controling them with out much harm?

Yes. I would even add a few:
d. An inquiring mind into learning how to live positively with one's neighbors;
e. A fast set of running shoes! :)

I'd be willing to betcha that faced with an assualt without any choice: Most Judoka and MMA'ers would be able to "apply" Aikido non-violence theory better then most Aikidoka.

We can agree, to disagree.

If the idea is to stop violence. It is not always advisable nor expediant to do so by avoidance. Sometimes ya just have to step-up-to the plate.

Sure. But sometimes...even before one chooses to "step up to the plate...it's better to simply run away. In the words of the song by the redoubtable Michelle Shocked: "The Secret to a Long Life is Knowin' When It's Time to Go!"

As for the corollary to Fire fighters? Thank God there are fire fighters who actually train to put them out expediently and efficiently and when called upon are willing and able...er....fire fighters. I feel the same about Cops, military and my mechanic.
Some Budo guys train to stop an actual fighter and like to practice on actual fighters. For them accepting a challenge is ....training. It makes them better at Budo, and at not harming others so when they are called upon they are willing and able and ready...er....Budo men.

You miss my point. I am not talking about preparation, or training. I am talking about those firefighters who comment that they cannot wait to get a real challenge of a fire (a hazmat fire, for example) to "test" themselves. With at least 2 firemen I spoke, neither held to this view and tended to think of the minority who did, as a little warped.

Neil Mick
04-21-2006, 04:50 PM
O'sensei was against competition, but he wasn't against challenges. He himself accepted many challenges, and agreed to his students to accept challenges.
If I remember properly, I read a quote, supposedly from o'sensei, the wording is not exact but the idea goes kind of like this:
accept a challenge as a way to test the sincerity of your training.

We are not O Sensei. We should not emulate everything he ever did: he lived at a certain time, had certain religious and political beliefs.

Personally, I like the story of Toyoda Sensei using guile to talk a witless wonder out of a pointless challenge. I used it as an anecdote yesterday while I was teaching a kids' class: that there are alternatives to pointless violence...like using your brain.

Aikido DOES NOT TEACHES TO AVOID CONFLICT, Aikido teaches to solve conflict (physical) and for that reason Aikido techniques/principles were develope.

Avoidance, sometimes IS resolution.

Too bad you do not understand this.

Aikido techniques/principles were not developed to call the police, to run, or to just walk away from conflict.

So wrong.

Listen, I don't know your background, and I am not about to wave my background at you, but I have numerous examples of personal, related, and Shihan-taught anecdotes and experiences which directly contradict this statement. If you'd like, drop me an email and I will relate a few.

Aikido techniques/principles were created to solve conflict in a non-violent, non-destructive, but efficient fashion.

And sometimes, avoidance is the same thing as resolution.

Especially, if it draws out the would-be uke, and causes him to expend himself/themselves in the chase.

Neil Mick
04-21-2006, 04:56 PM
Aikido acknowledges there is violence & conflict in the world, and is willing to actively engage it in the effort to resolve it. I cringe at comments about not wanting to aikido to be 'martial' specifically because I am interested in its philosophical statements. Without the martial element (however defined), aikido starts to avoid conflict, or even worse, ignore it. Dealing with violence effectively must be an organizing principle for aikdo's version of budo.

And, just to be clear...

I completely agree with you...Aikido DOES encourage active engagement in an effort to resolve it.

But good tactics, good budo, and (from my limited understanding) Sun Tzu also encourage when, and where, to make your stand.

Avoidance of conflict, is not ignoring it. See?

avoid: (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=avoid)
a·void ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-void)
tr.v. a·void·ed, a·void·ing, a·voids
To stay clear of; shun. See Synonyms at escape.
To keep from happening: avoid illness with rest and a balanced diet.
Law. To annul or make void; invalidate.
Obsolete. To void or expel.

v 1: stay clear from; keep away from; keep out of the way of someone or something; "Her former friends now avoid her" [ant: confront] 2: prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening; "Let's avoid a confrontation"; "head off a confrontation"; "avert a strike" [syn: debar, obviate, deflect, avert, head off, stave off, fend off, ward off] 3: refrain from doing something; "She refrains from calling her therapist too often"; "He should avoid publishing his wife's memoires" 4: refrain from certain foods or beverages; "I keep off drugs"; "During Ramadan, Muslims avoid tobacco during the day" [syn: keep off] 5: declare invalid; "The contract was annulled"; "void a plea" [syn: invalidate, annul, quash, void, nullify] [ant: validate]

Nary a synonym or mention of "ignore."

Avoiding conflict can also be considered a tactical retreat, a misdirection, or simply removing oneself from a situation wherein your presence heightens violence.

Kevin Leavitt
04-21-2006, 05:21 PM
Neil in reading your post it would appear that your use of the word avoidance and mine of resolving may be slightly semantical.

To me avoidance means igoring conflict. I still think avoidance is not a very good word to use. I would choose "resovle", "redirect", "deflect" "heal" or maybe some other words...does this make sense?

I don't think avoiding a car accident is the same as avoiding the same kind of conflict we are talking about. The conflict we are dealing with in aikido is conflict that is caused by someone intentionally, strategical, or tactically trying to cause harm.

Swerving to avoid a car (avoidance) is a good option as typically the intent of the driver was not to cause you harm it was simply an accident. so yes I'd agree that avoidance resolves the situation as it ends it.

Road Rage might be a good example....someone has projected rage toward you, the guy who he percieves is driving too slow in the left lane! Now he pulls up behind you, flashes his lights, and you have a choice. You can either move out of his way, or slow down even more and piss him off that much more.

Now pulling out of his way is avoidance, and placates him for the time being, that is, until he comes to the next SOB that is in his way.

Here's is where we go deeper into the cause and effect of the avoidance theory....

So avoiding him solves your problem, but did we resolve the conflict. No. What he learned is that his agressive driving habit works. So we reinforce in him that his "bullying" works.

so avoidance does not heal or resovle conflict. It simply postpones it. True it may not impact you again...but hopefully we want to do more than this with our skills!

Now this is all theorectical, but we have other options. We could get his license number and call the police. You know, I bet if enough people did this on this guy eventually someone might notice a trend! Maybe not.

If we could somehow engage this guy once he stopped his car, maybe we could talk to him and make him see that his habit is negatively affecting other people. Maybe make him visualize the type of accident he may cause one day, the pain and suffering he might cause. The court dates he'd have to go to. The family he left behind without a father if someone was killed.

Again, this is all theorectical and may not be practical....but we are talking about conflict resolution theory here and the application of aikido and what it might teach us. ..that is how to skillfully deal with conflict.

to me avoidance is simple. We don't need to attend one single aikido class to learn to essentially "irimi" and sidestep conflict. What we need to learn is what to do when we want to really resolve problems, enter the void, or when we don't have a choice! Use the right tools and restore true balance to the equation.

dps
04-22-2006, 09:56 AM
" You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run."

From the song "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers

Nick Pagnucco
04-22-2006, 02:44 PM
Ya know, I really should know by now to define my terms. I was using definitions closer to Kevin's. My bad :)

Neil Mick
04-22-2006, 08:37 PM
Neil in reading your post it would appear that your use of the word avoidance and mine of resolving may be slightly semantical.

To me avoidance means igoring conflict. I still think avoidance is not a very good word to use. I would choose "resovle", "redirect", "deflect" "heal" or maybe some other words...does this make sense?

Yeah, it does. And, the differences are semantical.

And not to get too far into semantic-land (I hate that!), but to even think of the parts of the word, reinforce my usage.

