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Hercules
08-02-2007, 04:41 PM
I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.

gdandscompserv
08-02-2007, 04:54 PM
You may want to try MMA.
Not sure how much "bum rushing" there is in that sport though.:D

Christopher Gee
08-02-2007, 05:22 PM
Sparring and stress training are not and should not just be the realm of the MMA athelete.

Even in the Koryu community there are conflicts about whether or not shiai, jiyu waza..etc are a suitable method of passing on knowledge. The inspired katas of our predissesors(sp) were generally the result of reflection on conflict. We need the conflict to reflect on, or our art becomes empty.

Stay true to your own training goals, thats the best advice I can give.

Osu

Timothy WK
08-02-2007, 05:38 PM
Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?
This isn't entirely true. Tomiki-style practices different versions pf free-style sparring. I believe Yoseikan does too. I'm also sure that individual schools here-and-there also include sparring.

Aikibu
08-02-2007, 06:11 PM
I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.

There is no need to "teach" contact sparring if you use Randori properly... If you look on some of the VID sites like You Tube you'll catch vids of proper Randori from the likes of O'Sensei, Shioda, Tomiki, Imazumi,Seagal, Matsuoka, Chiba, Nishio, Yamada Sensei's ect ect ect.

When we do Randori we don't use Gloves or Gear so caution and mindfullness prevail and if you focus on your breath and center with hard practice you can learn to "read and react" ala the "ODA Loop" properly under stress despite the lack of "ground and pound". LOL

You might also check a Systema School near you too.

William Hazen

Joseph Madden
08-02-2007, 08:19 PM
I have been studying Yoshinkai aikido for the last 6 years and sparring is mostly done on a one to one basis after regular classes have finished. On occasion when a group of seniors is getting ready for a dan test, our sensei will allow us to have the dojo free for 2 to 3 hours on a weekend to prepare for the test. You often spend a lot of time on jiyu waza. However, I do agree with William in that caution should be exercised in that you will not be wearing protection of any kind (I've got the dislocated fingers and bruises to prove it).

Roman Kremianski
08-02-2007, 11:09 PM
What kind of sparring are you looking for?

I see some recommending jiyu waza, which is not sparring, so I thought I'd ask.

ChrisHein
08-03-2007, 12:18 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGJCl6IS_xQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s28eQuw9oI

Here are two videos of what we would can Randori at our school. There isn't any striking in this, are you looking for striking , or just live resistive training? We call Jiyu waza another thing, where there is an "uke" and he is pretty much going to go down, but come at you with spontaneous attacks.

nikau
08-03-2007, 01:51 AM
look for a good sensei and learn aikido.

if your worried about sparring etc - cross-train.

find a boxer /muay thai and a judoka who regularly want to practice together.

philippe willaume
08-03-2007, 05:35 AM
Hello
So before anyone goes about the deadly, the street, training with resistance and all the other commonly tossed around buzz word.
Of course resistance training is important but one need to understand that there is a perequation to be made between risk and sparing.

I spar very regularly with longsword (IE weighted shinai with a cross guard) with only a fencing helmet. That is fine as a medieval cut only relies on tip velocity, so it does hurt but all in all, there is a very limited chance of injury if things go tits up. (I.e. some trip or jump into a blow).
When you join our fencing school, you spar the first day but for the 6 first months, you will only spar with instructor and senior students.

As it happens I believe that medieval wrestling and aikido is a beast of same nature and if I am happy to spar with a shinai, I am definitely not happy to spar using aikido/medieval wrestling.

The real danger with sparing is not when things go right, it is when they go wrong, I.e. the opponent trip, go the wrong way or do not see the technique coming.

I have been caught by surprise by a few choke when I am rolling around with my BJJ/MMA practicing nephew. No arm done other than earning, "here I got you old man "and him taking the Mickey at funny noise I make before I pass out.
At the end, BJJ is a relatively safe environment, especially since we started from and in guard.

Now if you want nikkio to be successful against a resisting opponent. let say against a strike or a gab to the upper body or if parries one of our high strike. (And we assume that we have broken is balance so that we have a window to apply the technique and that nikko is the technique that make sense here.)

In its simplest expression you need to be ultra direct:
We need to capitalise of the window of opportunity and we need to have control before he can strike or kick or grab our leg(s).
You need to control the wrist and attack the elbow at the same time. (IE striking the elbow down and moving you body to control the wrist).
Basically the idea is to keep the member isolated whilst we apply overwhelming force (in the Newtonian understanding of the term).
basically what we would do if we were rolling around...

It is all well and good in a controlled environment, like in chris video or in form work with resistance (i.e. we start with that grab or this strike (or combination) and uke tries to hit and then resist the technique and you break off if nothing has happen for 30 sec or something like that. (and then you can add changing the technique to take advantage of his resistance and so on)

But I think it is a bit too risky in proper free sparing, you can do it once and while but only with selected people.
It a question of balance between the risk of injury and the seriousness of the said injury and the likely frequency at all proficiency level when sparing.

Dewey
08-03-2007, 08:19 AM
I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.

In response:

There is no need to "teach" contact sparring if you use Randori properly... If you look on some of the VID sites like You Tube you'll catch vids of proper Randori from the likes of O'Sensei, Shioda, Tomiki, Imazumi,Seagal, Matsuoka, Chiba, Nishio, Yamada Sensei's ect ect ect.

Hello
So before anyone goes about the deadly, the street, training with resistance and all the other commonly tossed around buzz word.
Of course resistance training is important but one need to understand that there is a perequation to be made between risk and sparing.........
But I think it is a bit too risky in proper free sparing, you can do it once and while but only with selected people.
It a question of balance between the risk of injury and the seriousness of the said injury and the likely frequency at all proficiency level when sparing.

In the same vein as the above-noted responders: sometimes it's just a matter of semantics in regards to the differences between sparring and randori (i.e. what the definition of "is" is sort of thing); but can also be how that particular dojo trains.

When I first began Aikido, I was gung-ho and wanted to go full throttle from the moment I stepped onto the mat. However, as I quickly found out, safety must always be paramount in the dojo. Contrary to the unjust stereotype that Aikido has been given by some folks, it can be very dangerous if you don't know how to properly take ukemi (breakfalls). You can easily break your neck or any of your limbs if you fall on them wrong. That's why when you're a noob, they start out slow...oftentimes too slow for some folks' taste. Those who leave aikido most often leave within the first six months...sometimes because they're not doing uber-deadly techniques or full resistance training or sparring/randori yet. There's a reason: safety.

Once you learn how to properly take ukemi (which can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year depending upon how much mat time you put in as well as inclination/motivation/dedication), then the pace can pick up as well as the intensity of the attacks. Sparring/randori as well as full-resistance training comes once you're able to do it safely.

Also, if you decide to investigate Aikido further (both in person at local dojos as well as on the internet), you will quickly discover that Aikido is not homogonous or monolithic: there are several different types/styles of Aikido. Some are very martially-oriented, while others are not at all, and many somewhere in between. The rub is: they're all equally "Aikido"!

Caveat emptor.:D

darin
08-03-2007, 10:44 AM
There is no need to "teach" contact sparring if you use Randori properly... If you look on some of the VID sites like You Tube you'll catch vids of proper Randori from the likes of O'Sensei, Shioda, Tomiki, Imazumi,Seagal, Matsuoka, Chiba, Nishio, Yamada Sensei's ect ect ect.

When we do Randori we don't use Gloves or Gear so caution and mindfullness prevail and if you focus on your breath and center with hard practice you can learn to "read and react" ala the "ODA Loop" properly under stress despite the lack of "ground and pound". LOL

You might also check a Systema School near you too.

William Hazen

I have to disagree with you here William. Most of those randori's you see on youtube are rigged. Granted those masters have excellent techniques but there is no way they would be able to defend against 5 to 10 trained men more than half their age if they were attacking for real. Put gloves on these attackers and ask them to go full out and those masters would get pounded. If they did win it wouldn't be by using standard randori aikido techniques.

Contact sparring is a valuable tool. We use it to help students get over their fear of being hit and also develop coordination and timing to hit someone else.

My teacher was a direct student of Minoru Mochizuki. He had trained in many styles of karate, aikido and weapons and worked as a bouncer and bodyguard. He also had experience in many street fights. His opinion was that aikido is only effective against one or two attackers, any more and you need to use karate.

Joseph Madden
08-03-2007, 11:38 AM
Contrary to what you've heard from the Russian (who, like every Russian in our dojo, thinks they know everything) jiyu waza is a form of sparring.If you want the kind of sparring that Roman insists is REAL sparring, go pick a fight with someone on the street. Also, why is someone studying MMA even doing on this web page. Teenagers, what are you gonna do?

Roman Kremianski
08-03-2007, 12:05 PM
Yeah, what do them silly cross trainin' Aikido kids know anyway. Shayaan, listen to the adults with teh true Aikido sparring. Who cares about what you actually want to get out of martial arts?

And Russian? Since when did I change nationalities? :uch:

DonMagee
08-03-2007, 12:25 PM
Sparring and stress training are not and should not just be the realm of the MMA athelete.

Even in the Koryu community there are conflicts about whether or not shiai, jiyu waza..etc are a suitable method of passing on knowledge. The inspired katas of our predissesors(sp) were generally the result of reflection on conflict. We need the conflict to reflect on, or our art becomes empty.

Stay true to your own training goals, thats the best advice I can give.

Osu

Overcoming adversity is the greatest gift sparing can give you. I have simply found not substitute for a good butt kicking. There are things that can never be learned though kata. How to deal with natural movement. For example, how will someone react when you grab their wrist? They could do a unknown number of things, learning how to read what they are going to do, and how to transition to something that will work against their movement really can only be learned though varying levels of resistance drilling and sparing.

This is not to say aikido guys should just throw on the gloves and go 100% all out. That would not help anyone. However, taking yourself out of the comfort zone and into the 'danger zone' that resistant drills and sparring provide you can be nothing but good. It reinforced good things, and points out bad things. Look at the difference between these two exchanges.

Situation one)

Same side wrist grab, you step to the side and perform an ikkyo, then a takedown. After a few reps the instructor stops you and tells you you did not have kuzushi and your technique would of failed.

Situation two)

This time you are in a same side wrist grab, the instructor demonstrated a few ways to use this position, you are now told to take this person down. You go for the same technique from above only this time the person steps with you because he hand his balance, reverse the ikkyo stands up and breaks the grip.

Both of these taught the same lesson. That you needed to get kuzushi. The difference is that with the first example, you might do this for 10 seconds to 10 minutes before someone corrects you. With the second example, you get immediate feedback from your partner. You can now actively try to break his balance, or possibly change to another technique when he tries to escape. You have now learned that sometimes people do things you didn't expect and will quickly learn how to develop your movements to counter them.

Lets use another example, Koto geshi.

Lets say you are doing a kata off a punch. You grab do the technique and your partner informs you he could of punched you in the face because of the distance and body position you took. You now have a dilema, you can adjust your technique, or you could argue that he was no committal and you were not able to finish, and this is why he had the time to see the opening. Had he not stopped you to point out the flaw, he would not be able to hit you.

Now imagine you have a partner who is told you hit you with 50-75% power, maybe he even has mma gloves on. You could possibly be wearing headgear. He starts throwing blows of varying speeds. You move around and start to try to defend. Now when you go for the technique, you get punched right in the face. Obviously, you now know for a fact your technique has a flaw. Back to some simply kata training, then throw the gear back on and try it again. Maybe you simply work on a counter to that face punch for when you screw up that technique, then the next time you do this drill, he punches, you counter and he ends up on his butt.

Eventually though all the sparing you will realize and see some interesting things. First, you realize that you don't really think when you spar, yet after the sparing is done, you realize how much you actually did think. You reflect on the match and realize how much you worked the setups, reversals, etc. But at the time of the match, you felt like it all too fast, and you didn't even have time to think. Then you realize how much you have grown when a new person comes in. You spar with him and see he is slower then dirt, unable to do the simplest of techniques, and you have time to play and try really off the way advanced stuff. In the end you realize he was just like you were when you started. You laugh the first time he gets punched in the face and just stalls out, turns away and covers, or runs. Finally, you take great pride the first time you throw a punch and he does none of those things, but defends properly and puts you on your butt.

You start to take pride in yourself, and in the littlest of things. You stop thinking about what ifs, you stop thinking about fighting as violence. One of the greatest moments of my martial art career happened on Wednesday night. I was sparing with a senior student in my bjj club. He has about 4-5 years on me in training, plus a brown belt in judo from when he was a kid. He's dominating me totally like always, I'm working 100% just to keep myself from being submitted. I'm panicking, nervous to make any movements, gassing myself out trying to muscle. I feel like a brand new white belt going against my first blue belt. FINALLY, I realize this and stop, it seems like forever, but just for a second I breathe, I listen, and I see the openings he is leaving for me. I go for one and escape side control, I take the back and work a choke, he escapes, I sweep him, then another moment and I'm in north south working a kimura. But in that moment the reality catches me and I get excited, and that was all he needed to escape out and put me back in guard. A few seconds later I'm tapping. Then the round ends. I ask him "Have I gotten any better?" as it has been months from the last time we rolled. His answer made my whole entire night. He said "This was the first time I actually had to work to beat you. I actually had to escape and try."

It wasn't winning a major competition, it wasn't beating some huge biker in a bar. It was knowing that I gave 100% everything I had, discovered a slight moment of clarity while under great stress, and made a person who has always dominated me work to beat me, even if it was just for a couple of seconds. There has been nothing I have done in the martial arts from the time I was 12 till now at age 27 that has made me feel as spiritual as that moment. There were no doubts in my mind of what I had achieved. A few minutes later, I'm rolling white a white belt, and I watch him make the exact same discovery.

Joseph Madden
08-03-2007, 12:48 PM
You will never learn to fight properly in a dojo...EVER! You want to fight someone. Go pick a fight. That's how the masters did it. This idea of cross training is frankly horse@#$%. This idea that if you know karate you can take on more than 2 opponents is horse#$%^ too. If you're in a situation where you may have to take on more than two opponents my advice would be to leave. Otherwise you'll be dead or badly injured. I don't care how much training you've had.Ever seen one trained bouncer take on 5 men. He ended up dead.
My apologies to Roman. Could have sworn you said you had a Russian
background.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
08-03-2007, 12:59 PM
You will never learn to fight properly in a dojo...EVER! You want to fight someone. Go pick a fight. That's how the masters did it.

"You'll never learn to fight properly in boot camp. Just go on out there. Here's your gun. You'll figure it out."

Aikibu
08-03-2007, 02:19 PM
I have to disagree with you here William. Most of those randori's you see on youtube are rigged. Granted those masters have excellent techniques but there is no way they would be able to defend against 5 to 10 trained men more than half their age if they were attacking for real. Put gloves on these attackers and ask them to go full out and those masters would get pounded. If they did win it wouldn't be by using standard randori aikido techniques.

Contact sparring is a valuable tool. We use it to help students get over their fear of being hit and also develop coordination and timing to hit someone else.

My teacher was a direct student of Minoru Mochizuki. He had trained in many styles of karate, aikido and weapons and worked as a bouncer and bodyguard. He also had experience in many street fights. His opinion was that aikido is only effective against one or two attackers, any more and you need to use karate.

My teacher was an Uchi-Deshi of Shoji Nishio Shihan and I was priviledged to learn from Nishio Shihan directly over the last 20 years of his life So I would humbly Submit that our form of Aikido is by far one of the most Martial. I say this so that you understand why I said what I said.... Not to compare your excellent style with ours.

I DID NOT SAY watch the bad Aikido Randori Videos on You Tube Just the good ones. I assumed since you come across as an experianced Aikidoka you know the difference.

My Background in the Martial Arts spans 30 years and several arts.. Karate, Judo, Ju-Jitsu and MMA and I myself am looking for a good Systema Class to enhance my understanding of our Aikido which Shoji Nishio stated MUST measure itself against other arts in order to be Budo aka A Real Martial Art.

All of our Aikido is based on Striking (Atemi). Nuff Said.

I agree that it is a good idea to have some fundimental striking skills and we specifically teach students these basics ( Our Aikido has "Striking Kata and Randori") Beginners make allot of mistakes and they get hit. If I see a fear of being hit being exhibited then it's my job to specifically gear that students practice to understand and control that fear under duress. this may take time and is not an overnight process.

I respecfully disagree with your suggestion that Aikido doesn't work with mulitple attackers. If practiced properly it is possible to handle a few folks (aka More than two) having been in a few "street fights" it has served me well I don't proclaim myself to be anything other than a survivor and I give the Martial Awareness I learned through the years all the credit along with a large amount of good luck

If your Aikido is done with the rythem and flow of Atemi (Striking) then why do you have to digress to Karate??? I mean no disrepect by asking this question but I can't find where Mochizuki Shihan whom I hold in high regard actually said this.

My original suggestion to the young man still stands. Good Aikido EMPHASIZES Atemi so find a practice whose Sensei understands this.

Also find out what Atemi really means... It is has to do with much more than just socking someone in the face. HA HA HA HA

Now I will leave the rest of you to argue about "Street Fighting and other BS"

Yaaaaawn. Been There Done That.

William Hazen

DonMagee
08-03-2007, 02:22 PM
I DID NOT SAY watch the bad Aikido Randori Videos on You Tube Just the good ones. I assumed since you come across as an experianced Aikidoka you know the difference.

William Hazen

Can you link to some good randori videos on youtube?

Roman Kremianski
08-03-2007, 02:22 PM
Joseph, thanks for atleast being honest and revealing your lack of training.

Aikibu
08-03-2007, 02:23 PM
"You'll never learn to fight properly in boot camp. Just go on out there. Here's your gun. You'll figure it out."

Good Post

This is the best general rebuttal I have ever seen on this subject.

Boot Camp does not teach you to fight like an expert But it is a baseline from where all good combat soldiers come from.

William Hazen

Aikibu
08-03-2007, 02:26 PM
Can you link to some good randori videos on youtube?

Hi Don. If I had the time I would love to do that for you. Perhaps Jun could put up a critics corner here on AikiWeb that way we could catalog and rate those vidoes on You-Tube. I have seen a few mostly clips of Shioda and Aiki-Expo stuff.

William Hazen

I will try to get back to you.:)

akiy
08-03-2007, 02:32 PM
Perhaps Jun could put up a critics corner here on AikiWeb that way we could catalog and rate those vidoes on You-Tube.
Like the "Aikido Video Clips Links Category"?

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11980

-- Jun

Aikibu
08-03-2007, 02:49 PM
Like the "Aikido Video Clips Links Category"?

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11980

-- Jun

You have snatched the pebble from my hand.:)

LOL!

William Hazen

I am not slow... just thoughtful. :D

Demetrio Cereijo
08-03-2007, 03:07 PM
Like Brian Dewey said before, sometimes it's just a matter of semantics ...

Why don't start to "construct truly productive spontaneous training environments" like the ones described in D. Valadez On the Interdependent Nature of Tactics and Strategies (http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/thegrindstone/2005_11.html) article.

And, as we can see from the video clips included with Valadez article, no one ended seriously injured in these truly productive spontaneous training environments

Aikido is more than wristlocks....

Joseph Madden
08-03-2007, 07:05 PM
The average 8 year old can be taught how to use an AK47 in about 2 minutes. The average intelligent person can learn how to master a gun on their own with no training in about 10 minutes. Your boot camp analogy doesn't wash. That's why some of the greatest "trained" forces on the planet are getting their A#$es handed to them on a platter. And as far as training goes Roman, thank you for being honest. And proving to me that you are a child.

Roman Kremianski
08-03-2007, 07:31 PM
Sorry, just no room for ye old raving geezers. :D

Aikibu
08-03-2007, 07:32 PM
The average 8 year old can be taught how to use an AK47 in about 2 minutes. The average intelligent person can learn how to master a gun on their own with no training in about 10 minutes. Your boot camp analogy doesn't wash. That's why some of the greatest "trained" forces on the planet are getting their A#$es handed to them on a platter. And as far as training goes Roman, thank you for being honest. And proving to me that you are a child.

Look Joe With all due respect.... The greatest trained forces on the planet have yet to lose a "fight on the street" and the loss ratio is right around 150 "untrained AK 47 Shooters" for every Soldier.All if this has to do with thier training...In Fact No trained soldier has ever lost a single "stand up fight" engagement be it hand to hand or small arms since this BS began... War... like life is more than a stand up fight with a clear winner and loser and everytime you post you just display your ignorance of this simple point.

"If you want to run with the big dogs You had better learn to pee on the big trees or else you better get back up on the porch with the other puppies."

This means you Joe. :)

With all due apologies and copious expletives removed... 1st Sgt George C Conrad... Ranger... Warrior... Mentor... and The best Damn Irish Brawler I ever
saw. :)

William Hazen

Hint: Col Harry Summers USA: "You never beat us on the battlefield." Lt Col Phu NVA "This is true... But it is also irrelevent" From the book "On Strategy" By Col Harry Summers.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
08-03-2007, 07:41 PM
The average 8 year old can be taught how to use an AK47 in about 2 minutes. The average intelligent person can learn how to master a gun on their own with no training in about 10 minutes. Your boot camp analogy doesn't wash.

Seriously, such a waste of time. Man, when will we learn.

My rebuttal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQQo0gfBHq0

It's not relevant at all, but your posts make so little sense that I think we're about even for total argumentative impact. And mine's cuter.

Roman Kremianski
08-03-2007, 08:32 PM
Leave him alone guys, he's the next Fidel Castro.

"Training? We don't need no training!!"

ChrisHein
08-03-2007, 11:33 PM
The average intelligent person can learn how to MASTER a gun on their own with no training in about 10 minutes.

I don't think you know anything about firearms.

darin
08-04-2007, 02:01 AM
I DID NOT SAY watch the bad Aikido Randori Videos on You Tube Just the good ones. I assumed since you come across as an experianced Aikidoka you know the difference.

My Background in the Martial Arts spans 30 years and several arts.. Karate, Judo, Ju-Jitsu and MMA and I myself am looking for a good Systema Class to enhance my understanding of our Aikido which Shoji Nishio stated MUST measure itself against other arts in order to be Budo aka A Real Martial Art.

All of our Aikido is based on Striking (Atemi). Nuff Said.

I respecfully disagree with your suggestion that Aikido doesn't work with mulitple attackers. If practiced properly it is possible to handle a few folks (aka More than two) having been in a few "street fights" it has served me well I don't proclaim myself to be anything other than a survivor and I give the Martial Awareness I learned through the years all the credit along with a large amount of good luck

If your Aikido is done with the rythem and flow of Atemi (Striking) then why do you have to digress to Karate??? I mean no disrepect by asking this question but I can't find where Mochizuki Shihan whom I hold in high regard actually said this.

My original suggestion to the young man still stands. Good Aikido EMPHASIZES Atemi so find a practice whose Sensei understands this.

Also find out what Atemi really means... It is has to do with much more than just socking someone in the face. HA HA HA HA

Now I will leave the rest of you to argue about "Street Fighting and other BS"

Yaaaaawn. Been There Done That.

William Hazen

Some nice comments there William. I checked out Nishio Sensei on youtube and yes he's emphasis is on effective aikido! Very nice techniques.

It was actually my teacher Unno Sensei who said that karate is more pratical against multiple opponents than aikido. His reason behind this was that aikido is essentially a grappling art. Traditional Yoseikan aikido emphasizes judo/jujitsu techniques over traditional aikido ones in randori therefore using sutemi, chokes and ground fighting will obviously limit your range in combat. Unno Sensei generally preferred karate when he fought. He told me he rarely had to use aikido because he'd just knock his opponent's out.

Minoru Mochizuki was basically a MMA pioneer however he was biased to judo as seen in his aikido. I don't really know what his theory on multiple opponents was. I have his book but haven't got around to reading the section on ninindori.

My reason for having a go at youtube is that those videos are basically rigged. Most of them are instructional or designed to show off a style.

Anyway I hoipe this doesn't turn out to be an argument. You have more experience than me and I see what your were trying to say. I agree with your point on atemi.

donplummer
08-04-2007, 03:56 AM
Please feel free to check out the "style" of Aikido called Nihon Goshen Aikido, we "spar" almost every class. I statrted out in a Hombu "style" and have transitioned to NGA very smoothly. I will return to Hombu once I have a solid base(my black belt, I hope) to start over. 9 plus years exprience here between the two "styles", and the stuff I do now, NGA, has been most helpful in forcing me to think on my feet. http://aikidoinc.comif you are interested, our headquarters happens to be in NJ.
Have a peek.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
08-04-2007, 11:06 AM
Wow. I'd never really watched video of Nishio-sensei before, which was silly given how many good things I'd heard about him. I was very impressed. He had a sort of energetic, smooth movement that strikes me (accidental pun) as really unique. And yes, his use of atemi was noticeable. Nice to see someone actually implementing the "Aikido is (insert large number here)% aikido" idea.

Aikibu
08-04-2007, 12:18 PM
Some nice comments there William. I checked out Nishio Sensei on youtube and yes he's emphasis is on effective aikido! Very nice techniques.

It was actually my teacher Unno Sensei who said that karate is more pratical against multiple opponents than aikido. His reason behind this was that aikido is essentially a grappling art. Traditional Yoseikan aikido emphasizes judo/jujitsu techniques over traditional aikido ones in randori therefore using sutemi, chokes and ground fighting will obviously limit your range in combat. Unno Sensei generally preferred karate when he fought. He told me he rarely had to use aikido because he'd just knock his opponent's out.

Minoru Mochizuki was basically a MMA pioneer however he was biased to judo as seen in his aikido. I don't really know what his theory on multiple opponents was. I have his book but haven't got around to reading the section on ninindori.

My reason for having a go at youtube is that those videos are basically rigged. Most of them are instructional or designed to show off a style.

Anyway I hoipe this doesn't turn out to be an argument. You have more experience than me and I see what your were trying to say. I agree with your point on atemi.

