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christine vee
05-18-2006, 01:06 PM
Greetings all, I'm a complete n00b (please keep that fact in mind as you read the rest of this post!! k, thx!).

I'm now 25, the mother of two great little kids, and even after two pregnancies (I'm SO done now, fyi) I'm still the size of a toothpick (literally, I eat like a horse and I'm a size 0-- yes, my gal friends hate me). So, I don't foresee my body-type changing greatly, and my height surely isn't going to change (I'm barely 5 feet, 3 inches). As I've been wanting to train in martial arts for eons now-- over the years, I've seen friends mature and become, well, more centered with everything they do because of their art. I'm finally making a point to get started. My real interests lie with Kendo and Iaido, however, I'd also like to be able to go out in the evenings with the confidence that if I were to suddenly find myself in a bad situation, I'd be able to defend myself well enough to be able to A) live through it, and B) get out of there and get help. And I don't foresee myself walking around with a live weapon, so, I think it's in my best interest to learn something hand to hand.

In my research, I've found two arts that would probably work well for me, as both rely on using your opponent's weight rather than brute force: Aikido and Wing Chun Kung Fu. Although these arts have the same basic principal, they are vastly different as far as training and such. So here lie my questions:

-Is there anyone here with experience in both Aikido and Wing Chun Kung Fu?

-If so, which would you think would be more effective to thwart a potential attacker (please remember, if I'm out and about, I generally have a kid or two in tow, so I'm looking to be able to disable an attacker for long enough to get myself AND THE KIDS to safety)? ~~yes, I'm sure some of you are thinking "leave the kids and get help to get the kids" but honestly, what's the point if you spend the rest of your life blaming yourself for leaving them rather than taking a stand??~~

-If anyone has crossed trained at all, is it good practice to take up two new disciplines at once, or, would it be better to go off in one direction and then start on a second?

Please know that I do realize that the Martial Arts are so much more about developing one's sense of self, discipline, focus, et cetera. I am looking forward to the meditative focus that comes from practicing a technique over and over again- the same sensation that I've experienced while sketching for my fine arts classes, as I eyeball the finer details of an object in order to successfully transfer it's likeness to my page. I get that. My life, on the whole, has been out of balance, and I'm hoping this new discipline will help that. I'm just looking for some guidance here as to how best to help myself out of a bad situation should it potentially arise.

Please also realize, despite my youth, I've had nearly ten years experience in the emergency services/law enforcement fields. The most striking thing I've learned is about how random violence can be; although I do my best to live a good, faithful life, and raise my children in a good, honest manner, I am not so naive as to think that just sticking to the right places and doing the right things will always be enough to keep one from harm's way.

Thank you for reading this and for any insights you have as to help me begin my training! Thank you!

Talon
05-18-2006, 02:24 PM
I studied both...Wing Chun and Aikido. I found that at least at my Wincg Chun school, the learning curve was alot faster than in Aikido. I enjoyed doing Wing Chun and enjoy Aikido. I think you'll pick up wing Chun faster. I also find that Wing Chuns reliance on proper dflection angles compliments Aikido. I'm not sure you should start both at once, but I think its plausible. Check out the schools near you and take a coupe of lessons in both systems and see which one suits you better.

Aristeia
05-18-2006, 02:34 PM
I'm afraid to say neither. Both are fun arts for various reasons - but from your post I take it your primary goal is street ready self defence. If so I'd go with judo. At your size you will have to be *extremely* competent at striking to have an effect, You are likely to have the distance closed down on you and may well end up on the ground. Judo will help you with this. Also you may want to think about weapons. MTCW.

Jorge Garcia
05-18-2006, 02:47 PM
I don't do Wing Chun but I see it every day because our dojo has a Wing Chun group in it. I am the Aikido instructor. This is my opinion only but I am not a fan of new people cross training. My belief is to become proficient in one art and then learn some others if you like. I train in Iaido and Aikijujutsu but only after ten plus years in Aikido. These arts take a lifetime to learn and it's better to be proficient in one than doing two and being proficient in none. Keep in mind that it's not the art, it is you that will make the difference and in my mind, no one can forecast how well you will do with any art against an attacker or even if you will end up on the ground or not.
Pick your art and do it. Wing Chun claims one style to counter all styles so maybe you should pick that if you believe the saying. I for one have made my choice.
Best wishes,

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 03:16 PM
I try to be positive. But if this is really your concern, i'd avoid empty hand martial arts all together. If you can't mitigate your risk by never walking alone, or avoiding high risk areas, you might want to invest in taking some classes on the use of non-lethal weapons.

Sounds like you have a level head on your shoulders and are in the arts for the right reasons. Your LE background...sounds like you understand the risk and what goes down for real.

I second Michaels comments. with your size..if you want something else other than non-lethal weapons training...i'd go to a ground grappling type school like BJJ or Judo.

Contrary to popular belief, don't be intimidated by these schools, the people in them are typicially nice.

Internal arts like aikido and Wing Chung are fine, they simply have many other concerns than self defense...if your sole reason is to augment your iaido and kendo training with something for solely self defense..then do something that is spending most of your time in the areas that are high risk for the type of scenarios you would find yourself in.

I am also not high on the standard "women's self defense" courses that teach "stomp, grab, kick, and run". They are too short in length, and to not offer enough in controlling weight and size to be effective.

I'd personally spend my time on non-lethal weapons. Escrima training is good to, but you have to carry a stick with you! :)

Guns and knifes are sticky because they can be taken away from you and used against you. You run into the same issue with non-lethal weapons such as mace and tasers, but if you combine that training with ground grappling..you have mitigated your risk about as best as you can. There is no perfect solution, but you probably already know this!

christine vee
05-18-2006, 04:51 PM
but from your post I take it your primary goal is street ready self defence.

Primary, no. But I do want to make sure that with my limited physical stature that whatever it is that I do study would prove as an effective technique should push come to shove (wow, no pun intended). I don't see this as one techinique being more effective than another (as if anyalized in a vaccum) but rather, what technique works well for a toothpick-sized female?

What is it about Judo that would be particularly helpful to someone of my size?

christine vee
05-18-2006, 05:24 PM
First, let me say I appreciate the responses so far. As with any athletic endeavor, I can see how taking on too much at once can be counter productive, so, that's why I wanted to hear from folks regarding the benefits of cross-training, or, the "un"benefits :)

I try to be positive. But if this is really your concern, i'd avoid empty hand martial arts all together. If you can't mitigate your risk by never walking alone, or avoiding high risk areas, you might want to invest in taking some classes on the use of non-lethal weapons.

