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Tinyboy344
07-25-2006, 12:25 AM
Hi,
I'm trying to get a couple of my friends (females who want to learn self-defense) to train Aikido with me.

They know absolutely NOTHING about Aikido (of course they're gonna ask the infamous question that's been raised among us newbie Aikidokas:WILL THIS REALLY WORK?." and other silly questions

SO.... how do I convince them that Aikido is great and it works for women. Please teach. All opinions about "Women and Aikido" are greatly appreciated. :)

Yann Golanski
07-25-2006, 02:02 AM
Tell them to come and watch a couple of classes from different styles.

Aikido is a tool for self defense but not the best nor the worst. Just a tool. There are many others that you should learn alongside. Most really are common sense.

MikeLogan
07-25-2006, 06:03 AM
Or check the 5 links posted at the bottom of this page titled 'similar threads'. Each of those threads will have 5 threads posted at the bottom of them, though they are likely to repeat if the phrasing is close enough to the initial 5.

After you check these other threads, copy&paste their links into an email addressed to these young ladies and they will be able to hear for themselves. That, and invite them to watch next training session that is convenient for all parties concerned.

good luck.

Amelia Smith
07-25-2006, 06:54 AM
I think that if your friends really just want a self-defense course, aikido might not be the best place to start. There are short weekend courses in women's self defense that will give a good quick fix.

Self-defense alone would not be adequate motivation to keep me coming to aikido year after year. I saw fitness and self-defense as nice side-effects of training. I think I kept coming more for the social aspects of the art, the intense and often challenging interactions with my training partners, the fun of it, and for mental/spiritual development. Have them come check out a class. If they like the atmosphere of the dojo or the teacher, and are interested in the philosophical side of it, they might keep coming.

Some people "click" with aikido, some people don't. It's one of those things where I am reminded of the quote, "There are so many differences within the sexes that it's a wonder we notice any differences between them at all." (If anyone has this exact, with an attribution, that would be nice).

--Amelia

Aristeia
08-01-2006, 10:32 PM
Many people start Aikido for self defence. I think you'd be hard put to find someone after a year or so training that says self defence is the primary reason they still train. But yeah, to get them on the mat that's probably a discussion you'll have to have. Hard to know how to structure that argument with out knowing more about them (other than their gender), but the blending, non violence and non competitiveness may be a good starting place. Then slap a nikkyo on them to show them it can be effective. Then talk about the scale of response - i.e. you have low violence options to deal with the nuisence attacks (bit of pain in the wrist) or you can go further and break bones, etc in the case of more serious situations (if you're good enough to get the technique)

Roman Kremianski
08-02-2006, 08:30 AM
Yann Golanski: Are you saying you need to do other martial arts alongside Aikido to excell in Aikido?

DonMagee
08-02-2006, 09:33 AM
Self defense is usually an imediate need. The aikido delivery system is not very imediate. For example, think of the time it takes to get to shodan. At shodan you are JUST now ready to learn aikido. Most people want self defense now, a few months to a year is a long wait.

This is a problem plaguing all martial arts. Not enough instructors explain to their students that self defense is not something that can be gained instantly. Most self defense skill (besides the obvious benfits of confidence and awareness which are not exclusive to martial arts) is going to at least take 3-6 months and depending on the art take 5-10 years to develop. I've come to the conclusion that martial arts are simply not a good at developing self defense skills. They can be used for self defense, but the teaching process is too inefficent for anyone to expect to develop self defense skills. This holds true even in arts with a faster learning curve like judo. Sure you can learn to throw a fully resisting opponenet in a few months, but you are not taught how to deal with preasures outside of the dojo. Some arts are better then others at teaching different aspects of conflict, delivery systems for ranges of unarmed or armed combat, and strategys, but all of them have major flaws which inhibit the rapid development of self defense skills.

I know of no solution to this problem. I know of no magic way to make a woman able to defeat a man in a few short lessons. But I do know that imediate self defense alone is a poor reason to train in martial arts. You need other desires and goals to help you put in the time required to have any chance at developing valid self defense skills.

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 10:23 AM
One of the thoughts I've lazily played with for a number of years is working with a women's Aikido group (preferably athletic and no-nonsense types) to see what would happen if they were taught to include the normal and power-type augmentations of the ki/kokyu stuff to their Aikido. It might be easier to find a group of men to do this with, but people would say, "Oh sure, bunch of athletic guys... what's the big surprise?". But if a group of women can become pretty powerful, as I think they can, that would lay a lot of the Aikido/women discussions into a different perspective.

The point is that I think a women's group can get into a fairly effective self-defense mode using just Aikido (although the syllabus I'm thinking about would also include some of the stuff I've seen Shioda do in radorii). I.e., I don't think that Aikido should be removed from the list of martial arts that provide adequate self-defense.

My 2 cents.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
08-02-2006, 11:51 AM
I hate the words "self defense". I don't understand why people come to traditional martial arts or budo as a primary tool for training for this. While on the surface one might think that it is the thing to do, aikido and budo in general is NOT what I'd recommend.

I abhor those classes that teach self defense in the empty hand manner. Most set women up for failure. They take their money, teach them a few things, and send them on their way feeling empowered.

The thing with self defense is this.

1. Define the problem.
2. Assess the risk.
3. Develop control measures to mitgate the risk.
4. Implement.

What is the "self defense" problem you are trying to solve? Is it identifiable? Empty hand IMO, sucks for both males and females. Assailants are very smart and if they want you incapcitated or dead, they will ambush you, seize the advantage, and win.

So, you mitigate the risk by doing things such as not walking alone at night with a walkman on at full blast. Etc, etc.

If there is a particular risk such as an old boyfriend, stalker etc...there are better ways to mitigate that risk.

