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ChrisHein
12-10-2007, 04:31 PM
Hey guys, this is the latest video from our school, and I'd like some feed back. Love it, hate it, or think it's a waste of time, I'd really enjoy hearing your opinions.

The criticism I've gotten on our you tube videos has been really helpful, and I'd like some on this. This is the closest I feel our school has come to heading in the direction I'd like to see it go.

There is no striking allowed in this practice, this is a major criticism of many, and I understand it. However right now that's not where we are at, and maybe you'll see some in the

future.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe1xCP0Wr6Y

Thanks.

Amir Krause
12-11-2007, 06:47 AM
Hi Chris

Could you give some more explentaion regarding the purpose of this practice.

I did not get the meaninig of the tanto, it seemed like the lot of you ignored the stabbings. Is it only supposed to be a means to stop the practice?
I could not see anything the tanto holder could do to stop the lot of you from rushing him time after time until he is grasped.

Amir

Jonathan
12-11-2007, 08:56 AM
Interesting.

Like Amir I don't understand why the attackers are ignoring being stabbed. If the knife is ignored as a weapon, why use it at all in this exercise?

Jon.

DarkShodan
12-11-2007, 08:58 AM
I'm confused as well. So the purpose of the training is to see how many unarmed people I can slash with a knife? Does not seem realistic at all, let alone the legal problems if this did ever happen, and not very Aiki. I've had better instruction and practice in my Chinese Knife fighting classes, and again I was going against guys with knives.

kironin
12-11-2007, 09:10 AM
To be blunt, blind leading the blind making it a big waste of time.

Just reinforcing a lot of bad moves likely to get you killed in a real situation. Please stop and seek out someone who has a clue about knife before you abuse your students with further ignorance.

The direction it's heading now is delusion.

Nick P.
12-11-2007, 09:26 AM
I thought the purpose of the exercise was to practice the TARGET is holding a knife, but is unwilling to use it on his ATTACKERS; if that was the goal, well done. That being said, an atemi with a knife in your hand would create some spacing, I think.

My first instinct was to say "Get rid of that blade if you are not going to use it" but realised if you threw it away, guess who would pick it up and use it?

As long as the goal was to learn how you think you might react in a similar situation, with no dillusions of how it might actually play out, then I say have fun. And fun is never a waste of time.

ChrisHein
12-11-2007, 10:20 AM
Great.

The attackers.
First off, the attackers (the unarmed mob) don’t react to any damage they might receive from the weapon because that makes the practice harder. It’s hard to guess at what kind of damage you might inflict on a cut, and hard to guess how different people will react to it. Some people receive lots of damage and keep coming, others get a paper cut and go home. So in the practice we make it a worse case scenario.

They do try to treat the knife as if it’s real, but they also have an objective to achive-take the armed man down. doing it without getting cut/stabbed is the objective, but that objective is very hard.

About the “legal problems”.
Yes you may face criminal charges if you use a weapon to defend yourself. Depending on what your facing, you may end up dead if you don’t use one. If in this kind of horrible situation you’ll have to make a choice.

About “real knife experts”
There are several really excellent edged weapon instructors. The majority of them have never been in a real knife engagement or any kind of fight at all.

While I personally seek out weapon advice where ever I can get it, knife fighting is not like boxing or wrestling where enough people have done it thousands and thousands of times till they really get to know what happens. You can glean some from this guys fight here or that ones there, but good info is hard to come by.

Other then the very few who have been in knife engagements you have to look to the theorists and those who have learned from people who have been in knife engagements. Both of which I am (theorist and learned from those who have been in knife fights) aside from that you’ll have to find someone who has been in hundreds of knife fights (shouldn’t be hard there are hundreds of them listed in black belt magazine).


The target and objective
The target is the guy holding the knife, not just the knife and not just the guy. Just like when doing multiple attackers I don’t face 3 individuals but 3 people as a whole. Using the knife on the move is part of the practice. If you’ve never tried it I think you’d be surprised at how difficult it is to use a knife and try to blend at the same time.

Thanks.

Ron Tisdale
12-11-2007, 10:49 AM
Hi Chris,

Given the stated goals in your post above, the first thing I would do as the knife holder, would be to reverse the blade. The second thing I would do would be to focus on evasive movement, and let the movement power the reversed blade with the blade out for slashing as I moved past opponants. The third, and last thing, I would do would be to occationally use really hard thrusts with the blade (hilt against my breast bone, kisaki out to opponant) to "finish" specific individuals isolated by evasive movement.

I have no experience in knife fighting, so...take it for what it isn't worth...

:D

Best,
Ron

MM
12-11-2007, 11:46 AM
Chris,
For your research, take a look at this site:
http://www.albokalisilat.com/

There are various videos posted and some deal with knives. I'm pretty sure it'll give you some new insights on your practice.

As to your practice -- I can offer my opinion/advice, but I'm not an expert. :)

My first thought about the use of the knife in your video was that it was being used in an amateur fashion. In other words, basically, slicing back and forth and some stabbing. you can do a whole lot more with a knife.

If you have a knife, it's a deadly encounter. Period. Treat it as such. In other words, if you've got the knife, then use it to kill. Don't mess around with it. Slash, cut, pick, stab, core, or flay arteries and organs. A slight flick of the wrist can move a knife from outside an arm to inside an arm, where nice, juicy arteries are located.

If you aren't interested in using the knife to its full advantage, then my suggestion would be to not use it at all. But, that goes back to the previous paragraph -- a knife is a deadly weapon. Learn to wield it effectively.

Personally, I think trying to apply aikido to knife is backwards. Learn how to use the knife (and aikido doesn't teach that), apply aiki (body structure) to your knife work, and then find a way to blend all that to aikido.

But, that's all just IMO.

Ron,
there are ups and downs to reversing the blade (not taking into account blade in or blade out on the reverse). One major down to that is that you lose your reach. With the blade held outward, you have extended your reach. You can pick with the tip and stay outside your opponent's striking range. Even just barely making your opponent's range, you can slash a wrist. With reversed blade, you have to come well into striking range. Also, in a clench, you can't drive the point up under the opponent's ribs. Other stuff, etc.

Positives are it's harder to knock the blade from your hands. Just blocking (with reverse, edge out) with the knife will probably cut your opponent. Trapping is very effective. All it takes is to trap a wrist and then twist the knife around a bit to cut the opponent's wrist as he/she pulls away. Or better yet, trap a bit higher and flay the inside arm as he/she pulls the arm away. Other, nasty stuff, etc.

Mark

Jonathan
12-11-2007, 11:47 AM
Hey, Chris.

The attackers.
First off, the attackers (the unarmed mob) don't react to any damage they might receive from the weapon because that makes the practice harder. It's hard to guess at what kind of damage you might inflict on a cut, and hard to guess how different people will react to it. Some people receive lots of damage and keep coming, others get a paper cut and go home. So in the practice we make it a worse case scenario.

Personally, I teach my students that some knife cuts are not fatal (or at least, not immediately so) and others are. I urge them to react to being "cut" accordingly. If you get a slash or stab in the meat of the shoulder, or the outside of the thigh, for instance, you can keep moving -- and must -- in order to increase your chances of survival. But if you get stabbed (or slashed) in the throat or neck, the underside of the upper arm, the inside of the leg, the chest, kidneys, or spine, etc. you're basically dead meat.

Since it is so easy to be fatally wounded in knife attacks, and most people realize this, it is not likely that even a group of unarmed people will be willing to attack someone waving a knife at them. Why, then, would I engage in a practice that is based on such an unlikely situation? What's wrong with practicing blending and flowing without a knife? What specific benefit does the introduction of the knife into the situation offer to the development of blending?

They do try to treat the knife as if it's real, but they also have an objective to achive-take the armed man down. doing it without getting cut/stabbed is the objective, but that objective is very hard.

The objective is hard -- potentially lethal, even -- so why make it harder by preventing them from striking? The defender would be far easier to deal with if he/she could be struck before or while a controlling measure was applied.

The target is the guy holding the knife, not just the knife and not just the guy. Just like when doing multiple attackers I don't face 3 individuals but 3 people as a whole. Using the knife on the move is part of the practice. If you've never tried it I think you'd be surprised at how difficult it is to use a knife and try to blend at the same time.

It is only difficult when they keep coming in spite of being "wounded" by the knife. It is relatively easy to cut and blend (or blend and cut, whichever) and kill several unarmed attackers with a knife.

Jon.

Pierre Kewcharoen
12-11-2007, 12:04 PM
I would say its a good video exercise if your introducing it for the first time. Seems like a fun exercise allowing the students to see openings and blend into the action at a slow pace.

However from a practical point of view its far from being realistic in terms of knife offense/defense. The attacker seems to be using the tanto like a bait item and not a weapon as the attacker is perceived to be on the defensive. The students are able to grab because the fear of getting slashed is non existant allowing the knife wielder to be a non threat. If i may make suggestion I would speed up the knife thrusts. There was alot of openings where that If I was the guy with the knife and someone grabbed me, their hand is the first thing getting stabbed/ or I would pull them in and stab their chest. Once you get a few stabs in the chest your pretty much immobile, no mattter how strong you are. This aint the movies. But I do like the exercise, just make sure you let the students know that its not '"true" knife disarmarment technique.

As far as the legal status of weapon use for defense. I always carry something. I like to have the option.

Michael Douglas
12-11-2007, 02:16 PM
Can I suggest dropping this exercise completely?
From what I can glean from the video it seems to get everyone doing terrible techniques in an unlikely scenario.

Why is the knifeman not cheerfully murdering all the unarmed victims?
Why are the wrestlers not just clinching and dragging the knifeman to the floor for their mates to finish him off?
Why do this silly 'training'. Do something more useful.

I notices quite ineffective armlocks being gently applied by the unarmed wrestlers ... they would benefit greatly from more training in the vicious application of disabling armlocks.

Lan Powers
12-11-2007, 02:28 PM
Uke's team up.
You'r e ignoring damages from the blade, so sacrifice one as the others bum-rush nage. (no-one is hurt anyway) and you learn coordinated pack type attacks.
If no mind is payed to being "cut" or "stabbed" then the game is all in favor of the attackers.
Otherwise, (real-knife mentality) the options are all weighted in nages favor...unlimited movement with handswitches, odd angles, etc. unless you allow free attcks for the ukes also with atemi, and all options for the attack.

Fun to play though ....we do stuff with tantos as well, just playing around.
Lan

ChrisMoses
12-11-2007, 02:31 PM
To be blunt, blind leading the blind making it a big waste of time.

Just reinforcing a lot of bad moves likely to get you killed in a real situation. Please stop and seek out someone who has a clue about knife before you abuse your students with further ignorance.

The direction it's heading now is delusion.

Ditto. That was difficult to watch. Sorry man. Not the kind of thing I could offer constructive criticism towards, it's just too far off base.

ChrisMoses
12-11-2007, 02:49 PM
About "real knife experts"
There are several really excellent edged weapon instructors. The majority of them have never been in a real knife engagement or any kind of fight at all.



So how many knife fights have you been in and what were the outcomes?

Pierre Kewcharoen
12-11-2007, 03:04 PM
Please tell me your dojo isn't inside someone's garage

Shany
12-11-2007, 03:14 PM
ahh what a mess!

Pierre,
lol i thought the same thing :D

I would personally would like this mess not to continue, it is dangerous training like this, where everything just look like a twister!
the instructor even knows aikido? I haven't even seen any basic move! hes just jumping around, twisting,holding hands and badging in..

akiy
12-11-2007, 03:32 PM
Please tell me your dojo isn't inside someone's garage
And, if it were a garage? Personally, I don't find training in a garage to be anything to be ashamed of. People train where they can train.

Let's try to discuss the subject matter at hand with respect, folks.

Thanks,

-- Jun

roman naly
12-11-2007, 03:47 PM
[QUOTE=Chris Hein;195502]"There is no striking allowed in this practice, "

Why?

gdandscompserv
12-11-2007, 05:22 PM
Please tell me your dojo isn't inside someone's garage
Garage dojo's are cool.:cool:

ChrisMoses
12-11-2007, 05:47 PM
Please tell me your dojo isn't inside someone's garage

If I had a big enough garage, that's where I would train. Don Angier and a number of other very worthwhile teachers train out of garage dojos. I'm more concerned about what I see in the garage.

Nick P.
12-11-2007, 06:05 PM
Please tell me your dojo isn't inside someone's garage

That and your earlier comment about always carrying some sort of weapon has just placed you on my ignore list.

I know a fifth dan in Japan who teach in his 10-tatami living room; there can be up to 14 people at any one time.

ChrisHein
12-11-2007, 06:27 PM
Thanks for all the input!

All the technical tip's are noted. One of the most surprising things to me when I first started with non cooperative was how hard it was. My techniques no longer looked precise and clean, and lots of things were rushed through. If you haven’t done much noncooperative work it can be hard to understand what you are seeing, and why it doesn't look like the cooperative stuff. If any of you have some clips of you doing noncooperative I’d love to see them!

Pierre Kewcharoen,
Very perceptive. We are indeed using the knife as “bait”. It is our hope that the attacker will be encouraged to attempt to grab the knife hand , thus we can have a moment of “Aiki”. This is much as you would see in the forms practice “katate dori Tai no Henko, Ki no nagare”.

Christian Moses,
I have never been in a knife fight, neither have most “knife experts”, that was my point. I theorize, train, and listen to those who have been unfortunate enough to find themselves at the wrong (or right) end of a knife. Some have been in many knife encounters, those people should be listened to. Others just repeat what they hear, they should be questioned.

Look anyone can prearrange a fight and make it look awesome. I think the people in Hollywood are better then the best of Shihan. However putting yourself out there in an unknown situation is another thing. Some people want to be tricked with parlor tricks and pretty lights, others seek to make themselves better-to each his own.

ChrisMoses
12-11-2007, 06:56 PM
Christian Moses,
I have never been in a knife fight, neither have most “knife experts”, that was my point.

Thanks for the clarification, I missed the point you were getting at.

xuzen
12-12-2007, 01:58 AM
Hey guys, this is the latest video from our school, and I'd like some feed back. Love it, hate it, or think it's a waste of time, I'd really enjoy hearing your opinions.
...<snip>...

We have poll here....

I chosed the "think it's a waste of time" option.

Hey, where is the " I don't do aikido" option?

Boon.

Amir Krause
12-12-2007, 02:51 AM
Great.

The attackers.
First off, the attackers (the unarmed mob) don't react to any damage they might receive from the weapon because that makes the practice harder. It's hard to guess at what kind of damage you might inflict on a cut, and hard to guess how different people will react to it. Some people receive lots of damage and keep coming, others get a paper cut and go home. So in the practice we make it a worse case scenario.

They do try to treat the knife as if it's real, but they also have an objective to achive-take the armed man down. doing it without getting cut/stabbed is the objective, but that objective is very hard.



My problem is with the part I placed in bold. When looking at the video, the attackers did not seem to care at all about being stabed.
When approaching a person with a knife, most people I have heard of would be very careful, and even frightened. The knife would create a space around it (you can even see it in planned and well reharsed demos done with a real blade - people grasp the real danger of errors and behave differently.

Every other impression I may have had is clouded by this issue.

Further, most trainees hardly seems to try and do anythong against their attackers, at most they resist passivly. It seems like they are not ready yet for the chalenge of being rushed by so many people in such confined space (a very difficult challenge). Practicing with resistence and scenarios is great, but it should be done in the right develpmental stages of your students (rather then you).
If you wish to keep this route, aI suggest to adjust the level to one your studnets can succeed with, at reasonalble levels for a learning process to occur (~3/4).

Amir

Michael Douglas
12-12-2007, 03:38 AM
Please tell me your dojo isn't inside someone's garage
:) Hey! I like his dojo. Homely. Not intimidating, like you're not going to be scared of scratching the lovely polished decor with a stray bokken. I'd improve it by fixing thin mats to two walls to allow safer collisions in this type of training.

I'd also like to apologise to Chris for my first post in this thread, I sounded too harsh and I didn't mean to be.

An improvement to the training would be to use it as an opportunity NOT for the unarmed guys to try to do aikido to the knifeman, but rather for the knifeman to train his knife attacks with a mind to using aikido to retain control if he is grabbed by his victims. Think about what Ueshiba or Takeda might do in this training situation. (Spill some blood?)
I'd show you what I mean but I'm not local enough.

Oh, one more thing : the unarmed guys who aren't holding onto the knife-arm might want to concentrate on chokes and koshinage?

MM
12-12-2007, 07:08 AM
Since it is so easy to be fatally wounded in knife attacks, and most people realize this, it is not likely that even a group of unarmed people will be willing to attack someone waving a knife at them. Why, then, would I engage in a practice that is based on such an unlikely situation? What's wrong with practicing blending and flowing without a knife? What specific benefit does the introduction of the knife into the situation offer to the development of blending?
Jon.

Why engage in that practice? Because if you're going to use a knife, you should engage in flow drills. This is just one such type of training. To use a knife, you should practice. In fact, I've read that some koryu had kata where nage/tori was armed and *won* the encounter against an unarmed uke. So, IMO, the practice is valid technically. :)

Mark

dps
12-12-2007, 07:10 AM
Please tell me your dojo isn't inside someone's garage

Hey Pierre look where these guy's dojo is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyWmfGE9QtI

David

Pierre Kewcharoen
12-12-2007, 08:29 AM
That and your earlier comment about always carrying some sort of weapon has just placed you on my ignore list.

I know a fifth dan in Japan who teach in his 10-tatami living room; there can be up to 14 people at any one time.

When I said I carry something with me doesn't necessarily mean that Im carrying a switchblade or a tanto. It could be a pen or a pencil or at most an exacto knife that I use for work. Your perception of a weapon may be different than mine. Still havent figured out how to use car keys as weapons yet :confused:

As far as my dojo comment, I meant that in a light hearted sense. I try to be funny with my posts but I guess I screwed up. Sorry meant no disrespect.

Pierre Kewcharoen
12-12-2007, 08:30 AM
Hey Pierre look where these guy's dojo is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyWmfGE9QtI

David

Thats awesome. Live blades? I thought that was taboo.

I repeat, my dojo comment was made in jest meant no disrespect.

Nick P.
12-12-2007, 08:55 AM
When I said I carry something with me doesn't necessarily mean that Im carrying a switchblade or a tanto. It could be a pen or a pencil or at most an exacto knife that I use for work. Your perception of a weapon may be different than mine. Still havent figured out how to use car keys as weapons yet :confused:

As far as my dojo comment, I meant that in a light hearted sense. I try to be funny with my posts but I guess I screwed up. Sorry meant no disrespect.

..and I over-reacted. My apologies as well. Harmony has been restored.
*aaaaaoooouuuummmmmmmm*

ChrisHein
12-12-2007, 09:50 AM
A lot of what we are doing is pretty radical, I understand the harsh reactions.

I must say though the people over at bullshido didn't seem quite as venomous as the people here on aikiweb. Or maybe I just expected it over there...

Thanks for your input though!

ChrisMoses
12-12-2007, 10:16 AM
Hey Pierre look where these guy's dojo is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyWmfGE9QtI

David

Unless that's not actually the link you meant, that's not a dojo, it's a demo. Little bit different. Lots of demos are done in public places (probably not many done at record stores though..).

dps
12-12-2007, 10:24 AM
Unless that's not actually the link you meant, that's not a dojo, it's a demo. Little bit different. Lots of demos are done in public places (probably not many done at record stores though..).

Yes, I know it was a demo. I was joking with Pierre about his garage comment, but he has apologized now.

I have known some people who have run martial art schools where ever they can, it is not the building it is the people practicing together that make a dojo.

My home dojo (during the summer only). http://www.aikiweb.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=1553

David

ChrisMoses
12-12-2007, 10:32 AM
A lot of what we are doing is pretty radical, I understand the harsh reactions.


It's not radical in any sense of the word that I can think of. It does seem misguided. I say that as someone who has no stake at all in preserving the mainline/party line of the Aikikai or any of the other organizations in the US. Where I train now, we do a good amount of tantojutsu and have various methods for training in less structured environments. In my sword line we also have non-kata practices to help demonstrate the difficulty and messy-ness of training when things aren't choreographed. Notice I'm not using the term 'freestyle' because almost any training method has some rules that govern the encounter.

Here's what I think you're missing. These less-structured training exercises need to serve to enhance ones understanding of how the art is studied in its more structured aspects (whether that be kata or whatever you would call the 'normal' keiko we see in aikido). What it looks like you are doing, is creating a rule set, and then just experimenting. Not only that, but you are allowing some obviously very inexperienced folkes to take part in that experimentation. It's clear from the videos that they lack the basic understanding and martial skill to really benefit from these exercises. Thus the blind leading the blind comments.

If you were interested in a training methodology for using the knife to study the principles and movements of aikido, you could do a lot worse than finding a Shodokan/Tomiki instructor. They have spent decades developing this system.

I can't help but think of the shu-ha-ri training paradigm that so many in kendo are familiar with. From your comments and videos over the years, it's pretty clear to me that you left your old instructor as you enterd the ha phase of your training. You now seem to approach your training as if you were in your ri phase and you have thrown your 'students' into that phase as well. IMHO, this is very unfortunate.

George S. Ledyard
12-12-2007, 05:01 PM
[QUOTE=Chris Hein;195502]"There is no striking allowed in this practice, "

Why?

If you are going to do anything worth while in the way of knife defense, striking has to be the essential component.

As for the video, I have no idea what is being taught... The guy with the knife is being taught to hesitate and be defensive when, in fact, he has the advantage of holding the deadly weapon. He should be initiating.

The "attackers" are basically being taught to sacrifice themselves by swarming the knife holder, seemingly on the assumption that they can over whelm him before he can kill them all. Probably true but a bit kami kaze for my taste.

This just isn't good training no matter how you look at it. What is being imprinted with this exercise is all the wrong stuff.

As Bodhidharma once said, "No merit!"

ChrisHein
12-12-2007, 05:31 PM
If you are going to do anything worth while in the way of knife defense, striking has to be the essential component.

As for the video, I have no idea what is being taught... The guy with the knife is being taught to hesitate and be defensive when, in fact, he has the advantage of holding the deadly weapon. He should be initiating.

The "attackers" are basically being taught to sacrifice themselves by swarming the knife holder, seemingly on the assumption that they can over whelm him before he can kill them all. Probably true but a bit kami kaze for my taste.

This just isn't good training no matter how you look at it. What is being imprinted with this exercise is all the wrong stuff.

As Bodhidharma once said, "No merit!"

I should have used the "double tegatana" I knew it!!

xuzen
12-12-2007, 10:53 PM
[QUOTE=Roman Naly;195604]
If you are going to do anything worth while in the way of knife defense, striking has to be the essential component....<snip>...

My dojo-mates and I did played around after class with San-nin tanto/jutte dori jiyu waza (to non-japonophile: Three people mock knife / short stick free technique exercise)

All I can say is that in that circumstances, the only techniques that have any chance of successful application are still atemi-waza, kokyu-nage and plenty of tai-sabaki. Grappling is definitely a no-no.

Of all three I mentioned above, the tai-sabaki skill is the most important.

Boon.

ChrisHein
12-13-2007, 09:38 AM
[QUOTE=George S. Ledyard;195699]

My dojo-mates and I did played around after class with San-nin tanto/jutte dori jiyu waza (to non-japonophile: Three people mock knife / short stick free technique exercise)

All I can say is that in that circumstances, the only techniques that have any chance of successful application are still atemi-waza, kokyu-nage and plenty of tai-sabaki. Grappling is definitely a no-no.

Of all three I mentioned above, the tai-sabaki skill is the most important.

Boon.

What about Aiki?

ChrisMoses
12-13-2007, 09:52 AM
What about Aiki?

Running away from someone while wacking them with a foam bat isn't aiki, nothing in any of your videos looks remotely like anything I would consider aiki. You are fooling yourself.

senshincenter
12-13-2007, 10:43 AM
Hi All,

I got mixed opinions here. There are parts of the drill that I see great value in - so I was coming to it first from that point of view. In that perspective, I was not understanding the drill to be at all relative to fighting with a knife (i.e. as a weapon used to gain or maintain a tactical advantage over another), or even fighting in general. I saw it as working upon one aspect of fighting, one that is relative to Aiki and that is very hard for newbies to pick up on due to fear and attachment often going unreconciled.

What I saw was a new practitioner (the deshi in the video) tapping into a particular body/mind relative to Aiki tactics via a very commonly held understanding of using a knife (i.e. it cuts, and I have to move it to cut with it = I move). In other words, I saw folks using a basic element of cutting with a knife to get their body to keep moving, which is very much akin to Aiki tactics, especially when facing multiple attackers. That is a very good thing in my opinion, and, in fact, we too have used a knife as a training tool in a way similar to this. Of course, there is moving and then there is moving, but initially I found it better to start with contrasting moving with non-moving when it comes to getting students to unfetter their body/mind. Thus, I can see the value in this type of training, understanding it to be working on one very basic element of the art.

In contrast, for example, if you take folks with equal experience and stick them in that kind of training environment, but without the knife in their hand, I would pretty much let everything ride on the result that they would not keep moving but would, instead, and wrongly, attempt to stand toe-to-toe in front of one attacker - which would only result in he/she being overran by the second or third attacker (i.e. their inevitable defeat). Again, from this perspective, I think the "knife" as a training tool, one that is more likely to get a new practitioner's body moving and keep it moving, even within situations where they are more prone to stand still (i.e. stressful situations like fast moving multiple attackers intent on taking you down), is a very good thing.

Here's an example of how we ourselves tried to use the knife and its moving nature to "inspire" new folks to unfetter their body/mind and to problematize those things (and bring awareness to those things) that make a body/mind fettered. In the video we are using a basic feed-pass/check-feed three count rhythm to do this and, consequently, to help "put kihon waza together" (or wipe their divisions away - which ever angle you prefer) - which while not about fighting does tell you how fettered your game is or not, which does tell you how where you are in training.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/shuofri.html

Aside from that, if one were opting to come from the point of view of knife fighting or knife attacking, or even just fighting in total, while there may be some parallels, ones that may in fact be part of the key elements necessary for gaining the training benefits I mentioned above, the drill in Chris' video starts to lose water - because it may be trying to accomplish too much too fast with too little. However, this does not take away from the fact that Chris' students will probably move way better in a basic randori drill than anyone else's students of similar experience who have never done any kind of drill similar to this. (My opinion)

That said, I also think, however, I am not of the mind to say that "this" or "that" is a real knife attack. So I would never critique the drill from that perspective. For me, what makes "reality" reality is that it can consist of anything. Thus, I would never say, "Oh, that's not how a real knife attack would be committed!" "It's like this, not that!" For me, reality is what reality is, and that can be anything. So, you might face something exactly like this, you might face something totally different, etc., and one would be the fool for seeing one thing once, or even more often than not, and thereby look to something else and think, "I'm never going to see that, so forget it." Again, the real is the real, and what makes the real the real is that it can be anything - always, never, and forever.

dmv

ChrisMoses
12-13-2007, 11:11 AM
I saw it as working upon one aspect of fighting, one that is relative to Aiki and that is very hard for newbies to pick up on due to fear and attachment often going unreconciled.

David, I didn't quite get which aspect of aiki you felt that this drill was working towards. Sorry if I just missed it.

George S. Ledyard
12-13-2007, 11:41 AM
Hi All,

I got mixed opinions here. There are parts of the drill that I see great value in - so I was coming to it first from that point of view. In that perspective, I was not understanding the drill to be at all relative to fighting with a knife (i.e. as a weapon used to gain or maintain a tactical advantage over another), or even fighting in general. I saw it as working upon one aspect of fighting, one that is relative to Aiki and that is very hard for newbies to pick up on due to fear and attachment often going unreconciled.

What I saw was a new practitioner (the deshi in the video) tapping into a particular body/mind relative to Aiki tactics via a very commonly held understanding of using a knife (i.e. it cuts, and I have to move it to cut with it = I move). In other words, I saw folks using a basic element of cutting with a knife to get their body to keep moving, which is very much akin to Aiki tactics, especially when facing multiple attackers. That is a very good thing in my opinion, and, in fact, we too have used a knife as a training tool in a way similar to this. Of course, there is moving and then there is moving, but initially I found it better to start with contrasting moving with non-moving when it comes to getting students to unfetter their body/mind. Thus, I can see the value in this type of training, understanding it to be working on one very basic element of the art.

In contrast, for example, if you take folks with equal experience and stick them in that kind of training environment, but without the knife in their hand, I would pretty much let everything ride on the result that they would not keep moving but would, instead, and wrongly, attempt to stand toe-to-toe in front of one attacker - which would only result in he/she being overran by the second or third attacker (i.e. their inevitable defeat). Again, from this perspective, I think the "knife" as a training tool, one that is more likely to get a new practitioner's body moving and keep it moving, even within situations where they are more prone to stand still (i.e. stressful situations like fast moving multiple attackers intent on taking you down), is a very good thing.

Here's an example of how we ourselves tried to use the knife and its moving nature to "inspire" new folks to unfetter their body/mind and to problematize those things (and bring awareness to those things) that make a body/mind fettered. In the video we are using a basic feed-pass/check-feed three count rhythm to do this and, consequently, to help "put kihon waza together" (or wipe their divisions away - which ever angle you prefer) - which while not about fighting does tell you how fettered your game is or not, which does tell you how where you are in training.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/shuofri.html

Aside from that, if one were opting to come from the point of view of knife fighting or knife attacking, or even just fighting in total, while there may be some parallels, ones that may in fact be part of the key elements necessary for gaining the training benefits I mentioned above, the drill in Chris' video starts to lose water - because it may be trying to accomplish too much too fast with too little. However, this does not take away from the fact that Chris' students will probably move way better in a basic randori drill than anyone else's students of similar experience who have never done any kind of drill similar to this. (My opinion)

That said, I also think, however, I am not of the mind to say that "this" or "that" is a real knife attack. So I would never critique the drill from that perspective. For me, what makes "reality" reality is that it can consist of anything. Thus, I would never say, "Oh, that's not how a real knife attack would be committed!" "It's like this, not that!" For me, reality is what reality is, and that can be anything. So, you might face something exactly like this, you might face something totally different, etc., and one would be the fool for seeing one thing once, or even more often than not, and thereby look to something else and think, "I'm never going to see that, so forget it." Again, the real is the real, and what makes the real the real is that it can be anything - always, never, and forever.

dmv

From that standpoint there is some value in this. We do some flow work, derived from Systema, which utilizes three people with knives to get people moving their bodies and developing sensitivity to the lines of attack. It's highly stylized and wouldn't be considered realistic by any means. But it does incorporate an awareness of atemi throughout and I think that is crucial.

Getting people moving is important but my feeling is that all exercises need to develop a forward attitude, no backing up, and the need to imprint the idea that your Mind is always "inside" the attack. These exercises don't do that, to my way of thinking...

Ron Tisdale
12-13-2007, 11:50 AM
And the exercises that you showed in your clips look entirely different to my poor eyes from what was on the initial video.

Best,
Ron (and good to read you here again, hope all is well. Do I get to call you Occifer yet?)

Michael Douglas
12-13-2007, 12:26 PM
... I must say though the people over at bullshido didn't seem quite as venomous as the people here on aikiweb. Or maybe I just expected it over there...
You just expected it. Some WAS harsh.
Actually, lots of it was harsh, you just have rhino-thick skin!:straightf

ChrisMoses
12-13-2007, 01:19 PM
You just expected it. Some WAS harsh.
Actually, lots of it was harsh, you just have rhino-thick skin!:straightf

OK, that was a funny thread.

Chris, maybe you should tell the aikiweb forum about what can be learned from samurai massacring peasants in a village. :crazy:

ChrisHein
12-13-2007, 05:51 PM
Look I never said this drill was the be all end all. I never said my students were awesome or could do anything amazing. I never claimed to be the top notch best fighter around.

I made a non cooperative drill. I personally feel it has lots of merit. If you don't neat, I appreciate your feed back. If any of you can use aiki regularly against noncooperative attacks I'd love to see it. I just want to see Aiki folks leave the security of cooperative drills sometimes. That's what this is all about.

senshincenter
12-13-2007, 06:19 PM
David, I didn't quite get which aspect of aiki you felt that this drill was working towards. Sorry if I just missed it.

My fault, I'm sure. Apologies.

I would say it's working on not getting fettered, or at least revealing to the practitioner the problem of being fettered - as noted in not moving, stopping, and being caught by the attackers. For me, this is one of the main reasons for training in multiple attacker situations. Not being fettered, being aware of how one is working toward an unfettering of body/mind in one's overall training, for me, is part of developing Aiki, especially when it comes to outside-the-dojo situations.

To help make this point clearer, let me say, I think a lot of folks that do multiple attacker training may look "prettier," "more refined," "better in their technique," etc., than the students in the video when it comes to such training, but what one may in fact be looking at is a training environment where standing still, being fettered, etc., is not being truly exposed. For example, this can occur, and almost always does, when the attackers stand around and wait for their turn to be thrown (vs. being charged with the mission of swamping nage). In the end, a person may look at such training and go, "Wow, that is aiki" - because it looks like how they are used to seeing kihon waza go. In reality, you got a nage that is standing around, fettered, standing in the middle of attachment and dualistic viewpoints that need to be wiped out, or dropped, before higher levels of Aiki could actually take place (my opinion) - especially within out-of-the dojo applications.

