PDA

View Full Version : Sport is the new Budo


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


Aiki Liu
02-12-2007, 07:20 PM
Hello all, Id like to open a perhaps controversial topic if I may which hopefully will provoke some thoughtful conversation.
Ive practiced Shodokan Aikido for 15 years and for the last 6 Ive also been boxing. In this time Ive got up to a pretty good level and am now a sparring partner for a number of low level professionals. When people ask me questions about the effectiveness of Aikido I always respond that its pretty much like boxing – my exact words are “Its essentially a sport, but it will give you an edge in a fight”. Now, following some of the threads on here, I notice many people getting very upset when Aikido is referred to as a sport, and a number of people saying “MMA and Boxing are sports, not Budo” as if somehow Budo is a level above these sports, but to my way of thinking, is it not better to be a sport than Budo these days? People talk of sport “diluting” martial arts but I believe that these changes are a natural evolution and should be embraced rather than abhorred.
Let me explain, another question Im frequently asked and a thread Ive seen frequently on here is “Whod win in a fight, a boxer or an aikidoka?”. Whilst the answer, of course, depends on a billion variables I always favour the boxer and the reason is simply because of the way they approach their training and their attitude. A boxer, when not training in boxing (shadow work, bag work, sparring etc) will be training in other ways. Building up his strength, going on exacting runs to build up his fitness etc How many aikidoka do that? We shouldnt have to I hear you say because Aikido should not rely on these variables but is this not a dishonest answer? Surely of two equally skillful opponents the fitter, stronger one will triumph. If I am unable to grip an opponents wrist with sufficient strength to turn it or am too unfit to fight a man for more than 30 seconds then my technique is worthless. If we do not have the honesty to admit this then we do not train efficiently and we lose the edge of having a slightly more dangerous art.
Sparring is another essential. Believe me when I tell you that to climb through the ropes of a boxing ring at any level takes a tremendous amount of courage and a boxer will quickly learn to control his own fear to some extent. In a street fight a boxer is a tremendously dangerous opponent due to this because you cannot intimidate them. Most boxers will have been in the ring with guys who can punch harder, faster and more accurately than the majority of street fighters and so there fear is controllable to a great extent. How many aikidoka can claim this? Shodokan Aikidoka are virtually the only Aikido faction to practice against resistance and, to be brutally honest, I think it is the most essential part of what we do. In 15 years ive learned that many aikido techniques would be virtually impossible against someone with even a reasonable appreciation of how to keep his balance. But with the right training in a sporting environment (tanto randori) against a competitive opponent, one can quickly streamline their repertoire to the most effective techniques. What Traditional Aikidoka may also be missing out on is renzoku or combinations. Boxers know that to throw one punch is only good to search for an opening, what works best is using combinations so your opponent finds it difficult to know where the next punch is coming from and therefore how to defend it. Aikido is no different, when one technique fails, for effective Aikido you must be able to flow effortlessly from one technique to the next using your opponents resistance in your favour – this is not something you can just assume you can do, it must be practised hundreds upon hundreds of times until it becomes smooth and fluid with a genuine resisting uke.
Attitude. I read a posting on here the other day that turning Aikido into a sport would bring in an influx of competitive, egotistical types who would have the wrong attitude for the art. I cant honestly say that ego does not exist in boxing gyms, but many of you may be surprised to hear that the arrogance in an Aikido dojo is far worse. In Aikido, stay at any dojo long enough and manage to show a set number of techniques and youre given a belt. The colour of that belt shows how highly you “rank” above other students. Ive seen many, many instances of people of a certain “rank” who have never had a fight in their lives, order around “lower grades”, threaten to “put them in their place”, refuse to train with people below a certain standard and be generally patronising and rude to people who dont wear a certain coloured belt. In boxing there is none of this. If you want to talk to people like that, youd best be ready to prove yourself in the ring. There are no gradings and no one assumes your skill based on anything other than watching you. A man with 3 months boxing experience can beat a man whos boxed for 3 years and no one thinks anything of it. World Champions such as Clinton Woods, and formerly Naseem Hamed, regularly spar with kids from his gym – going at their pace and helping those youngsters improve and I would never have reached the level I reached was it not for an extremely patient and giving heavyweight who brought me along gently working me at just above my level even thought he could have easily beaten me with one punch. Compare this attitude to a post I read on here the other day that stated “Why on earth would a sandan train with an orange belt?”. In a competitive, sporting environment such horrific ego is not allowed. You are judged on your skills alone and nothing else.
So what are the arguments to still classifying ourselves as a budo rather than reevaluating ourself as a sport? Some may be tempted to say that a sport is for fun whereas a budo should be about life and death. Anytime a boxer goes into a ring he is aware of the fact that he could die. One of my gym mates was left severely handicapped after a fight. Surely then a boxer has more of a “budo” attitude in facing down these fears than an aikidoka who never trains against a “live” opponent?
Budo has no rules? This is no longer true. I read posts on here that MMA does not represent a real fight because it has rules but this is ludicrous – the street also has rules, called laws. No one wants to train at a dojo where there are literally no rules but no one can seriously argue that a MMA practitioner would be less well prepared for a fight than a “budo” practitioner from a traditional dojo??
Budo is more traditional? Many sports, particularly boxing, have been around for longer than Budo. The only difference is that theyve changed and redefined themselves. Where would football, cricket or boxing be now if there had been no changes to the rules in the last 80 years? Of course each generation thinks that their way is the “right” way but change is the nature of things. My Dad still asserts that the old 40`s boxers wouldve beaten their modern day counterparts but with new training methods, dietary supplements and so on its simply unthinkable – despite the fact that those guys were all tough as hell and still deserve tremendous respect.
Ill leave you with one final analagy to think about. Swordfighting – back in the day a fairly regular occurrence but now pretty highly illegal. Take two groups of people who loved swordfighting, one – realising that they can no longer practice with live blades – decide to use Bokken so they can keep their speed, still feel that fear and perform all the techniques exactly as they were back when it was legal, just without one man dying. The other group are traditionalists, they wont use anything but the original swords, however as they can no longer cut each other they have to stop each cut 2 inches from their opponent and slow their techniques down so they can be sure they wont cut each other. Who is practising the real art and who is practising a diluted version?
Your thoughts on the differences between sport and budo and why its better to be one than the other please.

DonMagee
02-12-2007, 09:02 PM
Sport is already budo. Just ask any judo instructor. I agree that sport can be budo, but not all sport is budo. Budo is the mindset you take while practicing. I do not feel I train in budo, even while training aikido.

Robert Rumpf
02-12-2007, 09:04 PM
Who is practising the real art and who is practising a diluted version? Your thoughts on the differences between sport and budo and why its better to be one than the other please.

What do you mean when you talk about better and worse?

You seem very convinced that what you are doing is the new budo, and that it is a better way to train.. congratulations! Best of luck! The fact that you know what you are doing and what you like about your training is great. Others are still trying to figure out what they want, as well as how martial arts fit in to the rest of their lives.

Personally, I'm not sure that there is a "better" or "worse" between sports and budo in general - there is most likely even a lot of overlap in terms of skills and mentality for most participants. I'd even bet that most of the sportsmen probably have better skills in the areas they train due to the competitive process. You can probably practice "sporting arts" as budo, and I know that you can practice Aikido as a sport - although I don't.

There were lots of loaded words in your post.

What are you trying to figure out? Are you afraid that you are missing something, or just trying to convince people to view Aikido in a more sporting way? Are you curious, or proselytizing?

As for me, I have issues that I want to deal with and things that I want to learn that Aikido happens to address. Maybe I'd be ignorant that many of these existed if I didn't start Aikido... maybe not. Training is a personal decision, and its not at all clear that I wouldn't be learning a different, also valuable set of skills from a different martial art or activity.

That said, as can be observed from the level of discussion on Aikiweb, its practitioners, and its section in the bookstore - Aikido attracts some heavy hitters in terms of talented people to learn from about all manner of things. Do other arts have such an array of thoughtful (and thoughtless) discussions? I don't know.. maybe someone else does and can comment.

One thing that is nice about Aikido and traditional martial arts: I see older people practicing it effectively. How many 80 year old boxers do you know?

Rob

DonMagee
02-12-2007, 09:07 PM
Not sure if it counts, but I know a few judo guys and know of a few bjj guys that are well over 60, some going on 70.

Aiki Liu
02-12-2007, 09:17 PM
Interesting points guys.
Rob, Im not trying to convince people sport is the "better" way necessarily, as you say people need to train in their own way. However I am slightly concerned that some people seem to see sport as "less" than Budo and dont seem to see the benefits of training in a martial art in a sporting fashion. I guess Im just trying to challenge a few misconceptions.
As for the 80 year old boxers you make a very interesting point which Id like to address. When I see 80 year old Aikidoka flipping young guys around Im impressed at their athleticism and technical skill at such an old age BUT I feel its not all that honest to train in such a way as, in reality, I just dont think an 80 year old man can realistically throw some young men. To answer your question directly my boxing coach IS in his 80s. I have massive repect for him cos hes been everywhere and fought everyone and believe me he can still move around. But that said, he is honest enough to know not to get in the ring with a 20 year old guy cos hes just too old to keep up - despite his skill level. Id like to see more elderly aikidoka take on a more "coaching" style role for the younger practitioners without feeling the need to pretend to flip them around. Im not trying to be disrespectful here but lets be honest, the old guys are bursting with knowledge but their body just cant do the things it did. I for one would love to have an aiki coach who had competed at top level whether hes 30, 40 or 90.

Cady Goldfield
02-12-2007, 11:04 PM
When I see 80 year old Aikidoka flipping young guys around Im impressed at their athleticism and technical skill at such an old age BUT I feel its not all that honest to train in such a way as, in reality, I just dont think an 80 year old man can realistically throw some young men.

How about old judoka? ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUne9Xg55og

Kent Enfield
02-13-2007, 12:48 AM
One more old guy:

Mochida Moriji (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm3CmNE72Bw)

I love the katate-zuki-otoshi-katate-zuki.

But then is kendo traditional budo or sport?

Aiki Liu
02-13-2007, 12:48 AM
Hey guys,
Kevin - thanks very much for the post. Very honest! Do you think that more budo should implement some more sporting practices to improve?
Cady very impressive! There are certainly a fair few exceptions to what I wrote earlier. I should probably clarify what I meant by my earlier post about elder folk training. I have absolutely no problem with older people doing kata training and even participating in randori etc (as long as its safe). What I was referring to was a couple of demonstrations Ive seen where a 80 year old is throwing around multiple attackers. I dont think this gives a very good impression of aikido whichever way you take it. To someone who doesnt understand about cooperation between tori and uke then you either believe the old guy can actually do that (misleading) or you think "what a load of rubbish". Neither of which are a good advert for aikido.

xuzen
02-13-2007, 02:13 AM
Another Old Guy (http://youtube.com/watch?v=JIowy89IXco)
Why are those uke doing flippy stuff. It must be fake... meh!

Aiki Liu... as for your argument in post #1, there are already answered a million times: Cross-training.

Boon.

Aiki Liu
02-13-2007, 02:20 AM
Im talking about improvements we could make in aikido and the attitudes of those training in it...

me32dc
02-13-2007, 03:44 AM
Personally i think your opinion is biased.
Because you practice Shodokan Aikido which involves competition. Most people commenting who have also compared budo and sport with martial arts are using martial arts that now involve competition.

In my mind it is not budo if you involve competition.

Rupert Atkinson
02-13-2007, 04:30 AM
The only real martial art out there today is what the military practice. Some of them do boxing, but not all - kind of free choice. Some of them do wrestling, but not all - kind of free choice. But all of them have to do compulsory military drills that have techniques that resemble Jujutsu - takedowns, locks, kills etc. What they do is based on the gun, the unloaded gun (out of ammo), the knife, and empty hand. The techniques are pretty simple and rely more on a lot more grunt than technical perfection - perhaps that is what we need too, a bit more grunt!

RoyK
02-13-2007, 06:45 AM
The only real martial art out there today is what the military practice. ..... rely more on a lot more grunt than technical perfection - perhaps that is what we need too, a bit more grunt!

Art = perfection, wouldn't you agree?

L. Camejo
02-13-2007, 07:51 AM
Your thoughts on the differences between sport and budo and why its better to be one than the other please.Hi James,

I agree with much of what you said in your first post.

I think the major differences between Sport and Budo have more to do with popular opinion of what defines "Sport" and what defines "Budo" than anything else. In Scott Allbright's book - Aikido and Randori there is a section where he analyzes the definition of sport (especailly in an Olympic context) and compares it to Budo and like Tomiki did back in the day, he shows where the 2 are quite congruent in their ultimate goals.

