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rgfox5
06-08-2007, 01:07 PM
First, a little bit about my martial arts background. I spent 10 years doing Tang Soo Do, to shodan level. Then I started aikido, I have been doing aikido for 12 years, shodan level (testing for nidan soon I hear). I have been boxing for about 4 months.

I am becoming more and more disenchanted with aikido. I think that the main reason is that the skill and intensity of attacks generally on the mat is so terrible. Notice I said generally - there are a few exceptions. It simply is not realistic and not challenging. Especially after dealing with boxers in the ring. Sure, the level of defense reached on our mat is sufficient to handle say, a drunken fool at a bar, or a regular hothead on the street, but there is no way, given a skillful and intense attack, that 95% of the aikidoka on our mat would survive.

I personally have chosen to go from practicing aikido 4 times a week to practicing twice a week and going to the boxing gym 4 times a week, simply because it is more challenging, dynamic, and fun. The set routine of uke and nage with single attacks, no counters, is simply not fun anymore.

What to do? People are not going to stop leaving their arms extended after a punch or shomen. People are not going to stop their lame attacks, because they never get any serious attack training. Aikido is structured the way it is so that people can learn the movement and need uke to cooperate in order to do that, I understand. But doesn't there need to be some level where this cooperation is no longer done? It seems to me that some kind of sparring needs to be introduced. But maybe the nature of aikido joint locks and throws is such that the level of injuries sustained would be prohibitive. Certainly in boxing without the gloves serious and/or fatal damage would happen frequently.

I don't know what the answer is. I just know that training on the mat isn't doing it for me anymore, it is like Training Lite. Just my attitude? Maybe. Should only train with the 2 or 3 in my dojo who are badasses? Maybe. I suspect that the real answer is to crosstrain, which I am doing. But this crosstraining is leading me away from the dojo, which is no longer very challenging.

Rich

Keith R Lee
06-08-2007, 01:25 PM
Word.

Different strokes for different folks man. Do what you need to do to make you happy. Unless you're a LEO or in some other sort of dangerous profession, the only reason to be training is because it's fun. If it's not fun for you anymore, move on.

rgfox5
06-08-2007, 01:37 PM
My question and the reason for posting this thread: what is your experience of this issue in your own dojos?

Basia Halliop
06-08-2007, 01:41 PM
I've heard of people practicing their aikido with a friend fromanother martial art as their uke, or doing some jiu-waza type stuff with them... Not quite the same idea as saying cross-train, since their goal was to try to use their aikido training with people trained in different attacks.

It seemed like a neat idea to think about, anyway.

lifeafter2am
06-08-2007, 02:34 PM
I am becoming more and more disenchanted with aikido. I think that the main reason is that the skill and intensity of attacks generally on the mat is so terrible. Notice I said generally - there are a few exceptions. It simply is not realistic and not challenging. Especially after dealing with boxers in the ring. Sure, the level of defense reached on our mat is sufficient to handle say, a drunken fool at a bar, or a regular hothead on the street, but there is no way, given a skillful and intense attack, that 95% of the aikidoka on our mat would survive.

My first question is how many people are going to be attacked by someone with real skill? I would say about 5-10%, maybe as high as 20%, but thats pushing it. So that saves a lot of people there anyway. Second, what is the level of people that you train with, I would assume that these people are not shodan in your dojo, though I could be wrong.

What to do? People are not going to stop leaving their arms extended after a punch or shomen. People are not going to stop their lame attacks, because they never get any serious attack training. Aikido is structured the way it is so that people can learn the movement and need uke to cooperate in order to do that, I understand. But doesn't there need to be some level where this cooperation is no longer done? It seems to me that some kind of sparring needs to be introduced. But maybe the nature of aikido joint locks and throws is such that the level of injuries sustained would be prohibitive. Certainly in boxing without the gloves serious and/or fatal damage would happen frequently.

We usually practice with just enough resistance as your level should have. If someone is picking it up faster, than we may resist a little more, but the uke shouldn't get harmed by resisting. I would agree that if you want to spar, than find a buddy from another martial art, or even some of the boxing guys and practice with them. Take your Aikido training with you to the gym, and try to figure out what would work and what wouldn't work in situations. In doing so your Aikido will only improve, and you should learn more of the basic tenets and movements of the other art.

In my class there is a pretty good emphesis on what would work and when. The instructors are good about that.

Good Luck!

Millerwc
06-08-2007, 02:44 PM
While I agree with you that a lot of the attacks from people in aikido, especially beginners, to put it simply- suck. Where I disagree is that I think this is a function of the group of people you train with, not the art itself. Aikido techniques are often contingent upon a strong, focused attack, whereas a savy fighter will usaully feint several times, and not leave himself open, making timing a technique very difficult, but it can be done. I work out with a pretty diverse group of people, there are some other college age guys and every once in a while we'll just go at it. Makes rondori pretty interesting come test time.

Jim Sorrentino
06-08-2007, 02:50 PM
Hi Rich,Should only train with the 2 or 3 in my dojo who are badasses?I find it difficult to believe that in a dojo as large as ASD, there are only two or three people who present you with an adequate challenge. For sure, you should train with those people. But maybe you should also find some partners who want to attack with more intensity, but who doubt their ability to receive your technique. Can you make your stuff work in a way that doesn't hurt your training partner? If your partner trusts you not to injure him or her purposefully, your partner may be willing to give you a stronger attack. When it comes to fierce uke, sometimes you have to grow your own. :)

Also, you should talk with the teaching staff about your concerns. You should share this essay by Stan Pranin, which is freely available at Aikido Journal: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=112

Good luck!

See you on the mat!

Jim

James Davis
06-08-2007, 03:54 PM
Can you make your stuff work in a way that doesn't hurt your training partner? If your partner trusts you not to injure him or her purposefully, your partner may be willing to give you a stronger attack. When it comes to fierce uke, sometimes you have to grow your own. :)



I agree with this. There are some people in the dojo with whom I train harder, because they can take a hard fall or have a higher pain threshold.

In my opinion, aikido isn't about being a "bad-ass". It's about dealing with the thirteen year old in the psych ward that wants to gouge out your eyes, or dealing with Grandma when she's off her meds and doesn't recognize you. It's about preparation for being gentle. If I need to hit somebody, I know how. It's the not taking them out that's a challenge.;)

DH
06-08-2007, 04:45 PM
In my opinion, aikido isn't about being a "bad-ass". It's about dealing with the thirteen year old in the psych ward that wants to gouge out your eyes, or dealing with Grandma when she's off her meds and doesn't recognize you. It's about preparation for being gentle. If I need to hit somebody, I know how. It's the not taking them out that's a challenge.;)

Thats just sad. And it may be all your aikido will ever become.

Richard
Aikido attacks,and what the art has become speaks for itself among the Martal art community. Most of whom did not need to "do" aikido to see it for what it has become.
James reply is a perfect example of what the art has become; insiped and freely willing to admit it can't equip someone to actually fight without fighting.

If you want to do better than "handle a 13 yr old" or "grandma when she's off her meds" there are ways to do it. You just need to find the right people who know how.
Ever wonder why Ueshiba had no trouble, nor Takeda? The Problem never was with the original Aikido. The problem is with either Asian Aikido teachers not being forthcoming and revealing what is missing and/or Aikido people who never really understood aikido or how to do it in the first place being allowed to become aikido teachers. Together, the lack of understanding ( many times through no fault of their own) has continued the degredation of the art by ruining the next generation.
Aikido is no longer what it was. It is something entirely different using the same name.
You already know you are correct in your asessment. But you can fix what is missing in your Aikido. In other words how to do Aikido so it is viable again to stand with and against other martial arts and be both dangerous and powerful. You just need to find the right people.;)

Renzo Roncal Soto
06-08-2007, 05:02 PM
I asked myself the same. The problem is not the Aikido or his techniques, the problem is in the criteria are taught and how they are applied.

So, in my dojo, we decided to change the way of how it is taught, to fill certain "emptinesses", that many people want to forget.

Now (according to the case) we took the initiative, we cause that the aggressor initiates a defensive attitude, for this we used sequences of atemis and irimis to open windows, and not to be hoping the attack of the aggressor just to take measures in the last second.

After this strategy, absolutely all the techniques and principles of Aikido are materialized indeed. The secret is in not waiting for the attack and the understanding of : to protect the aggressor, first we must be protected to us.