There are weapons both lethal and non-lethal, but that comes with downsides as well.

Does all this mean that it is worthless to study some form of "empty hand" martial arts? Not at all....but there are much better focused models out there that need to cover a great deal more information than what is typically covered in the old "stomp, yell, and run" scenario.

I won't even get into the "long, slow road" of aikido! Terrible model as well.

I have seen and heard of aikido being used as a good methodology for "healing" that is confidence building, and post traumatic healing stuff. Nothing wrong with that! Good art I think for helping people connect with their emotional self and dealing with others and physical confrontation and rebuilding themselves. I suppose there is much value in this, but it is a secondary value in the physical model of self defense.

That though is a long shot from what I call "self defense".

My point is, as "seasoned" martial artist, we really need to help people sort through the emotions of assault and attacks and put things in the proper perspective for them. I think too many people are giving a "warm and fuzzy" and a false sense of security by what will happen in a real attack or self defense situation.

Aikido is a poor tool for teaching how to really deal with this. Sorry.

Aristeia
08-02-2006, 12:02 PM
not walking alone at night with a walkman on at full blast. Etc, etc.
.walkman? Showing your age Kevin? Great post as always.

Aristeia
08-02-2006, 12:04 PM
Yann Golanski: Are you saying you need to do other martial arts alongside Aikido to excell in Aikido?Looks to me like Yann is saying you need to do other things alongside aikido to excel in self defence - not quite the same thing..

Kevin Leavitt
08-02-2006, 12:05 PM
Oh man you are right! I actually own an iPod and STILL refer to it as a walkman. I suppose kids today have never even heard of a Walkman!

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 12:07 PM
Aikido is a poor tool for teaching how to really deal with this. Sorry. Well, I just disagree. I think there are "versions" of Aikido and not all of them are as effective as others.

In terms of the "warm fuzzy" stuff, I agree with you. Giving people a quicky course that leaves them with a "warm fuzzy" feeling of security and ability is not necessarily helpful, I agree.

On the other hand, giving someone some real and useable tools that are generally effective is not the same thing as a "warm fuzzy" feeling.

In my opinion, technique is fine, as long as the techniques are practical (and Aikido includes some, even though they're not practiced in all dojo's). But power is the factor I see being missed by many/most dojo's. There's a thing about "steroid rage" that I often think misses the point. What really happens is that someone on steroids becomes physically stronger... the person *knows* they're stronger and does less to check the impulses and reactions that a weaker person automatically does. What I'm getting at is that if women use the power/strength advantage that the ki/kokyu stuff gives (it does not make them bullet-proof or unbeatable, of course), there is a boost of confidence that is backed up by actual and demonstrable power. That is not the same thing as a "warm fuzzy" feeling, IMO. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 12:09 PM
walkman? Showing your age Kevin? Great post as always.

Wait.... shouldn't that be "walkperson"?????? :D

Tinyboy344
08-02-2006, 12:10 PM
I actually took my friends (both male and female) to the dojo to watch a class. The female got bored after the first 1/2 hr and started to ask questions like:"Why do you guys roll so much? What's the point of slapping the mat? This is very boring" and the guy :"What if u miss the wrist of the attacker and he slips out of your technique/lock and sweeps you of you feet, what if this, what if that etc...."

It's kinda annoying when people just wanna learn to punch and kick and how to whup ass hardcore.

Tinyboy344
08-02-2006, 12:23 PM
The only thing that my friends think is cool about Aikido is the Hakama :rolleyes:

DaveS
08-02-2006, 12:32 PM
Self-defense alone would not be adequate motivation to keep me coming to aikido year after year. I saw fitness and self-defense as nice side-effects of training. I think I kept coming more for the social aspects of the art, the intense and often challenging interactions with my training partners, the fun of it, and for mental/spiritual development. Have them come check out a class. If they like the atmosphere of the dojo or the teacher, and are interested in the philosophical side of it, they might keep coming.
What she said!

Kevin Leavitt
08-02-2006, 12:35 PM
Understand where you are coming from Mike.

My only point is that culturally and traditionally aikido is a poor methodlogy for teaching "self defense".

Are there techniques and principles that are applicable and useful? Absolutely!

If I were to design a course (which I would never do for a number of reasons), it would incorporate many aspects of aikido such as kokyu, breathing, posture, etc.

There is just so much more involved in mitigating assault. The whole escalation and use of force considerations are not taught correctly in aikido I believe.

a Side bar, but we found in the army that guys carry knifes on their gear, but never practice using them. Ask them why they carry it and they will say because they will use it. What you find though is because they don't practice using it, they don't.

I found the same issue when I was a Medic way back in my early military career. First time I did CPR for real, i did not reach for my pocket mask..why...because when we practiced CPR on "annie" we always did it as mouth to mouth...so quess what I did the first time I had to do it? Got a mouth full of vomit!

So, my point is, this, we will do what we practice when we get under stress. Aikido typcially does not train this. You can only train this one way. You must actually replicate as close as possible the conditions you will encounter in realilty.

Yea kokyu and breathing and all that are very important, as we all know. But under reall stress...most will not do these things correctly.

To train correctly, you must go to the whole "aliveness" concept. Things like Blauer suits ( www.tonyblauer.com ) must be employed in scenario based situations.

You must train at correct distances under stressful conditions. Another words, someone bigger than you jumps you and starts beating the crap out of you.

It gets very emotional, and you pyschologically press alot of buttons. Most people are not willing to subject themselves to this environment. You learn quickly that you are going to lose alot of the time, and that regardless of your internal training and years spent that you will probably lose most of the time. Over time though, of hard training...you start to improve and you find the space to survive.