This however has nothing to do with how many people perceive sport (I'd even place Ueshiba M. in this category when Tomiki first approached him with the concept). The perception of the large egos of sport heroes which are fed by doting fans, the fixation on winning even if it means exploiting holes in the rules and cheating, focus on winning instead of honestly trying ones best, unsportsmanlike behaviour, although not intended or encouraged in the core definition of Sport are popular effects that most people identify with. I think this is part of why some make the distinction between Sport and Budo. When people hear the word "Sport" they automatically create mental associations with the word. The same goes for "Budo", but in this case many people in the west don't have an image to associate this with so it is up to the Budoka to clarify things and create a proper image. On the other hand one can aim to "redefine" sport to the layperson, focusing on its intent (and how that relates to Budo) instead of what is often seen as its most popular expression.

Partly due to the reason above, as a Shodokan instructor I am quite clear to indicate that there are competitive (directly sport/competition-oriented) aspects of what we do and traditional Budo (traditional Japanese martial way) aspects of what we do. This is my choice since in my environment, training for competition is at the very best a secondary desire of students (if at all) when viewed against the primary need for a strong core of self defence skills and building a warrior mindset. For me the Shodokan instruction method meets both goals quite well, the only difference being that those who do not want to train for sport are not allowed to be hampered by the shiai ruleset in randori. This allows for quite interesting and taxing resistance randori training which is tailored more towards the building of a warrior spirit.

The only area athat I have issue with in your post is this: In 15 years ive learned that many aikido techniques would be virtually impossible against someone with even a reasonable appreciation of how to keep his balance.But with the right training in a sporting environment (tanto randori) against a competitive opponent, one can quickly streamline their repertoire to the most effective techniques.I agree in essence to what you say here, but wrt tanto randori from a shiai only perspective there is a major problem with students developing muscle memory that works with untelegraphed, multiple angle knife attacks. I believe our tanto randori/shiai format is highly effective in dealing with a straight stab with resistance (this has even been proven to work "on the street" here with a couple of my clubmates), but in the tanto randori context one should train in dealing with all 9 angles of knife attack if planning to have an understanding from a self-defence perspective.

I am not sure how things are practiced outside and I know in the book Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge there are exercises that allow for practicing against 3 basic knife angles, which I think is important if one is attempting to be have effective waza outside the shiai-type tanto randori format. The same applies to Toshu randori imho.

Just my 5 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Robert Rumpf
02-13-2007, 08:07 AM
Neither of which are a good advert for aikido.

Why does Aikido need to advertise? Are you having problems getting people into your dojo.. or are you just getting the "wrong" people? I've never been in an Aikido dojo that has had problems with membership. That must be discouraging.

Im talking about improvements we could make in aikido and the attitudes of those training in it...

While there are plenty of improvements and different things that I would like to see happen in the Aikido of myself and those around me, that is really all that I'm able to comment on, since the level of consistency is so low between individuals and dojos. This is the 6th Aikido dojo that I've "lived" at, and the comments that I would make about each are completely different, and typically of an individual nature.

In terms of broader problems in Aikido, for me its a question of what would I take out of Aikido to put these new things in.. and if they exist elsewhere, and are only latent in Aikido, can't you bring them into Aikido yourself?

In addition, talking about a problem doesn't typically fix it.

For a given problem at a given dojo, you pretty much have only these options:
--- Leave (either completely or partially)
--- Get the sensei (or seniors) to try and fix the problem through the bully pulpit, targeted instruction, or testing restrictions - can be dangerous if sensei doesn't approve
--- Exert peer pressure verbally or physically (with or without those of a like mind) - can be dangerous if sensei doesn't approve
--- Start training more exclusively with people who are going in what you think is the right direction - can be dangerous if sensei doesn't approve (which is really passive aggressive peer pressure)
--- Supplement your training elsewhere (within the art or without, with or without the other Aikidoka)
--- Open your own dojo to present yourself with the 2nd option, and further enable the 3rd and 4th (but also limit the 5th)

You've got 15 years of Aikido.. have you considered opening your own dojo (even at a local gym)? I'm sure that the new direction you want to take things would be very popular. In addition, the people who didn't like it could stay where they were. It would most likely be a net gain in practitioners, which is a win for all concerned.

Regarding the elderly in those other martial arts: its a nice surprise to see that that is still possible. I see stories of these older practitioners (such as Mifune, and the respective modern "founders" of the systems such as Kano, Funakoshi, etc.), but I wasn't sure how widespread and common that is in modern times because I don't train in those circles.. it is nice to know that it is more common than I thought.

Rob

Edward
02-13-2007, 10:58 AM
Sparring is impossible in Aikido. It is even more impossible between 2 Aikidoists. I have watched and even trained a few times in Shodokan Aikido, and it was pathetic. Aikido is supposed to be between an attacker who is aggressing someone with full intent and not expecting any defense or retaliation, and a defender who is supposed to execute a technique to defend himself from the attack based on surprise. It is not designed for combat or sparring environments. Shodokan puts 2 people against eachother, one attacking but not very skilled in his attack, and who is expecting to be countered by some kind of hand grab, arm lock or throw, and another one who is expecting to be attacked, and expecting the attacker to know that he will defend and in which manner. The result is not very beautiful to see and obviously Aikido techniques have not been designed for such scenario. If you like that, you better do MMA.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 11:00 AM
Budo is a state of mind more so than a particular practice.

In the Army it is entirely possible to have warriors and those that live every minute of everyday trying to be a warrior and live within the ethos of a warrior.

There are others that are there simply to collect a paycheck.

and others that fall in between those extremes.

They do the same things, wear the same uniform, and collect the same paycheck.

Budo ain't about aikido, judo, tae kwon do, competition, no competion, sport or no sport....but how you personally approach your training and life in general.

DaveS
02-13-2007, 11:20 AM
Aikido is supposed to be between an attacker who is aggressing someone with full intent and not expecting any defense or retaliation, and a defender who is supposed to execute a technique to defend himself from the attack based on surprise.
Eh? Where do you get that from?

Edward
02-13-2007, 11:40 AM
It seems that you view Aikido as more of a dance than a martial art. Well if you want to have zero fighting ability that's your problem.
But don't put down people who actually practice Aikido as a martial art and are actually able to defend themselves if they could. You know even Tai Chi was originally a fighting art so it would be equally silly to say that Tai Chi is only for relation etc. These Shodokan/Tomiki guys are the probably the only ones who actually show any fighting ability so people should respect them for that. I

Well, Osensei's Aikido, and Takeda's Daito Ruy forbid sparring. I don't think you could say that those two could not defend themselves. It depends on the way you train, not if you spar or not. Shodokan aikido in principle does not actually practice aikido as a martial art, but as a sport. But it all depends on the instructor, I guess.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 11:55 AM
I imagine they could defend themselves because the deeply understood the full spectrum of martial conflict. Both studied many things prior to the adoption of their ultimate art, and they drew from those skills and experience to define themselves and the perspective they had on training.

what they did ultimately probably had little to do with sparring because they had grown or evolved past that.

Many study what they designed for us, and it might convey the lessons that they wanted us to learn.

The logic does not necessarily follow that becaus O'sensei was proficient at defending himself that you will too studying the aikido he taught.

He was proficient because he was O'sensei, not because he taught aikido.

I believe all of the higher ranking aikidoka I respect and value technique of...actually are proficient in other arts as well....many of them so-called competitive arts.

I think many that come to aikido in the west, that have never studied anything else of substancial value, many times have a very narrow perspective on martial arts and what it can and cannot do...and the strengths and weaknesses of aikido..what it is, and what it isn't.

DaveS
02-13-2007, 11:56 AM
These Shodokan/Tomiki guys are the probably the only ones who actually show any fighting ability so people should respect them for that. I
Hmmm... from what I've seen, I'm not sure that the Shodokan system is particularly focused on yer actual fighting - although I've only been at it for about 18 months so I'll happily be contradicted on this. The main attacks we train against are wrist grabs and straight tanto strikes from distance - if I was directly interested in fighting I'd probably want to be training with a lot more punches and kicks. Although I guess having trained techniques against a resisting opponent doing an unrealistic attack gives you a good start if you subsequently want to train to do them against a resisting opponent doing a realistic attack.

From my point of view, what I learn from shiai tanto randori is a kind of intuitive understanding of how and when certain principles can be applied, if that makes any sense. To me, trying to learn this without full resistance of some sort would be like trying to do physics research by running simulations of experiments rather than by actually doing the experiments.

And Edward - yeah, it's not pretty most of the time. I spend FAR too much time sweating and grunting and wrestling. But identifying that and trying to improve my timing and my technique so that eventually I can pull off a beautiful relaxed effortless technique on a resisting opponent is sort of what it's about.

DonMagee
02-13-2007, 12:01 PM
O'Sensei forbid sparing, but he seemed to have mo problem picking fights.

"So your a sumo champion eh? Well, break my little finger...."

James Davis
02-13-2007, 12:03 PM
Ive seen many, many instances of people of a certain "rank" who have never had a fight in their lives, order around "lower grades", threaten to "put them in their place", refuse to train with people below a certain standard and be generally patronising and rude to people who dont wear a certain coloured belt.
People who refuse to train with "newbies" are missing out. They're being silly. I wouldn't let rudenes like that slide for very long if I were teaching.

In boxing there is none of this.
I agree that there's a certain amount of respect on some levels, but I watch the press conferences, James. :D Trash talking before and after bouts is pretty common.
There are no gradings and no one assumes your skill based on anything other than watching you.
Why fight so hard for the championship status?

I would never have reached the level I reached was it not for an extremely patient and giving heavyweight who brought me along gently working me at just above my level even thought he could have easily beaten me with one punch.
My sensei sounds a lot like this guy you're describing... :)

Compare this attitude to a post I read on here the other day that stated "Why on earth would a sandan train with an orange belt?".
To help them get better. To observe their mannerisms, and acknowledge that I used to be just the same as they. To train with them for months and years until the day comes that they easily toss me on my butt. :D

"Whod win in a fight, a boxer or an aikidoka?". Whilst the answer, of course, depends on a billion variables I always favour the boxer and the reason is simply because of the way they approach their training and their attitude.
Who'd be better at dealing with an angry twelve year old that decides he's gonna attack Mom because he can't get his way while simultaneously looking out for Grandma, who's off of her meds and has decided to enter the fray? I'll favor the aikidoka. ;)

There are some really good dojo out there. Don't give up on aikidoka just yet. I study at an independent dojo. My rank doesn't mean anything to anyone, except for me and my sensei. I'm in it for the skill, the fun, and the friendship too.

Take care in that ring! :)

Edward
02-13-2007, 12:05 PM
I agree with you, but I don't see why would someone spend years in Aikido just for the purpose of learning how to fight. Aikido is not a fighting art, if it was, most people in UFC would be learning it. If anyone feels his life is in danger, or if he/she lives in a dangerous neighbourhood, he/she would better buy a gun and learn how to use it. Aikido is effective against attackers for whom you are considered as a victim, such as a robber who is after your wallet or someone who is angry and tries to punch you with full intent. I don't believe Aikido works in sparring, or in face to face combat when both opponents are prepared.

I imagine they could defend themselves because the deeply understood the full spectrum of martial conflict. Both studied many things prior to the adoption of their ultimate art, and they drew from those skills and experience to define themselves and the perspective they had on training.

what they did ultimately probably had little to do with sparring because they had grown or evolved past that.

Many study what they designed for us, and it might convey the lessons that they wanted us to learn.

The logic does not necessarily follow that becaus O'sensei was proficient at defending himself that you will too studying the aikido he taught.

He was proficient because he was O'sensei, not because he taught aikido.

I believe all of the higher ranking aikidoka I respect and value technique of...actually are proficient in other arts as well....many of them so-called competitive arts.

I think many that come to aikido in the west, that have never studied anything else of substancial value, many times have a very narrow perspective on martial arts and what it can and cannot do...and the strengths and weaknesses of aikido..what it is, and what it isn't.

Edward
02-13-2007, 12:25 PM
Kevin, You're right that I wouldn't go out looking for fights, and I would even avoid them as much as possible. I have actually managed never to be involved in a fight in 38 years of existence, and I'm pretty confident chances are even lower now that I've reached a more mature age. I believe that if someone has the intentions that you mentioned in your post, there are many arts out there much more effective and lethal than Aikido.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 12:39 PM
Edward wrote:

I agree with you, but I don't see why would someone spend years in Aikido just for the purpose of learning how to fight. Aikido is not a fighting art, if it was, most people in UFC would be learning it. If anyone feels his life is in danger, or if he/she lives in a dangerous neighbourhood, he/she would better buy a gun and learn how to use it. Aikido is effective against attackers for whom you are considered as a victim, such as a robber who is after your wallet or someone who is angry and tries to punch you with full intent. I don't believe Aikido works in sparring, or in face to face combat when both opponents are prepared.

yes, I agree with most of your premise.