This can seem outside the philosophy of the Aikido, and this type of practices it turns to us aggressive beings. In order to take the initiative we needed a reason so hard that to take measures to protect to us, seen of another way : we are forced to initiate the "flowing of the ki" ... FIRST !! :grr:

Nick P.
06-08-2007, 07:24 PM
It's about preparation for being gentle. If I need to hit somebody, I know how. It's the not taking them out that's a challenge.;)

That is indeed the challenge.
As for being a bad-ass, as you have begun to do, look elsewhere.

what is your experience of this issue in your own dojos?

Growing ukes that attack sounds like the key; I told a newbie training with us "Hit me. In the nose." And he did. NOW I had some energy to work with. I know that when seven of members I train with deliver a shomen-uchi and I don't atemi, redirect or evade, I'm getting that te-gatana in the forehead.

Your like me; 10+ yrs in, nearing nidan, asking yourself "Why do I do this?". Look back and ask yourself "Why did I start this?".

The answer is what gets me to the mat every time; once I'm there, hopefully I can catch that spark that got me there in the first place.

bkedelen
06-08-2007, 08:07 PM
We go through this stuff over and over. Whenever we feel that we or our partners are not learning a certain skill, the first thing we do is blame our training system. You went to your dojo, beheld your teacher's abilities, and placed your trust in his ability to transfer those abilities to you. If you now want different abilities, you must make sure you want the new ones more than the ones for which you were originally looking. If you wanted to hit well all this time, why did you either pick a teacher who does not hit well, or does not teach how to hit well? There are hundreds of Aikido teachers with extensive striking abilities (unless you buy into the idea that only Dan and Mike have those skills) and you could have been training with any of them all this time. In addition, nothing about Aikido hinders the development of striking skills. You presumably should have known what good striking is from your Hapkido training, and what you learned in Hapkido should have given you all of the knowledge to maintain strong attacking abilities even in the absence of a teacher who focuses on those abilities.

gdandscompserv
06-08-2007, 08:24 PM
Nicely put Benjamin.:cool:

salim
06-08-2007, 09:43 PM
Rick Fox,

I commend you on your honesty and integrity that you have shared from your personal experiences. The truth about the methodology of Aikido, which is practiced today is really not for combat or self defense. It's about peace, love, the attainment of utopia and world togetherness. Aikdio as introduce during the 1940's is not about harm or hurt. You don't use Aikido to defend yourself, you use Aikido for self betterment. These are the core principles of the Shinto religion, which are exercised in Aikido principles. The body movements are more for exercising the body, but not for self defense training. Although some will argue this point, the reality is that Aikido is more Shinto than self defense, combat or BUDO.

Wrist grabs and committed punches don't train for real life altercations in every instance and definitely not for a remotely skilled attacker. Aikido needs to return to it's root's of BUDO and implement more boxing and Judo throws. The Aikido world today is more interested in the spiritual concepts of Shinto religion which is it's bases and the Japanese cultural stimulation. Aikido practiced today, in just about 90% of the dojo's is for Shinto spiritual attainment. Aikido in essences is more about religious philosophical principles and religious customs and less about self defense.

After Ueshiba left Hokkaidō in 1919, he met and was profoundly influenced by Onisaburo Deguchi the spiritual leader of the Omoto-kyo religion, a neo-Shinto religion. “One of the primary features of Ōmoto-kyō is its emphasis on the attainment of utopia during one's life. This was a great influence on Ueshiba's martial arts philosophy of extending love and compassion, especially to those who seek to harm others.” Ueshiba left Aikibudo in which he trained under Takeda Sokaku in 1915 and trained until around 1937. Aikibudo is what he called his combat training at this point in his life. Aikibudo is more about combat and self defense, but is frowned upon by most Aikidoist today. Aikibudo is really for those who are inclined for self defense or combat.

The boxing training along with Judo and Aikibudo techniques would offer a good combination for effectiveness. This is probably the wrong forum for self defense or combat discussions or mentioning the ill-equipped, unrealism, ineffectiveness from most Aikido dojos. I will admit that there are some Aikido schools that probably lean towards BUDO principles and cross train, but they are overwhelmingly in the minority. I think you are doing the right think Rick. Keep up the good work and stay true to yourself.

xuzen
06-08-2007, 10:33 PM
First, a little bit about my martial arts background. I spent 10 years doing Tang Soo Do, to shodan level. Then I started aikido, I have been doing aikido for 12 years, shodan level (testing for nidan soon I hear). I have been boxing for about 4 months.
Impressive resume.

I am becoming more and more disenchanted with aikido. I think that the main reason is that the skill and intensity of attacks generally on the mat is so terrible. Notice I said generally - there are a few exceptions. It simply is not realistic and not challenging. Especially after dealing with boxers in the ring. Sure, the level of defense reached on our mat is sufficient to handle say, a drunken fool at a bar, or a regular hothead on the street, but there is no way, given a skillful and intense attack, that 95% of the aikidoka on our mat would survive.
Statistically speaking, on the street, you are more likely to face the type you just mentioned rather than skilled MMA fighter. You see, skilled MMA fighter are too busy in the gym training for their next paid fight. Going at the rate, it is logical that aikido is sufficient, no?

I personally have chosen to go from practicing aikido 4 times a week to practicing twice a week and going to the boxing gym 4 times a week, simply because it is more challenging, dynamic, and fun. The set routine of uke and nage with single attacks, no counters, is simply not fun anymore.
Some people like to get punch in the head. I personally get a hard on by someone grabbing my wrist, and squeezing it hard. Some people also get turn on when skilled practitioner twist and turn their wrists... ohhhh what a feeling, oh oh oh.

Aikido is structured the way it is so that people can learn the movement and need uke to cooperate in order to do that, I understand. But doesn't there need to be some level where this cooperation is no longer done? It seems to me that some kind of sparring needs to be introduced.
Maybe your dojo have no sparring, but certainly Yoshinkan has Jiyu-Waza to help put theory into practice, Shodokan has RAN-DORI and Yoseikan has Shiai all which are methods to put theory into practice.

I don't know what the answer is. I just know that training on the mat isn't doing it for me anymore, it is like Training Lite. Just my attitude? Maybe. Should only train with the 2 or 3 in my dojo who are badasses? Maybe. I suspect that the real answer is to crosstrain, which I am doing. But this crosstraining is leading me away from the dojo, which is no longer very challenging.
Cross training is good, if it leads you away from your dojo let it be. Flow with the go.

Lastly, the term aikido is very wide. Some practitioners do.. interpretive dance aikido (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OqMLzVKAJs)

Others may do it differently (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRVAjktcT1E&mode=related&search=), while other seem to have other ideas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atiMoGT6dgM&mode=related&search=) what aikido is. Some heretics :D (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTt8YwPaPCY) dare to call this aikido. Sorry PeterR.. this is just joking. Don't break my wrist please.

Boon.

Robert Rumpf
06-08-2007, 11:20 PM
I've got mostly questions for you. You don't have to answer them online, but they are the types of questions I think are important. I've also been doing Aikido for twelve years.

First, a little bit about my martial arts background. I spent 10 years doing Tang Soo Do, to shodan level. Then I started aikido, I have been doing aikido for 12 years, shodan level (testing for nidan soon I hear). I have been boxing for about 4 months.

I am becoming more and more disenchanted with aikido.

How did you feel about Tang Soo Do when you started Aikido? Do you think you might feel the same way about boxing in another X years and trying something new? That grass can be really green, often.

I don't think there is anything wrong with switching martial arts periodically.. it is the MMA process in serial, as opposed to parallel, I suppose. But then ask yourself - can you expect to get to where the people are who have devoted their life to one thing? Do you even care about that reaching that level?

Also, does your boxing inform your Aikido, does your Aikido inform your boxing, or are you just in general trying to perfect your self defense skills? Are you looking to master an art or to learn to fight, or something else entirely?

At some point, much of what is done in any class when the class is open to general admission is elementary - but that last Y percentage of a given technique (which to me at least still seems daunting, in spite of what I've learned) is what can keep you interested. I think for me it is also important to develop sympathy and tolerance for those who don't know yet (and some who never will), and who benefit from you being there to enable their learning.

I tend to think of my Aikido learning process as being in multiple stages (over multiple skills). Regardless of historical accuracy, I'd characterize them as apprentice, journeyman, and master. Let's say that you're at the journeyman stage in Aikido - what would it take to get to mastery? And in which parts of Aikido are you interested in mastery? It sounds like you know a lot about attacking.. what about the other parts of Aikido? Can you refocus your training at the dojo on other aspects of the art?

