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skinnymonkey
11-21-2006, 09:24 AM
Hello,

I've thought about this many times and I can't quite reconcile it in my brain. It seems that many stories I've seen about famous Aikidoda (like Tomiki or Gozo Shioda) start with martial artists not believing that Aikido is effective. At this point, O'sensei allows them to attack and promptly dumps them on their butts. After a few attempts, they seem to realize that Aikido can be used effectively and they begin their instruction.

Here is the problem. O'sensei is quoted as saying that competition is not good and is not in keeping with Aikido. Yet, many of his greatest students would NEVER have come into the fold without having been bested in a fight. I am concerned that Aikido is losing many potential students, because we seem to be afraid to step out and show what we can do (for fear of competing).

Here is the question. Can (or should) aikidoka show and test their abilities with others (MMA fighters, judoka, muay thai boxers)? It seems to me that as long as we approach it with the same mindset as O'sensei (we aren't interested in hurting you or beating you, but showing you how effective Aikido can be) we aren't really competing, but educating.

I'm trying not to convince myself of one opinion or the other, but I would love to hear some thoughts on this subject. It just seems to me that O'sensei did it, but with love and respect and humility. So why shouldn't we?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.

Jeff D.

crbateman
11-21-2006, 12:25 PM
I think you may be blurring the line between competition and demonstration. There is a difference between winning/losing and demonstrating (albeit with an uncooperative partner) that ones technique is martially effective. But it's all semantics, and perhaps the line will be forever blurred.

Tomiki and others thought that competition was good for Aikido. O'Sensei did not. Tohei thought (thinks) that ki is the foundation of Aikido, of life itself. Kisshomaru Doshu did not see it that way. It is differences such as these that form the basis for different "styles". It is pointless to lobby for which is better, as each practitioner must decide for himself... methinks.

Ian Starr
11-21-2006, 12:44 PM
"Here is the question. Can (or should) aikidoka show and test their abilities with others (MMA fighters, judoka, muay thai boxers)?"

I think this is a personal choice. Is this something you are interested in doing? Why or why not? Who cares what other people have done in the past or whether your peers choose to do this or not? It's your training and your pursuit. I think the most important thing is to be honest about/understand your motivations, and the outcome of your decision(s).

My thoughts... Certainly wish you well in your endeavor(s).

Ian

skinnymonkey
11-21-2006, 01:15 PM
I see what you mean. So really, what I'm talking about would maybe fit into a "demo" category. But it would be a "demo" with a karate player or a judo player instead of a demo with a cooperative uke. But I haven't heard of anyone who seems to be willing to do demos with uncooperative uke or with people from other styles. Are there any dojos out there that do this kind of thing? If there are, what are their experiences?

Jeff D.

skinnymonkey
11-21-2006, 01:20 PM
I guess there would be two reasons to do this kind of thing (if one is being honest).

One would be to show others that the art is effective and worthwhile.

Two would be to prove the effectiveness to yourself. Sometimes when working with friends and partners who know what's coming I wonder how this might work in a real situation.

The only reason I bring it up (as I said originally) is that O'sensei seemed to have great success using this technique in winning over new pupils and I wondered what others thought about it!

Thanks for your responses.

Jeff D.

crbateman
11-21-2006, 02:10 PM
Thing is, anybody who is proficient enough to do such a thing to a prospective student without risk of injury probably doesn't need to attract students that way. We really can't have anybody with a black belt and a tatami whacking curious visitors all over the countryside, can we?

You are using O'Sensei as an example, when nobody else is O'Sensei. You are equating things he did 50 years ago to current times, and Japan to the Western culture, where everybody has a lawyer. Best way to attract new students is to dialog about the differences between Aikido and other arts, not the similarities. It is those that will impress people. And encourage visitors to watch a few classes. Those that are receptive to what is taught will take the plunge, and those that aren't will not, and that's probably for the best. Aikido is not for contentious muscleheads, and it's probably not good to market it to people who just want to kick butt. (This coming from a former contentious musclehead... I had to get older and wiser before I could understand the value of training joyfully.)

skinnymonkey
11-21-2006, 02:22 PM
Excellent points. Thanks for the insights.

Jeff D.

seank
11-21-2006, 05:17 PM
Heres something to consider, was O'Sensei's sentiment about competing with others or with ourselves?

I consider myself relatively accomplished as a martial artist outside of my experience with Aikido, but I don't like the idea of chest-beating to see who is the biggest and best nor do I like comparing my technique and style with others. That said I like to compete with myself to improve my outlook on life and my abilities.

In a competition scenario I would probably revert to Kyokushin or the likes; this is something I'm trying to shed so as to follow an ideal, and thankfully I must admit the more I study Aikido the less inclined to competition I am. We recently had a sports focus day where we had an booth setup where we could talk to people about Aikido; I found much as Clark has said to be true; those who were really interested wanted to talk about the differences, not the similarities and those who wanted to compete in a confrontational sense weren't really that interested.

Michael Varin
11-21-2006, 06:52 PM
So really, what I'm talking about would maybe fit into a "demo" category. But it would be a "demo" with a karate player or a judo player instead of a demo with a cooperative uke. But I haven't heard of anyone who seems to be willing to do demos with uncooperative uke or with people from other styles.
How do you envision these demonstrations? Will they be punch/grab me like this, or will they be try to beat me any way you choose? The results could be drastically different.

In the spirit of testing or developing your skills, what type of training is needed? Set forms with a cooperative partner (most aikido training), set forms with a resistive partner (like lifting weights), freestyle where partners have distinct roles (aikido randori), or freestyle where both partners have the same objective (judo randori, boxing)?

What qualities are cultivated from the different types of training? Where do the techniques of aikido fit in? What about aiki?

Michael

Ketsan
11-21-2006, 07:52 PM
I think one of the best ways of really getting to grips with Aikido is to go and do another art for a month, especially Judo.

jason jordan
11-21-2006, 08:08 PM
Wow, this is a nice thread. One thing I do is, I sparr with a fellow martial artist (karate) we use gloves and pads, and on certain falls or throws we don't fully comitt.

The responsibility of a "black belt" is control. Therefore I expect him to exercise control when kicking and punching, and I have to exercise control when doing koshinage and other techniques. But I think what you will find is that it will definately keep you on your toes, make sure you have good technique, and help develope timing, and distance. At the same time we are not competeing with each other, we have the mindset of exposing each others cracks. And therefore we are still cooperating, and not competing.

In all honesty....I think we have lost the true meaning of cooperating. Cooperating in my mind is giving me a very real scenario to work with, while not being animalistic and trying to kill me.

I was training with my sensei a week and a half ago, and he exposed a major crack for me.
While doing a technique he (as uke) reached down grabbed my lead leg and down I went. It was like doing Koshi nage from a mae geri only I didn't kick.

That to me was full cooperation.
So that's my 2 1/2 cents

Train hard

Mike Hamer
11-22-2006, 12:09 AM
I was training with my sensei a week and a half ago, and he exposed a major crack for me.
While doing a technique he (as uke) reached down grabbed my lead leg and down I went. It was like doing Koshi nage from a mae geri only I didn't kick.

That to me was full cooperation.
So that's my 2 1/2 cents

Train hard

Hahahaha, I've had the same thing happen to me Jason. It was......enlightning.

Amir Krause
11-22-2006, 05:54 AM
I have one minor comment to add:

It is not so easy to show superiority over another trained M.A.

To do that, you must be significantly better then they, regardless of the M.A. involved. And since, most Aikidoka tend to give up the initiative, they would need even larger technical superiority to succeed...

Amir

skinnymonkey
11-22-2006, 07:23 AM
I like what Jason had to say:
In all honesty....I think we have lost the true meaning of cooperating. Cooperating in my mind is giving me a very real scenario to work with, while not being animalistic and trying to kill me.

That is part of what I'm talking about. But I also appreciate what Amir said:
It is not so easy to show superiority over another trained M.A.

As I said, I'm not really trying to argue one point or another, I'm just curious to hear some opinions on the subject.

I haven't been studying Aikido for a terribly long time (around a year total) but I have also done kickboxing and some MMA as well and it was great fun. I did enjoy the "unexpected" element of working with MMA and kickboxing.

Also Amir, what did you mean that most Aikidoka give up the initiative, ? Could you explain that?

Again, thanks to all for your opinions.

Jeff D.

DonMagee
11-22-2006, 07:39 AM
A lot of aikidoka believe in leading the attacker to 'a better place'. This means the they are being attacked. AKA they did not initiate the attack. Thus they lost the initiative.Initiative is a big factor in conflict, because sometimes all it takes is that one lucky punch to end the fight. Doesn't matter how well your trained.