No Worries Darin. I am glad you and Paul have discovered Nishio Shihan. :) I understand why Unno Sensei would want to use Karate in a dangerous encounter. Everyone has thier "Money Punch" aka "Knockout Blow"... A Favorite Technique they can execute without thought from muscle memory under duress. It's still Aikido as knocking someone out prevents them from further harm. :)

Nishio Shihan understood the practical nature of Budo very well... Which is why all our techniques start with a "Knockout Blow" so to speak. He used to say "In Aikido The fight is over at the moment of first contact." This "Knockout blow" is exactly what he meant. Nage should "accept (enter/Irimi) and influance (Atemi)" Uke to achieve harmony with him/Her "right off the bat" to end the conflict before it escalates into a Technique. :)

Nishio Sensei understood with O'Sensei blessing that Aikido must both survive and evolve as a Martial Art. His Aikido when applied as a Martial Art is very effective When combined with the Spirit of Aikido it becomes a tool in which a person can change from a Fighter to a Person of Peace. :)

I hope that last line makes sense. It is sometimes hard to articulate my feelings correctly. :)

William Hazen

ChrisHein
08-04-2007, 12:29 PM
I've never watched Nishio sensei much. He really is smooth. His ideas about Aikido seem sound, and practical. Does he ever train beyond theory though?

jennifer paige smith
08-04-2007, 12:34 PM
No Worries Darin. I am glad you and Paul have discovered Nishio Shihan. :) I understand why Unno Sensei would want to use Karate in a dangerous encounter. Everyone has thier "Money Punch" aka "Knockout Blow"... A Favorite Technique they can execute without thought from muscle memory under duress. It's still Aikido as knocking someone out prevents them from further harm. :)

Nishio Shihan understood the practical nature of Budo very well... Which is why all our techniques start with a "Knockout Blow" so to speak. He used to say "In Aikido The fight is over at the moment of first contact." This "Knockout blow" is exactly what he meant. Nage should "accept (enter/Irimi) and influance (Atemi)" Uke to achieve harmony with him/Her "right off the bat" to end the conflict before it escalates into a Technique. :)

Nishio Sensei understood with O'Sensei blessing that Aikido must both survive and evolve as a Martial Art. His Aikido when applied as a Martial Art is very effective When combined with the Spirit of Aikido it becomes a tool in which a person can change from a Fighter to a Person of Peace. :)

I hope that last line makes sense. It is sometimes hard to articulate my feelings correctly. :)

William Hazen

Especially after munching a handful of those funny mushrooms they were handing out at the last rainbow gathering.

No-No, just kidding.

You articulated a sometimes difficult equation to map, which for me could boil down to "Peace is power used pacificly". Discover true power through excellent training and continue on your way.

Aikibu
08-04-2007, 01:03 PM
I've never watched Nishio sensei much. He really is smooth. His ideas about Aikido seem sound, and practical. Does he ever train beyond theory though?

What kind of question is that? With all due respect Chris it's a silly question.

Show up at the next seminar with Yoshida Shihan and find out for yourself.:)

We've converted quite a few Theorists over the years. LOL

William Hazen

Aikibu
08-04-2007, 01:05 PM
Especially after munching a handful of those funny mushrooms they were handing out at the last rainbow gathering.

No-No, just kidding.

You articulated a sometimes difficult equation to map, which for me could boil down to "Peace is power used pacificly". Discover true power through excellent training and continue on your way.

I hope to see you at the next rainbow gathering. :)

William Hazen

jennifer paige smith
08-04-2007, 01:47 PM
I hope to see you at the next rainbow gathering. :)

William Hazen

Or perhaps at the next seminar your dojo hosts (hint-hint). I'll provide the rainbows.

I hope to train with many of you in the years to come.

Back to my cave,now.

Aikibu
08-04-2007, 02:24 PM
Or perhaps at the next seminar your dojo hosts (hint-hint). I'll provide the rainbows.

I hope to train with many of you in the years to come.

Back to my cave,now.

What else do you think I meant by "Rainbow Gathering" :D LOL I mean this is Malibu.:cool:

Surfs fun right now and I am outta here!

William Hazen

ChrisHein
08-04-2007, 08:33 PM
What kind of question is that? With all due respect Chris it's a silly question.

Show up at the next seminar with Yoshida Shihan and find out for yourself.:)

We've converted quite a few Theorists over the years. LOL

William Hazen

Funny thing I find about people who just do theory is that they don't know that they just do theory. I have not seen any video of him doing actual application, only theory.

I think your answer is more silly then my question. Most Aikidoka only do theory. Actually, from what I know save tomiki guys and Mits Yamashita, all teachers just do theory.

CNYMike
08-04-2007, 09:03 PM
..... Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Mostly because that diverges from the founder's vision of Aikido. He didn't like the idea of a scenario where one person can "win" and another can "lose." Since sparring can lead to contests with winners and losers, no sparring.

You have to remember a martial art is not just a collection of techniques but a snapshot of whatever its founder was thinking. It doesn't matter which art you're doing; that's true of all of them. You're always getting the techniques and the founder's thinking, because if you become a teacher in that art, that's what you have to communicate.

Now, if you really want to spar more than anything, either (A) don't do Aikido and find another system more to your liking; or (B) train in both Aikido and another system at the same time. If you have the time, can afford it, and your instructors don't have a problem with it, do it if you want to.

Don't take Aikido and whine about not sparring; you won't be doing yourself any favors and you'll just be a pain to everyone who hears it.

Good luck!

Roman Kremianski
08-04-2007, 09:03 PM
Show up at the next seminar with Yoshida Shihan and find out for yourself.

Are there any place online to see videos of previous Yoshida Shihan seminars?

Aikibu
08-04-2007, 11:00 PM
Funny thing I find about people who just do theory is that they don't know that they just do theory. I have not seen any video of him doing actual application, only theory.

I think your answer is more silly then my question. Most Aikidoka only do theory. Actually, from what I know save tomiki guys and Mits Yamashita, all teachers just do theory.

Must be tough to be a big fish in a small pond...

Like I said before... I welcome the opportunity for you to show up at the next seminar with an open mind.Nishio Shihan only had 50+years of Aikido Judo Karate Iaido and Jodo Practice and was awarded Japan's highest civilian honor for his developments in Aikido before he passed away...

Jury's still out on your legacy...Practice Hard. :)

William Hazen

Aikibu
08-04-2007, 11:23 PM
Are there any place online to see videos of previous Yoshida Shihan seminars?

Not that I know of. Yoshida Shihan is really busy teaching in Europe Russia and The United States and I am sure he's being filmed all over the place now. :)

I think the Aikido Journal may have a few clips of him at a demonstration but as a rule Senior Yudansha of Nishio Shihan have not been into being filmed all that much. Shoji Nishio himself was very reluctant to expose too much because he was always refining his technique to match advancements in other Martial Arts and he felt the viewer would not appreciate or mistake what he/she saw as "The way we do it." Stan (Pranin) Finally convinced him to write something down before he passed, and the result was "Yurusu Budo" ("The Budo of Acceptance." Our Aikido)

Koji Yoshida lived with Nishio Shihan fulltime for over ten years as Uchi Deshi and has practiced andtaught Aikido for over 35 years. We were very lucky that Nishio Shihan appointed him US Represenative before he passed. He will eventually get more exposure here in the US we hope... As our Aikido as an organization is very small, and consists of a half a dozen dojos. In Europe and Japan our Aikido is huge but here we got a late state (Nishio Shihan first visited the States in the early 80's).

Sorry if this is TMI but I will provide stuff from Yoshida Shihan as it becomes availible to me. :)

William Hazen

ChrisHein
08-05-2007, 12:10 AM
Must be tough to be a big fish in a small pond...

Like I said before... I welcome the opportunity for you to show up at the next seminar with an open mind.Nishio Shihan only had 50+years of Aikido Judo Karate Iaido and Jodo Practice and was awarded Japan's highest civilian honor for his developments in Aikido before he passed away...

Jury's still out on your legacy...Practice Hard. :)

William Hazen

William, do you always take everything as an attack?

I'm not saying he's bad, or that I'm good. I'm not saying if he doesn't do application he sucks. I'm not saying that he doesn't know anything. I'm just asking if he does application. If so, is there a video I can watch, because that would be cool.

I'd love to train at his seminar. When is the next one, how much does it cost...

I'm not asking you to prove anything, but a little more info would be cool.

G DiPierro
08-05-2007, 12:12 AM
Mostly because that diverges from the founder's vision of Aikido. He didn't like the idea of a scenario where one person can "win" and another can "lose." Since sparring can lead to contests with winners and losers, no sparring.I've seen this rationale before and it makes no sense. How can you have any kind of two-person martial arts training without one person eventually winning and the other person losing? Certainly you have this in every aikido technique: the nage wins and the uke loses.

The reasons why there are no sparring in most styles of aikido originally were historical, but recently they have become mainly political. If you introduced realistic resistance training at this point in any of the major organizations that do not have it, a lot of people in powerful places would be shocked to find out how badly their techniques work against resistance (or at least their students who have been deifying them all these years would be).

Roman Kremianski
08-05-2007, 12:43 AM
Not that I know of. Yoshida Shihan is really busy teaching in Europe Russia and The United States and I am sure he's being filmed all over the place now.

I would be interested in training with him, but I can't financially and geographically. I think in the day of YouTube and Aikido forums asking for a video of one's teaching isn't such a big deal, so I don't see why it has to be a rule not to.

Aikibu
08-05-2007, 01:20 AM
William, do you always take everything as an attack?

I'm not saying he's bad, or that I'm good. I'm not saying if he doesn't do application he sucks. I'm not saying that he doesn't know anything. I'm just asking if he does application. If so, is there a video I can watch, because that would be cool.

I'd love to train at his seminar. When is the next one, how much does it cost...

I'm not asking you to prove anything, but a little more info would be cool.

No Worries Chris...Just a bit of verbal Irimi... Perhaps you want to revisit your "Theory versus Application" statement I don't think it comes across too well but perhaps it's just a question of semantics?

I'll pass on Seminar Info as soon as I get it. :)

William Hazen

CitoMaramba
08-05-2007, 03:13 AM
Are there any place online to see videos of previous Yoshida Shihan seminars?

I posted this URL before in the "Aikido is weapons technique" thread but it seems it was ignored. I get the feeling I'm on the "ignore" list of a lot of people. :D

Clips of Yoshida Sensei's seminar in Kiev (http://nishiobudo.org.ua/index.php?page=31&lan=en)

Happy Viewing!

Cito

darin
08-05-2007, 07:22 AM
No Worries Darin. I am glad you and Paul have discovered Nishio Shihan. :) I understand why Unno Sensei would want to use Karate in a dangerous encounter. Everyone has thier "Money Punch" aka "Knockout Blow"... A Favorite Technique they can execute without thought from muscle memory under duress. It's still Aikido as knocking someone out prevents them from further harm. :)

Nishio Shihan understood the practical nature of Budo very well... Which is why all our techniques start with a "Knockout Blow" so to speak. He used to say "In Aikido The fight is over at the moment of first contact." This "Knockout blow" is exactly what he meant. Nage should "accept (enter/Irimi) and influance (Atemi)" Uke to achieve harmony with him/Her "right off the bat" to end the conflict before it escalates into a Technique. :)

Nishio Sensei understood with O'Sensei blessing that Aikido must both survive and evolve as a Martial Art. His Aikido when applied as a Martial Art is very effective When combined with the Spirit of Aikido it becomes a tool in which a person can change from a Fighter to a Person of Peace. :)

I hope that last line makes sense. It is sometimes hard to articulate my feelings correctly. :)

William Hazen

Its interesting to see different strategies. I understand and agree with Nishio sensei's application of atemi in aikido. However I was never really taught that method. I really don't think there are many styles out there that do aikido like that. I mean a lot will say you can do atemi here and there but very few actually train for it to be second nature.

Unno Sensei despite teaching atemi always viewed it as a separate entity. His idea was that you use atemi if your timing isn't good enough, and that aikido doesn't need atemi if done properly. However he wasn't against using atemi in randori or while practicing techniques.

Hiro Mochizuki (Yoseikan Budo) has adopted a kick boxing/mui thai style of atemi using the wave principle to generate power. I remember seeing him in a video say that its very difficult and not practical to be passive and just hope to receive an attack and then apply a technique. His strategy is to duck and weave like a boxer to setup your opponent to commit to a punch or kick therefore giving you the opportunity to apply atemi and then do a throw or lock. I find this very interesting. (This is really Phil Farmer's territory as I have only a limited experience in Hiro Mochizuki's Yoseikan Budo. Hopefully he will come online and share their style's views on sparring).

jennifer paige smith
08-05-2007, 10:15 AM
I posted this URL before in the "Aikido is weapons technique" thread but it seems it was ignored. I get the feeling I'm on the "ignore" list of a lot of people. :D

Clips of Yoshida Sensei's seminar in Kiev (http://nishiobudo.org.ua/index.php?page=31&lan=en)

Happy Viewing!

Cito

Yeah, you're definitely in mine::grr:

ha-ha-ha.
I love your posts. you offer an interesting angle and are informed on many subjects. At times I have no idea what you might say next. That is refreshing.

CNYMike
08-05-2007, 11:21 AM
I've seen this rationale before and it makes no sense. How can you have any kind of two-person martial arts training without one person eventually winning and the other person losing? Certainly you have this in every aikido technique: the nage wins and the uke loses.


Even so, it's one thing to practice a prearranged technique, or know (in the case of randori) that you will always be uke or nage. But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win." Even if no one is actually keeping score, you can still try to win. I learned this the hard way a coupel of years ago when we started sparring in Kali class. My instructor had us starting low intensity with just punches (the idea being over time to add more techniques and ramp up the intensity). He also had us all doing it at once so we wouldn't have the time watching another match to get nervous. I thought I had the idea down, but he shouted at me from across the room: "You're trying to win sir!"

"I am?" I called back, surprised.

"Yes, you are."

Sparring in class isn't supposed to be about winning or losing, just examining techniques in a freestyle format. But you have to learn to get your ego out of it. Prearranged training where you are always uke or nage short circuits that, too.


The reasons why there are no sparring in most styles of aikido originally were historical, but recently they have become mainly political. If you introduced realistic resistance training at this point in any of the major organizations that do not have it, a lot of people in powerful places would be shocked to find out how badly their techniques work against resistance .....

It seems to me the question then becomes to study how Aikido's principles would work against resistance. Is the person just pushing back against you? Then you have to blend with that energy. Is he trying to counter you? Then counter his counter. Is he just locking down and not moving? Then hit him the face; if he's going to give you a second, use it. :p

I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar. You don't care about that, do whatever you want. But I do.

Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.

ChrisHein
08-05-2007, 12:37 PM
But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win." Even if no one is actually keeping score,

It seems to me the question then becomes to study how Aikido's principles would work against resistance. Is the person just pushing back against you? Then you have to blend with that energy. Is he trying to counter you? Then counter his counter. Is he just locking down and not moving? Then hit him the face; if he's going to give you a second, use it. :p
................................................................................ ..................
I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar. You don't care about that, do whatever you want. But I do.

Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.

NIce post there Michael.

I know what you mean about the winning. I'm pretty lucky in that most of my students try as hard as they can, but don't seem to be too attached to "winning". The problem with not trying to "win" is that you don't go as hard, and resist will all your ability, if you're not trying to win.

The problem with trying to win is, your ego gets attached to the "win" and not the training. You will do things like pervert the rules of the practice to win. Or you may become angry, and disconnected due to your desire to win.

Either way it's bad training. So what to do? You have to breed a special quality in yourself. You have to summon up your fighting spirit, and try as hard as you can. At the same time, you can't allow yourself to derive much pleasure from the victory, only the joy of training.

If it's the joy of training you're attached to, then win or lose you will train hard and honestly.

About not sparing because O' sensei said so. I don't think he ever said you shouldn't spar. I've heard lots of stories about him closing up the dojo to outsiders so he could do sumo. I've read plenty about his nature to compete, and to put himself through arduous training. I think he would really like sparing.

As to what your teachers think. Yes, I've known many teachers that are upset by "sparring". I've been yelled at, and told many times that what I'm doing these days isn't Aikido. One of my teachers told me many times that "wrestling around isn't Aikido".

But that's fine. It's a free world (even if some maniacal dictators say it's not). They can feel how they like about Aikido, and they're not wrong. Neither am I. They do Aikido their way, and I mine. Hopefully we can talk about it, and learn something from each other.

Hey Cito,
You're not on my ignor list. I usually like your posts.

deepsoup
08-05-2007, 12:58 PM
Now, if you really want to spar more than anything, either (A) don't do Aikido and find another system more to your liking; or (B) train in both Aikido and another system at the same time.

Or (C) find a dojo such as the one where I practice, and choose your training sessions accordingly. (You'd like our Monday night sessions a lot.)

Sean
x

G DiPierro
08-05-2007, 02:59 PM
But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win."I think you mean to say that when you have tried freestyle training in the past, your ego has kicked in. When I do freestyle training, this is not a problem. I've also trained in other arts that have a dedicated non-competative freestyle resistance training component, and this is not a problem there either.
I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar.Well I never met or corresponded with Morihei Ueshiba, so he never told me anything. None of his direct students that I have trained with (over half a dozen) have told me not to spar either. M. Ueshiba was known to have a open policy where students could challenge him in a freestyle situation, even off the mat, but I do not know of many teachers in the aikikai today that would accept any kind of freestyle challenge. Perhaps the lone exception that I have encountered would be N. Tamura.

Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.It is interesting how often people want to define what aikido is and to determine who should and who should not practice it. Who really has that right? You could say the current doshu, but then you are talking about doing the doshu's aikido and not that of Morihei Ueshiba. And since the founder is dead, I don't think he is in any position to comment on what is and is not aikido. However, when he was alive he once remarked that what his son Kisshomaru was teaching was not his aikido, and his son has probably been the strongest influence on the development of post-war aikido, particuarly in the US aikikai-affiliated organizations. So perhaps none of what people in the US are doing today can be said to be the aikido of the founder. Either way, I really don't think anyone on an internet forum is qualified to say what aikido is, who should practice it, or how they should practice.

CNYMike
08-05-2007, 05:32 PM
I think you mean to say that when you have tried freestyle training in the past, your ego has kicked in. When I do freestyle training, this is not a problem. I've also trained in other arts that have a dedicated non-competative freestyle resistance training component, and this is not a problem there either.

First of all, what I mean to say is what I said. Don't tell me what I think. I will tell you. I don't like it when internet posters try to tell me what I'm really thinking. Please refrain from doing it.

In the second place, I didn't know I was trying to "win" until someone else pointed out to it. So the lesson I took from that experience is one can think his or ego and/or pride isn't kicking in when, in fact it is.


Well I never met or corresponded with Morihei Ueshiba, so he never told me anything .....

Ditto. So what? We have the art that's been passed down to us as well as the direct students still living and a ton of books about him and Aikido, so it's not like there are plenty of resources out there.


None of his direct students that I have trained with (over half a dozen) have told me not to spar either. M. Ueshiba was known to have a open policy where students could challenge him in a freestyle situation, even off the mat, but I do not know of many teachers in the aikikai today that would accept any kind of freestyle challenge. Perhaps the lone exception that I have encountered would be N. Tamura.


See above. :)


It is interesting how often people want to define what aikido is and to determine who should and who should not practice it .....

Well, I'm not interested in saying who should or shouldn't practice it. As for defining what it is or isn't, I think that's where one has to be careful.

I'll agree, O Sensei left a lot of wiggle room in passing down Aikido. Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, and all his other students from the '30s were different from him and each other. That's true of the latter generation of his students and their students. There may be as many "styles" of Aikido as there are people practicing it, but one' style won't be recognized unless one's been wearing a hakima for a long time.

But I still think one has to be careful not to cross the line -- however amorphous it is -- between what Aikido is and what it isn't. Because part of what's going on in martial arts training is an oral tradition whereby the art is passed from generation to generation; that more than anything keeps it alive. That's why I keep saying that if someone wants to teach generic grappling, do it whichever way one wants, but if one wants to teach Aikido, specifically, there are more issues one has to deal with. If one chooses to ignore those things, that's that person's business, but it still has to be dealt with, like it or not.

G DiPierro
08-05-2007, 06:04 PM
First of all, what I mean to say is what I said. Don't tell me what I think. I will tell you. I don't like it when internet posters try to tell me what I'm really thinking. Please refrain from doing it.I never said anything about what you were thinking. What you wrote, exactly, was But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win."Just from reading that sentence, it's unclear who is signified by the pronoun "you." Although you were replying directly to my post, you could not have been referring to me, since you have never seen me do freestyle. I also don't think you were referring generally to the readers of your post as that would mean that you would have had to observe many aikido students of various styles doing freestyle resistance training. Judging by the context of this statement -- the fact that you then went on to describe how one time when you tried resistance training you had problems with trying to win -- it seems as if you were talking about yourself, so I was suggesting that your choice of pronoun in that statement was a bit unclear and did not convey your true meaning. Since you disagree with this, why don't you explain exactly to whom (other than yourself) you were referring in that statement and what evidence has led you to this conclusion.
I'll agree, O Sensei left a lot of wiggle room in passing down Aikido. Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, and all his other students from the '30s were different from him and each other. That's true of the latter generation of his students and their students. There may be as many "styles" of Aikido as there are people practicing it, but one' style won't be recognized unless one's been wearing a hakima for a long time.You mentioned K. Tomiki, who was one of Ueshiba's top pre-war students and the first recipient of the 8-dan rank from M. Ueshiba in 1940. He taught sparring as part of aikido. Yet you have said more than once that people who want to do sparring should not do aikido and should "leave aikido the way it is." I don't know how long you have been "wearing a hakama," as you put it, but I doubt that you are better qualified than Mr. Tomiki to determine whether sparring should be a part of aikido or whether people who want to do this kind of training have a place in aikido.

Roman Kremianski
08-05-2007, 06:47 PM
What kind of question is that? With all due respect Chris it's a silly question.

Show up at the next seminar with Yoshida Shihan and find out for yourself.

We've converted quite a few Theorists over the years. LOL

I don't really think that's what Chris meant with his question. Just watched the videos, and it seemed like standard Aikido. Maybe there's something I'm missing out?

I thought I had the idea down, but he shouted at me from across the room: "You're trying to win sir!"

To me, someone always had to win or lose. I just found I was not being fair to my partner if I didn't try to win.

I've learned to avoid jabs in Muay Thai because my partner aimed to hit me for real with every jab. I don't see how you and your partner can improve and step up your skills if neither pushes the pressure. My opinion.

Roman Kremianski
08-05-2007, 07:03 PM
And why does everything always have to be about ego? What happened to just the joy of training? Since when is sparring with your friend about buffing your ego and knocking him out? I just always hear this stuff from people trying to discourage sparring/freestyle. Everyone has an ego. Your human brain will naturally feel good when you "win" and a bit depressed when you "lose". There's a difference between feeling an ego boost when you see your skills progress, and just going apeshit and trying to smack your partner around.

Sorry, didn't edit previous post in time.

Ian Cottrill
08-06-2007, 02:21 AM
I think most Dojo's do allow freestyle sparring but not to low belts. It is like all sport, you need to learn the basics properly before you can learn more advanced techniques. With Aikido when you reach Black Belt you learn to fall your opponent slowly & gently even if they attack with much force, however a lower Belt cannot. It is obvious to see that you would go through quite a lot of Uke's if you started freestyle too soon.

Regards Ian.:)

Tony Wagstaffe
08-06-2007, 04:12 AM
I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.

Without reading all the replies here.... there is only one style that actually allows and encourages full sparring.... that is Shodokan Aikido. It is the nearest you will get in aikido. :D ;)
Tony

CNYMike
08-06-2007, 12:28 PM
..... what evidence has led you to this conclusion.

Well, with regrad to the sparring incident, when Guro Andrew Astle explained what he calls practice sparring -- a concept he borowed from Thai Boxers -- he said the goal was to get our egos and pride and fear out of the way so we could eventually use sparring as a learning tool. And he added that right off, "None of you will be able to do it!" So when he said "You're trying to win," he proved he was right.

No, you weren't there, and no, you probably don't know my Kali instructor, so if you are going to quibble over such things .... don't bother.


You mentioned K. Tomiki, who was one of Ueshiba's top pre-war students and the first recipient of the 8-dan rank from M. Ueshiba in 1940 ..... I doubt that you are better qualified than Mr. Tomiki to determine whether sparring should be a part of aikido ....

Well, how many of his peers did the same thing Tomiki did? How many did not? That would be a good place to start. What did O Sensei think of what he did? Another clue.

Additionally, you may recall I referred to the specific lineage -- O Sensei -->A-->B-->C--->you. I think a student should listen to what those people have to say. If they say "No sparring!" no sparring. If they have another policy, follow that. If a student is not going to listen to those people, then what is he or she doing there in the first place?

CNYMike
08-06-2007, 12:32 PM
And why does everything always have to be about ego? What happened to just the joy of training? Since when is sparring with your friend about buffing your ego and knocking him out? I just always hear this stuff from people trying to discourage sparring/freestyle. Everyone has an ego. Your human brain will naturally feel good when you "win" and a bit depressed when you "lose". There's a difference between feeling an ego boost when you see your skills progress, and just going apeshit and trying to smack your partner around.

Sorry, didn't edit previous post in time.

Well, your ego can get in the way. If you've already moved past it and can enjoy sparring, congrats, you can learn from it. But getting there is half the fun.

G DiPierro
08-06-2007, 12:44 PM
Well, with regrad to the sparring incident, when Guro Andrew Astle explained what he calls practice sparring -- a concept he borowed from Thai Boxers -- he said the goal was to get our egos and pride and fear out of the way so we could eventually use sparring as a learning tool. And he added that right off, "None of you will be able to do it!" So when he said "You're trying to win," he proved he was right.Obviously, if you have no experience with sparring, you will not be able to do it right. That's the best argument (apart from technical effectiveness) for regularly training in freestyle resistance training. Only through such regular training do you learn to let go of your attachment to winning and losing. I bet that if you asked Mr. Astle he would tell you the same thing.

