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Luc X Saroufim
06-25-2006, 08:17 PM
Hello everyone,

what I am probably about to type is not new to many veterans out there, but hopefully will clear up some issues for beginners like me.

in the 10 months i've been training, there has been one resounding positive effect: confidence. i am simply more confident in myself.

so my best friend and I got together this weekend. mind you, i've known this guy forever, the last thing he does is insult me, or want to hurt me, but we always have "friendly" fights.

this time, we decided to turn it up a notch. i figured we could, because we trust each other, the same way an uke trusts his tori.

we cleared the living room and began to "fight." now here is what i learned about Aikido, and hopefully i will get some advice from the older students:

1) I attacked first. Basically, as soon as I did that, I lost the fight. Aikido really is a non-violent martial art. even though i knew some beginner techniques, i could not employ them, because i didn't allow my friend to attack me. therefore, i had no 'ki' to work with.

2) You have to move fast in Aikido for it to be effective. if it's not instinctual, it will not work. he *did* grab my wrists a few times, and as soon as i "connected" with him, he simply let go, and the "ki" was lost.

3) In spite of all this, i still had a chance to take him down. i had him set up for a perfect sankyo, and couldn't do it correctly.

summary: sometimes people think Aikido doesn't work. in this case, it didn't at all. but it wasn't O' Sensei's fault.

if i waited for my friend to attack first, I might've had a chance. i always acted too hastily and tried to take him down. this goes against everything Aikido teaches you.

second, if you don't practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, you will never employ the technique correctly. they require a swift, instinctual motion, with no delay or hesitation. hesitate for a second, and you have lost the technique. if you rest on your laurels, you don't stand a chance.

looking back on what i just typed, this sounds like a lot of common sense. however, i've seen a lot of "Aikido doesn't work" threads recently, and I have to agree: if you let your oppenents play their game, it will not work at all.

crbateman
06-25-2006, 09:33 PM
There are so many ways to respond to what you have said, that I wouldn't even know where to start, so I won't, except to say that 10 months into your training is the wrong time to make such a broad indictment. In Aikido, 10 months is less than one second.

ikkitosennomusha
06-25-2006, 09:49 PM
Clark conveyed my sentiments well enough. In a few more years of training, you will understand that uke doesn't have to attack first for the conflict to end in victory.

An old joke is, match two aikidoka up and they will stand there forever with no resolution because while one is waiting for the other to attack and vise versa, there is no attacking going on and thus it turns out to be a starring contest! LOL!

This is not the case. Yes, aikido prefers to be nonviolent and harmonize the attacker's energy but thats not to say that you cannot attack first!

Luc X Saroufim
06-25-2006, 09:56 PM
sorry my friends, did not mean to generalize this art. like both of you pointed out, I wholeheartedly agree that I have barely begun.

I just thought I would shed a pure beginner's point of view. i'm guessing that most of these "aikido does not work" threads are started by beginners like me, who are still trying to figure it out.



An old joke is, match two aikidoka up and they will stand there forever with no resolution because while one is waiting for the other to attack and vise versa, there is no attacking going on and thus it turns out to be a starring contest! LOL!



this is what i was trying to get at. glad it is not the case, and i'm looking forward to the days when i find out for myself.

take it easy on me,

Luc

dps
06-25-2006, 10:09 PM
[QUOTE=
1) I attacked first. Basically, as soon as I did that, I lost the fight. Aikido really is a non-violent martial art. even though i knew some beginner techniques, i could not employ them, because i didn't allow my friend to attack me. therefore, i had no 'ki' to work with.

2) You have to move fast in Aikido for it to be effective. if it's not instinctual, it will not work. he *did* grab my wrists a few times, and as soon as i "connected" with him, he simply let go, and the "ki" was lost.

3) In spite of all this, i still had a chance to take him down. i had him set up for a perfect sankyo, and couldn't do it correctly.

summary: sometimes people think Aikido doesn't work. in this case, it didn't at all. but it wasn't O' Sensei's fault.

if i waited for my friend to attack first, I might've had a chance. i always acted too hastily and tried to take him down. this goes against everything Aikido teaches you.

second, if you don't practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, you will never employ the technique correctly. they require a swift, instinctual motion, with no delay or hesitation. hesitate for a second, and you have lost the technique. if you rest on your laurels, you don't stand a chance.

looking back on what i just typed, this sounds like a lot of common sense. however, i've seen a lot of "Aikido doesn't work" threads recently, and I have to agree: if you let your oppenents play their game, it will not work at all.[/QUOTE]

As soon as you attacked him you showed him your intentions and gave up your balance. If you tried to use muscular strength in your attack you were not relaxed and this would hinder your movements.

There is much more that you did and did not do that you will see as you continue practicing.

It is never O'Sensei's fault that your Aikido did not work and yes practice, practice, practice, practice, all the answers are on the mat.

mathewjgano
06-25-2006, 11:07 PM
in the 10 months i've been training, there has been one resounding positive effect: confidence. i am simply more confident in myself.
Confidence is great, but as you found out, confidence only means one will be more comfortable entering into some related situation.
2) You have to move fast in Aikido for it to be effective. if it's not instinctual, it will not work. he *did* grab my wrists a few times, and as soon as i "connected" with him, he simply let go, and the "ki" was lost.
I especially agree with the part about it having to be instinctual. Thinking only seems to distract my ability to respond/act.
summary: sometimes people think Aikido doesn't work. in this case, it didn't at all. but it wasn't O' Sensei's fault.
It wasn't exactly Aikido, though, was it? If techniques didn't work, you weren't blending with his movements and getting "inside" of his movements. Ideally, you should never have to struggle: find your partner's intention and move with it.
HOWEVER remember there's a good reason most Aikidoka don't favor competing with people...particualry if the people are still very new: it's easy to get fixated on searching for, and then finding, that opening while you're tangled up with your partner; this can easily lead to dislocated bones or torn ligaments, if you're not sensitive enough to release the pressure you're generating, safely...and a spiral fracture sucks big-time! In addition to this, some techniques, if you pull them off, require uke to know how to move so they don't get hurt...if uke tenses up at the wrong time, it's easy to tear a muscle, or worse.
Kiotsukete while you gambatte! :uch:
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
06-25-2006, 11:21 PM
An old joke is, match two aikidoka up and they will stand there forever with no resolution because while one is waiting for the other to attack and vise versa, there is no attacking going on and thus it turns out to be a starring contest! LOL!
I remember reading something about some wrestlers coming to visit (hombu?) and OSensei allowing some kind of challenge "match." Earlier the wrestlers had visited the Kodokan where they were told to never attack an Aikidoka first, so there was a bunch of circling around before Tohei-sensei finally engaged the wrestler and imobilized him. As I recall, OSensei, got mad that Tohei-sensei had attacked first. I think I read it here on Aikiweb, but I can't recall for sure...might have been Aikido Journal. I don't think it was Tohei relating the story...maybe Chiba-sensei? Anyway...it just reminded me of that story.
Take care,
Matthew

Luc X Saroufim
06-26-2006, 12:01 AM
wow, thank you all for your input. looks like I have a long way to go (obviously), but I'm prepared for the long journey.

Mike Hamer
06-26-2006, 12:36 AM
This Thursday I will have been in Aikido for a month now. (but really not at all because we only meet once a week :( ) Anyways Luc, dont worry, you are not alone in being a noob.

My best friend and I were just messing around yesterday acting like we were fighting. He said we should try a practice where two people stand side to side, foot to foot, and from there try to get the other person to move the outside foot. Anyways, I instictivly let him push into me, and just make subtle movements with my center to bring him off balance. I believe that Ive learned alot (IN MY EYES) for only going to 3 once a week courses, and reading into some books.

Steve Mullen
06-26-2006, 04:12 AM
Luc, you can't build a solid brigde without solid foundations. Right now you are at the stage of surveying the ground. I have been training for 3 years now and feel like im at the stage of boring that first hole into the ground to lay my first support strut.

When you were playing with your friend, you were probably (i would assume) going for a certain technique(s) to the detriment of others, this is something that EVERYONE does to begin with (usually its their favourite technique they go for first) relax and look for his balance first, then something will come to you (hand/head/arm/leg etc).

As for attacking first, when we are told not to attack first it think this means attacks which compromise our balance e.g. huge punches where we have to clear a lot of space to make them connetc. Alos, it comes from an idea of 'if we dont attack first, and the other side doesn't attack then there is no physical conflict, and that's the best way of all to avoid injury to both parties. A nice idea, but not always practical, so next time you and your mate have a bit of a play, aim a few quick punches up and down his body while you move into him to take his balance. balance is the Ki (crap pun i know, im very very sorry :crazy: :drool: :yuck: )

Just have fun training, pretty soon you will notice the changes and the sublties of your technique.

Steve

Aristeia
06-26-2006, 04:15 AM
emember there's a good reason most Aikidoka don't favor competing with people...particualry if the people are still very new: it's easy to get fixated on searching for, and then finding, that opening while you're tangled up with your partner; this can easily lead to dislocated bones or torn ligaments, if you're not sensitive enough to release the pressure you're generating, safely...and a spiral fracture sucks big-time! In addition to this, some techniques, if you pull them off, require uke to know how to move so they don't get hurt...if uke tenses up at the wrong time, it's easy to tear a muscle, or worse.
Kiotsukete while you gambatte! :uch:
Take care,
Matt

Doesn't it strike anyone else as odd that on the one had Aikido is touted as the pacifists martial art - subdue your opponenet without hamring them etc etc, and on the other we get these too dangerous to spar type arguments?

Personally I still maintain that it's not an issue of being too dangerous so much as Aikido works best against a particular type of unfettered agression which you don't see alot in sparring and certainly not in two mates facing off in the living room.

Mark Freeman
06-26-2006, 04:42 AM
Luc,
Clark's response, should cover most of what you need right now.
If you continue to train for 10 years and your friend does not, then the 'friendly fights' will either become one sided or evaporate completely as you lose interest in the win/lose paradigm of fighting.
Over time in aikido you may realise that the only opponent worth grappling with is oneself. You will provide yourself with many opportunities and almost limitless material to work with. ;)
Friends are for having a good time with, what happens when you do get to the point when you can 'beat' him, will it change the nature of the relationship? will you feel superior to him? will he be pleased for you?
Fighting is such a 'gross' level of human interaction, there are better ways to go about things. Aikido practiced long enough provides the skills to deal with combat effectively. The more you practice the less you want to engage in combat to test your skills. Practice the art for it's own sake, the rewards come slowly, and are dependant on your own integration of the aikido principles into your own life.

Take you mate down the pub, buy him a drink, and have a laugh together, harmony in action ;)

regards,

Mark

Demetrio Cereijo
06-26-2006, 05:58 AM
Luc,

1) I attacked first. Basically, as soon as I did that, I lost the fight. Aikido really is a non-violent martial art. even though i knew some beginner techniques, i could not employ them, because i didn't allow my friend to attack me. therefore, i had no 'ki' to work with.

You attacked him wrong :)

No, seriously, i'm a bit tired of people confusing aikido as a defensive art with aikido as reactive art. You should take the initiative before it's too late and things are out of control, better for you and for uke. If you have to make the first move, do it. (of course imho).

Take some time and read this article (http://www.iwama-ryu.se/page/154/157/441).

Aristeia,

Doesn't it strike anyone else as odd that on the one had Aikido is touted as the pacifists martial art - subdue your opponenet without hamring them etc etc, and on the other we get these too dangerous to spar type arguments?

Interesting, isn't it?

It's one of these aikido contradictions which probably will remain unsolved until the end of time (or when shodothugs rule the earth)
:)

shadowedge
06-26-2006, 06:11 AM
Aikido practiced long enough provides the skills to deal with combat effectively. The more you practice the less you want to engage in combat to test your skills.

How true, how true...

let me see, by August of this year, I will have been practicing for 5 years alreaady... Luc, I know what you've been through... IMHO I think you're still at the stage where in your taking it all in. Starting to understand how the flow of ki works.. During my first few months, We train from 8 AM to 12 noon every weekend morning. I'd do everything I can to extend my time and even after the session I'd look friends to "play" with... Now that I think about it, I felt like a very happy kid who recieved his first bike... not wanting to stop. :)

It's all good fun (and even addictive at times) but like Mark posted, The more you practice the less you want to engage in combat to test your skills...

in my experince, I've come to realize that practicing has its place, and so will using it once the need arises. I honestly don't ever want to use Aikido on anyone, Im currently at the stage of continuing to study for the sake of sharpening my skills.... and the art has worked wonders for me in many ways (including career, lovelife etc. etc.)

Good luck on your journey! :p

Steve Mullen
06-26-2006, 07:01 AM
(including career, lovelife etc. etc.)


all that moving from the hips does wonders........so i have been told.

dps
06-26-2006, 07:40 AM
Doesn't it strike anyone else as odd that on the one had Aikido is touted as the pacifists martial art - subdue your opponenet without hamring them etc etc, and on the other we get these too dangerous to spar type arguments?.

Nope.
The roots of Aikido are in the arts that Samurai used when fighting an opponent and would need to momentarily subdue or disable the opponent before killing him. If the opponents wrist, elbow, shoulder, etc. were injured it did not matter, he was going to die anyway.
We practice Aikido now for different reasons and the techniques have been changed but severe injury can still be done if you are not careful.
Everybody, especially beginners, should never use Aikido techniques when playing around with friends.

Demetrio Cereijo
06-26-2006, 09:07 AM
We practice Aikido now for different reasons and the techniques have been changed but severe injury can still be done if you are not careful.
Everybody, especially beginners, should never use Aikido techniques when playing around with friends.

Even if i agree with you in the "Martial Arts are not for playing around with friends" sense, i'm still dubuious about Aikido being more dangerous than other unarmed arts or sports like Judo, Boxing, Karate, Olympic Wrestling ... where the practitioners engage in full force-contact resistive sparring-randori-shiai-you name it without causing the high amount of fatalities Aikido is said to cause when applied "for real".

What have i missed?

philippe willaume
06-26-2006, 10:33 AM
Even if i agree with you in the "Martial Arts are not for playing around with friends" sense, i'm still dubuious about Aikido being more dangerous than other unarmed arts or sports like Judo, Boxing, Karate, Olympic Wrestling ... where the practitioners engage in full force-contact resistive sparring-randori-shiai-you name it without causing the high amount of fatalities Aikido is said to cause when applied "for real".

What have i missed?
Being at the receiving end of a few shihonage over the top with koshy nague thrown in, just to make ukemi as difficult as possible, all that when you are not expecting it?

More seriously
I practice horse riding (jousting, jumping and dressage), German medieval fencing with and without Armour on foot and on horse as well as aikido

I have taken my share of over the top by horse; we spare with shinai and crossguard, and fencing/kendo helmet and kote to simulate un-armoured longsword. (I have played rugby and American football).

All of the above is fine, you have the protections and what can go wrong is seriously limited.
And that is simply not the case in aikido, like fencing with live blade; you just not have that level of security if something goes wrong.
Basically akido uses leverage on weak joints at high velocity and focus the strain on those joint. You just do not find that on competitive sport you mention.
We keep it safe because we keep it under control.
For exemple the 3rd bone breaker at the arm, is word for word shiho-nage irimi-omote. And it is to be used as the name aptly says, to break the arm of your opponent.

It will just take your partner, to slip to tense up or to try to get away the wrong way and you will have the pleasure of cutting his meat at every meal for 3 month.

Philippe

Nick Pagnucco
06-26-2006, 11:30 AM
looking back on what i just typed, this sounds like a lot of common sense. however, i've seen a lot of "Aikido doesn't work" threads recently, and I have to agree: if you let your oppenents play their game, it will not work at all.

I'm surprised no one focused on this yet. No martial art anywhere will work if you let your opponent play their game exactly the way they want to. Period. Aikido cannot passively let the the agressor stay the agressor, let the initiator keep the initiative

So how does aikido 'mess' with people's game? Lots of ways I barely understand, to be honest. Enter when they expect you to run or resist, and draw out their attack so they become over-extended are two of the easier to list. The only way to figure this out, through, is during practice.

One thing I will say is that almost every aikido technique I've ever heard of works a hell of a lot better on an uke who already has had their balance broken. ...and once again, sadly, the answer to how one does that cannot be found on this board. (Though I REALLY wish it could ;) )

EDIT: Also, I agree... the way aikido is practiced (at a lot of places, at least, from what I hear), I'm unsure that trying to spar afer 10 months is the best way to go for a lot of reasons, safety being a biggy.

Demetrio Cereijo
06-26-2006, 11:46 AM
Being at the receiving end of a few shihonage over the top with koshy nague thrown in, just to make ukemi as difficult as possible, all that when you are not expecting it?
Yes, and it's not funny.

Basically akido uses leverage on weak joints at high velocity and focus the strain on those joint. You just do not find that on competitive sport you mention.
We keep it safe because we keep it under control.
For exemple the 3rd bone breaker at the arm, is word for word shiho-nage irimi-omote. And it is to be used as the name aptly says, to break the arm of your opponent.

It will just take your partner, to slip to tense up or to try to get away the wrong way and you will have the pleasure of cutting his meat at every meal for 3 month.

Philippe
Of course, but you seem to forget a lot of koshi, kokyu, tenchi, irimi.... nage which are not based in ballistically messing with opponent joints and are not much more dangerous than judo throws.

You also seem to forget the authorized (because they are "safe") techniques in shodokan randori. And these are not techniques unknown to a high kyu aikido practitioner regardless of style.

We're not so deadly..., in fact we train to be not very deadly, isn't it?

Ron Tisdale
06-26-2006, 11:55 AM
For exemple the 3rd bone breaker at the arm, is word for word shiho-nage irimi-omote. And it is to be used as the name aptly says, to break the arm of your opponent.

Well, the waza may indeed be designed to break someone's arm at some level, but let's look at this a bit. Do you know anyone who has broken someone's arm with that technique? Have you yourself ever done it? Have you ever applied sucsessfully to a fully resistant, in shape, trained opponant even a "safe" version of the technique?

Not to be a spoil sport...but it can be really hard to take a strong, fit, aggressive person and put their hand behind their shoulder.

Best,
Ron (and no, I'm not saying that aikido doesn't work)

dps
06-26-2006, 12:49 PM
(and no, I'm not saying that aikido doesn't work)

Gee Ron, could you rephrase this? Too many negatives for my old addled brain to figure out. :p

Talon
06-26-2006, 01:12 PM
Well I haven't seen anyone get their arm broken myself but apparently my sensei had his wrist broken by a showoff nage doing kotegeashi in his days of training long time ago.

aikigirl10
06-26-2006, 03:58 PM
Oh you definitely don't have to attack first. My sensei loves to attack as uke, and then totally reverse the technique on myself as nage.

Luc X Saroufim
06-26-2006, 05:15 PM
i've received a lot of comments about two main areas:

1) the more i train, the less i will feel a need to use my skills in a playful manner.

why is this so? like someone mentioned earlier, i'm still in the "discovery" stages, where everything is new and exciting to me. after class, when i go home, i still want to do Aikido. does this feeling go away?

2) am i really capable of hurting someone at this stage? i've heard a lot of this as well, but i'm training for my 5th kyu test, and am still working on using my center.

Luc, you can't build a solid brigde without solid foundations. Right now you are at the stage of surveying the ground. I have been training for 3 years now and feel like im at the stage of boring that first hole into the ground to lay my first support strut.

how did you know i was a bridge engineer? :cool:

Pauliina Lievonen
06-26-2006, 05:38 PM
As to 1), not necessarily. But at some point your loved ones will wise up and refuse to play practice dummy anymore...BTDT :D:D

2) I think this would depend a bit on who you practice with and how you practice. If you're resonably big and strong and you try to force a technique on someone smaller and weaker than you, yes you could hurt someone. Quite possibly without noticing it, if you haven't developed a lot of sensitiveness yet.

The other scenario is where suddenly something accidentally works, not because you know how to do it but because you just happen to hit the right movement, and you and your training partner are both taken by surprise. That can result in injury, too.

BTW, about attacking - you can "attack" with an aikido technique, but only if you observe all the requirements that make an aikido technique succesful in the first place. Just deciding "I'm going to ikkyo this guy" is going to fail, if your relative positions and energy and timing and whatnot are not appropriate for ikkyo. I think what easily happens in this kind of situation is that when you want to go for an aikido-technique-as-an-attack, you stop taking in everything about the other person, and attack in the wrong way, at the wrong moment, getting sort of blinded by the idea of attacking.

kvaak
Pauliina

dps
06-26-2006, 06:42 PM
Luc,
What does your sensei say about this?

mickeygelum
06-26-2006, 06:56 PM
I am restraining myself from being totally honest in my opinion...but, If you do not train for life , you lead a false life...so, when you practice with whomever it is, remember that if they allow you to do whatever you want/attempt...you are not doing Aikido, you are performing as if in a play...or forbid, PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING....now, this will evoke some responses, but, if you do not have 10 years of diligent practice under your belt, please do not embarrass yourself with a "MY SENSEI SAID" reply...if you do not put your skills to the test...sign up for "DOJO BALLERINA 101" ...
does anyone else get tired of hearing " AIKIDO IS NON-CONFRONTATIONAL" or " AIKIDO IS NOT COMPETITIVE "....it is a diluted form of combat...a contemporary form of budo...please, train as if it would be the final time before you face an unknown opponent...trust your partners not to rob you of the ability to defend yourself if needed....yet, compassionate enough to realize when you have to no longer defend yourself and have not become the aggressor....

mathewjgano
06-26-2006, 07:08 PM
Doesn't it strike anyone else as odd that on the one had Aikido is touted as the pacifists martial art - subdue your opponenet without hamring them etc etc, and on the other we get these too dangerous to spar type arguments?
Personally I still maintain that it's not an issue of being too dangerous so much as Aikido works best against a particular type of unfettered agression which you don't see alot in sparring and certainly not in two mates facing off in the living room.
I hope you realize I didn't say it's too dangerous to spar. I think it's perfectly fine to train off the mat. I was just speaking from the top of my head and after trying to think about how one might train, I felt the need to include a caveat. People get hurt ON the mat, when they've been training for a few years. I've come somewhat close to dislocating a person's shoulder without a whole lot more effort than it takes to raise and lower my hand. I think it's smart to be careful. Aikido teaches a pacifist's intention, but the techniques can tear a joint apart pretty easily if one isn't careful. Nikkyo, for example, has claimed one training partner (I didn't do it! I swear!).
"Stuff happens" and it's wise to be careful, that's all.

Dom_Shodan
06-26-2006, 09:24 PM
I think you are very perceptive Luc. Aikido in its purest form is a non-violent path. As you said, it was not O-Sensei's fault. The inability to apply a technique falls on the shoulders of the Aikidoka. It is not a reflection on Osensei's teachings, rather just your inexperience in the art. Having said that, I believe that your thinking and analysis on Aikido is very admirable. Your Idea's may change as you become proficient, but for someone to be in deep thought of Aikido at your level, makes you to be a very promising Aikidoka. I wish we had more students like you at my dojo. Thanks for the interesting read.

Dominic.

dps
06-26-2006, 10:04 PM
Aikido in its purest form is a non-violent path.
I would like you to provide the proof where O"Sensei said this.

xuzen
06-26-2006, 11:09 PM
In a brawl i.e, a friendly sparring match where each party is trying not to hurt the other party, wrestling is a good delivery system. Sportified version of judo is a good avenue to engage in such friendlies. Alternative would be wrestling. Boxing or pugilistic approach is possible with protective gear and strict rules. Such friendlies is a good avenue to practice sportmanship and atheletism. In my mind, to play this type of game, aikido purist will fare rather poorly.

Some say in aikido there is no offence, some say there is. And yet, yokomenuchi, shomenuchi, or mune tsuki are the typical offence you see in a aikido dojo. So technically those are your offensive version of so called aikido technique.

But then, people argue, those attack are unrealistic... nobody in real world would throw a punch like that? These people argue, in REAL WORLD (TM) street hudlum will tuck their chin in, hands will assume boxing position, assume a boxing stance and go mano on mano with you.

I am a real person, I live in a real world, and yet when I think of it, I am not going to tuck my chin in, and assume a boxing stance. I will instead, should the need arise, execute the typical yokomen uchi, shomen uchi type of attack so bemoan of the typical fighter. But bear in mind instead of barehand, you bet I will be holding something hard and not easily breakable (stones, helmet or glass bottle).

So, people, does your aikido have offence. Mine does, and it you want REAL OFFENSE (TM), it will be with a weapon. Deal with it.

So if people ask you, how does aikido deal with a boxer? Get a jo and show them. How does aikido deal with newaza? Get a jo and show them. How does aikido deal with a crazed mad man lunging at you with a knife ala mune tuski fashion.... SHOMEN-ATE (TM)!!!

Boon.

nswren
06-26-2006, 11:38 PM
I too have only begun my training (almost a year now!) but I agree with much of what has been said.

At my level of experience, if a technique is going to work, it is because it is completely instinctual -- a person went to hit me and tsuki kotegaeshi just happened. The one or two times I've had the "friendly" fights you talk about, I'm careful to make sure I don't try for any techniques for fear of hurting someone; instead, I think about my ma'ai and how I'm moving. Knowing my friends, I'm careful about which of them hear I've started practicing aikido -- I don't want to deal with "Oh yeah? Prove it works..."

theflyingheadbuttsuplex
06-27-2006, 12:13 AM
Hello everyone,

what I am probably about to type is not new to many veterans out there, but hopefully will clear up some issues for beginners like me.

in the 10 months i've been training, there has been one resounding positive effect: confidence. i am simply more confident in myself.

so my best friend and I got together this weekend. mind you, i've known this guy forever, the last thing he does is insult me, or want to hurt me, but we always have "friendly" fights.

this time, we decided to turn it up a notch. i figured we could, because we trust each other, the same way an uke trusts his tori.

we cleared the living room and began to "fight." now here is what i learned about Aikido, and hopefully i will get some advice from the older students:

1) I attacked first. Basically, as soon as I did that, I lost the fight. Aikido really is a non-violent martial art. even though i knew some beginner techniques, i could not employ them, because i didn't allow my friend to attack me. therefore, i had no 'ki' to work with.

2) You have to move fast in Aikido for it to be effective. if it's not instinctual, it will not work. he *did* grab my wrists a few times, and as soon as i "connected" with him, he simply let go, and the "ki" was lost.

3) In spite of all this, i still had a chance to take him down. i had him set up for a perfect sankyo, and couldn't do it correctly.

summary: sometimes people think Aikido doesn't work. in this case, it didn't at all. but it wasn't O' Sensei's fault.

if i waited for my friend to attack first, I might've had a chance. i always acted too hastily and tried to take him down. this goes against everything Aikido teaches you.

second, if you don't practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, you will never employ the technique correctly. they require a swift, instinctual motion, with no delay or hesitation. hesitate for a second, and you have lost the technique. if you rest on your laurels, you don't stand a chance.

looking back on what i just typed, this sounds like a lot of common sense. however, i've seen a lot of "Aikido doesn't work" threads recently, and I have to agree: if you let your oppenents play their game, it will not work at all.


It might not be my place to say so (I've only been doing aikido for 2 years, which is like 2 seconds to some people :p ) but these seem to be fairly astute observations. Especially the one about not playing the opponents game. Good job, and for all who don't know, brawling with friends is fun! :D

shadowedge
06-27-2006, 12:59 AM
after class, when i go home, i still want to do Aikido. does this feeling go away?

In my case, the feeling never goes away... simply can't get enough of it.... :) BUT...

at some point your loved ones will wise up and refuse to play practice dummy anymore

how true how true.... :cool:

philippe willaume
06-27-2006, 02:18 AM
Hello ron
May be I was not clear in what I was trying to get across. Regardless of the pertinence of free sparing in aikido, It is not a matter of how hard it is to break someone arm or the deadliness of the art itself, It is a mater of how easy it is to protect the participant of thing outside their control.
I am not really an expert but cutting with the hand behind the shoulder with shiho-nague is what makes it safe, If you cut more away from his body it will become much more iffy.
Safety in fee sparing does not only involve the skill of each participant that is why I used the shiho-nague over the top. If each participant know what they are doing we can make it relatively safe if not especially pleasant. However it has a fair potential to go horribly wrong and we do not have any means of protecting ourselves other than not letting it go horribly wrong.

I am not saying that we should not do randori or kokuy because they are safe and controlled environment but this is world apart from free-sparing.
.

Denmetrio, I can disagree with what you say
But if you take away techniques, it is a bit like fencing with a long sword and say that you are not cutting because it is too dangerous, in that case you are really doing mid period rapier or small sword but not really longsword anymore.

phil

DonMagee
06-27-2006, 08:26 AM
So, people, does your aikido have offence. Mine does, and it you want REAL OFFENSE (TM), it will be with a weapon. Deal with it.

So if people ask you, how does aikido deal with a boxer? Get a jo and show them. How does aikido deal with newaza? Get a jo and show them. How does aikido deal with a crazed mad man lunging at you with a knife ala mune tuski fashion.... SHOMEN-ATE (TM)!!!

Boon.

So when your on the street and a guy attempts to tackle you to the ground so he can pound your head in, are you going to ask him to wait right there while you get a jo? Wouldn't it be better to just train against guys with actually ground skills to learn what to expect from a person with those skills and learn how to defend against them with your skills. Its a lot like saying "My aikido will defend me from boxers. How do I know? Well because O'Sensei was unbeaten." or saying "How do you defend against grapplers? Well dont go to the ground". These kind of statements dont actually mean anything. They dont solve an issue, they skirt around it. If you want to learn how to use aikido against a strong skilled sriker, which of these training methods are going to build skill fastest (this is assuming you are at least shodan rank)

Method 1) I train at my dojo with other aikido people who throw yokomen, shomen, and meski strikes at me. Possibly these people have no striking training outside of aikido. Or at best stand in a boxers stance and throw jabs leaving the arm out at the end of the jab.

Method 2) I train with a boxer or karate guy who moves around and throws strikes at about 25-50% power at me while I attempt to leverage my aikido. Then as I get better he steps up his attacks until I can deal with his footwork and strikes at any level. When run this drill until he forces retreat, tap, or verbal tap with strikes, or I submit him with a pin or lock. Then I find other strikers and do the same thing (because everyone is different and more training partners means more variety).

Again, lets say i'm worried about takedowns. Which method is best for me.

Method 1) I train at my dojo again. This time I have students do the 'football ducking single leg'. This is what you get when you tell someone untrained in grappling to do a single leg. They start about 2 feet back, bend over looking at your leg then run into you and attempt to push you over with their shoulder while holding onto your leg.

Method 2) I find a grappler, lets say a judo guy. I have him engage in randori with me using his judo. I have him go about 30% and then scale it up as I get better. We go until either I get thrown, or I throw or standing lock him. We continue to increase the skill level until we are in full randori.

This does not mean that method 2 has to be someone outside of your aikido dojo. Maybe you have a strong judoka in your dojo who can give you an accurate version of a takedown. Or maybe you have a karate guy in your dojo who can throw good strikes. But principles are not as easy to apply as actually experiance.

One last example. You have a programming job you need done. You have two choices to pick from

1) This programmer is fresh out of college with a BS in CS. He has never worked in the field but has trained daily for 4 years. He knows all the latest theory and design principles as well as all the langauges required.
2) This programmer has no college education. He started working in computers at age 17 and worked his way up though a company where he became a programmer. He was the lead developer of several successful projects for this company. Though his work he has learned the skills and languages needed. His previous employers projects have not been as mission critical as the project you have now, but he has actual work experiance in the language and multiple sucesssful projects written in this language.

Chris Li
06-27-2006, 08:51 AM
For exemple the 3rd bone breaker at the arm, is word for word shiho-nage irimi-omote. And it is to be used as the name aptly says, to break the arm of your opponent.

I don't get this one - the Japanese says nothing at all about "breaking the arm". Misunderstood in translation?

Best,

Chris

Kevin Leavitt
06-27-2006, 09:08 AM
Sounds like Mixed Martial Arts to me Don! :)

I personally like this approach to training. it isn't for everyone, but if you have a particular risk factor or concern that you feel is important to mitigate....training this way is the only way I know how to do it properly.

IMO, if you train in traditional aikido you will become very good at traditional aikido. If it works in a fight, it works. It may or may not work depending on the day of the week your feeling, mood, awareness, hydration level...or any number of factors.

Also, IMO, if you want to be a better fighter...train as you fight and fight as you train. It is as simple as that! Last I checked you don't "train as you fight" in an aikido dojo for the most part.

Aikido may be a part of your training regime, (for fighting), but it is no where near complete as a methodology.

Talon
06-27-2006, 09:31 AM
IMO, if you train in traditional aikido you will become very good at traditional aikido. If it works in a fight, it works. It may or may not work depending on the day of the week your feeling, mood, awareness, hydration level...or any number of factors.

I say this will apply to any type of training. Factors such as health, mood, hydration, awareness and most importantly LUCK....play a huge role and can ultimately determine the result in a fight no matter what martial art or method you're training.