I try to be positive, too. At the same rate, I don't live in a bad neighborhood (yet) and I believe that I *should* be able to go out and walk my dog between the hours of 9 and 11 pm without worrying. I also believe that I should be able to get in and out of the shopping malls with two kids in tow during the evening hours after work, 'cause that's really all the time that I have to get errands done.

I live in a "suburban utopia" (if you know the area, I'm sure you can figure out where that is). My concern is with the influx of persons from the areas where it has been decided to get rid HUD housing so now the HUD housing around here is being snapped up by folks of much more questionable natures. Maybe I'm hard-headed, but, I firmly believe that when you give into your fears and can't walk alone through your own neighborhood, you've lost. I'm not, on the other hand, looking to go out and visit their former neighborhoods!

Mostly, it's a question of when do these high-school drop-outs start moving onto "bigger and better" things like carjackings, abductions, etc. It's sad, because there is no lack of community outreach here, nor lack of positive activities to engage in. The youth that decide to travel that path here, in this town, are simply making a very conscious decision to throw their lives away-- it's not as if this particular area is in a truly desperate situation where crimes could almost be "understood". We have a lot of entitled people here, I guess. It's very sad.

I second Michaels comments. with your size..if you want something else other than non-lethal weapons training...i'd go to a ground grappling type school like BJJ or Judo.

It was my impression that in order to carry out these techniques you had to be pitting force against force, and if that's a correct impression, that then it becomes a battle of strength, which, I don't posses and won't posses (short of body building, I guess?). Then again, maybe I'm just totally missing as to why BJJ or Judo would be a workable art for someone of my stature. So, why is that you, like Michael, think either would work for wee me?

if your sole reason is to augment your iaido and kendo training with something for solely self defense..then do something that is spending most of your time in the areas that are high risk for the type of scenarios you would find yourself in.

Sadly, not doing either of those yet although I have wanted to for about 8 years now. I had a friend who did kendo, and I very much enjoyed the basics he had shown my ages ago. Now, it's a babysitting challenge to get to the Dojo I've found around here. Le sigh.

I am also not high on the standard "women's self defense" courses that teach "stomp, grab, kick, and run". They are too short in length, and to not offer enough in controlling weight and size to be effective.

Heh. We had the "grab, twist, and pull-- then SCREAM" lecture series in our elementary school. I can't say that I think that's enough to get by on either, but I was glad for it at the time (not that I had to use it, ever).

I'd personally spend my time on non-lethal weapons. Escrima training is good to, but you have to carry a stick with you! :)

Non-lethal weapons as mace and tazers as you mentioned? Or non-lethal weapons that are taught in Martial Arts (if so, which)?

Thanks for you time!

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 05:39 PM
BJJ and Judo are not about using strength, but using correct physics and dynamics to control without strength...much like aikido. Difference is the range and it is more fully resistive training..hence you gain skill quicker.

Unfortuately whatever you study...size still matters, and you must deal with this as a factor.

Non-lethal weapons...yes mace, tazers. also escrima/kali which are short stick based weapons...good to use. I used to use a kubaton which I think is a wonderful weapon 4 inches long, hard to use it against you if you drop it. Requires a little skill...most assailants would not know what to do with it if they picked it up. Kubaton is a round metal or plastic flat end "key chain" about 4 inches long. No sharp ends, and not long enough to strike with. so, you have to use it as a pressure point instrument. combined with close in clinch, and ground fighting skills, is a wonderful tool.

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 05:41 PM
oh yea..as far as close in ground fighitng, obviously you would avoid this situation if at all possible...but if you are attacked and overpowered and can't get away...you need these skills to survive.

SeiserL
05-18-2006, 09:50 PM
Trained in both.

Given the choice, aikido or wc, its faster to efficiency and effectiveness with wc, but long range would have to vote aikido.

Wouldn't advise beginning two new arts at the same time, though I am a huge fan of cross-training.

Yo-Jimbo
05-19-2006, 11:05 AM
Up front, I have no WCKF training experience (although I saw a few demonstrations, beautiful). I'm perhaps biased to aikido a bit. I've had good experiences cross-training in other arts (BJJ, Judo, TKD, TC). That said...

What would your training schedule look like if you were going to both aikido and WCKF?
What would it look like if you were going to just one?

You have an interest in both. Forget conventional wisdom with respect to starting two arts at the same time. If both fit into your schedule and you find you like both, keep training in them. As a working mother (or any human being with responsibilities) you may find that you have to cut back to one or the other, but you will then have experience with both and know which you like better. If you can handle training in both, then so much the better.

I suggest this because:
1. You should trust your instincts, your are drawn to these arts.
2. You should think to the benefits assuming that you are never attacked.
3. You are you. My instinct is to trust you on that subject.

If you decide to focus on one, you were wondering about cross training benefits:
1. Seeing the different perspective.
2. Centering on another focus.
3. Learning to identify intension outside your normal experience.

The two biggest things I usually try to take away from cross-training are additional options for myself and more importantly a recognition of what other martial arts practitioners desire in a conflict. Seeing more than one art hopefully releases me from the false senses of "it must be this way" and makes me more sensitive to the true "it must be this way" principles. Also, I have learned the effectiveness of controlling someones desire in conflict, either by keeping their desire unattainably distant and thus neutralizing what they believe is their chief strength or by trapping them in their desire and using it to control the situation.

Cross-training is particularly useful when focusing on what someone else can teach you instead of fixating on what you can teach them. You are at a great time in your martial arts journey/development. Your beginner's mind is true and fresh. A great skill is to keep and renew this beginner's mind even after many years of practice.

Now for an ad not from our sponsor:

Aikido is about refining your instincts and then trusting them.

You have already been using good aikido principle. You have trusted your instincts in identifying a threat (unsavory elements in your neighborhood) when it is easiest to deal with... when it is nebulous/forming. You are moving to act appropriately on that recognition of danger, training yourself before something bad happens, not after. With continued aiki-principle the conflict can be destroyed without sacrificing your self or freedom. You will be protected and hopefully will never be physically accosted, not because of luck/chance, but because you have the confidence in yourself and the instincts for avoiding/handling danger.

