PDA

View Full Version : Aliveness in Martial Arts Video Clip


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Richard Langridge
05-16-2006, 05:54 AM
I just came across this video, and wondered what people think about what this guy is saying...

<mild language used>
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4838722756738846126

Personally I can see why he's against "dead" training, but I think he fails to acknowledge the fact that it's helpfull (or even necessary) for beginners to know what's coming in order to learn the techniques.

Richard Langridge
05-16-2006, 06:17 AM
Sorry I meant strong language!

DH
05-16-2006, 08:01 AM
I just came across this video, and wondered what people think about what this guy is saying...

<mild language used>
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4838722756738846126

Personally I can see why he's against "dead" training, but I think he fails to acknowledge the fact that it's helpfull (or even necessary) for beginners to know what's coming in order to learn the techniques.Well you can learn and practice in a live setting that is at first fluid but measured resistance then you quickly progress to full resistance. Many techniques are functionally useless against full resistance. It is up to the individual to learn, realize and come to judge in his own travels why some things continue to exist and why some men would even be taken seriously and have a following.

I think his points are perfectly fine. On any given day it sounds like much of what I say in training. I think his ending commentary on the journey of a martial artists from fear and uncertainty-to self doubt and more fear is accurate for many, as well as his reasons why..
His thoughts on those who based an art on agreement of form and involuntarily offering a mind set for trained, conditioned response that is largely an agreed re-action to a known stimulus is fine.

But in fairness, everything thing is "measured" from many arts: Gi, no Gi, strikes, knees, etc etc. We have increased levels of more realistic aggression to the more passive agreements. Thus randori that is never truly randori is born. It is a stepped, staged and controlled level of aggression meant to foster a feeling of empowerment. Some dismal by any measure.

If one wished to get heady and intellectual about the discourse of trained aggression-and the typical passive/ aggressive commentary frequently offered in response "Buy a gun." or "Use a bomb." The reality is more mundane. You can spend equal time training to fight -to learn to fight as you can learn a moving meditation rather tame form. The two will never meet. And that's fine as long as its honest and self assessed. Some could care less about fighting and are having fun.
For those who do not coldly look at the differences- the only way to make a fast point for comparisons is to imagine inviting a group of experienced guys in with MMA training and light gloves on and offer them to many martial artists as fodder for the next "randori" session. It makes the understanding of "stepped, staged and controlled levels of aggression, meant to foster a feeling of empowerment" easier to grasp.
For many people they would feel overwhelmed and undone. and not in the least way able to "actualize" clean technique or principles, they have been using and working in their "randori." Nor perhaps "empowered" in any measurable degree.
But as I said there is ALWAYS some measure of agreement or control. I almost got my jaw broken this Sat. by an elbow strike from the mount. Strictly speaking, I slipped up and I was grateful for our "agreement."

Overall his take on aggression and conditioning matches my own.
Aggression is not just an action it is a mindset. Triggered in some, trained in others. It can be daunting, and difficult to overcome.
But......Conditioning allows for sustained delivery of aggression. As is posted on the wall at the West point gym-and noted by military trainers; "Fatigue makes cowards of men." If you play with experienced guys, who will stall you, wet blanket you, and keep nailing you from a distance till you gas out, then take you down or out. There is a skill in using conditioning as a weapon.
No road work, no heavy bag work, and no gym? No game. You're only kidding yourself.
What is left is perfectly fine though...."stepped, staged and contolled levels of aggression, meant to foster a feeling of empowerment"

His Skill and intelligense catagories I agree with, but the use of these as skill sets is far more complex then was allowed for in his speach. Hopefully he had something equally valid to offer in those areas.


Dan

Mato-san
05-16-2006, 08:16 AM
1. See Jason, he is god like around here.
2. Try submitting an opponent in nikkyo, sankyo,yonkyo or gokyo for that matter, see if they find options? (provided your waza is effective) They will not escape and if you tweak your technique a little harder they will submit. But that is not why we practice aikido.

Talon
05-16-2006, 10:16 AM
Interesting video. The guy makes some valid points, however, his manerism and language make him sound like a person who has not been around for long enough to actually experience a really good techique applied by someone who really knew what he was doing.

I wish Jason would chime in with some of his thoughts on this video.

DaveS
05-16-2006, 11:30 AM
I think his points are perfectly fine. On any given day it sounds like much of what I say in training.
Yeah, a lot of it in principle rings true for what I've learned in (my small experience of) shodothuggery.

Kevin Leavitt
05-16-2006, 01:13 PM
Mathew are you talking about Jason Delucia? I value his opinion, but would not say he is "god like" around here. I don't believe anyone is for that matter.

Nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo are certainly valid submission techniques, that is not in debate. The problem I have had is getting to them in a fully resistive situation. I have landed nikkyo once in the last year, I use sankyo as a temporary controlling technique regularly. Yonkyo has proven to be useless and can't remember ever using gokyo. Ikkyo I have used the principles of everyday, not as applied in aikido though...in principle.

In a fully resistive environment, they always have options unless you control their balance or center (dominate). Even then it is difficult to submit someone with these techniques....at least in my experiences.

Does not invalidate them as a training methodology, and they do come more in to play with weapons. Weapons can change the dynamics some....however even with weapons, the best plans and technique end up in something other than what you practice in a controlled environment. (Matt makes this point clear).

When you are training from effectiveness, you train for a "70%" solution and isolate failure points to mitigate them. When you train for principle and perfection as in the DO arts, you do not concern yourself with these "points of possible failure", and train the whole spectrum of principle.

I think you have to be careful not to confuse effectiveness, with principle. Where Matt and I would differ is I don't think it is a necessarily a waste of time to train principle. However, I agree if you want to be effective, you don't necessarily need to waste your time studying principle oriented practices.

Kevin Leavitt
05-16-2006, 01:18 PM
Paul wrote:

Interesting video. The guy makes some valid points, however, his manerism and language make him sound like a person who has not been around for long enough to actually experience a really good techique applied by someone who really knew what he was doing.

I can understand how you feel as he is fairly opinionated and somewhat critical of some practices, which would tend to lead you to believe that he may not understand things.

That said, he is in line with what I preach to my guys concerning effectiveness. I have never worked with him, but he has a good reputation for being able to walk the talk.

No issues from my end!

Talon
05-16-2006, 02:11 PM
Kevin.
I see that your Dojo is an Akido Dojo in the Location description for you and you said that you preach to your guys more less what this guy said (when it comes to effectiveness). I can't say that I disagree too much with most of what he said. I'm just wondering how you incorporated these training principles/methods to your Aikido practice.

Dan.
I'm pretty surprised at your responces pretty well agreeing with what this guy said in the video. Mainly because at the begining of his speach he mentioned that he will not be teaching them any "F@*^cking hippy bul$@it Chi/ki force" yet you're one of the guys on this forum that promotes Ki develpment and talks about how it can be very usefull. You mentioned in other threads that you have mastered it to some degree and find it pretty effective and applicable. What are your thoughts on that?

Paul

Lyle Bogin
05-16-2006, 04:40 PM
I watched the video and it sounded EXACTLY like it was supposed to. There are a bunch of guys in this field of martial arts who are not of the stereotypical make-up, but Mr. Thornton has nailed it.

First, pick a buzzword from the Tao Of Jeet Kune Do and rap about it's necessity and meaning. Pay careful attention to not cite the source of your inspiration.

Second, say something about really fighting. Anything will do.

Third, attack other martial arts. Be sure to use the words "dead", "pattern", and "useless". Karate and aikido make the best targets, because we all know Bruce Lee studied kung fu that means it's cool.

Fourth, explain that your system has no kata, then find one technique and "break-it-down" instead.

The rest is all optional. You can now teach any technique.

I understand the points being made here and even agree with them (generally speaking), but my problem is that these guys are convinced they are re-inventing the wheel and they deny the validity of a wide range of practices based on something they are not really even sure of.

DonMagee
05-17-2006, 08:57 AM
I watched the video and it sounded EXACTLY like it was supposed to. There are a bunch of guys in this field of martial arts who are not of the stereotypical make-up, but Mr. Thornton has nailed it.

First, pick a buzzword from the Tao Of Jeet Kune Do and rap about it's necessity and meaning. Pay careful attention to not cite the source of your inspiration.

Second, say something about really fighting. Anything will do.

Third, attack other martial arts. Be sure to use the words "dead", "pattern", and "useless". Karate and aikido make the best targets, because we all know Bruce Lee studied kung fu that means it's cool.

Fourth, explain that your system has no kata, then find one technique and "break-it-down" instead.

The rest is all optional. You can now teach any technique.

I understand the points being made here and even agree with them (generally speaking), but my problem is that these guys are convinced they are re-inventing the wheel and they deny the validity of a wide range of practices based on something they are not really even sure of.