Richard Langridge
06-27-2006, 09:52 AM
For exemple the 3rd bone breaker at the arm, is word for word shiho-nage irimi-omote. And it is to be used as the name aptly says, to break the arm of your opponent.


Um, I'm pretty sure shi-ho-nage means (literally) four-direction-throw.

ikkitosennomusha
06-27-2006, 11:00 AM
Um, I'm pretty sure shi-ho-nage means (literally) four-direction-throw.

I have to agree with Richard.

Luc X Saroufim
06-27-2006, 02:28 PM
a little more background on why we "fought", just to clear up some issues.

even though i've just begun, i feel like i'm used to the conditioning that a controlled environment (such as a dojo) has given me. i know how we're going to begin: warmup. i know the sequence of the warmup before it begins. i know which uke's i will work with. i know i will never see a kick today. etc etc etc.

so training with a karateka is a fresh experience. my trainer at the gym tells me to mix up my workout regime all the time: when the muscles get used to the same workout, they stop improving.

similarly, if you looked at my original post, i would have never had these thoughts, or posted here and had a discussion, if i trained with an aikidoka that night. he bear hugged me. he tried to kick me. he didn't give me time to connect. i still prefer the dojo for a million +1 reasons, but that night, i needed a different kind of learning experience.

does that make any sense?

Ron Tisdale
06-27-2006, 03:00 PM
For me personally, it would make sense if you'd been training longer than 10 months, or in an art that get's assimilated in most people quicker than aikido does. But considering we are talking aikido, and only 10 months...nope, doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. But the good thing is that what we think doesn't really matter. Hopefully your aikido will continue to improve, and you will continue to test it occationally, and you'll be happy with the results.

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
06-27-2006, 03:13 PM
I think it makes sense because it makes you think. As Ron states, with 10 months of training under your belt though, it may not give you the same opinion or decisions that you might make 10 years from now, but I think that is okay as long as you continue to have an open mind.

I think that aikido can be very parochial sometimes, but with only 10 months, again, it may lead to more questions and confusion than answers. Nothing wrong with having questions though!

Demetrio Cereijo
06-27-2006, 05:04 PM
Denmetrio, I can disagree with what you say
But if you take away techniques, it is a bit like fencing with a long sword and say that you are not cutting because it is too dangerous, in that case you are really doing mid period rapier or small sword but not really longsword anymore.


Of course you can disagree with what i say :), it's a forum.

However, i prefer free sparring with a shinai, protective equipement and restricted rules than going nhb against the air with a shinken. Different tastes, no problem.

In any case i wasn´t taking away tecniques, i was pointing to the existence of techniques which can be used both in free sparring /spontaneous training with educational purposes and (with luck and the other variables) to protect ourselves, or our loved ones, without excessive damage for the hypothetical attacker.

BTW, you can have a longsword, but aikiotoshi the bad guy:
http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/Goliath/117.jpg

philippe willaume
06-28-2006, 10:09 AM
Um, I'm pretty sure shi-ho-nage means (literally) four-direction-throw.
yes that is my undrestanding as well
the 3rd bone breaker at the arm is a ringen (german medieval wrestling) whis is described like a shiho nague irimi omote.
sorry i was not ultra clear.

phil

philippe willaume
06-28-2006, 10:28 AM
BTW, you can have a longsword, but aikiotoshi the bad guy:
http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/Goliath/117.jpg

Hello demetrio
You are preaching to the choir.
I find that there is lots of technical similitude between aikido and medieval wrestling. (hence if needed be more to convince me that aikido works. That fencing tradition was used in judicial duels, where the looser, if not killed outright was executed by very unpleasant mean. As mister Wallace points out in pulp fiction)

Meyer is a fencing master that at lest two treatise one in 1475 and the other in 1600
His coming from a older tradition. The original fencing master was Johaness lichtanauer. The first written mention of him is in a 1380-90 document.
Johaness lichtanauer wrote in mnemonic verses about longsword, wrestling with and without armour on foot and on horse. A fair amount of the fencing manuscript we have from germany in the 15th century explains those verses.

For those interested, here is a quick and dirty translation of the text. (My 15th century german is better, well less worse, that my 16th…so sorry in advance to any Germans...)

Yet a wrestling at the body
??? he runs at you and has his arms and you also, so hold the sword in the right hand and strike move his across from you with that. Step with the left foot behind his right and grab his left side with your left arm under and across his breast and tie/take him on you left hip and throw him behind you. This technique can be done either side.

phil

Lyle Bogin
06-29-2006, 10:42 AM
The decision to use a technique in free sparring should be based on your opponent's weaknesses.

Attacking first can be fine, you just have to pick the right attack.

skinnymonkey
07-03-2006, 08:18 AM
I was reading this thread a while back and I was thinking about these quotes.

Friends are for having a good time with, what happens when you do get to the point when you can 'beat' him, will it change the nature of the relationship? will you feel superior to him? will he be pleased for you?

Fighting is such a 'gross' level of human interaction, there are better ways to go about things

To me... much of this stuff is like when I play Chess. I play Chess with people who are my friends - sometimes they beat me, and sometimes I beat them. I'm always learning new moves and setups to watch out for and new things to try. It's always just for fun and it doesn't change our relationship, because they are always getting better too. The same goes for the people I "fight" with. I get popped every now and then and I pop every now and then. I don't hold it against someone else when they get a good shot off or a good takedown, and they don't hold it against me either. It actually kind of gets us closer in a weird way. It's a real different relationship after you've boxed with a guy or had some sort of physical match against them. In the places I work out... it doesn't hurt to fight, as long as you are fighting people you respect and who respect you and as long as you are fighting to improve yourself, not to "beat" the other guy.

Anyway, I have to kind of disagree with those quotes (from my perspective). Fighting (or brawling) can be a lot like chess... depending on how you approach it and who you are interacting with.

Just my two cents and I can certainly see what you mean in those quotes, I just haven't experienced that in my own life.

Thanks!

Jeff D.

Steve Mullen
07-03-2006, 08:25 AM
It actually kind of gets us closer in a weird way. It's a real different relationship after you've boxed with a guy or had some sort of physical match against them.

I know just what you mean here jeff. Me and my dad used to do kickboxing/MMA together, its supprising how much closer it can bring you. once you have beat the hell out of each other (in a controled way) arguing just seems kinda pointless

DonMagee
07-03-2006, 11:02 AM
I was reading this thread a while back and I was thinking about these quotes.





To me... much of this stuff is like when I play Chess. I play Chess with people who are my friends - sometimes they beat me, and sometimes I beat them. I'm always learning new moves and setups to watch out for and new things to try. It's always just for fun and it doesn't change our relationship, because they are always getting better too. The same goes for the people I "fight" with. I get popped every now and then and I pop every now and then. I don't hold it against someone else when they get a good shot off or a good takedown, and they don't hold it against me either. It actually kind of gets us closer in a weird way. It's a real different relationship after you've boxed with a guy or had some sort of physical match against them. In the places I work out... it doesn't hurt to fight, as long as you are fighting people you respect and who respect you and as long as you are fighting to improve yourself, not to "beat" the other guy.

Anyway, I have to kind of disagree with those quotes (from my perspective). Fighting (or brawling) can be a lot like chess... depending on how you approach it and who you are interacting with.

Just my two cents and I can certainly see what you mean in those quotes, I just haven't experienced that in my own life.

Thanks!

Jeff D.


I understand what you mean. Sparing/competing in bjj, judo, mma for me is no different then playing basketball, football, or baseball. I have no ill feelings and I dont feel superior to those I beat. I dont even feel its violent. I feel violence needs intent. I never intend to harm, I only intend to win.

Keith R Lee
07-03-2006, 11:55 AM
Speaking of martial arts, fighting, and chess...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2068450760833041053

You can watch the whole thing, or you can skip ahead to 4:30 into the clip where martial arts, fighting, and chess are brought together.

mathewjgano
07-03-2006, 07:18 PM
Speaking of martial arts, fighting, and chess...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2068450760833041053

You can watch the whole thing, or you can skip ahead to 4:30 into the clip where martial arts, fighting, and chess are brought together.
I suppose I'd be one of those "quizzical look" folks he's talking about. When they were practicig the "lock flows" the guys arm was completely relaxed. I've never seen anyone train quite like that. Close, maybe, but never like that. Was it an exagerated example maybe? Same thing with the "sparring."
As for the chess analogy: I think the explanation given to me by Peter about Shodokan fits well. They take basic movements, and build on them step by step. These are designed to teach form, from there the varying degrees of resistance are applied. The only difference between this style and my primary style back in the states is that Shodokan is more structured (you know more of what you'll be practicing and in which sequence you'll be practicing it).
I've played a lot of chess, and I completely agree that you get better by playing people who mix it up. However, the manner in which Matt was "practicing" his openings is a valid method for learning an opening, though he rather simplified it. You take fundemental principles, such as the classical theory of chess where you control the center by occupying it with pieces (as was Matt's opening), and you move in that way. From there, you build on it by practicing via "free-form" (add some resistance). A chess coach will often move through a basic opening like Matt did by saying, "ok play Ruy Lopez, Marshal counter-gambit", but then at random points, ask "what if" questions. You can only do this after memorizing the movements of the opening. Also, to give some perspective, the three moves Matt made would be akin to taking one or two steps in a technique, if that much. There is no real advantage issue yet, unlike when we practice some technique which ends with a dinstinct advantage issue. It would be like facing off with someone in slightly different stances: there's no real contact made yet. Even forgetting about that, there are two things that are going on: the superficial and the dynamic. In my opinion, the superficial would be simply seeing two people cooperatively repeat the same movements over and over again. The dynamic is what those two people are sensing about the positions they get themselves into. In chess, you're getting a sense of the situation by thinking about the dynamic between the various pieces' movements. In budo you're feeling which ways you're moving and in which ways you feel strong or weak. It does require an engagement, and maybe Matt isn't speaking to those who do this already, but simply practicing forms doesn't equal "dead pattern"...in my neophytes perspective anyway. I can practice alone and still learn something about how to move, how to maintain stronger balance, how to move with my whole body. These are obviously just parts of the whole study of budo, but they're valid lessons aren't they? I know several people who, growing up, LOVED to go out and get in fights. Some of these people swing wide telegraphing punches. They learned in a purely "alive" manner, and yet displayed some poor dynamics. Might this not be an example of how there's more to the situation than seems to meet the eye?
Granted, I may be over-thinking the simple message Matt is sending us, and if that's the case, please disregard this as a critique of it, and tell me instead, if anyone is so inclined, what you think of my distinction between the superficial and dynamic events going on in patterned training.
Take care,
Matt

DonMagee
07-03-2006, 08:43 PM
I think Matt Thornton's message is rather simple and a lot of people read into it too much. These are the major points I like to touch on
1) If you can't learn a technique in a few minutes, its probably too complicated for you to actually use right now.
2) Drill the motions in a few minutes and move though levels of resistance until you are sparing.
3) If you are intent in learning how to fight, you are going to have to actually get as close to fighting as possible (Lots of sparing). Its the only way to actually learn what you can and can't do. I wish there was a better way, but there isn't. Everything else is only theory. (Sparing could also be concidered theory, but its the best we got without going out and picking a fight).

His message is aimed at people who just do forms all day and claim it makes them great fighters.

mathewjgano
07-03-2006, 09:08 PM
I think Matt Thornton's message is rather simple and a lot of people read into it too much. These are the major points I like to touch on
1) If you can't learn a technique in a few minutes, its probably too complicated for you to actually use right now.
2) Drill the motions in a few minutes and move though levels of resistance until you are sparing.
3) If you are intent in learning how to fight, you are going to have to actually get as close to fighting as possible (Lots of sparing). Its the only way to actually learn what you can and can't do. I wish there was a better way, but there isn't. Everything else is only theory. (Sparing could also be concidered theory, but its the best we got without going out and picking a fight).
His message is aimed at people who just do forms all day and claim it makes them great fighters.
I'm sure I did read too much into it. I do think too much :D
Still, I don't know many Aikidoka who claim to be "great" fighters...though, better off, certainly.
Take care.

Keith R Lee
07-04-2006, 06:33 PM
Yeah, Straight Blast Gym's (SBG) message is just that forms do nothing to prepare anyone for a physical conflict. If all one trains with is forms, then they are never prepared for fight. Like Don said above, the only way to get good at fighting/be preparred for a fight, is to do the closest thing possible to actually fighting. Which is to spar/roll at full speed with full resistence. Anything less and it's just hypothetical situations because there is no personal, empirical evidence as to how one would function in combat.

CNYMike
07-04-2006, 07:14 PM
Hello everyone,

what I am probably about to type is not new to many veterans out there, but hopefully will clear up some issues for beginners like me.

in the 10 months i've been training, there has been one resounding positive effect: confidence. i am simply more confident in myself.

so my best friend and I got together this weekend. mind you, i've known this guy forever, the last thing he does is insult me, or want to hurt me, but we always have "friendly" fights.

this time, we decided to turn it up a notch. i figured we could, because we trust each other, the same way an uke trusts his tori.

we cleared the living room and began to "fight." now here is what i learned about Aikido, and hopefully i will get some advice from the older students:

1) I attacked first. Basically, as soon as I did that, I lost the fight. Aikido really is a non-violent martial art. even though i knew some beginner techniques, i could not employ them, because i didn't allow my friend to attack me. therefore, i had no 'ki' to work with.

2) You have to move fast in Aikido for it to be effective. if it's not instinctual, it will not work. he *did* grab my wrists a few times, and as soon as i "connected" with him, he simply let go, and the "ki" was lost.

3) In spite of all this, i still had a chance to take him down. i had him set up for a perfect sankyo, and couldn't do it correctly.

summary: sometimes people think Aikido doesn't work. in this case, it didn't at all. but it wasn't O' Sensei's fault.

if i waited for my friend to attack first, I might've had a chance. i always acted too hastily and tried to take him down. this goes against everything Aikido teaches you.

second, if you don't practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, you will never employ the technique correctly. they require a swift, instinctual motion, with no delay or hesitation. hesitate for a second, and you have lost the technique. if you rest on your laurels, you don't stand a chance.

looking back on what i just typed, this sounds like a lot of common sense. however, i've seen a lot of "Aikido doesn't work" threads recently, and I have to agree: if you let your oppenents play their game, it will not work at all.

Back when I started karate -- the very beginning of my martial arts journey -- I would spar with my best friend and sometimes friends of his. They would frequently confound me with things I had not seen in the dojo -- namely low kicks and fakes. I have continuied in traditional karate all this time and still never seen counters to those particular things. But I still learned to watch from them and over time, performed my own blocks. Your best bet my be to take the same approach, not say "It didn't work!" but as a learning experience, to watch for what confounds you and develop your own counters to them.

My karate sensei at the time always said three things:

1. Every move has a countermove.

2. You won't win all the time.

3. There's always someone out there who knows something you don't.

Again, your experience and mine proves him right. So there is no need to get upset over it. Just take it in stride and learn from it.

statisticool
07-04-2006, 07:26 PM
does anyone else get tired of hearing " AIKIDO IS NON-CONFRONTATIONAL" ..


Not at all, especially when I've read several Ueshibas and other highly respected aikidoka write that, and I can understand that myself when I don't meet an attack head on but try and blend with it.

statisticool
07-04-2006, 07:35 PM
Anything less and it's just hypothetical situations because there is no personal, empirical evidence as to how one would function in combat.

I have no personal empirical evidence that if I crash my car I will get injured, but I understand based on physics and experiences of others what will happen if I crash my car.

Similarly, I can understand body mechanics and look at the experiences of others who have successfully applied their martial arts in real life, even if I haven't been in a real fight, and if I don't train in an MMA gym.

Are martial artists that practice with wooden swords really unable to *really* get it because they don't practice with live swords full contact? I don't believe so.

To play devil's advocate, one could also say that MMA folk are in "hypothetical situations" since they typically fight with dozens of rules and in a padded environment. Fighting with high levels of resistance and contact doesn't change that. :)

statisticool
07-04-2006, 07:42 PM
I would like you to provide the proof where O"Sensei said this.

In The Art of Peace, translated by Stevens, p. 33, talking about aikido, has

"It can never be violent."

and

"Aikido is to teach people how not to be violent."

mathewjgano
07-04-2006, 07:58 PM
Yeah, Straight Blast Gym's (SBG) message is just that forms do nothing to prepare anyone for a physical conflict. If all one trains with is forms, then they are never prepared for fight.
I agree with the latter sentence, but disagree with the first. I wouldn't say they do "nothing." It seems to me that any time someone works on coordination, they're helping themselves. Maybe I'm being too picky in which phrases I'm responding to, and I know I'm hardly a precise speaker most of the time, but I do think it's important to speak precisely...particularly when we're discussing self-defense issues.
Like Don said above, the only way to get good at fighting/be preparred for a fight, is to do the closest thing possible to actually fighting.
In my mind, forms/kata are theory, which do serve an important part of preparation; applying them to gradually increasing levels of resistance are the testing of those theories.

mathewjgano
07-04-2006, 08:06 PM
Not at all, especially when I've read several Ueshibas and other highly respected aikidoka write that, and I can understand that myself when I don't meet an attack head on but try and blend with it.
I think a big part of the "Aikido is non-confrontational" discussion is a matter of semantics. To some, the concept of irimi might seem confrontational, while to others it does not.

Don
07-04-2006, 10:59 PM
Well, I'll throw out a bit of a contrarian opinion here. So, if you really buy into the "aikido is non confrontational" idea, ponder this, your someplace and there is an obnoxious person bothering you. You want to just leave, but he is blocking your way but he is not yet touching you or striking you. You try talking your way out of the sitution, but it is clear that this is going to escalate into a physical situation. What do you do? If you believe aikido is non-confrontational then you would likely wait until attacked. That might be fine or not.

Aikido is not just about techniques. Aikido is also about creating openings and it is about controlling the opponents intentions.

Think about kata menuchi. Here is an example that speaks to creating openings and controlling the situation. At least in the way we practice it, uke grabs your lapel and then YOU strike to his face. Either uke doesn't block and gets clocked or they react to your strike, which is what you want them to do. You now control the situation and can (at least theoretically execute a technique). Was aikido non confrontational in this case? My answer is no. What you do after you execute the technique determines if you adhere to O'Sensei's desire to not be violent. If you trash the person, then perhaps not.

Randori and jyu waza somewhat teach unhearsed responses.

But it is the kata (and after all, the techniques are practiced as kata) teach you to internalize the movements and then later to see the openings. But it doesn't come fast. And consequently many people focus on the techniques as techniques and don't see the openings or the ways to control the opponent's intentions.

For instance, (and this is from a real example) in iriminage, what you may find from a real angry opponent is that if you try the kihon pivot around and throw will be that the opponent may pull away, or attempt to. A real opening however is to pivot in and apply a choke. At least the time I found myself in this situation, the choke stopped the confrontation immediately. But I never practiced that before I did it.

One last comment about fighting to learn to fight, yeah, perhaps to some extent, but at least with aikido, I would say don't do that until you have a lot experience. Understand the techniques, know some of the openings, understand leading the opponent. If you try "brawling with a friend" after a few months or a year or so, you will probably find that it doesn't work.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-05-2006, 04:04 AM
I have no personal empirical evidence that if I crash my car I will get injured, but I understand based on physics and experiences of others what will happen if I crash my car.
And i don't have empirical evidence that if i play this (http://www.easports.com/games/f12004/pccd.jsp) as only training tool i'll became the next Schumacher.
Are martial artists that practice with wooden swords really unable to *really* get it because they don't practice with live swords full contact? I don't believe so.
Train with a bokken and then try the tameshigiri with shinken. Tell us the results.
To play devil's advocate, one could also say that MMA folk are in "hypothetical situations" since they typically fight with dozens of rules and in a padded environment. Fighting with high levels of resistance and contact doesn't change that. :)
There is "hypothetical situations" and "hypohetical situations". Training under high levels of resistance and contact is a very different "hypothetical situation" from training withouth resistence and contact.

statisticool
07-05-2006, 07:05 AM
I think a big part of the "Aikido is non-confrontational" discussion is a matter of semantics. To some, the concept of irimi might seem confrontational, while to others it does not.

Very true.

In Spirit of Aikido K. Ueshiba has something like "deflating aggression", which might be closer to the spirit of the matter than total non-aggression.

DonMagee
07-05-2006, 07:19 AM
I have no personal empirical evidence that if I crash my car I will get injured, but I understand based on physics and experiences of others what will happen if I crash my car.

Similarly, I can understand body mechanics and look at the experiences of others who have successfully applied their martial arts in real life, even if I haven't been in a real fight, and if I don't train in an MMA gym.

Are martial artists that practice with wooden swords really unable to *really* get it because they don't practice with live swords full contact? I don't believe so.

To play devil's advocate, one could also say that MMA folk are in "hypothetical situations" since they typically fight with dozens of rules and in a padded environment. Fighting with high levels of resistance and contact doesn't change that. :)

Yes you can say, look, this guy punched this guy in the face and knocked him out. Punching works. But at the same time you are not accounting for the differences between yourself and the guy who threw that punch. Its about personal experiance. Without sparing all you know is what other people tell you to do and what other people tell you people react like. You actually have no idea what will actually happen. You tipically find out that 90% of the people out there never respond like you are told they will. People do crazy things and learning to adapt on the fly can't be learned though kata. Its a physical action that requires training.

Here is my thinking on this. I see lots of people talk about how sparing does not help you learn to use your art. I see lots of people talk about how sport fighting does not prepare you for the street. But I have never seen one person tell me how not sparing and not sport fighting helps you get better prepared.

Also, it has been my experiance that the quality of the actually martial artists vary wildly outside of the sport fighting circles. I have met many black belts in a wide varitey of arts. If I grab 10 aikido black belts and we look at their skill levels, we will find them wildly different. Some of them will be 100% unable to use any aikido against me. Some will be able to defeat me without effort. Now lets grab a sample of competition judo black belts. I would say you will find them all of similar skill. Sure they will each have their favorite throws they use and their own strategys. But I would be willing to bet the majority of them would destroy me without any effort. This is because they have actual experiance in how people react to what they are trying to do. Yes, judo competition is very restricted rules. It is nothing even close to a fight. But the active resistance allows them to adapt faster and get used to all the little things that make the technqiue work that you are never taught.

Learning though doing is accepted as the best way to learn anything except for in the realm of martial arts. Without it you are missing a vital experiance. Especially if you want to be able to use your art against a person who doesn't not want you too. I just can't comprehend how people can say sparing has so little benifit that its not worth doing. I can find no disadvantages to sparing. I can find disadvantages to not sparing.

statisticool
07-05-2006, 07:57 AM
Now lets grab a sample of competition judo black belts. I would say you will find them all of similar skill. Sure they will each have their favorite throws they use and their own strategys. But I would be willing to bet the majority of them would destroy me without any effort. This is because they have actual experiance in how people react to what they are trying to do.


I agree with the spirit of a lot of what you said in your post.

Regarding the specific paragraph above however, I didn't start training to be prepared to fight against trained martial artists in real life self defense situations. In fact, that situation is too improbable of an occurance to devote resources to it (IMO of course). If Muay Thai practicioners or Judoka start coming after people for hand to hand combat, I'll regret my choice.

I realize that some see that as an admission of training for the lowest common denomenator, but I understand it as applying fixed resources towards the most realistic common denomenator.

I'm also not really concerned with Martial art X being "better" than Martial art Y. In fact, the whole idea of winning and losing is lost on me, which is one of the reasons I chose aikido as a good fit in the first place.

Plus no one wants to see me wear speedos, so how could I do cage fights? ;)

DonMagee
07-05-2006, 08:37 AM
I train to be the best I can be. If you can handle a well trained opponent, then you can handle a untrained one. My point however is that they have a much more consistant level of skill because of the training methods they use. If a guy comes up to me wanting to train and he says he is a TKD blackbelt, I dont have any idea what to expect. He could be a pushover, or he could be a awesome kickboxer and cut though me. If a guy comes in who claims to be a BJJ purple belt. I know that he has major skills and I know the level of skill to expect from him.

This is a side effect of sparing. It boosts the level of skill of everyone involved. Lets say I have a great setup for an armbar from the guard. I learned it at a semminar and I use it with awesome success back at class. People are going to ask me how to do it. Hopefully I'm a good guy and I like my club so I show them. Other people are going to learn just by having me do it on them in sparing. Others are going to ask the coach how to defend or counter it. Within a months time that armbar isn't very great anymore. I need to learn new techniques if I want to get submissions. This cycle continues. I'm forced to learn better defenses, counters, submissions, counters to the counters, etc because if I dont I wont be able to defend myself from my partners.

At the same time, the higher skilled guys can use this teaching method to point out my flaws. When I first started I would get triangle choked left and right. One of the blue belts in the class would just triangle me over and over, I was never submitted by him except from triangle. Finally I learned how to defend against this and how not to put myself at risk of a triangle. With a sigh of releif he said "Finally, I was getting really bored of that submission", then he started working other submissions when we rolled. He noticed a flaw in my game and exploited it to the point of being rediculious so that I would learn how to defend it.

We had a guy in our club who lost a few fights to rear chokes. For two weeks when we sparred with this guy we would start with the backmount so he had to start from a bad position and defend the rear choke. He was submitted over and over (despite having been show, and drilled the choke defense) for about a week. Finally he learned how to make it work for him and I find him one of the hardest guys to choke from the backmount. I had to learn a few new ways to setup the choke just to have a chance. This boosts the skill of the whole club.

Eventually a new guy will come in. Until he does you feel like all this sparing has lead to no gains, you feel like all you do is get yourself bruised, beat up, tired, and weak. And then you roll with this new guy. And you realize that what was once fast, hard, and troublesome is now slow, telegraphed, and easy to defend. You realize that you can handle a bigger stronger less skilled guy easier then you could a month ago. And as you roll with this guy over the next few months you watch him become a greater challenge as he gains skill and understanding. And this pushes you to train even harder, so that you can learn new skills and strategys to keep him on his toes. You also get the understand that no matter how hard to train, how good you are, there is someone out there (and most likley someone in your club) that can take you.

I dont belive any martial art is better than any other. I belive some training methods are better than others. I belive any art can benifit from more sparing and more resistant drilling. I also dont think there is anything to lose by adding these to your training. I also dont spar to win. I spar to work on a my techniques. I was tapped out all night monday. I only tapped out a couple guys. The reason was that I was working on new material that was shown to me a couple days before at a semminar. That said, I do train to win. I love competition and when I go to one, I play to win. This does mean that I have to dedicate some sparing time to training with a competition mindset. But you do not have to have a competition mindset to spar.

I also feel this post over on bullshido lends itself to this converstation and is a great read (It is an explaination of the Inquiry Method of training) http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?p=1016621

Keith R Lee
07-05-2006, 11:51 AM
Well said Don. Mirrors much of my own thoughts and personal experience in regards to training.

statisticool
07-05-2006, 05:08 PM
My point however is that they have a much more consistant level of skill because of the training methods they use.


We're talking about hypothetical people here in hypothetical situations, so it is somewhat difficult to evaluate.

It really wouldn't matter to me if a practicioner of martial art X wins 30 straight UFC-ish events, or if a person or persons are more "consistent" in the gym because they enjoy full contact and resistance there; I'd still practice aikido instead of martial art X because of its unique philosophy and proven effectiveness for defense in the real world.

Plus it fits me for a variety of other reasons. A short list of factors involved with settling down on a martial art might include


is it good exercise
is it effective in real life
does it use leverage or brute strength
how expensive is it
do I live near the school
is there an ample number of training days per week
what is the general reputation of style/school/teacher
does the time of classes fit in with my schedule
can any of it be practiced at home
can I also practice weapons
can any of it be practiced with minimal equipment
what is the potential of injury
did I enjoy what I found when I watched or participated in a trial class
can I do it as I get older
do I find the culture it comes from interesting
can I do it in street clothes
is the philosophy compatible with how I think


and in my research I found aikido to satisfy these more than others for me. For MMA stuff, my research showed it to lead to too many injuries, be too expensive, too few possible training days per week, and I don't care for aggression and competition that I've found it to promote. Others might find it works for them.

I know you're not saying one martial art is better than another, but it sounds like you are replacing "better" with "consistent level of skill", and it sounds like someone trying to convince that no matter the food a fork is better than a spoon.

mickeygelum
07-05-2006, 06:20 PM
We're talking about hypothetical people here in hypothetical situations, so it is somewhat difficult to evaluate

I hope and pray you never have to defend yourself, or anyone else, outside of the dojo...because when you face a street smart individual that has learned from real-life encounters, and not in a comfortable mat-laden hall...there are no rules

Neal Earhart
07-05-2006, 07:37 PM
I hope and pray you never have to defend yourself, or anyone else, outside of the dojo...because when you face a street smart individual that has learned from real-life encounters, and not in a comfortable mat-laden hall...there are no rules

In my opinion, if you are in a situation where you have to actually "fight" or "defend yourself" more than likely you have placed yourself in that situation by choice.

If someone wants my wallet, I'll be glad to give it to them...just leave me alone...
If someone wants my car, here are the keys...just go away...
If someone want any belongings I'm carrying, here they are...enjoy them, and leave me alone...
If someone enters my house, I'll lock the bedroom door and call the police...

None of the above situations are worth risking your, your friends, or your spouses life over, in order to prove you can defend yourself using your martial arts training...

However, if it comes to having to fight for my life or my spouse's, I will...and during the encounter I expect to be hit, and I expect to be cut, and hopefully I will not be shot...and however my 18 years of Aikido enters into the equation, it will.

I don't know the areas where many of the forum posters live, but I live in New York City and I do not practice Aikido for the purpose of the defending myself on a daily basis...it just doesn't happen. In my life I have never been in a situation where I had to fight, where I, or someone else, haven't been able to defuse the situation before it got physical.

After reading posts and responses on this forum, I get the feeling that some people train in order to look for confrontational situations in order to "test" their skills.


"The Art of Peace is the principle of nonresistance. Because it is nonresistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. The Art of Peace is invincible because it contends with nothing"
- O Sensei

gdandscompserv
07-05-2006, 07:46 PM
Hello everyone,

what I am probably about to type is not new to many veterans out there, but hopefully will clear up some issues for beginners like me.

in the 10 months i've been training, there has been one resounding positive effect: confidence. i am simply more confident in myself.

so my best friend and I got together this weekend. mind you, i've known this guy forever, the last thing he does is insult me, or want to hurt me, but we always have "friendly" fights.

this time, we decided to turn it up a notch. i figured we could, because we trust each other, the same way an uke trusts his tori.

we cleared the living room and began to "fight." now here is what i learned about Aikido, and hopefully i will get some advice from the older students:

1) I attacked first. Basically, as soon as I did that, I lost the fight. Aikido really is a non-violent martial art. even though i knew some beginner techniques, i could not employ them, because i didn't allow my friend to attack me. therefore, i had no 'ki' to work with.

2) You have to move fast in Aikido for it to be effective. if it's not instinctual, it will not work. he *did* grab my wrists a few times, and as soon as i "connected" with him, he simply let go, and the "ki" was lost.

3) In spite of all this, i still had a chance to take him down. i had him set up for a perfect sankyo, and couldn't do it correctly.

summary: sometimes people think Aikido doesn't work. in this case, it didn't at all. but it wasn't O' Sensei's fault.

if i waited for my friend to attack first, I might've had a chance. i always acted too hastily and tried to take him down. this goes against everything Aikido teaches you.

second, if you don't practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, you will never employ the technique correctly. they require a swift, instinctual motion, with no delay or hesitation. hesitate for a second, and you have lost the technique. if you rest on your laurels, you don't stand a chance.

looking back on what i just typed, this sounds like a lot of common sense. however, i've seen a lot of "Aikido doesn't work" threads recently, and I have to agree: if you let your oppenents play their game, it will not work at all.
that is probably similar to how i would have felt had i tried employing Aikido after 10 months of training.
keep training and one day you probably will not even feel the urge to "test" your technique in this way. ;)

dps
07-05-2006, 07:59 PM
Posted by Justin 04-12-2006,
"I'm going to start taking aikido classes next month, and am excited. "

Posted by Justin 05-01-2006,
" I'll actually be starting towards the end of June, just outside of Alexandria, VA."

Hello Justin,
Have you actually started Aikido practice yet (not hypothetically)? How is it going? I am glad you are excited about Aikido and hope that when you gain some experience you will be able to speak from your experience. :)
Remember," all the theory in the world is NOTHING like the Real Thing."

Good Luck

DonMagee
07-05-2006, 08:03 PM
We're talking about hypothetical people here in hypothetical situations, so it is somewhat difficult to evaluate.

It really wouldn't matter to me if a practicioner of martial art X wins 30 straight UFC-ish events, or if a person or persons are more "consistent" in the gym because they enjoy full contact and resistance there; I'd still practice aikido instead of martial art X because of its unique philosophy and proven effectiveness for defense in the real world.