You will hurt yourself in this type of training. You will get banged up, bruised, tweaked arms, sprained hands, and busted noses and black eyes. Again, not fun and not for the average person that wants to learn 'self defense". But if you have a serious, identifiable risk, you just might be motiviated to do it, because you realize your life might depend on your training.

Mike, I agree in theory, that there is value in teaching what you propose...that is kokyu etc, and how to use your body correctly against someone that is bigger than you, but unless you can do it once stress is applied and can hold it together...it is completely useless.

Again, if I did design a "self defense course" it would incorporate these things....but it is a long slow road, and it would be very expensive and time consuming for all but the really serious.

My instructors in the Army teach this type of stuff to soldiers in classes 40 hours a week, in courses that last up to a month sometimes, even with that the students are still "beginners".

However, while I would incorporate principles I have learned in aikido, it would not remotely look like, nor would it be associated with aikido in anyway.

Aikido is a wonderful art for learning many, many things. especially about yourself! This should not be discounted as being important in the big picture. Aikido can be very empowering mentally, physically, and spiritually. It can develop an awareness and attitude that is very, very important in avoiding becoming a "statistic" or appearing as a "soft target".

However, once you start looking at it from the point of the actual physical assault happening....you have just entered a whole new world that aikido and TMA simply does not prepare us to deal with.

MikeLogan
08-02-2006, 12:36 PM
So, you mitigate the risk by doing things such as not walking alone at night with a walkman on at full blast. Etc, etc. Just curious when and where did you learn this skill of risk mitigation? Was it from one of these weekend warrior courses? I doubt it. I understand you're military, and at the risk of supplying you with an answer to my question, I imagine it must be that, even if the average soldier is not concerned with making it safely to and from the parking lot late at night. there are much better focused models out there that need to cover a great deal more information This line is the suggestion of alternative SD methods to "empty hand" martial arts? What would these be, short of carrying something that could be used against the would-be defender who doesn't train regularly in said implements use? I think too many people are giving a "warm and fuzzy" and a false sense of security by what will happen in a real attack or self defense situation. .. Aikido is a poor tool for teaching how to really deal with this. Sorry I simply don't see it. My life experience might help me cope with random excretum striking upon rapidly rotating cooling devices, but I wouldn't have a 20th of the bodily vocabulary I have now (my own or an adversay's) without training in aikido, let alone concepts of dimensional awareness, such as speed, distance, surroundings.

I've probably misinterpreted something in your post Kevin, and I wonder if it's just that you prefer to keep your pursuit of budo separate from another's pursuit of self-defense. Surely they are different. At any rate, I sometimes have more questions than answers after reading your posts, hence my quotes.

michael logan.

Editted to say that my post was lost in cyber space during the last 10 minutes of conversation. I will chalk this to a hiccup in the recent re-stitching of the time-space-aikiweb.com continuum after it's downtime. Let me catch up :) Though I think you answered my questions.

gdandscompserv
08-02-2006, 12:47 PM
But if a group of women can become pretty powerful, as I think they can, that would lay a lot of the Aikido/women discussions into a different perspective.
The women I trained with at Okinawa Aikikai were very powerful.

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 12:49 PM
My only point is that culturally and traditionally aikido is a poor methodlogy for teaching "self defense".

Are there techniques and principles that are applicable and useful? Absolutely!

If I were to design a course (which I would never do for a number of reasons), it would incorporate many aspects of aikido such as kokyu, breathing, posture, etc.

There is just so much more involved in mitigating assault. (snip for brevity) I know what you're saying, Kevin, and I'm not asserting that all the variants of Aikido would be productive as self-defense. However, on the other hand, most of what you said about Aikido not really preparing people for real fights could be said about just about any currently available martial art.

I think that if more emphasis and knowledge about *how* smaller individuals (like many women and some men) could indeed develop unusual power, it would give Aikido more potential as a martial art that is effective for not just the bigger guys.

If I were to modify an approach to Aikido I wouldn't modify the techniques that are available, but upfront I'd have people working on realistic jin/kokyu skills, starting on the breath stuff that honestly makes someone stronger, I'd teach the body skills that supplement power, and I'd spend a lot of time reviewing the manipulation and control of someone else's balance using jin skills. Sort of a front-end load so that people doing Aikido even for a year would leave with enhanced strength and martially useable skills.

Now..... back to the opium pipe. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
08-02-2006, 01:00 PM
Mike Logan wrote:

This line is the suggestion of alternative SD methods to "empty hand" martial arts? What would these be, short of carrying something that could be used against the would-be defender who doesn't train regularly in said implements use?


To me this is part of the problem. There are no easy answers, everything has a drawback and a risk. I am kinda getting philosophical here, but I think it is salient to discuss. We all like to think that we can solve problems through learning or developing skill. Take a course in martial arts, and we can handle ourselves. The reality of it is that it may not do any good at all. So do you carry a gun? My personal belief is that guns are pretty useless to the average citizen in the average situation. You get suprised on the street, and the gun can now be used against you. At what point do you use it? Being a police officer is one thing, a citizen quite another. Are there good reasons for carrying a gun? Sure there are. But I think most people that carry guns do so out of a irrational fear and have no definable risk or situation that they are attempting to mitigate, therefore, they are useless and probably more danger to yourself.

Non-lethal weapons? Pepper spray etc. Again, may be useful, may not be. It depends on many, many factors.

Mike also wrote:

I simply don't see it. My life experience might help me cope with random excretum striking upon rapidly rotating cooling devices, but I wouldn't have a 20th of the bodily vocabulary I have now (my own or an adversay's) without training in aikido, let alone concepts of dimensional awareness, such as speed, distance, surroundings.