However, I depart, probably more on semantics, but I believe it to be an important distincition. on the last part.

Aikido is never effective...you are, or you aren't. The things you learn in aikido may help you in a real situation, or they may not..it depends on many factors.

has nothing to do with full intent or not full intent of the other person or their level of committment to the attack they present. You simply respond appropriately to what you are presented.

sparing works in sparing, because that is what you are doing...sparing to better understand how to respond appropriately presented a set of conditions.

level of awareness or preparation are not a prerequisite to using skills and techniques learned in aikido.

I think it to be a grave error to adopt a paradigm or a set of conditions upon which you will constrain yourself to within the boundaries of that methodlogy...such as aikido.

also defining what is, and what is not aikido, and when it works and doesn't work.

I spend a fair amount of time in situations that are commonly seen or trained in BJJ. I will tell you that the underlying principles of response are identical.

I think what we get caught up in and focus on is the commonly agreed upon level of the amount of effort, force, distance, and level of cooperation. those are the boundaries that we set up when we train.

The boundaries that most in aikido agree best convey the lessons that the methodolgy is attempting to teach us. in the realm of martial arts..it is a very narrow, specialized focus.

I would never venture to say what works and doesn't work in aikido from a reality perspective as that depends on too many things.

I will debate and discusss ad naseum training methodology and which ones work best to teach certain aspects best.

I think it better to look at aikido as a simply a methodology and less as a style. Looking at it from a style perspective, limits us, and sets us up for failure from our narrow paradigm.

L. Camejo
02-13-2007, 04:53 PM
Great posts Kevin L.
Aikido is never effective...you are, or you aren't. The things you learn in aikido may help you in a real situation, or they may not..it depends on many factors.So true.

Edward: If you think Shodokan Aikido is about fighting you are totally and entirely missing the boat. The reality is the vast majority of Dan-level Aikidoka from any school out there will perform technique in the same manner or worse than the scrappy sort of waza you see in most shiai competitions, even those who execute picture perfect waza when they have a compliant Uke. However this can be used as a measure of how difficult it is to apply Aiki waza with a person who is not giving away technique to you. Even in a dedicated attack situation (where you say Aikido is designed to work) it takes only a split second of denial, bad execution or timing to allow your attacker time to instinctively react by resisting your motion and shutting down your technique. If one does not train using this sort of response one will be ill equipped to respond appropriately regardless of whether the attacker is dedicated or not, that is unless one is so skilled to have waza work perfectly each and every time. The point of resistance randori is not to fight, it is to become so skilled and sensitive that the resistance becomes futile and the opponent's movement to resist becomes part of your waza itself.

I have watched and even trained a few times in Shodokan Aikido, and it was pathetic.Don't be so hard on yourself Edward. Many very skilled folk don't have the footwork, ma ai and metsuke skills to keep up with the repeated stalking thrusts in tanto randori. I think this is what the OP alluded to regarding it being like Boxing. One has to be quick on the feet or the tanto gets planted in one's chest.

Dave Sim:
Although I guess having trained techniques against a resisting opponent doing an unrealistic attack gives you a good start if you subsequently want to train to do them against a resisting opponent doing a realistic attack.Not sure if you are referring to the tsuki used in tanto randori being an "unrealistic" attack, but if this were the case you should do some research on the most popular form of knife-attack related deaths (in the West at least). Most deaths from knife attacks come in the form of an ambush where one is shanked or stabbed. The only difference between the tsuki in tanto randori and a shanking is the ma ai and sometimes the intent (sometimes).

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

DonMagee
02-13-2007, 04:57 PM
I'd also say direction, if I was going to stab someone, I'd do it from behind.

L. Camejo
02-13-2007, 05:01 PM
I'd also say direction, if I was going to stab someone, I'd do it from behind.That happens in shiai too if one provides the back as a target.;) All good training imo.:)

LC:ai::ki:

Mike Hamer
02-13-2007, 05:06 PM
Sorry, I admit I didnt read your whole post, or anyone elses, but I dissagree with a large part of what your saying. "we do not train efficiently and we lose the edge of having a slightly more dangerous art." More dangerous? Are we trying to be dangerous? I do however agree on the bit about training with resitance being valuble.

Mark Freeman
02-13-2007, 05:52 PM
How about old judoka? ;)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUne9Xg55og

Great clip Cady, thanks, :D That is one of the best demonstrations of relaxed co-ordination I've ever seen, brilliant!

Thanks again

Mark

Cady Goldfield
02-13-2007, 05:59 PM
Here's another Kyuzo Mifune clip, Mark. Enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMw_Jtn3Avc

(Dan Harden posted both of those Mifune links last week, but some of us already dug 'em up in our quest for hard-to-find footage of the previous century's great masters.)

YouTube is becoming my favorite site... Archived footage of martial arts greats is getting posted there for posterity, and we are the richer for it. Of course, there is a lot of abyssmal footage of martial arts duds, too, but that's to be expected.

Aiki Liu
02-13-2007, 09:41 PM
Great posts guys.
Ill try and answer a few points and ask a few of my own questions...
Dominic C; How can Budo not involve competition? Is this dependant on your interpretation of competition? Obviously everyone from Miyamoto Musashi to O Sensei and beyond have competed whether it be in a sword fight to the death or throwing a judo player to see who should study at whos dojo. Surely the very definition of a warrior (bushi) implies someone who fights and therefore competes?
Larry; excellent post, thanks very much for your thoughts. Your honesty and mixing of the martial and sports is exactly what Im talking about. I slightly disagree about the tanto strikes being realistic - I see them just as a means of bringing uke and tori into "play". But very insightful posts, thankyou.
Robert R; by "advert" I didnt mean literally obviously, I meant the image that we give people of Aikido - both in and out of the martial arts world. I do have my own part-time dojo and were doing well thanks but Im interested in what other people think of these changes towards a more sporting attitude and if they conflict with the ideas we hold about Budo. I (obviously) cross train but Id like to think we (aikido) can offer more than just the one path to those who for whatever reason are unable or unwilling to train in more than one art.
Edward; Anyone who has full intent to harm you will have obviously prepared for retaliation. Anyone who thinks they can attack you without getting something back is either delusional or has a wicked first punch. Thanks for your advice that I should do MMA but as I mentioned in my first post, Im very happy with Aikido thanks because unlike some people, I know that it DOES work in the situations that you say its "not designed for". Id rather have Aikido that "isnt very beautiful" but works, than beautiful Aikido that leaves me unconscious outside a pub. Your assertion that Aikido "isnt a fighting art" is incorrect and annoying. At my boxing gym we have lots of people who come just to train for fitness etc and never spar or fight in the ring. This is absolutely fine and they get no grief about it whatsoever. However what those people DONT do is go around telling everyone they meet and posting on the internet that boxing "isnt a fighting art - its just for cardiovascular fitness". If you want to train for spiritual development or whatever that is absolutely fine and I wish you the best of luck, but for those of us who DO take it seriously as a fighting system (or one that can be used to that ends) and train with that in mind your comments are a gross disservice.
David S; Whilst the tanto attack in Shodokan Aikido isnt particularly realistic I view it as just a way to initiate the contact. Many fights Ive been in, seen etc will end up in close and "wrestling" for want of a better word. This is where the Shodokan system, like Judo, should enable you to overbalance your attacker - whether hes resisting or not and use that resistance to your advantage.
James D; Great post - thanks. Im not thinking of giving up Aikido at all, I love Aikido! I just wonder if it could benefit from a more sporting outlook in general.

Very interesting discussion so far. Id be very interested if anyone else thinks they have a clearer distinction between sport and budo?

Cheers

Edward
02-13-2007, 10:59 PM
James, I did not mean that aikido is a cardiovascular exercice by stating that aikido is not a fighting art. I meant to say that aikido is a self-defense art, not a fighting art. Let's not deviate the subject of this thread, which wants to say that aikido should be trained and approached as a sport in order to be effective. As Kevin said above, it's not the art it's the practitioner. But as a principle, Aikido will not leave you unconscious outside a pub, it has been designed for self-defense, including bar brawls.I do not consider Aikido as a dance either, I train very hard, and attack my Nage with full intent and honesty, I just don't believe in competition and sparring, which I have done extensively during my Judo days (when I was younger and had better knees). Also I personally know Karate andn Tae Kwon Do instructors who do not believe in competition, and do not consider their arts as sports. They only train in Kata and paired exercices. They learn a lot of self-defense moves, many of which resemble aikido or jujutsu. Coincidentally, the students do very well in competitions (since they are required for grading by the associations) even though they never do it in the class.

Kevin Leavitt
02-13-2007, 11:26 PM
I believe if it were indeed true that if the sole motivation of aikido were self defense...then we'd have a whole other dynamic going on in the art than what we commonly do.

No, there is much more to it than that.

It is understanding the nature and spectrum of conflict. We use various attacks and situations to understand it.

Commonly we look at uke only as a tool for nage and draw the conclusion that nage is the one doing the aikido to nage who is only attacking...and that attack is external to aikido.

I think that in order to understand aikido and the nature of conflict that it is important to understand fighting, maybe not from a reality standpoint, but at a core level.

We get into big trouble, as I discuss in my post above, when we try and transpose the methodology parochially, literally, and fundamentally to reality.

Aikido won't leave you unconscious outside a bar....usually there is a direct correalation to the amount of alcohol that you consumed in the bar that set things in motion that lead to your subsequent unconsciousness. So if we are going to transpose and apply a prior events, this event, not your aikido training probably had more to do with that.

I think it is a false correalation to form this attachment to aikido and transpose it.

Aiki Liu
02-14-2007, 12:28 AM
The bar thing was a hypothetical situation gents. I simply meant Id rather have aiki that works but might be rough round the edges than great kata but still get knocked out in a fight.
Edward Im very interested in your statement that you train "with full intent and honesty". What is your intent when you attack then? To kill or maim your opponent? To touch him? What do you mean by this "full intent". In randori, it is very easy for uke to have "full intent" to tag tori with the tanto and very easy for him to also have "full intent" to stay upright and I think sport furthers both these intents.
Why do you not believe in sparring?
And what is the relevance of the karate and taekwondo teachers who do not spar?
Kevin, I do not believe the sole purpose of aikido is self defence either. As stated in my OP, its a sport that can give you the edge in a fight.

Regards

mikebalko
02-14-2007, 12:48 AM
Boxing does not blend well with aikido because pro boxing, by it's very nature( stances, postures, and manner of striking) was designed to entertain sadists (Olympic style boxing looks like fencing which is not a popular spectator sport). Both pro boxers hitting each other simultaneously is common(world champions and top ten ranked fighters included), as is ai uchi in kendo(as it was in duels).In order to understand aikido it is necessary to truely understand striking and attacking with a deadly weapon in an enlightened way.Only when both participants can attack each other at the same time, without a designated uke and nage, without either one ever being able to make contact can the realistic practice of aikido throws begin. Granted the vast majority of those teaching aikido(direct students of the founder included) are not able to do this. At this level it becomes pointless to be the attacker(although there are ways to safely "pass someone" without attacking in order to get out of the middle of a group of attackers,if he attacks you are able to strike or throw) which makes sparring or a sporting aspect irrelevant. The only way to get to this level is by sparring ironically, but not boxing sparring! I recommend as much armor as possible for weapons sparring and goggles and a cup for empty hand striking sparring. It is basically point sparring, if you get hit on the wrist or in the face with boken or jo, stop, because you would if you weren't wearing any armor. If you get kicked in the groin, have fingers thrust into your eyes than stop, because if you weren't wearing a cup and eye protection you would.This is something that has been proven by mma guys and boxers even though they wear gloves and groin protection. The thing is you don't have to hit as hard as they do( it is actually impossible to reach this enlightened level of striking I mentioned earlier if you do) so no real risk of injury. Once nobody can hit anybody else watch how the aikido throws practically happen by themselves! The only way uke can resist is by opening himself up for a crippling strike. By never offering any opening for a strike uke makes it impossible for himself to resist a throw. It is a matter of uke choosing to do a harmless roll instead of being hit with devastating blow. Interesting side effects are that breakfalls disappear from practice(it is easy to finish someone off with a kick after they have been slammed into the ground and are just laying there,even if it is just for a second) it also becomes impossible to do any of the pins, because you can break an arm or finish someone off with a strike from that position.

mikebalko
02-14-2007, 12:53 AM
Boxing does not blend well with aikido because pro boxing, by it's very nature( stances, postures, and manner of striking) was designed to entertain sadists (Olympic style boxing looks like fencing which is not a popular spectator sport). Both pro boxers hitting each other simultaneously is common(world champions and top ten ranked fighters included), as is ai uchi in kendo(as it was in duels).In order to understand aikido it is necessary to truely understand striking and attacking with a deadly weapon in an enlightened way.Only when both participants can attack each other at the same time, without a designated uke and nage, without either one ever being able to make contact with a strike or clinch and take the other to the ground can the realistic practice of aikido throws begin. Granted the vast majority of those teaching aikido(direct students of the founder included) are not able to do this. At this level it becomes pointless to be the attacker(although there are ways to safely "pass someone" without attacking in order to get out of the middle of a group of attackers,if he attacks you are able to strike or throw) which makes sparring or a sporting aspect irrelevant. The only way to get to this level is by sparring ironically, but not boxing sparring! I recommend as much armor as possible for weapons sparring and goggles and a cup for empty hand sparring. It is basically point sparring, if you get hit on the wrist or in the face with boken or jo, stop, because you would if you weren't wearing any armor. If you get kicked in the groin, have fingers thrust into your eyes than stop, because if you weren't wearing a cup and eye protection you would.This is something that has been proven by mma guys and boxers even though they wear gloves and groin protection. The thing is you don't have to hit as hard as they do( it is actually impossible to reach this enlightened level of striking I mentioned earlier if you do) so no real risk of injury. Once nobody can hit anybody else watch how the aikido throws practically happen by themselves! The only way uke can resist is by opening himself up for a crippling strike. By never offering any opening for a strike uke makes it impossible for himself to resist a throw. It is a matter of uke choosing to do a harmless roll instead of being hit with devastating blow. Interesting side effects are that breakfalls disappear from practice(it is easy to finish someone off with a kick after they have been slammed into the ground and are just laying there,even if it is just for a second) it also becomes impossible to do any of the pins, because you can break an arm or finish someone off with a strike from that position.