Well, how many of his peers did the same thing Tomiki did? How many did not? That would be a good place to start.How many of Morihei Ueshiba's peers in Daito-ryu left to start their own martial art? By your logic, since he was the only one, we should conclude that the Ueshiba was wrong to "disrespect" his teacher and so we should all quit aikido and study Daito-ryu instead.

What did O Sensei think of what he did? Another clue.As far as I know, Morihei Ueshiba did not have any problems with Tomiki or what he was doing. It was his son Kisshomaru that did not approve of Tomiki's innovations.

Additionally, you may recall I referred to the specific lineage -- O Sensei -->A-->B-->C--->you. I think a student should listen to what those people have to say. If they say "No sparring!" no sparring. If they have another policy, follow that. If a student is not going to listen to those people, then what is he or she doing there in the first place?As I've said, I've never been told by any aikido teacher that I have had not to spar. I'm not currently training with any aikido teachers, but if I were I certainly wouldn't have any interest in becoming a student of a teacher who did not permit his students to engage in freestyle resistance training. In fact, at this point I'm not really interested in becoming a student of any teacher in any art who will not engage with me in such training himself, and the fact that there are very few such teachers in aikido is probably the main reason why I'm not training with any aikido teacher right now.

DonMagee
08-06-2007, 12:53 PM
As for ego's in sparing, if you spar often enough, you will be unable to continue without losing your ego.

What I mean by that is this. Each week we get new students in my bjj club. Every single class we spar, new students are no exception (except it might be positional sparing such as escape from this mount, or pass this guard). Every single one of them has an ego that gets bruised. The ones that can put that past them stay and become good students. The ones that can't whine, get scared, make excuses, never gain skill and eventually leave us.

It's a great tool for filtering out who is worth training with.

Roman Kremianski
08-06-2007, 02:29 PM
Would have to agree with Don. I don't see how it's possible trying to hang with people a lot more skilled than you without getting a bruised ego, and then eventually very little of an ego at all. People need to stop using the whole "ego" argument as an anti-sparring debate, and maybe start some sparring with people who know more than they do? Just my idea.

CNYMike
08-06-2007, 08:34 PM
Obviously, if you have no experience with sparring, you will not be able to do it right. That's the best argument (apart from technical effectiveness) for regularly training in freestyle resistance training. Only through such regular training do you learn to let go of your attachment to winning and losing. I bet that if you asked Mr. Astle he would tell you the same thing.


I'm sure he would; circumstances that are none of your businesses prevented us from continuing to do that. But I started Jun Fan Gung Fu last year and have sparred more frequently; on occassion I have begun to enjoy it.

However, it is still possible for one's ego and pride to get in the way! In my case, it is because when I sparred in karate back in the '80s, I was more often than not a pucnhing bag with legs. I have the same problem now. It is hard to get past "winning" and "losing" if all you do is "lose" (or think you do).


How many of Morihei Ueshiba's peers in Daito-ryu left to start their own martial art? By your logic, since he was the only one, we should conclude that the Ueshiba was wrong to "disrespect" his teacher and so we should all quit aikido and study Daito-ryu instead.


Or maybe we could do what O Sensei did --- found our own systems. If we assume for the sake of argument that O sensei was disrespectful to his teacher, it would have been even worse if he had continued to promote what he was teaching as Daito Ryu when he was going his own way. But by doing his own thing and giving it its own name, no one could tell him he is doing anything wrong because it is his thinking, no one else's.

Which goes back to the point I was trying to make: While there is considerable wiggle room in Aikido, if you wiggle too far, it's not Aikido. At that point one viable option is to call it something else and make it your own.


As far as I know, Morihei Ueshiba did not have any problems with Tomiki or what he was doing. It was his son Kisshomaru that did not approve of Tomiki's innovations.


This came up in another thread a while ago; Tomiki had to broker a deal with O Sensei to use the name "Aikido." So I wouldn't put O Sensei out of the picture just yet.


As I've said, I've never been told by any aikido teacher that I have had not to spar. I'm not currently training with any aikido teachers, but if I were I certainly wouldn't have any interest in becoming a student of a teacher who did not permit his students to engage in freestyle resistance training. In fact, at this point I'm not really interested in becoming a student of any teacher in any art who will not engage with me in such training himself, and the fact that there are very few such teachers in aikido ....

And I was trying to explain why.

..... is probably the main reason why I'm not training with any aikido teacher right now.

So in other words, you are following exactly the same advice I gave to the original poster! And your problem is, then .... what? :hypno:

CNYMike
08-06-2007, 08:35 PM
As for ego's in sparing, if you spar often enough, you will be unable to continue without losing your ego.

What I mean by that is this. Each week we get new students in my bjj club. Every single class we spar, new students are no exception (except it might be positional sparing such as escape from this mount, or pass this guard). Every single one of them has an ego that gets bruised. The ones that can put that past them stay and become good students. The ones that can't whine, get scared, make excuses, never gain skill and eventually leave us.

It's a great tool for filtering out who is worth training with.

If you want to weed people out, yeah. If you don't, not so much.

CNYMike
08-06-2007, 08:37 PM
..... I don't see how it's possible trying to hang with people a lot more skilled than you without getting a bruised ego, and then eventually very little of an ego at all ....

That would be true whether a system includes sparring or not.

DonMagee
08-06-2007, 09:26 PM
That would be true whether a system includes sparring or not.

Well, I"m not sure sure on that. At least in my case I trained in arts without sparing for a lot longer then I have in arts with sparing. My first instance of sparing I was paired with a smaller kid who was still in high school. I was at least 20 pounds bigger, and just coming off a long stint in krav maga and aikido.

I was thinking, this should be a cake walk, I'm going to tap this kid faster then he can even react. After about 5 chokes later, I was singing a different tune. I went home that night sulking and wondering why nothing I knew actually worked. Luckily I came to the decision that I had to put it all past me and keep training. I see it happen over and over ever class. It usually doesn't happen as fast as it did in my case, but I watch as white belts go from fighting as if their lives depended on it, to exploring and being ok with making a mistake that costs them that tap. My ego was inflated to huge levels after krav maga and aikido. I mean besides my instructor who has 20 years on me and massive knowledge in the arts I'm invincible. And even if there was someone else like him out there, chances are he wouldn't be a problem anyways.

My attitude a few years ago might of gotten me killed. I probably would of jumped into a fight just because I thought I was invincible. Now I realize I'm a skinny computer nerd with no athletic talent at all. I know my limits, and I would avoid a fight at all costs.

Sparing has given me everything I hold dear in my martial arts. Before sparing, I feel everything I did was a waste. After sparing, I feel I can learn what I was ment to learn in my previous arts.

G DiPierro
08-06-2007, 09:33 PM
However, it is still possible for one's ego and pride to get in the way! In my case, it is because when I sparred in karate back in the '80s, I was more often than not a pucnhing bag with legs. I have the same problem now. It is hard to get past "winning" and "losing" if all you do is "lose" (or think you do).I personally prefer non-competitive freestyle resistance training over formally competitive versions. There's several reasons why, but one of them is that the notion of winning and losing is not so specific or well-defined. There is a lot more room for people of varying levels to work together without one necessarily having to lose all of the time.

Which goes back to the point I was trying to make: While there is considerable wiggle room in Aikido, if you wiggle too far, it's not Aikido. At that point one viable option is to call it something else and make it your own.And again my question to you is who has the right to define what is and is not aikido? Is it simply a matter of politics or is it a matter of fidelity to what Morihei Ueshiba was doing or trying to do? Depending on how you answer this question, you could end up with radically different notions of what should be considered aikido. I'm already very close at this point to not calling what I do aikido anymore if I were to start teaching it publicly again, not because I don't think it qualifies as aikido -- I certainly think it does -- but because I wouldn't want it to be confused with the practice that most people think of as "aikido."

This came up in another thread a while ago; Tomiki had to broker a deal with O Sensei to use the name "Aikido." So I wouldn't put O Sensei out of the picture just yet.Do you have the link? I would like to know more about this.

So in other words, you are following exactly the same advice I gave to the original poster! And your problem is, then .... what?The reason I'm not training with any aikido teacher comes down to lack of access more than anything else. There might be a couple of people in the major aikido organizations would could potentially meet my standards, but I cannot practice with them on a regular basis. So instead I work with the best available teachers I can find, and right now none of them happen to be aikido teachers.

My "problem" with your original and subsequent posts is mostly with your explanation for why there is no freestyle resistance training in aikido. I believe that the reason for this began with the historical development of aikido from Daito-ryu and persists today for political reasons and the inherent unwillingness of people within a Japanese-style hierarchy to change, particularly in ways that might threaten the legitimacy of that hierarchy. I don't buy that there are any good pedagogical reasons (or good reasons of any kind, really) for the lack of this kind of training, and further I think its absence has allowed aikido to develop in ways that have led it away from what the founder was doing both physically and philosophically and increasingly towards a practice that is both martially and spiritually deficient.

tarik
08-07-2007, 02:22 AM
But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win." Even if no one is actually keeping score, you can still try to win.

Yeah, it takes a while to get that out of your system. It's important, IMO.

Sparring in class isn't supposed to be about winning or losing, just examining techniques in a freestyle format. But you have to learn to get your ego out of it. Prearranged training where you are always uke or nage short circuits that, too.

I very much agree with your statement about what 'sparring' is supposed to be about. To me, a very important part of that training is to learn to let go of that ego.

As for the second part, are you saying that pre-arranged training short circuits ego in training? Because that's not my experience. Some of the most combative and ego driven training I've ever experienced in aikido has almost entirely been during prearranged forms rather than randori or sparring.

It seems to me the question then becomes to study how Aikido's principles would work against resistance. Is the person just pushing back against you? Then you have to blend with that energy. Is he trying to counter you? Then counter his counter. Is he just locking down and not moving? Then hit him the face; if he's going to give you a second, use it. :p

Sounds good to me.

I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar. You don't care about that, do whatever you want. But I do.

I care a lot, myself. However, Ueshiba Sensei's aikido is gone, and most of us are interested in learning our own teacher's aikido which is all that's truly available to learn. I know of plenty of teachers who don't say "don't spar".

I agree about the issue of disrespect, but what is it?

It was expressed to me at one time that I was disrespectful for not falling down when a senior (6th dan) instructor waved his hand in front of my face. I disagree.. it would have, in my opinion, been disrespectful to fall down, and in this case I'm not talking about sparring. It happened 3-4 times in a row, and I was honestly wondering when he was going to throw me as we were in front of class and he was instructing.

So then I endured first a blow that required the instructor to check in with me for an injury (there was none as my ukemi was up to it) and then a lecture in front of the entire class about my ukemi for not falling down earlier.

I sincerely expected this instructor to know how to throw me without hurting me and I also expected that I was not supposed to just fall down for no reason I could discern. Was this disrespect, or a miscommunication of expectations and values? (FWIW, I have never gotten on the mat with that instructor again.)

What this really boils down to, in my opinion, is finding and training with partners who have similar expectations, values, whom you can respect, and who want to train in the way you want to train.

Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.

Respectfully, getting caught up in whether it's called aikido or not because you don't care for some of the content strikes me as potentially another battle of ego.

Arguing that this is not a part of aikido seems a little silly to me. It's a simple reality that there are forms of aikido that contain 'sparring' and forms that do not. Heck, I know of at least one form of aikido that includes music and dancing.

They're all each aikido to one degree or another. I certainly confess that I harbor opinions as to what is more likely to be viable and true budo, but I think that is perhaps a different issue and not entirely written in stone anyway and after all, not everyone studies aikido as a budo.

Regards,

Roman Kremianski
08-07-2007, 08:14 AM
eck, I know of at least one form of aikido that includes music and dancing.


That's the hardcore one
http://youtube.com/watch?v=9OqMLzVKAJs

jennifer paige smith
08-07-2007, 09:45 AM
[QUOTE=Giancarlo DiPierro;185590]

And since the founder is dead, I don't think he is in any position to comment on what is and is not aikido. However, when he was alive he once remarked that what his son Kisshomaru was teaching was not his aikido, and his son has probably been the strongest influence on the development of post-war aikido, particuarly in the US aikikai-affiliated organizations. So perhaps none of what people in the US are doing today can be said to be the aikido of the founder..[/ QUOTE]

Correct. That is, if they are sparring.

Now what is aikido again?

It can take too long to explain the workings of the universe but O'Sensei tried. Here is a quote from the lectures by O'sensei forum on Aikido Journal:

"Now aikido is the name given to our practice of the Way to attain oneness with the spirit and body of the Universe, and the Way of unification with the light of harmony.

For example, if there is something dirty on earth, insects come and clean it up. Insects, fish, birds and all other animals have their own way of taking care of impurities in this way.

As human beings we must purify ourselves from all sins and impurities and each accomplish our own God-given missions. This is what aikido offers, and it is for this purpose that you (addressing the Byakko Shinko Kai audience) offer “The World Peace Prayer” which Goi Sensei advocates. However, if you pray in words only, it does not work. You must actually live up to the prayer, otherwise it will be of no avail.

(2)
Aikido is the martial art (bu) of truth; it is the work of love.

It is the way to protect all living things of this world, that is, aikido is a compass that gives life to all things.

It is the manifestation of takemusu6 that has given birth to all martial techniques that have so far been created.

The martial arts born therefrom are the law to protect the growth of everything existing in the world in accordance with the law of life and growth of all nature."

Chuck Clark
08-07-2007, 10:13 AM
Everything noted above can be accomplished through the practice of randori (as a form of "sparring") if done appropriately. Saotome, M. once called this form of sparring "aikido kumite"... and then said, "Very good, but very difficult to do."

Everyone must find their own Way and be responsible for it and practice for the sake of the practice.

jennifer paige smith
08-07-2007, 10:36 AM
Everything noted above can be accomplished through the practice of randori (as a form of "sparring") if done appropriately. Saotome, M. once called this form of sparring "aikido kumite"... and then said, "Very good, but very difficult to do."

Everyone must find their own Way and be responsible for it and practice for the sake of the practice.

Good point, Mr. Clark.
They can also be achieved through the integrous practice of any technique; for practices sake. But it is, like I feel you are saying also, within the form of aiki to be found, or 'stolen' , as you say. (I like to think that it was offered and I accepted. But that's the same difference, I suppose.) Not easy,agreed. But easier than a life wasted in illusion. From where I stand.

Jen

CNYMike
08-07-2007, 11:33 AM
Well, I"m not sure sure on that ....

I've worked with senior students in Aikido who don't let me throw them unless I get it just right and give me pointers. So yes, there are PLENTY of people who know the material better than me.


At least in my case I trained in arts without sparing for a lot longer then I have in arts with sparing ....

My sparring experience has been intermittent over the years, too, although I was doing karate (and sparring) for a year and a half before I started Aikido. And when I returned to it, I stayed in other systems where we spar, although as I noted, it's been in Jun Fan where I've been doing the most.

I also never got it in my head that one art or another would make me invincible, and it helps that my first karate sensei kept saying (A) every move has a countermove, (B) you won't win all the time, and (C) there's always someone out there who knows something you don't. I think that's a healthy perspective, although hard to stick to sometimes.

CNYMike
08-07-2007, 11:41 AM
..... getting caught up in whether it's called aikido or not because you don't care for some of the content strikes me as potentially another battle of ego ....

It's not. As I see it, in every martial arts class there are two things going on: Teaching the techniques and passing down the system that contains them. That's where the questions of content become important. The audience for the techniques is there in the room; the audience for the system is the future generations of students who will learn from whomever in that room becomes a teacher someday.

So if there are certain things that make Aikido what it is and certain things that lead you astray, it seems to me that if you cross that line, it's not Aikido anymore. Period. That doesn't mean it's bad and it can't be taught, but it might be more appropriate to give it a new identity.

CNYMike
08-07-2007, 12:06 PM
.... And again my question to you is who has the right to define what is and is not aikido? ....

Well, based on your next quote:

.... My "problem" with your original and subsequent posts is mostly with your explanation for why there is no freestyle resistance training in aikido. I believe that the reason for this began with the historical development of aikido from Daito-ryu and persists today for political reasons and the inherent unwillingness of people within a Japanese-style hierarchy to change, particularly in ways that might threaten the legitimacy of that hierarchy. I don't buy that there are any good pedagogical reasons (or good reasons of any kind, really) for the lack of this kind of training, and further I think its absence has allowed aikido to develop in ways that have led it away from what the founder was doing both physically and philosophically and increasingly towards a practice that is both martially and spiritually deficient.

I guess you do. :p Either way, I'm stupid and don't know nothin'. You win; I'll shut up now.

DonMagee
08-07-2007, 01:39 PM
I've worked with senior students in Aikido who don't let me throw them unless I get it just right and give me pointers. So yes, there are PLENTY of people who know the material better than me.

My sparring experience has been intermittent over the years, too, although I was doing karate (and sparring) for a year and a half before I started Aikido. And when I returned to it, I stayed in other systems where we spar, although as I noted, it's been in Jun Fan where I've been doing the most.

I also never got it in my head that one art or another would make me invincible, and it helps that my first karate sensei kept saying (A) every move has a countermove, (B) you won't win all the time, and (C) there's always someone out there who knows something you don't. I think that's a healthy perspective, although hard to stick to sometimes.

It comes down to personal experience. We are both lucky to find out where we fit in. I find it impossible to get honest training without sparing. Too many egos are involved, people throwing half hearted attacks just so you can't throw them and they can give you advice. Then they let you throw them. People not letting you throw them without making it obvious they are letting you just because they wear black belts. Constant aggravation when you question the principles of a technique to try to understand it only to see the frustration in th eyes of the teacher that takes your question as a challenge to their ability to do martial arts. I'm not saying my aikido teacher is like this, but I have had lots of run ins with teachers like this. Each and every one was against sparing. In fact the biggest ego's I've ever met where against sparing.

I find it's the sparing that brings truth to the training. For example, I've been told "I don't think any bjj guy could take any of my students down". This is a silly statement that reflects ego. The silliest part about this is that if you asked if he would like to have a student spar you or another bjj friend of yours, you would be told without hesitation "I'm sorry we do not believe in sparing." or "We are too deadly and do not want to hurt you". So now we are back to conjecture and theory instead of positive undeniable truth.

For example, I can do armbar drills all day long. My partner knows I'm going for an armbar, he can point out weakness. He can say "Squeeze your knees more" and yank his arm out. Or he can say " break my posture more" and turn away, etc. And I can make that armbar look very nice. In fact it might very well be a great armbar, and I can teach it to others and we can all look great doing this armbar. But we simply do not know if my armbar is any good. We have a good theory, and if any of us has actually used an armbar in real life, then our theory has even more merit. But lets just say 10 generations goes by with nobody testing this armbar. We just pound out 500 reps of the armbar a class, both sides. Are we still sure we passed down the armbar as it was intended? We are driving only on faith, like a religon. Was the founders armbar even a technique, maybe we talk about that, what about setting it up, was it just a principle?

Obviously you have read this argument a thousand times so you know where I'm going. Until I actually armbar someone who is trying to do everything then can to stop me, I don't know if my armbar is good or not. I don't know if I learned my armbar correctly. I'm just hoping I have a perfectionist teacher, and every single one of his teachers was also perfect, and that I learn 100% perfect.

That is not to say that doing 500 armbars a day is not going to make my armbar tighter. But this is only if I also actually use my armbar so I know where the holes are.

Adam Alexander
08-07-2007, 02:20 PM
Some time back, there was this thread titled Proving Yourself.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12052&highlight=proving

I think the following two quotes did a great job citing opposing positions. (Larry Camejo requoted without permission;) )

Hi Jean,

The above is a great point and a major reason why I think many do not understand the direct physical practicality of applied Aikido principle or technique. As per your post above, revelation comes through situations where there is no pretense of cooperation or creation of a false sense of harmony (i.e. one where you must depend on your partner to not resist your movements and by extension have "effective" waza). In sparring from early on in ones Aikido training one learns ones own weaknesses, strengths and that of others and can train to improve on these areas from very early on. It is these people who tend to be able to apply things reflexively when it is required. Focus on kata alone does not build reflexive ability. Takemusu aiki is also impossible if one cannot allow the subconscious to operate and find the right movement for the situation.

Imho I think part of the reason why many in Aikido do not experience the revelations you referred to above is because many do not engage in some sort of constructive, graduated form of training (from no resistance to full resistance) that builds awareness, reflexes, subconscious reaction and automatic mind/body pathways while maintaining technical integrity.

Regarding my own experiences:

Real World: 8 on 1 ambush/mugging attempt. Kotegaeshi on lead attacker made him my shield against his buddies giving me time to improve my position, open my distance between them and regroup. They decided not to pursue the point after realizing that they had inflicted a good bit of injury on their main attacker (who by then also had a sprained wrist) in trying to get at me..

Sparring in other dojos: Have done well in using Aikido waza during Judo and Jujutsu randori for throws especially. In one case the Judoka ended up on his back on the floor looking up at the ceiling and not quite understanding how he got there.

I actually train in Jujutsu also now to cover combat ranges that are not in my Aikido syllabus (e.g. ground work and clinch range) but my first line of defence will always be coming from my Aikido training. It works because our method thankfully allows for a lot of sparring from early on so one learns a few things about dealing with a serious opponent/attacker as well as the mindset / body tactics required to keep oneself in control.

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

Larry,

I like most current styles of Aikido staying away from sparring. What you learn in ten minutes of sparring will keep you busy for a year. I think the ego-gratification that is built into sparring (generally) is very slippery. Before a school knows it, rather than sparring being a tool that only needs to be used once in a great while, you end up putting an emphasis on it in the curriculum (sp?).

I think that would have the same effect as etiquette and chain of command in a dojo being de-emphasized. Behavior gets mushy real quick (atleast I acted like an a**hole in some situations because I was following the example of someone who had little respect for them).

I prefer to stick to the extreme. When someone thinks they're ready, they'll find a test.

On the subject of resisting ukes, when I've been out, I didn't encounter any "real life" resisting ukes.

CNYMike
08-07-2007, 02:38 PM
.... I find it's the sparing that brings truth to the training. For example, I've been told "I don't think any bjj guy could take any of my students down". This is a silly statement that reflects ego ....

Unless it's true. :p And you've probably grappled enough to know that the person who ends up on the bottom is in serious trouble; I've noted that from the reaplys on Spike. Makes me wonder if the reasons so many systems put a premium on stability is because they want to avoid that situation in the first place. But I digress ...


The silliest part about this is that if you asked if he would like to have a student spar you or another bjj friend of yours, you would be told without hesitation "I'm sorry we do not believe in sparing." or "We are too deadly and do not want to hurt you". So now we are back to conjecture and theory instead of positive undeniable truth.


It's not all that silly. Think about it: Let's say someone claims a certain technique can break your neck. You say, "let's spar and test it!" If that person succeeds, you are dead. If it fails (assuming he did everything correctly in the first place), he's emabarrassed.

Embarrassment vs. a human life is no contest -- the life wins. Of course, you can always agree to get it to position, but then you never know if it leads to a break, bringing us back to the question.

So I'm not against sparring and not saying it's bad -- I've jut always had trouble with it -- but safety considerations put limits on that. Unless you don't care .... and then you are dangerous and I'm running for the door. :)

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
08-07-2007, 07:39 PM
Unless it's true.

I'm going to hazard that you haven't grappled with a BJJer before, amirite?

Also: Don, I like the armbar analogy.

Roman Kremianski
08-07-2007, 11:16 PM
Of course, you can always agree to get it to position, but then you never know if it leads to a break, bringing us back to the question.

I'm taking you've never had a guillotine applied on you? You don't need to break someone/s neck or arm to realize you're breaking something. You'd be tapping desperately way before then.

Makes me wonder if the reasons so many systems put a premium on stability is because they want to avoid that situation in the first place.

And yet so little actually bother to train for when it does.

darin
08-08-2007, 01:51 AM
Nice music. Very relaxing...

darin
08-08-2007, 01:53 AM
Sorry was talking about this link

http://youtube.com/watch?v=9OqMLzVKAJs

deepsoup
08-08-2007, 04:22 AM
There was a point towards the end of that video where I really thought they were about to kiss, I was quite disappointed that it didn't happen. :)

DonMagee
08-08-2007, 07:11 AM
Unless it's true. :p And you've probably grappled enough to know that the person who ends up on the bottom is in serious trouble; I've noted that from the reaplys on Spike. Makes me wonder if the reasons so many systems put a premium on stability is because they want to avoid that situation in the first place. But I digress ...


Ahh, but is there anyone out there who is so skilled there is no greater? If there really is an instructor out there so skilled that no bjj guy on the planet can take him down, I'd love to be his uchi deshi, hell, I'd be his slave. The statement I made is only a statement of ego. Anyone who has ever done any sparing knows there is always someone out there who can kick your butt. I asked a bunch of guys I trained with if they thought they could be any aikidoka they might encounter. These guys give no respect to anything not sport martial arts, yet they still all replied that there had to be a few that could do it for real and beat them. Just on statistics alone.


It's not all that silly. Think about it: Let's say someone claims a certain technique can break your neck. You say, "let's spar and test it!" If that person succeeds, you are dead. If it fails (assuming he did everything correctly in the first place), he's emabarrassed.

Embarrassment vs. a human life is no contest -- the life wins. Of course, you can always agree to get it to position, but then you never know if it leads to a break, bringing us back to the question.