Yann Golanski
11-22-2006, 07:52 AM
We do competitions all the time. If you want to see how it's done, come and train at any Shodokan dojo. We do both embu (kata) and randori (free play). Generally, we do some of both in each class.

For me, and most other Shodokan folks, it's a brillant training tool.

mickeygelum
11-22-2006, 07:55 AM
My schools offer instruction in Karate, Aikido and MMA...not everyone trains in all three, it is a matter of preference and what they believe is best for them...but, they are cognizant of the abilities of the others through simple exposure, this alone promotes cross-training...and for the few who train in all three aspects, they are far better martial artists.

Miku-san

skinnymonkey
11-22-2006, 08:01 AM
I actually do train in Shodokan (or Tomiki) style and I do enjoy the randori aspect of it. However, there are a lot of limitations about what the attacker is allowed to do. No kicks... no wrestling, etc.

What do you think about competition outside of Aikido Randori?

Jeff D.

SeiserL
11-22-2006, 08:10 AM
Can (or should) aikidoka show and test their abilities with others (MMA fighters, judoka, muay thai boxers)?
Gotta go with Clark-san here.

I love cross training with other arts. IMHO, it has really improved the effectiveness of my Aikido.

I think training and competition are very different in intent and perhaps intensity. So, train on.

RoyK
11-22-2006, 09:31 AM
Two would be to prove the effectiveness to yourself. Sometimes when working with friends and partners who know what's coming I wonder how this might work in a real situation.


I too am an Aikido newbie (a year and a half) but I had plenty of opportunities of training with non-cooperative partners, like new students who don't know what to expect or black belts who give me a hard time, or just hardarses who won't budge because they think they're better. When I get a technique working on one of them (especially if it's not the original technique i was gonna do), I think, "hey, it's actually working!".

At my level and experience of Aikido, that's all the challenge I need :)

Jaikido
11-22-2006, 09:36 AM
The good thing about Aikido being non-competitive is that there are no rules. So if you are training and you see that someone will, for example, attempt to stab you with one hand, then when you deal with that he takes the knife to the other hand he and stabs you, you can ask and Sensei can show you how to avoid this, whereas in a competition Martial Art you might find that isn't a concern as changing hands would be an illegal move. Also the whole no losing thing.

The bad point of it being non-competitive is that you could do something wrong for your entire life and not realize. for example, if you were in competition and got constantly beat when you did a certain technique you would notice your vulnerability and eliminate it. Of course, there is winning and losing, whereas in Aikido everyone is a winner! :D

IMO I'd rather the former no competition as people don't fight fair on the streets. My Sensei often shows us the reality of moves, and how you would really perform a technique if you were being attacked.

crbateman
11-22-2006, 10:04 AM
The bad point of it being non-competitive is that you could do something wrong for your entire life and not realize. for example, if you were in competition and got constantly beat when you did a certain technique you would notice your vulnerability and eliminate it.There is a certain logic to this thinking, but you are asserting that losing is a good way to learn. Problem is, in many MA's losing may also result in unconsciousness, tooth loss, contusions, concussions, and any of a myriad of other unsavory side effects. There are, however, other alternatives. As for me, I'd rather learn through a well-timed comment from an instructor, rather than having the "lesson" administered by somebody intent on winning a contest through whatever means are allowed. Remember, I've been on both sides, and I've been walking much straighter and more upright since I learned to ask questions and listen to answers. http://www.websmileys.com/sm/happy/1016.gif

James Davis
11-22-2006, 10:13 AM
Can (or should) aikidoka show and test their abilities with others (MMA fighters, judoka, muay thai boxers)? It seems to me that as long as we approach it with the same mindset as O'sensei (we aren't interested in hurting you or beating you, but showing you how effective Aikido can be) we aren't really competing, but educating.

I've found that a good way to keep things light hearted is to ask them to teach you womething from their art as well. Acknowledging that aikido isn't the only effective martial art tends to help me lead the situation away from conflict.

"Okay, but you've gotta show me something cool too!" ;)

It just seems to me that O'sensei did it, but with love and respect and humility. So why shouldn't we?

Love and respect and humility. Good stuff. :)

Cyrijl
11-22-2006, 10:57 AM
This is just ridiculous

IMO I'd rather the former no competition as people don't fight fair on the streets. My Sensei often shows us the reality of moves, and how you would really perform a technique if you were being attacked.


But no more so than...

Problem is, in many MA's losing may also result in unconsciousness, tooth loss, contusions, concussions, and any of a myriad of other unsavory side effects.


Out of the two times I have been seriously injured, one of them was while doing aikido. The whole mentality that 'we are super deadly' can lead to injuries, even while just practicing technique.

At any rate, the supposition that people do not fight fair on the streets bears no relation to your own ability to fend off an attack. Pretending to do a deadly move is still pretending. Whether or not you think competition is good is totally your choice. But please do not spew nonsense. If you are not training against resisting (I did not say or imply fighting) opponents, you will be unable to perform the technique under pressure and/or stress.

After all, if you go into it with an open mind and are honest about your intentions, most people are not going to try to kill you on the mat. Most people who I have sparred against have not tried to kill me. They let me try techniques without blasting me in the face. Perhaps it is the lack of competition which gives rise to the fear of many aikidoka. I don't know.

jason jordan
11-22-2006, 11:30 AM
It takes time and much developement, to get to the different levels of practice. Oyo Henka, Shugyo, Takemusu Aiki...etc. etc. but the key thing when "training" with people of other arts is this, to first have the same mind of why we are training.
(If it is to show that aikido works, or is better or worse....then you have gotten into competition.) I train with people who are not aikidoka, because it is almost too easy to detect what an aikidoka is going to do! But other arts or artist brings on a whole different story.

I also train with others to see what they are doing and study how or what "aikido techniques" would be suitable.

For example... when most people do tsuki kotegaeshi it is almost always with one hand. But I find that with my karate friend that he has the strangest ability to use combinations...???? kick kick, right jab, left hook for eg. So training with him helps me to develope sensing the intentions of his movements.

So there are great benefits in training with others. Also I learned this from a BJJ guy.
Kokyu Dosa is a good practice. But when you have a guy trying to submitt you, and he is holding both of your hands or wrist "Ryote dori" the feeling you get from that comittment is far different then when someone is just trying to help you learn the movement. "It feels reall" LOL

Maybe practicing with others artist is not for everybody...But I sure like it. It helps me to learn and understand more. "And it keeps me honest"

Hey gotta go, love you all

Jjo

DonMagee
11-22-2006, 11:37 AM
There is a certain logic to this thinking, but you are asserting that losing is a good way to learn. Problem is, in many MA's losing may also result in unconsciousness, tooth loss, contusions, concussions, and any of a myriad of other unsavory side effects. There are, however, other alternatives. As for me, I'd rather learn through a well-timed comment from an instructor, rather than having the "lesson" administered by somebody intent on winning a contest through whatever means are allowed. Remember, I've been on both sides, and I've been walking much straighter and more upright since I learned to ask questions and listen to answers. http://www.websmileys.com/sm/happy/1016.gif

The question I would ask is this:

How does your instructor know what holes are in your technique if he has never used it for real, and his instructor never used it for real, and his instructor never used it for real?

Theory is just theory. In theory, i'm a great fighter. In practice, i'm a great fighter. In competition, I need A LOT of work.

Some people talk about having no rules and how competition marital arts have rules, and that makes it weaker. And that is true to some extent. I know judo guys who get killed in grappling matches because they are not aware of where their feet are and get leg locked, or they turtle up and get choked. But I find that most MMA guys do not fall into this para dime. Instead, they constantly have to remind themselves to not do illegal techniques.

For example, I have to constantly remind myself not to attack the back of the head or the spine when I mount someone's back. In a street fight, I'm sure I would just attack it. How do I know? Because I have to stop myself every single time I take the back.

I'm a firm believer in building a solid base that is proven to work, then add dirt. Unfortunately, many arts think that pointing to a handful of examples proves their art works, without accounting for many generations of instructors who may have never been in a sparing situation, let alone a real situation to test their skills. This is much like Chinese telephone in school, or any other oral tradition, the details are lost, and things are modified because of some theory, and they loose their actual usefulness in 'real life'. However, that is not the target of this thread. The target of this thread is demonstrating aikido on sport fighters to get converts.

