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Mary Eastland
05-08-2008, 08:26 AM
There! I said it out loud for all to hear. :D

I scratch my head over all the talk about fighting and Aikido...it seems like another planet.

Have most people who train in Aikido "to not fight" gone underground...Are you still out there????
Are you afraid to write because of the trends of real fighting and active resistance. :cool:

If people want to fight ...why don't you fight? :freaky:

Come out...come out wherever you are...I know that there are tons of people here who train in Aikido and are not the least bit interested in fighting.

Let's talk about how we don't find any fighting in Aikido.
Let's talk about how we meet oursleves and become the whole person we are meant to be.
Let's talk about the joy of training.
How fabulous it is to really connect with uke....how wonderful it feels to take ukemi at 50 years old...how beautiful it looks to see a 64 year old tiny woman throw a really big man even if it wouldn't work on the street.

Let's blend and communicate and enjoy the flow.

Mary

DonMagee
05-08-2008, 08:46 AM
My problem is not that some people choose to not train for effectiveness, but that those same people are usually the most vocal about how their stuff is the best for self defense.

It's a have your cake and eat it too situation. You see something or hear something, say "Well I don't think that training method will help you defend yourself." They then say "Well that's ok, I dont train in aikido to learn how to fight, but my teacher could kill you with a wave of his hand."

It either works, or it doesn't.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-08-2008, 08:52 AM
Mary,
your heading and post really made me smile, what a nice topic. I think on this forum we sometimes talk too little about the wonderful moments of non-fighting, of connection, recognition and harmony on the aikido mat - and off the mat.

Aikido has been very "applicable" and relevant to me personally in some important situations where fighting would really have been the most silly thing to do. Like dealing with myself or with significant others. Aikido has really been of some very concrete help there.

And Aikido is still relevant in connecting with others in a very special way on the mat, and enjoy the flow. Unfortunately, much of that is difficult to describe without coming across as really tacky and flowery, I suppose that's a drawback of the internet.

One more senior participant in this forum once told me about kokyu ho, "Dont show me your centre, show me the universe." There is a lot about not fighting in that statement that has given me food for thought.

(I enjoy fighting btw, but nowadays I do that on the BJJ mat.)
Have a nice day
N

CNYMike
05-08-2008, 09:17 AM
There! I said it out loud for all to hear. :D

I scratch my head over all the talk about fighting and Aikido...it seems like another planet.

Have most people who train in Aikido "to not fight" gone underground...Are you still out there????
Are you afraid to write because of the trends of real fighting and active resistance. :cool:

If people want to fight ...why don't you fight? :freaky:

Come out...come out wherever you are...I know that there are tons of people here who train in Aikido and are not the least bit interested in fighting.

Let's talk about how we don't find any fighting in Aikido.
Let's talk about how we meet oursleves and become the whole person we are meant to be.
Let's talk about the joy of training.
How fabulous it is to really connect with uke....how wonderful it feels to take ukemi at 50 years old...how beautiful it looks to see a 64 year old tiny woman throw a really big man even if it wouldn't work on the street.

Let's blend and communicate and enjoy the flow.

Mary

Well, I think it depends on the context. Saying "Aikido is not about fighting" has one meaning when you've pinned someone from another system to the floor and they can't move. It has a completely different meaning when you'vegot a black eye and a broken nose and somene from another system is standing over you.

However, at the end of the day, the reason I do Aikido is .... I love it! As sweaty as it can be sometimes, Aikido leaves me with a good feeling inside. It's not the first art I did and not the only art I do, but it may be the one I like the most. Hey, I might be an Aikido addict. (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9208)

Budd
05-08-2008, 10:24 AM
Well, aikido itself is rather slippery because the way it's been marketed is that it tries to be all things to all people. I think ultimately what matters is how YOU approach and practice it. If you don't care at all about fighting, then great! If you're concerned that your aikido can stand up in a sportive/fighting environment, then it's up to you to pressure test it in your practice somehow in a logical fashion (visit combat sports schools to play, work out with others that have different skillsets, train at a school that addresses it, etc.). I agree with Don in that you can't have it both ways.

ChrisHein
05-08-2008, 11:10 AM
I think this point is a valid one.

It's kind of the path Tai Ji has taken here in the west. It's kind of a movement practice like, Yoga in motion or something.

I do think if you want to be honest with yourself, you have to stop calling it a martial art. Because if anyone practicing is fooled into thinking it has martial applicability and you're not practicing it that way, you have done them a real disservice.

MM
05-08-2008, 11:16 AM
Dunno. I view Aikido from the founder, Morihei Ueshiba. And *his* aikido was tested by many other martial artists. *His* aikido worked against anyone willing to test themselves against him. *His* aikido held up against all kinds of active resistance. He was interested in whether or not his deshi *won* their fights, even when he yelled at them not to fight.

Got not problems with people wanting to be all "flowing" and connecting and such. Just don't call it Ueshiba's Aikido because it isn't.

aikishrine
05-08-2008, 11:23 AM
Mary you hit the nail right on the head good job!:)

rob_liberti
05-08-2008, 11:46 AM
I find myself in line with Mark Murray again. What a suprise! :)
If what you are doing are all principles, then they must work in all situations or they aren't principles. If you train to drop your ego (even under pressue), then demonstrate how you have no ego based movement physically under pressure and how you are still okay. If not, well, then all I can say enjoy your training.

Rob

tuturuhan
05-08-2008, 11:57 AM
Miss Mary,

Any person who has reached the age of 60 has done so, being cut and scared by life.

The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the failure to keep a promise all are battles. You cannot have a forest without the renewal of a forest fire. Nature is not simply beauty. If untrained, nature will most certainly cause death. It is the cycle of things.

You take the fall...and you create the throw, kick and punch that drop you with velocity to the "mat of reality".

You cannot deny the sword that aikido is based on. As such, It is in the transformation of the combat that we learn to appreciate the battles we have waged in life.

We all have our opinions. We all have our sides. But, IMHO, nature has no opinions and takes no sides.

Best,
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

L. Camejo
05-08-2008, 11:59 AM
Good points.

Imho there is no disconnect between effective Aikido that works in a "fight" and Aikido that attempts to connect, harmonize, engender peace etc. In fact I'd say that one would need the first to have the second in a world of people whose characters can range from angels to demons. Imho Ueshiba M. had no illusions about his desires to promote peace in the world, just like he had no illusions that he could kill a person if required at will. According to Rob, the principles should be applicable throughout.

It's interesting that one of the most peaceful martial artists I know is also someone who has taken life in a combative context, and he teaches Aikido. To me, part of the beauty of Aikido is being able to handle a myriad of adverse situations (including physical self defence) without losing ones connectedness to all things and ultimately ones humanity. To me, it is easy to give up one for the other, but you don't have to.

We all have our sides. But, IMHO, nature has no opinions and takes no sides.I like that :)

My 2 cents.

brian donohoe
05-08-2008, 02:05 PM
I thought that the whole point of doing Aikido was so that you didn't have to enter into a "fight" situation and that that was where Aikido's effectiveness comes from. :confused:
I have always felt that the best way to defend yourself was not to have any enemies:D Aikido has helped me with that so far. So I feel that it has been completely effective because I haven't had to try to decide "did i win that fight ?":)

Brian

dps
05-08-2008, 02:08 PM
Have most people who train in Aikido "to not fight" gone underground...Are you still out there????

Come out...come out wherever you are...I know that there are tons of people here who train in Aikido and are not the least bit interested in fighting.


Maybe they are afraid of getting beat up :) (just joking).

David

John Connolly
05-08-2008, 02:59 PM
You can get all the positive benefits of Aikido from partnered dancing. Why bother with Budo?

Kevin Leavitt
05-08-2008, 03:00 PM
Mary,

Believe it or not, it makes me smile to see your post! Lets do celebrate those things! they are important! Philosophically the "fight" to get to the dojo, to stay injury free, and to be physically fit at 64 is as every bit important part of budo as anything else.

Trust me, I do not spend my time in aikido to learn fighting skills! what a waste of time, imo.

Rob Wrote:

If what you are doing are all principles, then they must work in all situations or they aren't principles. If you train to drop your ego (even under pressue), then demonstrate how you have no ego based movement physically under pressure and how you are still okay. If not, well, then all I can say enjoy your training.


Principles. Yes we do study some principles of structure, alignment, posture etc. These things are important as I have found the same principles apply in BJJ, for instance, shooting my weapons, and aikido.

However, be careful to not overstate the importance or priority of the principles we learn in aikido as they result to reality. There are other principles we leave to the side. Stealth, suprise, audacity, speed, power etc.

These factors (principles) also play into the equation and i think are probably MORE important in some respects than the things we focus on in Aikido.

Anyway, good spirit! I like it! :)

Bill Danosky
05-08-2008, 03:18 PM
I like to say that we practice the martial arts application of Aiki power when we're on the mat. If it works there, it must work everywhere.

When you're new and trying to do something like shiho nage (four direction throw), uke moves you all over. 140 lb. Shihans barely move and you go flying. And it barely feels like they touched you! I've watched this very closely trying to see what makes the difference. It isn't muscle- it's gotta be Aiki power...

gdandscompserv
05-08-2008, 03:21 PM
Dunno. I view Aikido from the founder, Morihei Ueshiba. And *his* aikido was tested by many other martial artists. *His* aikido worked against anyone willing to test themselves against him. *His* aikido held up against all kinds of active resistance. He was interested in whether or not his deshi *won* their fights, even when he yelled at them not to fight.

Got not problems with people wanting to be all "flowing" and connecting and such. Just don't call it Ueshiba's Aikido because it isn't.
Mark,
Are you suggesting that if we are not dojo storming we are not doing Ueshiba's Aikido?
Or if we are not able to resist all comers that we are not doing Ueshiba's Aikido?

gdandscompserv
05-08-2008, 03:24 PM
You can get all the positive benefits of Aikido from partnered dancing. Why bother with Budo?
Good question John. Why bother with budo. I'm curious to know why you bother with budo.

GLWeeks
05-08-2008, 03:25 PM
Dunno. I view Aikido from the founder, Morihei Ueshiba. And *his* aikido was tested by many other martial artists. *His* aikido worked against anyone willing to test themselves against him. *His* aikido held up against all kinds of active resistance. He was interested in whether or not his deshi *won* their fights, even when he yelled at them not to fight.

Got not problems with people wanting to be all "flowing" and connecting and such. Just don't call it Ueshiba's Aikido because it isn't.

Yeah, what he said...

John Connolly
05-08-2008, 03:40 PM
Why bother with budo. I'm curious to know why you bother with budo.

So many levels of response for that...

1. I like the health benefits-- like partnered dancing, I suppose.

2. I like the "puzzle" of structure, waza, timing, sabaki, and power development. Some might consider that the puzzle of Aiki.