Your instinct is to embrace an art that complements your size (I would; pun intended), aikido is definitely one. Trust your instincts when they are good. You seem to have an open and inquisitive mind. Trust/train this instinct.

A circle comes back to the beginning. I hope that your instincts are correct about aikido and WCKF. Get in there and give them a try.

ESimmons
05-19-2006, 01:06 PM
If you like kendo/iaido, go with aikido.

Most people take up aikido expecting to learn how to defend themselves. Yes, you will learn a few tricks, and you may be able to after years of training (I wouldn't know), but keep in mind that your expectation will fade quickly if you do in fact choose aikido.

If your primary concern is self-defense, I recommend Wing Chun. I have a little experience with karate and tae kwon do, and I have a friend who has done Kung Fu for a few years. Striking arts incorporate really physical, responsive training. You will learn a lot of self-defense basics that you may not ever practice in aikido and you'll get a chance to work on them all the time. If you're in a scary situation, it'll be a lot easier to break out the kick/knee to the groin with eye gouge, for example, than it will be to do some aikido technique where you will have to extend the attacker and move in such a way as to not leave any opening for escape or retaliation. I also hear judo and jujitsu are good ways to go, as someone pointed out.

Michael Douglas
05-19-2006, 02:17 PM
I suggest training with a weapon from the clinch, standing and on the ground.
Neither Aikido nor wing-chun commonly train this area, so why choose either?

You said ; "In my research, I've found two arts that would probably work well for me, as both rely on using your opponent's weight rather than brute force: Aikido and Wing Chun Kung Fu."
Well, as far as I know wing-chun doesn't use the opponent's weight at all, so the argument is empty there, and it seems to me Aikido works best when the practicioner is rather strong (not big, strong) so again, neither would be very good for you in their typical form.

jducusin
05-19-2006, 02:33 PM
Christine,

Glad to see a future fellow female martial artist looking to make an informed decision!

I'm a fellow toothpick :D --- 28 years of age (turning the big 2-9 this June)/ size 0 at 5'1" and weighing in at 107lbs currently. I have been training in Aikido consistently, 4 to 5 times per week for what has been almost 4 years now.

When I first set out years ago to find the right martial art for me, I was also faced with the very same possibilities that you have also narrowed things down to: Wing Chun or Aikido. Both emphasize the use of deflection and rooting to give smaller people an advantage over their attacker, among other similarities. At the time, I felt that I could go either way and be happy with my choice. I did, however, (and still do) favour the philosophy of non-violence at the basis of Aikido principles --- it is a purely defensive art that uses striking primarily as a means of distraction. At the time, the lack of Wing Chun instruction in my area also influenced my choice. Since then, I have had the opportunity to briefly try Wing Chun at a local university and have reflected upon my findings in my AikiWeb training blog which you can read by clicking on the link to the left of this post.

I always say that nothing worth having ever comes easily. So far, I can agree with most of the responses to your post thus far: It would be advisable to get rooted in one art before cross-training in another. Wing Chun will probably be easier to learn in the short-run and Aikido is a longer-term investment --- but in my limited experience, I believe that Aikido is well-worth it. I will add, however, that this all depends upon the dojo/school you decide upon. I am fortunate enough to have an instructor whose focus is to make Aikido street-effective, so we combine our training of the classical forms with closer-range sparring-like exchanges, Randori (even for beginners) and even some Wing Chun-esque sticky hands on a regular basis.

Best of luck with your search and if you ever want to chat about your MA experiences as a fellow toothpick, don't hesitate to contact me!

Jamie

christine vee
05-25-2006, 07:20 PM
May I just say THANK YOU to all of you awesome people for such thoughtful and insightful replies!!!!

You've all given me much to consider, which I will use to help evaluate my experiences as I visit the different dojos in my area and "try things on for size". I guess part of my predicament is that there are not only several styles easily accessible in my area- in WCKF, Aikido, Judo, and JJ/BJJ, but even several dojos for each style!

A second question: of all of the forms of Aikido out there, which one(s) follow most closely to the art as it was at the time that it was first recognized as a unique style?

justinmaceachern
05-26-2006, 05:32 AM
IMO If you want to be streat ready then i would mixyour martail arts up. Mysugestion is to take a striking art and mix it with some ground work. For instance, mix Taekwondo with Judo or Aikido. I think you will be very happy with the two. But it realy comes down to what you are more comfortable with. There is an old saying: Train the way you want to. Thats what you have to do. Do some reserch on the school in and around your area.

Jorge Garcia
05-26-2006, 02:20 PM
Nothing personal, but on this forum, I read alot of posts where people start talking about cross training for groundwork, striking and adding Aikido to that.
I train in Aikido , Aikijujutsu and Iaido but not for the purpose of mixing the arts or trying to create a super martial art or even to cover up some deficiency in Aikido. I believe that kind of pursuit is a folly and that Aikido isn't Aikido if you remove the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training.

If anyone really thinks Aikido is deficient in groundwork, and you want the assurance of street effectiveness, I think you should leave Aikido completely and just work on one art (if you can find one) that teaches all three ranges of fighting and give yourself to that. In that way, Aikido won't be misused for what the Founder never intended (mixing arts without regard to the philosophy) and you can still get what you want. I don't know about all the arts but Wing Chung claims to teach all the ranges of fighting.
If you just learn one art, your time will be more efficiently used. Who can study 3 arts and become proficient in three? A few people maybe but not the majority for sure. Most people have trouble enough with one art. I have been doing Aikido for 12 years and am no where near mastering it to the point I think I can master another. I will be years and years learning Iaido and years and years learning Aikijujutsu. If I needed some kind of proficiency for self defense, then I would be better off buying a gun. This could take me 25 years!

hapkidoike
05-28-2006, 11:12 PM
"In that way, Aikido won't be misused for what the Founder never intended (mixing arts without regard to the philosophy) and you can still get what you want."