A-void...to make oneself absent; to, literally, make a void.

I don't think avoiding a car accident is the same as avoiding the same kind of conflict we are talking about. The conflict we are dealing with in aikido is conflict that is caused by someone intentionally, strategical, or tactically trying to cause harm.

Swerving to avoid a car (avoidance) is a good option as typically the intent of the driver was not to cause you harm it was simply an accident. so yes I'd agree that avoidance resolves the situation as it ends it.

Point taken.

Road Rage might be a good example....someone has projected rage toward you, the guy who he percieves is driving too slow in the left lane! Now he pulls up behind you, flashes his lights, and you have a choice. You can either move out of his way, or slow down even more and piss him off that much more.

Now pulling out of his way is avoidance, and placates him for the time being, that is, until he comes to the next SOB that is in his way.

Funny you mentioned this. Just the other day I chose the "slow down to the minimum speed limit" tactic when a misguided driver decided to tailgate.

But...

Here's is where we go deeper into the cause and effect of the avoidance theory....

So avoiding him solves your problem, but did we resolve the conflict. No. What he learned is that his agressive driving habit works. So we reinforce in him that his "bullying" works.

so avoidance does not heal or resovle conflict. It simply postpones it. True it may not impact you again...but hopefully we want to do more than this with our skills!

Now this is all theorectical, but we have other options. We could get his license number and call the police. You know, I bet if enough people did this on this guy eventually someone might notice a trend! Maybe not.

If we could somehow engage this guy once he stopped his car, maybe we could talk to him and make him see that his habit is negatively affecting other people. Maybe make him visualize the type of accident he may cause one day, the pain and suffering he might cause. The court dates he'd have to go to. The family he left behind without a father if someone was killed.

Again, this is all theorectical and may not be practical....

Exactly. Now, let me tell you of a situation using avoidance that actually DID happen, and DID resolve the conflict. Or, at least, resulted in a life saved.

A rather remarkable woman who briefly trained at my dojo once came home and saw several guys about to beat a woman up, apparently to rob her. She realized that she didn't have time to call the cops (this was before cell phones); and she probably couldn't overpower them. So she yelled, Hey! leave her alone! Take me!

And the thugs came after her, having to cross the street. She used the time to run inside, lock the door, and call the police. The would-be victim also had time to run away.

(Was this Aikido? To this day, I'm not sure)

So, this is only one example where avoiding conflict, resulted in a lessening of injury. True, the thugs weren't caught (they ran away); but this woman attempting to employ budo in that moment would have been folly.

to me avoidance is simple. We don't need to attend one single aikido class to learn to essentially "irimi" and sidestep conflict. What we need to learn is what to do when we want to really resolve problems, enter the void, or when we don't have a choice! Use the right tools and restore true balance to the equation.

yep. :cool:

Ya know, I really should know by now to define my terms. I was using definitions closer to Kevin's. My bad :)

No prob. ;)

Kevin Leavitt
04-23-2006, 03:10 AM
Neil,

I like your example.

I think it doesn't matter if it was aikido or not. I think we worry too much about labels!

What she did was selfless, compassionate, and courageous. All good qualities of budo, all good qualities of humanity...all things that aikido embodies.

We all focus so much on technique and labeling it aikido or not aikido...when we realize that we may be faced one day with a situation that calls us to step up to the plate...then if we don't...well what are we then, and what are we practicing?

good conversation, but I think we are way off topic now!

DH
04-23-2006, 09:15 AM
Yes. I would even add a few:
d. An inquiring mind into learning how to live positively with one's neighbors;
e. A fast set of running shoes! :)


insert [About my comment: Judo, MMA better equipped to handle stress using Aikido no harm principles.....]

We can agree, to disagree.

Sure. But sometimes...even before one chooses to "step up to the plate...it's better to simply run away. In the words of the song by the redoubtable Michelle Shocked: "The Secret to a Long Life is Knowin' When It's Time to Go!"

You miss my point. I am not talking about preparation, or training. I am talking about those firefighters who comment that they cannot wait to get a real challenge of a fire (a hazmat fire, for example) to "test" themselves. With at least 2 firemen I spoke, neither held to this view and tended to think of the minority who did, as a little warped.


Ok......... I'm going to be blunt. Mostly as a result of indirectly (by inference in your fire fighter story) just being told that the thousands of educated and well balanced men who train to fight and my open example of having accepted challenges-are warped.

The idea of Judoka MMA or jujutsuka perhaps being more able to handle a situation without causing harm is due to preparation for it and training in active resistance. Theirs is the training that inculcates a far more "real" ability and lets say- increased chance- to one day have to step up to the plate and handle someone while not causing undo harm. It is my view that many who train this way could toss most people around with impunity.
As well there is a mindset and intent that is trained in and has to be earned not learned. There is not way to get it other than by fighting through frustration and losing and winning. This intent-the Chinese call it Shen or Yi- cannot be taught through theory.
Line?....... Ass...get on. Then and only then will you earn it.

Preparation for trial, trial for testing. testing for measured accumen and increased success. This "truth" or attitude is prevalent everywhere and in most every other aspect of life. BUT...Aikido.
Only a fool would choose an untried car mechanic who only practiced car theory, or a Doctor who just graduated, over people with field experience.
So it is with fighting. Only a fool would imagine he was ready with only "training" and no real fight experience.

Last
throughout the thread we read the repeated refrain echoed in your last statement. That those who like to fight and train and to accept challenges were or are of a warped mind (yes we all know no one directly says it- they just continually allude to it)
To those- offer this:
Why are you following in the footsteps of men who accepted challenges and willingly trained to fight? Most all the men you admire were fighters and were tried...and true.
Were they themselves to come alive and face the likes of this pacifism without strength, they would -I'm sure-have much to say after disowning you. And I am sure even then-you wouldn't listen.

Passive /aggressive personalities, personal issues with competition, fear of failure, don't fair well in any of the worlds arts that have real challenges, Judo, Jujutsu, MMA, Muay Tai etc. They tend to address those issues quickly and resolve them, while not avoiding them. For those who only theorize and dream of real skill things get sorted out without much debate. It is in just those places you find men of "real" fighting skill.
You are never going to see Aikido-pure aikido-prevail in a test with the likes of those men. It can't and never could.

And if it isn't a fighting art-then what are we talking about anyway?
A philosophy? A faith?
Then why this talk about fighting?
Is it the "level" of resistance it can prevail against? The idea or ideal of what it can handle, avoid, or run away from?
How would anyone know if they could handle someone? Should avoid someone? Or should run away?
Is that another skill? Do you teach cardio to be able to run away fast?

****************************************
Dan Harden wrote:
I'd be willing to betcha that faced with an assault without any choice: Most Judoka and MMA'ers would be able to "apply" Aikido non-violence theory better then most Aikidoka.

I'm curious to know why you would bet on this generalization Dan?

Regards,
Mark

*****************************************

Experience Mark
If I could take 5 young men and send them off train in Aikido's method for 15 years with 5 different masters
Then take another 5 and have them train with me for only 5 years.
I would bet on my men any day of the week, and double odds at that.
There is only one way to know what you're made of and that is to have you tested. And as many men have discovered and know there is another strength. That is in you yourself knowing what you can in fact DO or not. It makes those questions and decisions above- easier to make. You know, without the Nikes.

For twenty-five years I have said the same thing. "Fighting is NOT a complicated subject. Experienced guys can answer most questions quickly." ;)

Fighting "theory" on the other hand?
Libraries full-most wishing they actually knew how to fight.