So I'm not against sparring and not saying it's bad -- I've jut always had trouble with it -- but safety considerations put limits on that. Unless you don't care .... and then you are dangerous and I'm running for the door. :)

I agree, there has to be limits, but the reality is those limits are far less then what most non-sparing believers will lead you to believe. A good example is the knee break kick. Everyone knows by now that breaking the knee with a kick is actually a very hard thing to do. It requires expert timing, and proper position on the attacker, otherwise the kick simply moves their leg and hurts. Yet I can't count the number of times this move is listed as a way a non-sport martial artist with no sparing would be a MMA fighter. The silliest part is that would restrict this from the ring. If it was that dangerous there would indeed be a rule. Another big one I hear is finger breaks. We have seen finger, hand, and even ankle breaks in MMA competition. It almost never ends the fight. The only reason it is illegal is because of the recovery time required to get back to training after you break a few fingers. Fingers suck to break. Just imagine how effective it's going to be against a guy who actually wants to kill you vs a guy who just wants to win a sporting event.

The real dangerous techniques don't need to be proven, logic tells us an eye gouge puts out an eye, repeated blows to the back of the skull will kill you, etc. However, most deadly techniques fall into four categories.

1) Techniques that we think might work, but have no constant proof and in my opinion probably are not a real threat. (My reverse punch to the chest will stop your heart.)
2) Techniques we know work, but can test your ability to get into position. We all know dropping elbows on the back of the head/spine will kill you. No need to test it, but do you have the knowledge and skills to take a person's back?
3) Techniques that we know will work and have safe equivalents. If I can't punch you in the face from this range, I probably can't eye gouge you from it either.
4) Techniques we know will work, but the context they are used in is in question. For example, I can knee you in the groin to pass your guard (my groin would be impossible to knee, only my butt would be exposed) or eye gouge from the bottom of the mount while getting punches rained on my face. These are testable with a little creative thinking. I'd be willing to put on a cup and put you in my guard and see if you can knee my groin. I'd be willing to put on some goggles and rain punches on your head and see if you can touch my eyes before you can't take the blows any longer.

I'm glad you don't think sparing is bad. I'm not trying to convince you, I'm just using your posts as a spring board to get my point across to others who might not consider sparing a valid choice for training.

G DiPierro
08-08-2007, 08:29 AM
It's not all that silly. Think about it: Let's say someone claims a certain technique can break your neck. You say, "let's spar and test it!" If that person succeeds, you are dead. If it fails (assuming he did everything correctly in the first place), he's emabarrassed.In aikido many throwing techniques could potentially be used to break someone's neck. They would involve getting the uke upside down and then dropping or throwing him onto his head. For obvious reasons, they are not practiced or normally even taught this way .

In many cases, if you can control someone enough to get him into a position to break his neck, you can control him enough to throw him instead, however this is not universally true. I was rolling with a local BJJ instructor a while back and he tried to apply a flying armbar. Although he had decent control of the arm, while he was upside down trying to submit me, I lifted him several inches off of the ground. Of course I did not drop him, but when we discussed what happened afterwards he did not seem to realize the danger he would have been in had it been a real fight, and I had to explain to him that I had been in a very strong position from which to pile-drive him on his neck.

Ultimately resistance training is just a tool that you use to explore various aspects of a real conflict that you cannot otherwise explore (except in a real fight, of course, and that's not where you want to learn these things if it is possible to learn them beforehand). It has limitations like other forms of training, and if you understand and respect these limitations it can be one of the most fruitful forms of training you can do, and that is why so many martial arts have this training.

Aikido typically does not, and I have not yet seen, nor do I believe there are, any valid arguments for why this is the case other than tradition and politics. Most of the arguments boil down to some variation of how resistance training can be misused or is limited. These problems exist for all types of training, including solo and paired kata training, but usually people who practice these exclusively don't care to examine the problems and limitations of those training methodologies, many of which can be resolved with the incorporation of resistance training.

Although the quality of your training and instruction is ultimately more important than the format, the mistake many people in aikido make is to assume that their training and instruction must be high quality because their teacher is high-ranked or because he is always able to throw his students. In reality, without testing what you do in some kind of a freestyle resistance setting, it is very difficult to know for sure how you good you are. Morihei Ueshiba knew this, and freely accepted open-format challenges from his students and other interested parties. How many aikido teachers today are willing to do that? How many will demonstrate that they can throw someone who is not giving them a typically over-committed aikido attack but who is actively trying to resist and counter?

In other words, how many aikido teachers can demonstrate that they can do what they claim to be teaching to someone who is trying to do the same thing to them? That is the minimum standard of performance that I now expect from any potential teacher in any art, and most teachers at even relatively low experience levels in arts like judo, BJJ, or kendo, to name a few of many, have no trouble meeting it. Yet only a few people at any level in aikido are willing or able to do this, and that is something I find very troubling for the future development of the art.

Aikibu
08-08-2007, 10:08 AM
Although the quality of your training and instruction is ultimately more important than the format, the mistake many people in aikido make is to assume that their training and instruction must be high quality because their teacher is high-ranked or because he is always able to throw his students. In reality, without testing what you do in some kind of a freestyle resistance setting, it is very difficult to know for sure how you good you are. Morihei Ueshiba knew this, and freely accepted open-format challenges from his students and other interested parties. How many aikido teachers today are willing to do that? How many will demonstrate that they can throw someone who is not giving them a typically over-committed aikido attack but who is actively trying to resist and counter?

In other words, how many aikido teachers can demonstrate that they can do what they claim to be teaching to someone who is trying to do the same thing to them? That is the minimum standard of performance that I now expect from any potential teacher in any art, and most teachers at even relatively low experience levels in arts like judo, BJJ, or kendo, to name a few of many, have no trouble meeting it. Yet only a few people at any level in aikido are willing or able to do this, and that is something I find very troubling for the future development of the art.

My thoughts exactly on the subject. One Caveat. Not everyone practices Aikido as a Martial Art. While this used to rankle me... I am fine with it now. To each his/her own. When I went looking for a style and Sensei in Aikido I had only one criteria...Can this teacher kick my a** "using" Aikido if it came down to a fight?? I actually called Susan Perry at ATM and explained my frustration at finding a competant Aikido Teacher on the Westside. She called back and left Micheal Fowler Sensei's info on my answering machine. The first time I met Micheal on the mat I went after him and he continually handled everything I threw at him with ease and that big old grin of his. I asked what style of Aikido is this? That night I was introduced to Shoji Nishio's "style" of Aikido and despite my initial doubts over a short period of time I was hooked and have practiced it ever since.

If Aikido is a Martial Art it must work as one first. If your Aikido is nothing more than moving meditation then just be honest about your practice. I see no conflict between the two by the way and the ideal would be to have both elements in your practice and I feel I have been blessed with such a style. I wish you all the best in finding a practice that suits you and your goals as a Martial Artist. No matter what you put the emphasis on... "Martial" or "Artist" :) With focus and hard pratice they do not have to be mutually exclusive in Aikido.

William Hazen

Roman Kremianski
08-08-2007, 10:54 AM
Another big one I hear is finger breaks. We have seen finger, hand, and even ankle breaks in MMA competition. It almost never ends the fight. The only reason it is illegal is because of the recovery time required to get back to training after you break a few fingers.

Forget even finger breaks...there are many MMA fighters who go to compete with broken hands. Jeremy Jackson broke his left hand on his opponent's face during a match, and then knocked him out. He then broke his right hand in the next match, and knocked his opponent out once again.

Theory never really seems to take adrenaline and overall aggression into account. When I broke my collar bone in a skiing accident, I simply picked up both of my skis and walked down. Didn't know it was broken till the doctors told me. Yet a lot of traditional guys make collar bone breaks seem like deadly pancakes.

"Simply put your fingers in there, pull, and the fight is over"

Yes. Because killing people is easy...too easy. :)

Basia Halliop
08-08-2007, 12:00 PM
I think it's fairly common in a lot of athletic things to take a while to realize that something's broken or sprained or whatever, and even if it's known many people are eager to continue right on, even in relatively low level (eg high school) sports and non-violent activities (eg track and field, professional dancing) if there isn't some coach/etc stepping in or at least their own better judgement and maturity against it.

It happens pretty often -- adrenaline and drive can have that effect even if you aren't 'the meanest craziest fighter fighting for your life' etc, although I imagine that would increase the effect even further.

G DiPierro
08-08-2007, 12:08 PM
If Aikido is a Martial Art it must work as one first. If your Aikido is nothing more than moving meditation then just be honest about your practice. I see no conflict between the two by the way and the ideal would be to have both elements in your practice and I feel I have been blessed with such a style. Ive been doing yoga daily for over two years and as a moving meditation there is no comparison with anything Ive seen in martial arts anywhere, and certainly not in aikido. My experience is that the moving meditation line is too often used by people who want to pretend to be martial artists without actually having to face the lack of martial prowess in their art. Granted, if someone is doing taiji for health, and they only practice the solo forms, with no push-hands, fajin, qinna, shuai-jiao, etc., then I will accept it as a moving meditation rather than a martial art per se. Similarly, if someone wants to do an art like capoeira with the emphasis primarily on artistic expression and playing a nice game rather than hitting or tripping, then Im willing to consider it as a dance form more so than a martial art. (Although the best people in both of these arts also do them as martial arts, and happen to be some of the most skilled martial artists I've met in any style.) But if two people are doing a practice where one person grabs or strikes the other and then the second person throws the first person on the floor, and if this is the way they practice the overwhelming majority of the time, then I dont buy that this practice is a "moving meditation." If it looks like a martial art, talks like a martial art, and moves like a martial art, then I call it a martial art.

Ron Tisdale
08-08-2007, 12:26 PM
I asked a bunch of guys I trained with if they thought they could be any aikidoka they might encounter. These guys give no respect to anything not sport martial arts, yet they still all replied that there had to be a few that could do it for real and beat them. Just on statistics alone.

That is actually a really good thing to hear. And it sounds like a perfectly reasonable response from them.

The real dangerous techniques don't need to be proven, logic tells us an eye gouge puts out an eye,

Hmm, not so sure about this one. In my limited experience, **most** times someone does something like this, it seems to amount to not very much at all. The few times someone actually tried it in a fight, it had no affect except to piss me off. The one time in particular I just dragged the guy along the bumpy asphalt peeling off his skin until he stopped trying to mess with my eyes. Then pounded him a few times for good measure.

Best,
Ron

CNYMike
08-08-2007, 12:35 PM
I'm going to hazard that you haven't grappled with a BJJer before, amirite?

Not a BJJer per se, but used to grapple for position once or twice in Guro Kevin Seaman's Kali class, and he's heavily into Grappling. So I know all the positions BJJers use, and yes, I will be the first to admit a BJJer would probably take me down, no problem.

That doesn't mean there isn't someone out there who can claim he can't be taken down .... and can back it up. Such individuals may be very few and far between, but I don't think anyone can say they don't exist at all.

CNYMike
08-08-2007, 12:46 PM
..... Aikido typically does not, and I have not yet seen, nor do I believe there are, any valid arguments for why this is the case other than tradition ......

The "tradition" part goes back to what I was saying before about passing down the art. I think a lot of people who write off "tradition" never have it explained to them as to why it's there. Rejecting tradition just because it's traditional can be just as bad as following it without knowing what's going on.

Martial arts are the last holdout of oral tradtions in our high tech culture, and that's why I think you have to be careful about changes. Even when, as you note, O Sensei is dead and Ueshiba Aikido 1.0 is gone, there should be some core ideas and principles that should be true Aikido, and if those are rejected, it's not Aikido anymore.

Ron Tisdale
08-08-2007, 12:48 PM
Such individuals may be very few and far between, but I don't think anyone can say they don't exist at all.

I think Don specifically said that there might be someone out there who can do it.

The problem is...is that someone YOU??? Or ME??? Or someone that I directly train with, and can learn from, and then it becomes ME...

If not, the few and far between doesn't help me one whit. Not a bit. Not even a little.

If my teacher can kick butt that's just fine...but if he can't teach ME to do it...then I should probably not go around touting it.

Best,
Ron (sorry, not trying to be harsh...but...)

CNYMike
08-08-2007, 12:53 PM
.... Everyone knows by now that breaking the knee with a kick is actually a very hard thing to do. It requires expert timing, and proper position on the attacker, otherwise the kick simply moves their leg and hurts. Yet I can't count the number of times this move is listed as a way a non-sport martial artist with no sparing would be a MMA fighter .....

Kicks to the knee are illegal in Thai Boxing AFAIK. Also, I remeber a time one of my training partners accidentally sheered my leg while I was throwing him. My knee was pushed 90 degrees to the way it like to bend; it hurt like hell! I shudder to think about what could happen if someone really whacked it. And the guys I sparred with vbakc in the day liked to kick to the knee. Not something to poo poo.


.... most deadly techniques fall into four categories.

1) Techniques that we think might work, but have no constant proof and in my opinion probably are not a real threat. (My reverse punch to the chest will stop your heart.)

Stop the heart? Maybe not. Knock the wind out of you? There was a fight repalied on spike where one fighter, an Asian guy with blonde hair, kncoked the wind out of his opponent with a body shot to the solar plexus; it just happened to look like a reverse puch, either because he once did karate or coincidence. But that kind 0of thrust to that target looks like it does something after all.

2

CNYMike
08-08-2007, 12:55 PM
I think Don specifically said that there might be someone out there who can do it.

The problem is...is that someone YOU??? Or ME??? Or someone that I directly train with, and can learn from, and then it becomes ME...


Neither. Sorry I said it.

Ron Tisdale
08-08-2007, 01:02 PM
Hey, I say this as much to myself as anyone else.

I don't compete, I don't do ANY regular full resistance training. I am subject to this the same as anyone else. I just try to keep it real by saying it up front, and understanding the possible weaknesses up front.

I already know what I consider the the strengths...it pays dividends to know the weaknesses of my chosen method. At least then I have a chance to plug some of the gaps with special, if only occational, training.

Best,
Ron

salim
08-08-2007, 03:15 PM
Don Magee,

Definitely is one of the most realistic Aikidoist on Aikiweb. Cheers to your since of irony and integrity. The realistic application of self defense is often over shadow by spiritual zealousness in the Aikido world. I agree whole heartily with Don's statement about the guy who's trying to kill you, a broken finger, or anything of the sort is not going to stop a maniac.

Real world application of marital arts has to be closely examined and implemented without reservation.
Self defense is more to the individual who seeks protection through real application, rather than the purist mindset of retaining ancient traditions, no matter what the loss. Cheers again to the real world application of self defense.

DonMagee
08-08-2007, 03:28 PM
Stop the heart? Maybe not. Knock the wind out of you? There was a fight repalied on spike where one fighter, an Asian guy with blonde hair, kncoked the wind out of his opponent with a body shot to the solar plexus; it just happened to look like a reverse puch, either because he once did karate or coincidence. But that kind 0of thrust to that target looks like it does something after all.

2

Yea, but I was not arguing the effectiveness of a body shot. I was arguing the death touch of a punch to the chest. I've seen karate guys claim their reverse punch to the chest will kill you. It should be obvious that getting hit hard anywhere hurts, and getting hit hard in the chest can knock the wind out of you.

Ron,

My point with the eye gouge might be the same point you just made. What I was trying to say is that a eye gouge done properly and not defended will gouge out an eye. I mean If I can stick my fingers in your eyes, I'm going to do damage. Same if I jab a pencil in there. However, the act of getting there is the hard part. 90% of the people that advocate eye gouging almost never advocate training to get in a position where you can actually eye gouge. Instead they try to eye gouge while under the mount, or other silly positions. In your example, you were obviously in a better position then your attacker. But you can't deny that if you were mounted and the guy sitting on you jabbed his thumbs in your eyes and dug his nails in, that you would not risk being blind for life.

So we do not need to test eye gouges, but rather train getting in a good position to actually use them. That was really my point. You can't safely train an eye gouge, but you can safely train things that make it obvious you could eye gouge (like punches to the head).

DonMagee
08-08-2007, 03:36 PM
Don Magee,

Definitely is one of the most realistic Aikidoist on Aikiweb. Cheers to your since of irony and integrity. The realistic application of self defense is often over shadow by spiritual zealousness in the Aikido world. I agree whole heartily with Don's statement about the guy who's trying to kill you, a broken finger, or anything of the sort is not going to stop a maniac.

Real world application of marital arts has to be closely examined and implemented without reservation.
Self defense is more to the individual who seeks protection through real application, rather than the purist mindset of retaining ancient traditions, no matter what the loss. Cheers again to the real world application of self defense.

Thanks, but I can't really claim to be an aikidoka. I'm more of a dabbler in aikido, a site seer if you will. I also don't actually train for self defense. I'm not very interested in it. 95% of my time I train for sport. But I recognize that to be a good teacher, I need to spend time understanding the importance of self defense, and the concepts. I'm getting ready to test for my brown belt in judo soon, and I'm slowly working my way to a purple belt in bjj. But I have never tested for rank in aikido, despite continuing training. I love the concepts of aikido and the 'coolness factor', but I do not train it seriously enough to identify myself with it without insulting those who train in it full time. My instructor I think agrees with me. He welcomes me to his class anytime I want (usually 2-4 times a month), but he has never asked me to test.

I am however a student of fighting. I like to research and study all I can in hopes that when I'm ready to open my own school some day, I can be prepared to address my students needs. Be it kata, randori, self defense, or sport. A good example of this is that I love bjj competition and judo competition. I like watching MMA and even sparing now and then in MMA, but I do not like competing in MMA. Yet for the sake of any future students, I will be in that ring as much as I can bear it. I do not want to have any doubts. I want to know I have done what it takes to be the best I can be. Even if that means stepping on a few toes now and again to work out my issues.

It also doesn't help to get paired up with those newbie white belts with hidden black belts who think it's fun to break the rules to make a point. I look at that is the best self defense training, reacting to the unknown.

tarik
08-08-2007, 03:38 PM
The "tradition" part goes back to what I was saying before about passing down the art. I think a lot of people who write off "tradition" never have it explained to them as to why it's there. Rejecting tradition just because it's traditional can be just as bad as following it without knowing what's going on.

Riai. Very important. I think many people have no idea why things are the way they are and so accept or reject them without any critical understanding.

Martial arts are the last holdout of oral tradtions in our high tech culture, and that's why I think you have to be careful about changes. Even when, as you note, O Sensei is dead and Ueshiba Aikido 1.0 is gone, there should be some core ideas and principles that should be true Aikido, and if those are rejected, it's not Aikido anymore.

So what core ideas and principles define "true Aikido"?

And do any of these explicitly include or exclude 'sparring' (I prefer the term randori although that is also often misunderstood as different systems have different forms of randori).

A lot of the oral traditions I've heard related are just plain not consistent with the research, interviews, and published works concerning the history of aikido and Ueshiba and even some of that published work is inconsistent. How do we choose?

Regards,

MM
08-08-2007, 06:02 PM
So what core ideas and principles define "true Aikido"?

And do any of these explicitly include or exclude 'sparring' (I prefer the term randori although that is also often misunderstood as different systems have different forms of randori).

A lot of the oral traditions I've heard related are just plain not consistent with the research, interviews, and published works concerning the history of aikido and Ueshiba and even some of that published work is inconsistent. How do we choose?

Regards,

Hello Tarik,
Hope you're doing well. I'm catching up on some thread reading and found some good questions. :)

I think most people would say that "aiki" is the core idea and principle of aikido. However, I think that most people would have different definitions of "aiki". Which one is right? I'll get back to this question ...

One thing I've noticed is that the Japanese can blur the truth about something and believe that what they're doing is right. And some of the published work contradicts itself. Some interviews mesh with others while some don't. How do we choose?

I think each of us does research and homework applicable to just how involved he/she wants to get in a martial art. Plus there is a search for a school/system/teacher that conforms to one's ideals and thoughts on a martial art. As we do more, or sometimes less, research and thinking and living the martial art, we sometimes find other paths/schools/teachers to follow.

So, what is the definition of "aiki"? It's the one you have found to fit with your ideals/thoughts of aikido. That doesn't mean you've found a teacher, but that you've put some sort of definition to the word. As you progress in training, that definition may change a little or a lot. Is it the "right" definition? No, probably not. how many times have each of us looked back on our earlier thoughts on aikido, principles, etc and thought, "crap, I didn't have a clue back then." :) But, we still strive to find the "right" definition and hope that the one we currently have is at least close.

How do we choose? We delve as deeply as we can into history and research and we look for a good teacher. We train and absorb everything possible and like a puzzle, we start to put things together for ourselves. And if we're lucky enough to find a great teacher, the time it takes to "choose" is a lot less. Of course, it goes without saying that dedication, hard work, and sometimes obsessive compulsiveness helps. :)

Ueshiba Morihei searched for quite a while before meeting Takeda. And it still took a while of hard training to begin to see the shape of aikido to come. In one of the Aikido Journal's Ueshiba is quoted as yelling at his students because they were being too soft. He said how could they practice soft when it took him twenty years of hard training before he could be soft. :) Sagawa innovated his training for at least twenty years. We "choose" by looking to the giants and their legacy, by finding great teachers, and by putting in the time doing the hard training.

How many days and nights did Ueshiba Kisshomaru struggle with his decision to change his father's aikido so that it could have mass appeal? How many days and nights did Tohei struggle with splitting away? How did Tomiki choose to keep the name, aikido, when he was asked to change it? How many days and nights did Ueshiba Morihei struggle over his breaking relationship with Takeda? How did they choose? I'd say with great difficulty and with great determination.

In the end, it all boils down to each of us defining and choosing *and* then being comfortable enough in that choice that it doesn't matter what anyone else chooses.

IMO anyway,
Mark

CNYMike
08-08-2007, 09:31 PM
..... You can't safely train an eye gouge, but you can safely train things that make it obvious you could eye gouge (like punches to the head).

Actually, you probably could train for eye gouges as long as you and your partner wear safety goggles.

CNYMike
08-08-2007, 09:40 PM
So what core ideas and principles define "true Aikido"?


My point -- as always -- is that even with a lot about Aikido not carved in stone, and with every teacher doing it differently, there's a boundry between Aikido and "not Aikido." Where that is, I don't know, but it's there.

Somewhere.

mathewjgano
08-08-2007, 11:34 PM
My point -- as always -- is that even with a lot about Aikido not carved in stone, and with every teacher doing it differently, there's a boundry between Aikido and "not Aikido." Where that is, I don't know, but it's there.

Somewhere.
Michael, I hope you don't mind my using your response as a springboard...I'm more musing than responding to you directly here...
I think that "Aikido" is more a convention of categorizing legacy than some fixed thing...I would say most proper nouns probably are. It's like asking what the boundary between Matt and non-Matt is: it depends on the moment because to some degree it changes from time to time. I am most definately not the same person I was 10 years ago but you could call me Matt at both times and have it be true or not true depending on which point in time you're using as the baseline.
Physically it's an art in which people refine their body's ability to move with coordinated power and efficiency in a meaningful way. It's that intangible meaning (the ideals which underly everything) which gets slippery because each of us trains for different reasons, even if only slightly so. Tohei's ideals were likely slightly different than Osensei's and so on and so on and while each of them trained in "Aikido," the manifestation of those ideals varied somewhat, again, even if only slightly so.
That said, there is sparring in Aikido but it looks different from place to place and manifests itself differently from less cooperative environments. Every time someone perform kaeshiwaza without my expecting it, we're sparring a little. Same with when they try, but fail to do so. I think many people see the large amount of cooperative exchange and miss the subtle bits where we learn how to deal with someone who tries to be uncooperative. Some people start out by acting uncooperatively and then cooperate by comparing notes. In any group learning environment there is cooperation though.
I dunno...as usual I started out thinking I had something concrete to offer but after reading my post I'm left with one thought: it's not very important; let's train and interact and pay attention to what's going on as best as we can muster. Maybe that's all Aikido has ever been...apart from the best darn martial art in the world...no, the UNIVERSE!...well...my own anyway;)
Cheers all!
Matt

Ron Tisdale
08-09-2007, 11:28 AM
Good points Don, understood.

Thanks,
Ron

CNYMike
08-09-2007, 06:58 PM
..as usual I started out thinking I had something concrete to offer but after reading my post I'm left with one thought: it's not very important; let's train and interact and pay attention to what's going on as best as we can muster. Maybe that's all Aikido has ever been...apart from the best darn martial art in the world...no, the UNIVERSE!...well...my own anyway;)
Cheers all!
Matt

I can live with that. :)

Roman Kremianski
08-09-2007, 10:52 PM
Actually, you probably could train for eye gouges as long as you and your partner wear safety goggles.

Kinda misunderstood Don's post. Don did not advocate just training eye gouges, but getting to positions from which you can gouge. Yes, if I'm in the mount or I got your back with my hooks in and you're totally pinned, I don't need to actually perform the action of feebly scratching at my partners safety glasses.

(Ignoring the fact that most people cannot even reach their opponents face while mounted, less risk simply getting arm barred)

tarik
08-10-2007, 01:28 AM
My point -- as always -- is that even with a lot about Aikido not carved in stone, and with every teacher doing it differently, there's a boundry between Aikido and "not Aikido." Where that is, I don't know, but it's there.

Somewhere.

I understand.. and my point is that if it's worth pointing out that there's a boundary (and I agree that it is), then it's worth discussing what that boundary might be, perhaps even incumbent to do so. To some small extent that is being addressed, but to a larger extent, I think, it is being avoided.

Your earlier posts implied some possible answers without stating them outright, I think in part just because this came up on a thread about sparring. So forgive me if I ask you (and others)..is sparring something that crosses the boundary (for you)?

For me, I would have to say that, within the strictures of randori (a form of sparring) as practiced by the Jiyushinkai, for instance, it does not cross that boundary, and in fact, significantly increases my ability to seek out and develop in myself the aiki aspects of the art that I would still call aikido.

However, there are more combative sparring practices I've seen (mostly online) that seem, to me, to attempt to develop effectiveness in technique using exactly the opposite of what I would consider an ability to utilize aiki and render something that, to my current eyes, is more like jujitsu (without the aiki aspect) and I would not call them aikido.

Regards,

tarik
08-10-2007, 01:52 AM
Hello Mark,

Hello Tarik,
Hope you're doing well. I'm catching up on some thread reading and found some good questions. :)

Very well on my side. I hope you're doing the same. Just finished a clinic with Clark Sensei last weekend, so I'm feeling kinda juicy. :)

I think each of us does research and homework applicable to just how involved he/she wants to get in a martial art. Plus there is a search for a school/system/teacher that conforms to one's ideals and thoughts on a martial art. As we do more, or sometimes less, research and thinking and living the martial art, we sometimes find other paths/schools/teachers to follow.