I think that the main reason is that the skill and intensity of attacks generally on the mat is so terrible. Notice I said generally - there are a few exceptions. It simply is not realistic and not challenging. Especially after dealing with boxers in the ring. Sure, the level of defense reached on our mat is sufficient to handle say, a drunken fool at a bar, or a regular hothead on the street, but there is no way, given a skillful and intense attack, that 95% of the aikidoka on our mat would survive.

So are you speaking about the instructors, the senior students, or the junior students? Is it that students are not making enough progress in learning how to attack, that there are simply not enough effective seniors, or that models of effectiveness don't exist or are discredited?

I think it is unrealistic to expect juniors (and many seniors) to be able to attain in a short time or automatically the attacking skills you have attained after that many years of training - how can they catch up if you're always improving? Should they just step off the mat or avoid you if they can't match your intensity?

Perhaps you should offer to teach a class on attacking, or at least to show the willing but less skilled on the side. If noone wants you to teach, or noone wants to learn from you, than maybe that is something else to consider about them or yourself.

I personally have chosen to go from practicing aikido 4 times a week to practicing twice a week and going to the boxing gym 4 times a week, simply because it is more challenging, dynamic, and fun. The set routine of uke and nage with single attacks, no counters, is simply not fun anymore.

I think its great that you found something more fun, and that can get you interested in learning again. There is nothing wrong with leaving Aikido either fully or partially if you don't enjoy it anymore, and if you're not getting anything out of it. There is little worse on the mat than someone just marking time or who doesn't want to be there.

However, have you asked your partners to attack you more times, to attack more intensely, or to counter you when they are able? Often, as uke, I tend to try to make my attack and ukemi resemble the logic and movement behind what the instructor is doing (be it implicit or explicit). However, if my nage asked for something different (and I trusted the nage, and if the instructor wasn't the type to take offense) I would behave differently.

Trust is an important thing - there have often been cases when I have limited my actions as uke due to my fear of the consequences, both immediate or otherwise, for myself or for them. In addition, I try to believe it is my place in class to enable my partner to learn what is being taught.... but if they want to do something else and so do I <shrug>

Should only train with the 2 or 3 in my dojo who are badasses? Maybe.

Have you asked the "badasses" or the less skillful but still hardcore what they think about the state of affairs, and what keeps them coming back to class? Maybe you can learn something from their answers. In addition, have you asked these "badasses" to spend extra time with you in such a way that it doesn't impinge on their work with other students? Maybe they would like to train with you more often... or maybe not...

It may also be too that the Aikido you want is not the Aikido that the dojo, students, or instructors want.. or they may want one thing, but actually act towards another. In which case, perhaps you should open a dojo and try to do better, if you can't influence them or yourself.

Another thing to consider is that not all take self-defense as seriously as a goal as you do. They may have other agendas, or none at all. They may also not train as aggressively because they are interested in other things (in the dojo or without). At some point, if it is not your dojo (and probably even if it is), I think you have to learn to accept the limitations of your partners that you can't bypass, if you want to be happy and don't want to be all alone.

Good luck,
Rob

Erick Mead
06-09-2007, 12:15 AM
Lastly, the term aikido is very wide. Some practitioners do.. interpretive dance aikido (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OqMLzVKAJs)Interesting exercise.

Good striking should be practiced more, without argument. Good striking requires first an exploitation of dynamic openings. And flow exercises like that dance video are great to explore dynamic openings and their dynamic exploitation.

This whole recurring debate has interesting sociological elements on training for effective aggression that fascinate me.

Dance has a point, like Capoeira has a point, and which the flow exercise in that "interpretive dance" video is very reminiscent to, actually.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8fVGoiM2BQ (old style ca. 1960's) [start at 2:10]

A samurai was considered ill-educated if he do not know proper dance. The same was true of western warriors from medieval times through the American Revolution. Dance is a study in dynamic connection, rhythm and counterpoint rhythm.

No, no martial point to any of that, nosirree. :p The question in it all is whether the point of a given form of training has been deeply ingrained.

What is striking in the case of the implied negative comment on the "dance" video is its presumed "unmanly" character. That assigns it a low status compared with the more overtly vigorous and therefore supposedly more "manly" competitive forms.

Capoeira was similarly deemed low status, and hid its martial effectiveness in a dance. If anyone deems dance ineffective as martial practice I suggest finding a mestre and comment in Portugese about the supposed lack of virtue of his mother. :D

And you should know that George Washington was universally acclaimed as marvelous dancer.

Low class poofter. :eek:

xuzen
06-09-2007, 01:13 AM
Interesting exercise.
Good striking should be practiced more, without argument. Good striking requires first an exploitation of dynamic openings. And flow exercises like that dance video are great to explore dynamic openings and their dynamic exploitation.
I hope you are being cynical, or else.. OMG, you must be joking.

Dance has a point, like Capoeira has a point, and which the flow exercise in that "interpretive dance" video is very reminiscent to, actually.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8fVGoiM2BQ (old style ca. 1960's) [start at 2:10]
Still Ghey!

Capoeira was similarly deemed low status, and hid its martial effectiveness in a dance. If anyone deems dance ineffective as martial practice I suggest finding a mestre and comment in Portugese about the supposed lack of virtue of his mother. :D
Will lion dance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLCB6N0-6ZA) make wushu T3H D34LY?.

Using parallel argument, I see such D34LIN3SS in this performance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF64QwlyeBs).

Boon.

P/S - Read this post with light hearted humour.

Drew Mailman
06-09-2007, 01:13 AM
Interesting post, Mr. Mead. It reminded me of the part in Shogun where Blackthorn teaches Toranaga the hornpipe, and he catches it quickly for an "old man".

James Young
06-09-2007, 02:24 AM
Yoshio Kuroiwa sensei was a trained boxer and found something in aikido compelling enough for him to study it and teach it, so maybe you should look at his aikido as a possible means of reconciling the two.

Erick Mead
06-09-2007, 09:03 AM
[[BTW your post garbled the hanzi/kanji -- assuming that's what "T3H D34LY" and "D34LIN3SS" are. If you are using Big 5 or something else try Unicode -- it usually comes up on Aikiweb.]] I hope you are being cynical, or else.. OMG, you must be joking. Yer just saying that 'cause Xu can't dance. :p

Partly serious, actually. I am simply saying you are taking a filmed exercise out of context and making categorical judgments about the point of the exercise demonstrated, and making those judgments without any knowledge of the other capabilities of the persons giving the demonstration. I am reminded of Archie in the Rob Roy film -- quite deadly behind his nosegay. To me, I see that they have very good movement. Thus, their martial capabilities are not lightly to be dismissed.

Just because neither of us routinely practice that way does not mean that there is no point to what they are doing.

Saying that dance and martial movement share fundamentals and that one can inform and reflect the other is not the same as saying that merely waltzing will make a deadly warrior. Capoeira is just a case in point. Dance is form of human threat display -- as much as anything -- that's why it is part of courtship ritual, where it doubles as a show of fitness. We imagine we're SO sophisticated -- but the animal in us still comes out, even in our "artifice."

Like I said, interesting sociological points.

Keith Larman
06-09-2007, 09:59 AM
FWIW.

At my dojo we have a few advanced classes that tend to focus on stronger, focused attacks. They require a certain rank to attend to ensure the participants can take the ukemi properly without injury. While the classes often include in depth analysis of basic arts, frequently these classes end up with strong, hard attacks at full intensity and speed. Yes, often with new participants their striking needs improvement. Many in aikido don't have a strong striking background and teaching them to deliver good, strong, focused attacks is a priority. And sometimes we mix things up with different strikes or multiple strikes to simply push the limits. Sometimes people get hit. Some aikidoka come to that class but once we do a class that involves that level of intensity they don't come back. That's fine. The senior fellas teaching it shrug and that's that. Others enjoy it precisely because it pushes the limits of what we do and ups the intensity. Currently we have a guy who has a few decades of karate under his belt. Strong striking skills and it is tough learning to deal with him because he doesn't overextend, doesn't throw stupid punches, etc. Stiffer than a board too sometimes. But quite frankly I enjoy working with him exactly because of that.