O' Sensi is not God. Why is it necessary to sweat what Ueshiba intended for the art to be. I will stipulate that he was a martial badass, but this does not necessarily make his "intentions" (if we can really know what they were) necessary to learning the art. When I was in school, I sudied Marx, Hegel, Locke, Hobbes, ad infinitum, and I learned to make arguments using their various frameworks for and against various positions. But what I did not have to do was 'buy' into Hobbes or Locke to do this. I studied the 'teachings of the masters', not because I wanted to learn to think LIKE them, but because I wanted to learn to THINK. Martial arts is the same thing. Not to learn to be martial LIKE o' Sensi or Takeda or anybody else, but to lean to be MARTIAL. Technique is just the application of scientific principles (geometry/physics) that have been sorted out for thousands of years. That being said philosophy is not science. The only authority I have to say that philosophy is not science, or at least not at this time within the scope of science, is that I have a bachelors deg. in Phil.

"If I needed some kind of proficiency for self defense, then I would be better off buying a gun"
Thats a fact Jack, but you better learn how to handle it first.

Kevin Leavitt
05-29-2006, 12:04 AM
Jorge wrote:

think you should leave Aikido completely and just work on one art (if you can find one) that teaches all three ranges of fighting and give yourself to that.

What traditional system do you know that trains all ranges effectively? Just curious.

I try and train grappling, striking range, and weapons ranges...While I train in all three of them, trying to do this all the time is very time consuming....not to mention it is hard to get good at anyone of the ranges! I trained kicks and strikes for many years, then moved on to aikido, now I am training BJJ.

What I haven't done is (and I am starting to now!) is to combine and synthesize all three ranges. Not easy as it ihas been difficult to find people that are competent at all of them. So I do it myself...trial by error.

If I had to do it again...i'd go almost exactly opposite. Start off in Ground fighting, then to aikido, then to strikes. I think you develop a better base working ground, weapons, then strikes...but that is me!

Thanks!

ian
05-29-2006, 05:53 AM
I'm afraid to say neither. Both are fun arts for various reasons - but from your post I take it your primary goal is street ready self defence. If so I'd go with judo. At your size you will have to be *extremely* competent at striking to have an effect, You are likely to have the distance closed down on you and may well end up on the ground. Judo will help you with this. Also you may want to think about weapons. MTCW.

I would say this is absolutely wrong. If Judo was so effective for small people they wouldn't have weight classes would they? Also, ground-fighting is well known to be the worst situation to practically defend yourself in (although obviously it can happen despite your best efforts) and the heavier person has a MASSIVE advantage in groundfighting. Of course, as other posters mentioned, size does matter in (almost) all fighting situations. What people often imagine as a fight though is a big face to face brawl whereas in reality (for women esp.) it can be very different.

I would say aikido is particularly useful for women - women often deal with different attack type than men i.e. grabs, chokes, pushes rather than punches or kicks. Also, you want to stop violence escalating so often breaking a hold and screaming is sometimes more useful than trying to get into a fight with a man or group of men. Additionally, aikido teaches you to move and react instantaneously - sometimes this is difficult, but this alone saved me from being killed in a knife attack (though it didn't save me recently when I was hit from the side with a bottle!)

Luckily you have seen the randomness of violence (only someone who has seen violence tends to realise just how unpredictable it is). Thus you probably have a more realistic outlook than most.

I have known people who have done quite a lot of wing-chun, and I would say they are pretty good at avoiding being hit, though maybe the time commited to multiple attack scenarios or breaking holds tends to be less than in aikido.

However, no matter what martial art you do it is often your own mental state and you ability to do something useful under pressure that determines the outcome. I would go to the local martial arts or self-defence clubs and actually experience what they have to offer. The competence of the instructor and their focus on self-defence aspects is likely to be far more important than choosing this or that martial art (the similarities between all martial arts at a higher level is quite striking).

Ian

P.S. there was also a post about carrying non-lethal weapons. I strongly advise against that. Many many people are killed or maimed with their own self-defence weapons. Carrying a weapon 'ups the ante'. I am the same in that if someone had e.g. a knife I would be prepared to kill them. Maybe guns are different, but if you don't take someone out first time with a weapon, they will be sure to try and get it off you and use it against you.

Jorge Garcia
05-29-2006, 06:52 AM
I wrote,
"In that way, Aikido won't be misused for what the Founder never intended (mixing arts without regard to the philosophy) and you can still get what you want."

You wrote,
O' Sensi is not God. Why is it necessary to sweat what Ueshiba intended for the art to be.

Thanks Isaac,
As a former Episcopal priest and a person who has spent the greater part of my 50 years studying about God, I have managed to figure out that O Sensei isn't God. He is certainly not my God - I already have one.

I spoke though as an Aikidoist and not as a neutral person. Aikido is an art not created for fighting and because of his philosophy, the Founder selected (and modified) the particular techniques that make up Aikido because they reflected the principles and philosophy he was trying to convey. He did not create Aikido to be an invincible martial art or even one to help small people so they could dominate a bigger person. While I have no doubt he intended it to be a martial art, his mind and work were into creating a new budo that would develop a mind and body harmony with the ki of the universe. I'm not trying to preach, I am stating a fact so I think it is a mistake to sell Aikido as something to add to something in order to round out martial skills. Aikido as a martial art has limited techniques with a high level of skill requirement that takes years to learn. In his own background, he already had a martial art designed for killing, with thousands of techniques able to bring a short and quick end to an opponent. It was called Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. Aikido was not that.
Aikido would be a poor fit for someone with only a short term self defense concern.

As for the gun, I don't and won't carry one but if I did, the class and training would be a given.
Best wishes,

Yo-Jimbo
05-29-2006, 11:55 AM
A second question: of all of the forms of Aikido out there, which one(s) follow most closely to the art as it was at the time that it was first recognized as a unique style?

(Since I see this thread as a place to help you/others and not a place for the benefit of our egos, I will do my best to stay on that task.) It is good that you are asking questions, but this one is dangerous if asked/answered blindly. Lineage is academic knowledge, but not meaningless. It can be a good first order filter of the relative merits of martial arts, but it is certainly no guarantee. Critical evaluation is the best way. O-sensei isn't taking uchi deshi right now, so we have to get training second or more hand. I'd say that a wise answer to your question is that since there is no way to evaluate the absolute validity of any answer to your question as stated. Having said that, a good operative answer is to say that Hombu dojo(s) (and typically those that are on good terms with Hombu) are certainly trying to stay true to "The Founder's Aikido" whatever that means. I don't think that aikido is about being true to someone else's form anyway though.