In closing I'd like to add that My Dojo, many other MMA clubs Judo schools,and BBJ schools don't seem to have many of these "debates" if at all. I wonder why that is?

Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
04-23-2006, 01:39 PM
Experienced guys will also tell you that they know somewhere out there is a fight that they can or will lose. It may not be because they were of lesser skill than the man they fought, it may be luck, fate, the wrong day, the wrong conditions or what not.

They only thing you can do is to prepare yourself. Training and improvement might improve your odds, it may give you the experience that expands your chances to suceed, or the experience to know how to respond most appropriately.

When and if that loss comes, you must also prepare yourself for that day as well so your whole world does not cave in around you.

Based on the philosophy of aikido i really don't know how you would construct a challenge of the physical nature!

I was reading Krishnamurti some this morning and this popped right out at me. I think it applies to aikido. Measuring ourselves against others, systems, etc limits our ability to become an individual. The process of competition and measuring, at least philosophically leads to conflict if not externally/internally. If you read the works of many great writers from aristotle, Ayn Rand, Krishnamurit, Ghandi, Ueshiba...they all hit upon the same thing!

I think guys like Kano and Ueshiba intrinsically understood this and constructed their "DO" arts to assist us in reconciling this process. I think most of us may not be able to grasp the entirety of what they really want/wanted us to learn from them!

So, IMHO, if an aikido instructor was following the path of O'Sensei, I don't see how accepting a challenge to simply to prove who was the better martial artist would even compute! That said, I could see if the right conditions were met, and the situation might warrant some challenge of guiding an individual down the path that they are seeking might be construed as a "challenge"....I think though...this is not in the same vein as many are speaking of the concept of "challenge".


Dan,

I know where you are coming from, and there is a tendency within BJJ schools to be very sensitive about "keeping it real" and "Keeping it honest". I think though that BJJ and Aikido approach the same stick from opposite ends. WHich is why I think and have found that they work well together!

What I like about BJJ is that measurement and effectiveness are very easy to quantify at least physically! Belts don't really matter a whole lot. You can walk into a dojo and be wearing a black belt from another school. In about 5 minutes of rolling your true skill level will be apparent. So you won't find many people that can hide behind the dojo garbage that many arts are suseptible to.

Aikido being a DO art is very suseptible to this mindset. Much easier to hide behind the veil offered by protocol, hakama, belts etc. That is, when you are talking about physical techniques. Mentally and spiritually I think (I hope) that most shihan and sensei can judge adequately this area.

I think BJJ and MMA tends to be weak in all the harmony, spiritual, emotional, and philosophical stuff. Most that do this don't really care too much about it.

In terms of personal growth. To me it is much easier to measure physical growth, proweness, and competence. Much harder to measure the internal stuff that aikido represents.

So to me, it stands to reason that BJJ and other MMA type arts would not have a problem with challenges of a physical nature.

What really bothers me is that I think that many people out there are really confused with aikido and what it is really geared toward. Maybe not in the upper ranks, but but maybe in the lower Kyu ranks.? Maybe the Dan ranked people are not doing enough? Or maybe they are and the Kyu ranks refuse to believe them or accept it. Of maybe many people are happy deluding themselves into thinking that they are something they are not and simply like to pretend! I don't know. That is a question for each individual to ask of him or herself and for Shihan and Sensei to assist them on the path.

I am only too happy to help people that I work with on a daily basis experience what little I have to share with them from my limited experiences!

Neil Mick
04-23-2006, 01:40 PM
Ok......... I'm going to be blunt. Mostly as a result of indirectly (by inference in your fire fighter story) just being told that the thousands of educated and well balanced men who train to fight and my open example of having accepted challenges-are warped.

Sorry, never said this: never meant to imply it. This is called putting words in my mouth. To be succinct:

thousands of educated and well balanced men who train to fight and my open example of having accepted challenges

does not equal

those firefighters who comment that they cannot wait to get a real challenge of a fire (a hazmat fire, for example) to "test" themselves.

it's not the same thing.

Preparation for trial, trial for testing. testing for measured accumen and increased success. This "truth" or attitude is prevalent everywhere and in most every other aspect of life. BUT...Aikido.

That all depends upon how you define "trials." I would certainly argue that Aikidoists actually DO "test" themselves, through trial.

We just don't need to go around proving it to everyone else,,,generally.

And again,

Only a fool would choose an untried car mechanic who only practiced car theory, or a Doctor who just graduated, over people with field experience.

does not equal, in analagy, to

So it is with fighting. Only a fool would imagine he was ready with only "training" and no real fight experience.

I don't know about you, but I am not "training" solely to deal with fighting. Mechanics and Doctors, however DO train to deal with cars and ailments of ppl. So, your analogy does not apply.

Last
throughout the thread we read the repeated refrain echoed in your last statement. That those who like to fight and train and to accept challenges were or are of a warped mind (yes we all know no one directly says it- they just continually allude to it)

Again, you miss the reference. I think that people who go around seeking out conflict are "warped:" NOT people who train for it (I'd have to include MYSELF as being warped, were that so).

To those- offer this:
Why are you following in the footsteps of men who accepted challenges and willingly trained to fight? Most all the men you admire were fighters and were tried...and true.
Were they themselves to come alive and face the likes of this pacifism without strength, they would -I'm sure-have much to say after disowning you. And I am sure even then-you wouldn't listen.

And I'm sure that--even then--you will attempt to put words in my mouth.

Passive /aggressive personalities, personal issues with competition, fear of failure, don't fair well in any of the worlds arts that have real challenges, Judo, Jujutsu, MMA, Muay Tai etc.
They tend to address those issues quickly and resolve them, while not avoiding them. For those who only theorize and dream of real skill things get sorted out without much debate. It is in just those places you find men of "real" fighting skill.
You are never going to see Aikido-pure aikido-prevail in a test with the likes of those men. It can't and never could.

Oh, riiighht. Please, just do me one favor...OK? Just go to the DC Dojo; look up Saotome Sensei, politely bow, and repeat this pretty speech (especially those last 2 sentences).

Oh, and could you either inform me of the date so that I could attend; or videotape the ensuing carnage...? :freaky:

And if it isn't a fighting art-then what are we talking about anyway?
A philosophy? A faith?
Then why this talk about fighting?

To some: Aikido is a philosophy.
To others: Aikido is a faith.
According to Anno Sensei: O Sensei actually considered calling it something else, besides a martial art. But, in the end, O Sensei was undefeated. Yes, he accepted challenges: but I seem to have difficulty remembering quotes from him admonishing his pupils to go forth and challenge the world.

No, what he ACTUALLY said was that true victory is victory against oneself: NOT against anyone who comes to your dojo, looking to fight.

the "level" of resistance it can prevail against? The idea or ideal of what it can handle, avoid, or run away from?
How would anyone know if they could handle someone? Should avoid someone? Or should run away?

When should a firefighter run out of a building? If a guy comes up and starts punching out the firefighter for breaking his door down, should the firefighter punch back? :rolleyes:

Is that another skill? Do you teach cardio to be able to run away fast?

Do I train with a bokken, because I expect to some day use a live blade (or even, a wooden one) in actual battle?

Mark Freeman
04-24-2006, 05:54 AM
Dan Harden wrote:
I'd be willing to betcha that faced with an assault without any choice: Most Judoka and MMA'ers would be able to "apply" Aikido non-violence theory better then most Aikidoka.

I'm curious to know why you would bet on this generalization Dan?