I agree. I am also very amused by these comments at the moment. Have you been reading something else I wrote (somewhere else)?

So, what is the definition of "aiki"? It's the one you have found to fit with your ideals/thoughts of aikido. That doesn't mean you've found a teacher, but that you've put some sort of definition to the word.

So is "aiki" purely a personal definition? Or is there a real standard that it can be measured against, in some fashion. More a rhetorical question, to me, because I have a certain opinion already.

As you progress in training, that definition may change a little or a lot. Is it the "right" definition? No, probably not. how many times have each of us looked back on our earlier thoughts on aikido, principles, etc and thought, "crap, I didn't have a clue back then." :) But, we still strive to find the "right" definition and hope that the one we currently have is at least close.

I think a better way to describe it than "right" or "wrong" might be in degrees of understanding and completeness. Many things I currently believe now do not overrule things I didn't know before so much as they deepen my perceived understanding and expand my awareness of just how much I was missing before.

How do we choose? ..... We "choose" by looking to the giants and their legacy, by finding great teachers, and by putting in the time doing the hard training.

I didn't want to snip any of it, but it's above to be read again. The elements of our study.

In the end, it all boils down to each of us defining and choosing *and* then being comfortable enough in that choice that it doesn't matter what anyone else chooses.

IMO anyway,


Can any of us offer more? It's a good and rational opinion. Sounds familiar somehow.

Regards,

MM
08-10-2007, 06:53 AM
Hello Mark,

Very well on my side. I hope you're doing the same. Just finished a clinic with Clark Sensei last weekend, so I'm feeling kinda juicy. :)


Yes, doing well, thanks. Sounds like you had a good time at the clinic. I'm working hard to make the end-of-sept seminar in Portland so I can say Hi to everyone. Haven't seen some in a long time.


I agree. I am also very amused by these comments at the moment. Have you been reading something else I wrote (somewhere else)?


I was out most of last weekend and the beginning part of the week, so I was catching up on reading threads. Went through the main ones but skipped a lot of the others. Um, long story short, no, haven't really read many of your recent posts lately.


So is "aiki" purely a personal definition? Or is there a real standard that it can be measured against, in some fashion. More a rhetorical question, to me, because I have a certain opinion already.


Well, by technicality, yeah, it's a purely personal definition. :) But, yes, I think there is a standard it can be measured against.


I think a better way to describe it than "right" or "wrong" might be in degrees of understanding and completeness. Many things I currently believe now do not overrule things I didn't know before so much as they deepen my perceived understanding and expand my awareness of just how much I was missing before.


I agree with that. Although, there are times when I've been completely wrong about some understanding I thought I had. :)


Can any of us offer more? It's a good and rational opinion. Sounds familiar somehow.

Regards,

lol, maybe one of these days we'll actually meet. Being on opposite coasts is a tough hurdle, though.

Take care,
Mark

Basia Halliop
08-10-2007, 09:17 AM
Personally, I don't find the discussion of 'if something is Aikido' or even 'if it's what Ueshiba did' very useful, because to me it seems a bit backwards. Am I attached to the _word_ Aikido or something like that, pretty word though it may be, and then interested in actual things because they can be justifiably called that word?

It makes more sense to me the other way around -- find the kind of training you prefer or respect most or that suits you or whatever, and then, if you really want and are interested in words or history, you can worry about what a nice name to describe it is.

Budd
08-10-2007, 09:38 AM
I see lots of folks that have opinions on what aikido is - to them. Some even feel the need to tell you what yours should be (based on their own experiences, or an appeal to O-Sensei or at times an appeal to their own 'Oh, Sensei').

I've found it to be more a matter of asking questions as I train (of myself and others). Is my aikido martially effective? I try out my stuff & train rough & tumble with people at my dojo and in other martial arts/places (smiling and hugging makes the bruises easier to deal with). Has nothing to do with "rules" or "winning" or "competition" and everything to do with "research". If you're not researching and asking questions, then it's harder to recognize answers (which often formulate more questions ;) ) when we get them.

Does my aikido address non-violent conflict resolution? That's something I periodically review when I weigh my own performances in conflict situations (fortunately, life has led me away from regularly experiencing non-training physical conflict situations, for which I'm grateful). How do I react to being challenged? Is my maintenance of harmony dependent on running from conflict? Can I enter into conflict and maintain myself?

Where do spirituality and religion fit into the mix? How fundamentalist am I in either approach? Are they in harmony? Should they be? Do I need to "convert" others to my way of thinking in order to be honest in my approach? Or do I need to encourage others to follow their own "noble" path? Can there be more than one?

My own honest take regarding "sparring" is that it's a training tool that gets propped up as a "wooden dummy" and manipulated to suit the aims of someone's agenda. I personally believe that people that are serious about their training are going to address it in a manner that's congruent with the aims of their training (whether it's avoiding or embracing).

My own bottom line somewhere (sorry, Madam, my dogma is showing - hooray for belief systems, we all got 'em) in there is that you need an honest means of "pressure testing" in order to build the physical capabilities to deal with real aggression and conflict. I also believe that you need to be taught basic solo and paired/partner/multiple exercises/drills/techniques that allow you to to build and refine the framework from which your eventual evolution to "no technique, instant response" will arise.

Sparring, judiciously and appropriately introduced by a good teacher, can be just one of those steps towards that specific goal.

tarik
08-10-2007, 10:00 AM
Personally, I don't find the discussion of 'if something is Aikido' or even 'if it's what Ueshiba did' very useful, because to me it seems a bit backwards. Am I attached to the _word_ Aikido or something like that, pretty word though it may be, and then interested in actual things because they can be justifiably called that word?

What are those things?

While this is perhaps a separate thread (http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13042), I find it interesting that you don't find a discussion of 'what is aikido' very useful.

How can we know what a thing is without defining it?

FWIW, I do tend to agree that either justifying or denying a practice for reasons such as you describe without additional explication is a bit useless as it really demonstrates that the person so engaged does not have an authoritative opinion of their own (yet) that they can offer, and isn't that what we train to eventually develop?

Regards,

tarik
08-10-2007, 10:23 AM
I see lots of folks that have opinions on what aikido is - to them.

I hope everyone does.


Some even feel the need to tell you what yours should be (based on their own experiences, or an appeal to O-Sensei or at times an appeal to their own 'Oh, Sensei').

Well, I think challenging ideas one doesn't agree with is natural and healthy if done with the right attitude. But while I can be an ass and tell when people that I think they're wrong, I do try to avoid explicitly telling others what to actually believe. I prefer to at least try and discuss things in a fashion that makes all involved (them and me) seriously think about the issues, sometimes accepting uncomfortable facts that don't fit a current world view and allowing that world view to be adjusted.

I do confess a personal bias against automatic appeals to authority, not because I don't respect authority figures, but because to me, they tend to be used as ways to demonstrate someone else is wrong by fiat rather than by digging through and addressing the material itself. IOW, I feel that authority should be used as a starting point, but then questioned constantly, unless one presumes that the authority is somehow infallible. Personally, I see no sources available that are infallible and the further in time and experience we are from a source, exponentially the more fallible.

I've found it to be more a matter of asking questions as I train (of myself and others). Is my aikido martially effective? I try out my stuff & train rough & tumble with people at my dojo and in other martial arts/places (smiling and hugging makes the bruises easier to deal with). Has nothing to do with "rules" or "winning" or "competition" and everything to do with "research". If you're not researching and asking questions, then it's harder to recognize answers (which often formulate more questions ;) ) when we get them.

If you ask me, this IS the training. Without it, what are we doing?

Any rules in place should be entirely about safety, any competition, entirely about striving TOGETHER to improve rather than a combative, zero sum competition, and all winning mutual and because you are both learning rather than beating down the other person. Last weekend I was thrown a lot by my teacher, and I was a big winner as a result.

Where do spirituality and religion fit into the mix? How fundamentalist am I in either approach? Are they in harmony? Should they be? Do I need to "convert" others to my way of thinking in order to be honest in my approach? Or do I need to encourage others to follow their own "noble" path? Can there be more than one?

Since I have no direct personal experience of God, I even place all my religious training, Quranic and Biblical, on the same playing field. Since it came to me through fallible human beings, I respect and question in the same way, realizing, of course, that there are those who consider my questioning disrespectful. Let's stick to aikido here though. :)

My own honest take regarding "sparring" is that it's a training tool that gets propped up as a "wooden dummy" and manipulated to suit the aims of someone's agenda. I personally believe that people that are serious about their training are going to address it in a manner that's congruent with the aims of their training (whether it's avoiding or embracing).

My own bottom line somewhere (sorry, Madam, my dogma is showing - hooray for belief systems, we all got 'em) in there is that you need an honest means of "pressure testing" in order to build the physical capabilities to deal with real aggression and conflict. I also believe that you need to be taught basic solo and paired/partner/multiple exercises/drills/techniques that allow you to to build and refine the framework from which your eventual evolution to "no technique, instant response" will arise.

Sparring, judiciously and appropriately introduced by a good teacher, can be just one of those steps towards that specific goal.

Excellent discussion. Thanks.

Regards,

tarik
08-10-2007, 10:28 AM
Yes, doing well, thanks. Sounds like you had a good time at the clinic. I'm working hard to make the end-of-sept seminar in Portland so I can say Hi to everyone. Haven't seen some in a long time.

Sadly, I doubt I'll make that. But you never know.

Well, by technicality, yeah, it's a purely personal definition. :) But, yes, I think there is a standard it can be measured against.
_
_
_
I agree with that. Although, there are times when I've been completely wrong about some understanding I thought I had. :)


I agree with that also. Creepy, isn't it? :)

lol, maybe one of these days we'll actually meet. Being on opposite coasts is a tough hurdle, though.

It is, but knowing a lot of the same people and having similar perceptions and interests makes it more likely than not that we'll eventually meet. :)

Take care,

Erick Mead
08-10-2007, 05:19 PM
Mostly because that diverges from the founder's vision of Aikido. He didn't like the idea of a scenario where one person can "win" and another can "lose." Since sparring can lead to contests with winners and losers, no sparring.

You have to remember a martial art is not just a collection of techniques but a snapshot of whatever its founder was thinking. It doesn't matter which art you're doing; that's true of all of them. You're always getting the techniques and the founder's thinking, because if you become a teacher in that art, that's what you have to communicate.

I think the question is actually far deeper than that. The debate on "internal" strength questions and solo versus partnered practice is relevant here (and it seems, in general, that those who tend to emphasize the one -- tend also to go in for more of the sparring or competitive training).

To the extent that their points about the role of fascia and altering the body's biomechanical responses have merit (and clearly they have some merit), the training regimen of sparring may be ALL WRONG for that purpose. For a related reason, solo training in the wrong frame of mind may also be less effective than partnered training for most people. The reason is straightforwardly stated, if a bit lengthy in the follow-on exposition.

O Sensei stated it plainly, if we would listen: "True budo is love."

We are learning, apparently that the fascia tissues of the body sheathing muscles, joints, bones, organs etc. respond like ordinary muscle to use by growth, and increase their capability to contract, (only relatively recently discovered) like smooth muscle does. But increasing their physical response capability through repetitive loading is only one factor, and you first have to find the key that allows you to load them in a contracted state to prompt stress mediated growth.

Since fascia appears to act like smooth muscle it is not voluntarily controlled, but hormonally mediated via the sympathetic nervous system, chiefly the thalamus and pituitary. The "fight or flight" response is similarly a sympathetic nervous system function, but not the only one, nor as you may see, perhaps even the most important one for our purpose.

Regardless, this means that the emotive and cognitive qualities of training are at least as important to body functions involving these systems as the physicality of it. As I see the commnets in many of these discussion, increasing stress levels of training at the level of performance is at least part of what they are seeking in sparring or more competitive training. So the nature of these concepts is, well understood as having practical training impact, I think. I will suggest it is perhaps not the best however, and at a fundamental level in the cosdideration of Aikido as an art.

Peruse some of the relevant information here at your leisure: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pmcdoc/tagging-guidelines/article/subarticle-sample3.pdf
http://www.fasciaresearch.de/PerimysiumHypoth.pdf
http://www.fasciaresearch.de/wcb2006.pdf

I know what you mean about the winning. I'm pretty lucky in that most of my students try as hard as they can, but don't seem to be too attached to "winning". The problem with not trying to "win" is that you don't go as hard, and resist will all your ability, if you're not trying to win.

The problem with trying to win is, your ego gets attached to the "win" and not the training. You will do things like pervert the rules of the practice to win. Or you may become angry, and disconnected due to your desire to win.

In this aspect it is more than just ego-drive attachment to winning or avoiding loss that must be avoided. Studies show that the fascia DO NOT respond to the epinephrine/adrenal hormones of fight or flight. There are well-attested martial traditions relying on inducing these hormonal pathways, forms of "battle rage" attested around the world (Amok, Germanic berserkers, the Irish "warp-spasm" of Cuchullain) Their main advantage seems to be metabolic -- increasing the ability to maintain energy outputs at levels far higher and far longer than is normally possible. They do not, however, seem to have supernormal effects on the structural power of the body.

The hormone that does have this function is called oxytocin -- which is, as it happens -- the hormone of LOVE. Oxytocin does contract fascial myofibroblasts on relatively short period feedback cycles. It also is the only pituitary hormone that forms positive feedback loops with tissues that are mediated by its operation. It can thus can have dramatic effects on body structure and mechnical function when it is called into action.

When oxytocin commences the initial uterine (smooth muscle myometrium) contractions of childbirth, the contractions stimulate the hypothalamus through the nervous system. That in turn prompts the pituitary to secret more oxytocin. That results in further contraction, more oxytocin, etc. etc.

The studies suggest that very much the same action is indeed possible for myofascial tissues and structures. Thus, the occasionally documented, but seemingly fantastical feats of a diminutive mother lifting things like cars or other immensely large objects to free their children, may have a sound bio-mechanical basis in this understanding of the body's mechnical operaiton .

Locking her body into a lifting point of the object trapping her children, and mediated solely by a desperate and blazing desire of love and protection, the mother's body responds -- how? By releasing oxytocin, contracting the fascia in a manner like that of smooth muscle.

The same positive feed back loop stretches the immensely tough cervix ( far tougher that muscles sheathes of the body) from zero to ten centimeters in a matter of minutes or hours. As long as she maintains the pure devotion of her heart -- her body answers.
Viewed this way, her mechanical structure may functionally become something more akin to a cyclically pumped hydraulic jack, than the levered-limb action of normal loading operation.

Now, my somewhat informed speculation aside, if the fascial strengthening through hormonally mediated functions are operating (in some fashion) in what O Sensei intended aikido to be (and as the interanl arts advocates think that he did), sparring of any type is the last thing one would want to do.

Why? Because it is the desire to "win" (aggression) or to avoid "losing" (survival fear) are bside the point, since the adrenal combat regime has no effect on the fascia, and may negate other effects of the oxytocin combat regime. In competing, we are not actively trying to protect our opponent in a grim and potentially violent interaction - we are trying, even if playfully, to best him. Game playing may use some similar oxytocin bonding pathways -- but if we verge into the adrenal pathways in doing it, the benefit (at least as to the fascial considerations) is lost. It is that combination of very real possibillity of danger and the simultaneous desire to protect our partner from that danger in a selfless way that creates the environment for the suggested intensifying mechanism of "Love as Budo" Competition or sparring would that aspect make almost impossible to achieve.

Solo work may allow us to become more conscious of the body's ordinary non-voluntary uses of its fascia to alter its function as mechanism. But I am aware of no basis to suggest that the same or any similar environment can be created in solo practice focussed solely on the physical body that can create the suggested training benefit of partnered non-competitive practice, if the fascial traingi is intedend to be mediated by the sincerity of an immediately loving heart while training in a rigorous, and possibly dangerous manner.

Conversely, O Sensei's combination of his physical solo practices, chinkon kishin, for example, with his simultaneous deep contemplation and religious devotion to the expanding Love of the Divine, would likely make those same fascial contraction functions operate. It would have a similar training benefit. In Catholic tradition I might suggest that he was wrestling with angels, where he would say he was performing keiko with the kami. ;)

Regardless, without the depth of sincerity, however, it would not happen. There is no faking true love.

It also suggests that there may well be something very unique about what Aikido strives to achieve in a combative setting that does indeed set it far apart from other arts. That thing may have teeth that are belied by the language and sincere attitude of of love that makes it possible.

Anybody who thinks that true love cannot be dangerous can try being mean to a woman's children and see how "non-fruity" her loving-protection and its hormone pathway can instantly become when provoked inadvisedly. :eek: If you do this -- forget that I ever suggested it because I do not want to hunted down. Ferocity and tenacity is not the sole province of the destructive or competitive emotions.

CNYMike
08-10-2007, 08:55 PM
.... Your earlier posts implied some possible answers without stating them outright, I think in part just because this came up on a thread about sparring. So forgive me if I ask you (and others)..is sparring something that crosses the boundary (for you)?

In formal training, yes, if the organization I'm a part of says so. If it doesn't it doesn't. If it's not a part of Aikido, it's not. If I end up teaching Aikido someday, I won't deviate too much from what I've been taught.

Now, as far as whether I can take things in Aikido and see if they work out in sparring elsewhere, no that doesn't cross a line, but that would be to help me figure out where Aikido's techniques and ideas fit in in the larger context of empty hand techniques. I'd thought that I would see if I did anything in sparring that might be influenced by Aikido training, but that is easier said than done. After 22 years of martial arts, includiong 10 years of Kali which includes a lot of locks and throws, it would be almost impossible to say for certain whether any attempt at a lock that pops out is from Aikido or anywhere else. But I imagine that the longer I do Aikido, over time, I'll figure stuff out. I see a lot of the training as repetitive drilling meant to ingraine something, but what is that something? I don't know yet. Maybe, eventually, I'll figure it out.

Or maybe not.

Does that answer your question?

tarik
08-11-2007, 11:52 AM
In formal training, yes, if the organization I'm a part of says so. If it doesn't it doesn't. If it's not a part of Aikido, it's not. If I end up teaching Aikido someday, I won't deviate too much from what I've been taught.

That makes sense, certainly and sounds right, but if it's entirely what an organization does, then is that separate from what aikido is itself, or just separate than how you must/should operate to fit into your organization?

FWIW, I know of several aikido organizations that have some formal form of sparring and belong to one.

My personal sense of aikido is that it embodies a set of principles and that techniques are merely ways to express the principles and not the 'thing' itself. Training methods such as repeating specific known techniques (kata), freestyle techniques (jiyuwaza), sparring (randori in some dojo), etc. are merely the pedagogy of how to learn the principles.

I'd thought that I would see if I did anything in sparring that might be influenced by Aikido training, but that is easier said than done.

I think that we get good at what we practice. If we don't practice a thing for a specific result, we don't get good at it. I also agree with your earlier statements about ego being a problem.

I see a lot of the training as repetitive drilling meant to ingraine something, but what is that something? I don't know yet. Maybe, eventually, I'll figure it out.

I agree. My personal experience is that a lot of repetitive practice without knowing what that something is that I'm trying to ingrain will not do it well, but it's the most common way to approach it.

I'm becoming more and more of the opinion that the ideal way to learn this is to be able to articulate it and how to reproduce it and to learn from a teacher who can articulate it.

Does that answer your question?

Surely. Thanks.

Regards,

L. Camejo
08-11-2007, 12:11 PM
I was wondering, for those who engage in "sparring or competitive practices" in any aspect of your training, is it always accompanied by a desire to win or fear of losing?

Have you ever practiced in the above manner without having these feelings? If so, what other feelings may enter when sparring or practicing in a competitive manner?

Imho desire and fear are things I control and can choose or not choose to bring into any practice I partake in,

Just some ramblings in trying to get something out of the thread.

In Gassho.

DonMagee
08-11-2007, 12:56 PM
I have never had a fear of losing. If you fear losing or desire to win, you will never get any better. In fact I have lost way way more then I have ever won. Today for example, I was thrown at least 15 times by a big guy, and did not even throw him a single time. This was not a loss. I learned about some huge holes in my footwork.

tarik
08-11-2007, 02:31 PM
I was wondering, for those who engage in "sparring or competitive practices" in any aspect of your training, is it always accompanied by a desire to win or fear of losing?

Fear of losing? No. Fear of falling or getting hurt? Sometimes. Depends on who I'm training with and even then, there's still a deep level of fear that manifests as tension in my system and that simply takes time and practice to eliminate. Fortunately I like ukemi and falling and don't see them as losing and that makes working on this much easier for me.

But I've had friends who later quit training (which I guessed would happen) who would say "you won" every time they fell down instead of me. So it happens a lot.

Desire to win? Not precisely, but a desire to make technique can manifest too strongly sometimes. I try to replace it with a desire to learn as I can often learn as much from ukemi as from making technique, but again, there's a deep instinctive desire to 'win' that manifests as muscle tension and/or speed in an attempt to make technique.

Again, something that needs to be slowly eliminated so that we can replace it with an "aiki" method of making technique.

The point of the training to me is that I can recognize it and take responsibility for it and work to eliminate it. The key way is to slow down the practice to the extent that I can recognize those impulses to use the wrong methods (muscular strength and speed for instance) and have time to counteract them.

Have you ever practiced in the above manner without having these feelings? If so, what other feelings may enter when sparring or practicing in a competitive manner?

See above. I don't really care about winning or losing in any normal sense. But I don't consider it winning to just take ukemi without trying my best to recover and counter my partner without adding resistance in the form of tension or speed. The quality of my resistance and my partners resistance defines winning and losing to me, not who falls down.

Imho desire and fear are things I control and can choose or not choose to bring into any practice I partake in,

Fears? I am not able to eliminate all my fears at will, merely to decide to relax and do stuff anyway. Doing that for long enough does reduce them and maybe even makes some of them go away.

Desires? Well, I have more control over that feeling, but why train if I don't desire something, even if it's an enjoyment of training or a desire to improve my understanding of what I believe aiki might be?

Just some ramblings in trying to get something out of the thread.

Good ramblings. :)

Regards,

salim
08-11-2007, 07:46 PM
This is why sparring is important. Imagine full speed!

http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2580/

salim
08-11-2007, 07:50 PM
http://youtube.com/watch?v=i1w-8XhXutI

Tony Wagstaffe
08-12-2007, 10:05 AM
Well I can see this thread has dragged on about the why's and why nots and its always interesting to note that these kind of threads seem to draw out the underlying insecurity that a few seem to have about their aikido.

The only way to find out if your waza is effective against full resistance is to try it out with willing players.... that's if you are willing and want to do it with the minimum of risk in the dojo.... that is no guarantee that your technique will work in the street. Unless you have police enforcement experience or have been in a few unfortunate situations you will never know!! But sparring will certainly give you some edge...
No technique is absolute!

That is the answer..... spar and get used to it! Expect some injuries.... they are inevitable....

Tony

rob_liberti
03-23-2008, 09:12 AM
O Sensei stated it plainly, if we would listen: "True budo is love."
It is that combination of very real possibillity of danger and the simultaneous desire to protect our partner from that danger in a selfless way that creates the environment for the suggested intensifying mechanism of "Love as Budo" Competition or sparring would that aspect make almost impossible to achieve.

O Sensei's combination of his physical solo practices, chinkon kishin, for example, with his simultaneous deep contemplation and religious devotion to the expanding Love of the Divine, would likely make those same fascial contraction functions operate.

There is no faking true love.

It also suggests that there may well be something very unique about what Aikido strives to achieve in a combative setting that does indeed set it far apart from other arts. That thing may have teeth that are belied by the language and sincere attitude of of love that makes it possible.



When I consider "Love in combat" - I am struck with some lines from Ender's Game:

"In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again. I grind them and grind them until they don't exist."

My impression was that Osensei loved people like that and THEN chose to NOT destroy them even though he could do so easily due to a ton of solo training. :) This is all of the stuff I think about when people ask me "what is aikido?"

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
03-23-2008, 02:50 PM
I walk down the street everyday, as well as everyone else, aikido or no aikido, people make that "choice" everyday. I could easily go home get my gun and go out and destroy people at will, at least until someone stopped me. Doesn't take much skill to destroy or to not destroy or to make that choice on some scale, consciously or unconsciously.

No there is more to aikido, love and compassion than this I think.

It has something to do with removing hate and making people and themselves see things in ways they may not have considered before.

choice to destroy or not to destroy is very rudimentary. Not much skill involved there, IMO

rob_liberti
03-23-2008, 11:21 PM
Hi Kevin. Just to be clear I believe for that analogy to be the appropriate (in my view anyway) I would say someone would have to be walking down the street, and decide to hurt you. You have far superior (fire) power than they do. If when you are dealing with that you LOVE them due to compassion then I think we are back on the same track.

If you decide to do the solo training stuff and make some big progress there - and then bring that to partner practice such that you are dealing with all physical (non fire arm) attacks while loving your attacker them due to compassion and you get a performance increase due to that - I would say you are nearing my view of wha aikido is (these days anyway).

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
03-24-2008, 06:53 AM
Rob,

Not sure I am following you exactly. Appologize if I get it wrong.

If I have superior fire power than they. I can choose to NOT use it on them for a couple of reasons. 1. I simply don't want to go to jail. 2. I am indifferent, and they haven't pissed me off. 3. I have genuine compassion and value for life.

It might be hard to tell by an outsider. It also may be hard to tell yourself why you did not do it. It is possible to be deluded and think you are doing it out of love, but you are simply deluded by your own emotions.

Conversely, it is also possible to kill/destroy compassionately too. That is, the killing might stop a greater harm from occuring.