Plus it fits me for a variety of other reasons. A short list of factors involved with settling down on a martial art might include


is it good exercise
is it effective in real life
does it use leverage or brute strength
how expensive is it
do I live near the school
is there an ample number of training days per week
what is the general reputation of style/school/teacher
does the time of classes fit in with my schedule
can any of it be practiced at home
can I also practice weapons
can any of it be practiced with minimal equipment
what is the potential of injury
did I enjoy what I found when I watched or participated in a trial class
can I do it as I get older
do I find the culture it comes from interesting
can I do it in street clothes
is the philosophy compatible with how I think


and in my research I found aikido to satisfy these more than others for me. For MMA stuff, my research showed it to lead to too many injuries, be too expensive, too few possible training days per week, and I don't care for aggression and competition that I've found it to promote. Others might find it works for them.

I know you're not saying one martial art is better than another, but it sounds like you are replacing "better" with "consistent level of skill", and it sounds like someone trying to convince that no matter the food a fork is better than a spoon.


I am saying consistant level of skill. This means you have a method of teaching that tends to train people in a consistant manner. Most martial arts are lacking in this. I am not saying everyone should train MMA and fight in a cage. In fact I know that's not for everyone. What I am saying is that I feel judo, bjj, MMA, boxing, and kickboxing training methods are superior to other martial art training methods. I feel that everyone could benifit from adding the type of training methods the SBG advocates to their current training. I'm not sure if you read my bullshido link or other material on training methods, but these 'sport' ideas seem to build skill much faster then 'traditional' methods (I put traditional in quotes because I feel these new sport methods are really the way people used to learn back in the old days anyways). These training methods do not require putting on mma gloves and getting into competition, getting agressive, or any other misinformed opinion on them. They are simply training methods. They could be applyed to chess, martial arts, painting, etc. Every criteria you have could be matched with an art that used SBG training methods. In fact some these training methods are used in some aikido schools today (tomiki style aikido has resistant randori).

Its a simple process really.

Introduce: Demonstrate and explain the material being taught, let them drill it to get a basic understanding and put it static reps.

Isolate: Work on the material in isolation, usually with drills or restricted sparring with progressively increasing resistance/difficulty.

Intregrate: Have the students encorporate the material into their whole game, usually in free rolling/sparring.

The bullshido link above goes into much more detail on ways to use this training.

Consistant performance in practioners should be VERY important to your decision to train. I mean if only a handful of people at 'high rank' can actually perform the art, then what does that say about your chances? If the training methods are inferior, then your chances of actually being able to use this art outside of your gym is smaller. I see more consistant levels of skill in places with this 'sport' type training. However, if you are just doing aikido for standing meditation and have no desire to use it as a martial art, then I would suggest not using these methods. They will be a waste of time.

Finally I would like to answer your criteria with my bjj training. It is good criteria and I would like to use it. I feel it is a good place to show some perceived weakness in sport training. For example:

can I do it as I get older? I know guys who are 65 and still doing judo. I know guys who are 55 and doing bjj. Sure they can't compete with young guys. But they can train and teach just fine.

what is the potential of injury? I feel that the potential for injury is actually much lower in bjj than in judo and aikido. This is because we take much less falls. Falls are very dangerous. Even with proper ukemi it is possible to hurt yourself. In fact I have yet to see a new person come to aikido class who didn't hurt their shoulders, back, or knee seriously within the first 6 months of training. Falling is more dangerous than anything I know of in the martial arts.

In the end you have to train how you are comfortable. But you have to also be honest about what you are actually getting from your training. I perfer efficancy, function, physical fitness, and competition. I dont care about being street lethal, learning a culture, using ancient weapons, or looking good while i'm training. If there is a new training method that can cut months or years off of learning and build consistant skill more reliably than older methods then I will be the first person to throw out the old and bring in the new. I personally do not train aikido anymore. The reason is not a flaw in technique, but a flaw I found in traing methods. After going out and trying judo and bjj and seeing how fast I was able to gain skill and seeing how fast I could apply these techniques against someone who was trying to do the same, I simply could not go back to the old ways of training. I was able to leverage these training methods outside of the gym to help my aikido, but I could not live with going to class and use what I feel are inferior methods of learning.

dps
07-05-2006, 08:34 PM
"The Art of Peace is the principle of nonresistance. Because it is nonresistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. The Art of Peace is invincible because it contends with nothing"
- O Sensei

When you are attacked by someone if you resist the attack then you are not at peace within yourself nor is your attacker at peace within themselves. Nonresistance is not resisting the attack but removing oneself from the attack, aligning yourself with your attacker's direction of attack, taking control and redirecting the attack to neutralize it in your favor.
You are at peace from the beginning of the attack because you know how to protect yourself and you demonstrate this peace to your attacker through your technique.
You win because you are at peace and he isn't.
The Art of Peace is invincible because you have moved out of the line of attack and there is nothing to continue the attack against.

You learn this not by theory but by practice.
You practice for when you will be attacked but pray that you never will be attacked.

CNYMike
07-05-2006, 11:32 PM
I am saying consistant level of skill. This means you have a method of teaching that tends to train people in a consistant manner. Most martial arts are lacking in this. I am not saying everyone should train MMA and fight in a cage. In fact I know that's not for everyone. What I am saying is that I feel judo, bjj, MMA, boxing, and kickboxing training methods are superior to other martial art training methods. I feel that everyone could benifit from adding the type of training methods the SBG advocates to their current training. I'm not sure if you read my bullshido link or other material on training methods, but these 'sport' ideas seem to build skill much faster then 'traditional' methods (I put traditional in quotes because I feel these new sport methods are really the way people used to learn back in the old days anyways). These training methods do not require putting on mma gloves and getting into competition, getting agressive, or any other misinformed opinion on them. They are simply training methods. They could be applyed to chess, martial arts, painting, etc. Every criteria you have could be matched with an art that used SBG training methods. In fact some these training methods are used in some aikido schools today (tomiki style aikido has resistant randori).


Weeelllll maybe. And maybe not.

When you learn a martial art, you are really learning two things at the same time -- the techniques, presumeably for practical use in self defense; and the paritcular system. It sounds the same but they're not. A martial art is more than just an amalgam of techniqes. It is, as my Kali instructor put it, a snapshot of the thinking of its founder. In some cases it is hard to point to one founder; if there's a single founder of Kendo, I missed it someplace. But in Aikido, that founder is O Sensei. Granted no one is getting pure, undiluted "Ueshiba Aikido" because everyone has put their own spin on it; but even then, allowing for that is part of O Sensei's thinking.

The "system level" means one should be carefull in how one propgates the system when it is time to teach it to other people. Even if we agree, for the sake of argument, that O Sensei was laboring under a misconception when he banned sparring from Aikido, does this mean we should just put it back in because we want it? Well, Tomiki put it in, but AFAIK, none of his contemporaries did. And I'm pretty sure Tomiki Sensei isn't in my Aikido lineage. One would, therefore, be at risk of not preserving and propagating the system as itr was passed to you if you change things to suit yourself; you might be better served calling it something else, just as O Sensei gave his art its own identity when he divered from Daito-ryu Aikijutsu.



..... I would like to answer your criteria with my bjj training. It is good criteria and I would like to use it. I feel it is a good place to show some perceived weakness in sport training. For example:

can I do it as I get older? I know guys who are 65 and still doing judo. I know guys who are 55 and doing bjj. Sure they can't compete with young guys. But they can train and teach just fine.


So? I met an Aikido black belt who had started in the same age group. He can't take ukemi very well, but he knows the material enough to have got a black belt.


..... what is the potential of injury? I feel that the potential for injury is actually much lower in bjj than in judo and aikido. This is because we take much less falls. Falls are very dangerous. Even with proper ukemi it is possible to hurt yourself. In fact I have yet to see a new person come to aikido class who didn't hurt their shoulders, back, or knee seriously within the first 6 months of training ....

You'me met one now: No such injuries within six months of beginning Aikido the first time in the '80s. No such injuries withink the first six months of coming back to it in 2004. :p


Falling is more dangerous than anything I know of in the martial arts.

Well, the gentleman I mention above solved that problem by not falling, and I went along with him on that. Although it might also explain why ukemi waza is so specific. :p


..... In the end you have to train how you are comfortable. But you have to also be honest about what you are actually getting from your training. I perfer efficancy, function, physical fitness, and competition. I dont care about being street lethal, learning a culture, using ancient weapons, or looking good while i'm training. If there is a new training method that can cut months or years off of learning and build consistant skill more reliably than older methods then I will be the first person to throw out the old and bring in the new. I personally do not train aikido anymore. The reason is not a flaw in technique, but a flaw I found in traing methods. After going out and trying judo and bjj and seeing how fast I was able to gain skill and seeing how fast I could apply these techniques against someone who was trying to do the same, I simply could not go back to the old ways of training. I was able to leverage these training methods outside of the gym to help my aikido, but I could not live with going to class and use what I feel are inferior methods of learning.


Funny you should say that. My Kali instructor, who is also a Jun Fan/JKD instructor, is a big advocate of sparring. Yet when I told him I wanted to get back into Aikido, he all but shoved me in the dojo door. I was reluctant to do it beacuse I thought I would be pooped at the end of the week (I was doing four other arts at the time), but he said, "Do it. You'll be a better martial artist." Food for thought.

xuzen
07-06-2006, 01:38 AM
Hi all,

Across the forum, here and many other Martial Art forums, the argument against aikido is almost the same. It is not the problem with the technical repertoire of aikido but mainly with how aikido is trained. Many argued that aikido training lack aliveness.

I would be one of those KIHONOPHILE (TM) aka Kihon/Kata Nut-rider if not for meeting my current aikido teacher a few years ago.

What he did was to cut down on the low percentage moves from the syllabus but retain those higher percentage ones, where we use them repeatedly in jiyu waza and randori fashion. He is from the Yoshinkan lineage and the only Yoshinkan'esque flavour he retain from the old syllabus is the Kihon Dosa. He feels that the Kihon Dosa value lies in teaching student about tai-sabaki.

I have been an uke for my teacher many times, and what he is good at is not his fantastic kihon waza or strong static movement. What is so good about him is his ability to read my intention and energy focus. There are times I tried to resist him, and most times I do not go down on purpose... all he did was just change to something else and redirect my energy.

Aliveness among other thing is the ability to read your partners' intention and movement and react accordingly and kata / kihon is a poor methodology for accomplishing that.

So once again, the criticism about aikido is mainly about our training methodology, not about the art itself. Years ago, I would kill myself before saying such things, how ones' understanding of the art changes as one progresses.

Boon.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-06-2006, 01:43 AM
The "system level" means one should be carefull in how one propgates the system when it is time to teach it to other people. Even if we agree, for the sake of argument, that O Sensei was laboring under a misconception when he banned sparring from Aikido, does this mean we should just put it back in because we want it?

It's not clear sparring as a teaching tool was banned by O Sensei.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=998

Free sparring was not a tool he used, well...; at his times Aikido was an especialization art for Judo and Kendo practitioners, O Sensei students didn't need to learn from him how to use Aikido in an "alive" manner, they had a MA background in arts with sparring (like you with Kali-Jun Fan/JKD). They had enough knowledge to do the "integration" phase by themselves.

Today things are a bit different, there are a lot of Aikido practitioners without previous experience in MA who are unable to understand the technique (even if they can repeat what they see like parrots repeat what they hear) and need a different teaching approach (like people with special needs).

And, btw, i don't know about anyone who is training like in the Kobukan, maybe that's what we should put back (like it or not) because it was "the system".

DonMagee
07-06-2006, 06:08 AM
Michael, it seems you are of the opinion that changing the training method will change the entire system. I do not feel this is correct. In fact I'm not even advocating a complete change of the training method. I am advocating adding a new dimension to the existing aikido training method.

It seems you believe that sparing = competition. Sparing is not competition. I have never lost a sparing match, ever. I am however forced to tap out at least a half dozen times a class. I am not advocating adding competition to aikido (although it already exists). I am just advocating exploring new training methods in an attempt to teach aikido more consistantly. If you use the I-method over kata it will not have any effect on the philosophy you teach. You can still preach whatever it is you want to preach. The difference will be the more consistant level of physical skill you will find though your class. People will learn to intergrate new techniques faster and build their own aikido. They will learn to innovate and try new things faster. Its just the nature of the I-method.

CNYMike
07-06-2006, 11:08 AM
Michael, it seems you are of the opinion that changing the training method will change the entire system .....

I consider the training method to be part of the system. So from that perspective, yes, I would be reluctant to change anything.


I do not feel this is correct. In fact I'm not even advocating a complete change of the training method. I am advocating adding a new dimension to the existing aikido training method.


Well, I'm familiar with what your advocating, mostly through eight years of LaCoste Inosanto Kali under Guros Kevin Seaman and Guro Andrew Astle. I also took a class in western boxing so although I've never actually boxed, I know the basics of boxing and holding rounds for it. And, of course, Kali includes the Filipino grappling system, Dumog, so I'm not unfamiliar with that range. Probaly would be clocked by the first BJJ guy who came along, but not because I was ignorant of that range but because he'd be better at it than me. :o

But my Kali instructors, most recently Mr. Astle, impressed on me the importance of maintaning the integrity of the systems you've been taught. No matter what you personally like to do, if you are teaching someone else's system, you don't mess with it! And I know for a fact Guro Andy agrees with me on this. Besides, I personally like Aikido the way it is; why fix it if it ain't broke? :D


It seems you believe that sparing = competition .....

No, I don't; O Sensei and some of his contemporaries, like Funakoshi Sensei, may have thought so, and that's the misconception I was referring to. Sparring isn't competitve .... unless you're competing, trying to "win" somehow, and that' really a matter of ego and pride. Those things can work on you even if you don't think they are. I know this because I am still struggling with those issues. It is personally possible to spar as a learning experience and/or for fun without getting wrapped up in who "won." I agree with this.

But does that mean one can just add sparring to an Aikido curriculum? I don't think so. I think that if your seniors and instructors tell you not to do that, then you don't do it. It would be disrespectful to do otherwise and I wouldn't do that. And I know for a fact that Guro Andy agrees with me on that, too; in fact, you would be right to think he had a big influence I how I've approahced Aikido since I came back to it. If you don't agree with that, that's your business, but that's my perspective on this.


..... You can still preach whatever it is you want to preach. The difference will be the more consistant level of physical skill you will find though your class. People will learn to intergrate new techniques faster and build their own aikido. They will learn to innovate and try new things faster. Its just the nature of the I-method.

:o :o Ahhhh ..... sorry if I somehow confused you. But I don't have an Aikido class. I don't even have Aikido rank. After two years, I still have yet to take the 5th kyu test, so from that persepctive, I am somewhere beneath the bottom of the totem pole, not on it.

But if I do end up teaching Aikido someday, before I die, I'd be extremely reluctant to diverge from the way I'd been taught it for the reasons I described.

DonMagee
07-06-2006, 11:33 AM
No matter what you personally like to do, if you are teaching someone else's system, you don't mess with it! And I know for a fact Guro Andy agrees with me on this. Besides, I personally like Aikido the way it is; why fix it if it ain't broke? :D


Except for it has been changed. Nobody teaches aikido the way O'Sensei taught it. Nobody teaches karate the way it was taught 100 years ago. Nobody teaches judo the way Kano taught it. Every instructor changes the way he teaches to meet his views of what the art is. If they didn't we would have a bunch of parrots and there would be no linage wars in kung fu, there would be no discussions on how different teachers teach, and no questions on what schools are good schools. Tohei added ki exercises to his aikido. O'Sensei didn't have them. They believe they help them extend and move with ki better. Was this an insult to O'Sensei? Tomiki added competition and sparing to aikido? Was this an insult to O'Sensei? How any teachers have given names to techniques that had no names. How many people learned the jo kata's from O'Sensei?

If you internalize something, then you will develop your own ideas on how it should be done. Once this happens, you will change what you teach to match your views. I feel its a big problem that people do not look past their teacher and art to see what the world around them is doing. They don't evaluate the ideas and concepts in the world and see if they have any bearing on their training or if there is anyone to improve. Some say the purpose of martial arts is self improvement. What better way to help this goal then to improve the art as a whole. No matter how good a system, you can always improve it. To rest when something is good enough is to allow for stagnation and inbreeding. Fresh blood and fresh ideas are what keep things alive.

I see a lot of talk about respect in the martial arts. I see a lot of it as fake respect and insult taken only to act like we are something deeper then we really are. If I take your teachings, change and reteach them you should be happy that I have made my own opinion and grown from my training with you. You should not be insulted that I dare question your methods. I should not have to respect you simply because you wear a darker colored belt than I do. I should respect you because you are deserving of respect. If I think you are wrong, I should be free to express it. We should be free to discuss and develop my ideas and no one should be insulted. Questioning is the most important skill we have as humans. It is very important that we question and look to improve everything. Blind faith for the sake of respect is silly.

I like the ideas and philosophy that aikido has. I think it is a great are and good for people. I just think its training methods are very poor.

CNYMike
07-06-2006, 05:16 PM
Except for it has been changed. Nobody teaches aikido the way O'Sensei taught it. Nobody teaches karate the way it was taught 100 years ago. Nobody teaches judo the way Kano taught it. Every instructor changes the way he teaches to meet his views of what the art is. If they didn't we would have a bunch of parrots and there would be no linage wars in kung fu, there would be no discussions on how different teachers teach, and no questions on what schools are good schools. Tohei added ki exercises to his aikido. O'Sensei didn't have them. They believe they help them extend and move with ki better. Was this an insult to O'Sensei? Tomiki added competition and sparing to aikido? Was this an insult to O'Sensei? .....

Well, in both cases you're talking about people who left the Aikikai fold. Whether O Sensei (no apostrophe -- he was Japanese, not Irish :D ) flet insulted is a matter of speculation (although Tohei left in 1974, so it would be kind of hard to check that).

However it is also true that O Sensei did want Aikido to change over time. And it is also true that none of the people who learned from him at any given time taught it the same way he did or the same way as each other did. He didn't want Aikido locked down, unchabeable over time. Every source I have says how "personal" Aikido techniqes are; that we all have different takes on Aikido is built into the equation.

However, I think that even with wiggle room built in, there are still boundaries you don't want to go past if you want to be true to Aikido. It's like driving on a multi-lane highway. You can be anywhere you want on that road, as long as you go in the right direction, and as long as you don't go off that road. But if you do go off the highway, or turn off onto another one, you can't say you're still on the first one, are you?

So if, God willing, someday I teach Aikido, no, I will not teach it exactly the same way any of my instrucotrs teach it or exactly the same way any of my peers do it. But I still wouldn't decide to change things willy-nilly. I couldn't do that, call it Aikido, and live with myself.


..... I see a lot of talk about respect in the martial arts. I see a lot of it as fake respect and insult taken only to act like we are something deeper then we really are. If I take your teachings, change and reteach them you should be happy that I have made my own opinion and grown from my training with you. You should not be insulted that I dare question your methods. I should not have to respect you simply because you wear a darker colored belt than I do. I should respect you because you are deserving of respect.

So, if we met in person, you would be a disrespectful horse's @$$ to me until I earn it by proving I could beat you up? No, of course not. You'd stick your hand out and say "So you're mike? Nice to meet you. Want help with your bag?" At least I hope you would.

Asian cultures do have a slightly different take on respect than the west does, but a lot of it is how they express simple courtesy. Just as you wouldn't misbehave when being introduced to someone in polite company, you shouldn't misbehave in martial arts.

As to challenging what you are taught, well, if I know more about a subject than you do, how can you claim to know enough to challenge me? You can't. If I am a nuclear physicist, and you are just learning the subject from me, coukld you say, "I don't agree with that?" No, of course not.

I am still very new at Aikido. I don't question the methodology because I don't know what the outcome is it's looking for. I have my specualtions, but I won't know until I get there. But to just challenge my sensei, who after 35 years knows the material a lot better than me, would be rude, impolite, and just plain ignorant. How can I reasonably question something I don't know all that well to start with? Doesn't pass the laugh test.

Chris Li
07-06-2006, 05:37 PM
Whether O Sensei (no apostrophe -- he was Japanese, not Irish :D )

There are really no hard standards for romanization - the apostrophe after the "O" to designate a prefix is not the most used method, but it is far from uncommon. Anyway, if we're talking about Japanese we wouldn't be using capital letters either :).

Best,


Chris

DonMagee
07-06-2006, 07:49 PM
So, if we met in person, you would be a disrespectful horse's @$$ to me until I earn it by proving I could beat you up? No, of course not. You'd stick your hand out and say "So you're mike? Nice to meet you. Want help with your bag?" At least I hope you would.
Asian cultures do have a slightly different take on respect than the west does, but a lot of it is how they express simple courtesy. Just as you wouldn't misbehave when being introduced to someone in polite company, you shouldn't misbehave in martial arts.
Questioning is misbehaving?


As to challenging what you are taught, well, if I know more about a subject than you do, how can you claim to know enough to challenge me? You can't. If I am a nuclear physicist, and you are just learning the subject from me, coukld you say, "I don't agree with that?" No, of course not.

I am still very new at Aikido. I don't question the methodology because I don't know what the outcome is it's looking for. I have my specualtions, but I won't know until I get there. But to just challenge my sensei, who after 35 years knows the material a lot better than me, would be rude, impolite, and just plain ignorant. How can I reasonably question something I don't know all that well to start with? Doesn't pass the laugh test.

Actually it is expected in science to question what you are told. If I think my physics teacher is wrong. I will say so. He will ask me to prove I am wrong. We will find out who is right. Who knows the best way to educate a student in aikido. A aikido sensei, or someone with a college degree in education? My point is that just because someone has done something for a decade does not mean they are doing it right. Just because we have done something for two thousand years does not mean its the best way. You dont need to know aikido to understand how to teach people things. Aikido is no different from anything else when it comes to teaching. There are good ways to teach things and bad ways.

What you are talking about is not changing a teaching method simply because that is the way it has been done. It seems obvious to me that O Sensei didn't really have a standardized or committed way of teaching. When I read about his life I see he taught different things different ways to different people. Some people he didn't teach at all, he just let them figure it out. The priciples and techniques are not dependant on a training method. The quality and speed in which you aquire them is however dependant on your training method. If I tell this to an professors at the college where I work they understand this perfectly. However it seems to be disregarded in the non sport martial arts community. I have even seen 'Sensei's' get offended that I would even suggest they look at other methods of teaching. It is amusing that saying " Have you ever looked at this method of teaching with your students?" is replyed with "Are you a 3rd degree in X martial art? How can you possibly know how to teach this?" Knowing a martial art has nothing to do with understanding the best way to teach a physical movement/principle or philosphy.

I had a horrible programming teacher in college. I confronted him and was told this is how he learned and it should be good enough for us. (No code examples, all theory, lots of talk, etc). I had to work hard on my own and most of the people failed his class. The few that did were actually poor programmers. When I got in the real world, I had to learn a lot of new things. I found better ways to find and learn this information. Now when I teach my students, I teach them with a good method that allows the majority of them to understand and leverage the information I am giving them. Should I teach the way my programming professor taught me? Its obvious I have a better method and I am nowhere near the programmer he is. I am however a better teacher than he is because I am not afraid to try new ideas and change my approach, however my coding philosphy and technqiues are passed down no matter what my approach.

I am not on a crusade to change aikido. I train my own way. I simply want to make people aware that there is nothing wrong with a little change and teaching methods should be explored and questions should be asked. Maybe somewhere out there this will click in a teachers head and he will start adding these training methods (especially the I-Method) to his existing methods. Maybe people will realize being hard set on pretending to be a culture they are not slows down the actual training and you dont need the false pretense of a culture that is not your own to learn the philosphy and techniques of aikido. But I'm not holding my breath. I do however love having these discussions and learning about why people do or do not like these ideas. It helps me with my own training and the training of my students (although I do not teach martial arts yet, I teach programming and unix).

DonMagee
07-06-2006, 07:51 PM
There are really no hard standards for romanization - the apostrophe after the "O" to designate a prefix is not the most used method, but it is far from uncommon. Anyway, if we're talking about Japanese we wouldn't be using capital letters either :).

Best,


Chris

I like the apostrophe, I dont speak japanese so it doesn't effect me. O' sensei is just easier to write than ueshiba.

CNYMike
07-06-2006, 09:19 PM
Questioning is misbehaving?


Did my example indicate it was? No.


Actually it is expected in science to question what you are told. If I think my physics teacher is wrong. I will say so. He will ask me to prove I am wrong. We will find out who is right .....

So if, on your first day of physics class, you thought Heisenberg's Uncetainty Principle was bunk, would you go up to your professor and say "I think that's wrong"? That's a better analogy to what I am getting at. It's one thing if you think someone is a lousy teacher -- and I had one, too -- but another if you think you know the material better than he does. If you think the instructor isn't a good instructor, it's one thing. But if you go up to him and saym "I don't think you should teach it your way; teach it another way," that knocks on the door of knowing the material better than he does. How do you know the methodology is not good when he's gone farther in it than you and knows where it leads? You don't.

.


..... The quality and speed in which you aquire them is however dependant on your training method .....

Well, there's also how quickly people can absorb things. Someone who's slow at picking some things up will be slow regardless of how they're taught.


.....Maybe people will realize being hard set on pretending to be a culture they are not slows down the actual training and you dont need the false pretense of a culture that is not your own to learn the philosphy and techniques of aikido .....

I disagree. A martial art is not independent of the culture it originated in but a product of it. So to understand what's going on, you know at least a little bit of where it's coming from. It's not "pretending" anything; it's part of the package whether the art is Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, whatever. And how does learning the term "kote gaeshi" slow down learning the actual technique? Unless there's a connection between the linguistic and motor centers of the brain I don't know aboout?

Like you say, you train your way. But think twice before making pronnouncements on how well other ways "work."

DonMagee
07-06-2006, 11:04 PM
Did my example indicate it was? No.



So if, on your first day of physics class, you thought Heisenberg's Uncetainty Principle was bunk, would you go up to your professor and say "I think that's wrong"? That's a better analogy to what I am getting at. It's one thing if you think someone is a lousy teacher -- and I had one, too -- but another if you think you know the material better than he does. If you think the instructor isn't a good instructor, it's one thing. But if you go up to him and saym "I don't think you should teach it your way; teach it another way," that knocks on the door of knowing the material better than he does. How do you know the methodology is not good when he's gone farther in it than you and knows where it leads? You don't.

.



Well, there's also how quickly people can absorb things. Someone who's slow at picking some things up will be slow regardless of how they're taught.



I disagree. A martial art is not independent of the culture it originated in but a product of it. So to understand what's going on, you know at least a little bit of where it's coming from. It's not "pretending" anything; it's part of the package whether the art is Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, whatever. And how does learning the term "kote gaeshi" slow down learning the actual technique? Unless there's a connection between the linguistic and motor centers of the brain I don't know aboout?

Like you say, you train your way. But think twice before making pronnouncements on how well other ways "work."

See, but you are still not looking at it right. I'm not saying "Your training method is wrong." I wouldn't tell a physics teacher "This principle is wrong". I am saying "Your training methods are wrong, this is why I feel this is the case, this is my solution to the perceived problem." That is a lot different. Instead of showing me how my training methods will not help aikido, you are instead saying "Don't question the master".

My argument is that by watching and using training methods based on the I-method I have found that people will learn faster and will be able to leverage that knowledge with a higher level of consistency then students who do not use the I-method. I have decided this though years of trial and error of watching, working with and trying different training methods and seeing how other students react. I have noticed a distinct pattern in the level of skill at each belt level between schools that use this method, and schools that don't. This does not mean that a judo club using the I-method can beat up aikido guys. It simply means that you will notice a more consistent skill level in students of any rank. This simply means that the art is being taught though a better method so more students are able to leverage the teachings faster.

Now, rather then show me how I am wrong. You have simply told me not to question a master. You have talked about culture and how this stops us from being able to even explore the possibility of using a different training method. I have argued that the training method and the culture are not related and that in my opinion the culture is detrimental to the learning process if it is slowing down advancements in teaching practices. Again, you have simply not shown me a counter argument, but said to not question the masters. You have stated the the culture does not allow us to question our training methods because our 'masters' know more than we do.

I know you must feel the I-method will not give any improvement to the training of aikido. So I would like to ask why you feel this will not improve the training of aikido? Simply because some guru or master says so is simply not enough. How do we know they are right? How do we know O Sensei was aware of these types of training methods and choose to ignore them? How do we know these methods were not used and simply ignored by his students? A great martial artist doesn't equal a great teacher.

Martial arts are a very oral tradition and things get misplaced and screwed up. It saddens me every time I read about people disregarding even exploring how something could improve their training because some old fart told them it wont help or out of fear of insulting their teacher. This is the problem I have with the culture. It breeds false modesty and false respect where the word of a higher rank is golden and a lower rank simply hasn't done it long enough to understand. Respect is not blind obedience. I can respect you and still tell you that you are wrong to your face. However telling that you are wrong is not enough if I respect you. I have to prove my point. Again, I'm not saying I am right and you are wrong. I am saying I feel you are wrong and this is why. Please show me how I am misunderstanding. But I don't get an answer that satisfies me. It reminds me of the medieval church. The earth was flat, don't question that. You should respect us because we know more than you. After all we talk to god.

See, I am not content to do things the way they are done. I want to know why they are done that way. I want to know why they are better than other methods. And finally, I want to see the results. If I think something is wrong I have no problem pointing it out. Why? because I want to know why I am wrong. I want someone to show me how I misunderstood and why what I think should be done will not work or is inferior to what is being done.

So to wrap this up.

My argument: The I-method of training allows more people to grasp concepts quicker and integrate these ideas faster then the traditional method of training martial arts. For proof I site judo, bjj, and modern MMA schools.

Your argument as I see it: You are wrong because we have done it this way from day one and it has worked. I will not consider the option because it may offend a shihan and I was told by my teacher to never change the art. You will never have a better idea than what exists.

Of course we then have a few posts that state obvious things such as not everyone can learn at the same pace, and talk about what respect is, etc.

And yes, I have thought long and hard about this. I have thought about this for years from the time I was first starting as a teen until now. I went though phases of thinking it was me that was the problem, it was the art that was the problem, it was the teacher that was the problem, etc. I jumped about and tried a lot of things. I read a lot of books, I came to a conclusion based on that research. It is only now that I have found a name for the method (thanks to the SBG) and can express what I was feeling from day one. Also my teaching exp allows me to also have an insight on how to each people. I have come to realize that all the physical techniques in the end are the same, the speed in which you learn them is really based on two things. Who you are, and the training method you use. I have come to realize that the philosophy behind the arts can be taught regardless of the training method. This is not some "Hey I got an idea aikido sucks" post. I have thought about this and truly feel that the I-method (and other SBG style training methods) are superior to other training methods. I only wish to explore other peoples opinions and experiences with these training methods and hopefully start down a path that will improve my martial arts training further.

milesc
07-06-2006, 11:31 PM
I only wish to explore other peoples opinions and experiences with these training methods and hopefully start down a path that will improve my martial arts training further.

That's a familiar sentiment Don. Great post!

CNYMike
07-07-2006, 12:13 AM
..... You have simply told me not to question a master. You have talked about culture and how this stops us from being able to even explore the possibility of using a different training method. I have argued that the training method and the culture are not related and that in my opinion the culture is detrimental to the learning process if it is slowing down advancements in teaching practices ......

If you want to hugely oversimplify it, yes, although I never said specifically that culture does not allow us to "explore new training methods." I have made two points:

1. A martial art is intertwined with the culture it originated from. You can not separate the two, even if it's only restricting yourself to using English terminology, without losing part of it. It's not just about the techniques.

2. A martial artist should not go against the wishes of his seniors and instructors. Like it or not, resepect is a big part of the arts that are handed down to us; being disrespectful, such as pursuing training methods you have been told not to do, is a very big no-no.

So whether the I-method helps or hinders learning Aikido has nothing to do with the points I've raised, because learning the techniques is only part of what you are doing. You don't agree with that; that's fine. But that is not me talking or even something I got from an Aikido instructor. It's really the thinking of my Kali instructor. But that, in turn, comes from the way the arts are. He's said one of his goals is to preserve the systems he teaches by teaching them to other people. There are things in Kali that are not super destructive, not even relevant in today's society, but they are part of the art so he teaches them.

That is my counterargument. Don't want to agree with it? Fine. That's ok. But that is where I am coming from.

.... I am not content to do things the way they are done. I want to know why they are done that way ....

See above.

milesc
07-07-2006, 03:39 AM
1. A martial art is intertwined with the culture it originated from. You can not separate the two, even if it's only restricting yourself to using English terminology, without losing part of it. It's not just about the techniques.

I'll agree with that. Embracing the culture is a significant part of truely understanding a martial art and the history or lineage behind it.

2. A martial artist should not go against the wishes of his seniors and instructors. Like it or not, resepect is a big part of the arts that are handed down to us; being disrespectful, such as pursuing training methods you have been told not to do, is a very big no-no.

I'll agree that respect is needed and earned in the student - teacher relationship but at some point the student needs to step forth on his own. If it is appropriate for a student to flounder and learn a new technique by experimentation, why would it be different for fledgling teachers? I think its an easy case to make that being a good teacher is more difficult than being an apt pupil.