Wow you really have no idea of what Matt talks about. Yes he hates kata and static drills. But his points are very valid. He is saying you need to understand why you are training and what you are really doing vs what you want from your training. If you say you are doing kung fu for self defense and you are only doing 'kata' (or whatever they call it) how can you expect to know how to apply it when someone is really trying to hurt you? The first time you get punched in the face your whole world is going to change. Your going to find out that you have never really felt what it was like to block a real attack, or how to maintain your guard while someone is raining punches in. But if you are doing kata because its fun or because you want to preserve tradition, he would say more power to you.

People get upset when you attack their beliefs. People get mad at me when I tell them I don't think they are training efficiently with their time. One of the things that hits home for me is during his Iceland seminar. He shows a 'armbar kata' (funny thing to watch, one guy pretending to do a armbar). It is obvious that this will never help you do a armbar. The same thing goes with his chess kata. In fact, I believe he is very right, single person kata will give you poor technique. You will take shortcuts in your technique because you do not have another person resisting you. I see this everyday and the proof is in what you can find by walking into 90% of the martial art schools in the US. Standing around dancing does not make you a good fighter. How many times have you learned something in kata only to be told "in a real fight you will want to do this instead". I have heard that tons of times, in TKD. I have heard it tons of times in Judo (this is how you should do O Goshi for your test, but in randori you never want to try it that way.), even in aikido. Yes, this idea of aliveness isn't a new idea. But its not a JKD idea either. Its a wrestling idea, a boxing idea, a judo idea, a baseball idea, and a football idea. I would even suspect that this is how all martial artists learned back 'in the old days' I bet kata came later in life. I could be wrong, but I really feel there is no faster way to gain competency then though doing.

I didn't' want to post in this thread because I don't really care if aikido can work in a fight. I don't use it when I fight. I use bjj and mt. I use aikido so I do not have to fight. I do want to relate my story of my bjj training. I grew up studying TKD. I got a blackbelt when I was 17 (started at age 12). I was very successful at point sparing. After my instructor died I went around trying other arts for a while kung fu, karate, all the stuff in town. I stayed away from judo and boxing because I thought they were 'just sports' (and bjj didn't' exist in my area yet and I hadn't even heard of the UFC). Eventually I got into reality based self defense stuff like krav maga and did that for a year or so before it got boring (I found out this wasn't really due to krav maga, but due to my instructor's limited training in krav maga). I then got back into TKD and Hopkido for a short while but I just didn't' like the current environment of TKD (5 year old blackbelts, etc). Eventually I found a great aikido place near me.

Aikido was a huge eye opener for me. I am training with great guys who had lots of experience in other martial arts. My instructors are awesome. They introduced me to the UFC (which I had heard of by then, but didn't really watch all the time) and really changed my ideas on what fighting was. After about a year of aikido, I was really into it and was reading regularly about the founder and tohei. I realized a lot of these guys came from judo and I wanted to experience it. So I joined a judo club in town and trained there for about 3 months (in addition to my aikido training). They focused on sport judo and the instructor really had a hatred of ground work and didn't' spend much time teaching it. I went to a few other clubs and found that I was getting beat because of my lack of ground work. I eventually wanted to fix this as I wanted to be complete so I found and joined a bjj club.

The bjj club changed my entire outlook on training. The training was hard and fast, very physical. No more then 15 minutes was ever devoted to training techniques, most of the time was spent sparing. A typical class would be warm ups, body weight exercises, new techniques, the same new technique drills with increased resistance, then sparing. This was way more sparing then I ever did in judo (which focused on fitting in for throws and static throws more then anything) and I was loosing a lot. I was loosing to guys who only had 3-4 months bjj and no other martial training their whole lives. Even in MMA sparing (where you would think my other training would help) I was just getting ran over. Funny enough, I eventually quit judo because of sport politics and rules of the sport (I found the MMA ruleset is really want I want with the sport bjj ruleset a close second).

I started reading and listening to Matt Thornton, changing the way I trained on my own time and setting up a small gym in my basement. I started working resistance based drills with my friends (isolate a technique and work it with movement, timing, and resistance, increase resistance, then incorporate back into sparing). Punches, kicks, chokes, whatever, I trained it all like this for about a month. All of a sudden I had changed, people in mma/bjj class started saying things like "wow, your getting really good" and "you have really changed in the last few weeks". I even started trying to incorporate my aikido training into this mindset. I started working ikkyo and a few of the other basics I've learned and developing drills that fit with mma competition. I am not sure if this is due to my inexperience in aikido (its very likely) but it always ends up just looking like poor judo or bjj. And this is how I've been training to date.

Whats my point on this insanely huge post? I have studied martial arts for well over 13 years. I am very successful at everything I have tried. As much 'knowledge' as I have, it wasn't until I cut away the fat. I removed the kata's and 'ideas' of what good technique was, removed the patterned one step sparing, removed the 'you throw the static punch as wait' training, and removed my notions of what I thought a fight was like that I started getting good at defending myself. Once I started training everything with timing, motion, and resistance my skills increased. I gained more practical skill in 3 months then I have gained in 13 years! I don't train for the street when I train my bjj, but after training bjj I really had doubts if I could defend myself on the street. Now I know my limitations. I know what I am capable of doing. I know what I am willing to do. And I know what I need to improve. I recently had a friend come stay with me for a week and I took him with me to bjj class. He has been training in tkd and hopkido for as long as I have been training in the martial arts. Very athletic and very good at what he does (He used to beat me in point sparing constantly). I was amazed at how easy he was to control. His strikes seemed telegraphed and slow, i got the clinch and takedown easy and really had to use no effort to control him. We went over how I have been training and he is adopting the same methods I use and beginning supplemental training in bjj.

After telling this story, most people ask me why I am still training aikido. Its all dead patterns, and kata, etc. I can only answer this. My aikido instructor can still defeat my attempts to attack him. I have performed the wrong attacks, I have tried to sneak one by, I have adjusted my stance and grip. He just does whatever it is he is doing and throws me. It is that curiosity that drives me back. I want to know how to do that. In the mean time, I'll continue to train with as much motion, timing, and resistance as possible. I really don't think it has anything to do with what art you train, but just how you train. I think that training with as little static drilling and kata as possible will help you gain skill as quickly as possible. As you get older maybe the kata and other less physical aspects of the training can come into play. Maybe that is what allows you to train forever. I really don't know. I'm almost 26 years old and I got a while still to bang it out :)

I guess what I'm saying is that if someone came to me for self defense. If they told me they only had 6-1 year to learn how to defend themselves, I would not teach them kata's, or one step sparing, or point sparing. I would teach them techniques for no more then 6 minutes per technique, start a drill with motion and timing, add resistance immediately, increase resistance and get them sparing as quick as possible, hopefully by the end of the first night. I guarantee that if you took two people with the same body type and physical conditioning, trained one the 'traditional' way with katas and 'dead pattern' drills. And trained the other with 'aliveness' by using lots of drills with motion and resistance, and lots of sparing. Then the two met for a fight, the one who trained with 'aliveness' would look very good compared to the one who focused his training on kata. You don't even need to give up your kata and pattern drills. Why is there anything wrong with adding a new dimension to your training. Try adding more sparing, or adding resistance to drills now and again. You might love it, you might hate it. But dismissing it is just as bad as saying kata is worthless. I think I am qualified to say that I think kata is worthless because I've done kata for more then a decade. But most of the people who decry resistance drilling and rough sparing have never tried it. If you find something that works better for you, then that is how you should train. We are not cookie cutters. Even in the 'aliveness' world there are arguments on the best way to train. Gi or No-gi? Allow neck cranks? Knee bars? Look at how many different opinions there are out there. Everyone has their own idea and its great.

Its in your hands to make the most of your training. Your teacher can only point the way he thinks is best. He however is not all knowing and can be wrong in some cases. Martial arts are a very oral tradition, it has to be this way. Video, books, etc lose a lot of the little things that make these arts work. But there is a problem with oral traditions, things are lost, or changed over the years. Things can become wrong. Old ideas are rediscovered all the time. If you are unwilling to look at these new ideas and old discoveries and examine your training and try new things, you are really doing a disservice to your art. It is going to make a lot of people angry, but I think it is necessary.

Kevin Leavitt
05-17-2006, 11:55 AM
Whoaaa long post Don. You and I think very much alike! You figured many things out way before I did! I didn't figure much of this out until I was 38 or 39!

I think the whole MMA movement is really re-defining many of the paradigms in martial arts. For the record, there is a place for aikido in all of this...the MMA movement does not take away from aikido, simply allows us to better appreciate the complexity of things and allows us to judge and have critical reasoning that is much more mature in nature.

