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Dewey
04-13-2007, 01:19 PM
Unless you've been hiding in a cave for the last few years, you are well aware by now of the explosive popularity of the UFC, Pride, IFL and other sportsfighting organizations have given to the competitive mixed martial arts (MMA) community, commerically hyping the MMA to official "sports" status that seems to have no end in sight.

Case in point: many other martial arts forums on the internet have been almost completely overrun with MMA devotees, "wanabees", virtual tough guys, polemicists & cyber-conquistadors who with an almost religious zeal wage holy war for the glory of the MMA against the traditional martial artist infidel. The traditional martial arts (TMA) and their practitioners are treated with disdain and mocked for training in "ineffective" and "dead" techniques that no longer have any real practical application in either fighting or self-defense situations. Although there is no argument that the majority of these folks (who are primarily pimply-faced teenagers) misunderstand even the most obvious differences between self-defense and fighting, it does raise an alarming question...

Question: considering that the overwhealming majority of sportsfighting fans/MMA devotees are teenagers and 20somethings, many who also express their sentiments on the internet...do you think Aikido is going to experience a crisis in active membership in the next decade? That is, once the Baby Boom Aikidoka begin to retire and/or no longer actively train...who will be taking their place? How will Aikido adapt in order to attract a generation blinded by the commercial hype of the MMA and competitive sportsfighting as being "true" martial arts?

Edward
04-13-2007, 01:37 PM
Aikido will continue to attract the same kind of people, ones who would not be interested in practising something like MMA. I know some of us have started Aikido after seeing Steven Seagal kick ass on screen (I did) but mostly it is the intellectual side that is the real attraction. Haven't you noticed that there are so many philosophers among us aikidoists? :D

Adman
04-13-2007, 01:41 PM
How will Aikido adapt in order to attract a generation blinded by the commercial hype of the MMA and competitive sportsfighting as being "true" martial arts?
I hate to sound corny, but shouldn't "Aikido" just stay true to itself (whatever that is)?

Does it need to "attract"?
Especially those "blinded by hype"?

thanks,
Adam

Kevin Leavitt
04-13-2007, 02:11 PM
Question: considering that the overwhealming majority of sportsfighting fans/MMA devotees are teenagers and 20somethings, many who also express their sentiments on the internet...do you think Aikido is going to experience a crisis in active membership in the next decade? That is, once the Baby Boom Aikidoka begin to retire and/or no longer actively train...who will be taking their place? How will Aikido adapt in order to attract a generation blinded by the commercial hype of the MMA and competitive sportsfighting as being "true" martial arts?

A difficult question to answer for sure!

There are many threads that have been discussed here on aikweb concerning the speculative future of aikido, internal skills, the impact of the internet, and MMA...all things which will influence some, and not others.

There are many factors that come into play in a person's decision to study martial arts. Studying both MMA and Aikido in the traditional sense, I can tell you I think there is room for traditional martial arts such as aikido, I think it is relevant as practiced, I also think that there is much to be learned from other methodolgies such as MMA.

Only time will tell.

I'd recommend reading some of George Ledyard's threads concerning the future of aikido, He has some very interesting insights.

mrfeldmeyer
04-13-2007, 02:12 PM
My feeling is that if someone is turned on by the idea of having their body pounded and bones broken to no end, until at 40 they can barely move. Then good for them.

I don't think all or even the majority of martial artists enjoy this though. Aikido is about understanding one's body and what it can do more so than how to completely annihilate someone else's ability to stand up and fight. I don't think we really want to attract the kind of people who want to pummel their opponent, they would probably get bored with Aikido fairly quickly. You can't learn Aikido quick enough to "kick ass" with it, and if you get to the point that you could, you most likely don't want to anymore. Just my two cents.

Matt

SeiserL
04-13-2007, 02:12 PM
IMHO, Aikido will only exist if it/we hold true to its/our identity.

Why would we want to become just another part of just another MMA?

MMA is a catalyst to stay the same, but keep growing in our own evolution.

dbotari
04-13-2007, 02:18 PM
Every decade has its "new martial art" phase. In the 50's it was was primarily Judo, the sixties Karate (including Korean equivalents), the 70's it was Kung Fu, the eighties Ninjutsu, the 90's it was BJJ then transformed into MMA (into the early 2000's). Now it seems either Muay tai or Kali is the latest "hot" martial art.

Yet through out all this time TMA still continue to attract and train new people. We each train for our own reasons. We each choose the art we train for our own reasons. I for one don't think Aikido is or any TMA is in danger of extinction yet as long as their are competent people who train and teach said art.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-13-2007, 02:52 PM
Studying both MMA and Aikido in the traditional sense, I can tell you I think there is room for traditional martial arts such as aikido, I think it is relevant as practiced, I also think that there is much to be learned from other methodolgies such as MMA.

Aikido, like any budo, has an omote and an ura. There's been a lot of valuable philosophical exploration of the ura. However, if we lose the omote, the whole thing disintegrates. You can't have one or the other. I'm not sure you can even really -emphasize- one or the other.

I think MMA -is- a wakeup call. Not a challenger "we" need to fight and defeat - frankly, not only would that be wrongheaded, but furthermore "they" would win. But I think that hiding in a cave muttering that "we do REAL fighting, not that sport stuff!" is senseless. What IS aikido's intended context? And whatever it is, shouldn't it translate at least somewhat into MMA-style situations?

It seems like most great aikidoka, past and present, have also been skilled in other martial arts. Coincidence?

Cyrijl
04-13-2007, 03:12 PM
My feeling is that if someone is turned on by the idea of having their body pounded and bones broken to no end, until at 40 they can barely move

You mean like Kano and Helio? Or maybe you mean Couture?

You don't like MMA fine, then just ignore it and the obnoxious people that think it is the only way to go. But please do not fall into the trap of false assumptions, stereotypes and unverified statements.

The only time I was seriously injured and was forced to stop training was from aikido.

Keith R Lee
04-13-2007, 03:17 PM
My feeling is that if someone is turned on by the idea of having their body pounded and bones broken to no end, until at 40 they can barely move. Then good for them.

I don't think all or even the majority of martial artists enjoy this though.

I just have to say that I got injured more often while training in Aikido than I have in BJJ/MMA. The high falls, allowing people to twist and lock joints, randori, etc. all add up to lots of potential for injury.

In regards to the original post...Aikido is what it is and MMA is what it is. They can compliment one another or they can conflict with one another; it's all in the eye of the beholder. Some of us here on Aikiweb do both and find no problems with it, others think that they should be kept seperate. Whatever works - variety is the spice of life y'know?

As for attracting this or that sort of person, I posted a diatribe on that topic here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=123179#post123179

That thread in general has a lot of good information in it.

Dewey
04-13-2007, 04:06 PM
Thanks for the replies thus far! I neglected to note in my original post that I fully acknowledge the difference between cross-training & the MMA, which, on the surface, appear identical. However, they're two completely separate pursuits. Many of the greatest martial artists (including O'Sensei) cross-trained, and it's a surefire method by which to test your skills as well as to broaden & perfect them. The difference: a MMA is, quite literally, "a jack of all trades and master of none." His intent to is to take only what is beneficial for competition. A cross-trainer seeks to broaden their technical repitoire as well as, hopefully, pursue the essence of Budo. Sound familiar? It should. That's what drove O'Sensei and that's how Aikido was born!

I myself cross-train. However, my primary or "base" art is Aikido, the lens through which I view the martial arts in general and the standard by which I evaluate a technique, system or methodology.

It is my opinion that the MMA "fad" can, in the end, only strengthen Aikido by challenging a sincere Aikidoka to ask: "is this technique effective in today's world?", or "would this work in against so-and-so and such-and-such attack." Not that we should succumb to the polar opposite of the competitive MMA: the Hybrid Martial Arts, AKA "reality-based" self-defense or "self-protection" or Close Quarters Combat (CQC) that advocates the largely amoral use of force through an eclectic system that draws from numerous styles/schools that equally eschews etiquette, tradition & moralism in favor of "combat" skills.

I hate to sound corny, but shouldn't "Aikido" just stay true to itself (whatever that is)?

Does it need to "attract"?
Especially those "blinded by hype"?

thanks,
Adam

Another St. Louis Aikidoka! Sorry I missed the seminar you folks hosted a few weeks ago. Really wanted to go. I'm currently studying with Harnack Sensei at Aikido Institute of Mid-America.

Aikido, like any budo, has an omote and an ura. There's been a lot of valuable philosophical exploration of the ura. However, if we lose the omote, the whole thing disintegrates. You can't have one or the other. I'm not sure you can even really -emphasize- one or the other.

I think MMA -is- a wakeup call. Not a challenger "we" need to fight and defeat - frankly, not only would that be wrongheaded, but furthermore "they" would win. But I think that hiding in a cave muttering that "we do REAL fighting, not that sport stuff!" is senseless. What IS aikido's intended context? And whatever it is, shouldn't it translate at least somewhat into MMA-style situations?

It seems like most great aikidoka, past and present, have also been skilled in other martial arts. Coincidence?

Indeed it is a "wake up call!"

Aristeia
04-13-2007, 04:33 PM
Interesting thread which I'm glad to see come up.
A year or two ago in one of those "does aikido work on the ground" threads, I opined that the mma/and particularly internet phenomenum was going to threaten the growth of Aikido if the community is not careful. I was laughed down at the time, but I still beleive it.

Yes there have always been fads. The difference now is the internet. What did we all do when we first decided we wanted to do a martial art. Picked up the yellow pages, saw a flier down at the local library. Maybe picked up a few books.

What do people do now? They go straight to google. The vast majority of first timers will soon be walking in much better educated not just about Aikido, but about other arts and what other martial artists think about Aikido. They will not be getting this info from books like we did - which are pretty tightly controlled forms of information. But from message boards and discussion forums and youtube.

What does this mean for Aikido? I think it means we need to be very clear and honest about what Aikido is and is not for.

In the past I've heard alot of people, both in person and on the net run the "aikido is all you need" argument. That is the talk that will get people in trouble I think. Like anything, the first thing you need to sell is yourself. If Aikido instructors start by saying "oh yes Aikido is great for self defence it's the best thing you can do, it will take care of all your self defence needs" within I think 5 years, that talk will turn off most prospective students. Whereas in the past it may have helped to get them to sign up, in the future they'll simply smell a rat and leave.

Now the upside is the internet pehnomenum gives access to many more potential students, so you can better afford to play in a niche market - which is what aikido is. so it can be a real boon. But it *will* require the art to be clear on what it is and is not for. And it *will* require many people to drop the defensiveness when things like groundfighting come up and say "you know what, that's not really what we do"

MTCW

Dewey
04-13-2007, 04:48 PM
Yes there have always been fads. The difference now is the internet. What did we all do when we first decided we wanted to do a martial art. Picked up the yellow pages, saw a flier down at the local library. Maybe picked up a few books.

What do people do now? They go straight to google. The vast majority of first timers will soon be walking in much better educated not just about Aikido, but about other arts and what other martial artists think about Aikido. They will not be getting this info from books like we did - which are pretty tightly controlled forms of information. But from message boards and discussion forums and youtube.

What does this mean for Aikido? I think it means we need to be very clear and honest about what Aikido is and is not for....

MTCW

Thank you! That's exactly the point I was trying to make. If the internet is all Aikido has going for (or against it)...then we're in trouble! I'm in my mid-30's. But I'm talking about an entire generation whose primary interaction with the larger world is via the internet.

Aikibu
04-13-2007, 06:23 PM
Been on the Web since Mosiac and I have been in Technology for longer so I am a bit confused here.
If you're saying MMA maybe a catalyst for change because of the advent of the internet and the tendency for the MMA types to bad mouth anything not 'new" and "modern" then I don't think we have anything to worry about. I can't think of a single MMA Technique or Style of Fighting that has not been around since chimps started hitting and wrestling each other so nothing new there. In fact it's good for Aikido and will insure it's longevity.

"Why that's contrarian!"

Not really... I been in the martial arts since I was a boy Karate, Then Judo, Wrestled in High School... dabbled in the PKA a bit... have some experiance with Daito Ryu and now Aikido. When I got to Aikido I was looking for something different... More wholistic if you will that invloved body, mind, and spirit. there are other seekers out there in the MMA ranks as we speak like Jason Delucia and others who are "walking up the very same mountain." Some use Aikido, Some Kung Fu, others Koryu, Tae Kwon Do, Kali... whatever...You know these folks when you meet them. They have the "look" Contrary to Youtube and Google beliefs there are even a few traditional Gendai "Artists" Aikidoka, Judoka, and Karateka who hold thier own in Pride (which was just bought by the UFC gang). Sooner or later some of them will show up "looking for something different" and some of those folks will stay. I have seen folks spout about the forthcoming death of Aikido and complaining it does not work for years and yet somehow there is always someone (or two or three or four) who seems to like it... They practice hard... and excel as Aikidoka.

MMA has it's good points and I enjoy watching top athletes compete at an elite level. I am a big fan....However those who believe that somehow it is the be all and end all.... and... that all other arts must evolve in that direction or fade into oblivion are fooling themselves...

Those that also think youtube and google will somehow overrule direct experiance are even bigger fools

I humbly suggest you internet youngins puruse a copy of this here wood pulp and ink product (aka book) for a better understanding of why you should not think too highly of the present Google age.

http://www.sociallifeofinformation.com/

The Authors have been there and done that ( both being former members of the Xerox PARC project) and lots of sharp folks rely on thier sagely observations about the ever morphing 'information age."

Respectfully,

William Hazen

gdandscompserv
04-13-2007, 06:40 PM
Thank you! That's exactly the point I was trying to make. If the internet is all Aikido has going for (or against it)...then we're in trouble! I'm in my mid-30's. But I'm talking about an entire generation whose primary interaction with the larger world is via the internet.
Brian
You make an interesting point. I'm not sure if the internet is their "primary interacion" with the world but it plays a much more significant role, in our generation as well as theirs. Largely, we still don't understand the social ramifications of communication via the internet. It does expand our audience for certain. I find it overwhelming unless I filter a large part of it out. I haven't been a forumite for all that long. It is certainly a somewhat strange way of communicating with other human beings, and a way that has only recently been available. My jury is still out as to whether it is a good way to communicate. I am still somewhat fascinated by it though, otherwise you wouldn't hear from me at all. I am 'permantly' banned from my town's newspaper forum. Of course, they believe they are justified, and I believe they are not. A simple matter of opinion. The whole experience was fascinating however. It became something of a social experiment for me.
I do doubt the soundness of relying on the internet to judge aikido. I appreciate the dojo and seminar information available through the internet though, so I guess it's really a two-edged sword.
Training with someone is completely different than communicating with them on a forum. It is a much more effective means of transmitting and receiving ideas/concepts/movements and everything else.

mrfeldmeyer
04-13-2007, 06:56 PM
You mean like Kano and Helio? Or maybe you mean Couture?

You don't like MMA fine, then just ignore it and the obnoxious people that think it is the only way to go. But please do not fall into the trap of false assumptions, stereotypes and unverified statements.

The only time I was seriously injured and was forced to stop training was from aikido.

I guess I came off too harsh earlier (sorry about that), but from what I have seen of MMA. It seems to cause a lot of damage to the body. I have trained with quite a few guys who are still moving very well after 20-40 years of Aikido. I have also seen several guys get serious damage from brief training with MMA. So I suppose I am just judging based upon what I've witnessed.

MMA as a whole seems to me to attract a crowd of people who prefer martial arts for, as I stated earlier, "kicking ass" While most aikidoka I have met aren't in it for learning how to fight. Sorry to have offended earlier. Thanks.

Matt

MikeLogan
04-13-2007, 08:12 PM
If not for the internet, I would have never read a web bulletin, hosted by my then employer, inviting people to view practice at the on base gymnasium. I would have never met aikido without it.

For all the hype-fueled noise on the web, there is genuine worthwhile information. A lot of people have sweet tooth's earlier in their lives, with some luck, experience, information, the sweetness becomes monotone, and we graduate to something more complex, and often more nourishing. The 'wannabes' quit their mma, satisfied that their ken places them firmly in control of life. The people who taste something more through experience or just random luck want to find it again, and more clearly.

michael

Cady Goldfield
04-13-2007, 08:29 PM
MMA as a whole seems to me to attract a crowd of people who prefer martial arts for, as I stated earlier, "kicking ass" While most aikidoka I have met aren't in it for learning how to fight. Sorry to have offended earlier. Thanks.


Some people in MMA are on a more esoteric level than that. They are genuine artists who want only to hone a personal martial art that is the most effective art for them. They're crafting their own suit that fits them to a "t." In "pure" arts, the student has to fit himself to the art; in MMA, he custom-tailors his own unique art. The main characteristics are that it can't be rigid - it must allow the person to adapt to the environment and circumstance, and, function is key. Without efficacy, there is no legitimacy.

It's not about wanting to "kick ass" and being a tough guy. It's about wanting to be genuinely effective. Big difference.

Luc X Saroufim
04-13-2007, 09:44 PM
nice post.

i can't answer your question, but i hope Aikido continues to get flamed and stepped on by the MMA community. that leaves more Aikido for us, and it keeps idiots out. although at 26 years old, i still get pimples from time to tome.

Jorge Garcia
04-13-2007, 10:23 PM
I have no doubt that MMA will continue to be the rage and have a lot of growth but the negatives of the MMA will eventually cause it to eventually play itself out. Aikido will continue to grow. Aikido has grown around the world in a situation where the other martial arts were already more established and better known. Here in Houston, there is hardly a shopping center or strip mall that doesn't have a karate dojo. Brazilian grappling is now appearing here and there and we have some well established Aikido dojos here in town that were started in the last decade and are growing. In my two dojos, we have 80 students and are busting at the seams. The Judo guys and grapplers frequently join us. I have quite a few in our dojos. They never question what we are doing and have a good time and they keep signing up. I have karate teachers in my dojos and also some Ninjitsu guys. Everyone gets along and has a good time. The locals are more humble and generally nicer guys than I have found on the net. Like most martial artists, some are coming to Aikido looking for something else and want to learn from Aikido. I try to see to it that they are challenged and feel they are in a good art. It is working so well, we are having to move to a larger place so we are happy with the state of Aikido in a time when MMA is so popular. I am glad the MMA guys see the wisdom of doing Aikido.
Best,
Jorge

KIT
04-13-2007, 11:13 PM
The overwhelming majority of people on the Internet are more fans and wannabes than they are actual MMA fighters. Like with any aikido school, there are a lot of goof balls who (barely) train in the public classes even at places like Team Quest, but by no means represent the school or even good MMA. You can spot them after a few strategic questions.

People in MMA circles are constantly joking about the guys who are "going to be cage fighters." That category has exploded with the recent explosion of MMA. I remember rolling with a guy in LE who was known for constantly talking about his "MMA background" and all the people with Quest that he knew, and trained with, and his fight preparation and "personal instruction" from an MMA legend, and he had barely decent white belt skills. I happened to train Judo with one of Quest's fight team members and instructors, and work with a guy in Quest's instructor candidate program, and neither one of these guys had ever heard of this guy. He lives in a fantasy world.

On New Years eve I summarily dumped a real world attacker who later told officers that he "was an Ultimate fighter" and just got out of prison. The man was no ultimate fighter....:rolleyes:

So take what people say regarding MMA with a huge grain of salt, just as you would what any aikidoka said who offered to you how "skilled" he was, until you found out who he trained with and what his actual rank was. And sometimes even that doesn't matter. There are D and F students at Ivy league schools, and so there are at MMA schools...

All that being said, there are also a lot of inroads being made in military and LE adapting the MMA methodology to the violent encounters that they face - much in the same way LE adapted aikido to address similar concerns.

FWIW, I now train at a Purebred affiliated gym that includes a Kenpo class - because the MMA figher/brown belt BJJ instructor holds dan rank in that art and wanted to respect his teacher by brining him in.

KIT
04-13-2007, 11:24 PM
As for attracting this or that sort of person, I posted a diatribe on that topic here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=123179#post123179

That thread in general has a lot of good information in it.

That's a great thread!!

Kevin Leavitt
04-14-2007, 01:40 AM
Some speak of aikido and MMA as if it is an us against them thing.

That is that the two cannot co-exsist.

Aikido is about blending, understanding, and should be all encompassing of all things that is life.

Aikido is also an individual pursuit...a methodology for training, not a set of techniques or stylistic movements.

As an individual pursuit, each of us must take aikido and make it our own.

This can include incorporating things that are considered by most to be MMA.

I think the best aikidoka are the ones in the future that will take aikido, make it their own and incorporate lessons learned in their lives, be it from interactions with others....or lessons from MMA, so to speak.

The best aikidoka will not sit by the sidelines in their dojos and thumb their superior noses at the world, but will go out into it and see how to apply aikido principles in many ways.

The best aikidoka will be able to demonstrate aikido in a MMA context, or demonstrate appropriate responses to the honest questions that many from a MMA paradigm will present.

If it is a concern, we should not sit on the side hoping the fad will pass or snearing at them in disdain, we should embrace them and seek to understand them and incorporate them into that which is aikido.

If your aikido cannot or will not reach outside of the dojo, then, yes, it will die on the vine and fade away!

That said, do not take this literally that aikido will die if it does not incorporate MMA, that is silly! However, we must stop the dualistic thinking within ourselves, and realize that all is aikido, and we must blend and embrace change to survivive!