Regards,
Mark

*****************************************

Experience Mark
If I could take 5 young men and send them off train in Aikido's method for 15 years with 5 different masters
Then take another 5 and have them train with me for only 5 years.
I would bet on my men any day of the week, and double odds at that.
There is only one way to know what you're made of and that is to have you tested. And as many men have discovered and know there is another strength. That is in you yourself knowing what you can in fact DO or not. It makes those questions and decisions above- easier to make. You know, without the Nikes.

For twenty-five years I have said the same thing. "Fighting is NOT a complicated subject. Experienced guys can answer most questions quickly."

Fighting "theory" on the other hand?
Libraries full-most wishing they actually knew how to fight.

In closing I'd like to add that My Dojo, many other MMA clubs Judo schools,and BBJ schools don't seem to have many of these "debates" if at all. I wonder why that is?

Cheers
Dan

Dan,
you really are a betting man aren't you. :D

Your reply did nothing to answer my question at the head of this post. I asked why you would think that 'most' Judo/MMA folk could apply aikido non voilence theory better than most aikidoka

Your reply was to say that any 5 guy's trained by you for 5 years are a better 'bet' than 5 others trained by 5 Aikido masters for 5 years, ( in fact double odds are offered! ). This does not address my question.

A couple of things come to mind here.
1 A better bet in what respect? that they would 'win in a fight'? That they would be better human beings?
2 IMHO the boastfulness of your statement about your own abilities and those of your students is quite astounding.

My own aikido teacher was taught aikido by the All Japan Judo champion at that time ( Kenshiro Abbe, 10 years aikido with O Sensei ), so after 15 training with him as well as a few other direct students of O Sensei, he would be no match for one of your 5 year students? I think if I were a betting man I know where I'd risk my money. I've been with my teacher for a little bit short of 15 years, so I don't even qualify to go up against one of your 'men'. And at the end of the day why would we want to? What is there to be proven? What would you gain? What would we?

Think of this, your 5 'men' meet up with the 5 poor 15 year aikido students, for the Dan's Ultimate Fighting Challenge. The bets are being furiously laid, the odds fluctuate wildely as the crowd anticipate the coming contest/bloodbath.
During the head to head of the contestents while the ref is laying down the ground rules ( as I'm sure you wouldn't want there to be no rules as the odds may go against you ), the aikido guys start talking to Dan's men in a way that engages their minds and the discussion involves the idea that they all would be better off going down the pub to talk things through. This leaves the baying crowd angry as they have paid to see someone get a 'whupping' and all bets are off so, even more angry punters :(
Who won, no one, who lost? those who want to see a winner and a loser.

Fighting is simple, I agree. Looking for a path beyond fighting is not so easy.
Your speculations do not progress much beyond I'm better than you so there.
Train to fight and you have to look for fights to justify your own existence.

I couldn't really care less if I got beaten up by one of your 'men', but why would he want to do that?? To win his teacher a bet? to prove his own worth? To show that aikido is not what it claims to be?.

I'm too busy practicing aikido to be worried about fighting some Judo/MMA guy. In fact I'm wondering about the point / lessness of this post altogether.

regards

Mark

Dennis Hooker
04-24-2006, 08:01 AM
[QUOTE Dan Harden wrote:
I'd be willing to betcha that faced with an assault without any choice: Most Judoka and MMA'ers would be able to "apply" Aikido non-violence theory better then most Aikidoka.


I too believe that there are many bullies and self delusional Aikido instructors out there. They operate without regard for, or fear of, consequences for their action. They start to believe their own delusions. One local Aikido instructor came to train at the Shindai Dojo for a while and believing he had the right stuff ask one our instructors (who is also a Shodokan Karate teacher) to spar with him. He was backed across the mat a pined to the wall with punches and kicks coming at him faster then he could believe. Having spent so much time tossing his students with ease left him with little practical skill. There should occasionally be consequences in our training if we believe we are training in a martial art. If Aikido is something other that a martial art to us (and that is fine) then we should not be self delusional about our abilities.

Here is a true story;
At a big time dojo in the northeast a challenger waited outside the dojo for the first person to exit. The first person to leave was a young lady of Shodan rank. The challenger proceeded to pound her. A male Sandan came out and engaged the attacker who apparently had boxing skills and was suppressed at his lack of effeteness and was soon overcome by the power and speed of the attacker. The third person out was a Nidan who also happened to be a very good Karate practitioner. He took the guy out quickly. The Sandan confided in me latter that his Aikido did not work. I said of course it didn't work you never tested your self. If you believe you are going to get into a fight then occasionally test yourself. There are usually people in the dojo that will help you. Many Aikido teachers would never allow a student to spar with them as do most Karate and Judo teachers, they would never give the student an equal chance. They prefer the dominance role.

Aikido is not alone in this.

roosvelt
04-24-2006, 08:19 AM
During the head to head of the contestents while the ref is laying down the ground rules ( as I'm sure you wouldn't want there to be no rules as the odds may go against you ), the aikido guys start talking to Dan's men in a way that engages their minds and the discussion involves the idea that they all would be better off going down the pub to talk things through. This leaves the baying crowd angry as they have paid to see someone get a 'whupping' and all bets are off so, even more angry punters :(
Who won, no one, who lost? those who want to see a winner and a loser.



What a brilliant idea!

You should apply your brain to solve the world conflicts. I'm sure you can get Israel with peach with its neighbors, US and Iran/Iraq cease fire, China and Taiwan unite again.

I'd like to see an idealist young man at work.

Mark Freeman
04-24-2006, 08:59 AM
What a brilliant idea!

Thanks??

You should apply your brain to solve the world conflicts. I'm sure you can get Israel with peach with its neighbors, US and Iran/Iraq cease fire, China and Taiwan unite again.

None of that makes any sense to me. You might try and rephrase it without the patronising tone.

I'd like to see an idealist young man at work.

so would I

Kevin Leavitt
04-24-2006, 11:53 AM
Dennis Hooker wrote:

There should occasionally be consequences in our training if we believe we are training in a martial art. If Aikido is something other that a martial art to us (and that is fine) then we should not be self delusional about our abilities.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I agree 110%.

Mark Freeman,

I really have no issues with your latest post, however, this thought comes to mind as I read. What happens when you get a guy say like me, that is somewhat well versed at MMA/BJJ and pretty decent at the understanding and applying aikido? Does that take away all the excuses? I mean, I think I could do a pretty decent job of demonstrating the breadth and depth of both aikido and be able to still go toe to toe with most guys off the street.

I guess my point is much like Mr. Hooker's.

If we care about this kinda thing, and find it important....do we owe it to ourselves to be honest and develop ourselves as more well rounded, versatile martial artist. Or do we make excuses and hide behind the trappings of our art?

I don't know the answer for you or anyone else. I do know it for myself though!

Chuck Clark
04-24-2006, 03:12 PM
This has been a very interesting thread. There are challenges and then there are challenging training atmospheres, etc. I, however, question the definition of many people's use of the word "fight" or "fighting", and come to think of it, the oxymoron of "combative sports"...

Training, in my opinion, no matter what the level of "challenge" is not fighting. There is much I'll not do while training, at any level, (and have done for just over 53 years now) that I would do whenever necessary in a fight or engaged in combat. The beauty of proper training is that it prepares us to be creative in ways that can't be done in training but will enable us to have a much better chance to survive in fighting or combat. Along with training that should give us a chance to efficiently survive and, if need be, take away that option for another human being we must also learn when to fight or commit to combat and when to not engage.

In short, there are challenges that I'll accept now in my life and challenges that I won't. If left with no choice, I cheat really well. This sort of "fighting" doesn't belong in a dojo. Training where you have a high expectation of going home to your loved ones is not fighting. Sport or organized competitions, in my opinon, are not fighting nor combatively sporting. There are rules that are there to protect the competitors and give them that expectation of mutual survival. I reiterate, it ain't fighting.