3. I like the safe(r) atmosphere in which to work through simulations of fighting (IE: randori, kata).

4. Finally, before I ever practiced martial arts/Budo, I could already hurt people in a fight, but I like the idea that constant and progressive practice makes me a stronger, better fighter-- therefore more capable of showing mercy, if appropriate.

Addendum 4.5. I like the camaraderie and cold beer after hard practice. I guess that could be like partnered dancing too...

MM
05-08-2008, 04:06 PM
Mark,
Are you suggesting that if we are not dojo storming we are not doing Ueshiba's Aikido?
Or if we are not able to resist all comers that we are not doing Ueshiba's Aikido?

Don't be silly. If I meant that, I'd have said it.

In other words ... In one issue of Aiki News, Ueshiba is quoted as yelling at his students for doing "soft" techniques. He yells at them that it took him 20 years of doing hard techniques before he got to soft.

So, maintaining what George Ledyard states is a core of aikido is fine. But if you aren't able to martially back it up, then you aren't doing Ueshiba's aikido.

From http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=449


Ueshiba Sensei brought Mr. (Noriaki) Inoue with him. After they showed some techniques, Ueshiba Sensei said: "You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us. Since you are all martial arts practitioners, if there is a man among you, come and test this old man." However, no one stepped forward. At 35 I was the youngest among them. I had recently arrived in Manchuria and several government officials were observing the demonstration. I thought that I should test my own ability and said, "Yes, I will try". Ueshiba Sensei replied: "You are Mr. Tenryu, aren't you? You too are probably imagining that an old man like me won't be able to throw you very well. However, budo is much more than what you think it is. He offered his left hand saying it was weaker than his right and continued: "You must be quite strong physically. I am not putting strength into my arm so you can do anything you want with it. Try!"

I thought that this old man was speaking nonsense and slapped his hand down as I grabbed it. But the moment I touched him I was startled. I felt as if I had taken hold of an iron bar. Of course, I knew very well from my experience in Sumo that it would be useless to struggle against him. I immediately knew I had been defeated. However, I couldn't just leave things like that and attempted to twist his arm up and out. He didn't move an inch. I tried again with both hands using all my might. But he used my strength against me and I fell down.

For those who say there is no resistance in aikido, it pretty well speaks for itself when Ueshiba states to his audience, "You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us." Mull that over. For those that are having problems, definition of collusion: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. In other words, Ueshiba had active resistance.

Ukemi at 50, 60, 70? 99% of the ukemi Morihei Ueshiba was doing at that age was internally, not falling on the floor. He was still tossing his students around.

Not fighting? Sure. I've heard quite a few high ranking martial artists from karate to jujutsu say that. It's a very worthy goal. But Ueshiba wasn't a pacifist and he wasn't a peacenik. He didn't have to fight because he was so good, few could touch him. If you aren't working towards that goal, you aren't doing Ueshiba's aikido. It's at that pinnacle where you have the skills that you can opt to not fight. Otherwise, there is no option about fighting. Without the martial skills, you either completely avoid it at all costs or you get beaten down. You want to completely avoid it? That isn't what Ueshiba did, so you aren't doing his aikido.

Aikido can be a peaceful, loving, blending, flowing spiritual experience. But even Ueshiba showed that before you get there, there is 20 years of hard training, challengers, resistance, and fights. Unless you're on that same road, you aren't doing Ueshiba's aikido.

Doesn't mean you take on the UFC. Doesn't mean you go out and pick fights (unless you want to be like Shioda). But, you better have a good honest look at yourself and understand your abilities and whether or not they stack up to peer level martial artists. Do the research. It didn't take Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc more than 20 years to become giants. And they also had very active, resistant type training environments. Oh, wait, maybe not. Wasn't the old Kobukan dojo called the "aiki bunny dojo"? Oh, my bad. Maybe they were just flowing around themselves in a nice dance.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=343

Skip the UFC, skip the MMA, skip dojo storming; but take a good hard look at Ueshiba and his training. Otherwise, hey, there's always rationalizations.

ChrisMoses
05-08-2008, 04:25 PM
And they also had very active, resistant type training environments. Oh, wait, maybe not. Wasn't the old Kobukan dojo called the "aiki bunny dojo"?

No, that's us... ;)

/that is all... please resume your regularly scheduled bickering. :D

gdandscompserv
05-08-2008, 04:31 PM
Don't be silly. If I meant that, I'd have said it.

In other words ... In one issue of Aiki News, Ueshiba is quoted as yelling at his students for doing "soft" techniques. He yells at them that it took him 20 years of doing hard techniques before he got to soft.

So, maintaining what George Ledyard states is a core of aikido is fine. But if you aren't able to martially back it up, then you aren't doing Ueshiba's aikido.

From http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=449

For those who say there is no resistance in aikido, it pretty well speaks for itself when Ueshiba states to his audience, "You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us." Mull that over. For those that are having problems, definition of collusion: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. In other words, Ueshiba had active resistance.

Ukemi at 50, 60, 70? 99% of the ukemi Morihei Ueshiba was doing at that age was internally, not falling on the floor. He was still tossing his students around.

Not fighting? Sure. I've heard quite a few high ranking martial artists from karate to jujutsu say that. It's a very worthy goal. But Ueshiba wasn't a pacifist and he wasn't a peacenik. He didn't have to fight because he was so good, few could touch him. If you aren't working towards that goal, you aren't doing Ueshiba's aikido. It's at that pinnacle where you have the skills that you can opt to not fight. Otherwise, there is no option about fighting. Without the martial skills, you either completely avoid it at all costs or you get beaten down. You want to completely avoid it? That isn't what Ueshiba did, so you aren't doing his aikido.

Aikido can be a peaceful, loving, blending, flowing spiritual experience. But even Ueshiba showed that before you get there, there is 20 years of hard training, challengers, resistance, and fights. Unless you're on that same road, you aren't doing Ueshiba's aikido.

Doesn't mean you take on the UFC. Doesn't mean you go out and pick fights (unless you want to be like Shioda). But, you better have a good honest look at yourself and understand your abilities and whether or not they stack up to peer level martial artists. Do the research. It didn't take Ueshiba, Shioda, Tomiki, etc more than 20 years to become giants. And they also had very active, resistant type training environments. Oh, wait, maybe not. Wasn't the old Kobukan dojo called the "aiki bunny dojo"? Oh, my bad. Maybe they were just flowing around themselves in a nice dance.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=343

Skip the UFC, skip the MMA, skip dojo storming; but take a good hard look at Ueshiba and his training. Otherwise, hey, there's always rationalizations.
Do you consider yourself to be doing Ueshiba's aikido?

rob_liberti
05-08-2008, 05:15 PM
Do you consider yourself to be doing Ueshiba's aikido?

I know that was to Mark, but I'll field it. My answer would be:

not yet.. but soon. :)

I believe Mark's point would be something along the lines of if one is not even trying to be able to pressure test their spiritual growth in a physical way then the answer to your question for that person would most likely be "never"....

Rob

Ron Tisdale
05-08-2008, 05:16 PM
I am not the least bit interested in fighting. But if I should be attacked, I would be VERY interested in being able to defend myself, especially if my martial art instructors claimed they were "interested in developing strong self defense skills". Even if that is only part of the package. Truth in advertising and all. I'd expect at least something along those lines.

Best,
Ron

L. Camejo
05-08-2008, 05:47 PM
There are other principles we leave to the side. Stealth, suprise, audacity, speed, power etc.Ok, the elements quoted above are part of our basic practices during every class.... no wonder some ppl tell me I'm not doing Aikido. :D

But then there are those who say it's been a very long time since they've seen that kind of Aikido. So maybe it is. :confused: Oh well.

Ketsan
05-08-2008, 07:53 PM
how beautiful it looks to see a 64 year old tiny woman throw a really big man even if it wouldn't work on the street.

Are you sure the tiny old woman is really throwing the big man? I'm inclined to think if she is throwing the man then she can do it in the street. If she isn't, on the other hand, what has she learned?
She hasn't learned conflict resolution because she hasn't dealt with real conflict.

I think a lot of people, myself included, wonder at the idea of an art of throwing where the point isn't to throw and it may even be questionable if any throwing is taking place. Clearly then it isn't an art of throwing.

Surely in that case what you have is at best moving meditation, you don't even have a requirement for it to be technically correct because the movements are functionless, they're not even like tai chi movements which supposedly move chi around the body.

In which case we can get rid of the bulk of the infrastructure, you only need a tai chi like system, either you're qualified to teach the form or you are not. You don't need the principles underpinning the techniques because you have no intention to defend yourself with them.
Fukushidoin, shidoin and shihan are pointless, their years of experience have nothing to say because, again, the movements they've spent decades perfecting have no more functional value than those of a beginner.

The big question for me here is "Where is the martial?" Where is the "Bu" in Budo. Surely if we're not worrying about effectiveness all we are is meditators or dancers dressed up and following the affectations of martial artists.

Just as important, what are we as an art offering people? Nothing honest that's for sure. Will shiho nage save you from being an asshole? No. Will irimi nage put you in touch with your true self? No.
Only a person who comes to the art with those kinds of intentions will reach those kind of goals and to be fair if you have those intentions doing the washing up (Zen abbot to a monk: "Go wash your bowl") is probably going to get you just as far as practicing a martial art.

For me the beauty of Aikido is dependent on its effectiveness. Aikido training is brutally honest if you're doing it properly. Either your technique unbalances uke or it does not, there's no where for your ego to hide.
Aikido is a path of pure brutality in that respect. If you want to really do it you have to put up with disappointment, with criticism, with boredom, with being told for the umpteenth time by your uke that you haven't unbalanced them. Then there's the pain, the fear of injury and the exhaustion.
Training is not fun, training is being dragged across a washboard backwards because that's the only path to get where you want to go. Anyone that actually likes training is masochist.

But therein lies the beauty. The path is so damn difficult that in order to walk it you have to ditch all of your dead weight and you have to come to terms with yourself, you have to deal with the pain, you have to find something inside yourself that gets you up off the mat and drives you to basically get slammed into the mat again, you have to develop patience with yourself and with others because if you don’t you wont be in the dojo very long.

All this, I find, builds a kind of camaraderie you seldom find anywhere else and you can't bullshit the people you train with, you have to be honest with them, you learn to deal with conflicts with these people in that light. And then treating people with consideration and sincerity simply becomes a habit.