I personally do not feel you can convert sport fighters. The reason being sport fighters train for a different reason you train. I do not train for self defense, I train to compete in a sport. The self defense is a side effect of why I train, not the reason. So to show me you have a better way to kill a man on the street does nothing for me. Show me you can make me a better competitor, and I'll sign up today.

crbateman
11-22-2006, 03:29 PM
Out of the two times I have been seriously injured, one of them was while doing aikido. The whole mentality that 'we are super deadly' can lead to injuries, even while just practicing technique.You have taken me out of context, Joseph. I am not saying that one cannot get hurt in Aikido, but when one does, it's usually an untimely accident, awkward fall, or an error in technique. The contentious element in other arts makes the possibility of injury a more direct consequence of the activity, particularly in competition, when a participant's desire to win can often outdistance his good judgment. Perhaps I am the only one, but I see nothing "ridiculous" about that statement. You are more likely to get cut rolling in a pile of knives than a pile of pillows. The "we are super deadly" rationale is not one that I find prevalent in the Aikido dojos I have encountered, so I cannot bear witness to its relevance.

dawolfie
11-22-2006, 03:36 PM
I think many do not realize that any art is limited. What makes the difference is the person. Some people are natural fighters and can take most anyone apart despite their training. Aikido, and other martial arts try to go beyond the fight. A person who can naturally kick butt will eventually meet another who is a little more skilled and then a new top dog will be there. It is an endless cycle that really never proves anything.

Not to mention, one could not judge an entire art by a few competitions. MMA people get beat all the time by other hybrid styles. The UFC is full of losers and winners. I am glad Aikido is not in there.

Doesn't anyone see this as a self defense anymore?

crbateman
11-22-2006, 03:45 PM
How does your instructor know what holes are in your technique if he has never used it for real, and his instructor never used it for real, and his instructor never used it for real?A good instructor is exactly the person I would look to to find those holes in my technique. I do not have to jerk someones arm out of the socket, nor have mine jerked out, to know that it can be done. How do you propose that someone training in the sword reconcile the thought in his mind that his techniques are effective? He can't go out hacking on people to find out. It must come from repetitive practice. A cop may spend 30 years on the force without unholstering his weapon in the street, but he still trains and qualifies, because he MUST know he can count on it. Aikido practice in the dojo with a training partner who attacks with intent, and won't fall unless thrown effectively, is proof enough. There does not need to be competition.

paw
11-22-2006, 04:17 PM
I think many do not realize that any art is limited. What makes the difference is the person. Some people are natural fighters and can take most anyone apart despite their training. Aikido, and other martial arts try to go beyond the fight.


It seems to me you are saying that anyone trained in a "limited" art cannot "win" unless they discard that art. Which seems to suggest to me that some arts are better than others given certain context. Have I misunderstood?


Not to mention, one could not judge an entire art by a few competitions. MMA people get beat all the time by other hybrid styles.

I'm confused. MMA is a hybrid style by definition: Mixed Martial Art, so I'm not sure what your point is. Having said that, nearly all people who compete in mixed martial arts draw from a very small subset of arts.


The UFC is full of losers and winners. I am glad Aikido is not in there.

I'm very concerned about this statement. I personally know people who have competed in the UFC and can vouch they are honorable, caring and compassionate, so maybe my skin is too thin, but you seem to be implying that someone who competes in the UFC is somehow lacking in character.

And incidentally, I understand that an individual who claimed to be an aikidoist did compete in one of the very early UFCs (when Royce Gracie was competing) on the under-card. The individual lost.

Regards,

Paul

dawolfie
11-22-2006, 04:58 PM
Talk about taking an inch and making a mile.

I am implying that no matter which martial art you choose, it is the person who controls the outcome. The best BJJ can get knocked out with a good punch. And the best boxer can get choked out by a MMA person. All arts have limits. Those limits are contained in a neat little box called a human. People who have studied Aikido for 20 years can still have limits. And a Gracie can still get beat by someone who was watched the first UFC as a teenager. It is simply the person. In relevance to the thread topic, judging Aikido by one competitors actions is in no way related to what the rest of the practitioners are capable of.

When I state there are winners and losers, that means people win and people lose. It does not matter who they are and what their skill is. No one is undefeated for very long. Where did you get that the UFC competitors have no character? I am happy Aikido is not there for its exclusiveness and willingness to stay with the principles passed down from O'Sensei.

In MMA there are several different styles, groups and training camps. No one is perfect. Yes it is a hybrid. Most martial arts are hybrids. The first winners of the UFC were BJJ guys and now it has evolved into something more.

Keith R Lee
11-22-2006, 05:08 PM
Talk about taking an inch and making a mile.

I am implying that no matter which martial art you choose, it is the person who controls the outcome. The best BJJ can get knocked out with a good punch. And the best boxer can get choked out by a MMA person. All arts have limits. Those limits are contained in a neat little box called a human. People who have studied Aikido for 20 years can still have limits. And a Gracie can still get beat by someone who was watched the first UFC as a teenager. It is simply the person. In relevance to the thread topic, judging Aikido by one competitors actions is in no way related to what the rest of the practitioners are capable of.

When I state there are winners and losers, that means people win and people lose. It does not matter who they are and what their skill is. No one is undefeated for very long. Where did you get that the UFC competitors have no character? I am happy Aikido is not there for its exclusiveness and willingness to stay with the principles passed down from O'Sensei.

In MMA there are several different styles, groups and training camps. No one is perfect. Yes it is a hybrid. Most martial arts are hybrids. The first winners of the UFC were BJJ guys and now it has evolved into something more.

After your posts in this thread, coupled with this statement, I feel confident that this was a really good troll, or you're kind of out-of-loop in regards to MMA these days.

dawolfie
11-22-2006, 05:26 PM
What is a troll? I must be out of the loop about fantasy characters and their relevance to an Aikido forum.

Is there must be a rule about stating that a martial artist's skill is not measured by what art they choose but what they are inside? I am assuming that neither one of you understand that or I may have stated myself unclearly.

So tell why I am out of the loop in MMAs. Is MMA not about BJJ hybrids who work out in different camps and groups? Different fighting systems? Ground and pound and submissions? Are there undefeated people in the UFC? Is there one martial art that transforms any practitioner into a super power? Enlighten me.

NagaBaba
11-22-2006, 07:23 PM
The question I would ask is this:

How does your instructor know what holes are in your technique if he has never used it for real, and his instructor never used it for real, and his instructor never used it for real?.
'Real' -- in the fight on the street? In competition environment? Against trained fighter(what level of training?) or simply a drunk uncle?
The possibilities are infinite.
Don't you see your misunderstanding of O sensei creation? do you really think O sensei created merely another jj system?

He knew few quite effective jj systems (looks like he was even practicing in Kodokan), so why create new system without a sparring as a tool that permit polish techniques in non-prearranged environment? Or may be you think he didn't understand superiority of judo modern pedagogical approach? Ė please donít insult somebody who spent almost 70 years on the tatami Ė daily.

He new very well that competition is useless for developing aikido skills Ė sorry Tomiki fighters. Because aikido has simply different goal.

PeterR
11-22-2006, 08:36 PM
I actually do train in Shodokan (or Tomiki) style and I do enjoy the randori aspect of it. However, there are a lot of limitations about what the attacker is allowed to do. No kicks... no wrestling, etc.

What do you think about competition outside of Aikido Randori?

There are some half decent Shodokan folks in Ohio - who are you with and for how long?

Shodokan randori is geared to improving your ability to deliver aikido waza not necessarily your all round fighting abilities. There are distinct cross-over benefits but you still need to do randori/sparring at different ranges - basically a mixed martial art approach if that is your goal. Tomiki kept his judo and aikido seperate - Mochizuki for example did not.

Randori within Shodokan is a bit more flexible than shiai - there is quite a bit more room for play as long as both understand what the parameters are. Thats the whole point of randori - exploration.

At Himeji Shodokan we sometimes choose to keep going when we go to ground. Lots of fun and a good work out.

And if you really want to go for it - armor up ala Nippon Kenpo and see where it takes you. Sure you will have headaches but no harm in a dose of reality.

DaveS
11-22-2006, 08:38 PM
For example... when most people do tsuki kotegaeshi it is almost always with one hand. But I find that with my karate friend that he has the strangest ability to use combinations...???? kick kick, right jab, left hook for eg. So training with him helps me to develope sensing the intentions of his movements.
A big part of the reason that I cross-train (I've just started muay thai) is that learning that sort of stuff is really interesting in its own right. I'm not particularly concerned that I might need to defend myself against trained kickboxers, but learning how they work to set up commited attacks with lighter ones, control distance, counterattack, get the physical skill of kicking and punching and so on is really cool.
Maybe practicing with others artist is not for everybody...But I sure like it. It helps me to learn and understand more. "And it keeps me honest"
I've found that the sense of perspective it brings is very good. From my (quite limited) experience there's a tendancy for people who've only trained in one art (and this isn't at all specific to aikido) to believe that the way that they've been taught something is the only one with any merit, whereas people with broader experience can give a far more interesting answer to the question 'why do we / you do it like this and not like that?'