CNYMike
02-14-2007, 01:19 AM
.... I love Aikido! I just wonder if it could benefit from a more sporting outlook in general....

This assumes there is something "wrong" with Aikido that does not have a "sporting outlook." I prefer not to think of things as right or wrong but just different. There are advantages and disadvantages to havign a sporting outlook and not having it.

For myself, I think Aikido should maintane whatever it is that makes it distinct from everything else. I'm training in five systems with varrying levels of sparring, and of course, Aikido has none, but that doesn't bother me! I am not going to Aikido just to see if they can regurgitate what I get from my other classes; I want to see what Aikido does.


Very interesting discussion so far. Id be very interested if anyone else thinks they have a clearer distinction between sport and budo?

Cheers

Personally I think this is one of those questions that sounds simple but is actually more complicated.

Certainly, Judo, Karate-Do, and Kendo all have competitions, yet all are considered Budo. An people from those arts, myself included, find their way to Aikido, although whether they do Aikido in combination with those arts or switch to Aikido from elsewhere is another matter. Point is I think there's a lot of overlap between the two areas, but that does not mean Aikido should change to "catch up" to everyone else. You might undermine the very reasons why people are attracted to it in the first place!

Aiki Liu
02-14-2007, 01:57 AM
Errrr.....so Mike, tell me, have you reached this "enlightened striking" stage yet where, erm, no one hits each other...? And it must be quite difficult throwing someone wearing a suit of armour and goggles......Good to also see that enlightened striking is also practiced by not hitting each other very hard and yet at the same time having the knowledge you could deliver a "crippling strike" at any moment.
Your assertion that boxing was made for the enjoyment of sadists is both base and incorrect. Since man walked on two feet weve been fist fighting. Its simply been refined to a point where we can now enjoy it as a spectator sport. Nobody saw a gap in the market and "invented" boxing. How then does boxing appeal to sadists? Boxing is an art every bit as much as aikido and the fact that you fail to see this strikes me as interesting.
Michael G, Im not suggesting theres anything "wrong" with aikido at all. Im wondering about aikidos "evolution". We dont have to ride the sports wave at all. Im simply for it but that doesnt mean theres anything "wrong" with aiki.
cheers

Edward
02-14-2007, 02:06 AM
Edward Im very interested in your statement that you train "with full intent and honesty". What is your intent when you attack then? To kill or maim your opponent? To touch him? What do you mean by this "full intent". In randori, it is very easy for uke to have "full intent" to tag tori with the tanto and very easy for him to also have "full intent" to stay upright and I think sport furthers both these intents.
Why do you not believe in sparring?
And what is the relevance of the karate and taekwondo teachers who do not spar?
Regards

James,

What I meant is that I attack with the intention to hit. Some Nage attacks stop at the surface, but I usually aim about 20 cm inside Nage for a Tsuki, and with a Shomen Uchi I aim to cut the opponent from the head down to his stomach. I also aim at where Nage is, not where I know he will move. I try to use as much intensity as possible, probably 50% of full power, otherwise I wouldn't last till the end of the session. Doing this makes aikido techniques work better because I genuinely loose my balance when Nage goes out of the way. I don't believe that one can genuinely strike and not loose balance because one expects the resistance of a hard object, flesh and bones, and if this resistance is not encountered one has to loose balance.

I do not believe in sparring as a learning tool out of experience. I used to practice Judo and being faced with another Judoka who knows exactly what I would and would not do nullifies both partis and makes it very difficult to apply any technique successfully without resorting to some strategy of faints and half-techniques before applying the real one. After a while it becomes second-nature and it becomes very difficult to let go of the bad habits acquired in sparring.

The street environment is different in the sense that there might be one or more opponents, you don't know what they will do and they don't either. If they don't know you personally they would usually assume you don't know how to defend yourself (the thug mentality) of course if you don't warn them by showing them some funny MA stances like they usually do in the movies.

That's why I believe that the artificial environment of sparring can be misleading as it does not recreate a street fight environment, and of course as mentioned sparring distorts your techniques as you try to adapt them to work on opponents from the same art.

Hence the example of the non-sparring Karate and TKD classes that I mentioned, to show that some instructors also see the drawbacks of sparring and approach their art as purely "traditional". I've seen their students win (and loose) their compulsory matches in a very pure MA way, because their technique remained clean, not distorted by frequent sparring. By pure I mean no faints and no jabs and no funny stuff, they won almost like performing a Kata or a Kumite, one block, one atemi, match over.

DaveS
02-14-2007, 06:47 AM
Not sure if you are referring to the tsuki used in tanto randori being an "unrealistic" attack, but if this were the case you should do some research on the most popular form of knife-attack related deaths (in the West at least). Most deaths from knife attacks come in the form of an ambush where one is shanked or stabbed. The only difference between the tsuki in tanto randori and a shanking is the ma ai and sometimes the intent (sometimes).
Good point. I think it would be fair to say that a shiai bout isn't (and isn't meant to be) a particularly realistic simulation of a knife fight, though.

L. Camejo
02-14-2007, 07:00 AM
Good point. I think it would be fair to say that a shiai bout isn't (and isn't meant to be) a particularly realistic simulation of a knife fight, though.Of course. Totally agree.:)

me32dc
02-14-2007, 12:08 PM
Dominic C; How can Budo not involve competition? Is this dependant on your interpretation of competition? Obviously everyone from Miyamoto Musashi to O Sensei and beyond have competed whether it be in a sword fight to the death or throwing a judo player to see who should study at whos dojo. Surely the very definition of a warrior (bushi) implies someone who fights and therefore competes?


In my eyes, competition is not fighting.
A street fight has no rules, no limits noting.
A competition has all of these. There and time limits, move limits, certain things can and can not be done etc. If you train to compete you are not training to fight.

This to me is the difference between sport and budo.
Boxing is a sport
Aikido is budo (except the style you practice, which i consider a sport)

DonMagee
02-14-2007, 12:34 PM
I'd still put my money on the boxer in a fight though.

CNYMike
02-14-2007, 12:36 PM
.... Im not suggesting theres anything "wrong" with aikido at all. Im wondering about aikidos "evolution" ....

The thing is that a martial art isn't just a collection of techniques but a snapshot of the thinking of the person who founded it, in this case O Sensei. So while there is enough wiggle room that everyone who teaches it is different from their teachers and peers, and that goes all the way back to O Sensei's earlierst students, if you wiggle to far, you lose something. Go too far, it may not be Aikido anymore. It's a tricky balancing act, but one you're making whether you want to or not. So any "evolution" has to be with those issues in mind. At least IMO. What you do is your business, but that's what I think.

Kevin Leavitt
02-14-2007, 12:49 PM
I will take a well trained MMA sport fighter who has rules and put him up against any aikido purist almost any day of the week in a street fight and put my money on the MMA sport fighter...with ""no rules'".

all things equal...do you really think you could beat Tito Ortiz? ...or any of our aikido sensei???

Sure it is possible to gain the element of suprise any day of the week, or to pull a gun, or have your buddies join in. knife someone from behind. These things do happen in real life. Does aikido really prepare you do deal with these things. I think not, they are all equal things that apply to any real situation and cancel out pretty much any empty hand training.

That is why I say all things equal.

Aikido does not equal budo, there are aikidoka that are budoka though. I have met plenty of aikidoka that do not understand budo at all.

Toby Threadgill
02-14-2007, 01:03 PM
Hi Guys,

Interesting points of view.

I understand exactly where Mr Wilson is coming from. I started my martial arts training in sport. Western fencing, followed by Wado ryu karate and then Thai Boxing. About 20 years ago I got involved in Koryu jujutsu and only continue that pursuit today. From direct experience I consider competitive engagement as a portion of your training experience VERY important. Many of the best practitioners of koryu jujutsu in my organization are those who have trained or continue to train in budo sport. That's just the fact of it. Without some competitive element or form of shiai in your training paradigm you cannot address some vital elements existing in actual physical conflict. That said, training only in budo sport has enormous pitfalls if you're considering practical defense to be an aim of you training.

I presented my opinions on this topic best in an essay over on Aikido Journal titled "Assumptions" It is available here if anyone is interested.

http://www.shinyokai.com/Essays_Assumptions.htm

FWIW...One of my top instructors in koryu jujutsu is Dave Nettles, 6th dan in Shodokan Aikido and chief instructor of JAA USA. The competitive element in his training in Shodokan Aikido has served Dave very well in his pursuit of studying koryu jujutsu.

On the topic of what defines budo vs sport, I agree with those who present the opinion that budo is greatly a mindset. I have seen those in competitive sport who are doing both sport and budo at the same time and admire them greatly for the discipline they display. Unfortunately I have also witnessed those doing budo only as sport. Budo performed only as sport is not evolution in my opinion, but degeneration. It reduces the dignity and moral conscience of budo to insignificance, resulting in the competitive element of training becoming an end unto itself instead of a means towards a greater end. To paraphrase a common idiom, competition sometimes becomes the tail wagging the budo dog. With the loss of a greater duty to the moral objectives associated with budo, ego gratification frequently becomes the driving force of the training experience, with all the problems that entails.

So is sport the new budo? I don't think so. Sport in the context of budo can be either valuable or destructive depending on the context in which it is utilized and tempered.

All the best,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR

Kevin Leavitt
02-14-2007, 01:55 PM
Here is a short 3 minute video that shows what I consider to be a good blend of sport, competition, and warrior ethos (budo). Matt Larsen sums it up pretty good at the end of the video.

I understand that not everryone can or should train this way, but it is possible and it is being done not only in the Army, but in other schools as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEDkzD0ULKo

Kevin Leavitt
02-14-2007, 02:02 PM
Here is another link for the Army's Combatives Competition. Does a good job showing how competition plays a part in developing soldiers in the warrior ethos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVY5VU5B-iE

Josh Reyer
02-14-2007, 02:45 PM
Kevin,

Honestly, how much is it competition instilling the warrior ethos, versus the entire Army training and indoctrination program?

Let me put it this way. Many bemoan the "sportification" of judo, and feel it turned a viable budo into simply just a sport, a game with rules, and that the "character-building" aspects of judo are then no greater than, say, the character building aspects of baseball. I don't know if I would make this argument, but let's assume it is true for the moment. Compared to that, the Army's CQC is not simply a martial art that uses competition, it is rather a small part of a sogo budo, a comprehensive martial art system, that includes weapons, tactics, and strategy. The Army can afford to play up the competition aspect of the training because a) there is a strict rank based hierarchy to keep egos relatively in check (being the heavyweight champion of the tournament doesn't change your place in the pecking order), and b) there is a HUGE focus on the practical application of these techniques (and others) to neutralize an enemy. In a sense, it's almost impossible for any amount of sport competition in the Army to degenerate it's "budo", if you will, since the practioners are constantly trained for and (these days particularly) put into actual life or death situations. I don't know if you can isolate the CQC from the indoctrination and training the Army achieves in more breadth and depth than any other martial art.