Oh I agree, in fact I think we crossed post (see my post above). There are benefits to learning aikido. The things you mention are very good reasons. I learned these too and they do prevent you from being a "soft target". That though is one thing. Once the Assault happens though....a entirely different set of dynamics kick in...ones which most people are not conditioned, nor prepared to deal with adequately.

Nothing wrong with budo. I do think the real value is that it prepares you to live a good life, and in doing so, it also prepares you to die properly. (philosophy again!). but that is a far stretch from "self defense", combative skill, and fighting, which is a tricky, tricky subject that has no easy answers.

Kevin Leavitt
08-02-2006, 01:10 PM
Mike Sigman wrote:

I know what you're saying, Kevin, and I'm not asserting that all the variants of Aikido would be productive as self-defense. However, on the other hand, most of what you said about Aikido not really preparing people for real fights could be said about just about any currently available martial art.

I think that if more emphasis and knowledge about *how* smaller individuals (like many women and some men) could indeed develop unusual power, it would give Aikido more potential as a martial art that is effective for not just the bigger guys.

If I were to modify an approach to Aikido I wouldn't modify the techniques that are available, but upfront I'd have people working on realistic jin/kokyu skills, starting on the breath stuff that honestly makes someone stronger, I'd teach the body skills that supplement power, and I'd spend a lot of time reviewing the manipulation and control of someone else's balance using jin skills. Sort of a front-end load so that people doing Aikido even for a year would leave with enhanced strength and martially useable skills.


Yes it can be said about any martial art. I agree. there are no easy answers. My only real point I suppose is that we really need to be honest with the people that come to our arts about the level of expectations about what we are preparing them for.

I had a guy in one of my Army Combative classes complete our intense 40 hour a week program. he went out to a bar, and took out the first guy pretty good with a RNC. He didn't fair so well against the second, third, and fouth guy that came at him. :) That was after a great deal of lectures about what we were preparing him for. His comments when he came back to the dojo. "I feel okay, at least I got one of them, I wouldn't have been able to do that a week ago!". I suppose that is a "glass half full" attitude...but I think he is still missing the point! What are you going to do with young soldiers though! :)

Which leads to my next comments. I agree with what you say you would teach. It is very , very important. But a long, slow road that requires much time, energy and devotion. Based on your reputation and demonstrated knowledge online, I'd think we'd make a good team maybe in this area. You train them for a year....then let me don my protective gear and put them in a suit as well, then let me go at them 100% and then see how they feel and fair against me.

I think they, like my soldier, would be suprised at both how much they learned, but also would see how much more there is to assault and violence, and how random and unpredictable it can be.

I'd feel better at that point because at least there is a reality check that shows them how empowered they really are, or aren't.

Mike Sigman
08-02-2006, 01:27 PM
I agree with what you say you would teach. It is very , very important. But a long, slow road that requires much time, energy and devotion. Based on your reputation and demonstrated knowledge online, I'd think we'd make a good team maybe in this area. You train them for a year....then let me don my protective gear and put them in a suit as well, then let me go at them 100% and then see how they feel and fair against me. Yeah, but kicking *your* butt would only give them a false warm, fuzzy feeling.... I want them to be able to really fight!!! :D I think they, like my soldier, would be suprised at both how much they learned, but also would see how much more there is to assault and violence, and how random and unpredictable it can be. Well, joking aside, I don't see how any of this applies differently to Aikido than it would any other martial art, TBH. I don't want to get into a hypothetical wee-wee contest. ;) Heck, you could give every soldier in combat a gun, but that doesn't mean that he's going to come out on top, does it? Reality limits us all.

All the Best.

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
08-02-2006, 01:32 PM
No, me either (get into a wee wee contest). Again, my only point is that we have a responsibility to put things in the proper perspective and to convey the realities of assault and violence to the people we train.

Training in a nice dojo, with a hakama, bowing, and testing and all that is good, but we should not purport or even allow our students to believe that it is preparing them adequately to deal with a violent physical encounter.

No it does not mean he is going to come out on top (giving a soldier a gun). Some times your the bug, and sometimes you are the windshield. You did a nice job of summing up my sentiments on the whole issue.

Roman Kremianski
08-03-2006, 08:47 AM
Looks to me like Yann is saying you need to do other things alongside aikido to excel in self defence - not quite the same thing..

I'm confused - Aikido is not self-defense now?

Mark Uttech
08-03-2006, 08:59 AM
Aikido is self defense. Self defense takes time.

Tinyboy344
08-03-2006, 09:56 AM
Super uber long sweet ass time to be good with the techniques that's for sure, 2-3 years for self-defense I think??? As long as you learn how to move out of the opponent(s)' way fast enough and do something to him/them ???

Mike Sigman
08-03-2006, 10:05 AM
Super uber long sweet ass time to be good with the techniques that's for sure, 2-3 years for self-defense I think??? As long as you learn how to move out of the opponent(s)' way fast enough and do something to him/them ??? That's a good point.

The problem with Aikido, from a "quickie self-defense" standpoint is that the techniques are generally complicated, always practiced with "cooperative partners", etc. So it takes time to be effective if that's what you're concentrating on.

Getting out of the way and applying a simple, sudden technique, such as some of the ones that Shioda demonstrates with his shoulder, palm, etc., would be nice... but without power behind them, those techniques aren't all that effective.

Making the point again, more power and more short techniques up front would be a general statement of a solution that would be helpful.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mark Uttech
08-03-2006, 10:31 AM
More power and more short techniques up front would also take time

Kevin Leavitt
08-03-2006, 11:50 AM
Sure there are elements of self defense in aikido. I am only saying if self defense is your primary concern, and you define self defense that as the ability to adequately deal with violent, physical assault, aikido is not an effective methodology for training this ability. Also, as Mike Sigman points out, not too many martial art systems are.