When I see Chris' video, I saw him running this students through one of the doorways that helps a person understand first-hand - you can't stand still; you will want to, but you can't: Movement is everything. From there, it raises the question, for his students, at a physical, spiritual, and intellectual level: What allows you to move? What does not allow you to move? These are Aiki questions for me - especially for real-world applications.

To make things more clear, please look at the following videos from this point of view (i.e. is the nage fettered, caught standing still, and/or are the attackers exposing this or hiding this). These videos were just randomly selected of a "randori" search on youtube.com - I'm not saying who is doing what or why - just asking folks to look at them from this point of view, thinking it might shed more light on what I saw in Chris' video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr8DJWKI28c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX6g-Mp7yKU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YziUvBqX-zI

Thanks,
dmv

gdandscompserv
12-13-2007, 06:32 PM
I think people that experiment with different training methods learn from the experience. It's all about getting outside of one's comfort zone. I'm pretty sure Chris learned some things from this type of training. He may refine it or he may dispose of it. Either way, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I try new things in my dojo. Some of them work out nicely, others not so good. But I learn from each experience, and to me, that is what it's all about. Don't we really learn more from our failures than from our successes anyway?

xuzen
12-13-2007, 10:44 PM
[QUOTE=Xu Wenfung;195713]

What about Aiki?

What aiki? AFAIK, Kokyu-nage, atemi-waza (these include... Shomen-ate/irimi-tsuki, aigamae-ate/irimi-nage, gyakugamae-ate/sokumen iriminage, hiji-ate etc) and tai-sabaki are part of aiki-do syllabus.

Hence, Chris, what aiki are you talking about?

Boon.

senshincenter
12-13-2007, 10:52 PM
Boon,

could you please explain that point a bit more - I'm not sure I understand the question.

please/thanks,
d

ChrisHein
12-13-2007, 11:14 PM
What aiki? AFAIK, Kokyu-nage, atemi-waza (these include... Shomen-ate/irimi-tsuki, aigamae-ate/irimi-nage, gyakugamae-ate/sokumen iriminage, hiji-ate etc) and tai-sabaki are part of aiki-do syllabus.

Hence, Chris, what aiki are you talking about?

Boon.

Those are techniques.

I'm talking about Aiki, the act of blending your energy with your attackers; Aiki.

xuzen
12-14-2007, 12:54 AM
DavidV,

ChrisH asked me this question " what about Aiki" in post #40 and I interpreted he meant what " aiki-do technique I used?" therefore i answered as per post #51.

Sorry guys for the mix-up in understanding.

ChrisH,

wrt aiki... if I recall correctly, what I did when it was my turn as Tori, was to slap hard (make sure uke has welt and plam print as souvenir) away the tanto wielding hand and then irimi/enter with technique (again mostly atemi-waza).

I did not grab uke's armed hand as it was all sweaty. For example, trying to do a kote-gaeshi on a sweaty palm.... good luck with that.

If you are thinking blending as in 180 degrees tenkan, no sir, no time to react. The most I did was just open my body slightly i.e, hips facing the uke's body, and then irimi with e.g., irimi-nage or irimi-tsuki, or as my adjutant sensei's favourite: Hiji-ate.

As none of us are FMA trained, our understanding of knife attacks are limted to straight stabs, over-head ice pick stabs, diagonal cuts and combinations and feigns thereof.

When we are dealing with say three uke's the opportunity to do any techniques quickly diminish to nil, and all i was able to do was just slip around the incoming hordes and push the uke's into each other to buy me time.

Again, I must reiterate, techniques that I personally experince to work in this extremely chaotic circumstances are irimi-tsuki, ushiro-nage, irimi-nage, hiji-ate and kokyu-nage.

Kotegashi, ikkajo, sankajo, nikajo and many more small joint manipulation techniques (kansetsu-waza) are entirely lost once in these extemely choatic scenarios.

The above is a personal account of the exercise I had participated as part of my training. I hope my writing is able to paint a mental picture.

Boon.

John Connolly
12-14-2007, 12:58 AM
Chris H.,

I sincerely hope that you take the advice of people who have been critiquing your method/video. It seems like you are on the defensive now in a serious way.

Look I never said this drill was the be all end all. I never said my students were awesome or could do anything amazing. I never claimed to be the top notch best fighter around.

I made a non cooperative drill. I personally feel it has lots of merit. If you don't neat, I appreciate your feed back. If any of you can use aiki regularly against noncooperative attacks I'd love to see it. I just want to see Aiki folks leave the security of cooperative drills sometimes. That's what this is all about.

You have to recognize that yours was a massively cooperative drill. See any of the comments earlier about grabbing/striking/knife reactions and try to understand that you have set up a fantasy, not a simulation of reality.

I'm talking about Aiki, the act of blending your energy with your attackers; Aiki.

Even if you subscribe to this as Aiki (I don't, many others don't), your exercise seemed to create ONE type of energy, frantic and uncoordinated. I would suggest redefining your methods, slowing it down, and then re-trying this experiment.

I wish you the best in your efforts.

MM
12-14-2007, 09:24 AM
Look I never said this drill was the be all end all. I never said my students were awesome or could do anything amazing. I never claimed to be the top notch best fighter around.

I made a non cooperative drill. I personally feel it has lots of merit. If you don't neat, I appreciate your feed back. If any of you can use aiki regularly against noncooperative attacks I'd love to see it. I just want to see Aiki folks leave the security of cooperative drills sometimes. That's what this is all about.

Chris,
I think your definition of aiki and mine are not the same. :)

All in all, best of luck in your endeavors. Takes some thick skin and courage to post vids. Kudos for that. :)

Mark

ChrisHein
12-14-2007, 10:10 AM
Chris H.,

I sincerely hope that you take the advice of people who have been critiquing your method/video. It seems like you are on the defensive now in a serious way.

You have to recognize that yours was a massively cooperative drill. See any of the comments earlier about grabbing/striking/knife reactions and try to understand that you have set up a fantasy, not a simulation of reality.

Even if you subscribe to this as Aiki (I don't, many others don't), your exercise seemed to create ONE type of energy, frantic and uncoordinated. I would suggest redefining your methods, slowing it down, and then re-trying this experiment.

I wish you the best in your efforts.

All classroom training is "massively cooperative". Everyone has to agree to show up and work together to get better.

I personally don't believe my drill is "massively cooperative" though. I believe everyone involved is honestly trying to attack and defend to the best of their abilities. I believe there is little conscious effort to make someone look better, or attempt to deceive themselves.

That's what it looks like when you put 4 average guys together and tell 3 of them to wrestle one of them to the ground. If you doubt it, try it.

Unfortunately I did go on the defensive. I was feeling kind of boxed in yesterday, and felt like much of what was said was personal. I'm trying to not be on the defensive or offensive though, I would really just like to hear what people have to say.

You've got to understand I left "mainstream" aikido for a reason. I couldn't find what I'm looking for there. Some of you have suggested that I find some kind of hard style teacher. However no teacher I have seen can do what I'm looking for. So I have to do it on my own. If you have footage of an aikido teacher doing noncooperative stuff I'd love to see it.

MM
12-14-2007, 10:43 AM
All classroom training is "massively cooperative". Everyone has to agree to show up and work together to get better.

I personally don't believe my drill is "massively cooperative" though. I believe everyone involved is honestly trying to attack and defend to the best of their abilities. I believe there is little conscious effort to make someone look better, or attempt to deceive themselves.

That's what it looks like when you put 4 average guys together and tell 3 of them to wrestle one of them to the ground. If you doubt it, try it.

Unfortunately I did go on the defensive. I was feeling kind of boxed in yesterday, and felt like much of what was said was personal. I'm trying to not be on the defensive or offensive though, I would really just like to hear what people have to say.

You've got to understand I left "mainstream" aikido for a reason. I couldn't find what I'm looking for there. Some of you have suggested that I find some kind of hard style teacher. However no teacher I have seen can do what I'm looking for. So I have to do it on my own. If you have footage of an aikido teacher doing noncooperative stuff I'd love to see it.

Hmmm ... I don't think it's a matter of "mainstream" or "hard" styles. Just a matter of finding a good teacher.

Example, I can try to imagine what Chuck Clark would do if he were the one with the knife being attacked by 3 people. And I don't have to guess that he'd handle things very well. Dennis Hooker or Ellis Amdur would do the same. I may not be able to imagine what it would look like, but I know it would be something "aikido"-ish, soft, effective, short and sweet. :)

All three have different "styles", but all three are good teachers. (I'd say great, but we'd have to widen doorways to get their ego through -- LOL. Just Kidding!)

But, let's change the subject now. Let's say you want to try aikido with a knife. So, how about something like this?

1 versus 1. Tori w/knife held in reverse grip in right hand. Uke attacks (you should be able to fit with most attacks) and tori uses right hand reverse knife to trap uke's wrist. Tori's other hand goes to uke's shoulder to start irimi nage. After the initial turn when tori goes to turn back into uke, use the point of the knife in ukes face to employ the downward, spiraling drop. NOTE: Do this slowly and safely. You could possibly do this in 1 vs 3, but again, there's a safety factor.

Or another practice -- use the knife in regular grip to deliver an atemi to uke's midsection while you slip the left arm under uke to finish in kaiten nage? In 1 vs 3, you can hopefully launch uke into the other 2. :)

There are many variations of using a knife with aikido. It isn't "knife fighting", but it can be free flow drills to get used to employing a knife.

Mark

ChrisMoses
12-14-2007, 10:54 AM
That's what it looks like when you put 4 average guys together and tell 3 of them to wrestle one of them to the ground. If you doubt it, try it.

And that's exactly what martial arts (and certainly budo) isn't. That's what middle schoolers do in the basement. Even in very 'freestyle' heavy arts like judo, instruction involves progressive drills which help guide the practitioner forward. Maybe you should focus more on the Dog Bros. stuff since that obviously resonated with you. Lose the Aikido trappings and just see where that takes you.

stan baker
12-14-2007, 11:56 AM
at least you are getting a little workout

stan

George S. Ledyard
12-14-2007, 12:14 PM
Training is all about imprinting. If you start with chaos you end with chaos. Exercises which teach hesitation, back away, excited emotional state. etc are not what you want to be imprinting.

The use of "aiki" to describe what is happening in these exercises is not how I would use. I often find that folks doing Aikido have little understanding of what "aiki" actually is. It is not avoidance. Many people feel that getting out of the way of the power of an incoming strike is "aiki". I would not consider that to be true. Neutralizing the attack and taking the attacker's center involves "aiki" if done according to certain principles.

The debate about terms is relevant here. I subscribe to the idea that "aiki" is better translated as "joining" than "harmony", at least where we are talking about waza. It involves a method of projecting ones attention and neutralizing that attacker's power at the instant of physical contact. Waza done with "aiki" is largely about moving the mind of the attacker in order to get him to move himself. Technique which is merely operating on a physical basis is simply jiu jutsu rather than aiki.

People need to be very careful about how they design their training exercises because they imprint mental and physical habits with every repetition. As far as I am concerned, the absolute first priority in Aikido work should be physical relaxation and mental calm and projection. The Systema folks accomplish this quite well. They have the lack of any prearranged form which Chris seems to want but they train slow to medium for a very long time. Even the advanced people largely train this way... it keeps the injuries down. Aikido randori practice should also do this if it is done properly.

I'm not criticizing an attempt to develop better practice. I am just pointing out that the exercises used as presented do not necessarily imprint the right things. Students training this way will get very good at avoiding but will not develop high level skills using the principles of "aiki".

The earlier comment about Shu Ha Ri was quite apt, in my opinion.

Steven
12-14-2007, 12:44 PM
Take the knife out of his hand and you simply have a jiyuwaza or randori drill. I saw something similar on youtube where Steven Seagal had multiple attackers bull rush some poor soul in the middle. There's a bunch of explaining going on in the background. That's really all I see in the video. Don't see anything that would be classified as tanto work.

Edit:
Here is the clip I was referring to. It's about 3 minutes in.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YziUvBqX-zI

John Connolly
12-14-2007, 01:06 PM
I made a non cooperative drill

This is what I was responding to when saying your drill was massively cooperative. Of course all classroom drills are cooperative on various levels. However, how you structure that cooperation means everything to your success or failure in learning about martial effectiveness.

f you have footage of an aikido teacher doing noncooperative stuff I'd love to see it.

How about "less" cooperative, or differently, purposefully cooperative? Just look up Shodokan or Tomiki Aikido on You Tube. You will find lots of great examples of tanto work in an Aikido paradigm that you may be able to follow the example of in your process.

The cooperation structure that I can determine from your exercise is the tacit agreement between all of you to ignore the knife, not attack in any realistic fashion, and respond to advances with twirling. This may sound rough, but if you want to advance your abilities and your students abilities, you will consider the purpose (what you want to develop), and then tailor your exercise to that. Begin with a simple 1, 2, 3 step type drill and gradually expand, adding more factors progressively until you are able to approximate randori.

I don't necessarily think you should "look for a sensei" to guide you. But again, if you want to truly get better, you have to analyze what you are doing. Be hyper-critical. Try to develop a systematic approach that includes questioning motives for movement and technique application. Go back several steps before randori and build up gradually, logically, until it is effective.

Kevin Leavitt
12-14-2007, 01:23 PM
Chris,

Read very careful what George Ledyard Sensei is saying. Please read it several times...carefully and intently to make sure you see what he is really saying.

I train Soldiers in the military in Modern Army Combatives, and spent a huge majority of my time training individual and small unit fighting skills.

In teaching our basic combative course, we are very, very careful to get across to students that you have to be very careful in your training. Everything is a simulation. Within simulation, you will always have untended affects. Those Affects will get you killed if you do not recognize them for wihat they are.

So, I try to educate and make my students/soldiers aware of those things, and come up with ways to mitigate them.

We have a saying in the Army "Train as you fight", however, it is really not possible to do that is it?

Anyway...

Personally I had no issue with your video. It is hard to comment on what was really going on there not fully understanding the intended outcome or training point. Maybe you are simply getting across to students that it is damn near impossible to avoid a fast moving knife!

That is why I won't comment on the video, as I cannot understand the training endstate.

That said, one thing I think many in martial training get confused on is ENDSTATE. That is training with a definitive goal in mind.

The teacher has one in his head, the students have one in their heads. In most cases. yes I say most...they both think that they understand that they are training from the same perspective with the same focus on endstate...and they are NOT!

Most students will turn themselves over to their instructor as a blank and say "teach me". They then proceed down the teaching/training path for a session, weeks, months, years. Maybe on the right path, maybe not.

The instructor may have a perspective and the students quite another!

Anyway....

What I like is that you are being open and honest in your approach to trainng. You seem to be asking questions and trying things out, and experimenting with innovation etc.

Sounds like you might have set up your own shop because you did not get fulfilled through studying in a organization that "stayed within the box".

It is good to be innovative and experiment.

Just be careful and train with endstate and good intent and everything will work out in the long run.

Encourage your students to think for themselves and to seek answers and train critically and sketpically.

Take Ledyard Sensei's advice, read it, and look at it carefully.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us!

Ron Tisdale
12-14-2007, 01:38 PM
Hi Chris,

Have you spent any time with Chuck Clark or Karl Geis(sp)? I believe both have schools that came out of the Shodokan/Tomiki lineage, and they have more of a presence in the States. From your stated goals, I think you would be well served to do some exploration there.

I can fully sympathize with your search for non-cooperative training given some of your background, even if my goals are quite different. I still think that at least having someone as a mentor who has been down this road before would help a great deal.

You may want to build a relationship with someone like David Valedez, who has already spent a great deal of time building an independent dojo and curriculumn. And his material is easily recognizable as aikido, even though he addresses (in my opinion based on video) many of the things you seem to be concerned about. He is also in California.

Best,
Ron (hey, what the heck is up with the spell checker???)

Larry Feldman
12-14-2007, 03:28 PM
I am with Craig and George on this.

If you are trying to teach movement and flow, I would look to randori practice (without the knife). George does in fact address how to effectively do randori in a seminar (and DVD) he offers. It would serve you (and most of us) well to attend, as it is rarely taught through principals that can be practiced. It sure beats trial and error...

jason jordan
12-14-2007, 03:37 PM
Getting people moving is important but my feeling is that all exercises need to develop a forward attitude, no backing up, and the need to imprint the idea that your Mind is always "inside" the attack. These exercises don't do that, to my way of thinking...

Hello Sensei
I have not yet had the opportunity to learn from you in person, so I take this time now. I highlighted a part of your statement. I use a word all the time in class "Suikomi" Which if I am not mistaken means "to lead or to bait" which is a common aikido practice.

My question to you is, Would the forward thinking and not backing up apply to that, or are they two seperate things?

Are you saying "Mentally backing up" and moving forward?
I agree with your statements about the video and am just asking for more of your opinion.:p

In Aiki
Jjo

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-14-2007, 03:41 PM
And that's exactly what martial arts (and certainly budo) isn't. That's what middle schoolers do in the basement.

Arguably, the middle schoolers in the basement are ahead of much of the aikido world in their training methodology.

I think the real issue here is: everyone who's criticizing these training exercises really ought to be posting exactly what they do that's better. Preferably, they should also state what their training allows them to do that an untrained person could not. Grapple with a keikogi? Grapple without? Strike? Grapple and strike (MMA)? Fence with swords? What?

ChrisHein
12-14-2007, 04:11 PM
Training is all about imprinting. If you start with chaos you end with chaos. Exercises which teach hesitation, back away, excited emotional state. etc are not what you want to be imprinting.

The use of "aiki" to describe what is happening in these exercises is not how I would use. I often find that folks doing Aikido have little understanding of what "aiki" actually is. It is not avoidance. Many people feel that getting out of the way of the power of an incoming strike is "aiki". I would not consider that to be true. Neutralizing the attack and taking the attacker's center involves "aiki" if done according to certain principles.

The debate about terms is relevant here. I subscribe to the idea that "aiki" is better translated as "joining" than "harmony", at least where we are talking about waza. It involves a method of projecting ones attention and neutralizing that attacker's power at the instant of physical contact. Waza done with "aiki" is largely about moving the mind of the attacker in order to get him to move himself. Technique which is merely operating on a physical basis is simply jiu jutsu rather than aiki.

People need to be very careful about how they design their training exercises because they imprint mental and physical habits with every repetition. As far as I am concerned, the absolute first priority in Aikido work should be physical relaxation and mental calm and projection. The Systema folks accomplish this quite well. They have the lack of any prearranged form which Chris seems to want but they train slow to medium for a very long time. Even the advanced people largely train this way... it keeps the injuries down. Aikido randori practice should also do this if it is done properly.

I'm not criticizing an attempt to develop better practice. I am just pointing out that the exercises used as presented do not necessarily imprint the right things. Students training this way will get very good at avoiding but will not develop high level skills using the principles of "aiki".

The earlier comment about Shu Ha Ri was quite apt, in my opinion.

I agree and disagree with this.

I also believe training is about “imprinting”. I also believe training is about self discovery.

I’m all for working on the finer points of technique. But I’m also about finding things out for yourself, instead of just hoping your teacher (or whoever) is correct . If you’re worried about “imprinting” something wrong you’ll never do anything.

When you first walk into an Aikido dojo, your first tai no henko sucks. But the instructor doesn't say “stop, sit down before you imprint something wrong”. The instructor says “here try it like this”, and a decent student learns from that and dose it a little better next time. Trial and error it’s what has brought us out of caves.

You never know what you will do in a high pressure situation until you face some. If you spend all your time training in a comfortable environment, with everyone talking softy, and happily falling for you even when you don’t quite get the technique; how are you going to learn anything for yourself? You cannot “imprint” anything worth while until you personally know what is worth while.

My personal definition of Aiki can be found in my blog, it’s pretty complete so I’m not interested in reposting it here.

In my video clip there are very few moments of “aiki”. This is because in a situation where people are allowed to make “non committed attacks” opportunities are few. To further the complication, many times the “nage” is so stressed that he can’t see the opportunity when it arises. To complicate it even further all of the attackers are aware of what “nage” is trying to do, and are attempting to thwart him.

So yes there are very few moments of “Aiki”. There are some there though, little tiny ones, and to me this is very exciting. Much more exciting then seeing someone in a preset situation do beautiful Aiki all day.

jason jordan
12-14-2007, 04:29 PM
Arguably, the middle schoolers in the basement are ahead of much of the aikido world in their training methodology.

I think the real issue here is: everyone who's criticizing these training exercises really ought to be posting exactly what they do that's better. Preferably, they should also state what their training allows them to do that an untrained person could not. Grapple with a keikogi? Grapple without? Strike? Grapple and strike (MMA)? Fence with swords? What?

Well i will post what we do at our school, it is not better it's just what we do.

We execute every attack with serious intention and serious control. "Refering to the older deshi of course.

We strive to train with real effectiveness..."Not falling just to fall, or to make others look good." We also incorporate combination strikes to learn how to identify intention versus feignts.

I also go over to the BJJ guys and we train together.
As well as the Karate guys.

What we don't do, is sacrifice the developement of good technique, and dedicated practice for the sake of "making it real" Take a shomen attack for example.
Uke should have full intention of hitting nage in the head. If you irimi. it should be intentional, and uke's attack should be followed through. If uke throws tsuki there should be intention behind it. Conversely I expect for uke to also exercise enough controll to pull his punch should nage not execute properly.

I admire Chris for their willingness to train effectively.
But I also feel that maybe they should have a better base to work from.

Question to Chris.
What does your Sensei think about your training?
Are you still a student as well as a teacher?

My humble opinion

ChrisHein
12-14-2007, 04:45 PM
Question to Chris.
What does your Sensei think about your training?
Are you still a student as well as a teacher?



My former Aikido teacher and I no longer have a student teacher relationship. Tim Cartmell, is the only person I still train under, he seems to like what we do quite a bit.

You guys are only seeing half of our class structure. We do a whole class dedicated only to forms and techniques. We do Jiyu waza all the Iwama weapons forms, kihon and ki no nagare "tai jutsu".

Here's us doing some techniques.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJdVUdLSgg0

This is the demo video for the school, about half forms, and half randori.

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

jason jordan
12-14-2007, 05:12 PM
My former Aikido teacher and I no longer have a student teacher relationship. Tim Cartmell, is the only person I still train under, he seems to like what we do quite a bit.

You guys are only seeing half of our class structure. We do a whole class dedicated only to forms and techniques. We do Jiyu waza all the Iwama weapons forms, kihon and ki no nagare "tai jutsu".

Here's us doing some techniques.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJdVUdLSgg0

This is the demo video for the school, about half forms, and half randori.

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

That's fair! The only reason I ask about your sensei is because it is always good to remain "Accountable" to someone higher and more experienced. As a teacher we have to remember that we also have to be students.
Seeing the clip you posted alone, is quite a bit scary to me. Not for you, but for the students. Beginning students have the tendency to believe that what they learn from the sensei is the "end all be all".

If we are not careful they will believe that they have obtained a certain amount of "Magical Ability" and go out and get their A$$3$ handed to them.

We have to make sure that we are teaching them "Imprinting" on them quality technique.

Please don't take this as critisim.
Take care and be blessed
Train hard.

ChrisHein
12-14-2007, 05:41 PM
If we are not careful they will believe that they have obtained a certain amount of "Magical Ability" and go out and get their A$$3$ handed to them.


My main worry, and why I train the way I do.

One of my students was asked the other day:
"so what have you learned thats practical from your training"
he replied
"don't get into a fight you can't win. Make sure you have numbers and a weapon on your side. If possible run away".
Hearing that brought a big smile to my face.

George S. Ledyard
12-14-2007, 05:48 PM
Hello Sensei
I have not yet had the opportunity to learn from you in person, so I take this time now. I highlighted a part of your statement. I use a word all the time in class "Suikomi" Which if I am not mistaken means "to lead or to bait" which is a common aikido practice.

My question to you is, Would the forward thinking and not backing up apply to that, or are they two seperate things?

Are you saying "Mentally backing up" and moving forward?
I agree with your statements about the video and am just asking for more of your opinion.:p

In Aiki
Jjo

Personally, I don't have more than a smattering of Japanese technical terms, so I pick up descriptive terminology all over the place. The one I like for this is "zoning out" which I got from the Jeet Kun Do folks. It basically refers to the act of increasing space or moving out from the opponent.

I use the term to make a distinction between "backing up" which I take to mean not only backing away or escaping physically, but also mentally retreating. It's a collapse of your energy field, if you will.

"Zoning out" is different in that it does not entail any change in your forward attitude. To have any hope of achieving technique using "aiki", you must have your Mind "inside" the attack. Mentally retreating usually involves a change in focus from the attacker's center to the attack itself. This makes "joining" impossible.

I would highly recommend getting Ushiro Kenji's book:
Ushiro sensei's Book (http://www.aikidojournal.com/catalog/productdetails?code=kata)
Also, Ushiro Karate is available on two DVD's in which he explicitly explains this principle.
Ushiro Karate Videos (http://www.aikidojournal.com/catalog/?category=7)

Also, if anyone's interested, I did a seminar on this topic and it's just been released on DVD. It's called Aikido - The Power of the Mind (Putting Content into Your Technique).
Aikido: The Power of the Mind (http://www.aikieast.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AES&Product_Code=POM112&Category_Code=DAVM8)

Anyway, proper "leading" or "drawing in" in Aikido involves a yin movement with a balancing yang mental projection. In this manner the opponent gets drawn in a bit more than was intentional. That is my primary objection to the exercise in the original video in that it is not really teaching or making the practitioners aware of this principle. "Escaping", while definitely a valuable martial skill in certain situations is not "aiki". It does not result in the joining which the Japanese call "ittai ka" or "single body" which is required for technique to be done with "aiki" principles.

senshincenter
12-14-2007, 06:05 PM
I think I have to disagree with a lot of what is being said, unfortunately, for me, but also for everyone that has said it, everyone has said pretty much every basic status-quo slogan one can ever say.

When you want to develop yourself, truly making the art your own, you are going to have to throw all these slogans out the door. To make an art yours, you are going to have to deconstruct yourself, and that, somewhere in the process of making the art yours, will mean that you will have to deconstruct the art. This will include deconstructing every facet that holds or presents the art as a construct (which can only ever be something other than you). This means, for example, at some point you are going to have to move beyond your teacher, the founder, tradition, your students, techniques, etc. This is not a bad thing, and, believe it or not, the world will not end. Nor will you end in ruin, nor will you ruin your students, nor will the Founder turn over in his grave.

I can't speak for everyone, but I think Paul's statements need to be heard. Folks, in a conversation like this, need to understand that there will inevitably be a propensity to discuss things as if everyone is talking about the same thing - when they are not. This is how the status quo is maintained. For better or for worse, Chris' video is presenting things (i.e. randori) in a way that is quite different from what is more commonly seen in dojo all over the world. In fact, outside of my own dojo, the only other place where I've seen folks take seriously the charge of neutralizing nage is Chris' video and the one by Segal. If someone else has a clip of such training - please share it. If you have a clip, it will undoubtedly add to the conversation - or if you can find one.

Still, with all this talk of irimi and striking, etc., I have a strong suspicion that folks are not attempting to neutralize nage like they are in Chris' video (i.e. Irimi and striking is not the best tactic for when folks are set on neutralizing your ass so that they can gang up on you). So, while there may be a lot more to do (which I'm sure Chris does),Chris video, for me, seems to be attempting to address something that is not at all commonly addressed in the Aikido world.

In short, let's get more clips going here (let's do some youtube searches) so we can have a more established context.

d

George S. Ledyard
12-14-2007, 06:17 PM
My former Aikido teacher and I no longer have a student teacher relationship. Tim Cartmell, is the only person I still train under, he seems to like what we do quite a bit.

You guys are only seeing half of our class structure. We do a whole class dedicated only to forms and techniques. We do Jiyu waza all the Iwama weapons forms, kihon and ki no nagare "tai jutsu".

Here's us doing some techniques.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJdVUdLSgg0

This is the demo video for the school, about half forms, and half randori.

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

Please do not take the criticisms personally. My comments were about the video clip and the exercise on it. It is not a comment on what you do overall, since I have no idea about that.

I too have video clips on my website showing some specific "flow drills" which would not at all be indicative of what I am doing overall but rather are used for very specific purposes. That's all I am saying... Exercises must be designed to imprint the proper physical and mental elements through repetition.

Being creative about training is the only way to get past the mediocre, in my opinion. I tried quite a few things in my younger days. I don't do them now. I understand things better now. But I got ahead by trying them, learning what worked and what didn't. But I also got out. Don Angier, Toby Threadgill, Chuck Clark, Kenji Ushiro, Tetsuzan Kuroda, Chris Clark, Chris Petrilli, etc all have changed my Aikido as I tried to figure out what my teachers were doing.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Tim Cartmell and what he does. But he is not an Aikido teacher. Training with him will not make you a great Aikido practitioner.

"Aiki" is not so easy to attain in ones technique. Often, practitioners lose patience as they progress and start focusing on applied technique before they have mastered the principles involved. Not all of what "works" is "aiki". The aiki arts are a small sub section of the larger martial arts world. It's quite possible to develop technique which works and still not have it be Aikido or an example of "aiki".

I would recommend getting some exposure to Chuck Clark Sensei (Jiyushinkai) or Howard Popkin Sensei (Daito Ryu Roppokai). Both teach principle based technique with enough depth that it can keep you busy for many years. Both are quite capable of great skill in application. Both are really superior at teaching what they know. Keep training with Tim Cartmell, his stuff is excellent as well.

I would also recommend, as Ron Tisdale suggested, that you network with David Valdez who posts here. David has sent me video of what he has been working on and it seems quite up your alley but with some of the issues I mentioned solved. You could get quite a lot out of him I think.

ChrisHein
12-14-2007, 06:30 PM
I think I have to disagree with a lot of what is being said, unfortunately, for me, but also for everyone that has said it, everyone has said pretty much every basic status-quo slogan one can ever say.

When you want to develop yourself, truly making the art your own, you are going to have to throw all these slogans out the door. To make an art yours, you are going to have to deconstruct yourself, and that, somewhere in the process of making the art yours, will mean that you will have to deconstruct the art. This will include deconstructing every facet that holds or presents the art as a construct (which can only ever be something other than you). This means, for example, at some point you are going to have to move beyond your teacher, the founder, tradition, your students, techniques, etc. This is not a bad thing, and, believe it or not, the world will not end. Nor will you end in ruin, nor will you ruin your students, nor will the Founder turn over in his grave.

I can't speak for everyone, but I think Paul's statements need to be heard. Folks, in a conversation like this, need to understand that there will inevitably be a propensity to discuss things as if everyone is talking about the same thing - when they are not. This is how the status quo is maintained. For better or for worse, Chris' video is presenting things (i.e. randori) in a way that is quite different from what is more commonly seen in dojo all over the world. In fact, outside of my own dojo, the only other place where I've seen folks take seriously the charge of neutralizing nage is Chris' video and the one by Segal. If someone else has a clip of such training - please share it. If you have a clip, it will undoubtedly add to the conversation - or if you can find one.

Still, with all this talk of irimi and striking, etc., I have a strong suspicion that folks are not attempting to neutralize nage like they are in Chris' video (i.e. Irimi and striking is not the best tactic for when folks are set on neutralizing your ass so that they can gang up on you). So, while there may be a lot more to do (which I'm sure Chris does),Chris video, for me, seems to be attempting to address something that is not at all commonly addressed in the Aikido world.

In short, let's get more clips going here (let's do some youtube searches) so we can have a more established context.

d

Great post!

jason jordan
12-14-2007, 07:48 PM
Thank you Sensei Ledyard,

I am interested in seeing his demonstrations.
I have to admit that as one who is an absolute Aikido-Junkie, when I hear people start talking a lot about ki, I get a little nervous. I believe in it and know the human body is capable of doing some amazing things, but when I see some of the "Jedi Ki tricks" I become very disappointed.

I have never been thrown without being touched.
But I welcome the opportunity.

But Ushiro Shihans article on AJ seems like it should be very educational.
I will buy the DVD and your seminar as a Christmas gift to myself.

Thank you.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-16-2007, 01:17 PM
We strive to train with real effectiveness..."Not falling just to fall, or to make others look good." We also incorporate combination strikes to learn how to identify intention versus feignts.

I also go over to the BJJ guys and we train together.
As well as the Karate guys.

It's interesting that you mention BJJ, because BJJ was really my "wake up call" as far as aikido training goes. I'm not sure if your experience differed, but for me, it seemed abundantly clear that aikido techniques were just from Mars in that context. The ruleset was basically anything goes, except for striking. However, aikido techniques seemed entirely out of place, whereas each day learning BJJ techniques made me better at empty-hand grappling. I might as well have been doing kendo or naginata-jutsu, for all the advantage it gave me. At most, I would suggest that aikido could be a useful supplement for someone with a judo background. (Unfortunately, judo itself prohibits wristlocks in shiai. But, under something like sambo rules, it might work.)