But none of this happens (IMO) if you're just dancing around doing technique any old way and having a laugh without regard to the validity of your technique because you’re not having a real and honest interaction with another human being. You’re pretending to throw him and he’s pretending to be thrown.

gdandscompserv
05-08-2008, 11:27 PM
The big question for me here is "Where is the martial?" Where is the "Bu" in Budo. Surely if we're not worrying about effectiveness all we are is meditators or dancers dressed up and following the affectations of martial artists.
Well, if you're comparing us to samurai, we really are just dressing up. At least I haven't cut anybody's head off lately. I know we like to think we're all martial and stuff but most of us live pretty non-martial lives. We are merely trying to keep alive something that was passed to us by somebody else. We see value in what we have learned and want to share it with others. There are many people in this world who seem to survive without these awesome martial skills we have. Do martial artist's really live longer?

Bronson
05-08-2008, 11:32 PM
I've watched this very closely trying to see what makes the difference. It isn't muscle- it's gotta be Aiki power...

Maybe the difference isn't Aiki-power, maybe they're just better at aikido than everybody else :D

Bronson

Rupert Atkinson
05-09-2008, 06:21 AM
Whatever you may call it, if it not yet working for you, it is not yet Aikido. Nor, for that matter, is health TaiChi anything close to TaiChi. And if you aim is not effectiveness, then it never will be. It is as simple as that. It's OK if you chose to do that for your own practice - no problem there - but the beginner walking though the door usually wants self-defence and will probably believe anything you thell them. And I have a problem with that ... because I was once a beginner.

RonRagusa
05-09-2008, 08:10 AM
She hasn't learned conflict resolution because she hasn't dealt with real conflict.


She owns a resturant and deals with real conflict every day, the kind of real conflict that most people actually face in their daily lives. Her dedicated practice of Aikido has taught her strategies for dealing with in your face angry customers, wait staff and kitchen staff, that would never have occured to her prior to her training. Tohei says that Aikido has to be put into practice in our daily lives and the woman Mary wrote about is a perfect example of Aikido used in daily life, day in and day out.

Ron

Keith Larman
05-09-2008, 08:46 AM
She owns a resturant and deals with real conflict every day, the kind of real conflict that most people actually face in their daily lives. Her dedicated practice of Aikido has taught her strategies for dealing with in your face angry customers, wait staff and kitchen staff, that would never have occured to her prior to her training. Tohei says that Aikido has to be put into practice in our daily lives and the woman Mary wrote about is a perfect example of Aikido used in daily life, day in and day out.

Ron

I think often we start to trip over these discussions because our notion of effectiveness is so slippery. For me the whole notion of defending yourself without fighting is a great thing. And when we discuss scenarios of emotional conflict that hasn't risen to physical violence, sure, much of the philosophy and training for that matter in Aikido can help us maintain a calm, centered composure and goes a long way to helping us resolve that conflict. So can good classes in conflict resolution. So can a good Prozac for that matter for some (just kidding, but you get the idea). How you learn to deal with conflict that hasn't risen to physical violence is an important thing to understand, however, Aikido doesn't have an exclusive claim to having figured that out. There are lots of ways of learning to stay calm, deal with conflict, and resolve issues.

However, what some are talking about is when a conflict becomes physical and violent. How effective are those waza when that level of violence is reached. Clearly O-sensei was a tough customer and proved himself over and over. Some of his deshi did the same, Tohei included. On this level is each person's aikido effective?

There are many ways to learn to resolve conflict without fighting. There is also the different notion of "not fighting" during a physical confrontation and by that meaning moving and performing your waza avoiding the mental state of "trying" to hurt the other person and not coming into physical "conflict". I.e., don't block 'em, don't punch 'em, use their energy with them to effect control. Or "Blend, lead and control" as one of my sensei is often heard screaming at me... And I think that sort of flowing, smooth movement is a goal for most of us. So this issue isn't whether you're dealing with a physical attack in a "non-fighting mind" way, but whether you are able to actually effect that control of the other person while staying safe yourself with a non-compliant attacker maintaining said mindset.

As a guy with a background in other arts who has a habit of occasionally getting out on the mat with other martial artists including MMA guys (not lately due to a back injury -- thank god for good physical therapy) I find all aspects of Aikido listed above to be important to me. I *want* to be able to move, flow, not conflict, i.e., not "fight" as I ideally effectively deal with the attacker. There are many times when other methods, other styles, other ways of "fighting" are more "expedient" to ending the conflict at this point in my training. I just need a few more decades...

But this is why I train in Aikido. I remember being asked why I came to Aikido after having done other things. My answer was really quite simple -- because it is so devilishly difficult to do well. I can be quite "effective" with a modicum in training in some things. Good striking arts, good kicking arts, good judo, good JJ, heck, I even "played" with savate briefly and had a blast there. They all teach you a solid "toolkit" to dealing with a fight. The approach of aikido is vastly more difficult for me, but in many senses much more satisfying. The difficulty of learning something that is so complex yet so elegantly simple all at the same time is what attracted me to it. And I see it as an art that I can spend the rest of my life trying to figure out.

All that said I've met some guys who I think couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper sack in Aikido. Lots of them. Some are seriously deluded (IMHO) as to their effectiveness in an actual physical confrontation. Some are quite "out there" on the metaphysical end and some approach aikido much like a beautiful, choreographed dance. Whatever floats your boat. I have no problem with those people doing their thing, I'm just not sure they're doing the full "scope" of Aikido. The stories of the intensity of training with O-sensei fit in here... Or a broken arm for an uke who "tanked" in his ukemi...

Personally I try to understand this art including the philosophical underpinnings, but also focus on making sure I can also "hold my own" when dealing with a physical confrontation. I do realize, however, that it can take a very long time to get to that goal with Aikido.

So... Yes, I subscribe to the notion of not "fighting" as *both* a mindset and as a way of describing how waza are performed physically. However, for myself, I want not only to grow as a person, to learn control of my emotions, to maintain a centered, calm outlook but I want my Aikido to be capable of controlling a physically attacking person even if they haven't been clued in first on how they're supposed to fall down and give up. ;)

Too many IMHO focus only on one part of the puzzle. And to me, aikido is one of those gigantic, umpteen zillion piece jigsaw puzzles. It'll take me forever to put it together. But I at least want to make sure I'm not missing large portions of the puzzle before I even start... Focusing on any one point at the exclusion of others is for me a mistake. I want the "whole enchilada" as they say. But I have enough experience elsewhere to know that really getting into it with another person is a serious thing indeed.

So my goal is for my Aikido to not have any fight in it but also to work in a fight.

If ya know what I mean... ;)

Ron Tisdale
05-09-2008, 09:20 AM
Excellent Post Keith!

Thanks for that.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
05-09-2008, 09:38 AM
She owns a resturant and deals with real conflict every day, the kind of real conflict that most people actually face in their daily lives. Her dedicated practice of Aikido has taught her strategies for dealing with in your face angry customers, wait staff and kitchen staff, that would never have occured to her prior to her training. Tohei says that Aikido has to be put into practice in our daily lives and the woman Mary wrote about is a perfect example of Aikido used in daily life, day in and day out.Tohei has morphed the meaning of "ki" to *include* some self-help and psychological connotations in much the same way a lot of current Aikido has been changed from Ueshiba's idea to *include* pop-psychology, "aiki-speak", passive-aggressive dealing with others disguised as 'diplomacy', and so on. Given Ueshiba's known irrascibility, I find it difficult to believe people actually ignore reality and pretend that Aikido is what they want it to be, at any given moment. I'm always tempted to suggest that people say their art is "patterned on Aikido" but not usurp the name "Aikido" when they must know that Ueshiba never did a practice like theirs at all.

I mean, each to his own and all that, but there's a certain threshold of change and pop-psychology that drifts from the naive and well-intentioned into the deliberate usurpation of Ueshiba's life's work because it sounds cool. IMO.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Ketsan
05-09-2008, 10:13 AM
She owns a resturant and deals with real conflict every day, the kind of real conflict that most people actually face in their daily lives. Her dedicated practice of Aikido has taught her strategies for dealing with in your face angry customers, wait staff and kitchen staff, that would never have occured to her prior to her training. Tohei says that Aikido has to be put into practice in our daily lives and the woman Mary wrote about is a perfect example of Aikido used in daily life, day in and day out.

Ron

Aikido can give you the confidence to deal with them granted, but is it rational to expect say a 2nd dan postman to be able to deal with an angry customer better than a 6th kyu bar manager?

I'd argue that she picked up her people skills, like most people in the service industry, by interacting with people and learning what works and doesn't work by making mistakes.

How many reps of technically correct shiho nage do you have to do to come to the realisation that if you shout at an angry person you're not going to resolve the situation peacefully?

How many reps of technically correct ikkyo do you need to do to come to the realisation that if you convince the angry person you're on their side that things become much easier?

She's dealt with real conflict in the restaurant and learned from it, she didn't need Aikido.

Dieter Haffner
05-09-2008, 10:33 AM
Great post Keith.

Exactly my thoughts.

I am starting to think that you are my long lost twin brother that got abducted by aliens and was misplaced when they put you back on earth in the new continent.

Ketsan
05-09-2008, 04:55 PM
Well, if you're comparing us to samurai, we really are just dressing up. At least I haven't cut anybody's head off lately. I know we like to think we're all martial and stuff but most of us live pretty non-martial lives. We are merely trying to keep alive something that was passed to us by somebody else. We see value in what we have learned and want to share it with others. There are many people in this world who seem to survive without these awesome martial skills we have. Do martial artist's really live longer?

It's not about living longer, it's about living life with a martial spirit.
I'm arguing that (IMHO) one cannot develop a martial spirit unless you are training to develop effective technique, i.e. martial training.

Kevin Leavitt
05-09-2008, 07:48 PM
Keith wrote:

I think often we start to trip over these discussions because our notion of effectiveness is so slippery

This is key.

And

A very good post to follow! Thanks!

Buck
05-09-2008, 09:32 PM
A surgical knife makes a poor machete.

What does it matter if Aikido never took the Gracie challenge. Aikido is the big question mark isn't it? That unknown eats at the MMA rollers.

Aikido is about not being on the UFC Ultimate Fighter. Aikido's principles work against all the MMA principles for an universal example.

Aikido is for self-defense if required, but it's not a requirement. Aikido is the art of peace, not war.

MMA rollers who see Aikido as an opponent don't know enough about Aikido to understand that Aikido isn't about what they are about. It is easy to put something down when there isn't much known about it. Even easier when it is unable to be understand.

I can learn properly MMA moves to fight in a fight in 6 mos. It would take years just to learn an Aikido waza properly, say Katate Mochi Shiho Nage on the street. I think that is the reason why MMA rollers and fighter doesn't consider Aikido as a part of MMA.

If the MMA world wants me to say uncle I will say it, UNCLE! You guys win. Your the baddest, the pimpist, the wickedest, around better then Aikido. But, I am not swtiching to MMA. Just like I am not switching to Ninjitsu, Hapkido, Kungfu, etc. I picked Aikido, am sticking with it. I am happy and your happy. We both get what we want. But, I get the peace, and better health; no haunting injuries, and something I can do well into old age that will keep me healthly.