One of the major issues is the set of assumptions concerning violent attack and/or the scope of "self defense".

gdandscompserv
08-03-2006, 12:22 PM
I'm confused - Aikido is not self-defense now?
Correct. Aikido is not self defense. One of the fringe benefits of aikido training is that it enhances one's ability to "defend" one's self, but that is not its goal.
This is what the Aikikai Foundation has to say about what aikido is. (http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/what.htm)

Aristeia
08-03-2006, 12:35 PM
I'm confused - Aikido is not self-defense now?
If that's your only reason for training there are better choices.
If you have specific other reasons for training then Aikido is the best choice.

Mike Sigman
08-03-2006, 12:37 PM
This is what the Aikikai Foundation has to say about what aikido is. (http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/what.htm) Heh. I don't know who wrote that, but it's pretty contradictory. Basically they're saying it's a "Bu do", but there is no Bu in it. What a conundrum. I suspect that translating that statement back into Japanese and reading it to a number of Aikikai uchi-deshi would result in some rather pronounced disagreements with the contents. Whoever wrote the English doesn't even understand what Ki in the universe is, so this may be not the exact feelings of some higher up at Aikikai, but the feelings of some do-good westerner "writing for Aikikai". I'd love to know. ;)

Mike

Ron Tisdale
08-03-2006, 01:21 PM
From the IYAF home page:
The Yoshinkan 'House for Cultivating the Spirit' was founded after World War Two. This style of aikido is occasionally called the hard style because the training methods are a product of the gruelling period Soke Shioda spent as a student of Ueshiba. Yoshinkan Aikido has some 150 basic techniques which are practiced repeatedly, these enable the student to master the remaining ones, which total some 3000 overall.

Yoshinkan Aikido is not a sport. Aikido is the development and strengthening of the body and mind, and the practical side of Aikido must never be forgotten. However, Aikido is for all, irrespective of age, sex, race or culture.

Best,
Ron (short and sweet always works best for me...)

Mark Uttech
08-03-2006, 02:24 PM
Heh. I don't know who wrote that, but it's pretty contradictory. Basically they're saying it's a "Bu do", but there is no Bu in it. What a conundrum. I suspect that translating that statement back into Japanese and reading it to a number of Aikikai uchi-deshi would result in some rather pronounced disagreements with the contents. Whoever wrote the English doesn't even understand what Ki in the universe is, so this may be not the exact feelings of some higher up at Aikikai, but the feelings of some do-good westerner "writing for Aikikai". I'd love to know. ;)

Mike
I'm really surprised at this post and the uncalled for viciousness hidden therein. I've never met you in person Mike, but this post is so surprising that you have to be having a bad day. In gassho

gdandscompserv
08-03-2006, 02:28 PM
Yeah...Mike's a trip. :freaky:

Mike Sigman
08-03-2006, 02:42 PM
I'm really surprised at this post and the uncalled for viciousness hidden therein. I've never met you in person Mike, but this post is so surprising that you have to be having a bad day. In gasshoWhat "viciousness" are you referring to, my little love-blossom? If you mean my opinion of that English-language web-opinion, say so. I know a couple of Ueshiba's uchi-deshi that would disagree with it and who have said "of course Aikido is a martial art". Yamada being one. What next after "viciousness".... "aikidophobe"? ;)

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
08-03-2006, 03:00 PM
This is what Aikido Shobukan Dojo has on their website (Saotome Sensei's dojo in DC)

Purpose of Aikido
Aikido is different in its training purpose from other martial arts. Martial arts are often practiced to gain fighting prowess. Through his varied experiences, O Sensei realized that simply accumulating strength for fighting is ultimately futile. He saw the true purpose of Budo to be refinement of the individual. O Sensei created Aikido as a martial way for students to develop a strong body and a mind that is calm, free from contentious thoughts, and whose natural reaction is defense rather than offense, protection rather than counter-destruction.

O Sensei wrote:
“Budo is not felling the opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world into destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect, and cultivate all beings in nature.”

Upyu
08-03-2006, 04:00 PM
Nice job on turning this topic from a dull been there done that, to something worth discussing guys :D


Myself, I take the meaning of self defense to be along the lines of a quickie fix. I don't think Aikido, even infused with Ki/Kokyu exercises would do the trick. Then again I dont think Mike was implying that to begin with since he wrote that the group he'd be interested in training would preferably be athletic women. Or in other words people that have a hard training ethic.


This diverges somewhat from the original topic, but like Mike, I've been thinking about what would happen if we were to take a bunch of mediocre college Judo guys, but with a good set of heads of their shoulders, teach them the Ki/Kokyu skills, make them work their asses off for about 2 years training their bodies first, then see what happens when we set them loose in tournaments.

Teaching this stuff takes time, but not years and years I think. The power, and finesse to which you can use it will certainly only get better with age. But I certainly think you can develop a body that can automatically use these skills to a practical degree within 2-3 years. Depends on the teacher, the student, and whether the student figures out exactly what it is he needs to strengthen refine in his body on a daily basis. Speaking from personal experience once you start to get it, technique can be swallowed up like candy. There's no need to "memorize" the stuff really since your body tends to react in a manner that adheres to the "principles" you've hammered into your body.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
08-03-2006, 04:09 PM
Speaking from personal experience once you start to get it, technique can be swallowed up like candy. There's no need to "memorize" the stuff really since your body tends to react in a manner that adheres to the "principles" you've hammered into your body. Which is why the ki/kokyu way is considered "natural" way to move, in accordance with the "ki of the universe", etc. And why there may be "many techniques" but there is really only "one technique" when you get into this stuff. "All throws are kokyu throws", etc.