Richard Langridge
05-17-2006, 03:12 PM
Wow, some great feedback, thanks! Personally, I know I'll be training in aikido for as long as I possibly can. I love it, and that's enough. But I think I could really benefit from some kind of sparring in the short term; I was thinking about taking up boxing when I go to university in a few months. I tried judo when I was younger, but (for me) the rule set just seemed too artificial to be worthwhile for developing self-defense type awareness.

Kevin Leavitt
05-17-2006, 03:23 PM
Think hard about why you are studying. One thing Matt stresses is that this is important. Being honest with yourself.

Why do you want to box? Sparring for sparring sake is kinda a waste of time. Boxing might be good for learning somethings, certainly about getting hit! Might even get something out of it...just make sure you are clear why you are doing it.

Judo, even though there are rules, there are some good things to be gleaned from it. Again focus on what you want to obtain from it and why you are doing it.

Talon
05-17-2006, 03:31 PM
Since I've been doing aikido for about 5 years, I'm still a newby. We do all of our technique work so far with no to mild resistance. My sensei says once we get better and better at our techniques, we will increase resistance and work towards randori training where its pretty much full resistance. This is still not sparring in my mind since you still have established Uke's and Tori's and the outcome is pretty much well known. I'm wondering if this type of ttraining is still considered "dead" training. Will we actually have to spar full contact and resistance without letting anyone know who the tori and uke is in order to get out of this "dead" training? Any thoughts?

DH
05-17-2006, 08:20 PM
Kevin.
I see that your Dojo is an Akido Dojo in the Location description for you and you said that you preach to your guys more less what this guy said (when it comes to effectiveness). I can't say that I disagree too much with most of what he said. I'm just wondering how you incorporated these training principles/methods to your Aikido practice.

Dan.
I'm pretty surprised at your responces pretty well agreeing with what this guy said in the video. Mainly because at the begining of his speach he mentioned that he will not be teaching them any "F@*^cking hippy bul$@it Chi/ki force" yet you're one of the guys on this forum that promotes Ki develpment and talks about how it can be very usefull. You mentioned in other threads that you have mastered it to some degree and find it pretty effective and applicable. What are your thoughts on that?

Paul


Paul-hope you don't mind the first name use.

I don't advocate or even discuss "Ki" per se, as most people -for many reasons that are as controversial as the subject itself-don't agree on what Ki is.
The fellow in the video was ...in my view discussing his knowledge and understanding of something he doesn't know or can express. I just allow for it and continue listening.

With Internal skills, while the discussions may be judged insubstantial here....I do the same thing with the video-I just "allow" for that view. Anyone who has done the work can demonstrably show various levels of progress that do indeed…. have substance. Whether or not the "audience" gets it or agrees here bears no reflection on the truth of it.

Here is another major point that many folks miss.
These skills are not about us. Our individual successes or failures do not reflect the validity or truth of these underlying internal skills-just where we are each at with expressing them.
It really doesn't matter if a. is better than b. at exhibiting …his…. progress. Think of it in Aikido,or jujutsu-does one player, being worse than another; disqualify the entire art?
Of course not.

So it is with internal skills. The skills are skills that may never be used for fighting. But whether or not someone can use them to fight does not disqualify the skills. I have played with CMA folks who can demonstrate the skills but they really can’t fight much. That doesn’t detract from the validity of the skills does it? Then I have played with fighters who are all muscle-but still- damn good fighters. Their talent was in their fighting acumen-.not optimal use of their bodies.
The two; internal skills and fighting skills; can remain a separate topic with no trouble. However, some are exploring, and learning how to join them. I think something substantial can be born of it.

You do not know me. But I am, and have always been a pragmatist. Show me a thing and if you capture my interest-not always easy to do-I will work it tenaciously, even obsessively and experiment. But always with practical, measurable, results as a goal.
Cheers
Dan

Talon
05-17-2006, 09:03 PM
Thanks for that explanation Dan (as you can see I feel pretty confortable with first names).

I think that Mr. Thonton made some pretty good points but his arrogance during his speach was shining through too intensely for my tastes. Training with "aliveness" is great but refining technique to the point where its natural for your body to perform it properly is necessary in my mind. This technique execution still still requires timing (which he said it doesn't) in order to perform it in a randori type situations. No timing and you get smacked in the head or torso or whatever. No timing and the uke rolls out of the technique. No timing and the uke counters with a smack to an open area. I'm not sure if Mr. Thornton really understands Aikido since he said that the movements are all choriographed. He basically said that a kotegeashi would never work in a real fight. I personally think that he is wrong. I know of a few instances where Aikido technique (Ikajo, Nikkio, kotehineri) worked well in real encounters and you hear these stories on here quite often from bouncers, law enforcement people who are subjected to such situations. Perhaps Mr. Thornton is just closed minded and a good salesman for his system. There is nothing better to entice new people than to convince them that everything else is worthless.

statisticool
05-17-2006, 09:36 PM
I think Thornton should research if Bruce Lee had more fights in movies or in real life. ;)

Talon
05-17-2006, 10:01 PM
According to Mr. Thornton we are all wasting our time I think...

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 12:20 AM
Paul,

Nothing wrong with how you are training to learn aikido. While I agree with much of what Matt says, I would not say that anything other than what he says is "dead" training. It is not good logic.

Dan and Mike Sigman can discuss this at GREAT length! In fact if you go into the "Jo trick" post and take your time and read carefully through the post you will see us debating back and forth about the merits of internal/KI training. I agree with what these guys are saying, but we debate mainly about the realitive importance of this in martial arts. The converation gets confusing and cryptic at times, but I think you will see the value, or lack of value, of Internal training such is done in aikido and how it applies to reality.

No aikido is not a waste of time. I advanced very rapidlly in the type of training that Mr Thornton follows because of my aikido background, so there is a transference of skill.

That said, If I was only concerned with the objectives of what Mr Thornton is talking about, I would say, yes aikido is a waste of time. There is no good reason to train in traditional aikido if you are concerned with becoming an effective physical fighter.

Conflict is much more complex than a physical fight though. The majority of us will never be in a physical confrontation that requires the degree of skill that you learn in SBG. However, for the rest of your life you will deal with conflict and confrontation daily in many manifestations. So, from that perspective, I'd say that training the way Mr Thornton trains could be percieved as a waste of time.

Point is each has it's place in the big scheme.

One thing I wholeheartedly agree with what he says it this. "think for yourself, and figure out WHY you are training". Many of us really don't know what it is that we are doing and why we are doing it....if you are not searching for the answer to this question, you could be on the wrong path.

DH
05-18-2006, 06:06 AM
Kevin

About the only thing I disagree wth you on is this notion you have that you think you understand what I am talking about. What I am and have been discussing is practical body mechanics. Relagating the discussion to etherial "ki" debates has been your bent.

I am talking about a better way to knock someone out, choke em out, resist being thrown, throwing, or being unlockable your self.
How on this green earth you think that doesn't relate to martial arts is your lack of understanding of these skills sets.
If you have learned how to stack someone or to smash them or to post you have learned principles of mechanics and how they effect tow bodies in conflict.
Likewise, internal skills are principles that will make your body more efficient to handle load stress or deliver power.
I think I'm done here as I keep stressing the practicality and you continually relagate is to "ki" deabtes.
I'd rather you said "Dan I hear you . I just disagree that these skills are usefull." Than to ignore the fact that I am continually stressing practical fighting aspects.
At least we are then communicating straight up, but dissagreeing.

Dan

DonMagee
05-18-2006, 06:31 AM
According to Mr. Thornton we are all wasting our time I think...


I think it is very possible to train aikido in a 'alive' way. The first step would be to introduce motion and timing to a basic technique. This would mean a non static uke (moving around looking for an opening) a good solid commited punch (we already have that) and a level of resistance (this could be anywhere from 1% to 100% depending on your level). So now we got 2 guys moving with one guy trying to hit the other and the other guy trying to do a technique. Kinda sounds like aikido randori to me.

I think what matt stresses is that you can not stop there though. You need to step it up to its eventual conclusion. 100% resistance. This means 2 people with as little protective gear as possible using all of their techniques to subdue their partner. This does not have to be competitive or ego driven. Once people learn it is ok to 'loose' they will find they can learn much faster. Just like you learn at lot from being uke, you can learn a lot from getting tapped by a more skilled partner.

However, I dont think Matt has a problem with you never sparing as long as you are honest with yourself and with what you are doing. Identify your weakness and strenghts. Anyone who thinks their aikido can handle all ranges of combat without actaully having trained in those ranges of combat is fooling themselves. Being honest with yourself and your training partners is very healthy and will help you learn much faster. Being dishonest with yourself and your partners will breed distrust, fear, and ignorance. These traits will be past down to your students and the bullcrap will get further ingrained into the art. Its ok to not know the answer, and its ok to not be a uber killing machine. Its better to state you do not know then to make up some crap and then say it will work based on what you think you know vs actually trying it in a fully resisting enviroment. A lot of people think what they know works, and at the same time get offended if you question them. I think this points to the fact they dont really know if what they know works. I know what I can and can't do. i know my triangle choke setups are weak and my guard gets passed trying them. I know I tend to turn sideways when I get pressed in standup. I know I have a really good Harai-goshi and really strong choke defenses. It feels good to not have to question if I can really do something when someone is seriously trying to punch me in the face.