Josh Reyer
02-14-2007, 03:01 PM
Kevin,

Honestly, how much is it competition instilling the warrior ethos, versus the entire Army training and indoctrination program?

Let me put it this way. Many bemoan the "sportification" of judo, and feel it turned a viable budo into simply just a sport, a game with rules, and that the "character-building" aspects of judo are then no greater than, say, the character building aspects of baseball. I don't know if I would make this argument, but let's assume it is true for the moment. Compared to that, the Army's CQC is not simply a martial art that uses competition, it is rather a small part of a sogo budo, a comprehensive martial art system, that includes weapons, tactics, and strategy. The Army can afford to play up the competition aspect of the training because a) there is a strict rank based hierarchy to keep egos relatively in check (being the heavyweight champion of the tournament doesn't change your place in the pecking order), and b) there is a HUGE focus on the practical application of these techniques (and others) to neutralize an enemy. In a sense, it's almost impossible for any amount of sport competition in the Army to degenerate it's "budo", if you will, since the practioners are constantly trained for and (these days particularly) put into actual life or death situations. I don't know if you can isolate the CQC from the indoctrination and training the Army achieves in more breadth and depth than any other martial art.

DonMagee
02-14-2007, 03:30 PM
Nice links, I got a kick out of watching that.

L. Camejo
02-14-2007, 05:03 PM
Great essay Sensei Threadgill.

Assumptions - there is the kicker.

LC:ai::ki:

DaveS
02-14-2007, 08:40 PM
In my eyes, competition is not fighting.
A street fight has no rules, no limits noting.
A competition has all of these. There and time limits, move limits, certain things can and can not be done etc. If you train to compete you are not training to fight. I agree with these statements but (and I keep saying this) what if you compete to train? Any training method has rules, even if they're unwritten and self enforced. Competition isn't fighting, but nor is kata training, free randori or, well, pretty much any training method used by any martial arts school out there.

Aiki Liu
02-15-2007, 12:27 AM
Excellent posts guys,
Thanks very much for your opinions, all of which are very interesting.
Dominic, if I may take issue with your post, you wrote;


In my eyes, competition is not fighting.
A street fight has no rules, no limits noting.
A competition has all of these. There and time limits, move limits, certain things can and can not be done etc. If you train to compete you are not training to fight.

This to me is the difference between sport and budo.
Boxing is a sport
Aikido is budo (except the style you practice, which i consider a sport

Aikido also has rules. Go into your dojo and thump the nearest person in the head and see what happens - youll get kicked out. Bite tori when hes trying to move you in kote gaeshi and youll quickly be thrown out of any dojo in the world. How then does an aikido dojo better represent Budo (having no rules) than any of the sports previously mentioned?
And although there are differences between a competition fight and a street fight, who amongst us wouldnt put our money on a champion boxer or Mixed Martial Artist against a street fighter?
Cheers

Rupert Atkinson
02-15-2007, 12:48 AM
Sport is new, yes, but it is not the totallity of Budo.

I often wonder why I train - I have no idea, I just enjoy it, but what I am after is always something useful self-defence. I do not do sport Budo. It is not what I want. I have tried it but it just is not me. I did enjoy Judo but I was doing it to improve my throwing ability, not to win competitions. I didn't see it as a sport.

If someone attacks my family, say two or three yobbos wanting money, I might just give it them - in fact, it happened, and I gave them $20, yet they knew I had more. If they attack just me, I might just show it them and put it back in my pocket. Part of me would rather die than give in - that is the martial, come what may, even injury or death. And if a fight ensued, what would the boxer do against a knife or if he were taken down? Lose. And what would a BJJ guy do if taken down by three people? Lose. You can't learn everything unless you are 100% committed to training everyday training to become some kind of champion of all styles. If you do that, fine. And how much more of that testosterone will you have to get you into trouble. And what when you are older? Will it all still work? Perhaps.

What I have noticed is that people who do sports intensly (which is of course good) seem to define their whole being around it. If someone asks me what I do, I say I'm an English teacher. That is who I am. I am not a fighter, I am an English teacher. My hobby is self-defence. It is not sport. The people who I am training to defend against are not sportsmen.

Of course, having a competitive element in your training is going to be positive. Can't argue that. But what is it's purpose? To wave a trophy? Not for me.

L. Camejo
02-15-2007, 07:15 AM
For the sake of discussion I'd like to point folks to this thread on Aikiweb (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6969) where we also discussed the question of "competition in Aikido" at some point.

This post by Peter Goldsbury gives an indication of the Founder and his son's feelings on sport and competition
Sports are games and pastimes that do not involve the spirit. They are competitions only between physical bodies and not between souls. Thus, they are competitionsmerely for the sake of pleasure.

The Japanese martial arts are a competition in in how we can express and realise love that unites and protects everything in harmony and helps this world to prosper.
The entire entry can be found here - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15050&postcount=111.

In regard to the above quote and attached thread I would like to refer to my initial post in this thread. I think a big problem with how folks relate Sport and Budo stem from how people generally perceive and define both Sport and Budo.

For example, to say that sports are games and pastimes that do not involve the spirit may be very incorrect when you look at the training mindset of many Olympic level sportspersons or others who compete at the highest level of their game. The same warior spirit required for budo is found in those who take their sport very seriously imho. So outside of how we personally perceive and define the 2 things, what is the real difference based on objective evaluation?

Just a few more thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

Keith R Lee
02-15-2007, 07:43 AM
Quote:
"Sports are games and pastimes that do not involve the spirit. They are competitions only between physical bodies and not between souls. Thus, they are competitions merely for the sake of pleasure."

I find this to be 110% false and full of either ignorance or arrogance, take your pick. It sounds like something that would be said by someone who has never been around athletes at a high level of competition. Sports are often pastimes that involve the spirit. Not all the time mind you, like most things it depends on the individual, but I've encountered more spirit in a high school wrestling team right before a meet than in many dojos.

DonMagee
02-15-2007, 07:45 AM
Sport is new, yes, but it is not the totallity of Budo.

I often wonder why I train - I have no idea, I just enjoy it, but what I am after is always something useful self-defence. I do not do sport Budo. It is not what I want. I have tried it but it just is not me. I did enjoy Judo but I was doing it to improve my throwing ability, not to win competitions. I didn't see it as a sport.

If someone attacks my family, say two or three yobbos wanting money, I might just give it them - in fact, it happened, and I gave them $20, yet they knew I had more. If they attack just me, I might just show it them and put it back in my pocket. Part of me would rather die than give in - that is the martial, come what may, even injury or death. And if a fight ensued, what would the boxer do against a knife or if he were taken down? Lose. And what would a BJJ guy do if taken down by three people? Lose. You can't learn everything unless you are 100% committed to training everyday training to become some kind of champion of all styles. If you do that, fine. And how much more of that testosterone will you have to get you into trouble. And what when you are older? Will it all still work? Perhaps.

What I have noticed is that people who do sports intensly (which is of course good) seem to define their whole being around it. If someone asks me what I do, I say I'm an English teacher. That is who I am. I am not a fighter, I am an English teacher. My hobby is self-defence. It is not sport. The people who I am training to defend against are not sportsmen.

Of course, having a competitive element in your training is going to be positive. Can't argue that. But what is it's purpose? To wave a trophy? Not for me.


I see this as another rendition of the age old "But what if he has a sword?" argument. What you are saying here is that aikido training covers all situations, and sport training does not. I'd submit that aikido training does not cover all situations either and is just as vulnerable, if not more so the way its practiced by most dojo's. So what is the ultimate answer? I don't know if there is one universal answer.

The answer for me is 'aliveness'. I truly believe that training with aliveness better prepares me for situations I might encounter if I ever do need to prepare myself. I believe all the judo, bjj, mma, and boxing sparing I do helps me deal with taking the fight to where I want it to be, and being used to the stress and adrenaline of someone who wants to hurt you. I believe I would be even better prepared if I could do some aikido sparing on a consistent basis. (For that matter any other kind of sparing). I believe all the live sparing and drills with resistant partners helps me learn to be creative and work around people's resistance and modify my technique on the fly to meet any situation. And I approach this step by step. There is no reason to train against multiple attackers until you can deal with one good smart attacker. I do know a judo/bjj guy however that took down and submitted me and 2 other guys at the same time. Of course at our gym we do a lot of drills with multiple attackers to build take down defenses and submission defenses.

A good athlete is someone of good intelligence's, who never quits until he reaches his goals. A person like that will excel and adapt to most situations. I believe martial arts can turn a person into a good athlete (However, I believe great athletes are born not trained).

Of course I do not advocate that martial arts need to be sports in order to work. I advocate that you need to train with aliveness. Adding sparing, or resistance drills into any art will improve your ability to use the techniques for real. There is no reason to go to competition if you do not desire it. However competition does add a new layer or urgency and stress that club sparing does not. I do not go to competition (such as the judo competition I am going to sunday in chicago) in order to win a trophy or medal. I go to competition to fight against people I have never met, with different approaches and styles to the arts I train in. I like this because I know they are going to give me everything they got, they won't hold back like people do in the club. These people are not fighting to build up my skill level and help me out. They are fighting to beat me.

How many people can say in the dojo they have people who's sole goal is to beat them? You normally can't find that in a dojo, its not helpful in developing skill in training, plus most people are friends and therefor tend to not use the 'jerk' moves you would use on someone you just want to beat. A good example is the first rule of sparing, protect your training partner. In competition the first rule I heard was knock him out. That shows a big difference in mental attitude, which provides a much different experience in the fight. So I would have to say competition can become an important experience in your training.

Some drills I think would be effective for developing good alive aikido. Each of these should be done 2-3 minutes with 1 minute breaks. Possibly 1 station setup for each drill with a higher ranking person acting as uke so he can vary his level of resistance to match the skill of the nage.

1) Try to hit the person.
Start from a good distance apart. Possibly have uke put on MMA gloves or handwraps to protect his hands from injury, maybe boxing gloves to protect nage from injury if nage is new to full resistance drills. Have no set technique to work on. Uke's job is to try to actually hit nage anywhere in the chest as hard as he can as fast as he can as much as he can for 2-3 minutes. Nage's job is to submit or throw or knock down uke. If nage gets a clean technique, reset to starting points and continue. If Uke gets a solid undefended hit, again reset to starting points and continue. DO NOT keep score, this is a drill to help build nage's ability to move in non predictable fashion (aka I can't track you with my punch) and perform clean technique. This is not a competition. This setup should force uke to throw a lot of solid committed strikes, just touching nage should not count as a reset, it must be a solid hard strike to the chest.
2) The lift.
This is another drill to build up nage's ability to deal with minor clinching or grappling. Something people tend to do when adrenaline gets too high. It works simple, Uke has a goal of getting double underhooks and lifting nage off the ground, or pulling/taking him to the ground. He can do this any way he wishes, as long as he does it with double underhooks (both arms under the arms of nage). Nage's goal is to again perform a clean technique to throw, takedown, or submit uke. Once again, if either person achieves their goal, release, reset and continue. I have found that in unskilled attackers they normally attempt to clinch when under pressure. Its one of the two natural instincts a person has, grab on to the thing hurting you, or push away at the thing hurting you. The guys who grab are much more dangerous they the ones that bat and push away. Nage has lots of chances to stop uke from the time uke begins to close distance, to intital contact, to the actual clinch. Uke is forced to be committed because feints will never achieve his goal. Nage can also practice ki mind/body skills here if he does get clinched by working to keep himself from being lifted.

3. The reversal.
Here we actually start with a kata setup. Nage can do any technique he wants. He should not tell uke what he plans on doing. This drill is to teach nage to go with the flow and blend against resistance. Uke will perform the attack nage requests, but at the point nage begins his technique uke should do everything in his power to resist. This includes moving to regain balance, using strength, posture, even reversals to defend. This forces nage to blend and change what he is doing to perform a successful technique. The struggle continues until a statement, throw, or submission happens. Reset and start again. Of course the final goal here is to be effective enough that nothing uke does matters and your first technique is what finishes him.

Finally, each of these could also add another dimension of practice. You could require that you actually pin the uke for 2-3 seconds (with him trying to escape) or submit uke in order to complete your goal. For even more brownie points, try adding 2 more ukes.

Again, none of these should be looked at as competition. They are training drills designed to give you a small subsection of real resistance to work with, similar to how a living person would attack you. We do this by having an actual living person do their best to attack you. Ultimately the final goal would be to just have an uke to tries to throw, punch, kick, takedown, etc on you while you try to use your aikido to perform a clean aikido technique. However, even if you choose not to go to that level of aliveness, these drills I think would help improve technique in a person of any rank. These are only 3 drills I've suckered my friends into working on me with (I wouldn't mind seeing them in the dojo either). I've got at least 3 or 4 more.