None of this really has anything to do with competing or contending with other martial arts though...

PeterR
11-22-2006, 08:38 PM
He new very well that competition is useless for developing aikido skills -- sorry Tomiki fighters. Because aikido has simply different goal.
Sorry but how does Tomiki's goals for Aikido differ from Ueshiba's? Inquiring minds want to know.

DonMagee
11-22-2006, 08:38 PM
I love how people read deeper then I ment for my statements to go, it makes it fun.

When I say real I mean as close to a street fight as you can get with relative safety. If you can't deal with bruises, getting punched when you screw up, getting choked, joint locked, and the risk of injury, then martial arts are probably not for you. I think MMA sparing is probably as close as we can get to 1 on 1 street fight right now. I think dog brothers are about as close as you can get to real life 1 on 1 weapons situations. These are great venues to test your abilities. You do not have to compete, but you do have to spar with many people outside of your microcosm. Lack of exposure to other styles breeds overconfidence. If you want to test multiple attackers, have a few guys come at you with the intent of taking you down and pinning you, or striking you until you submit at 75% power. Stick in a mouthgard and have at it. Or if you are really worried, have then put on some MMA gloves.

I'm not saing O sensei couldn't do what he claimed to do. What I am saying is that by not practicing in an 'alive' (for lack of a better word) environment, that things get lost in the translation. For example, understanding how to move your hips when someone is in your half guard. You can't teach someone perfect technique, he has to do it against someone trying actively to stop him over and over again.

Again, in theory I am an excellent fighter. If you throw a single committed strike at me I can say with 100% certainty that I can put you on your back and look great doing it. But for some reason, I just can't do this in competition. That flawless technique I practiced a million times turns into a messy clinch, where I nothing goes as planned. Oddly, my judo and bjj seems to work a little more fluidly then that. I'd probably say that this is because I am used to the kinds of resistance a person actually tries to do (As opposed to what my teachers in other arts told me people would do, which was usually worng.) and I know how to move in such a way to limit their ability to counter me. I developed this skill in under a year.

Getting back to my first argument about being lost in translation. Martial arts are a Oral tradition. Each instructor passes down what he knows to the next. That person each listens what the teacher was trying to say and passes it down. By not actively using these techniques against a person who is trying their best to stop you (within realms of reason) you have no way of knowing if something got lost in translation. You are relying on faith and luck. Maybe you teacher found that on a guy who only throws a single commit strike, it was not needed to move in some way to make the throw work. So he showed his students how this 'extra' movement was not needed, but it was taught to him. His students practice the easier way. Then they neglect to teach the old way to their students. Now we have a missing piece of the puzzle. In real life, this throw now will not work. Because people do not stand still and throw a single committed strike. They throw the strike and keep moving, keep pressing, and that movement he removed actually allowed of this, while the new technique does not. Had his students had 'alive' training, they would of realized something was wrong right away. They would understand how to deal with movements contrary to what they were told someone does when you do X. They would also learn which movements work best with different kinds of attacks. Rather than relying on someone who is only going on the theory that he was told by someone who trained with someone who only had the theory he was told. Sure maybe the founder was awesome, but what was missing from what he imparted? Do any of us know? Hell, I've heard huge arguments over how something is ment to work, or how he explained something. Most of these situations could be solved by sparing and seeing how it worked out.

Lets use the examples given to me by Clark Bateman.

First he mentioned swords. Yes obviously you can not train with live blades. However I submit that the people who developed these techniques either lived or died in battle. Thus they tested what they learned. The bad techniques died with the students. So we can't go out and die now, how do we make sure these things actually work? Well, we have dog brothers, kendo and other outlets. Pick up a stick, and spar with it. It's obvious if you got hit, you got cut and your technique is not working. If we have gone for generations without anyone actually sparing with a sword, or killing someone with a sword, how do we know we are doing it right? We simply do not, we have faith and that is all.

Next we have police. Yes, police do not train by shooting people trying to shoot them. However their training is staged to be as realistic as possible. I've even read some forces play a modified paintball like game to train. The other major difference is that the people teaching these officers usually have direct proof that their training has saved their lives. They can show documented video, personal stories, etc. Most important is that first one, documented video/police reports. How do you know a stun gun works? Well the officers I know were all shot with one. How do they know they can trust pepper spray, again they were shot with one. Why does the military do miles training instead of just range shooting?

Finally we come to this thing about aikido having a different goal. And an insult to Tomiki fighters. Please dont insult tomiki. I mean he spent decades training in a few systems -- daily. Obviously he decided Osensei was wrong. I know it's not polite to say that, but I'm not eastern, i'm western. And I believe that in this regard, if he really believed in no unscripted sparing, then he was wrong. I highly doubt he developed his level of skill without sparing. I highly doubt his best students developed their level of skill without sparing. Maybe it wasn't while studying aikido, maybe it was in judo or some other art. And they were skilled enough before hand to translate what they know into their aikido. This does not bode well for those of us who are not masters before taking up aikido, or those of us who can only train a few days a week. My aikido instructor commented that when he watched my bjj teacher do a seminar that it looked like aikido on the ground. He said it seemed very complicated and intricate and took a lot of skill. Why is it that a 6 month white belt can clean the floor with most untrained new students? But an aikido student takes years to gain even a resemblance of skill?

I do believe that the reason Osensei did not include sparing was because he probably assumed it was a given. Either that or he did not understand the superiority of the modern pedagogical approach. Perhaps he simply was insane. Maybe he wasn't trying to start a martial art at all, but rather a religion.

Szczepan Janczuk, you say aikido's goal is different from other martial arts. What is the goal of aikido. Are these simply movements that are not designed to actually work against someone who wants to hurt you? If the goals are different, can we categorize it as martial arts?

The purpose of martial arts is to fight. Regardless of how anyone wants to phrase it, you are fighting when another person attempts to hurt you. You can calll it playing, or blending, or maybe even self defense. But if someone tries to hurt you, and you stop them, you are fighting. Battlefield, street, gym, or ring. Martial arts serve a single purpose, to teach you how to fight. If you are not learning how to fight, then you are not learning martial arts. Even if you take an attacker down with flawless technique and throw him with no injury, you were still fighting.

I'll end with something I already said. In theory I'm a great fighter. In practice I'm a great fighter. I look awesome doing my throws in the throw line in judo, I look awesome doing my aikido techniques. I'm a force to be seen when I'm doing kata. Yet in competition, i'm average at best. In sparing, i'm average at best. I look like all the other guys, i'm struggling, i'm muscling, i'm tensing, i'm trying to stay calm and control my breathing, and i'm learning how to deal with the situation and different body types, strenghts, weaknesses, how to read these things, how to deal with weight, power, speed.

Don't get me wrong, I love aikido, I still train on saturdays for a few hours. ( I started back up ) But I can not use 99% of what I learn in aikido in sparing. It just does not work. If I work really really hard, I can get some of it to work. I've trained aikido for way longer than judo or bjj, yet my judo and bjj does work, it works well and it works against people trying to stop me, even if they know in advance what i"m going to do.

I'm ok with people saying they don't want sparing in their training. However, I can not let them say that they are sure their technique works. I feel that is a lie. They can only have faith that what they are doing actually works.

DaveS
11-22-2006, 09:05 PM
Again, in theory I am an excellent fighter.
"On paper he's a great fighter. Unfortunately, most fights happen on mats or on tarmac."
And an insult to Tomiki fighters. Please dont insult tomiki. I mean he spent decades training in a few systems -- daily. Obviously he decided Osensei was wrong.
I'm not entirely sure how much of a difference of opinion there was - prodding the 'similar threads' box lead to a post from Peter Goldsbury:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10426&postcount=15
which seems to suggest that whatever the situation was, it was more subtle than O'Sensei saying 'thou shalt not compete' and Tomiki saying 'yes we shall.' I'm happy to be corrected if someone has better information, though...

PeterR
11-22-2006, 09:16 PM
Ah but the latter part of the post "If you call this sort of thing "Aiki", it will cause problems." was talking about aiki-taiso - not competition but a series of aikido training exercises which eventually evolved into tegatana dousa and unsoku.

DaveS
11-22-2006, 09:41 PM
Ah but the latter part of the post "If you call this sort of thing "Aiki", it will cause problems." was talking about aiki-taiso - not competition but a series of aikido training exercises which eventually evolved into tegatana dousa and unsoku.
Exactly, and "if you call this sort of thing "Aiki", it will cause problems" is a different statement from "if you call this sort of thing "Aiki", you are wrong" or "if you do this sort of thing you are barking up the wrong tree entirely."

But Peter's post is the only information I really have on this subject so I don't really want to start making any pronouncements...