Last night we were doing gun takeaways. And the version we were doing we learned from police training and includes a knee drop to the ribcage to help get the gun out once he's on the ground. Some have balked at that because they feel it isn't in the "spirit of aikido". But I'm not so sure about that. Katsujinken. And the fella has a gun that until you get control of can kill you, him, and anyone within a certain radius of where you're struggling to get it away from the guy. And the more time you spend fiddling trying to get the gun out of their hands the greater the likelihood someone is going to die. Aikido doesn't have to mean uber-fluffy, warm fuzzy stuff all the time. You need to have martial effectiveness in order for the all the philosophical underpinnings to be applied. And in my mind that means that sometimes the guy causing the bad situation may get hurt. Maybe badly. Maybe fatally. It depends on the situation and something like a gun elevates it to life and death. The proper "aikido" response is about protecting yourself and others primarily. And quickly. And that means the other fella may get hurt.

So I disagree with the generalization some make about Aikido. That said I've seen folk leave because they didn't like the way we trained. One guy in particular was highly ranked elsewhere, started training with us, then was disenchanted with the gun takeaways in particular but also with many other aspects of our "advanced" training. His attacks were also soft, fluffy, and super flowing. I remember the first time I worked with him in an advanced class he was striking munetsuki. I had moved off the line and decided not to throw. He kept going and danced right up and past me like he was on wheels... I was checking my tai sabaki and watching incredulously as he did a Fred Astaire past me. I asked "where are you going?" and he said "I'm just giving you a good Aikido attack". I just shook my head.

Dancing with the stars... ;)

Anyway, my rambling point is that generalizing about aikido is silly. It is like saying the average person has one testicle and one ovary: It may be true generally but otherwise it is pretty much useless information.

Not all aikido is soft and fluffy. At my dojo you won't generally see the intense stuff until you're at a high enough level of proficiency to do so safely. But some choose to not attend those classes even when they could. Other search them out. And some dojo never explore those things.

So.... Shrug.

Jim Sorrentino
06-09-2007, 08:55 PM
Hi Dan,

Glad to see that you're not avoiding me! :)

If you want to do better than "handle a 13 yr old" or "grandma when she's off her meds" there are ways to do it. You just need to find the right people [emphasis added] who know how.
Ever wonder why Ueshiba had no trouble, nor Takeda? The Problem never was with the original Aikido. The problem is with either Asian Aikido teachers not being forthcoming and revealing what is missing and/or Aikido people who never really understood aikido or how to do it in the first place being allowed to become aikido teachers. Together, the lack of understanding ( many times through no fault of their own) has continued the degredation of the art by ruining the next generation.
Aikido is no longer what it was. It is something entirely different using the same name.
You already know you are correct in your asessment. But you can fix what is missing in your Aikido. In other words how to do Aikido so it is viable again to stand with and against other martial arts and be both dangerous and powerful. You just need to find the right people.;) [emphasis added again]

Well, Dan, who do you endorse as "the right people" --- apart from yourself (who accepts only a small number of fellow shugyo enthusisasts), Mike Sigman (who is in one of the more remote corners of Colorado), and Minoru Akuzawa --- via Rob John --- (who both are in Japan)? In your opinion, who in the US or Canada is teaching aikido in a manner that would address Rich's concerns? And who (again, I'll limit this to the US and Canada) is teaching aikido in a way that makes it "viable again to stand with and against other martial arts and be both dangerous and powerful"? I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino

Tijani1150
06-10-2007, 01:50 AM
Richard Fox

Are you assuming that Aikido would not work in a real fight against a skilled martial artist or boxer for that matter or did you actualy go through the experience and discovered that your Aikido training failed you?

Amir Krause
06-10-2007, 03:11 AM
First, a little bit about my martial arts background. I spent 10 years doing Tang Soo Do, to shodan level. Then I started aikido, I have been doing aikido for 12 years, shodan level (testing for nidan soon I hear). I have been boxing for about 4 months.

I am becoming more and more disenchanted with aikido. I think that the main reason is that the skill and intensity of attacks generally on the mat is so terrible. Notice I said generally - there are a few exceptions. It simply is not realistic and not challenging. Especially after dealing with boxers in the ring. Sure, the level of defense reached on our mat is sufficient to handle say, a drunken fool at a bar, or a regular hothead on the street, but there is no way, given a skillful and intense attack, that 95% of the aikidoka on our mat would survive.

I personally have chosen to go from practicing aikido 4 times a week to practicing twice a week and going to the boxing gym 4 times a week, simply because it is more challenging, dynamic, and fun. The set routine of uke and nage with single attacks, no counters, is simply not fun anymore.

What to do? People are not going to stop leaving their arms extended after a punch or shomen. People are not going to stop their lame attacks, because they never get any serious attack training. Aikido is structured the way it is so that people can learn the movement and need uke to cooperate in order to do that, I understand. But doesn't there need to be some level where this cooperation is no longer done? It seems to me that some kind of sparring needs to be introduced. But maybe the nature of aikido joint locks and throws is such that the level of injuries sustained would be prohibitive. Certainly in boxing without the gloves serious and/or fatal damage would happen frequently.

I don't know what the answer is. I just know that training on the mat isn't doing it for me anymore, it is like Training Lite. Just my attitude? Maybe. Should only train with the 2 or 3 in my dojo who are badasses? Maybe. I suspect that the real answer is to crosstrain, which I am doing. But this crosstraining is leading me away from the dojo, which is no longer very challenging.

Rich

Rich

You should not be disenchanted with aikido, you shuold simply be disenchanted with thte way it is practiced in your Dojo. Start by talking with your Sensei, and if he does not have a solution (such as opening a new advanced group, which practices in a more realistic aproach). Then go and look around if you can't find another Dojo which is better for you, including in other Aikido styles (preferbly stlyes which practice Randori which includes striking).

From my own experiance in Randori, the Korindo way: both sides play freely, mostly striking including combos (if the partner stays in front of you, he should learn his lesson), kicks are allowed (unfortunatly most of us rarely use them) and Counters are welcom...
One should try and train as slowly as possible, since it is better for learning (and more difficult to do). As A beginner, I worked as fast as I could thinking of emulating a fight. It took me years to understand this practicing approach might be a good test for the "real life", but it does not teach me (my teacher kept telling me this all the time, but it takes a long time to penetrate).

Lots of places teach Aikido as a "Symbolic M.A." - Multiple very sophisticated ideas and concepts are hidden in the simple training. Only a few can grasp the ideas this way (self not included) and utilize them for any situation, most can not and should learn in a more explicit way if they wish to significanly improve their fighting ability (as someone mentioned above, this is not the only reason to learn M.A.)

Amir

Michael Varin
06-10-2007, 04:35 AM
Anyway, my rambling point is that generalizing about aikido is silly. It is like saying the average person has one testicle and one ovary: It may be true generally but otherwise it is pretty much useless information.

Funny. I always thought people normally either have two testicles OR two ovaries. :D

Keith Larman
06-10-2007, 09:37 AM
Twas the point. :) The average male has two testicles, the average female has two ovaries, so the "average human" has one of each. The dangers of trying to apply generalizations to specific examples...

The greater the variety in the population the less likely the mean is representative of any specific individual. I've seen sooooo much variety in different dojo that saying "aikidoka attack like this" or "aikido is like this in terms of attacks" is almost meaningless. To channel someone I know, some aikidoka are like bunnies, others like fire breathing dragons. Your mileage may vary.

Adam Alexander
06-10-2007, 03:07 PM
I am becoming more and more disenchanted with aikido.
Rich

Also, you should talk with the teaching staff about your concerns. You should share this essay by Stan Pranin, which is freely available at Aikido Journal: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=112

I'd head Mr. Sorrentino's advice.

When I first went to my dojo, I expressed goals I had for Aikido that weren't exactly accurate. I put self-defense on the very back burner and claimed all kinds of other stuff. Probably more out of shame and not being aware than dishonesty I said what I did. Not too long into it, I started getting real.

When I started saying outright "I want to be bad", people started taking me a little more serious. Not all, but a couple that mattered. I still had to train with people that didn't deliver the attacks for which I thirsted. I still had to cooperate with throws that weren't true...in my opinion. However, as soon as I got honest, I started to get Aikido as I thought it was supposed to be.

I'd recommend that you don't be too hard on those who practice different than you. They train for something else. There's not a thing wrong with that...and I think they probably keep a dojo balanced. There's been plenty of occassions I've gone in the dojo in my pretend-samurai mode and have been shaken out of it by folks who kind of chuckled (in a very friendly way) at me.

I imagine if you follow Mr. Sorrentino's advice, you might find the same thing or be directed to a dojo that's more suited to what you're looking for.