We oughta have a contest, Rob. You take a group and I take a similar group. *Then* it would be interesting, because it would be "your take on the ki/kokyu things" versus "my take on the ki/kokyu things". That's what the Asian martial arts really are. As it is, a lot of the current discussions are still at "should Aikido really need to include the ki/kokyu thing? I'm not sure, even though I don't really do them". Or "I'm don't know how to do the ki/kokyu things, but if you can't prove to me that you can fight with 'em (forget thousands of years of Asian history), I'm sceptical whether they're really needed". ;)

Just joshin' around. LOL

Regards,

Mike

Guilty Spark
08-03-2006, 04:10 PM
Myself, I take the meaning of self defense to be along the lines of a quickie fix. I don't think Aikido, even infused with Ki/Kokyu exercises would do the trick.

Agree 100% about the quickie fix. I don't think a short exposure to Aikido will result in effective self defense.

Upyu
08-03-2006, 05:18 PM
We oughta have a contest, Rob. You take a group and I take a similar group. *Then* it would be interesting, because it would be "your take on the ki/kokyu things" versus "my take on the ki/kokyu things".



Now THAT is a wee wee contest I'd enjoy :D

Tinyboy344
08-03-2006, 06:38 PM
Most people come to martial arts the first thing in their heads is "I want to whup some ass/not get my ass whupped" that's why my friends looked at Aikido and said:"This is boring, man!" becuz b4 coming to the dojo and watch the class, he already did some research about Aikido and all he saw is noncompetitive, nonviolent so his mind's already settle with:"I cannot whup ass with Aikido becuz I dont see it as a selfdefense art" then he saw our "dance moves" and.....hell....

"So Aikido is like Tai Chi.... for senior citizens????"

gdandscompserv
08-03-2006, 07:19 PM
"So Aikido is like Tai Chi.... for senior citizens????"
now you're getting it. :D

Roman Kremianski
08-03-2006, 08:02 PM
From the sound of some of these posts, I'd almost think you guys have little faith in Aikido yourselves. :P

I hadn't been training in Aikido long, just under a year and a half, 6 days a week, 2.5 hours a day. Many people say arts like jujutsu give you the "tools" needed to defend yourself. In Aikido, I feel like I'm being given the blueprints and expected build my own "tools".

Did that make sense? Probably not. :D
Aikido is a key part of my life, and I will make it work. I just don't take statments like "Aikido is ineffective for self-defense" too literally as I think there's more meaning to it then that. But I've still got several years to go.

Guilty Spark
08-03-2006, 08:46 PM
I hadn't been training in Aikido long, just under a year and a half, 6 days a week, 2.5 hours a day
Your lucky brother!

I have a feeling most people don't get the chance to practice aikido 15 hours a week. Maybe more akin to 2 or 4?
1170 hours of aikido goes much farther self defense wise than 156 to 312 hours I would think.

ksy
08-03-2006, 10:40 PM
"So Aikido is like Tai Chi.... for senior citizens????"

yeah, only thing is the "circles" you make with your hands and feet are faster, and you face spends a lot of time on the ground ! :D

Mark Uttech
08-03-2006, 10:52 PM
What "viciousness" are you referring to, my little love-blossom? If you mean my opinion of that English-language web-opinion, say so. I know a couple of Ueshiba's uchi-deshi that would disagree with it and who have said "of course Aikido is a martial art". Yamada being one. What next after "viciousness".... "aikidophobe"? ;)

Mike
I've gathered from your reply that you are clearly someone I do not want to know or meet.There's a lack of professionalism that sticks out like a piece of dog shit on your nose. In gassho my friend, and farewell.

Tinyboy344
08-03-2006, 10:57 PM
I'm glad that you guys participate in this topic even though as you can see we haven't been talking about women and Aikido anymore since my friends are no longer interested in Aikido. It's really interesting to see your points of view and I appreciate your time posting replies and arguments.

I have to agree with Grant Waga that Roman Kremianski is a very lucky person to have that many hours with Aikido. I, myself, only spend 4 hrs a week on the mat. I try to go to as many seminars as I can in the future even though the first one almost killed me not because of the techniques or the nage but because I wasnt ready for it and ran out of breath after 2.5 hrs.

Dazzler
08-04-2006, 04:05 AM
The problem with Aikido, from a "quickie self-defense" standpoint is that the techniques are generally complicated, always practiced with "cooperative partners", etc. So it takes time to be effective if that's what you're concentrating on.

Getting out of the way and applying a simple, sudden technique, such as some of the ones that Shioda demonstrates with his shoulder, palm, etc., would be nice... but without power behind them, those techniques aren't all that effective.

Making the point again, more power and more short techniques up front would be a general statement of a solution that would be helpful.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Some excellent posts as usual in this thread gentlemen.

I'd offer my input in that while Aikido techniques do take a lot of time before they could effectively be used, the principles embodied within them can be used far quicker.

I've been taught that they are not techniques at all, thus ikkyo translates as 1st teaching and not first technique for instance.

While some may say whats in a word, this translation significantly affects direction of practice - either you practice to perfect ikkyo or you practice to perfect what ikkyo can teach.

By using "teaching" definition a whole world of flexibility opens up.

Mike Sigman has already mentioned getting out of the wayand applying something simple and sudden - this is kamae or relationship. Others may call it tenkan or Tai sabaki. One of the first things to be learned from any of the receiving "techniques".

No matter.

Align this with irimi and atemi. Entry and striking and you have a reasonably effective mechanism very quickly. Whether the partner is compliant or not.