You started this thread because you are different. You are smaller than me. Your aikido is different than mine, although they would share certain principles. A person's aikido changes as they change. Not only because they (hopefully) get better, but because every moment is different. If I were to lose my left arm at the shoulder, my aikido would have to be much different than it is now, but some of the principles would remain unchanged.

I know that you want credentials. If they are important to your enthusiasm and peace of mind, I can vouch for the organization that I'm a part of ASU. I don't know what your options are (Maryland is a big place with 23 dojos currently listed on aikiweb), but I can put a good word in for my Aikikai/USAF brethren since I have some experience with them. I only "know of" the others (Tomiki/Ki Society/etc); although I've heard good things, I can't say either way on their account since my exposure to them is limited to less than a handful of times (some not at all). Even these generalizations can be meaningless as there are good and bad dojos in very good organizations.

Then again the value of my endorsement is based on you trusting me. Trust yourself. If you have an ASU dojo in convenient proximity (use aikiweb dojo search) with good training times for you, please give it a try.

Don't worry "which one(s) follow most closely to the art"; focus on which makes you the most proficient/noble aikijin/bujin/human being.

Aikido would be a poor fit for someone with only a short term self defense concern.
Aikido is the complete budo. Life is just to short to learn/teach it all. It is the perfect fit if it destroys the illusion of "a short term self defense concern". There is no such thing. This is just buying into a fantasy. No matter what is trained, avoid being seduced by the idea that you can now "take on anybody". Not after 6 months, not after 60 years...

This reminds me of a scene from Conan the Destroyer. The princess wants to learn to be a warrior (for the wrong reason); Conan is drunk. He hands her his bastard sword, has her stand with it in kamae in front of her and then raise it over her head. He then wisely says that she is now ready to take on anybody.

There is a truth to that scene and therein lies the comedy.

O-sensei didn't possess all of aikido; he embodied it and thus kept learning more his whole life.
I cross train not because aikido is deficient in any way; I cross train because my aikido has deficiencies.

christine vee
06-10-2006, 02:33 PM
A friend of mine has a quote. It goes, "Be the change you'd like to see in the world". In other words, lead by example.

So, as for my neighborhood, my community, I'm working on a few other ways to help that situation.

I asked the questions I asked in a community of people with experience because I was curious about one specific aspect of martial arts. I appreciate the time each of you took to respond.

I've found an Aikido Dojo that I'm going to train with. The most attractive thing about this Dojo is the people there and the sense of community among them. It's a great environment. It feels right.

I've also begun weight training. Because it never hurts to be strong (just hurts while getting strong!). And, it'll help ward off osteoporosis (muscle density decreases risk).

Will I eventually try to do more things? Probably. Then again, down the road, maybe mastery of just one art will be my goal.

Aristeia
06-10-2006, 03:17 PM
I would say this is absolutely wrong. If Judo was so effective for small people they wouldn't have weight classes would they?

Yes they absolutely would. The fact that Aikido doesn't have weight classes does not tell you it's better for small people. It just tells you that it doesn't train with live resisitance so people never find out who it does and does not work against.
Weight classes are there to make it interesting when everyone has some training. Training will help the smaller person beat the larger person - judo goes as far toward this goal and any art I know. But when people are close in skill level, strength and weight of course make a difference.
No training will turn you into buffy the vampire slayer against larger opponents. The unfortunate truth is that size and weight matter *no matter what the training*. It's just a matter of how much your training can help to bridge that gap. Judo does it nicely.


Also, ground-fighting is well known to be the worst situation to practically defend yourself in

And yet people end up there all the time. Annoying huh. Would pay to have tools to defend there then wouldn't you say.

(although obviously it can happen despite your best efforts) and the heavier person has a MASSIVE advantage in groundfighting.

heavier person always has the advantage. But groundfighting in my experience is the area where the gap can be most quickly bridged. Big guys have an idea how to swing hold and maul on their feet. Very few people have an idea how to move on the ground at all, so training here provides excellent bang for buck as it were. Not that I'm advocating *intentionally* going to the ground for women in self defence. But given the likely size difference it is *probable* they will end up there.

I would say aikido is particularly useful for women - women often deal with different attack type than men i.e. grabs, chokes, pushes rather than punches or kicks.

yep - sounds like judo to me

. Additionally, aikido teaches you to move and react instantaneously - Do you think it's unique in that?



However, no matter what martial art you do it is often your own mental state and you ability to do something useful under pressure that determines the outcome. I would go to the local martial arts or self-defence clubs and actually experience what they have to offer. The competence of the instructor and their focus on self-defence aspects is likely to be far more important than choosing this or that martial art (the similarities between all martial arts at a higher level is quite striking).


good advice.

christine vee
06-10-2006, 03:21 PM
A friend of mine has a quote. It goes, "Be the change you'd like to see in the world". In other words, lead by example.

heh. just found out from my friend that she was paraphrasing Ghandi. I hope to be able to catch up in reading as much as she has . . .

DonMagee
06-10-2006, 06:41 PM
I just wanted to point out a few things.

1) weight classes, BJJ and submission grappling as open weight divisions. Weight classes are to allow people to have a better chance at winning. Weight will always matter, even in aikido. To belive otherwise is a mistake.

2) Why would judo/bjj benfit a small woman? I think it would benfit because not only would you be training in a very resistive enviorment (which will allow you to gain skill quickly), you are also in the right place to have a skilled grappler who is larger than you (and male) attack you so you can test your skills. So you can really learn how to make your judo or bjj work against a 200 pound man, because you can actually engage a 200 pound man in sparing.

Other then that, you need to find what you really want from your training, and then find what you think is the best path. It doesnt' matter what any sensei, guy on a forum, or even I (As self important as I am) think about it. Go out there and try every art you find until you find one that you feel is really what you need. If its aikido, bjj, judo, wc, whatever. It is simply important that you feel it is right for you and that you are honest with yourself on what you are getting out of it. I personally recomend bjj because of its focus on the ground. And as a woman, if you are attacked, I belive the attacker will be trying to pin you on the ground.

Jorge Garcia
06-10-2006, 08:18 PM
I just wanted to point out a few things.

1) weight classes, BK and submission grappling as open weight divisions. Weight classes are to allow people to have a better chance at winning. Weight will always matter, even in aikido. To believe otherwise is a mistake.