Perhaps looking at revising the methods in which people are taught martial arts should be viewed more as one of those things that let new teachers become experienced teachers. Ultimately, their students will correct the teacher if the method is unacceptable. We do not live a world where trainers and options are few and a bad choice could lead to death on the battlefield.

I actually agree in part with your counterarguments but I would like to suggest that neither argument prevents a change in teaching style. You can respect the spirit, tradition and honor your teacher while still placing your mark on your students in your methods. You can still cherish and celebrate the culture that is a part of your art and it will not have to impact on your training method.

You must learn the basics and the concepts of that art before you can start to refine and improvise. Don's main point I take to be that traditional style MA's *are* valuable and do have much to pass on to future students. Yet the methods that are used to teach these arts that take on a traditional bend may not be suitable for the modern world. Is it better to let a traditional style art lose its students or make small changes to keep it accessible? Am I describing a slippery slope? Yes but things cannot stay static forever.

In my neighborhood we have Shinto temples that are falling into this exact scenario. They have not tried in any way in the past to increase their memberships. The generation that supported them is passing on and the children are not Shinto but instead are Christian or possibly Buddhist. So what is left for them? Simply wait until the last member dies so they can close the gates? Or maybe do what they are trying now, gathering up the several smaller shrines to try and consolodate membership. *Change* the way they think about how their organization has and will survive. Make a concerted effort to not recruit people just to give money but to continue spreading their philosophy and teachings. Aikido is not in this situation yet, but is it wise to wait until the day it is to start addressing problems?

If the whole real arguement is about sparring, what would you call practice throws? If the uke and nage agree to increase the speed and tempo at what point will it stop being "practice" and become sparring with someone taking the fall?

Demetrio Cereijo
07-07-2006, 04:20 AM
If the whole real arguement is about sparring, what would you call practice throws? If the uke and nage agree to increase the speed and tempo at what point will it stop being "practice" and become sparring with someone taking the fall?
At the moment the roles of attacker/defender nor the techniques to be used are not predeterminated.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-07-2006, 04:39 AM
And, btw, "sparring" is "practice".

Mark Freeman
07-07-2006, 04:56 AM
Hi Don, good post #89, thanks.

Could you explain a little about the 'I method' I have no idea what it is and would like to.

My own teachers history mirrors much of what you are writing about. He started in the mid 50's with a japanese teacher whose english was poor, but his aikido was good, he taught and learnt in the 'old style'. Later on in his aikido career he spent some years with Tohei who as we know developed his own teaching methods, which further informed my teachers methods. He then left Tohei and while teaching Tohei's methods, further developed his own teaching, as he put it 'for the western mind'. So to put it bluntly while he totally respects his original teachers he doesn't teach exactly the same way that they did. He says himself that he took many years to learn some of the concepts which can now be passed on in a shorter space of time. I for one am grateful for this progress as it fits in well with my own understanding of the learning process.
I have spent a number of years working in the corporate training environment, which I came to through learning an effective training model, which majors on understanding how people learn, and how to 'model' excellence in any field. I was happy to discover that the way my aikido teacher was teaching conformed to the best current known methods for ideal learning. This involves the best environment for learning, and most useful 'attitude' for learning amongst others, all dished up with a sense of humour, as people learn more when they are open relaxed and smiling.

Modern day 'coaches' in business do not have to be experts in the field that the coachee is in, they just have to be great at 'coaching'. Anyone aware of 'The Inner game' approach will recognise this. However in aikido itself it really does help to have at least a 'good' level of understanding before you try to attempt to teach it. Conversely, understanding of aikido really starts once you attempt to teach it to others. Well, that's my experience anyway.

Just accepting what has gone before as 'gospel' and sticking ridgidly to it is a path to atrophy. We must be looking to ourselves to develop what we learn from our teachers to make our 'teaching' our own in the same way that we develop our 'own' aikido. Of course some teachers will be 'better' than others, but at the end of the day it is up to the student to do the learning, and part of that learning is knowing when you are in a position to question the teacher. A good reason why all teachers should remain students.

regards,

Mark

milesc
07-07-2006, 05:18 AM
At the moment the roles of attacker/defender nor the techniques to be used are not predeterminated.

I think we are of the same opinion on sparring Demetrio.

If we agree to use 1 throw and take turns is it sparring?

If we agree you can choose between 2 throws with similar openings in no order and take turns is it sparring?

If we agree to practice a counter and take turns is it sparring?

If we agree to use 2 throws and counter in no particular order and take turns is it sparring?

Even if you limit the number of techiques you can throw (meaning your opponent knows that you are going to move in a certain manner) you still have the random element.

And I agree, sparring is practice. I wouldn't want to practice any martial art without sparring simply because to the martial aspect somewhat demands it. The art must be viable in and out of the dojo and that skill set can only be achieved by some level of sparring no matter what name or face you put on it.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-07-2006, 06:15 AM
I think we are of the same opinion on sparring Demetrio.
Not sure about that. :)

If we agree to use 1 throw and take turns is it sparring?
No
If we agree you can choose between 2 throws with similar openings in no order and take turns is it sparring?
No
If we agree to practice a counter and take turns is it sparring?
No
If we agree to use 2 throws and counter in no particular order and take turns is it sparring?
No

All those noes are because the "take turns" thing (of course imho). But maybe i don't fully understand you.

At the moment the uke/tori roles are not fully interchangeable without previous notice, it's not "sparring" in my book, it doesn't matter the number of techniques/counters available to the practitioners. What is important is if we are in a spontaneous environment or not.

Let's see if i can explain:

When i practiced TKD (i competed in regional/national events. WTF Olympic style), some of the drills most used for training was:

Guy A trows a number of strikes (lets say 4), any striking combo he wants full speed full force with hitting intent to guy B.
Guy B deals with said combo with any thing he wants/can (evading, blocking, parrying, counter striking...) but allowing guy A to do the 4 attacks. At the very moment guy A finishes his fourth attack, guy B starts his 4 strikes combo.
This is done non stop, full speed, full force for a limited amount of time, lets say 2 minutes.

This is not sparring, this is drilling, and that is because the attacker/defender roles are not interchangeable at any moment, we had to wait for the fourth strike.

Sparring needs spontaneity in the roles, even if the number of techniques available are limited. Think about boxing: jab, cross,hook, uppercut... (there's not a big number of techniques in boxing) all aimed from waist up. It's not the amount of techniques and targets or the intensity of the strikes what makes a boxing sparring session, it's the lack of definition about who is uke/tori what makes it sparring. At the moment these roles are predefined, we're talking about drills, kata, uchikomi.... you name it.

Even if you limit the number of techniques you can throw (meaning your opponent knows that you are going to move in a certain manner) you still have the random element.
Well.... maybe. It sounds like Shodokan tanto randori, i don't have any problem in calling it "sparring" but with the consideration i made before about the attacker/defender role.

DonMagee
07-07-2006, 06:24 AM
Hi Don, good post #89, thanks.

Could you explain a little about the 'I method' I have no idea what it is and would like to.

My own teachers history mirrors much of what you are writing about. He started in the mid 50's with a japanese teacher whose english was poor, but his aikido was good, he taught and learnt in the 'old style'. Later on in his aikido career he spent some years with Tohei who as we know developed his own teaching methods, which further informed my teachers methods. He then left Tohei and while teaching Tohei's methods, further developed his own teaching, as he put it 'for the western mind'. So to put it bluntly while he totally respects his original teachers he doesn't teach exactly the same way that they did. He says himself that he took many years to learn some of the concepts which can now be passed on in a shorter space of time. I for one am grateful for this progress as it fits in well with my own understanding of the learning process.
I have spent a number of years working in the corporate training environment, which I came to through learning an effective training model, which majors on understanding how people learn, and how to 'model' excellence in any field. I was happy to discover that the way my aikido teacher was teaching conformed to the best current known methods for ideal learning. This involves the best environment for learning, and most useful 'attitude' for learning amongst others, all dished up with a sense of humour, as people learn more when they are open relaxed and smiling.

Modern day 'coaches' in business do not have to be experts in the field that the coachee is in, they just have to be great at 'coaching'. Anyone aware of 'The Inner game' approach will recognise this. However in aikido itself it really does help to have at least a 'good' level of understanding before you try to attempt to teach it. Conversely, understanding of aikido really starts once you attempt to teach it to others. Well, that's my experience anyway.

Just accepting what has gone before as 'gospel' and sticking ridgidly to it is a path to atrophy. We must be looking to ourselves to develop what we learn from our teachers to make our 'teaching' our own in the same way that we develop our 'own' aikido. Of course some teachers will be 'better' than others, but at the end of the day it is up to the student to do the learning, and part of that learning is knowing when you are in a position to question the teacher. A good reason why all teachers should remain students.

regards,

Mark

In a nutshell the I-Method is:

* Introduce: Demonstrate and explain the material being taught, let them drill it to get a basic understanding and put it static reps.
* Isolate: Work on the material in isolation, usually with drills or restricted sparring with progressively increasing resistance/difficulty.
* Integrate: Have the students incorporate the material into their whole game, usually in free rolling/sparring.

There are a few good articles on the web about this:
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=36273
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquiry_Method
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=36280
http://aliveness101.blogspot.com/2005/09/coaching-sbgi-way.html

A goggle search on the I-method (inquiry method or inquiry education) will show that it is successfully in math, science, and any other area that requires critical thinking and a deeper understanding than memorization. It works in kids and adults equally well.

To explore further, is what tohei did still aikido? Is what tomiki did still aikido? They broke from the general consensus of the aikiki they broke from the standard training methods. Is it no longer aikido? It's not the founders aikido.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-07-2006, 06:32 AM
It's the general consensus of the Aikikai about aikido founder's aikido?

DonMagee
07-07-2006, 07:08 AM
It's the general consensus of the Aikikai about aikido founder's aikido?

I dont belive so (at least I hope people dont think that). Their are posts in this thread that say drastic changes in training methods change the art to the point where it is no longer honorable to call it by the arts name. And that these changes disrespect the founders of the arts and destroy the culture. I wanted to explore the possilibty of tomiki or tohei's aikido destroying aikido. I wanted to explore how these changes effected the aikidoka's perceived vision of the founder's aikido and if people really belive it is all aikido even with such wide viewpoints on how it should be trained and done. These ideas and questions go right to the heart of the question of training methods, culture, honor, respect, and tradition.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-07-2006, 09:05 AM
I wanted to explore the possilibty of tomiki or tohei's aikido destroying aikido.

Under that perspective (using different training methods as a disrespect to the founder) we can add Saotome, Saito, Nishio, Kisshomaru, Chiba, Shioda, ........... (fill here with your favourite Shihan) to that list.

DonMagee
07-07-2006, 09:29 AM
Under that perspective (using different training methods as a disrespect to the founder) we can add Saotome, Saito, Nishio, Kisshomaru, Chiba, Shioda, ........... (fill here with your favourite Shihan) to that list.

Exactly my point :)

Mark Freeman
07-07-2006, 09:35 AM
In a nutshell the I-Method is:

* Introduce: Demonstrate and explain the material being taught, let them drill it to get a basic understanding and put it static reps.
* Isolate: Work on the material in isolation, usually with drills or restricted sparring with progressively increasing resistance/difficulty.
* Integrate: Have the students incorporate the material into their whole game, usually in free rolling/sparring.

There are a few good articles on the web about this:
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=36273
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquiry_Method
http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=36280
http://aliveness101.blogspot.com/2005/09/coaching-sbgi-way.html

A goggle search on the I-method (inquiry method or inquiry education) will show that it is successfully in math, science, and any other area that requires critical thinking and a deeper understanding than memorization. It works in kids and adults equally well.

To explore further, is what tohei did still aikido? Is what tomiki did still aikido? They broke from the general consensus of the aikiki they broke from the standard training methods. Is it no longer aikido? It's not the founders aikido.

Thanks Don,

I now know that I am already doing the 'I method' ;) but with the addition of coaching the students on a one to one basis at all the stages, which seems to help the process along.

Of course what Tohei did is still aikido, he just formulated exercises to help people 'get' what he saw was a fundamental part/aspect of aikido that was 'lacking' in the teaching method of the art. The aikiki may not have liked what he did, but it didn't stop him from continuing on his path.

For aikido to flourish in the modern world it has to adapt to the modern world, if this means keeping up with developments in learning how to learn, then this is what should happen.

Anyone over a certain age, watching the current World Cup competition will see football/soccer being played differently to the way it was 40 years ago. The coaching/training methods are not the same, they have changed and evolved. No one is thinking that it should still be done the way it was 'back in the old days'.

Football and Cricket and Rugby came from the UK, but we can't claim these sports to be ours, they belong to everyone, and everyone regularly beats us at our own game, just to prove it! :(
The Japanese can lay claim to being the birthplace of aikido, but they do not own the rights to aikido, and if the global community takes it and translates it into their own language, and puts their own spin on it, 'great' I say. Old school Japanese teaching methods worked for them and their culture back then. There is no reason that this should be the way that we all do it today. And no reason for that to be seen as a watering down either, for as long as the principles of the art are being passed on, then the art will not only survive, but also flourish. I know there maybe some old die-hards that disagree, but along with the dinosaurs their time will eventually come. ;)

regards,

Mark

dps
07-07-2006, 11:47 AM
I know there maybe some old die-hards that disagree, but along with the dinosaurs their time will eventually come. ;)
Dinosaur heaven? :)

CNYMike
07-07-2006, 04:15 PM
I dont belive so (at least I hope people dont think that). Their are posts in this thread that say drastic changes in training methods change the art to the point where it is no longer honorable to call it by the arts name. And that these changes disrespect the founders of the arts and destroy the culture. I wanted to explore the possilibty of tomiki or tohei's aikido destroying aikido .....

I never said Tomiki or Tohei "destroyed" Aikido. Tomiki, however, did go against the founder's wishes. THAT was disrepectful.

Did O Sensei want Aikido to remain unchanged for all time? No. He wanted people to put their own stamp on it. That's why Tomiki and all his contemporaries -- including Shioda and Shirata, among others -- were all different in their approaches from O Sensei and different from each other. That's where I draw the line. If they explicitly tell you "don't do x," don't do it. If it's "you can do anything but x," then there's some wiggle room to explore and experiment once you know enough to know what you're doing. I've seen advanced people -- just on either side of shodan -- trying different things during seminars, but they're advanced students. They have the tools to express themselves, so it must be ok.

I don't know whether the I-method has been banned form Aikido. For all we know, someone in the Aikikai system or one of the other groups is playing around with it. That's there business. But even allowing for change, did O Sensei mean for us to change things indescriminantly, to challenge things just because we can? To do whatever we want and call it Aikido? No, I don't think so. I think there are limits, boundaries. There are things that are important to him at the heart of the enterprise. When you deviate from those things, you've gone over the line and you can't honestly call it Aikido anymore. You would have to call it something else, and that's ok. Nothing wrong with starting your own system. But doing your own thing and calling it someone else's .... no. O Sensei didn't do that, did he? That's why we're debating about Aikido and not Daito Ryu Aikijutusu. When he came up with his own art, he gave it its own name and identity, instead of trying to pass it off as someone else's. The same lesson is true for us today.

Kevin Leavitt
07-07-2006, 04:24 PM
I do what I want and what I think is best when I train in my on dojo. When I go to my instructor's dojo and when I want to test in aikido by the known and commonly recognized organization of ASU and Aikikai...I do what I am told to do in that dojo.

To me it is really that simple. I don't question it or the methods...if I want to advance in that organization.

I don't know how much simpler it could be.

CNYMike
07-07-2006, 08:24 PM
.... For aikido to flourish in the modern world it has to adapt to the modern world, if this means keeping up with developments in learning how to learn, then this is what should happen.


Right now there are what, 1.5 million Aikido practitioners all over the world? And new dojos popping up all over the place. The one I go to didn't exist prior to 1997 AFAIK. If that's not "flourishing," even considering how rare martial artists are in our culture AND that up to 90% of the people who start quit within a year, I don't know what is. Looks to me like it's doing just fine!


..... The Japanese can lay claim to being the birthplace of aikido, but they do not own the rights to aikido, and if the global community takes it and translates it into their own language, and puts their own spin on it, 'great' I say. Old school Japanese teaching methods worked for them and their culture back then. There is no reason that this should be the way that we all do it today. And no reason for that to be seen as a watering down either, for as long as the principles of the art are being passed on, then the art will not only survive, but also flourish. I know there maybe some old die-hards that disagree, but along with the dinosaurs their time will eventually come. ;)

regards,

Mark


As a couterpoint, I just talked about this thread with my Kali instructor, and he said, "If I did Aikido formally some day, I wouldn't dream of doing it anything other than the traditional way. There's just so much history and culture there." And yes, this is coming from someone with both feet rooted in the eclectic martial arts movement. If you want to talk about mixing it up on the street, that's another matter, but as to how things are done in an Aikido dojo, he won't have an opion. And he's heavily influenced my thinking on this.

If you throw out the cultural references, what have you lost? Have you really gained anything? Are you missing out on something that you'd otherwise have? The reason for being careful about change is simple: You don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. O Sensei wanted Aikido to change and adapt; he said it's at the heart of Aikido. But he also said, "it is not necessary to totally abandon the old ways." Gee, maybe he had a point?

Chris Li
07-07-2006, 09:06 PM
"If I did Aikido formally some day, I wouldn't dream of doing it anything other than the traditional way. There's just so much history and culture there."

Of course, the "tradition" is only a little over 60 years old...

Best,

Chris

CNYMike
07-07-2006, 11:49 PM
Of course, the "tradition" is only a little over 60 years old...

Best,

Chris

Yes, but it is lumped in with Japanese Karate and other "TMA;" that is where he is coming from. Point is he wouldn't think twice about putting on a gi, a white belt, following Japanese ettiquette, and using Japanese terminology. He also once told me, "I wouldn't be there to show how great I am, but to learn what they're teaching." Instead of questioning Sensei's methods, knowing him he'd be wondering, 'What is this teaching me? What is this designed to impart to me?' It's what I think, because of his influence.

In all honesty, I'm beginning to wonder if there are eclectic MA people who resepct traditions more than people in traditional systems. It sounds bizarre and counterintuitive, but why am I defening my viewpoint almost entirely by myself? All of the thoughts I've presented here come from outside Aikido, for a guy who hasn't trained in a Japanese dojo for 15-20 years! You'd think one person would say "You are correct in your take on respect," but nobody. Not very loudly, anyway. Maybe I'm wrong about this. But the "progressive" perspective from outside Aikido is, "It's fine the way it is. Learn the system and don't be disrepectful;" inside it's "We have to move with the time and maybe ditch or deemphasize that traditional stuff." Huh!?

Of course, the big fat exception to that rule is the Straight Blast Gym. Not surprisingly, Guro Andy once told me, "I reject them and all that they stand for!" Strong words coming from him. "They do little more than brawling," he said. "Bruce Lee said to liberate yourself, but is that really what he meant?" And given he's a JKD instructor, he knows a thing or three about Bruce Lee.

I wonder how many Aikido people I'll have to defend those statements against now? :rolleyes: :confused:

Demetrio Cereijo
07-08-2006, 04:45 AM
To me it is really that simple. I don't question it or the methods...if I want to advance in that organization.

I don't know how much simpler it could be.

This guy has a point.
:)

milesc
07-08-2006, 06:26 AM
One of the main points of conflict is that there seems to be no leeway for those "pro tradition". To adjust and change the methods of teaching seem to equate to rewriting the art in its entirety.

You don't have to abandon the old to improve upon it.

Kevin Leavitt
07-08-2006, 06:39 AM
I think it is a sophmoric view that says that you must abandon the old for the new, progressive stuff. Those in the "old" that dismiss the "new" don't know what the appropriate response is to the "new" so they dismiss it as irrelevant or hide behind there "tradition".

Those that don't understand the "old" or traditional dismiss or discredit it many times as archiac, outdated, or "un-alive".

I think it is rare that you can find a teacher that can do both very well. That is, balance traditional, classic training, with all the new paradigms that seem to come about lately.

I think martial arts is simply evolving and maturing in the west as it progresses. Really in the U.S it is what, about 50 years old at best? I don't think it is that the parameters of fighting or training have changed much, but expectations, and maturity, and perspective of those that are studying the arts.

What used to pass for martial arts, wearing a gi, having a shomen, hanging a japanese or korean flag, and wearing a black belt, throw in a few kiai, kicks, and kata... just doesn't carry the same weight as it used to in the west. People are expecting much more these days.

I think many of the "old timers" have failed to respond to the times, have gotten lazy, and are resting on the laurels of their past, so the new generation comes along and says that those traditional guys and all that tradition gets in the way of "Real Training".

If the shoe fits wear it. Again, I default back to what I said a few post ago. "when in Rome...." If you don't want to be in "Rome" then don't go there.

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 07:00 AM
One of the main points of conflict is that there seems to be no leeway for those "pro tradition". To adjust and change the methods of teaching seem to equate to rewriting the art in its entirety.

You don't have to abandon the old to improve upon it.

Well, if the teaching methods are part of the art, then yes, I would agree changing them is changing the art. The techniques are only part of the package, IMO. You can't strip out the language, the culture, change the methods, and say it's the same thing. There's a point beyond which it's just not Aikido anymore.

The same is true of Jun Fan/JKD. Sifu Andy Astle received his instrucorship in Jun Fan from Sifu Kevin Seaman, who was also his (and mine) Kali instructor; Sifu Kevin is under Sifu Dan Inosanto. Now, Sifu Andy and his contemporaries, that is the other peopel who trained with him under Sifu Kevin, all teach Jun Fan differently from Sifu Kevin and from each other; everyone has their own flavor -- BUT! --- there are certain things you have to do to honestly say you are doing Jun Fan, certain lines you don't cross. I know this because I talked with him about it last night and he agreed with me. And if Sifu Andy is trying to teach you soemthing and you mouth off about how you don't like that, you're questioning it .... watch out! His bullshit meter is set at "zero." "When you have a black sash, then you can form and opinion and do your own thing," he told me, "but until then your job is to keep your mouth shut and learn from me." Did I mention that's in JKD? The "non-traditional" people? Picking up on a theme?

So I think when you want to make adjustments, you have to be careful: you should incorporate something if it is appropriate to the art. What is the art trying to teach me? Will something like the I-method be appropriate, or would it get in the way?

For instance, LaCoste Inosanto Kali takes a topical approach. Last night, for instance, we looked at the kickboxing techniques and combinations from Panantukan. Of course, the point of Panantukan is not just to box with somebody but to get through their defenses so you can apply chokes or submissions or locks as found in the Dumog system. An encounter is broken into peices, those peices studied separately. However, in Pentjak Silat Serak, you have the sambuts (techniqes) and buangs (throws), and you see things as a unit: Your partner feeds a jab, say, and you do everything from beginning to (his!) end. Yes, you can analyze some things separately. You can -- and do -- practice things from the Tendjekan kickboxing system at the beginning of class. But Tendjekan is meant to facilitate entry to do a sambut or a buang.

Ok. Which approach is appropriate to Aikido? The Doshu writes how the emphasis should be on the "smooth motion of the entire body," so maybe a "unit" approach (which Aikido does already) makes more sense. But you also have to remember Kali is a HUGE system. You have to take a topical approach because there's so much ground to cover. Aikido has much less ground to cover; tryint to break it into peices would be flatly ridiculous. I mean, could you spend twenty mintues just studying how to raise and lower your tegatana? You do that anyway in the techniques, so why not go right to it?

Yes, change is good, but you shoudn't change for change's sake, you should have a reason for it. And even then, you should ask, is this appropriate to the art? Will it be disrespectful? Martial arts about more than just learning and teaching cool moves, so much more. That's why the "pro tradition" people seem so "inflexible." If you lose more than you gain, what's the point? Don Magee ridiculed my "do not question the Master" answers; he seems to be saying "always question the master; take nothing he says for granted." Well, if you're going to do that, why did you go to that person in the first place? And if getting you to do anything is an uphill battle, then why should that person even try to teach you anything?

Did I mention my thinking was influenced by a JKD guy?

Just my $0.02.

mickeygelum
07-08-2006, 09:15 AM
Mr Gallagher....you did write this...
I never said Tomiki or Tohei "destroyed" Aikido. Tomiki, however, did go against the founder's wishes. THAT was disrepectful
....in who's opinion? Yours? Professor Tomiki was the first issued menkyo kaiden by Ueshiba....his opinion must not be of too much value, eh? For all the years that Tomiki trained under Ueshiba, I am sure henever discussed or expressed himself as to his ideas of Randori no Kata, must have slipped his mind...what a back-stabbing Uchi-Deshi..bad Tomiki...bad, bad Tomiki...

Aikiweb...Aikido...Aikijujutsu...not, Jung Fang do-wa-diddy-diddy...

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 10:42 AM
Mr Gallagher....you did write this...

....in who's opinion? Yours? Professor Tomiki was the first issued menkyo kaiden by Ueshiba....his opinion must not be of too much value, eh? For all the years that Tomiki trained under Ueshiba, I am sure henever discussed or expressed himself as to his ideas of Randori no Kata, must have slipped his mind...what a back-stabbing Uchi-Deshi..bad Tomiki...bad, bad Tomiki...

I admit I don't know very much about Tomiki. The Shambhala Guide to Aikido says he "attemtped to combine Aikido and Judo against the express wishes of Morihei)" (bold face mine). Now, if O Sensei flat out told Tomiki "Don't do that" and he did it anyway, yes, in my opinion, that was disrespectuful. I don't care how long Tomiki studied with O Sensei or how many licenses he earned. Your teacher tells you not to do something and you do it anyway. What would you call that? I don't call it being polite.

Aikiweb...Aikido...Aikijujutsu...not, Jung Fang do-wa-diddy-diddy...

Ahem The phrase you're looking for is "Jun Fan Gung Fu." And if you ever want to look into that art without being booted out of the class, I strongly advise you to get that right and leave the do-wa-diddy-diddy out of it. Just a thought. :grr:

Chris Li
07-08-2006, 10:45 AM
I admit I don't know very much about Tomiki. The Shambhala Guide to Aikido says he "attemtped to combine Aikido and Judo against the express wishes of Morihei)" (bold face mine). Now, if O Sensei flat out told Tomiki "Don't do that" and he did it anyway, yes, in my opinion, that was disrespectuful. I don't care how long Tomiki studied with O Sensei or how many licenses he earned. Your teacher tells you not to do something and you do it anyway. What would you call that? I don't call it being polite.

You mean like with Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda?

Best,

Chris

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 10:46 AM
.... What used to pass for martial arts, wearing a gi, having a shomen, hanging a japanese or korean flag, and wearing a black belt, throw in a few kiai, kicks, and kata... just doesn't carry the same weight as it used to in the west. People are expecting much more these days.

I think many of the "old timers" have failed to respond to the times, have gotten lazy, and are resting on the laurels of their past, so the new generation comes along and says that those traditional guys and all that tradition gets in the way of "Real Training".


It doesn't? Funny, that describes the dojos I've either trained in or visited; they seem to be happening places. The dojo I've gone to in Cincinnati for seminars is pretty big, and they fill up the mat pretty well; maybe they have tiny regular classes but I doubt it.

Maybe we should remember another saying: "Different strokes for different folks."

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 10:50 AM
You mean like with Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda?

Best,

Chris

If that's what happened, maybe. I don't know. But then again, O Sensei called his art Aikido, not Daito-Ryu Aikijutusu. Calling it "Aikido," he was doing his own thing; you can't criticize him for that because it was his. But if he'd continued to call it "Daito-Ryu Aikijutusu" even though he was doing things differently from Takeda, that would not have been good.

Chris Li
07-08-2006, 10:57 AM
If that's what happened, maybe. I don't know. But then again, O Sensei called his art Aikido, not Daito-Ryu Aikijutusu. Calling it "Aikido," he was doing his own thing; you can't criticize him for that because it was his. But if he'd continued to call it "Daito-Ryu Aikijutusu" even though he was doing things differently from Takeda, that would not have been good.

1) He didn't call it "Aikido" until 1942, by which time the problems between him and Takeda had existed for years.
2) "Aikido" itself was, at the time, a general category within the Butokukai, and open for use as a name by just about anybody, which lends some strength to the argument for other people using the name for their art.
3) In the end, Tomiki changed the name anyway, calling his art "Shodokan Aikido", which pretty much follows the normal naming conventions of altering the root name by adding a modifier (ie, "Billy-ryu" student breaks off and forms "Billy-bob-ryu") to both indicate the change and recognize the root art.

Best,

Chris

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 01:52 PM
1) He didn't call it "Aikido" until 1942, by which time the problems between him and Takeda had existed for years.
2) "Aikido" itself was, at the time, a general category within the Butokukai, and open for use as a name by just about anybody, which lends some strength to the argument for other people using the name for their art.
3) In the end, Tomiki changed the name anyway, calling his art "Shodokan Aikido", which pretty much follows the normal naming conventions of altering the root name by adding a modifier (ie, "Billy-ryu" student breaks off and forms "Billy-bob-ryu") to both indicate the change and recognize the root art.

Best,

Chris


Thank you for filling me in on the details. (Although I had read in Aikido: The Way of Harmony that O Sensei's art went by a slew of different names before he settled on "Aikido," so that wasn't unknown to me.) But does any of this mean it's ok to do something you've been explcitly told not to do? Sorry, I still don't agree with it.

Chris Li
07-08-2006, 01:56 PM
Thank you for filling me in on the details. (Although I had read in Aikido: The Way of Harmony that O Sensei's art went by a slew of different names before he settled on "Aikido," so that wasn't unknown to me.) But does any of this mean it's ok to do something you've been explcitly told not to do? Sorry, I still don't agree with it.

My point was, how can you blame Tomiki for doing essentially the same thing that Ueshiba did?

Best,

Chris

Kevin Leavitt
07-08-2006, 02:11 PM
It doesn't? Funny, that describes the dojos I've either trained in or visited; they seem to be happening places. The dojo I've gone to in Cincinnati for seminars is pretty big, and they fill up the mat pretty well; maybe they have tiny regular classes but I doubt it.

Maybe we should remember another saying: "Different strokes for different folks."

Yea different strokes for different folks. (I guess that is where I was heading with the "when in Rome" comments.

I think also there is a huge dose of ignorance in what TMA offers in this world of "quick gains" and instant gratification.

(you really get yourself (or I have) into a jam when you start stereotyping. Anyway, just trying to generate thought and ideas for discussion.)

dps
07-08-2006, 04:23 PM
"Billy-ryu" student breaks off and forms "Billy-bob-ryu do-wa-diddy-diddy-ryu

mickeygelum
07-08-2006, 04:25 PM
Mr Gallagher,
I have student just like you, carries a copy of "The Art of Peace" every where he goes...incessantly preaches about what OSensei meant about this quip and that quote...he hardly ever comes to class and sits on the internet bantering about things he never experienced or bore witness to....do you have any ambition to train, or do you just enjoy argueing with folks that do actually train...

...since you are not really versed in Shodokan Aikido, I invite you to the 2006 US National Tournament being held in Poughkeepsie, New York at Vassar College..the dates are October 14-15...

" Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no one will dare challenge you "....Ueshiba Morihei

dps
07-08-2006, 04:28 PM
But does any of this mean it's ok to do something you've been explcitly told not to do?
Pretty strong statement.
I like to know where you read O'Sensei explicitly told Tomiki Sensei not to.

mickeygelum
07-08-2006, 04:30 PM
Oh..I almost forgot,

"Do wa diddy, diddy dum, diddy do-ryu"...Master Manfred Mann :hypno:

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 04:36 PM
My point was, how can you blame Tomiki for doing essentially the same thing that Ueshiba did?

Best,

Chris

Well, let's look at what they did: When they had diverged from what their teachers were doing, they gave their approaches distinctive identies. I didn't know about the such-and-such-ryu naming convention. But it seems to back up what I have been saying all along: If you pass a point where what you're doing isn't Aikido anymore, when it lacks that which makes Aikido what it is (whatever it is), you shouldn't call it that.

Did O Sensei deliberately disobey Takeda? That I don't know. There's a paragraph about how he "distanced himself from" Takeda and "substantially modified" the techniques he'd learned in one of the books I have. I don't know the particulars of Tomiki's split from O Sensei -- who said what to whom when and why. But I believe that if you're a student in someone's martial art school, and your teacher tells you "don't do xyz" and you do it anyway, you're in the wrong; you either change your ways or get out. Tomiki and O Sensei both seem to have taken the "get out" option. Again, I don't know the details. But it doesn't seem to be divergent from what I've been saying.

My read of some of the posts here is that some people seem to be saying Aikido has to change because Aikido has to change. But that doesn't really give a valid reason for changing things, does it? Just advocates change for it's own sake. What's the point of that? I could make a change in my life: I could go from being a tea totler to putting away several glasses of vodka a day (my dad put away a 2 liter bottle of the stuff every day for four or five years). Yes, I've made a change. But is it a good change? Well .... no. It's not. It would be for the worse in so many ways I can't count.