L. Camejo
11-22-2006, 10:16 PM
Here is the question. Can (or should) aikidoka show and test their abilities with others (MMA fighters, judoka, muay thai boxers)? It seems to me that as long as we approach it with the same mindset as O'sensei (we aren't interested in hurting you or beating you, but showing you how effective Aikido can be) we aren't really competing, but educating.Based on the question it appears that the only way one can show or develop one's technical ability in Aikido against a skilled person from another MA is to regularly spar against members of the other styles.

The reason is because each different method has a different tactical paradigm and trained folks will not walk up and just throw a single, telegraphed, dedicated strike as seen and done in most Aikido training, but will try to manipulate distancing and angles, throw fake strikes and use other tactics to distract the Aikidoka before launching any sort of attack. Knowing that the Aikidoka operates within a certain tactical paradigm (and may have some skills) also means that the person from the other art will tend to be very cautious in how any attack is launched (at least until he is sure that he can penetrate the Aikidoka's defenses). This is the type of agreed duel/face-off scenario as seen in any TMA or MMA competition and is not related to the ambush type scenario that characterises self defence type scenarios.

I don't think very many Aikidoka train using the duel/face-off paradigm, even when doing randori, since the reality of measured, focused, multiple chained strikes are more the realm of sparring in boxing, muay thai, karate etc., when most Aikido training operates from single dedicated attacks (which is more in the realm of self defence imho). The tanto strikes used in Shodokan randori echo the jab-type strikes in rapid succession as well as the controlled, stable posture and movements that are characteristic of those skilled in striking arts. Therefore in a duel type scenario there are elements of Shodokan Aikido randori that will be directly translatable to dealing with a skilled attacker of another style, especially regarding hand strikes. There are other areas however that may not be so directly applicable which again brings the Aikidoka's success down to the skill of the person in applying core Aiki principles to an unusual environment.

Imho it is the Aikidoka who will be educated in the majority of cases until the requisite adaptation occurs.

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

paw
11-22-2006, 10:18 PM
I'm inclined to agree with Keith, but I'll take the bait regardless.

I am implying that no matter which martial art you choose, it is the person who controls the outcome. The best BJJ can get knocked out with a good punch. And the best boxer can get choked out by a MMA person.

In my mind, your examples are limitations of the art/system, not of the individual (although I would argue your bjj example is incorrect). A boxer, regardless of who it is, or how long they have trained, has never trained to defend a choke. Primarily, that is why they are unable to defend it.

When I state there are winners and losers, that means people win and people lose. It does not matter who they are and what their skill is. No one is undefeated for very long.

I have no idea what point you're trying to make here. I will comment that, generally speaking, the better (more skilled, more athletic, better prepared, etc...) person wins in competition. When they don't it's usually referred to as an upset. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "no one is undefeated for very long" as various competitors have been undefeated for several years. I'd certainly call that a "long" time, but ymmv.

Is MMA not about BJJ hybrids who work out in different camps and groups?

I would say no, it is not. In my mind, MMA is a generic term most accurately used to describe a particular type of competition. As I mentioned earlier, there is a small subset of arts that are nearly universally trained by mma competitors, and bjj would be one of the those arts. But it would be a big stretch in my mind to call mma a bjj hybrid.

I am happy Aikido is not there for its exclusiveness and willingness to stay with the principles passed down from O'Sensei.

As I mentioned previously, my recollection is that an individual who claimed to be an aikidoist did participate in one of the early UFCs. Additionally, if you read this thread you'll see several posts asserting that competition is not necessarily contrary to the principles of aikido, the issue is more complex than that.

Regards,

Paul

Jaikido
11-23-2006, 03:56 AM
Out of the two times I have been seriously injured, one of them was while doing aikido. The whole mentality that 'we are super deadly' can lead to injuries, even while just practicing technique.

At any rate, the supposition that people do not fight fair on the streets bears no relation to your own ability to fend off an attack. Pretending to do a deadly move is still pretending.

Of course in training you do the technique correctly, and practice it correctly. It's not like I go around going "la di da I just broke your neck!". But when you're doing moves its nice to know that "from here you can easily snap his arm like a dry twig". Fighting for your life is a situation anyone could find themselves in. You wouldn't exactly dance around in circles with someone in Iriminage, you'd simplify the technique and it would be over in a second.

Whether or not you think competition is good is totally your choice. But please do not spew nonsense. If you are not training against resisting (I did not say or imply fighting) opponents, you will be unable to perform the technique under pressure and/or stress.

I understand what you are saying. I don't like the idea of competition, I was merely recognizing the fact that it can help you eliminate weaknesses in technique.

After all, if you go into it with an open mind and are honest about your intentions, most people are not going to try to kill you on the mat. Most people who I have sparred against have not tried to kill me. They let me try techniques without blasting me in the face. Perhaps it is the lack of competition which gives rise to the fear of many aikidoka. I don't know.

Any why should they? Aikido is generally good at not attracting the bullies, because they don't like being thrown around.

Michael Varin
11-23-2006, 05:57 AM
Don,

I've really enjoyed your posts on this thread. The whole lost in translation thing is right on.
I can not use 99% of what I learn in aikido in sparing. It just does not work. If I work really really hard, I can get some of it to work. I've trained aikido for way longer than judo or bjj, yet my judo and bjj does work, it works well and it works against people trying to stop me, even if they know in advance what i"m going to do.
This is very close to my own experience. I have a theory that I'd like you to consider.

The techniques of aikido are not designed to be used in 1-on-1 empty-handed situations. To me the techniques (attacks included) make vastly more sense if one or both parties are armed (mostly with edged weapons but firearms fit nicely too). I view them as a kind of support system to the use of the weapon itself. Quick efficient ways to free your weapon hand, knock your opponent off balance, expose a soft spot to cut, etc. If you find yourself unarmed against a sword, it is not possible to approach it as you would unarmed fighting. The sword is an overwhelming force. No one's body can absorb even one clean cut, which gives the blends of aikido more validity. I think this is still an incredibly bad situation, but what are you going to do cover, shoot, pull guard? The lack of addressing jabs and feints is because it's not wise to feint with a sword. Even randori with multiple attackers is absurd if you are unarmed, but becomes possible if you have a weapon. A system like this would have been very important to guys who walked around all day with a sword, a knife, and some shuriken.

Of course, this doesn't address the lack of sparring, but at least we can stop trying to put the square peg in the round hole.

Michael

Dazzler
11-23-2006, 06:08 AM
The purpose of martial arts is to fight. Regardless of how anyone wants to phrase it, you are fighting when another person attempts to hurt you. You can calll it playing, or blending, or maybe even self defense. But if someone tries to hurt you, and you stop them, you are fighting. Battlefield, street, gym, or ring. Martial arts serve a single purpose, to teach you how to fight. If you are not learning how to fight, then you are not learning martial arts. .

Don

You make some great points which carry an enormous validity.

However I dont quite go with this one.

I do see a distinction between Fighting and Art.

Fighting is what is says on the tin...but an Art teaches so much more.

You have to want it.

I'll agree 100% that the practice of aikido that I'm involved in is not best preparation for an all out fight in a ring with a trained adversary.

I know this, my students know it and none of us are under any illusion.

However I don't find this in any way limiting in my daily life. I do just fine provided I stay out of rings and octagons.

Sports fighters especially top MMA guys are a dedicated, talented and single minded breed.

They use the training methods that have evolved since MMA became a separate form (rather than a hybrid of other styles) to achieve the highest level of practice in their chosen arena eg the ring, Octagon or whatever.

Most but not all of these skills are directly transferrable to 'street' scenarios. (Some are even dangerous - ask anyone thats been shanked while banging in a double leg takedown...)

Generally though they are all good skills for the subset of the population able to cope with the rigours of such training.

What about the other 99%.?

You are in your mid to late 20's I believe? (I did look it up once before...no mystical stuff going on there), you're male and you clearly have time to train hard (since you said in a previous post that you like to train almost to exhaustion 4 days a week.)

Not everyone fits this profile.

Am I saying aikido is a softer option?

Maybe I am. In some respects. However I prefer to think of it as a longer road.

And one where the more careful looking after my body means I'll still be here when I'm 50, 60, 70 and I'd love to think beyond that even.

My personal experiences in MMA seemed to bear out that it was dog eat dog and the percentage of drop outs were huge.

I also found it extremely hard on the body - once an elbow has been arm barred beyond its range then it never seems the same again.

So where do people go that don't want to compete? that aren't into winning and losing trophys? and that want to stay in one piece long term?

My female students for instance - are they not doing MA because they don't prepare for competition? I'm sure they would get hammered by trained competitors, heck, I've been hammered by them too.