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 07:13 AM
I'm not relegating it to a KI debate. "I hear you", I simply don't agree wtih the disection of the physical. If you know how to stack some body, punch them, or choke them...then you know how to do it. Some are able to do it better than others.

I think you learn to do these things better by concentrating on doing the techniques over and over through concentration on good technique.

What I don't understand is how the Jo Trick or Push hands would transfer to teaching you how to do these things more efficiently. I see the indirect benefit, not the direct benefit.

That is the only place we differ.

When You are talking Skills..I don't understand what you are identifying as skills. Push hands is an exercise. Jo trick is an exercise, kokyu tanden ho is an exercise. Skills are things that directly correalate to fighting. punching, choking, dominate position.

I do a form of push hands, albeit poorly, as I am not versed in Tai Chi. I have my guys do kokyu tanden ho as a warm up...I find value in them to teach the things you are talking about...so as I have stated I see value and merit. They help develop things that are important.

They do not make you stronger, they do not help you deliver power, they will help you move more efficiently, to use proper movement to avoid having to use power...I think we just see it differently.

If not, then maybe I don't understand as I have not experienced what you are talking about. Maybe I will one day. We should get together and train...then we don't have to banter back and forth here.

I thnk we are communicating just fine, just some static because these things are hard to conceptualize in writing.

DH
05-18-2006, 07:37 AM
I think you're right that if we played together we could "talk" better.
I do see them as a means to deliver power and "be" stronger.
If I showed you what I am yakin about I do think you would say "oh" cool show me that again and since you seem to be my kind of skeptic and "rubber... meet road." guy...I think you would adopt them and train them. Trust me Bud, I could care less about huggy feely hippy crap. Likewise I am not stating they make you invincible either. Its just more power or strength...that is relaxed.

Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 07:49 AM
Cool Dan. I like the tree hugging hippy stuff personally. It is fun being able to save the rainforest, save animals, prevent greenhouse gases, and to be able to empathize about the guys ass you are kicking. Makes for a complete person.

xuzen
05-18-2006, 11:56 PM
Hello Aiki-People,

Speaking of aliveness, I just want to get some training opinion.

If in normal aikido practice, a typical aikido people is considered too softie and "unrealistic" and not giving tori good resistant to learn proper aikido... what can we do about it?

How about introducing weapon practice in jiyu waza/ randori practice? And doing lots of it, will it raise the level of the practitioners and make training more alive?

In my own experience, when an uke is coming at me with a jo or bokken, my whole awareness switch to high alert mode which I can't help it. My body will react to this "threat" much more than when a uke comes to me sans weapon.

What do you think? Is training with weapon (even though they are make believe weapons) the way to make aikido more alive and realistic?

Thank you all for future input.

Boon.

Kevin Leavitt
05-19-2006, 01:23 AM
Boon,

I think it depends on what you define as realistic. We need more information there.

Weapons certainly increases the need to be more efficient and on your game...i.e moving your feet and hips, better posture etc. So naturally you'd feel that it was "more realistic" as you are doing things "more correctly" with respect to principles of movement etc.

again...it really depends on your definition of reality and what you and your dojo's goals and objectives are.

I mean is it realistic to be chased down the street by a sword or a machete? Might be if you live in certain parts of the world.

Again, gotta define reality. There is nothing wrong with "soft". I love to be soft. That is why I practice aikido to be much more refined and not so forceful or presumptious in my responses to uke.

I don't, however, equate what I do in the aikido dojo as reality...it is one aspect of martial training that is essentially a Layer necessary to understand the full spectrum of martial training.

statisticool
05-19-2006, 03:04 PM
In my own experience, when an uke is coming at me with a jo or bokken, my whole awareness switch to high alert mode which I can't help it.


I've heard a joke that the easiest way to punch someone is to hold a knife in the non-punching hand.

Talon
05-22-2006, 12:46 AM
Perhaps Mr. Thornton should do a little bit more research on the effectiveness of DEAD PATTERN martial arts like Aikido before he tells his students that they dont work and are actually counter productive. For one maybe he sould read this article.

http://www.aikidoonline.com/Archives/2002/sep/clmn_0902_bcorner.html

DonMagee
05-22-2006, 12:44 PM
Perhaps Mr. Thornton should do a little bit more research on the effectiveness of DEAD PATTERN martial arts like Aikido before he tells his students that they dont work and are actually counter productive. For one maybe he sould read this article.

http://www.aikidoonline.com/Archives/2002/sep/clmn_0902_bcorner.html

I concider stories like that Anecdotal evidence. I can find a million storys to prove anything I want to prove. The difference is that the majority of people who train with 'aliveness' are effective in what they do, where as the minority of people who train in 'dead patterns' only are not effective in what they do. There are a lot of missing varibles. Did he have past training? Did they spar? Was it previous police training that helped him leverage his techniques? How big was he and how big was his attackers? We could debate this forever.

However there is one thing I think is easy to see and agree with. If you take two sample groups of people, train one in any martial art that does exculsivly 'dead patterns' with no 'aliveness' and train the other in 'aliveness' only for 3 months and then get them to spar, the skill levels will be instantly noticable. Those who have done the 'aliveness' training will be comfortable with the level of contact, have better timing, and be more relaxed then those who did not. Those who trained in dead patterns will not be used to the level of contact, the mental stress of sparing, and the timing needed to use their techniques.

Will there be exceptions? Of course, some people just suck at physical things and will never be good fighters. Some people are super athletic and can just be told what the objective is and pull it off with no training. But the majority will fall along the lines I just layed out. How do I know this? Because if it didn't work, we wouldn't train sports this way. Plus the we can see the results though actual testing.

Everyone likes to think they are the exception. They like to think they will be the one guy who can master the secrets and be untouchable. They will look at actual evidence and say "well this isn't the case for me". But very few people will actually get off their butts and go try something before making a decision. Matt has been on both sides of the fence. I have been on both sides of the fence. I can tell you I gain skill in judo and bjj at least a hundred times faster then I gain skill in aikido. My TKD did not work until I started training with aliveness. You can read my testimonial above (of course that is Anecdotal evidence).

So what does it come down to? Do you need 'aliveness' to be a effective fighter? I would say yes. Without alivness you will not be prepared for a opponent who has trained with 'aliveness'. Do you need aliveness for self defense? If you never plan to defend yourself against a train fighter, you probably dont need 'aliveness'. But if you go against a guy who has trained with 'aliveness' I'm going to say you are going to loose (Unless you have numbers, or weapons on your side). Do you need 'alivness' to enjoy your training? No, but you need to be realistic about your skill level, and what you want from your training, and what you are actually getting out of your training. This is really the core of what Matt is preaching, to be honest with yourself. Its easy misjudge what you are learing and what your skills are like without testing them. I just got back from NAGA in Chicago and my skills were tested. I know exactly where I stand and excactly what I can and can not do with my knowedge. I know what I need to focus on to be a effective grappler. It was much more effective then doing kata and having a instructor tell me my technique needs work. Plus I got to meet a ton of great people who were very encouraging and had great sportsmanship.

In ending ask yourself these things. What do you want to get out of your training? What do you get out of your training? What are your strenghts and weakness? Can having 'aliveness' to your training help you get these goals?

If your not sure, give it a try. It wont hurt to try adding it to your training. You might find it improves your skill. You might find its not for you. But as you diss Matt for saying things without trying them (which is not true), you should make sure the same can not be said about you.

Kevin Leavitt
05-22-2006, 01:00 PM
Aliveness in which way? Many are assuming that everyone is training for a NHB or grappling paradiqm. I would submit that the goals of aikido are not suited for that, nor the last time I checked are their too many people at the upper levels that are purporting that aikido is good at that type of aliveness.

Aliveness can come in many forms. Aikido is good in many respects, maybe not the paradigm (external) that many hold out as the only test for martial effectiveness.

That said, I have no issues Don with the things you discuss from that paradigm.

DonMagee
05-22-2006, 01:36 PM
When I say alivness I simply mean exactly what Matt means.

This comes from aliveness101.blogspot.com

Aliveness is timing, energy, and motion.

What do you mean by timing, energy, & motion?

for something to be truly alive in what we do then it has have three key elements, movement, timing, and energy (resistance). If you are missing any one of these then it is not Alive.