Mary Eastland
04-14-2007, 05:22 AM
Best, best...how can we let go of this idea of defeating anyone....the real battle is to train and become as peaceful as we can.
Mary

statisticool
04-14-2007, 11:01 AM
The argument 'we dont see TMA techniques being effective in UFC-ish events, and therefore they can't work in real life' is illogic at its highest. Unfortunately, that attitude is common among its adherents.

However, what is great about MMA is that it is at the forefront of providing an environment with limited parameters, some necessarily for safety (because we are there to learn, not to kill each other). But it does so without it being 'play nice' rules that we see rampant in just about all martial arts.

To MMA, I'd add judo, sumo, boxing, and fencing, off the top of my head, as events where force and techniques are not unnecessarily limited by safety and other parameters, so we get something approaching a true test of skill.

Justin

DonMagee
04-14-2007, 12:43 PM
Just remember this, nobody ever got ringworm from doing aikido.

I love that I get a week off now and then and have a fungus to thank for it.

Keith R Lee
04-14-2007, 04:17 PM
Just remember this, nobody ever got ringworm from doing aikido.

I love that I get a week off now and then and have a fungus to thank for it.

Blah. I feel you Don. I had infantigo all up on my arms and my face about 3 months ago.

Another guy at my gym had scabies so bad about a month ago he was put on Valtrex. Maaaannn, he hasn't heard then end of that one. Never should have told us.

CNYMike
04-14-2007, 07:27 PM
.... once the Baby Boom Aikidoka begin to retire and/or no longer actively train...who will be taking their place? .....

The twenty-something Aikidoka. I've trained with twenty-somethings in a college club I sometimes go to -- there seem to be a lot of them, some of whom probably started in their teens. I've been to dojos with kids' classes. I'm not overly worried about it.


How will Aikido adapt in order to attract a generation blinded by the commercial hype of the MMA and competitive sportsfighting as being "true" martial arts?

How did it adapt and change to attract previous generations blinded by karate movies and ninja movies? How did it adapt to draw people away from Kung Fu. It didn't, and yet today there are millions of people doing it. And anyone who has srufed here long enough will read posts by people who do both MMA and Aikido.

I had a reality check: Online discussions/forthings/flame wars are not likely to affect the real world, where Aikido dojos are located. If they did, we'd now be in Howard Dean's first term.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-15-2007, 10:36 AM
Here's a question: why is there no trapping (as in the majority of aikido waza) in MMA? Or perhaps I should ask, has anyone managed to pull off locks against a good, resisting opponent?

Is aikido just made up of low-percentage techniques? Or are there just not enough skilled aikido people trying MMA?

DonMagee
04-15-2007, 12:43 PM
Here's a question: why is there no trapping (as in the majority of aikido waza) in MMA? Or perhaps I should ask, has anyone managed to pull off locks against a good, resisting opponent?

Is aikido just made up of low-percentage techniques? Or are there just not enough skilled aikido people trying MMA?

Trapping is very hard to do. I can teach someone to block and punch in a fairly short time. I've been training aikido on and off for years and I can't even come close to doing most of it in a sparing match. There are many reasons for this. First, most people will not commit to their strikes taking them offbalance like in the dojo, instead they throw combos with good balance, and they always retract their firsts to a good guard. Attempting to perform an aikidoish technique is going to require perfection, anything else and you are going to eat the next blow in that combo. A good cover and punch type striker is going to have much more success then someone trying to do trapping for the first few years of their training. Another problem I've noticed is that the wrist when taped and gloved is very hard to manipulate. I catch wrist locks a lot in bjj now. I spent a few weeks learning how to get them with some degree of success (about 70% of the time I go for them I get them). I use them to setup armbars, and sometimes to tap out my partner. However, I have not gotten a single wrist lock to work in MMA, even against people I catch with wrist locks in bjj constantly. Finally, due to the vunurablity when you do fail, it is better to use consistant high percentage attacks that do not leave you as bad off when they fail. For example, a good boxers guard may allow a few shots though, but it keeps the chin down and protected most of the time. Reaching from that position however exposes the head, and if you screw up, you are at a much higher risk of getting caught by a shot in the chin.

Judo is a good example. If your opponent is off balance, you are in a world of trouble in MMA. This is why wrestling take downs have become more dominate, the rules allow less risk when you fail. You know the guy can not punch you in the back of the head, and he can't knee your face with 3 points down. So you can shoot and if you screw up you are ok. Try a hip or shoulder throw and screw up, you are getting lifted slammed and pounded. Now look at most aikido throws. You are even worse off if those fail.

Of course there are always masters who can make anything work. What you are seeing is a constant change in MMA. I don't think you will see the skillsets solidify for another 25-35 years. However the level of skill will always be improving. I watch the old pride and UFC vids today and I see a crude level of skill. Then I watch good MMA guys today and I see refined skill, but still differences between camps and ideas. In another 25 years it will be like boxing, only 1 or 2 really good ways to do it. Then we can wash, rinse and repeat with the next thing.

Kevin Leavitt
04-15-2007, 01:15 PM
Don certainly covered most of it.

Aikido is typically practiced at a range and within a context that requires mutual cooperation in order to foster the correct spirit and goals of aikido.

In order to achieve locks, arm bars, and what not, you have to have very good control over your opponent. Arm bars from the mount, triangle chokes, guillotines work because you achieve this dominance. Things like nikkyo, ikkyo, and shionage do not work because they are very complex and require a certain degree of either cluelessness from your opponent or a spirit of cooperation that typically is not seen in a MMA context. Again, good for learning principles that apply to the dynamic of a fight, but not a very good/efficient means for finishing your opponent.

I do get things in MMA that I say "ahhhh, aikido". I can show you how the guard applies the principles of ikkyo. I occassionally pull off a kotegaehsi on an inexperience opponent. Sankyo can be held, but because of the way you have to control the hips of your opponent, it is not good for finishing. although if you look at omoplata, it to me is a variation of sankyo albiet you control uke's hips and use your leg. I have used various nikkyo type pins to submit on the ground, but never nikkyo from a standing, traditional sense.

Aikido as practiced by most is designed to teach principles of movmement and is mostly principally correct, however we must be careful, IMO to not translate the methodology of aikido into a fighting strategy which has many facets...and yes, you do develop a game based on high percentage techniques that work for you.

Don covered it pretty darn good!

Cady Goldfield
04-15-2007, 01:33 PM
"Gross motor movements" rule in high-stress, intense confrontations.

Kevin Leavitt
04-15-2007, 02:28 PM
I think to a point Cady, they rule.

Certainly you must stop whatever action you are being attacked with...and you might use some skills that would be considered gross motor skills.

You must get yourself into a secure position be it the clinch, guard, mount..what not....however, once there, I find those that have finer motor skills that have learned how to correctly align their bodies, use proper posture, timing, subtleness, finese...etc...are the ones that will do well.

Of course, at what point to you divide gross and fine? A matter of semantics I suppose.

DonMagee
04-15-2007, 02:46 PM
Obviously as you get better, those fine skills seem like gross skills. I have noticed that I tend to use techniques I would of found impossible to due in drills, let alone sparing 6 months ago. "Oh, this is just a simple elevator sweep to armbar transition I picked up" sounds simple until you start explaining it and realize all the skills that need to be developed before it is simple.

Cady Goldfield
04-15-2007, 02:57 PM
Kevin, I agree with that elaboration.
They are your "foot in the door" that allows you to deal with the immediacy of the confrontation and to gain control of it. Once in control, you're in a better position to pull out more refined movement if it is called for in the particular situation.

I've yet to see someone who can consistently (i.e. through tactical skill, not luck) finesse an initial move requiring fine motor skills in the beginning of a confrontation.

divinecedar
04-15-2007, 03:57 PM
I find myself occassionally watching MMA and I applaud the atheleticism and skill of many of the "fighters". However, I also have interacted with several practicioners of MMA and most of these occurences have left a bad taste in my mouth--the majority of them simply have no respect for Aikido. I often have tried to explain the philosophical aspects of our wonderful art and demonstrate the coveted "street effectiveness" with no avail. I concur with other members of this forum...in the future Aikido will attract an intellectual, and increasingly philisophical portion of martial artists.

:ai: :ki: :do: An art of peace when many want everything but!

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-15-2007, 04:03 PM
Thank you very much for the replies! This is more than I'd even hoped for - great to hear such detail from someone with firsthand experience in both MMA and aikido. (What is your experience with both, by the way, if I could ask?) I do have some further questions, if you'll humor me.

First, most people will not commit to their strikes taking them offbalance like in the dojo, instead they throw combos with good balance, and they always retract their firsts to a good guard.
I admit I'm a little confused by this. In my experience, a good uke strikes in such a way that they could hit or miss and in neither case be off-balance. Rather, nage does something (blocks, deflects, evades, etc.) that makes uke unwillingly lose balance; they then try to regain it over the course of the technique, while nage keeps them moving with tai sabaki and atemi. (Although I have seen a technique or two that seems to be versus a "suicide attack" where uke -does- throw him or herself off balance with the force of the strike. But that's the exception.)

I've seen aikido waza where nage uses an irimi movement, coupled with a sort of outside 'guarding block' (rather than deflecting block) to perform something essentially similar to shomenuchi iriminage. Ever tried this sort of thing? What makes it hard in practice?

Another problem I've noticed is that the wrist when taped and gloved is very hard to manipulate. I catch wrist locks a lot in bjj now. [...] However, I have not gotten a single wrist lock to work in MMA, even against people I catch with wrist locks in bjj constantly.
Interesting. Just to clarify: do you think they work better in BJJ because of the lack of gloves/tape? Despite not being able to use atemi in BJJ?

Reaching from that position however exposes the head, and if you screw up, you are at a much higher risk of getting caught by a shot in the chin.
I'm trying to visualize this. What sorts of aikido techniques require you to "reach"?

Judo is a good example. If your opponent is off balance, you are in a world of trouble in MMA. This is why wrestling take downs have become more dominate, the rules allow less risk when you fail.
"If your opponent is off balance, you are in a world of trouble in MMA." I'm guessing that's a typo, but I'm having some trouble figuring out what you meant to type.

You know the guy can not punch you in the back of the head, and he can't knee your face with 3 points down. So you can shoot and if you screw up you are ok. Try a hip or shoulder throw and screw up, you are getting lifted slammed and pounded. Now look at most aikido throws. You are even worse off if those fail.
That sounds very reasonable. Have you ever tried casual sparring with those rules relaxed? Perhaps substituting hand-taps for punches or downward elbows to the back of the head or neck? If you have tried something like that, did it significantly drop the "success rate" or "percentage" of wrestling-style takedowns?

Thanks to you as well, Kevin. I'll ask a few follow-up questions of you as well, if it's okay. It's really made my day to get this kind of info.

Things like nikkyo, ikkyo, and shionage do not work because they are very complex and require a certain degree of either cluelessness from your opponent or a spirit of cooperation that typically is not seen in a MMA context.
and
Again, good for learning principles that apply to the dynamic of a fight, but not a very good/efficient means for finishing your opponent.
Can a martial art really have techniques that "require cooperation"? Drills or principle-based exercises, maybe, like kokyu dosa. Still, it seems like aikido techniques should have a purpose beyond just "principle exercises".

I noticed that a couple times, you used terms like "as practiced by most" and "typically". This to me brings up the question of styles of aikido. Which style do you practice? (Both of you, I guess?) Do you think that pre-war style practice makes one better able to actually implement waza as "viable takedowns" rather than "principle exercises"?

I have used various nikkyo type pins to submit on the ground,
Interesting. When do these generally make sense for you? It seems like they're more useful when you've just brought someone down with ikkyo or nikkyo; I guess you could also sweep the arm up or something.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-15-2007, 04:10 PM
You know the guy can not punch you in the back of the head, and he can't knee your face with 3 points down.
One other question, Don. Upon reflection, it seems like someone going in for a leg-grabbing takedown or whatever would only have two points down (their legs/feet). Do people often put one hand down just to gain rule protection from knees, or something?

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-15-2007, 04:17 PM
Contrary to Youtube and Google beliefs there are even a few traditional Gendai "Artists" Aikidoka, Judoka, and Karateka who hold thier own in Pride (which was just bought by the UFC gang).

There have been aikidoka in Pride? I'm curious to know details.

Aikibu
04-15-2007, 06:41 PM
There have been aikidoka in Pride? I'm curious to know details.

Sorry I misspoke and stadn corrected. Pancrease and UFC to be more specfic. There have been plenty of Judoka and Karateka in all three however.

http://www.jasondelucia.com/jason_delucias_homepage.htm

You may have to drill down a bit however Jason has adapted many Aikido techniques into his style. I by the way cross train in MMA and Submission wrestling which I still find very beneficial to our style of Aikido and quite fun even at my "old" age which is 46.

I am a big fan of Jason's and I can't wait to see where he progresses to.

William Hazen

DonMagee
04-15-2007, 07:09 PM
I admit I'm a little confused by this. In my experience, a good uke strikes in such a way that they could hit or miss and in neither case be off-balance. Rather, nage does something (blocks, deflects, evades, etc.) that makes uke unwillingly lose balance; they then try to regain it over the course of the technique, while nage keeps them moving with tai sabaki and atemi. (Although I have seen a technique or two that seems to be versus a "suicide attack" where uke -does- throw him or herself off balance with the force of the strike. But that's the exception.)

Perhaps off balance is a bad way to put it. To put it bluntly they are punching incorrectly with poor form that lends itself to getting tossed. A real striker strikes with good footwork, at a proper distance (which is not the distance an aikidoka wants you to strike at), and throw combos. None of that happens in most aikido drills I have experienced nor seen online. Watch a video of a boxer doing drills, watch his footwork, hands, etc. Then watch an aikidoka punching. I think the difference is night and day.


I've seen aikido waza where nage uses an irimi movement, coupled with a sort of outside 'guarding block' (rather than deflecting block) to perform something essentially similar to shomenuchi iriminage. Ever tried this sort of thing? What makes it hard in practice?

That sounds like a gross muscle movement. I do similar things all the time to get to the clinch. I just go for easy takedowns that have a higher percentage chance of me being in a good position on the ground so I can strike. If I was in a street fight, I might want to remain standing and probably would not be doing takedowns that bring me to the ground as well. Lucky for me, I do not street fight.


Interesting. Just to clarify: do you think they work better in BJJ because of the lack of gloves/tape? Despite not being able to use atemi in BJJ?

Exactly, the gloves prevent pressure and control of the wrist. In fact I had one guy in a wrist lock from omaplata in a mma sparing match. I had tons of pressure on his wrist, but he would not tap. He said it hurt mildly. Later I did the same submission to him in a pure bjj situation, he tapped immediately and vocally.


I'm trying to visualize this. What sorts of aikido techniques require you to "reach"?


By reach I mean your hands are not guarding your face. A boxer can block and strike without letting his guard down. Aikido techniques typically a) do not use the guard and b) require you to control a limb. Both of these things are done in potential striking range. MMA practitioners usually move into a tight clinch before attempting throws, this limits striking ability. I am aware that proper body movement would limit striking ability with aikido moves, however in practice this is very hard to do well.


"If your opponent is off balance, you are in a world of trouble in MMA." I'm guessing that's a typo, but I'm having some trouble figuring out what you meant to type.
This should be if your opponent is not off balance. Sorry I typoed. See with a judo or aikido style throw, you must take balance asap or you are at great risk. (think about Ippon seonage without proper kauzshi). With the clinch throw wrestling style, such as single legs from the clinch and body locks, you can work the position, then take the balance while you are safe. Aikido techniques require you to have the balance even sooner then judo, and judo is hard to do in MMA. Imagine you trap a hand and attempt an aikido technique, typically both your hands are now not in front of your face, therefor your chin is exposed, if you do not have proper kazushi the moment you grab the hand, you are going to eat a punch, and the MMA guy is ok with taking one to really hit you. Not only that, but attempting to grapple at that range will not stop him from just clinching and dragging you down. Have you done aikido drills where someone punches at you then trys to just grab on and drag you down while you attempt an aikido technique? It is very hard to keep proper distance with someone determined to clinch with you.


That sounds very reasonable. Have you ever tried casual sparring with those rules relaxed? Perhaps substituting hand-taps for punches or downward elbows to the back of the head or neck? If you have tried something like that, did it significantly drop the "success rate" or "percentage" of wrestling-style takedowns?


I have done some sparing that allowed light slaps on shots, and some sparing that allowed full blow elbows. In both cases I was hit, in both cases I was not injured. However that is not my point. My point is that if you fail the takedown, you are on all fours and in a better position then if you fail an ippon seonage, or any other standing throw. With aikido throws that fail you are very open to strikes, with judo throws that fail, you just gave your back standing. With single and double legs, you are turtled and safe from kicks, most punches, etc and have an easier time to recover. Of course this is bad for the street where you would get head stomped.

[/QUOTE]

DonMagee
04-15-2007, 07:10 PM
One other question, Don. Upon reflection, it seems like someone going in for a leg-grabbing takedown or whatever would only have two points down (their legs/feet). Do people often put one hand down just to gain rule protection from knees, or something?

Actually, its the other way around, the person getting taken down is afraid to knee because he is unsure of if they are 3 point or 2 point.

But I do see more and more people like randy coulture using 3 point to protect himself.

mwible
04-15-2007, 07:34 PM
im just going to say that i am for one a "pimply faced teenager" and i love the traditional, not all that B.S. in the "UFC". i believe a master martial artist could woop any of those jocks. not saying that we should do such a thing. just that i believe it absolutely possible. and i would love (in my present state of hostility; im not usually so hostile) for any of those guys to come try to bring me down for my belief and trust in the tradition of the martial arts. i would personally kick him in the face. and or put a sankyo on him till he cried.

mwible
04-15-2007, 07:44 PM
i think that aikido is so unafective to all those who post things saying that "it doesnt work in a sparring match" is for this reason. AIKIDO ISNT FOR SPARRING!!!! ITS FOR SELF-DEFENSE!!!! :grr: when ur in a fight ur not going to kick him lightly in the chest and then come in for a punch combo that grazes his face and chest! you are going to give a full-fledged attack! ur not going to panzi around it like in the fake fights of sparring. in a real life self defense situation you are going to nail him in the jaw, stunning him at the least, and then what can u do? put a lock on him, throw him, do something! thats what an utemi is for! so seriously, stop talking about the "unafective" when ur not even putting it to a real test!

and sorry for blowing up. but i cant tell u how many people have posted the same thing over and over and over saying how aikido sucks or doesnt work. it just pisses me off.

DonMagee
04-15-2007, 08:02 PM
You obviously have not done any MMA sparing. It is not light contact. It is not contrived or fake. You can do everything you want to do except for gouge eyes, fish hook, strike the back of the head, strike the groin, and grab less then 3 fingers or toes.

I have trained in aikido, and judo, and boxing, and bjj, and tkd, and krav maga, and a few other things. So I have been on both sides of the fence. I can tell MMA sparing is going to be more real then anything you can contrive in a non-sparing situation. I can also tell you it is nothing like what you are thinking it is. To think the majority of us could even have a prayer at stopping someone at the top levels of MMA is just silly. If we could, we could be making millions and changing the face of martial arts. It is simply not realistic. Unless you are going at him with a gun.

You are young, so it is ok to have dreams. But I think you owe it to yourself to think critically internally as well as externally. If it is so easy, go put it to the test. Speculation solves nothing. I have tried my hardest to utilize aikido and mostly failed. I talk to my aikido instructor, he gives me pointers and ideas, I again play with it. I put my money where my mouth is. If I think something is fake, and I have the means to test it, then I test it. I suggest if you are serious about developing real skill that you consider doing the same.

I agree that aikido is not designed for sparing. However the majority of aikido is legal in MMA. It is no different then judo, bjj, etc in this regard. I think aikido was designed to deal with attacks that were common in an older stricter culture. In situations where the attacker felt he would win in a single blow. This is no longer the case today. That does not mean aikido does not work, it just means making it work is a lot harder. Without that extra effort, it looks like poor juijitsu or bad judo.

mwible
04-15-2007, 08:26 PM
thank you don. its just im having kind of a bad night, and went a little over the edge without thinking. and i am young, i agree. but i still couldnt see any of those guys beating my sensei.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-15-2007, 08:31 PM
Thanks, Don. I'm going to keep working at this myself, though since I'm at such a lower experience level, I appreciate the chance to "cheat" a bit and just ask someone who's been working at it longer. For my part, I wonder if perhaps there's some way to exploit tenkan/irimi in the clinch and pre-clinch stages. I have no clue about boxing or other MMA striking, though; I'm mostly thinking from a grappling perspective. Like, "aikido vs. judo". In theory, the aikido person wants to neutralize the judo person's attempt to close up and put hands on shoulders...or so it seems.

William -- I have heard of Jason DeLucia, but it doesn't sound like he's really managed to employ aikido techniques in the ring. If you have some video evidence to the contrary, I'd be fascinated to see it.

Morgan -- MMA fighters work very hard, using well-tested techniques optimized in the here-and-now for sportfighting. Now, are aikidoka also cultivating some sort of martial skill? I don't know, and that's part of what I'm trying to figure out. (I think I'll start a post on the "context" of aikido shortly.) But for example, Gozo Shioda remarked that in his view, most boxers would beat most aikidoka. And those are hardcore early days aikidoka, who often had a well-rounded martial background. His reason? Boxers have more practice with live timing. I am wondering what Shioda felt the training solution might be.

mwible
04-15-2007, 08:46 PM
personaly, i dont agree with most aikidoka being beaten by most boxers. because in my experience most people have taken other martial arts before aikido. i took taekwondo before aikido, my sensei took kempo for 25 years before taking aikido, and so has every other person in my aikido school. so maybe thats what aikido is lacking. real time "get out of the way" kinda stuff. but using aikido in conjunction with the speed u have gained in TKD or kempo or karate, you could beat a boxer.

again. just my opion. Rebutle?