I suspect, ultimately, no high-ranking Aikidoka with strong skills wishes to see the technical strength of Aikido drift away...and they're probably happy to see and help anyone who wants strong Aikido and has a decent character.

Just a word about my experience. Real Aikido, as I like to think I've seen...and hope I understand, isn't free. It's not expensive in money, but I paid an expensive part of myself. But it's the truest thing I've ever known and I'm a different--better--person for it.

Keep in mind also, in my experience, Aikido's learned outside the dojo.

I'm kind of disappointed in this thread. When I saw the title, I thought there was going to be YouTube videos of Aikidoka swarming with bokkens:)

CNYMike
06-11-2007, 01:24 AM
..... I am becoming more and more disenchanted with aikido. I think that the main reason is that the skill and intensity of attacks generally on the mat is so terrible. Notice I said generally - there are a few exceptions. It simply is not realistic and not challenging. Especially after dealing with boxers in the ring. Sure, the level of defense reached on our mat is sufficient to handle say, a drunken fool at a bar, or a regular hothead on the street, but there is no way, given a skillful and intense attack, that 95% of the aikidoka on our mat would survive.

About twenty years ago, during or after my stint in Seidokan Aikido, I saw a news story about a brawl at a hockey game. They showed footage of the teams going at it on the ice against the wall. What stuck in my mind was the two players who had grabbed each other's jerseys with their right hands and were bashing each other in the heads with the other hands -- at the same time! You should be able to see the Aikido attacks this leads to.

So no, not necessarily against a boxing style attack, but grabs are not unrealistic.


.... Aikido is structured the way it is so that people can learn the movement and need uke to cooperate in order to do that, I understand. But doesn't there need to be some level where this cooperation is no longer done?....

If there is, you still have to look at what Aikido's underlying theories say you do against that. However, Aikido is finicky -- the change in intent to ramp a technique up may mean it's not Aikido anymore.


It seems to me that some kind of sparring needs to be introduced. But maybe the nature of aikido joint locks and throws is such that the level of injuries sustained would be prohibitive. Certainly in boxing without the gloves serious and/or fatal damage would happen frequently.


As a practical matter, this is easier said than done.

First, you have to know where the "traditional" way ofdoing Aikido takes you, what the end point is. Then you have to be thuroughly versed in the training methods you're looking at, which, to my way of thinking, means becoming an instructor/coach in those systems. Then you have to say, "Ok, Aikido goes here; how can I get there some other way?" Since you're a black belt, you're pretty far along on the first step, but the rest sounds like a heck of a lot of work. By all means, do it if you want. But be careful about what you're in for.


I don't know what the answer is. I just know that training on the mat isn't doing it for me anymore, it is like Training Lite. Just my attitude? Maybe. Should only train with the 2 or 3 in my dojo who are badasses? Maybe. I suspect that the real answer is to crosstrain, which I am doing. But this crosstraining is leading me away from the dojo, which is no longer very challenging.

Rich

Ok, Rich, here's my advice.

First, one variable to consider is that you may be suffering a little burnout with Aikido. That can happen, and doing somethng new and different doesn't help. I experienced the same thing when I started Seidokan Aikido when I'd been doing karate for a year and a half -- I toyed with giving up karate! Same principle. If you are facing some burnout, the only redemy is to keep training; otherwise you will quit and not return if ever. Your choice on that score.

Second, if you keep doing Aikido, other than going twice a week, don't do anything different from how you've been doing it. Let your feelings about Aikido and boxing shake out (and any burnout you are suffering go away). Then see what you want to do.

Erick Mead
06-11-2007, 09:28 AM
To give Richard due credit, he prompted me to connect some things I had been reading and thinking about, but it was tangential to his main point. So I started a new thread on that here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?goto=newpost&t=12744

happysod
06-11-2007, 11:10 AM
I don't know what the answer is. I just know that training on the mat isn't doing it for me anymore, it is like Training Lite. Just my attitude? Maybe. Should only train with the 2 or 3 in my dojo who are badasses? Maybe. I suspect that the real answer is to crosstrain, which I am doing. But this crosstraining is leading me away from the dojo, which is no longer very challenging.Leave the dojo, not only for yourself but for the rest of the dojo. If only 2-3 are training in a way that you find acceptable and your instructor isn't doing anything about it then it obviously isn't going to change and/or is how the instructor wants their dojo to be.

If you stay, you'll just get annoyed and basically be a pain in the arse for everyone else who doesn't meet your new criteria for intensity unless you can totally change how you view your training. For example, when you're with the tissue waving attacks, you view it as a means of perfecting your technique in a totally harmless situation. Then, when you're with your terminator attackers, you can practice it with vigour. However, this can only work if you can abandon all contempt for the tissue wavers,which didn't really sound an option.

rgfox5
06-11-2007, 07:58 PM
Wow, there is so much material to consider and think about in your replies, thank you very much. I read the thread before I went to train tonight, and I had a very good workout. (Mr. Sorentino, that was Robert's class, one of my regular classes). Doing aikido well really does have its challenges.

I was very impressed by the dojos that offer hard-striking, intense training for advanced people who have the stomach (or jaw!) for it. I watched Steve Seagal's video from his dojo, and whatever you may think of Mr. Seagal I think we all would admit that their shodan tests, where the candidate has to defend himself against three ukes who are really trying to take him down and pin him, are very exciting and commendable, that you do not get your shodan until you can actually defend yourself, staying upright and able to continue the fight, against your sincere attackers. I wish my dojo had such advanced classes with giu-waza - sparring.

One of the facets of boxing that I love is that it is actually dangerous, if I don't have good defense and keep my attacker off me with accurate, strong, punches, I could get seriously injured. Another aspect is the flow of the rounds and the way the situation is constantly changing, and one opponent's style is different from another's. And then there is the pure exhaustion and having to push my body beyond my physical limitations with willpower alone. Aikido training is not training, I feel very safe on the mat. Not so in the ring, even sparring with guys I know will not take my head off. They will still hit me very hard, especially to the body.

One of the interesting questions I was asked was do I care about what level of aikido I reach? And the answer is, not really. What I do care about is being able to defend myself and friends or loved ones from an attack from an assailant bent on doing harm. And in my overactive imagination my attacker is always a skilled fighter, not a bum! So I want to be more skilled than he is!

If this was not a violent world I would stop training immediately and spend my evenings painting, writing, or playing music.

Rich

rgfox5
06-11-2007, 08:02 PM
Ooops, I didn't mean to say above "aikido training is not training", I meant to say "aikido training is not scary"

William Lombardo
06-12-2007, 08:33 AM
Sugar Ray Fox,

After many years of training with you I would say you have been plateuing for a while. You feel very amped up right now on the mat which I think is fun. This frustration is probably a sign that another breakthrough is near - good timing for your possible upcoming Nidan test. See on the mat Thursday, wraps are optional.

W

tarik
06-12-2007, 09:49 AM
Richard, great thread. I've experienced a similar degree of frustration at times in my training, enough that I've changed my training environment and partners to experience more of what I'd call the 'right kind of frustration'.

Before I did that I spent significant time trying to encourage things like improved attacks and to change how my partners cooperate with me into something that would challenge me more and develop my unconscious responses against scenarios of the worst case rather than the best case (those are always easier).

Ooops, I didn't mean to say above "aikido training is not training", I meant to say "aikido training is not scary"

Aikido training should be scary, IMO, not in the sense that I expect to get injured, but in much the same sense that you describe in your boxing training.

When I _know_ that I'll get a fat bloody lip if my ukemi isn't correct, NOT because my partner is trying to hurt me, but because they are trying to deliver a sincere attack; there is a level of focus that absolutely necessary to taking learning to the next level.

It's a part of training to start incredibly slowly so that we can learn to move correctly specifically in order to minimize or eliminate such injuries when training at speed, but if attacks are not that real, even a slow speeds, we are learning only a pale imitation of the real thing.

Regards,

rgfox5
06-12-2007, 10:07 AM
When I _know_ that I'll get a fat bloody lip if my ukemi isn't correct, NOT because my partner is trying to hurt me, but because they are trying to deliver a sincere attack; there is a level of focus that absolutely necessary to taking learning to the next level.

Well put, THAT is what I am talking about!

William "Italian Stallion" Lombardo - I hope you're right!