Movement means real footwork, not contrived, not in a pattern.... on the ground it means exactly that also... movement.... if the person is just laying there, not moving as you apply your lock or move....that is not Alive. In the clinch its the same... .pushing, pulling, moving.

Timing is of course just that.... if its in a predictable rhythm, a pattern, a repeatable series of sets, then you are not acquiring or developing timing, just motion speed.

And of course energy.... swing the stick like someone would really swing it.... dont stop at centerline. Punch with the energy of someone who wants to hit you. Not locking your arm out so your partner can look good doing the destruction, or trap, or silat sweep, etc.

You must move, have a sense of timing, and progressive resistance

Also I think this is important to training properly. Again from Aliveness101.blogspot.com

In fact, the only thing I believe matters is that we are honest within our own self about our own intentions. And that we remain skeptical, and question all forms, and statements of authority. . .for ourselves.

If you want to test your skill, you need to define what you want to do with that skill. For example, if I want to test my ability to stay calm under high stress situations, I will have to eventually put myself in a high stress situation. Doing anything else is just conjecture. If I want to test my effectivness in 1 on 1 combat, I'm going to have to actually get into 1 on 1 combat. To never do 1 on 1 combat and say you can do it is simply a lie.

I do think a lot of aikido training has elements of 'aliveness'. I just think that it stops short of going all the way. Is this true for every aikido dojo? Nope, I'm sure there are aikido dojo's that do full randori 1 on 1 and multiple on one all the time. I just think they are the minority. I am much more sure that the majority of schools do free form exercises with motion, timing, and energy. Where the uke does what he wants, and the nage responds. However, I doubt the majority of schools train with realistic attacks in these exercises.

I am by no means a master of aikido. I can not claim to teach you to be a great aikidoka. I doubt I could teach you much aikido at all. However I know honestly what I am and am not able to do. I have an honest assetment of my ablilities and a platform from which to test if anyting I am shown is bullcrap. I am honest with myself regarding what I want from the martial arts, and what I am getting from my training. If more people work to building that for themselves I think the martial arts would grow in a much more positive way.

Ron Tisdale
05-22-2006, 01:39 PM
To never do 1 on 1 combat and say you can do it is simply a lie.

Nope. It might be true, it might not. It is simply unproven. Castigating it as a lie is misrepresentation.

Best,
Ron

DonMagee
05-22-2006, 01:48 PM
Nope. It might be true, it might not. It is simply unproven. Castigating it as a lie is misrepresentation.

Best,
Ron


I would agree with you. I guess the word lie is to harsh a word to use there. However I feel a lot of people tell themselves and even worse, tell others unproven things. To me, this is just as bad as lying to yourself.

That said, there are many things that do not work for me. That does not make these techinques worthless, just inefffective for me. For other's they may work great. Everyone is different. Of course this is why we get constant feedback from different people sometimes even contradicting feedback from different people on how to get a technique to work. So unproven may not mean useless and proving a technique does not work for you may just mean you are not skilled enough to pull it off. For example, Eddie Bravo can do some cool stuff from half guard I can't do. I can test his stuff in sparing, it just doesn't work for me. This doesn't mean its worthless, it just means it doesn't work for me yet. maybe at some people I will get faster, or have better timing, or whatever it is I need for those techniques to work. I know how these things work, I can do them perfectly against a guy who lets me in a drill. The little nuances of making things work will never be realized without trying them on a resisting partner.

Kevin Leavitt
05-22-2006, 02:07 PM
Aliveness can take various forms at different levels.

for example. If I am going to teach my soldiers how to effectively engage targets in a CQB scenario, I don't start out by having them go into a full speed run phase for training.

We start out slow, first on basic rifle marksmanship training. We spend hours working on posture, alignment of body with connecting the rifle, breathing, foot work, how to bring the gun up and your body into position, how to turn, which btw is very similar to aikido foot work...all that good stuff that I would equate to good basic aikido training.

I would not say it is time wasted or the opposite of "alive" which is dead...but time well spent developing the basics necessary to go to the next level of training.

Aikido spends most of our time doing just these things. So I would submit that all of aikido is live...we just simply never really get out of the theoretical crawl, or walk phase and go full out into a run phase.

I'm a MMA and BJJ guy and even then, it is not what I would call "alive" or "real" any more necessarily than aikido since we have constraints and rules that we live by to be able to practice.

I would say that the skills learned may be more close to what you would face in a situation, but none the less, nor more alive or real.

A third layer is necessary in order to make it real. Unfortunately, you cannot practice all three layers as one unit, as it would be too dangerous.

I again, equate this to military live fire weapons training. We layer the training so we can have a complete effect. Ultimate would be force on force with real bullets, but that is kinda dumb and not very practical.

So we layer training with overlap so when complete, you have a complete person that has developed all the skills and habits necessary to deal with real combat.

I think the word "alive" is really the wrong term to use, as it connotates that the opposite is "dead" and that is simply not the case when you are conducting "dry fires" which essentially what aikido is to me. A very important part of any training.

So, essentially, most aikidoka would be conducting "alive" training all the time, they simply don't conduct the other "layers". Why? because it is not necessary to understand or conceive of what the goals of aikido are which is to help someone better understand conflict with the ultimate goal of peace and harmony.

It ain't all about the Rear Naked Choke, dominating, submitting, and winning. There is much more to martial arts than that.

Again, I have no issues with how you train and your thoughts Don...frankly I agree with most of them. I simply think that Matt is missing the point in many respects concerning his concept of "alive".

There is much more to it than what he proposes.

Kevin Leavitt
05-22-2006, 02:12 PM
Don Wrote:

Eddie Bravo can do some cool stuff from half guard I can't do

yea no kidding. I have been trying for months to do his Half Guard passes. I can not get them to work. I get the lock down for like 15 minutes, no problem, but go to pass and I am stuck there.

I find his stuff very intriuqing...but can't get most of it to work for me. I did get submitted in a tournament a week ago by a guy using his textbook "rubber guard". In fact while he was doing it I thought "hey that's Eddie Bravo's rubber guard...cool". Right before he tapped me with an arm bar.

DonMagee
05-22-2006, 02:30 PM
Aliveness can take various forms at different levels.

for example. If I am going to teach my soldiers how to effectively engage targets in a CQB scenario, I don't start out by having them go into a full speed run phase for training.

We start out slow, first on basic rifle marksmanship training. We spend hours working on posture, alignment of body with connecting the rifle, breathing, foot work, how to bring the gun up and your body into position, how to turn, which btw is very similar to aikido foot work...all that good stuff that I would equate to good basic aikido training.

I would not say it is time wasted or the opposite of "alive" which is dead...but time well spent developing the basics necessary to go to the next level of training.

Aikido spends most of our time doing just these things. So I would submit that all of aikido is live...we just simply never really get out of the theoretical crawl, or walk phase and go full out into a run phase.

I'm a MMA and BJJ guy and even then, it is not what I would call "alive" or "real" any more necessarily than aikido since we have constraints and rules that we live by to be able to practice.

I would say that the skills learned may be more close to what you would face in a situation, but none the less, nor more alive or real.

A third layer is necessary in order to make it real. Unfortunately, you cannot practice all three layers as one unit, as it would be too dangerous.

I again, equate this to military live fire weapons training. We layer the training so we can have a complete effect. Ultimate would be force on force with real bullets, but that is kinda dumb and not very practical.

So we layer training with overlap so when complete, you have a complete person that has developed all the skills and habits necessary to deal with real combat.

I think the word "alive" is really the wrong term to use, as it connotates that the opposite is "dead" and that is simply not the case when you are conducting "dry fires" which essentially what aikido is to me. A very important part of any training.

So, essentially, most aikidoka would be conducting "alive" training all the time, they simply don't conduct the other "layers". Why? because it is not necessary to understand or conceive of what the goals of aikido are which is to help someone better understand conflict with the ultimate goal of peace and harmony.

It ain't all about the Rear Naked Choke, dominating, submitting, and winning. There is much more to martial arts than that.

Again, I have no issues with how you train and your thoughts Don...frankly I agree with most of them. I simply think that Matt is missing the point in many respects concerning his concept of "alive".

There is much more to it than what he proposes.


I agree that all those steps are required. You can't just drop somebody in a ring with gloves and tell him to go. Matt covers that. But in the hand to hand combat range most effective techniques really only take a few minutes to learn. Then you can practice them with increased resistance until you reach as high as level as the person is comfortable with. Just like in your weapons example, eventually you are shooting things, and doing miles type situations. If you could take it a step further you have to admit it would make your guys even better soldiers. MMA is as close as you can get to real one on one combat. That makes it the best test we have for one on one combat. It isn't a test for inner peace, weapons, two on one combat or anything like that, but it is great for what it does.