If the way Aikido does things is the best way for what it is trying to teach you, why make a change that could potentially interfere with that? "Because we have to change!" Why do we have to change? A change that serve's the art's goals seems worth doing; a change that is done just for the heck of it seems pointless.

dps
07-08-2006, 04:52 PM
Michael Gallagher wrote:
"But does any of this mean it's ok to do something you've been explcitly told not to do?"

I don't know the particulars of Tomiki's split from O Sensei -- who said what to whom when and why. But I believe that if you're a student in someone's martial art school, and your teacher tells you "don't do xyz" and you do it anyway, you're in the wrong; you either change your ways or get out....... Again, I don't know the details.

That is a big stretch from, "not knowing the details" and, " he was explicitly told not to do."
You lose credibility when you change the information that your argument is based on. :)

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 04:59 PM
Mr Gallagher,
I have student just like you, carries a copy of "The Art of Peace" every where he goes...incessantly preaches about what OSensei meant about this quip and that quote...he hardly ever comes to class and sits on the internet bantering about things he never experienced or bore witness to....do you have any ambition to train, or do you just enjoy argueing with folks that do actually train...



That would sting .... if you knew anything about me. You don't.

For one thing, I don't have a copy of The Art of Peace. I've seen it in book stores but I never bought one so far. I do hav a number of Aikido books, but I don't take them wherever I go. They stay at home, although I refer back to them sometimes.

It is true that I only go to Aikido class only once a week, but I asked my sensei about that when I met him and he said it was ok. One of the reasons I go once a week is because I am doing a total of five martial arts right now: Shito-Ryu karate (although that is on hiatus for the summer), Aikido, LaCoste Inosanto Kali, Pentjak Silat Serak, and most recently Jun Fan Gung Fu/JKD. (Another reason I go once a week is because, if only because you get up 200 times in a class, Aikido is the hardest thing I do right now and I don't want to overtrain.) So I am pretty busy. And in the 21 years since I started doing martial arts, I've also been exposed Shotokan and TKD, Wing Chun, Seidokan Aikido, Western boxing, and European fencing. Every morning, I make a point of doing some drills from karate, Aikido, Serak, and Jun Fan. So maybe I don't wrack up the most Aikido time in the world, but I would say I have "ambition to train."

Yes, there are a lot of things that I have not seen, that I have only read about in books. But I do have my opinions and I will voice them. Hopefully that won't get me booted from my dojo. If they do ..... I've promised myself that if my second foray into Aikido (this one) ends badly, I will never set foot in another dojo for as long as I live. That's not a threat, just following a rule that if a relationship (in this case with a martial art) causes you pain, get out of it. I hope that doesn't happen. I like my teacher, I like going to the dojo I'm in, and I like the way I feel after an Aikido practice. 25 years from now, I'd rather look back on 25 years of doing Aikido. But what will be will be. I'd be heartbroken if that happened but I would live with it.

Most of my views were influenced by my Kali teacher, who also teaches Serak with the permission of Maha Guru Victor de Thouars. But I feel certain ideas and attitudes are common to all martial arts; they may be expressed differently, but they are there. How a Thai Boxer shows respect to his teacher when the teacher is talking will be different then what Aikido students do, but the intent is the same.

Thank you for the invite to the tournament, but I must respectfully decline. I'm planning on going to another seminar a week earlier, and I don't like to sandwich two big trips into one month if I can help, mainly because I have inherited my late mother's disquiet with boarding the dog too many times. If she was still alive, it wouldn't be a problem, because she would stay home and I would take my trips as I have many times before. But now, every time I go away, my house stands empty and my dog ends up in a kennel. I don't like to do that to her too often, poor dog!

So now you know something about me. I will be happy to debate you as long as debate me, not who you think I am. Ok?

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 05:09 PM
Michael Gallagher wrote:
"But does any of this mean it's ok to do something you've been explcitly told not to do?"



That is a big stretch from, "not knowing the details" and, " he was explicitly told not to do."
You lose credibility when you change the information that your argument is based on. :)

"Tomiki Aikido and Yoseikan Budo Kenji Tomiki (1900-1979), one of Morihei's first students, was also a high ranking Judo instructor, and he attempted to combine aikido and Judo (against the express wishes of Morihei) ..... the inclusion of contests based on Judo style competitions into Aikido was widely criticized."
--Stevens, John, The Shambhala Guide to Aikido. p. 114.

I admit that is all I know about Tomiki. I admit that is an oversimplification and I don't have the details. But "against the express wishes of Morihei" does imply that Tomiki was told not to do something and he did it anyway. If I've "lost credibility" from working from that source, oh, well. But I know what I believe and why. You don't agree with me. Again, oh, well.

dps
07-08-2006, 05:29 PM
"Tomiki Aikido and Yoseikan Budo Kenji Tomiki (1900-1979), one of Morihei's first students, was also a high ranking Judo instructor, and he attempted to combine aikido and Judo (against the express wishes of Morihei) ..... the inclusion of contests based on Judo style competitions into Aikido was widely criticized."
--Stevens, John, The Shambhala Guide to Aikido. p. 114.

I admit that is all I know about Tomiki. I admit that is an oversimplification and I don't have the details. But "against the express wishes of Morihei" does imply that Tomiki was told not to do something and he did it anyway. If I've "lost credibility" from working from that source, oh, well. But I know what I believe and why. You don't agree with me. Again, oh, well.

""against the express wishes of Morihei" does not imply he was told not to do it. It implies that Tomiki Sensei knew that O'Sensei did not agree with him. Using one line out of one book about O'Sensei is a major stretch of the imagination. If this part of your argument's foundation is not credible, then the other parts are questionable too.
I have not practiced the other arts that you have mention. but I have five years and some months practice in Aikido. I do not trust what you have to say about these other arts because the shaky credibility you have demonstrated with your argument about Aikido.

milesc
07-08-2006, 05:51 PM
If the way Aikido does things is the best way for what it is trying to teach you, why make a change that could potentially interfere with that?

That's a really big IF and that's actually the point of my previous thread on newbies training/teaching techniques. It is also why I believe it is necessary to understand the goals and intentions of training and teaching methods for martial arts so that you can better tailor the delivery method to the goals of the art.

dps
07-08-2006, 06:15 PM
It is also why I believe it is necessary to understand the goals and intentions of training and teaching methods for martial arts so that you can better tailor the delivery method to the goals of the art.

And who is better to understand the goals and intentions of training and teaching methods as related to Aikido, someone with ten or more years practice and rank to teach or a newbie or someone who dapples in Aikido?

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 06:38 PM
And who is better to understand the goals and intentions of training and teaching methods as related to Aikido, someone with ten or more years practice and rank to teach or a newbie or someone who dapples in Aikido?

..... said the guy who's only been at it for five! :p :)

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 06:48 PM
""against the express wishes of Morihei" does not imply he was told not to do it. It implies that Tomiki Sensei knew that O'Sensei did not agree with him ....

Goes either way, really.


Using one line out of one book about O'Sensei is a major stretch of the imagination ....

Can you tell us, then, what really happened?


If this part of your argument's foundation is not credible, then the other parts are questionable too.

Oh, dear. :(


I have not practiced the other arts that you have mention. but I have five years and some months practice in Aikido. I do not trust what you have to say about these other arts because the shaky credibility you have demonstrated with your argument about Aikido.

Well, you are more than welcome to look into them yourself. Karate schools are realtively easy to find, although I do not know what kind of presence shito-ryu has in Ohio. For Jun Fan, Kali, and Serak, here are a couple of helpful web sites:

http://www.inosanto.com

http://www.serak.com

Good luck finding schools near you!

dps
07-08-2006, 06:51 PM
..... said the guy who's only been at it for five! :p :)

......said the guy who has been dappling at it for less than three.

statisticool
07-08-2006, 06:51 PM
Posted by Justin 04-12-2006,
"I'm going to start taking aikido classes next month, and am excited. "

Posted by Justin 05-01-2006,
" I'll actually be starting towards the end of June, just outside of Alexandria, VA."

Hello Justin,
Have you actually started Aikido practice yet (not hypothetically)? How is it going? I am glad you are excited about Aikido and hope that when you gain some experience you will be able to speak from your experience. :)
Remember," all the theory in the world is NOTHING like the Real Thing."

Good Luck

Yes, and thank you. And I do have experience, just not in aikido yet. :)

If you'd like more details, please contact me by email.


Justin

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 06:57 PM
......said the guy who has been dappling at it for less than three.

Once/week ="dappling"? New one on me. Wonder how many other "dapplers" there are out there? Probably a lot!

dps
07-08-2006, 07:05 PM
Can you tell us, then, what really happened?
No, and I won't make something up like you did.
Well, you are more than welcome to look into them yourself.
No thank you, I would rather focus on one art at a time.

dps
07-08-2006, 07:12 PM
Once/week ="dappling"? New one on me. Wonder how many other "dapplers" there are out there? Probably a lot!
Most of those who have to practice once a week or seminars when they can do so because of circumstances like family obligations, work, no dojo close by, not because they chose to indulge themselves in five martial arts.

deepsoup
07-08-2006, 07:26 PM
"Tomiki Aikido and Yoseikan Budo Kenji Tomiki (1900-1979), one of Morihei's first students, was also a high ranking Judo instructor, and he attempted to combine aikido and Judo (against the express wishes of Morihei) ..... <snip>
--Stevens, John, The Shambhala Guide to Aikido. p. 114

There's already plenty of discussion about the "against the express wishes" part. I'd like to address the "tried to combine aikido and judo" part. As far as I'm aware he never did any such thing. Shodokan aikido certainly doesn't incorporate any judo techniques at all. Maybe there's some confusion with Yoseikan Aiki-budo going on here?

Prof. Tomiki regarded Judo and Aikido as quite separate, and complementary, developments on koryu jujutsu. In a nutshell, koryu jujutsu consists of atemi waza, kansetsu waza, katame waza and nage waza. Aikido techniques all come from the first two categories, and judo techniques from the second. (With a very small overlap.)

Here's an essay that he wrote about it:
http://www.tomiki.org/article_tomiki_jujutsu.html

Sean
x

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 07:27 PM
No, and I won't make something up like you did.

Where could I find out who said what to whom?



No thank you, I would rather focus on one art at a time.

Well, the information is out there when you are ready. I know there are Inosanto affiliates in Ohio; I do not know whether they are close to you. But I do hope that you can find one close to you.

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 07:29 PM
There's already plenty of discussion about the "against the express wishes" part. I'd like to address the "tried to combine aikido and judo" part. As far as I'm aware he never did any such thing .....

Yell at John Stevens, not me. (Although he did write something about Ninjutusu that didn't go over well with the Togakure-ryu people. I still enjoy his books, though.)

Demetrio Cereijo
07-08-2006, 07:31 PM
If we can trust in what Mr Goldsbury said about the subject...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10426&postcount=15
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10433&postcount=16

CNYMike
07-08-2006, 07:38 PM
Most of those who have to practice once a week or seminars when they can do so because of circumstances like family obligations, work, no dojo close by, not because they chose to indulge themselves in five martial arts.

Well, you know someone now, althouogh I'm also in the "no dojo close by" category -- the dojo I go to is 25 miles away. And there's a schedule conflict between Aikido, Serak, and Karate. The only way I could start Jun Fan is because it's Tuesdays and Thursdays, although I only do that one day a week, too.

I figure everyone who does Aikido is motivated by affection for it -- it gets in your blood and that's it -- regardless of whether one does just Aikido or seven other arts besides (and there was someone in the dojo who did eight arts, including Aikido). If you want to call the multi-art people "dapplers," go right ahead, but that strikes me as a little unfair.

DonMagee
07-09-2006, 12:25 AM
My read of some of the posts here is that some people seem to be saying Aikido has to change because Aikido has to change. But that doesn't really give a valid reason for changing things, does it?

I thought my reason was well displayed and thought out. My reason is that it would be in the best interests of any teacher to develop or refine their teaching skills to teach the most people consistently as possible and develop skills as quickly as possible. If a teaching method shows proven ability to work more effectively then other teaching methods they I think it is the responsibility of the teachers to explore, adapt, and use this method. Otherwise they are not responsible teachers.

On to the comment of me saying Question everything. Yes, Please, question everything any teacher says to you. It is important to question everything because it allows you to understand faster and to develop your own opinions and insights into your art.

A martial art is not a system, it is not a bunch of techniques with a philosophy stuck on top. It is a internalized concept of movement for the purpose of living life. Everyone has their own aikido, everyone has their own bjj, everyone has their own jkd. If you never question why, you will never develop your own opinion and be a much much weaker martial artist.

Questioning has a second effect. It keeps things honest. Many high ranking teachers lose sight of what they are doing. They get used to being in control and become full of themselves. If you never question anything you just might find yourself getting a finger pointed at you from 15 feet away and falling to the ground. You might find yourself doing a technique the teacher made up that would never work in real life, but works only because you take that fall. You might develop bad habits that would get you killed in a real attack. You might spend all your time working on complex techniques that are really unsuited for your body type (I don't think 7 foot tall people should work on O'Goshi all day as most people are going to be shorter than they are).

If your teacher gets offend when you question a technique, this shows in my opinion a deeper issue with a teacher. The teacher must not have confidence in his art, or doesn't understand how to explain his art. He obviously has a huge ego and looks at himself as above his students. This all leads to more bullshido, to adding more 'tradition' to prevent the exposure of weakness in the teacher. To bad techniques that never get explored because its disrespectful to ask. And it does a disservice to people who are there to seriously learn how to defend themselves. For the record, I agree that if you don't agree with the training methods at a school, you should not spend all your time arguing with the teacher. That is disrespectful to the students and to the teacher. You should find another school with training methods you agree with. However I feel you should bring up these reasons and explain why you feel this way. When you explain, you should also give what you think is the solution and the reasons why. Maybe it will help the teacher understand more about how his students feel, maybe it will give him new ideas, and maybe he will learn and grow as a teacher. If he is stuck on tradition and blind faith then I guess he will never grow as a teacher (not significantly anyways). However, once you are in a position to teach, I think its perfectly fine to teach how you feel you should teach. If your teacher is offended, then I guess he can be offended. Sucks to be him to be upset with you having your own ideas.

If I don't believe something will work, I'll say it, and explain why I think it wont work. I wont just say "This will never work". I will say something like "How does this help keep us from ending up in a clinch?" Or "Shouldn't we worry about X happening from this position". If I get answers that are stupid or silly, I will challenge them. For example, I took a free lesson at a school that a friend of mine was looking at. During this lesson the teacher went over some things that I guess you could call trapping. I asked about how this works with someone trying to clinch and take-down, vs someone who stays away striking like they spar (they don't allow clinch or take-downs in their sparing from what I seen.). I was told simply, "You just don't let them clinch or take you down". My next question of course was "How do you do that?". This guy became frustrated and told me that I just didn't' understand enough of his system, and to shut up and train. I recommended my friend not train at his club. He was a fool in my eyes. I may not understand his system, but I understand a fight. I know what I'm going to try to do, and I know that you can't just 'not let me' clinch or 'not go to the ground'. He obviously was well aware of a weakness in his system by the fact that he got upset at me for asking a question. Rather than explore my question, or suggest we explore it later after class or in a future lesson, maybe tell me this drill or technique only deals with this small aspect of the fight and their are others for when it starts to close to the clinch, or even say that they simply do not train to deal with that and suggest cross-training, he tried to pull the old tradition, rank, and respect card and tell me I can't question him. If anyone should feel disrespected, it should be me. I'm asking questions to attempt to learn and he is telling me that basically, I'm too stupid at this point to bother explaining himself to. Even though I've been training in the martial arts for most of my life, I can't possibly have the knowledge needed to understand. I was the one disrespected and I was the one who should feel insulted. He should be happy that I'm thinking about his teachings enough to ask questions and that I'm developing my own ideas.

I have also noticed that in clubs of that nature the students always have a 'I'm awesome' vibe about them. They seem to really believe they are untouchable in some respect. They have unrealistic views about what will happen in a fight. I believe this problem only exists in places where the students have blind faith and never question anything their teacher tells them. I've seen instructors tell their students that by training this way they will be able to block every strike that comes at them. I've seen instructors tell their students not to worry about a boxer because you can just kick his knees out. These things need to be confronted and questioned. If my teacher tells me that if I punch you at 2:30 PM with my pinkie extended in your right forearm you will die, I'm going to question it. If he tells me standing in a line wiggling my big toe for 30 minutes will improve my punching skills, I'm going to question it. Why? Because it doesn't have any relation to what I know about how the human body works. I've seen a lot of things that worked only because their students were so afraid of their teacher they let it work. For example, pinching the leg to break a choke hold. If I'm choking you, you can bite me, pinch me, kiss me, whatever. I'm just going to wait for you to pass out, stand up and head stomp you for making it annoying. But the students take it to heart and do not question it. Because it is disrespectful. Even in cases where it doesn't' make sense. I've rambled on enough on this. But my point is, Question everything. Its the basis of science and its how we come to understand.

Why is it disrespectful to question a teacher about his art? And why are some martial artists so stuck up they believe no one could improve upon the methods they currently use?

I'm not saying the I-method is perfect for aikido. I'm not saying that if aikidoka stop doing kata and only spar full contact that it is better for the goals of aikido. I'm simply saying that this method is doing wonders in other places. It should be explored and commented on. I was looking for arguments for or against this training method as it relates to improving the instruction of aikido, not as it relates to offending some teacher. If it betters the art, then maybe some people need to be offended.

I'm going to leave it with this.

If tradition prevents the exploration or adoption of better training methods without reason then tradition is holding back the martial art and tradition sucks. If you say aikido is for everybody, and someone shows you a method of teaching that allows more people to gain skill more consistently and understand faster and you say tradition does not allow this, then tradition is going against one of the goals of aikido. What should trump, the goals of the art, or the tradition that is stuck with it?

milesc
07-09-2006, 01:11 AM
@Don

I disagree with the your comments on throwing out culture due to it being a hinderance but aside from that, I think you have summed up my own opinions on the "revise and review" position as well.

My only major divergence from your above post would be to remember that change doesn't have to be revolutionary. It doesn't have to abolish the culture or the spirit of an art. It *can* do these things but at that point I think a teacher who does so will have the intent of putting a new name and face to that revised art. (Off the cuff example is sambo which another poster mentioned. It uses aikido techniques but is not aikido, it is sambo.)

To perscribe that one should never review their position and realign themselves I agree is a bad practice and can only lead to stagnation and/or misdirection.

Good post.

Kevin Leavitt
07-09-2006, 01:15 AM
Don Magee Wrote:

f tradition prevents the exploration or adoption of better training methods without reason then tradition is holding back the martial art and tradition sucks.

Good post Don, I especially like your comment above.

Thinking is important and something we must do. I'd say most of us begin our martial careers with a preconception about what martial arts is, what it will do for us, and what we will get out of our training. I'd say for the most part, most people would say after 10 years of training that there experiences and reasons shifted many times, they got lost along the way, and it was totally different than the reason they started.

We must always think, and keep in mind what our "endstate" of training is for. It may change from time to time, but we must stay focused and clear on that. If tradition and methods are in conflict with that endstate, then we must adapt our training, find a new home, or do something else until we find that path again.

creinig
07-09-2006, 04:56 AM
Aikido has much less ground to cover; tryint to break it into peices would be flatly ridiculous. I mean, could you spend twenty mintues just studying how to raise and lower your tegatana?

I'm not sure if I've ever done that for 20 minutes, but some of our kihon dosa sessions have certainly come close. But a better example would maybe be something we've started ~ half a year ago: For one hour before each official training, we do "entries". Receiving the attack, staying stable, trying to get the initial kuzushi. Nothing more. And uke does her best to make that a challenge :D

Great training. Kind of the opposite of sparring -- it's like polishing the technique (or it's most important part) to telescope-level clarity, like looking at it through a progressively more powerful microscope. Much resistance as well, just at a more sublime level I'd say. I attribute most of my progress recently to that.

CNYMike
07-09-2006, 10:25 AM
..... On to the comment of me saying Question everything. Yes, Please, question everything any teacher says to you. It is important to question everything because it allows you to understand faster and to develop your own opinions and insights into your art .....

I'd prefer to keep my questions more psoitive: What am I getting out of this? Guro Dan Inosanto is famous for saying that every martial art has something to offer. I think my time is better spent tryint to learn what Aikido's "something" is rather than dwell on what is not.

Taking a more skeptical approach can carry the risk that you set it up to fail. It's like asking, "How does doing martial art save me if someone in the room sets off an atomic bomb?" It doesn't. Nothing does. Does that mean you should write off martial arts? No. The question is, what does it give you?

If you want to learn scuba diving, do you take a course in sky diving and complain they never got in the water? No, you take the course in scuba diving. It's not that sky diving can't be fun, but if you don't like it or are afriad of heights, don't do it. If you want to learn BJJ, do you take a course in Thai Boxing and complain they don't role around on the ground? No. So if you go to Aikido and don't like how they do things, why not simply leave and go someplace else as opposed to saying "You should do it this way" or "you should consider this"? They do things they way they want to do them; how do you know it doesn't get good results?


.... For the record, I agree that if you don't agree with the training methods at a school, you should not spend all your time arguing with the teacher. That is disrespectful to the students and to the teacher ..... Why is it disrespectful to question a teacher about his art? And why are some martial artists so stuck up they believe no one could improve upon the methods they currently use?


Sounds like you already know. :)


..... If tradition prevents the exploration or adoption of better training methods without reason then tradition is holding back the martial art and tradition sucks. If you say aikido is for everybody, and someone shows you a method of teaching that allows more people to gain skill more consistently and understand faster and you say tradition does not allow this, then tradition is going against one of the goals of aikido. What should trump, the goals of the art, or the tradition that is stuck with it?

If the methodology is part of your tradition, and preserving the art, not just teaching a bunch of techniques, is important to you, then yes, you lose something if you change methods. You could gain one thing, but lose something else.

DonMagee
07-09-2006, 01:15 PM
I actually expect to hear that exact argument. Obviously you could ask the wrong questions, anything can be debunked with the right setup. How does aikido help prepare us for 15 men armed with machine guys, wild dogs, and land mines? You need to understand your goals in the martial arts, and what the teacher is claiming to teach you before you start asking questions. So your very first question is "What do I want from my training?". The very next question is to your prospective teacher, "I want X from the martial arts, can you provide it?".

I wouldn't complain if I was studying Thai boxing and they didn't do ground training. If I did, I obviously didn't ask the first two questions. I would question the teacher if he started teaching anti-grappling techniques though. It is important to understand what you are asking. I had to design a network for a previous employer of mine. Then wanted 100% uptime. I asked what would be an acceptable downtime. I was informed nothing would be acceptable. So I had to start asking questions like "If a nuke is detonated on US soil and destroys most of the country, is that an acceptable downtime. If a major flood covers this entire state, is that a acceptable downtime. etc. Till we found what that 100% was really about.

Going back to my example with my friend, if that teacher would say "We don't deal with that area of combat, we are specialized", then that is an acceptable answer to the question. It is still ok to question because obviously, I needed to be informed. Instead I was told to shutup and be respectful. If I asked "How do you deal with a ground fighter?" And you said "Aikido doesn't' deal with groundfighitng, if it is important to you I would suggest finding a judo school" that is an acceptable answer, you acknowledged my question and gave it an answer. Now if I said "How does aikido deal with ground fighting?" and you said "Shut up! Don't question me, this art will destroy a ground fighter." That is not an acceptable answer. But if I honestly want to know how aikido deals with ground fighting, it is important that I ask.

Lets say I see a teacher demonstrating a technique. He claims this technique will break legs. I look at how I have been attacked in the past, what I know about the human body, and what I've seen in other arts and decide that I don't think he will be breaking legs. What should I do? Should I just shutup and train? Should I ask how this will break the leg? Should I tell him I don't think it will work? Which question or response will benefit me more? If I leave without telling him anything, neither of us grow. I do not learn if I was wrong, he doesn't learn why he lost a student. If I shutup and train I will gain nothing. I will waste my time going though motions on something I will never actually use because I don't believe it works. The teacher will never know I don't understand and will think he is doing a great job educating when really we are both wasting our time. If I ask my teacher, I'm disrespectful because he told me "This breaks legs" and by asking I'm saying "I don't think this breaks legs". Of course he is hearing "You are wrong and a sucky martial artist", but that is just his ego getting bruised. What he should hear is "I don't quite understand, please help me understand." Hopefully one of two things will happen when I tell him that I don't understand how this will break legs.
1) We will explore the technique and I will understand how this breaks legs.
2) We will explore the technique and find that it really doesn't' break legs, or that it is very low percentage leg breaking technique.

If the answer is 2, then we can decide to either a) keep the technique because it teaches some other important concept vital to the art. or b) throw the technique out or modify it so that it does work.

so we have an inquiry, then isolation as we explore, drill, and test the technique. And finally a proof as we integrate the technique into our own self. I don't need to ask what anything is giving me, because I am exploring it as I learn it. I know exactly what I am gaining and what abilities and weaknesses I have. I don't have to understand the system to help the teacher learn. In fact you learn the most trying to explain something to a newbie. Because they are not yet programmed to think like you do. Eventually everyone drinks the cool-aid and you start to group think. By asking questions you can help stall that process and keep ideas fresh and flowing.

Finally I don't think training methods are part of tradition. I think teachers had to teach with the best tools and knowledge they had at the time. If I was teaching before the advent of proper mouth protection, should we not start using mouth guards because it is against the tradition? Again, I'm not saying throw tradition out. I'm saying don't let tradition get in the way of exploring new things that might benefit your training. Keep traditions for as long as it makes sense to do so. But at the same time, leave your comfort zone now and then and think outside of the box. If you find something very good, bring it back and help the rest of us.

I did leave my aikido school. I left for a lot of reasons but a big one was that I had found what I feel are better training methods. I explained it to my teacher, he accepted my critique and we parted on fairly good terms. He didn't change because he didn't feel anything was wrong with his training. I didn't' argue with him, he produces fine students. However I didn't agree so I left. However it is my duty to say "You should consider this". Its about the right time and place. Its not my duty to say "You should do this" in the middle of class. Its my duty to ask questions pertaining to the training in class. Its my duty to talk privately to my teacher after class about ideas I have for improving the training. I said my piece, he did not agree, to stay would be wasting both of our times. At least he knows why I left, and I know why I left, we both learned something about ourselves and each other. However, this is a public forum. This is a place to discuss ideas and explore theory. Sure, we could all sit around and just talk about how great aikido is, and hold hands and tell stories about how great we all are. But does that help us grow? Does that help us improve? Shouldn't we use this to explore new ideas or perceived gaps or flaws in our training. I really believe in the philosophy behind aikido, it is only the training method I feel is lacking.

You asked how I know the current methods don't get good results. I never said they didn't get good results. Obviously they must work becuase there are people who can do aikido. I simply said these other methods get better more consistent results in a faster time frame. I feel I explained many times my beliefs on how these training methods improve over the current methods. I'm not going to explain it again because you can scroll up. This conversation is way way off base from where I wanted to go. I wanted to explore the merits of this training method, not if we should be talking about it or not. I dint care if a bunch of old folks believe we should talk about changing things. I simply wanted to discuss the merits of the I-method paired with aikido. Almost no one has addressed the merits of the training, instead we have focused the majority of this conversation on how someone might feel if we talked about it. Which is in my opinion silly. Especially because besides you, nobody has said they would be offended by adding this training to their current training. In fact nobody has said they liked or disliked the training method. And nobody has said the method will or will not work in the realm of aikido.

Michael Douglas
07-09-2006, 02:14 PM
Wow, great clear post Don.

DonMagee
07-09-2006, 04:35 PM
Well, I never claimed to be a writer...

dps
07-09-2006, 04:52 PM
Don,

Is this the method you are talking about?


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Inquiry education (sometimes known as the inquiry method) is a student-centered method of education focused on asking questions. Students are encouraged to ask questions which are meaningful to them, and which do not necessarily have easy answers; teachers are encouraged to avoid giving answers when this is possible, and in any case to avoid giving direct answers in favor of asking more questions. The method was advocated by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner in their book Teaching as a Subversive Activity.

The inquiry method is motivated by Postman's and Weingartner's recognition that the activities and behaviors of intelligent people ("good learners") at all stages in life focuses on the process of inquiry, not an end product of static knowledge. They write that certain characteristics are common to all good learners (Teaching as a Subversive Activity, pp. 31-33), saying that all good learners have:

* self-confidence in their learning ability;
* pleasure in problem solving;
* a keen sense of relevance;
* reliance on their own judgment over other people's or society's;
* no fear of being wrong;
* no haste in answering;
* flexibility in point of view;
* respect for facts, and the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion;
* no need for final answers to all questions, and comfort in not knowing an answer to difficult questions rather than settling for a simplistic answer.

In an attempt to instill students with these qualities and behaviors, a teacher adhering to the inquiry method in pedagogy must behave very differently from a traditional teacher. Postman and Weingartner suggest that inquiry teachers have the following characteristics (pp. 34-37):

* they avoid telling students what they "ought to know";
* they talk to students mostly by questioning, and especially by asking divergent questions;
* they do not accept short, simple answers to questions;
* they encourage students to interact directly with one another, and avoid judging what is said in student interactions;
* they do not summarize students' discussion;
* they do not plan the exact direction of their lessons in advance, and allow it to develop in response to students' interests;
* their lessons pose problems to students;
* they gauge their success by change in students' inquiry behaviors (with the above characteristics of "good learners" as a goal).

mathewjgano
07-09-2006, 08:20 PM
Tomiki, however, did go against the founder's wishes. THAT was disrepectful.

In my mind, "disrespect" doesn't denote this sort of thing. Disrespectful would be to intentionally insult and from what I understand, Tomiki didn't do that. To have your own opinion and differ from your teacher isn't itself rude. As for the "competitions" in Shodokan, I view it as quite similar to traditional keiko. It's all about attitude; not superficial appearances. One can just as easily get too competitive-minded in regular training as in a tournament. It seems quite similar to when we test: depending upon the level one is testing for, uke is expected to attack sincerely. This means that if nage is not prepared enough, nage will not be able to perform the technique and will be thrown...or some such similar result will happen. This seems like merely a more formalized version of "competitions".

If they explicitly tell you "don't do x," don't do it. If it's "you can do anything but x," then there's some wiggle room to explore and experiment once you know enough to know what you're doing. I've seen advanced people -- just on either side of shodan -- trying different things during seminars, but they're advanced students. They have the tools to express themselves, so it must be ok.

I can certainly agree that while a direct student of someone, if they tell you not to do something, you ought not do it out of respect for the hierarchy you've placed yourself into. I also understand Japanese culture is very hierarchical in nature, so I can see how many people would feel as you do with regard to repsect, however in the same way you suggest a shodan has room to play around to express his or her self, I think someone like Tomiki has room to do so too. "Aikido" is not a proper noun with a trademark denoting a precise, immutable thing. I think the "-do" at the end makes it much more open to interpretation and loose in definition, thus I think you can have many forms of "Aikido," and not all have to be directly in line with exactly what Osensei taught. We can argue the philosophical virtues of any system within the general category of aikido, but I think it's perfectly fitting for Shodokan to claim the title "Aikido". There is a marked distinction by virtue of the fact that it's called "Shodokan" or "Tomiki Ryu" Aikido. For me, this is a sufficient distinction to denote any differences between it and other forms of Aikido.

But even allowing for change, did O Sensei mean for us to change things indescriminantly, to challenge things just because we can? To do whatever we want and call it Aikido? ...When you deviate from those things, you've gone over the line and you can't honestly call it Aikido anymore. You would have to call it something else, and that's ok.

I agree with what I think is the essence of this message. It's good to denote a distinction between differences so one can tell the difference. I also think the changes you refered to shouldn't be indescriminate, but I don't think Tomiki was indescriminate. He took his experiences and based his choices off of those, just as Osensei did. I think Tomiki had great respect for Osensei or he wouldn't have aligned himself so closely.

But doing your own thing and calling it someone else's .... no. O Sensei didn't do that, did he? That's why we're debating about Aikido and not Daito Ryu Aikijutusu. When he came up with his own art, he gave it its own name and identity, instead of trying to pass it off as someone else's. The same lesson is true for us today.
My understanding is that the term "aikido" was determined by a council which oversaw budo in Japan. I see the term "aikido" as more generic than you do. Shodokan doesn't claim to be exactly as Osensei taught in every way, but if you train at a Shodokan dojo, you can clearly see it is Aikido. I've trained at three different dojo (relatively few, I know): Kannagara Jinja; ASU; Shodokan. Each was "same same, but different." Also, taking into consideration organizations like Nihon Goshin Aikido, which claims no lineage from Ueshiba-sama, and to me it really drives this point home.

CNYMike
07-09-2006, 09:45 PM
I actually expect to hear that exact argument. Obviously you could ask the wrong questions, anything can be debunked with the right setup. How does aikido help prepare us for 15 men armed with machine guys, wild dogs, and land mines? .....