It gets tricky. Many wars have been started for the wrong reasons (using love as justification). A few have been avoided for the wrong reasons. The Dali Lama has stated that he sometimes regrets his in-action against the Chinese if he would have been able to predict the level of suffering and crimes against humanity that his people have suffered.

All I am saying is that Love and Compassion can be very complicated issues

I think I agree with your view on your aikido practice looking at your last paragraph.

I think the core of aikido does center around authentic love and compassion, I think philosophically it is what makes aikido distinct in many respects and should drive the train in practice.

The internal and external skills that we practice are simply tools to get a deeper understanding of that perspective, paradigm what not.

They are detached, not related..any more than a hammer is related to a competed house.

Agreed the internal practice should serve to increase your understanding of love and compassion.

However, it may or may not, IMO. Anymore than a hammer or even expensive japanese wood tools would help you become a master craftsman in building a house.

No argument with you Rob, just diving deeper in the subject.

Daniel Blanco
03-24-2008, 02:16 PM
Looking for a responce to knee injuries or any injuries related to training.

Kevin Leavitt
03-24-2008, 10:14 PM
Knee Injuries? In this thread?

Michael Godawski
03-25-2008, 05:30 PM
one of my teachers once said wise words:

in the real life the attacker comes always from behind.
and

you are not going to learn how to fight in aikido

wise words

you cannot "train" real life situation in my humble option.
furthermore from time to time I do some stronger attack on some more experienced aikidokas in my dojo and I must say if I would attack with real intention I would deliver myself into hospital

there is a reason why we pay so much attention during training

be gentle it's my first post here

Kevin Leavitt
03-25-2008, 08:52 PM
Welcome Michael.

I agree many attacks are ambushes and/or suprises.

There are situations and scenarios that can be trained and that you can develop skills to better mitigate or effect the outcome.

Do we train that way in aikido? Some might, some might not. Overall I'd say that is generally not the main reason for studying aikido.

rob_liberti
03-25-2008, 09:10 PM
If I have superior fire power than they. I can choose to NOT use it on them for a couple of reasons. 1. I simply don't want to go to jail. 2. I am indifferent, and they haven't pissed me off. 3. I have genuine compassion and value for life.

I meant option 3. I understand what you mean about compassion-confusion. I just posted about that topic
here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=202242#post202242).

As far as the teacher who said "you are not going to learn how to fight in aikido" - all I can say is come to my class in a few years. :)

Rob

Cyrijl
03-26-2008, 08:24 AM
Ron,
( This is meant seriously.) How is your class taught differently from Gleason's that you teach how to fight whereas his school doesn't?

Michael Godawski
03-26-2008, 09:09 AM
let me clarify
the sentence "you won't learn how to fight in aikido" is much more complicated as it seems to be.

of course I know aikido can be a devastating killing art when applied with the right intention, technique and power.

but in the long run it is not the aim of aikido to create killing machines... from time to time during the training I catch a glimpse of what aikido is really like

sometimes I feel like :" man this move applied faster and a little bit stronger and I am guest in a hospital for a long time"

sometimes, and that are the big moments I just realize how wonderful the interaction between nage and uke is, that aikido is truly an art which allows you to leave the earth for just a few seconds of breakfall

DonMagee
03-26-2008, 03:07 PM
I usually do get the feel of "If someone could pull this off against someone trying to hurt them, oh man would they lay down the pain." But usually, no matter how perfect I get it when I do train in aikido (which admittedly is not as often as it should be), when I take it to the sparing mat in a judo/bjj/mma/whatever context, it falls flat and is easily overcome by my partner.

The failing is either in the technique, in me, or in the training method. I suspect it's a good bit of the last two and a little bit of the first one. I base this on the fact that my bjj and judo work (which I train more often) so my lack of aikido training is to blame. When I modify the aikido techniques I know to be 'rougher' with more judo like unbalancing and technique, it becomes easier (so the the technique seems more efficient to me, example, rather then making the guy fall with arms only, I slide in a hip or a leg and he has no choice.). And I've done bjj and judo a lot less then I did aikido and i'm more effective in them, so the aikido training method does not teach me as efficiently.

rob_liberti
03-26-2008, 09:29 PM
Ron,
( This is meant seriously.) How is your class taught differently from Gleason's that you teach how to fight whereas his school doesn't?

I believe you mean me right?

My classes are different from Gleason sensei's classes in that he is really great at aikido and I'm not. :)

However, part of his greatness is that he doesn't mind what else I train.

I guess the time comes when you just know its time to take full responsibility for your own training. I still look to him for aikido lessons - don't get me wrong. But after a while it's not helpful to him or me if I continue to look to him to spoon feed me. That wastes his time and mine and lumps me in as someone just there to be part of the martial arts wallpaper so to speak.

My goal like all good students is to grow beyond my teacher(s). To that end, I've been working out with Dan Harden learning his internal training exercises and how to apply that to MMA. And I work on how to apply that to the aikido that Gleason sensei has been teaching me as well.

Since I've been on this tack, a lot of the things that Gleason sensei has been showing me make a lot more sense and I can do those things a lot better. Lessons about kotegaishi for example where your body is doing some things all at the same time while you're cutting them with your mind make a lot more sense since I've been directly training intention.

With Gleason sensei, Ikeda Sensei and Saotome sensei, etc. passing out my teachers is a tall order! Just training the same way they are teaching and training themselves is certainly not going to do it. These guys are still training themselves and they are making more progress at a faster rate.

So, in order to be a good student I feel I MUST look for an alternate methodology to try to challenge them and actually contribute to their growth or even dare I say pass them and turn them on to something they would not have considered otherwise.
If that means I need to approach this from a more martial angle then so be it.

If it turns out that I am totally off base in my approach, I have some great teachers to help set me straight. And that would be well worth it too.

Rob

Stefan Stenudd
03-27-2008, 02:52 AM
About sparring in aikido:
I think the difficult thing is to keep it aikido, also when sparring, doing randori, or taninzugake, et cetera.
A lot of what I have seen becomes some kind of chaotic wrestling, where it is hard to see who is tori and who is uke - that is, who is using, and who is not using, aiki principles.

Also, aikido techniques applied with full speed and power are quite dangerous to attackers who resist. I have heard that this is one reason for many of them being excluded from judo.

Aikido is often done in the "premise" of a duel - two persons facing each other, and both respectful of the other's abilities. That is an interesting situation, found in most traditional martial arts. Like two samurai at chudan kamae.
You don't just rush into something like that.

Often, attackers in randori and such jump in, safe in the knowledge that tori will not strike them or hurt them in any other way. That is nice, but also it makes a "premise" that is quite unreal - and to the disadvantage of tori, whose movements and techniques are not respected for what they represent.
For this and many other reasons, any kind of "free fighting" in aikido is not that free, and it tends to expose weaknesses in aikido that might not be real.

phitruong
03-27-2008, 07:55 AM
With Gleason sensei, Ikeda Sensei and Saotome sensei, etc. passing out my teachers is a tall order! Just training the same way they are teaching and training themselves is certainly not going to do it. These guys are still training themselves and they are making more progress at a faster rate.

Rob

vietnamese has a saying "learn one, understand ten". the way to catch up with those teachers would be if they show you one thing, you have to figure out what 10 other things implied in that one thing. at least, that is my plan and I'll stick to that approach. ok. back to solo training program in progress.

Cyrijl
03-27-2008, 09:22 AM
Sorry rob, I am a horrible typer. I didn't realize I missed the 'b' for an 'n'.

Thank you for answering my question. I guess a follow up would be, how are you training for MMA? Do you do this though your own dojo in the aikido classes you teach or as separate classes?

Kevin Leavitt
03-27-2008, 10:42 AM
Phil wrote:

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
With Gleason sensei, Ikeda Sensei and Saotome sensei, etc. passing out my teachers is a tall order! Just training the same way they are teaching and training themselves is certainly not going to do it. These guys are still training themselves and they are making more progress at a faster rate.

Rob
vietnamese has a saying "learn one, understand ten". the way to catch up with those teachers would be if they show you one thing, you have to figure out what 10 other things implied in that one thing. at least, that is my plan and I'll stick to that approach. ok. back to solo training program in progress.

The catch to all this is that based on the way DO arts are designed, taught, and structured...you will never catch them.

Ron Tisdale
03-27-2008, 11:43 AM
Hi Stefan,

Aikido is often done in the "premise" of a duel - two persons facing each other, and both respectful of the other's abilities. That is an interesting situation, found in most traditional martial arts. Like two samurai at chudan kamae.
You don't just rush into something like that.

The problem today is, most aikidoka don't seem to have the kind of power empty handed to hold off an attacker and make them show that same caution. If you take away the blade (weapon), can we still express the kind of power that enforces that respect?

Ueshiba could...Shioda could...Tohei could...can we? What did they train to give themselves access to that power? How can we train that?

Best,
Ron

Stefan Stenudd
03-27-2008, 12:27 PM
If you take away the blade (weapon), can we still express the kind of power that enforces that respect?
Ueshiba could...Shioda could...Tohei could...can we? What did they train to give themselves access to that power? How can we train that?
Actually, I am more interested in training the attitude that makes attackers lose their will to attack, at all. The very relaxed state of mind that makes aggression melt away.
I'm working on it ;)

As for the power that creates enough respect from the attacker for him or her to be naturally cautious, I guess it is done by attitude and kiai - the ability to focus all one's energy in one direction, on one purpose.
Atemi, for example, can be trained to develop that effect. It needs to be trained, of course - no mere waving of a hand, but exact striking techniques with spirit and focus.
As Nishio sensei said: atemi no kokyu.

Cyrijl
03-27-2008, 01:06 PM
As for the power that creates enough respect from the attacker for him or her to be naturally cautious, I guess it is done by attitude and kiai - the ability to focus all one's energy in one direction, on one purpose.
Atemi, for example, can be trained to develop that effect. It needs to be trained, of course - no mere waving of a hand, but exact striking techniques with spirit and focus.

Can you explain/give an example in more concrete terms?

Kevin Leavitt
03-27-2008, 04:16 PM
Ron wrote:

The problem today is, most aikidoka don't seem to have the kind of power empty handed to hold off an attacker and make them show that same caution. If you take away the blade (weapon), can we still express the kind of power that enforces that respect?

Hey Ron,

I know where you are coming from (or heading too) :)

Just want to point out that you have to be careful with this logic though...you have to focus on the "endstate".

If your endstate is to simply "stop" or to "Show power" or "hold off an attacker"...that can be done possibly with realitively low or little skill..or skills that many would define as "External" power.

Why bother at all with Budo (aikido) if this is honestly the endstate? Sticks, guns, and size can be great weapons and equalizers.

rob_liberti
03-27-2008, 05:26 PM
Actually, I am more interested in training the attitude that makes attackers lose their will to attack, at all. The very relaxed state of mind that makes aggression melt away.
I'm working on it ;)

As for the power that creates enough respect from the attacker for him or her to be naturally cautious, I guess it is done by attitude and kiai - the ability to focus all one's energy in one direction, on one purpose.
Atemi, for example, can be trained to develop that effect. It needs to be trained, of course - no mere waving of a hand, but exact striking techniques with spirit and focus.
As Nishio sensei said: atemi no kokyu.

I'm totally into training that attitude. But my approach is to develop that from the position where Ron is suggesting - that my distance is respected empty-handed as if I had a knife.

Kevin, I believe that these teachers learned body skills in a "slower" way than I'm hoping my current approach. They all had the combination of being very talented, extremely hard workers who had the rare opportunity to have concentrated years in with people who they could pick up body integrity by means of kinesthetic perception. I'm not as talented. My concentrated exposure to people as integrated as their training partners is not in the same league. So I just have 1 option left. I need to find a faster/more direct approach. And as I said that is a tall order. But it's my responsibility to seek that out and try to contribute/give back to the best of my ability.

I really do not know how I will bring MMA to my aikido classes. But I'm sure like everyone else I'll bring what I have to class. I have to really clarify certain principles - which I'll be looking to my teachers for - and then I assume I'll just try to bring into my normal class more an more things that I think will help. And I'm quite sure that real fighting can be taught with aikido principles in mind - with no competition. I'm not sure what happens when BOTH uke and nage have strong internal skills and MMA experience and are protecting their aggressors. It will be interesting. But I really expect I'll find out sooner than later.

Rob

Stefan Stenudd
03-27-2008, 07:22 PM
Can you explain/give an example in more concrete terms?
I thought that I was rather concrete. I will try to be more specific.

For the opponent to be cautious before attacking - if that is intended (and there are other ways, perhaps superior ones):

A straight and proud posture is quite intimidating and makes the attacker hesitate before charging. If you focus on the attacker, he or she becomes more wary than if you do not.
If instead you apply a defensive posture, it tends to make the attacker feel superior.
Depending on how it is done, hanmigamae is sort of defensive, whereas a straight kamae, where your center is directed right at the opponent, is not.

As for atemi, it should be done with a lot of force behind it (even if it is not intended to hit, but only to create a reaction), and aimed at a specific weak spot of the attacker. It should also be done quickly, to create a surprise - and to hinder the attacker from finding time to block it.
Of course, sometimes atemi is used to trigger a block, which is in turn used to do the aikido technique. Still, the atemi has to be convincing. Otherwise the attacker might ignore it.

So, whether you intend to actually strike the attacker or not, the atemi should be done in such a way that it would be efficient as an actual strike. Speed, power, aim, and all that. Also make sure that the kind of atemi you make is suitable for the strike in question (sometimes a fist, sometimes a spear hand, sometimes the ridge of the hand, and so on).
The atemi will create more of a reaction if it is credible. That takes training and precision.

Kevin Leavitt
03-27-2008, 08:47 PM
Rob, I am certainly no expert at how they got to where they got. The ones I have found to be good for the most part all seemed to start young and developed a good, sound base in more resistive arts such as judo, kendo, greco-roman wrestling...competitive arts.

I am always curious as to why people think competitive models are not good. All the best artist I know seem to begin this way. The timing, speed, distance etc get trained very well.

Is it because we assume people are too dense or ignorant to understand the difference between competition and reality? I have not found this to be the case.

For me, the fast more direct route is to produce more opportunities for failure. That is, train in environments where you are held accountable and must work very, very hard to succeed. For many, BJJ has proven to be such an environment. Not that I am advocating BJJ over anything else simply that it does represent such an environment that holds you very accountable and seems to produce competence at a much faster rate. Judo seems to do good in the area too.

Don Magee mentioned something in the last couple of days that many might have missed.."Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". That is insane!

It is also why I don't believe you will grow simply by doing more ikkyos the same way, in the same manner over and over. Yes, you can get better at ikkyo, and you will learn somethings, but once you change the dynamics, you will fall apart again because you have to process the new conditions that were introduced.

So, if you train in a very regimented, linear fashion...you will produce exactly that a regimented, linear student! We percieve we have learned alot when in fact we have simply learned how to do the things we do in the conditions and parameters we worked under.

I think this is why our Good shihans are so good, they have failed alot. They experimented alot. Asked Why alot, and constantly broke themselves down and constantly re-wired.

When you talk about "real fighitng" I am not really sure if you and I have the same definition..it is always a tricky subject to talk about.

From my experiences in training Soldiers in Combatives, which is very based on sound principles, I have found competitive models to work very well as it presents the right amount of resistance, the right amount of restraints for safety, a set of rules and conditions that we all agree to which allows us to meet together and train very hard. I have also found that people can correctly interpret this learning to reality.

The key is though to keep things in the proper perspective. When you become totally sport oriented, there are many short cuts you take in your training to focus on efficiency in winning. There may be other things that you are weak in if you do this, but again, people are fairly smart and can typically adapt.

Sounds like you and I may have many of the same goals in mind when we look at our own training and what end states we hope to acheive. Are you coming down to DC for the Aunkai seminar by chance?

Erick Mead
03-27-2008, 11:31 PM
The problem today is, most aikidoka don't seem to have the kind of power empty handed to hold off an attacker and make them show that same caution. If you take away the blade (weapon), can we still express the kind of power that enforces that respect? ... my approach is to develop that from the position where Ron is suggesting - that my distance is respected empty-handed as if I had a knife. Whether aikido, or knives, I do not see that kind of deterrence model as really operating, at kind of a fundamental level. And that actually encapsulates my basic question with this approach. Although, perhaps I have your meaning wrong.

The rule of knives is "What knife?" Never let 'em see the knife. Aikido is much more in that mode of budo. To my mind, aikido is not interested in having distance respected by an attacker -- to the contrary, in fact. Inviting (or even prompting) attack within my sphere, and therefore placing him closer to the limits of his own. The strategy of deterrence does not seem really applicable to proper use of knives or aikido.

Erick Mead
03-27-2008, 11:52 PM
..."Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result". That is insane!

It is also why I don't believe you will grow simply by doing more ikkyos the same way, in the same manner over and over. I think I can honestly say that I have not performed ikkyo in the same way in the last ten years.

So, if you train in a very regimented, linear fashion...you will produce exactly that a regimented, linear student! Who said linear and regimented? So says the Army guy? [Says the naval aviator ;)]

I think this is why our Good shihans are so good, they have failed alot. They experimented alot. Asked Why alot, and constantly broke themselves down and constantly re-wired. Here we agree. The question is whetehr you learn more by honestly and critically evaluating failure only you yourself can perceive, or whether you learn more when your failure is only perceptible or manifest when actively opposed.

Both ways have risks associated with self-delusion. Solipsism or narcissism is the risk of the non-competitive approach, and justly criticized where it occurs. But the competitive approach risks self-delusion too. The limits of important errors or failures are not wholly defined by those perceived or occurring in besting opponents or being bested. Being ruthlessly self-critical is the most important part of either approach.

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2008, 04:39 AM
Erick Mead wrote:

Both ways have risks associated with self-delusion. Solipsism or narcissism is the risk of the non-competitive approach, and justly criticized where it occurs. But the competitive approach risks self-delusion too. The limits of important errors or failures are not wholly defined by those perceived or occurring in besting opponents or being bested. Being ruthlessly self-critical is the most important part of either approach

Absolutely...self criticism and accountability are what is important.

Definition of Solipsism for those that don't know. I had never seen that word before! I learn something new everyday!

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

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2008, 04:42 AM
Oh, forgot to comment on this:

It's not that doing ikkyo over and over that is the problem, there are valuable things to learn from doing ikkyo. The issue arises when we have expectations that doing it over and over will produce results that it was never intended to convey.

phitruong
03-28-2008, 07:22 AM
The rule of knives is "What knife?" Never let 'em see the knife. Aikido is much more in that mode of budo. To my mind, aikido is not interested in having distance respected by an attacker -- to the contrary, in fact. Inviting (or even prompting) attack within my sphere, and therefore placing him closer to the limits of his own. The strategy of deterrence does not seem really applicable to proper use of knives or aikido.

I agreed with Erick in this point. Why would I want my attacker be caution of me? If my attacker is caution of me, then he/she will start to think of ways to deal with me, which then makes me do more work than I want to. I want my attacker to think me as someone who he/she/it can overpower and destroy. If this is a military strategy, I want my enemy to completely underestimate my strength and capability.

phitruong
03-28-2008, 07:34 AM
Those martial arts great the like of OSensei, Shioda, Tohei had been in pressure cooker and it changed them. For example, OSensei killed enough people with a blade to know that human fat will eventually slow the cutting blade (read this somewhere). The good martial arts folks give off vibe that said "don't mess with me". The great martial arts folks like Osensei gave off a vibe that said "mess with me and you die". The truly great martial arts folks give off vibe like normal and harmless so they can sell you hotdog, eggroll, or shine your shoes.

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2008, 07:43 AM
Sometimes you want him to underestimate you, sometimes not. It depends on many factors and the desired outcome. You certainly don't want to goad an attacker that can beat you, no matter what you are hiding.

Philosophically, I don't think we want to goad someone into attacking in a situation where we could prevent unnecessary violence or attacks.

Certainly, you don't want to advertise all your options.

But as you state, if the attack is inevitable, deception is certainly a very viable option to use!

DonMagee
03-28-2008, 07:54 AM
I am always amused when I say something in jest, forget that I say it, find it later and realize it's kinda profound.

But it is true. In a bjj context, I played my closed guard almost exclusively for a long time. I would start a match, pull guard and submit. Then one day I was in a match and my opponent sat down before I could grip him and pull guard. I tried to pass and realized that I had never tried to pass an open guard in a match before, and I truely (even though I had done a billion open guard pass drills) did not know how (I had maybe 6 or 7 months training at this point). I realized I had almost never passed the guard even in sparing. I was either on top, or they were in my guard.

So what did I do? After that match I went back and practiced passing the open guard, again without sparing, just the drills (although some a bit resistance drills). Then one day, I'm with a blue belt, he pulls open guard out and again, I'm stumped. It was a direct example of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

It was at that point that I started putting myself in these situations on purpose in sparing just to work on these areas. I realized that just drilling that area was not improving my ability to pass the guard. I looked freaking awesome in the drills, but I did not have the 'real world' experience to adapt to my opponent. Now I constantly try new approaches to training and constantly test new ideas. A lot of times I'm getting submitted or pinned, but that's the breaks when you are trying to learn.

Cephallus
03-28-2008, 10:26 AM
When you talk about "real fighitng" I am not really sure if you and I have the same definition..it is always a tricky subject to talk about.


I have never been in a 'real fight' with someone who used any identifiable form of martial technique. My guess is that it's because people who learn fighting techniques for the sake of sport or art have better control over their use of force...but that's another topic. The times I've been involved in physical altercations with people (ok, there have been a few...) it was basically the same techniques every time - they either came head down and straight in with arms flailing, or attacked from behind.

Walking out of a party once (long ago, late teens or so), a guy ran up behind us and smashed my buddy's elbow with a cut-down baseball bat, after a relatively-minor verbal exchange earlier in the evening. They guy had obviously waited a couple of hours for us to leave, and planned a place to wait in the dark to surprise us. Several screws and a plate were required to fix the elbow, and the guy disappeared as quickly as he appeared. How do you train for something like that, other than mental training for martial vigilance? Another guy I know was mugged. He'd just left work and was walking (in a nicer area of LA) when someone stepped out of an alley and hit him in the back of the head with a blackjack. He was out cold immediately, and had no recollection of the entire event, other than waking up with people standing around him.

I'm just beginning my aikido training, so I take the 'scenarios' played out in our instruction with a grain of salt. The, "if I move this way, they attacker is naturally going to try to raise his hand and duck, putting himself off-balance." The truth is, in most of those scenarios, the attacker is not going to do anything but continue to try to smash you with whatever he has handy, as rapidly as he can. I've seen it in 'real life' over and over again.

So I guess my question is why would you need sparring in a non-competitive martial art? In my opinion, and this is based on participating in other competitive fighting arts (boxing and wrestling), sparring prepares you to compete in a sport that involves those skills, but does little to prepare you for 'real life' encounters.

DonMagee
03-28-2008, 11:14 AM
Sparing teaches you the timing, speed, and ability requires to truly use what you have been drilling. It is one of the best teaching tools to develop speed and timing. Further, it allows you to work to actively see openings in attacks, read and lead attackers, it prevents any kind of arguments about ego (he knew what I was going to do, so he just stopped me arguments). It takes away all excuses except for your own lack or strength of ability. Sparing gives you a chance to learn to deal with pressure much closer to a real life fight. The person is going to come at you and not stop unless your technique is truly effective.

Combative sports (boxing, wrestling, mma, bjj, judo, etc) are just subsets of types of encounters one might face in the real world. They are not complete encounters, but a subset. Learning to work in these subsets expands into other subsets and the whole. For example, learning judo will teach you how to throw people who are grabbing, pushing, pulling, tripping, and aggressively trying to throw, control, pin, choke, armbar, etc you. If you can get good at this, you quickly find it is very easy to employ these skills outside of a judo match. Even with my horrible striking skills I still have very little problem eating a few shots, taking my opponent down and controlling the fight from there. This is why wrestlers did so well in the early days of MMA without any striking training. They had developed skills though their sport that are easily applied to other areas of a fight.

What else can sparing give you? First, a never quit attitude. Bas Rutten tells a story about getting hit in the head with a bat with a nail in it from behind. He won the fight then removed the bat from his skull. Now Bas is not an average guy, but I find it hard to believe he was born with that ability. It was probably developed from years of VERY hard competition and sparing in the sports he has been a champion in. The second thing he probably learned from his sparing and competition is how to not crack under pressure. Even though he had probably never trained or sparred under the premise that he would be fighting with a bat stuck in his skull via a nail, he immediately was able to react and fight even under duress. Again, he's not a normal human, hit most of us with a bat from behind and I bet we are out cold. The premise however still holds.

I had a conflict once outside of a club where a guy was walking at me yelling. His hands were in his pockets. He quickly pulled his hands out and i thought he might have a weapon or might attack me. I grabed him and threw him. He defended in a way 100% unlike anything any bjj/mma/judo guy would ever try (mainly because it would never work) he started pushing away as I turned to throw. In a kata situation, he would of went with my throw, or done a set movement that I would of known the answer to, in sparing he would of enganged and attempted to throw me, but this was neither and he did neither. Because of my training however I could feel his switch in balance and without even thinking (I mean this whole encounter from my grab to the throw was probably not even a second) I switched and threw him with a throw that would work against his resistance. In fact I can't even tell you what throw I was going to do or what throw I did do to take him down, it was that fast. Knee on belly, I calmed him down and walked away.

This is something best taught though sparing. Especially though sparing beginners of all sizes. You learn how to deal with the unexpected. Though trying new things (as opposed to only trying to win) you learn how to make people react and how people respond for real when they think that if they don't respond they will get hurt (and they are right). Then, when the unexpected happens, you don't even bat an eye.

i guess if i can choke someone who is doing everything in their power to stop me, then I am prepared to choke most anyone.

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2008, 03:22 PM
Aaron wrote:

so I guess my question is why would you need sparring in a non-competitive martial art? In my opinion, and this is based on participating in other competitive fighting arts (boxing and wrestling), sparring prepares you to compete in a sport that involves those skills, but does little to prepare you for 'real life' encounters.