Aikido just doesn't seem to have anything to do with empty-hand grappling. But you don't have to take my word for it: do you ever see BJJ or MMA people using aikido? No. If it worked for empty-hand grappling/striking, they almost certainly would. Jason DeLucia has worked very hard at making it work, and his praise is confined to, "It teaches some interesting principles." or "I once used something like a sankyo to peel off a choke." The exception that proves the rule.

What I like about Chris' idea is that it fits for both technical and historical reasons. Committed wrist grabs? Check. Reluctance to use wrestling-style clinches? Check. "Short-term" kneeling/pinning techniques that focus on the arm rather than the body? Check. As for historical: if you imagine two people fighting for their lives on the ground, the winner is likely going to be whoever grabs a rock and bashes the other. At which point, the fight becomes about controlling the arm that's holding the rock.

I've only briefly tried something like Chris' type of randori out myself, but it immediately made more sense. I found myself doing aikido techniques without thinking: it was just the most natural thing to do. Granted, this is somewhat anecdotal, because I was working with people who were 1) aikidoka, so arguably conditioned to take ukemi 2) somewhat smaller than me.

I wish I could post some videos of my own, but unfortunately, it's too cold to practice outside, and my friends and I are still seeking out mat space. As soon as I can, I will try to contribute.

As for Chris' videos, I think I actually prefer this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlGST3nR8WY

That, to me, seems like a reasonable idea for aikido randori. If you're looking for a moment of technique/aiki, I might somewhat randomly recommend the part starting around :20.

Shany
12-16-2007, 02:25 PM
not again ....
lets give a kid a lolypop and tell him that he must never give it to the other kid no matter what!

same result ...

ok so lets see some very very basic errors, that even a 10 year old could easily do, and it seems that this master could even think on it while doing this randori kind of:

http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/3035/22742577fl1.jpg

here you can think of many possible ways to 'hit to injure' the opponent:

1. bump to the head
2. kick to the balls
3. break the knee

and more..

should i say that the entire video goes like this? countless opportunities to 'kill' the enemy, and none -street- attacks has been used.
this alone shows that the entire training is completely lack of basic knowledge of any kind of fighting art (not even considering aikido) and if u think u can save ur self from this kind of attacks in reality.. i would consider getting a gun!

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-16-2007, 07:26 PM
LURK MOAR

More seriously, I think the reason there weren't any such strikes was that one of the rules they were going with was "no striking".

Also, I'm no expert, but I hear that it's pretty hard to just break a knee with a kick. Hurt a leg, sure, and leg kicks are a common part of arts like muay thai. But the magical "one kick and ur knee iz broken lolz" thing doesn't, as far as I know, really exist. (Otherwise, MMA fights would end really fast when one guy threw a shot to the other's knee.)

For another thing, the danger of throwing a kick there is that you'd be on one leg while in contact with the other person. You might get counter-thrown pretty badly, and lose the fight over the knife.

senshincenter
12-16-2007, 09:52 PM
Here is the thing...

When you learn a basic curriculum, sooner or later, if you are serious about yourself and your training, you are going to ask questions regarding two very related things: You are going to ask questions on what are the basics, what are they really; and you are going to ask questions on what is beyond the basics (which the word "basics" implies - that there is something beyond them). If you are of the nature and/or lifestyle where these questions are framed from within a martial paradigm, you are inevitably going to seek and do a type of training that is related to the development of basics, or the refinement of basics, in a martial sense but you are, unlike before you asked these kinds of questions, no longer going to settle upon training devices/drills that gave you the basics and the questions in the first place. There's going to be a departure of sorts - because there has to be.

In other words, once you gain a context (i.e. kihon waza), if you want to expand or develop that context, to answer questions you have on it, you have to move beyond that context to get the answers, as the context only gave you the questions. This is why, in my experience, whenever you see someone simply repeating the same training regimen that was introduced to them, over and over, for decades, you also see someone that has no questions and needs no answers. When this happens, training preoccupations are centered upon things like fame, rank, title, etc., and these things, rather than martial viability, are used to demonstrate to oneself the "validity" of their practice.

So, for example, a very simple example, you learn Irimi Nage, and after a while, you are no longer preoccupied with left foot here, right hand there, etc., and you certainly aren't going to let yourself buy into the notion of if you are shidoin or shodan or shihan, etc., that that means you and your practice are martially viable (noting that that is your concern), what happens? After a while, you start to take notice of what works and when, and why, and with whom. And this starts a new chain of investigation, one that has, from one point of view, nothing to do with left foot here, right hand there, etc., but from another point of view has EVERYTHING to do with left foot here, right hand there, etc. In the end, it's different, but it's the same, but it's different, etc. So, you end up doing things that are the same, but different, but the same, but different from kihon waza. And, depending upon where you are in your own investigations, what you see when you look at another's said investigations may appear to be different, may be the same, may be different, etc.

That said, my thing here is that once we accept that no drill can or should cover all of the aspects of a combative encounter, a person should look at such training and be able to say, "I see where that might be relative," at the very moment that they realize why and how it is different from that context that motivated such additional investigations in the first place. In other words, it's supposed to not look like normal kihon waza training, and the fact that it's not doing nor attempting to do anything that kihon waza does does not mean that it's not vital to one's overall training in Aikido.

I will offer the following examples - asking you to note how far the first drill looks from an eventual application of Irimi (i.e. how it looks nothing like Aikido or any Aikido that any "aikidoka" would like to do), but as you watch, you see more and more how Irimi is being studied deeper and deeper by the practitioner, how it is no longer merely being by assumed by the art or the context in which it is presented to neophytes.

Here Sean, believe it or not, is studying Irimi:
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/latwone.html

Here I am studying Irimi:
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/shikakuintermediate.html

Here, notice how that moment of Yin energy, like in the link above, is the same - it feels the same, looks the same, is the same (focus on the last kokyu-nage of mine in the second rep):
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/jobokken1.html

After a while, things related to Irimi themselves start to be influenced by the new questions and the new contexts and the new answers. So, for example, kaiten and tenken start to be understood differently, and, in turn, these things come to change Irimi, ad infinitum. You then get new angles and new timings, new axis points, etc., and maybe it these stuff was there all along, but not for you it wasn't, and not until now. Thus, I can say, this is not how my teachers did Kaiten Nage, but it is, but it isn't, but it is, but it isn't, etc.:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/kaitennage.html

After that, your kaiten nage, for example, doesn't look like others', don't feel like theirs, etc. Why? Cause it's yours. You've made the art yours. That's not a bad thing - that's supposed to happen. For that to happen, and this is what I think we should get, you aren't going to go on doing the same ol' things, but you are, but you aren't, etc. So, in my opinion, if you got things to say about Chris' video, negative things, I think they should be particular things, not things of doctrine, as the whole point was to delve deeper (i.e. deconstruct) into doctrine.

dmv

Kevin Leavitt
12-16-2007, 10:00 PM
Good post David. That is what I saw in the video too for the most part, which is why I did not have issue with it. Thanks for the insight!

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-16-2007, 10:16 PM
Nice clips! That last one is awesome. Really, really dynamic.

ChrisHein
12-16-2007, 10:24 PM
David is right on.

If you look at our youtube videos you will see we have several different types of drills. We have many, many, more that haven't made video. We don't expect any one of them to be perfect or complete, that's why we have lots of different ones.

It is our hope that the different drills will work different skill sets.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-16-2007, 10:43 PM
and if u think u can save ur self from this kind of attacks in reality.. i would consider getting a gun!

One more thing. I'd like to add that I really disagree with the idea that this topic is only of interest to those who want to learn "street self-defense." I have no problem with those people, of course. However, myself, I'm not really interested in that. (Sure, it'd be nice if martial arts also gave me some capabilities I could employ in a future violent situation, but it's not high on my list.)

Rather, I think this is really important just to understand the principles and rationale of aikido.

Aiki1
12-17-2007, 09:28 AM
snip

Here Sean, believe it or not, is studying Irimi:
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/latwone.html

Here I am studying Irimi:
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/shikakuintermediate.html

snip

After a while, things related to Irimi themselves start to be influenced by the new questions and the new contexts and the new answers. So, for example, kaiten and tenken start to be understood differently, and, in turn, these things come to change Irimi, ad infinitum. You then get new angles and new timings, new axis points, etc., and maybe it these stuff was there all along, but not for you it wasn't, and not until now. Thus, I can say, this is not how my teachers did Kaiten Nage, but it is, but it isn't, but it is, but it isn't, etc.:

snip

After that, your kaiten nage, for example, doesn't look like others', don't feel like theirs, etc. Why? Cause it's yours. You've made the art yours. That's not a bad thing - that's supposed to happen.

I watched your videos and think that they are good training exercises. What struck me, though, about them and about your comments, is that my impression is that the goal is to throw one's partner. I don't see the basic skills that are learned in fundamental practice being explored and applied to this more intense context.

Again, I'm working off my impressions of what things appear to be in the videos, so please don't take anything personally, these are just some thoughts, but I have been teaching Aikido for 25 years and used to spar standup with my BJJ teacher, as well as some pretty mean boxers and other arts, so I have some sense of this stuff. Making Aikido "your own" is a "worthy" goal, and all well and good - but when does it cease to become AIkido and become just what a person feels may work for them in an attack? I do not subscribe to the notion that "anything is Aikido." To me, the danger here is that goals, intentions, basics, and the essential things that make Aikido Aikido, can easily get lost in the service of - I need to know how to deal with a more intense attack.

In the years that I have seen other styles, I have not seen too much in the way of training that I would consider more than just "dojo Aikido" which to me is more about performing techniques than actually doing and applying AIkido. What I have seen beyond that mostly disappointed me, because it tended to go in directions that to me were not Aikido, just attempts to "fight back" or "beat the attacker" - not the application of Aikido skills in the new context.

For me, there are many other "levels of attack and learning" involving the intent to:

- bother
- intimidate
- immobilize
- grapple
- rob
- hurt
- fight (untrained)
- fight (trained fighter - fakes, non-committal, set-ups etc.)
- create Chaos

I believe that it is imperative (for me at least) to explore and understand how what is contained in kihon waza applies to these other levels of intention and attack. There are things that have to be adapted, yes, but for me, there is a fundamental criteria for what I will "accept" as "the right direction" and what I will not.

Dealing with a good kick/puncher with just "dojo Aikido" is not easy at all, generally speaking. But where one finds the "solutions" that one comes up with to do so, to me, is very important. To a large degree, that means understanding all the skills that are applied in the encounter leading up to a technique, particularly how apply Aikido to cover the main strike zones, not just - take hits, get there, and throw. BJJ has very good ways of entering and taking the person down - some of which I would say are akin to Aikido, many of which, to me, are not. Other arts have ways of entering and concluding a boxing attack as well.The difference, for me, is what's important.

I'm not trying to be critical for the tsake of criticizing, just expressing some thoughts about how one goes about exploring shu-ha-ri.

Aiki1
12-17-2007, 09:39 AM
Training is all about imprinting. If you start with chaos you end with chaos. Exercises which teach hesitation, back away, excited emotional state. etc are not what you want to be imprinting.

snip

Technique which is merely operating on a physical basis is simply jiu jutsu rather than aiki.

People need to be very careful about how they design their training exercises because they imprint mental and physical habits with every repetition.

snip

I'm not criticizing an attempt to develop better practice. I am just pointing out that the exercises used as presented do not necessarily imprint the right things. Students training this way will get very good at avoiding but will not develop high level skills using the principles of "aiki".



Extremely important points here, I think.

It's better to spend a lot of time exploring before coming to conclusions that may or may not be what one thinks they are.... :)

ChrisMoses
12-17-2007, 09:58 AM
Here is the thing...

When you learn a basic curriculum, sooner or later, if you are serious about yourself and your training, you are going to ask questions regarding two very related things: You are going to ask questions on what are the basics, what are they really; and you are going to ask questions on what is beyond the basics (which the word "basics" implies - that there is something beyond them). If you are of the nature and/or lifestyle where these questions are framed from within a martial paradigm, you are inevitably going to seek and do a type of training that is related to the development of basics, or the refinement of basics, in a martial sense but you are, unlike before you asked these kinds of questions, no longer going to settle upon training devices/drills that gave you the basics and the questions in the first place. There's going to be a departure of sorts - because there has to be.


Thus my comments on shu-ha-ri. What you're describing is what it feels like to be heading into a 'ha' phase of training. Rote mimicry becomes painful somehow to the practitioner as they start to reject some things that they had taken for granted. Suddenly they find themselves questioning all of the basics, looking for holes rather than for where they are valid. The danger here, is not being guided through this process. A greater danger is deciding to open a dojo at this point.

I agree that too many dojo cho are plodding along doing the exact same thing they have always done, repeating verbatim what they were taught decades ago. Frankly, a lot of people never get to the ha phase, they spend their entire martial careers in a vain attempt to mimic their teachers to a precision that is absurd. They often get very good at what they do, but they do not have the understanding that they would have gained if they had toughed it out through the ha phase, admitting to themselves and their teachers that they had doubts and working through them.

The presentation of shu-ha-ri is something I really admire Kendo for. To present this idea, that it's normal to doubt, get frustrated, even outright reject what one has been taught can go a long way in helping the student through that period. Of course, one can only be guided if one's teacher is up to the task, meaning that they have made that transition themselves. Many, unfortunately, have not.

For those of you less familiar with shu-ha-ri, please understand that I don't mean to imply that these phases are somehow are rigid, or that being in the ri phase of ones training amounts to enlightenment or anything so lofty. There is a nice article archived on the aikido FAQ here. (http://www.aikidofaq.com/essays/tin/shuhari.html)

Note that in the article, they refer to the 'lonely' student. It is fairly common due to the relatively rare nature of Iai instruction (the author's context) for students to continue training on their own or in study groups that only get infrequent correction/face time with their supervising instructors. It should not be confused with someone who has broken off on their own against the teaching of the ryu-ha. The goal of the student is still to progress within the context of their ryu-ha.

Aiki1
12-17-2007, 10:20 AM
Rather, I think this is really important just to understand the principles and rationale of aikido.

Well put.

If I were to approach "defining" how, in my style, we apply our Aikido to more intense attack scenarios, I would say that there are three important basic things:

- don't let your attacker define the angles/position (control positioning and movement as best you can)

- know how to cover the strike zones (in an "Aiki" way - this is key and I have not seen this in many dojo or videos)

- know your "goals" - That is, "Aikido" - not to throw or fight or do damage, but to blend, process, redirect etc.... to track and be safe and survive in a particular way....

Good Aiki-ken often exemplifies these well.... it tracks the process and the conclusion comes when it is time, always controlling the angles and position, and always staying safe, not risking anything to "achieve a cut or to win" so to speak.

Shany
12-17-2007, 10:46 AM
there is a different between aiki and child play, and it's not very fine thik line between them I must say.

From chris' point of view, he looks at his videos/Training as if they are a 'path' to some 'light' that eventually supposedly will end up as a new fighting system.
this is true when u have researched ur entire life for the best ways, effective ways, faster ways, important ways to hurt,destroy,stop, block, counter a attacker or multiple attackers.

but, taking an already built up system, (in here, Aikido) and applying non working methods to it, does not mean it will lead to a new MA system, as we saw from the videos.

And a lot of people here are giving him positive reinforcement just because they look at the philosophical aspect of MA and not the physical part, trying to be another o-sensei or something.

i challenge everyone to go to the streets, armed with a knife and pick-up on a gang. good luck - not that it is not possible, but very unlikely that you will do much good from it.

and than some will say, 'doing kind of techniques will improve ur survival since u practice "life alike" attacks' - well, running will improve you survival 100% thats for sure.

Ron Tisdale
12-17-2007, 11:09 AM
David, your post and at least the last video (I'll get to the others eventually, work is a PItA just now), are excellent. Note, however, that at least in my eyes, it is still recognizable as aikido, and not just because of the hakama (:D).

Best,
Ron

ChrisHein
12-17-2007, 12:04 PM
Seems like most people can't see the forest for the trees.

George S. Ledyard
12-17-2007, 02:39 PM
Seems like most people can't see the forest for the trees.
Chris,
You posted the clip and asked for feedback. People have taken a lot of time and trouble to give you that feedback. Now you are pretty much writing it off because it wasn't what you wanted to hear. You are only paying attention to the folks who are in agreement with you. I don't think you needed to ask for feedback if that's all you wanted to do.

I don't care if you agree with my thoughts on your clip or not. But I sure don't need to have you telling me I don't "get it" when I've given my feedback when it was requested. Next time just put the clip up under the heading "Tell me how much you like my clip...", then everyone will know to answer correctly.
- George

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2007, 03:06 PM
After reading the past couple of post I would make these comments to clarify my own views in a simplistic way.

1. If you are looking at the video from a RBSD perspective. "two thumbs down". Get competent training if this is your goal. You don't have a clue.

2. If you are exploring principles and movement and how it all works together (or doesn't), then keep going down that path as you will figure it out, and it is good to play around and experiment with different paradigms, pressures etc.

3. Never go into a knife fight empty handed. Never bring a knife to a knife fight, bring a gun. The winner of a hand to hand battle is the guy whose buddy shows up first with a (insert knife, gun, or stick).

Number 3 translate into, don't rely on budo practice to translate to reality. There are no fair fights.

ChrisHein
12-17-2007, 04:03 PM
Chris,
You posted the clip and asked for feedback. People have taken a lot of time and trouble to give you that feedback. Now you are pretty much writing it off because it wasn't what you wanted to hear. You are only paying attention to the folks who are in agreement with you. I don't think you needed to ask for feedback if that's all you wanted to do.

I don't care if you agree with my thoughts on your clip or not. But I sure don't need to have you telling me I don't "get it" when I've given my feedback when it was requested. Next time just put the clip up under the heading "Tell me how much you like my clip...", then everyone will know to answer correctly.
- George

Whoa there George.
First off I wasn't' talking to you when I made that comment. Secondly that's not what I meant. That wasn't meant as an attack, I'm just saying that most people are picking on tiny points and not getting at the heart of the matter.

I have thanked people many times for their comments. Even though hardly any of them agree with me, and many have been made as an attempt to belittle my training methods, and myself. I want to be able to look at my practice from different angles and that's exactly what this has given me. I'm very thankful.

However as much as I am open to everyone's input, I still have my own opinion. If anything on here drastically changed the way I feel about my training I'd be surprised, but I'm open to it.

You've got to understand much of what you’re seeing is many years in the making, not just a flippant idea I had yesterday.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings George, or anyone else's.

Aiki1
12-17-2007, 04:43 PM
Whoa there George.
First off I wasn't' talking to you when I made that comment. Secondly that's not what I meant. That wasn't meant as an attack, I'm just saying that most people are picking on tiny points and not getting at the heart of the matter.

My impression is that it's the other way around, frankly. Or what you see as the heart of the matter, to others, is not.

I have thanked people many times for their comments. Even though hardly any of them agree with me, and many have been made as an attempt to belittle my training methods, and myself. I want to be able to look at my practice from different angles and that's exactly what this has given me. I'm very thankful.

I think that might be because you have a school and are putting yourself out there as an instructor. When they see some of what you are teaching, they have a reaction to it because they feel that it is not something that should be being taught, in a sense. I would personally agree with this. To me, it seems like your experimenting with people under the guise of teaching them a martial art, and to me, that's very dangerous.

You've got to understand much of what you're seeing is many years in the making, not just a flippant idea I had yesterday.

That's the point - to be honest, if that stuff is many years in the making, that "worries me", because I personally find a lot of it unbalanced and unsafe. Apparently I am not the only one. There's no pretty way to say that, although I don't mean to be mean about it. I'm basing that on watching most of your videos, not just a few, which wouldn't necessarily tell the whole story. Videos themselves don't necessarily either, but there seems to be a consistancy to your training and performance of Aikido that seems discernable.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings George, or anyone else's.

I don't think that was the issue at all.

George S. Ledyard
12-17-2007, 05:03 PM
Whoa there George.
First off I wasn't' talking to you when I made that comment. Secondly that's not what I meant. That wasn't meant as an attack, I'm just saying that most people are picking on tiny points and not getting at the heart of the matter.

I have thanked people many times for their comments. Even though hardly any of them agree with me, and many have been made as an attempt to belittle my training methods, and myself. I want to be able to look at my practice from different angles and that's exactly what this has given me. I'm very thankful.

However as much as I am open to everyone's input, I still have my own opinion. If anything on here drastically changed the way I feel about my training I'd be surprised, but I'm open to it.

You've got to understand much of what you're seeing is many years in the making, not just a flippant idea I had yesterday.

Sorry if I hurt your feelings George, or anyone else's.

No problem on my end... sorry if I took what you said wrong.... Absolutely no hard feelings on my end. Life is way too short. Good luck with your efforts... know that I think it is far better to be creative in your training and have some hits and some misses than to sit someplace doing the same thing for 20 or 25 years with no change... Do network with David... he's doing some good stuff I think.

senshincenter
12-17-2007, 07:09 PM
I think this is what I was trying to discuss, that one can look at this stuff and say exactly what you said, "I don't see the basic skills that are learned in fundamental practice being explored and applied to this more intense context." In other words, my point was that rather than looking at these alternative ways of training and going with our first or learned impression, we should, because of their very nature, expect them to look strange to us - different from what we normally do and expect via our training.

In that same sense, one has to realize that whenever one is devising training drills, one is in essence moving both further and closer to realistic training (in relation to Kihon Waza - which is always idealistic and thus non-realistic). They are moving further in that the very nature of the drill, of any drill, is to work on "x" or "y" and not on the totality of reality. In other words, it's like the attribute "specialization." Sure, it means you are really good at "x," but it also means there's a whole lot more you are not good at. So, when you work on through a drill, you are going to work on "x" and look to pick up "y" and "z" in another drill. Still, one is fine with this, or should be, since one realizes quickly that what makes reality "reality" is that it cannot ever be captured in totality. Training, then, can only ever function as a idealization or as a specialization. That's just the way it is.

So, in my first video, we are working on Irimi, that's it. But, we are doing it under conditions not usually practiced in kihon waza (e.g. multiple strikes, fakes and feints, counters, measuring strikes, contact, unrelenting offenses, etc.). The "throw," which is really just a kuzushi, is not the end goal. It is simply that which marks that one has fully entered under the new conditions. Why do this? The first motivation is this: Because entering under these conditions is initially a lot harder than entering under the conditions set up by kihon waza. (Note: In my opinion this is because one has not yet learned what needs to be learned about Irimi.) Sure, entering under conditions that include weapons and ground-fighting, multiple attackers, etc., would make it harder still, but that does not take away from the fact that you are now training to enter under conditions that are much more trying than in how kihon waza is normally practice (for good reasons). In other words, this is still a challenge, and, in most cases, being able to meet the challenge of irimi in kihon waza does not at all mean that you can meet this challenge here. So, as a challenge, there is still lots to learn from, and what you will learn will inevitably go back to your kihon waza applications - which, more than the "throw" (what I called kuzushi), is the common point to all of this (since we are trying to investigate Aikido). Hence, why I showed that last clip of Kaiten Nage.

As to, "When does it cease to become AIkido and become just what a person feels may work for them in an attack?" I can't say I really entertain these questions too much. If I do, I certainly don't see them as leading to anything DANGEROUS (as you have written). Danger for me is a guy with an assault rifle that just robbed me at the mall and saw my sheriff's badge in my wallet, and I have my two kids with me and my wife is at the Mrs. Field's buying cooking, having no idea what's going on. That's dangerous. Folks exploring arts and becoming artists is a creative process, one that hurts no one and no thing but for those folks and things that are looking to set up museums, ones where they don't have to change the exhibits. Still, even they survive. In other words, I do have to say that I'm against this notion of preservation for preservation sake. To be human and to practice art is to live and to live is to learn and to learn is to change. That said, and as Ron has noted elsewhere in this thread, my end results still look like Aikido.

Why or how that happens, for me, is because Aiki represents the greatest tactical advantage (here I'm only speaking martially - of course there are other advantages, more important advantages to Aiki). Thus, anyone who is really going to pursue a real martial tactical advantage, in a truly life and death, anything goes setting, is going to apply Aiki, or they are going to rely too heavily on luck. In other words, my experience has been, and here I'll talk about both of Aiki's major aspects, if you are truly serious about Peace/Love and/or about surviving combative experiences, you are going to travel along the same lines that Osensei did, and no matter how individualized your expression may be, it's going to be related and folks are going to be able to note that. So, on the one hand, I don't fear change, not out to preserve for the sake of preservation, and I feel that anyone serious about this stuff is going to follow along the lines of the Founder. Heck, if I didn't believe that, I would be contradicting myself were I to suggest that Osensei realized some universal truths that are common to all mankind, etc. And I do believe that Osensei realized some universal truths.

Your other points I think are perfectly sound. You are right, there is a whole lot of stuff that goes with Aiki that happens beyond, even previous to, an actual tactical application. And, these things are indeed very relative to one's tactical achievements. These things have to be studied too. They are just not all studied here in this drill. Why? Because it's still hard to do Irimi under these conditions set forth, and for me, if you can't do Irimi under these conditions, then you may in the end ask too much of these other kinds of considerations that you have listed - and asking too much of anything isn't, for me, Aiki. Additionally, while being trained in these other types of considerations may help one get more out of his/her Irimi, it is not automatically given that one's Irimi is at its full (or higher) potential. Studying Irimi then, even under these drill conditions, is still of value to one's overall practice.

In the end, it's a choice - how one trains. I feel each person has to make this choice. But, the one that makes a choice after they have tried this stuff, even if he/she then chooses to call this "wasted time," is always going to be much better off than the person that outright dismisses it as either something they already do, can do, or have done in the same breath that they are dismissing it for being different from how they practice or how they were taught to practice. In the end, this was my main point.

Wouldn't be great, in this day and age, if we all attempted this drill, filmed ourselves, posted those clips, and then talked about what we felt or did not feel? How cool would that be!

thanks for your comments Larry - lots of good points. Sorry if I didn't get to address them all.

d

jason jordan
12-17-2007, 10:38 PM
.
Aikido just doesn't seem to have anything to do with empty-hand grappling. But you don't have to take my word for it: do you ever see BJJ or MMA people using aikido? No. If it worked for empty-hand grappling/striking, they almost certainly would. Jason DeLucia has worked very hard at making it work, and his praise is confined to, "It teaches some interesting principles." or "I once used something like a sankyo to peel off a choke." The exception that proves the rule.

.

My original background is in Shotokan Karate and in Goju, so my thinking of Aikido is "I Think" a bit different. I find that when cross-training I have mixed success. Most of the time when my training doesn't fare well is when I am thinking about techniques to use. But when relaxed and not being afraid of takedowns etc. Technique just happens. I train with those guys to find out which techniques work better for me and which ones don't.

But I think the problem with most people who train in aikido is the lack of understanding BUNKAI.

My Goju sensei used to stress the importance of understanding Bunkai (Application)
I notice that most aikidoka just go through the motions..."Grab my wrist" "Hit my head" but we need to understand the bunkai.

As far as your quote "Aikido just doesn't seem to have anything to do with empty-hand grappling."

If I understand you correctly and that is to say that there is no answer to these methods in aikido...I would have to disagree with you..."Respectfully of course" I believe that aikido has an answer to any attack, art, situation that might arise. I just think we need to figure out how and why. I belive it is all about using your imagination in training and practicing towards that.

I like that Chris is venturing out to expand his training. My issue is simply that before we venture out to do something different we should at least have a recognizable base to work from. "I didn't see it in this video"

And I believe that no matter your grade or ranking you should always have someone you are accountable to. When you have your own "Dojo" or club and you are in front, people will follow you. So you must remain honest and open to the experience of someone more experienced than you.

I didn't see any aiki in this video and it concerned me that he had students training in that manner.
That was my opinion in this issue.

Anyway I don't know if I am speaking coherently or not, I have not had sleep in 23 hours... sorry.

ChrisHein
12-17-2007, 11:27 PM
Wouldn't it be great, in this day and age, if we all attempted this drill, filmed ourselves, posted those clips, and then talked about what we felt or did not feel? How cool would that be!



...

ChrisHein
12-18-2007, 12:53 AM
Funny I hadn't planned to put this up, but it appeared magically on my computer a few hours ago, and I thought it fit in nicely with this discussion.

Tohei made a non-cooperative video once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJ3bI-VyDg

I would also like to encourage those who have strong feelings about this subject but are not voicing them, to speak up...

xuzen
12-18-2007, 12:58 AM
Funny I hadn't planned to put this up, but it appeared magically on my computer a few hours ago, and I thought it fit in nicely with this discussion.

Tohei made a non-cooperative video once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJ3bI-VyDg

I would also like to encourage those who have strong feelings about this subject but are not voicing them, to speak up...

It is not a fair fight.... Tohei has T3H M4GiC P4NTs (TM).

Boon.

Aiki1
12-18-2007, 01:13 AM
I think this is what I was trying to discuss, that one can look at this stuff and say exactly what you said, "I don't see the basic skills that are learned in fundamental practice being explored and applied to this more intense context." In other words, my point was that rather than looking at these alternative ways of training and going with our first or learned impression, we should, because of their very nature, expect them to look strange to us - different from what we normally do and expect via our training.

I'm comiing from a very different place - I have been delving into this stuff for years, and am even known for being "inovative" in some circles....

In that same sense, one has to realize that whenever one is devising training drills, one is in essence moving both further and closer to realistic training (in relation to Kihon Waza - which is always idealistic and thus non-realistic). They are moving further in that the very nature of the drill, of any drill, is to work on "x" or "y" and not on the totality of reality.

Sure. But for me, if the drill ignores certain fundamentals, like "safety" i.e., is one actually in a safe position when doing what one is working on, then it will likely instill bad habits. That's why, for me, kihon waza is actually first and foremost when experimenting. But - I think I may look at what kihon waza actually is, very differently.

So, in my first video, we are working on Irimi, that's it. But, we are doing it under conditions not usually practiced in kihon waza (e.g. multiple strikes, fakes and feints, counters, measuring strikes, contact, unrelenting offenses, etc.). The "throw," which is really just a kuzushi, is not the end goal.

Again, I see it differently. For me, kihon waza can be practiced under Any conditions, and should be. I see that I am referring to something different though. I am talking about, as I said before, things like position, angles, covering the strike zones, and I'll add here eliminating openings - things like that. If those things are not present, what one practices after that is moot, to me. And this is only the Simple aspect of kihom waza, there's a lot more, on several levels....

It is simply that which marks that one has fully entered under the new conditions. Why do this? The first motivation is this: Because entering under these conditions is initially a lot harder than entering under the conditions set up by kihon waza. (Note: In my opinion this is because one has not yet learned what needs to be learned about Irimi.)

That's my point - learn that "fully" first, then the rest is not only "easier" but also the usefullness - or not - of the "drill" will become clear.

So, as a challenge, there is still lots to learn from, and what you will learn will inevitably go back to your kihon waza applications - which, more than the "throw" (what I called kuzushi), is the common point to all of this (since we are trying to investigate Aikido).

We come from two different places I think. I use the word, and concept, of kuzushi All the time in my teaching. How I define it, I didn't really see much in the clips. I saw mostly throwing. That's just me. I also didn't see much "tsukuri" which is a big part of "my" kihon waza. Again, I define kuzushi differently though. To me, it is not the breaking of one's balance, it is the "allowing for the loss of balance" and that's very different.

As to, "When does it cease to become AIkido and become just what a person feels may work for them in an attack?" I can't say I really entertain these questions too much. If I do, I certainly don't see them as leading to anything DANGEROUS (as you have written). Danger for me is a guy with an assault rifle that just robbed me at the mall and saw my sheriff's badge in my wallet, and I have my two kids with me and my wife is at the Mrs. Field's buying cooking, having no idea what's going on. That's dangerous.

Again, we differ greatly here. It''s dangerous to me to teach someone something in a martial context that without a lot of other considerations, could get them into trouble. I'm not characterizing you this way, I don't know nearly enough about your training, just what I saw in the few clips, which isn't enough to tell much, in the long run. But I have impressions from them.

Folks exploring arts and becoming artists is a creative process, one that hurts no one and no thing but for those folks and things that are looking to set up museums, ones where they don't have to change the exhibits. Still, even they survive. In other words, I do have to say that I'm against this notion of preservation for preservation sake. To be human and to practice art is to live and to live is to learn and to learn is to change.

As I said, I am one of the biggest "experimentors" around, but in certain terms. I have basic criteria that must be fulfilled for me to consider experimentation. Since I have that reference, I can pretty quickly tell what isn't acceptable to me in my own process.

That said, and as Ron has noted elsewhere in this thread, my end results still look like Aikido.