I don't think aikidoka need to be out in the MMA ring though. I don't think they need to get into competitions (although I do think competition is good for people and everyone should compete in something at some point in their lives). I think aikido need to take their training and make sure it is progressing in resistance (energy), timing, and movement. I think that at some level you need to do some fully resistance sparing. If you can't handle a single attacker in fully resistant sparing, your going to have trouble with 3. But that is if your goal is being good at defending yourself against a skilled attacker. Unlike firearms, there are very few things in martial arts which are too deadly to do. And if you can't do the basics, you can't logically expect to do the more advanced techniques.

Maybe your goal is a inner goal. I train aikido for inner calmness and balance in life. I had a great test of this last saturday. I faced much larger and more aggressive opponents at NAGA in chicago. Normally, I am extremely nervous and anxious before and during competitions. But this time, I went into a corner and did some exercises and focused on breathing, I kept my center (as much as possible when a much stronger guy is attempting to throw you) and was calm though the whole event. Even my losses didn't phase me. I got up shook the guys hand, had a great time and was ready for the next guy. I think that was an alive test of why I still train aikido. I believe my aikido skill is progressing in the direction I hoped it would.

However I also think Matt's aliveness is just a different path to the same mental aspects that I hold dear in aikido. He covers this on his aliveness101 blog. You can gain a lot of spirituality though sport. I simply choose the aikido path at this junction in time. I'm also thinking about picking up yoga, but thats a different subject all together. I don't think he is missing the point as much as taking a different path in the spiritual side.

I appreciate the fact we can talk about this. I love to examine why I believe the way I do. It helps me better understand myself and others.

Talon
05-22-2006, 02:35 PM
IK'm not dissing Matt at all. I said before that alot of the stuff he said i agreed with. I think training realistically is definitelly beneficial. I did take offence though to the way he was DISSING other martial arts and saying how they'll never work in a real situation. That he was wrong about because we hear of examples where they worked exactly the way they should by law enforcement practionoers. Therefrore Matts outright comments on the ineffectiveness of these in the real worls are not correct.

Kevin Leavitt
05-22-2006, 03:23 PM
Don,

You and I have a lot of the same perspective on things it appears.

Personally I do most of the things you talk about for my own training. I agree with the fact that MMA is about as close as you can get to full pressure testing stress and physical fighitng skills.

Also, with regards to spirituality. I have found that it is possible to have the same benefits you derive from the DO arts in a so-called external practice.

I simply defend that aikido is not necessarily "dead" or not valid as a practice. There are different levels of effectiveness and different goals that make it an appropriate study. I do contend that based on Matt's paradiqm and values...it is not as valuable.

Josh Reyer
05-22-2006, 04:46 PM
Thinking about what Mr. Thornton said in the video (and churning it over with some things read on Ellis Amdur's blog), it occurred to me that aikido isn't a full "delivery system", and perhaps was never meant to be.

In the old days, to get an introduction to Ueshiba and become his student, you needed to have an introduction from at least one (sometimes two) known and respected person in the budo world. This meant that you were more likely than not at least a shodan in kendo, or judo, or karate, or something. That was your delivery system. And particularly in the case of kendo and judo, you had something approaching "alive" training. Aikido, as taught by Ueshiba, was a stripped down version of Daito-ryu, focusing more on principle than on technique. And of course, as time went on, aikido was further streamlined by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and made available to the masses. And perhaps this is why some feel that the level of aikido is getting diluted. Too many people are treating it like it's a delivery system, rather than a principle-based system. The early guys blended aikido with what they already had internalized.

I can't say if all that is true or not, but it's kind of where my thinking is heading now.

DonMagee
05-22-2006, 06:39 PM
Thinking about what Mr. Thornton said in the video (and churning it over with some things read on Ellis Amdur's blog), it occurred to me that aikido isn't a full "delivery system", and perhaps was never meant to be.

In the old days, to get an introduction to Ueshiba and become his student, you needed to have an introduction from at least one (sometimes two) known and respected person in the budo world. This meant that you were more likely than not at least a shodan in kendo, or judo, or karate, or something. That was your delivery system. And particularly in the case of kendo and judo, you had something approaching "alive" training. Aikido, as taught by Ueshiba, was a stripped down version of Daito-ryu, focusing more on principle than on technique. And of course, as time went on, aikido was further streamlined by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and made available to the masses. And perhaps this is why some feel that the level of aikido is getting diluted. Too many people are treating it like it's a delivery system, rather than a principle-based system. The early guys blended aikido with what they already had internalized.

I can't say if all that is true or not, but it's kind of where my thinking is heading now.


That makes a lot of sense. I could see aiki priciples being used as a finishing school for your judo or jiujitsu technique. But if that was true it would be up to the teachers to start getting their students to get a delivery system first, or incorprate the needed dilvery systems into aikido. A really interesting way of looking at it though.

statisticool
05-22-2006, 09:03 PM
People practicing so-called 'dead' arts have been using them successfully in real life longer than Thornton has been alive.

:)

dps
05-22-2006, 09:55 PM
In the old days,. Also didn't most of O'Sensei's students in the old days had some kind of military experience through war that was reflected in their practice of Aikido. The students in the newer days don't have that experience to influence their practice.

DonMagee
05-23-2006, 06:18 AM
People practicing so-called 'dead' arts have been using them successfully in real life longer than Thornton has been alive.

:)

I think the focus on exclusively using 'dead patterns' to train is a recent phenomenon. Look at karate, its obvious sparring was a big part of karate training, but not so much anymore. Sparring was removed from most arts because people just simply didn't want to do it. Thus instructors who wanted to make money removed the sparing elements from their training. Even aikido has randori, high value is placed on this randori in older styles of aikido.

I remember in TKD our instructor used to talk about how hard his training was. But our training never got that hard. I asked why we never did that hard training he talked about. He said it was because the forms will teach us everything we need to know, and point sparing had been designed to make it un-necessary to do hard training. But if you really look at it it was because most parents don't want their children to get hurt, and because most adults are afraid of getting hurt. If he did hard sparing his school would not have had millions of little kids and a large supply of adults. Instead he would of been like the kyokushin karate school downtown with only a small handful of students.

I see it over and over. The bujinkan people who say they don't spar because their moves are too deadly and will kill people. But then in the same breath other bujinkan people will say their schools spar all the time and the non-sparing schools must just suck. Well its obvious that if one school can do it then the techniques must not be all that deadly when controlled. I mean its obvious that you can control the force you use in a armbar, you don't have to break the guys arm every single time you apply it. Still others say they do not need to spar because the techniques were developed and sparred with many years ago, and we don't need to prove they work, we know they work. But yet they forget that generations have gone by without testing of these techniques (besides the few police men who did one once to protect themselves which is few and far between to call testing). Though these generations of students with no real 'alive' experience (aka, no sparing, no competition, whatever) techniques are getting modified and changed. People are getting lazy or forgetting details that are required to make it work against a fully resisting opponent. Think about how many small little details are required to make any aikido technique work. Now think about how many more are required when that guy is really trying to hurt you. He is going to be actively attempting to keep his balance and hit you. He is going to grab on, or push away, etc. There are a lot of little details that a person who has never been in this situation will never know about. Martial arts are an oral tradition, and I know we all played 'Chinese telephone' in school. Without a control such as sparing things can get lost in the translation.

But the first students would know these details, because they had other training in 'alive' arts. They would be used to the randomness and little tricks that are needed against a fully resisting opponent. And I bet they did randori a lot. Would I say aikido is a 'dead' art? Definitely not. But I would say that it would be easy for aikido to fall into this 'dead pattern' trap. It just lends itself to having people say "its too deadly to actually use" or "Osensei was a genius, and his techniques were passed down perfectly, we know they work" or even the worse idea that some people get that even though they have never been punched in their lives, even though they are 25-50 pounds overweight and can't do 10 push ups or run a 25 meter dash, they still swear their training has made the ready for a fight. If your winded walking up some stairs, you have bigger problems then self defense. In fact I'd saying learning to walk up stairs and not get winded is the first step to proactive self defense.

Anyways I'll stop rambling and shut-up for a while. My point was 'aliveness' existed in all martial arts at some point. It is a recent convention to remove it (IMHO).

Kevin Leavitt
05-23-2006, 11:35 AM
Joshua wrote:

In the old days, to get an introduction to Ueshiba and become his student, you needed to have an introduction from at least one (sometimes two) known and respected person in the budo world. This meant that you were more likely than not at least a shodan in kendo, or judo, or karate, or something. That was your delivery system. And particularly in the case of kendo and judo, you had something approaching "alive" training. Aikido, as taught by Ueshiba, was a stripped down version of Daito-ryu, focusing more on principle than on technique. And of course, as time went on, aikido was further streamlined by Kisshomaru and Tohei, and made available to the masses. And perhaps this is why some feel that the level of aikido is getting diluted. Too many people are treating it like it's a delivery system, rather than a principle-based system. The early guys blended aikido with what they already had internalized.