Rich

gdandscompserv
06-12-2007, 10:53 AM
When I _know_ that I'll get a fat bloody lip if my ukemi isn't correct, NOT because my partner is trying to hurt me, but because they are trying to deliver a sincere attack; there is a level of focus that absolutely necessary to taking learning to the next level.
YES!
That's how we like to train.:D

tarik
06-12-2007, 01:55 PM
Well put, THAT is what I am talking about!

FWIW, I don't mean that the bloody mouth is required or desired, but that the level of intensity should be such that a misstep would or could cause such an injury.

It is incumbent upon us to develop our training and skill set in such a way as to minimize such injuries; but at the same time, to recognize that they are possible and to not modify our attacks to prevent them, but to modify our speed to moderate this until we have learned the correct responses (ukemi or otherwise).

It is my experience that most people want to go fast much sooner than their skill level should allow (myself included). In order to do that safely, training is often modified such that attacks become sincerely ineffective, and/or ukemi is decided upon by the uke in response to the technique they feel instead of something that happens to uke. Uke should never be able to make a decision in their ukemi, particularly their initial ukemi, unless their skill level is reaches the point that their decision making includes whether or not take an opening that is offered; which is of course another interesting and educational type of training as well.

Regards,

rgfox5
06-12-2007, 02:26 PM
I remember last year I was training with a senior member of my dojo, and the attack was a face punch, and I hit him square in the mouth and bloodied his lip a little bit. He was really, I mean, really pissed off. He kept repeating "You f**king hit me!" I didn't say anything, but I also didn't feel bad one little bit. It's a dojo for Chrissakes! Of course I am not going to punch a 5th kyu in the mouth in aikido training, but we owe it to eachother to make it as real as we can without serious injury.

I do not love getting hit, but I always appeciate the lesson, because it means all or one of the following: the attack was skillful, I wasn't paying attention, or my defence was lacking, any and all of which are valuable lessons.

Chuck Clark
06-12-2007, 02:29 PM
He should've moved.

rgfox5
06-12-2007, 03:52 PM
In response to Jimmy, whose private message I will keep private out of courtesy:

Interesting reaction you had to my post. I do not hold the dojo or the people there in contempt in any way, you misinterpreted me. Don, Robert, and Eugene are definitely tough guys, no question about that. Mike R. too. I'd throw a couple more guys in.

My attitude is my attitude, I do not make excuses or apologies for myself, I do not feel the need. I am talking about my own training here, and the general lame attacks on the part of most aikidoka I've trained with. So, no, I will not "lose the attitude".

Heavy bag is taken down, sensei's instructions, but there are three hanging at my boxing gym so I get in plenty of heavy bag time.

Sure, see you around

Rich

PS No, it wasn't Nick, I don't think Nick would criticize anyone for punching him!

Lyle Bogin
06-12-2007, 04:39 PM
I think a big part of the problem is order...as in boxing should come before aikido in one's chronology of practice.

tarik
06-12-2007, 05:35 PM
I wish my dojo had such advanced classes with giu-waza - sparring.

Is it entirely impermissable?

One of the interesting questions I was asked was do I care about what level of aikido I reach? And the answer is, not really.

This is a paradoxical question. The answer that most correctly reflects my attitude about this is "as good as I can possibly get given my priorities in life". Nothing less is acceptable to me.

At the same time, I don't really expect that to be all that good and I get surprised when I occasionally have a reality check and find out that I'm better or worse than I thought.

I still think anything worth doing is worth doing as well as I can possibly do it in that moment, and no less.

And in my overactive imagination my attacker is always a skilled fighter, not a bum! So I want to be more skilled than he is!

I've been told many times that this is the wrong attitude and I should change it. Instead I changed my environment to train with people who agreed with me. I may be most likely to use my aikido in real life in innocuous situations and on people who are unskilled, but I don't see the point in training that way. Training to handle the easiest circumstances isn't the path to great skill and is subsumed in training to handle the worst case circumstances.

Regards,

tarik
06-12-2007, 05:40 PM
He should've moved.

:straightf

xuzen
06-13-2007, 03:53 AM
Ooops, I didn't mean to say above "aikido training is not training", I meant to say "aikido training is not scary"

There are two things that scare the H3LL out of me in aikido training.
1) Hiji-Shime aka Waki-gatamae and
2) Shiho-nage especially noobs doing it.

Poor lil'old me has many sprained/strained elbow experiences with these two techniques in particular over the years of training.

Boon.

kiaiki
06-13-2007, 04:44 AM
What a terrible indictment on Aikido that some replies here seem to accept Aikido is pretty useless as a fighting art and that there will inevitably be only a few in a dojo who (to summarise) can attack 'realistically' - by which I mean test you at the right level of commitment.

To answer the original post:

IMHO if you are a Shodan the attacks should all be strongly committed and give you a damn good belt if you fail to defend. Tanto attacks, at that stage, should also be strong.

Remember that in Japan when O Sensei started to teach, many students would probably already know how to punch, kick and employ groundwork - hence not much need to teach it..

In transferring the art over time and to different nations, IMHO much of the important attacking and defensive skills have been lost. I know Bill Coyle, for one, laments what has been lost.

I'm OK with people changing the art to suit their personal needs but I feel it has now gone so far down the road that we must always identify the style. My background is Shudokan (Yoshinkan) and I'm rather fed up with having to explain that there are huge differences between a hard style (with a belief in hard atemi as a core aspect of any technique, together with stamina and speed) and clubs which believe they can push over lines of students with one finger in slowmo and have never even picked up a weapon.

IMHO the key to the original dilemma is this:
If your club does not have attacks which truly challenge you, maybe even endanger you - look elsewhere.
If your club does not teach hard atemi in both attack and defence - look eslewhere.
If your club does not offer weapons training and 'applied' techniques - look elsewhere. (By applied I mean techniques which would cause damage, as opposed to a drill or paired practice. The ideal situation for this IMHO is in fast 'jiyuwaza' freestyle with a succession of testing attacks. This may answer some of the self-defence needs.

As I say, I'm not damning softer styles, but the original question highlighted the need for a more challenging environment: seek out Yoshinkan as the 'hardest' style IMHO and most useful for self-defence, or Tomiki if you fancy some competitive sparring.

There will obviously also be differences between clubs - I hope you find one which has members with perhaps a mix of Karate, Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, Kendo/Iaido, Judo etc. - that would be pretty rare! If not, continue to cross-train with the expectation that no single MA has all the answers!

I feel fortunate to have studied Shudokan even though I wasn't much good at it, but it has worked for me several times on the 'street'.

Finally, here's a video you might find fun, and which shows that some styles need a bit more fitness than others, so carry on boxing!:

Shudokan rocks and rolls:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK6eHEtRzk4

CNYMike
06-13-2007, 11:38 AM
.... I was very impressed by the dojos that offer hard-striking, intense training for advanced people who have the stomach (or jaw!) for it. I watched Steve Seagal's video from his dojo, and whatever you may think of Mr. Seagal I think we all would admit that their shodan tests, where the candidate has to defend himself against three ukes who are really trying to take him down and pin him, are very exciting and commendable, that you do not get your shodan until you can actually defend yourself, staying upright and able to continue the fight, against your sincere attackers. I wish my dojo had such advanced classes with giu-waza - sparring....

Assuming you're not going to follow another poster's advice and leave your dojo, it might help to recognize there are different types of training to develop different skills, attributes, and so forth. It is, after all, trainining, not fighting, and the "tissue waving" attacks may not scare you, ask yourself, "ok, what do I get out of doing them?" A lower intensity level can be good for isolating things like breathing, timing, and proper body mechanics that at a higher intensity level (or in sparring) you simply may not have time to think about -- they are either there or they're not.


One of the facets of boxing that I love is that it is actually dangerous, if I don't have good defense and keep my attacker off me with accurate, strong, punches, I could get seriously injured. Another aspect is the flow of the rounds and the way the situation is constantly changing, and one opponent's style is different from another's. And then there is the pure exhaustion and having to push my body beyond my physical limitations with willpower alone. Aikido training is not training, I feel very safe on the mat. Not so in the ring, even sparring with guys I know will not take my head off. They will still hit me very hard, especially to the body.


That said, training should be as safe as possible. The odd bruise or bloody nose is one thing; broken bones are another. And IMHO, training so hard you have to risk getting hurt is stupid/nuts.

Kru Kevin Seaman taught Thai Boxing in my home town for something on the order of a decade, and he once said the worst injury he'd seen was a pulled hamstring. Yes, they were going full contact, but they still managed to be safe. Yet there are karate schools within 30 miles of there were people got broken collar bones! Between you and me, I'd go with the instructor who hadn't seen more than a pulled hamstring.