To me, not always. That is not meant as any insult. But I have different eyes. And I tend to look at Aikido differently than most people, or at least, many.

if you are truly serious about Peace/Love and/or about surviving combative experiences, you are going to travel along the same lines that Osensei did, and no matter how individualized your expression may be, it's going to be related and folks are going to be able to note that. So, on the one hand, I don't fear change, not out to preserve for the sake of preservation, and I feel that anyone serious about this stuff is going to follow along the lines of the Founder. Heck, if I didn't believe that, I would be contradicting myself were I to suggest that Osensei realized some universal truths that are common to all mankind, etc. And I do believe that Osensei realized some universal truths.

As do I.

Your other points I think are perfectly sound. You are right, there is a whole lot of stuff that goes with Aiki that happens beyond, even previous to, an actual tactical application. And, these things are indeed very relative to one's tactical achievements. These things have to be studied too. They are just not all studied here in this drill. Why? Because it's still hard to do Irimi under these conditions set forth, and for me, if you can't do Irimi under these conditions, then you may in the end ask too much of these other kinds of considerations that you have listed - and asking too much of anything isn't, for me, Aiki.

But what good is irimi if you get tagged and kicked several times on the way. To me, that's Not irimi, not my definition anyway. Now, I'm not saying that practicing that is not important - it is - but for me, more to have the experience of getting tagged, and seeing that if one doesn't address that first, the rest is moot.

In the end, it's a choice - how one trains. I feel each person has to make this choice. But, the one that makes a choice after they have tried this stuff, even if he/she then chooses to call this "wasted time," is always going to be much better off than the person that outright dismisses it as either something they already do, can do, or have done in the same breath that they are dismissing it for being different from how they practice or how they were taught to practice. In the end, this was my main point.

Yes, better off than the person who outright dismisses it. But I still think that it's important to evaluate drills and such in terms of basics first, then the rest comes. But again, I think I am looking at what is basic, very differently than most.

Wouldn't be great, in this day and age, if we all attempted this drill, filmed ourselves, posted those clips, and then talked about what we felt or did not feel? How cool would that be!

Done things like this many times over the years, not on film. I very quickly decided that for me, if I turned my attention to how to apply my basic skills to this kind of situation first, the rest would be much more valuable to me. Turns out I was right - for me at least. Can't really say much about anyone else, in the end, although I tend to.... :)

thanks for your comments Larry - lots of good points. Sorry if I didn't get to address them all.

Same here David.

Aiki1
12-18-2007, 01:20 AM
Funny I hadn't planned to put this up, but it appeared magically on my computer a few hours ago, and I thought it fit in nicely with this discussion.

Tohei made a non-cooperative video once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJ3bI-VyDg



Yes but there are a couple of things to consider. One is, the word is that O Sensei told him basically to not do anything that could possibly hurt the guy, as it was not all that long after the war, and the guy was an American. That being said, he got pissed off at the end and actually choked the guy out. They edited that part out, but you can see the choke applied and the guy's arm go limp. O Sensei was apparently really pissed about that....

Anyway - the biggest thing to consider is this. If you watch carefully, to me you can see that Tohei ignores all his basic training, and ends up in difficult positions doing pretty rotten technique - Until - at the end, he goes back to basics, executes a beautiful irimi/kokyu nage, with proper tsukuri and kuzushi, and the guy goes right down and into a compromised position.

To me, this clip proves my point quite well.

gdandscompserv
12-18-2007, 07:02 AM
IWe come from two different places I think. I use the word, and concept, of kuzushi All the time in my teaching. How I define it, I didn't really see much in the clips. I saw mostly throwing. That's just me. I also didn't see much "tsukuri" which is a big part of "my" kihon waza. Again, I define kuzushi differently though. To me, it is not the breaking of one's balance, it is the "allowing for the loss of balance" and that's very different.
You sound like Gunji Koizumi;
"It is impossible to over-emphasise the importance of Tsukuri, for it is estimated to form 70 percent in affecting a throw. Tsukuri in a throw is like courting in love; without it, the result will be a disaster."

Amir Krause
12-18-2007, 07:38 AM
David,


Here Sean, believe it or not, is studying Irimi:
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/latwone.html

Here I am studying Irimi:
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/v...ermediate.html



Referring to these videos, I liked them.

I have one suggestion regarding the first for a more efficient way of teaching I have been taught. At the first video, the success ratio is around 5-10%, most people do not learn this way, at least not efficiently. The way I am taught, you should have lowered the requirements at that point (best solution – both move slower).
As for the second video, the success rate is around the efficient area. Yet, a teacher would have probably pointed out to you, you are still late in your Irimi, even though the technique is working (I can say this with ease since I have the same problem).

Here is the thing...
When you learn a basic curriculum, sooner or later, if you are serious about yourself and your training, you are going to ask questions regarding two very related things: You are going to ask questions on what are the basics, what are they really; and you are going to ask questions on what is beyond the basics (which the word "basics" implies - that there is something beyond them). If you are of the nature and/or lifestyle where these questions are framed from within a martial paradigm, you are inevitably going to seek and do a type of training that is related to the development of basics, or the refinement of basics, in a martial sense but you are, unlike before you asked these kinds of questions, no longer going to settle upon training devices/drills that gave you the basics and the questions in the first place. There's going to be a departure of sorts - because there has to be.


I almost agree, because, I had asked similar questions. However, I had and still have a teacher who was good enough and experienced enough, to point the way to get the answers, and make sure I got them correctly, and all from within the style I am learning, and from other styles he had learned. Further, that teacher and the Shihan he invited and I had trained with, had more than once opened my eyes to multiple other aspects of the same training I was doing for hundreds and thousands of time before, and lead me to inquire in further depth.


In other words, once you gain a context (i.e. kihon waza), if you want to expand or develop that context, to answer questions you have on it, you have to move beyond that context to get the answers, as the context only gave you the questions. This is why, in my experience, whenever you see someone simply repeating the same training regimen that was introduced to them, over and over, for decades, you also see someone that has no questions and needs no answers. When this happens, training preoccupations are centered upon things like fame, rank, title, etc., and these things, rather than martial viability, are used to demonstrate to oneself the "validity" of their practice.


To this I strongly disagree. Please do not put thoughts in the minds of others. Particularly blaming them in “having no questions” or being “centered upon things like fame, rank, title, etc”, belittling others does not make you right.

We practice the same training regimen again and again, then some more, and then again. We keep almost all our time of the training in an upward expending spiral going around the same three pillars – Tai-Sabaki, Kata and Randori.
It does not mean no questions, we have them all the time, including technical questions – “why do this? And not that?” or “Which circumstances would be suited to do that and when is another variation better?”, methodical questions – “when should we teach\learn that?”.
Nor does it mean a lack of interrogation and exploration, veteran\advanced students are instructed to do it, our Sensei is showing us this way, instructing and leading us forward.
My Sensei would not be afraid to explain to us some technique variation is only good for a certain purpose, such as mostly methodical and not martial; or requiring God given timing and being nearly impossible otherwise. He will sometimes let us experiment and fail prior to giving us the answer, to make us learn the hard way around. The latter learning process is normally reserved to the higher ranks, who are supposed to know the mechanics of said technique at least fairly well, after a few thousands of repetitions.

At the end, I may repeat the same technique and settings a lot, but when I do it, I am not doing the same things, and my focus is changing. At first I bothered with where my feet and hands go, then I started t learn about controlling body movement, later the focus changed to being out fo the attack\power lines, then I focused on Kuzushi, some focus was given to combining Atemi, and then to smoothing my movement, then on sensing the other pressures and creating sensitivity, and shifting the focus to notice my fingers and toes pointing directions throughout the technique, then on feeling his intent and then again to more sophisticated wrist maneuvering, and again to my own movement to make it softer and blend it with all the inputs and elements I now got, and then my own waist and centering control improved so I had to re-integrate my understanding of the same technique once again responding to it. This same process is repeated countless times, in varying orders, to all the techniques I learn and practice as part of the Kata pillar.
Additional progress is maintained thorough the Tai-Sabaki pillar, doing the same 8 movement sets again and again, combining and breaking them. This way I slowly realize new meanings to the same movements, and learn to adjust the movement to current intent. Thus I improve my control over my body and learn more harmonious movement – to be reintroduced into the other pillars.
And then there is the Randori pillar, in our style and dojo, Randori means free-play, with each side attacking as they wish (typically with strikes and as the level rises, one gets combinations and kicks too) when they wish, without designating one side as Tori\Nage and the other as Uke, rather letting the roles change constantly. Advanced students would also use counter techniques.
The first video Chris had shown reminds me of very bad Randori, done by beginner students. In the sense that the level of resistance employed was too large for the students to overcome given their ability to act correctly. This is a common teaching and learning mistake – since it creates wrong feedback and does not encourage one to learn.

I do not think your actions are wrong, dangerous or misguided, when you are putting yourself through more difficult tests. The same does not hold for your students. You can and should experiment, examine yourself against higher barriers and learn how to pass well above them. But, your being at a certain step, does not put your students in the same place. My teacher keeps hammering us to only teach things we understand (when replacing him), and not to experiment on beginning students.

Amir

Aiki1
12-18-2007, 08:49 AM
You sound like Gunji Koizumi;
"It is impossible to over-emphasise the importance of Tsukuri, for it is estimated to form 70 percent in affecting a throw. Tsukuri in a throw is like courting in love; without it, the result will be a disaster."

Well, I had never heard of him, but he's got a heck of a name.... and of course, I'm not surprised he was a judoka, as that word is used more in that art.

ChrisHein
12-18-2007, 09:50 AM
Larry,

If we paid you to come to our school and do a seminar. Could we focus on this drill? You could have my guys attack you, and you'll show us how to do it properly.

Aiki1
12-18-2007, 10:42 AM
Larry,

If we paid you to come to our school and do a seminar. Could we focus on this drill? You could have my guys attack you, and you'll show us how to do it properly.

Well, my immediate answer is no, but here's why.

First, to me, that is an exercise in knife fighting, although it seems unacknowledged as such. I don't teach knife fighting, although I have some experience in it. That's one of my primary "criticisms" of the exercise - if one wants to learn to knife fight effectively, I always suggest an expert in Filipino arts. That's their thing, and they're very good at it. To me, if you had used a magic marker to see where the knife wounds would be "inflicted" you would have good evidence as to what was effective or not etc. at that level, at least. That's how those exercises are often done in that realm.

Second, the way the offer is characterized is difficult for me. I don't really know where you are coming from, and given this whole thread, that's not surprising, given the inherent difficulty in these kinds of exchanges. That's not a criticism of you at all, simply that to me, these forums and exchanges, in my mind, are too removed to really get to know someone. I have tried to couch my criticisms in the least negative way I could, successfully or not, and the way things have ended up, I don't feel that we have the kind of communication or trust that it would take for me to do something like that, if indeed the offer was serious. And that sense of communication, connection, and trust would have to be there for me.

Third, the way I approach things in Aikido can be different at times than "mainstream" whatever that means, and if I go to teach somewhere, which I do on occasion, mostly to Boulder, I have done a lot of preparatory work with the people so how I'm doing things makes sense. It's like I'm teaching music, but with some subtle variations on what to others are basic scales, such that one would have to address that first before the rest would make enough sense to practice.

Fourth, in randori practice in-and-of-itself, there are fundamental things/goals to my approach (taught to me) like doing one's best to never back up, not going into the "crowd but always trying to stay to the "outside" of the group, never taking to much time with one person such that another can mount a stable attack, having a proactive attitude, not reactive.... etc.... that I always stress practicing first.

But - these are second to something so fundamental to my approach that we call "kinesthetic invisibility" that without that training first, the rest is, to some degree, moot. Not that you asked about my randori anyway, but, as I understood it, that particular exercise in the video that you refer to as randori with a knife.

So my initial sense is that I don't think I would be open to it at this time, and at this point.

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2007, 10:50 AM
Just speaking as an outsider to this last exchange, I'd have to say that Larry has taken a tough post, and really made a positive thing out of it.

I'd also have to say that IF I were in Chris's position, I would now ask permission to come by Larry's dojo and train some, forging a relationship, and then re-extend the initial offer in a somewhat different manner, and forum.

Best,
Ron

Aiki1
12-18-2007, 10:58 AM
Just speaking as an outsider to this last exchange, I'd have to say that Larry has taken a tough post, and really made a positive thing out of it.

I'd also have to say that IF I were in Chris's position, I would now ask permission to come by Larry's dojo and train some, forging a relationship, and then re-extend the initial offer in a somewhat different manner, and forum.

Best,
Ron

Thanks Ron, it wasn't easy to articulate all that. And generally speaking, people are always welcome to come by if they're in the LA area.

ChrisMoses
12-18-2007, 11:41 AM
I'd also have to say that IF I were in Chris's position, I would now ask permission to come by Larry's dojo and train some, forging a relationship, and then re-extend the initial offer in a somewhat different manner, and forum.

Best,
Ron

Naw, that's for pansies, DOJO ARASHI BABY!!! IT'S ON!!! :D

(that was humor, just in case anyone missed it)

The fact that Larry and I seem to be in agreement in this thread should tell you something, that doesn't seem to happen pretty often on this forum.

I should point out that some of my responses to this thread were not direct reactions to this particular video. I was making them in context of the other videos on Chris' site and his many comments over the years. In particular his posts after playing with the Dog Brothers (to summarize, and feel free to correct me if I get this wrong, that Aikido is actually a weapon art disguised as an open hand art and that the techniques and principles of Aikido are best manifest when using a weapon). I'm looking at the whole of that when I've made comments in this thread, as I feel that if Chris were really onto something, we would see it more obviously manifest in this video.

Finally, just to be clear, I'm not inherently against experimentation, that the basis for Aikido is in fact weapon arts, or that Aiki can be applied to weapon training to get a much better understanding of what Aiki/Aikido is/could be.

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2007, 11:43 AM
It's funny, but sometimes the people who take etiquette really seriously stand out. It brings to mind people like Peter Goldsbury...someone who is always polite no matter who he is talking to.

That extra effort can go a long way on these forums, and you can still ask tough questions, and make tough statements. But like Peter and Larry, just do it politely. Still learning from folks like that myself.

The end result, most importantly, is that you can pretty much go anywhere and train with anyone...they already have a good impression of you.

Best,
Ron

Michael Douglas
12-18-2007, 11:49 AM
That was a creditably kindly response to Chris' invitation, very well written!
I'm so glad your first point was about the unsuitability of the drill itself for non-knife-trained subjects.
I'd like to stress that in my small opinion, the drill of one knife-holder being wrestled by three unarmed attackers without striking ... is one that should not be practiced. There are no positives to this drill, in my opinion.

How about a new drill instead?

Michael Douglas
12-18-2007, 11:55 AM
Funny I hadn't planned to put this up, but it appeared magically on my computer a few hours ago, and I thought it fit in nicely with this discussion.

Tohei made a non-cooperative video once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJ3bI-VyDg

I would also like to encourage those who have strong feelings about this subject but are not voicing them, to speak up...
I'd like to comment on this vid.
At the end, the tall stiff guy is so tired he goes down to an arm-drag, lies in side-control without struggling, sleeps to a one-sided collar choke. Judo! At that point in the 'bout' ANYONE could have done that! If Ueshiba was angry, he had good cause, he probably wanted to see some aikido.

ChrisMoses
12-18-2007, 12:12 PM
I'd like to comment on this vid.
At the end, the tall stiff guy is so tired he goes down to an arm-drag, lies in side-control without struggling, sleeps to a one-sided collar choke. Judo! At that point in the 'bout' ANYONE could have done that! If Ueshiba was angry, he had good cause, he probably wanted to see some aikido.

And yet, the guy in the video probably had as much *or more* influence over what "Aikido" actually looks like today than OSensei did. After all, it was Tohei who was out doing demos, teaching the uchideshi at hombu and traveling the world over spreading the word.

Personally I love this video, because, as Chris points out, stuff gets messy when you're dealing with someone who doesn't know how or doesn't want to fall down. It's not surprising that it ended up looking a lot like judo. First, Tohei had a good background in judo (yondan?) and the rules of the encounter (no striking, no dangerous kansetsu) are a lot like the rules for a judo encounter. The rules that govern an encounter, will always shape that encounter. It's important to remember the framework for this encounter too. This isn't an exercise to teach anyone Aikido, it's a silly demo for a news reel.

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2007, 12:36 PM
This isn't an exercise to teach anyone Aikido, it's a silly demo for a news reel....

Against an unknown that you aren't allowed to hurt...let alone really throw. No locks, no throws, no strikes, but you still have to "handle" him. And be gracefull, too! :D

Yeah, right. ;)

B,
R

jason jordan
12-18-2007, 12:40 PM
I like this clip. even in the beginning at least you can see aiki principal. And the announcer even said a few key things..."He remains perfectly balanced, he doesn't become the attacker...." Even in this I still see Aikido. Mostly Kokyu Nage. Which is my point.

No matter how real you train, you should still be able to see aiki principal.

Thanks for posting. I read somewhere that O'sensei got pissed at Tohei for attacking a guy I believe a Russian dude in a similar exercise. Apparently the guys challenged the Kobukan first and they told them not to grab at an aikidoka. So the guy just danced around and Tohei moved in on him.

jason jordan
12-18-2007, 12:49 PM
David,

I do not think your actions are wrong, dangerous or misguided, when you are putting yourself through more difficult tests. The same does not hold for your students. You can and should experiment, examine yourself against higher barriers and learn how to pass well above them. But, your being at a certain step, does not put your students in the same place. My teacher keeps hammering us to only teach things we understand (when replacing him), and not to experiment on beginning students.

Amir

EXACTLY!!!!:D

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
12-18-2007, 03:40 PM
But I think the problem with most people who train in aikido is the lack of understanding BUNKAI.
The term "bunkai" can be interpreted in many ways. Could you please clarify?


As far as your quote "Aikido just doesn't seem to have anything to do with empty-hand grappling."

If I understand you correctly and that is to say that there is no answer to these methods in aikido...I would have to disagree with you..."Respectfully of course" I believe that aikido has an answer to any attack, art, situation that might arise. (emphasis added)
You characterize my statement accurately. I began by saying, "Aikido is clearly not good for empty-handed grappling, so what else might it have been designed for?" You then suggested that I take a step back in that logical chain: "Actually, aikido is good for empty-handed grappling." This is an intriguing possibility. However, without using a very liberal definition of "bunkai" (e.g. "The bunkai of iriminage is a double-leg takedown! Aikidoka are great at grappling."), I'm not seeing any of these "answers to any attack, art, [or] situation" that you describe.

I find that when cross-training I have mixed success. Most of the time when my training doesn't fare well is when I am thinking about techniques to use. But when relaxed and not being afraid of takedowns etc. Technique just happens. I train with those guys to find out which techniques work better for me and which ones don't. (emphasis added)
Which aikido techniques work well for you in empty-handed grappling? What do the other grapplers think about this? Are they surprised when you reliably throw them or tap them out with techniques they have never imagined? Do they ask you to teach them, and then go on to employ these techniques successfully themselves? (As my tone suggests, yes, I am skeptical.)

An excellent response would be to post up video of technique "just happening" for you in empty-handed grappling (with a competent grappler). This would be truly fascinating to observe.

Alternately, could you just let us know with whom you practice, and what their training background is?

ChrisHein
12-18-2007, 05:49 PM
If you want Larry, we could to the same practice except without the knife. This would be the same as a standard Aikido multiple attacker randori, except the attackers will come in a non cooperative manner.

Striking can be included if you want, but when done in a non cooperative fashion against a mob, I don’t really think it’s safe.

Aiki1
12-18-2007, 06:59 PM
If you want Larry, we could to the same practice except without the knife. This would be the same as a standard Aikido multiple attacker randori, except the attackers will come in a non cooperative manner.

Striking can be included if you want, but when done in a non cooperative fashion against a mob, I don't really think it's safe.

Several things:

One - Now you're talking about something else entirely. I'd have to explore that first on several different levels. I'm not even inclined to do that at this point.

Two - By way of explanation, there are quite a few other things in my post that were relevant to this "invitation."

Three - There's an old saying - When dining with wolves, it is moot if one is guest, or entree.

Four - Given that, reminiscent of the scene from The Seven Samurai, I don't feel inclined to "go through that door."

If you don't know the reference, the rest of my answer would be "because someone is always waiting behind it." In essence, this goes back to the rest of my original post.

senshincenter
12-18-2007, 07:59 PM
I'm coming from a very different place...

Yes, I had a feeling we were probably going to be working with different terms, understandings, contexts, etc. No worries. I enjoyed your post nonetheless. Thank you for the reply.

d

CitoMaramba
12-19-2007, 03:00 AM
... I read somewhere that O'sensei got pissed at Tohei for attacking a guy I believe a Russian dude in a similar exercise. Apparently the guys challenged the Kobukan first and they told them not to grab at an aikidoka. So the guy just danced around and Tohei moved in on him.

That was from an interview with Chiba Sensei: (http://www.jinshinkan.searaven.org/talk/others/chiba.html)

What about Master Koichi Tohei of the Ki Society?

Yes, Tohei Sensei is very good. He is small but very powerful. I saw him take a challenge from a wrestler once.

Sumotori or Western style?

Western style. Two brothers - Germans I think from Argentina - and they were enormous! They had to bend over to avoid hitting their heads on the gate-post of the Hombu. This was the only time that O'Sensei accepted a challenge for Hombu. These people were travelling the world with a film crew and were challenging different Martial Arts masters. They had been to the Kodokan (Judo HQ), but the Judo men had not been able to handle them. So they challenged the Aikido Hombu. When they arrived I met them and brought them in. Inside the dojo were O'Sensei Kisshomaru Sensei, and Tohei Sensei who was then the Chief Instructor to the Aikido Foundation. O'Sensei nominated Tohei to go first, as he was so strong. So the wrestler crouched in a low posture with his hands out stretched in front of him, and just moved in a circle around Tohei Sensei for a long time. Tohei Sensei was very relaxed and just followed his movement, and eventually cornered him. Just as the wrestler began to move Tohei leapt upon him, threw him to the floor, and bounced his head for him. Tohei Sensei then pinned him down with his hand blade extension, which, as you may have heard, is very powerful. This guy could not move, and his brother declined to try Tohei for himself, so that was that. Apparently at the Kodokan the Judo men advised them not to make a grab for an Aikido Master. That is why he circled Tohei Sensei for so long.

Amir Krause
12-19-2007, 04:28 AM
I have one suggestion regarding the first for a more efficient way of teaching I have been taught. At the first video, the success ratio is around 5-10%, most people do not learn this way, at least not efficiently. The way I am taught, you should have lowered the requirements at that point (best solution -- both move slower).
As for the second video, the success rate is around the efficient area. Yet, a teacher would have probably pointed out to you, you are still late in your Irimi, even though the technique is working (I can say this with ease since I have the same problem).

Surprise, surprise :)
Only yesterday we did a similar practice, with Tori learning to blend and Uke attacking freely (for us veterans this included all kicks too). And, Sensei has instructed my Uke to slow down, since as our speed grew I became “jumpy”, “too on edge”, lost the smoothness of the movement, and mot importantly, Sensei could see I was stopping to learn and starting to “fight”.

As I said earlier, I find nothing wrong with the ideas behind the exercises in the videos. These ideas with similar exercises actually exist as in integral part of our curriculum. Because of the that, we do those things as part of a well defined methodical approach, and the teacher is not experimenting, and knows the exact purpose of each exercise he gives, which exercises we should do in order to improve specific traits, and what changes and comments are relevant to each.

Amir

jason jordan
12-20-2007, 12:14 PM
The term "bunkai" can be interpreted in many ways. Could you please clarify?

You characterize my statement accurately. I began by saying, "Aikido is clearly not good for empty-handed grappling, so what else might it have been designed for?" You then suggested that I take a step back in that logical chain: "Actually, aikido is good for empty-handed grappling." This is an intriguing possibility. However, without using a very liberal definition of "bunkai" (e.g. "The bunkai of iriminage is a double-leg takedown! Aikidoka are great at grappling."), I'm not seeing any of these "answers to any attack, art, [or] situation" that you describe.

Which aikido techniques work well for you in empty-handed grappling? What do the other grapplers think about this? Are they surprised when you reliably throw them or tap them out with techniques they have never imagined? Do they ask you to teach them, and then go on to employ these techniques successfully themselves? (As my tone suggests, yes, I am skeptical.)

An excellent response would be to post up video of technique "just happening" for you in empty-handed grappling (with a competent grappler). This would be truly fascinating to observe.

Alternately, could you just let us know with whom you practice, and what their training background is?

Okay Paul you're right. I'm skeptical too.;)

senshincenter
12-20-2007, 07:01 PM
Surprise, surprise :)
Only yesterday we did a similar practice, with Tori learning to blend and Uke attacking freely (for us veterans this included all kicks too). And, Sensei has instructed my Uke to slow down, since as our speed grew I became "jumpy", "too on edge", lost the smoothness of the movement, and mot importantly, Sensei could see I was stopping to learn and starting to "fight".

As I said earlier, I find nothing wrong with the ideas behind the exercises in the videos. These ideas with similar exercises actually exist as in integral part of our curriculum. Because of the that, we do those things as part of a well defined methodical approach, and the teacher is not experimenting, and knows the exact purpose of each exercise he gives, which exercises we should do in order to improve specific traits, and what changes and comments are relevant to each.

Amir

You should have filmed it and shared it here though. That would have been a really nice thing to add to this conversation. Again, everyone, anyone, that is chiming in here could, if they wanted to, jump in on this with video in hand. That would be really cool. It's not that hard to put together. Or, some of you that have video (e.g. Larry, I saw some irimi video of you a while ago - care to share it here again?), even of other drills, techniques, etc., could opt to share them - particularly where you believe it to be relative. Heck, even just get video of other folks doing what you think you are doing. Something, so we could try and actually talk about the same thing here.

As for what you experienced, Amir, please let me ask: Why do you think you were jumpy, requiring the drill to slow down? Are you normally jumpy when doing Kihon Waza? If not, why not? Or, was it something about the drill that made you jumpy? If so, what was it, and how was that solved by slowing down? Did you get less jumpy when things slowed down? If you did, do you feel you got less jumpy because the slower speed of the drill? If you are not normally jumpy in kihon waza, and you were less jumpy (or not jumpy at all) when the drill was slowed down, do you think you would be jumpy again when the drill speeds up? If not, why not?

I'm asking these questions because these questions, or ones like them, are part of the beginning of these pursuits you are seeing in these alternative types of training. On a related note, I just had to qualify for my agency again - handgun and AR-15 A2. We already qualified at the Academy, but we had to do it again. Why? This is what the agency rangemaster told us. "At the academy you get to miss shots, you get to stand still and aim, and take your time. That is not the job. That is not how you are going to be the hero, save a life, save my life, save your partner's. In real life, at the least, you got your shot, and it's only a small window of opportunity, and you have to make it, and you have to run to get it done, and you have to be out of balance when you are in this gunfight, and your weapon's going to malfunction, and you are going to have to reload, and folks are going to be yelling all over the place, and rounds are going to be whizzing by your head, and your fellow officer's weapons are going to be going off right by your face, and folks that should not be shot are going to be crossing your line of sight. That's about as easy as it will get, about as easy as I can qualify you in good conscience. If you don't want to do it, the drills and qualifications we are going to do now, you can quit now and just go home."

So, we did it: a qualification course that included all that he said. During the first round, one of my fellow deputies, while off balance, reloading, folks yelling, shots going off, flying by his head (from his back-up), etc., lost track of parters' line of sight and ended up crossing in front. I thought he was a dead man. Nope, they all just adjusted - clearing, moving, reloading, putting steel on target. The Rangemaster came over to me - cause we are both instructors. He said, "Did you see that?" I said, "I sure did. I don't think he knew where his partners were when he lost his balance." He said, "No he didn't, but he made it - they made it. They kept firing. The bad guy is dead. He figured it out. He did the job. They did the job. They figured it out. Now they are not just Academy recruits. They are deputies."

I bring this up here because, on the one hand, the basics are the same (e.g. breath control, grip, trigger control, sight picture, sight alignment, etc. etc.) for both this qualification and for what recruits do, but on the other hand, these drills are working on different things - things so different that one well-renowned firearms instructor won't even count them as being relative to the same job. I will suggest the obvious here that he was looking to test for different things. When we look to do these alternative types of training, we too are looking to test for different things - sure the basics are the basics, but they are being utilized under such a different situation that it is not that far off from saying, the basics are not the basics. In the drills you have seen on Chris' video and on my video, and even in the drill described by Amir, speed, for example, is one thing that makes the basics not the basics. I am sure, you will want to say something like speed is irrelevant - the basics are always the basics, etc. - especially if you have not ever experienced how basics take on new meanings/additional meanings under more dynamic conditions, by my experience is that speed is very relative to what one is trying to accomplish and/or cultivate. So much so, that if you take out speed, slowing things down, you are not doing the drill anymore. Look at it this way, if a person does kihon waza all the time, and they are never jumpy when they do kihon waza, and they aren't jumpy when they do any of the above mentioned drills slowly, but they are jumpy when they does these drills fast, going slow is not going to do anything regarding the jumpiness. You already know how not to be jumpy when not faced with speed and the unknown. Sure, if you go slower, you will be able to get your waza off, just like you could when you do kihon waza, but if slow reps, or if more controlled conditions, are what you need to go from jumpy to non-jumpy when going fast, it should have already happened when you were doing kihon waza, which we can now note, speaking abstractly here, that that didn't work - since all the kihon waza training previously done didn't stop you from getting jumpy in the first place. My point is that you were looking at a different beast when the drill was fast (a "different" set of basics). By going slow, you simply made the training more akin to what you already know you can do. For me, that is not really training, or, better said, that's not what we are after in the drills we do. We are not after in doing what we already know we can do. We are after we we cannot yet do.

On another note: On the Tohei video. He looks just like someone that is fighting someone that is fighting you back and no weapons or strikes are allowed by either party. I don't see his performance at all related to him not trying to hurt someone or him trying not joint-lock him, etc. That's what the art looks like under these conditions: a mess, more muscle than you want or should use, more yin tactics than you want or should use, attackers losing balance and gravity working on their line of gravity more than them flying through the air head-over-heels, etc.

And, on a another different note: I have to say that there is just a tad too much unchecked egocentricism regarding the self-righteous crusades to save someone else's students. I see so much of that here, on this site, and even in this thread. It is so ridiculous a campaign, so silly a position to adopt. It's full of too much ignorance, misguided nerve, foolish pride, to point to someone and say, "I think your students are in danger - I need to point that out! I'm Super Aikidoka, and if I didn't point it out here, only God knows what will happen to them! (Play hero theme music here.)" Ridiculous. Think about it, or take my case directly...

The gentleman in the video is named Sean. I've trained with Sean for over a decade now, with the last five years under my direct tutelage. Prior to that, he has trained directly under three different shihan. In seminars, he's trained under too many shihan for me to count. Through all that, for reasons that make our school our school, that make my training emphasis my training emphasis, he's opted to train with me. The man trains daily, most often multiple times daily. Over his time with me, his Aikido, at every level of what anyone might think Aikido is, has become both profound and powerful. (Please take note those videos of Sean are something like 5 to 7 years old.) Through his training, through our journey together, he has cultivated himself into a wonderful father, an admired and supportive husband, and a pillar to countless souls. So, you see, the Super Aikidoka hero-talk is just so out of place. But not just in my case, it's out of place always - I mean, I have to ask: Where does one get off feeling they are in such a position to make such comments? Are we, for example, hearing this from folks that have trained decades plus? Or, are they five or six years into their first martial art? Do they train daily? Or, is this a few nights a week kind of deal? Are they in shape? Or, are they 98 lbs when wet, or over-weight with high-blood pressure? Do they require spiritual maturity and the presence of Aiki principles and objectives in every aspect of their life (however they want to interpret that)? Or is the dojo their man-cave, where they go to detox, get away from it all, relax with the guys, etc.? Are they even Aikido teachers? Do they run a dojo? Or, are they just deshi? Do they share the running of their dojo with someone? Are they under someone when it comes to the running of their dojo? Have they done real mentorships under practitioners-teachers that meet the above questions in the way you would expect them to be answered? You know, the bare minimum stuff one would think would be necessary for even making such comments (if one just felt so compelled to do so). It might sound like I'm angry. I'm not. I just wish these kind of comments would inspire deeper self-reflections, the way I wish the "your Aikido sucks" comments and the "is segal for real" or the "can you use Aikido for real" discussions should (vs. actually participating in them directly). Or, at least tell us how many students have actually been saved by this type of hero-action (and, also, what theme music you listen to while you type). Lots of sarcasm here, but, seriously, I remember pointing out a while ago how silly it was to suggest that someone else's practice, way over on the other side of the world, or on the other side of your country, is at all relative to one's own (such that one was compelled to stop what they were doing so that you could continue to do your own training). I feel the same way here with the "you're ruining your students" polemics - so silly.

dmv

Aiki1
12-20-2007, 07:44 PM
You make some good points, David. And I admire your ability to articulate things that you have obviously thought about for a long time.