(off the soapbox now...) :)

Dennis, if this "seminar" happens, let's get a front row seat. I'm sure it'll be interesting. ;)

Kevin Leavitt
04-24-2006, 03:32 PM
Mr Clark,

I agree with your opinions about competition and sport specifically combative sport. No argument from me that it is not real fighting!

There is a place and time for combative sport. The Military, specifically the U.S Army in the past couple of years has introduced combative sport in the form of NHB/MMA/Grappling type fighting as one of the basis of developing our warriors.

What we train has applications in combat, and we are also very careful to ensure what we are training is as realistically as possible to prepare soldiers to face situations that may require hand to hand or non-projectile based wepons.

That said, we do spend a great deal of time discussing the "sport aspect" of fighting and how you have to be able to discern the "game" from "reality".

What we have found is that in training you must always have rules and ettiquette to keep people from getting hurt and to promote/encourage a healthy learning environment.

We have also found that basing it on a competive model that can be measured appeals to soldiers. The model we use also seems to best stress the individual to the rigors of physical toughness necessary in combat.

In short, it seems to be very successful in building mentally tough fighters that will be willing to close with and destroy the enemy. It is also fun.

Another benefit is that soldiers get to know each other, build confidence, and team work....that is interdependence. All things that most dojos try to achieve.

So I believe there is a great deal of merit in competitive, combative training methodolgies. They may not be focused as heavily on the spiritual and philosophical development aspects of martial arts, but these models can and do develop seasoned fighters and warriors.

However, you basic premise i agree with, it ain't fighting!

Mark Freeman
04-24-2006, 04:18 PM
Dennis Hooker wrote:



Thanks for taking the time to reply. I agree 110%.

Mark Freeman,

I really have no issues with your latest post, however, this thought comes to mind as I read. What happens when you get a guy say like me, that is somewhat well versed at MMA/BJJ and pretty decent at the understanding and applying aikido? Does that take away all the excuses? I mean, I think I could do a pretty decent job of demonstrating the breadth and depth of both aikido and be able to still go toe to toe with most guys off the street.

I guess my point is much like Mr. Hooker's.

If we care about this kinda thing, and find it important....do we owe it to ourselves to be honest and develop ourselves as more well rounded, versatile martial artist. Or do we make excuses and hide behind the trappings of our art?

I don't know the answer for you or anyone else. I do know it for myself though!

Hi Kevin,
I'm not sure what mean about excuses?
I too agree with Mr Hookers post, Although I haven't personally come across the bad Aikido instructors he speaks of, I'm sure they are out there. There are good, bad, mediocre and great teachers in all the arts. The best of them are accepting of the others, the bad and mediocre ones perhaps tend to have issues with their own abilities, therefore have a greater need to either prove themselves or hide behind whatever they can.
Personally, I have a great respect for traditional Judo as I do Jujitsu, the former I did when I was young ( sadly that seems along way off ) the latter through watching.
If you train in more than one art, good for you, and being honest is the only way to go. We all need to recognise the pluses and minuses of whatever it is we are doing.
There are obvious weaknesses in traditional aikido practice, as there are with all the other arts.
At the end of the day, each of us have to decide how important it is to be 'up for the challenge' to train for the day when 'it' might happen. Some may decide to practice for the sheer joy of practice and for the obvious benefits that it gives them in their daily lives. These people don't usually worry or even less care about how 'good' they are in comparison to other martial artists. The relative importance of effectiveness is just that 'relative'.
A 6' 6" male ballet dancer maybe able to beat a small thin martial artist in a fight, does that make ballet martially effective?

There is so much hot air generated in cyberspace, we should find a way of harnessing it to drive some electricity generators, we could all have free power to our PC's ;)

I'm wondering whether Dan's bluff has been called with the invitation offered. If it does go ahead, it will certainly generate alot of interest, TV rights anyone? :D

keep it real!

Mark

Mark Freeman
04-24-2006, 04:28 PM
Mr Clark,

I agree with your opinions about competition and sport specifically combative sport. No argument from me that it is not real fighting!

There is a place and time for combative sport. The Military, specifically the U.S Army in the past couple of years has introduced combative sport in the form of NHB/MMA/Grappling type fighting as one of the basis of developing our warriors.

What we train has applications in combat, and we are also very careful to ensure what we are training is as realistically as possible to prepare soldiers to face situations that may require hand to hand or non-projectile based wepons.

That said, we do spend a great deal of time discussing the "sport aspect" of fighting and how you have to be able to discern the "game" from "reality".

What we have found is that in training you must always have rules and ettiquette to keep people from getting hurt and to promote/encourage a healthy learning environment.

We have also found that basing it on a competive model that can be measured appeals to soldiers. The model we use also seems to best stress the individual to the rigors of physical toughness necessary in combat.

In short, it seems to be very successful in building mentally tough fighters that will be willing to close with and destroy the enemy. It is also fun.

Another benefit is that soldiers get to know each other, build confidence, and team work....that is interdependence. All things that most dojos try to achieve.

So I believe there is a great deal of merit in competitive, combative training methodolgies. They may not be focused as heavily on the spiritual and philosophical development aspects of martial arts, but these models can and do develop seasoned fighters and warriors.

However, you basic premise i agree with, it ain't fighting!

Hi again Kevin, good post. Have you read Richard Hekkler's "In Search of the Warrior Spirit?? If you have what did you think? If you haven't I think it would be worth a read.

Any other forum readers got any comments on this book.

I personally really enjoyed it. I come from the old hippy socialist end of the political scale, but buy the end of the book I had a much greater appreciation of the men in the forces and the need highlighted to create a 'modern warror' mentality.
Mind you, as much as I have respect for the warroirs on the front line, my distaste for the guy's pulling the strings is just as bad as ever :(

regards,
Mark

siwilson
04-24-2006, 10:08 PM
A new one for you.

A few years back I had an instructor from an Aikikai group try to kidnap my then Sensei's dojo. I was his number two and was teaching that night and "played" with him while my Oppo taught the class. The point is that I protectected the students from what was going on.

He was much senior to me and somehow I saw him off. After him waving all his certificates at me too.

If you have the strength of your convictions you can face an enemy ten thousand strong!

MikeE
04-25-2006, 12:05 AM
The last time I was challenged was about 4 years ago. A student brought in a "friend" from his work that was a sandan in a karate style. He got all limbered up, as we talked. He told me of his instructor (who was a acquaintance of mine-- although he didn't know this), and I asked him politely to sign a waiver and hand write a note saying that he was doing the challenge on his own, and wouldn't hold me responsible for anything that happened. I gave him a clipboard and a piece of paper to write the note, and went to my office to write my own for him. I came out...he was gone. It seemed like shodo o seisu...and I didn't even have to fart Rock :)

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2006, 12:55 AM
Mark,

That thread I wrote really didn't warrant a response. I wrote it in a hurry and it was not very well thought out. Sorry about that.

My comments were not directed at you, but in general. I guess my point was this:

Some people, not saying anyone in particular, seem to discuss or be concerned with what aikido is lacking or what they feel are their personal weaknesses.

I am of the school that does not think aikido in it's methodology lacks anything at all! Also there is much more there than I or many will probably ever be able to grasp!

I guess my thoughts at that moment were this. If you feel you are lacking in an area, then go out and do something about it! If it is a priority in your life then do it!

Nothing more than that really. Just one of those post that did not come out right! Sorry about that!