One of the interesting questions I was asked was do I care about what level of aikido I reach? And the answer is, not really. What I do care about is being able to defend myself and friends or loved ones from an attack from an assailant bent on doing harm. And in my overactive imagination my attacker is always a skilled fighter, not a bum! So I want to be more skilled than he is!


Well, here's a reality check. You live in the metro DC area, right?

What is the population of the metro DC area?

How many martial artists are there in the same area?

How many of those people have trained longer than a year? Up to 90% of people who start quit within a year.

Looked at that way, the number of people with the training required to mess you up pobably is very small, and statistically they'll most likely be sport karate or TKD. Yes, there are guys who wrestle and box in high school, but if you don't maintane that skill it leaves you over time.

So I'd say your imagination is very active, because you are training to fight someone who will most likely not run into you because he will be on a computer someplace badmouthing TMA like Aikido. :)


If this was not a violent world I would stop training immediately and spend my evenings painting, writing, or playing music.

Rich

You wouldn't keep training for the love of it? Then why do it at all?

rgfox5
06-13-2007, 12:38 PM
The odd bruise or bloody nose is one thing; broken bones are another. And IMHO, training so hard you have to risk getting hurt is stupid/nuts.?

I agree sort of - I have no desire to get badly hurt. But I think the risk should be there to some degree to make it more real, as some have posted previously. As the advanced folks know, there is a second punch coming immediately after the first one in reality. But in aikido we only train with single attacks. I believe that cross-training is the answer as many have suggested, and that is what I am doing.

I have never trained in a Yoshinkan dojo, but it sounds like the training is good.

You wouldn't keep training for the love of it? Then why do it at all?

Good question. I think I am getting pretty burnt out, maybe I need to take some time off. Actually I do love aikido, just lately I have been questioning the training methods.

I want to see aikido respected in the martial arts world, for the advanced, effective, and beautiful art that it is. There is nothing "tissue-waving" (I love that expression!) about the way my teacher, Saotome-sensei, teaches or practices aikido. But then I feel how many people are training with me, and get frustrated. Then if I hit them it's "oh, Rich is so violent!" I am not going to leave my dojo, I just have to figure out for myself how to grow and how to train there.

Drew Mailman
06-13-2007, 06:10 PM
So I'd say your imagination is very active, because you are training to fight someone who will most likely not run into you because he will be on a computer someplace badmouthing TMA like Aikido.

ROFL, good one. :D

CNYMike
06-14-2007, 12:23 AM
.... I think I am getting pretty burnt out, maybe I need to take some time off .....

The risk in doing that is you won't come back; the only way to get through burnout is to keep training.

You may want to ramp things down a bit -- say, Aikido twice a week, boxing twice a week, practice on your own twice a week (things from everything you do on your own), and rest on the seventh day. But "taking a break" if yu're burning out may not work.


Actually I do love aikido, just lately I have been questioning the training methods.


The key question there is to ask what the methods accomplish, not whether they accomplish what you want. Guro Dan Inosanto has been noted for saying that every martial art has something to offer. Figuring out what Aikido's "something" is may tax the imagination sometimes, but my perspective is that the training methods are good for something. It just may not be readily apparent what.


I want to see aikido respected in the martial arts world, for the advanced, effective, and beautiful art that it is ....

Well, you're not going to get that from the online loudmouths, that's for sure! So don't look there.


There is nothing "tissue-waving" (I love that expression!) about the way my teacher, Saotome-sensei, teaches or practices aikido. But then I feel how many people are training with me, and get frustrated. Then if I hit them it's "oh, Rich is so violent!" I am not going to leave my dojo, I just have to figure out for myself how to grow and how to train there.

In addition to previous comments, one thing to remember is you had 10 years of martial arts training before you started Aikido. That's a considerable leg up on another Shodan who may have started his training with Aikido. AFAIK, the Aikido worldis very welcoming to people who have trained in other arts or are aleady doing them. So in the same dojo it seems you could have two students at the same Aikido rank but one has more overall training than the other.

Just a thought. Hope it makes sense; this is the best I can do at 1:30 AM. :o

Marc Abrams
06-14-2007, 08:32 AM
I am a BIG proponent of teaching my students how to attack properly. That means attacking in a balanced manner with good posture. That means extending energy through strikes and not hitting while contracting muscles against an anticipated contact point. That means REALLY hitting, striking, kicking, grabbing so that real intention is conveyed. You cannot improve your Aikido unless you can work with honest attacks.

That being said....

Many people train TOO fast without any sense of connection. This is frequently where and why injuries occur. I am not concerned about a student going full hilt in trying to strike me. I am fairly confident in my ability to respond in a manner that is safe for me AND the attacker. This requires me to remain soft and connected to the attacker. Mimicking the words of James Williams Sensei (Bujutsu instructor) "being soft does not mean that we are nice people, it means that we are simply being more effective and efficient."

I will only allow my students to train at a pace and level of intensity where they can learn how to make the internal principles of Aikido work properly. I do not believe that it serves anybody to have beginners strike and respond with a level of intensity so that their reactions and responses are fear-based, too tense and out of control. The students are always shown how what they are doing gets ramped-up to real-life attacks. They deserve to know that there is a progression to the capacity to respond in more realistic scenarios.

I, like a previous person, noted that even in really hard dojo's (my first instructor was Oyama Sensei- Karate) NOBODY suffered serious injuries from demonstrations or practices. That usually happened in open tournaments. To me, the quality of instruction is closely linked to safety level in the dojo.

Some students simply won't have the patience to learn at a safe pace, believing that full-hilt from the beginning is the ONLY way. I have allowed some students to come at me in that manner and an atemi and powerful movement usually opens up his eyes. My responsibility as a teacher is to create a safe environment in which true learning can take place. If the student does not like the atmosphere that I create, then there are other dojos out their with different training philosophies.

In summary, I think that it is important to view your dojo from the perspective of whether or not the training atmosphere and methods can bring you to the point of handling a full-hilt attack. It might require some patience and trust on your part to get there. If you do not believe that this school will take you to the place that you want to go, I am sure that you can find a dojo that will be supportive and accepting of your training attitude.

best wishes on resolving this dilemma!

Marc Abrams

George S. Ledyard
06-14-2007, 09:54 AM
I remember last year I was training with a senior member of my dojo, and the attack was a face punch, and I hit him square in the mouth and bloodied his lip a little bit. He was really, I mean, really pissed off. He kept repeating "You f**king hit me!" I didn't say anything, but I also didn't feel bad one little bit. It's a dojo for Chrissakes! Of course I am not going to punch a 5th kyu in the mouth in aikido training, but we owe it to eachother to make it as real as we can without serious injury.


When I trained at that dojo, when it was first founded, the proper response was "Thankyou".

There's a problem for seniors who don't get out much; they get to the point which they get used to no one in the dojo being able to hit them. They need someone to keep them honest. It's supposed to be the other seniors since the juniors shouldn't be able to but it often doesn't work that way.

Of course, some of your seniors are getting older. You can't expect them to play like they did when they were younger. But there darn well should be folks, like Robert, who are quite happy to nuke you any time. If Robert isn't hitting you, you have either gotten to a very high level, or he is being polite.

That said, you don't want to do that "balls to the wall" training all the time. It's fine for developing an understanding "irimi" and it's great practice as uke to go for total "lock-on" and nail your partner. But a diet of just that training typically results in too much tension and muscular technique. I know because I trained that way for years. We trained hard but we didn't train smart. There's a reason that most of the Rokudans are pretty beaten up. I don't recommend repeating our mistakes.

You need some time when it's slower and less intense so that you can, over time, re-program your body to understand that relaxing will make it safe. Static practice, flowing technique from grabbing style attacks are important in this reprogramming. This is something the "beastie boys" in the dojo often forget. If your goal is to understand what Saotome Sensei can do you need that balance in your training or you won't get it.

Keep up your boxing while you are still young. You are not going to want to take that impact later on. Pick up striking instruction where you can. I would say, get out and train with folks like Dan and pick up some info on how to train your structure properly. Achieve a balance between practice which is designed to make your spirit stronger and your technique more "realistic: in its ability, and practice which is designed to allow you to find the places where you carry tension, both mental and physical, and to release it. Do a lot of sword, the goodies are there and you don't get so trashed physically over time. Talk to Eugene Lee about your concerns, he's got an excellent approach to his practice.