Videos were put forth here and people's opinions were solicited, so that's a risk, for sure. I don't have anything shot that is relevant to this discussion, or I'd put it up - I don't get the opportunity to shoot much. But under these circumstances, I think it's fair to discuss opinions etc. I do like it better when it's civil though.... which most everyone is....

I've been in the martial arts since I was 12, 40 years ago, with a break in some of my teen years, and I've been teaching Aikido for 25 years. I've thought about it a lot, and have come to some conclusions for myself, about how I want to train and teach, and what I want out of the art, and what my responsibilities to others are. I've trained with many people, and seen or trained with several top well-known instructors, knew and worked with Seagal before he got his movie deal, when he was teaching every night (I say that only because he was mentioned... :) ) so I have seen a lot and done the entire spectrum, from very hard to very soft (mine) Aikido - and for many reasons, I chose very clearly not to follow these teachers I have seen or worked with. I studied under an unknown who had a very deep knowledge of some deep things. I also took other arts, including BJJ, Hapkido, Judo, etc. - and I've been accosted etc. many times, - so I worked my way to how I see things now, as some others have....

Because of all that, part of our training is called Chaos Aikido - where you are put in a dynamic position such that you have lost your center, you are about to be overwhelmed, you're freaked out, good ma-ai has gone out the window, you're backing up without control etc.... in short, you are making all the "mistakes" in regard to kihon waza, basic principles, etc. The object is to specifically teach people that they can recover themselves and still do Aikido. I think that is really important.

I see something somewhat similar in some of the videos presented here.... which I think is great - I just didn't always see the process of "solving that 'problem'" as necessarily going in the "right direction" - in my personal opinion. In fact, to me, often I think it goes in the "opposite direction" and that does bother me, if I think it's not necessarily safe to teach to people under any other guise than "an experiment." That's all, just my personal opinion and perspective.

As I said, I like many of your points, but I disagree with your characterization if someone shows concern about another's teaching, that makes them "Super Aikidoka" and that it's super hero talk etc. etc. I don't think I'm perfect, by any means, but I've taught this stuff for a long time, as well as street self-defense, and there are definitely things that I see all the time that I think are really not good to be teaching. That's just my opinion, but I know why I feel the way I do, in detail.

Enjoy talking with you - LN

senshincenter
12-21-2007, 01:23 AM
Hi Larry,

Thanks for the reply.

Well, I went myself to your site to check out your videos... I think you are being too generous in discussing commonalities with differences here or there - important, major, or not - when it comes to what we each are doing. I would say we are not doing the same thing at all. We may use the same words to describe what we do, but that's about it. I, of course, have no problem with you saying what you do is the same thing that I say I do, but we do not do the same art form. I wouldn't expect a banker or a ship builder to jump in here and understand what I'm training in or for or by any more than I would a TKD player, than I would an Olympic Boxer, than I would you. We just are doing something too different, and the sameness of our nomenclature only makes that contrast more unbridgeable than anything else. Other readers of this thread can look at the two types of training and decide for themselves on whether we are looking at unsurmountable differences or not (i.e. contexts that will never be shared - making reasonable discussion very unlikely). For me, in my opinion, our discussions should probably be about things other than technical/training matters - which still leaves plenty to discuss, especially since I do enjoy your posts.

I'm not sure, but I imagine our differences in arts also allows you to pass over (what I consider to be a contradiction) the pairing of "for me" statements with "let me speak on the behalf of your students" (my paraphrasing), while mixing it all with a denial of "Super Aikidoka" persona, while mine (i.e. my art) does not.

For me, for my Aikido, when a person starts commenting on the welfare of folks they know nothing about, have nothing in common with, bother not to discover more, and/or don't know any real details that are related to them, etc., one is adopting a kind of "I don't need to know" attitude, one that suggests, "I know nonetheless," one that rests itself in a unfounded self-righteousness - which I, humorously call, "Super Aikidoka." For you, I understand, it's not that way. Good. For me, for my art, it's all related - hence my comments, and why they might seem strange to you and your art.

Apologies for dragging you into this.
d

Aiki1
12-21-2007, 02:22 AM
Hi Larry,

Thanks for the reply.

Well, I went myself to your site to check out your videos... I think you are being too generous in discussing commonalities with differences here or there - important, major, or not - when it comes to what we each are doing. I would say we are not doing the same thing at all. We may use the same words to describe what we do, but that's about it. I, of course, have no problem with you saying what you do is the same thing that I say I do, but we do not do the same art form. I wouldn't expect a banker or a ship builder to jump in here and understand what I'm training in or for or by any more than I would a TKD player, than I would an Olympic Boxer, than I would you. We just are doing something too different, and the sameness of our nomenclature only makes that contrast more unbridgeable than anything else. Other readers of this thread can look at the two types of training and decide for themselves on whether we are looking at unsurmountable differences or not (i.e. contexts that will never be shared - making reasonable discussion very unlikely). For me, in my opinion, our discussions should probably be about things other than technical/training matters - which still leaves plenty to discuss, especially since I do enjoy your posts.

I'm not sure, but I imagine our differences in arts also allows you to pass over (what I consider to be a contradiction) the pairing of "for me" statements with "let me speak on the behalf of your students" (my paraphrasing), while mixing it all with a denial of "Super Aikidoka" persona, while mine (i.e. my art) does not.

For me, for my Aikido, when a person starts commenting on the welfare of folks they know nothing about, have nothing in common with, bother not to discover more, and/or don't know any real details that are related to them, etc., one is adopting a kind of "I don't need to know" attitude, one that suggests, "I know nonetheless," one that rests itself in a unfounded self-righteousness - which I, humorously call, "Super Aikidoka." For you, I understand, it's not that way. Good. For me, for my art, it's all related - hence my comments, and why they might seem strange to you and your art.

Apologies for dragging you into this.
d

I find several things about your post disturbing.

You have responded at length to things that I have supposedly said, that I have not said at all.

I have not discussed commonalities, certainly not beyond a broad superficial reference that you seem to assume was about you directly, which it wasn't.

You have characterized things I have stated as my opinions, in a way that portrays them in a completely false light.

You have put words in my mouth, and then used false paraphrasing and veiled innuendo to be frankly insulting.

Your art, or as little as I have seen of it online at least, does not seem strange to me at all, nor do your comments, which have become very condescending.

Nowhere did I say that I do the same thing you do, in fact I clearly stated that I come from a very different place.

I never in any way said or implied anything like "let me speak on the behalf of your students." To characterize what I have said that way, is completely dishonest.

I haven't talked about your style per se. I don't know what your style is really like, I never assumed nor claimed that I did, and I can assure you, you have No idea what mine is like.

I find you to be doing exactly what you are ascribing to me as supposedly doing.

Frankly, I find all that, and more, disingenuous and dishonest. I bow out of this thread, as I am not interested in that kind of "discussion."

ChrisHein
12-21-2007, 04:22 AM
David,
your posts are pretty sound, I wish I didn't get so frustrated and could articulate better.
Nice job.

senshincenter
12-21-2007, 10:59 AM
Larry,

I'm sorry. I did not mean to condescend or to insult. I honestly have no problem with folks doing different things, such that I do not feel inclined to judge them one way or another - other than to be able to say, "That's not what I do." Or, "I do this, and here's why..." There's nothing beyond that for me. So, when I point out difference, it's, for me, just a matter of pure description (e.g. "Today is Friday." "That car is red." "It's 0900 hours." Just description.) You are doing something completely different, even if we talk about "aiki" "irimi" "Aikido" etc. - phrases and terms that I have said in my posts, phrases and terms that you in your posts used to go on to talk about things, things like being late, being important, being valuable, etc. These are the commonalities I was referring too - shared words that were used to describe things via comparison.

To compare something, things have to be similar at some point - that is the assumption I'm going on (e.g. being late or on time is a comparison, being good for someone or being bad for someone is a comparison, etc.). My point is that one can't compare what is not similar at all. My point is that, from my point of view, there is no more similarity between our two experiences of "Aikido" than there is between my experience of Aikido and, for example, banking or ship building. Sure, some things overlap, but not enough to compare. We are just doing different things - meant to be purely descriptive, not insulting.

For example, I think my students, were they to go to your dojo, would feel as if they started an entirely different art. I'm sure your students would feel the same thing were they to come to mine. This is not to say that there are not things to learn, as there are things to learn if our students mentored under a master ship builder, even things that they can take back to our respective dojo and put to good use, but ship building is not what we teach at our dojo.

It is true I did paraphrase your comments regarding the ones you made on the welfare of students and the responsibilities of instruction, etc., that are relevant to that issue. I did say that. I thought the jump in logic would not be such an issue, since my only point was that under my experience of Aikido, unlike yours, one does not go around talking on the welfare of students, for example, when one knows or shares little to nothing regarding such matters. Meaning, as different as your practice is from mine, I would not presume to even guess what you are trying to do with your students and therefore what you are leaving out or not addressing, etc. I would, on good faith, which I always try to have, assume that you know more about what you are doing than I do (because I am not doing it), that your students are not idiots for choosing to train in what you are doing (i.e. that they are intelligent folks), that you all are mature enough to have a sound and healthy relationship with each other - one that is constructive and nurturing and that affects other aspects of your lives in positive ways. For example, I wouldn't go to the ship builder and tell him, "I'm an Aikido instructor, and, regarding the welfare of your students, I can see that you are teaching ship building improperly (or leaving this out, or risking this, or they'd be better off if you did this, etc.)!" If I did, which I wouldn't, but if I did, I wouldn't expect the master ship builder to say, "Oh, since you are an Aikido instructor, let me do it like you said." All that, for me, in my practice, would be too much egocentrism.

From your last posts, I think you are sort of saying what I'm saying: we do different things. There's nothing wrong with that - not at all. The part I'm adding is that comparison and contrast (which all opinions are based upon) requires common experience and shared knowledge/information - that it's next to impossible, perhaps futile, to compare/contrast when things are so different. I'm not telling you to have no opinions, especially here. But I'm pointing out that I have no sense at all of what you might mean, for example, by "being late" "Irimi" "Aikido" etc. Your Aikido, as perfectly valid as it is, for you, for anyone, is not comparable to what I'm doing or trying to do. That's not a bad thing, and that still leaves, as I said in the last post, other topics for, I'm sure, very meaningful conversations, etc. I respect your difference, and I can do that better by noting it than by pretending it's not there.

Ah, the perfect intuitive example just hit me: You know when you are talking to one person, and someone one else is standing there and is listening to the conversation, and that third person speaks a different language, or maybe they have a thick accent, and they say something right in the middle of your sentence, saying it where it is proper to place an interjection, and you heard them, but you couldn't catch what they said, and you then start wondering if they spoke your language or their native language, wondering if you heard them correctly, and then you start wondering how to interpret their accent, knowing you are assuming they would not speak their native language to you, guessing they probably knew you can't speak their language, and then you start comparing what you thought you may have heard to what you think they might have said at that point in the conversation, as the conversation is continuing, and then you realize, "Damn, I didn't get what he said! I have no idea what he said or wanted to say! Does he want me to respond?!" But then you realize, or it seems, the conversation can continue if you just look at him and nod your head "yes" and say "Ah hah, Ok." Either way you feel like an ass and you hope you don't blow it, because you don't want them to feel left out or to think you are rude. So, you do the nod thingy, wanting to kick yourself all the while for not understanding them in the first place, and you then just go on talking to the other person you were already talking to... You know what that is like - that lack of shared context and meaning? That need for one? That's what this felt like to me after I saw your Aikido. Whether I'm the foreigner or you are, matters not. Nothing is being judged here - difference is being pointed out. Here, in this silly, stupid example, I'm just referring to that point where one realizes he/she has no shared meaning or context.

Now when I face that kind of situation, I don't avoid that third person, I don't ask them to never talk again, etc. I try to have more exposure to them, I've even tried to learn a foreign language or two along the way, etc. I try not to do the nod yes thingy. I try to tell them, "I'm sorry, I did not understand you." I try to build up a translation capacity, as I build up a common or shared context. Right now, I have no idea what, for example "being late" or "being on time" might mean when you say it. I only know it's not what I mean or could ever mean - that we are speaking different languages here. With more exposure, with more time together, I'm sure I'll be better able to understand what you might mean, translating what you say into what I say, and also how to make myself better understandable to you. Right now, that's not going to happen - not on this topic. So, again, please excuse me if you felt I was being rude. I need more time to develop a shared context.

d

ChrisMoses
12-21-2007, 11:12 AM
/thread drift...

This is one of the things that drives me *CRAZY* about Aikido. Here you see *one* art that's only 60-80 years old (heck, we can't even agree on that!) and we can't even have a discussion about it using terms that we all understand. Yet in the past when I've tried to elicit a discussion about what it actually is, everyone poo-poos it like some absurd question because anyone who actually studies the art would know it immediately. :crazy: Honestly, in the JSA communities, you just don't see this. I've had conversations with people from dozens of different ryu-ha ranging from 20-400 years in age and we all manage to understand what the other is talking about. Sure you get lots of, "Ah, I see what you're doing, we don't do that." or "Aha, we call that X not Y." But here in Aikido, this amazing unifying art, we can't even agree on what the @#$% word Aikido means.

/rant off :confused:

Amir Krause
12-21-2007, 11:15 AM
You should have filmed it and shared it here though.

The last time I tried to take pictures and videos in our class, most people did not wish to be in it, and almost all rejected the idea of being on the net… Chris and you might be interested and willing, but many people do not have this position.
Further, I do not make the rules, Sensei does, and I prefer to study and not to keep myself cornered to the camera.

As for what you experienced, Amir, please let me ask: Why do you think you were jumpy, requiring the drill to slow down? Are you normally jumpy when doing Kihon Waza? If not, why not? Or, was it something about the drill that made you jumpy? If so, what was it, and how was that solved by slowing down? Did you get less jumpy when things slowed down? If you did, do you feel you got less jumpy because the slower speed of the drill? If you are not normally jumpy in kihon waza, and you were less jumpy (or not jumpy at all) when the drill was slowed down, do you think you would be jumpy again when the drill speeds up? If not, why not?

I was jumpy, because the drill was at the edge of my ability and concentration, at least for that day, and I was working with someone who was able to press me hard, to the point of making mistakes. Reducing the speed, reduces the pressure, and thus makes me less jumpy. Our purpose in such drills is to instill correct behavior, not to attempt to fight and win through (I was doing that last one, but with incorrect behavior). And as for the future, experience shows me that as time progresses, the speed at which I normally feel comfortable increases (If this was not clear, this exercise and others of it’s type are not new to us).


I'm asking these questions because these questions, or ones like them, are part of the beginning of these pursuits you are seeing in these alternative types of training.

As I already wrote more then once. David, the way you are exploring is an inherent part of our learning method, from the very beginning. The Korindo Aikido Randori I have practiced since the first year, was mostly with both sides free to attack and defend in the chaotic approach, and grabs are rare in that exercise. The difference is we consider it as a gradual learning exercise, and slowly increase the level of pressure, keeping in mind we wish people to systematically learn correct behavior and integrate it into their movement. The idea is not to be satisfied with good improvisations, the practice is not a fight


In the drills you have seen on Chris' video and on my video, and even in the drill described by Amir, speed, for example, is one thing that makes the basics not the basics. I am sure, you will want to say something like speed is irrelevant - the basics are always the basics, etc. - especially if you have not ever experienced how basics take on new meanings/additional meanings under more dynamic conditions, by my experience is that speed is very relative to what one is trying to accomplish and/or cultivate. So much so, that if you take out speed, slowing things down, you are not doing the drill anymore. Look at it this way, if a person does kihon waza all the time, and they are never jumpy when they do kihon waza, and they aren't jumpy when they do any of the above mentioned drills slowly, but they are jumpy when they does these drills fast, going slow is not going to do anything regarding the jumpiness. You already know how not to be jumpy when not faced with speed and the unknown. Sure, if you go slower, you will be able to get your waza off, just like you could when you do kihon waza, but if slow reps, or if more controlled conditions, are what you need to go from jumpy to non-jumpy when going fast, it should have already happened when you were doing kihon waza, which we can now note, speaking abstractly here, that that didn't work - since all the kihon waza training previously done didn't stop you from getting jumpy in the first place. My point is that you were looking at a different beast when the drill was fast (a "different" set of basics). By going slow, you simply made the training more akin to what you already know you can do. For me, that is not really training, or, better said, that's not what we are after in the drills we do. We are not after in doing what we already know we can do. We are after we we cannot yet do.
[QUOTE=David Valadez;196174]
David, replace slow with slower and you may realize the difference in methodical approaches.
If I have a problem doing the waza (or in my case, moving around the attacker) at a certain fast speed, and wish to do it correctly, then I lower the speed to the point at which I do it correctly most of the time, not to slow speed, instead to a medium speed at the edge of my ablity, practicing at that speed increases my range of comfort, and then I practice at faster speed. At this way, I have already significantly increased the comfort range of speeds at which I practice Randori and such exercises. This approach is working.



And, on a another different note: I have to say that there is just a tad too much unchecked egocentricism regarding the self-righteous crusades to save someone else's students. I see so much of that here, on this site, and even in this thread. It is so ridiculous a campaign, so silly a position to adopt. It's full of too much ignorance, misguided nerve, foolish pride, to point to someone and say, "I think your students are in danger - I need to point that out! I'm Super Aikidoka, and if I didn't point it out here, only God knows what will happen to them! (Play hero theme music here.)" Ridiculous. Think about it, or take my case directly...

I seem to recall Chris asking us to comment, and you joining your videos to the same thread as another example, implying you would welcome comments. Had you not wanted comments or identification, you could have refrained from placing the vids here.
As for my credentials, I think they are rather clear to most reading this forum. I am not a teacher, I have been practicing for over 15 yrs, as an amateur (2-3 times a week, over two hours sessions). I think this is sufficient experience to give comments based on my POV when asked for it.

I would also point out I did not say it is dangerous for your students, I did object to the idea of experimenting ideas on beginner students. You should experiment with your coherts.

Have a nice day.
Amir

Ron Tisdale
12-21-2007, 11:33 AM
Still mulling through some of the really excellent points brought up in some of these recent posts. Two issues I see:

a) I certainly would not want to impose my view on how someone teaches their students unfairly. I do not see a problem, however, with simply posing how I might do something, note the differences, and leave it at that. The other party may take it or leave it as desired, and I will not be offended either way.

b) I do not understand yet David's perspective on speed not affecting kihon. In all the keiko I have done, I have found that speed does affect how I perform at the edge of my competence and ability. I think that success at using aikido under pressure often means moving in a relaxed and somewhat unussual way, and doing that quickly under pressure (for me) is more difficult than doing it slowly. I see that hold true for many of the people I have trained with (in my eyes in any case).

I think this has been a very interesting thread BECAUSE OF the vastly different perspectives, and I would hate to see valued participants bow out just because of the obvious difficulty of different paradigms.

And yes, Chris Moses, isn't it strange that in aikido these things are so bloody difficult?!?!?! ;)

Best,
Ron

George S. Ledyard
12-21-2007, 11:51 AM
/thread drift...

This is one of the things that drives me *CRAZY* about Aikido. Here you see *one* art that's only 60-80 years old (heck, we can't even agree on that!) and we can't even have a discussion about it using terms that we all understand. Yet in the past when I've tried to elicit a discussion about what it actually is, everyone poo-poos it like some absurd question because anyone who actually studies the art would know it immediately. :crazy: Honestly, in the JSA communities, you just don't see this. I've had conversations with people from dozens of different ryu-ha ranging from 20-400 years in age and we all manage to understand what the other is talking about. Sure you get lots of, "Ah, I see what you're doing, we don't do that." or "Aha, we call that X not Y." But here in Aikido, this amazing unifying art, we can't even agree on what the @#$% word Aikido means.

/rant off :confused:

Hi Chris,
There's no agreement on terms and definitions because if one were to define what the terms mean, it would automatically point out that some portion of the community wasn't actually doing what some other portion of the community is. As long as everything remains amorphous and ill defined we can all claim that these differences are simply stylistic, alternative methods.

The plain fact is, much if not most Aikido out there is not being done with any amount of what the other "aiki" arts would agree to call "aiki". Most Aikido practitioners can't define what "aiki" means from the standpoint of waza. They're great on the Cosmic balance stuff but most can't tell you what makes a technique "aiki" and what doesn't. I often ask people to tell me what they think "aiki" is when I teach seminars and almost no one can actually clearly describe what is going on.

You can see this in the discussions about the definition of "aiki" on the language thread. Most Aikido folks have some idea that "aiki" is about avoiding the energy of an attack but their idea of waza is some sort of physical manipulation which is really what I would call a sort of jiu jutsu and not really "aiki" at all.

For this reason I don't see the community arriving at better and more precise definitions. It would make the inconsistencies too apparent...
- George

ChrisMoses
12-21-2007, 12:05 PM
You can see this in the discussions about the definition of "aiki" on the language thread. Most Aikido folks have some idea that "aiki" is about avoiding the energy of an attack but their idea of waza is some sort of physical manipulation which is really what I would call a sort of jiu jutsu and not really "aiki" at all.

Couldn't agree more.

senshincenter
12-21-2007, 05:09 PM
b) I do not understand yet David's perspective on speed not affecting kihon. In all the keiko I have done, I have found that speed does affect how I perform at the edge of my competence and ability. I think that success at using aikido under pressure often means moving in a relaxed and somewhat unussual way, and doing that quickly under pressure (for me) is more difficult than doing it slowly. I see that hold true for many of the people I have trained with (in my eyes in any case).


Hi Ron, and others,

I must not have been clear with what I meant to say. My experience is the same as yours Ron, especially when dealing with force-on-force training (whatever the criteria may be). Speed changes everything, makes things more difficult, etc. My point, for raising the issue of speed, particularly when dealing with more spontaneous training environments (i.e. not scripted environments like kihon waza), was that it doesn't do anyone all that much good to slow said training down, since it was the rate of how things changed that was making one need or want to slow things down in the first place.

Speed was the problem, but it's also the answer. Slowness was no longer the problem - it's holding no more answers. Why? Because, as you already said, speed was/is the pressing factor. Slowing down, I was trying to say, wasn't just slowing down, it is a decision to no longer work on one what was lacking, or no longer working toward one's continuous growth - i.e. the capacity to deal with dynamically adapting situations at the speed of life (vs. doing kihon waza, which one already knew one could do, which is why one knew slowing down would remedy things).

On a related topic, my experience is this: After a certain point in one's training, let's just use a rough guideline of at least 10 years of regular bi or tri-weekly practice (less, maybe even half, if you are training every day - like I feel one should) you should start emphasizing the "software" (e.g. Not freaking when things are moving at the speed of life) of the art over the "hardware" (e.g. Irimi Nage) of the art. So, after a while, you aren't so interested on when or how to do Irimi Nage, for example. You are or should be, in my opinion, more interested in why you can not do Irimi Nage under "x" conditions - realizing, the answer to that question is hardly ever, "Because your right hand was too low," realizing the answer is almost always, because fear and fetteredness got the best of me. Ken Murray explains this distinction quite well. Murray is the inventor of simmunitions:

"John Steinbeck wrote:

'This is the law: The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.'

Steinbeck recognized the necessity for tools to provide a decisive edge in battle, but he also accepted that physical training without the psychological conditioning to enter the fray would not win the day.

Despite the fact that we now know the importance of that psychological conditioning, it is surprising that the vast majority of training in the fighting arts is still directed toward skill enhancement, with the primary goal being the demonstration of "proficiency" or "qualification." This is the easy path because it doesn't require teaching people how to think. Our society seems to opt for a lowering of the bar, where those in authority would prefer to tell us what to do than to invest the time in teaching us the process of solving problems for ourselves. Our education system begins the process with the very young, often grinding away at their creativity until it is sufficiently atrophied and obedience is the norm.

When learning how to fight with a pistol or a rifle, teaching a man how to shoot is vastly easier than teaching him how to think his way through a gunfight. Having a high level of technical proficiency, while essential to winning a lethal force confrontation, is just one aspect of ensuring that win. Psychological proficiency is much more important since without the psychological preparation for an encounter, no weapon will reliably save the day."

When I looked at Chris' video, when I do my stuff at our dojo, this is how I understand things: This is training meant to work on the software - what makes the hardware actually function at the speed of life. That type of training, in my experience, is not being done at the Shihan level, and/or in or at the majority level either (i.e. Aikidoka that have invested in the shihan paradigm - for the simple reason that shihan are not doing it). Every shihan I have ever met, and/or seen, and that's quite a large number of them, has opted to dedicate themselves to studying hardware, opening themselves up to Murray's criticism of working the easier path of telling folks what to do and expecting more obedience than creativity, etc. This point relates back to earlier comments made to Chris, to find a teacher, and his response being a very honest and heart-felt, "Where?"

Of course, if anyone here knows of Shihan, ones that are still training and actively teaching, that are working on the software of the art, let me know. If he or she is, however, I guarantee you their training is going to look like just what one saw in the videos thus far posted (even the Tohei video), and what it looks like is going to be totally different from what one is used to seeing Aikido look like (because folks are used to only seeing hardware training in Aikido). If it doesn't look like what I described, it's only because it's got a lot of hardware emphasis still embedded within it.

On another related note... On the teacher/student dynamics, folks talking about welfare, and Murray talking about how it is easier to teach a man how to shoot than how to think his way through a gunfight, etc., let me point out that there is way more teacher investment on the latter than in the former. In my dojo, we have limits on how many folks can start training at a time, for example. We do this because everyone, myself, my family, my fellow students, have to invest big time in the newbie. And, they have to invest equally big as well - meaning, they can never just show up and work up a sweat and go home, or doing a little mental strain over why they have two left feet or how tenkan is related to irimi, etc. Oh no, they are going to have to expose themselves and invest as much of themselves as everyone else is doing. Meaning, since fear and fetteredness are seated in a lack of virtues that Budo has valued (e.g. honor, integrity, courage, etc.), a person is going to have to go through what is almost more akin to psychoanalysis than exercise, but at a very practical level, one with martial consequences of the obvious kind.

All of this has things operating at a level of intimacy, nurturing, caring, support, that is simply impossible in what one sees in hardware training and the shihan paradigm as it is today (it's also totally unnecessary there). This is why a Shihan can go anywhere in the world and teach what he teaches no matter how many folks are on the mat. If a person comes to me, or if I go to him, the best I can do with the normal seminar schedule, after hugely limiting the number of participants, is simply point out the issues and the problems to be worked through - sometimes not even the latter - in regards to the fettered mind.

Again, my point: This type of training is aimed at something other than what is usually aimed at in normal/common Aikido (hardware) training. It is based upon a simple truth, one that anyone can prove to him/herself, that hardware training doesn't address these issues. In many ways, the two are so different that a failure in one type of training can mean success in the other. For example, being punched right on the nose is a bad thing in Irimi Nage Kihon Waza - as the point is not to be struck. In "software" training, sometimes, being punched in the nose is exactly the point of the training. In other words, we should not expect these types of training to look the same, and so we should not condemn one by the other's standards when they do not.

d

George S. Ledyard
12-21-2007, 06:44 PM
I do not understand yet David's perspective on speed not affecting kihon. In all the keiko I have done, I have found that speed does affect how I perform at the edge of my competence and ability. I think that success at using aikido under pressure often means moving in a relaxed and somewhat unussual way, and doing that quickly under pressure (for me) is more difficult than doing it slowly. I see that hold true for many of the people I have trained with (in my eyes in any case).

Speed is a very interesting issue... Much of the issue of speed has to do with perception rather than some hard reality. When you perceive the attacker's actions as "fast" you feel as if you need to move faster yourself. If you are "in reaction" to the partner / attacker, this produces a perception that one doesn't have sufficient time to execute ones technique and this causes mental and physical tension which then tends to degrade performance.

We do an exercise which we call "time shifting". You take a person who is having trouble during a three person randori, usually because they are too excited to execute technique properly. The nage is instructed to do the randori slowly, almost in slow motion. he is asked to chant to himself while doing the randori "I have all the time in the world. No reason to get excited..." He should do this the whole time he is doing the randori. The ukes are told to go full speed, which would seem to be a contradiction...

We have been doing this during our randori intensives for over 15 years. In 100% of the cases performance increased rather than decreased. the nage was far better able to execute the movement required, they stayed calmer, and their sense of time "shifted". They stopped feeling as if they had to out speed the ukes. instead, they saw things much slower. This allows them to make better movement decisions and be more precise, therefore successful, in the techniques they did.

Eventually, you can access this way of looking at things by developing a relaxed and calm emotional state. You see things as happening at a far slower speed than you once did. It's very interesting. That's why the training needs to be structured to develop this proper attitude and perception. if the training isn't constructed properly yo0u simply imprint an excited state of mind and this type of perception never develops.

MM
12-21-2007, 07:54 PM
The plain fact is, much if not most Aikido out there is not being done with any amount of what the other "aiki" arts would agree to call "aiki". Most Aikido practitioners can't define what "aiki" means from the standpoint of waza. They're great on the Cosmic balance stuff but most can't tell you what makes a technique "aiki" and what doesn't. I often ask people to tell me what they think "aiki" is when I teach seminars and almost no one can actually clearly describe what is going on.

You can see this in the discussions about the definition of "aiki" on the language thread. Most Aikido folks have some idea that "aiki" is about avoiding the energy of an attack but their idea of waza is some sort of physical manipulation which is really what I would call a sort of jiu jutsu and not really "aiki" at all.

For this reason I don't see the community arriving at better and more precise definitions. It would make the inconsistencies too apparent...
- George

E-Budo is currently discussing "aiki" in regards to Daito ryu. It's now split into two threads:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38747

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38411

Mark

Michael Varin
12-22-2007, 03:57 AM
I haven't looked at Aikiweb in awhile. Good to see you back, David.

I always enjoy watching you and your guys train, and, agree or disagree, I appreciate reading your posts. In this case I happen to agree!

Josh Reyer
12-22-2007, 10:03 AM
/thread drift...

This is one of the things that drives me *CRAZY* about Aikido. Here you see *one* art that's only 60-80 years old (heck, we can't even agree on that!) and we can't even have a discussion about it using terms that we all understand. Yet in the past when I've tried to elicit a discussion about what it actually is, everyone poo-poos it like some absurd question because anyone who actually studies the art would know it immediately. :crazy: Honestly, in the JSA communities, you just don't see this. I've had conversations with people from dozens of different ryu-ha ranging from 20-400 years in age and we all manage to understand what the other is talking about. Sure you get lots of, "Ah, I see what you're doing, we don't do that." or "Aha, we call that X not Y." But here in Aikido, this amazing unifying art, we can't even agree on what the @#$% word Aikido means.

/rant off :confused:

Chris, I've come to the conclusion that this is a pedagogical issue, going back to Ueshiba Morihei, and perhaps even to Takeda Sokaku.

In JSA, whether it's kendo or koryu, there's a progression. You learn A, then you learn B, and then C. And your progress is monitored by someone who has gone through all these steps, and most likely, all of the steps there are in the particular art. Through this guidance everyone develops roughly the same foundational knowledge, which is then built on and developed to express each particular art's over-encompassing philosophy of interaction.

But what did Takeda do? He simply showed waza, and the students were expected to "steal" the technique. Ueshiba just showed waza, and the students were expected to steal the technique. Certainly there's "stealing" and self-exploration in JSA, but it's still within the structure of the progessive curricula.

I think it's interesting that just about every student of Ueshiba felt that they couldn't teach their students the way Ueshiba taught his. And they all created their own, diverse pedagogies for teaching aikido, each colored by their own experiences and understanding. And their students, in turn, experiment and explore, and create their own methods of teaching, some at a relatively low level. You have in aikido many, many teachers who haven't reached an understanding of "aiki", who are still seeking that understanding, rather than refining it. Yet, they have their own dojos and are teaching. And all this gets furthered colored by how "martial" they expect their aikido to be, how philosophical, how much it conditions "ki", and so on. Ueshiba made the statement that atemi is a vital part of aikido, and yet everyone in aikido has to explore on their own how to integrate atemi into their aikido. There's no foundational knowledge for that found in the Ueshiba line of aikido.

Amir Krause
12-22-2007, 10:16 AM
Speed is a very interesting issue... Much of the issue of speed has to do with perception rather than some hard reality. When you perceive the attacker's actions as "fast" you feel as if you need to move faster yourself. If you are "in reaction" to the partner / attacker, this produces a perception that one doesn't have sufficient time to execute ones technique and this causes mental and physical tension which then tends to degrade performance.

We do an exercise which we call "time shifting". You take a person who is having trouble during a three person randori, usually because they are too excited to execute technique properly. The nage is instructed to do the randori slowly, almost in slow motion. he is asked to chant to himself while doing the randori "I have all the time in the world. No reason to get excited..." He should do this the whole time he is doing the randori. The ukes are told to go full speed, which would seem to be a contradiction...

We have been doing this during our randori intensives for over 15 years. In 100% of the cases performance increased rather than decreased. the nage was far better able to execute the movement required, they stayed calmer, and their sense of time "shifted". They stopped feeling as if they had to out speed the ukes. instead, they saw things much slower. This allows them to make better movement decisions and be more precise, therefore successful, in the techniques they did.