Anyway, Yes I have read Dr Strozzi-Heckler's book. I read it about 10 years ago about the time I started in aikido and after finishing Ranger School.

Several years ago, around 2000, The Marine Corps started up there program. Dr Strozzi-Heckler was a part of that process. I read about it and became very excited as at the time I was in a position to influence the Army National Guard in this area. I corresponded with him back and forth a bit trying to figure out how to navigate those waters.

Believe it or not, about the same time, the Active Army started coming forth with the new Combatives program and that was the way they went, so my ideas went no where....Then 2001 hit...and we are where we are today!

Anyway, It is a wonderful book and well worth the read!

While I feverently support the Army's combatives program as it is a huge step in the right direction, I also see that in our current and future operational environment...we can do much better! That is my opinion...not the DoD's or the Army's.

What I mean by better is teaching personal interaction skills, and empathy skills, and the things that Dr Strozzi-Heckler discusses in his book.

If you are familar with the Army and have read his book....you would have a huge appreciation for how dangerous it is though to play in these waters! Part of the process is evolution, change in culture, and paradigm. Done the wrong way you can cause more damage that when you started!

I think right now in our point in history, that what we are doing with combatives in both the Marine Corps and Army are a huge step in the right direction.

Anyway, this is a subject for a different topic.

What is related though is I think this book is a wonderful, wonderful example about a traditional aikido sensei and the HUGE challenge he undertook with the Army Special Ops community. He openly and heartfully discusses the challenges, issues, controversies, and lessons learned during this "challenge".

If you want a good example of what a challenge is and how well aikido stands up to the skeptics in your life...I recommend reading "In Search of the Warrior Spirit".

Thanks for pointing that out Mark...I had forgotten about that!

philippe willaume
04-25-2006, 07:20 AM
Well, I do not now if that counts but my sensei always says it is a challenge to teach me…

Stephen Kotev
04-25-2006, 08:59 AM
Here is a true story;
At a big time dojo in the northeast a challenger waited outside the dojo for the first person to exit. The first person to leave was a young lady of Shodan rank. The challenger proceeded to pound her. A male Sandan came out and engaged the attacker who apparently had boxing skills and was suppressed at his lack of effeteness and was soon overcome by the power and speed of the attacker. The third person out was a Nidan who also happened to be a very good Karate practitioner. He took the guy out quickly. The Sandan confided in me latter that his Aikido did not work. I said of course it didn't work you never tested your self. If you believe you are going to get into a fight then occasionally test yourself. (snip)

Dear Dennis,

Your story troubles me.

How did the Sandan become ranked Sandan?

Shouldn't the testing process actually act as a "test?" I am confused as to what the purpose of testing for rank is if it creates results as you have illustrated in your story. What did the Karate practitioner test that the Sandan did not?

It's disturbing to hear that a Sandan, at THIRD degree black belt, had this happen. I would hope that at this level there would a greater proficiency than what was presented. Don't get me wrong, I know we are not perfect… yet this still happens. Why not let them remain 2nd degree until their skills improve. At Sandan it is not unusual to have them teach, thus providing the opportunity to pass on the error to the next generation.

That thought it truly troubling.

All the Best,
Stephen

Stephen Kotev
04-25-2006, 09:40 AM
That thought is truly troubling.


Is not it.

That thought is truly troubling.

Where is the edit post function when you need it...

ikkitosennomusha
04-25-2006, 11:32 AM
Well, no. However, I have challenged a wondering stranger which was probably not the right thing to do but under the circumstances, it proved effective to convey my point.

I kept having a new student that was curious about aikido talk to me about how great their style of karate was and how the philosophy was undeniable. After many attempts of persuasion that karate is not the invariant truth in the universe, I finally put the student to the test to end all doubt to my ability and the ideology of aikido.

So, I waited to extend a rare opportunity to the student after class as I did not want to take class time for such things. I told the student to attack me as he felt necessary to bring me down. The student was aloof for a moment. I explained to him that he has been saying how superior his karate was and how effective it is and that it is unstopable and that it is not good for our purpose here to demean my teachings so now, you have to opportunity to discover something for yourself. I told him again to attack me any way he wishes and there would be no hard feelings.

He comes at me with a full committed round house kick to which I deflect and immediately put him on his butt. I asked him if he felt the need to attack again, he declined my offer. I said ok, next time you come to aikido practice, come as an aikido student. Funny thing is, I never saw him again. My purpose was not to have a contest of ego but to make a whole believer out of him and open his mind. I also learned from my mistake, not to do that again as it might intimidate and make the student uncomfortable.

Perhaps if I am ever in that situation again, I will have to continue to talk to the student and offer verbal instruction instead of by example????

akiy
04-27-2006, 12:19 PM
I have split off the discussion regarding the "jo trick" and other similar exercises to this thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10242

In the future, please start a new thread when the discussion veers well off of the original topic.

-- Jun

Dirk Hanss
04-28-2006, 11:47 AM
Sorry, guys. I just feel that we are walking away from the subject of this thread. If there is something new here, I would like to read about challanged or not challenged sensei.

May may open another "aikido is (not) BS", or did I just missed the message? I did not find the original topic for a couple of posts now. So it is not a specific post, I want to blame. Some deviation is fine. I just feel it is gone very far now.

Kind regards Dirk

Kevin Leavitt
04-28-2006, 11:51 AM
Yes you are correct Dirk. We should split this discussion off on another thread!

Rocky Izumi
05-01-2006, 05:35 PM
Hehe, carefull Rocky, or you'll have a ton of BJJ fanatics telling you how that wouldn't work in the street! :D
Down here I go commando, so it probably would work.
:yuck:
Rock

Rocky Izumi
05-01-2006, 05:55 PM
Oh, I forgot. I also usually wear shorts.

Rock

Neil Mick
05-01-2006, 07:31 PM
And speaking of etiquette...just what is it, that brings you to respond only to posts not even addressed directly to you, anyway? :crazy:


I am completely uninterested in the advertizing. And yes, before you spout off with more of your negative commentary and baiting. I am that confident.

Fine. Whatever.

But...just FYI

Curiousity does not = advertising, or even an overt interest in whatever it is, you do. I would be more interested in Ron's feedback, than anything else.

But since you wouldn't appreciate having Ron spill all of your "secrets:" I have no problem with this, altho I find it puzzling that you yourself enjoy waxing prolific on your own techniques.

What you think Ron will give away, is anyone's guess; since you find no value in a weekend seminar. What "secrets" do you think a few posts would reveal??

Oh never mind...I really am uninterested in your response. :rolleyes:

I claim no expertise.

Ah, but you do...and you have: both here, and elsewhere.

But to the best I am able to control it -the skills that I do know and practice-you will never learn from me, nor anyone affilliated with me.
Dan

Oh, lawd, no, no!!! :p

And the same for you, Dan. The skills that I do know and practice--you will never learn from me, either...not with that attitude.

But, should you ever get off that mighty high-horse, the dojo where I train is always open to people who show respect; and you are always welcome to come train on our mat. And yes: I DO insist on it being "friendly."

Rocky Izumi
05-01-2006, 10:08 PM
I claim no expertise. But to the best I am able to control it -the skills that I do know and practice-you will never learn from me, nor anyone affilliated with me.
Dan

I'd be happy to show anyone how to do a sankakujime combined with a wet fart any time. The secret is in my special diet that gives me great "internal" power and a special set of exercises that allows excellent sphincter control.
:grr:
Rock
:crazy:

Chuck Clark
05-02-2006, 12:22 AM
Rocky, that gave me a good laugh. I've actually experienced that exact waza on quite a few occasions and have even delivered it a few times myself. Thanks for the memories!