Obviously I exxagerated a little. You don't have to be quite so obvious to get the same result. It can be subtle; you can think you're not doing something and you are.

..... Lets say I see a teacher demonstrating a technique. He claims this technique will break legs. I look at how I have been attacked in the past, what I know about the human body, and what I've seen in other arts and decide that I don't think he will be breaking legs. What should I do? Should I just shutup and train? Should I ask how this will break the leg? Should I tell him I don't think it will work? Which question or response will benefit me more? If I leave without telling him anything, neither of us grow. I do not learn if I was wrong, he doesn't learn why he lost a student. If I shutup and train I will gain nothing. I will waste my time going though motions on something I will never actually use because I don't believe it works. The teacher will never know I don't understand and will think he is doing a great job educating when really we are both wasting our time. If I ask my teacher, I'm disrespectful because he told me "This breaks legs" and by asking I'm saying "I don't think this breaks legs". Of course he is hearing "You are wrong and a sucky martial artist", but that is just his ego getting bruised. What he should hear is "I don't quite understand, please help me understand." Hopefully one of two things will happen when I tell him that I don't understand how this will break legs.
1) We will explore the technique and I will understand how this breaks legs.
2) We will explore the technique and find that it really doesn't' break legs, or that it is very low percentage leg breaking technique.

If the answer is 2, then we can decide to either a) keep the technique because it teaches some other important concept vital to the art. or b) throw the technique out or modify it so that it does work.


Ok. Thanks for explaining that.


.... I don't think training methods are part of tradition .....

I disagree.



.... This conversation is way way off base from where I wanted to go ..... simply wanted to discuss the merits of the I-method paired with aikido .....

Ok. I'll bite. Let's see how it works, based on the difinition you provided in another post:


Introduce: Demonstrate and explain the material being taught, let them drill it to get a basic understanding and put it static reps.


This pretty much sums up most Aikido classes: Techniques are demonstrated and explained, and then we repeat them until the instructor decides to do something else. (What interests me is the "organic" quality of the class, when to get from technque A to B, you tweak something in A.)


Isolate: Work on the material in isolation, usually with drills or restricted sparring with progressively increasing resistance/difficulty.


Slightly dicey. Does "in isolation" mean on your own time, or in the class? I understand Yudansha have leeway to experiment, but whether it's as much you're thinking, I don't know. If "restricited sparring" means you still know who uke and nage are, that might work. Otherwise, no.


Intregrate: Have the students encorporate the material into their whole game, usually in free rolling/sparring.


No chance of using because many branches of Aikido don't have freestyle sparring or rolling. That's when we come full circle back to the direction we were in before. Fully integrating the I-method would require a major change in Aikido, namely including sparring. And that brings us all the way back to whole discussion of sparring, respect, etc. And that's where the I-method hits a brick wall.


..... besides you, nobody has said they would be offended by adding this training to their current training .....

I didn't say I would be offended either. I never used those words. I said, if they tell you "you can't spar in Aikido," you don't spar. Which means chunks of the I-method can't be used, at least as-is. I wasn't taking offense; I just feel that's what you should do. Obviously, if you're in Tomiki's system, you might have an easier time of doing that. But if he's not in my lineage and if the people above me say "don't spar," I won't spar. Call that blind obediance if you want, but that's what I believe. So within the context of an Aikido class, I think it hits a brick wall.

Now, there are a few potential loopholes. One hinges on how much wiggle room black belts have when they are playing around. That I don't know. And even if they still can't do freestyle sparring, there are "semi freestyle" things where you know who uke and nage is but that's it. Would the latter two phases be adapted to that? Of course, if it hinges on freestyle, then it hits a brick wall.

Another loophole: What is the rule for open mat time after an Aikido class is over? I do not know. Are you restricted to doing Aikido? Can you do whatever you want as long as you don't bother anyone else? If the latter then two like-minded people could continue work with the I-method. But not in a formal Aikido class. There those aspects couldn't be used.

Yes, I noticed I am the only one taking this tack, even more disconcerting because my thinking was influenced by someone who's not involved with Aikido at all! But I still believe you don't do what they tell you not to do. Maybe outside a formal Aikido class you can get away with it. But in class lineage, tradition, and respect should, at least in my opinion, all be as important as the techniques, and come into play. Why am I the only one saying that? I don't know. But I don't by the idea of bypassing those things because it suits you; they're part of the package, not something you can discard if you want.

So to recap, no the I-method itself does not offend me, but it would be best if it were adapted to Aikido, not the other way around.

CNYMike
07-09-2006, 09:48 PM
^^ Now that I think about it, there's one more brick wall: If there's no sparring in Aikido ever, formal class or not, then the I-method again hits a brick wall unless you can adapt it to that context.

DonMagee
07-09-2006, 10:32 PM
David , that is the method I am refering too.

Michael, here's a question for you. If you train in aikido and you are told that sparing is against the tradition and philosphy of aikido and you join another art that spars, is that not as disrespectful? How can you train in 5 arts and not have a conflict of tradition. Keeping them isolated from each other is basically saying this tradition only matters when i'm in class, outside of class it is worthless. This tells me the tradition is not as important as was stated, because a "do" is supose to be a way of life. If the tradition is important to this way of life you must live it always. Otherwise you are just as bad as someone willfully going against the wishes of their teacher.

dps
07-09-2006, 11:08 PM
David , that is the method I am refering too..This is the way we trained when I started twenty years ago and the way we train now with some minor variations.

Sparring,
'A form of martial arts training in which two opponents face one another and simulate actual combat."
from wikipedia

Sounds like what we do at my dojo.

Learning Aikido is as complicated as we individually make it.

One of my favorite Ancient Chinese Acronyms is; K.I.S.S. ( Keep It Simple Stupid).

dps
07-09-2006, 11:12 PM
The famous Ancient Chinese Acronym was not directed at any one in particular, except maybe me.

CNYMike
07-09-2006, 11:51 PM
..... Michael, here's a question for you. If you train in aikido and you are told that sparing is against the tradition and philosphy of aikido and you join another art that spars, is that not as disrespectful? ......

No. I work very hard to be respectful to everything I do. When I am in Aikido, I do Aikido. When I am in Kali or Jun Fan, I do those arts. If I told my Jun Fan Sifu, "I can't spar here because I'm not allowed to in Aikido," would that be respectful? No, it would not. Which is why when he tells me to spar, I spar.

What about the members of this board who do both Aikido and Judo? Are they all to be considered disrespectful to Aikido now? Good luck defending that position.

Now, Don, let me ask you something:

Now that I have taken the debate in exactly the direction you wanted to go and answered the question you raised, why are you responding with what is basically a personal attack? If you still don't agree with me, fine. I have no problem with agreeing to disagree and leaving it at that; we aren't going to change each other's minds here. But that you have responded by trying to bait me leads me to wonder if you have run out of anything substantive to say.

DonMagee
07-10-2006, 06:00 AM
I'm sorry you think I was attacking you. I'm just trying to understand your position. I spent time thinking about it and the more I do the more I think it is absurd. So tradition is only important when you are in class? To say when you are in Kali that aikido tradition does not matter is saying you place very little value in this tradition. It seems you are saying we should respect tradition, but only when it is convenient. If the value of tradition is so small that it only matters while your actually in front of your teacher and in class, is it really that valuable? It seems it is false respect, real respect would extend beyond the realms of the class. Again, this is not a personal attack. This is simply how I see it. Personally, I don't see a problem with cross-training, but I'm exploring the logical extension of your position.

I didn't respond to your comments on the I-method because you still haven't' said anything substantially different then before, you just reworded it to say "We can't do this because of tradition". No point it repeating myself over and over.

Anyways, I'm hijacking the conversation away again. Yes, I know I wont change your mind. That's not the purpose of this conversation. I'm having this conversation to better understand my position and how I train. Not to make you change training methods. I hope everyone else is doing the same. If you like I'll quit replying to you. I don't want to fight on the internet, it's not healthy. I'm sure others will post their opinions eventually.

gdandscompserv
07-10-2006, 06:19 AM
I don't want to fight on the internet, it's not healthy.
it's alot healthier than fighting for reals! :D
peace

CNYMike
07-10-2006, 09:26 AM
I'm sorry you think I was attacking you. I'm just trying to understand your position. I spent time thinking about it and the more I do the more I think it is absurd. So tradition is only important when you are in class? To say when you are in Kali that aikido tradition does not matter is saying you place very little value in this tradition ....

Wrong. I respect the Kali "tradition" as well. It is not that Aikido does not have value, it all has value.

Although if you noticed, I never used the word "tradition." You did. What I have said is part of learning a martial art is preserving and propogating that system. It doesn't matter what art it is. There are things in Kali that have no practical application in our society, like espada y daga: Even if you could get away with walking around with a stick in one hand and a dagger in the other and not be picked up by the cops, you will NOT get into a fight with someone armed the same way. But we still cycle through espada y daga once every few months. Why? Because it is part of the system.

It is because of this that we must be careful in what we do. Does that mean no changes at all, like no modern equipment? No. I don't think you will find any Thai Boxers today fighting with glass glued to their hands. But you will not find a Thai Boxing instructor caught dead doing anything but standing respectfully when his teacher is talking. It's not just th techniques they are teaching but the bits of the culture.

Some might say, "Well, we're talking about Aikido." Well, that's the thinking I apply to all the arts I train in -- Aikido, Kali, Serak, whatever. When in Kali, I have to respect that system; I can not decide to not follow it because I am doing in Aikido. In Aikido, I must do things their way. It is not about being "convenient." "Convenience" does not enter into it.

Beyond that, the only opinions that matter are my teachers'. When I joined the dojo, I asked my sensei if it was ok if I came once a week; he said "Yes." I asked him if my doing other arts was a problem and he said "No." He knows what I do and who I train under (Guro Andy and Sensei used to have classes back-to-back on Fridays before both left the school that had been hosting them), and he's never said anything about it. No one has every accused me of "false respect" or lectured me on how I should follow Aikido's precepts in other classes .... except you, and you're not even in Aikido anymore, much less in a position to tell me what to do! My Kali instructor, for his part, fully supports my doing Aikido; he's never said anyhting about how I should comport myself in that class, although I think he would be dissapointed if I didn't do what I was supposed to do. NO ONE has said anything about a "conflict of tradition" .... except you. Well, why should I listen to you? Why should anybody? You deny being on a crusade to change Aikido, but you want their attention all the same. What difference does it make if you never come back?

I do not know how I could have been any clearer than I have in spelling out my position; why do you seek to "understand" it? Am I really that incomprehensible? Or am I just saying something you don't want to hear? What you tell me matters less than what you tell yourself.

DonMagee
07-10-2006, 12:02 PM
Wrong. I respect the Kali "tradition" as well. It is not that Aikido does not have value, it all has value.

Although if you noticed, I never used the word "tradition." You did. What I have said is part of learning a martial art is preserving and propogating that system. It doesn't matter what art it is. There are things in Kali that have no practical application in our society, like espada y daga: Even if you could get away with walking around with a stick in one hand and a dagger in the other and not be picked up by the cops, you will NOT get into a fight with someone armed the same way. But we still cycle through espada y daga once every few months. Why? Because it is part of the system.

It is because of this that we must be careful in what we do. Does that mean no changes at all, like no modern equipment? No. I don't think you will find any Thai Boxers today fighting with glass glued to their hands. But you will not find a Thai Boxing instructor caught dead doing anything but standing respectfully when his teacher is talking. It's not just th techniques they are teaching but the bits of the culture.

Some might say, "Well, we're talking about Aikido." Well, that's the thinking I apply to all the arts I train in -- Aikido, Kali, Serak, whatever. When in Kali, I have to respect that system; I can not decide to not follow it because I am doing in Aikido. In Aikido, I must do things their way. It is not about being "convenient." "Convenience" does not enter into it.

Beyond that, the only opinions that matter are my teachers'. When I joined the dojo, I asked my sensei if it was ok if I came once a week; he said "Yes." I asked him if my doing other arts was a problem and he said "No." He knows what I do and who I train under (Guro Andy and Sensei used to have classes back-to-back on Fridays before both left the school that had been hosting them), and he's never said anything about it. No one has every accused me of "false respect" or lectured me on how I should follow Aikido's precepts in other classes .... except you, and you're not even in Aikido anymore, much less in a position to tell me what to do! My Kali instructor, for his part, fully supports my doing Aikido; he's never said anyhting about how I should comport myself in that class, although I think he would be dissapointed if I didn't do what I was supposed to do. NO ONE has said anything about a "conflict of tradition" .... except you. Well, why should I listen to you? Why should anybody? You deny being on a crusade to change Aikido, but you want their attention all the same. What difference does it make if you never come back?

I do not know how I could have been any clearer than I have in spelling out my position; why do you seek to "understand" it? Am I really that incomprehensible? Or am I just saying something you don't want to hear? What you tell me matters less than what you tell yourself.

You might want to look into why you are so defensive. You seem to think I'm making statements about you. I am not on a crusade. I'm simply talking about ideas. I'm exploring them and asking questions. You talked about tradition being part of the training methods. I am now exploring how that tradition relates to these training methods. You did say tradition was part of the training method. We are talking about training methods. I am exploring how this relates. You see, I feel tradition can not be part of the training method because simply, you must throw out tradition some when you cross train. Notice how I didn't say tradition was bad or evil. I simply said it was not part of the training method.

To be fair you did not say tradition, you said respect. However, when we explored this 'respect' we found it was not the common sense of respect westerners have, but rather tied to a tradition that came with the art. This tradition includes more than just saying sensei, bowing, and following all instructors and wishes of your teacher. The tradition of aikido is that it is a way of life. You can't turn it on for a hour once or twice a week. To do so means you are simply not training in aikido. In fact, one of the main statements of aikidoka is that you are training all the time, 24/7. So now you have a tradition that has to contend with all other aspects of your training outside of aikido.

Yes, I don't train any longer in aikido. I post here because I find there are some intelligent people here with opposing viewpoints that will allow me to explore my ideas. This helps me refine my arguments and develop my own thoughts on how training should be. Its not even about aikido. I feel this method could help any martial art. I am talking about aikido simply because this is an aikido forum.

As for the understand comment. I do understand what you are saying. I use the word understand in reference to exploring your statement and seeing how it applies. You seem to think that simply because I ask a question that I am supporting the statement implied by the question. For example, I am asking you if cross-training interferes with tradition. You think I am saying it is bad to cross train. Except for I also cross train. I train in judo, bjj, and boxing.

When I train, I don't pretend to even think about the respect or tradition needed in these arts. I show up, shut up when needed, ask questions when needed, and take lots of notes. I don't stand respectfully when the teacher is talking because he has a 5th degree black belt around his waist. I stand there respectfully because he has proven to be a nice honest man, and if I don't pay attention, I'm wasting my money and I will never learn anything. If he didn't answer my questions, got upset with me for asking them, or got upset with me suggesting a new drill or training method, I would have no respect for him and I would leave. Instead they have been receptive and either shown me a better way, or listened and adopted some of my suggestions modified with their experience. That is a productive non-hostile learning environment. Being afraid you might offend the teacher by suggesting something is not.

If you read some of my comments in the previous posts, you would know that I believe the best way to learn is to ask questions, no matter how 'uncomfortable' they might be. I don't mean to offend you, but I also don't care if you get offended. It's not personal to me, its a matter of exploring the thought processes and training methods in the martial arts. If people started defending my position, I might even question them with questions from your position. Why? So I can learn something. Maybe gain a deeper understand of what drives people. I'm only asking questions. If I didn't think aikidoka had something worth gaining I would ignore them. Nobody is forced to reply to me and I'm not hurting anyone by asking questions.

Ron Tisdale
07-10-2006, 12:32 PM
And you provide some interesting reading and usefull information, too.

The tradition of aikido is that it is a way of life. You can't turn it on for a hour once or twice a week. To do so means you are simply not training in aikido. In fact, one of the main statements of aikidoka is that you are training all the time, 24/7. So now you have a tradition that has to contend with all other aspects of your training outside of aikido.

I think I'll bite on this one. I don't feel that it is a contradiction, because the tradition we are speaking of is not what is practiced outside of the dojo. In the Yoshinkan, it is a tradition to use the word Osu! when we greet each other. Yet often, outside of the dojo environment, we don't use that greeting, because it can be percieved as rude by outsiders. It is simply inappropriate outside of a given context. All traditions have a context...and if you take them outside of that context, you not only risk 'offending' the tradition, you also risk offending other people while making an @$$ of yourself. So I try mightily when in other arts, other dojo not to say 'osu!', because it can actually be inappropriate...whether in a MA setting or not.

There are many instances of this...bowing at a 45 degree angle to people at work who happen to appear asian could be taken as condescending or sarcastic. But it is tradition to bow in an aikido dojo. Should I then bow to coworkers because aikdo is a DO? I don't think that would make sense.

In my opinion, a lot of things that are tradition in the dojo are not meant to be literally taken outside of the dojo. The meaning behind these things, however, can be taken outside and applied in a valid way, without conflicting with the environment and context you are in.

Best,
Ron

DonMagee
07-10-2006, 12:57 PM
Thats exactly the point I was trying to get at, only I didn't know how to say it. The spirit of the tradition can exist outside of the tradition. This is why I feel the train methods and tradition are not tied so deep they do not allow the training methods to adjust. Lets use this drill for an example: tori attempts to defend while uke attempts to do a single leg takedown.

We have a drill that can be played as a simple game, a step by step kata, or limited sparing based on skill level. We could use this to teach a key princple of aikido, moving off the line of the attacker, or we could use this to teach a key principle of wrestling, crossface/wizzer. The difference is in the spirit of the training, not the method.

Is it done in aikido now? I'm sure it is. Is it done in every school? I'm sure it's not. Can it teach you something a static kata can't? I think it can.

Ron Tisdale
07-10-2006, 01:38 PM
I think you get the point about not allowing the tradition to restrict you outside of the context, but miss the point about the tradition being held in high regard **inside** the appropriate context.

For some, aikido is keiko...one of those japanese words you don't like. Keiko is to reflect deeply upon the past. If that is what aikido is to someone, they probably aren't going to include the shoot in their attacks, or the wizzer in their defences. Just my limited opinion. Though I'm pretty sure that aikido doesn't teach as high percentage a defense to a shoot as a sprawl and wizzer, the yoshinkan 45 degree pivot and controling the head seems to work fairly well in my experience. All of which is fairly moot from your point of view, if you don't have competition level wrestlers doing the 'shooting'..

There are schools (such as the shotokan branch of aikido) which are not bothered in the least by many of the methods you mention. Perhaps you should try to engage some of them in a conversation.

Best,
Ron

DonMagee
07-10-2006, 01:49 PM
I think you get the point about not allowing the tradition to restrict you outside of the context, but miss the point about the tradition being held in high regard **inside** the appropriate context.

For some, aikido is keiko...one of those japanese words you don't like. Keiko is to reflect deeply upon the past. If that is what aikido is to someone, they probably aren't going to include the shoot in their attacks, or the wizzer in their defences. Just my limited opinion. Though I'm pretty sure that aikido doesn't teach as high percentage a defense to a shoot as a sprawl and wizzer, the yoshinkan 45 degree pivot and controling the head seems to work fairly well in my experience. All of which is fairly moot from your point of view, if you don't have competition level wrestlers doing the 'shooting'..

There are schools (such as the shotokan branch of aikido) which are not bothered in the least by many of the methods you mention. Perhaps you should try to engage some of them in a conversation.

Best,
Ron

I wish there was some shotokan aikido near me, I would go check it out. I love trying new things. I just wanted to clarify that I wasn't suggesting a sprawl or wizzer for the aikidoka. I was suggesting the aikidoka do as you mentioned, move off the line, and do something aiki like. The drill could be anything really, its just that the shoot came up first in my mind. Although I don't see why you couldn't train the old ways and train with a single leg takedown or some other 'modern' attack (as if people didn't do single leg takedowns well before there was aikido. I wonder when judo added the single and double leg takedowns...I'll have to research.). I guess its not a matter of will this improve the training, its a matter of do you want to improve your training or maintain the status quo (not that there is anything wrong with that as long as you are honest about it).

Maybe in time I'll find the status quo suits me just fine. Everyone has a path to travel.

P.S. Can you tell work is slow?

Ron Tisdale
07-10-2006, 02:01 PM
Although I don't see why you couldn't train the old ways and train with a single leg takedown or some other 'modern' attack (as if people didn't do single leg takedowns well before there was aikido).

Well, I'm really leary of briefly going into the history of aikido and daito ryu...it's a fairly complex subject, and the whole "battle field art" topic turns me off. But I think there is a certain amount of truth to the idea that if you are training an art based on that idea, you won't be as worried about a shoot and ground and pound method of attack. It's not a high percentage attack against someone who is armed. ;) And yeah, that would be clearer if aikidoka went around armed all the time (I know some that ususally do go around armed, but those exceptions probably prove the rule more than anything else). The point is that while people did that attack somewhere...it probably wasn't seen as logical in the environment that aikido developed in, just as kicking above the groin probably wasn't seen as logical. Or even kicking in general during the periods of armoured combat.

Why would that stop you from adding these attacks? Like you said, it's probably just a matter of interest and individual goals and weighing that against your teacher's disapproval.

Best,
Ron

DonMagee
07-10-2006, 02:16 PM
Do you think it could reach a point where some styles of aikido will lose the self defense aspects in exchange for the 'keiko' (I hope i'm using that in the right context)?

Ron Tisdale
07-10-2006, 02:45 PM
I think it depends on the context of self defense you are talking about. I tend to think of the aikido I train in as Budo with self defense applications. How far you can take the applications depends on the individual. Some individuals come in knowing how to fight, and the aikido informs that, and I've not known people like that to have any problems applying aikido to the self defense situations they encounter.

Others, well...less so depending on the individual. I think it really depends on the environment you want to apply self defense to. If it's a cage match, that has particular problems. On a high school playground...different issues again. In North Phila. on a saturday night in a club...different again.

I'm sure there will always be some git who takes a shine to poppin someone in the noggin. In which case, if you are good at aikido, it probably has some self defense aspects in that situation.

Best,
Ron (you pays your money, and you takes your chances...)

Mark Freeman
07-10-2006, 04:23 PM
I'm sure there will always be some git who takes a shine to poppin someone in the noggin. :D

Ron, have you been spending time hanging around some of the dubious areas of London, just the sort of thing I might hear down the local 'boozer' ;)
In which case, if you are good at aikido, it probably has some self defense aspects in that situation.
Couldn't agree more, me old china ;)

regards,

Mark

mathewjgano
07-10-2006, 05:31 PM
Although I don't see why you couldn't train the old ways and train with a single leg takedown or some other 'modern' attack
I'm not entirely sure if I understand the nuances of a single leg take down, but at the dojo in America which i train in, the leg will sometimes get scooped up. This will happen if, for example, tori lets up enough during a kaiten nage (just before the final part of the throw). This might not be a good example though, as Kannagara Jinja is something of an anomaly, and there are a few people who used to wrestle a lot...so not sure how it fits into the grand scheme of things, but there ya go.
Take care,
Matt

CNYMike
07-11-2006, 12:28 AM
You might want to look into why you are so defensive ....

I am not defensive, I am offended. One thing I have come to detest in the 12 years I have been surfing the 'net is when people presume to know what I am thinking. I will tell you what I am thinking; don't you presume to tell me!


.... I am not on a crusade ....

Are you sure of that? I've learned that ego and pride can drive your actions even if you think they don't. Let's look at what you have said:

You wrote that when you left Aikido, you "had a duty" to tell your instructor why and tell him about the training methods you have found. That is a pretty strong statement. You didn't just chit-chat with him and causally say, "Yeah, I found a school I like better." You felt duty-bound to explain the I-method.

You've written that you mention it now because you hope Aikido instructors will look into it and, if they like it, adapt it. You say you are "not on a crusade to change AIkido," but what if Aikido teachers act on your statements and use the I-method? That's a change. For someone who isn't on a crusade to change Aikido, you seem to want to see something happen!

Lastly, there is the amount of time and effort you have put into this thread. Unless you are a blindingly fast typist, it's a LOT of time. How long does it take to do one post? You seem to have invested a lot it it.

So, are you sure that deep down, you really are not on a crusade? People can deceive themselves all the time. I've done it myself. Are you doing it to yourself when you say you are not on a crusade? Only you can answer that question.

Ron covered some of your other points so well that I almost hate to go over the same things.


I'm simply talking about ideas. I'm exploring them and asking questions. You talked about tradition being part of the training methods. I am now exploring how that tradition relates to these training methods. You did say tradition was part of the training method. We are talking about training methods. I am exploring how this relates. You see, I feel tradition can not be part of the training method because simply, you must throw out tradition some when you cross train. Notice how I didn't say tradition was bad or evil. I simply said it was not part of the training method.


Well, unfortunately for you, in class tonight, Sensei made a comment in passing that drove home a simple fact: Aikido's philosphy is integrated into the art. It is not something you read or have a little lecture on before doing joint locks and throws. The flavor of the techniques and and the intent behind them is based on the art's philosophy. It is not preached at you; you absorb it by doing things in accordance with it. If you tweak a technique a little bit so it is designed to do damage to the other person, it may look almost the same as before, but it is no longer an Aikido technique. And that's without changing the training method!

So when you talk about the I-method, you have to recognize the basic fact that Aikido is more than just about techniques, and it is not just me saying that. Other sources focus on this. I think John Stevens' Secrets of Aikido covers this very well. You are going to disagree with this, I know, but you are disagreeing with a simple fact.


.....The tradition of aikido is that it is a way of life. You can't turn it on for a hour once or twice a week. To do so means you are simply not training in aikido. In fact, one of the main statements of aikidoka is that you are training all the time, 24/7. So now you have a tradition that has to contend with all other aspects of your training outside of aikido.

You may want to investigate what that means before you throw it around; I think Ron covered that well. For myself, if I see myself as anything it is as a martial art. I currently train in several arts and they all matter to me. I do not value one over another.

Where you see "conflict" between the tradition, I see diverse perspectives. What is the fun in doing five different arts if they are all the same? You might as well just do one. I am doing things that have different emphasis, look at different areas, even do the same techniques slightly differently. When I told my Kali instructor I wanted to do Aikido again, he said I would be a "better martial artist." I believe he meant I would be better off for seeing different things, looking at different arts. The more you know about what's out there, the better off you are.

Remember, budo does not refer to one martial art; it refers to a bunch, including Aikido. So yes, I guess you could say budo is my way of life, and it encompasses all the arts I do.


..... When I train, I don't pretend to even think about the respect or tradition needed in these arts. I show up, shut up when needed, ask questions when needed, and take lots of notes. I don't stand respectfully when the teacher is talking because he has a 5th degree black belt around his waist. I stand there respectfully because he has proven to be a nice honest man, and if I don't pay attention, I'm wasting my money and I will never learn anything. If he didn't answer my questions, got upset with me for asking them, or got upset with me suggesting a new drill or training method, I would have no respect for him and I would leave. Instead they have been receptive and either shown me a better way, or listened and adopted some of my suggestions modified with their experience. That is a productive non-hostile learning environment. Being afraid you might offend the teacher by suggesting something is not.


My Kali instructor told me about the Straight Blast Gym some time ago. I found their web site ( http://www.straightblastgym.com ) shortly thereafter and read their article on cults ( http://www.straightblastgym.com/freedom.htm ). They don't sound as if they care much about tradition, culture, history, respect, etc. If they influenced your thinking, good for you! But if you go to the Inosanto Academy, you will find that yes, they spar a lot, and I wouldn't be surprised if they are open to things like the I-method. (I have heard my Kali instructors talk about "isolating" but I am not sure if that is where it is from; I'll have to get back to you on that.) But they also care about the history, culture, and, you guessed it, resepect. Those things are important, even if the SBG doesn't care. You can say you can throw things out and not change anything, but can you, really? I've trained with people affiliated with the Inosanto Avademy for nine years and it is from then that I believe the answer is "no." Are they wrong and the SBG right? And why?


If you read some of my comments in the previous posts, you would know that I believe the best way to learn is to ask questions, no matter how 'uncomfortable' they might be. I don't mean to offend you, but I also don't care if you get offended. It's not personal to me, its a matter of exploring the thought processes and training methods in the martial arts. If people started defending my position, I might even question them with questions from your position. Why? So I can learn something. Maybe gain a deeper understand of what drives people. I'm only asking questions. If I didn't think aikidoka had something worth gaining I would ignore them. Nobody is forced to reply to me and I'm not hurting anyone by asking questions.

I had an uncle like that. He was a royal pain in the @$$. Always wanted others' opinions but never voiced his own. My mom hated him. Just a thought.

mathewjgano
07-11-2006, 12:49 AM
I had an uncle like that. He was a royal pain in the @$$. Always wanted others' opinions but never voiced his own. My mom hated him. Just a thought.
Well...that's good to know, I guess. :confused:

creinig
07-11-2006, 05:17 AM
You wrote that when you left Aikido, you "had a duty" to tell your instructor why and tell him about the training methods you have found. That is a pretty strong statement. You didn't just chit-chat with him and causally say, "Yeah, I found a school I like better." You felt duty-bound to explain the I-method.

My teacher is investing quite some effort into helping me learn Aikido. So, when I happen to be able to give something back, to help him learn and improve, I also do consider it my duty to do so. Everything else would be disrespectful IMNSHO ;)

DonMagee
07-11-2006, 07:45 AM
Are you sure of that? I've learned that ego and pride can drive your actions even if you think they don't. Let's look at what you have said:

You wrote that when you left Aikido, you "had a duty" to tell your instructor why and tell him about the training methods you have found. That is a pretty strong statement. You didn't just chit-chat with him and causally say, "Yeah, I found a school I like better." You felt duty-bound to explain the I-method.

It is your duty to explain yourself when you leave. Why? Because if you don't the teacher will never understand what the problem is. Maybe the problem is with the student, maybe the problem is with the teacher, but if I never told him why I was leaving in detail, he would never know.


You've written that you mention it now because you hope Aikido instructors will look into it and, if they like it, adapt it. You say you are "not on a crusade to change Aikido," but what if Aikido teachers act on your statements and use the I-method? That's a change. For someone who isn't on a crusade to change Aikido, you seem to want to see something happen!

If it is beneficial to aikido, karate, jkd, bjj, distance running, math, getting dates, etc, I would indeed like to see it adopted. Why, because I am a teacher and I love teaching. I want to see everyone doing things the best way they possibly can. Personally, if tomorrow there was no aikido I wouldn't care. If tomorrow aikido was dominating the UFC, I wouldn't care. Its about aikido simply because this is an aikido forum. No more, no less. However, if someone told me that reading my post helped their training in anyway, that makes me feel good inside. If someone explains the faults in my reasoning and I learn something about my training, that makes me feel good inside.


Lastly, there is the amount of time and effort you have put into this thread. Unless you are a blindingly fast typist, it's a LOT of time. How long does it take to do one post? You seem to have invested a lot it it.
I'm a computer programmer and a part time teacher. That means I have 6-8 hours a day where I do nothing. I choose to post on forums about issues that I care about. My training is something I care about. I've had these same conversations on other forums, email lists, groups, and at coffee shops. Sometimes its about aikido, sometimes its kung fu, sometimes its tkd, sometimes it is judo. Sometimes its gun fu. If this conversation was about karate, how many people who care on this forum? Not as many who care if its about aikido.

And I can type 110 words per minute.


So, are you sure that deep down, you really are not on a crusade?

Ok you got me, I'm on a crusade to improve my own training by learning other people's viewpoints.

People can deceive themselves all the time. I've done it myself. Are you doing it to yourself when you say you are not on a crusade? Only you can answer that question.
Good point, I constantly ask myself "Why am I training?", "What am I doing?", "Why are we doing this?", "Am I being honest with myself?". Sometimes I like the answer, sometimes I don't, but I do understand my purpose on this thread. It is to explore a training method I find valuable and see how it relates to teaching aikido. If you would like we could change this to see how it relates in teaching chemistry.


Well, unfortunately for you, in class tonight, Sensei made a comment in passing that drove home a simple fact: Aikido's philosophy is integrated into the art. It is not something you read or have a little lecture on before doing joint locks and throws. The flavor of the techniques and and the intent behind them is based on the art's philosophy. It is not preached at you; you absorb it by doing things in accordance with it. If you tweak a technique a little bit so it is designed to do damage to the other person, it may look almost the same as before, but it is no longer an Aikido technique. And that's without changing the training method!

Ask your sensei this. I have two students in two classes. Each one learning aikido. One learns the way I was taught.

The teacher comes into class, says "Tonight we will being working on ikkyo", then he shows the technique.They have a partner shomen strike and they apply ikkyo. Reset, repeat, over and over. Eventually we move on to a new technique. At the end of the night there is a traditional 3 man randori and we work the jo kata.