Mary Eastland
05-10-2008, 07:54 AM
This is from Aikikai Hombu's home page:
I really liked it:

A pure budo comes with the unification of technique, body and heart. The budo, which will manifest itself, does not depend upon the technique, but rather upon the heart of the practitioner.
The aim of Aikido is a kindness of heart expressed through this spirit of budo.
Here are some thoughts on the spirit of Aikido.

Aiki is love.
Budo is the path of the warrior. Combined with the spirit of heaven and earth in your heart, you can fulfill your life's destiny with unconditional love for everything.
Aiki seeks to skillfully strike down the ego and inherent insincerity in battling an enemy. Aiki is the path of forgiveness and enlightenment. The martial techniques provide discipline for the journey of uniting the spirit and the body through channeling the laws of heaven.

The goal of Aikido training is not perfection of a step or skill, but rather improving one's character according to the rules of nature. One becomes "resilient" inside yet this strength is expressed softly. Movements found in nature are efficient, rational, and soft,while the center is immovable, firm, and stable. This principal of a firm center is universally consistent -- and must be true for each person. The culmination of Aikido is expressed by aligning one's center with the center expressed throughout nature.

Aikido movement maintains this firm and stable center with an emphasis on spherical rotation characterized by flowing, circular, dance-like motions. These pivoting, entering and circling motions are used to control and overcome the opponent. The principle of spherical rotation makes it possible to defend one self from an opponent of superior size, strength, and experience.

Although Aikido movements are soft, rational, and smooth as in nature, by applying a bit of force,these can become devastatingly effective. The gentle quality of Aikido makes it appealing to men and women and children regardless of age. It not only offers spiritual development but also provides exercise and teaches proper etiquette and behavior.

At the heart of Aikido is the Eastern concept of Ki --the universal creative principle. Aikido seeks to unite this universal Ki with the Ki (life force or breath) found within each person. Literally, Aikido translates as "the way of harmony with Ki".

Mary

Peter Goldsbury
05-10-2008, 09:51 AM
Hello Mary,

Yes. I wondered when someone would look at the Hombu's home page. Of course, you are entirely right to quote it, but I am saddened in some way. Why? Because this statement appears only in the English version. The Japanese version is quite different. Of course, it mentions O Sensei, the development of aikido, the importance of 'circles' and the denial of competition, but the main point is the international expansion of aikido, via overseas organizations like the IAF.

In particular, the following paragraph is missing from the Japanese website.


Aiki is love.
Budo is the path of the warrior. Combined with the spirit of heaven and earth in your heart, you can fulfill your life's destiny with unconditional love for everything.
Aiki seeks to skillfully strike down the ego and inherent insincerity in battling an enemy. Aiki is the path of forgiveness and enlightenment. The martial techniques provide discipline for the journey of uniting the spirit and the body through channeling the laws of heaven.

I suspect that this is a rough distillation in English of O Sensei's Omoto discourses, taken out of context. So, I would ask Kevin Leavitt: how would you convey the message in this paragraph to the aikidoka troops who are serving/about to serve in Iraq? In particular, how would you deal with the combination of 'the path of the warrior' with the 'inherent insincerity in battling an enemy'? How do you teach your troops to 'strike down their ego and apparent insincerity' in battling the Iraqi attackers? These troops are serious aikidoka and serious troops.

My dojo is just down the road from Iwakuni, which is a US Marine base. Thus, just occasionally we look after Marines who do aikido and want somewhere to train (in English). One of my students served in Iraq and was due to go there again. He was very fit, tough, strong, but had lots of 'demons' and very serious doubts about the value of his aikido training for facing the next life-and-death encounters. I think that his demons were the result of the combination of the two phrases in the above paragraph. He was a warrior, utterly committed to doing his best for his mates, his family, and his country, but he really felt the 'inherent insincerity in battling an enemy' and this tore him apart. I think we gave him 'unconditional love', as I understood the phrase (but I think this was actually Christian love, as expressed in St John's gospel). In some respects I felt inadequate. I have never been a soldier and so have never experienced anything like he experienced. Nevertheless, he came to my dojo and expected to learn something about aikido as a martial art.

I believe we taught him something and what we taught him is somewhat similar to the point you are making in this thread. Perhaps it is similar to the message of Ecclesiastes: "There is a time for X and a time for Y." etc etc Here, in our dojo it is a time for not fighting, however great is the temptation (caused by your memories, or your stiff or recalcitrant uke). But in a real sense I believe that what we tried to teach him was different and this is more closely tied to the idea of aikido as suffering.

Best wishes,

PAG

George S. Ledyard
05-10-2008, 01:32 PM
Hello Mary,

Yes. I wondered when someone would look at the Hombu's home page. Of course, you are entirely right to quote it, but I am saddened in some way. Why? Because this statement appears only in the English version. The Japanese version is quite different. Of course, it mentions O Sensei, the development of aikido, the importance of 'circles' and the denial of competition, but the main point is the international expansion of aikido, via overseas organizations like the IAF.

In particular, the following paragraph is missing from the Japanese website.

I suspect that this is a rough distillation in English of O Sensei's Omoto discourses, taken out of context. So, I would ask Kevin Leavitt: how would you convey the message in this paragraph to the aikidoka troops who are serving/about to serve in Iraq? In particular, how would you deal with the combination of 'the path of the warrior' with the 'inherent insincerity in battling an enemy'? How do you teach your troops to 'strike down their ego and apparent insincerity' in battling the Iraqi attackers? These troops are serious aikidoka and serious troops.

Richard Heckler wrote quite a bit about this in his book In Search of the Warrior Spirit. He was involved in a project to do some training with a group of Special Forces personnel. It's a very interesting book.

The problem with the Budo is Love part of Aikido, and I personally believe that this is the whole reason to even practice the art, is that it is only one sided and that creates an inherent imbalance.

Aikido is, first and foremost about the natural balance. Everything in the universe is impermanent, that at any instant things are coming and things are going, and much of this process seems to be fairly violent. Certainly mankind has shown very little tendency to go against this natural fact. So conflict, on some level is part of this very Nature.

It is the job of the soldier to protect the rest of us so that we can pursue the Budo is Love dream in our lives. But Chiba Sensei had some interesting things to say about the balance required in Aikido between ai-uchi and ai-nuke. Certainly in our daily lives the spirit we strive to manifest is that of ai-nuke, or mutual preservation.

But the soldier is daily faced with the need to completely put his life on the line knowing that at any instant he could die in combat with his enemy. This is the spirit of ai-uchi, or mutual destruction.

Understanding ai-uchi is an important part of ones training. The fact is, it doesn't matter which party wins in combat... both parties have died on some level. Grossman talks about what happens to men when they engage in combat in his book On Killing - The Psychological Cost of Training Men to Kill. If you kill another human being, on some level the person you have been dies as well. You are permanently transformed by that experience.

That's why you don't just cavalierly send your people off to fight. The generation that fights a war is damaged by that experience. Yet there are men and women, professional warriors, who we ask to do this job for us. We put a lot of attention on the body count, the number of our guys killed, the number wounded. But this doesn't even touch on the cost the folks have paid who outwardly show no signs of damage. Everyone who kills is damaged. That is the spirit of ai-uchi. Chiba Sensei talks about the importance of maintaining that part of the art as well as the spirit of ai-nuke. Saotome Sensei calls this the "dark side" of the art. Dark side training is the study of the destructive techniques inherent in our system but which are rarely studied. It's the balancing energy of destruction that must inevitably be there to counter balance the energy of creation.

My dojo is just down the road from Iwakuni, which is a US Marine base. Thus, just occasionally we look after Marines who do aikido and want somewhere to train (in English). One of my students served in Iraq and was due to go there again. He was very fit, tough, strong, but had lots of 'demons' and very serious doubts about the value of his aikido training for facing the next life-and-death encounters. I think that his demons were the result of the combination of the two phrases in the above paragraph. He was a warrior, utterly committed to doing his best for his mates, his family, and his country, but he really felt the 'inherent insincerity in battling an enemy' and this tore him apart.

Takuan Zenji in his letters to Yagyu Munenori (The Unfettered Mind) talks about how one squares the values of Buddhism and Zen with the duty required of a samurai. It's quite interesting and relevant here. Basically, he talks about attachment to ones actions and the results.

I think that if one feels that there is an "inherent insincerity" in battling an enemy one is going to be torn apart if called to be a soldier. I think that our Aikido training must be about clarity and commitment. If it’s time to live, one should fully commit to ones life. If it's time to fight, one has to fully commit to that. That means placing oneself at risk in order to do the job. It's knowing that you will risk yourself for the guys next to you. You do what you have to do. Attachment to these actions is where one gets in trouble. There are folks who get addicted to combat, the adrenaline, the almost meditative state of stepping outside oneself when in the fight, the rush of finding oneself alive after the fight ends. That attachment is a problem.

There are also folks who are conflicted by what they do. Their resistance to doing what they are called on to do causes them to tear themselves apart. They do their duty, perform their jobs, but they can't let go of the attachment to what they have done. So the terrible things they have been called on to do slowly eat away at them.

I think we gave him 'unconditional love', as I understood the phrase (but I think this was actually Christian love, as expressed in St John's gospel). In some respects I felt inadequate. I have never been a soldier and so have never experienced anything like he experienced. Nevertheless, he came to my dojo and expected to learn something about aikido as a martial art.

Grossman talks about the importance of ones community in integrating the potentially damaging emotions left after combat. If the community is supportive, as it was after WWII, you minimize the disconnect between the actions of war and the return to peace time. But when the community is not supportive which happened during Viet Nam, the results can be devastating.

It’s also important that the disconnect between what the stated mission is and reality not be too great. When you get to the point, as we did in Viet Nam, where statements were made like “We had to destroy the city to save it.” There is no real way to not experience the insincerity of the whole thing.

I believe we taught him something and what we taught him is somewhat similar to the point you are making in this thread. Perhaps it is similar to the message of Ecclesiastes: "There is a time for X and a time for Y." etc etc Here, in our dojo it is a time for not fighting, however great is the temptation (caused by your memories, or your stiff or recalcitrant uke). But in a real sense I believe that what we tried to teach him was different and this is more closely tied to the idea of aikido as suffering.
Best wishes,
PAG

The way I was taught, and try to also teach myself, is that every technique has the two faces of light and dark, creation and destruction. In every technique we choose to go to the light because that’s practice and that’s what we need to be able to do to make our lives better and the lives of the people we meet better.