L. Camejo
02-15-2007, 08:29 AM
Those are some nice drills Don. will play with those a bit if you don't mind my borrowing them. evileyes

LC:ai::ki:

DonMagee
02-15-2007, 09:00 AM
The hardest part about the drills that include striking is that I really want to work in punches to the head, but gloves really limit the ability to control the wrist and even with headgear, I'm not too keen on taking a lot of bare knuckle punches to the head.

A few other skills these drills build are the ability to see a feint. If a person throws a feint, you have no reason to defend it, thus you will really only deal with real committed attacks. This will teach you to deal with combo's as well. Something a trained fighter normally will use. You also learn to deal with the worst case situation, eating a punch and still performing. In fact another level of the punching drill is to simply move, no technique at all, just move and prevent uke from hitting you for 2-3 minutes. With a real determined uke it will be very hard, but you will learn a lot about body movement. In that case, throw on some boxing head gear and a mouth guard, and give him some gloves. Let him punch anywhere.

A couple smaller drills I use for fun are:

1) Grab my jacket.
The goal of this drill is to train you to engage before the grab takes place. And to feel the movement and read your partner. Its simple, if uke grabs your lapel and can give it a solid tug you reset. Your goal is to move or intercept his hand and perform a technique. He may grab you while falling down, because this is not competition, we do not keep track of who won, so it doesn't matter, he fell down, but he also grabbed your lapel, both of these mean reset. So reset.

2) Circle of surprise.
One of my favorite fun drills I do in bjj is this. I am going to modify it to fit aikido. Basically the instructor stands off to one side. Puts one student in the middle. Everyone else walks in a circle around the man in the middle. The instructor places his hand on each students arm as they walk past him. If he squeezes the arm, then that student can engage the person in the middle at any time before he makes it back to the instructor. Because the man in the middle has no idea who is being picked, he has no idea the direction of the attack. You could work this with any actual drill you want. I think for aikido it would work best with a underhook or grab drill. Basically the person squeezed has to take down or lift off the ground the person in the middle. So if the person in the middle falls down, or is lifted for more then 2 seconds, he is taken out of the middle and a new student put in his place. If the person picked to rush in is thrown, submitted, or pinned, he goes back to the circle. If the person in the middle continues to win, or, if the student picked is not being thrown, submitted,or pinned, but can't achieve his goal, the instructor can flag another student to turn this into a multiple attacker situation, until ultimately the student in the middle is defeated. (That's my favorite part about this drill).

2) Worst case scenario
This drill is a modification of the first 3 drills I posted. Basically you pick one of those drills, but start it from a bad position for nage. A good example is have someone start with double underhooks, or over/under (one arm under the arms, one arm over the arms) from behind on nage. When time starts the uke needs to take down nage, or submit him. Nage needs to get him off his back and/or do the same. Once the goal is achieved, they switch places with nage becoming uke and continue. You could combine this with the striking drill. One person holding nage from behind, with another person on a 4 second timer to come in striking. Nage must throw/pin/submit both partners before he is struck, throw, or submitted. In this case the puncher should probably either be smart enough to not drill nage while the other uke is holding him, or wear boxing gloves. Aikido teaches one punch can kill. So if you are are hit, concider yourself dead. You could also start with one person on each arm as if trying to secure nage. If nage escapes both, submits or throws his ukes, reset. If ukes hold nage for more then 30 seconds, or take him to the ground, reset, swaping out one of the ukes for nage.

Basically, just pick a bad spot to start from, and pick a drill. Mix and match at its best, you can incorporate walls, maybe a heavy bag on the ground to act as a obstacle, etc.

Last one I'll post for now

4) knife from nowhere.
This is an add on drill to any of the other drills mentioned. Each uke has a rubber knife tucked away somewhere reachable. Before each drill, the ukes all come together and pick which one of them (or the instructor can choose) will pull the knife during the drill and attempt to stab his nage. It is important that the nages do not know who this person or persons will be, just that they understand the threat that someone 'might' have a knife. The nage's are not allowed to use the knife against uke until the uke pulls the knife (or attempts to). Remeber all ukes need to have the knife on them so nage just can't look and see uke has a knife. He won't know its a knife attack until uke goes for the knife. This is because it is hard to hide a knife in a gi, but on the street it is easy to hide a knife. This drill teaches you awareness and practical knife defense skills in semi realistic drills. To really make this tough, if you are not aware and you do get stabbed, require you do 10 pushups, increasing by 5 every time you get stabbed in later drills that day. (so 10 first time, 15 second time, 20 the third time.)

The most important part in these drills is that you have fun, but stay serious about your goals. And DO NOT keep score!

Kevin Leavitt
02-15-2007, 09:37 AM
Joshua wrote:

Honestly, how much is it competition instilling the warrior ethos, versus the entire Army training and indoctrination program?

You bring up some good points. You are correct, the Army has a full spectrum of training that would balance out things, so competition is but one piece of a big picture.

However, I think we are addressing the basic argument that competition as it relates to budo, and that it can be a part of it.

If your total focus is sport and winning, well i'd say you are not practicing budo. Can there be room in Judo or other arts for both....I think so, it is all a state of mind or perspective, and how you train.

I train primarily for Budo and reality, however, what I do can very quickly and rapidly be adjusted for sport.

It does not take much smarts or skill to figure out and transition from sport to reality. People have the basic brains to be able to do this for the most part.

There are those that are delusional though for sure.

Kevin Leavitt
02-15-2007, 09:52 AM
Good drills Don. I am going to work on some of these.

In our Combatives classes at some point in our week of trainng we will introduce a taser. The instructor will secretly slip it to someone, you never know who and then when you are fighting they will pull it out and shock you with it.

It is amazing how it motivates an awareness towards watching for weapons.

Budd
02-15-2007, 10:35 AM
Kevin, I just spat up water reading that last part. Now I have an image of a GI going for a Kimura suddenly getting a "shock" . . .

Good stuff.

L. Camejo
02-15-2007, 10:38 AM
Kevin, I'm liking that taser idea. evileyes You guys have some good stuff that I can add to some training programs I am developing for security stuff. Application to Aikido training can yield some quite interesting results also.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

senshincenter
02-15-2007, 12:15 PM
Up front, I agree with many of the positions stated thus far – more of them on the “competition” side of things. Additionally, I played sports all my life – at national and international levels, being invited to the Olympic Training camp in two different sports. Yet, in the end, I come down on the side that there is a distinction between Budo (i.e. Aikido) and Sport – that there should be.

Mr. Wilson asked, “I’d be very interested if anyone else thinks they have a clearer distinction between sport and budo?”

An answer was given, one I fully agree with, but it seems the discussion has gone on to other things. I wanted to bring some attention back to it, please/thanks.

Mr. Threadgill stated: “Budo performed only as sport is not evolution in my opinion, but degeneration. It reduces the dignity and moral conscience of budo to insignificance, resulting in the competitive element of training becoming an end unto itself instead of a means towards a greater end. To paraphrase a common idiom, competition sometimes becomes the tail wagging the budo dog. With the loss of a greater duty to the moral objectives associated with budo, ego gratification frequently becomes the driving force of the training experience, with all the problems that entails.”

For me, what is important to note is the difference being mentioned between “means” and “ends.” It is not that one can look at sports or budo and not see every single element that makes each one up being shared between the two. One does. This is why each one can benefit from the other one, should an element be missing for some strange reason. In other words, as was stated, a budoka can make great gains by introducing competitive elements into his/her training, as an athlete can make great gains by pursuing his/her sport via the full investment or application of the heart/mind and/or spirit. Attempting to define and/or redefine what constitutes a “gain” is not going to take us away from the fact that all elements are capable of being shared and are shared at the highest level of each endeavor.

Historically, there is a reason for this, in my opinion – why there is so much in common between the two. At the turn of the 20th century, folks in the modern world (which included Japan), facing the difficulties of urbanization, industrialization, colonialism, and imperialism, started to take the old political discourse of the Same and the Other to new levels and toward new directions. In particular, folks needed to find a “Same” that functioned according to the emerging international abstractions at the same time that they needed the proposed dominance over the Other, to justify things like national security “naturally.” One of the most influential discourses that set out to do this was that of Muscular Christianity. In short, everyone was talking about the role that physical training played not only in the overall wellness of the individual but also in the wellness of the modern state in a growing global economy. From this point on, folks had to start talking like this – like we are now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscular_Christianity

However, while everyone started talking about fixing things through physical activity, discourses like Muscular Christianity, via the uses they could bring to colonialism and imperialism, also started talking about the vitality of competition. The Modern Olympiad was born out of this in fact. Up to this point, in my opinion, while a great many folks could talk about the importance of physical conditioning in regards to the wellness of the individual (since that has had an ancient history), some folks seriously questioned that competition could achieve this as well. Looking at this, Osenei seems to have been one of these people. Debates, both within and outside of sports, were waged – for example, the professional/amateur dichotomy not really reaching reconciliation until a century later.

In my opinion, the nature of the debates centered on what Mr. Threadgill noted already. While no one was denying that physical training could be part of a technology of the self, folks felt that competition ultimately led things in the wrong direction. In particular, in competition, the spirit is used to gain victory over another, to compete better. In the end, it is the performance of oneself within competition that measures how much spirit or at what level the spirit was involved. Because one only knows the spirit by how well one defeats another with it, for example, folks were heavily skeptical that this indeed could bring individual or international wellness. Folks like Osensei, folks that were into “victory over the self” and “peace and unity on Earth” had an entirely different agenda when it came to the cultivation of the spirit. For them, the spirit was not the means to the ends. It was the end, and all the woes and ills of Modernity could only be addressed by this position.

As it turns out, folks in the know are finally beginning to realize that the losing side at the turn of the 20th century – folks like Osensei – were right.

To see what this might mean:

(On how youth sports are setting prescriptions to address the downside of seeing competition/victory as an end. From the National Association of Youth Sports:)

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:0gNUfMPpfXMJ:www.nays.org/TimeOut/National%2520Standards.pdf+%22why+these+standards+were+developed%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us&client=firefox-a

(On the down side of what happens to the spirit when competition is the end and not the means. From the Department of Education:)

http://www.higheredcenter.org/pubs/factsheets/fact_sheet3.html

So, one might want to ask what training with the spirit as the end looks like... Well, while it might include competitive elements, it does not require competition as any sort of defining conclusion. Training with the spirit as the end does not require competition to demarcate the spirit into existence. In other words, the virtues gained come without the need to be contrasted or measured against the lack of virtue in another. For example, one is confident without having to defeat another before knowing that that is true; one is brave without having to defeat another before knowing that that is true. Etc. From this point of view, while facing one's fears in the ring says a lot, especially in light of someone who cannot face such fears, it does not mean that such facing does not present a lessor virtue in light of the person who needs no such contrast.

fwiw,
dmv

Kevin Leavitt
02-15-2007, 12:54 PM
LOL Bud, sorry about that! Yeah it does put the Kimura into a whole nuther perspective and makes you think about that other hand. You see guys that are proficient at grappling become a fish out of water.

What is nice about the taser is the immediate feedback. With plastic, rubber, or wooden knifes, there simply is not enough feedback for the guy being stabbed to react appropriately, however the taser provides good feedback via the temporary and sudden pain.

We found the same issue in training with blanks and MILES lasers with weapons. MILES is accurate and provides feedback, but without real bullets soldiers simply ignore suppressive fire, or don't realize they have effective fires being placed on them...so it becomes all or none...either they are alive or dead.

Once we got simunitions (plastic bullets) into the mix, it changes how someone being shot at reacts dramatically!

Even with projectile weapons training...there are varying degrees of aliveness!

Anyway, this gets off subject! so I will leave it alone now.

me32dc
02-15-2007, 02:25 PM
Excellent posts guys,
Thanks very much for your opinions, all of which are very interesting.
Dominic, if I may take issue with your post, you wrote;


In my eyes, competition is not fighting.
A street fight has no rules, no limits noting.
A competition has all of these. There and time limits, move limits, certain things can and can not be done etc. If you train to compete you are not training to fight.

This to me is the difference between sport and budo.
Boxing is a sport
Aikido is budo (except the style you practice, which i consider a sport

Aikido also has rules. Go into your dojo and thump the nearest person in the head and see what happens - youll get kicked out. Bite tori when hes trying to move you in kote gaeshi and youll quickly be thrown out of any dojo in the world. How then does an aikido dojo better represent Budo (having no rules) than any of the sports previously mentioned?
And although there are differences between a competition fight and a street fight, who amongst us wouldnt put our money on a champion boxer or Mixed Martial Artist against a street fighter?
Cheers

Putting the issue of which is best (boxing, aikido etc) aside as that is another discussion completely.