-morgan

L. Camejo
04-15-2007, 09:45 PM
Aww man the "Aikido fighting effectiveness" part this thread is so sad. I truly feel for some of you folks. Especially the ones who are giving advice as to why Aikido "can't" work in certain situations after having tried so hard cross training etc. to get things to work. Of course for those who think it can work, don't believe the naysayers for a second, it isn't as hard as most will have you think, but the key is in training smart, not hard or long.

Regarding the OP I think it is good that MMA is here and gives some people an option towards training, fitness and competition if they so desire. It may be the closest thing to "real" empty handed fighting so far and it gives those who need it a creative outlet for releasing pent up energy. I don't however see MMA as being any sort of challenge to Aikido's popularity. People will be attracted to what they like at the time. At some point in life I may feel like buying a Ferrari at another stage I'd want a Rolls Royce. One cannot be said to be better than the other since they address different needs, tastes and desires. In their fundamental role however they are the same, they get you from one point to the next.

A good thing about MMA also is that it has a lot of folks in TMA questioning their training paradigms especially in the area of "fighting" ability. The result has been many TMA folks cross training in MMA and similar methods or flat out leaving TMA and taking up MMA.

The interesting thing that I have found, is that those TMA-ists who cross train but use their experiences to go deeper and train smarter in their traditional arts tend to get breakthroughs and achieve a level of skill in their traditional methods that will never be enjoyed by those who either find the challenge too difficult to get better at their TMA to match the MMA skillsets or leave TMA to join MMA totally to "find what is missing" in their training.

It is no doubt that studying MMA will get one some great practice in some very effective skillsets but I often wonder why people who have done MMA and competed for extensive periods in Judo etc. come to my Aikido class still looking for "that which is missing".

I think MMA and Aikido coexist quite nicely.

Gambatte (truly, some of us need it).
LC:ai::ki:

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-15-2007, 09:56 PM
Hmm. Interesting, Larry. I do think that MMA contact will improve one's aikido methodology. But what I can't shake is the argument from the MMA types that really, the take-home lesson should be, "Aikido doesn't work; stop doing it!"

As an aside, I'd invite people here to take a look at this thread I just started, on just what sorts of rulesets aikido might work well in:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12369

L. Camejo
04-15-2007, 10:34 PM
Hmm. Interesting, Larry. I do think that MMA contact will improve one's aikido methodology. But what I can't shake is the argument from the MMA types that really, the take-home lesson should be, "Aikido doesn't work; stop doing it!"

As an aside, I'd invite people here to take a look at this thread I just started, on just what sorts of rulesets aikido might work well in:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12369
Hi Paul,

I hear you bro. The thing is we have as many people inside Aikido who say pretty much the same thing that the MMA-ers do. In the end imho the only way to really resolve issues in Budo (since they came from Bujutsu and still hold the martial essence) is to at some point meet others and test what you think you know without letting ego get in the way and learn from every instant of the experience. The way I see it folks can talk only so long, after a while someone has to get dropped or pinned to see the light and remove all questions. This is why I like MMA-ers and their ilk, the serious ones are no-nonsense folks and if you have the skills and can execute it on them you have their respect and they don't jibe about Aikido (or at least your Aikido) any more. But they have to be convinced and many in Aikido are either incapable or unwilling to do it. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

My experience however is that Aikido can be scarily effective against quite a lot of what is out there in close quarters engagements if one really understands how it is supposed to work strategically, understands how power generation and distribution works (regardless of fine or gross motor skills) and develop base skillsets that provide a solid foundation for one to develop ones Aiki skills. The foundation for this is found in drills and kihon designed to develop instinctive basic reactions that put one in place to execute waza (tsukuri) and body alignment, coordination, sensitivity and nervous system connection drills that give one the perceptive ability to detect, create and instinctively exploit the openings for waza. This must all be tested with resistance training (have someone not cooperate) and when things fail don't give up but seek to find out why without looking outside of Aikido for the answer. So far it has not failed me while sparring in Judo and Jujutsu while using their rules or when attacked on a dark night.

Just my thoughts. For those who really want to understand it the answers are there in plain sight.

LC:ai::ki:

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-15-2007, 10:37 PM
Larry -- I feel I agree with you on a lot of this. I personally have grown kind of fond of MMAers no-nonsense, empirically-driven attitude. It's a very likable "Doubting Thomas" approach that cuts through a lot of speculation. Hooray for scientific inquiry.

If you have any particular observations on aikido technique in an MMA context, I'd of course love to hear it. I'm just starting to experiment with this myself.

Aikibu
04-16-2007, 12:38 AM
Thanks, Don. I'm going to keep working at this myself, though since I'm at such a lower experience level, I appreciate the chance to "cheat" a bit and just ask someone who's been working at it longer. For my part, I wonder if perhaps there's some way to exploit tenkan/irimi in the clinch and pre-clinch stages. I have no clue about boxing or other MMA striking, though; I'm mostly thinking from a grappling perspective. Like, "aikido vs. judo". In theory, the aikido person wants to neutralize the judo person's attempt to close up and put hands on shoulders...or so it seems.

William -- I have heard of Jason DeLucia, but it doesn't sound like he's really managed to employ aikido techniques in the ring. If you have some video evidence to the contrary, I'd be fascinated to see it.

Morgan -- MMA fighters work very hard, using well-tested techniques optimized in the here-and-now for sportfighting. Now, are aikidoka also cultivating some sort of martial skill? I don't know, and that's part of what I'm trying to figure out. (I think I'll start a post on the "context" of aikido shortly.) But for example, Gozo Shioda remarked that in his view, most boxers would beat most aikidoka. And those are hardcore early days aikidoka, who often had a well-rounded martial background. His reason? Boxers have more practice with live timing. I am wondering what Shioda felt the training solution might be.

Interesting comparisons and I can see why you're confused. Aikido is a practice which takes a bit longer than boxing to master and it's objective are vastly different than a boxers would be... Does that mean Aikido doesn't work? Only if you prefer apples over oranges

As for Jason well like I said... drill down...the information is there. or better yet ask him yourself. He is very approachable.

I think you should put things into a better context with regard to your comparision especially when you talk about MMA "fighters" versus Aikidoka. I am not so sure (at least in my experiance) that an experianced & skilled Aikidoka is at such a disadvantage. Some forms of Aikido have been taught in L.E. for decades along with BJJ and boxing...All are "effective" in the right hands and in the right situation. Martial Awareness is the key. I do agree however that most beginning Aikidoka will not hold up against a beginning boxer for a completely different reason. In fact most regular folks won't either. The reason. Most Aikidoka have no experiance with "surviving" being hit hard in the face or the skill of centering and focusing DISPITE the aydrenaline dump that goes with full on conflict/contact. that takes a few years of Kumite at a minimum. Boxers learn this the second they start sparring. As Mike Tyson has said "Everyone has a plan until you hit them in the mouth." it's hard though to spar or go full contact without a set of rules or knowledge of proper Ukemi. Boxers are not focused on the "Killing Blow" in Karate for example, or taking out someone's knee in Judo, or putting someone on their head in Aikido.Heck those are just the "softer" Gendai Arts. Koryu is all about combat.LOL :D In general most Martial Arts are about DESTRUCTION with the noted possible exception of Aikido & Tai Chi (the softer forms). On the other hand MMA has evolved into mixing some different skillsets into a SPORT.

You said you don't know if Aikido helps folk cultivate some sort of Martial Skill. Well certainly there are some folks who have diluted Aikido to the point of where it seems like Yoga with a partner. However I assure you among Aikido's ranks are some serious Martial Artists. Thier intention is for Aikido to continue as BUDO FIRST... in the spirit of O'Sensei.

Here's a question back at you. Can you expain the "Martial" in Mixed "Martial" Arts? What meaning does "Martial" have for you? And if MMA is truely Martial then shouldn't MMA matches "evolve" to the point where they are to the death? (Brings to mind a dear friend of mine whom I worked with several years ago who teaches Hawaiian Kempo, and is a senior Yudansha with "The Pit" Dojo. Yup... Chuck Liddel's Dojo. He killed a man in a "sport" match without intending to, and I am told it has haunted him ever since)

Perhaps my question will help clarify things for you. :)

Respectfully

William Hazen

Aristeia
04-16-2007, 04:00 AM
Hmm. Interesting, Larry. I do think that MMA contact will improve one's aikido methodology. But what I can't shake is the argument from the MMA types that really, the take-home lesson should be, "Aikido doesn't work; stop doing it!"

despite lots of claims to the contrary - this really isn't a claim I see alot of people, MMA or otherwise making. There is sometimes discussion around what aikido is good for, what it is not good for. But rarely do I see anyone but the most rabid extremist suggest that aikido shold become extinct....

Dewey
04-16-2007, 06:51 AM
I'm the original poster, so I thought it'd be time for me to chime in again. So far, good discussion! Thanks to all who have participated. This is indeed a hot topic, touching on matters that seem to be on many other peoples' minds as well.

My main concern is over the future of Aikido in America. As I mentioned in the beginning, I am curious as to who will "take over" Aikido once the Baby Boomer instructors/sensei retire and how it will change Aikido in light of the current "fad" in the martial arts community: the MMA?

Personally, I think that the overly-commercialized MMA fad will fall out of style in a few years, just as a previous poster noted. However, the so-called "challenge" of the MMA to Aikido will have further reaching consequences because previous martial arts fads didn't have the power of the internet to keep it alive.

To put it colloquially: Aikido doesn't suck. However, if enough people say Aikido sucks over and over again, it eventually becomes subliminal, a sort of knee-jerk reaction. Example: all politicians are crooks & liars. Although there are many politicians who are indeed crooks & liars, not all of them are. In fact, many are honest and hard-working. However, it is indeed engrained in our collective subconscious to naturally distrust public officials. Get my point?

Aikibu
04-16-2007, 08:18 AM
To put it colloquially: Aikido doesn't suck. However, if enough people say Aikido sucks over and over again, it eventually becomes subliminal, a sort of knee-jerk reaction. Example: all politicians are crooks & liars. Although there are many politicians who are indeed crooks & liars, not all of them are. In fact, many are honest and hard-working. However, it is indeed engrained in our collective subconscious to naturally distrust public officials. Get my point?

In other words you're talking about are meme's. The meme "all Politicians are crooks" has been around since before the founding of the Republic and is well ingrained in the publics mind. The meme "Aikido sucks" only exists on a few websites, and in All the UFC/Pride/K-1 I've watched over the years I have never seen any professional fighters speak too badly or loudly about any Gendai Martial Art including Aikido in the mainstream media.

I will agree though that these days when some idiot in power says there was a link between Al Qwacky and Saddam and another says Smoking Mushroom Cloud enough times a certain percentage of folks will believe any lie any authority figure tells them. The Big Lies often work for a time, even though they are refuted over and over again by the facts. That can be the true power of modern internet based media. However without a huge amount of coverage in other forms of media and a certain amount of visual factual evidence/annecdotes, the meme "Aikido sucks" will never gain enough traction to overtake the meme "Aikido works" since there are 60+ years of multimedia and facts to support it.

Thankfully most folks who have viewed the website(s) in question can descern the blowhards from the few professionals that are on those sites.

William Hazen

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-16-2007, 09:04 AM
the meme "Aikido sucks" will never gain enough traction to overtake the meme "Aikido works" since there are 60+ years of multimedia and facts to support it.

60+ years of multimedia?

I've never yet seen aikido being employed (successfully or not) against a live opponent. I've looked into DeLucia; he himself at most says he's used a couple of techniques. Meanwhile, he's pretty much the only one. I've seen that "Muay Thai Vs. Aikido" video, but that's light sparring at best; cooperative showboating at worst.

This is the central empirical problem. I can believe it working -- absolutely. But I have little evidence other than my own experience, which is mixed at best.

Aikibu
04-16-2007, 09:22 AM
60+ years of multimedia?

I've never yet seen aikido being employed (successfully or not) against a live opponent. I've looked into DeLucia; he himself at most says he's used a couple of techniques. Meanwhile, he's pretty much the only one. I've seen that "Muay Thai Vs. Aikido" video, but that's light sparring at best; cooperative showboating at worst.

This is the central empirical problem. I can believe it working -- absolutely. But I have little evidence other than my own experience, which is mixed at best.

Then you need to keep looking. The emperical problem you refer to is based on a lack of knowledge and experiance. Despite numerous attempts by well meaning posters here to help you and tons of information availible about Aikido you are still unable to reach a conclusion?

Let's cut to the chase young man. What is your real motive?

William Hazen

PS. Yes 60+ years. There is film footage and print media of O'Sensei availible that dates back to the 1930s! Before he "started" Aikido. LOL

DonMagee
04-16-2007, 09:43 AM
I'm the original poster, so I thought it'd be time for me to chime in again. So far, good discussion! Thanks to all who have participated. This is indeed a hot topic, touching on matters that seem to be on many other peoples' minds as well.

My main concern is over the future of Aikido in America. As I mentioned in the beginning, I am curious as to who will "take over" Aikido once the Baby Boomer instructors/sensei retire and how it will change Aikido in light of the current "fad" in the martial arts community: the MMA?

Personally, I think that the overly-commercialized MMA fad will fall out of style in a few years, just as a previous poster noted. However, the so-called "challenge" of the MMA to Aikido will have further reaching consequences because previous martial arts fads didn't have the power of the internet to keep it alive.

To put it colloquially: Aikido doesn't suck. However, if enough people say Aikido sucks over and over again, it eventually becomes subliminal, a sort of knee-jerk reaction. Example: all politicians are crooks & liars. Although there are many politicians who are indeed crooks & liars, not all of them are. In fact, many are honest and hard-working. However, it is indeed engrained in our collective subconscious to naturally distrust public officials. Get my point?

I do not think MMA is a fad, I think it is the new boxing. Within a few years it is going to be as ubiquitous as boxing in its peak. MMA has grown beyond martial arts. It is a full fledge sport. There are fighters now that have never taken a bjj class, or a tkd class, they learned to fight for the ring. They don't care if tkd works, or if aikido works, because those are martial arts, and martial arts are for dorks who can't do sports.

As for the future of aikido. I'm not too worried. My only concern is that as more people take aikido as their first martial art and become teachers themselves, that there will be application lost in the translation of theory. With the exception of the tomiki guys, most aikidoka do not put in to practice their theory. This is usually ok if you have a contact sparing background like judo, because you have a realistic idea of how a encounter works. However, without that experience, there is a high potential for things to be lost in the translation, or done a different way because it was easier, etc. Eventually leading to a watering down of effectiveness. Soon, people are doing something they are sure is ultra deadly, but no one has even tested it in 3 generations or more of teachers, and there is no way it would work.

This is why Matt Thornton's comments on alivenss are more important to aikido then MMA effect on aikido. Aliveness needs to be taken to heart and practiced IMHO. Anyone who has been in a full contact sparing match or even a resistance based drill can tell you theory and practice are far different then you would imagine.

CNYMike
04-16-2007, 11:05 AM
Here's a question: why is there no trapping (as in the majority of aikido waza) in MMA? Or perhaps I should ask, has anyone managed to pull off locks against a good, resisting opponent?

Is aikido just made up of low-percentage techniques? Or are there just not enough skilled aikido people trying MMA?

I think there are a couple of different ways of looking at it.

In one sense, MMAists use Aikido locks all the time. Or to be more precise, MMAists and Aikidoists use the same locks differently. There are only so many positions for locking an arm; the Filipinos identify them as branch out, branch up, and branch down. There are only so many ways to lock the wrist, too. By definition, any system using joint locks uses these reference points, and doesn't matter whether it's standing or on the ground. BJJ's juji garame and Aikido's elbow lock are the same thing because they're both branch out, even though the former is executed on the back and the latter is done standing.

In another sense, one issue is that freestyle training has to be consistent with what an art does inorder to try it techniques in those areas. Most Aikido techniques, when you're doing them, involve nage starting out at almost boxing range but then getting very close to uke, sometimes body-to-body, for all or part of the technique, and "traditionally" stops short of ground fighting. So it is not kickboxing and not ground grappling but nestled somewhere in between; most MMA people probably blast through that range during a takedown. Furthermore, 99% of the time, Aikidoists go for a joint lock right off the bat (shiho nage included; it's really a branch up shoulder lock); doing that sort of thing freestyle is a question of safety so musles and ligaments don't get torn.

Can aikido-style locks be applied kick-boxing? Probably, but it has to be touch-and-go, automatic, without time to think about it! I was sparring with my jun fan sifu some weeks ago, and at one point he through a jab; when I felt the crotch of his elbow go under my lead arm, I autmatically brought both arms down and plastered his forearm to my chest. I wasn't sure how to go for a lock from there (although he liked it), but the point is that was an automatic reaction; if I had tought, "Oh, I'll try this trap," it would have been too late.

So I look on the repitition of Aikido techniques as the meat and potatoes of the training; I see it as repetitive drilling meant to hardwire those reference points into you so you instantly recognize them. It may not be a good way to get intellectual understanding, but that's not what they want -- they want to ingraine something. How that comes out kickboxing or grappling, I don't know for sure, but that's what you can look for in that training. It's also why I think once a week is minimum for Aikido training if you're looking to get anything out of it; otherwise you won't retain enough.

Please let me know if this makes any sense. :o

Kevin Leavitt
04-16-2007, 01:20 PM
The thing that always seems to get lost in these discussions is the Why you are doing what you are doing?
What is the endstate of your training?
What are the situations you are training for?

We all start making assumptions and talk in very general and macroscopic terms about MMA and aikido and how it works doesn't etc.

With respect to training...what is the "point of aim and the point of impact?" to use a shooting term.

I cover this when my guys start talking about training methodologies. What is the situation you see yourself in?

Is it Sport Fighting MMA?

Is it being jumped unsuspecting in an alley?

It is conducting a room clearing operation?

Is it arresting someone?

Is it the "gimme your wallet" scenario?

Is it the whole "I want to learn more about myself, peace and harmony thing?"

Is it the I just like doing it thing?

Once we have established this criteria, then we can more clearly look at the proper methologies, tactics, techniques, and procedures for training.

Other than that, we are only talking in very general terms upon which we can never agree.

Then once you define the endstate, you can then discuss the proper parameters, rules, constraints, control measures to put in place to best approximate what you want to train on.

It is never a one size fits all, or a one methodology is the way to go frame work.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-16-2007, 02:08 PM
... But rarely do I see anyone but the most rabid extremist suggest that aikido shold become extinct....
You need to surf the web a bit more :)

It is the view of the author that given the above conclusions Aikido constitutes a dangerous cult which targets vulnerable people, and subjects them to a terrible regime of hypnotic mind-control. I believe that such a practice has no place in a modern civilization, and that nothing less than a worldwide ban on Aikido would improve the situation.
http://www.geocities.com/andygow9/

Kevin Leavitt
04-16-2007, 02:12 PM
Paul wrote:

Can a martial art really have techniques that "require cooperation"? Drills or principle-based exercises, maybe, like kokyu dosa. Still, it seems like aikido techniques should have a purpose beyond just "principle exercises".

All martial arts that I have practiced including MMA methodolgies and BJJ have drills and techniques that require cooperation. The difference in my experiences deals with the concept of aliveness from Matt Thornton. Aliveness is not something you can quantifiably define, I think, except you "know it when you see it and feel it." that said, many can be fooled into thinking what they know and see is alive when indeed it is not! Ask me how I know this!

In my experiences many schools in aikido have either intentionally or unintentionally removed the aliveness aspects of training. This may not be true for all schools and teachers for sure. I think though that this is true for most budo arts and is the brunt of the criticism from many in the Aliveness, or MMA community.

For an example of an statement of training philosophy look at Aikido Shobukan Dojo (my organization's dojo).

http://www.aikido-shobukan.org/?ref=42

Please don't interpret this as a criticism on my part or a inherent flaw with aikido or ASU...it is simply the philosophy as Saotome Sensei as he interprets it from O'Sensei and what he learned. Also if you study with Saotome Sensei you will understand quickly that he personally understands aliveness, albeit he takes a different approach to it...one which I don't believe focuses on developing fighting proweness, but does tend to instill the qualities he sees important in the study of aikido.

ASU, aikido, at least in my experiences, focuses on certain aspects of budo which are beyond the realm or concern of fighting skill.

Within this context, I think it is easy to demonstrate in many scenarios the importance of aikido, maybe not directly in fighting skills, but in many ways that can help people internally as well as externally to deal appropriately with conflict....sometimes in a very skillful manner. Alot of what I think is important about aikido is the concept of transcedence. that is, that we can transcend the daily physical processes of conflict and deal with them in a more refined and skillful way.

Looking at aikido simply as a martial art designed for fighting and comparing it to MMA and that it will become obsolete as it is some how exposed is not a good analogy. Again, I refer to ASU's website...it says nothing that would remotely illude to anything that would even put it in the same category as BJJ or MMA as practiced by many.

That is not to say that an Aikidoka cannot expand his or her knowledge and understanding of things that are martial from the study of MMA or a non-compliant type practice. Frankly I think there is much value in this type of study if you really want to understand the components of what makes this stuff work in a physical sense.

I think the message from O'Sensei and his senior students like Saotome sensei is that you don't need to do focus on the physical aspects of martial arts in order to learn the lessons that he thought that budo could teach us.