2) Why would judo/bjj benfit a small woman? I think it would benfit because not only would you be training in a very resistive enviorment (which will allow you to gain skill quickly), you are also in the right place to have a skilled grappler who is larger than you (and male) attack you so you can test your skills. So you can really learn how to make your judo or bjj work against a 200 pound man, because you can actually engage a 200 pound man in sparing.

Other then that, you need to find what you really want from your training, and then find what you think is the best path. It doesnt' matter what any sensei, guy on a forum, or even I (As self important as I am) think about it. Go out there and try every art you find until you find one that you feel is really what you need. If its aikido, bjj, judo, wc, whatever. It is simply important that you feel it is right for you and that you are honest with yourself on what you are getting out of it. I personally recomend bjj because of its focus on the ground. And as a woman, if you are attacked, I belive the attacker will be trying to pin you on the ground.


I don't know why I keep walking into this but here goes.
Christine is 5' 3". She said, "I'm the size of a toothpick." She wears a size zero. I can imagine what she weighs.
Don, you said,"...you can really learn how to make your judo or bjj work against a 200 pound man...".
My sincere apologies Don but this is fantasy land. The chances of a tiny woman really being able to take down and defeat a 200 lb man with BJJ aren't good. I am not saying it's impossible because a good kick in the putuzies could take him down but then she wouldn't need BJJ for that. I'm not sure what movies we are watching out there but it really disturbs me to see this kind of advice going out there.
Christine, I have lots of women training in our dojos. My own daughter has trained for years. One of my best students currently of all the students I have here in Houston is a woman but that doesn't change the fact that men are stronger than women in general and no art or tricks will change that. Aikido has locks and holds you can use but I have trained against men who are big enough and strong enough that short of a tire iron, you are in trouble. Going to BJJ is not the answer. In fact, no martial art can make you that invincible.

Training a martial art is percentages. Every day you train and improve, you increase the percentages of surviving an attack or encounter. If you train in something that fits your size and body type, that increases your chances.If you take on a 200 pound man hoping to beat him with BJJ, you could be putting yourself in a lot of danger. There are better ways to defend against man that size compared to you and there is no martial art that can give you that if the size and weight difference is great enough.
I am seeing this forum with more and more people with these ideas who are enamored with BJJ but I think its dangerous if we start accepting fantasies. I tell my women students, in an attack, you can surprise a man and beat him but don't think you can do it just like that. You will lose if you think you can just beat men because you take such and such martial art. This is the real world. Pepper spray, a small weapon like a bar in your hand or just getting close enough for a well timed kick will do more for you than all the BJJ in the world. I say that with respect to the height and weight difference between you and a 200 lb man. Besides, with all this belief in BJJ, I am sure the attacker will know it too since the whole world loves BJJ. Then you'd be cooked for sure!

Christine, take Aikido or Wing Chun as a training suitable for almost anyone. You will learn great stuff that will be practical for you in the long run. For close ground contact with 200 pound men, use pepper spray, well timed groin kicks, fingers in the eyes and try to get away but better yet, stay out of that kind of situation. Using the rules of personal safety can keep you out of trouble for a lifetime the greater majority of the time.

If you doubt me, then I suggest you go to your nearest BJJ dojo and get in there with a 200 pound man. That will go further toward helping you than anything I have said here today. I apologize if I have said anything that disillusions you toward martial arts. There is no magic here. While height and weight aren't everything, they make a difference until you gain skill but in BJJ, mo matter how good you are, if the man weighs 200 lbs and you weigh 140, that's 60 pounds. Save your money!

Best wishes,

ChrisMoses
06-10-2006, 08:35 PM
I don't know why I keep walking into this but here goes.
Christine is 5' 3". She said, "I'm the size of a toothpick." She wears a size zero. I can imagine what she weighs.
Don, you said,"...you can really learn how to make your judo or bjj work against a 200 pound man...".
My sincere apologies Don but this is fantasy land. The chances of a tiny woman really being able to take down and defeat a 200 lb man with BJJ aren't good.

Mifune Kyuzo was 5í 2Ē tall and weighed a whopping 123 lbs, yet went undefeated nearly his whole life. Was awarded judan in judo and is still considered by many to have been one of the greatest martial artists of the 20th century. While Iím one of the first ones to dismiss the notion that weight and size donít offer an advantage. I think itís also silly to tell someone that they will never succeed in a particular martial art (particularly something like judo) because of their size. Finding the right dojo would be very important, but dismiss someone because of their size seems a bit much. No one would be expected to step onto the mat their first night and be able to handle someone larger and more skilled.

DonMagee
06-10-2006, 08:44 PM
I never said she should attack a 200 pound man I the street. I only said that she could actually get attacked by one in the dojo and learn how to to defend herself from one. I'm 162 pounds and 5' 9". I can use my judo and bjj skills against guys who are well over 200 pounds. In fact I did just that today (in the club, not the street). Do I will every encounter, no actually I loose about 19 out of 20. But I bet I am more skilled at it then anyone who has never done it. And just MAYBE that could save my life. Which is better then ignoring the fact and saying "I can't possibly win". I'd say I'm one of the more realistic people you will meet in my training. This is because I have an actual idea of what I can and can not do, beacuse I am actually doing it for sport. I know I can handle a less skilled person who has more strenght and more weight then I do in a limited rules enviroment. I know that when all bets are off and I can leverage even more dirity tricks that I will be able to leverage those skills to even up or even have an advantage against a larger opponent on the street (not that I train for or care about the street).

So, I guess, because this is not obvious, on the street no matter what your training you should NEVER engage in fighting. But, if you get the drop on you, you should be prepared to defend yourself the best way possible. If you want to learn how to defend yourself on the ground, don't go learn to box. And if you think I am saying, BJJ is the greatest art in the world, learn it and be undefeatable, you are sadly mistaken. I am saying train for the situations you plan to need your skills in.

Can you beat a man who ways 60 pounds more then you do? I dont know ask Royce. Go watch a naga open weight divison. It will be the hardest fight of your life, but you can do it.

Of course then the question begs? Why are you telling her to train aikido or WC? Neither will help her, she is small and weak.