But very occasionally, the spirit of loving protection has to manifest in the form of the Goddess Kali, the wrathful, destructive, cleansing, purifying, aspect of the same reality. Soldiers are the human manifestation of that side of nature. Each of us has that in us. If our training is right we can access that side if called upon but because of our training it is always a choice to do so. It never controls us.

I think the fact that a teacher who clearly has spent his life studying the art from the standpoint of the “light” can accept and support someone who is currently called upon to go to the dark side as part of his job is crucial to that soldier’s ability to integrate the experience in a way that will eventually allow him to go home and resume his life. I suspect that you may have no idea how you have helped him…

I had a former student e-mail from Iraq. He was a young kid who had only trained with us a short time. I remembered him but he was just one of the many hundreds to come in, never really get going on their training and are gone. He e-mailed me saying how important his experience in the dojo had been to him. It had caused him to straighten his life out, graduate from high school and then join the military. He was writing to me from Iraq where he was a sniper for his unit. I never would have dreamed that his time at our place could have had such a profound effect but in his mind it was a very important experience. It was clear that what he had found modeled in the Aikido he had seen was something that he used in his thinking about what he was doing in the war.

The Peace that Aikido strives for isn’t just an external peace. It is also an inner peace which allows us to navigate this world, which is anything but peaceful but still maintain some sort of inner balance. It is only through attaining that inner sense of equilibrium that one has any real chance of moving the world towards that collective peace that is the ideal but we are so far away from. The soldier is called upon to do terrible things but he must have something to balance that or he becomes terrible himself. Aikido training should give a sense of that balance if it is done properly, I think.

Kevin Leavitt
05-10-2008, 04:56 PM
Peter,

Ledyard Sensei wrote better than I could ever write on the subject.

I think it is a complex topic and a personal one to figure out.

Following buddhist philosophy, I struggled for a long time about the conflict presented by my career path and that of my personal beliefs that it is wrong to kill.

Again, it is a complex path and process.

The other day my boss was pointed out that as a vegetarian that basically I was also a hippocrit because I put cheese on my sandwich and was wearing leather boots.

Of course he was correct. It is hard to explain. I think the Dali Lama has done a good job in the many books he has written. Many books on boddhisatvic practices as well deal with the subject better than I could ever write.

Anyway, the "road to killing" as a soldier can be a long process, it is not something that is sought out, nor is it something that you necessarily choose for yourself, but a part of Karma.

I think Musashi had some very good concepts, many of which George sums up concerning the life of a warrior.

I think those that ignore those points are at high risk for conflict and post traumatic stress.

I also think that karma plays a huge roll in things and that there are many enabling factors that lead to me having a gun in hand and having to pull the trigger.

We are all interconnected and responsible for everything as a whole world. Just like my boss pointed out the hypocrisy of being a vegetarian, to think that we as a society don't share in the burden of trigger pulling is hypocrisy.

One would think that following the path of peace and love would pull you away from battle. It can and does in a way. I don't think it is the actions of killing that matter as much as the amount of compassion you show and mindfulness you try to live your life by. All you can do is be the best you can be and try and do what you can to keep from having to pull triggers, but when you must, you do so unflinchingly.

I think what we need to concentrate on is building more warriors that pull triggers more skillfully. That is, we increase the gap between no violence and violence, so that we can have people that make better choices that may ultimately end in non-violence.

It is the same reasons I became a vegetarian. To try and be a little more of the change I want to see in the world. To walk within the circles of normalcy and show others that it is possible to do things differently.

I think that is the role of aikido in the world. Not to avoid or move away from violence, but to embrace it, and try and to things more skillfully as we go.

Military Aikidoka have a challenge to yield deadly force, but to also try and expand our skillfullness and that of those around us.

Hope this makes some sense!

Buck
05-10-2008, 08:02 PM
Right now as I look at the General lists of threads there is what, 4 threads going on recently about the effectiveness of Aikido in a fight.

After reading them in part or whole, and my own rant I came upon something that occurred to me. What are the women in Aikido saying. Why is fighting such an issue to men?

We men spend a mountain size heap of time on fighting. Women don't. Testosterone vs Estrogen is what someone will say is the reason. But, yea to a point that be true, but not 100%. What we have brains and not just hormones. Our thoughts are not a result of these hormones and don't make thought. If these hormones did then all men would be doing is...you know...and fighting. Probably, more of the you know what then the fighting. Ego has a big part of fighting in men too.

I think we have gotten to a point of obsesion with this idea of Aikido and fighting so much that some men can't see anything else then Aikido's only purpose is for a fight and how effective it would be. Because, fighting and fighting effectiveness gives the ego a stroke. Fighting effectiveness also gives Aikido martial validity in the fighting world of men.

Women don't need to fight to give Aikido validity. Women have no butting egos. Women don't have primal left over chest beating, posturing, territorial blustering and we men really should beyond that. We men do have a brain, it has been proven many of us use it. It is proven some of us men are not functioning on hormonal impulses and ego and don't hold fighting results above all.

Women can express Aikido as an art and then get all the great benefits from Aikido other then the feelings from a stroked ego. Women have a better handle on Aikido then so many men.

If you want to fight, you really don't need Aikido. If you want a challenge and enrichment in your life Aikido can be that. If you want to fight for money and fame in a ring or a cage Aikido isn't for you. And pressing that issue to the hilt isn't really interesting any more.

dps
05-10-2008, 08:08 PM
Aikido is, first and foremost about the natural balance. Everything in the universe is impermanent, that at any instant things are coming and things are going, and much of this process seems to be fairly violent. Certainly mankind has shown very little tendency to go against this natural fact. So conflict, on some level is part of this very Nature.

The Peace that Aikido strives for isn't just an external peace. It is also an inner peace which allows us to navigate this world, which is anything but peaceful but still maintain some sort of inner balance. It is only through attaining that inner sense of equilibrium that one has any real chance of moving the world towards that collective peace that is the ideal but we are so far away from. The soldier is called upon to do terrible things but he must have something to balance that or he becomes terrible himself. Aikido training should give a sense of that balance if it is done properly, I think.

I find the part of the quote I put in bold type to be contrary to the first quote and the part of the second quote. To move toward a collective peace would be to move toward unbalancing nature.

David

dps
05-10-2008, 08:17 PM
We men spend a mountain size heap of time on fighting. Women don't.

Women have no butting egos.

Women don't have primal left over chest beating, posturing, territorial blustering....

You don't have any sisters and are not married right?

David

RonRagusa
05-10-2008, 08:37 PM
I think what we need to concentrate on is building more warriors that pull triggers more skillfully. That is, we increase the gap between no violence and violence, so that we can have people that make better choices that may ultimately end in non-violence.

Hi Kevin -

We always train with the following doctrine in mind:

1. Walk away when that is an option,
2. Converse when walking is no longer an option,
3. Avoid when conversing is no longer an option,
4. Immobilize when avoidance is no longer an option,
5. Incapacitate when immobilization is no longer an option,
Kill when incapacitation is no longer an option.

Buck
05-10-2008, 08:43 PM
I know also that fighting and Aikido something interesting to talk about. I just think it really is a negative world. Most Aikidoka I know really are not violent fighting people. They don't join Aikido to be a professional fighter. We all know Aikido doesn't cater to making money or fame from fighting. Aikido is something I enjoy doing not because I can beat someone up. I am in the same boat, I think, like the millions of others around the world who train in it for the same reason. I am frustrated why the insistence, emphasis, and the defensive arguments on Aikido as a fighting art.

I feel very strongly about this, it might be because I fear a shift in Aikido away from its principles toward fighting. If enough people push Aikido's effectiveness for fighting, the Aikido community might lean toward putting Aikido in a MMA light instead of its self-defense light.

I am probably guilty for being oversensitive and protective. I am not applying Aikido off the mat lately. I think because I am threatened, I am uncomfortable with the idea of Aikido adopting fighting because of the pressure to prove its effectiveness. Aikido has given so much more to me then what I see MMA fighting could. MMA is streamlined on winning a fight. I fear Aikido will be streamlined losing all the treasures I love in Aikido, and will be changed forever.

Am I being realistic, hmmm, maybe or maybe not. I do think I am guilty of being too passionate about Aikido and it comes through in what I have been saying lately in a non-Aikido way. I need to regain my balance, because I am starting to fight. I have to use my brain and discipline my impulses, and lean on what Aikido has taught me for the benefit of all.

rob_liberti
05-10-2008, 08:44 PM
Ron, the last few lines of your doctrine seem to be at odds with the premise of the thread.

RonRagusa
05-10-2008, 08:56 PM
I think what we need to concentrate on is building more warriors that pull triggers more skillfully. That is, we increase the gap between no violence and violence, so that we can have people that make better choices that may ultimately end in non-violence.

Hi Kevin -

We always train with the following doctrine in mind:

Walk away when that is an option,
Converse when walking is no longer an option,
Avoid when conversing is no longer an option,
Immobilize when avoidance is no longer an option,
Incapacitate when immobilization is no longer an option,
Kill when incapacitation is no longer an option.

Our doctrine of least possible harm is equivalent to your increasing the gap between no violence and violence. Aikido training, unlike training many other martial arts provides us with tools that allow us to esclate our response to a confrontation in a graduated manner. I think this is what makes Aikido special and, if not unique, then a member of a small club of arts that don't view instantaneous destruction of an adversary as the expected outcome of all confrontations.

Best,

Ron

Pauliina Lievonen
05-10-2008, 09:03 PM
... Women have no butting egos. ...

Ummm...are you really sure about that? ;)

kvaak
Pauliina

RonRagusa
05-10-2008, 09:20 PM
Ron, the last few lines of your doctrine seem to be at odds with the premise of the thread.

Hi Rob -

Not really. In addition to her Aikido training, Mary developed and taught a practical self defense course for 15 years. Her self defense ideas grew out of her Aikido training; the techniques she taught did not. They were practical no nonsense techniques that could be employed when other methods failed.

We understand that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm and to that end our training in Aikido provides us with the ability to apply the physical skills of self defense with much more power and focus than would otherwise be possible.

That said, out Aikido training does not involve fighting. The structure of our practice is pretty much as was taught by Maruyama sensei. For us the main value of Aikido training has been and continues to be the transformation of our lives.

Best,

Ron

AsimHanif
05-11-2008, 12:49 AM
Most people today train in things like executive boxing, tae bo, cardio boxing, etc. There are many benefits they gain from that type of training like fitness, stress relief, socialization, etc Maybe even some level of skill. However I do not consider that to be actual boxing or kickboxing because they are not put in situations that test themselves martially, which requires a different type of resolve and commitment.
A lot of aikido training today is much the same.
We all train for different reasons. In my opinion, that's what is great about aikido.
But personally I do often consider if we can call it ‘aikido' if we do not practice it as a martial art, first and foremost. Some teachers have moved away from the more martial aspects of aikido, and that it fine. Maybe O'Sensei did not emphasize the martial aspects as much later in his life. But O'Sensei did have a great appreciation of life and of the human connection (I believe) because he was a martial artist in the truest sense for most of his early life.
Yamada Sensei has said its ‘time to put the harm back in harmony' (I love that line)
And Takeguchi Sensei always asks ‘does it make sense martially'…
I don't consider either one of them violent men by any stretch yet I consider their training to be martial. I also can't recall them spending a great deal of time discussing philosophy or spirituality in any overt form on the mat.
In the end everyone must find their own path.