Many of us though, like myself, have a need to go through this process in a different manner. We don't so readily accept things at face value and must learn these lessons on our own. O'Sensei might indeed shake his head at me and say, such a waste of time, if they'd only listen!

Anyway that is my take on purpose.

I'd recommend reading Matt Thornton's blog on aliveness.

I think on a personal level there is much that can be learned from this concept. It does not mean that aikido needs to change, or should change the way we practice it. Aliveness is nothing new within the martial world...just new to most of us in the U.S and modern world as it has been re-introduced after being absent I think for a long time!

It may be that many of us must re-learn the lessons the hard way!

Anyway, I refer to my previous post....why are you training, and what do you want from it? Easy question to ask...not so easy to answer, I know!

gdandscompserv
04-16-2007, 02:32 PM
You need to surf the web a bit more :)

http://www.geocities.com/andygow9/
:hypno:

Kevin Leavitt
04-16-2007, 02:39 PM
Paul Wrote:

I noticed that a couple times, you used terms like "as practiced by most" and "typically". This to me brings up the question of styles of aikido. Which style do you practice? (Both of you, I guess?) Do you think that pre-war style practice makes one better able to actually implement waza as "viable takedowns" rather than "principle exercises"?

ASU is what I practice. I could not comment as a competent authority on what he did pre-war as I am not a scholar in this area. I would conjecture though that O'sensei evolved and grew (I would hope) to the point of refinement in which he stripped away all that he thought was unecessary to the goals of aiki so we could just concentrate on those aspects that would best instill the lessons he thought aikido could teach us.

So, why are we so fascinated with turning this back into diatyo Ryu? Why not study that?

I think most of us simply want to be the best we can be. Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually. Most of us don't really understand exactly what that means even though we all think we do! We all kinda have a mental pictue in our brains of what we think perfection is...or better yet "what quality is!" (Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). However, we all, myself included, probably don't spend enough time thinking about what that really means and what the cost of that is.

What we are probably really after is happiness. What does it take to achieve this?

Kevin Leavitt
04-16-2007, 02:49 PM
I would not say I agree with that hypothesis Ricky :)

I leave it to others to chop to pieces in our passive/agressive ways!

I would say that I can see his point of view. There is some truths. Aikido is an art that explores the duality of passive/agreesiveness/submissiveness/pacifism. It does look towards violence to achieve peace.

I would say, that for many, aikido can be cult-like and many carry the philosophy and follow things blindly to a degree of fundamentalism. I think this is true in just about all things religious, spiritual, philosophical in nature.

There are also many that are looking towards aikido making into something it is not as well. That is, they have expectations of the art that it simply will not fulfill no matter how much they really wish it would! Again, true of just about any group or practice.

I am not sure he is accurate with his definition of hypnotism though.

L. Camejo
04-16-2007, 04:42 PM
Aikido is about transcendence, I tend to agree.

On transcendence - from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transcendence

transcendence

noun
1. a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of material experience
2. the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits

How do I go "beyond the limits of material experience" or "beyond usual limits" without first knowing what those limits are? How do I transcend the need for conflict without truly understanding the nature of conflict and how it relates to my own nature?

Imho Ueshiba M. transcended because he understood what he was transcending. He met his demons, faced them, forged his spirit through them and at some point moved beyond them. He deeply studied combat, conflict and fighting to find a way beyond these things. So I wonder where do folks get the impression that by not understanding conflict, by always engaging in an artificially created harmony we will be able to transcend conflict?

The good thing about MMA and the like is that facing yourself is part and parcel of facing your opponent (Budo should also provide this option). Your opponent is your teacher, he shows you your weaknesses via the medium of challenge and you need to find a way to transcend these weaknesses to excel in training. When you transcend your own weaknesses you transcend your opponent through the visible manifestation of winning a bout or submitting him or whatever.

If one does not ever have to deal with adversity one is never challenged to truly look at the self and find ways to transcend. In this light the absence of true conflict in Aikido training is actually a good way to ensure that one never transcends it, since one never really gets the chance to see the true self when it appears to face its own demons.

The negative traits that people exhibit when in the pressure of competition or conflict are precisely what they need to bring out their true selves and find ways to truly transcend conflict.

Imho.
LC:ai::ki:

Aikibu
04-16-2007, 06:58 PM
Aikido is about transcendence, I tend to agree.

On transcendence - from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transcendence

transcendence

noun
1. a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of material experience
2. the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits

How do I go "beyond the limits of material experience" or "beyond usual limits" without first knowing what those limits are? How do I transcend the need for conflict without truly understanding the nature of conflict and how it relates to my own nature?

Imho Ueshiba M. transcended because he understood what he was transcending. He met his demons, faced them, forged his spirit through them and at some point moved beyond them. He deeply studied combat, conflict and fighting to find a way beyond these things. So I wonder where do folks get the impression that by not understanding conflict, by always engaging in an artificially created harmony we will be able to transcend conflict?

The good thing about MMA and the like is that facing yourself is part and parcel of facing your opponent (Budo should also provide this option). Your opponent is your teacher, he shows you your weaknesses via the medium of challenge and you need to find a way to transcend these weaknesses to excel in training. When you transcend your own weaknesses you transcend your opponent through the visible manifestation of winning a bout or submitting him or whatever.

If one does not ever have to deal with adversity one is never challenged to truly look at the self and find ways to transcend. In this light the absence of true conflict in Aikido training is actually a good way to ensure that one never transcends it, since one never really gets the chance to see the true self when it appears to face its own demons.

The negative traits that people exhibit when in the pressure of competition or conflict are precisely what they need to bring out their true selves and find ways to truly transcend conflict.

Imho.
LC:ai::ki:

Oustanding post Sensei. Thank You. :)

William Hazen

CNYMike
04-16-2007, 07:11 PM
You need to surf the web a bit more :)

http://www.geocities.com/andygow9/

I wonder what a professional cult deprogrammer whould make of Mr. Gow's writings. Would he nod in agreement or roll his eyes?

Personlly, I think the latter, but what do I know? I've been hypnotized! :rolleyes: (And I could say the same thing about other articles on the web about organized martial arts.)

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-16-2007, 07:26 PM
Then you need to keep looking. The emperical problem you refer to is based on a lack of knowledge and experiance. Despite numerous attempts by well meaning posters here to help you and tons of information availible about Aikido you are still unable to reach a conclusion?

Let's cut to the chase young man. What is your real motive?

William Hazen

PS. Yes 60+ years. There is film footage and print media of O'Sensei availible that dates back to the 1930s! Before he "started" Aikido. LOL

I will continue looking, then. I'm glad (albeit surprised) to hear that the footage is out there.

My real motive might take a moment to explain. I agree with much of how Larry has described it. I like to use the omote/ura explanation; I think the ura of aikido (greater awareness and sensitivity, interpersonal understanding, balance, etc.) to be far more valuable for most people in today's world than the omote (throwing and pinning people). But I don't think you can separate them, or say something like, "Hmm, today, I'm going to practice 20% omote, and 80% ura." As a result, I feel it important to investigate the application of aikido in various martial contexts, to better understand what sort of omote goals we might be striving for. Karate's omote might be hitting hard or with good timing; judo's omote might be throwing someone from a hands-on-shoulders range. Aikido's seems to be trapping at a bit farther than judo range, but it's not entirely clear what sort of context (e.g. attacks) this trapping is meant to happen with regard to.

So that's my motive, if that makes sense - trying to be sincere about my practice, lest I start trying to reap rewards without also doing "the hard part". If Ueshiba-sensei had come from a background of tea ceremony and dance, an "aikido" still might have developed, but it would not have the unique beauty that only a martial art can have.

Aristeia
04-16-2007, 07:52 PM
You need to surf the web a bit more :)

http://www.geocities.com/andygow9/

Well to be fair I did say "except for the most rabid extremists". I'd say this turkey qualifies...

Aristeia
04-16-2007, 07:54 PM
The thing that always seems to get lost in these discussions is the Why you are doing what you are doing? .
As usual Kevin has sumi otoshi'd the correct.

You see I rarely see MMAer, BJJers, whoever, say anyone should just stop practicing Aikido. What I do see is them challenging people that Aikido will not give them what they think it will. The debate is more often about what aikido is good "for". Sometimes that's explict sometimes it's not. But it's generally what the debate is about.

Dewey
04-16-2007, 08:03 PM
You need to surf the web a bit more :)

http://www.geocities.com/andygow9/

For an assault on the senses, perhaps you need to snoop around Bullshido.net (http://www.bullshido.net), the premiere fan site for the MMA. March of '07 was officially declared "Aikido sucks" month. Simply go there and search "aikido" in their search engine...you'll see.

statisticool
04-16-2007, 08:12 PM
http://www.geocities.com/andygow9/


5th Kyu grade


:rolleyes:


This is the key difference between Aikido and other martial arts: in Aikido there is no competition between practitioners.


Perhaps Aikido realizes the real competition is within yourself?


Instead of fighting to develop skill, the person who is to be thrown (called the Uke) submits her body to the person who is to practice the throw (called the Nage).

Although initially the Uke attacks the Nage, it is with full knowledge that the attack will fail and result in their being thrown. This is the method of training: the Uke submits her body to the Nage for four throws and then they swap over. This continues until Sensei (the instructor) calls a break for a demonstration with a chosen Uke.

The result of this is that during training each practitioner is required to submit to many techniques and endure any pain and consequent aggressive feelings which might arise. It is indicated that this continuous submission in the face of pain builds spirit. In actual fact the student is being trained to submitto control in spite of any emotional, physical or psychological pain they experience.

This has no parallel in other, competitive martial arts as a key point is usually preventing the oppponent from controlling and causing pain, either by a block, evasion or counter-strike.


That is entirely false. In fact, any partner drill with some parameters in any martial art can be said to have a Uke and a Nage.

I wonder if he would say the Tokyo Riot Police are in a state of hypnosis?

Fun read!

Justin

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-16-2007, 08:21 PM
I wonder if he would say the Tokyo Riot Police are in a state of hypnosis?

The conspiracy goes even higher than we thought!

Aristeia
04-16-2007, 09:00 PM
For an assault on the senses, perhaps you need to snoop around Bullshido.net (http://www.bullshido.net), the premiere fan site for the MMA. March of '07 was officially declared "Aikido sucks" month. Simply go there and search "aikido" in their search engine...you'll see.
I'm very familiar with bullshido,net I have a number of posts over there. I beleive they have also recently had bjj sucks month.

While I tend to agree that bullshido has jumped the shark and there are many more immature fanboys there now -if you take out the colourful language what they're really saying is Aikido sucks for certain purposes. They don't often go around saying everyone should stop doing it but that it doesn't provide the tools that many aikidoka think it does. And that is the key point. Often when you expose that the MMA crowd and the Aiki crowd have different reasons for training - the disagreement goes away.

JAMJTX
04-16-2007, 10:43 PM
I hope that Aikido will not change to meet the demands of the MMA craze. That will die down in a few years.
Also, I hope that some of these people will mature and embrace the values of the TMA and change thier ways.

We see people actively training in Aikido well into thier 50's and maybe even beyond. There are still a number of much older Sensei around, even if they are not training, they are still in the dojo and contributing. I can't imagine too many beyond the age of 35 staying active in MMA. If not for reasons of being too harsh on the body, then perhaps because these are not the kind of people who generally stay with anything for very long.

Aikido should remain as it is and be there kind of like an oasis for those MMAers who are currently lost.

Aristeia
04-17-2007, 12:23 AM
I hope that Aikido will not change to meet the demands of the MMA craze. That will die down in a few years.
Also, I hope that some of these people will mature and embrace the values of the TMA and change thier ways.

We see people actively training in Aikido well into thier 50's and maybe even beyond. There are still a number of much older Sensei around, even if they are not training, they are still in the dojo and contributing. I can't imagine too many beyond the age of 35 staying active in MMA. If not for reasons of being too harsh on the body, then perhaps because these are not the kind of people who generally stay with anything for very long.

Aikido should remain as it is and be there kind of like an oasis for those MMAers who are currently lost.Wow. Just wow. What a judgemental, prejudiced riddled post. Change their ways? You make it sound like they're out theiven an whorin. Not the kind of people that stay at anything very long? What are you, kidding me? Have you any idea the strength of character and loss of ego it takes to compete in something like MMA? Those who "dont' stay with anything very long" would not last long enough to be identified as MMAers. They're currently lost?

Wow.

DonMagee
04-17-2007, 05:41 AM
I agree, this whole MMA is a fad thing is getting old. It is not a fad, it hasn't been a fad for the last 10 years of growth. It is here to stay, it is now a growing part of American culture. Accept it and move on. It is more popular then a lot of bread and butter American sports.

MMA is not about jumping from art to art, learning a few things then trying to put it all together. It is a systematic approach to learning the most efficient way to disable someone within the confines of the ring. It is fun, it is healthy, it is safe, and most of the people in it don't even realize or care that they are training in martial arts. Just like boxers don't realize boxing is a martial art.

Aikibu
04-17-2007, 08:30 AM
I agree, this whole MMA is a fad thing is getting old. It is not a fad, it hasn't been a fad for the last 10 years of growth. It is here to stay, it is now a growing part of American culture. Accept it and move on. It is more popular then a lot of bread and butter American sports.

MMA is not about jumping from art to art, learning a few things then trying to put it all together. It is a systematic approach to learning the most efficient way to disable someone within the confines of the ring. It is fun, it is healthy, it is safe, and most of the people in it don't even realize or care that they are training in martial arts. Just like boxers don't realize boxing is a martial art.

At 46 I still am having fun with it and it is a great help in understanding our Aikido.

William Hazen

Aikibu
04-17-2007, 08:33 AM
I will continue looking, then. I'm glad (albeit surprised) to hear that the footage is out there.

My real motive might take a moment to explain. I agree with much of how Larry has described it. I like to use the omote/ura explanation; I think the ura of aikido (greater awareness and sensitivity, interpersonal understanding, balance, etc.) to be far more valuable for most people in today's world than the omote (throwing and pinning people). But I don't think you can separate them, or say something like, "Hmm, today, I'm going to practice 20% omote, and 80% ura." As a result, I feel it important to investigate the application of aikido in various martial contexts, to better understand what sort of omote goals we might be striving for. Karate's omote might be hitting hard or with good timing; judo's omote might be throwing someone from a hands-on-shoulders range. Aikido's seems to be trapping at a bit farther than judo range, but it's not entirely clear what sort of context (e.g. attacks) this trapping is meant to happen with regard to.

So that's my motive, if that makes sense - trying to be sincere about my practice, lest I start trying to reap rewards without also doing "the hard part". If Ueshiba-sensei had come from a background of tea ceremony and dance, an "aikido" still might have developed, but it would not have the unique beauty that only a martial art can have.

Thanks Paul for clarifying your motives and I now completely understand where you're coming from. A man after my own heart. :)

William Hazen

Kevin Leavitt
04-17-2007, 01:11 PM
I am Turning 42 soon and doing MMA don't see me quitting anytime soon. I touch gloves regularly with 20 and 30 somethings, no issues, albeit I am a little slower...but overcome that with skill and wisdom I hope!

Randy Couture? 43 years old? Current UFC champ.

MMA harsh on the body? Not in my experiences, less so than Aikido actually I think. I have had fewer injuries and less back and knee pain from MMA type training than from aikido.

MMA as a professional venue? is not going anywhere except up.

Don't believe it, look at the success of Ultimate Fighter and the history of the UFC as a money making organization...they are just getting going and finally getting into the big money.

It is finally entering into the league of boxing. I hope the corruption doesn't follow it, but probably hard to avoid with big money.

statisticool
04-17-2007, 07:45 PM
I say it is a fad, but something being a fad doesn't necessarily mean it is 'bad', just that it is popular for now, hyped up, etc.

Aristeia
04-18-2007, 04:42 AM
a fad that has lasted in excess of 10 years? How long does it need to keep growing before it stops being a fad and starts being a trend?

dbotari
04-18-2007, 07:28 AM
a fad that has lasted in excess of 10 years? How long does it need to keep growing before it stops being a fad and starts being a trend?

With due respect it hasn't been in excess of 10 years. When the original UFC started in the early 90's there was a lot of buzz around it that lasted until maybe 95 or 96. The scene then went down hill and quickly. in the early 2000's just before Zuffa bought the UFC, it was almost bankrupt and very very few people spoke about MMA (in that context). It has only been since Zuffa bought and reinvented the UFC (by putting stricter rules in place to allow it to get sanctioned in various states) that the popularity of the UFC and MMA has grown.

statisticool
04-18-2007, 07:53 AM
a fad that has lasted in excess of 10 years? How long does it need to keep growing before it stops being a fad and starts being a trend?

It is still pretty much confined to one venue, one network, one demographic, and still has a pro-rasslin' feel to it with all the hype.

akiy
04-18-2007, 08:08 AM
Can we please steer the discussion back to the relationship between mixed martial arts and aikido?

Thanks,

-- Jun

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-18-2007, 08:56 AM
One thing that continues to go through my mind are ryokatamochi techniques. I'm starting to get a better idea of what good fighters actually -do- with that general type of grip, in terms of judo or whatever.

What about the intersection between judo and aikido? I'm currently trying to explore the possibilities of executing aikido-type tai sabaki/waza versus someone entering in to establish a hands-on-shoulders grappling situation. I feel like this is one case where MMA context might help "liven up" aikido's approach - i.e., "They're not just grabbing your shoulders for fun; they plan to do something with it."

Dewey
04-18-2007, 09:24 AM
Can we please steer the discussion back to the relationship between mixed martial arts and aikido?

Thanks,

-- Jun

Aikido has almost always had cross-trainers from other martial arts and it hasn't watered down or fundamentally altered Aikido. Many folks on this discussion board cross-train (I do). If anything, I think that cross-training is a good thing and keeps Aikido "real."

However, the whole MMA juggernaut does pose a problem for Aikido in my opinion. That is, the very essence of the MMA is competition and thus, by design it utilizes only those techniques that are found to be most effective & efficient in competition. Anything that doesn't help you win is rejected. This is its underlying philosophy...a very pragmatic one at that.

When the MMA is enthroned by the omnipresent media-entertainment industry as the paragon of the martial arts in America (which it already is and will continue to until the gravy train ends), it does cause a "ripple effect" in popular culture....particularly for younger generations who are raised on cable TV and the internet and are sold on the idea that the MMA is "it" because that's who's utilizing the marketing.

The problem? As the MMA philosophy begins to take root and is established as the popular criteria by which to evaluate a martial art (e.g. "does it work in the ring?" and "why do I have to waste time learning all these other techniques when they won't help me win?"), Aikido will suffer because of its traditional approach to instruction as well as because of its extensive & complex curriculum.

So, how will Aikido change in the 2010's & 20's...post-Baby Boom Aikido? How will it attract folks who are raised to believe the MMA philosophy? The MMA as we know it now will die down in hype and become as American Pie as boxing...but it's pragmatic philosophy is going to take deep root.

paw
04-18-2007, 10:09 AM
However, the whole MMA juggernaut does pose a problem for Aikido in my opinion. That is, the very essence of the MMA is competition and thus, by design it utilizes only those techniques that are found to be most effective & efficient in competition. Anything that doesn't help you win is rejected. This is its underlying philosophy...a very pragmatic one at that.

I think I see the point you are making, but I'd disagree.

MMA is mixed martial arts, and while some people who train mma do compete, the vast majority do not. While I would agree that mma does have it's own paradigms as to what an effective technique is, I don't think that translates into a "win".

The problem? As the MMA philosophy begins to take root and is established as the popular criteria by which to evaluate a martial art (e.g. "does it work in the ring?" and "why do I have to waste time learning all these other techniques when they won't help me win?"), Aikido will suffer because of its traditional approach to instruction as well as because of its extensive & complex curriculum.

So, how will Aikido change in the 2010's & 20's...post-Baby Boom Aikido? How will it attract folks who are raised to believe the MMA philosophy?

Well, first off, I don't think that mma's philosophy cannot be reconciled with aikido. It seems to me there are several people on this forum who indeed train both. Personally, I don't see much (if any difference) between mma's philosophy and Tomiki aikido --- as effectiveness in mma is determined in an alive environment, which as I understand it, is what Tomiki aikido provides --- but I'll confess to a degree of ignorance on Tomiki's philosophy.

I'm also not sure that aikido's cirriculum is more extensive and complex than mma, and honestly, if it's true or not I don't see what the issue would be.

There seems to be an undercurrent of talking about mma as though it has a unified cirriculum and such. While there are some mma gyms/dojos/training centers around the country, it seems to me that most folks who compete mix the arts on their own. That is to say, they box/kickbox at one location with one group of instructors, then wrestle at another location with an entirely different group, and so on. So on the face of it, I don't see why aikido would be in more danger from mma as far as losing students goes, than aikido currently is in danger (and frankly, I don't think it is) from existing boxing gyms, wrestling clubs, etc.....

Regards,

Paul

Randathamane
04-18-2007, 10:13 AM
What you must understand it that-
A/ MMA came from original and “classical” martial arts with a few adaptations-
B/ the ring is not a realistic fighting environment per say- with two competitors that have rules that know who they will be fighting potentially weeks in advance,
C/ Aikido has never been hugely popular and probably never will be.

Aikido will always attract the same type of people- and the natural process of aikido, endless training and devotion to a set principle or technique is environment for boredom. That is how it was designed. Through repetition we better ourselves and filter out those who would never have cut it in the first place (the impatient and the unrealistic individuals). Why would you train in one art that takes devotion and skill to practice, when you can go to the university ju-jitsu team and get “a free can of whoop ass after 20 sessions”?
I have difficulty seeing that aikido will have a recruitment problem as we will always be able to take students out of other martial arts.