</careful wording mode on>/ Tamura Sensei has said that O'Sensei claimed aikido to be 90% irimi and atemi//<careful wording mode off/> now - I know that because he said someone else said it doesn't necessarily make it true - so if you like ignore who said it and just consider it under its own merits. (since we've been here before) ;-). Personally since Tamura has just been mentioned under another thread as the man who turned down 9th Dan I feel its a timely endorsement

Either way - Its still a fairly good start - get safe and counter. And probably a lot better than rear naked chokes against multiple attacker perhaps. My point being that if this is the core of aikido then perhaps aikido can be as effective as anything else if practice is targetted on effectiveness alone.

As Kevin Leavitt mentions - using scenario based drills and higher intensity attacks will for some enhance the ability to cope with more serious situations - perhaps the issue is that not all aikido instructors are prepared to sacrifice time to polish this subset of aikido, or even lack the knowledge or imagination to do so.

For many others it may be OTT and the risk of injury due to full on uncompromising attacks may be unacceptable.

For others it will simply be a distraction from a lifetimes committment to using aikido to enhance their life rather than another weapon to crush those that cross their path.

So while adjusting practice style may be a quicker way of developing effectiveness (whatever that is) there is a price.

My bottom line is that Aikido is a flexible enough tool to deliver what ever is required. What makes the difference is how you use the tool.

FWIW

D

DonMagee
08-04-2006, 06:00 AM
Align this with irimi and atemi. Entry and striking and you have a reasonably effective mechanism very quickly. Whether the partner is compliant or not.

You make it sound like that is an easy skill to gain. I've found actually hitting someone at all is a hard skill to develolp. In fact its the biggest problem plaguing most 'martial artists' I've met. They have mental blocks to hittting someone that they need to break down well before they can even start to learn how to hit someone who wants to hurt them back.

gdandscompserv
08-04-2006, 06:07 AM
yeah, only thing is the "circles" you make with your hands and feet are faster, and you face spends a lot of time on the ground ! :D
Well...there is that. :D

gdandscompserv
08-04-2006, 06:13 AM
You make it sound like that is an easy skill to gain. I've found actually hitting someone at all is a hard skill to develolp. In fact its the biggest problem plaguing most 'martial artists' I've met. They have mental blocks to hittting someone that they need to break down well before they can even start to learn how to hit someone who wants to hurt them back.
Hmmm.Not sure where you hang out but I have met many martial artists who enjoy "hitting" me very much.

DonMagee
08-04-2006, 06:36 AM
I know a lot of guys with no problem hitting me. However, I have met tons of aikido who refuse to throw attacks that would actually hit. I've met tons of tkd and karate guys that actually train to not hit each other when they spar. And outside of a kempo dojo and my mma club I usually find mosts people uncomfortable with punching me in the face. I usually have to work it out of them by standing there and letting them hit me. "Come on, it wont hurt me I promise, punch me.". If we are in the dojo and I say try to hit me, I expect that person to do everything in their power to hit me.

Most people are just not comfortable with violence. This is an even bigger problem for women. You have to be ok with the idea of feeling someones eye gush around your thumb before you can eye gouge someone. You have to be ok with feeling the bones crush and jab into the skin before you can break someone's arm. You have to be ok with seeing blood and feeling the impact and wetness on your skin before you can punch someone in the face. If your not ok with this, then you wont train in a matter useful at all. You will 'skim' over those parts that upset you. If I never throw a punch that connects I'm training myself to throw punches that don't conncet. If I never get hit, the first time I do I'll be out of my element. You fight like you train, both mentally and physically.

Dazzler
08-04-2006, 07:23 AM
You make it sound like that is an easy skill to gain. I've found actually hitting someone at all is a hard skill to develolp. In fact its the biggest problem plaguing most 'martial artists' I've met. They have mental blocks to hittting someone that they need to break down well before they can even start to learn how to hit someone who wants to hurt them back..

ok Don - Is this a problem with aikido.....or the people doing aikido?

Aikido can hardly be criticised if the real barrier is someones reluctance to use it.

In my experience if you practice striking you improve, and it doesn't take long to gain some competency.

Whether someone would hit is another ball game and like so many threads that compare arts we get back to the same old conclusion - its the martial artist and not the martial art thats important.

D

Mark Uttech
08-04-2006, 08:04 AM
I often wonder if this means that people are basically peaceful in nature, already enlightened. I watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier once, and the marine who was simply announcing the event scared the hell out of me; it scared me because it deleted my inner definition of what it meant to be human. I have no doubt that he most likely was human and was not a cyborg. and sometimes I wonder if martial arts is for people who don't join the armed forces or the police.

gdandscompserv
08-04-2006, 08:11 AM
I usually find mosts people uncomfortable with punching me in the face.
Oh Don. Don't sell yourself short. I would love to punch you in the face. ;)
No really, you just have to promise me you won't hurt me for doing so. :D

Mike Sigman
08-04-2006, 08:21 AM
This is an even bigger problem for women. You have to be ok with the idea of feeling someones eye gush around your thumb before you can eye gouge someone. You have to be ok with feeling the bones crush and jab into the skin before you can break someone's arm. You have to be ok with seeing blood and feeling the impact and wetness on your skin before you can punch someone in the face. If your not ok with this, then you wont train in a matter useful at all. You will 'skim' over those parts that upset you. If I never throw a punch that connects I'm training myself to throw punches that don't conncet. If I never get hit, the first time I do I'll be out of my element. You fight like you train, both mentally and physically.OK, Don.... no more steroids for you and no more kung fu movies. There are levels between "not fighting" and "All Out Fighting" that can be helpful to a lot of people (including a lot of males). ;)

But funny post. Made me laugh.


Mike

Guilty Spark
08-04-2006, 08:45 AM
But funny post. Made me laugh.

Yup.