I kinda tend to lean this way in my thinking!

Kevin Leavitt
05-23-2006, 11:54 AM
Justin wrote:

People practicing so-called 'dead' arts have been using them successfully in real life longer than Thornton has been alive.

Sure aspects of the arts they studied, depending on the situation.

I think the point is this: Why would you spend your time training something that is 70% inefficient as a delivery system?

Now I don't necessarily subscribe 100% to this view point, but it is worth considering IF your sole objective is to be effective in a altercation of a fairly high intensity.

I studied TMA for about 10 years. I was soundly made to look like an amateur by a couple of soldiers that had no martial arts background and went to 60 days worth of Army Combatives School.

It really made me take inventory about why I was studying the way I was studying. I have since modified that practice.

Again, it does not mean aikido is not a relevant or not worthwile...it simply means it ain't everything for every situation necessarily. Frankly there are some very good reasons to study aikido.

again, don't look at the opposite of "aliveness" as "deadness" that is simply not a correct analogy. Again, I can understand from Matt Thornton's perspective why he sees things the way he does. Frankly if you are concentrating on the things he is concerned about...he is correct.

Be careful not to fall into the trap of comparison. UNLESS, you really value the things he is studying...then you probably are wasting your time studying aikido. It ain't the end all and 100% solution to every situation or training methodology. It depends on your goals.

Kevin Leavitt
05-23-2006, 12:00 PM
On another note on aliveness. I had a very interesting combatives class this morning. It was a Platoon of soldiers (35 people) that about 75% of them had fought in Falujah.

When starting the class I asked how many had any martial arts experience...only about 2 hands went up. I asked how many had ever been in a potentially life or death struggle in a "combatives" situation...about 20 hands went up in the air.

There was an interesting "attitude" about how many of them approached their training this morning, more so than I had ever noticed from soldiers I had worked with in the past without combat experience. Even though they were realitively unskilled at what they were doing...there was definitely an air of "aliveness" in the way the approached the training that I had not necessarily seen in this type of class before.

Aliveness has much to do with how you approach your training as well.

Just some thoughts that came to mind today!

DonMagee
05-23-2006, 12:08 PM
True, aliveness does have a lot to do with how you act. In fact one of the quotes I like best is "concept of authenticity in all actions". Basically questioning, testing and keeping honest with yourself.

statisticool
05-23-2006, 03:58 PM
I studied TMA for about 10 years. I was soundly made to look like an amateur by a couple of soldiers that had no martial arts background and went to 60 days worth of Army Combatives School.


Shame on you then. ;) ;) ;)

Others have applied their MA successfully in real life.

Kevin Leavitt
05-24-2006, 12:17 PM
and I acknowledged that a few sentences above what you cut out. Please don't paraphrase me and not include the other salient facts.

statisticool
05-24-2006, 07:13 PM
and I acknowledged that a few sentences above what you cut out. Please don't paraphrase me and not include the other salient facts.

Then I guess I don't see your point then. And I don't see any reason to believe the number in


Why would you spend your time training something that is 70% inefficient as a delivery system?

DonMagee
05-24-2006, 07:49 PM
Combat effecitivness is easy to test. Really anything physical is easy to test. All we require is a large enough sample of people willing to fight. I know, you are going to say that fighting with rules is different they fighting on the street because of X thing. I'm not going to bother to attempt to sway your opinion. I will only suggest that you test yourself. If you are confident in your ablities, find a friendly enviroment and spar with someone. Allow strikes, takedowns, ground work etc. Make sure that person is a 3rd party (aka outside of your school and art). Try to find someone who trains in the manner described above. Boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, bjj, judo, etc. If you do well, then congrats, your training is working for you. If you do not do well, then maybe concider adding this kind of training to your current training. I belive that with a large enough sample of people doing this that the percentage of effective people with be greater on the 'alive' side then on the 'dead' side. Its a waste of time to say "Because X person was able to use aikido I will be able to use aikido when the time comes". There are exceptions to every rule, the question to ask is are the people who use kata only or 'dead' arts successfully the exception, or the rule. Its very obvious that the successful users of 'alive' arts are the rule.

I can buy into the whole non physical side of 'dead' arts. I simply belive its not the best way to learn the physical side of martial arts. I belive this though my own person exp on both sides of the fence. All that matters is what works for you, but dont lie to yourself, make sure it works for you. Providing you are concerned with being an effective fighter that is.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2006, 12:53 PM
Justin wrote:

Then I guess I don't see your point then. And I don't see any reason to believe the number in



How long have you been studying martial arts? How much experience do you have in fully resistant training? Have you tried it to any great extent?

Also...do what Don said above.

That is all I can say about that at this time to help you understand where we are coming from.

If you haven't gone 100% all out, then it may be simply can't visualize or conceptualize what we are talking about.

Ron Tisdale
05-25-2006, 02:13 PM
Its very obvious that the successful users of 'alive' arts are the rule.

Uh, it's obvious under certain rules in a sporting environment. Not necessarily so outside of that environment.

I remember a pretty well known Thai boxer who had a gym in the states. He saw someone swipe his car, and ran after the fellow down the street, and caught up to him at a stop sign or stop light.

The Thai boxer was promptly shot dead.

No amount of competitive or non-competitive training was going to prepare him for that.

Best,
Ron (no ring, no rules, no problem [if you're packin'])

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2006, 02:29 PM
very good point Ron!
That reason alone is why I have the following poster in our dojo.

"the winner of a hand to hand fight is the guy whose buddy shows up first with a gun".

Of course this is an Army thing....but I think it keeps things in the proper perspective.

I have been instructing basic combatives for about 4 hours a day all week to some visiting units. These guys have never done this stuff before.

I tell them that it is not really important that they learn how to do all the really technical stuff we are teaching them sweeps, various forms of guard, submissions etc....

What is important is that they train...and learn the basics and how to handle the stress of a combat situation. Really all they need to know is how to survive for a few seconds until there buddy can show up. That is all that is really going to happen.

I explain to them that it is not necessary to lay in the perfect Rear Naked Choke...but important that they can control and dominate there opponent enough to keep him from hurting him, and enough to escape or get assistance.

You don't have to be highly skilled to do these things. Just skilled enough to keep things in your favor..if the day is going somewhat your way.

I think we'd all really like to think that we can be like in the movies and do all that matrix stuff....but in reality...fighting is dirty, fast, and not much like how 99% of us train.

I can honestly say, I can produce an effective hand to hand fighter in about 30 to 60 days of solid training. That is about all that is really necessary to defend yourself and do what is necessary to win if things are meant to go your way.

everything else we do is simply to keep us in shape, entertain us, and maybe give us a slightly better edge...but the curve of diminishing return is very, very steep when you are talking self defense, survivability, and winning. Luck and situation play a bigger part than your overall training.

The only other reason to train is to keep your warrior spirit and the values of budo and to follow the DO.

DonMagee
05-25-2006, 02:30 PM
Uh, it's obvious under certain rules in a sporting environment. Not necessarily so outside of that environment.

I remember a pretty well known Thai boxer who had a gym in the states. He saw someone swipe his car, and ran after the fellow down the street, and caught up to him at a stop sign or stop light.

The Thai boxer was promptly shot dead.

No amount of competitive or non-competitive training was going to prepare him for that.

Best,
Ron (no ring, no rules, no problem [if you're packin'])

That's so objective. I like said "but what about thing X". There are always exceptions. Of course I can't learn how to handle attack by a sucide bomber with aikido or a cruise missle with my bjj. I can however learn how to deal with un-armed attackers. Or maybe if i'm lucky I can learn to deal with attackers armed with knives or clubs. I might be able to learn how to escape unharmed from a mob. However I can actually test all these things in my sport enviroment. I can find out that I can actually do to defend myself against a single unarmed attacker by actually getting attacked by a single unarmed attacker. The same goes for multiple attackers. Its such a simple concept I dont know why people aruge about it so much.

Yes, I dont know if they guy has a knife, or a gun, or anthrax. Maybe he has 12 friends at the bar. But having actually had 'alive' training, I am accustom to getting hit, thrown, and attacked. I will have also presure tested my techniques and will have a better handle on what I can and can not do to the guy coming at me. I feel this gives me better odds then doing kata all day long.

Of course what your really saying is we should give up and no longer practice hand to hand combat because it is simply useless. You are also saying that you are 100% aware and no one will ever get the drop on you, you will never need to defend yourself hand to hand because you have a knife/gun/deadly eye gouge or leg pinch. Your attackers will always present themselves in a manner which will allow you time to draw your weapon and defend yourself. And you are trained to make sure you can never get that weapon used against you.