What you are discussing is training. Training has to be done under strict control so people do not get hurt.

Competition is different.
Gozo Shioda puts it best when he answers why aikido does not have competition in his biography Aikido Shugyo:

"Aikido must not make the same mistake as Judo which, although it has achieved growth as a sport, places too much emphasis solely on competitions. It has abandoned effective techniques that could actually be used in a real fight and has become ineffective today as a martial art."

This is only a short extract (and i highly reccomend reading the rest) but the long and short of it is that even though competition can be hotly contested it can never compare to real combat which budo tries to train you for. Rather than training to be good at competition.

Although i can not personally comment because i have not been training long (in Yoshinkan), but i have heard that other forms of aikido and dojos are as far removed from budo as most modern sport. Even dojos in japan.

DonMagee
02-15-2007, 02:39 PM
Actually, being a judo and a bjj man. I do the see the problem judo has created for itself. It was not the competition that caused the problem though, it was the changing of the rules to prevent outsiders from winning judo competitions. Because of rule changes to beat wrestlers, sambo, non traditional newaza guys or jj guys, and to place nice with Olympic boards, then watered down what was effective into something less effective. In preparing for this upcoming judo competition most of my training was in what was illegal. I had to constantly go over what I couldn't do. This has really highlighted to me the weakness in judo sport vs the art of judo. And why I love bjj competition where a much larger range of things are legal (leg locks, wrist locks, neck cranks, ankle locks, tons of throws that are illegal in judo, etc) However, I fear bjj might eventually head down that same path. I already know people that have never practiced a leg lock in their life simply because it is illegal in white and blue belt competition.

This is even a smaller issue though in MMA. By nature of the mindset behind MMA the only things that are made illegal are things that either A) would cause a large amount of deaths or perminat injurys that can not be recovered from (like blindness) such as striking to the base of the skull or eye gouges, or B) Are really just annoying or disfiguring, but rarely change the outcome of a fight such as scratching at the face, or pinching.

But I think what is to be stressed here has been said a thousand times. You can compete and have budo, but if you do nothing but train for competition, it will be hard to have budo. I personally do not train for competition. I train to improve my ability to fight, only when competitions get close do I switch focus to how to win in competition. Of course I also do not concider what I do to be budo.

Ron Tisdale
02-15-2007, 03:02 PM
In our Combatives classes at some point in our week of trainng we will introduce a taser. The instructor will secretly slip it to someone, you never know who and then when you are fighting they will pull it out and shock you with it.

It is amazing how it motivates an awareness towards watching for weapons.

Funny...I posted something similar (using a wooden tanto) not long ago, and was accused of belonging to a cult... :D You sure that doesn't equal assault? :)

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
02-15-2007, 03:02 PM
Don,

When I prepared for the European's over the past two months, I had to spend time playing to the BJJ rules and reminding myself that I could not do leg locks, and a few other things like put two hands on the belt etc.

When I got to the tournament I saw a ton of people jumping guard. I asked my instructor, Jacare about this as I do not condone jumping guard in practice, he said, it was valid if you have a good guard game.

I found out in my second fight in the open why you want to do this in competition when I fought my opponent who would not fight me for the take down for about 3.5 minutes of a 5 minute round. The ref stopped the fight and said we had to fight...so I did, shot, he sprawled, eventually I rolled to guard, and he passed...got the points for the pass and one the fight.

In retrospect, I could have won the fight if I would have done several things that were in the spirit of the game...not reality...however, I do not train BJJ this way.

As far as leg locks go...I saw why you do not do them in BJJ at the lower belts. No less than five guys were carried off the mat on stretcher due to leg locks.

In the BJJ schools I am in...we don't practice for the game/comptetion, but for reality. We augment our training to do well in tournaments, however that is not the purpose of us going to tournaments...to solely play the game to win.

My local German Judo school: I don't train with them, because like you said, they have watered down so much of what they do, I cannot begin to even train with proper ettiquette with them as it scare them when I do things sometimes, and I cringe when they do some of the things they do in the name of sport....AND they do not know the difference! that is what is scary.

Cyrijl
02-15-2007, 03:19 PM
The most ridiculous quote of the day goes to:

"Aikido must not make the same mistake as Judo which, although it has achieved growth as a sport, places too much emphasis solely on competitions. It has abandoned effective techniques that could actually be used in a real fight and has become ineffective today as a martial art."


As opposed to aikido?

In my judo classes I would call most of what we do 'effective'. We also do a fair amount of newaza and have an entire night dedicated solely to newaza randoori. You can quote whoever about whatever, it does not excuse poor training and weak technique.

Kevin Leavitt
02-15-2007, 03:31 PM
Agreed Joseph. we really get ourselves in a bind when we use the word EFFECTIVE don't we?

To me, at least when you say effective, it means physically martially effective.

You have opened up a whole other can of worms once you go down this path.

One in which I do not think the so-called budo arts especially, really adequately prepare their students to be physcially martially effective.

correct posture, principle, technique, and practice, is all good and may translate to reality, but that does not mean it equals reality or effectiveness.

I just wrote a thesis paper on the military decision making process....part of one of my points on choosing courses of actions and decision making in the military is that we sometimes get caught up in making the most efficient decision based on cost, or over all percieved efficiency, with very, very detailed analysis. This is done at the expense of time.

Sometimes you simply need a plan that works, not the best one, or the most efficient..simply one that does the job!

Martially Effective works the same way, we don't always need the BEST solution or the most principally sound one...but one that works.

effectiveness...one word...with sooo, sooo much meaning and implications behind it.

Cyrijl
02-15-2007, 04:23 PM
Some people are just in denial. They dedicate their lives to something and do not want to adimt they may have made a mistake or have had some misunderstandings. So, they try to appeal to some other authority in order to justify themselves since they have no means by which to demonstrate their point.

All these quotes from old aikido masters and anecdote after anecdote, especially the 'assumptions' one, make me realize even more that the art form is full of people with delusions. Unable to defend their own opinion or training they seek to disparage others.

At the end of the day...if you are training for self-defense...budo...whatever euphemism you wish to use....how do you KNOW your training will be effective? Failing certainty (someone will say you can never know...which is part of their problem), by which standard do you measure your training?

For me, i have been hit. I know what it feels like. I can tell when someone else is going to hit me since the body moves in certain ways. I know what I am capable of doing in terms of reactions times and flexibility. From judo I know how to instinctively fall in the correct manner as to now smash my head on the ground.

deepsoup
02-15-2007, 04:35 PM
Lots of good stuff in this thread. I'm not sure I entirely agree with some of what James has had to say.

I especially liked the pithy little sentence at the end of one of the vids Kevin L posted:
'What characterises a warrior is the willingness to close with the enemy.' Great quote. (And some great posts on this thread, Kevin, a real pleasure to read.)


A street fight has no rules, no limits noting.


This may be true in a very small minority of cases. But generally, there are rules. Like any other form of social interaction, there are unwritten rules that we learned as kids. If what you said were true, most fights would end in murder or maiming, in fact most end with no permanent injury to either party.
You could compare a lot of "street fights" to animal behaviour, tussles for dominance, mates or territory. In fact, it seems to me a lot of bar brawl type things even have a kind of ritual courtship dance as a prelude.

Aikido is budo (except the style you practice, which i consider a sport)
You're entitled to your opinion, out of curiousity though, what experience do you base that on? I certainly consider Shodokan aikido to be a budo. Shishida Shihan says its budo too, and given that he's the Professor of Budo History at Waseda University, I'm inclined to take his word for it. :)

Btw: James, where do you practice?

dbotari
02-15-2007, 04:57 PM
The most ridiculous quote of the day goes to:



As opposed to aikido?

In my judo classes I would call most of what we do 'effective'. We also do a fair amount of newaza and have an entire night dedicated solely to newaza randoori. You can quote whoever about whatever, it does not excuse poor training and weak technique.

and

Some people are just in denial.
[snip]
All these quotes from old aikido masters and anecdote after anecdote, especially the 'assumptions' one, make me realize even more that the art form is full of people with delusions. Unable to defend their own opinion or training they seek to disparage others.



Might I suggest that you read Shioda'a Aikido Shugyo before you dismiss his comments out of hand? He had numerous real life encounters in which he demonstrated the effectiveness of his aikido. He also happened to be dan ranked in both Kendo and Judo prior to beginning his study of Aikido. Maybe just maybe he has some basis for his comments. You may choose to disagree with his position on Judo's effectiveness, but don't dismiss him as some old aikido master.

Respectfully,

Dan

Lyle Bogin
02-15-2007, 06:11 PM
Sport has been the western budo since the time of the greeks, don't you think?

PeterR
02-15-2007, 07:00 PM
"Aikido must not make the same mistake as Judo which, although it has achieved growth as a sport, places too much emphasis solely on competitions. It has abandoned effective techniques that could actually be used in a real fight and has become ineffective today as a martial art."

This is only a short extract (and i highly reccomend reading the rest) but the long and short of it is that even though competition can be hotly contested it can never compare to real combat which budo tries to train you for. Rather than training to be good at competition.
Shioda doesn't seem to disagree with Tomiki here at all. Phrases (albeit in translation) such as too much emphasis and solely suggest balance rather than total exclusion.

Where that optimal balance lies is a matter of opinion - at Shodokan Honbu well over 90% of the training is drills and kata but the remaining portion devoted to randori is believed to make all the difference. The technical, physical and emotional lessons learnt applied to all ones aikido.

It's a given that if you train for a very narrow goal you could face trouble if the parameters are changed but it is mystifying to me how excluding competitive training can better prepare you for real combat.

tedehara
02-15-2007, 07:24 PM
Sport has been the western budo since the time of the greeks, don't you think?No.

Military arts have been practiced in the west, but that doesn't make them budo. Military arts have been practiced in the east, but that doesn't make them budo.

One of the first martial arts group to exist are the Shaolin monks of China. They began to study military arts thanks to Bodhidarma or "Tamo" an itinerant monk from India who is believed to have introduced Buddhism to China. According to legend, he taught the monks military exercises because they needed to build up their bodies to practice seated meditation. If they had aerobics or calisthenics he might have used those exercises. As it was, the only physical exercises available were military ones.

Studying a military art whether it's wrestling, ju-jutsu or savate is different than doing budo. Generally there is a spiritual or psychological component to the art as well as a physical one. This was mainly done through practices like meditation and breathing exercises.

The term "dojo" comes from the meditation training halls used in zen. After practicing meditation, the warriors would bring out their weapons and practice their military arts. Generally you don't see this spiritual component in modern sports.

Does budo have competition? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Like Olympic judo, it can become the tail that wags the dog. In aikido it shows up in some styles and not others. However competition itself does not make the activity a sport.

In modern sports you train physically to win a competition. In budo you train physically and spiritually for self-improvement. These are two different things.

xuzen
02-15-2007, 09:37 PM
All these quotes from old aikido masters and anecdote after anecdote, especially the 'assumptions' one, make me realize even more that the art form is full of people with delusions. Unable to defend their own opinion or training they seek to disparage others.

For me, i have been hit. I know what it feels like. I can tell when someone else is going to hit me since the body moves in certain ways. I know what I am capable of doing in terms of reactions times and flexibility. From judo I know how to instinctively fall in the correct manner as to now smash my head on the ground.

You haf dishonor my master (well, errr... actually my master's master)... you now shall face me in a fight to death. Fear my SHOMEN-ATE of DOOM (TM)! j/k

Wrt Shioda Kancho's statement about competition, you just have to read the entire chapter to see his point of view or the context he is coming from.

Boon.

Edward
02-15-2007, 10:27 PM
In modern sports you train physically to win a competition. In budo you train physically and spiritually for self-improvement. These are two different things.

Agreed 100%!!!

Moreover, I keep reading in this thread about efficiency and fighting and brawls and eye gougings and kicks in the nuts. That was exactly what I was trying to run away from when I joined aikido. I do not care if aikido is effective in a street fight or not, I do not do this kind of primitive behaviour. The only fights I have are with my boss and my staff at work, and with my other half at home. Aikido has helped me a lot in redirecting their energy to get ultimately what I want. For the ones who keep on dreaming about fights and kicking ass, well, hope you will wake up some day and do something useful in your lives. (Unless this is what u do for a living :-)))))

Kevin Leavitt
02-16-2007, 12:39 AM
Edward you talk as if the two cannot exsist in the same person or within the same system of study.

Ted I agree that military (martial ) tactics in and of themselves are not budo...they are just that tactics designed to kill, maim, or immobilize.

I suppose we first have to agree on our realitive position on the GPS....most of us that say that competition CAN be within the realm of budo don't attach the label of budo to the art....but the person.

We believe that Budo is a state of mind.