Eventually, you can access this way of looking at things by developing a relaxed and calm emotional state. You see things as happening at a far slower speed than you once did. It's very interesting. That's why the training needs to be structured to develop this proper attitude and perception. if the training isn't constructed properly yo0u simply imprint an excited state of mind and this type of perception never develops.

These are the elements we work on, only our way often inclues actually telling "Uke" to slow down a little so "Tori" would get to the edge of his comfort zone, thus improving and extending it.

The idea is that is is not enough to succeed in an excersize. Our purpose is to imprint the right way of doing it. Thus, if during some day you are doing it the wrong way, slow down a bit and do it correctly,
regardless of the actual reasons for your poor performance (the speed might be to high for you, or you may have done fine last time but had drank too much coffee, or hd not selpt enough).
Our concept is to learn how to perform correctly in chaotic enviroement, not just to survivie them.
I will admit it has taken me quite a few years to realize this.

Amir

senshincenter
12-22-2007, 05:02 PM
My experience lends itself to the position that one cannot correct architectural matters within force-on-force, spontaneous, unscripted training environments. Hence, why we do not try to do that. In my experience, you are what you are in this type of training, as this type of training is about facing the unknown at the speed of life (vs. trying to do Ikkyo, for example). At that point, you don't want to get preoccupied with how to place your right foot; you just want to move.

In this type of training, we are looking for a union of subject and object, such that art and being are seeking union. We don't want to study the art at that moment, keeping subject and object apart. Thus, at the most, under the rare occasions when someone is getting pounded for technical reasons more than psychological reasons, I might say, "That's the same mistake you make on that move in your Kihon Waza training - NOW you perfectly know why you should stop making it." Or, I might say, "You haven't paid enough attention on how that technique goes, but at least you NOW know why we don't do it like you just did."

At the end of every such training session, that's when we might cover technical issues, but if we don't, we always make sure that one connects such training back to their kihon waza (which is done at a different hour or on a different day), looking always toward refining our moves and making are own individual expressions as close to the ideal version as we can get it - this time better armed with a very practical answer to "Why that way and not this way?"

I realize that conventional wisdom might have us concerned with the downside of repeating bad form (i.e. imprinting), but there are two things to consider with this type of training. First, again, in this type of training, you are who you are. One is not imprinting in this type of training, one is only "printing" - one is simply expressing themselves. Meaning, in regards to technical ability, you are not going to become anything or anyone new by placing yourself within a spontaneous training environment. You are not going to develop habits, you are simply going to express habits as they already are in you. For example, if you are used to fighting with your hands down, you are not all of a sudden going to fight with your hands up from within these training environments. Meaning, you are not going to stumble across tactical viable applications when things are moving faster, more powerfully, and in unknown and unpredictable ways.

In the same way then, you are not going to imprint poor form in you either; you are not all of a sudden going to fight with your hands down inside of these training environments when you always fight with them up when outside of these training environments. At most, habits are amplified or magnified - they are not created here.

This amplification/magnification allows us to see more clearly what was there all along. (This is one very important reason why this type of training is so relevant to forms training!) So, using this example of hands up or down, sure, you might have someone that puts their hands up in kihon waza and then down in these types of drills, but if you look more closely at their kihon waza, you will be able to see the telltale signs of how they are using the scripted format to make up for what the hands are supposed to be doing - which means that while the hands are up, they are not really up doing what they are supposed to be doing. With the script gone, as in these more live training environments, you see that more clearly: the hands are not doing what they are supposed to be doing (which could have this habit represented in the hands being down, but also in the hands being too far out to the side, or chasing the opponent or his attacks, etc.).

When someone slows these types of training down, what one is doing is simply reducing the the amount of amplification/magnification made possible by the drill in regards to habits that already exist. Meaning, with the drill slower, you are not now seeing hands doing what they are supposed to be doing, you are just not seeing as clearly how the hands still don't know what to do. Or, another example, if when the drill slows down, and a person gets less jumpy, more grounded with their feet, more unfettered with their mind, it's not really these things that are occurring. It's just that you have reduced the amplification/magnification and so you can't as readily see the jumpiness/fetteredness. This is not to say that there is no value in slowing things down or even in allowing some script back into these types of training environments. There are lost of reasons for doing exactly that (e.g. what George described). My point is that one needs to be aware of why and what one is seeing or not seeing whenever one is going to slow things down, allow more script in, etc., because these types of things inevitably reduce the amount of amplification/magnification regarding states of being/habits.

What is important to remember here is that one is not out to work on form, on the hardware of the art, with these drills. Hardware training is extremely important, but not here - not here because one is not trying to work on hardware here (only software) and not here because one cannot work on hardware here (as it can only be worked on in kihon waza training - where past and future exist and where then repetition is possible). For that reason, what is more important than whether or not a technique is smooth, for example, is why a practitioner is being plagued by fear, pride, or ignorance (these things being antithetical to takemusu aiki) - that which is behind the need or the habit to make a tactical application jerky, rushed, forced, etc., when faced with the speed and unpredictability of life.

I should say here, since I'm sure someone will raise the issue later: No, in my opinion, you do not within these drills reconcile fear, pride, and ignorance either. Like tactical habits, habits of the heart/mind are simply expressed within these training environments. They are not cultivated here. A person that is plagued by fear will not all of a sudden reconcile it; a person that has reconciled pride will not all of a sudden adopt an egocentric expression of the art. Like one has to go to kihon waza, to measure themselves against an ideal form, to correct and refine tactical architectures, one has to look to spiritual kihon as well (e.g. prayer, sacrifice, servitude, ritual, etc.), to measure themselves against an ideal form, to correct and refine the heart/mind. This is why, when I see a deshi that is having their tactical expressions plagued by egocentrism (e.g. They refuse to yield space when it is obvious they no longer hold it or can hold it), I don't tell them to practice this technique or that technique more, instead I may ask them to pray for their enemies, and to forgive them in their hearts. BUT, now, after this training, when they do that, when they returns back to their spiritual kihon, they are now armed with that very practical answer to "Why this way and not that way?"

dmv

senshincenter
12-23-2007, 11:37 AM
This is from Tomiki - from the article posted on the thread to the Tohei video:

"What are the distinctive features of Japanese Budo? They are surely matters of spirit and philosophy. It has come to be said quite often that if we diligently develop our waza, our minds and spirits (kokoro) will be improved. Since ancient times, this budo shugyo, or martial arts training and apprenticeship, has proceeded from "techniques" (waza) to the "Way" (michi). The aphorism, "The act of perfecting our waza is equal to and achieves that act of perfecting our minds," applies in its entirety to modern competition, as competition rightly engaged in helps us to perfect our waza, and so our minds. But a more thorough consideration of the distinctive features of budo and its philosophy is necessary here.

It has been handed down to this generation that the secret principle of martial arts techniques in kenjutsu (cf, The Book of the Five Rings) or in jujutsu (cf, The Heavenly Scroll of Kito Ryu Jujutsu) is to study thoroughly the principles of the arts so that we will ultimately arrive at "no posture" (mugamae)--that is, we will develop true natural posture (shizen hontai). In the same way that thoroughly mastering the principles of the arts leads the body to mugamae, such mastery leads the soul to mushin, which is often termed "no heart," or "the quietude of spirit". Although there are various terms for mushin, such as the unmoving heart, the non-living heart, the soft and pliable heart, and the every-day heart, they all mean exactly the same thing. And arriving at this state of mushin is congruent with the goals of the religious and moral systems that have existed in all eras and in all places.

The deep secret of ancient jujutsu is embodied in the saying, "True natural posture is the manifestation of mushin. Control strength through gentleness. These are the principles of jujutsu." Master Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), the founder of Kodokan Judo, well explained the subtleties behind this principle when he formulated his Principles of Judo--judo meaning gentleness--so that the original jujutsu principle would be understandable to the people of the current day. He did this by analyzing this single jujutsu principle quoted above, and dividing it into three subsidiary principles.

1. The principle of natural body (shizentai no ri), which concerns posture. This is a natural, unrestricted posture from which it is possible to attack and defend, adapting to any kind of assault.
2. The principle of gentleness (ju no ri), which concerns the position of defense. It says, do not oppose the offensive power of any kind of antagonist with force. Rather, render that force ineffective by moving your body out of the way (taisabaki).
3. The principle of breaking balance (kuzushi no ri), which concerns the position of attack. This says to go and build a chance of winning by taking advantage of the breaking of your opponent's balance or by adhering to his body.

I have taught both the kata and randori training methods together, as a unified system of practice which can help the student to understand each technique in light of the three principles listed above. I have also pointed out in my teaching that the nage-waza and katame-waza belong to randori training, while the atemi-waza and kansetsu-waza for the most part belong to kata training.

Jujutsu, which had techniques for hand to hand combat, studied "true power." In order for each us to experience personally the "core principles of the martial arts," we must not stop at the mere, repetitious practice of kata. Randori and sparing help to lead us closer to both the core principles of the martial arts and the true power that they generate by letting us experience the techniques studied in kata as they were meant to be performed: against a smart, resisting, and aggressive opponent. [...]

It is the case, though, that the method of training used in aikido today is not only based upon the practices of long ago, but is indeed just about unchanged from what was done back then. If we consider the matter from the standpoint of an up-to-date education in budo, however, a system of randori practice ought to be added and should be based upon a method of training that incorporates both kata and randori. When one is young it is important for one's budo training to pass through rigorous bodily and spiritual ordeals in randori and, further, tournaments. And as for the vast array of techniques that cannot be incorporated into randori training, the profound martial arts principles embodied in those techniques can be--must be--mastered thoroughly through the practice of kata. In this way, one may develop one's body to the wonderful state known as mugamae or shizentai, and thence through further exertions reach the ascetic practice of mushin. This is "the Way" for the practitioner of austerities. [...]

The method of practise traditionally used to ensure the safety of dangerous techniques was the kata system of practise. In ancient bujutsu, 99% of a practise was completed by kata alone. That is to say, in order to cope with an opponent's unlimited attacks, each response was practised by means of kata. That is the reason for the extreme number of kata in ancient jujutsu. For example in Tenjin Shinyo Ryu jujutsu there were 124 kata techniques, and there were over 10 ranho (literally unstructured captures). To become masterful in the practical applications of the techniques required innumerable months. Then someone would be challenged to go from kata to a violent shiai (literally street fight ) called tsujinage or tsujigiri. This gave life to kata and was the place to try to fit together objectively one's own real ability.

A martial art that has no rules is nothing but violence. Along with the perception of being prepared for death, one must participate in shiai. In the traditional writings there is a prohibition against shiai. Novices entering into shiai unpreparedly were admonished about losing their lives.

Times changed after the middle of the Edo period and shiai that caused injuries costing a life were rigidly proscribed. It was then decided that bujutsu training would be done from first to last only by kata. The bujutsu that lost the opportunity for shiai training showed signs of degeneration because it was impossible to experience personally the true power of the martial arts and the core of the principles of the arts. [...]

Kata practise is performed to avoid the ultimate power of the techniques...Randori practise is something that is done to give life to the real power of those techniques that were learned through kata. That is to say, randori provides the power to complete a painted dragon by filling in the eyes."

Okay, that's all I got through with my limited time - but it looks to be a very well-thought out and fascinating article - one, I feel, is relevant to this discussion here (i.e. Should spontaneous training sessions be incorporated into everyday practice? If so, why and how? And, what should or will it look like, and why?)

d

Kevin Leavitt
12-23-2007, 12:56 PM
Good stuff David, thanks for taking the time.

Of course, if anyone here knows of Shihan, ones that are still training and actively teaching, that are working on the software of the art, let me know. If he or she is, however, I guarantee you their training is going to look like just what one saw in the videos thus far posted (even the Tohei video), and what it looks like is going to be totally different from what one is used to seeing Aikido look like (because folks are used to only seeing hardware training in Aikido). If it doesn't look like what I described, it's only because it's got a lot of hardware emphasis still embedded within it.


I certainly cannot comment on what various shihan are and aren't doing.

I can tell you that alot of this is going on out there in the MMA community.

I have gotten much more out of getting a couple of guys together and poolling our resources and "hiring" on of the good pros to come in and teach us a "private" for a couple of ours vice going to classes and large seminars....for many of the reasons you mention! (Large groups and lose architecture).

Anyway, I agree with what you are saying.

ChrisHein
03-18-2008, 02:20 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i02Mkq0yrsE

Once more around the block...

roman naly
03-18-2008, 03:35 AM
Hi Chris

What is the purpose of the tanto? It still seems that it has no significant use in your training.

Or am I missing something?

Demetrio Cereijo
03-18-2008, 05:03 AM
Interesting.

mickeygelum
03-18-2008, 06:54 AM
What is the purpose of the tanto? It still seems that it has no significant use in your training.

I agree....good taisabaki/kuzushi drills are the wy to truly effect good technique.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oae_SvwxKs0

While there is a clear mismatch of ability, most adults do not put this much effort into thier training.

Mickey

ChrisHein
03-18-2008, 09:55 AM
Our focus is not on tanto dori, but on struggle with a weapon. With out the object as a focal point in the hand, the is no need to use wrist control the way Aikido techniques do.

You see so many Aikido techniques because of the focus on an object. We have practices that focus on Tanto dori, the problem with those is you see a lot more stabbing/cutting and a lot less throwing controlling technique. Right now MY focus is on the traditional techniques found in the Aikido syllabus, and not just knife technique.

Demetrio Cereijo
03-18-2008, 10:23 AM
Right now MY focus is on the traditional techniques found in the Aikido syllabus, and not just knife technique.

I'd say you're focusing in a small subset of modified (watered down) techniques.

ChrisHein
03-18-2008, 05:41 PM
I'd say you're focusing in a small subset of modified (watered down) techniques.

In this video you see the whole of the iwama techniqual syllabus, save, yonkyo and gokyo.

If by small subset you mean:

Ikkyo
Nikyo
Sankyo
Rokyo

Irimi nage
Kokyu nage
Juji nage
Shiho nage
Kaiten nage
Koshi nage
Kotegaishi

Then yes you're right.

All this footage is from one class session, and 44 min of footage. All done non cooperatively. I'm pleased with their progress, any teacher would be.

Demetrio Cereijo
03-18-2008, 07:04 PM
In this video you see the whole of the iwama techniqual syllabus, save, yonkyo and gokyo.
Not counting the about 2/3 of iwama curriculum called buki waza you left the various otoshi, ude kime, tenchi and other very basic techniques like shomen uchi, yokomen uchi and tsuki, You know, the old atemi waza which makes iwama style techniques sound and reliable ones.

The lack of atemi in the techniques is watering down iwama style and the lack of atemi and blade awareness in your students is dangerous for them. It instills bad habits.

Then yes you're right.
You know I am. :)

ChrisHein
03-18-2008, 08:08 PM
Not counting the about 2/3 of iwama curriculum called buki waza you left the various otoshi, ude kime, tenchi and other very basic techniques like shomen uchi, yokomen uchi and tsuki, You know, the old atemi waza which makes iwama style techniques sound and reliable ones.

The lack of atemi in the techniques is watering down iwama style and the lack of atemi and blade awareness in your students is dangerous for them. It instills bad habits.

You know I am. :)

I've never seen an Iwama practicioner do a noncooperative practice. Most Iwama don't even do unscripted jiyuwaza.

I was refuring to the taijitsu techniques, but you're correct. I stand corrected.

rob_liberti
03-19-2008, 09:03 PM
I think this is an interesting and innovative exploration. My feeling is that you are probably not ready to lead this kind of thing yet (I wouldn't be either). Others have made the point better so enough said.

I will offer some constructive criticism on one of the other videos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJdVUdLSgg0
26 - 30 - the hanmi handachi ryotetori shihonage
I have found that it is a LOT more effective against progressive resistance to start moving forward with the outside knee, and to stand up with a second step with the inside knee. Try it. When done that way it's like a hydrolic machine. YMMV

I've been working out with Dan Harden lately. Watching that video of Tohei sensei again (I haven't thought about it in a long time) I honeslty believe that Dan would have been able to handle "Howard" better. And I'm training very hard because I would like very much to use what he's teaching me to try every single one of these type of drills once I get his teachings down a bit more. So please keep them up.

Thanks,
Rob

MM
03-20-2008, 07:54 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i02Mkq0yrsE

Once more around the block...

IMO, you aren't giving the knife sufficient "reality". It looks like you're just playing around with a tanto trying to find some aikido technique to do. A knife is death. Treat it as such. It's a razor blade waiting to nick an artery and it doesn't take much to accomplish that. I don't see any regards to those facts in your videos. Mostly I see a general randori-type practice, except someone has a tanto in their hand -- which isn't being utilized in much of a realistic way.

Just some examples of what a knife can do:

Cut. Yeah, everyone knows this. But, not only can a knife can cut on the initial attack, but also on the retreat. So, even if the knife misses flesh initially, it only takes a flick of the wrist to turn or move the edge such that it can cut on the way out.

Pick. Use the tip to just pick off some flesh. This is very quick, doesn't have to be targeted to specific points, and can be a moral buster to nage with enough successful picks. Picks can take out small bits of skin but also larger chunks. Pick the right spot (pun intended) and you get to an artery.

Core. A nasty little cut that truly can do lethal damage. Picture a blade going in and then is swept in an arc. Sort of like coring an apple. This move under the armpit is death. No saving throw.

Puncture. You just push the knife into the body as far as you can and leave it there. No matter how nage moves, he/she will be continuously cut. Try defending an uke when you have a knife stuck inside you.

Flay. For imagery. Take a knife, place it at an angle just inside the elbow, and then fillet the skin all the way down to the wrist. Can be done anywhere, really. You either get a piece of skin flapping in the wind, or you completely cut it out. Either way, major blood and demoralizing.

And all that doesn't even go into what to cut, how to cut, where to cut. A knife is death. It should be treated as such. IMO, your video doesn't do that.

All my opinion, of course.

ChrisHein
03-20-2008, 10:03 AM
This is not tanto dori. If you'd like to see how we do tanto dori, there is a video up.

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

This is a kaeshi waza video. The wooden knife in the hand is just a "weapon", a thing you are struggling over. It's just a focal point. We do have practices where we treat it like a knife.

Rob, if I'm not the guy to do it, who is? I've never met him. If he's out there he doesn't want anyone to know, cause he's not doing it. From the growth I see in my students, I might not be so bad.

MM
03-20-2008, 10:26 AM
This is not tanto dori. If you'd like to see how we do tanto dori, there is a video up.

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

This is a kaeshi waza video. The wooden knife in the hand is just a "weapon", a thing you are struggling over. It's just a focal point. We do have practices where we treat it like a knife.



Hi Chris,
As I said, this is all my opinion, but whenever you introduce the tanto, it is a knife. It is lethality. Using a "wooden knife" in the hand just as a "thing" for kaeshi waza is not treating the knife realistically. You could have used a flashlight instead in your training session -- that's about as useful as the knife was. Not meant to demean, but to illustrate how I viewed the usage of the knife in the vid.

Everyone has their own training. Just thought I'd share my opinion on it since you posted the vid.

Mark

ChrisHein
03-20-2008, 05:38 PM
That's cool, I understand your point.

We have more tanto's in the dojo then flashlights. Maybe I'll paint one pink so there is no confusion.

rob_liberti
03-20-2008, 05:50 PM
This is not tanto dori. If you'd like to see how we do tanto dori, there is a video up.

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

This is a kaeshi waza video. The wooden knife in the hand is just a "weapon", a thing you are struggling over. It's just a focal point. We do have practices where we treat it like a knife.

Rob, if I'm not the guy to do it, who is? I've never met him. If he's out there he doesn't want anyone to know, cause he's not doing it. From the growth I see in my students, I might not be so bad.

Hey Bud - you asked for feedback. I watched. I commented. I had nothing to say directly constructive other than to support what all of the many other folks have said regarding shu ha ri etc. And sometimes it is _helpful_ to hear a message you are not necessarily ready to hear - several times.

Also, I went out of my way to find something very concrete about your kihon waza because I can certainly speak to that. I truly hope it helps. There is a lesson in understanding shihonage - when it makes better sense to thrust while improving/maintaining your body alignment and integrity before you cut or lift to eventually cut (which your partner is doing). You may just abstract that principle into your innovative exercise - or not. It's like underwear, it all depends on you. :)

I also think you should hook up with David if this is your thing. I like his approach very much.

My opinion is of course that the best way to train is the way *I* train. I would imagine EVERYONE thinks that or they would opt for the better method they are aware of..

Seriously good luck. I really do appreciate your innovation.
Rob

ChrisHein
03-20-2008, 06:55 PM
Thanks Rob.

boyana
03-27-2008, 04:56 AM
Interesting!!!
Thaks Rob!!!

ChrisHein
03-30-2008, 01:26 AM
Another one for you to froth about the mouth over.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-igiACl_BQ

Enjoy!

justin
03-30-2008, 04:26 AM
i dont quite get it each defender died about 100 times each, or am i missing the point

ChrisHein
03-30-2008, 12:43 PM
i dont quite get it each defender died about 100 times each, or am i missing the point

Well if you thought fighting agaist a knifer would go smoothly, then I'd say you got the point quite clearly.

Aikibu
03-30-2008, 09:40 PM
Not bad I vote to make the 70's song "You make me feel like dancing let's dance the night away"... the sound track. :)

I posted the here about 6 months ago on the ten basic mistakes Martial Artists make in a knife fight and it's good to get a glimpse of what one may look like so kudos to Chris and his students...

Make a note of the fact a good knife fighter will strike with his guard hand more often than not to enter Uke's space for a knife strike.

Cross training in Kali Silat or Eskrima does wonders for ones Tanto Dori too. :)

William Hazen

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2008, 06:04 AM
I see the basic exercise is driving home the fact that you will get stabbed over and over again.

Why is it that knife fights always occur in a square area about the size of tatami, no exit, no other people, walls are not used, furniture etc?

The only issue I had was once failure hit, uke stuck to the same strategy...enter and grab the knife.

If the point was to show uke how dangerous it was to invoke that strategy, then good job.

If Uke didn't get that teaching point and will continue to try and improve that strategy...then I'd say he missed the point.

Anyway, it is good to see a high degree of stress put in the environment.

I kept wanting to see uke drive nage through the wall...but that would have been expensive! :)

Ron Tisdale
04-01-2008, 09:14 AM
Sorry, but I continue to fail to see the point of this type of vid. If you want to learn knife work, folks have given good suggestions for it. If you want to learn standup grappling, there are places and arts devoted to that. If you want to do stand up gruppling with weapons, without formulaic kata, a combination of the first two suggestions would do wonders, or an art like silat, which already does both.

What I see is an attempt to use low percentage techniques in a high stress environment, which is fine for occational practice in an aikido dojo, but I see very little aikido actually being trained in these vids.

Best,
Ron (probably I'm just dense, or too traditional, or something)

ChrisHein
04-01-2008, 10:03 AM
Thanks for your honesty.

I think if any of you would bother to try this drill and video it we could actually have a conversation about it. As it stands none of you really have any foundation to understand this, and/or you don't have any video up for me to talk about what is happening differnly.

I have realized that most of you are not ready for the kind of work we are doing. thank you for your time.

Aikibu
04-01-2008, 10:26 AM
Thanks for your honesty.

I think if any of you would bother to try this drill and video it we could actually have a conversation about it. As it stands none of you really have any foundation to understand this, and/or you don't have any video up for me to talk about what is happening differnly.

I have realized that most of you are not ready for the kind of work we are doing. thank you for your time.

Your Welcome...:rolleyes:

William Hazen

Jeremy Hulley
04-01-2008, 10:39 AM
Hey Chris,

Here's a few thoughts and questions:

What's the rule set?

I'm surprised that there's not more striking.

Is the guy with the knife lookign to contraol the interactiion or just inflict damage?

You look like you are the most experienced guy in the room. What are your thoughts on the Shu-Ha-Ri pardigm and how it fits into your training (or not), particularly this exercise?

Thanks
Jeremy

mickeygelum
04-01-2008, 11:16 AM
Sorry, but I continue to fail to see the point of this type of vid. If you want to learn knife work, folks have given good suggestions for it. If you want to learn standup grappling, there are places and arts devoted to that. If you want to do stand up gruppling with weapons, without formulaic kata, a combination of the first two suggestions would do wonders, or an art like silat, which already does both.

What I see is an attempt to use low percentage techniques in a high stress environment, which is fine for occational practice in an aikido dojo, but I see very little aikido actually being trained in these vids.

Ron Tisdale

Mr. Tisdale....Your observation is correct, and your advice is well thought out.

The only issue I had was once failure hit, uke stuck to the same strategy...enter and grab the knife.

If the point was to show uke how dangerous it was to invoke that strategy, then good job.

If Uke didn't get that teaching point and will continue to try and improve that strategy...then I'd say he missed the point.

Kevin Leavitt

Mr. Leavitt...The problem solving process is not beeing utilized.
There is no offline entry, the focus is the weapon, all aiki principles have been disregarded. They continued to repeat the same actions. You are correct, they missed the point.

I think if any of you would bother to try this drill and video it we could actually have a conversation about it. As it stands none of you really have any foundation to understand this, and/or you don't have any video up for me to talk about what is happening differnly.

I have realized that most of you are not ready for the kind of work we are doing. thank you for your time.

Mr. Hein,

So much for being tactful...evileyes

As it stands none of you really have any foundation to understand this

Have you ever been in a real knife fight? I have. Have you ever had to really defend your self from an edged,stabbing, thrusting weapon?
I have. Have you ever been stabbed with any of the aforementioned items? I have.

Do you know what feels like to have a hypodermic syringe thrust through your hand as you are trying to subdue a 5'10'', 210 lb junkie that has been popping all night? I do. I train for this type of assault.

You asked to have your video(s) critiqued...and then you slam good advice, here's my take.

I am a Shodothug, knives are our toys...your drill is a exercise of inefficiency and wasted energy. Taisabaki (body evasion) and kuzushi (balance breaking) are the drills you need. Tegatana Dosa, Shodokan style, will help you accomplish your goal.
There are several Shodokan dojos near you, I would suggest you go visit one of them and observe and/or participate.
A little tanto randori will be good for you, if not for yourself, go for your students sake.

Ps......Leave the hakama at home...;)

Train well,

Mickey

Ron Tisdale
04-01-2008, 11:37 AM
Thanks for your honesty.

You are welcome. Followed by:

As it stands none of you really have any foundation to understand this, and/or you don't have any video up for me to talk about what is happening differnly.

Well, shucks, Homer, tell me all about my foundations! :D I think I was polite in what I said, and left room for me being clueless. So...elucidate me, please. Politely. Or don't post vids that nobody gets. Or be prepared for us not to get them. Or something.

I have realized that most of you are not ready for the kind of work we are doing. thank you for your time.

Dude, get over yourself.

Best,
Ron

Cephallus
04-01-2008, 11:44 AM
a 5'10'', 210 lb junkie that has been popping all night?

Did you mean 110 lbs? :D

Because no 5'10" junkie I ever knew stayed at 210lbs for very long.

I watched the video twice, looking for aiki. To me it looks, honestly, like it was mostly a wrestling/strength contest...and the big guy, predictably, dominated each encounter.

I have to agree that there are some basic knife skills missing with both the attacker and the defender. I keep seeing the defender trying to go head-down, straight-in, with his arms up, like it's an average bar brawl. Unless he's purposefully trying to let the attacker stab his vital organs, that's probably a bad idea.

Otherwise, I enjoy the vids that people post, including this one, if for no other reason than to see how other people are training. Whether or not I'd want to train like this personally, I always learn something from the vids, and the discussions here. So thanks!

Marc Abrams
04-01-2008, 01:42 PM
I proudly join the ranks of the clueless and see no real function/purpose for this type of training. The attacker and defender were simply unrealistic.

William's point about training with real knife fighters is well taken. A good knife fighter will carve you up like a turkey on the platter before you knew what hit you. Depending upon the nature of the cut or stab, a person's ability to continue to function can significantly diminish in a short period of time.

I would add Systema knife work and defense to the list of more realistic approaches towards training.

I was taught a long time ago, never enter into a knife fight unless you are willing to get cut. If you get cut, you can easily die. With that type of attitude, you are better off bringing a gun to a knife fight, or minimizing the amount of time and contact when trying to defend against a blade. Other than that, you can get lost in fantasy about what your training really can't do, which can result in a mortality, most likely your own!

Just My Clueless Two Cents.

Marc Abrams

Aikibu
04-01-2008, 03:10 PM
The Basics....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClXpUCObab4

All forms of Silat blend very well with Aikido IMO. Pay attention to the drill towrds the end of this clip for a hint at possible Tanto Randori Chris....

William Hazen

Michael Varin
04-01-2008, 07:21 PM
I don't know about the 10 mistakes that martial artists make in a knife fight, but the biggest mistake martial artists make in general is to theorize and intellectualize without testing their hypotheses under pressure.

Too many people are resting on their laurels. The funny thing is most frequently they don't have any laurels in the first place.

The video William linked to reveals a serious misunderstanding. This is a fully cooperative practice. There is no resistance involved. The "attacker's" objective is to allow the technique to be applied. This has no more relevance to what was happening in Chris's video than traditional aikdo ki no nagare.

If you are not aware of the difference that results from the attacker changing his objective to actually succeeding with his attack, I highly recommend exposing yourself to that.

Here's the guy (long pants) from William's video in a much more intense situation. Wonder why he doesn't make it look so easy?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr5VcdAAAMI&feature=related

In the drill that Chris showed, the only restriction was that no striking was allowed. The knife can be used in any way and the defender can respond in any way.

A quick search on Youtube produced the following videos. I didn't selectively post these; they were just the first few that came up.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=v2qa9FO7v7Q

http://youtube.com/watch?v=BEjKU0p9JZw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDa1BCJPHvg&NR=1

http://youtube.com/watch?v=J3HR2O2m068

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1s0eyOC5iLc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fePrku5ifHg&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2ReF_ywwL0&NR=1

Nothing here looks like stylized aikido, or kali or silat or systema for that matter.

The beautiful thing is that digital cameras are cheap. Youtube makes it very easy to post videos. You can literally put raw footage online within minutes of shooting it.

Tanto dori is part of aikido. What is the best way to train to face a knife while empty-handed? Let's see the video.

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2008, 07:52 PM
Michael, correct nothing looks like anything.

These videos confirm my personal beliefs about knifes in general.

A few comments. A few individuals could have had better martial awareness.

There is a split second before distance is closed. What do you do?

Several had the ability to grab objects or go to a safer place around them, yet they were still processing the fact that they were being attacked and did the ole "oh my god!".

I saw most of them resort to the same basic strategy that your uke did in Chris' video.

So what and how do you train for this?

Sometimes you can't.

I think anything short of doning some high speed gear like Blauer suits and having some good highly qualified instructors is about the only way to do this the right way. Uke and nage must have situations that most closely involve the scenarios and conditions that they might face.

That is, working at a counter in the store. Walking down the street. Having distance already closed on you in a crowd.

Many times you will find that there simply is not much you can do.

Chasing a guy around the dojo in a gi over and over and having him try and grab a knife is not the way I would train my personnel, If you train this way...you will default to this type of strategy, much like most did in these videos.

Sorry, but I am not seeing it.

Aikibu
04-01-2008, 11:10 PM
I don't know about the 10 mistakes that martial artists make in a knife fight, but the biggest mistake martial artists make in general is to theorize and intellectualize without testing their hypotheses under pressure.

Survived a few encounters with knives one with a dude who knew his business

Too many people are resting on their laurels. The funny thing is most frequently they don't have any laurels in the first place.

No...What is funny is why folks like yourself continue to post? I know you're one of Chris's Posse...I admire your attempts to defend him but what Chris did is stupid...He posts a video... does not set a criteria for it... and then whines when no one can read his mind...

The video William linked to reveals a serious misunderstanding. This is a fully cooperative practice. There is no resistance involved. The "attacker's" objective is to allow the technique to be applied. This has no more relevance to what was happening in Chris's video than traditional aikdo ki no nagare.

LOL Like you know the differance. ...I stated it was basic practice and point folks to the exercise at the end....So help me what is to misunderstand/ Greg is one of the top Kilat teachers in the country.

If you are not aware of the difference that results from the attacker changing his objective to actually succeeding with his attack, I highly recommend exposing yourself to that.

So your vid demonstrating this "exposure" is where?

Here's the guy (long pants) from William's video in a much more intense situation. Wonder why he doesn't make it look so easy?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr5VcdAAAMI&feature=related

I wonder how much experiance you have to actually interpret what you saw?

In the drill that Chris showed, the only restriction was that no striking was allowed. The knife can be used in any way and the defender can respond in any way.

Stupid is as stupid does...If there are restrictions like no striking then your training is weak...Striking IS A PART of KNIFE FIGHTING

Nothing here looks like stylized aikido, or kali or silat or systema for that matter.