Asim

Walter Martindale
05-11-2008, 01:51 AM
Wow.. Mary, you started a doozie of a thread. Lots of deep thought about fighting, or not, and the role in Aikido.

I've heard in a discussion of guns - You don't need to carry a gun, until you suddenly find that you need a gun. And then, you need a gun very urgently.

I have similar feelings about Aikido or other martial arts - Generally, since we're all civilized people, we don't run around picking fights willy-nilly. Generally...

Sometimes, however, and unpredictably, a fight might pick us. Someone needs money for his or her next hit of crack or crystal meth, or someone else is just a real messed up person and is unfortunately taking out his/her frustrations on others, when life has handed him/her a lemon, and a moldy one, at that.

When that fight picks us, I believe that we need to have a well-trained and effective way to protect ourselves. So, I think that the Aikido we practice should (must?) be practiced in such a way that it CAN, if necessary, be effective. We need to be able to blend and take balance. We need to be able to disarm. Better yet, we need to be able to recognise the impending problem and then either avoid or defuse the situation.

However - if (when?) the excrement hits the propeller - our Aikido training has been directed towards movement principles, taking balance, moving efficiently, and we've internalised the movement principles, then our joy of movement in the dojo can be an effective budo. The Shihan from my Canadian background tells of relatively senior Aikido instructors getting mugged by a couple of armed people, or killed, at least in part because they hadn't trained effectively; uke always went where sensei wanted, whether they had to or not.

To clarify - I hope - I practice Aikido (I won't call 3 hours a week "training") in a small dojo, and I try to make movements so that uke has no choice but to "go", and so that I'm not using a lot of effort/force to move uke. Often I fail miserably at this, but I hope that I learn from it so that I can avoid being in his/her strike zone when I'm moving, and so that with the least application of force, uke can visit the floor. Sometimes, because of previous judo training (I will call what I did there, "training"), some residual strength and fitness left over from rowing and a few years working in a fitness centre, I have trouble telling if I'm using a lot of force or if it's the movement that's "doing it". Some of the thoughts in my tiny little mind are - move off line, move to a safe place, move with uke and drop uke into the hole made by my vacating that space (not always). Some of the thoughts area also - nope, that left an opening; nope, gave back the balance there, gotta keep moving - or similar. All directed at "effectiveness", so that (as the military guys say) in a "situation" you default to your training. If your training has been effective Aikido, then you default to effective Aikido. If your training has been dancing around and not really making uke's balance go away, then you may end up in trouble, because when you default to ineffective movements that have been trained, that's what comes out. Partly, there's the difference between awareness and analysis (in the moment and post-hoc, respectively) - The analysis is how can I make that better (after the fact), and the awareness is that occasional "yahoo!!!" that you get when "it" works, or at the very least I become aware of what change has been or must be made...

So - yes - Aikido for me is partly the joy of being able to exercise in a semi-cooperative way, and to learn some skills that may eventually save my life (or at least save me from a beating). I don't go to Aikido to "learn to fight"

All that said, you don't need a "budo" until you NEED a "budo", and then you need a "budo" really badly...
Oh dear, that was more than $0.2... Must be $0.10 - the smallest coin in NZ...

Cheers,
Walter

JohnSS
05-11-2008, 10:24 AM
Since when is Aikido about fighting anyway?

The way I understand it, Aikido is about getting yourself out of a fight, not into one. This is correct?

Mike Sigman
05-11-2008, 11:36 AM
The way I understand it, Aikido is about getting yourself out of a fight, not into one. This is correct?That's Track, not Aikido. ;)

DonMagee
05-11-2008, 11:43 AM
A surgical knife makes a poor machete.

What does it matter if Aikido never took the Gracie challenge. Aikido is the big question mark isn't it? That unknown eats at the MMA rollers.

Aikido is about not being on the UFC Ultimate Fighter. Aikido's principles work against all the MMA principles for an universal example.

Aikido is for self-defense if required, but it's not a requirement. Aikido is the art of peace, not war.

MMA rollers who see Aikido as an opponent don't know enough about Aikido to understand that Aikido isn't about what they are about. It is easy to put something down when there isn't much known about it. Even easier when it is unable to be understand.

I can learn properly MMA moves to fight in a fight in 6 mos. It would take years just to learn an Aikido waza properly, say Katate Mochi Shiho Nage on the street. I think that is the reason why MMA rollers and fighter doesn't consider Aikido as a part of MMA.

If the MMA world wants me to say uncle I will say it, UNCLE! You guys win. Your the baddest, the pimpist, the wickedest, around better then Aikido. But, I am not swtiching to MMA. Just like I am not switching to Ninjitsu, Hapkido, Kungfu, etc. I picked Aikido, am sticking with it. I am happy and your happy. We both get what we want. But, I get the peace, and better health; no haunting injuries, and something I can do well into old age that will keep me healthly.

I just ran a quick Q&A with MMA fighters (lucky my gym has a few)

Their responses were mostly "What is aikido? and "Well if it worked in the ring, we would already be doing it, so who cares."

The MMA world as a whole does not give a crap about any "traditional" martial arts. 90% of them think it's all karate anyways. I know some guys who get offended with being called martial artists ("I don't do that gay crap, I'm a fighter")

What you see on the internet is the 1% of people who want to show others what they feel is valuable. I'm not threatened by aikido in the least. Instead I want to show people (not just aikidoka) new ways they can use to help improve their training. And I want to take away new ways I can help improve mine. Of course there are also sites out there that just want to focus on what really works, and what is a waste of time, and others that just want to point out idiocy in the martial arts.

CSFurious
05-12-2008, 04:04 PM
you can read some books & figure out this type of conflict resolution a lot & easier & faster than training in Aikido

anyway, pretending to throw someone is not a martial art

She owns a resturant and deals with real conflict every day, the kind of real conflict that most people actually face in their daily lives. Her dedicated practice of Aikido has taught her strategies for dealing with in your face angry customers, wait staff and kitchen staff, that would never have occured to her prior to her training. Tohei says that Aikido has to be put into practice in our daily lives and the woman Mary wrote about is a perfect example of Aikido used in daily life, day in and day out.

Ron

Aikibu
05-13-2008, 12:05 AM
Wow... Some good stuff in this thread amongest the usual mental masturbation...

Thanks to everyone for thier insights.

William Hazen

Tharis
05-13-2008, 08:23 AM
It really depends on which definition of "fighting" you use.

DonMagee
05-13-2008, 08:31 AM
It really depends on which definition of "fighting" you use.

Mine involves jello.

Stefan Stenudd
05-13-2008, 09:26 AM
Have most people who train in Aikido "to not fight" gone underground...Are you still out there????
I know I don't train aikido to fight, but I don't know if I do it to not fight.

Absolutely, the attitude of a fighter is not the correct one for an aikidoka. We should try to go beyond it, or transform it into soemthing else - and that cannot be done if we ourselves remain in a fighter mentality.

Should also uke be without fighter mentality? That's a more complicated question.
For some kinds of training, uke needs to behave like a fighter, attacking with intensity and a determined mind. Of course, it should still be done with proper concern for safety.
In other kinds of training, uke should leave even the pretended aggression behind, in order for both to discover other patterns and other meaning to the aikido training.
I think that both kinds are needed.

But the essence of aikido is not about fighting. It may be about non-fighting, but if so - not only that. There must be meaning to aikido even in a world without fighting. Maybe we should work toward such an aikido?

Aikibu
05-13-2008, 10:37 AM
I know I don't train aikido to fight, but I don't know if I do it to not fight.

Absolutely, the attitude of a fighter is not the correct one for an aikidoka. We should try to go beyond it, or transform it into soemthing else - and that cannot be done if we ourselves remain in a fighter mentality.

Should also uke be without fighter mentality? That's a more complicated question.
For some kinds of training, uke needs to behave like a fighter, attacking with intensity and a determined mind. Of course, it should still be done with proper concern for safety.
In other kinds of training, uke should leave even the pretended aggression behind, in order for both to discover other patterns and other meaning to the aikido training.
I think that both kinds are needed.

But the essence of aikido is not about fighting. It may be about non-fighting, but if so - not only that. There must be meaning to aikido even in a world without fighting. Maybe we should work toward such an aikido?

I just bascially said this same thing in the other "fighting" thread. Thank you Stefan. I hope to meet you on the path some day. :)

William Hazen

Stefan Stenudd
05-13-2008, 10:53 AM
I just bascially said this same thing in the other "fighting" thread. Thank you Stefan. I hope to meet you on the path some day. :)
Ditto :D

seank
05-13-2008, 06:09 PM
We had a very highly regarded Aikidoka take a class last year that said that we train in Aikido to fight... it took everyone aback as this particular person is well known for avoiding being hit in virtually every style of fighting he has trained with (he has done a very large amount of training with other styles - traditional martial arts, boxing, bjj, etc). His style is interesting to watch in that he effectively seems to avoid direct conflict, but his technique is extremely efficient. He is a bit of an anomaly to train with - but I found I took so much from the class that six months on I'm only now realising some of what was said.

He then went on to explain that fighting is not one on one; he referred to that as brawling. His interpretation of fighting was moving effectively against multiple attackers.

I've trained in a variety of martial arts over the last twenty one years, and I still vividly recall the first time I encountered this person in one of Sugano Shihan's walk around the mat and attack someone classes. He came up behind me a put me in a headlock, and for the first time in any confrontation I thought to myself "I'm not going to get away".

The different view on fighting was an interesting take, and obviously something he has found over his forty plus years of Aikido. Was his Aikido effective in a fight - without doubt. Would it be effective in a no-holds-barred biting, scratching, gouging, tearing fight I'm not sure. But I reckon that not many people would take on this person for the soft power he exudes.

I'd like to think that is why I practice Aikido and it is an ideal to aspire to... to not fight unless you have to fight, but to be effective if it happens. Its widened my interpretation of fighting and often gives me a different perspective in my training.

I don't begrudge others for training in a style they want to follow, but I know that sometimes my Aikido works, sometimes it doesn't... but when can you ever say a fight is a sure thing?