But its only ever happened when I've gone and trained with them.

In my daily life I train, and my students train at a level that gives them a huge advantage over 90 plus percent of the general population.

Without sliding into paranoia this may be enough for us.

I do believe that the marginal improvement I may find should I slide back into a more competitive environment are not enough for me to sacrifice the limited training time I have.

My old ju-jitsu instructor drew up a distinction between his competion work and his street oriented defence.

For him they were very much not the same.

This is why street fighters with strategy continue to beat highly experienced MA fighters in the street when they wouldn't last 5 seconds with them in the ring.

This comes from a guy who has taken his competition guys to fight in Pride so I value his advice.

I'll also reiterate a previous point, you make some great points and all the good things you say about training to fight are valid

For me the traditional stuff in Aikido while not so specialised can still offer much martial effectiveness.

All anyone can really do it match their training with their personal aspirations. As long as people are realistic then it is not an issue.

If I'm going to have to fight - I'm not going to warn someone, slip on my lycra and knee pads and issue a challenge.

I'm going to hit them (we do practice that) ...I'm going to do it very hard and I'm going to do it to them before they do it to me.

Once its done I'm going to disappear very quickly.

To train for this doesn't take a lot of physical preparation. Its very much a last option and the things I've learned from swapping roles as uke tori have contributed greatly to this.

I'm much more likely to recognise a brewing situation and just slip away and avoid it.

So one thing I have learned from TMA is that it is'nt just about Fighting.

In fact often its the opposite.

I believe it was Bruce Lee who coined the phrase 'fighting without fighting'.

Perhaps a fitting sentiment to close.



Regards

D

deepsoup
11-23-2006, 07:02 AM
Aikido is generally good at not attracting the bullies, because they don't like being thrown around.

I don't think any martial art is particularly attractive to bullies - at least once they discover that hard work and humility are a neccessity to make progress in *any* of them.

However, my gut feeling is that a bully wouldn't find a MA with a system of 'sparring' any more attractive than one without.

Sparring requires mutual trust and respect and a degree of give and take. Anywhere along the spectrum from Kendo to Kickboxing, bullies, I suspect, rapidly end up with noone to play with.

Sean
x

NagaBaba
11-23-2006, 07:21 AM
Sorry but how does Tomiki's goals for Aikido differ from Ueshiba's? Inquiring minds want to know.
You can of course use Ferrari to transport merchandise, but obviously you must establish some rules(i.e. items can't be bigger then your credit card....etc). Ferrari and truck can drive on the same highway so they have some common characteristics. But they were conscructed on different pourposes.

Aikido is not about winning or losing. O sensei wasn't interested about it.So the nature of aikido technique is cooperative practice. Such practice develops very different spirit then sparring or competition. O sensei was interested by spiritual(-- not physical) developpement using martial techniques . His students knew already how to fight, they weren't looking for another system 'how to fight'.

Don Magee wrote:
The purpose of martial arts is to fight.
But aikido is not ordinary martial art. It is a Budo, and a very special Budo, not at all in traditional sense. In fact O sensei broke with traditional spirit of Budo.

Jaikido
11-23-2006, 07:30 AM
I don't think any martial art is particularly attractive to bullies - at least once they discover that hard work and humility are a necessity to make progress in *any* of them.

However, my gut feeling is that a bully wouldn't find a MA with a system of 'sparring' any more attractive than one without.

Well, the difference I mean is that Aikido doesn't teach you to strike first (apart from preemptive strikes, I believe) so its the kind of martial art a "bully" wouldn't necessarily choose, as opposed to something along the lines of kick-boxing.

DaveS
11-23-2006, 08:51 AM
Well, the difference I mean is that Aikido doesn't teach you to strike first (apart from preemptive strikes, I believe) so its the kind of martial art a "bully" wouldn't necessarily choose, as opposed to something along the lines of kick-boxing.I don't know - painful joint locks and pins are a key component of any good bully's repertoire...

Seriously, though, in my experience (and what I've heard from others people seems to back this up) there are a lot of very kind, gentle, good natured people doing 'brutal' and competitve arts - in fact, cruel or proud people seem to be very much the exception - they just tend to view the competition as an interesting challenge and as a chance to test their technique rather than seeing it as an oppurtunity to cause pain to another human being or to show off that they're tougher than anyone else.

Another semi-related question - I've been told that a lot of people 'peak' in (shiai randori) competiton around second or third dan. Is this the case, and if so why? Is it to do with passing peak physical condition or just becoming less interested in competition?

crbateman
11-23-2006, 09:14 AM
Another semi-related question - I've been told that a lot of people 'peak' in (shiai randori) competiton around second or third dan. Is this the case, and if so why? Is it to do with passing peak physical condition or just becoming less interested in competition?That is a great question! There may be components of both involved, but in talking with a few of quite advanced rank, the gist I get was explained by a well known Japanese Shihan thus: With accomplished training, one gets a better (more enlightened) idea of what Aikido is about, and although one might keep vigorous randori an element of his students' training, one often feels the display a bit (or a lot) too vulgar and pretentious to do personally, as there is no longer a need to prove to oneself that ones techniques are effective. I have to take his word for it, as I have nowhere close to achieved that level in my own training, but it does make sense.

DonMagee
11-23-2006, 09:18 AM
Don

You make some great points which carry an enormous validity.

However I dont quite go with this one.

I do see a distinction between Fighting and Art.

Fighting is what is says on the tin...but an Art teaches so much more.

You have to want it.


I personally think it is a mistranslation. I think martial arts just means teachings of war. Where art is used as teachings and not anything special. I tell people I teach the art of linux or the art of computer programming. There is no special spiritial thing I'm teaching them, no better life. I'm teaching them to program a computer.


I
Sports fighters especially top MMA guys are a dedicated, talented and single minded breed.

They use the training methods that have evolved since MMA became a separate form (rather than a hybrid of other styles) to achieve the highest level of practice in their chosen arena eg the ring, Octagon or whatever.

And if they were shown a better way, you better believe they would do it.


Most but not all of these skills are directly transferrable to 'street' scenarios. (Some are even dangerous - ask anyone thats been shanked while banging in a double leg takedown...)

Generally though they are all good skills for the subset of the population able to cope with the rigours of such training.

What about the other 99%.?


I don't belive you need to train as hard as I do to be any good at it. I know guys who train harder than I do and less than I do. The guys who only train 1 -2 days a week, never compete, only spar still clean up on the guys who come in saying they are 'street fighters' and fight with bad punches, open guards, and crappy takedowns. You don't need to be a pro fighter, you just need to spar with different kinds of people to put yourself in different situations.


You are in your mid to late 20's I believe? (I did look it up once before...no mystical stuff going on there), you're male and you clearly have time to train hard (since you said in a previous post that you like to train almost to exhaustion 4 days a week.)

Not everyone fits this profile.

Am I saying aikido is a softer option?

Maybe I am. In some respects. However I prefer to think of it as a longer road.

And one where the more careful looking after my body means I'll still be here when I'm 50, 60, 70 and I'd love to think beyond that even.


It's funny, my bjj instructor told me the greatest thing about bjj was you could practice it your entire life. Again though, you dont compete your entire life, but you do spar your entire life. Sparing is the key point here, competition is a logical extension of sparing for people who want even more stress testing.


My personal experiences in MMA seemed to bear out that it was dog eat dog and the percentage of drop outs were huge.


I'd say that you have to want it to get it. Just like aikido. Most people come in with misconceptions, they find out the truth and leave.


I also found it extremely hard on the body - once an elbow has been arm barred beyond its range then it never seems the same again.


This is not a MMA problem, this is even an aikido problem. If they guys you train with spaz out or don't respect the tap, then you have bigger problems.


So where do people go that don't want to compete? that aren't into winning and losing trophys? and that want to stay in one piece long term?

They should still spar. A few times a month would greatly improve their ability to leverage their techniques in an actual altercation.


My female students for instance - are they not doing MA because they don't prepare for competition? I'm sure they would get hammered by trained competitors, heck, I've been hammered by them too.


Are they training aikido so they can defend themselves? If they are I think it is VERY important for them to realize the weight and strength a man has. The stress that comes when a man grabs you with the intention of pinning you down typically overwhelms most women who are unprepared for it. It is very very important that they spar for self defense like anyone else, but it is even more important that they spar with men and learn how to deal with differences in power and weight. Until they have had a man coming at them, trying to throw them, and then trying to pin them down, they really have no idea how much more power is there. Yes, most women wont like this, but if they don't want to do it, they need to rethink their training. Train for fitness or something, but not self defense.


I do believe that the marginal improvement I may find should I slide back into a more competitive environment are not enough for me to sacrifice the limited training time I have.