And yes, a weapon will help, a kick to the nuts MAY help (most likley wont do a damn thing). But that is obvious. What is not obvious is how she should defend herself if someone is trying to rape her. Attackers on the street dont walk up to women and say "Hey, come here and I'm going to rape you". They get the jump on women who look like they make easy targets. A small woman looks like an easy target. When they take you down, you dont have a chance to get your peper spray, or get your stick, or get to those nuts. Unless of course you know how to use leverage and move on the ground. You NEED ground training to learn that. Nothing else can teach it to you.

So I ask you, what does aikido or WC have that fits the size of a small woman that bjj doesn't have? And how does it help her defend herself against a rape? (To clarify, we are talking after the attacker has chosen her as a victim, and is attacking her with the intent to take her down and rape her.) How do the training methods of aikido or WC help prepare her for this, and what skills will she need to survivie? And finally, when overpowered by a man on the ground, how do you get to pepper spary, kick him in the nuts while pinned down, or clawn his eyes when he is in dominate control?

I belive you can defend yourself with aikido, I belive you can defend yourself with WC. But I belive in looking objectivly at your goals. Woman's self defense must include actually self defense in the clinch on the ground. Neither aikido or WC will give her that. They will only give her princples and theorys which she may somenday learn to leverage against an attack.

I think we all want everyone who comes to this site to train in aikido (I mean thats the purpose we all come here for.) However, do we concider the goals and needs of the people who come here for advice?

Sorry if I seem harsh, I dont mean to come off as harsh. I'm just trying to get my thoughts down and setup a gentoo server at the same time.

Jorge Garcia
06-10-2006, 08:50 PM
Mifune Kyuzo was 5' 2" tall and weighed a whopping 123 lbs, yet went undefeated nearly his whole life. Was awarded judan in judo and is still considered by many to have been one of the greatest martial artists of the 20th century. While I'm one of the first ones to dismiss the notion that weight and size don't offer an advantage. I think it's also silly to tell someone that they will never succeed in a particular martial art (particularly something like judo) because of their size. Finding the right dojo would be very important, but dismiss someone because of their size seems a bit much. No one would be expected to step onto the mat their first night and be able to handle someone larger and more skilled.

We're talking percentages. I said her chances wouldn't be good. Your statement," Mifune Kyuzo was 5' 2" tall and weighed a whopping 123 lbs, yet went undefeated nearly his whole life. Was awarded judan in judo and is still considered by many to have been one of the greatest martial artists of the 20th century."... doesn't prove your point, it proves mine. Can you count all the great champions that didn't go undefeated their whole lives?
Mifune Kyuzo was one of the greatest martial artists in the whole 20th century. I'm not sure if Christine wants to run those odds.
Best wishes,

Jorge Garcia
06-10-2006, 08:52 PM
Do I will every encounter, no actually I loose about 19 out of 20.

I rest my case.

Best wishes,

Aristeia
06-11-2006, 05:01 AM
Jorge your argument is full of holes.
yes she will be at a serious disadvantage because of her size. Judo and BJJ will not be the arts to produce fantasies to the contrary. Because they spar with live resistance, giving the practioner a pretty clear idea of what they can and can't accomplish.
you're argument seems to be - because you're small and weak go you'll get smashed in grappling, so come do aikido where you will be able to accomplish almost as much as bigger stronger people.

Well that's only because the ukes will fall for both the strong and the weak in aikido. Because there is no full resistance sparring. It is here that you are more likely to develop dangerous fantasies about what one can accomplish in Martial Arts. I've seen it all too often.

you seem to scoff at Dan's 19 out of 20 loss record against larger opponenets. I'd wager most Aikidoka (not all but most) would do much worse - they just never get to find out.

Let me also add this. Everyone I've met that claims that judo or BJJ are not the art to reccommend because they require size and strength, do so out of ignorance of how these arts actually work. They observe a match or some footage and come to the conclusion that it's about strength. It's not. But you have to study it to figure out what is actually going on. Just like aikido looks fake to many observers and it is only through study you realise where the power is. You're claim that BJJ/Judo is of no use to smaller or weaker people, is just as misguided and frustrating as those who claim aikido is only a dance and is all fake.

Jorge Garcia
06-11-2006, 07:52 AM
Michael,
Your last post does not represent anything I believe or said.
I think almost all martial arts would effective in improving your chances of surviving a fight. I also think almost all martial arts would help a persons chances against a heavier and larger person. I also believe it is theoretically possible that that an extremely small person could defeat an extremely large person. O Sensei who was 4'11" would be proof of that. You don't seem to understand what a percentage is. If one out of a million people who are 4'11" defeat a person who outweighs them by 60 pounds, that is not a good prognosticator for a person who is 4'11" taking an art to believe that if they take that art, that they too will be able to do so. If 100 people out of a million people who are 4' 11" are able to defeat a person who out weigh them by 60 pounds, that is not a good predictor that they will be able to do it. If 500,000 people out of 1 million people who are 4'11" can defeat someone who out weigh them by 60 pounds, that is only a 50/50 chance.

I have been in martial arts long enough to know that if you glibly recommend an art because of what an art is made for (like excellent ground work) without a proper consideration of the vital statistics, your are making a huge mistake. That's the same mistake that millions of kids make, who are excellent sandlot basketball players but don't have a chance of getting into the NBA. They don't understand what the numbers are. They may say that a guy from that neighborhood made it. They may say that their daddy made it. They may say that other sandlot players have made it. I am not saying that they shouldn't play basketball. I am not saying they have zero chance. I am saying that if they believe they have a good chance, they are wrong. The percentage of NBA players against the sandlot and recreational players in the world gives an extremely bad chance of that player making it. I am just asking that we deal with facts and not build up false hopes in people.

Don is a man. He is an avid BJJ practitioner, but is own record is no assurance that a tiny woman can do what he has not accomplished yet. He is recommending to a woman who says she is tiny that it would be good if she practice against a 200 pound man because she would discover her abilities and improve them. I an suggesting that based on his record, that in itself proves this wouldn't be a good use of her time. BJJ is a specific kind of an art. I know what it is and from all the BJJ I have seen and I have had the privilege of watching my share, I know how tough it is. One of my best friends on earth has been doing it for years. Thats not an art you recommend for a tiny woman who is looking for an effective way to defend herself.
If she wants to go and learn BJJ and have a good time, then yes. If she wants to find out if she is one of those people who will be one of the greatest in the 20th century, then yes. But if she believes based on a recommendation that BJJ could effectively help her defend herself against a man that out weighs her by 60 pounds, then I disagree. The ground is no place for a tiny woman against an man who out weighs you by 60 pounds.