Niadh
05-13-2008, 11:04 PM
Wow, I just got around to reading this thread. (i was over on handgun forums lol)
I find it interesting that when reading the tag line, my first thought was, "hey thats right. everytime i fight myself and provide uke with resistance, i can't do aikido. Everytime i tense up and react with fear/anger/muscle i can't do aikido. so when i fight i can't do aikido."
sort of an internalized version.
I guess not quite what Mary meant, but just goes to show that i practice my aikido. I would love to practice Ueshiba's Aikido, but well..... i am not Ueshiba. My aikido comes from me, with a great dalloping helping of all those i have practiced with, taught, and learned from. From the Sensei I started with 22 years ago (now deceased), to the 10 year old at class the last 2 weeks who is just starting to learn.

I guess that whole fighting thing can mean a lot of different things, eh? I do know i have more tools in my toolbag now than 22 years ago. Guess the only way to find out what they are is to fight? Or I could keep learning and go from there?

rob_liberti
05-13-2008, 11:34 PM
But what does Mary mean exactly in light of Ron's recent explanations?

doctrine of least possible harm:
Walk away when that is an option,
Converse when walking is no longer an option,
Avoid when conversing is no longer an option,
Immobilize when avoidance is no longer an option,
Incapacitate when immobilization is no longer an option,
Kill when incapacitation is no longer an option.


Then I said the last few lines of your doctrine seem to be at odds with the premise of the thread. And the reply was basically:


Not really. In addition to her Aikido training, Mary developed and taught a practical self defense course for 15 years. Her self defense ideas grew out of her Aikido training; the techniques she taught did not. They were practical no nonsense techniques that could be employed when other methods failed.

...our Aikido training does not involve fighting.

I can certainly buy that some highly skilled aikidoka with deep internal skills and tremendous experience can do all of the levels you listed in your doctrine of least possible harm without "fighting" except the last one.

I see an obvious contradiction in terms of killing an attacker without "fighting". Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I have been looking at this from every angle I could for a while now trying to employ lateral thinking to reconcile this contradiction with some deeper truth(s).

If I understand your answer, Mary would kill the person she could not incapacitate - if she were using "aikido" techniques - by instead using her "other" practical no nonsense techniques that could be employed when other methods failed.

Are you saying that in that case she would be fighting, but she would not be using her "aikido" techniques at that point? So basically when it gets to "fighting" she is no longer doing "aikido". That still seems incongruous with what seems to be her stated and implied principles. For example:


Fight does not work at all in Aikido.
fighting and Aikido...it seems like another planet.
train in Aikido "to not fight"
Let's talk about how we don't find any fighting in Aikido.


Or another possibility:
Are you saying that since her ideas for self defense grew out of her aikido training, that she would employ her "other" practical no nonsense techniques in such a way that she would kill the person without fighting?

If so; HOW? The only answers I can come up with are dishonest and/or unrealistic. For example:

a) playing with semantics - like, well I would kill this person who was skillfully trying to kill me, but I'd do it without "the mind of fighting". To me that amounts to hand waving and I would consider it a dishonest answer until someone is willing and able to convince me otherwise.

b) you manage to accidentally kill the person - like in a pink panther movie. But then how are you training to accidentally do that - and teaching your students to accidentally kill skillful attackers. I think it is funny, but unrealistic.

I actually don't mean to back you into a corner here. I just cannot follow what this thread is truly about.

Rob

RonRagusa
05-14-2008, 06:35 AM
Hi Rob -

You're confusing fighting with self defense. When I speak of fighting I'm implying fighting in the sense that there are certain rules that are agreed upon and followed by the participants ( I believe this is what Mary had in mind also I'm sure she'll correct me if I'm amiss :) ).

When I speak of self defense all bets are off; any and all actions are ultimately justifiable. That said, the doctrine of least possible harm allows me to structure an appropriate response in a self defense situation. I formulated the doctrine as a result of my Aikido training.

To repeat, our Aikido training does not involve fighting. If you'd like to see what I mean you're welcome to join us for a class next time you're out our way.

Best,

Ron

Buck
05-14-2008, 06:59 AM
I am sorry I didn't check back in on this earlier. I guess I don't know women very well do I...opps! What we wish for is different then what it is. I like to live a fantasy.

RonRagusa
05-14-2008, 07:33 AM
Hi Rob -

One other thing... the doctrine of least possible harm isn't like a flight of steps designed to be scaled one at a time in sequence. Think of it more like Bohr's quantum atom where electrons can move from one energy state to another without having to 'pass thru' the intervening energy states to get there.

Best,

Ron

Kevin Leavitt
05-14-2008, 04:42 PM
Ron,

I assume you are talking about "sport" fighting when you say "rules are agreed upon"?

There are always rules in all fights, some are understood, others are not. You might have your own rules, and your opponent has his, but you guys might not agree to what those rules are and may be playing two entirely different set of rules! (Not sport fighting, but other than sport).

Doctrine of "least harm" should always apply to a certain degree. Even in the military we follow that concept through Geneva Convention. You are only allowed to use firepower and force appropriate for the military objective. You are never supposed to use force simply for the sake of using it, use it indiscriminately, or use force that might be deemed excessive for the objective.

Obviously there is a wider range of force used in some situations rather than others. Philosophically though, you should always apply the doctrine of least harm.

In a civilian situation you will get yourself into a bind by not following this in most cases if you use force that can be proven to be excessive.

An example would be a man that you beat unconscious and then went back and picked up a tire iron and bludgeoned him. That would probably get you in trouble or at least require you to get a good attorney to have you plead emotional trauma, insanity or what not.

double tapping is not allowed by most civil societies!

Ketsan
05-15-2008, 11:03 AM
Hi Rob -

You're confusing fighting with self defense. When I speak of fighting I'm implying fighting in the sense that there are certain rules that are agreed upon and followed by the participants ( I believe this is what Mary had in mind also I'm sure she'll correct me if I'm amiss :) ).

When I speak of self defense all bets are off; any and all actions are ultimately justifiable. That said, the doctrine of least possible harm allows me to structure an appropriate response in a self defense situation. I formulated the doctrine as a result of my Aikido training.

To repeat, our Aikido training does not involve fighting. If you'd like to see what I mean you're welcome to join us for a class next time you're out our way.

Best,

Ron

A situation with no rules is a fight, a situation with rules is sparring, no matter how hard you hit the other person.

philippe willaume
05-15-2008, 11:56 AM
Hello
Is there really that much a dichotomy between fighting and aikido or between fighting with rule and fighting with no rules?

We could say that some set of rules makes it easier to go full blast because you control severely the risk of serious injury and that is a fair comment. But really in competition people try their hardest within what they can get away with, which pretty much what you do in fighting/self defence.

If you believe that you practice aikido as martial arts then I would say that it can not exist with the fight element in it.
Personally I think that fighting element should be present even if you are practicing aikido for more philosophical or recreation purpose, that being said I can understand and accept if that aspect is not there.

The great thing about aikido is that you deliver a technique as if you wanted to end the fight there and still have granularity if the damaging effect of your technique. From not at all to as much as you possibly can)

Of course you do not need to be Bjorn the berserker all the time. There is value to train in a much less martial way as well, and like sex it is better done between consenting adult anyway.

Phil
Ps (Berserker chiefs seems to generally come with the name Bjorn in sagas)

Demetrio Cereijo
05-15-2008, 12:08 PM
A situation with no rules is a fight, a situation with rules is sparring, no matter how hard you hit the other person.

Fights have rules, self defense has rules, war has rules.... Break the rules and you'll be punished.

Mary Eastland
05-15-2008, 02:21 PM
Fights have rules, self defense has rules, war has rules.... Break the rules and you'll be punished.
I would rather be judged by a jury of my peers than an ex-husband or partner who was trying to own me.
Mary

L. Camejo
05-15-2008, 03:31 PM
I would rather be judged by a jury of my peers than an ex-husband or partner who was trying to own me.
MaryPut another way - better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. Imho I believe that even in life or death self defence situations there are rules - they are called laws. If we do not obey them there is a cost.

We come across this dichotomy a lot in class when dealing specifically with the self defence question of excessive and unwarranted force. I usually make it clear to students where justifiable self defence stops and assault/murder begins (based on our legal system) during a conflict situation. There is often a recognizable point where victim can become assailant within a conflict - the question then becomes "How good is your lawyer?" :)

For those who rather be judged by 12 - it's their choice. But I am sure to let them know that if this path is taken they should be prepared to survive jail time else they may be merely trading potential death by an attacker today for death by the state or by a fellow inmate at a later date.

To me, the implicit force continuum of our Aikido training aims to ensure that one uses the least force/energy necessary to end/resolve the conflict. However there is a difference between martial arts and self defence and depending on the level of threat and by extension the level of fear involved, a minimal force policy may not be so easy to maintain. Imho the whole point of controlling ones own centre in the midst of conflict is to maintain the presence of mind to resolve said conflict in a manner that allows all involved to leave with minimal harm. This of course requires real skill.

Best.
LC

RonRagusa
05-15-2008, 04:54 PM
Imho the whole point of controlling ones own centre in the midst of conflict is to maintain the presence of mind to resolve said conflict in a manner that allows all involved to leave with minimal harm. This of course requires real skill.

One of the prime movers of our training. Nicely put.

Best,

Ron

Ketsan
05-15-2008, 05:00 PM
Fights have rules, self defense has rules, war has rules.... Break the rules and you'll be punished.

Fights have rules? Show me the rule book. Self defence has rules? Show me the rule book.

War and society have laws, granted, but fighting and self defence do not, what happens is you do this freeform thing called fighting and then at a later stage lots of people who weren't there try and hammer it into some kind of legal framework and at the end of that process society declairs that it has rules for fighting.

Kevin Leavitt
05-15-2008, 06:14 PM
Mary Eastland wrote:

I would rather be judged by a jury of my peers than an ex-husband or partner who was trying to own me.
Mary

Absolutely, this is a choice you can make.

The jury of peers can apply the rules to determine if your behavior was acceptable within the constraints of their established paradigm that is formed by the rules of our society...or something like that.

There are always rules.

Kevin Leavitt
05-15-2008, 06:17 PM
Alex, I think your view on rules is a little more narrow than maybe mine or others. "rules" in my book are the ones that can be established on several levels. Implicit and Explicit.

Implicit rules may be formed by norms, values, judgements, experiences, paradigms and emotions.

It is important to recognize these things and how the affect the situation you are in.

Frankly it one of the main reasons we study budo to begin with...to get to the root of understanding of things internally (implicit).

Ketsan
05-15-2008, 08:47 PM
Alex, I think your view on rules is a little more narrow than maybe mine or others. "rules" in my book are the ones that can be established on several levels. Implicit and Explicit.

Implicit rules may be formed by norms, values, judgements, experiences, paradigms and emotions.

It is important to recognize these things and how the affect the situation you are in.