I don't believe the improvements are marginal. At least in my case the improvements have been huge. I had no martial ability after a year of aikido and 10 years of point sparing TKD. The first time I got put to task, I just crumbled under the pressure. I found my stances were bad ideas, my movements were contrived. And I did not know how to deal with resistance. After sparing, I now am relaxed most of the time, more confident, able to adapt to different body types, resistance, strength, power. And I've made what I've learned work for me.


My old ju-jitsu instructor drew up a distinction between his competion work and his street oriented defence.

For him they were very much not the same.


I think the difference for me is that I would not try to engage on the street, I would try to talk myself out of it. Then if I did engage, I would focus on getting a superior position, and dominating my opponent just like in competition. Only I would not be restricted to my attacks, strikes to back of the head, eye gouges, etc are all fair game. The strategy is still the same, the only difference is what dirt I can add and that I will try not to go to the ground.


This is why street fighters with strategy continue to beat highly experienced MA fighters in the street when they wouldn't last 5 seconds with them in the ring.

I dont understand, Fedor is going to kill someone on the street. He's not bound by rules simply because he trains with them. Just like no n sparing people are not bound by no actually finishing their death blows simply because they never finish them in practice. Unless you are talking about training someone to pull and use a weapon, or other tactics like always bring 5 friends. You can either fight or you can't fight. The only way to build this skill with any reliability is to spar.


This comes from a guy who has taken his competition guys to fight in Pride so I value his advice.


Did he teach them street as well? If he did, did they spar with these techniques? If they did, that makes my point.




For me the traditional stuff in Aikido while not so specialised can still offer much martial effectiveness.

I think it can as well. I even think it can make a great compliment to judo or bjj. In fact that is why I still go train on saturdays. However, I think without sparing we are just pretending.



All anyone can really do it match their training with their personal aspirations. As long as people are realistic then it is not an issue.

I totally agree.



If I'm going to have to fight - I'm not going to warn someone, slip on my lycra and knee pads and issue a challenge.

Same here, although I might politly ask them to wear a gi. It's a judo thing :D


I'm going to hit them (we do practice that) ...I'm going to do it very hard and I'm going to do it to them before they do it to me.

But without sparing, how do you know you can hit a guy who just though the act of picking a fight with you, is ready to fight. He might be a boxer, he might not, he might be hard headed, he might be able to take that punch, he might be on crack. You throw that punch, he eats it and blasts you. Do you train for that? You don't need situation training with sparing. You learn how to leverage technique on the fly with random situations that naturally happen.
Once its done I'm going to disappear very quickly.


To train for this doesn't take a lot of physical preparation. Its very much a last option and the things I've learned from swapping roles as uke tori have contributed greatly to this.

I think the uke/tori partnership is a good start, it teaches some timing, but it has little motion (well it has motion but it is contrived) and typically little energy. I really believe all training should fit Matt Thorntons aliveness description ( Why aliveness? (http://www.bullshido.net/modules.php?name=Reviews&file=viewarticle&id=252) ). That doesn't mean competition, it just means drilling in a natural non contrived situation and eventually sparing.


I'm much more likely to recognise a brewing situation and just slip away and avoid it.

I never needed martial arts to tell me I was in a bad situation. But the better I get at fighting, the less desire I have to actually fight outside of competition. It's like my male ego is getting under control.


So one thing I have learned from TMA is that it is'nt just about Fighting.

It's about learning how to fight. Not about fighting.


I believe it was Bruce Lee who coined the phrase 'fighting without fighting'.

Perhaps a fitting sentiment to close.

It's close to what I'm saying. We learn to fight so that we don't have to fight. But in order to learn to fight, we have to well....fight.

DonMagee
11-23-2006, 09:21 AM
I
Another semi-related question - I've been told that a lot of people 'peak' in (shiai randori) competiton around second or third dan. Is this the case, and if so why? Is it to do with passing peak physical condition or just becoming less interested in competition?

I was told it is because of age usually. That and at least in judo, after 3rd it is about what you give back to the art, not skill that allows for advancement. I think though that the more you compete the less you need it. I Know judo guys in their 70's that haven't competed in decades that can still wreck me on the mat. They learned what they needed to learn though sparing. They don't need it anymore.

L. Camejo
11-23-2006, 10:04 AM
Another semi-related question - I've been told that a lot of people 'peak' in (shiai randori) competiton around second or third dan. Is this the case, and if so why? Is it to do with passing peak physical condition or just becoming less interested in competition?Just to throw in the X-factor on that hypothesis, the current US Toshu Shiai Champion and Tanto Shiai Champ for the last 6 years running is 4th Dan I believe and over 50.

His good shiai bouts tend not to look so much like "fights" in the typical sense imo but more akin to the Aikido strategy of stepping in and cutting down one's opponent in a single stroke imho.

Of course he could just be an anomaly.

There is a thread here with a vid from the last nationals - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11213

I think regardless of rank although one may be confident that one's waza is good enough for self defence and may have transcended the need to compete, training with resistance helps one understand whether the other aspects of one's training are also being developed, e.g. achievement of efficient internal bodily structures, application of less movement to execute waza, increased usage of "soft arm power" or whatever stuff the higher ups focus on to develop their Aikido at 6th Dan and above. Imo at that level their physical expression of waza should be able to reflect a level that truly makes resistance futile.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Dazzler
11-23-2006, 10:08 AM
I personally think it is a mistranslation. I think martial arts just means teachings of war. Where art is used as teachings and not anything special. I tell people I teach the art of linux or the art of computer programming. There is no special spiritial thing I'm teaching them, no better life. I'm teaching them to program a computer.
.

Well, guess we'll just have to differ on that one Don. I accept that it needs the 'Martial' but feel it is possible to retain this and deliver more. How much martial against how much art is the tricky thing to balance and on any mat on any evening we've got some with very martial aikido and some with very arty aikido.

I guess again that this is another personal thing.


I don't belive you need to train as hard as I do to be any good at it. I know guys who train harder than I do and less than I do. The guys who only train 1 -2 days a week, never compete, only spar still clean up on the guys who come in saying they are 'street fighters' and fight with bad punches, open guards, and crappy takedowns. You don't need to be a pro fighter, you just need to spar with different kinds of people to put yourself in different situations.

Hear what you are saying Don, but my point really was that sure, a bit of training will enable the guys in dojo to take out the street wanabees, but as you say they have come in to the dojo and essentially changed environment.

I'm looking to have an edge outside of this environment and look to avoid these 1 on 1 competitive scenarios at all costs. If pushed then my reactions have usually been of the type that you simply cannot practice in the dojo whether MMA, aikido or whatever.



It's funny, my bjj instructor told me the greatest thing about bjj was you could practice it your entire life. Again though, you dont compete your entire life, but you do spar your entire life. Sparing is the key point here, competition is a logical extension of sparing for people who want even more stress testing.
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Fair enough - but do you see a pattern of controlled behaviour here moving away from the full monty? I dont see this as being wildly different from well practiced Aikido or anything else. (as long as its good).




I'd say that you have to want it to get it. Just like aikido. Most people come in with misconceptions, they find out the truth and leave.
.

Agreed.



This is not a MMA problem, this is even an aikido problem. If they guys you train with spaz out or don't respect the tap, then you have bigger problems.
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Agree to a certain extent, just found that the beginners in MMA were very different to Aikido...probably due to the adrenaline from the increased proximity to a real fight and the fear of losing. This resulted in loss of control and a lot more injuries.



They should still spar. A few times a month would greatly improve their ability to leverage their techniques in an actual altercation.

Are they training aikido so they can defend themselves? If they are I think it is VERY important for them to realize the weight and strength a man has. The stress that comes when a man grabs you with the intention of pinning you down typically overwhelms most women who are unprepared for it. It is very very important that they spar for self defense like anyone else, but it is even more important that they spar with men and learn how to deal with differences in power and weight. Until they have had a man coming at them, trying to throw them, and then trying to pin them down, they really have no idea how much more power is there. Yes, most women wont like this, but if they don't want to do it, they need to rethink their training. Train for fitness or something, but not self defense.
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Again ...that precisely it. Some are training for limited fighting ability but at the same time realising many of the benefits that you questioned in Marks thread.



I don't believe the improvements are marginal. At least in my case the improvements have been huge. I had no martial ability after a year of aikido and 10 years of point sparing TKD. The first time I got put to task, I just crumbled under the pressure. I found my stances were bad ideas, my movements were contrived. And I did not know how to deal with resistance. After sparing, I now am relaxed most of the time, more confident, able to adapt to different body types, resistance, strength, power. And I've made what I've learned work for me.
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Everyone is different. I also am much more relaxed most of the time.