If and when aikidoka get invited to attend other dojo’s or other martial arts events (I.E regional competition, nationals or whatever) the quality stands out by leagues. Those who have their “can of whoopass” soon get their lesson as they are often bested by an aikidoka that, if direct grade translation was possible, is probably far lower in grade than them.
As such, people start to notice you and ask about your art.

Aikido has never been set up to attract a mass population of spectators or visitors to a dojo. If it were, we would have a setup place for visitors on each class or in the dojo line setup. As there is not one in 90% of dojo’s out there- it is a fair assumption that many dojo do not expect visitors.

The argument that classic martial arts are ineffective is laughable. The most traumatic time periods in Japan- the CQC system of choice was old style ju-jitsu which is by very definition a classic martial art. What we would call samurai- and professional soldier relied upon jujitsu and its derivatives to keep them alive in battle when everything went wrong. I would imagine that in a pitched battle- things would go wrong quite often.

When posed with the question of “does it help you win”? My answer would be to ask for a definition of winning. It’s flexible for many MMA societies working on combo points and submissions. Winning in classical martial arts is being able to walk away from a situation, Unharmed- no matter how it was resolved. If it got dirty and a fight broke out- the same definition applies. If you talk it out and go separate ways, the same definition applies.
Ultimately- I don’t believe that MMA poses a risk to aikido growth, as MMA people are quite often not suited to aikido life- wanting something faster, simpler and with the possibility of fast progression.

:ai: :ki: :do:

Keith R Lee
04-18-2007, 10:34 AM
I think a lot of the people here on Aikiweb and Aikido practitioners in general have a very limited and ignorant understanding of MMA. People seem to have lots of notions and ideas in their heads about how it works from what little they've seen on TV combined with whatever training they have at the dojo. I think it would benefit people who have some sort of fears or issues with MMA in regards to how it relates to Aikido, to just go to a MMA/BJJ gym. Stop theorizing about it and trying to work it out in your head how it works and just go to a gym. They're not going to bite you.

Dewey
04-18-2007, 11:03 AM
MMA is mixed martial arts, and while some people who train mma do compete, the vast majority do not. While I would agree that mma does have it's own paradigms as to what an effective technique is, I don't think that translates into a "win"....

There seems to be an undercurrent of talking about mma as though it has a unified cirriculum and such. While there are some mma gyms/dojos/training centers around the country, it seems to me that most folks who compete mix the arts on their own. That is to say, they box/kickbox at one location with one group of instructors, then wrestle at another location with an entirely different group, and so on. So on the face of it, I don't see why aikido would be in more danger from mma as far as losing students goes, than aikido currently is in danger (and frankly, I don't think it is) from existing boxing gyms, wrestling clubs, etc.....


Thanks for your perspective, it helps me clarify what I was trying to articulate in previous posts. What I have in my mind when I use the "MMA" moniker is the competitive MMA...sportsfighters, particularly the UFC and other sportsfighting organizations (either pro or amateur) and their events...with all of the theatrics, machismo and such. Even more nausiating, their legions of puerile devotees who give the MMA a bad name. As you describe it, then I have no problem with the MMA...I suppose that's what I would classify as a "cross-trainer."


Ultimately- I don't believe that MMA poses a risk to aikido growth, as MMA people are quite often not suited to aikido life- wanting something faster, simpler and with the possibility of fast progression.


Per my comment above, yes, I'd agree...the sportsfighters looking for ways to "improve their stand-up game" and the UFC "wannabes" will mostly likely pass on Aikido. No tears shed here....

DonMagee
04-18-2007, 11:05 AM
MMA people are quite often not suited to aikido life- wanting something faster, simpler and with the possibility of fast progression. emphasis mine.

I agree most MMA people are not suited for aikido. Their goals do not match. Most are not even interested in the martial arts. I agree there can be a fast progression, you can apply what you learn very quickly and effectively. However I can not agree it is simpler. The depth of MMA can and does include most techniques from bjj, judo, boxing, MT, wrestling, etc. These guys are basically putting together their own version of what japanese would call jiujitsu. A system of striking, throws, chokes, and joint locks. Sounds like every jiujitsu I've ever taken. To think aikido is any more in depth than this is ridiculous. Beyond techniques, each has its own complications. Just like judo has unique complications that bjj doesn't have and vice versa. You can't say judo is for people who want something simpler then japanese juijitsu. It is simply a lie. They are both very complicated in their own ways. A jiujitsu guy is going to be learning a lot of complicated movements, and required to learn more techniques then a judo guy. A judo guy is going to be learning to control from a clinch, grip fight, and modify throws in an alive environment. Each has its own complications. No one can really say which is harder or more complicated.

Of course I look at things that are faster and easier to learn but still effective an advantage not a disadvantage.

There is only one venue and demographic for MMA and its like pro wrestling?

I take it you don't have local MMA events, you havn't seen the tons of pro mma venues that are out there, king of the cage, UFC, Pride, the japan shoot variants, Pancrase, IFL, Bodog, I can go on and on. In my town we sell out the largest venue in town every month. We are 1 of a few places putting on MMA shows in town.

he ring is not a realistic fighting environment per say- with two competitors that have rules that know who they will be fighting potentially weeks in advance,

True and false. Most amateur MMA fighters don't really know who they will be fighting. They know the weight class, they show up to the event and get paired up. It isn't until you get good that fights start getting put together and you start scouting your opponents.
As for the ring not being realistic, this is another tool people use to talk down MMA. They say this without also pointing out their method of practice is just as unrealistic, if not more unrealistic.

I think a lot of the people here on Aikiweb and Aikido practitioners in general have a very limited and ignorant understanding of MMA. People seem to have lots of notions and ideas in their heads about how it works from what little they've seen on TV combined with whatever training they have at the dojo. I think it would benefit people who have some sort of fears or issues with MMA in regards to how it relates to Aikido, to just go to a MMA/BJJ gym. Stop theorizing about it and trying to work it out in your head how it works and just go to a gym. They're not going to bite you.

I agree 100%. The problem is most people do not actually care if MMA is better or aikido is better, or boxing is better, or kungfu is better. Instead they are trying to justify why they do what they do by convincing themselves what they do is better. If they actually understood why they were training they wouldn't be so apprehensive and they would admit the weaknesses and defend the strengths of their training. Instead, they discount entire areas of study as fads, or simpler, or barbarism, etc. MMA may not have value to why you train, but that doesn't mean it is any worse then what you do. It could even be better then what you do for some things, but if those are not the reason you train, you should be ok with admitting that.

Now I have a question, before MMA did we have threads on if boxing would overtake aikido? You should regard MMA the same way as boxing, kickboxing, Mauy thai, wrestling, judo, and bjj. If you have doubts about one, you should have doubts about all of them. It is not sport to worry about, it is the training method.

dragonteeth
04-18-2007, 11:23 AM
Honestly, I don't see MMA as a threat to the longevity of Aikido. Truth be told, I see it as more of a threat to other competition-oriented arts and other hybrid styles. Yes, it's popular with the young crowd right now, but these are the same people that in the absence of MMA would be pursuing different styles anyway. Think about it - if MMA didnt exist, and generally I think we can all remember a time when it wasn't really on the radar, what arts would be attracting the students who are attracted by MMA? The students who are looking for a multidisciplinary approach would have sought out ninjitsu, kempo, and the like. Those who are searching for the competitive experience would have gravitated to muay thai, judo, TKD, etc. But in general, these students would likely have never walked into our dojos at this time in their lives anyway.

Notice the "at this time in their lives." While I certainly don't have the statistics to back it up, a good many of the aikidoka that I know have done other things. Personally, I did a hybrid judo/jujitsu/kung fu/aikido thing. What draws us to aikido is not necessarily the brutal effectiveness of it (although the law enforcement officers that I know who practice aikido say that it is very street effective). Rather we are drawn by the focus on the whole self, the uniting of spirit mind and body, the mindset of peace and love that O-Sensei passed to us. There are, and will always be, those like us who will train in MMA and find that it doesn't meet their needs, especially as they mature. Not because they cant handle MMA practice as they age, but because their life experiences and world weariness drive them to seek a different way of life.

Just my humble opinion,
Lori

Grieving with the Hokie Nation.....:uch:

Kevin Leavitt
04-18-2007, 01:11 PM
Why is it that many sometimes make the assumption that "classical jiujitsu"as practiced by japanese warriors of "old", was practiced as we practice it today as in arts such as aikido, aikijujitsu, daito ryu, or any number of the koryu arts. Certainly there are many components including the core curriculm that was taught, but most budo arts probably are very distilled and focused versions of what was originally practiced.

Why could they have not been practiced much like MMA type arts today? With many of the aliveness components there to include competitions. I would think this is highly likely.

DonMagee
04-18-2007, 01:12 PM
Obviously there was competition in jiujitsu. That's how judo became popular, by wining a jiujitsu tournament.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-18-2007, 02:15 PM
With many of the aliveness components there to include competitions. I would think this is highly likely.

In 1682, a collection of illustrations sketched by Hishikawa Moronobu titled Chiyo no Tomozuru depicts two young warriors wielding safety-tipped yari (spear) engaged in a contest with another young warrior equipped with men, do-tare, and a naginata.

Source:http://www.kendo-world.com/articles/magazine/the_history_of_bogu/index.php

Interesting article about the developement of protective equipement for budo practise in Japan.

What could be the need for protective equipement if not "alive" training?

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-18-2007, 02:29 PM
Why could they have not been practiced much like MMA type arts today? With many of the aliveness components there to include competitions. I would think this is highly likely.

In fact, upon reading Ellis Amdur's "Old School" recently (good book), it occurs to me that modern koryu practitioners also use "alive" training. For instance, if I recall rightly, he talks about having freestyle grappling as part of training sessions.

Kevin Leavitt
04-18-2007, 10:37 PM
Yes, I am sure there are schools out there that do add elements of aliveness and freestyle grapppling.

Back to the original question, MMA as a catalyst for change in aikido...

assumes that aikido, in general, needs to change, or will be changed by MMA.

One assumption this question poses (the main one I believe) is that aikido as practiced by the general population is incorrect or "missing" something that MMA has to offer that is vital.

If the original arts had these components and ways of training, if modern Koryu has these things, if modern Gendai arts also have them, Judo being pretty much developed at the same time.....AND we have much documentation to say that much of this was intentionally left out by the founder and continues to be left out by his senior students/uchi deshi......

Maybe they were not as ignorant, blind, or as clueless, as the question or assumption that MMA is a catalyst for change in aikido assumes!

Possibly there is very good reason for it!

What is also possible, if you look at the many threads and discussions concerning internal martial arts is that the following two conditions might exist.

1. Some teachers may not understand aliveness and have enough skill to be able to intentionally teach around it, correctly isolating principles without losing the tactical presence (bunkai) that is associated with the practice of aikido.

2. Some Aikido students really do not have an appreciation or understanding of the purpose and intent of aikido, the principles being taught, and the tactical applicaiton (bunkai), and how it may be applied, (or not), as the case may be. That is, "we are trying to beat a round peg into a square hole"....trying to turn or make aikido into something it was never designed to do!

Short version:

Go study MMA if that is what you want to do. Study aikido (good aikido) for what aikido can teach you about aikido!

DonMagee
04-19-2007, 05:58 AM
Yes, I am sure there are schools out there that do add elements of aliveness and freestyle grapppling.

Back to the original question, MMA as a catalyst for change in aikido...

assumes that aikido, in general, needs to change, or will be changed by MMA.

One assumption this question poses (the main one I believe) is that aikido as practiced by the general population is incorrect or "missing" something that MMA has to offer that is vital.

If the original arts had these components and ways of training, if modern Koryu has these things, if modern Gendai arts also have them, Judo being pretty much developed at the same time.....AND we have much documentation to say that much of this was intentionally left out by the founder and continues to be left out by his senior students/uchi deshi......

Maybe they were not as ignorant, blind, or as clueless, as the question or assumption that MMA is a catalyst for change in aikido assumes!

Possibly there is very good reason for it!

What is also possible, if you look at the many threads and discussions concerning internal martial arts is that the following two conditions might exist.

1. Some teachers may not understand aliveness and have enough skill to be able to intentionally teach around it, correctly isolating principles without losing the tactical presence (bunkai) that is associated with the practice of aikido.

2. Some Aikido students really do not have an appreciation or understanding of the purpose and intent of aikido, the principles being taught, and the tactical applicaiton (bunkai), and how it may be applied, (or not), as the case may be. That is, "we are trying to beat a round peg into a square hole"....trying to turn or make aikido into something it was never designed to do!

Short version:

Go study MMA if that is what you want to do. Study aikido (good aikido) for what aikido can teach you about aikido!

But was Tomiki less of an aikidoka for adding some minor elements of aliveness to his aikido?

SeiserL
04-19-2007, 06:49 AM
Short version: Go study MMA if that is what you want to do. Study aikido (good aikido) for what aikido can teach you about aikido!
While I thoroughly enjoy MMA as a spectator sport and am certainly glad it wasn't around when I was young, for me the MMA has been a great catalyst for my (to each their own) Aikido holding its own intent, intensity, and identity

Dewey
04-19-2007, 08:11 AM
Back to the original question, MMA as a catalyst for change in aikido...
assumes that aikido, in general, needs to change, or will be changed by MMA.

One assumption this question poses (the main one I believe) is that aikido as practiced by the general population is incorrect or "missing" something that MMA has to offer that is vital.

If the original arts had these components and ways of training, if modern Koryu has these things, if modern Gendai arts also have them, Judo being pretty much developed at the same time.....AND we have much documentation to say that much of this was intentionally left out by the founder and continues to be left out by his senior students/uchi deshi......

Maybe they were not as ignorant, blind, or as clueless, as the question or assumption that MMA is a catalyst for change in aikido assumes!

Possibly there is very good reason for it!


What comes around goes around! The reason I originally charged the MMA with being a "fad" is because it's really nothing new in regards to emphasizing competition in the martial arts...or in being regarded as the synthesis of the best elements of various martial arts. Take for example the history of Judo in Japan during the early 20th century...the time period in which O'Sensei encountered Judo. Judo dominated the martial arts world of Japan. It seemed that every major koryu school of jujutsu was joining the Kodokan (c.1905). Judo was quite simply an unstopable force, all the great atheletes and martial artists of the day were going with Judo and the koryu arts were on the brink of exstinction.

Of course, with the benefit of history, we know how that all turned out. Some of koryu schools of jujutsu managed to survive the "Judo takeover" of the early 20th century without adopting the Kodokan syllabus and remaining structurally independent. Aikido was born in a martial arts world dominated by Judo, but not as an "answer" to it. Most of O'Sensei's early students were high ranking Judoka who quite literally abandoned Judo for Aikido and never looked back.

But was Tomiki less of an aikidoka for adding some minor elements of aliveness to his aikido?

I see your point, and would agree that the addition of competitive randori in Shodokan Aikido helps "keep it real," but I don't think that competition is same thing as "aliveness." In competition, the main concern is winning the match...not necessarily perfecting technique. Whereas, I understand "aliveness" as good randori where ukes make sincere, spontaneous, committed attacks and who don't throw themselves (i.e. resisting). The intent in randori is to perfect technique. Perhaps it just a matter of semantics...

While I thoroughly enjoy MMA as a spectator sport and am certainly glad it wasn't around when I was young, for me the MMA has been a great catalyst for my (to each their own) Aikido holding its own intent, intensity, and identity

Yes! That's why I originally posted this thread. It is indeed a catalyst for change in my study of Aikido. Not from the perspective of being perceived as a "threat," but more as a matter of healthy comparison. Whenever I watch a UFC or IFL match, I always watch in from the perspective of "how would I counter that move or technique?" Brain candy, I suppose.

DonMagee
04-19-2007, 08:22 AM
I see your point, and would agree that the addition of competitive randori in Shodokan Aikido helps "keep it real," but I don't think that competition is same thing as "aliveness." In competition, the main concern is winning the match...not necessarily perfecting technique. Whereas, I understand "aliveness" as good randori where ukes make sincere, spontaneous, committed attacks and who don't throw themselves (i.e. resisting). The intent in randori is to perfect technique. Perhaps it just a matter of semantics...

My point is really that Tomiki added judoish randori to his aikido and it did not change the nature of aikido, it is still aikido. Something very few aikido schools do today. His aikido is minor elements of aliveness on a foundation of kata. MMA training is a foundation of aliveness with very little if any 'kata'. From the very first day you will be training alive, spending no more then a few minutes working static drills to get the idea, then adding progressive resistance until eventually full on sparing.

As far as I can tell, Tomiki found enough value in aliveness from his judo training to make sure it stayed. It seems that Osensei did not care enough to put a stop to it. I have a feeling he could of stopped it if he really wanted to.

I still contend that MMA is just training martial arts with aliveness focused on ring fighting. The main thing that makes MMA, MMA is that aliveness. Aliveness exists in many arts and is much older then MMA. Aliveness has already infiltrated aikido many decades before I was born. So MMA can't change aikido, but it might help those elements of aliveness grow.

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2007, 09:01 AM
Sometimes I have to wonder how many posters have felt the strength of a national or world class athelete. It really is an eye-opener.

Best,
Ron

franklaubach
04-19-2007, 09:06 AM
:)

Hi,

4 me, Aikido as it is, is just fine.

i dont think we should change it into MMA.

have fun,
:)

Aikibu
04-19-2007, 09:28 AM
Sometimes I have to wonder how many posters have felt the strength of a national or world class athelete. It really is an eye-opener.

Best,
Ron

Amen LOL...You should see who trains here in Malibu.LOL Let's just say I am "blessed" with humilty and everytime I get too big for my Dogi Britches there is always a good pro fighter ready to humble me in less than a minute. :D and believe me it has nothing to do with technique and everything to do with talent. :)

Thats why the myth of the ultimate street fighter exists because some internet MMA/Aikido folks believe they can toe to toe with the likes of Chuck Liddel...or Mirco CroCop. LOL You MAY get one shot but thats only if your lucky and can survive the first 30 seconds...LOL.

William Hazen

Keith R Lee
04-19-2007, 09:34 AM
Sometimes I have to wonder how many posters have felt the strength of a national or world class athelete. It really is an eye-opener.

Best,
Ron

This is an important point as well. A couple of brothers at my gym have wrestled their entire lives, jr. high, high school, college. They're not extremely large, they're both about 180 lbs, but they are phenomenally strong. Their strength-to-weight ratio is off the charts and their speed and explosive power is something to see as well. Having one of them grab you, or get on top of you feels like being caught in a pair of vice grips. The thing is, these guys aren't that good. They wrestle at a small, not even 6A, school. The guys who make it into MMA at the elite levels are WAY stronger and faster than these guys.

Again, I think a lot of Aikido practitioners are very ignorant of how a MMA gym functions, the people it attracts, and how Aikido would fair in such an environment. Sometimes it seems as though there is a bit of the old "head in the sand" mentality at work. If people really want to understand MMA, they should just go to a gym, and find out about it first-hand.

Martin Ruedas
04-19-2007, 09:58 AM
First of all, I would like to ask, is there really a need for change? Have really really really understood what Aikido teaches us that we think it should change thru the help of MMA? or is this just an issue of popularity, because MMA is really popular these days? IMHO

IMHO, I don't think MMA should be catalyst for change in Aikido.

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2007, 09:59 AM
William and Keith understand exactly what I'm talking about.

Best,
Ron (been hosed by div. 3 wrestlers...I wouldn't even want to think what it would be like for the div 1 champion in 81 to have gotten his hands on me. His walking around weight was about 170 to 180...his wrestling weight was 134. And believe me, he was just as strong at 134 :()

DonMagee
04-19-2007, 10:02 AM
Braulio Estima is holding a seminar at my club on saturday for 45.00. He's a world class bjj guy who has an amazing competition record in the largest events in the bjj world such as Mundial, Pan-Amercians, Abu Dhabi etc. If everything goes well I should get to roll with him. This will probably be the best competitor I've ever gotten a chance to roll with. I can't wait to feel it.

Cady Goldfield
04-19-2007, 10:05 AM
Ron,
Are you talking about muscular strength, or the way they use their bodies/skills? Strength isn't the same thing as power or body skills. Would you really say that a guy who is "just as strong at 134" is using muscular strength and mass to equal effect as his 180-lb self?

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2007, 10:11 AM
I don't know how I would describe it. I just know I was putty in the hands of some of the 134 div 3 guys. I had at least 3 or 4 div 3 champions / all americans on my team. At any weight, these guys were incredibly strong. Back then, I was considered fairly strong for my size, but when I cut weight from 138 or so to 126 I was weak as a kitten. These guys dropped much more weight, and from rolling with them, they didn't seem to lose any strength. Truly amazing...

I guess my point is that there are people out there to whom it would never occur to set foot in an aikido dojo, and unless you've stepped up on their turf, you'd have a pretty warped idea of just how strong many of them are. Watching them on TV just ain't the same as them putting their hands on you.

Best,
Ron

Cady Goldfield
04-19-2007, 10:19 AM
That's interesting. They drop weight/muscle mass but lose nothing in "strength," while you dropped weight/muscle mass but found yourself feeling "weak as a kitten."

Could it have been that they were masters of their game in terms of their body skills, and that muscle mass and weight, while they (of course) confer an advantage, don't necessarily make someone a better wrestler?