DonMagee
06-11-2006, 09:13 AM
We're talking percentages. I said her chances wouldn't be good. Your statement," Mifune Kyuzo was 5' 2" tall and weighed a whopping 123 lbs, yet went undefeated nearly his whole life. Was awarded judan in judo and is still considered by many to have been one of the greatest martial artists of the 20th century."... doesn't prove your point, it proves mine. Can you count all the great champions that didn't go undefeated their whole lives?
Mifune Kyuzo was one of the greatest martial artists in the whole 20th century. I'm not sure if Christine wants to run those odds.
Best wishes,

Unforutnatly we are also not all Ueshiba either. But that doesn't mean we can't gain useful skill from aikido. Of course, I dont want to run the odds I can be Ueshiba either.

Jorge Garcia
06-11-2006, 09:24 AM
I don't recall saying we couldn't gain useful skills. Of course you can. In BJJ, Aikido, Judo or anything you choose to study and the longer you do your art, the better you will be for it. That excludes no person, regardless of weight or size.
Best wishes,

DonMagee
06-11-2006, 10:00 AM
Michael,
The ground is no place for a tiny woman against an man who out weighs you by 60 pounds.

Because we always have a choice. Will she have better success in keeping a 200 pound man from taking her to the ground? Not likley. Hell Most people have trouble keeping a man their size from taking them to the ground. Once on the ground however, without ground training, she will have even less chance. I'm not saying bjj or judo will make her invincible. I'm saying that bjj or judo will greatly increase her chance of survival in a unavoidable confrontation. Aikido will also help, but it will take years, and even then she may not have gained any skill. And her training will not of put her in situtations where she will know if she can make aikido work (this is due to a lack of sparing). So she will have a 50/50 shot of either wrong self confidence she is ready to defend herself, or being able to defend herself. And she will still have the next to imposible chance of defending her self against a larger attacker.

In judo or bjj, it wont take 10 years to gain a creditable amount of skill, and she will have a realistic idea of what she can and can not do though sparing. This seems like a better idea for someone who's main worry is self defense.

I'm all for people traing aikido or any martial art. But I'm also very worried that they dont look at their training honestly and make sure they are getting the best training for their time and money. Aikido can be used for self defense, but its training rarely lends itself to self defense. BJJ training can be used for spirital growth,but it rarely lends itself to it.

I dont care if she trains bjj, judo, aikido, boxing, ninjitsu, or wc. What I do care is that if self defense is a high priority that she actually puts herself in situations as close to the ones she may get in (a ground attack by a much larger man). Then in those situations learn how she can deal with them. To do anything else is just silly. If her aikido school lends itself to it, then she should by all means go train there. But to dismiss the possiblity with "a small woman shouldn't go to the ground" is like saying "well never fight a man with a knife, thats your knife defense". Its just doesn't make any sense.

ChrisMoses
06-11-2006, 11:39 AM
Don is a man. [snippage] The ground is no place for a tiny woman against an man who out weighs you by 60 pounds.

That pretty much sums up Jorge's argument as I read it right there, so I'm going to just leave his comments at that. I feel his logical inconsistencies and double standards (not just towards gender but towards goals and benefits of varied arts) makes his comments kind of a non-starter for me. I'll address this to Christine in the hopes that she'll be able to take something useful from this rather than be shocked at the bickering.

Christine, go check out the options in your area and just see what feels right. Almost any martial art you do will give you the benefits that you're seeking, and you'll probably have a great time doing them. Don't rule out an art because it's a 'guys' art. Judo and its derivitives (like BJJ through Kosen Judo) can offer a great deal to nealy anyone willing to put in the mat hours. Arts with randori (a freestyle component, I'm not talking about what Aikido typically refers to as randori) will offer you a way to get a quick and often humbling reality check. Dojos are all very different and most people know very quickly if they can see themselves training there. Some BJJ/Judo dojos work a lot like competitive wrestling schools. Others spend a lot of time doing uchikomi and other less resistant training. Any dojo that's worth going to will teach you and your partners will try to meet you at your level. A good dojo won't throw you into groundfighting your first night with the senior student and just wish you luck. A good dojo might have you work with the senior student all night because they will be best able to offer you skill/size apropriate feedback to HELP you learn. This is just as true in Aikido as WC as Judo as BJJ as Kung Fu... As some have pointed out, the lack of a reality check in *many* Aikido dojos means that many of its practitioners have a fairly unrealistic idea of what they and their art can do. Finally, find something close by, you said you have two kids, I'm sure you don't have endless free time. Some dojos even offer child care. Location is one of the most important things to consider when trying to squeeze something like the martial arts into an already busy schedule. You'll need to do 3x a week at whatever you do to see any progress, espescially at first, so it should be convenient to get to, or after a while, you won't make it.

Good luck, and trust your instincts. If you don't like the vibe, get out.

Aristeia
06-11-2006, 01:21 PM
Jorge, what thread are you reading.
No one has said that taking any particular art will make success a given. We all understand that someone this size is up against it. It is you that seems to be saying "even though you are small and will likely be overwhelmed, don't do ground fighting because the ground is a bad place to be mmmmkay".

In fact I don't think anyone even reccommended just BJJ - my reccomendation was judo and that was a part of most other reccomendations as well. Which of course gives you plenty of standing options as well as a back up reportoire when it does it the ground (which remember, is where a potential attacker is likely to be *trying* to take it).

The big problem with your argument is that it looks like this. "Don't do bjj - martial arts won't help you you're too small, and you'll get a false sense of confidence. BTW do aikido"
You have yet to show why aikido (which you've reccommmended) is a better option than judo/bjj.

If we apply your test and say "get in there with a 200 pound man actively trying to take you to the ground and try and get aikido techniques to work" what do you think the result would be?

Jorge Garcia
06-11-2006, 01:39 PM
For Don and Christian,
I am glad to yield the floor to you. Your arguments taught me a lot about the nature of logic and rational informed opinions.

I am glad though that Christine has already made up her mind. She made a wise choice.
She wrote,
"I've found an Aikido Dojo that I'm going to train with. The most attractive thing about this Dojo is the people there and the sense of community among them. It's a great environment. It feels right."

Best wishes,