I think contrary to that is like saying that a Protestant cannot be a Catholic because they have not been confirmed a Catholic. Does that mean he is not a Christian though, or can gain the same spiritual or closeness with God?

I suppose that depends on your point of view of the whole dogma of religion.

Ted I would propose that Budo is within the realm of military arts. I have not met too many soldilers that are one dimensional...that is all they think about is killiing and practicing killing.

They have families, feelings, desires, emotional needs, and everything else. They must have all this in balance in order to be a good soldier.

Mushashi wrote a book on it.

The military places some emphasis on competition because it is a small part of helping to develop warrior ethos...an important part of budo.

I'd go so far to say that IF you are NOT including some sort of competitive measuring stick in a healthy way...you are dabbling in budo from the side lines.

Parochialism and conventional wisdom from all those early japanese masters states pretty much that competition should not be a part of budo.

I buy it to a degree....philosophically.

In practice and in my profession though..which pretty much centers 24/7 around the nature of Budo....it has been my experience that competition in an important element.

Competition has also gone along way in promoting world peace and understanding between people of different countries and political backgrounds.

I think you guys are simply looking at competition in a way too over simplisitic view.

If in my BJJ dojo all I ever cared about was winning, that is extrinsic gratification (all about ME!), then I'd have no one to train with, or i'd lose interest fast because rarely do I win and losing would get old after a while.

Edward
02-16-2007, 01:09 AM
In Thailand, Aikido is compulsory at the Police Academy and Army Officer School. All my teachers, current and previous teach or have taught there. The training is always similar to that at the dojo except that the military folks like to add a little more resistance. Many Police officers practice at my dojo and they can all vouch that they have used Aikido in many real life situations. Conflict for these people is a part of their job and life, they do not need competition to prove if the techniques work or not, they have to apply them in real life situations. I understand that some need to always measure themselves to someone else, and competition is probably a good way. But then Aikido by its nature does not lend itself well to competition since there are 2 opposite roles to be played, unlike Karate or Judo where both opponents have the same purpose. My own personal opinion is that Aikido is great as it is, if I wanted the sport aspect I would have remained in Judo. And by the way, I have a lot of bad memories of the 7 years I spent doing Judo. Being not very competitive (not able to fight for top positions in championships), my and other friends' position was quite awkward at the dojo because we could not perform as well as our champs. We were often used as Uke in order to help the competitive ones train for upcoming events. We were so to speak second class members. This is one of the main reasons I prefer the Aikido training environment.

PeterR
02-16-2007, 02:58 AM
Edward

I'm sorry your experience in Judo wasn't all that great - its important to find a group that shares your goals. Surprised you remained for 7 years.

I don't think that anyone (at least in this thread) is demanding that you change your aikido to suit their needs. Conversely, for those that find randori goes a long way to help their aikido develop, wont be changing their minds too soon. I think the Shodokan boys are popping up here in response to those saying Shodokan Aikido is not budo or worse - just because our approach is different.

I really don't know where your Shodokan experience was - I know Bob Dziubla had a small club in Thailand. It was a young club, mainly kids, but he has a pretty good understanding of what Shodokan offers. Your description doesn't sound like Bob at all.

I have to say that proving randori and by extention shia are not about proving whether techniques work or not but exposing an aikidoist to situations closer to reality than kata alone can offer. If you have done seven years of judo than you already have those lessons and might not need to do the Shodokan style of randori. Unless you enjoy it - and it can be great fun once you get the hang of it.

Also I don't compete - was never that good at it not to mention time constraints. Yet that has never been held against me at the Shodokan Honbu. By the by - when I did Judo I never got that impression either and I only competed during grading.

Edward
02-16-2007, 04:21 AM
Peter,

Maybe I misunderstood the purpose of this thread, but I did have the impression it advocated turning Aikido into sport by introducing competition.

I don't have much experience in Shodokan Aikido, I did train 2-3 times with Bob long time ago, but we were only like 3-4 people on the mats. Training was very basic. I also had the occasion of training a couple times during my travels abroad, and of course watching many footages on youtube and other internet sites. The impression that I had is that Shodokan Aikido was actually a mixture of Judo and Aikido. I never liked the Shiai because I felt it was too artificial (personal opinion) unlike Judo or other arts. It didn't feel realistic at all. We had to start from a fixed position which is uncomfortable to begin with, we had to keep this position until after Uke launches the attack, the distance between the 2 opponents was too close in my opinion.

However, as you said, it is a matter of personal choice to train in traditional Aikido or Shodokan.

I believe that at our dojo we have several exercices which resemble Shiai in a way by their realism and intensity (forgot the Japanese names), but the difference is that there are no points and no losers and winners, and most importantly there are no restrictions on stances and attacks (within reason). They are very interesting and fun, and executed in a very relaxed atmosphere.

But I like to re-emphasise here that I would train in Shodokan again if I had the opportunity, as I would with any other Aikido style, Yoshinkan or Ki or others. I am just not convinced that it presents any advantages over other styles because of the more competitive aspect. But this is strictly my opinion and others might and I'm sure will disagree.

L. Camejo
02-16-2007, 05:17 AM
I don't have much experience in Shodokan Aikido, I did train 2-3 times with Bob long time ago, but we were only like 3-4 people on the mats. Training was very basic. I also had the occasion of training a couple times during my travels abroad, and of course watching many footages on youtube and other internet sites. The impression that I had is that Shodokan Aikido was actually a mixture of Judo and Aikido. I never liked the Shiai because I felt it was too artificial (personal opinion) unlike Judo or other arts. It didn't feel realistic at all. We had to start from a fixed position which is uncomfortable to begin with, we had to keep this position until after Uke launches the attack, the distance between the 2 opponents was too close in my opinion. Hi Edward,

Not trying to make this thread personal or anything, but did you train in Shodokan with Bob after having a solid grounding in traditional Aikido? The reason I ask is because you echo the sentiments of many traditional Aikidoka who pass through my dojo. What I have found is that the Shodokan training methodology, basic exercises etc. are quite different to the training I have experienced in traditional Aikido also and folks tend to have difficulty adapting, especially if they are only doing a handful of Shodokan classes after having a solid muscle memory pattern developed from long term traditional Aikido practice.

The result of the above is that the traditional newbies and some of the yudansha (the higher the better) from the traditional method tends to fare better in my dojo than someone in the Nikyu-Shodan range, probably because of the still developing muscle memory wrt to the kyu grades and the already well developed muscle memory of the higher yudansha. Because of this these folks at the extremes tend to be able to adapt better because their bodies are either not programmed deeply yet or so well programmed that they can release from the programming and move differently when needed. I have quite a few traditional Aikido yudansha from different countries who come train every so often just to do resistance randori with unfamiliar folks. These are often the ones who welcome the challenge of the unfamiliar or have the confidence in their ability to even attempt a different randori format to their norm, but there are others who are so put off by the difference of certain aspects that they dismiss the entire Shodokan training paradigm (also sometimes to preserve their own egos, which randori has a way of destroying). I've had the latter as well and they did not stay very long.

Just an observation I've made over the years. As said earlier it's a matter of choice.
LC:ai::ki:

Edward
02-16-2007, 05:34 AM
Hi LC,

To answer your question, yes, if I remember well, I must had done 3-4 years in traditional Aikido and was probably around Nikyu when I tried Shodokan. I have also tried other styles like Yoshinkan, Iwama, Kinomichi and trained at many different dojos around Europe and Asia (had to travel often for my work and I always carried a Gi) and the Shodokan experience was the most uncomfortable for me, but not because of the Randori (done it only once or twice with just one or two partner) but mostly because of the Judo stance from which I had trouble launching any movements. Your theory could be right actually.

Cheers,

DaveS
02-16-2007, 05:56 AM
but mostly because of the Judo stance from which I had trouble launching any movements. Your theory could be right actually.Judo stance? I thought natural posture was a fairly fundamental idea for the shodokan system - mu shin mu gamae and so on. I seem to recall reading that Kano and Tomiki were both unhappy with the tendancy of judoka to adopt a posture that works in competition but makes less sense from a budo point of view, and that Tomiki worked hard to eliminate that from his training system. The thing that causes most confusion for people with prior experience coming to our club seems to be that the posture is square on rather than one shoulder forward - and if anything, square on is the more natural posture...

Demetrio Cereijo
02-16-2007, 06:23 AM
Even if i think a "competitive" mindset with an "i win, you lose" mentality is not productive from a Budo point of view, sparring as a training tool has his place in the integral developement of the martial artist.

I'd suggest reading this T.K. Chiba article, especially focusing in the Yamaoka Tesshu's "tachigiri no seigan" part.
http://www.aikidoonline.com/index2.asp?location=/Archives/2000/oct/feat_1000_tkc.html

DonMagee
02-16-2007, 07:06 AM
I do not believe in losers in competition. Just people who did not win. They defiantly did not lose anything, they gained a valuable experience.

Kevin Leavitt
02-16-2007, 07:36 AM
Good point Don.

I thought about this alot this morning. I too used to think that competition was a dirty word. That was until I found schools and methodologies that had the right balance.

There are many Karate, TKD, and Judo schools, clubs, McDojos out there that do not practice correctly IMO. They have watered down the art so much that it cannot go back to being very sound in principle so you get alot of kicks, punches, kiai, but not alot of effectiveness.

From this standpoint, competition could be judged as being detrimental.

I would also say that complete lack of competition, or aliveness also kills many of the so-called budo practices. When I say competition, it does not mean you concentrate on point sparring etc necessarily, just some sort of measure of ability in a non-compliant situation.

I think once you have experienced good training in a good methodology that has the right mix...it changes your perspective on competition.

At least it changed my perspective.

Cyrijl
02-16-2007, 03:43 PM
Wow, I missed quite a few posts.

To my responders:
The experiences of others does not defend YOUR training or use of aikido. If somene else gets into a fight and uses aikido effectively to defend themselves does not entitle you to lay claim that your aikido and your training methodoligies can save YOU. And yet you continure to prove my point by referencing others and not yourself as proof of your martial effectiveness.

For Example:
Barry Bonds plays baseball. I play baseball. Therefore I can hit homeruns all day long. Using this analogy makes it quite obvious how the 'my master, some guy, could kill 100 men' statement is irrelevant when talking about oneself. In fact, I do not train like barry bonds or take performance enhancing drugs so therefore i DO NOT hit homeruns like barry bonds. I doubt many people train with the rigor of these older early gernation aikidoka and that is fine. Most people do not have the time, desire or will to train that hard (me being one of them). But you cannot take someone else's life and give yourself credit by analogy. Sorry, you just can't.

--edited:added
Similarly, I do not believe sensei should brainwash their students into thinking that the students can absorb all of their wisdom and experience and ability just by watching and practicing dead drills.

All of my critiques are not aikido specific nor do I believe all aikido is like this. I just want to make that clear. I just think each person has to be honest with themselves as to their ability and not try to inflate their ego or hide behind the acts of others. I would think that is something almost all of us could agree onl

PeterR
02-16-2007, 11:47 PM
I never liked the Shiai because I felt it was too artificial (personal opinion) unlike Judo or other arts. It didn't feel realistic at all. We had to start from a fixed position which is uncomfortable to begin with, we had to keep this position until after Uke launches the attack, .....
That wasn't shiai or even randori. Possibly a drill.

Anyway no matter - its important to find a budo that suits you and to occaisionaly walk outside the box.

Lyle Bogin
02-18-2007, 04:46 PM
"In modern sports you train physically to win a competition. In budo you train physically and spiritually for self-improvement. These are two different things."

There is a great deal of mental training in all sports, and many athletes take an approach that is holistic and includes the concept of self-improvement.

I think martial artists tend to want to differentiate and distance themselves from sport mostly because of fear or lack of understanding. Some how we wind up thinking that sport is some how base and degrading in the face of our more highminded "budo" concept. But from meeting hundreds of martial artists, and hundreds of athletes, I would say they are pretty well balanced as far as results (in terms of people who clearly care about personal development and have some self-knowledge).

If I train for personal development, and yet choose to compete, then what am I? A martial artist or an athlete?

If I train for competition and the lessons I learn help me grow as a person, then what am I?

Martial art and sport can be the same, and have the same origin.

tedehara
02-19-2007, 07:33 AM
...There is a great deal of mental training in all sports, and many athletes take an approach that is holistic and includes the concept of self-improvement. Only recently have athletes begun to investigate the mental game. Psychological or spiritual development is not done to help the person, but is done to improve performance within the sport.

Martial art and sport can be the same, and have the same origin.Both martial arts and sports evolved from the military arts. They are two different traditions.

What tradition are you part of?

This is a subjective judgement. It's possible for a person to be both athlete and martial artist. Generally their activity decides on what catagory they are.