The other learns in a environment similar to the training method I am talking about. The teacher comes in and says "Tonight we are going to learn about defenses against punches. What are some ways we can deal with punches? The student brings up ikkyo, and is asked to demonstrate it. A few other students demonstrate some ways they know to deal with punches. Any obvious flaws are corrected, and they are told to partner up and explore punch defenses. The students start with static drills just like the first example, they throw static strikes and work their technique. Only some are working on ikkyo, some are working on other things. The teacher is there to monitor and give advice as needed, but lets the students help each other. He only steps in if the students just don't get it, are taking a course against the philosophy of aikido, or ask him directly. This static drilling goes on for 5 minutes. This ends the inquiry phase. The teacher then moves them to dynamic drilling. The students throw punches of random types at their partner, the partner is required to defend. This starts with static position, then the uke starts to move about, changing his angle of attack requiring tori to adjust his position and be more aware of his movement. Finally the uke resists the technique as it is applied at 25%, allowing the technique to work, but resisting any obvious flaws (such as being able to simply step out of a technique, or pull your arm out). At this point there are some obvious flaws and questions the students will have, so we end the isolation stage go back to the inquiry stage and start again. The teacher goes over the approaches he watched and gives suggestions for improvement, perhaps he demo's a technique or two. Finally at the end of the night we have some form of randori/sparing to fully integrate the lesson into the student.(a 3 on one randori where the goal of the attackers is to tie up nage and pin him to the ground would be good)"

How does the student lose the philosophy by training in the second method? How is the students learning suffering? If anything they will have a better understanding in a shorter amount of time. Not only in the philosophy of aikido, but in the actual application of the techniques. This is only a mild variation that uses some principles of the I-method vs the type of training I've seen in the half dozen aikido dojos I've been in. I would of course suggest a even more in depth change with more hard sparing, but the example does show all aspects of the I-method in practice. I see a change in the training method offered in all the dojos I've seen, but I don't see a loss in the original training method. It is still there, and the principles are still there, the only difference is we have given the students a change to challenge, ask questions, and understand what they are doing.


So when you talk about the I-method, you have to recognize the basic fact that Aikido is more than just about techniques, and it is not just me saying that. Other sources focus on this. I think John Stevens' Secrets of Aikido covers this very well. You are going to disagree with this, I know, but you are disagreeing with a simple fact.
I never disagreed with that. I have said that the training method doesn't disrupt the philosophy, but that they are two distinct things that can be taught in a variety of ways.

My Kali instructor told me about the Straight Blast Gym some time ago. I found their web site ( http://www.straightblastgym.com ) shortly thereafter and read their article on cults ( http://www.straightblastgym.com/freedom.htm ). They don't sound as if they care much about tradition, culture, history, respect, etc. If they influenced your thinking, good for you! But if you go to the Inosanto Academy, you will find that yes, they spar a lot, and I wouldn't be surprised if they are open to things like the I-method. (I have heard my Kali instructors talk about "isolating" but I am not sure if that is where it is from; I'll have to get back to you on that.) But they also care about the history, culture, and, you guessed it, respect. Those things are important, even if the SBG doesn't care. You can say you can throw things out and not change anything, but can you, really? I've trained with people affiliated with the Inosanto Avademy for nine years and it is from then that I believe the answer is "no." Are they wrong and the SBG right? And why?
The SBG trains fighters, that is their tradition and philosophy. This is the same philosophy I see in BJJ, results trump all. Just because it doesn't fit the traditions you are used too doesn't mean it is not a tradition. Their is also a lot of respect among fighters and I'm sure a lot of respect at the SBG. Only the respect comes from honesty, not rank. I respect you because you kick ass in the ring, are a nice guy out of the ring, and you help me improve. If your an ass outside of the ring, or you are spouting off crap, I'll call it like I see it. Its a different kind of respect then what you would associate with martial arts. I'm not suggestion aikido schools start changing into SBG schools. As I've shown above, you can change a training method without hurting the philosophy. The only respect issue is if people will get offended for you suggesting the change. And personally, if your teacher gets offended because you have an idea, he is probably not making a good learning environment in the first place.

We had a judo instructor come into our bjj class last night. We was brought in to work throws with us. We don't bow, we don't say sir, we work in all english, we talk among ourselves, we help each other, some of us go off and do their own thing if they have a fight coming up, and we ask very blunt questions. I could tell it was an adjustment to him, but at the end of the class I got to talk with him for a while (I've been looking for judo closer to home) and he did agree that the learning environment was foreign to him, but a very good learning environment. We asked him tons of questions (How can you do this without the gi, how do you deal with a guy doing this, is this a valid defense to this, isn't this too complicated to use in competition? Do you really want to turn your back when a good single leg works just as well?) and he answered them without blinking an eye. By the end of the class we were sparing and using his throws. A lot of guys threw them out, they didn't sit well with them. Some guys gave them a try and determined them to be too complicated, or too much risk. But some guys were using them consistently and that converted some of the others back to using them and asking questions about them. This lead to a deeper understanding of the purpose of the throw and gave him a forum to explain the philosophy of judo. My current judo instructor could never come into my bjj class and teach. He demands complete silence when he speaks. Lots of bowing for everything, hundreds of reps of uchi komi before you are even allowed to throw. And there is no way he would teach throws outside of white belt throws to white belts. Hell it took 6 months for him to even allow the new people to use armbars and chokes. If you used a technique he didn't show you, then you were in trouble. Of course this is probably why he only has a handful of students, but there is no other choice for judo around (besides the YMCA, which when I watched it was just a babysitting group for children even if the instructor is one of the best judoka I've ever met). This man however seen that he had to change his training methods to reach us, by the end of class he has captured the ear of quite a few guys and got them to listen to him about judo.


I had an uncle like that. He was a royal pain in the @$$. Always wanted others' opinions but never voiced his own. My mom hated him. Just a thought.

I voiced my own opinion at the beginning of the thread. But I also will ask questions to stir things up and to look at things from other points of view. Its how I learn. I'm not out to make people like me. If that was the case I'd tow the party line on every forum on the internet. I feel the internet is for debate, you can't have debate without questions.

Ron Tisdale
07-11-2006, 07:59 AM
Michael,

I mean this sincerely, and without malice. I think you are getting too personally involved in this...perhaps taking a breather and just reading a while will help. But please keep giving us your thoughts after that. Just remember, you don't need to defend aikido....it's big enough to survive without the defense....

Best,
Ron

gdandscompserv
07-11-2006, 08:21 AM
Personally, if tomorrow there was no aikido I wouldn't care.
Gasp!...Blasphemy!...stone him! :p

gdandscompserv
07-11-2006, 08:24 AM
I can type 110 words per minute.
but can you think at that speed? ;)

DonMagee
07-11-2006, 08:59 AM
but can you think at that speed? ;)

Around 85 word per minute :p

you don't need to defend aikido....it's big enough to survive without the defense....


A very good point, aikido was here before I was born, it will still be here well after I am dead. I can't stress enough that i'm not attacking aikido.

DonMagee
07-11-2006, 09:38 AM
Speaking of the SBG, this article did have a positive impact on me when I read it.

http://aliveness101.blogspot.com/2005/09/coaching-sbgi-way.html

CNYMike
07-11-2006, 03:00 PM
..... I have two students in two classes. Each one learning aikido. One learns the way I was taught.

The teacher comes into class, says "Tonight we will being working on ikkyo", then he shows the technique.They have a partner shomen strike and they apply ikkyo. Reset, repeat, over and over. Eventually we move on to a new technique. At the end of the night there is a traditional 3 man randori and we work the jo kata.

The other learns in a environment similar to the training method I am talking about. The teacher comes in and says "Tonight we are going to learn about defenses against punches. What are some ways we can deal with punches? The student brings up ikkyo, and is asked to demonstrate it .....

My first question to you: How did he learn what ikkyo was in the first place?


A few other students demonstrate some ways they know to deal with punches. Any obvious flaws are corrected, and they are told to partner up and explore punch defenses. The students start with static drills just like the first example, they throw static strikes and work their technique. Only some are working on ikkyo, some are working on other things. The teacher is there to monitor and give advice as needed, but lets the students help each other. He only steps in if the students just don't get it, are taking a course against the philosophy of aikido, or ask him directly. This static drilling goes on for 5 minutes. This ends the inquiry phase. The teacher then moves them to dynamic drilling. The students throw punches of random types at their partner, the partner is required to defend. This starts with static position, then the uke starts to move about, changing his angle of attack requiring tori to adjust his position and be more aware of his movement. Finally the uke resists the technique as it is applied at 25%, allowing the technique to work, but resisting any obvious flaws (such as being able to simply step out of a technique, or pull your arm out). At this point there are some obvious flaws and questions the students will have, so we end the isolation stage go back to the inquiry stage and start again. The teacher goes over the approaches he watched and gives suggestions for improvement, perhaps he demo's a technique or two. Finally at the end of the night we have some form of randori/sparing to fully integrate the lesson into the student.(a 3 on one randori where the goal of the attackers is to tie up nage and pin him to the ground would be good)"


Thak you! Remember I asked you if the I-method could be adapted to the kind of semi-free practice in Aikido. Apparently the answer is yes.


How does the student lose the philosophy by training in the second method? How is the students learning suffering? .....

He won't if the instructor has been careful about it. When it comes to what you do on your own time, that's your own business. When it comes to teaching a formalized system, it's not about just you anymore. You may roll your eyes at debating whether that method should be used, but the question is there. It has to be answered. You may ignore it or give it an automatic yes but it is there. If one is a teacher in a formalized martial arts sytem, one has obligations to his seniors, his instructors, and to the system. Maybe he can do whatever he wants; maybe he can't. Or maybe he can as long as he does some other things. But those issues are there. On your own time, do whatever. Within a system, you have other concerns.


.... I never disagreed with that. I have said that the training method doesn't disrupt the philosophy, but that they are two distinct things that can be taught in a variety of ways.

That's the problem. In Aikido, the philosophy isn't separate from the techniques but integrated with them; students internalize the philosophy by doing it. If you use an I-method, you have to maintane that integration. So you'd have to have a pretty good understanding of Aikido from the inside to "reverse engineer" and use the I-method. It's not a quesiton of reading a tract by O Sensei and then teaching joint locks and throws; teaching the joint locks and throws is meant to impart the philosophy. If the techniques lose the quality that makes them Aikido techniques, then the training method doesn't matter. It's not Aikido anymore.

So I'm not saying "We must never use the I-method because of tradition!" I am saying that someone who wants to try the I-method has to address many issues and be careful about it so at the end of the day, he's still teaching Aikido.

Let me try and sum this up. I think may formalized martila arts are the way they are because they face several issues. Having someone with some cool moves is the easy part. And let's assume they work:

1. Can you teach it to people with with no previous experience? TO someone who hasn't worked on motor skills since he learned to walk? You have to make life easy for beginners. In the case of Aikido, that's one reason, I think, why katate dori is used a lot: It's a simple, straightforward reference point. Whether you are teaching boxing, BJJ, or whatever, you have to make life easier for the new people. But then there's another level:

2. Can you teach people to teach other people without any help from you? Some of your students may become teachers, and their students become teachers, and so forth. 200 years after you die, can someone else teach Dan Magee Ryu to someone else? That's why I said martial arts are meant to be passed down.

Now, here's the kicker:

3. Can you do 1 and 2 at the same time?

That's where drills, exercises, and forms come in. You are not just teaching them the technques but teaching the formalized system they can use to teach others, at the same time. And even then:

4. Can 1-3 preserve the goals and intentions of the founder?

This is where things get tricky. This is why you have to be careful. If you use a new method and take the system away from what the founder wanted, you've failed; your not doing that system. If you are true to what the founder wanted in the course of using a new mothd, then you have succeeded. That assumes the method itself doesn't go against what the founder wanted; then you've got problems.

So, you want my final answet to "Can the I-method be used to teach Aikido?"

My answer: Maybe, but it's probably a bit trickier than you think it is.

CNYMike
07-11-2006, 03:03 PM
Michael,

I mean this sincerely, and without malice. I think you are getting too personally involved in this...perhaps taking a breather and just reading a while will help. But please keep giving us your thoughts after that. Just remember, you don't need to defend aikido....it's big enough to survive without the defense....

Best,
Ron

Thabnks Ron, you've got a point. I usually try to avoid contentious threads; they are emotionally draining and ultimately pointless. This time, I didn't. Hopefully this won't go on for too much longer.

statisticool
07-11-2006, 04:21 PM
Don Magee wrote:


I can type 110 words per minute.


Me too, but they all come out like sdflkjsd wef23f sfhjkwe.

DonMagee
07-11-2006, 08:15 PM
My first question to you: How did he learn what ikkyo was in the first place?



Thak you! Remember I asked you if the I-method could be adapted to the kind of semi-free practice in Aikido. Apparently the answer is yes.



He won't if the instructor has been careful about it. When it comes to what you do on your own time, that's your own business. When it comes to teaching a formalized system, it's not about just you anymore. You may roll your eyes at debating whether that method should be used, but the question is there. It has to be answered. You may ignore it or give it an automatic yes but it is there. If one is a teacher in a formalized martial arts sytem, one has obligations to his seniors, his instructors, and to the system. Maybe he can do whatever he wants; maybe he can't. Or maybe he can as long as he does some other things. But those issues are there. On your own time, do whatever. Within a system, you have other concerns.



That's the problem. In Aikido, the philosophy isn't separate from the techniques but integrated with them; students internalize the philosophy by doing it. If you use an I-method, you have to maintane that integration. So you'd have to have a pretty good understanding of Aikido from the inside to "reverse engineer" and use the I-method. It's not a quesiton of reading a tract by O Sensei and then teaching joint locks and throws; teaching the joint locks and throws is meant to impart the philosophy. If the techniques lose the quality that makes them Aikido techniques, then the training method doesn't matter. It's not Aikido anymore.

So I'm not saying "We must never use the I-method because of tradition!" I am saying that someone who wants to try the I-method has to address many issues and be careful about it so at the end of the day, he's still teaching Aikido.

Let me try and sum this up. I think may formalized martila arts are the way they are because they face several issues. Having someone with some cool moves is the easy part. And let's assume they work:

1. Can you teach it to people with with no previous experience? TO someone who hasn't worked on motor skills since he learned to walk? You have to make life easy for beginners. In the case of Aikido, that's one reason, I think, why katate dori is used a lot: It's a simple, straightforward reference point. Whether you are teaching boxing, BJJ, or whatever, you have to make life easier for the new people. But then there's another level:

2. Can you teach people to teach other people without any help from you? Some of your students may become teachers, and their students become teachers, and so forth. 200 years after you die, can someone else teach Dan Magee Ryu to someone else? That's why I said martial arts are meant to be passed down.

Now, here's the kicker:

3. Can you do 1 and 2 at the same time?

That's where drills, exercises, and forms come in. You are not just teaching them the technques but teaching the formalized system they can use to teach others, at the same time. And even then:

4. Can 1-3 preserve the goals and intentions of the founder?

This is where things get tricky. This is why you have to be careful. If you use a new method and take the system away from what the founder wanted, you've failed; your not doing that system. If you are true to what the founder wanted in the course of using a new mothd, then you have succeeded. That assumes the method itself doesn't go against what the founder wanted; then you've got problems.

So, you want my final answet to "Can the I-method be used to teach Aikido?"

My answer: Maybe, but it's probably a bit trickier than you think it is.


You missed one key point. You don't stop drilling the basics, you add the I-method to your existing training. Obviously if your students don't drill the basics, they wont be able to be creative. Its not about a student reinventing ikkyo, its about the student learning how to apply and get to ikkyo though trial and error. The I-method is only a phase of the training, not the only training. This is why it is easy to apply training methods to any type of martial art, because each training method should only be a part of your training.

I wont argue the techniques and philosophy are not integrated. I will however argue that teaching methods can be adapted to any philosophy. Thus teaching methods and philosophy are not so closely related.

I thank you for your final answer.

CNYMike
07-12-2006, 12:02 AM
You missed one key point. You don't stop drilling the basics, you add the I-method to your existing training. Obviously if your students don't drill the basics, they wont be able to be creative. Its not about a student reinventing ikkyo, its about the student learning how to apply and get to ikkyo though trial and error. The I-method is only a phase of the training, not the only training. This is why it is easy to apply training methods to any type of martial art, because each training method should only be a part of your training.


Yes, I had been thinking if this sort of thing would be more suited to students who have been there for a while. Wasn't sure whether that would be another point of contention; glad it wasn't.


I wont argue the techniques and philosophy are not integrated. I will however argue that teaching methods can be adapted to any philosophy. Thus teaching methods and philosophy are not so closely related.


In the case of Aikido, that might be debateable. They may be more closely related than in any other art, so it gets tricky. Not impossible, not forbidden, just difficult.

Of course, how well this could work isn't for you or me to thrash out: You left Aikido and I'm a "dappler," so we are both disqualified from having a sufficient understanding of Aikido to start with. This would be more for a job for a black belt with many years of training under his belt, preferably someone with no life.

Ron? :p :) Seriously, it's be a big job! I don't know, but I'm too blinkin' lazy to even think about it.


I thank you for your final answer.

You're welcome.

Ron Tisdale
07-12-2006, 07:04 AM
Hi Mike,

Well, I'm not interested in teaching right now, so no, inspite of no life, not very interested beyond thinking about it a bit. My own personal opinion is that more focus needs to be put on the type of body skills that Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, and others speak of. If I had more than a minuscule clue about that stuff, then I would try approaching that with the l-method. But I don't know enough to postulate sucsess or failure.

So for right now, I do the best to absorb and learn what my teachers teach. More than enough challenge for me right now.

Best,
Ron

CNYMike
07-12-2006, 10:30 AM
Hi Mike,

Well, I'm not interested in teaching right now, so no, inspite of no life ....

Um, I was kidding about that; sorry if I offended. :o

..... not very interested beyond thinking about it a bit. My own personal opinion is that more focus needs to be put on the type of body skills that Dan Harden, Mike Sigman, and others speak of. If I had more than a minuscule clue about that stuff, then I would try approaching that with the l-method. But I don't know enough to postulate sucsess or failure.

So for right now, I do the best to absorb and learn what my teachers teach. More than enough challenge for me right now.

Best,
Ron

Thanks. And I'm not saying you, personally should look into the I-method. I'm saying someone with a lot more understanding of Aikido thant me or Don has would be best suited to doing it, if that's what he/or she wanted to do. And after all that, it still might not fit. It may come down to the personal inclinations of a particular teacher. But that's who'd be suited to try it.

DonMagee
07-12-2006, 10:51 AM
I stumbled across this link on bullshido today. Its a good read and ties into the conversation.

Samurai Restaurant Critic (http://koryu.com/library/dlowry15.html)

Ron Tisdale
07-12-2006, 12:43 PM
Hi Mike,

Oops! my bad, I forgot a smilie :) No, I wan't offended in the least, I know I have no life, ask my GF, she'll say the same thing!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
07-12-2006, 12:48 PM
I read that article a short time ago, and really liked it.

Best,
Ron

CNYMike
07-12-2006, 08:21 PM
Hi Mike,

Oops! my bad, I forgot a smilie :) No, I wan't offended in the least, I know I have no life, ask my GF, she'll say the same thing!

Best,
Ron

At least you have a GF! That's one up on me. :o

CNYMike
07-12-2006, 08:31 PM
I stumbled across this link on bullshido today. Its a good read and ties into the conversation.

Samurai Restaurant Critic (http://koryu.com/library/dlowry15.html)

Interesting. Thanx.

Keith R Lee
07-13-2006, 10:43 AM
It really seems like this comes down to Lineage vs Performance to me.

For some people Lineage will matter above all things. For some people, Performance will be the only thing that matters.

-
Lineage:

Traditional martial arts are almost obsessively concerned about their Lineage. Lineage serves as a kind of proof or validation of techniques in TMAs. TMA student Iris can say: "Well my teacher is sensei Dandelion. He is the student of sensei Rose. Who is the student of Shihan Berber Daisy. Who was the student of Soke Tulip. Who was the student of O Kancho Lily. Who was the student of the great warrior and expert in Botany-do Jujitsu Fu, ... Grand Master Flash.

This is important because it shows that the Botany-do Jujitsu Fu that Student Iris is practicing actually resembles the Botany-do Jujitsu Fu of Grand Master Flash in some way. Also, it is important because Grand Master Flash used Botany-do Jujitsu Fu on the battlefield and in real fights, thus proving the effectiveness of Botany-do Jujitsu Fu. Perhaps even O Kancho Lily used Botany-do Jujitsu Fu in some fights. But as Botany-do Jujitsu Fu moves further and further away from Grand Master Flash, the less first-hand, empirical evidence each person in the chain has in regards to how to perform the techniques of Botany-do Jujitsu Fu in a conflict situation. All sorts of issues arise as to whether the techniques that are passed down retain their effectiveness. The skill of the teacher, the teaching methods used, the dojo environment, the students themselves, and so on and so on. Then there is another problem. I like to use the circle game analogy.

I'm sure most of us have participated, or heard of the game where a dozen or more people gather together in a circle. The first person whispers a 3-4 sentence story to their right, and people continue to repeat what they heard around the circle. Invariably by the time the last person hears the story and repeats what they heard aloud, it barely resemble what the first person originally said. Amplify that over decades, generations of instructors (good and bad), cultural misunderstandings and mistranslations, and the sheer volume of material included in Botany-do Jujitsu Fu and it is amazing that it still retains the same name!

Also an important part to consider about Lineage, especially in regards to TMAs of the Japanese/Korean/Chinese origin (Botany-do Jujitsu Fu traces its origins to all 3 countries) is a certain amount of conformity and, at times, an obedience to authority that might seem to border on obsequiousness to Westerners. In this environment, students of Botany-do Jujitsu Fu is to be copied at all times, and there is to be no questioning of the teacher!!!Conformity to standards is all important in Botany-do Jujitsu Fu!!!

Now, in modern times there are two schools of Botany-do Jujitsu Fu. One allows limited contact point-sparring sparring and one focuses entirely on cooperation and has no sparring of any sort. Both schools of thought think the other one is silly. The light sparring thinks that the cooperation guys can't really do technique. The cooperation guys claim their technique is "too deadly" for sparring, even light, point sparring, not to mention that it "waters down the purity of the art."

-
Performance:

MMAers, BJJ, Sambo, Judo (to an extent, it depends on the type) players, boxers, etc. are concerned with Performance. Who one's teacher is, or who they were a student of, doesn't really matter that much. If it does matter, it only matters because either their teacher, or the teacher above them (never any further away than that) was a good X (fighter, grappler, etc. won many fights/tourneys in fully-resistant environment). Even then, that is down the list, because all that matters is how one performs. No one gives a crap if you know the entire syllabus of BJJ, if you can't apply it in a fully-resistant environment (rolling).

It doesn't matter who the teacher is because the entire onus of the martial art is placed upon the student. If the student can't perform the techniques, they don't matter. For the student interested in Performance, it doesn't matter where techniques came from, or who invented them, or what culture they are from. All that matters is how effectively can the student perform the techniques in a "live" environment.

It also doesn't matter if the techniques have changed since they were originally created. In fact, hopefully they have changed! By having techniques placed in an environment where Performance matters above all, the good, "high percentage" techniques rise to the top and the poor, "low percentage" techniques fall to the wayside. Not to mention that students are encouraged, right from the beginning, to make techniques their own and modify them so they can effectively apply the technique. Questioning is also encouraged. If a student thinks a technique or movement is suspect, they are encouraged to speak up and the class will examine it if their objection is judged to have merit.

-
Never the twain shall meet?

Of course, Performance matters in these cases because there is a winner and a loser. Competition is key to performance. By competing, students get to test, and better, their skills. Performance matters because in competition, techniques actually have to be able to be put into play. A spinning-circle-wrist-twist-spinning-flip-kick from Botany-do Jujitsu Fu might look good, and our TMA student Iris can perform it when she is with someone who only attacks once. However, when fully resistant, Team Slaughterhouse-Hardcore, MMA-BJJ, sparring partner Buddy is introduced, she can't apply the move at all. She can't even apply it to Buddy's friend Bob who started training BJJ 6 months ago, and Iris has been training in Botany-do Jujitsu Fu for 3 years! So why is she doing it?

Iris likes Botany-do Jujitsu Fu because it is aesthetically pleasing. She appreciates the culture and philosophy of the art as well. Performance is not really an issue to her. To someone whose sole concern is Performance, they might think Iris is wasting her time. They probably even think that Iris is romanticizing the martial arts and enjoys "playing samurai." However, Iris doesn't care about performance, she enjoys her time at the dojo, gets a workout, and has fun. Buddy and Bob have fun too, they just don't mind having to push themselves to the level that Performance requires, in fact, they thrive on it.

So, which is better? Can there be a compromise between the two? Can they exist in the same gym/dojo? The same person? The same art? If they are in the same art, will the art lose its culture, tradition, lineage and just evolve (or devolve depending on some people's opinions) into MMA?

Just my thoughts, I'm curious as to everyone's opinion.

DonMagee
07-13-2006, 12:04 PM
Interesting, however I would argue that eventually Botany-do Jujitsu Fu would have lost the martial part of martial arts. This is becuase overtime, without people keeping it on the right track changes will be made to make techniques more pleasing to the eye over combat effectiveness. Sooner or later there will be few if any people who know how the techniques were actually ment to be used for self defense. That is when you start hearing the bullcrap with one or all of these problems: unrealstic responses, fake techniques, brainwashed students, the sole purpose is to set it to music and dance (XMA I'm looking at you). Sooner or later you are doing tai chi at a arobics dance gym and you can't really call it martial arts anymore (Note that there are a few people left still training tai chi for self defense, but it is very very rare). My point is when you start doing nothing but spining a chromed staff, screaming, and doing back flips are you still doing a martial art?

Learning how to actually apply your techniques should be an important part of martial arts. Just as important as the philopshy behind the martial art you are training. I dont think performance matters because of competition, it matters because we call it a martial art. If the you can't teach people to make the techniques work then is it still martial? Why not teach swing dancing?

I'm not saying you need to be able to handle yourself against a MMA fighter. I dont expect someone who doesn't train to be a MMA fighter to handle themselves against a MMA fighter. But you should be able to leverage your technqiues against a resisting partner on some scale. And you should strive to increase this skill.

It reminds me of a quote I ran across a few days ago

Today is your victory over yourself of yesterday. Tomorrow is your victory over lesser men" - Miyamoto Musashi

Ron Tisdale
07-13-2006, 12:23 PM
I'm not saying you need to be able to handle yourself against a MMA fighter. I dont expect someone who doesn't train to be a MMA fighter to handle themselves against a MMA fighter. But you should be able to leverage your technqiues against a resisting partner on some scale. And you should strive to increase this skill.

I think what you just said is very important, and I know that there are TMA that do this. Aikido dojo as well. An important differentiation.

Best,
Ron

Demetrio Cereijo
07-13-2006, 06:25 PM
Keith,

But, as the "aliveness" guru said:

"All that matters is that you grow in comparison to where you were before, NOT in comparison to who you could or could not beat before." Matt Thornton

xuzen
07-13-2006, 10:46 PM
Hi all,

Sport vs Martial art debate (http://judoinfo.com/sport.htm) Some of you may already read this article and I think this is a gem of an article. Read it if you haven't, and make up your decision. I have made mine.

Boon.

statisticool
07-14-2006, 04:09 AM
Here's my contribution to the ruckus:

http://www.statisticool.com/fights.htm

WIth professional sports, there is typically a lot of $ involved, and I have no way of knowing if matches are fixed, or what the real rules are in the contracts, despite high levels of contact.

CNYMike
07-14-2006, 10:17 AM
Here's my contribution to the ruckus:

http://www.statisticool.com/fights.htm

WIth professional sports, there is typically a lot of $ involved, and I have no way of knowing if matches are fixed, or what the real rules are in the contracts, despite high levels of contact.

Hi, Justin. Interesting article. I'd like to raise too points:

The first is that while professional MMA events don't mirror reality as closely as they claim -- that TMA can work in real life demonstrates that -- that doesn't mean someone from an average dojo should get cocky. After a recent pay-per-view event, my Kali instructor gave a little speech to the effect that people don't lose those events (assuming they're not fixed, of course) because they suck but because they face someone who's better -- maybe younger, hungrier, more skilled. I think if MOST Aikido people went up against one of these guys would get killed. That doesn't mean Aikido sucks or that we, as Aikido practitioners suck, just that these gentlemen are very good. O Sensei could problaby pin one of these guys with his thumb; the rest of us, however, are not O Sensei.

I guess I'm saying is to be careful not to let your ego and your pride cloud your beliefs. Just because we're closer to reality on that chart than them doesn't mean we're better, it's just we have different priorities. (Personally, the gentlemen I've met who have doen such events at an amateur level are really nice guys, and I bet would be more interested in taking Aikido than lording over it. But that's just me.)

The other point is on the word "fad." This implies that MMA will come ago and leave us alone and we won't have to worry about it anymore.

Wrong.

The current popular interest may come and go, but the schools formed during this period will not. At one time or another over the last 50 year, Judo, Karate, Kung Fu, and Ninjitsu all enjoyed an upsurge in popular interest, IOW they were the fad du jour. But when the fad fades, legitimate schools were left behind. That's why long after he made a name by being in TV and movies, and can -- and have -- signed up for a class in Bruce Lee's Jun Fan Gung Fu. So, we can say that now, yes, it is MMA's turn to be the fad. But the MMA schools opening now won't go with the fad, if they play their cards right. And this, again, is not a bad thing; the only practical implication for the Aikido world is the background of the people who join the dojo. Historically it may have been people who started off in Judo and Karate; now add BJJ, Thai Boxing, and other such systems to the mix.

So I liked the article and agreed with some points. But I just wanted to add:

1. Don't let your ego cloud your judgment

2. MMA schools won't go away even if MMA events do.

Just a few thoughts.

DonMagee
07-14-2006, 12:21 PM
I wouldn't worry about Pro MMA fights being fixed. I know this because I know a few pro MMA fighters (both on large circuits and small cirucits). I've trained with them and I know they are fighting to win, they get paid to win. Its like boxing, yes there have been fixed fights in boxing i'm sure, but there are athletic commisions and gambling to keep it honest. Of course those same athletic commisions are why the rules have been paired down the way they are. Although I dont feel there is anything wrong with that. Also MMA fighitng may be a fad in the USA, but it is much more then that in brazil, japan, and other places.

Michael, your kali instructor made a great point, the winner is usually who wants it more. This is because for the best fight you need to pair up fighters of equal skill. The end result is who wants it more. The guy who wants it more will run that extra mile, doing the extra sparing, and drill down on more technique. Look at chuck Liddel vs Randy Couture, both are very skilled fighters with arguably the same amount of skill. The winner was decided by a slight difference in strategy and desire to push the fight. You can't say either fighter was better then the other.

Justin, I read the link you posted and I personally do not agree with it. It places sports at a realm much lower then it belongs. Elements of sports training lends themselves to physical conflict better then non sport training. You can't argue that a judo guy who only does judo kata will be better at self defense then a judo guy who trains for competition. The judo guy training for competition will be in better physical shape, have developed his own judo (tactics, tricks, movements, throws, etc), he will have actually experiance with someone resisting his attempts to throw, and finally he will be used to getting thrown down and fighting against an oppressive opponent (assuming he fights people better then him). Further more, you dont need a martial art to teach you to run away, or negotiate, there is much better training for that then martial arts. So we are left with martial arts dealing with the point where a problem becomes physical. It should be obvious to anyone that the closer you can get to a real fight, the more experiance you will have at dealing with a real fight. When i train in the gym, I spar guys bigger then me, stronger then me, smaller then me, faster then me, more technical then me, and all of the above. When I compete the only thing I know is the guy I'm about to fight is around my weight. I have to deal with my nerves, the knowedge that the person i'm facing is trying to hurt me. Getting hit, thrown, landed on, choked, etc, and I have to be mentally prepared to do the same back to him. These are all very important skills you will need if you have to defend yourself beyond the verbal realm. This makes a sport fight a lot closer then a scripted kata in my opinion.

What I have never seen addressed by people against sport fighting is how traditional training better prepares you for a street fight. Is it the clothes you wear? The enviroment you train in? The realistic attacks? How do you develop the experiance needed to perform when you are attacked? How do you learn to deal with unexpected responses when your techniques fail? I have yet to hear a reason why the illegal techniques that you can't really train anyways (eye gouges, bites, groin strikes, etc) can't be used by a MMA fighter? I would say that a restricted rulset helps you develop better basics (remember basics are always the key to the martial arts) becuase you learn to use techniques that have a higher precentage chance of working vs change techniques that may or may not work (RNC vs pressure point knock out, or shrimping out of the half guard vs eye gouge). I have yet to hear how non sport training (which I will assume means low or non contant sparing, or even no sparing) deals with the holes that develop in your technique though not actually having someone resist it. How do you learn that going for an eye gouge from the mount will get your arm broken by armbar? How do you learn that attempting to guilitene choke from the bottom of a side mount will get you stuck in a keylock? More importantly how do you learn to feel what someone is trying to do to you so you can defend it properly and not set them up to hurt you in another way? How do you learn to throw a high kick without getting dumped on your butt? How do you learn to slip a jab? How do you learn to keep a person from throwing you? How do you learn to keep a person from clinching you? How do you learn to get up when you have been taken down safely? All these things can't be taught, they have to be learned though trial and error.