Take care and best regards,

Rocky Izumi
05-02-2006, 08:25 AM
Yo Chuck,

We must be affiliated in some way.

Rock
:rolleyes:

mriehle
05-02-2006, 12:38 PM
You know, it occurs to me...

...most of the comments here deal with an experienced martial artist walking in and declaring a challenge. IME, it just doesn't happen. Most experienced practitioners can't be bothered. It all goes back to something I said in a class years ago. I was teaching some kids where some of them thought of themselves as tough guys when they asked the inevitable question, "If and aikidoist and a boxer were to fight, who would win." I answered with my firm belief that it would be the one who was better at his art (what I didn't add was that it would be the boxer because an aikidoist who actually got into this fight clearly wasn't a very good aikidoist, but that's one of those esoteric points that doesn't change the essential point in any case).

For most of us who've been at this for a while, proving the worth of our particular art by ourselves seems silly. I know there are people practicing other arts who can beat me. I know there are people I can beat. So what does this actually prove? It proves the ones who can beat me are better at their art than I am at mine and the ones I can beat are not as good at their art as I am at mine. It proves nothing about the relative worth of the art.

So, most of the challenges I've witnessed - with one spectacularly notable exception - have involved people with no real training. Twice in the last five years I've seen someone walk into a dojo where I train with the clear intention of starting a fight with one of the black belts. Both times it ended with them leaving without ever having actually gotten around to making their challenge.

Which is how it should be, IMO.

The one time was actually personally amusing because I personally defused it with what I can only describe as a Stupid Ki Trick that still amazes me that it works. Even though I've done it three times and it's worked all three times, it just seems like it's too easy and shouldn't work.

These people were not interested in learning anything. They were just trying to prove how tough they were. Both times they came with an entourage; people who were clearly pushing them into doing something stupid.

So, from my point of view, even letting them make their challenge would be a mistake. Actually accepting the challenge would be just stupid.

Now, I have had people join classes with a clearly ulterior motive. Their plan was for them to make a challenge during the class at some point. They sometimes have claimed some prior training. In all but one of those cases I think I can state with some confidence that such claims were overstated considerably.

And it's true that the classes with those "tough guy" kids sometimes got interrupted with challenges which I had no choice but to accept, but even there the challenge was dismissed pretty quickly. They had no real training and knew it. On some level, I think they wanted to be assured that their teacher was actually teaching them something worthwhile.

But I think for the most part the reality - at least these days - is the kid being pushed by his friends to do something stupid and dangerous. Why help his friends embarass him?

Dennis Hooker
05-02-2006, 01:36 PM
There is this retired Army Range buddy of mine who teaches Aikido (he is so old he went in before you had to be airborne to be a ranger) and some fellow challenges him and as he came forward my buddy hacked up a big Goober with all the sound effects. The fellow couldn't back away fast enough. Nice going Rick!

Kevin Leavitt
05-02-2006, 01:37 PM
Rangers lead the way! Hooah!

George S. Ledyard
05-02-2006, 11:30 PM
I've been gone for a while... been moving to a new place and my life is in boxes. I come back to find that Rocky and Chuck have been devulging age old secrets of combat on the web. I'm shocked I must say! That technique should never be revealed or even discussed unless the proper breath control counter is taught at the same time... quite irresponsible. At least Rocky didn't spill the beans about his secret diet, oops, I shouldn't have said that... forget I mentioned that last part.

batemanb
05-03-2006, 01:42 AM
I've been gone for a while... been moving to a new place and my life is in boxes. I come back to find that Rocky and Chuck have been devulging age old secrets of combat on the web. I'm shocked I must say! That technique should never be revealed or even discussed unless the proper breath control counter is taught at the same time... quite irresponsible. At least Rocky didn't spill the beans about his secret diet, oops, I shouldn't have said that... forget I mentioned that last part.

Hey George, at least you don't need to spill the beans, you can just go visit "the man". I know, I was using that technique everytime I got up off your mat after I met him ;)

Bryan

Mark Freeman
05-03-2006, 05:41 AM
I wondered if someone would ask. :)

It's so simple, so obvious. Yet, if done sincerely I've never seen it not work. I learned it from Denis Burke of Andover Aikido (http://www.andoveraikido.co.uk/).

Basically, someone is getting in your face, being confrontational. Turn in and stand next to him in a spirit of comradery and cooperation. You are now facing the same direction as he is. The trick is to completely commit to being "on his side". Now you can come to a reasonable understanding of how the situation should go.

I'm not sure that description is really adequate, but I think it's as close as you'll get in this kind of a discussion.

Like I said, even though I've done it on three separate occasions, it still amazes me how well it works. I'm sure there's someone out there it won't work with, but I've yet to run into that person. Moreover, the position you put yourself in requires a special effort on their part to pursue an attack at that point. Bonus! :D

I think, as well, that if you are "faking it", it will fail. Just turning in for the more advantageous(?) physical position will result in escalation rather than resolution, I suspect.

Thanks for the explanation Michael, I am fully aware of what you describe.
I know Denis Burke, he was with my teacher for many years before moving on. My first contact with him was when we were both students on one or our federations courses for teachers. We both had some common ground in that we were both using aikido principles in the arena of corporate training. Simple exercises that transfer very well into the classroom and provide plenty of chance for discussion and learning without ever getting into the 'martial' aspect. Real life skills... which I guess is what you are describing in your post.
My teacher's focus is on aikido 'for daily life' which we have alot more of than anything else ;)

I agree with your comment about faking it...... like those who say "I understand what you are saying 'But' "
Sincerity here means actually stepping into the others position and accepting where they are coming from.... I understand what you are saying 'and..."

Cheers,
Mark

mriehle
05-03-2006, 12:24 PM
I know Denis Burke, he was with my teacher for many years before moving on. My first contact with him was when we were both students on one or our federations courses for teachers.

He's good people. I met him a few years ago when he came and visited us in Stockton, CA. He brought along Robert Banks, who my daughter still talks about. They hit it off in a big way. Especially when she showed him something we call a "no retreat" kokyu nage. She's pretty good at it and there's a reason it's a favorite technique in our dojo.

He was impressed and she was okay with that.

'Course, she's fourteen now, was ten or eleven then, I think. Her perspective may have changed. :)

My teacher's focus is on aikido 'for daily life' which we have alot more of than anything else ;)

It's remarkable, isn't it, how infrequently we're called upon to beat the stuffing out of someone? Or to prevent someone from actually beating us up. And yet, Aikido often applies...

I agree with your comment about faking it...... like those who say "I understand what you are saying 'But' "
Sincerity here means actually stepping into the others position and accepting where they are coming from.... I understand what you are saying 'and..."

I would have characterized it as "I'm on your side, really. I wonder, though, if you're taking the correct approach to the problem..". You want to defuse the situation and redirect their aggression. Byt definition, you're not in complete agreement with them. The idea is to not be in opposition, either. Tricky...

Still, these are all just words. The attitude is what really matters. Getting yourself down into that correct attitude is the key, IME, to all the Stupid Ki Tricks.

mriehle
05-03-2006, 12:34 PM
There is this retired Army Range buddy of mine who teaches Aikido ... Nice going Rick!

I just made a connection in my head.

If I were to wander over to Concord of a Saturday morning, might I encounter this Rick fellow?

If so, I've met him. The goober story seems entirely in character. :D

Mark Freeman
05-03-2006, 12:54 PM
He's good people. I met him a few years ago when he came and visited us in Stockton, CA. He brought along Robert Banks, who my daughter still talks about. They hit it off in a big way. Especially when she showed him something we call a "no retreat" kokyu nage. She's pretty good at it and there's a reason it's a favorite technique in our dojo.