The beautiful thing is that digital cameras are cheap. Youtube makes it very easy to post videos. You can literally put raw footage online within minutes of shooting it.

Tanto dori is part of aikido. What is the best way to train to face a knife while empty-handed? Let's see the video.

So I guess what your saying is we can just throw the baby out with the bathwater LOL

In the future when you and Chris want constructive feedback Please just ask for it instead of throwing a hissy fit when you post a vid and whine when no one can read your "bright" minds....

Thank you so much.:freaky:

William Hazen

ChrisHein
04-01-2008, 11:14 PM
We have to clear up many things if we are going to talk about this.

First this is not a cooperative or compliant exorcise. So this means if one person is better then another, no matter how good the first person gets, he will not win. Like tennis, I could be a very good tennis player, have good technique, and even be a capable tennis coach, but I’m not going to win wimbleton.

When you see my students against me, I am simply bigger and better then them. That doesn't make their training worse, it makes it better.

Second, the purpose of the practice is not to have the unarmed guy get stuck and stabbed. We do allow, and even try to make that happen as the knifer. This is what makes the practice difficult, and worthwhile.

We are trying to make one explosive move in, control the weapon and gain control of the situation. This is achieved many times on the clip. If the unarmed guy takes the weapon away, he then begins his own attack, this is the ideal, and again this happens several times.

You cannot stay at a distance with someone with a knife (if you’re going to engage). The knifer has range, and power on his side. Staying away from him just increases his odds of victory.

Third, yes it would be better to run, shoot them, use a weapon yourself, or what have you. But that is not the purpose of the practice. This practice is geared toward one guy being unarmed and one guy with a knife, and the unarmed guy has no choice but to engage.

Fourth we are training a martial art system, so yes we wear gi’s and we train on a mat in a dojo. No one in our school has any illusions of taking someone on the street with a knife. After training like this, your illusions of being successful with your techniques while unarmed facing a knife fall away, because you see first hand how hard it is.

Aikibu
04-01-2008, 11:24 PM
And another thing...This is from Chris's own bio on your website

Just about ready to give up on Aikido as an actual usable martial art, I happened to enter a full contact stick fighting tournament with the Dog brothers. The Dog brothers are a group of full contact stick fighters living in southern california. They have regular "meetings of the pack" where they get together and fight full contact with sticks; and no rules. The only safety equipment used is a fencing helmet, and gloves. They use rattan sticks to keep bone breaking to a minimum but it is none the less very intense and very dangerous. I fought with a jo, and to my amazement, the techniques of Aikido flowed from me. I was very capable and able, and all the training I received worked like a charm. I could in fact FEEL what I have now come to understand as AIKI. I could feel my opponents intentions, and also his openings.

So I ask why does not Chris teach this the way he was taught?

Very strange.

William Hazen

ChrisHein
04-01-2008, 11:27 PM
William,
Why don't we have a Randori, you and I.

Santa monica isn't far for me, I'll come to you and we can go one round you with the knife, one round me with the knife, we can add striking if you like. We'll video the whole thing and that will solve all this quickly.

Aikibu
04-01-2008, 11:29 PM
We have to clear up many things if we are going to talk about this.


Chris,

If you had posted this with your original vid post then you would have saved us all allot of bs...

Please consider this in the future.

respectfully,

William Hazen

Aikibu
04-01-2008, 11:31 PM
William,
Why don't we have a Randori, you and I.

Santa monica isn't far for me, I'll come to you and we can go one round you with the knife, one round me with the knife, we can add striking if you like. We'll video the whole thing and that will solve all this quickly.

Sounds good to me....I would love to learn from you.

William Hazen

mickeygelum
04-01-2008, 11:40 PM
First this is not a cooperative or compliant exorcise.
Chris Hein

This is a fully cooperative practice.
Michael Varin

Gentlemen,

Need I say any more.....get your feces together!

You are seriously mistaken about what you are doing, you are going to get someone hurt. Close the garage and find a real dojo.

I bet you bought the x-ray glasses and thought they were broken in transit....:hypno:

ChrisHein
04-01-2008, 11:42 PM
You need to go back and read those posts again.

He is talking about Williams video and I am talking about our video.

mickeygelum
04-01-2008, 11:59 PM
Mr. Hein,

I apologize for misquoting you and Mr Varin.

I will just sit here and laugh my ass off.

Mickey

Aikibu
04-02-2008, 12:13 AM
Gentlemen,

Chris and I have spoken and I have invited him to come and teach a class and also cleared the air with regard to my posts.

Iwama and Nishio Ryu styles are different since our primary focus is weapons Ken, Bokken, Jo, Tanto, and Atemi Waza. I feel what Chris has to offer is valid enough to learn from and in that spirit we will welcome him and hope all of us come away better Aikidoka for the experiance.

William Hazen

Michael Varin
04-02-2008, 12:42 AM
I know you're one of Chris's Posse.

Wow. Did you figure that out on your own?

From what I can tell you were the one throwing a hissy fit, but it looks like Chris came up with the best solution for that. Didn't he?

Mr. Hein,

I apologize for misquoting you and Mr Varin.

I will just sit here and laugh my ass off.

Be my guest…after you get your foot out of your mouth. And then try to follow the conversation.

I know it's tough for you "shodothugs." You guys can't even figure out what to do with your tanto after you've been grabbed.

Really, we don't need to let this degrade to name calling. Please, post a video of your tanto randori, or other relevant drills you practice and enlighten us.

mickeygelum
04-02-2008, 06:08 AM
Mr Varin,

I apologized for misquoting you, and I am truly sorry that I did not make the fifteen minute window to edit my post....that does not mean that I in any way, shape or form have changed my opinion of your training methods.

Your videos speak for themselves...And again, you are the one seeking affirmation in what you do, not I.

While you believe that you have upped your training tempo, it falls short of reality based training, as you are claiming.

Observation and perception, everyone sees things differently. Unfortunately, our observation does not compliment your perception of tanto randori.

Mickey

Kevin Leavitt
04-02-2008, 06:16 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0fPL4f3Eqc

They don't show a whole lot, but if you listen and look carefully you will get a basic idea of where they are coming from. Using walls, weapons, and objects, plus the clinch.

The thing I like is that they discuss the problem, define the situations, the risk, and then (what the don't show completely), work on solving the problem through risk reduction.

They even discuss the "sewing machine" etc, what most people default to...

When the do attempt to control the knife, I see a much more different approach then what I saw in Chris' video.

Kevin Leavitt
04-02-2008, 06:38 AM
Some good basic advice on building realitiy training:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr7bojwFacA&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuA17VoJgNo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWeCWtI3d5c&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWWl7tjxe6Q&feature=related

Not necessarily knife fighting...but when you are training in knife defenses...you need to consider these things.

Training intelligently is very important.

Ron Tisdale
04-02-2008, 07:29 AM
Nothing here looks like stylized aikido, or kali or silat or systema for that matter.

Wouldn't expect it to. No fight that was any where near closely matched does that I've ever seen. I've even seen good boxers humiliated, simply because someone was determined not to play their game. Fortunately, that was not my point, or the point of most people commenting.

We are not asking for clips that "look like aikido", or any other martial art/sport. We are looking for the reasoning behind the exercises, and the building blocks that lead up to the exercises, to train habits that will hold under pressure. To me, at least, that would be one of the main points of using stressfull, non-cooperative training. I simply see none of this, either because I'm too dull, or because it isn't there.

No harm, no foul...until you become insulting about it. And I'm not interested in posting vids of myself doing the same things you are doing...for the same reasons. Because I know my limitations, and the limitations of my training so far, and see no need to parade them in front of the madding crowd.

By the way, cheers to William and Chris for meeting up. That's a good thing...too much gets lost in the digital divide. Please let us know what you learn.

Best,
Ron

akiy
04-02-2008, 07:40 AM
Hi folks,

Please watch your tone in your postings. It's seemingly getting pretty personal here.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Demetrio Cereijo
04-02-2008, 07:54 AM
Chris,

If you don't mind.

What is your experience facing real blades in "t3h street" for real?. How many times?. How did you solved the situation?. How your training methods reflects your personal experience about SD against blade wielding opponents?

I'm asking because I only had 2 encounters with knife wielding assailtants and what I see in the clips doesn't match with my personal experience.

Aikibu
04-02-2008, 09:14 AM
Wow. Did you figure that out on your own?

From what I can tell you were the one throwing a hissy fit, but it looks like Chris came up with the best solution for that. Didn't he?



What solution would that be??? Hopefully you'll show up too and come to realize that having a such large chip on your shoulder is detrimental to the spirit of Aikido...

William Hazen

Aikibu
04-02-2008, 09:19 AM
Wouldn't expect it to. No fight that was any where near closely matched does that I've ever seen. I've even seen good boxers humiliated, simply because someone was determined not to play their game. Fortunately, that was not my point, or the point of most people commenting.

We are not asking for clips that "look like aikido", or any other martial art/sport. We are looking for the reasoning behind the exercises, and the building blocks that lead up to the exercises, to train habits that will hold under pressure. To me, at least, that would be one of the main points of using stressfull, non-cooperative training. I simply see none of this, either because I'm too dull, or because it isn't there.

No harm, no foul...until you become insulting about it. And I'm not interested in posting vids of myself doing the same things you are doing...for the same reasons. Because I know my limitations, and the limitations of my training so far, and see no need to parade them in front of the madding crowd.

By the way, cheers to William and Chris for meeting up. That's a good thing...too much gets lost in the digital divide. Please let us know what you learn.

Best,
Ron

Took the words right out of my mouth Ron and said it much better than I could.

No worries about letting everyone know how it all turns out Sometimes the best way to understand folks is to look them in the eye... give them a warm handshake...and truely welcome them as Aiki Brothers & Sisters in the spirit of Love and Harmony. :)

William Hazen

Ron Tisdale
04-02-2008, 09:58 AM
Took the words right out of my mouth Ron and said it much better than I could.
Nah...I just had better timing! :D another minute you'd have said it, and you have much more experience than I to back it up with. ;)

I'm just waiting to see what David V. has to share... (yeah, I see ya lurking bud!)

Best,
Ron

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 10:08 AM
R,

man, help me find that post I made yesterday about the sharing of the videos - can't find it. i suck.
d

ChrisHein
04-02-2008, 10:11 AM
Chris,

If you don't mind.

What is your experience facing real blades in "t3h street" for real?. How many times?. How did you solved the situation?. How your training methods reflects your personal experience about SD against blade wielding opponents?

I'm asking because I only had 2 encounters with knife wielding assailtants and what I see in the clips doesn't match with my personal experience.

I have never had an encounter with a knife wielding assailant. I have been attacked with a fire poker, and had a struggle over a pistol, that's the limit of my real world weapon encounters.

I am not claiming to be able to train Marines for combat. Nor is it my intention to give the Idea that I'm some kind of underground knife fighting expert. Of coarse the videos look different then a real knife fight, they are done in a dojo with dudes who don't hate each other. Fights and training are very different things, always will be.

A real fight is impossible to completely simulate in a dojo, because A: the two people engaged don't want to actually harm each other. and B: It's happening in a safe controlled atmosphere.

This whole idea is part of the ridiculous fantasy martial artists engage in. Your dojo training is never going to simulate what happens in an unstructured fight. MMA doesn't do it, Dog brothers don't do it and nothing structured ever will.

Ron Tisdale
04-02-2008, 10:28 AM
Bingo! Chris. I absolutely agree. So that is NOT what you are trying to do. So maybe you can explain what the GOAL of the exercise is a little better.

Best,
Ron

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 10:41 AM
I can't find my original post. If someone has a copy of it (e.g. email), please post it here again so it can re-set the context for the following videos.

I've got one video segment up. It takes quite a long time to get each video segment up. I believe there will be about six to eight installments, together totaling approximately sixty minutes of video.

I can say this up front - we are not using a knife to train in knife fighting. Rather, we are using the knife as a training tool. Why? Several reasons - here are the main ones: We want to introduce stress (fake and real knives do this for nearly every beginner), we want to tempt the practitioner with focusing on the knife (so we can train them to "see" beyond the knife, to gain an unfettered mind), and holding and using the knife lends itself to slicing or cutting movements, which in turn allows the beginner to be more fluid with his/her motion (i.e. not staccato or jerky).

We try not to violate too many of my own theories regarding knife fighting, which folks can see more of in my experimentations with the 21 foot rule (a video you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeqjlN24Hns), but since our primary goal is a spontaneity that is Aikido in nature and a body/mind that is unfettered by the circumstances and environment it is facing we have little to say, in the end, regarding knife fighting in the videos you are about to see. I ask the viewer to please keep this in mind.

Again, to the point: The point of these videos, and the drills and exercises they demonstrate, is to gain a spontaneity that is Aikido in nature, and to cultivate a body/mind that is unfettered. These exercises/drills are a refinement of what I did, of what Chris is doing now.

Here is the first video segment. Of course, feel free to raise questions, make comments, now, but the viewer might be better suited by watching all the segments first. Either way is fine by me.

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

dmv

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 02:15 PM
Here is segment 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIecOIJENds

Here is segment 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3Y4ne8kO7E

d

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 03:17 PM
Segment 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9bG-GZaVmY

ChrisMoses
04-02-2008, 03:18 PM
David, I realize you're offering these as kind of a dialogue in and of themselves, but six minutes of exposition before ANYTHING happens in the video? Lucas managed to set the stage for the whole Star Wars saga in about 30 seconds... ;)

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 03:36 PM
lol.

yeah - sorry about the "get it going time".

I should also say, while it's presented like some sort of "film," we just put a camera up during some of the classes we did one week. The viewer should probably picture himself watching a class at any ol' dojo. Sometimes, nothing is going on, etc., sometimes the same thing is going on over and over again.

:-)

d

Kevin Leavitt
04-02-2008, 03:45 PM
David Valadez wrote:

Again, to the point: The point of these videos, and the drills and exercises they demonstrate, is to gain a spontaneity that is Aikido in nature, and to cultivate a body/mind that is unfettered. These exercises/drills are a refinement of what I did, of what Chris is doing now.


I think this is the crux of the questions. Define the training objective and desired endstate and explain how what you are doing reaches that.

I don't believe it was clear, or I missed it, and many misunderstood it....???

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 03:48 PM
It seems my original post never went through. So let me sum it up...

I think what Chris is doing is a good thing. It is something I did too. To be sure, when I went through it, I was a mess. But, let me suggest this: it's going to be a mess because one is pretty much left to discover for himself what needs to be discovered. In short, one is forging his own path. When you do that, there's going to be a lot of hacking and wrong ways and obstacles you can't get over, but you are going to learn a hell of a lot by all of that stuff. That stuff does not make the journey a waste of time.

So, what are you looking for? I won't put words in the Chris' mouth, but, for me, I was looking to for a spontaneity that was Aikido in nature. I was not at all satisfied tactically or theoretically by the usual stuff you see being done "spontaneously" - e.g. MMA, Kick Boxing, etc. Why was I looking for that? Well, besides being the art I chose to adopt as my own, it was an art I felt to be tactically superior for most applications I was prone to face.

When I look at Chris' videos I see someone trying to struggle through the obstacle of bringing one's practice off of the chalkboard of kihon waza and into ever expanding fields of experience and application. When someone is doing that, it won't make much sense to look at things from the point of view of the chalkboard. This is especially true when one is looking at the beginning or experimental stages of development.

I don't know what Chris will do in the end with what he's learning from these experiments, but that's the point of experimenting in my book. What one sees in my video segments is something I did with my own experimentations. I did this because I was interested in getting folks to the same place without having to have them go through path forging. Regardless, the latter is still completely dependent upon the former.

d

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 07:02 PM
Segment 5:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSFNoT6MKZs

NagaBaba
04-02-2008, 09:01 PM
Segment 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9bG-GZaVmY
Hi David,
From my understanding, you are doing a mix of aikido and pushing hands exercise. It is well done, but of course has nothing to do with knife work - at least IMO.

I think Kali/escrima guys are pretty good at knife, they have solid, nice methodology. It would be my choice, but as seprate training, not mixing strange stuff to aikido. I don't think also you will develop spontaneous reactions with a knife - it is way too difficult:
1. if you do weapons at amateurish level(let's say to decrease a level of difficulty), it is funny, not Budo.
2. If you do weapons at good level, it is impossible to face it with empty hands.

I'll not comment on Chris video, he is taking it too personaly, so technical disscussion is not possible.

For the moment I think generaly this way leads to nowhere.

senshincenter
04-02-2008, 09:49 PM
Segment 6:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H62c-slx02A

(three more to go, but I'm done for the night. look for the last three segments tomorrow evening, pacific time)

ChrisHein
04-02-2008, 09:58 PM
Michael touched on this earlier, but I’d like to talk about it a bit more. The main difference between what you are seeing in the drills I’ve been showing lately and most traditional Aikido is intention.

In a form the intention of both parties is to achieve the desired result of that particular form. So if we are doing Katate dori shihonage, the desired result will end in a shihonage. If we are doing Jiyu waza the result will be uke being thrown. In the practices we are doing the intention of each side is to achieve their own personal goal. The goal of the knifer is to “cut/stab”, the goal of the unarmed fellow is to control the situation by disarming or submitting the knifer.

By changing the intention from a unified goal (uke falling), and moving away from the uke/nage rolls we see a different side of the practice unfold. You shouldn’t look at the results of the drills, it’s not a liner practice. Instead you should look at the honestly of the practice.

When we play the rolls of Uke and nage it requires approximation. You must approximate what would throw you, or how the energy of the situation will move you or how you “should” respond. You must approximate because you are (intentionally or not) working toward the unified goal of the form; for uke to fall.

When you take away the roll of uke/nage we change the intention of the exercise from a unified goal (nage throwing uke), to an individual goal (knifer trying to cut, unarmed trying to control). This takes away the approximation, and makes for a very honest practice.

So when I ask for feed back, I’m not asking you to asses my or my students technical ability. In the videos I make I purposefully leave in much footage of the technical mistakes. This is not because I am not aware of them, it is because I want to show how the pressure of the situation (dropping the uke/nage rolls) changes the interaction. It should be a given that under pressure people are going to make many mistakes. While “A” goal is to make fewer and fewer mistakes, the main purpose of the drills we are doing now is to honestly expose the mistakes we are currently making.

When people critique these details in a non cooperative situation, as shown in our drills, what they are saying to me is “I can do this better under pressure” when what they mean is “I can do this better in a form”. Now if you can do it better under pressure, cool, post a video, showing how you do it and we can have a discussion. I never see video’s from any of you doing anything like this though. I tend to get frustrated hearing these critiques over and over, when it seems you are talking from the idea of the uke/nage roll. If we were doing forms, many of your critiques would be right on the money. When talking about this specific type of practice(no uke/nage rolls), not having a noncooperative practice yourself, your critiques are lacking foundation.

I think there is nothing wrong with forms practice. Ask my students I’m meticulous, I’m always on their case about proper form. Ask those who have come to visit our dojo, I’ve never hear anything but praise over our clarity of form. But the drills I have been showing are a different practice then form. I feel this is an important step in the development of the Aikidoka, and of Aikido itself.

I have been so intrenched by my own work that I have not taken the time to properly explain what I am doing. I often forget that everyone else isn’t working on the same stuff I am, and that perhaps a little explanation on my part might be necessary. I am very sorry for my oversight.

My appologys for the long post.

Ron Tisdale
04-03-2008, 07:54 AM
David, I haven't had time to go through all of the vids yet, but what I have seen so far is excellent. Please note though, that it does not resemble what Chris is doing.

Chris, your last post is excellent, it accomplishes a lot in a meeting of the minds. I will try to address some of the points you made shortly...in it's own response, which it deserves.

Szczepan, I think you may be wrong about the Budo part. Yes, there is a strong resemblance to some forms of "push hands" in what David shows, but it also shows "an unfettered mind" developing in David's students, and pretty darn well developed in David. Their ability to move as well as they do is really quite remarkable at their level. It would be interesting to see how well that would hold up under even more pressure.

As for the weapons usage, I kind of agree but kind of don't. Most weapons training in aikido is not about the weapon, it's about moving the body, with the weapon as an extension, or a focal point, or something to up the ante. In that spirit, I think this IS Budo, in that the weapon serves in all these ways. No, it is not kali, or silat, or koryu...but I see the basic principles of using that weapon not being violated in any major ways, unlike the previous vids. Perhaps more thoughts on this later.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
04-03-2008, 01:26 PM
When you take away the roll of uke/nage we change the intention of the exercise from a unified goal (nage throwing uke), to an individual goal (knifer trying to cut, unarmed trying to control). This takes away the approximation, and makes for a very honest practice.

I like the way you express that...what is interesting to me, though, is that Shodokan Aikido has much the same stated goals in their Tanto keiko and competition...and yet even that looks remarkably different from what I see in your vids. I'm sure that is the product of more than one thing, especially, rule set. Have you looked at the rules for that practice? Perhaps someone familiar with it can post a link... I also have seen other forms of non-cooperative practice that seem to me at least to be very "honest" in the manner you speak of, and participated in some. Again, not much resemblance...

So when I ask for feed back, I’m not asking you to asses my or my students technical ability. In the videos I make I purposefully leave in much footage of the technical mistakes. This is not because I am not aware of them, it is because I want to show how the pressure of the situation (dropping the uke/nage rolls) changes the interaction. It should be a given that under pressure people are going to make many mistakes. While “A” goal is to make fewer and fewer mistakes, the main purpose of the drills we are doing now is to honestly expose the mistakes we are currently making.

I'm not sure I remember the people who commented critisizing the technical ability of your students...I am pretty sure I did not. I guess one question I have after seeing several iterations of your drill is that we keep seeing the exposition of what ever mistakes may or may not be made...but no real change from one vid to another. So we never really see any progression from the exposee to any sort of resolution.

When people critique these details in a non cooperative situation, as shown in our drills, what they are saying to me is “I can do this better under pressure” when what they mean is “I can do this better in a form”.

I for one, did not say or mean that (I could do it better) in either true non cooperative situations, or in a form. If I had meant that, I would have stated it clearly. So if you got that mistaken impression, I appologize, and ask that we reframe the discussion now that it is clearer. I do know the difference between cooperative vs non cooperative from my days in wrestling.

Now if you can do it better under pressure, cool, post a video, showing how you do it and we can have a discussion. I never see video’s from any of you doing anything like this though.

I think I already addressed this in one of my posts above. I would add to that that at least one of environments where I did some "non-roled" training was at Ellis Amdur's seminar...and I am not in a position to video tape his seminars.

I tend to get frustrated hearing these critiques over and over, when it seems you are talking from the idea of the uke/nage roll. If we were doing forms, many of your critiques would be right on the money. When talking about this specific type of practice(no uke/nage rolls), not having a noncooperative practice yourself, your critiques are lacking foundation.

But you do not know our practice, even less than we know yours...so how can you judge our foundation?

I think there is nothing wrong with forms practice. Ask my students I’m meticulous, I’m always on their case about proper form. Ask those who have come to visit our dojo, I’ve never hear anything but praise over our clarity of form. But the drills I have been showing are a different practice then form. I feel this is an important step in the development of the Aikidoka, and of Aikido itself.

Fair enough...but I'm not sure "form" is the essense of our complaints. It may or may not be for some...but certainly not for me.

My appologys for the long post.
No appology needed! ;) and the response is much appreciated. Should I be in a position to video tape some of what I would consider non-cooperative / no role training some time, I will certainly make it available for the discussion.

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
04-03-2008, 02:42 PM
There's some good videos here. (http://www.youtube.com/user/nappyheaded)

Rules page is here. (http://www.tomiki.org/rules.html)

Notice that the rules are designed to reinforce the goals of ones Aikido waza rather than allowing it to just turn into judo with a kokeshi. I think this is a big distinction. When a knife enters the encounter, you are now talking about a lethal force scenario. To take away atemi from the defender creates an overly advantageous scenario for the attacker, ignoring damage from the knife further forces the student to explore artificial avenues of resolution. Throw in atemi and have a 5 stab restart guideline and you would have a much more reasonable exercise. This is still not productive in my view.

Aikibu
04-03-2008, 03:13 PM
There's some good videos here. (http://www.youtube.com/user/nappyheaded)

Rules page is here. (http://www.tomiki.org/rules.html)

Notice that the rules are designed to reinforce the goals of ones Aikido waza rather than allowing it to just turn into judo with a kokeshi. I think this is a big distinction. When a knife enters the encounter, you are now talking about a lethal force scenario. To take away atemi from the defender creates an overly advantageous scenario for the attacker, ignoring damage from the knife further forces the student to explore artificial avenues of resolution. Throw in atemi and have a 5 stab restart guideline and you would have a much more reasonable exercise. This is still not productive in my view.

THIS is the way Tanto Dori should be done...Thanks Chris. :)

William Hazen

ChrisMoses
04-03-2008, 03:55 PM
While kind of a thread drift, this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPhG6XA2fL8) is one of the great finds of YouTube. Lots of interesting stuff going on in this video of Tomiki Sensei.

ChrisHein
04-03-2008, 05:30 PM
That clip of Tomiki is pretty cool. That guy was pretty great.

Those other clips of Shodokan randori are cool as well, but only seeing such small segments of the practice makes it hard to understand the whole exchange. Good throws though.

Ron Thanks for your reply. I think we're closer to an understanding.

senshincenter
04-03-2008, 10:31 PM
Segment 7:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR_v74IFHWc

Segment 8:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5g3arIy-CE

Sorry, that's all for tonight. I'll post the last segment (#9) tomorrow. In segment 9, we put it all together in an intermediate level practice - one that opens the drill up to kicks and shoots, besides strikes of any kind.

I'll write on the posts and the videos come the weekend - when I have time. Sorry. In short, however, the hard part of training beyond kihon waza is not the level of resistance (my opinion). Thus, it is not the absence of cooperation either. How could it be these things?! Aikido is supposed to function in regards to both of these things. Rather, the hard part, even the thing that makes resistance and a lack of cooperation seem difficult to address, is the impermanence and "unknowability" of an attack that occurs outside of kihon waza training. This is why there is only one true solution, in my opinion: to cultivate an unfettered body/mind and to develop a training curriculum that aims toward this.

As I said, I'll post the last segment tomorrow night.

dmv
ps. Please note that the sections that follow the title "Contrasting Examples" (i.e. Segments 5-8) are showing folks making the mistakes listed in the subtitles of the video. They are showing what NOT to do.

G DiPierro
04-03-2008, 11:57 PM
Those other clips of Shodokan randori are cool as well, but only seeing such small segments of the practice makes it hard to understand the whole exchange. Good throws though.You've seen this clip of a full match (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghaVhZE8cmY) before, though, right? Isn't that comment there posted from your youtube account?

My opinion is that the rules of Shodokan tanto randori are somewhat artificial. If I recall correctly, they force the attacker to make a clear thrust, which is not a particularly realistic way to attack with a knife, and also require the defender to respond with certain type of tai-sabaki. Nevertheless, I'd say that what they are doing with tanto randori is much better than what you have posted in your videos.

While I don't think your training is totally worthless, I do think that you would be better served in what you seem to be trying to accomplish by training in an established art with a competitive grappling element, like Shodokan aikido, judo, or even BJJ. I'm all for introducing more resistance training into aikido but there is no need to reinvent the wheel when there's a lot of other arts that have this in various forms. You might find it more useful to seek out people who have extensive experience in a form of resistance training that is close to what you want to do, even if it is not an exact match, than to continue in the direction you are going in these videos.

ChrisHein
04-04-2008, 09:56 AM
Yeah, I've seen that clip before, I think I've seen most of the shodokan clips on youtube, I like to watch them.

I spent 2 years training Bjj daily, I like the system a lot, and think it's a very worthwhile practice.

I personally don't think we're reinventing anything. I'm finding new ways to train what already exists. You guys get to see about 3% of what we do, and it's the most experimental, difficult stuff.

It's funny to me that people seem to think we aren't getting anywhere. I can see so much progress in our practice from the time we started. My students are always excited about what we are doing, and seem happy. The are also further along then I was with the same amount of training. I think it's a matter of video editing and not actually getting to see the whole practice.

G DiPierro
04-04-2008, 12:06 PM
I spent 2 years training Bjj daily, I like the system a lot, and think it's a very worthwhile practice.

I personally don't think we're reinventing anything. I'm finding new ways to train what already exists. You guys get to see about 3% of what we do, and it's the most experimental, difficult stuff.

It's funny to me that people seem to think we aren't getting anywhere. I can see so much progress in our practice from the time we started. My students are always excited about what we are doing, and seem happy. The are also further along then I was with the same amount of training. I think it's a matter of video editing and not actually getting to see the whole practice.Well I, for one, do not think and did not suggest that you are not getting anywhere. It's obvious to me that this type of practice has some value. However, I do see several problems in these knife randori videos, and the reason I suggested training in an art with an established full-resistance grappling component is that these are not experimental practices in those systems. They've been doing them for decades and have already worked out many of the kinks and developed training methods that lead to success against full resistance. If you've done BJJ and enjoyed it then maybe you should also look into one of the other arts with more of a stand-up component.

That said, if you think these videos do not properly represent the entirety of your practice then why don't you post videos and descriptions documenting the other elements of your training? I'd be interested in seeing what else you are doing besides this.

Michael Douglas
04-04-2008, 01:52 PM
... My opinion is that the rules of Shodokan tanto randori are somewhat artificial. If I recall correctly, they force the attacker to make a clear thrust, which is not a particularly realistic way to attack with a knife, and also require the defender to respond with certain type of tai-sabaki.
Not only a clear thrust,
" Tanto must step in and stab with his back straight and his balance stable."
... more rules ...
"... B. Inadequate (ineffective) or invalid stabbing
1. Tanto techniques that do not satisfy the above conditions will not be counted as effective stabs.
2. Tanto techniques will also be regarded as invalid unless the tip of the rubber knife has clearly touched Toshu’s body and Tanto has stabbed with proper foot movement. "
(proper foot movement????)
... more rules ...
"The following actions are prohibited:
1) The use of techniques other than the 17 techniques (Randori no Kata).
2) The use of techniques in a desperate way.
(Desperate way?????)
3) The use of Kaeshiwaza before being grasped.
...
6) If a competitor tries to seize the other competitor’s dogi.
(So no grabbing clothes???? I guess to avoid Judo)
...
9) If Tanto defends himself from Toshu’s attack by means other than Tegatana. However, even when Tanto uses
Tegatana, he must not use it in a dangerous way, such as in the face or on the head, etc.. "
(So no serious defence for the knifer????)

So we can see the rules of Tomiki Tanto competition specifically forbid almost ALL of the activity from Chris' videos.
There can be no comparison of the activities we see since the RULES are chalk and cheese.

... In the practices we are doing the intention of each side is to achieve their own personal goal. The goal of the knifer is to “cut/stab”, the goal of the unarmed fellow is to control the situation by disarming or submitting the knifer.

Suddenly Chris' vids start to look more realistic if the alternative is so incredibly rule-bound.

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 02:21 PM
Cough...NONE of what we (all of us) do in a dojo is realistic. Not Tanto shiai, not Chris's vids, not anything I've ever done in a sport or MA context is"real" as far as dealing with someone attacking you with a knife. If that was my only observation (it's not real) I wouldn't have bothered to post.

Best,
Ron

ChrisHein
04-04-2008, 02:26 PM
Well I, for one, do not think and did not suggest that you are not getting anywhere. It's obvious to me that this type of practice has some value. However, I do see several problems in these knife randori videos, and the reason I suggested training in an art with an established full-resistance grappling component is that these are not experimental practices in those systems. They've been doing them for decades and have already worked out many of the kinks and developed training methods that lead to success against full resistance. If you've done BJJ and enjoyed it then maybe you should also look into one of the other arts with more of a stand-up component.

That said, if you think these videos do not properly represent the entirety of your practice then why don't you post videos and descriptions documenting the other elements of your training? I'd be interested in seeing what else you are doing besides this.

Hey there was not one personal attack in that pose, those are pretty rare, hahaha.

Nice post. I might do some regular class video's pretty soon here. I've been thinking about doing a shihonage video just for kicks.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 02:35 PM
I would love to see the shiho vid, shiho is one of my faves!
Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
04-04-2008, 03:34 PM
So we can see the rules of Tomiki Tanto competition specifically forbid almost ALL of the activity from Chris' videos.
There can be no comparison of the activities we see since the RULES are chalk and cheese.

Suddenly Chris' vids start to look more realistic if the alternative is so incredibly rule-bound.

sigh...

Like Ron said, but also going back to my own point. The rules are there to keep the shape of the practice as close to the goals and ideals of non-randori Aikido as possible. In my sword line we do a kind of freestyle shiai with fukuro shinai. While it is possible to hit someone using footwork and strikes from outside of our ryu-ha's paradigm, it is considered a failure on the part of the practitioner to do so. Our shiai serves to *reinforce* what we do in our solo kata. It's the same with our tameshigiri and paired waza. The struggle becomes creating a cohesive whole rather than looking for new answers. Certainly there is an experimental quality with any freestyle training exercise but those experiments should serve to shed light on why what we do is done that way, not to find new solutions.