Just giving Don props on the subject. Yea, what he said. Sparring is about teaching correct and appropriate responses interjecting time, speed etc into the equation. It is the way we can safely practice at a speed and conditions approximating some degree of reality.

Aaron also wrote:

ey guy had obviously waited a couple of hours for us to leave, and planned a place to wait in the dark to surprise us. Several screws and a plate were required to fix the elbow, and the guy disappeared as quickly as he appeared. How do you train for something like that, other than mental training for martial vigilance?

Good point, one I like to make quite often. that is the catch to all of this.

I think about the best you can do is train for "point of failure". that is the mentality that BJJ starts from. Much of the practice we do in BJJ assumes failure, that you have been put in a bad position and now must mitigate things as best as possible.

Certainly there are things you can't control, and it may not be your day. I also think it is too fatalistic to simply throw your hands up in the air and simply give up and submit.

Again, not trying to promote BJJ, it simply is a frame of reference that does a good job of addressing the whole sparring issue in the context of this subject.

Cyrijl
03-28-2008, 03:25 PM
In addition, who is more likely to absorb a sucker punch? Someone who gets punched regularly, or someone who never gets punched and has no idea how to react. People who spar regularly seem to be in better shape in most cases.

Kevin Leavitt
03-28-2008, 03:37 PM
Yes I agree Joseph. When training my soldiers, we would condition them to get punched in the face and to respond by immediately moving into the vortex of the fight....not stting there grabbing their nose going "oh my god i just got hit....it hurts".

It is not a good time to get hit for the first time when it is for keeps.

rob_liberti
03-30-2008, 07:37 AM
I do hope to make it down to the DC area for that event.
I had a long VERY long discussion on aikiweb a few years back about cooperative verses competitive model. It turned out that both sides were doing almost the same training - progressive resistance - and calling it one of the polar extremes. :)

Both sides of this orientation have a price. The competitive model has the price of going so quickly to smooth and valuable external skills that there is little chance of any internal skills getting burned in - and actually I think you are working against what I really want for myself by going that route first. The cooperative model certainly has the price of high probability of delusion along with "slightly less obvious external skills" being burned in - also more often than not working against what I really want for myself.

So there is no easy answer. I favor starting out much more cooperative. I feel that the entire point is to be level appropriate with specific goals in mind - my specific goal is to be the MOST effective for the long run - which means I have to develop internal skills more deeply even if that means I'll be initially less effective than I would if I just went to the BJJ school up the street.

In aikido, if you cannot give the people the skills to deal with much more random attacks of varying intensity and resistance when they are at ANY old age then I feel you are doing them a disservice in introducing that stuff to them too early and working against that.

About sucker punches - teach a bunch of beginners bokken and get back to me on that. I remember a funny experience with me stupidly attempting to teach where to strike by moving my sword in to the blocking position first! I moved and said - now, yoko ashi. WHAM! I shook off the crack to my head and said "okay, ashi means foot". Then I went home and thought I just took a full swing to the head with a hunk of wood and shook it off. I guess this stuff builds more touchness than I realized. (But I admit I keep my sword pointed at beginners middles now, and block whereever they stike now!)

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
03-30-2008, 08:08 AM
Hope to see you there Rob.

I doubt it makes much difference as long as you are hitting the three areas you mention. Competitive models or Alive models for timing speed and distance and external skills. Cooperative as a bridge to link internal and external. and Solo work as the core of developing the structure to understand internal skills.

At least that is how I see it and how I am trying to spend my training time these days.

Josh Reyer
03-30-2008, 08:13 AM
For you, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJwNW087HSw) Rob. (French dub was all I could find...)

Erick Mead
03-30-2008, 08:59 AM
For you, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJwNW087HSw) Rob. (French dub was all I could find...) If I am very much mistaken .. that is a descendant of the hallowed Terii-Sutūjesu Ryu -- the Rarimōshempu no kata.

Bill Danosky
03-30-2008, 11:29 AM
Aikido techniques can be highly effective if repetitive training has stored them in your repertoire and you use them automatically. In a real life situation usually you have to think back afterward to even know what technique you used.

I think it doesn't work if you try to think ahead what you're going to do next. To me, mushin (no mind) means to train until it's "in you" and trust yourself to react the right way if you want to win.

I'd also humbly sugget that aikidoka get into trouble when they make a pretense of using only Aikido in a situation, and thereby eliminate all the non-Aikido technique that might work perfectly. Do you guys think so?

Kevin Leavitt
03-30-2008, 12:01 PM
yes...I think so Bill.

rob_liberti
03-30-2008, 12:30 PM
I agree. I just think you want to be careful about what you burn in.

DonMagee
03-31-2008, 07:14 AM
This is why I stress training methods over techniques. Training methods build fighters, techniques just supply tools. It shouldn't take years to finally use a technique. An experienced fighter should be able to easily see something new and integrate it into his toolbox easily with the right training method.

I saw this just last weekend in the aikido class I sometimes frequent. They were doing a resistance drill where uke pushes nage against the wall, and nage attempts to escape. This turned into a struggle where nage and uke were hunched over trying to make something work. I could see easy HUGE openings for judo technqiues (mostly footsweeps, and even tai otoshi). I commented on this, and it was dismissed almost immediately as a waste of time. When pressed, I was put in a unrealistic situation to demonstrate. I decided not to press the issue and rather then throw my uke, just push him off the wall and show that I could turn in for the throw without his resistance effecting me. Nobody there noticed. It was interesting. I pushed the guy off the wall, turn into a harai and stop. I'm told that is not a foot sweep. When I try to explain the situation changed with me and the openings I saw were not there (the uke felt worried to me and was just holding me at arms length keeping careful distance, hips low not pushing or pulling) the idea was again dismissed. People with sparing backgrounds would of understood my point. It was disheartening. I prefer to use what works for the situation, be it ikkyo or harai.

I've also been teaching a Saturday morning judo class for a while now. Our normal teacher is on frequent business trips for his real job and makes in about once a month, so 3 times a month I'm on my own. I take this job very serious, just as serious as the college courses I teach. I could of just stayed the course and teach as my sensei's teach. However, I decided to study the results of my students and others that I observe in competition and video. What I have started doing is basically removing uchi komi from my judo classes. We used to do hundreds of uchi komi followed by a small amount of nage komi and randori. Now, once a student has reached green belt, I do not expect more then 5-10 uchi komi per throw. Instead we do static nage komi, moving nage komi, pushing or pulling nage komi (where uke is pushing or pulling as it makes sense for the technique), then situational or full on randori as time allows). The problem I saw was too many students would fit in perfect for the throw then not throw. This is because this is how they trained every day. If you do 500 uchi komi and only 10 throws which do you think sticks more? Now we do 5-10 uchi komi and 50-75 throws. Not to mention, if you are not throwing properly, you learn quickly when you quickly wear out. Of course with beginners we still focus on the most important part of the throw, breaking balance and fitting in. Once I changed this in my classes, I've witnessed the largest leap in skill I've seen out of the students who show up. There are some now I can no longer reliably beat in randori and I consider equals. The only thing that makes me their teacher and not their training partner is that I still now some throws, setups, counters, and tricks left to teach them (and I'm much better at remembering all that silly japaneese). But when it comes to a match on the mat, they are just as likely to get that ippon as I am. So these guys have reached in a year an ability to throw that took me four.

In terms of internal skill. I can't comment on it. I no longer concern myself with it. I don't know if there is anything to gain from sparing when trying to build internal skills. I have however witnessed guys who do martial arts tricks (take punches to the throw, be heavy and unliftable etc). They have always taken a second to prepare. One thing I've learned from sparing, you don't have time to prepare, only act and react.

rob_liberti
04-02-2008, 06:29 PM
Whether aikido, or knives, I do not see that kind of deterrence model as really operating, at kind of a fundamental level. And that actually encapsulates my basic question with this approach. Although, perhaps I have your meaning wrong.

The rule of knives is "What knife?" Never let 'em see the knife. Aikido is much more in that mode of budo. To my mind, aikido is not interested in having distance respected by an attacker -- to the contrary, in fact. Inviting (or even prompting) attack within my sphere, and therefore placing him closer to the limits of his own. The strategy of deterrence does not seem really applicable to proper use of knives or aikido.

I was more considering the kamikazi type attackers. I like the idea of being able to hit them with a fight-ending strike if need be. Internally-powered striking is just a power boost. Having a knife also give you more power to inflict damage. They both have the similar deterrence effect on me. I simply don't want either to happen to me. The more ability you have to put an attacker in that kind of mindset where they don't want to get hit by you, it seems like the easier it would be for things that more closely resemble waza to happen.

I agree with the move first after he moves idea. That seems to jive a lot better with the internal-aiki training I've been doing.

Also, I've been asked to elaborate on my previous comment about being careful what you burn in. I find that people have a tendency to burn in what is more immediately effective which is rarely what will be best when you are much older. There are levels of this. Some people burn in tightness and muscles. Some burn in external techniques. Some people burn in the move your center first and then the rest of your body - which tends to wreak havoc on joints as they grow older. I'm trying to burn in a full body movement. I want to use 100% of my weight (in general) plus any momentum bonuses if I want. I find myself re-learning how to do very basic movements like swinging a sword. If I tried to apply this to fighting right now, I'd be a mess and falling back to what I could access quickly to save myself would be working against what I'm trying to burn in to myself. That's the danger of the competitive model - it tends to burn things in before I would would imagine anyone can possibly have a chance to learn to move in the integrated way I am looking to move myself. (As previously stated, the cooperative model of course devoid of the ruthless self-criticism and good instruction of integrated teachers results in a different type of delusion even though it is most likely unintentional on all counts.)

Lastly, while I agree that we should consider effectiveness in aikido class - I've been annoyed in the past by many a judo person trying to tell me about what's what with aikido. I never go to judo class and do that. I like judo. I like aikido. I know most aikido is more delusional than judo but make no mistake, judo is generally delusional too - just a bit less so than aikido. :) If you don't believe me, go find Dan Harden and try your best judo throws on him.

I'm really not trying to be a Dan Harden fanboy. I'm actually a Bill Gleason sensei fanboy. He just dropped the weight of a building on me using arms that that resembled wet noodles. I have NO IDEA what he is doing to do that and I think I'm supposed to understand that by now. Oh well. Maybe next class I'll have the breakthrough in understanding that I'm looking for regarding this. :)

Rob

Erick Mead
04-02-2008, 08:24 PM
I was more considering the kamikazi type attackers. I like the idea of being able to hit them with a fight-ending strike if need be. Internally-powered striking is just a power boost. Having a knife also give you more power to inflict damage. They both have the similar deterrence effect on me. I should perhaps qualify my point: In aikido, as a purely strategic matter, I do not try to deter, but I am perpetually deterred. But then, I would not be attacking, (unless to prompt a sooner attack already intended). That is, the premise of the art seems to me to be that one never attacks overt strength. Thus, overt strength always deters me where it is manifest, but there are always strengths that can be sapped that are not yet manifest, and weaknesses also that can be enlarged.

I agree with the move first after he moves idea. That seems to jive a lot better with the internal-aiki training I've been doing. ... to elaborate on my previous comment about being careful what you burn in. I find that people have a tendency to burn in what is more immediately effective which is rarely what will be best when you are much older. I have a sixteen year old son who is probably a good bit stronger than I am am now -- if --- IF -- he knew how to use what he has. Of course, he doesn't yet have the focus or discipline to realize it, but that will com e. I tend, actually, to think that it grows in inverse proportion to the lapse of physical power. (I'm forty-two so I am bridging this particular chasm at the moment).

I'm really not trying to be a Dan Harden fanboy. I'm actually a Bill Gleason sensei fanboy. He just dropped the weight of a building on me using arms that that resembled wet noodles. I have NO IDEA what he is doing to do that and I think I'm supposed to understand that by now. Oh well. I think I might like Dan. Hard to tell. That is irrelevant of course. Wet noodles, huh? Same reason getting hit with a wet towel hurts more than a dry one. The mass and velocity of the wet towel go in one direction or the other -- either into the target or reverberating back into you -- the thing is to feel ["listening jin" Mike Sigman might call it -- I learned it as furitama] to make sure that everything is falling the way of the target in an irrevocable sequence of form. That ineffable but readily identifiable shape is everywhere -- in all well performed martial arts -- aiki just aspires to its particularly devoted exploration -- and exploitation.

DonMagee
04-03-2008, 07:11 AM
I was more considering the kamikazi type attackers. I like the idea of being able to hit them with a fight-ending strike if need be. Internally-powered striking is just a power boost. Having a knife also give you more power to inflict damage. They both have the similar deterrence effect on me. I simply don't want either to happen to me. The more ability you have to put an attacker in that kind of mindset where they don't want to get hit by you, it seems like the easier it would be for things that more closely resemble waza to happen.

I agree with the move first after he moves idea. That seems to jive a lot better with the internal-aiki training I've been doing.

Also, I've been asked to elaborate on my previous comment about being careful what you burn in. I find that people have a tendency to burn in what is more immediately effective which is rarely what will be best when you are much older. There are levels of this. Some people burn in tightness and muscles. Some burn in external techniques. Some people burn in the move your center first and then the rest of your body - which tends to wreak havoc on joints as they grow older. I'm trying to burn in a full body movement. I want to use 100% of my weight (in general) plus any momentum bonuses if I want. I find myself re-learning how to do very basic movements like swinging a sword. If I tried to apply this to fighting right now, I'd be a mess and falling back to what I could access quickly to save myself would be working against what I'm trying to burn in to myself. That's the danger of the competitive model - it tends to burn things in before I would would imagine anyone can possibly have a chance to learn to move in the integrated way I am looking to move myself. (As previously stated, the cooperative model of course devoid of the ruthless self-criticism and good instruction of integrated teachers results in a different type of delusion even though it is most likely unintentional on all counts.)

Lastly, while I agree that we should consider effectiveness in aikido class - I've been annoyed in the past by many a judo person trying to tell me about what's what with aikido. I never go to judo class and do that. I like judo. I like aikido. I know most aikido is more delusional than judo but make no mistake, judo is generally delusional too - just a bit less so than aikido. :) If you don't believe me, go find Dan Harden and try your best judo throws on him.

I'm really not trying to be a Dan Harden fanboy. I'm actually a Bill Gleason sensei fanboy. He just dropped the weight of a building on me using arms that that resembled wet noodles. I have NO IDEA what he is doing to do that and I think I'm supposed to understand that by now. Oh well. Maybe next class I'll have the breakthrough in understanding that I'm looking for regarding this. :)

Rob

There is a trick to making judo throws work that they don't teach you in judo. It is an ancient Japanese secret. Improves the success rate event against great ki about 95%.

Punch the guy really hard in the face first :D

Ron Tisdale
04-03-2008, 10:53 AM
There is a trick to making judo throws work that they don't teach you in judo. It is an ancient Japanese secret. Improves the success rate event against great ki about 95%.

Punch the guy really hard in the face first :D

Sounds like aikido! :D

Really great discussion, thanks everyone!

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
04-03-2008, 02:21 PM
There is a trick to making judo throws work that they don't teach you in judo. It is an ancient Japanese secret. Improves the success rate event against great ki about 95%.

Punch the guy really hard in the face first :DAah! -- But that would make it aikido ... :D It's 90% atemi ya know! (Darn Ron for getting that first!)

A more practical point: A typically trained punch can be delivered in something like 200-300 ms -- the fastest strikes measured (Lee, Inosanto, Bruno) are reputed to be as fast as 90-100 ms. The human VOLUNTARY reaction time ranges from about 150-300 in a normal distribution centered on about 225 ms. See --http://www.humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime/stats.php

Conversely, the involuntary "stretch" reflex and its inverse the "claspknife" reflexes are on the order of 10-40 ms ( measured with EMG). These are in-yo complement reflexes generated by changes in the internal strain states of the muscles and fascia. They respond to cyclic stimulation. (can you say "funetori" ?) This is also related to the tonic vibration reflex (can you say "furitama" ?)

I'll leave my MORE technical opinions and observations for my fellow pen-protector set, along with a pertinent training anecdote ...
Also important relationships exist between these and the typical postures of aikdo. Proper tegatana provokes the tautened rounded-out "upper cross" of tension sometimes spoken of -- this is also proper ukemi posture for the upper body structure. It is also happens to be precisely the tension posture of the Jendrassik maneuver tap reflex test (see here: http://www.rettungsforum.com/php_files/lexikon/bilder/jendra.gif ) http://www.qwantz.com/shirt_jendrassik.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jendrassik_maneuver

This reflex test shows the directly connected input/output in that motor-sensory channel with a monosynaptic connection to those stretch/clasp reflexes in the legs -- also on the order of about 10-40 ms.

The Jendrassik maneuver reflex action provokes an involuntary stepping motion in the lower limbs, loaded and unloaded.
See -- http://www.springerlink.com/content/n44822007475w64q/

Cyclic motion and vibration can be used to improve balance. http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/sci_update.cfm?DocID=195
Equally, they may also be used to impair it.

Used defensively, this allows hostile inputs to move the whole body reflexively, and if trained in the right way to the inherently advantageous position -- as O Sensei said "I am already behind him... " Used offensively, the use of projected cyclic action (in-yo ho) generated by these reflexive motions, INTENTIONALLY triggered, can equally provoke these responses disadvantageously in the opponent, (aiki-age, aiki-sage, as examples).

Things like funetori strengthen the pathways of these related monosynaptic reflexes in certain patterns, so that when used in this way the result of input (of a high rate, but not necessarily large) in one channel is output in the other channel -- but instead of as an uncoordinated reflex -- it becomes the same coordinated manner as the funetori/tekubifuri/furitama cyclic form drives the structure mechanically. Furitama allows one to improve the sensing pathways for these inputs and allows the internal connections to become more sensitive.

That, with the connections of good posture implicit in the normal practice of aikido is what one wants to "burn in." Not in voluntary "to get this -- do this" choices about action, that is more typical of sparring and drills to increase speed in that voluntary timing.

No amount of work on "timing" in a polysynaptic reaction will beat a monosynaptic reaction. Polysynaptic activity travels from the point of action to the brain for some processing, and then back to actuate the require neromuscular bits. Monosynaptic action goes, literally, from one sensory neuron, across one synapse, to one action neuron, no mediation. Work on "drilling in" the rhythm of coordinated action at various tempos, however, as is more typical of solo and cooperative practice, "burns in" the right cascade of relaxed body mechanics. It has to be relaxed body mechanics because anything else involves polysynaptic neural guidance.

When monsynaptic reflexes are triggered, its cascade just flows down hill -- which can either be completely chaotic or highly ordered. That neuromuscular circuit acts faster than voluntary muscle is able to do. Voluntary choice pathways are neurologically too slow - as shown by the punching speeds (polysynaptic activity) 90-200 ms, on a good day, as compared to the monosynaptic action of a coordinated reflex of around 30 ms average. That is nearly an order of magnitude in difference.

As I was taught, techniques should always strive be done at the last possible moment where they would still work. That ensures that one's reaction will not be premature, and perhaps unwisely taken. In a practice session two years ago, one of my seniors was training and using me to demonstrate some point of ukemi to my partner -- at some serious speed which was the point of his demonstration. That went fine and I thought he had finished, and had turned back to my partner, when his renewed attack came out of nowhere -- next thing I know I am trying to pull my hand back from hitting him in the nose as I had already cleared his arm out of the way in my, quite literally, "twitched" irimi motion. It started before I realized I was doing it. Had I not spent that half-cycle of the twitch rhythm actually trying to pull my strike back, I'd have easily fractured his nose, instead of just bending it a bit. I was as surprised as he was, quite frankly. I really don't think there is any way to safely train that way, for operating in that mode, other than what we do cooperatively.

It also helps explain perhaps why O Sensei said that full-on aikido was too dangerous to demonstrate, and why that may have been more than mere bragadocio. If the monsynaptic reflex circuit is tripped and the coordinated action is built in by training, then the action occurs faster than one can usually stop it voluntarily.

That observation gives new perspective to this doka:

"He who in every situation perceives the truth with resignation need never draw his sword in haste."

From this perspective, the point may be that in cooperative training one does no harm one cannot stop in overreacting to a non-threat, as I very nearly did in that trainingg incident. That is one thing, that honing of the ichi-go, ichi-e sensibility, in any event, that sparring really does not seem to be intended to work on. I am not saying that some aspects of sparring do not result in better monosynaptic coordination of some very important movements, as clearly they can and do, as with speed bags in boxing, wrestling or jujitsu sprawls and others. But the sytematic whole-body coordination of this in offensive and defensive terms seems to be the primary domain of aiki -- in whatever version it is found.

Ron Tisdale
04-03-2008, 03:26 PM
I was as surprised as he was, quite frankly. I really don't think there is any way to safely train that way, for operating in that mode, other than what we do cooperatively.

The few times I've felt what I think you are describing, it was very scary, and usually, some very scary things happened. I really don't know how to safely handle that full on mode yet. Especially when changing partners. Being uke specific and going from a lighter, smaller uke to a gorilla isn't the problem...it's going the other way and realizing too late that you just put some poor slob into orbit!

Best,
Ron (not that I can call it up at will yet everytime, or even often, anyway...)

Erick Mead
04-03-2008, 04:20 PM
The few times I've felt what I think you are describing, it was very scary, and usually, some very scary things happened. I really don't know how to safely handle that full on mode yet. Especially when changing partners. Being uke specific and going from a lighter, smaller uke to a gorilla isn't the problem...it's going the other way and realizing too late that you just put some poor slob into orbit!It scared me, too. I have thought a lot about it since, and the best I can decide is that weapons training was the likely key to not flattening my buddy's face in that circumstance. Particularly, paired awase, or kumitachi/kumijo. That hones the precision of action well outside the space of one's own frame, making the margin of precision available to work safely without doing injury far larger when working without a weapon. Being closer, absolute closure time is shorter in empty hand. Weapons work really emphasizes, and enlarges, the patterns and rhythms that seem to be the forms of this cascade -- regardless of range or absolute timing, and once found they are more easily tightened down into the taijutsu. Sparring does not allow this "scale magnification," if you will. My impression of Saito's bukiwaza relating to the taijutsu was consistent with these points, as is Saotome's in a slightly different way. I have trained both, at various points.

DonMagee
04-04-2008, 06:51 AM
Sounds like aikido! :D

Really great discussion, thanks everyone!

Best,
Ron

I'd say it's more like ju-jutsu. I mean there is more to good aikido then just good judo + some punching....right?

Mary Eastland
04-04-2008, 07:05 AM
I'm really not trying to be a Dan Harden fanboy. I'm actually a Bill Gleason sensei fanboy. He just dropped the weight of a building on me using arms that that resembled wet noodles. I have NO IDEA what he is doing to do that and I think I'm supposed to understand that by now. Oh well. Maybe next class I'll have the breakthrough in understanding that I'm looking for regarding this. :)
Rob

Start from ryote tori....... for the heavy arms.... have uke hold your arms up and then uke just drops your arms ....if your arms do not fall easily to your sides... you need to relax more.
When uke holds your arms up again let your arms rest in uke's hands like you are resting your arms on a table...that is the beginning of making your arms very heavy. Practice until you can drop your arms without any hesitation.
Mary

MM
04-04-2008, 09:15 AM
I'm totally into training that attitude. But my approach is to develop that from the position where Ron is suggesting - that my distance is respected empty-handed as if I had a knife.


Hi Rob!

I definitely agree here. One of the people I train with was able to go to Mike Sigman's seminar. He came away with a very profound respect for empty hand power. LOL.


I really do not know how I will bring MMA to my aikido classes. But I'm sure like everyone else I'll bring what I have to class. I have to really clarify certain principles - which I'll be looking to my teachers for - and then I assume I'll just try to bring into my normal class more an more things that I think will help. And I'm quite sure that real fighting can be taught with aikido principles in mind - with no competition. I'm not sure what happens when BOTH uke and nage have strong internal skills and MMA experience and are protecting their aggressors. It will be interesting. But I really expect I'll find out sooner than later.

Rob

Wishing you the best of luck integrating your new training with aikido. For me, I found that I had a very hard time doing that. So, I'm stepping back from mainline aikido training until I can do some of the internal stuff a bit more dynamically. Maybe another year or two. I'm hoping just a year before I can reintegrate it back into aikido training.

But, having the glimpse of things that I have now ... I'm not entirely sure i'll be able to go back to mainline aikido training.

Back on topic, I really think aikido needs some aspect of sparring. And I think that the way the Jiyushinkai does their randori is the best I've seen so far in the aikido world. IMO anyway.

Mark

MM
04-04-2008, 09:38 AM
Aikido techniques can be highly effective if repetitive training has stored them in your repertoire and you use them automatically. In a real life situation usually you have to think back afterward to even know what technique you used.

I think it doesn't work if you try to think ahead what you're going to do next. To me, mushin (no mind) means to train until it's "in you" and trust yourself to react the right way if you want to win.

I'd also humbly sugget that aikidoka get into trouble when they make a pretense of using only Aikido in a situation, and thereby eliminate all the non-Aikido technique that might work perfectly. Do you guys think so?

Well, erg, I guess. :) As Rob mentioned a couple of posts later, it depends on what you're burning in. But, I also think that people get too hung up on "technique". They think that in sparring, randori, jiyu waza, etc. that they're going to get this or that technique, even if it doesn't look as pretty as the one they practice. And I think that's wrong.

There are two types of training that most of us do. Warm up exercises and techniques. But, they aren't different in their aims of working on principles. Both should be working on principles but the technique sort of overshadows all. It isn't about the technique at all. It's about using the warm up exercises to work principles in static situations. So, those wrist stretches most of us do shouldn't be stretching the wrist at all, but stretching the suit. Funekogi undo isn't about rowing, it's about letting the ground be in your hands as they go forward and reverse. (There's more to it than just that.)