He was impressed and she was okay with that.

'Course, she's fourteen now, was ten or eleven then, I think. Her perspective may have changed. :)

I remember practicing with Bob Banks in the early kyu days, always smiling is how I remember him


I would have characterized it as "I'm on your side, really. I wonder, though, if you're taking the correct approach to the problem..". You want to defuse the situation and redirect their aggression. Byt definition, you're not in complete agreement with them. The idea is to not be in opposition, either. Tricky...
Agreed, my use of the term acceptance does not mean agreement, rather a 'seeing their world through their eyes' attitude.

Still, these are all just words. The attitude is what really matters. Getting yourself down into that correct attitude is the key, IME, to all the Stupid Ki Tricks.

Also agreed, the right attitude allows creative solutions, the wrong attitude just makes things worse.

Cheers

Mark

akiy
05-05-2006, 09:42 AM
The discussion relating to the "Open Invitation to Dan Harden" has been moved here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10287

Folks, if I can please ask you to all take a minute of your time to split off threads when you want to go off to another topic, it sure would save me a lot of time cleaning things up. I would appreciate your cooperation in doing so. Thanks.

-- Jun

Dirk Hanss
05-05-2006, 03:16 PM
The discussion relating to the "Open Invitation to Dan Harden" has been moved here:

-- Jun
Thanks Jun,
the posts were interesting, but seem to stop any discussion about this topic.

Dirk

ksy
06-01-2006, 11:14 PM
Challenges are to be expected when you have a dojo. maybe you will get a couple of drunks, a middling martial art student, or an outright challenge. It is a challenge for you, there is no other way to talk about it. Your art should be your home, and you should be prepared to protect your home. If you do not protect your home, you have no home.

your art should be your art, and your home should be your home. besides, diff people have a diff defination of the word "protect". In the face of aggresion, some people would "protect" by kicking ass and some would "protect" by offering tea.

Mark Freeman
06-02-2006, 12:15 PM
your art should be your art, and your home should be your home. besides, diff people have a diff defination of the word "protect". In the face of aggresion, some people would "protect" by kicking ass and some would "protect" by offering tea.

Here in the UK we are more likely to offer tea (any excuse) probably with biscuits! :)

Dirk Hanss
06-02-2006, 12:40 PM
Here in the UK we are more likely to offer tea (any excuse) probably with biscuits! :)

It seems as if a pint of beer is also offered frequently.
Some put it in front of you and ask you to empty it (drink). some empty it straight over your face :D probably again a prejudice.

DonMagee
06-02-2006, 01:45 PM
I dont own a dojo to get challenged. But I had an event a few weeks ago where I was confronted by a angry guy (who actually wasn't angry at me, but at my friend). He wanted a fight, so I took out my wallet, pulled out a buisness card and handed it to him. I told him if he really wanted to fight to go to the school the next day at noon and sign up for the fights we have on the first weekend of every month. That way he could have his shot, and make some cash if he wins. I have yet to see the guy.

One thing I've noticed from reading this thread is a lot of people feel seem to feel threatened by people suggesting they test their 'martial' ablitiy. You should not feel threatened by people who suggest that your training will not protect you, or by people that want to spar with you. You should be confident in your training, and if you are not confident, seek out and test your ablities to the fullest extent safely possible. I have no doubt in my ablities, if someone said my techniques did not work, I would be ok with that. I wouldn't be upset because the proof is in the results I see when I spar. Its something to think about if you feel threatened, scared, mad, or doubtful when someone suggests you spar. That is of course if you are training to be able to defend yourself.

Mark Freeman
06-03-2006, 08:16 AM
It seems as if a pint of beer is also offered frequently.

True, but only aftre practice ;)

Mato-san
06-03-2006, 09:00 AM
Last week we had a Judoka come to our dojo, he was testing or "challenging" the art with his evasive Judo stuff he had learnt elsewhere, the waza on the menu was shomenuchi nikyo. I was paired off with this guy for part of the session, on one ocassion he resisted the take down part of the waza simply by moving forward and around the momentum (I applied a sankyo), the next time he pulled his arm up behind his back and tried to roll out of it(I went to the front of him and planted the nikkyo right there behind his back) then next time after we went down he clenched his fist so the nikkyo was impossible for me, I looked up at sensei , sensei smiled and said give him to me, from there sensei put this guy through the mill. After the session this guy bowed to shomen, kissed the tatami and said I will be back for sure. So tommorrow will tell but I am sure we will see him. That is the kind of challenges I think are respectful and innovative.

Kevin Leavitt
06-03-2006, 03:23 PM
It is nice when that happens. I find it hard with someone that does not understand the methods we train in aikido to show them how to do it correctly. They honestly want to "play" but they come at aikido with their own perceptions. I am not good enough to be able to stay within the context of aikido and still play with them. In those cases it usually devolves into something else and gets "messy"...no learning takes place at that point!

On another note, I am finding I am getting a little better in this department though!

mriehle
06-05-2006, 11:37 AM
It's nice when they honestly want to "play". My experience has been too often they are more interested in proving their art is superior. It's nice - although rare - when I can steer someone like this in the direction of Aikido. Mostly, though, the best I hope for is to "defeat" the guy and not disrupt my class too much.

("Defeat" is in quotes because of the dichotomy in attitudes in such a situation. A person like this comes in thinking of it as a contest and I try not to - with varying degrees of success. Because of his attitude, if I succeed he will be defeated, but I try not to think of it as winning on my part. It's tough to maintain the correct attitude in the face of this type of competitiveness, but I really do try.)

But it really comes down to why they are there. If they are there with a sincere interest in Aikido, it generally sorts itself out pretty quickly. If they are there just to be difficult, well, that also sorts itself out, but in a different way.

I do remember this one guy who showed up when I was a fairly green teacher. It didn't go well. He resisted, I insisted. He never came back. I wonder how I would handle him now...

Mato-san
06-06-2006, 09:08 AM
This is a post training message. He came back and his outlook was somewhat different. Maybe all that Judo randori forced the playful evasive guy out of him, but he learnt very quickly that aikido works. The clenched fist I talked about was gorgeous when sensei did a cut to his tricept (check spelling) like kind of a yonkyo in a nikyo/ikkyo lock, but to the upper part of the arm (very painful) I stepped up to sensei after, requesting to feel the technique, oh yeah it was effective alright. Maybe this nerve manipulation is not new to some of you, but me it was, and I was speachless.Seems like sensei had an answer for everything this guy threw at him. I could only answer a few. I LOVE AIKIDO!

DonMagee
06-06-2006, 10:03 AM
Bicep and tricep slicers are fun fun things. I love using them on guys who are resisting takedowns or armbars.

ksy
06-08-2006, 12:12 AM
This is a post training message. He came back and his outlook was somewhat different. Maybe all that Judo randori forced the playful evasive guy out of him, but he learnt very quickly that aikido works. The clenched fist I talked about was gorgeous when sensei did a cut to his tricept (check spelling) like kind of a yonkyo in a nikyo/ikkyo lock, but to the upper part of the arm (very painful) I stepped up to sensei after, requesting to feel the technique, oh yeah it was effective alright. Maybe this nerve manipulation is not new to some of you, but me it was, and I was speachless.Seems like sensei had an answer for everything this guy threw at him. I could only answer a few. I LOVE AIKIDO!

i just started so i haven't experienced most of what you're talking about. but your last sentence is very exhilaratingly said. yes, i agree as well. cheers mato-san...