Budd
04-19-2007, 10:21 AM
MMA as a catalyst for change in aikido? Well, I dunno, maybe for people that already have a "Let's see how this works" mentality, or like to get out and experience what other people are doing. As for the Establishment of aikido (whatever that means), I don't know that it will have any (but who knows?).

I do know that, similar to others here, ever since we had D1 wrestlers from Edinboro University (then coached by Olympic Gold-medal heavyweight Bruce Baumgartner and including one NCAA national champ) come crash our Freestyle/Greco club, any illusions of me being hot s41T were quickly wiped away. Funny thing that even in that sort of training/competitive setting, I think I had more a budo mindset in the sense of "Screw winning or losing, I just wanna survive!".

I like to think that it made me better and taught me that sometimes getting humiliated and taken down a few pegs is its own form of worthwhile teacher (forgive the machismo, but especially in the 1 on 1, mano e mano sense - humiliation and abuse for their own sake carry their own pathological baggage and unfortunately can also too easily be found in martial settings).

Either way, I still find it educational, worthwhile, draining, exhilerating and at times disheartening, but darn it if I don't like to still go find people that can pound me, submit me, etc. within their specific martial contexts. The older I get, the more I find I'm trying to apply "my aikido" (sometimes strictly as a physical skillset, whatever that means and for whatever it's worth) in those same contexts, rather than necessarily trying to start from scratch as a boxer, bjjer, etc.

The nice thing is that with more people getting involved in MMA or combative sports, the easier it is to find people to go visit and play with . . . if you'll pardon the selfish point of view.

KIT
04-19-2007, 11:30 AM
Ron has ipponed the correct!!

What should also be noted is how relaxed and fluid people at the National level or beyond can be. I'm lucky to train at a Judo dojo that has repeat Senior National champions, a former Olympic team member, and Collegiate and Junior National Champions. (And, I've heard but haven't confirmed, a former All Japan champ.)

I've trained BJJ with Pan Am champs at different belt levels and a Mundial medallist.

Some of these guys were state champion or collegiate scholarship wrestlers.

Grappling with some of these guys is like "fighting an empty jacket," as they say.

Many, many people in martial arts simply have no clue how good these people are, as Ron said. They have no frame of reference.

Kevin Leavitt
04-19-2007, 12:28 PM
My instructors in the states are all world class BJJers. I also train with a former pro MMA fighter here in Germany. It is a very humbling experience to roll with these guys...its as if I have never studied anything my whole life.

Serves to show you how much I have to learn...and I can hold my own against most any one that walks in my dojo!

There are definitely different levels of understanding and skill out there!

Kevin Leavitt
04-19-2007, 12:41 PM
Don,

I'd say there is nothing wrong with Tomiki. Not that I know anything about it, but certainly there are as many ways to do aikido as there are personalities.

My point was that simply having an absence of those things does not necessarily make it less of a viable and relevant methodology for training, simply something different.

Although, no one way of training can be all things for all situations. We have to figure out what is important for ourselves, and then seek to find those elements that we feel we need.

Dewey
04-19-2007, 01:19 PM
Sometimes I have to wonder how many posters have felt the strength of a national or world class athelete. It really is an eye-opener.



Again, I think a lot of Aikido practitioners are very ignorant of how a MMA gym functions, the people it attracts, and how Aikido would fair in such an environment. Sometimes it seems as though there is a bit of the old "head in the sand" mentality at work. If people really want to understand MMA, they should just go to a gym, and find out about it first-hand.


I guess my point is that there are people out there to whom it would never occur to set foot in an aikido dojo, and unless you've stepped up on their turf, you'd have a pretty warped idea of just how strong many of them are. Watching them on TV just ain't the same as them putting their hands on you.



Many, many people in martial arts simply have no clue how good these people are, as Ron said. They have no frame of reference.

I do not question at all either the athletic caliber or the character of serious MMAers. If I have given that sort of impression in previous postings, I apologize. It's the idiotic "wannabes" that upset me, just as they upset serious MMAers (Aikido also has "wannabes"...as we all know). Many of these guys are world-class athletes as well as formidable martial artists...even if some don't consider themselves as such. I have met some amateur MMA athletes here in the mid-West, and I must say that I greatly admire them for their singular dedication, athleticism & sportsmanship. They're truly gentlemen & family men.

The point I have been trying to make in this thread so uneloquently is that: should Aikido, in regards to remaining an effective martial art of self-defense, adapt and/or utilize the training methodology of the MMA, since it seems to consistently yield up excellent fighters & athletes? Or, should the traditional training methodology be retained unaltered? In the vocabulary of the MMA community, should "alive" training be given emphasis over the traditional partnered kata method?

Apparently, the jury's still out, based upon the responses so far...and probably will be for the foreseeable future. Personally, I found some very persuasive arguments have been made in favor of some sort of "alive" training in order to keep Aikido training realistic and maintain the Art as a legitimate system of self-defense. However, I am thoroughly unconvinced that Aikido needs "fight clubs" or that the partnered kata training needs to be de-emphasized.

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2007, 01:39 PM
I think I get what you mean a little better now.

I have seen less compliant but still somewhat cooperative training in aikido and it is refreshing. At 45, I'm not likely to go in for full speed, full resistance randori. I have to work tomorrow. But I think it would be good for at least some of the young pups...as long as consideration is taken for safety.

I think a bigger question is whether people begin to focus on modern methodologies for physical training (wieghts, interval training, running, etc) to suppliment their aikido, or will they stay with some of the more traditional methods of conditioning (things that might get put in the non-aikido forum). I'll be very currious to see what happens especially if those types of skill sets are taught more openly.

Best,
Ron

SeiserL
04-19-2007, 01:53 PM
Yes! That's why I originally posted this thread. It is indeed a catalyst for change in my study of Aikido. Not from the perspective of being perceived as a "threat," but more as a matter of healthy comparison. Whenever I watch a UFC or IFL match, I always watch in from the perspective of "how would I counter that move or technique?" Brain candy, I suppose.
In that case, bring on the sugar rush!!!!!

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-19-2007, 02:46 PM
It sounds like there's some sort of general agreement here: MMA is making us rethink our approach by exposing us to some excellent fighters and techniques.

Narrowing down to one specific issue: striking. The main aikido strikes are shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, and tsuki. Tsuki is a punch, but it's generally practiced as a sort of chambered-at-the-hip lunge punch.

None of those strikes show up in the UFC/Pride. The straightforward conclusion is that they are not efficient methods of unarmed striking. So perhaps they're meant to be weapon attacks? (I know this has been critiqued as silly, but despite the obvious problems, it's one of the more persistent solutions.) I've always found the notion of snatching away a live blade to be quite silly. However, shomenuchi and yokomenuchi could represent swinging some sort of handheld blunt weapon.

If there's some truth to this, should we be doing more shomenuchi/yokomenuchi with uke grasping a short stick or something, to better understand the spacing?

Keith R Lee
04-19-2007, 03:31 PM
It sounds like there's some sort of general agreement here: MMA is making us rethink our approach by exposing us to some excellent fighters and techniques.

Narrowing down to one specific issue: striking. The main aikido strikes are shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, and tsuki. Tsuki is a punch, but it's generally practiced as a sort of chambered-at-the-hip lunge punch.

None of those strikes show up in the UFC/Pride. The straightforward conclusion is that they are not efficient methods of unarmed striking. So perhaps they're meant to be weapon attacks? (I know this has been critiqued as silly, but despite the obvious problems, it's one of the more persistent solutions.) I've always found the notion of snatching away a live blade to be quite silly. However, shomenuchi and yokomenuchi could represent swinging some sort of handheld blunt weapon.

If there's some truth to this, should we be doing more shomenuchi/yokomenuchi with uke grasping a short stick or something, to better understand the spacing?

For what it's worth, 90% of the striking I've encountered at Aikido dojos is half-hearted at best. Furthermore, the 3 main strikes Aikido uses (shomen, yokomen, tsuki) are ridiculous attacks. Maybe they supposed to mimic weapon striking, I don't know. However, none of them come close to what a real strike would be like. Plus, I don't think I've ever been to an Aikido dojo where they practice combinations. Even unskilled people with no martial arts training are not going to stop with one punch. They'll just keep throwing bomb after bomb at someone in hopes of overwhelming the person they are attacking. Lastly, if you're practicing against strikes, the person doing the striking has to wear pads and be able to actually strike and win the training interaction. Otherwise it's just play acting and no one is getting anything out of it; if your goal is actually learning how to deal with striking in a conflict situation. If one's goal is something else; learning to blend, light exercise, fun, etc. than it's quite alright.

The other thing to keep in mind is this: alot of what's going on in MMA right now is brand new. People like to romanticize the martial arts and make it out like every technique and combination was discovered and created 1000 years ago by some wispy old monk on top of a mountain. F that. In the past 100 years more time, effort, and money have been put into sports and athletic competition than in any time in recorded history. Combat sports, especially at the elite level, Olympic level, UFC/Pride for us(incidentally, both have had silver and gold medalists compete), have athletes who focus their entire lives on one specific activity: fighting. These guys have access to training information from all over the planet, the latest in nutrition and supplement information, doctors, perfect weight and cardio training, etc. etc. They are bringing together various bits of separate fighting disciplines and integrating them into one new, complete fighting package: MMA. Essentially: Thai boxing + Wrestling + Judo/Sambo + BJJ. Aikido is not a part of it because its techniques and training methodology are inferior and ineffective in a combat sports context.

Aikibu
04-19-2007, 03:47 PM
It sounds like there's some sort of general agreement here: MMA is making us rethink our approach by exposing us to some excellent fighters and techniques.

Narrowing down to one specific issue: striking. The main aikido strikes are shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, and tsuki. Tsuki is a punch, but it's generally practiced as a sort of chambered-at-the-hip lunge punch.

None of those strikes show up in the UFC/Pride. The straightforward conclusion is that they are not efficient methods of unarmed striking. So perhaps they're meant to be weapon attacks? (I know this has been critiqued as silly, but despite the obvious problems, it's one of the more persistent solutions.) I've always found the notion of snatching away a live blade to be quite silly. However, shomenuchi and yokomenuchi could represent swinging some sort of handheld blunt weapon.

If there's some truth to this, should we be doing more shomenuchi/yokomenuchi with uke grasping a short stick or something, to better understand the spacing?

Shomen, Yokomen, and Tsuki are practice strikes in our style and are designed to get newcomers experiance with Atemi. Shoji Nishio came from a Karate and Judo background and every technique is done (as he put it) with "the flow of Atemi." In other words it's enter,accept the attack, strike first as hard as you can THEN execute the technique that becomes availible, and... within every facet of every technique there are more strikes but I digress.... We have a more martial style than most even (dare I say it and please forgive me for my lack of humility :) ) Shodokan or Yoshinkan and closer to Aikijujitsu. I often hear when I spar "Hey I thought Aikido was about grabbing the wrist!" LOL

You have the right idea about spacing. Executing every technique with a Bokken greatly helps folks get a proper sense of spacing with Uke and helps bring a greater sense of awareness to Nage.

Where MMA helps tremendously is in that sense of timing and spacing, ground work and feints/jabs in knowing when/how to enter.Most Gendai Arts feature straight punches and I have seen most Aikidoka/Karateka have difficulty initially with the bob/weave of a good MMA striker and the better ones take your mind with a few jabs and BOOM! You're on your back. It's over unless you have been trained on how to deal with it. Being pinned and getting pounded HURTS! LOL

In that sense MMA is of great benefit for the average Aikidoka. You truely come to experiance letting go... giving up your fear... and ENTERING with everything you've got to accept Uke's attack and end the conflict. Just the way Shoji Nishio insisted Aikido should be done... and why he greatly encouraged cross training.

You're on the right path. :)

William Hazen

Aikibu
04-19-2007, 03:50 PM
For what it's worth, 90% of the striking I've encountered at Aikido dojos is half-hearted at best. Furthermore, the 3 main strikes Aikido uses (shomen, yokomen, tsuki) are ridiculous attacks. Maybe they supposed to mimic weapon striking, I don't know. However, none of them come close to what a real strike would be like. Plus, I don't think I've ever been to an Aikido dojo where they practice combinations. Even unskilled people with no martial arts training are not going to stop with one punch. They'll just keep throwing bomb after bomb at someone in hopes of overwhelming the person they are attacking. Lastly, if you're practicing against strikes, the person doing the striking has to wear pads and be able to actually strike and win the training interaction. Otherwise it's just play acting and no one is getting anything out of it; if your goal is actually learning how to deal with striking in a conflict situation. If one's goal is something else; learning to blend, light exercise, fun, etc. than it's quite alright.

The other thing to keep in mind is this: alot of what's going on in MMA right now is brand new. People like to romanticize the martial arts and make it out like every technique and combination was discovered and created 1000 years ago by some wispy old monk on top of a mountain. F that. In the past 100 years more time, effort, and money have been put into sports and athletic competition than in any time in recorded history. Combat sports, especially at the elite level, Olympic level, UFC/Pride for us(incidentally, both have had silver and gold medalists compete), have athletes who focus their entire lives on one specific activity: fighting. These guys have access to training information from all over the planet, the latest in nutrition and supplement information, doctors, perfect weight and cardio training, etc. etc. They are bringing together various bits of separate fighting disciplines and integrating them into one new, complete fighting package: MMA. Essentially: Thai boxing + Wrestling + Judo/Sambo + BJJ. Aikido is not a part of it because its techniques and training methodology are inferior and ineffective in a combat sports context.

I respectfully disagree with most of your statement especially the last sentence...:)

William Hazen

KIT
04-19-2007, 10:26 PM
Well, if the intent is self-defense, then there are a number of questions to ask.

To start with, how self defense focussed do you want to be? Do you want to do a traditional art, with traditional values and sensibilities that will have some crossover value or do you want to primarily focus on self defense (SD) skills across a wide variety of armed and unarmed applications?

Reason being, NO martial art trains the latter. MMA doesn't train the latter, either.

In many cases, emphasis on traditionalism or combat sport is counter-productive to a broad base in SD skills - yes, even with the so-called "battlefield traditions of armed grappling" - the main reason being time spent and efficiency of training.

I have never studied a martial art or combat sport that is a well rounded SD method of itself. The more you get into costumes and ritual (whether its a hakama or a pair of Tapout shorts...), the more you practice with the sword than the gun, the further you are drifting from practical self defense.

However, almost all MA have something to offer for SD, or inform SD. Some of them, as is, are fine for self defense against the majority of "drunk uncle" or "aggressive panhandler" encounters you may face. Its how you put it together and how you go on to train with it.

Any martial artist will gain by adopting the MMA "approach" to self defense (i.e. choosing and developing specific skills, from different base arts for different fight parameters (armed and unarmed), and then pressure testing them against progressive resistance up to and including full contact/full resistance counter-fighting).

There is no reason that an aikidoka cannot delve into BJJ or Judo or muay Thai to develop a more rounded approach to unarmed self defense, then spend some time in a modern tactical knife system to develop a base there, then concealed handgun training to develop the skills there, then awareness and threat management skills, then force on force scenario training to test their integration etc. etc.

But all that is less time that you have to spend doing aikido....

May not matter, if your goal is not "professional level" SD skills, Even doing traditional aikido will put you ahead of most people, so long as you maintain an awareness and SD-focussed sensibility. You can get the latter from books, reading the newspaper, and just paying attention to what's going on around you.

But if you intend to be well prepared, not just "familiar," with a serious assault that may go to the ground, or in dealing with firearm and knife attacks, and in realistically addressing multiple threat encounters, or in dealing with a real world assault by a trained and committed individual who may have a different skill base and greater attributes than yours, you'll need to spend a lot more time working on things far outside the realm of what is offered in the traditional dojo or combat sport gym.

Even the ones that claim to be "combat" or "self defense" oriented.

Dewey
04-19-2007, 11:11 PM
Well, if the intent is self-defense, then there are a number of questions to ask.

To start with, how self defense focussed do you want to be? Do you want to do a traditional art, with traditional values and sensibilities that will have some crossover value or do you want to primarily focus on self defense (SD) skills across a wide variety of armed and unarmed applications?

Reason being, NO martial art trains the latter. MMA doesn't train the latter, either.

In many cases, emphasis on traditionalism or combat sport is counter-productive to a broad base in SD skills - yes, even with the so-called "battlefield traditions of armed grappling" - the main reason being time spent and efficiency of training.

I have never studied a martial art or combat sport that is a well rounded SD method of itself. The more you get into costumes and ritual (whether its a hakama or a pair of Tapout shorts...), the more you practice with the sword than the gun, the further you are drifting from practical self defense.

However, almost all MA have something to offer for SD, or inform SD. Some of them, as is, are fine for self defense against the majority of "drunk uncle" or "aggressive panhandler" encounters you may face. Its how you put it together and how you go on to train with it.

Any martial artist will gain by adopting the MMA "approach" to self defense (i.e. choosing and developing specific skills, from different base arts for different fight parameters (armed and unarmed), and then pressure testing them against progressive resistance up to and including full contact/full resistance counter-fighting).

There is no reason that an aikidoka cannot delve into BJJ or Judo or muay Thai to develop a more rounded approach to unarmed self defense, then spend some time in a modern tactical knife system to develop a base there, then concealed handgun training to develop the skills there, then awareness and threat management skills, then force on force scenario training to test their integration etc. etc.

But all that is less time that you have to spend doing aikido....

May not matter, if your goal is not "professional level" SD skills, Even doing traditional aikido will put you ahead of most people, so long as you maintain an awareness and SD-focussed sensibility. You can get the latter from books, reading the newspaper, and just paying attention to what's going on around you.

But if you intend to be well prepared, not just "familiar," with a serious assault that may go to the ground, or in dealing with firearm and knife attacks, and in realistically addressing multiple threat encounters, or in dealing with a real world assault by a trained and committed individual who may have a different skill base and greater attributes than yours, you'll need to spend a lot more time working on things far outside the realm of what is offered in the traditional dojo or combat sport gym.

Even the ones that claim to be "combat" or "self defense" oriented.

You read my mind, Kit! I have taken "reality-based" self-defense courses in the past (usually being the mixture of Karate, Judo, boxing, Jujutsu & Aikido where you go full force against an "attacker" wearing one of those big padded "anti-bear" suits...I especially enjoy practicing my groin kicks and throat strikes at full speed...not to mention eye-gouging!:freaky:) and am currently taking one now. I am also looking into some tactical CQC training, including tactical knife, which compliments nicely with Aiki-Ken & Jo (i.e. replace bokken or jo with an everyday walking cane which I use for "style" or faux orthopedic support when I go out on the town at night). Obviously, I approach Aikido as a martial art of self-defense and wish to perfect it by supplementing my traditional Aikido training with tactical CQC training. That's how I "keep it real." More importantly, though, I don't look good in a Speedo!:yuck:

KIT
04-20-2007, 12:09 AM
Send me a PM, yours is disabled. I can point you to some courses/instructors you might be interested in.

I will say one of the better guys at weapon retention in a resistive format I have trained with was a fellow student at a CQC handgun course I took - and an aikidoka. He'd given up traditional aikido practice because he got more into self protection studies, but trying to take his gun from him was a painful experience....

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-20-2007, 08:20 AM
For what it's worth, 90% of the striking I've encountered at Aikido dojos is half-hearted at best. Furthermore, the 3 main strikes Aikido uses (shomen, yokomen, tsuki) are ridiculous attacks. Maybe they supposed to mimic weapon striking, I don't know. However, none of them come close to what a real strike would be like. Plus, I don't think I've ever been to an Aikido dojo where they practice combinations. Even unskilled people with no martial arts training are not going to stop with one punch. They'll just keep throwing bomb after bomb at someone in hopes of overwhelming the person they are attacking. Lastly, if you're practicing against strikes, the person doing the striking has to wear pads and be able to actually strike and win the training interaction. Otherwise it's just play acting and no one is getting anything out of it; if your goal is actually learning how to deal with striking in a conflict situation. If one's goal is something else; learning to blend, light exercise, fun, etc. than it's quite alright.

Absolutely correct. Essentially, I would add only one caveat: such halfhearted attacking is not only insufficient for self defense or combat sport, but in fact will not cut it for someone who (like me, more or less) is really just in it to study aikido for its own sake. The feel of a technique - the heart and soul of aikido experience - is ruined when uke attacks feebly. Both partners suffer:

* Nage: Gets in the habit of 'tap-blocking', or gesturing. A real strike, one that will slam right through a halfheartedly raised arm put right on the path of force, forces nage to actually blend.
* Uke: One of uke's main goals in an aikido technique is to get back on balance, and into a defensible position relative to nage. When I strike with the intent to hit (or at least, stop just short), and do not allow myself to "cheat" by thinking about the technique nage will do in response (and instead assuming they could do anything - including get whacked), technique is more surprising and tends to break my balance much more thoroughly.

This discussion is actually somewhat old hat in aikido circles, although clearly many dojo have not heeded the call. Even if the strikes are silly, if they aren't even committed actions with a clear goal, all of aikido practice suffers. There are lots of ways to improve this, but again a lot of it has been discussed already.

Take home message: next time you're in practice, strike with integrity. Not to be a jerk or "beat up" your partner, but to let them practice some real live aikido. In freestyle, if you miss, don't stop for a lunch break; keep moving, striking again and again, as though nage were actually your enemy. If you "hit" them (obviously, stopping just short of actual contact), ALSO keep striking, until they do something effective.