No method of self defense is perfect. Every single one has flaws. Stand up boxing? What about leg kicks, and takedowns? BJJ? What about lava and broken glass or multiple attackers? Guns? What if the guy gets the drop on you when your not looking? What if they attack you in your car? What if they attack you with a car? Aikido? What if they dont 'commit' their attacks? What if they have a gun? What if they guy is on meth and breaks his own arm to choke you?

We can ask questions like this all day. Any situation you can come up with I can tell you why it wont work. What you can do is pick a likley situtation and plan for it. I plan to do a lot of sport fighting. I can plan for it. Secondary to this I plan to defend myself from single attackers in clubs/bars (the only likley place for me to get attacked). My plan is to keep them at bay until bouncers come get them. If I am mugged, I'm giving up my wallet. If you break into my home I'm giving you a load of shotgun.

I think my point still stands. For hand to hand self defense I would bet on the 'alive' trained fighter (boxing, judo, bjj, etc) over any 'dead' trained art. If you can't do it against a fully resisting opponent in the ring why would you even dream you can do it against one on the street with even less rules? If you can't do it 50% of the time with a complaint partner how can you even dream it works in the street?

And for the record, no amount of spirtial training is gooing to prepare you to get shot in the face either.

Ron Tisdale
05-25-2006, 02:40 PM
But having actually had 'alive' training, I am accustom to getting hit, thrown, and attacked.
I am acustomed to the same.
I will have also presure tested my techniques and will have a better handle on what I can and can not do to the guy coming at me.
I have presure tested my technique as well...different tests for the most part though. But some were what you would recognize.
I feel this gives me better odds then doing kata all day long.
No problems there. But the preaching...ow...
Of course what your really saying is we should give up and no longer practice hand to hand combat because it is simply useless.
I'm not saying that at all. I am noting a historic fact...and making the point that what you said is obvious is not quite so.
You are also saying that you are 100% aware and no one will ever get the drop on you, you will never need to defend yourself hand to hand because you have a knife/gun/deadly eye gouge or leg pinch. Your attackers will always present themselves in a manner which will allow you time to draw your weapon and defend yourself. And you are trained to make sure you can never get that weapon used against you.

I'm certainly not saying that. And I'm not really arguing with you either. Just presenting some additional information to the mix. Hey, you can preach what you like...why can't I have a say without you mis-characterizing what I think or say?

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2006, 03:11 PM
Don wrote:

Of course what your really saying is we should give up and no longer practice hand to hand combat because it is simply useless. You are also saying that you are 100% aware and no one will ever get the drop on you, you will never need to defend yourself hand to hand because you have a knife/gun/deadly eye gouge or leg pinch. Your attackers will always present themselves in a manner which will allow you time to draw your weapon and defend yourself. And you are trained to make sure you can never get that weapon used against you.

No, "over training" is a good model to train against. Also the type of training you are doing is correct.

I would only caution not to use the word "dead" as opposed to "aliveness" it is not an opposite argument. Not sure if you agree with my previous post on the subject...but aikido is not dead training...not necessarily "complete" as a system to accomplish the goals of making a good "fighter", but also the skills are not "dead" or bogus.

assimilating training and habits learned in the methodical way of aikido can prove to be very effective if you do apply them in a fully resistive way...I do this all the time.

As you now from BJJ training...you learn in class and then you must develop your own "game". You can apply the principles learned in aikido in much the same matter.

I'd submit that many things we do in BJJ would be considered "dead" or a waste of time if you want to go down that path of saying things done in TMAs are 'dead". I do many things in BJJ that I would never use in a real situation...so by that definition...much of ANY art would be considered "dead".

I simply don't like using the word "dead" for that reason.

DonMagee
05-25-2006, 04:34 PM
I do not discount any martial art as being worthless or useless. I think you can use aikido, kempo, ninjitsu, whatever. I just think adding this 'aliveness' training will improve any art. We don't have to use the word aliveness, we can use free vs static, or anything else. I do take everything and work at it with 'aliveness' even my aikido.

I think the main thing that I would like to stress is that you 'cut the fat'. If you use Matt's concept of 'aliveness' to build your game, there is no reason to train things you will never use in a real situation. Examine everything and understand why you are doing it (But I gather you already know this from reading your posts). An example would be a horse stance and reverse punch. What does this really teach you about throwing a punch? Besides making a fist you will never do that in a fight, its just a waste of time. Learn to move, keep your guard up and throw punches from positions you will actually punch from. This can be done with hand targets then sparing. At the same time you have to understand what is a conditioning drill and what is a skill building drill. Hitting a heavy bag is not training with aliveness, it is a conditioning skill. Doing an armbar drill with 30% resistance is a 'alive' drill. We all know good examples of aikido training that fit this bill. Aikido randori is very much alive. However many schools keep it at bay, they don't take it to a level that will allow it to be useful on a physical level. Which is ok as long as they understand that. If I only trained aikido the way I see it done it would take years upon years to be the basic movements and timing down when someone is actually trying to hurt me. But with constant drilling (or sparing) with 'aliveness', this can be cut down to months.

Yes I preach, but I only preach because I have yet to see proof that I'm wrong. I usually get answers like "On the street that sport stuff will be useless" with no answer as to why their training would not be useless if sport training is useless. A lot of people even do have aliveness training and don't understand that I am just suggesting they add more or more intense aliveness into their training.

I've been on both sides of the fence. I've done training where a guy throws a lunge punch then stands there while I punch, kick, throw, and lock him. Then I think we train hard because people are really getting hit. I've trained only kata and kata + point sparing. I've done the RBSD stuff where you drill super complex fight dances with multiple people. I've been throw and disarmed by my aikido instructor, and I've been choked, amrbared, punched, kicked, slammed, tripped, and thrown while attempting to do my worst to the guy standing on the other end of the mat. That doesn't mean I know what will work for you. But I can say that the most effective fighters I've met have all been guys who trained with 'aliveness' (judo, kyokushin karate , and bjj/mma guys). I want to suggest that people examine their training honestly. Just because you spent 15 years doing something and your teacher and teacher's teacher spent three times as long doing so doesn't make it worth while. It could of changed, just been wrong, or is no longer valid for todays world. Or it could be a very valuable and necessary part of your training. Just make sure you understand why. Otherwise we could all end up standing with one arm out while a guy dances around us for 30 seconds and then says, "I just hit you 200 times, you would now be dead".

One last thing before I go. Ron, what was the point you were trying to make? I want to address it, but I really don't know what your were trying to say. I assumed you were just making the old smart remarks most people make about sport not preparing you for the street like traditional arts will. My rant was just trying to show that neither sport nor traditional arts will prepare you for a gun.

Ron Tisdale
05-26-2006, 06:44 AM
My rant was just trying to show that neither sport nor traditional arts will prepare you for a gun.

Ah, but I never said either would...now did I? Try this...either read the history of my posts here, and gain at least a somewhat accurate picture of my opinions, or don't jump to unfounded conclusions. I actually agree with parts of what you say...not to the same extreme though.

There is no doubt that being physically fit, comfortable in many ranges of sport combat, and used to resistive training will help you, not hurt you, in a real confrontation. Especially if it is a "pride" match between young males (these can be very real). Even if it's a life or death struggle.

I also have no doubt that the skills I learn from non-resistive training are also a benefit in those situations. And beyond those situations. In a sporting contest? Not so much. I'm ok with that. We simply have different measuring sticks.

Best,
Ron

JasonFDeLucia
08-10-2006, 09:28 PM
Mathew are you talking about Jason Delucia? I value his opinion, but would not say he is "god like" around here. I don't believe anyone is for that matter.

Nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo are certainly valid submission techniques, that is not in debate. The problem I have had is getting to them in a fully resistive situation. I have landed nikkyo once in the last year, I use sankyo as a temporary controlling technique regularly. Yonkyo has proven to be useless and can't remember ever using gokyo. Ikkyo I have used the principles of everyday, not as applied in aikido though...in principle.

In a fully resistive environment, they always have options unless you control their balance or center (dominate). Even then it is difficult to submit someone with these techniques....at least in my experiences.

Does not invalidate them as a training methodology, and they do come more in to play with weapons. Weapons can change the dynamics some....however even with weapons, the best plans and technique end up in something other than what you practice in a controlled environment. (Matt makes this point clear).

When you are training from effectiveness, you train for a "70%" solution and isolate failure points to mitigate them. When you train for principle and perfection as in the DO arts, you do not concern yourself with these "points of possible failure", and train the whole spectrum of principle.

I think you have to be careful not to confuse effectiveness, with principle. Where Matt and I would differ is I don't think it is a necessarily a waste of time to train principle. However, I agree if you want to be effective, you don't necessarily need to waste your time studying principle oriented practices.
though there is a pain factor that causes people to submit , 1st 2nd 3rd 4th etc are not submissions .they are connective waza which aid in transition to entry .