In that same manner, techniques are merely exercises working principles in dynamic situations. So, katatekosadori ikkyo isn't about getting the first pin from a cross hand grab. It's about putting your wrist being your dantien, having ki at the point of contact, putting ground into your wrist -- all the while you are moving. The technique is just an exercise to let one work on these principles in motion to train the body while moving.

So, then, when you get to randori, jiyuwaza, sparring, whatever, your body is trained and does what it should. There are no techniques but principles in motion. Sure, you might actually get a technique but it isn't anything you're working towards. You're just trying to keep all the principles intact while under pressure (attack, moving, adjusting, etc) from another person.

That's why sparring in some form is good for aikido. It doesn't have to follow a BJJ sparring model, UFC, etc. But there should be something.

All IMO anyway,
Mark

MM
04-04-2008, 09:57 AM
Start from ryote tori....... for the heavy arms.... have uke hold your arms up and then uke just drops your arms ....if your arms do not fall easily to your sides... you need to relax more.
When uke holds your arms up again let your arms rest in uke's hands like you are resting your arms on a table...that is the beginning of making your arms very heavy. Practice until you can drop your arms without any hesitation.
Mary

Or how about this?

Picture chain mail.
http://blog.makezine.com/chain_mail.jpg

Picture something like that all over your body -- in other words, let's call it fascia.

Now, it's all linked together. But, picture those links like this:
http://www.turbosquid.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/223692

Spread apart but yet interconnected such that a tug at a link at your foot also moves the link at the top of your head.

For it to work, your shoulder joints can't be disconnected. That's one of the biggest problems.

Now, picture your hands out front like you said in ryote tori and someone is holding them. (I like to put both hands on someones chest because working close to uke's body is easier than working out at arm's length, but whatever).

Inside your body, you're going to pull all those links together as tightly as possible. BUT, you're feet are anchored to the ground. So, when those links compress together, the only option is to do it downward.

No muscle groups should fire. Shoulder joint has to be connected. Body is whole body. Everything is integrated in a chain mail suit over the entire body.

Draw down. Pull the links together into the ground.

Mark

Erick Mead
04-04-2008, 10:32 AM
Start from ryote tori....... for the heavy arms.... have uke hold your arms up and then uke just drops your arms ....if your arms do not fall easily to your sides... you need to relax more.
When uke holds your arms up again let your arms rest in uke's hands like you are resting your arms on a table...that is the beginning of making your arms very heavy. Practice until you can drop your arms without any hesitation. The mechanics of what is occurring are fairly straightforward, but a bit spooky, too. Basically you are taking the momentum of a slight drop ( or merely a sway, in some circumstances) in your center and transferring it by angular momentum (progressive rotations like a snapping whip) to the end of your arms where that angular momentum (mass transfer) is then concentrated. It is a challenge not of power, but coordination. It won't work unless the connections are completely free to rotate -- like a chain or whip.

The mechanical principles are described here: http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1367-2630/7/1/045/njp5_1_045.html

and experimentally shown here: http://online.redwoods.cc.ca.us/instruct/darnold/deproj/Sp00/LindaGina/finalpaper.pdf
and here: http://math.arizona.edu/~ura/031/Taft.Jefferson/Report.pdf
The force at the end of the extension of the chain in the first ctied experiment ends up being five times that of its mere weight. This time series photo illustrates the principle in action:
470
The first photo shows the ball and the chain tip even at the top, the second shows the chain passing the ball in falling 159 ms after the drop (exceeding the acceleration of gravity, with no additional input of energy); The third shows the ball well above the chain tip 214 ms after the drop. Doing a little proportional math, ball has fallen only about 53% of the length of the whole chain, while the chain tip in the last photo has fallen about 65% of its total length. Proportionally -- 1::1.23.

Assume the weight of the ball and the chain the same. Doing the effective energy calculation (m/2* v^2) the masses are the same so the variable is the velocity. If the ball at time three has fallen a unscaled distance of 1, then proportionally the chain has fallen a distance of 1.23, in the same time. (You can use dividers to do it yourself.) So the velocity difference is more than 20% greater. Make the velocity scale of the ball 1 then the chain is velocity 1.23 the relative energy differential (square of velocity) is 1::1.51 or 150% of the impact energy of the same free falling weight -- with no more energy added than it takes to fall.

That's what you felt. With the body the dynamic is a bit more complex but the principle operates just the same. The same principle of freely cascaded momentum but using lateral sway rather than outright fall, is the basis for the "one-inch" or "no-inch" punch, as well as Shioda's quite impressive munedori irimi throws.

Erick Mead
04-04-2008, 10:50 AM
Or how about this?

Picture chain mail.
http://blog.makezine.com/chain_mail.jpg

Picture something like that all over your body -- in other words, let's call it fascia.
No muscle groups should fire. Shoulder joint has to be connected. Body is whole body. Everything is integrated in a chain mail suit over the entire body.

Draw down. Pull the links together into the ground. Yes, but those things happen dynamically in tension right behind a properly coordinated strike as described in my immediate post above. A cable or sheet under dynamic tension is more or less effectively rigid, but only until the tension is released, then it is more or less flexible again.

The tension comes on progressively and in patterns directed by the dynamic. The dynamic is formed in the intention of the mind directing the body to follow and then also to "back-up" the dynamic structurally (like each link if the chain coming into tension against the stability of the hanging support, or in the case of the body -- against the support of the ground.

The underlying base tension determines how much differential there is between the two states, and the degree of differential has a lot to do with the efficiency of the transfer of momentum. The smaller the amount of resting tension (a relatively slack chain, for instance) the greater the efficiency. But also the fineness in the degree of coordination (or speed of correction of the required structural tensions) also is important.

While a hanging chain is subcritically stable (ball inside a bowl) and this occurs without any mental input on the part of a hanging chain -- we are supercritically stable (ball on the upside-down bowl). Therefore, aligning the structural support requires work and finely made adjustments to create and maintain that instantaneous structural back-up for the otherwise "free" energy of the relaxed strike.

Erick Mead
04-04-2008, 11:15 AM
Well, erg, I guess. :) As Rob mentioned a couple of posts later, it depends on what you're burning in.
....
In that same manner, techniques are merely exercises working principles in dynamic situations. So, katatekosadori ikkyo isn't about getting the first pin from a cross hand grab. It's about putting your wrist being your dantien, having ki at the point of contact, putting ground into your wrist -- all the while you are moving. The technique is just an exercise to let one work on these principles in motion to train the body while moving.

So, then, when you get to randori, jiyuwaza, sparring, whatever, your body is trained and does what it should. There are no techniques but principles in motion. Sure, you might actually get a technique but it isn't anything you're working towards. You're just trying to keep all the principles intact while under pressure (attack, moving, adjusting, etc) from another person.

That's why sparring in some form is good for aikido. It doesn't have to follow a BJJ sparring model, UFC, etc. But there should be something. I agree with the first, as Saotome could have said it (and has.) The latter, however, is a non sequitur. It does not follow, or at least it assumes more that can be supported.

If you find that myofascial action plays a structural role (which I do not deny) it is important to know how, biomechanically, that system works. We do know that it does NOT work on the adrenal (fight/flight) cascade provoked by the competitive conflict of fear/anger. We know that it DOES function under the influence of oxytocin, which is the biological basis for preparing the body to entering into PROTECTIVE conflict. It is not founded on either rage or fear.

In other words, accepting everything you have said, you need to take O Sensei seriously, on a purely biological basis, that true budo is the spirit of loving protection, and that Aikido CANNOT flourish in truly competitive environment. Those statements are of a piece with the biology on this issue.

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 11:55 AM
I'd say it's more like ju-jutsu. I mean there is more to good aikido then just good judo + some punching....right?

Hey Don, well, I was joking to some extent, as were you. ;) But...and I considered adding this, but decided since we were joking it wasn't needed...

Let's use aikido or judo or jujutsu or just plain old wrastlin. Dan is our (cough) straw man. When you grab him and you can't move him, can't enter, can't turn, can't do anything, you draw back and pop him one. I can pretty much guarantee most of us won't do more than piss him off. Now you have a Pissed Off Dan, who hits like a MAC truck, and YOU are the straw man. :D

Have fun!
Ron (someone is going for a ride...and my bet is a) on a pipe, and b) it won't be Dan)

DonMagee
04-04-2008, 12:03 PM
Hey Don, well, I was joking to some extent, as were you. ;) But...and I considered adding this, but decided since we were joking it wasn't needed...

Let's use aikido or judo or jujutsu or just plain old wrastlin. Dan is our (cough) straw man. When you grab him and you can't move him, can't enter, can't turn, can't do anything, you draw back and pop him one. I can pretty much guarantee most of us won't do more than piss him off. Now you have a Pissed Off Dan, who hits like a MAC truck, and YOU are the straw man. :D

Have fun!
Ron (someone is going for a ride...and my bet is a) on a pipe, and b) it won't be Dan)

Yea, I was just razzing ya. Besides, I only eye gouge, nut strike, and tear clavicles anyways :D

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 12:11 PM
LOL! Yeah, I considered those too (TMA and all) but the thought of a pissed off Dan didn't float my boat that day! :D

b,
r

mwible
04-04-2008, 08:46 PM
Funny thing I find about people who just do theory is that they don't know that they just do theory. I have not seen any video of him doing actual application, only theory.

I think your answer is more silly then my question. Most Aikidoka only do theory. Actually, from what I know save tomiki guys and Mits Yamashita, all teachers just do theory.

If i can make a coment about this. The head of the aikido organization i belong to ( who was an uchi-deshi of O'sensei and Tohei sensei) has been through much actual application of aikido(in his earlier years). So the only techniques taught are those he deemed effective in combat situations. So, no yonkyu for us(considering its limited effectiveness on different people). and his(our) method of aikido is constantly evolving to become more "street" effective.

Is this what you meant by "actual application"? Testing aikido on the streets?

mwible
04-04-2008, 08:54 PM
[QUOTE=Giancarlo DiPierro;185556]I've seen this rationale before and it makes no sense. How can you have any kind of two-person martial arts training without one person eventually winning and the other person losing? Certainly you have this in every aikido technique: the nage wins and the uke loses.QUOTE]

I would like to make a coment about the last line of this statement if i may. And i of course mean no offense. But, in Aikido, to my understanding, Nage and Uke work together towards a comon goal. It is not "winning and loosing" when it comes to Uke and Nage, it is Uke working with Nage to find holes in his technique, it is a partnership of sorts, one of learning. Aikido just wouldnt be Aikido without having the expierience of being Uke as well as Nage.

As always, this is from my point of veiw, and coming from my limited experience.

-morgan

Demetrio Cereijo
04-05-2008, 02:31 PM
I would like to make a coment about the last line of this statement if i may. And i of course mean no offense. But, in Aikido, to my understanding, Nage and Uke work together towards a comon goal.

And sparring is not incompatible with his common goal.

mwible
04-06-2008, 10:44 AM
And sparring is not incompatible with his common goal.

I wasnt disagreeing with that. I was only stating that there is'nt a winner or looser when it comes to Uke and Nage. If you spar, then it will no longer be Uke and Nage, it will be one Martial Artist pitting his wits and skill against another. There will be no harmony between them, as in the case of Uke and Nage.

in aiki
-morgan

G DiPierro
04-06-2008, 01:07 PM
But, in Aikido, to my understanding, Nage and Uke work together towards a comon goal. It is not "winning and loosing" when it comes to Uke and Nage, it is Uke working with Nage to find holes in his technique, it is a partnership of sorts, one of learning.That's great if you train that way. Most people in aikido do not. How does uke work to find holes in nage's technique? Either by blocking the technique or countering. If uke counters, then the roles change and uke becomes nage. That -- the interchange of roles between nage and uke, as well as the freedom to apply any technique -- is the essence of sparring.

I was only stating that there is'nt a winner or looser when it comes to Uke and Nage.Actually, there is. The nage is the winner and the uke is the loser. This is, in fact, one way of interpreting the terms nage and uke, and in it might even be the most accurately descriptive one for most aikido training.

If you spar, then it will no longer be Uke and Nage, it will be one Martial Artist pitting his wits and skill against another. There will be no harmony between them, as in the case of Uke and Nage.Why do you think there can only be harmony when the roles are fixed? Of course it is much easier to have harmony when the winner (nage) and loser (uke) are specified in advance, but it so easy that you will learn almost nothing about creating harmony in a real conflict from it. If you cannot create harmony in a spontaneous, non-fixed role situation, then I would say that you really don't much about harmony at all. I would also say that this is true of many, probably even most, people I have encountered in aikido.

Cephallus
04-06-2008, 02:17 PM
Actually, there is. The nage is the winner and the uke is the loser. This is, in fact, one way of interpreting the terms nage and uke, and in it might even be the most accurately descriptive one for most aikido training.

Is your definition of uke and nage based on linguistics, historic usage, or from your own observations about the roles of partners as currently practiced in Aikido?

I only ask because, since I started training, it has been constantly reinforced that there is no competition in the Aikido I'm studying. And it's difficult for me to understand how the terms "winner" and "loser" could possibly have any relational value outside of a competitive environment.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-06-2008, 02:27 PM
. If you spar, then it will no longer be Uke and Nage, it will be one Martial Artist pitting his wits and skill against another. There will be no harmony between them, as in the case of Uke and Nage.

There will be two people training and learning from each other. Harmony/disharmony can be in the mindset of the people involved, not in the sparring.

G DiPierro
04-06-2008, 04:19 PM
Is your definition of uke and nage based on linguistics, historic usage, or from your own observations about the roles of partners as currently practiced in Aikido?

I only ask because, since I started training, it has been constantly reinforced that there is no competition in the Aikido I'm studying. And it's difficult for me to understand how the terms "winner" and "loser" could possibly have any relational value outside of a competitive environment.If you look at the way aikido is practiced, it is clear that is a winner and loser in every technique. The winner is the guy who remains standing, unharmed, while the loser is the guy who ends up on the ground. Aikido simulates a physical confrontation, and in such a confrontation, if you end up on the ground being pinned face down by the other guy, then you have lost, while if you are the one holding the other person down, then you have won. This is quite obvious.

Just because the person who wins in aikido is usually predetermined prior to the execution of the technique rather than during the execution of the technique it does mean that the distinction between winner and loser somehow goes away. Overall, I think this distinction is about as clear in aikido as it is any martial art. Certainly there are many other martial arts where it is much less clear, even to the point of being virtually meaningless.

I would even say that there are several competitive arts where the distinction is not nearly as clear as it in aikido. Kendo would be one example. In many kendo matches, especially between experienced, relatively equally matched opponents, it can be impossible for someone without significant training in kendo to tell who has won. The determination of what is a valid point can be so subtle that a layman would have no idea who the winner was if it were not for the referee. In aikido, even someone with no martial arts training at all can easily tell which person has won.

Cephallus
04-06-2008, 05:34 PM
If you look at the way aikido is practiced, it is clear that is a winner and loser in every technique. The winner is the guy who remains standing, unharmed, while the loser is the guy who ends up on the ground. Aikido simulates a physical confrontation, and in such a confrontation, if you end up on the ground being pinned face down by the other guy, then you have lost, while if you are the one holding the other person down, then you have won. This is quite obvious.


You may think I'm dense, but this is not quite obvious to me...

The word "win" as used in this context is defined as a person who is successful in a contest. In non-competative Aikido training, uke and nage are partners, not competitors. There *is* no contest, so there can be no winner. Or loser.

I think the fact that the words "winner" and "loser" are specific to competition, and that they imply superiority (i.e. someone who has used greater skill/effort to succeed over another), are why people are so quick to react to them when they're applied to an activity that has been clearly defined as being non-competitive.

Coming from an exclusively-competitive sports background, this was an important distinction that I had to make for myself when I started Aikido.

But this may be an area where we just have to agree to disagree.

mathewjgano
04-06-2008, 05:49 PM
And it's difficult for me to understand how the terms "winner" and "loser" could possibly have any relational value outside of a competitive environment.

Hope you don't mind my butting in here, but I think the terms "winning" and "losing" are simply shorthand for denoting who has successfully done a technique and who has had one done on them...semantics, I think. For example, certain pins have been just what the doctor ordered when I've had back and shoulder aches. In the sense of remaining standing, sure I "lost," but in the sense of physical health I "won." They're mindsets most Aikidoka seek to avoid, but I think as long as "winning" doesn't become some fixed goal like "always remain standing" (e.g. sometime you may want to go to the ground after all) then it can be useful.
This is one of the main criticisms I've heard regarding sparring in Aikido, but after having practiced a bit in Shodokan I can see it's all about attitude, not terminology. It's just that some folks use (or don't use) certain terminology to illustrate subtle concepts.
Take care,
Matt

matsusakasteve
04-06-2008, 07:53 PM
Hope you don't mind my butting in here, but I think the terms "winning" and "losing" are simply shorthand for denoting who has successfully done a technique and who has had one done on them...semantics, I think.

The problem I find with terms like winning and losing as defined above is that both uke and tori should focus on their forms and specifically the tori needs to perform the waza effectively. If we think about points and winning, then we may lose that focus.
My sensei said that in a truly competitive setting, aikidoka wouldn't move, they would wait for the other guy to do something. Stand-off style. Some of the competitive forms of aikido I have read about (never seen firsthand) designate an attacker and defender. Other martial arts don't necessarily have such designations and both people have the same offensive/defensive goals.
Again, my sensei said that one of the strengths of aikido is that it is not a sport and doesn't have the narrow rules of such. Judoka desparately avoid landing on their back, we roll on our backs to get away from someone. No worrying about points and such.
To end on a less critical note, great topic folks! Look forward to reading more!
Mata ne! Matsusakasteve
http://www.aikidoinobata.blogspot.com/

Cephallus
04-06-2008, 08:28 PM
Hope you don't mind my butting in here, but I think the terms "winning" and "losing" are simply shorthand for denoting who has successfully done a technique and who has had one done on them...semantics, I think. For example, certain pins have been just what the doctor ordered when I've had back and shoulder aches. In the sense of remaining standing, sure I "lost," but in the sense of physical health I "won." They're mindsets most Aikidoka seek to avoid, but I think as long as "winning" doesn't become some fixed goal like "always remain standing" (e.g. sometime you may want to go to the ground after all) then it can be useful.
This is one of the main criticisms I've heard regarding sparring in Aikido, but after having practiced a bit in Shodokan I can see it's all about attitude, not terminology. It's just that some folks use (or don't use) certain terminology to illustrate subtle concepts.
Take care,
Matt

If we can agree on the definitions, it becomes less about semantics. According to the dictionary, the English language word "win", in this context, means to be successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict). And the English language word "lose", in this context, is defined as to fail to win.

That was really my only objection to Giancarlo's use of those terms to define the roles of uke and nage; because there is no contest, I simply don't believe they are appropriate English words to describe uke and nage. And because the definitions of "win" and "lose" involve contest, using them to describe the roles of Aikido training partners can easily give the false impression that there is some kind of competition/conflict involved.

G DiPierro
04-06-2008, 10:16 PM
If we can agree on the definitions, it becomes less about semantics. According to the dictionary, the English language word "win", in this context, means to be successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict). And the English language word "lose", in this context, is defined as to fail to win.

That was really my only objection to Giancarlo's use of those terms to define the roles of uke and nage; because there is no contest, I simply don't believe they are appropriate English words to describe uke and nage. And because the definitions of "win" and "lose" involve contest, using them to describe the roles of Aikido training partners can easily give the false impression that there is some kind of competition/conflict involved.There is no contest, but there quite clearly a conflict (albeit a simulated one). And in aikido, the nage wins this conflict, and the uke loses.

The same thing applies to other non-competitive arts as well. In koryu, they often use a term like shidachi (doing sword) for the person who wins and uchidachi (attacking sword) for the person who loses. Pretty much anyone who does a paired weapons koryu would acknowledge that there is a person who wins the kata and a person who loses. In fact, in jodo they have a saying "the jo always wins" because all of their kata end with the jo defeating the sword.

In koryu, the person who plays the role of the winner is usually the (junior) student while the person who plays the role of the loser is the teacher or senior. In aikido, people take turns winning and losing, regardless of rank, although the person who is teaching will typically only take the role of winner when working with a student.

You can object to these terms all you want but they are quite obviously accurately descriptive. At this point I think the real question is why you object to them so strongly.

DonMagee
04-06-2008, 10:57 PM
I have never lost a sparing match in my life. I never intend to either.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-06-2008, 11:41 PM
There is no contest, but there quite clearly a conflict (albeit a simulated one).

The same applies to sparring.

Kevin Leavitt
04-07-2008, 06:21 AM
In martial arts or budo, in general there are two levels, I think...microscopic and macroscopic. On the lower level (micro) we explore the relationship between win/lose. On the higher level, the goal is that we create a win/win for all parties involved.

I think same applies to competitive areas in life too, especially martial arts...everyone goes home at the end of the day. If the right dynamic is present we might fail or show another where their failure lay,and then we ponder it, and come back another day ready to try again.

There are only a couple of combinations that can be present really.

win/lose
lose/win
lose/lose
win/win

It is our goal to explore all of these in martial arts (budo) in order to better understand ourselves and the world around us.

To me it is as simple as that.

Cephallus
04-07-2008, 01:35 PM
I have never lost a sparing match in my life. I never intend to either.

Ha, Don, I love it.

Giancarlo, I can see why you use the terms winner and loser, I just don't agree.

As for why I so strongly disagree, it has little to do with you and everything to do with me...in my years of playing competitive sports, "winning" has a connotation that is a mixed bag that involves the best and worst aspects of human beings. It implies agression, cunning, skill, meanness, total effort, and the need to dominate. It's about proving you're bigger, faster, stronger, that you've worked harder, and that you want to win more. It's about entitlement. About proving to the other guy that you *deserve* victory more than him. And then about enjoying that moment of dominance, of superiority.

One of the primary reasons I chose to study Aikido was to distill down what I've learned through my years of playing competitive sports, to remove the ugliest parts and retain the best. Competition is a great motivator - I'm not disparaging it at all. It's just that my competitive nature sometimes makes me behave toward other people in ways that are not how I believe we should treat each other in life, and I see Aikido as a way to work to change myself for the better as a human being.

Hope that makes sense.

mathewjgano
04-07-2008, 03:06 PM
There is no contest, but there quite clearly a conflict (albeit a simulated one). And in aikido, the nage wins this conflict, and the uke loses.


Would you describe winning as necessarily being good and losing as necessarily being bad? I wonder if these connotations are what most people object to.
As for the conflict...maybe it would help if you described what is in conflict. Physically we're trying to avoid moving against the force of our attacker. Ideally, we're not conflicting with this movement...unless you would describe moving perpendicular to their force as being a conflict. The only conflict I can see (in an idealized situation) might be in wills: uke wants to hit me and I don't let him or her do that. Is that the kind of thing you're referring to?
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
04-07-2008, 03:12 PM
Ha, Don, I love it.

Giancarlo, I can see why you use the terms winner and loser, I just don't agree.

As for why I so strongly disagree, it has little to do with you and everything to do with me...in my years of playing competitive sports, "winning" has a connotation that is a mixed bag that involves the best and worst aspects of human beings. It implies agression, cunning, skill, meanness, total effort, and the need to dominate. It's about proving you're bigger, faster, stronger, that you've worked harder, and that you want to win more. It's about entitlement. About proving to the other guy that you *deserve* victory more than him. And then about enjoying that moment of dominance, of superiority.

One of the primary reasons I chose to study Aikido was to distill down what I've learned through my years of playing competitive sports, to remove the ugliest parts and retain the best. Competition is a great motivator - I'm not disparaging it at all. It's just that my competitive nature sometimes makes me behave toward other people in ways that are not how I believe we should treat each other in life, and I see Aikido as a way to work to change myself for the better as a human being.

Hope that makes sense.

That fits a bit with my own experiences, so i dig where you're coming from. Just out of curiosity, how would you apply the principles you're learning from Aikido to sports?
Take care,
Matt

G DiPierro
04-07-2008, 05:06 PM
I have never lost a sparing match in my life. I never intend to either.Yes, but that's only because you were spared! Seriously, the attitude you "never lose" in competition, even when you have lost by the rules, is similar to the idea that there is no winning and losing in aikido because partners should work together to help each other. They are both great training attitudes to have, but they are not accurate descriptions of what is actually taking place. The bottom line is that all martial arts are concerned with winning and losing. Every one. This is because all martial arts simulate a conflict, and obviously in a conflict you want to win rather than lose.

That said, it is true that some arts are more concerned with winning and losing than others. However, as I mentioned earlier, in aikido the distinction between winning and losing is as clear as it is in any art. Anyone can easily tell which person is the winner and which is the loser. Even in other fixed-role arts, like weapons koryu, where there is a clear winner and loser in each kata, the roles can look so similar that an untrained observer might not be able to distinguish them. And, as I pointed out, there are competative arts where it can be difficult, if not impossible, for an initiated person to tell who has won, especially in a close match.

There are also arts where the distinction between winning and losing can almost disappear entirely. Taiji's push-hands, when practiced cooperatively, is one example, as there is no clear winner or loser. However, push-hands can also be done less cooperatively, even competitively, so like all other martial practices, it is still firmly grounded in the idea of winning and losing. If you want to get away from the notions of winning and losing entirely, then you are moving outside the realm of martial arts at that point.

Given how strong the distinction between winning and losing is in aikido, especially relative to other arts, I find the constant rhetoric about how aikido is not about winning and losing to be confused at best and deceptive at worst. The rhetoric simply does not match the practice.

Aikibu
04-07-2008, 06:30 PM
I have never lost a sparing match in my life. I never intend to either.

LOL Good One Don and Amen. :)

William Hazen

mjhacker
04-09-2008, 01:28 AM
Joseph, thanks for atleast being honest and revealing your lack of training.
I recall Saito Morihiro sensei telling me stories of when he was younger man. When Ueshiba sensei was taking a nap or otherwise occupied, Saito sensei would sometimes sneak out and pick fights with yakuza who were spending time "cooling off" in Iwama. Afterwards, he'd buy them drinks.

His mouth to my ears.