They [MMAers] are bringing together various bits of separate fighting disciplines and integrating them into one new, complete fighting package: MMA. Essentially: Thai boxing + Wrestling + Judo/Sambo + BJJ. Aikido is not a part of it because its techniques and training methodology are inferior and ineffective in a combat sports context.

Some people disagree; I myself am skeptical of aikido's applicability to MMA combat sport, but still open-minded about the matter. As for MMA being the pinnacle of martial arts evolution, I think that's probably true, in terms of UFC-style bouts. Obviously, various koryu are probably the best place to look for historical weapons proficiency. At any rate, I think it can be a positive pressure, by giving us a look at the state-of-the-art sportfighting methods.

re: William --
"Atemi is 70 percent, technique is 30 percent."
or
"Atemi is 99 percent of aikido."
Whichever version you like. (Maybe one's by weight, the other by volume?) I myself study Yoshokai aikido, a derivative of Yoshinkan; we certainly use atemi. It could probably be improved by some thoughtful study about how to best deliver strikes from aikido positions. As it is, arguably it's not too relevant, as the stated purpose of strikes is generally just to make uke flinch, or try to use their arm to block, or somtehing of that nature. Still, a strike that would actually hurt if it DID land is probably the best way to do that. After all, the ultimate idea is to deliver a blow that hurts enough that uke's balance will be disrupted. Or so I'm led to believe.

re: Kit --
I should probably clarify. I have sort of an unusual tack on the matter. If I had to choose, I would categorize myself in the ranks of people who practice aikido purely for its own sake, as something based in martial arts traditions. However, I believe the only way to do that justice is to practice it as a genuine martial art. Even if it'll never be the "best art in town", or even necessarily part of the "ultimate fighter"'s repertoire, it ought to "work". Just like an antique typewriter is worth most if it can still actually fill a page with text; it's no longer its most important function, but it's part of what it is.

Keith R Lee
04-20-2007, 08:21 AM
I respectfully disagree with most of your statement especially the last sentence...:)

William Hazen

That's okay, there's only 10+ years of combat sports out there on tape, showing a wide range of fighting styles, up unto the emergence of MMA as it's own style, in which there has never been a successful Aikidoka fighter. Also very few fighters have used anything that even remotely comes close to Aikido techniques in combat sports. Yet one sees thai boxing, wrestling, BJJ, and sometimes Judo in almost every MMA fight. The training most fighters undergo is also the same: weight training, cardio, "alive" boxing/wrestling/BJJ drills etc. I have never read/seen/heard of an interview where a pro-fighter speaks of some type of Aikido training as part of his regimen. There is little to none of the type of paired kata-like practice found in Aikido. It is there to initially learn techniques but it quickly moves to "alive" resistant training. Also, I have my own personal empirical evidence and experience as an Aikido practitioner and a person who trains in sub-grappling and MMA. Aikido techniques do not come up that often, period. Furthermore, Aikido style training does not really do me a whole lot of good in terms of practice once things get to "alive"/fully resistant speeds. Plus, other individuals on this board who train in Aikido and MMA as well seem to have all come to the same conclusions. Therefore, I feel pretty confident in my statement:

Aikido is not a part of it because its techniques and training methodology are inferior and ineffective in a combat sports context. Please note the emphasis.

DonMagee
04-20-2007, 08:50 AM
Actually Jason Delucia claims aikido training as part of his MMA training. He is not a very successful MMA fighter, but he still is a MMA fighter.


DeLucia left Pancrase and the spotlight in 2001 but continues to adapt
and refine the art of Aikido. He fought for Frank Shamrock's Shootbox
in 2003 and has a line of Combat Aikido DVDs available through Century
and budovideos.com.

"As you can see, there's really no superior art, it's really what's
current. If you want to be homogenized then you'll meet a lot of
deadlock. But the guts and roots of traditional styles provide fresh
approaches to current trends.The highest distillation of all Japanese
martial arts produced Aikido, and it stands to reason that it happened
100 years ago in Japan under similar circumstances," DeLucia
said. "The highest evolution 'Aiki' is present in all arts will be
integrated to overcome the current trend. If people wonder what Aiki
in Aikido is, it's simply leading someone to a conclusion rather than
forcing someone to it."

DeLucia trains steadily and is preparing to return to mainstream MMA
with London based Cage Rage next year. You can join him at
jasondelucia.com and aikidog.com. source http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=29515

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-20-2007, 09:32 AM
Yeah. I'd still call it anecdotal information, but that is at least one example of someone using aikido principles and techniques in MMA with modest success.

Fluke anecdote at worst, proof-of-concept at best. Certainly nothing more than that, though.

Aikibu
04-20-2007, 09:36 AM
That's okay, there's only 10+ years of combat sports out there on tape, showing a wide range of fighting styles, up unto the emergence of MMA as it's own style, in which there has never been a successful Aikidoka fighter. Also very few fighters have used anything that even remotely comes close to Aikido techniques in combat sports. Yet one sees thai boxing, wrestling, BJJ, and sometimes Judo in almost every MMA fight. The training most fighters undergo is also the same: weight training, cardio, "alive" boxing/wrestling/BJJ drills etc. I have never read/seen/heard of an interview where a pro-fighter speaks of some type of Aikido training as part of his regimen. There is little to none of the type of paired kata-like practice found in Aikido. It is there to initially learn techniques but it quickly moves to "alive" resistant training. Also, I have my own personal empirical evidence and experience as an Aikido practitioner and a person who trains in sub-grappling and MMA. Aikido techniques do not come up that often, period. Furthermore, Aikido style training does not really do me a whole lot of good in terms of practice once things get to "alive"/fully resistant speeds. Plus, other individuals on this board who train in Aikido and MMA as well seem to have all come to the same conclusions. Therefore, I feel pretty confident in my statement:

Aikido is not a part of it because its techniques and training methodology are inferior and ineffective in a combat sports context. Please note the emphasis.

First off...I disagree with the phrase "Combat Sport"...It's an Oxymronic Marketing Phrase which has never been used among the Professional MMA Organizations I know. I do agree it is a sport and that it employs Martial Arts but it is not about combat. Combat is about killing folks as quickly and as efficiently as possible. All the Asian Arts with the possible exception of Aikido and Sumo and some of the softer Chinese styles are about causing maximum pain and destruction.

Second MMA is a SPORT with rules that employs techniques with rules to win a match and very rarely results in death or serious injury.

Third. You might agree that your personal emperical evidence is very limited (as evidenced in part by Don Mcgee and I's mention of Jason DeLucia.) The Aiki" in Aikido is no different in Application that in most any of the Japanese Ryu-Ha aka Combat Arts. the ONLY differance is in it's INTENT. Which is the reason you won't see it employed in a SPORT setting. Aikido Techniques have successfully used for DECADES in the real world by Police Officers to Housewives.

Last Though I will agree that the The Spirit of Aikido has been watered down a bit by well meaning but clueless folks for most of us it is still a BUDO first with a radically different approach to resolving conflict.

Much has been made of "aliveness" training as the reason for the lack of realism in Aikido. Well I ask you...Whose fault is that?

If you feel you suck at Aikido because of the way you're being trained...What are you going to do about it???

I for one know more than a few Aikidoka who train hard. :)

Respectfully,

William Hazen

Aikibu
04-20-2007, 09:49 AM
Absolutely correct. Essentially, I would add only one caveat: such halfhearted attacking is not only insufficient for self defense or combat sport, but in fact will not cut it for someone who (like me, more or less) is really just in it to study aikido for its own sake. The feel of a technique - the heart and soul of aikido experience - is ruined when uke attacks feebly. Both partners suffer:

* Nage: Gets in the habit of 'tap-blocking', or gesturing. A real strike, one that will slam right through a halfheartedly raised arm put right on the path of force, forces nage to actually blend.
* Uke: One of uke's main goals in an aikido technique is to get back on balance, and into a defensible position relative to nage. When I strike with the intent to hit (or at least, stop just short), and do not allow myself to "cheat" by thinking about the technique nage will do in response (and instead assuming they could do anything - including get whacked), technique is more surprising and tends to break my balance much more thoroughly.

This discussion is actually somewhat old hat in aikido circles, although clearly many dojo have not heeded the call. Even if the strikes are silly, if they aren't even committed actions with a clear goal, all of aikido practice suffers. There are lots of ways to improve this, but again a lot of it has been discussed already.

Take home message: next time you're in practice, strike with integrity. Not to be a jerk or "beat up" your partner, but to let them practice some real live aikido. In freestyle, if you miss, don't stop for a lunch break; keep moving, striking again and again, as though nage were actually your enemy. If you "hit" them (obviously, stopping just short of actual contact), ALSO keep striking, until they do something effective.

Some people disagree; I myself am skeptical of aikido's applicability to MMA combat sport, but still open-minded about the matter. As for MMA being the pinnacle of martial arts evolution, I think that's probably true, in terms of UFC-style bouts. Obviously, various koryu are probably the best place to look for historical weapons proficiency. At any rate, I think it can be a positive pressure, by giving us a look at the state-of-the-art sportfighting methods.

re: William --
"Atemi is 70 percent, technique is 30 percent."
or
"Atemi is 99 percent of aikido."
Whichever version you like. (Maybe one's by weight, the other by volume?) I myself study Yoshokai aikido, a derivative of Yoshinkan; we certainly use atemi. It could probably be improved by some thoughtful study about how to best deliver strikes from aikido positions. As it is, arguably it's not too relevant, as the stated purpose of strikes is generally just to make uke flinch, or try to use their arm to block, or somtehing of that nature. Still, a strike that would actually hurt if it DID land is probably the best way to do that. After all, the ultimate idea is to deliver a blow that hurts enough that uke's balance will be disrupted. Or so I'm led to believe.

re: Kit --
I should probably clarify. I have sort of an unusual tack on the matter. If I had to choose, I would categorize myself in the ranks of people who practice aikido purely for its own sake, as something based in martial arts traditions. However, I believe the only way to do that justice is to practice it as a genuine martial art. Even if it'll never be the "best art in town", or even necessarily part of the "ultimate fighter"'s repertoire, it ought to "work". Just like an antique typewriter is worth most if it can still actually fill a page with text; it's no longer its most important function, but it's part of what it is.

I prefer the "Rythem of Atemi." And just as an aside our practice does have Atemi for every postion inside a technique and it's designed to End the conflict so forget about "taps"

I am so sorry that Aikido in your limited experiance sucks, and I admire your attempts to continue. :) Let me assure you that in some parts of the Aikido World Aikido as Budo is the only way it's practiced. :)

Most of my students come from a Striking Art like Shotokan or Go Ju Ryu Karate so "striking" is second nature to them. What amazes them is how many strikes are actually inside a technique. :)

Respectfully,

William Hazen

I think I have said all I need to say about this for the time being. :)

Keith R Lee
04-20-2007, 10:23 AM
First off...I disagree with the phrase "Combat Sport"...It's an Oxymronic Marketing Phrase which has never been used among the Professional MMA Organizations I know. I do agree it is a sport and that it employs Martial Arts but it is not about combat. Combat is about killing folks as quickly and as efficiently as possible. All the Asian Arts with the possible exception of Aikido and Sumo and some of the softer Chinese styles are about causing maximum pain and destruction.

Second MMA is a SPORT with rules that employs techniques with rules to win a match and very rarely results in death or serious injury.

Right, and all these guys who are in the SPORT couldn't make the adjustment to beat the crap out of someone if they wanted to. Yet Aikidoka, and many TMAers can't make the transistion to SPORT. Odd.

Third. You might agree that your personal emperical evidence is very limited (as evidenced in part by Don Mcgee and I's mention of Jason DeLucia.) The Aiki" in Aikido is no different in Application that in most any of the Japanese Ryu-Ha aka Combat Arts. the ONLY differance is in it's INTENT. Which is the reason you won't see it employed in a SPORT setting. Aikido Techniques have successfully used for DECADES in the real world by Police Officers to Housewives.

No offenese to DeLucia, but he has never been a successfull fighter. All the respect in the world to him; he's probably a better athelete and fighter than I will ever be, but he isn't in the elite. Also, when he was competing regularly he never mentioned Aikido. He was always a kung fu guy. Now he claims Aikido, but it's after he finished the main part of his fighting career. Regardless, he's one guy out of thousands. Not really that great of an example.

Last Though I will agree that the The Spirit of Aikido has been watered down a bit by well meaning but clueless folks for most of us it is still a BUDO first with a radically different approach to resolving conflict.

Much has been made of "aliveness" training as the reason for the lack of realism in Aikido. Well I ask you...Whose fault is that?

If you feel you suck at Aikido because of the way you're being trained...What are you going to do about it???

I for one know more than a few Aikidoka who train hard. :)

No, I don't agree that my empirical evidence is limited. I've trained in Aikido for ten years now. I spent a year as an uchi deshi to a Yoshinkan 6th dan. I trained all the time. I've trained at dozens of Aikido dojos. Didn't make a bit of difference when I walked into a BJJ gym for the first time. I've trained in BJJ/MMA for 3 years now and have progressed enourmously. I've been to lots of BJJ gyms now as well. The conclusion that any person that is willing to be honest with themselves is that the whole SPORT/SELF DEFENSE arguement is a load of crap. Any MMA guy will function well in either environment. Aikido practioners and many TMAers will function well in only one.

L. Camejo
04-20-2007, 10:32 AM
To add a counterpoint as to why Aikido waza is not seen in MMA events I believe the general ruleset of MMA events are major factors as to why Aikido-type waza and strategies just don't apply very well. This is not so much in what techniques are allowed etc. but just good tactical sense regarding the rules of engagement when in an MMA bout.

MMA bouts involve 2 attackers in a ring with gloves, tights etc and are asked to go at it. They will use what works easiest and best for them under those conditions. Everything that is selected to be used in the ring or octagon is directly related to its potential to render success in the engagement. The techniques and tactics used in MMA comps today would change drastically if we introduced something as simple as a knife into the present ruleset or removed the use of protective gloves for example. Aikido tactics and strategies really don't operate quite well under the MMA ruleset and as a result it would not make sense for most MMA-ers to study Aikido to improve their game. How many Kendoka study Aikido to improve their game? Alternatively all the competitive Aikidoka I know don't study Muay Thai or BJJ to improve their shiai game either.

The reason why it is important to understand that conditions influence strategy and tactics can be seen if we place the MMA-ist in a Kendo match, or a Shodokan Aikido-type shiai match for example. All of a sudden many high percentage tactics like like double leg takedowns, shoots, ground grappling skills, muay thai striking skills etc. are totally useless because of the conditions of the contest and the rulesets. This is not to say that the same skills of the MMA-ist indicated above are not effective in other contexts.

I think this is important when we measure Aikido against things like MMA or "combat sport". Perspective has to be maintained. For example, Judo regards itself as combat sport from my understanding, however due to the common ground shared in some aspects of Judo and Aikido one can use limited Aikido tactics in Judo shiai and come out successful. The reason this is so comes down to the ruleset allowing such a thing to be possible and really does not say much as to the useability of these skillsets when there are no rules as seen in a purely combative sense. Context is important imho.

Regarding atemi, this is important I think. Someone big in the Aikido world once said something along the lines that quality Aiki waza needs quality raw materials: Uke's attack, Tori's skill in tai sabaki, connection, blending etc. and Uke's ukemi skill all work together to manifest superb waza. If the attack is poor the waza will be poor. This applies to both Tori and uke. Imho attacks should not be modified or structurally weakened to allow the performance of waza easier for Tori. It is Tori's job to manifest Aiki in a manner that resolves the conflict. The challenge is Tori's to deal with, he must rise to it. This applies whether the attack is empty handed or with a weapon. In Aikido one should strike like a skilled striker and handle a knife like a skilled knife fighter or handle a sword like a skilled swordsman. This presents the best standard to work with through which one can manifest proper, skilled Aiki waza based on skilled attacks. Of course if we all do this the numbers of practicing Aikidoka will dwindle substantially.

There are Aikidoka out there whose fist, shuto and tegatana are used as direct, effective offensive weapons (much like pure strikers). Yokomen and tsuki from them will floor most people if not do more damage. Imho quality is expressed by the artist, not the art. If you allow mediocrity to reign in your training then your best expression will be a mediocre one. Competition tends to make one constantly strive for perfection since the performance bar is continually being raised by ones peers. Ones lack of understanding is instantly revealed through resistant freeplay (rolling). This is where MMA's approach and more generally the competitive approach assists one's development in Budo. One cannot sit on ones laurels for long without being challenged to improve. Improvement is easily revealed by ones actions, i.e. ones ability or success as expressed in resistant freeply. How many Aikidoka can lay claim to this sort of training environment?

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

DonMagee
04-20-2007, 10:47 AM
Third. You might agree that your personal emperical evidence is very limited (as evidenced in part by Don Mcgee and I's mention of Jason DeLucia.)

Respectfully,

William Hazen

With the change of a single letter, I'm suddenly Irish :D

I see nothing wrong with the term combat sports. That is exactly what they are Sports that simulate as closely as possible combat. Airsoft and paintball are combat sports, MMA is a combat sport, those dog brother stick fighting things are combat sports.

I'd define combat as purposeful conflict between one or more persons intended to establish dominance over the opposition.

However I do wonder why so many TMA people get so uptight about what words are used. I'm frequently told that bjj is not jiujitsu. I'm told judo is no longer a martial art because it is a sport, I'm told the same about MMA, I'm told combat is about killing people. I've never heard anyone I train with in my 'sports' talk about TMA's use of vocab as a means to dispute it's existence. They focus on the things that matter in a martial art. Namely training methods, techniques, and philosophy (The manner in which one goes about applying those techniques). The TMA vocab argument reminds me of the hacker vs cracker wars on slashdot. Who cares if hacker means someone who breaks into systems, or someone who tinkers with hardware and software on the free time. It still doesn't change what either of the two are doing.

The next argument usually made is the exception to the rule argument. This is where a TMA supporter will talk about how their club does use aliveness in their training. This is ment to validate the entire art and invalidate the hundreds of other people from their art arguing against using aliveness. Again, this is something you do not see in sport training. Sports training is not stuck to any one method of belief system. Once evidence is presented in a way that makes it clear something is better, people will adapt to use that new thing. Essentially all sport schools train just about the same way. With a few on the fringes pushing the envelope with new ideas, and a few on the backend determines to not give up the old ways.

So if the exceptions in sport arts do not invalidate them, then the exceptions in TMA arts will not validate them. This is not a debate about aliveness in clubs, this is a debate about aliveness in aikido. If the majority of aikido clubs do not train with aliveness, we can assume there is no aliveness in aikido. Even if your club does break the mold. It is great that you are training in a way I believe to vastly improve functional skill, but it does not validate your art, simply your club. Likewise you might somehow find a MMA club doing only static dead drills. They are an exception, and the face of MMA is aliveness, therefor we must look to that as the rule for employing training methods for MMA. Unless that kata only school had a competition record that put Team Quest to shame.

So to answer the questions.

Much has been made of "aliveness" training as the reason for the lack of realism in Aikido. Well I ask you...Whose fault is that? The Shihans, the sensei's, every teacher who decides not to pass this down and convince their students it is not needed.

If you feel you suck at Aikido because of the way you're being trained...What are you going to do about it??? I went out and found bjj, judo, and a venue to let me test my aikdio skill as well as develop new skills. I found that I SUCK at aikido. After basically removing all kata from my training, I suddenly noticed an increase in skill rapidly, and now today I am able to perform some aikido techniques, despite only training it randomly when I feel like a change of pace. I can only attribute my progress to my aliveness training in bjj and judo and my desire to attempt to replicate what I've watched people do in aikido. After getting royally screwed up trying to do that stuff, I have now reached a point where I can do it to noobs.

It is going to be impossible to change the way aikido is ran today. What we can do is change how it is ran tomarrow. Nothing political about it, just simply encouraging people to go out and try new things, and if they like them, teach them to the next generation.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-20-2007, 10:49 AM
No, I don't agree that my empirical evidence is limited. I've trained in Aikido for ten years now. I spent a year as an uchi deshi to a Yoshinkan 6th dan. I trained all the time. I've trained at dozens of Aikido dojos. Didn't make a bit of difference when I walked into a BJJ gym for the first time. I've trained in BJJ/MMA for 3 years now and have progressed enourmously. I've been to lots of BJJ gyms now as well. The conclusion that any person that is willing to be honest with themselves is that the whole SPORT/SELF DEFENSE arguement is a load of crap. Any MMA guy will function well in either environment. Aikido practioners and many TMAers will function well in only one.

I for one hadn't realized you had this much experience with both aikido and MMA. My first reaction is: wow. That'd be rough -- going in with years and years of aikido experience, and not being able to apply any of it with MMA types. Or were you able to use certain techniques and principles? Are you still doing aikido? If so, what's your attitude towards it?

jonreading
04-20-2007, 10:51 AM
MMA should have an indirect impact on the future of aikido. Aikido people should ask themselves, "Why is aikido under-represented in the sport-fight arena?" I feel that aikido may improve with greater pressure to teach technique that may be applied within a competitive atmosphere. I do not think that aikido should allow MMA to directly impact its future. Aikido is a budo, and its philosphy and infrastructure is not designed to accomodate sport.

I am confused by those individuals who say, "I like MMA. You should change aikido to be MMA." Aikido is well-established as a martial art. Mixed martial arts is well-established as a collection of techniques from various other martial arts. No, aikido should not become MMA.

DonMagee
04-20-2007, 10:54 AM
MMA should have an indirect impact on the future of aikido. Aikido people should ask themselves, "Why is aikido under-represented in the sport-fight arena?" I feel that aikido may improve with greater pressure to teach technique that may be applied within a competitive atmosphere. I do not think that aikido should allow MMA to directly impact its future. Aikido is a budo, and its philosphy and infrastructure is not designed to accomodate sport.