Look at the whole MMA thing. Early UFC was fascinating because you had these very different fighters coming together and seeing how X art worked against Y art. Really interesting to see different fighter's paradigm blow up in their faces. Now, everyone fights about the same (or at least you'lll admit it's much more similar). You could argue that the arts have grown through the experience, but it's really taken on its own flavor and that flavor has been shaped by the rules. I'm not passing any value judgement on that by the way. It's not good, it's not bad, but MMA today is its own thing. If you want to do Aikido, it's important to be experienced enough within that paradigm to make intelligent decisions about how one trains.

ChrisHein
04-04-2008, 04:21 PM
Cough...NONE of what we (all of us) do in a dojo is realistic. Not Tanto shiai, not Chris's vids, not anything I've ever done in a sport or MA context is"real" as far as dealing with someone attacking you with a knife. If that was my only observation (it's not real) I wouldn't have bothered to post.

sigh...

Like Ron said, but also going back to my own point. The rules are there to keep the shape of the practice as close to the goals and ideals of non-randori Aikido as possible. In my sword line we do a kind of freestyle shiai with fukuro shinai. While it is possible to hit someone using footwork and strikes from outside of our ryu-ha's paradigm, it is considered a failure on the part of the practitioner to do so. Our shiai serves to *reinforce* what we do in our solo kata. It's the same with our tameshigiri and paired waza. The struggle becomes creating a cohesive whole rather than looking for new answers. Certainly there is an experimental quality with any freestyle training exercise but those experiments should serve to shed light on why what we do is done that way, not to find new solutions.

Look at the whole MMA thing. Early UFC was fascinating because you had these very different fighters coming together and seeing how X art worked against Y art. Really interesting to see different fighter's paradigm blow up in their faces. Now, everyone fights about the same (or at least you'lll admit it's much more similar). You could argue that the arts have grown through the experience, but it's really taken on its own flavor and that flavor has been shaped by the rules. I'm not passing any value judgement on that by the way. It's not good, it's not bad, but MMA today is its own thing. If you want to do Aikido, it's important to be experienced enough within that paradigm to make intelligent decisions about how one trains.

Really nice posts there.
I think we all need to get away from the fantasy that anything we do in the Dojo is going to be the same as an actual confrontation. In a “fight” there are no rules at all, and all parties hate one another. In a Dojo, we all like each other, and we have all kinds of safety precautions.

As David was saying earlier, things we can learn from these various drills and practices can teach us things that will carry over into all aspects of our lives. Like physical confrontation or life in general. Developing the calm or unfettered mind (the ability to be present now, and not attached to past or future), mental toughness, and physical conditioning, will go a very long way in a "fight".

Development of self is the real goal (in my opinion) of all martial arts. If you get into lots of fights, you will eventually become a good fighter without ever training in the martial arts. Training in the martial arts teaches you to become a good person. For me I don’t get in fights on a regular basis these days, and it’s a direct result of becoming a better person.

senshincenter
04-04-2008, 08:41 PM
Segment 9 - the last one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nonabeYz3LE

senshincenter
04-07-2008, 03:42 PM
Here is how I have come to understand things. There are two wheels to the cart that is Budo training. 1) There is the type of training that helps you to gain the form that distinguishes your set of tactical applications. This has to do with artistic parameters, stylistic preferences, given technical architectures, etc. This type of training is by default best marked by theory, cooperative training, etc., and takes advantage of idealized training environments, slow training, diagrams, repetition, etc. 2) There is the type of training that works to bring the former training off of the chalkboard and out of the laboratory and into environments where it can remain viable as a living art or state of being – places where it is expected to interact and respond with the natural/living world and at the speed of life.

In my experience, most martial arts training as it is practiced today focuses on only the first type of training. Why? Here are a few possible reasons: It is marketable – i.e. one can sell it; it requires little personal investment (relative to the second type of training); and it can adopt a pedagogical approach that remains akin to the dominant pedagogy we see everywhere in the modern world today. That is to say, it is and remains familiar.

As for the second type of training – why so rare? Here are a few reasons: It remains non-marketable because as it aims to move the practitioner beyond the packaging of this art or that art, it itself cannot be packaged, labeled, etc. If anything, it is antithetical to packaging of any kind. Additionally, as the first type of training has more of itself leaning on things physical (i.e. body movements, stances, etc.), the second type of training mostly pertains to the way the mind/spirit relates to the body’s capacity to move and/or be. This means the practitioner is going to have to have more of him/herself participate, revealed, observed, and transformed. In a world plagued by delusion, denial, self-anxiety, self-alienation, and intimacy issues, this is a huge burden to bear. Often it is too huge a burden for the average person wanting to train in the martial arts today – my opinion. Finally, the second type of training remains rare in today’s world because the instruction in it is as much an art form as that which it seeks to cultivate. This is because instruction here pertains more to a mind-to-mind transmission than it does to anything else. That is to say, training and instruction at this level is highly particular – in terms of being, space, and time.

That said, and this is why I posted the videos, while the two type of training are related, even inter-related, it’s quite out of place to judge the second type of training by the standards of the first. Why? Because, in many ways, the second type of training has to undo what was done in the first type of training.

Now, if you are having to do this on your own, which most of us will have to do if we look to chase (FOR REAL) this illusive aiki-spontaneity, and you will be default have to look to undoing what was done in the first type of training, well… You are going to look like a mess, but only when folks are judging you, WRONGLY, from the first type of training.

So, I would like to propose this another way… Here’s the problem before you (the practitioner):

You are learning an art form (e.g. Aikido). You practice the forms over and over, develop the particulars, generate the right power sources, etc. And, then, you realize, all that information, all those accomplishments, don’t directly translate into the living world, and definitely not at the speed of life. Now, what are you going to do? Do you just give up and stay in the green house – the realm of controlled environments? Do you go looking for another art that is supposed to “work”? Do you deny that the problem is really you?

If you answer all these questions the right way, what then? What does a training that bridges the gap between form and spontaneity look like if not this? And, if you got it on film, please show it so we can talk better about it.

thanks,
dmv

gnlj
04-07-2008, 05:20 PM
David, I really enjoy reading your posts and find them very thought provoking. Thanks for spending the time. It spurs my training on, down here on the other side of the world! Guy.

ChrisHein
04-07-2008, 11:04 PM
Really nice post David.

Funny because for me, I couldn't help but take my training down the path it's gone. Training this way seemed the most natural progression. When the training started to bare fruit, I was shocked that no one else could see the "fruit".

The first time I got a shiho nage against a noncooperative person was like magic for me. I had never seen another Aikidoka do one, and often had doubts that they even could be done. When my students started doing them I just about fell over, because they were doing things much faster then I was able too.

However it took me until this last month to realize that when I show these things to people they are not looking at the same parts I am. I now look at the brief moments of success, because I'm used to seeing failure. When you look at the practice from the eyes of theory however, you can only see millions of mistakes.

Both ways of looking at the scenario are correct, and most of the comments people make are valid, it’s just not what I'm looking at right now. And it’s taken me an awfully long time to understand it...

senshincenter
04-08-2008, 01:44 AM
Thanks for the replies.

Please let me share the following – it just happened. Our dojo has an email list. We use this list to send out various writings, videos, articles, etc., the stuff you see on our website (eventually – as our website is about two years behind in publication). All this stuff is meant to supplement mat time. Anyways, I thought it would be interesting to send out the same videos I posted here, so folks in our dojo could see how “lame” they were five years ago, how much they’ve grown as martial artists, etc., since then.

This list is open to anyone that wants to be on it – not just dojo members. Folks are on the list from all over. One person on the list is a senpai of mine – under Iseri Shihan. When we trained with Iseri Shihan, Sensei used to do a drill not that different from what we are doing in the video. If I had to describe the drill Sensei did, it was a bit more simple in design. There was only one move that each person did back and forth. There was no three-count pattern, and folks could not tweak the pattern however they wanted, and it was never opened up to include other types of attacks, etc. However, and nonetheless, it was in essence the same drill in that there was an exchange of energy that one did over and over again and that one thereby responded to. I did this drill with Sensei, and my senpai did this drill with Sensei. Anyways, this senpai of mine, he sees the videos you all have just seen, and he tells me the following:

“Today I was asked if I would ever teach again, and I said, ‘If I did, it would not do Aikido, I would do my own thing. When I saw your videos, it made me want to get on the mat again as an instructor. I was glad to see you are doing what I wanted to do, your own thing.’”

I thought, “Wow, what a strange reply to the videos.” Why? Because from my point of view, what we are doing in the videos is Aikido – it’s the part you do when you want to take that first type of training in into the living world, where it functions at the speed of life.

When I heard what I senpai said, I knew where he was coming from. He was coming from identifying that first type of training, described in my previous post, with the whole of Aikido. For me, that is a mistake. Why? Because Aikido is supposed to be a living art, it’s supposed to function in real environments, etc., and that first type of training is by default not supposed to. For me, this means, that first type of training can never be, should not be, mistaken for the whole of Aikido. It’s just the doorway. It’s not the path, and it’s certainly not the destination.

Chris, when I see your video, I focused in on the moments of success as well. Here is what I saw – and let me say I never really heard from you what you are doing, so I may be totally off:

I saw a practitioner saying, “Let me see if I can do Aikido in less idealized environments than in kihon waza. Now, I’m not going to open this training environment up completely, because, first, that is very hard to do, second, it may make it unnecessary to do Aikido waza, and third, opening things up completely is not necessary to raise the issue of the chasm between form and the spontaneity that lies beyond form – that which I want to reconcile/bridge. So, I’m going to stick this knife in the drill, and I’m gong to assign the “attacker” a task, one that does not lend itself to the cooperation mandated by kihon waza, but one that contributes to the energy prints that support the basic techniques of the art. This will keep me from simply “fighting” or “surviving,” and it will force me to face the logic of Aikido waza but, now, under more impermanent, less predictable, conditions. It is important I have less predictable, more impermanent conditions, because this is the birthing hut out of which spontaneity is both cultivated and necessitated. What I’m going to do with this training is analyze my performance not by the totality of the interaction, but, rather, I’m going to look at moments, or instances, in the interaction where energy prints appear or manifest themselves and I respond accordingly – spontaneously – with Aikido waza. As for what happens in between, those durations in the training are either moments where I did not recognize the energy print, or they are moments where I keep the training going for the sake of not having the inconvenience of starting over, over, and over again.”

Well, this is what I saw, and when seeing things this way, I saw the following in your video:

27 seconds - Rokkyo
45 seconds - Kokyu Nage
1:32 seconds - Nikyo
3:28 seconds - Kote Gaeshi
5:54 seconds – Rokkyo

For me, this was impressive. Why? Because this is not just Rokkyo from Kihon Waza, for example. This is not just the Rokkyo of Shu training. This is the Rokkyo of Ha. This is the Aikido of Ri. As for what came before, and for what came after in the drill, all that, well, it’s like the birthing process. A lot of junk comes out before, and a lot of junk comes out after. Even so, no one should be going, “Wow! Look at all that junk.” Instead, you say, “Wow! Congratulations! It’s a brand new, living, baby boy!” I mean, why would one say, “Look at all that junk?” Here’s why? Because the nice, clear, beginning of Kihon Waza, that part that just figures all the spontaneous issues out for you, for the sake of you learning a form, is not being recognized for what it is: that which prevents you from being spontaneous with the art. People are trying to judge a spontaneous birthing of the art by the very thing (i.e. the characteristics of Kihon Waza) that inhibits that birthing. For me, that just makes no sense.

Now, some have suggested that what is in my video is not in Chris’ and vice versa. I’ve said it is the same training. I get that they don’t look the same, but this doesn’t make it different at its core. I don’t want to put Chris’ training down, as I’ve said, I think he is very skilled. But, I do want to be able to say that my training, and my drills, looked just like Chris did – twenty years ago. What one is seeing my videos now is folks following the foot steps of someone that has gone before. But, when I went, when there was not “someone that went before” for me, I looked just like what you see in Chris’ videos. Actually, mine were probably worse, as I was not wise enough to set up some parameters. Rather, the school I used to belong to used to do a thing called “street sparring.” It would have been called MMA now. And, we had three such sparring sessions per week – with one of those sessions open to everyone from every dojo in town. After I got tired of trying to develop a game, after I started seeking true spontaneity, I just threw myself into the mix. Oh boy, did I get my ass handed to me. However, I would not allow myself to just do whatever. I struggled and struggled until I did the art I was practicing. Until I could, I looked like a mess, and even the folks that I used to hand their ass to, used to look at me like I had gone crazy, as I let them break my nose and bruise my ribs, etc., until I could respond with more than just a set game – until I became spontaneous.

I would ask that folks think of it like this – this forging a path and this following a path. When Bodhidharma searched for his own spontaneity, he cut off his eyelids and sat staring at a wall for years – forcing Awakening upon him. That is what it is like for all forgers of the path. When Lin Chi brought his students to awakening, he would hit them with a stick. That is what it’s like for followers that have had a path set before them. Both methods are meant to have the practitioner move beyond the confines of paradigms and habitual patterns of thinking, to move beyond logic, traditional teachings, and reason, to not lean on any model, but to instead open up to the direct experience of being. They look different, but they are really the same.

dmv

Ron Tisdale
04-08-2008, 07:17 AM
I don't know that I agree with all of the statements, but Man, David, what an awesome post! One day I will make it to your school.

Best,
Ron

MM
04-08-2008, 08:13 AM
I'll reiterate what I've said before. Remove the knife and replace it with a stick and I think your training paradigm works better. By "your", I mean Chris' and David's. I watched the first three and half of the fourth vid posted by David. I won't offer any comments on the training itself, but I do have some major complaints on the "tool" used for your training.

And I really can't say I agree with what you're doing by using a knife. It brings back things I've been told like, you fight like you train, what you train a 1000 times is burned into your body, ichi go ichi e, it isn't a bokken but rather a 3 foot razor, etc. And I watch the vids and I see people lazily moving around with a knife like it's some blunt tool designed to add just a bit of stress.

You are training to be negligent around a razor blade. A knife cuts and it does so easily and permanently. How you train around that "tanto" *will* reflect how you do so outside the training environment. And all it takes is 1/2 of a second for that knife edge to slip inside your wrist for you to bleed out. Anyone with an utter lack of skill can flail away with a knife blade -- it doesn't take a skilled knife fighter.

Review those posted vids and look at each time the knife comes close to your body. How easy would it have been for uke to flick the wrist and cut something vital? I don't know how to get the seriousness of this across.

Someone I know says this to me, (paraphrasing) your training is in your hands.

All IMO,
Mark

Ron Tisdale
04-08-2008, 08:24 AM
I understand your concerns Mark, and share them...but after watching David's vids, I just don't have as strong a concern there. Do me a favor...pic one of the vids, and a timeframe within it. Doesn't have to be more than 30 secs. Break down what you would do differently, with your background in FMA. At least that way I could learn more about your objection to David's material.

Thanks and Best,
Ron

tuturuhan
04-08-2008, 09:20 AM
Ron,

I'll take a stab...wink.

David's videos show a give and take. They develop a rhythm to and fro which allows for striking between the beats.

His method has incorporated into the structure of his aikido this "give and take" so that there seems to be a greater emphasis on a actual fighting. Instead of uke...now either in the dance can become uke.

I agree with David as to his posting and his distinctions between the "accepted and marketable" vs. what he refers to as being special, unique and perhaps more deadly. It is a bold step on his part. But, one in which many aikido stylists feel comfortable. He is still staying within the style, the etiquette, dress etc.

The moves are good...but, the change in "long notes and short notes, stacato and syncopation are lacking.

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Ron Tisdale
04-08-2008, 09:32 AM
Thanks Joseph...if I may distill your statement a bit...

You feel that positionally and tactically the movements are sound...but the weakness is that changes in timing and irregular beats would be the next level of sophistication to master?

Thanks,
Ron (always trying to learn new things)

MM
04-08-2008, 09:50 AM
Ron,

Video 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIecOIJENds

0:46-1:03 At this point, the two seem more focused on moving and flowing than on using the knife as a knife. Mostly, you have shomen and munetsuki attacks, which, IMO, weren't really focused on using the knife but rather giving tori an attack to "blend" with. Substitute a knife for a stick and the drill actually would flow better. Otherwise, you could modify the attacks with just a simple flick of the wrist and either of them are going to be cutting arteries. Which means, no nice flowy movements, but bleeding out and dying. What's the point of letting a knife get that close to you just so you can create some flowing drill?

IMO, you have one of two options.
1. Change to a stick.
2. Use the knife as it should be used and don't just shomen or munetsuki, but target the cuts for lethality. But, if you do that, the drill changes to something different.

1:07-1:42. Take the knife away and all they're doing is push hands. Why add the knife? It serves no purpose there -- purpose being defined by what a knife is supposed to do: kill. Take away the knife and the drill works. But, as it is, the knife really isn't doing much except being an extension of the hand. IMO, use a stick if you want extension without a sharp cutting instrument.

3:04-3:09 There are a few cuts to the outside of the elbow. If you train this way in a flowing drill and get used to the "tanto" doing this, but both uke and tori, then when faced with a real knife, you are probably going to think it's okay to do something like this because you'll flow into some lock or pin or throw or something. That'll get you killed. Not because of the cut to the outside of the elbow, but because of how easy it is for the knife to go *inside* the arm rather than outside. Look at those elbow cuts and you'll notice uke has time for target placement, even in this drill. Once that knife is inside the arm, you're in trouble. That's where all the soft, killing spots are located.

That's just a sample. Most everything I saw used the knife, more as a training "stress" inducer and less as an implement of lethality. And if you move/react as you train ... you're training to be complacent about how deadly the knife really is.

All IMO,
Mark

MM
04-08-2008, 09:59 AM
Hi Joseph,
I agree on that aspect, too. But, I think before you get to adding that kind of training, you have to have an understanding of the knife's capabilities and how lethal it really is. There's a lack of that showing through in these videos. I see more "flowing" drills which, to me, can be better accomplished through unarmed or stick.

A stick in the right hands can be devastating, but in "normal" hands, it's more like a club. But, a knife ... even in "normal" hands, all it takes is a fraction of a second for one small cut to end a life.

If the attacker has a stick and you're reaching in, yeah, you can get fingers or hand or wrist broken. You can walk away from that. With a knife, you're going to expose the inside of the wrist. You might not walk away from that.

IMO,
Mark

ChrisHein
04-08-2008, 10:01 AM
I agree that how you train, is how you fight. If you train with a cooperative attacker, then your body expects a cooperative attacker in a fight. However if your attacker is noncooperative in a fight (which is a given), then your body will not know how to access your training, and revert back to it’s natural reactionary state. Which includes things like trying to block and cover from knife attacks, and turning your back.

I know this is a fact, because I’ve seen several black belts do this when faced with aggressive noncooperative weapon attacks. So for me, all the idealized knife techniques in the world are useless if you can’t train them noncooperatively. The reason being, you won’t be able to access them in a noncooperative situation (a fight).

Eventually in our practice, you might see clean interactions and you’ll see idealized knife handling, when an experienced person goes against a non experienced person. Time will tell. I do know that cooperative training has not done this in any of the black belts I’ve trained with.

tuturuhan
04-08-2008, 10:08 AM
Thanks Joseph...if I may distill your statement a bit...

You feel that positionally and tactically the movements are sound...but the weakness is that changes in timing and irregular beats would be the next level of sophistication to master?

Thanks,
Ron (always trying to learn new things)

Ron,

Yes...there is always a greater level to master. Unfortunately, too many people get caught up in the "limitations" of the style, the form, the concept and the teacher.

For instance, a kata is only one series of movements. It is only a dot on the spiral of a spectrum. (I say spiral because a straight line presumes a right way and wrong way of doing things. I say spiral because there is a beginning and an end, a new beginning and a probable new ending.)

In David's movements if you used a clock to time them, they would be the same in terms of the beat and monotone. They are predictable in terms of the clock.

If you analyze his hand techniques they are the same in terms of their large circles. In other words, he should spiral from large to smaller, to miniscule and back to larger and than to expansive. When he does this he will be able to blend to fast or slow or medium punches. He thus has a mechanism to adjust.

His next step then should be to go from large muscles to twitch muscles. In this way, the timing can be further managed, controlled and manipulated.

Nonetheless, he is definitely on the right track. He is going from prescribed form to "blending, grasping and manipulating" any variable as it changes. And you are correct in seeing it.

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

MM
04-08-2008, 10:11 AM
I agree that how you train, is how you fight. If you train with a cooperative attacker, then your body expects a cooperative attacker in a fight. However if your attacker is noncooperative in a fight (which is a given), then your body will not know how to access your training, and revert back to it's natural reactionary state. Which includes things like trying to block and cover from knife attacks, and turning your back.

I know this is a fact, because I've seen several black belts do this when faced with aggressive noncooperative weapon attacks. So for me, all the idealized knife techniques in the world are useless if you can't train them noncooperatively. The reason being, you won't be able to access them in a noncooperative situation (a fight).

Eventually in our practice, you might see clean interactions and you'll see idealized knife handling, when an experienced person goes against a non experienced person. Time will tell. I do know that cooperative training has not done this in any of the black belts I've trained with.

Hi Chris,
I haven't touched on any of this in my posts. So, please don't take my opinions as pertaining to how you're training. My only comments to the posted vids are in regards to how the knife is being utilized. Unarmed or a stick would work better, IMO. But, that's just me. :)

Mark

Ron Tisdale
04-08-2008, 10:41 AM
Thanks Joseph and Mark,

Very informative comments.

Mark, I see this (at least in David's vids) as a progression, and I think I can excuse the use of the knife in this drill, even though, from a holistic view, stick would be better. After all, you have to start somewhere, and I think David has found a pretty good medium.

Next time we get together, please have a short stick on hand...I pretty much know already, I wouldn't do as well as David is...but it would be good to see again just **how much** I suck... :D

Best,
Ron

MM
04-08-2008, 11:09 AM
Thanks Joseph and Mark,

Very informative comments.

Mark, I see this (at least in David's vids) as a progression, and I think I can excuse the use of the knife in this drill, even though, from a holistic view, stick would be better. After all, you have to start somewhere, and I think David has found a pretty good medium.

Next time we get together, please have a short stick on hand...I pretty much know already, I wouldn't do as well as David is...but it would be good to see again just **how much** I suck... :D

Best,
Ron

Ron,
I was replying to Budd in another forum trying to nail down a weekend to get together. But, when we do, I'll bring a stick and the practice knife (not tanto). Cold steel against flesh does wonders for ingraining some respect. LOL!

Heck, watching David, I don't know if I'd be as good. :) I never said they were doing badly at what they are doing. Just that I don't agree with using the knife that way.

senshincenter
04-08-2008, 11:31 AM
I think there are a few things to consider in light of what Mark is saying. I’ll start with the less subtle and work my way down. I also think it might be wise to at least take a look at the segment 9 video – if you had to just see one.

I’d like to address the point of why a knife – which I am basically understanding as “Why not a knife?”

First, let me say that my own training and life, at least in my own attempts, have fused into a warrior lifestyle. In short, I seek to apply decades of personal training, with a history of centuries regarding martial tradition, to my career as a law enforcement officer – vice versa, back and forth, in and out, right and left, etc. As such, for example, as a weapon of old defined the warrior that carried it, I am always armed – with many weapons, and of different type. It’s my duty, it’s my station, it’s my choice, it’s my Way. All of this has it’s practical individual end, but this is ultimately about a way of being for me.

When one comes to me from this point of view, and poses the question of knife fighting, I will admit here that – FOR ME -nothing in the Filipino, or even anything I learned from my knife fighting instructor, Mr. Michael Robert Pick, regarding the drills they do/did, satisfies the practicality of surviving a knife encounter. Additionally, these drills also do not satisfy the way of using a knife as a weapon when your intent is to kill with it. Why?

For me, those drills are just that – drills. Drills cannot satisfy life-questions/live questions. As drills, they teach and cultivate only a part of the equation. As such, they leave out the rest of the equation to other drills. By doing this, like wherever else this is done, the practitioner is again faced with the same problem I am attempting to discuss here – bridging the gap between form and spontaneity. Only this bridge can satisfy the question of practicality.

However, there is also this: Because I would never look to fight with or survive a knife encounter via the drills I see in Filipino martial arts or what I did with Mr. Pick, I can tell you, it is true, I’m not interested in that “realism” of knife fighting when doing our own drills. This is undoubtedly why it is so easy for me to do what we are doing, as I am choosing not to do something that I do not feel is of such great value.

In short, those more common knife-fighting drills do not represent REALITY for me. For me, anytime you have to face off with a knife, or any time you let yourself be “stand off-ed” with a knife, as you often do in those drills, you have moved away from the reality of that weapon and/or you have seriously messed up in its proper application. This is one reason why we do not, at our dojo, practice tanto dori techniques. It’s all fake – as all drills are and even as a tactical application. This, I’m suggesting here, is also the reason why we aren’t so bothered by what’s “real” and “not real” by the usual knife fighting standards when we are doing our drill. For us, we are clearly not doing knife fighting, and we are clearly not doing knife defense training. We are not confused into believing we are doing these things just because we are holding a knife. As I said, knife defense training for us looks (in principle) like what can be seen on this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeqjlN24Hns

As for knife attack training – it’s an ambush weapon for us. As such, the main point is to avoid stand-off situations, find your target(s), leave, and let nature do the rest. To put it simple.

Second, the train as you fight/fight as your train point… This is exactly what we are trying to get away from. Why? What is “this”? This is attachment to habitual/patterned behavior. This is the absence of true spontaneity. This is the inability to adapt, decide, and respond. This is being out of communion with the here and now. This is being stuck.

I will not suggest that one cannot achieve a great many things via this training model. However, I attribute any tactical successes to the matching of games, such that success or its absence is determined more by the match-up than by the skill of a given person.

My student, now himself a state-certified arrest and control instructor, has this saying when it comes to trying to get the most out of habitual reactions (i.e. what is not true spontaneous capability): “It is all training for the lowest common denominator.” What does he mean? He means that when you are faced with county budgets, etc., and you are looking to train folks (e.g. law enforcement officers) that do not want to or cannot afford to take the time to invest personally in the path to true martial practicality (which ends with spontaneity), you try and develop things that they can do even when they may not want to or are able to know they are doing it. You try to build an instinct.

We are, in these drills, not trying to train for the lowest common denominator. We expect not to react out of habit one and only one way around a knife. We expect ourselves not to have the high point of our training be the development of an instinct that is below us as human beings – that is more akin to animal instincts. The expectation we hold for ourselves is to have the capacity to do what is appropriate as what is appropriate is determined by the situation. We are not train as you fight, fight as you train. We are train as prescribed, fight as appropriate.

I will give you a story to relate this better. We are training someone for appropriate response. We are also looking to cultivate a stress inoculation. So, the situation is pretty intense. We have a trainee before. Because we know, due to his lack of training, this type of training, he cannot be trusted with his weapons. We have him unload his firearm and remove all ammunition from his duty belt. We take away his pepper spray and we remove the cartridge from his taser. He allowed to keep his baton and his de-cartridged taser. The situation only requires him to move. To get off the line, to not get corners, to remain mobile and to thereby keep his tactical options open. My student, a senior deputy, is the stressor. He confronts him, like a seasoned parolee might/would. The trainee cannot get off the line – and that was all that was asked of him. He’s caught wondering what to do next, always behind the moment. The stress is releasing hormones that are making it hard for him to remain present. You can see his breath shallow up, his eyes widening but seeing less and less, etc. He’s being backed into a corner. What’s he do? He’s stuck in the corning! He’s freaking out! He pulls out his taser in habitual reaction to fear and tases his senior deputy with a drive stun.

Some people there, those that are used to or only know the “least common denominator” training said, “Good, that’s what you do when you get pushed into a corner.” Others, us that don’t train for the lowest common denominator said, “Wow, that was an out-of-control tasing. He had no idea he was about to tase his supervisor. That is not good, as an expert law enforcement officer never does anything out of control – never out of habit.”

If you want to understand why or how this is so important for us, simply ask yourself this: What kind of officer do you want coming to your house late one night when you have called to report an intruder – one that is still in your house – and the situation has your children and your spouse in different locations from you and from each other. Do you want the instinct-based habit-driven officer searching your home for the invader armed with his/her carbine/shotgun and his/her game/trained reaction, or do you want the spontaneous-capable officer armed with the same weapon but not burdened by habit and pattern? I know which one I want, and so that is the person I train to become.

Third, while I and others at our dojo train toward martial applications, most of our dojo members have no such intention. These other members are not after being able to enter a home to find an intruder. Rather, they are after the body/mind capable of doing so in the manner I just described. They are after a capacity to not be plagued by attachment, habit, pattern, etc. They are after spontaneity, but they are after it for its greater reasons.

As I said earlier, mistakes made within spontaneous training are all mistakes of the heart/mind/spirit. In form’s training, if we do not enter enough, we say, “You need to take a bigger step.” In spontaneous training, if we do not enter enough, we say, “You must face your fears,” as it does you no good to there say, “You need to take a bigger step.” The step is being sized by fear. Address, reconcile, the fear, and the step will be the appropriate size.

In form’s training, when one is pushing back too much on Uke, we say, “You have to blend by stepping back here and at this time.” In spontaneous training, when one is pushing back too much on Uke, we say, “You must be humble, not filled with pride,” as it does you no good there to say, “You have to blend by stepping back here and at this time.” The resistance is being powered by pride. Address, reconcile, the pride, and the blend will manifest itself appropriately.

In form’s training, when one is holding too tightly and not remaining fluid with their footwork, we say, “Bend your knees, breathe, and move.” In spontaneous training, when one is holding too tightly and not remaining fluid with their footwork, we say, “Accept the world is impermanent, you cannot control it, accept your own death,” as it does no good to there say, “Bend your knees, breathe, and move.” The attachment and the lack of fluidity is being powered by ignorance. Address, reconcile, the ignorance, and mobility and fluidity will manifest appropriately.

Most of the folks that train under me are looking for these reconciliations: the reconciliation of fear, the reconciliation of pride, and the reconciliation of ignorance. They are looking to cultivate themselves according to these three reconciliations not to remain injury-free during combat. Rather, they are looking to cultivate themselves according to these three reconciliations to face the trials of life and of being. They are not looking to reduce the physical suffering that may be theirs via a fight. They are looking to reduce the amount of self-created suffering that we put on ourselves and those around us whenever we are set to live a habitual existence that is based upon fear, pride, and ignorance. They have chosen Budo to cultivate these reconciliations not because of what it can do for them in a fight, but rather for how their attachment to fear, pride, and ignorance is so clearly revealed to them via the universal phobia of human-on-human violence.

It’s true, we could have used a stick and not a knife, but for these people it matters not which one we used, as issues of fear, pride, and ignorance are always present because we are present – so we used a knife.

This is where we are coming from - why we do what we do, why we don't do what we don't do. I'm not out to refute anyone or anything, only here to explain what one is seeing. It is my hope that more folks venture out in this direction, that more folks cut their eyelids off, etc., and not be intimidated by the status quo.

many thanks,
d

tuturuhan
04-08-2008, 11:39 AM
[QUOTE=David Valadez;203322]I think there are a few things to consider in light of what Mark is saying. I’ll start with the less subtle and work my way down. I also think it might be wise to at least take a look at the segment 9 video – if you had to just see one.

David,

Well written and well thought out. Excellent post.

Sincerely
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

PS I'm originally from Guadalupe, CA in Santa Barbara County.

senshincenter
04-08-2008, 11:49 AM
Nice posts everyone - thanks.

While I answered why not a knife in the my last post, it seems some folks missed my answer to why a knife in an earlier post. There were two main reasons - one Mark noted already:

1. The knife provides stress - a stick will not. As we are interested in reconciling fear, but we are working on a beginner drill here, we need to have fear present but in a way that it is not going to stop the practitioner from moving at all. So, what do you do? You get a fake knife and you keep the energy low.

2. The knife, in my experience, lends itself to fluid continuous movement, which is something we are after. Folks can almost instinctually connect the dots, round the corners, and extend the circles whenever they are moving the knife. This, I believe, happens because they are looking to "cut" in their imagination. Cutting is a moving move. If one watches the videos, to the point where we remove the knife, one will see that the movements of folks remains fluid. I have tried these drills by just going straight to the empty-hand stuff. Believe me, and please do this for yourself, since it is quite easy to duplicate, when you don't use the knife, and go straight to hands, movement remains staccato in beginners. The knife is used here to capitalize upon the newbies imagination of what cutting is like - a continuously moving act. A stick does not do this for the beginner.

As for there being greater movements to master, please remember this is a beginner drill. There are folks in the video with only about three months of training - in any art at all. It should be obvious that the drill is not meant to capture all there is to Aikido application - especially when it, like any other drill, is problematic regarding spontaneity. Before we move on to all that is not in the video, let us at least more acknowledge what is - as we are not all yet on the same page. My humble request.

please,
dmv