Don't bail on your Aikido, just find people to train with who can show you a better way to do things. The problem with many of the DC boys is that they believe that, because they are direct students of Saotome Sensei, they don't need to go elsewhere to seek answers. This is wrong and leads to people who are marginalized, left behind by folks who have been out there getting a broad exposure to different viewpoints and technique.

I'll be at DC Summer Camp, come introduce yourself and we can play. I'll try to explain what I currently see as the proper balance. You can try to hit me and we'll have some fun.

Chuck Clark
06-14-2007, 11:13 AM
When I trained at that dojo, when it was first founded, the proper response was "Thankyou".

I'll be at DC Summer Camp, come introduce yourself and we can play. I'll try to explain what I currently see as the proper balance. You can try to hit me and we'll have some fun.

That's the ticket. Onegaeshimasu ... please try and hit me. It's part of the yakusoku that everyone I like to train with understands. Appropriateness is the key. We can shake someone up without hurting them. Seniors leading juniors.. everyone learning.. great fun!

Marc Abrams
06-14-2007, 11:50 AM
If you train with George Sensei at the camp DO NOT try any moves from Tennenhouse Ryu - ala last Aiki Expo!:D

Lots of Luv George Sensei- Cannot wait to play at the Boulder Camp!

Marc Abrams

Marie Noelle Fequiere
06-14-2007, 03:41 PM
You know what? I think that your are going throught a phase. You are looking for something, and you are not sure yet what it is. Do less A´kido - but do not give it up entirely - and more boxing, if that's what makes you happy now. No effort is useless. Two things come with time and sincere training: skill and experience. You might be surprised, in a few months, or even in a few years, by what you will discover during your journey.
That's what being young is for.

cjudge
06-18-2007, 07:18 PM
Hey Rich,

So, at this boxing gym of yours...how are their breakfalls?

Cliff

mwible
07-16-2007, 01:12 PM
ive only been training in aikido a little over a year, but i also did TKD beforehand and i still spar with my TKD friends often, and i like to surprise them with a throw every now and then. i understand what you are saying tho, it is much more invigorating when the attacks are real speed and real technique.

Dewey
07-16-2007, 09:35 PM
Three words: Aiki Fight Club!

You'd be surprised how many Aikidoka out there are looking for full intensity training sessions with full-speed strikes and takedown attempts, also. Perhaps you should take the initiative and put out notice to the area dojo (regardless of affiliation/style) for interested yudansha. However, it should be understood as an informal gathering of local Aikidoka, not the formation of a new dojo...just a randori club...aiki fight club!

Seriously, though (although I'm only half-kidding about the above-mentioned). The nature of dojo training is that it must accommodate all skill levels as well as martial interests. Thus, it requires patience, understanding and humility on your part. Like in days of old in feudal Japan: your dojo is only as strong as its weakest/most inexperienced student. You have duties as sempai to mentor/challenge/train the "youngin's"...which means you have to put your personal interests aside. However, it does give you an opportunity to introduce them to a more realistic training.

Remember: the first rule about Aiki Fight Club is that no one talks about Aiki Fight Club....

nikau
07-22-2007, 11:21 PM
some great points throughout this whole post.

i've 15 years in box and kick.
only 1 in aikido

BUT 1 of our lessons a few weeks ago with sensei was keeping mawai:confused: distance.

so when i trained with a friend or 2 for box and kick i practiced keeping my distance while they attacked. I found it difficult not to revert to boxing etc BUT by the end my foot work was improving.

There's no reason why you can't cross-train and keep your training focussed on aikido. I'm only doing it for distance BUT i'm sure when sensei gives us other exercises to practice i'm sure these are things i can apply as well.
i.e i'm hoping after a few months i can go from practicing distance on a boxer or kick boxer to ENTERING.

I think if you change your approach to boxing training and look to practice some aikido techniques you may find what your looking for.

good luck.

Erik Calderon
07-24-2007, 09:49 AM
Three words: Aiki Fight Club!

You'd be surprised how many Aikidoka out there are looking for full intensity training sessions with full-speed strikes and takedown attempts, also. Perhaps you should take the initiative and put out notice to the area dojo (regardless of affiliation/style) for interested yudansha. However, it should be understood as an informal gathering of local Aikidoka, not the formation of a new dojo...just a randori club...aiki fight club!

Seriously, though (although I'm only half-kidding about the above-mentioned). The nature of dojo training is that it must accommodate all skill levels as well as martial interests. Thus, it requires patience, understanding and humility on your part. Like in days of old in feudal Japan: your dojo is only as strong as its weakest/most inexperienced student. You have duties as sempai to mentor/challenge/train the "youngin's"...which means you have to put your personal interests aside. However, it does give you an opportunity to introduce them to a more realistic training.

Remember: the first rule about Aiki Fight Club is that no one talks about Aiki Fight Club....

Great Post!

http://www.shinkikan.com

jennifer paige smith
07-24-2007, 10:05 AM
No one talks about what??????

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
07-25-2007, 03:23 PM
http://www.shinkikan.com

You share space with a Bujinkaner?

Mike Haftel
07-30-2007, 10:54 AM
My question and the reason for posting this thread: what is your experience of this issue in your own dojos?

Well, it seems that another martial art might be better for you (or cross train).

There are plenty of other martial arts out there that look at training under a different light.

But, you also need to think about what you are looking for in a martial art. Do you want self-defense, do you want fun, do you want to be a skilled fighter, do you want a hobby, and etc.

Some people could care less about how effective they are at fighting or self-defense or the like. And, other people care only about how skilled of a fighter they are.

As for myself, I look for a balance between pure combative skill and some aspect of history, tradition, and the educational process of training. For me, Aikido lacks some of these qualities.

Mostly, it is is due to the fact that the vast majority of Aikidoka I have encountered refuse (consciously or not) to look at alternative, and possibly more effective/efficient, ways to apply the principles which are inherent in the techniques they are doing. This may be just a difference of opinion, but I think it goes further than that.

Sometimes, people (including myself) have grand illsuions about what it is they are studying and how they are training. For me, it is about finding these illusions and putting them to rest.

I am happy to say that there are arts out there which I do enjoy and I'm sure you'll find something which is a good match for you.

Mike Haftel
07-30-2007, 11:36 AM
I think another issue (as already stated) is the nature of the attack. I am usually presented with weak attacks as well. What I'll do is not move at all and see where the attack is really going. What happens is uke will punch, I won't move, and the punch will wind up 5 inches to the side of my head in empty space. I usually smile and politely ask that uke strike ME instead of empty space. And sometimes the attack will end a foot or so from my body, in front of me. And, even after going over all of this, five minutes later uke will be striking at empty space again.

However, I also fall victim to this sometimes. Sometimes I'll pull my punches or attack because I know that if I attack sincerely I'll seriously injure my partner. Other times, it's out of not wanting to embarass the person I'm working with. But, you can attack with proper intent without attacking with intensity

Dewey
07-30-2007, 11:57 AM
I think another issue (as already stated) is the nature of the attack. I am usually presented with weak attacks as well. What I'll do is not move at all and see where the attack is really going. What happens is uke will punch, I won't move, and the punch will wind up 5 inches to the side of my head in empty space. I usually smile and politely ask that uke strike ME instead of empty space. And sometimes the attack will end a foot or so from my body, in front of me. And, even after going over all of this, five minutes later uke will be striking at empty space again.

However, I also fall victim to this sometimes. Sometimes I'll pull my punches or attack because I know that if I attack sincerely I'll seriously injure my partner. Other times, it's out of not wanting to embarass the person I'm working with. But, you can attack with proper intent without attacking with intensity

That's one thing that REALLY irks my instructor and he constantly scolds us about: not making sincere attacks. That is, the issue isn't necessarily the intensity/speed of the attack (that increases proportionately with rank in our dojo), but rather with the range of effective motion and trajectory of the attack.

Matthew White
08-01-2007, 08:58 PM
Well said, Amir!

I think it's easy for us to train in one style and think that every other aikido group trains that way. Since I train in an offshoot of tomiki, I'm often surprised by things I read here. I believe Mr. Fox said, "The set routine of uke and nage with single attacks, no counters, is simply not fun anymore." That was the part that amazed me. The idea of not countering if there is a hole in the technique is alien to me.

there are no "perfect" schools of anything, from aikido to particle physics to physical therapy. there's always something lacking, some way of improving. either see if you can find a constructive way to alter your current training, or look for a school that has what you're looking for.