Kevin Leavitt
08-04-2006, 09:02 AM
Daren Sims Wrote:

As Kevin Leavitt mentions - using scenario based drills and higher intensity attacks will for some enhance the ability to cope with more serious situations - perhaps the issue is that not all aikido instructors are prepared to sacrifice time to polish this subset of aikido, or even lack the knowledge or imagination to do so.

I think that this type of training is not aligned with the general goals of aikido. When you start focusing on scenario training then the focus becomes very, very narrow and people start worrying about technique etc, then you start limiting yourself to what I call the 80% solution, which is good enough for self defense, but will make for a bad learning dynamic for aikido. Not to mention the students become very confused about priorities and focuses.

Dazzler
08-04-2006, 09:31 AM
Daren Sims Wrote:



I think that this type of training is not aligned with the general goals of aikido. When you start focusing on scenario training then the focus becomes very, very narrow and people start worrying about technique etc, then you start limiting yourself to what I call the 80% solution, which is good enough for self defense, but will make for a bad learning dynamic for aikido. Not to mention the students become very confused about priorities and focuses.

I agree Kevin.

I'm not for a minute suggesting that it replaces 'Standard classes'.

For those willing to step outside of the tracks it does enable participants to explore what will and will not work under more intensive conditions.

Perhaps of more importance it can highlight how a verbal confrontation can go either way depending on how the participants respond to warning signs, body language, trigger words, peer pressure etc.

Its not for everyone - but a very interesting excercise and I have found it highly useful in recognising developing situations and moderating my own responses to avoid becoming embroiled in unnecessary altercations.

I was merely using it as an example of how aikido practice can be tailored to extract more targetted results.

If people choose not to try this then thats no problem, If people supplement their practice then thats no problem either.

Regards

D

DonMagee
08-04-2006, 12:11 PM
ok Don - Is this a problem with aikido.....or the people doing aikido?

Aikido can hardly be criticised if the real barrier is someones reluctance to use it.

In my experience if you practice striking you improve, and it doesn't take long to gain some competency.

Whether someone would hit is another ball game and like so many threads that compare arts we get back to the same old conclusion - its the martial artist and not the martial art thats important.

D

It is not a problem with aikido. In fact its not a problem at all. It is a good thing that people have a reluctance to hurt other people. However, it is a problem for anyone who is interested in self defense or combat. If you can't get over it, you can't begin to learn self defense. That was my point.

DonMagee
08-04-2006, 12:13 PM
OK, Don.... no more steroids for you and no more kung fu movies. There are levels between "not fighting" and "All Out Fighting" that can be helpful to a lot of people (including a lot of males). ;)

But funny post. Made me laugh.


Mike

I was trying to be silly to make my point. I couuld use some more stroids though, I'm only 5'9" and 163 pounds. And you can never have enough kung fu movies.

But you are correct there are many levels of training that can be useful beyond all out fighting. My comment was geared more twoards mentally preparing yourself. Most people are not mentally prepared to hurt someone. If you can't bring yourself to hit a training partner in the gym, you are going to have a harder time doing it under stress during an attack.

Kevin Leavitt
08-04-2006, 01:31 PM
Don Magee wrote:

It is not a problem with aikido. In fact its not a problem at all. It is a good thing that people have a reluctance to hurt other people. However, it is a problem for anyone who is interested in self defense or combat. If you can't get over it, you can't begin to learn self defense. That was my point.

I agree. It is not a problem with aikido.

I do think aikido does a good job with the "soft fight" that is not adapting the "wounded sheep" victim posture that allows the proverbial wolves to cull you from the heard.

I love aikido as a methodlogy for escalation of force as it starts way before the fight actually happens and there is much, much, much we can and need to learn from this art. I think it is the best art I have seen for dealing with interpersonal conflict resolution in this aspect.

However, once we enter the realm of the "hard fight", things change dramatically. We may not be able to establish a kamae, distance, timing. We may not have a choice in the manner of where the fight begins and the range that it begin in. The violence we encounter could be very physical, very strong, very emotional, and overload us. Aikido does not provide us the "hard skills" to deal with this.

Over time, yeah philosophically you could argue that aikido refines you to deal with this through a gentle soft approach, but I personally don't by it. If you don't train at "full combat speed", you are not going to really know how you will react. This goes back to the whole "aliveness" concept that Matt Thorton addresses. Even though I don't agree with many of his crass concepts, unfortunately, he happens to be dead on at the core level.

So, to get back to the topic at hand, if we are not offering this type of training to women when we advertising "self defense", we are insulting them, and patronizing them, and setting them up for failure, while taking their money...which is wrong.

Kevin Leavitt
08-04-2006, 01:38 PM
It has been proven over and over and over. I see it all the time in the military as I train and observe training. You will default to the habits, emotions, and the level of training that you practice.

I said it earlier, When I teach combatives as full combat speed with full gear on, I will give the guys a rubber knife to place in their K-bar sheath. Inevitably once we start rolling with "no rules", they will forget to pull the knife. Why because they never actually ever practice using it. If you ask them when not under pressure, they will always say "well I'd use my knife". In practice, when the pressure is on, most will "forget" that they have it and well default to empty hand since we practice this all the time.

Tinyboy344
08-05-2006, 01:25 AM
I just got myself kind of familiar with break-falls... I love it but I think it's gonna hurt so bad if I do it on the street!

Kevin Leavitt
08-05-2006, 12:06 PM
Not all things we do in aikido or budo transfer to the street or reality 100%. The skills we learn in class teach us things about balance, falling, timing, distance etc. It is up to us to figure out how we will employ those lessons in life daily.

For the record, I am a big proponent of the lessons and methods of aikido. I do think they have much to offer in teaching us skills that can be used in real life. But it is dangerous to take it all at face value and try and employ what we learn in the dojo as we practice it in the dojo.