Obviously sport fighting is not a street fight, but neither is a compliant drill or a kata. Sport fighting can reason that they are actually using their technqiues against a person trying to do the same. What is the position of non-sport people? Usually instead of saying this is how our training better prepares you, they will instead harp on sport fighting not being realistic. Real self defense is not knowing a hundred ways to hurt someone, its about knowing the basics and being able to use them against a person who is trying to hurt you. I can teach you the moves, I can even teach you to look great doing them. I can not teach you to use them. Only sparing can do that. Of course some people are just awesome from the start, they were awesome before martial arts, and better after martial arts. They might not need to spar and it may be natural to use the moves. But do you want to bank you are that man? I don't. Others will say you do not need to train to fight a bjj guy, or fight a kickboxer, or fight a judo guy because the average guy in the street has no training. I ask if you want to take that chance that the guy who decides to attack you wans't an all state wrestler who's life went down the tubes after highschool? I wouldn't want to risk the chance the guy I have to fight is not an average joe.

The final comment I will make is on being humble. I see many "traditional" schools that speak about how invincible they are. They have never tested their skills and they teach their students to really belive outlandish things. Things like : I can't be taken to the ground, or I can't get hit, or this will break his ribs, etc. This is very dangerous, and for people attacked to these arts (tipically people who have a fear they are trying to deal with) it is giving them false confidence and just might get them hurt.

At a MMA school you will see a lot of false bravado, you will see a lot of testosterone slinging, but you will very humble guys about their skill. They are humble because every single day they are getting tapped out, they are losing fights. And they know for a fact their is no 100%, everything can fail, they will never be the biggest, strongest, fasters, or more technical attacker, and the ones who dont just having gotten it tapped out of them yet. You will be hard pressed to find a MMA guy telling you that doing something will prevent something else. He will admit that every technique can fail, you can't count on deadly attacks, knock out blows, etc. You have to be ready to adapt, and he has real life experiance in adapting. The only problem is you will be punched in the face, you will be thrown, you will be choked, you will be slamed, you will get a elbow grinded into your throat, etc. The positive side is the negitives will only happen if you cant' stop them from happening.

I have trained with a lot of guys who have come to my house, came into the gym I train in, or met at friends houses that were in traditional martial arts. I also went to MMA from traditional arts. It is obvious to me that 90% of the people I trained with (and myself included) where not even closed to being prepared to fight a person in the ring. Even after all my judo training, TKD training, aikido training, krav maga, etc, I was not prepared for the MMA enviorment. I ended up just like all the other 'traditional' guys I spar with now do. I ended up flailing and spazing out while I got man handled by a 3-6 month MMA student. I've been training traditional arts for around 10 years! I even have a black belt in TKD. My first night I was paired up with a man who was 30 pounds lighter than I was with 6 months training and no previous sport or martial art exp. I spent the time on the defensive getting tapped over and over by this guy. If I can't handle a sport fight with a single known opponent who I can train for, how can I ever expect to handle a street fight with an unknown attacker, possibly weapons or multiple combatants?? It just doesn't make sense.

Its important to be honest about your training. Make sure you are training in the best way for your results. Train for history, train for exposure to cultures, train for sport, train for fitness, etc. But training for self defense requires that you take steps beyond that offered in the classical 'non-sport' martial arts. To really be good at fighting you are not only going to have to learn techniques, but you are going to have to actually fight as close to what you are trying to prepare yourself to as possible. There is no substitute for experiance. And if you are that serious about self defense, look into a body guard, a weapon, or moving somewhere safer. If you expect to take on a person or person in the street without every having done hard sparing you are going to find yourself in a lot of trouble. Unless you are a natural tough guy.

its not the art that makes a good fighter, its the person and the training method. It should be obvious that the MMA training method is better at making fighters, if only because the entire purpose is to make fighters. Do you want to be a fighter or do you want something else? I really dont believe aikido's purpose was to make fighters.

Kevin Leavitt
07-14-2006, 12:36 PM
I am getting ready to drop some big bucks on Blauer suits and training to integrate my combatives into our CQB and Urban Breach courses. Hehehe :) http://www.tonyblauer.com/

Training for reality is multifaceted. you have to figure out the objectives, strategies, rules of engagement, scenarios, and all that good stuff, then build your training strategy around it.

There is no one methodology that works, that is, you can't just train at full combat speed realistically and call it a day.

We develop "pillars" and then "layer" methodologies. i.e. we fire real bullets at targets, but use simunitions at people. We don't train simunition necessarily with ground fighiting, but train that kind of stuff in the dojo. once you create your training "Map" you have "overlaps" which allow you to safely train and "bridge" the areas to "reality". done properly this is how you develop a training strategy for "real fighting".

Most MMA guys do the same thing to train for MMA fights. You don't jump in the ring and go full force everyday of the week.

Don, your comments are spot on. Aikido is not about making good fighters, but good budoka. While the two may be related in many ways, two different things really. Although I would contend to be a good fighter you need to follow many/most of the tenants of budo. however the inverse is not necessarily true.

Kevin Leavitt
07-14-2006, 12:45 PM
Justin,

I will have to go back and refresh my memory on correct statistics terminology, but I don't think you are correct in your model.

assumption you make is that most dojo's are in the center. You need to explain your criteria a little more as I do not agree. Frankly I am struggling to see the correalation...I suspect that it is false, but I will need to think about it more.

MMA/UFC sport fighitng is definitely closer to reality than the "normal" dojo. In the normal dojo you are practicing budo, or kata, or a number of things that do not approimate even closely the stress, variables, and reality of a real fight.

Also, you have made some assumptions about street fighting and what that means, without defining the term. In my mind, street fighting is a broad topic and one in which no amount of "empty hand" martial training or weapons training may successfully prepare you for.

I don't think there is a neat correalation that can be made between contact level and degree of reality, as there are many other variables such as element of suprise, weapon disparity, condition of the people, number of people etc that come into play.

DonMagee
07-14-2006, 12:50 PM
I have to agree with you Kevin, you condensed my ramblings into the points I was trying to make.

I never looked at it from pillars and layers. I was looking at it from delivery systems, philosphy, and experiance. (technique, mindset, and sparing)

Kevin Leavitt
07-14-2006, 12:55 PM
Thanks. I have the benefit of Army training doctrine because I am in charge of training at one of our three major training centers. It is essentially how we do things in the army. A proven methodology that allows you to train safely and extrapolate your experiences into reality.

Keith R Lee
07-14-2006, 01:28 PM
Good points Don.

Your experiences closely mirror my own. I switched to Sambo/MMA after years in Aikido as well. I will still train in Aikido on occasion, seminars and the like, but 95% of my training is spent elsewhere.

CNYMike
07-14-2006, 03:00 PM
..... What I have never seen addressed by people against sport fighting is how traditional training better prepares you for a street fight .....

That is a good question. The good answer is "I don't know."

I have observed from reading Black Belt that if you read it long enough, sooner or later, you see every martial art you can think of backed by someone who claims it works in real life. I also recall many years ago when a girl in the karate class I was in, and yes, it was a traditional karate class, crediting her kata training with getting her out of a sticky situation. (I didn't overhear all the details, just that she "knew" what to do.) Getting into Aikido, if you hunt around through the threads here, you will see the odd testimonial by someone claiming to use their training in real life.

Of course, the people who don't like TMA may respond, "Well, it might work against and untrained fighter ..... " but that qualifier demolishes the idea that MMA mirror reali fights. If it did, then what didn't work in MMA would NEVER work in reality, no exceptions. That there are exceptions means MMA events aren't an accurate predictor of reality. It may be more demanding than many people train for, but it is not quite there.

Other than that, you would have to do scientific surveys of martial artist and what, exactly, training does for them.


..... Sport fighting can reason that they are actually using their technqiues against a person trying to do the same .....

But then the next question is, "Why would you expect someone to try and do the same moves you used?" I once helped out with a woman's self defense class at the school where I started Kali, and they did not teach the women how to deal with someone who squared off with them in a boxing stance and said, "Let's go, bitch!" Instead we worked on, you guessed it, some simple moves for a wrist grab. According to Guro Andy, every self defense system in the world has counters to such grab. What else do you see? I once saw a brawl at a hocky game where where two palyers had grabbed each other's collars and were pummeling each other with their free hands. Oddly enough, Aikido works toward just such grab-and-strike scenarios. In fact, the whole point of a wrist grab is not that the grab is bad, but you want to forestall whatever is coming after it.

Also you have to remember that "on the Street," the other person won't know what you know and you won't know what he knows. So it's unlilely he'll know how to counter you. Furthermore, trained martial artists are rare in our culture. Or as Guro Andy puts it, "Grapplers make it sound like everyone and their uncle is doing Brazillian jiu-jitsu, but I have yet to meet someone at random who can do it." And yes, he is quite skilled in grappling, from both the Filipino Dumog system and things like BJJ and Shoot, which come down from his (and mine) Kali instructor, Guro Kevin Seaman.

So if you want to ask questions about street fighting, I sugges you ask, "What sort of attacks do I really have to worry about?" Is it really someone who is going to try and box you or grapple you? Or something else? Martial arts and self defense are related, but not always the same thing. Asking yourself what that means in the context of MMA would be a good place to start.

statisticool
07-14-2006, 03:45 PM
What I have never seen addressed by people against sport fighting is how traditional training better prepares you for a street fight.


I don't think it is being "against sport fighting" but being against the oft-heard argument that what does/doesn't go on in sport/entertainment determines what can/can't happen in real life self defense situations.


Is it the clothes you wear? The enviroment you train in? The realistic attacks? How do you develop the experiance needed to perform when you are attacked? How do you learn to deal with unexpected responses when your techniques fail?


Thugs are just not well-trained like Liddel and Hughes. I wouldn't train to expect to fight someone like them just like I wouldn't practice basketball to expect to encounter Michael Jordan on the basketball court.

If I do, I'll regret my choice, of course, much like I'd regret studying martial arts instead of practicing shooting, or those who practice shooting regret not owning a tank.


Usually instead of saying this is how our training better prepares you, they will instead harp on sport fighting not being realistic.


I typically point out that pre-1993 and pre-video cameras people could still fight, and there's more years of that than years since then. :) There's plenty of news articles about people using their non-MMA martial art to defend themself in real life situations, so that is encouragement.


I wouldn't want to risk the chance the guy I have to fight is not an average joe.


I can see how some don't want to waste resources thinking it will be, and train harder and possibly get more injuries, possibly get more aggressive, etc.

statisticool
07-14-2006, 03:56 PM
assumption you make is that most dojo's are in the center. You need to explain your criteria a little more as I do not agree.


You may not agree, but this doesn't mean I need to explain it any more, as I am not trying to convince you.


MMA/UFC sport fighitng is definitely closer to reality than the "normal" dojo. In the normal dojo you are practicing budo, or kata, or a number of things that do not approimate even closely the stress, variables, and reality of a real fight.


RBSD dojos, which train on uneven ground, different lighting, with trash on the ground, etc., which is certainly more real situation than MMA/UFC sport fighting.


..there are many other variables such as element of suprise, weapon disparity, condition of the people, number of people etc that come into play.

Definitely. I chose the ones I thought were most relevant; level of contact, and how likely the situation is to be found in real daily life.

dps
07-14-2006, 04:22 PM
I think you guys put Luc Saroufim to sleep.
Luc, Luc are you still awake? :)

Kevin Leavitt
07-15-2006, 11:53 AM
Justin,

Most RBSD dojos don't really get it. They contrive scenarios and practice those scenarios with in the parameters that they assume will happen. The ones that I have been to make many wrong assumptions about what occurs. Many are about making money and appeal to the irrational emotions and fear that people have concerning violence and attacks.

They offer what is seemingly logical attacks that they say you will encounter in real life and that is what they practice.

If they were true in what they practiced, they would be out of business in a short time, because the point is, that you can be taught what to do in most situations in a short time, or that you are going to be so overwhelmed that you won't have a chance. Not a way to make money in commmercial enterprise.

Sure there are advantages to fighitng on uneven ground, and street clothing etc. However, in realty, and I believe you state it, Thugs don't care about your training, they seize the advantage and make damn sure that they can take you, way before you consider them. They typically attack soft targets. I could go on and on....but the point is, RBSD appeal to fear and emotions that typically do very little in a real fight.

Now to sport fighting and MMA. There are some good skills to be garnered out of this type of fighitng, fighting spirit, will to go on, how to overcome adrenalin and emotions, anaerobic overload and the like.

Will it ultimately help you survive a real encounter? who knows?

If you really get at the core of RBSD, you will find that typically there is not much there that is of real value over a TMA or MMA dojo training. Mainly warm and fuzzies.

DonMagee
07-15-2006, 03:23 PM
But then the next question is, "Why would you expect someone to try and do the same moves you used?"

Thats the best part about MMA, I have never fought a guy who used the 'same moves' I used. Everyone trains different with different ideas, different teachers, and different moves. I'm a boxing/bjj/judo guy. I've seen wrestlers, tkd guys, karate guys, sambo/maui thai guys, 'street fighters', etc. Its not two bjj guys going at it, its guys with all sorts of different skill sets and ideas. Some guys want to ground and pound, some guys want to box, some guys want to submit you. Some guys dont have a clue what they are doing and just blind rage rush you. Check out some amature mma events.

Also you have to remember that "on the Street," the other person won't know what you know and you won't know what he knows. So it's unlilely he'll know how to counter you. Furthermore, trained martial artists are rare in our culture. Maybe your culture doesn't have a big wrestler base, but around here most men where either football players or wrestlers. I work at a college and most kids I talk to and ask about martial arts have some wrestling training or football training, both of these types tend to take it to the ground in a matcho bar brawl (as opposed to a robbery, or some other kind of altercation).


So if you want to ask questions about street fighting, I sugges you ask, "What sort of attacks do I really have to worry about?" Is it really someone who is going to try and box you or grapple you? Or something else? Martial arts and self defense are related, but not always the same thing. Asking yourself what that means in the context of MMA would be a good place to start.
I have to worry about a few things, guns, knifes, strikes, tackles, and ground and pound. I doubt I need to worry about a armbar, or keylock. Either the guy is out to rob me, in which case he has weapons and I will do my best to give him my wallet and be safe, or he is in a bar, we are drunk and he attacks me becuase of some mark on his honor. This usually is punching, kicking, clinch, or takedown and pound type guys. This sound an awful lot like what I train to deal with, unknown guys who are attempting to strike, takedown, clinch, etc agaisnt me.

I have done the Traditional route, I have a black belt in TKD, I've studied other arts for various lenghts of time, I have spent time in RBSD enviorments, I spent a long time in krav maga. However, none of this did me any good against mildy trained sport fighters. I spent a long time just getting taken apart by them, I couldnt deal with their stirkes, I couldn't deal with their clinch, I couldnt deal with the takedowns, I couldn't deal with them on the ground. Hell I wasn't even in a good position to eye gouge. I had never been choked the way they were choking me, I had never been hit hard like they were hitting me. I never experianced trying to block a punch only to have my own hand punch me in the face. I had never been picked up 4 feet off the ground while trying to stop a takedown with elbows and slamed so hard I had to go home and lay down.

Now its different. When a guy comes in, I see the old me. I see a guy who is not prepared for what he is about to get into. I see them go though the same trials I had to deal with, and I see a lot of them make excuses as to why their training wasn't enough. I've had guys tell me they could of broken my fingers to escape, or eye gouged me, or grion striked me, etc. Except for when I tell them to give it a try, it never seems to work. Because I am used to maintaining control over people who are trying their best to hurt me. Their fumbling and spazzing out really doesn't bother me anymore, their pressure point's, knuckles on the ribs, etc dont bother me. Right now I have someone's thumb print bruised into my arm from fridays training. It didn't stop him from getting choked out.

The best part is none of these techniques are new, none of them are missing from traditional arts. In japanese juijitsu, bjj, and judo you will find the same hip toss, the same armbar, the same triangle choke, and the same wrist lock. The difference is the experaince in learning how to use these things against someone who isn't letting you use them. Sure you can learn how to use them without this type of training, but this kind of training is more efficent, and has a higher percentage chance of producing people who can use the techniques. If I go into a traditional martial arts school I would expect to find a few black belts that can give me a run for my money in sparing. If I go into a few mma gyms I expect to find a lot of people (at least more than 3/4ths of the people there) that can give me a run for my money. The reaons are simple. Most of them will be in better physical shape though harder training. Most of them will have learned different ways and methods for using the technqiues taught though resistant sparing, and most of them will be used to the level of resistance I am apply and thus keep their cardio under control and their adrenaline under control.

My thoughs on this are simple. If I can't handle a random amature mma guy in the ring, I can't expect to handle people in the street where there are more dangerous variables.

CNYMike
07-16-2006, 10:45 AM
Thats the best part about MMA, I have never fought a guy who used the 'same moves' I used ......

Yes, but you said you had leanred to apply the techniqeus against someone using "the same thing." A mild hair splitting.


Maybe your culture doesn't have a big wrestler base, but around here most men where either football players or wrestlers. I work at a college and most kids I talk to and ask about martial arts have some wrestling training or football training, both of these types tend to take it to the ground in a matcho bar brawl (as opposed to a robbery, or some other kind of altercation).


Ahem Living as I do in the middle of New York State, I live in the same "culture" you do. There's no need to get snide about it.


..... I have done the Traditional route, I have a black belt in TKD, I've studied other arts for various lenghts of time, I have spent time in RBSD enviorments, I spent a long time in krav maga. However, none of this did me any good against mildy trained sport fighters. I spent a long time just getting taken apart by them, I couldnt deal with their stirkes, I couldn't deal with their clinch, I couldnt deal with the takedowns, I couldn't deal with them on the ground. Hell I wasn't even in a good position to eye gouge. I had never been choked the way they were choking me, I had never been hit hard like they were hitting me. I never experianced trying to block a punch only to have my own hand punch me in the face. I had never been picked up 4 feet off the ground while trying to stop a takedown with elbows and slamed so hard I had to go home and lay down.

Now its different. When a guy comes in, I see the old me. I see a guy who is not prepared for what he is about to get into. I see them go though the same trials I had to deal with, and I see a lot of them make excuses as to why their training wasn't enough. I've had guys tell me they could of broken my fingers to escape, or eye gouged me, or grion striked me, etc. Except for when I tell them to give it a try, it never seems to work. Because I am used to maintaining control over people who are trying their best to hurt me. Their fumbling and spazzing out really doesn't bother me anymore, their pressure point's, knuckles on the ribs, etc dont bother me. Right now I have someone's thumb print bruised into my arm from fridays training. It didn't stop him from getting choked out.

The best part is none of these techniques are new, none of them are missing from traditional arts. In japanese juijitsu, bjj, and judo you will find the same hip toss, the same armbar, the same triangle choke, and the same wrist lock. The difference is the experaince in learning how to use these things against someone who isn't letting you use them. Sure you can learn how to use them without this type of training, but this kind of training is more efficent, and has a higher percentage chance of producing people who can use the techniques. If I go into a traditional martial arts school I would expect to find a few black belts that can give me a run for my money in sparing. If I go into a few mma gyms I expect to find a lot of people (at least more than 3/4ths of the people there) that can give me a run for my money. The reaons are simple. Most of them will be in better physical shape though harder training. Most of them will have learned different ways and methods for using the technqiues taught though resistant sparing, and most of them will be used to the level of resistance I am apply and thus keep their cardio under control and their adrenaline under control.

My thoughs on this are simple. If I can't handle a random amature mma guy in the ring, I can't expect to handle people in the street where there are more dangerous variables.

Well, good for you. Now, let me ask you something: Who came up with MMA? Who founded the straight blast gym? It didn't come from nowhere. Can we agree that it represents an individual's thought processes?

Well, the same is true of every other martial art in the world. Just as the SBG is not just about different techniques but a certain approahc, and someone who opens an affiliate of the straight blast gym is propgating that approach. If you don't do that, can you say you are? Not honestly. With me so far?

And that is what I have been talking about. When you say Aikido people can just change their training methods and not lose anything else, can they? If what training methods you can and can't use is part of what makes Aikido what it is, then changing the methods does change things. Yes, it could "destroy" it. You would still have the name "Aikido," but lose what it is that makes Aikido unique.

Now, that doesn't meant the "I-method" will destroy Aikido. However, you will recall Aikido is rather picky about issues like whether you spar, how much resistance to offer, etc. IF those points are part of what makes Aikido what it is, then if you break those rules, it may not be Aikido anymore. And this is important because teaching martial arts is about teaching the techniques and preserving and propogating the system. That's where things get hairy. So the question of whether to change training methods goes from being something "silly" to very important! Yes, there are some people who teach Aikido and closer to what you suggest. But that is response to those issues. They made their call.

You've put the traditional route behind you and that's ok. I'm not going to tell you what you're doing is wrong; at the end of the day, if you're happy with it, that's the most important thing. But the point I want to get a across is the traditional methods aren't the way they are for no good reason. It's because you're learning the thought process of the person who founded that system. If you diverge from that thought process, you are not doing that system anymore. The same is true for any approach, Aikido, Judo, SBG, whatever. You can teach joint locks and throws any way you want. You want to teach Aikido, there are more considerations. They're there like an elephant in your living room. You can try and ignore it but they're still there. I don't see how it could be otherwise.

DonMagee
07-16-2006, 12:37 PM
I just wanted to correct you on one thing.

I said "Sport fighting can reason that they are actually using their technqiues against a person trying to do the same." Meaning sparing using your techniques against a person trying to use their techniques.

Other than that I was trying to respond to the ideas posed. You said "Also you have to remember that "on the Street," the other person won't know what you know and you won't know what he knows. So it's unlilely he'll know how to counter you. Furthermore, trained martial artists are rare in our culture.", and I showed you how I feel that is false. I know more tough guys who used to be wreslters then tough guys who didn't used to be wrestlers. It just so happens that tough guys are the ones usually starting trouble, not the computer nerd.

You are right on the rest, it is simply individual ideas on how to train. But that doesn't mean we should not argue about it. It's all the more reason to share our ideas, examples, history, and argue about it. Its not about SBG being right and aikido being wrong, or judo being right and japanese jiujitsu being wrong. Its about finding the correct path with all the applicable information and ideas. I'm not going to train kata (well except maybe when i'm too old to compete in judo), your not going to get in a ring anytime soon (unless I've miss-read you). But that doesn't mean each of us can't learn something from each other and apply it to our training. I've learned a lot from aikidoka. My time in aikido opened my eyes to a lot of things and had big impact in how I did and did not want to train. Like I said, its not about aikido, it's about arguing the merrits and flaws of training methods. However it seems a few posters want to turn this into a what is more effective fighting style argument, I'm just trying to shape it into more effective training method argument.

Jorx
07-16-2006, 02:32 PM
Kevin and Don I'm so with ya in this;)

CNYMike
07-16-2006, 03:29 PM
I just wanted to correct you on one thing.

I said "Sport fighting can reason that they are actually using their technqiues against a person trying to do the same." Meaning sparing using your techniques against a person trying to use their techniques.

Ok; hair mended.


Other than that I was trying to respond to the ideas posed. You said "Also you have to remember that "on the Street," the other person won't know what you know and you won't know what he knows. So it's unlilely he'll know how to counter you. Furthermore, trained martial artists are rare in our culture.", and I showed you how I feel that is false. I know more tough guys who used to be wreslters then tough guys who didn't used to be wrestlers. It just so happens that tough guys are the ones usually starting trouble, not the computer nerd.

Reasonable.


You are right on the rest, it is simply individual ideas on how to train. But that doesn't mean we should not argue about it. It's all the more reason to share our ideas, examples, history, and argue about it. Its not about SBG being right and aikido being wrong, or judo being right and japanese jiujitsu being wrong. Its about finding the correct path with all the applicable information and ideas. I'm not going to train kata (well except maybe when i'm too old to compete in judo), your not going to get in a ring anytime soon (unless I've miss-read you). But that doesn't mean each of us can't learn something from each other and apply it to our training. I've learned a lot from aikidoka. My time in aikido opened my eyes to a lot of things and had big impact in how I did and did not want to train. Like I said, its not about aikido, it's about arguing the merrits and flaws of training methods. However it seems a few posters want to turn this into a what is more effective fighting style argument, I'm just trying to shape it into more effective training method argument.

Well, are the two issues really that easy to separate? You want to ask question, there's one. I wouldn't have raised the points I've raised if I didn't think they were important.

As far as an objective and dispassionate view of training methods goes, that's a big project. And relying on personal testimonials is probably not the most scientific way of discussing it. What are the methods meant to achieve? The words "pop out" sruface a lot with reference to Aikido techniques. Is this the result of all the repitition? Hmm, then maybe the priority is less an intellectual understanding and more just having it ingrained in you? That's what that says to me. Same about the methods you like. It's not enough to say "Well, they work ..... " You have to get into the nitty gritty of it. So before making value judgments about which is "better," you have to know what they're doing.

CNYMike
07-16-2006, 06:49 PM
Hey, Don,

For more data points, note the started of this thread. (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=147486&postcount=1) #2 under "things I learned that day" indicates something in Aikido's training methodology worked. Just food for thought.

DonMagee
07-16-2006, 08:23 PM
If I'm reading this right he had 3 weeks of training. It sounds to me that he kept his distance, and kept his hands up. All very good things. I'm not sure if you can attribute 3 weeks of training to any conceptual skill gain. I'd love to belive his aikido training helped him, and had it been months of years I would agree. I'd say this was just blind instinct helping keep him safe. It sounds like he brawled (which is not really aikido) and besides some banged up hands, made it out safe. Thats a good thing. I'm glad he's ok. But I dont think 3 weeks of aikido training (or any other training for that matter) played a part in that situation.

If soemone said they got in a fight after 2 weeks of boxing training and they stuck their hands up and the guy couldn't hit them, however they couldn't seem to figure out how to fight back, and just kept their distance with their hands in front of their face, I would not attribute boxing to saving the. I'd call it common sense.

I'm sure in his case he would attribute it to his 3 weeks of training rather then blind luck or instinct. But with just 3 weeks of training, and without watching what went down, I simply can't. It sounds like he moved in, kept punching (he says he hit him 12 or 13 times) to keep him defensive with the guy wildy swung back. I've fought with guys on the defensive like that, tipically they dont hit you because their not aiming.

Now if we are to go with the assumption his training taught him proper distance and movement, we also have to point out his training did not teach him the proper way to use any of his 'offensive' techniques as he couldn't end the attack, all he could do was press and rain down punches.

DonMagee
07-16-2006, 08:31 PM
So before making value judgments about which is "better," you have to know what they're doing.

I think it is also important to explore why you are doing what you are doing, what benfits you think you are getting, and what actually improvements you are getting. Its simple if you set objective goals. If I say I want to be more effective in the ring, its a easy objective to test. If I say I want to move more fluidly in 3 man randori, again this is an easy objective to test. Where it gets complicated is in saying things like "I want to have more ki", or "I want to win a street fight". These are ill defined terms.

I'm lucky enough to have trained in numerous different methods. I've set objective goals for all my training and found the best way to reach those goals. Number one goal for me has always been the ability to use my abilities on a fully resistant skilled opponent while faced with a high stress load. Sparing or Competition is the only way (short of getting in a fight at a bar) to test this. Having tried traditional methods and failing to reach my goal, I found other methods which allowed me to reach this goal. If your goal was reaching a higher spirital path, I'd suggest going to church more and sparing less (providing your religion has a church). If your goal was better fitness I'd suggest running on a treadmill and watching your diet.

statisticool
07-16-2006, 10:09 PM
If your goal was reaching a higher spirital path, I'd suggest going to church more and sparing less (providing your religion has a church). If your goal was better fitness I'd suggest running on a treadmill and watching your diet.

If someone wants all the above (and more) from the same source, they can practice aikido.

CNYMike
07-16-2006, 11:05 PM
If someone wants all the above (and more) from the same source, they can practice aikido.

There is something to be said for one stop shopping. :D

mathewjgano
07-16-2006, 11:16 PM
I'd love to belive his aikido training helped him, and had it been months of years I would agree. I'd say this was just blind instinct helping keep him safe...If soemone said they got in a fight after 2 weeks of boxing training and they stuck their hands up and the guy couldn't hit them, however they couldn't seem to figure out how to fight back, and just kept their distance with their hands in front of their face, I would not attribute boxing to saving the. I'd call it common sense.
Hypothetically, I think you could attribute even one class to helping a situation like this. I don't think any of us can be sure enough to say one way or the other, but I think it's quite possible. "Common sense" is one of those ill-defined things you mentioned. If you're taught to keep your hands up and on your center-line or simply to relax and not panic, and you do that because you were told in training, then training played a role. The more you train, the more it plays a role, but even that first day can play a role.

CNYMike
07-16-2006, 11:18 PM
I think it is also important to explore why you are doing what you are doing, what benfits you think you are getting, and what actually improvements you are getting. Its simple if you set objective goals. If I say I want to be more effective in the ring, its a easy objective to test. If I say I want to move more fluidly in 3 man randori, again this is an easy objective to test. Where it gets complicated is in saying things like "I want to have more ki", or "I want to win a street fight". These are ill defined terms.

I'm lucky enough to have trained in numerous different methods. I've set objective goals for all my training and found the best way to reach those goals. Number one goal for me has always been the ability to use my abilities on a fully resistant skilled opponent while faced with a high stress load. Sparing or Competition is the only way (short of getting in a fight at a bar) to test this. Having tried traditional methods and failing to reach my goal, I found other methods which allowed me to reach this goal ....

Well, to each his own. For me, I find martial arts serendipitous: Whatever reasons I had for starting a new art (or in the case of Aikido, returning to one I'd done before), I always get something different out of it. Heck, I first signed up for karate to stop my college roommate from badgering me to take karate! He lasted three weeks, and I am still plugging away after 21 years. Go figure.

On top of that is the Filipino concept of "Play to learn," meaning you actually learn quicker if you put less pressure on yourself and have fun doing it. That's why you see references to "silat players;" it's not that they don't take their arts seriouly, they just learn better if the pressure is off.

So again, it all depends on what works for you.


If your goal was reaching a higher spirital path, I'd suggest going to church more and sparing less (providing your religion has a church) ....

You DO have your flame proof undies on, right? Just checking. <runs for cover>

DonMagee
07-17-2006, 05:49 AM
Well my point is you can get theses things from martial arts, but you also get a lot of wheel spining becaus there are better ways to get those things. The best way to get in shape would be working with a personal training and diet coach who can help you get into shape and cut pounds by using scientific methods based on your body type. Yes you could get into shape with aikido, bjj, basketball, etc. But thats not the best method.

Of course the best method to spiritiality is a lot harder to quantify. I just tossed it out there for fun. I guess the point is I'm a big fan of finding the best method to get something done. I'm not the kind of guy who likes to clean up a pile of sand with chopsticks. Sure it works, but I have this broom over in the corner.

gdandscompserv
07-17-2006, 06:26 AM
I guess the point is I'm a big fan of finding the best method to get something done. I'm not the kind of guy who likes to clean up a pile of sand with chopsticks. Sure it works, but I have this broom over in the corner.
and i have this shotgun in the corner. ;)
the joy is on the way. :D

CNYMike
07-17-2006, 07:33 PM
Well my point is you can get theses things from martial arts, but you also get a lot of wheel spining becaus there are better ways to get those things. The best way to get in shape would be working with a personal training and diet coach who can help you get into shape and cut pounds by using scientific methods based on your body type. Yes you could get into shape with aikido, bjj, basketball, etc. But thats not the best method.

Of course the best method to spiritiality is a lot harder to quantify. I just tossed it out there for fun. I guess the point is I'm a big fan of finding the best method to get something done. I'm not the kind of guy who likes to clean up a pile of sand with chopsticks. Sure it works, but I have this broom over in the corner.

There are a couple of more points to remember that I learned in anthropology classes. One is that spirituality and religion are not the same thing. Spirtuality is inside you; religion is outside, the belief system, texts, places of worship, etc. You can be a very spiritual person and never go to church; you can know the Bible backwards and forwards and be a dirtbag without a hint of spirituality about him.

The other point is that preindustrial societies didn't distinguish religion/spirituality from other parts of their daily life. In the west, we industrialized a long time ago so we put all that stuff in church on Sundays and that's where it stays. But Asian countries like China and Japan only did it within the last 150 years or so (anyone want to correct me on this, please do!), so they haven't "warehoused" spirituality yet. Guro Dan Inosanto says that when (older?) Filipinos see a talented person, they credit not that person but "the Creator," because that's who put the talent in you.

So from these perspective, a spiritual martial art is not necessarily an oxymoron; O Sensei certainly didn't think so (there's the system rearing it's ugly head again). We in the industrialized West may have a problem with a concept, but that doesn't mean it's not a valid one.