I am confused by those individuals who say, "I like MMA. You should change aikido to be MMA." Aikido is well-established as a martial art. Mixed martial arts is well-established as a collection of techniques from various other martial arts. No, aikido should not become MMA.

I agree aikido should not become mma. What makes MMA successful is the training methods it employs. It gets them from the arts it mixes. The training methods of boxing, bjj, MT, judo, etc are all similar, all of these arts are successful. I would think you would have to be a fool to discount this training method without exploring it.

Kevin Leavitt
04-20-2007, 12:34 PM
Good discussion, not much really to add. My experiences have pretty much parallelled Don's.

I think Jason Delucia is a pretty successful and accomplished MMA guy. He has a 30-20-1 fight record. Fought Bas Rutten about three times, lasted over 8 minutes in one fight. Many of his fights are in excess of 15:00! quite an impressive record. I don't think anyone here has the ability to judge him as "not impressive" or "unsuccessful", of course success is realitive.

I do agree that he did not bill himself as an aikidoka as a MMA guy, but what difference does it make. It appears now that he is adequately demonstrating aiki principles, so that can only be a plus for aikido folks trying to understand deeper many of the applications.

I'd train with him any day of the week.

Self Defense. Any empty handed art is a poor an inefficient delivery system if you are really concerned with Self Defense. Many more efficient means of protection and mitigation are available out there.

Again, I always go back to the statement, "train with an end in mind, and do those things that best achieve that end state." ...it may or may not involve aikido, BJJ, Judo, MMA or whatever...why waste time and money on something that is not efficient.

I agree with the Don on Combat Sports in his definition. Heck I am in the army...we do BJJ, we do, Paintball (so to speak), and all that stuff he mentions....for training. We do them because they can approximate reality.

We have guys like Ken Shamrock and Matt Hughes come in to work with us these days...I can't think of any aikidoka that we have hired lately, last one I knew about was Richard Strozzi-Heckler, but that was a different issue and a different approach...not a direct combat application per se.

This does not invalidate aikido as a means of training for what it trains and why....it is good for those purposes. That also does not mean there are instructors and shihan out there that cannot teach applications for DT. that does not mean that police officers do not benefit from aikido practice, many take it and many do benefit...they also know exactly why they are studying it and the benefits of it. They also have enough training in other areas to understand how to dileneate their practice and which aspects apply to direct application.

Anyway, those are my comments based on my current experiences. Good discussion.

gdandscompserv
04-20-2007, 01:10 PM
Well, if the intent is self-defense, then there are a number of questions to ask.

To start with, how self defense focussed do you want to be? Do you want to do a traditional art, with traditional values and sensibilities that will have some crossover value or do you want to primarily focus on self defense (SD) skills across a wide variety of armed and unarmed applications?

Reason being, NO martial art trains the latter. MMA doesn't train the latter, either.

In many cases, emphasis on traditionalism or combat sport is counter-productive to a broad base in SD skills - yes, even with the so-called "battlefield traditions of armed grappling" - the main reason being time spent and efficiency of training.

I have never studied a martial art or combat sport that is a well rounded SD method of itself. The more you get into costumes and ritual (whether its a hakama or a pair of Tapout shorts...), the more you practice with the sword than the gun, the further you are drifting from practical self defense.

However, almost all MA have something to offer for SD, or inform SD. Some of them, as is, are fine for self defense against the majority of "drunk uncle" or "aggressive panhandler" encounters you may face. Its how you put it together and how you go on to train with it.

Any martial artist will gain by adopting the MMA "approach" to self defense (i.e. choosing and developing specific skills, from different base arts for different fight parameters (armed and unarmed), and then pressure testing them against progressive resistance up to and including full contact/full resistance counter-fighting).

There is no reason that an aikidoka cannot delve into BJJ or Judo or muay Thai to develop a more rounded approach to unarmed self defense, then spend some time in a modern tactical knife system to develop a base there, then concealed handgun training to develop the skills there, then awareness and threat management skills, then force on force scenario training to test their integration etc. etc.

But all that is less time that you have to spend doing aikido....

May not matter, if your goal is not "professional level" SD skills, Even doing traditional aikido will put you ahead of most people, so long as you maintain an awareness and SD-focussed sensibility. You can get the latter from books, reading the newspaper, and just paying attention to what's going on around you.

But if you intend to be well prepared, not just "familiar," with a serious assault that may go to the ground, or in dealing with firearm and knife attacks, and in realistically addressing multiple threat encounters, or in dealing with a real world assault by a trained and committed individual who may have a different skill base and greater attributes than yours, you'll need to spend a lot more time working on things far outside the realm of what is offered in the traditional dojo or combat sport gym.

Even the ones that claim to be "combat" or "self defense" oriented.
What he ^ said.
:cool:
Nicely put Kit.

Aikibu
04-20-2007, 01:47 PM
Right, and all these guys who are in the SPORT couldn't make the adjustment to beat the crap out of someone if they wanted to. Yet Aikidoka, and many TMAers can't make the transistion to SPORT. Odd.

Maybe...Maybe not...Here we go again. Aikido Bad MMA Good blah blah blah....

No offenese to DeLucia, but he has never been a successfull fighter. All the respect in the world to him; he's probably a better athelete and fighter than I will ever be, but he isn't in the elite. Also, when he was competing regularly he never mentioned Aikido. He was always a kung fu guy. Now he claims Aikido, but it's after he finished the main part of his fighting career. Regardless, he's one guy out of thousands. Not really that great of an example.

I am curious... What is your professional record in MMA???

No, I don't agree that my empirical evidence is limited. I've trained in Aikido for ten years now. I spent a year as an uchi deshi to a Yoshinkan 6th dan. I trained all the time. I've trained at dozens of Aikido dojos. Didn't make a bit of difference when I walked into a BJJ gym for the first time. I've trained in BJJ/MMA for 3 years now and have progressed enourmously. I've been to lots of BJJ gyms now as well. The conclusion that any person that is willing to be honest with themselves is that the whole SPORT/SELF DEFENSE arguement is a load of crap. Any MMA guy will function well in either environment. Aikido practioners and many TMAers will function well in only one.

Well I have been in Aikido for over 16 years and sparring in BJJ/MMA environments for over 10 years and so have some of my Budo peers... All I can say is that my experiance is different. But then again I live in a Mecca of Martial Arts and MMA in Southern California, and have been in one form of Budo or another for almost 40 years. I just happen to love our Aikido very much and I will bet my bottom dollar you have no idea who Shoji Nishio was, His Philosophy, or experianced any of his senior level yudansha so I'll give you a break there. :)

I am just a humble Aikidoka mind you... but why is it that any discussion involving MMA and Aikido always regresses into this "all bad" "all good" dichotomy? Backbelt disease perhaps which in my mind is narcissistic infatuation with technique? Who knows.

Like I inferred in my previous post... If you don't think Aikido works... It sucks... It's bad.... blah blah blah.... Quit.... Go somewhere else. I have already made my choices in life, and it's a natural part of ones Budo development to be disatisfied with what one is learning and move one to something else. If you want to try to improve Aikido through MMA then put your money where your mouth is and do it. A bunch of us Aikidoka and other Budo Teachers were at the Aikido Expo back in 2005 and good ol Stan invited one of Aikido's "doesn't work unless you use MMA" detractors to the Expo to show us his stuff. Have you been to an Aiki-Expo??? You should go...Stan invites top folks in Systema, BJJ, MMA, Judo, Karate, and several styles of Aikido to come and share what they know with each other. You know what we discovered??? We have allot more in common than we do differances. Back to Mark S and his Aikido " MMA improvements." He lasted less than 5 minutes on the mat with a senior level Yudansha who happens to post here allot on Aikiweb. Poor dear hurt his back when he was dropped like a bad habit and was heard to exclaim (I hear it on occasion myself) Hey! Thats not Aikido!?!?

My point although I agree that most folks do not know how to practice Aikido properly with aliveness that does not mean Aikido does not work. Can MMA/Boxing/BJJ help in that regard? Sure...Do you need to give up on Aikido because it doesn't "work." Nope...

To paraphrase the Founder... YOU are your SENSEI. It's up to YOU. All a teacher can do is show you what they learned so it's not the technique that fails my friend.

When Shoji Nishio once said we measure our Aikido's effectivness by how well it works against other Martial Arts otherwise it's not Budo. I knew EXACTLY what he meant, and have been driven to achieve this ideal since I heard him say it those many years ago.

Respectfully,

William Hazen

Aikibu
04-20-2007, 01:55 PM
With the change of a single letter, I'm suddenly Irish :D

It is going to be impossible to change the way aikido is ran today. What we can do is change how it is ran tomarrow. Nothing political about it, just simply encouraging people to go out and try new things, and if they like them, teach them to the next generation.

I couldn't Macgree more.:D Good post. Sorry for the mispelling of your name.

William Hazen

Aikibu
04-20-2007, 02:06 PM
Well, if the intent is self-defense, then there are a number of questions to ask.

To start with, how self defense focussed do you want to be? Do you want to do a traditional art, with traditional values and sensibilities that will have some crossover value or do you want to primarily focus on self defense (SD) skills across a wide variety of armed and unarmed applications?

Reason being, NO martial art trains the latter. MMA doesn't train the latter, either.

In many cases, emphasis on traditionalism or combat sport is counter-productive to a broad base in SD skills - yes, even with the so-called "battlefield traditions of armed grappling" - the main reason being time spent and efficiency of training.

I have never studied a martial art or combat sport that is a well rounded SD method of itself. The more you get into costumes and ritual (whether its a hakama or a pair of Tapout shorts...), the more you practice with the sword than the gun, the further you are drifting from practical self defense.

However, almost all MA have something to offer for SD, or inform SD. Some of them, as is, are fine for self defense against the majority of "drunk uncle" or "aggressive panhandler" encounters you may face. Its how you put it together and how you go on to train with it.

Any martial artist will gain by adopting the MMA "approach" to self defense (i.e. choosing and developing specific skills, from different base arts for different fight parameters (armed and unarmed), and then pressure testing them against progressive resistance up to and including full contact/full resistance counter-fighting).

There is no reason that an aikidoka cannot delve into BJJ or Judo or muay Thai to develop a more rounded approach to unarmed self defense, then spend some time in a modern tactical knife system to develop a base there, then concealed handgun training to develop the skills there, then awareness and threat management skills, then force on force scenario training to test their integration etc. etc.

But all that is less time that you have to spend doing aikido....

May not matter, if your goal is not "professional level" SD skills, Even doing traditional aikido will put you ahead of most people, so long as you maintain an awareness and SD-focussed sensibility. You can get the latter from books, reading the newspaper, and just paying attention to what's going on around you.

But if you intend to be well prepared, not just "familiar," with a serious assault that may go to the ground, or in dealing with firearm and knife attacks, and in realistically addressing multiple threat encounters, or in dealing with a real world assault by a trained and committed individual who may have a different skill base and greater attributes than yours, you'll need to spend a lot more time working on things far outside the realm of what is offered in the traditional dojo or combat sport gym.

Even the ones that claim to be "combat" or "self defense" oriented.

Outstanding post. Thanks for articulating how I feel about the subject better than I did. :)

In short...Back in the day... as a young Ranger... if you wern't diving on top on barbed wire...bleeding all over the place while trying do live bayonet takeaways.... or better yet.... brawling in all the local bars...you were not doing proper "Combatives." LOL

God I am old. :)

William Hazen

Kevin Leavitt
04-20-2007, 02:16 PM
I am a concertina wire "magnet!" Hooah!

Keith R Lee
04-20-2007, 02:38 PM
Maybe...Maybe not...Here we go again. Aikido Bad MMA Good blah blah blah....


Where are you getting that I am saying this? I have said, again and again, that I talking specifically within a combat sports environment. Not once have I said Aikido is bad. I said Aikido techniques and training methodologies are "inferior and ineffective in a combat sports context." Not once have I said Aikido = bad, MMA = good.

I am curious... What is your professional record in MMA???

I'm curious, do you always respond with ad hominem replies that aren't relevant to the conversation?

Again, I give much, much respect to DeLucia. He was fighting MMA at a time when not many knew what it was. For whatever reasons, he never rose to the top of the sport. Not that that in any way diminishes his accomplishments as an athlete or a fighter. As I said before, he is a greater athlete or fighter than I will ever be. It also doesn't change the fact that he only became involved in Aikido publicly until the very late stages of his career.

Well I have been in Aikido for over 16 years and sparring in BJJ/MMA environments for over 10 years and so have some of my Budo peers... All I can say is that my experiance is different. But then again I live in a Mecca of Martial Arts and MMA in Southern California, and have been in one form of Budo or another for almost 40 years. I just happen to love our Aikido very much and I will bet my bottom dollar you have no idea who Shoji Nishio was, His Philosophy, or experianced any of his senior level yudansha so I'll give you a break there.

I am just a humble Aikidoka mind you... but why is it that any discussion involving MMA and Aikido always regresses into this "all bad" "all good" dichotomy? Backbelt disease perhaps which in my mind is narcissistic infatuation with technique? Who knows.

I'm not saying these things. I'm saying that Aikido, as it is practiced by the majority of its practitioners, does not lend itself well to a combat sports environment. I am saying something very specific and you are running with it as though I am making sweeping generalizations in regards to Aikido and MMA.

Like I inferred in my previous post... If you don't think Aikido works... It sucks... It's bad.... blah blah blah.... Quit.... Go somewhere else. I have already made my choices in life, and it's a natural part of ones Budo development to be disatisfied with what one is learning and move one to something else. If you want to try to improve Aikido through MMA then put your money where your mouth is and do it. A bunch of us Aikidoka and other Budo Teachers were at the Aikido Expo back in 2005 and good ol Stan invited one of Aikido's "doesn't work unless you use MMA" detractors to the Expo to show us his stuff. Have you been to an Aiki-Expo??? You should go...Stan invites top folks in Systema, BJJ, MMA, Judo, Karate, and several styles of Aikido to come and share what they know with each other. You know what we discovered??? We have allot more in common than we do differances. Back to Mark S and his Aikido " MMA improvements." He lasted less than 5 minutes on the mat with a senior level Yudansha who happens to post here allot on Aikiweb. Poor dear hurt his back when he was dropped like a bad habit and was heard to exclaim (I hear it on occasion myself) Hey! Thats not Aikido!?!?

Never been to an Aiki-Expo, I live on the other side of the country but I am sure that it is a great experience. Who is Mark S? Am I supposed to divine what that means when it comes to his Aikido improvements? Is he a top level BJJ/Sambo/MMA fighter that I should have heard of? Because that's the comparison we should be making right? If he was on the mat with a senior level yudansha, then he should have been a national competitor of some sorts, right?

My point although I agree that most folks do not know how to practice Aikido properly with aliveness that does not mean Aikido does not work. Can MMA/Boxing/BJJ help in that regard? Sure...Do you need to give up on Aikido because it doesn't "work." Nope...

Not once did I say that Aikido does not work as a whole. I said it is ineffective within a very defined context. Nor did I say "give up."

I really think you're misinterpreting what I am saying. I gave you my background so you would be aware that I'm not coming up with this conclusion based upon limited knowledge of Aikido or BJJ/MMA/"alive" training.

However even if I had never trained in my life, any independent observer would come to the exact same conclusion I am saying. Aikido techniques and training methodology are ineffective and inferior in a combat sports context.

All one has to do is look at the evidence. No hypotheticals, no theorizing or suppositions, no "what if..." scenarios. I'm talking empirical evidence and facts.

MMA has been around for near 15 years in the states. It has showcased some of the finest athletes and competitors in combat sports, people who would do anything to be better. All that matters to these guys in performance and winning. $100,000s of dollars are on the line here. These guys would do ANYTHING if they thought it might give them an edge in competition. If dressing in a tu-tu and parading around Times Square somehow gave them an edge in combat sports, they would be doing it. Yet like Don said above, go into any MMA gym and you will see the same thing over and over. Drills->"alive" drills->sparring/rolling. They will be doing stand-up, wrestling, and BJJ. No where do you find MMA gyms training Aikido, it just does not happen. Furthermore, looking at those 1000's of fighters in the past 15 years, I would say less than 1% would claim to be Aikidoka. None of the Champion or top ten fighters in the past ten years have been an Aikidoka. I would say that's pretty good evidence that Aikido does not work in a combat sports context.

And all that's saying nothing for vale tudo. evileyes

Keith R Lee
04-20-2007, 02:54 PM
I for one hadn't realized you had this much experience with both aikido and MMA. My first reaction is: wow. That'd be rough -- going in with years and years of aikido experience, and not being able to apply any of it with MMA types. Or were you able to use certain techniques and principles? Are you still doing aikido? If so, what's your attitude towards it?

I has been doing Aikido for 6 years when I first went to BJJ. The first 6 months of BJJ, I tapped. Then I tapped some more. Then I continued to keep tapping. It was very humbling. For all of budo's talk of controlling the ego, getting tapped out repeatedly by people who have been training 5 years less than you will certainly do a better job of it than anything I ever found in budo.

That being said, I absolutely had, and continue to possess, a greater ability to "flow" than many other pure BJJ/MMA types, when they first come to the game. BJJ is very, very aiki. It just takes awhile for people to develop that sense of movement on the ground. Like any other martial art, it comes back to timing, distance, and movement. It takes people a long time before they can become "round" on the ground. Almost every starts off as a square. I started off round and it helped me a lot. I was also generally aware of how my body, and other bodies move, combined with a general knowledge of joint locks, etc.

That being said, I got owned for a long time. Every now and then I would get a nikkajo. One time I had a perfect hiji-ate one someone, but of course I couldn't execute it on the guys, instead I used it to take his back. However, Aikido techniques just don't come up that often. Trained fighters don't over-expose themselves in competition. Therefore Aikido techniques are very, very low percentage. I mean in a BJJ/MMA context that aren't that many techniques either. Generally you see the "holy trinity:" rear naked chokes, arm bars, and triangles. Sure leglocks, head-and-arm chokes, kimuras, etc. are in there but those three make up the majority of submission victories because they are the highest percentage submissions. I read a paper a Japanese University put out a few years ago about the % of specific submission techniques used in Pride/Shooto/Heroes, and I think one more org. Anyway, the "holy trinity" was about 60% of submissions used. 60%!!! There is a reason people train these things and not sankkajo.

All that being said, I train for effectiveness in competition and fun. BJJ/MMA is competition effective and fun to me, so it's a win-win. Great stuff, I love the hell out of it. Aikido is not so competition effective but it sure is a lot of fun! Things like self-defense, "what if 3 guys with shotguns jump you..." etc. does not really concern me that much. I don't train Aikido as often any more, most of my time is devoted to BJJ/MMA. However, all this does nothing to discount the many, many things Aikido as to offer to people.

Kevin Leavitt
04-20-2007, 02:58 PM
Keith you experiences with starting BJJ as an Aikidoka pretty much sum up my experiences with it. Got tapped alot, but picked it up alot quicker because of my aikido, yes it does flow very aiki, it is an advantage that I found I had over many other beginners of the same rank.

Aikibu
04-20-2007, 03:31 PM
I would say less than 1% would claim to be Aikidoka. None of the Champion or top ten fighters in the past ten years have been an Aikidoka. I would say that's pretty good evidence that Aikido does not work in a combat sports context.

And all that's saying nothing for vale tudo. evileyes

Didn't mean to get you hot under the collar and you're right. Aikido is not a "combat sport" and since less than 1% claim to be Aikidoka in MMA it would statistically appear to be a fact, and reasonable to assume, That Aikido does not work in a "sport" environment. (What can I say... other than I am a stubborn Irishman. LOL :) )

It's back once again to the point if both the apples and oranges can help each other.

I feel they can.

Again Keith I sincerely apologize for my Verbal Ukemi, and humbly bow out of continued discussions on this matter.

No need for me to (continue) to beat a dead horse. :)

respectfully,

William Hazen

Keith R Lee
04-20-2007, 10:12 PM
Didn't mean to get you hot under the collar and you're right. Aikido is not a "combat sport" and since less than 1% claim to be Aikidoka in MMA it would statistically appear to be a fact, and reasonable to assume, That Aikido does not work in a "sport" environment. (What can I say... other than I am a stubborn Irishman. LOL :) )

It's back once again to the point if both the apples and oranges can help each other.

I feel they can.

Again Keith I sincerely apologize for my Verbal Ukemi, and humbly bow out of continued discussions on this matter.

No need for me to (continue) to beat a dead horse. :)

respectfully,

William Hazen

William,

Absolutely no problem. It is often hard to communicate effectively and clearly across a medium such as the net. Lots of context is loss in the absence of personal communication. I think you and I probably have very similar views of Aikido honestly. It's just that we are approaching it from different perspectives. And no need to bow out of the conversation either! You have contributed greatly and helped inspire and clarify some of my thoughts and how I should communicate on this issue!

Personally, it has been nothing but a net gain for me. And I would agree that the apples and oranges have something to learn from one another. That is the great boon of Aikiweb and why Jun should be commended more often than he is. Aikiweb has helped me grow in many ways as to how I think about martial arts; it is a fantastic resource. A lack of passionate discussion would be a sorry state of affairs.

Also, don't worry about being a stubborn Irishman! My great-grandmother and grand-father came across on the boats. So that we are arguing is even further proof that we are in this together! It's all in the family. Hopefully we get to meet on the mats some day.

Osu,