Before MA I was much more aggressive and in my teens and twenties always fighting.

It could be age thats mellowed me but I think its aikido.



I think the difference for me is that I would not try to engage on the street, I would try to talk myself out of it. Then if I did engage, I would focus on getting a superior position, and dominating my opponent just like in competition. Only I would not be restricted to my attacks, strikes to back of the head, eye gouges, etc are all fair game. The strategy is still the same, the only difference is what dirt I can add and that I will try not to go to the ground.
.

Not a lot different from many of us here I'd imagine.


I dont understand, Fedor is going to kill someone on the street. He's not bound by rules simply because he trains with them. Just like no n sparing people are not bound by no actually finishing their death blows simply because they never finish them in practice. Unless you are talking about training someone to pull and use a weapon, or other tactics like always bring 5 friends. You can either fight or you can't fight. The only way to build this skill with any reliability is to spar.
.

Sure ...if all you are after is fighting then you will best develop this skillby fighting.




Did he teach them street as well? If he did, did they spar with these techniques? If they did, that makes my point.
.

He certainly teaches both. My preference was always for his street stuff. We did work them but we couldn't really spar with the eye gouging stuff included. TBH as you know once both parties are moving its hard to do much except punch and kick until you've clinched anyway.





But without sparing, how do you know you can hit a guy who just though the act of picking a fight with you, is ready to fight. He might be a boxer, he might not, he might be hard headed, he might be able to take that punch, he might be on crack. You throw that punch, he eats it and blasts you. Do you train for that? You don't need situation training with sparing. You learn how to leverage technique on the fly with random situations that naturally happen.
Once its done I'm going to disappear very quickly.
.

Well you kind of have me there. I do spar.

Not regularly but when life permits.

But thats my choice like your guys that don't compete.

I choose a level of training intensity thats right for me. Everyone else has this same choice I feel.

Gotta go now - Apologies if responses get a little garbled - should have cut and pasted into notepad so I didn't lose sight of my points you were countering.

Will be back on line tomorrow.

Regards
D

Demetrio Cereijo
11-23-2006, 10:09 AM
Don,

I agree with you, but there is a thing about "aliveness" that you and some of the followers (usually the more vocal about Guru Thornton concepts-philosophy) usually forget or consciously don't talk or point to.

I'm referring to things like this article (http://www.straightblastgym.com/newbook.htm), where you can read things like:

Finally, all thatís left is a sports like environment, and performance. At this point itís time for the egoís last step. The realization that measurement itself is futility.

Although what you are now left doing is a million times more Ďrealí than anything an image based Martial Artist will ever engage in; it still must not serve as a measurement of who YOU are.

Why? For one itís always relative so you must evaluate yourself ONLY based on YOUR own increases in performance. And although that requires another person, or opponent, that does not mean you are measuring yourself against that person. You only measure your progress based on your previous skill level, not their previous skill level. There will ALWAYS be someone better, stronger, faster, or smarter on any given day. There will also ALWAYS be people you will better then, on any given day. Therefore that form of measurement is meaningless at best. All that matters is that you grow in comparison to where you where before, NOT in comparison to who you could or could not beat before.

The second reason why measurement is futility is because WHO you actually ARE exists completely outside duality, and therefore outside the process of measurement.

Or training with alivenes as a "powerful yoga" (in Thornton's own words in other forum).

And, as consider myself a "follower" of Thornton way of thougt in some way, i wonder why are you taking only pieces of his "doctrine" and starting another "lost in translation" process. Are you really understanding Thornton and trying to get out of the dualism or are you stuck in the "how do i measure myself"?

carlo pagal
11-23-2006, 06:08 PM
Jason Jordan wrote:
In all honesty....I think we have lost the true meaning of cooperating. Cooperating in my mind is giving me a very real scenario to work with, while not being animalistic and trying to kill me.

I totally agree with you Jason. How would you know if the techniques that you've learned are really effective in the real world?

DonMagee
11-23-2006, 10:20 PM
Don,

I agree with you, but there is a thing about "aliveness" that you and some of the followers (usually the more vocal about Guru Thornton concepts-philosophy) usually forget or consciously don't talk or point to.

I'm referring to things like this article (http://www.straightblastgym.com/newbook.htm), where you can read things like:



Or training with alivenes as a "powerful yoga" (in Thornton's own words in other forum).

And, as consider myself a "follower" of Thornton way of thougt in some way, i wonder why are you taking only pieces of his "doctrine" and starting another "lost in translation" process. Are you really understanding Thornton and trying to get out of the dualism or are you stuck in the "how do i measure myself"?

I do not use martial arts to measure my self worth. The things he talks about there I feel are self evident to anyone who competes seriously, and thus really just seem obvious to me. I feel that if you are going to do anything, you should do it to the best of your ability, with the best training methods you can find to gain that ability.

The points I'm touching on are really about effectiveness of your martial art. It's not about if you can beat person X, its about can the majority of people who train with your methods leverage their techniques against people who are trying to stop them. It is pointless to measure yourself against another. I know guys who destroy me on the mat with less than 4 months training. Of course they are the same guys who excel at any physical thing they do. If I were to measure my success with them as a bar, I would be very depressed as I would have to conclude I really really suck at this. But if I measure my success in martial arts in how I've gained skill in the 10+ years I've trained, I'd have to say the last 2 years have been the most eye opening and the biggest gains. It wasn't though some mystical experince, or some awakening I got though constantly improving kata. It was finally getting the guts to step up and take a risk.

While the points you shown are very valid, and I agree with them fully, I just don't think they fit in this conversation. I'm talking about having the best chance to reduce the signal to noise ratio in your art. Making sure what is being taught is useful, and finally, giving yourself the best chance possible to actually be able to leverage your art.

Can you have a spiritual experience in the martial arts? Sure.
Can you have a spiritual experience in sport competition? Sure.
Does it make you better at it? Not really.

I was a top runner in high school, I never had a runner's high. I have had zen like moments in competition. Very spiritual things. However, I do not train martial arts for these experiences, they are just a nice byproduct. I train as a form of entertainment, a way to keep myself in shape, and to develop a skill that may be useful to pass down to my children (IF I ever have any). That skill being the ability if need be to defend yourself.

I do not worry about being able to defend myself, I worry about being able to do what I'm training to do. That would be beat another man in some form of unarmed combat. Self defense is a side effect. However, it is my belief that if you can not beat a man with limited rules, then you can not beat him without rules as he can leverage the same 'illegal moves' you can, only he is already one up on you as he can beat you with rules.

In amature fights I watch, untrained street fighters like to sign up. They usually do very poorly, despite being stronger, meaner, more aggressive, etc. However, when they are paired with a trained fighter who has not spared, or is having his first 'real' fight, it is still a toss up. But take that same fighter a few fights later, and he tears up that untrained thug. Because he has learned how to leverage his skills under pressure.

I think that Matt's idea of aliveness helps build skills that work in high stress situations faster, due to the lack of scripted structure and emphasis on 'playing' and learning what works for you. Again, I don't think you need to get into MMA competition in order to be able to use your aikido, but I think you do need to spar and train with aliveness to actually be able to use your aikido.

PeterR
11-23-2006, 11:24 PM
Aikido is not about winning or losing. O sensei wasn't interested about it.So the nature of aikido technique is cooperative practice. Such practice develops very different spirit then sparring or competition. O sensei was interested by spiritual(-- not physical) developpement using martial techniques . His students knew already how to fight, they weren't looking for another system 'how to fight'.
Actually if you read about his students very few if any went to him for spiritual purposes they went because of his technique. Tenru, Tomiki, Shioda, all the same.

Where does it say Tomiki Aikido is about winning and losing. You surely didn't hear that from Tomiki or any of its practitioners.

skinnymonkey
11-24-2006, 11:34 AM
Peter, I train with Bob King of Mansfield. He's a great guy and I really enjoy working with him. He's taught me a lot. Ever worked with him?

Jeff D.

PeterR
11-24-2006, 06:33 PM
Of course - I saw his Yondan promotion and am in occaisional contact with his son who I understand did very well at the US Nationals.

Bob King did me a great favor once. I had returned to Canada after Japan and had been training in Aikikai for about a year. At the time I was just Shodan but Bob made a point about asking about tekubi waza oshitaoshi - it was a subtle point but the way it was asked went a long way to convincing me to open a dojo - which I did shortly afterward. Its these little moments that make all the difference.

Please ask Bob your question here. He is of a practical bent.

skinnymonkey
11-25-2006, 07:24 PM
I'm glad that you've met! Bob and I have definitely talked about this subject before (and will again, I'm sure) but I was just curious about some other viewpoints!

Thanks!

Jeff D.