Frankly it one of the main reasons we study budo to begin with...to get to the root of understanding of things internally (implicit).

No doubt. I tend to view rules as being like laws of physics, if you can break it, it's not a law. For me a large part of Budo is opening up your mind to all possibilities, which means acknowledging that some things that we take as being natural and fixed are in actual fact just human constructs and are open to violation. A lot of the time we say "you can't do that" when we really mean "it's not normal to do that."

I agree though it's important to understand them, it's part of getting into your enemies mind. Being bound by them isn't always wise though.
I've lost count of the number of paintball games my teams won by not following the rules. For example, it's a rule that you stop the enemy getting to the flag but if the flag happens to be in a brilliant spot for an ambush, let them have the flag. I realise that, as a rule, the closer they get to the flag the more excited and the less cautious they will be.
They still follow the rule of playing to win, I violate the rule of holding the flag and the situation ends up with the only thing hiding their embarrasment is a thick layer of paint. That said I realise that my rules mean nothing, so I have a backup plan for when they fail.

So yeah, by all means acknowledge the "rules", I just don't think it is wise to think of them as a safety net and I don't it's wise to be restricted by them if they violate common sence.

d2l
05-16-2008, 01:02 AM
Perhaps I missed something when it comes to how many speak of Ueshiba's methods. It should be noted, that Ueshiba wanted his "art" to evolve. I notice a trend on here that pretty much says that if it wasn't "exactly" Ueshiba's way, than it is not Aikido. Ueshiba was constantly experimenting, and wanted his students to do the same. Ueshiba (through my own research, and experience) subscribed to the doctrine that if possible, avoid the situation (fights, places that are of ill repute, etc..) , but when all means to avoid particular situations have been exhausted, then do what needs to be done. The fact of the matter is Aikido/Jutsu is a way to try and harmonize the body and mind. But make no mistake about the lethality of it. People tend to bring up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as being the cats meow when it comes to "self defense". This is a flawed way of thinking. Jiu Jitsu in general, is not designed to be able to take on more than one person. I personally have nothing for BJJ. I prefer the good ol fashioned Japanese methods (Yes, I am aware that a Japanese man introduced Jiu Jitsu to Brazil). I read somewhere on here that Aikido has no escapes if taken to the ground, or that the Aikidoka is pretty much helpless. And that Aikido does not incorporate strikes of any kind. Who ever believes this, needs to find a different school. I'm sure I will find many who will disagree with me when it comes to the origins of "Aikido". As I know it, Aikido stems from Karate, Jiu Jitsu, and Kendo. There is a story I heard about how Aikido was developed. It starts with Ueshiba walking along one day, and in an alley he saw his father being mugged by several thugs. Although Ueshiba was proficient in several forms of Jiu Jitsu, he could not help his father because there was more than one assailant. So he took from Karate (the strikes), Jiu Jitsu (the take downs, locks, breaks, and chokes), and Kendo (the disarming of weapons, and foot work), and came up with a new system based on these forms. It should be noted that some of what was taken from these other forms are also used to counter them. So basically Ueshiba brought back the century's old style of Daito Ryu, and put a more spiritual twist on it. Plain and simple. :)

rob_liberti
05-16-2008, 08:31 AM
I also heard that his father did get attacked. After that I think we pretty much disagree. I respect karate and kendo, like I respect anyone on a martial path.

but, aikido from karate?! ?! ?!

My experience with DR does not jive with that at all. I sincerely doubt that DR people are learning karate for striking. What I have felt in terms of striking from the only DR I know is tremendously powerful and NOTHING like what is taught in any karate form I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot at high levels).

aikido from Kendo?! ?! ?! :)
If you mean "sword" in general then yes. Kenjitsu/Koryu definately. But, kendo simply CANNOT be a *source* of aikido. Check you facts on this.

Also, what I've read here is that if you are not doing what Osensei's did then it's fine to call it aikido just not Osensei's aikido.

Rob

Ron Tisdale
05-16-2008, 09:16 AM
I'm sure I will find many who will disagree with me when it comes to the origins of "Aikido".

Yep, big time. You took one story with **some** small basis in fact, and then went off into the wild blue yonder.

No disrespect, but that post is so full of mis-understandings and bad information that it really boggles the mind. Please, do a search on aikidojournal.com, and read the articles there, on e-budo, here as well. Stanley Pranin's work should probably be required reading for aikidoka. To spread mis-information does no one any service...and it colors everything else you may say, even if it is of value. So you will do yourself a huge service by doing the minimum amount of research.

Best,
Ron

DonMagee
05-16-2008, 09:18 AM
Perhaps I missed something when it comes to how many speak of Ueshiba's methods. It should be noted, that Ueshiba wanted his "art" to evolve. I notice a trend on here that pretty much says that if it wasn't "exactly" Ueshiba's way, than it is not Aikido. Ueshiba was constantly experimenting, and wanted his students to do the same. Ueshiba (through my own research, and experience) subscribed to the doctrine that if possible, avoid the situation (fights, places that are of ill repute, etc..) , but when all means to avoid particular situations have been exhausted, then do what needs to be done. The fact of the matter is Aikido/Jutsu is a way to try and harmonize the body and mind. But make no mistake about the lethality of it. People tend to bring up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as being the cats meow when it comes to "self defense". This is a flawed way of thinking. Jiu Jitsu in general, is not designed to be able to take on more than one person. I personally have nothing for BJJ. I prefer the good ol fashioned Japanese methods (Yes, I am aware that a Japanese man introduced Jiu Jitsu to Brazil). I read somewhere on here that Aikido has no escapes if taken to the ground, or that the Aikidoka is pretty much helpless. And that Aikido does not incorporate strikes of any kind. Who ever believes this, needs to find a different school. I'm sure I will find many who will disagree with me when it comes to the origins of "Aikido". As I know it, Aikido stems from Karate, Jiu Jitsu, and Kendo. There is a story I heard about how Aikido was developed. It starts with Ueshiba walking along one day, and in an alley he saw his father being mugged by several thugs. Although Ueshiba was proficient in several forms of Jiu Jitsu, he could not help his father because there was more than one assailant. So he took from Karate (the strikes), Jiu Jitsu (the take downs, locks, breaks, and chokes), and Kendo (the disarming of weapons, and foot work), and came up with a new system based on these forms. It should be noted that some of what was taken from these other forms are also used to counter them. So basically Ueshiba brought back the century's old style of Daito Ryu, and put a more spiritual twist on it. Plain and simple. :)

If your not spending at least 1/3 of your time practicing ground grappling defenses, you style does not have good defenses to ground work.

Unlike striking and wrestling, normal untrained people do not submission grapple. If you get taken to the ground by means other then general wrestling (me push you over) or strikes, then you will probably be under the control of a skilled or semi-skilled grappler. The chance of doing well at this point without training like judo or bjj guys do regularly is slim. Once he secures a dominate position, the chance is almost nill. Your best hope is that you have a friend with you to kick him in the head (although I know a few guys who can grapple multiple people at the same time).

As much as people can argue the best way to train for striking and standing grappling, there just really isn't much of an argument on what is the best way to learn how to fight on the ground. It's a 3 step process and it takes a lot of hard work. You can't do it once a month or a few times a year, it needs to be done a few times a week. You have to drill, add resistance and spar.

Of course depending on your focus, you won't need to train as much as a bjj guy to be effective. If all you want to do is stand up, training that with those methods will be very effective with a 10 or 15 minute session a few days a week. Learning how to defending and escape is a lot easier then learning the whole grappling game. But knowing the whole grappling game improves your defenses and escapes, so it's a catch 22 type situation. MMA has shown however that just working on standing up can have huge gains at defeating a grappler.

MM
05-16-2008, 09:19 AM
I also heard that his father did get attacked. After that I think we pretty much disagree. I respect karate and kendo, like I respect anyone on a martial path.

but, aikido from karate?! ?! ?!

My experience with DR does not jive with that at all. I sincerely doubt that DR people are learning karate for striking. What I have felt in terms of striking from the only DR I know is tremendously powerful and NOTHING like what is taught in any karate form I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot at high levels).

aikido from Kendo?! ?! ?! :)
If you mean "sword" in general then yes. Kenjitsu/Koryu definately. But, kendo simply CANNOT be a *source* of aikido. Check you facts on this.


Ditto. :)


Also, what I've read here is that if you are not doing what Osensei's did then it's fine to call it aikido just not Osensei's aikido.

Rob

Well, actually, you aren't doing Shioda aikido, Tomiki aikido, Tohei aikido, Mochizuki aikido, Kuroiwa aikido, er, well quite a few student's aikido. So, then what aikido are you really doing? Because so far, my research shows that most of the students who were competent and capable could all handle themselves very well. No dancing to it. Interesting and very enlightening article by Kuroiwa in Aiki News #66 regarding aikido and fighting. Well worth the read.

You have medieval dance, you have ballroom dance, so, why not just call it new age waki dance. Wa being harmony and ki being energy. Voila, now you can practice neowakido. :)

Mark

L. Camejo
05-16-2008, 09:25 AM
So he took from Karate (the strikes), Jiu Jitsu (the take downs, locks, breaks, and chokes), and Kendo (the disarming of weapons, and foot work), and came up with a new system based on these forms.Not sure where you got your information but this is a bit incorrect imho. Especially the Karate stuff. Some research on Aikidojournal.com may be in order. Which brings me to a related question: Is the Purple Dragon school you attend in Florida the same Purple Dragon school with its Headquarters in Trinidad?

Best.
LC

d2l
05-16-2008, 10:04 AM
Ya know, it irritates me to no end about the comments on my research. The same could be said of anybody else's research. Nobody can prove what they have read is true, nor can it be disproved. We can all find holes in anybodys research, and we can find what we believe to be true. The fact of the matter is, NOBODY is an expert in this field. Hence Ueshiba wanting his art to evolve. It is constantly changing. I feel that it is o.k. to disagree, but the attitudes of some on here are very much primadonna like. I thought this was a forum to discuss varying points of view, and to be able to share new things learned or discovered. Not to be told one is absolutely wrong because they are not agreed with. I guess in this sense I am absolutely wrong. Y'all have a great day. :)

Ron Tisdale
05-16-2008, 10:20 AM
Sorry you took the advice this way. The fact is, there are verifiable facts, and some researchers (Stan Pranin among them) have taken the time to cross check the facts from multiple sources. From people who were there, from records, photos, etc.

Why do so many people want to insist that the sky is red, when it is clearly blue? ;) There are informed opinions, and then...there are just unfounded opinions. Lighten up, do some reading. We all suffer from mis-information at some point. It's not a character flaw, it just means we still have some learning to do. Accepting that and doing the reading shows good character.

Don't take it personally, take it as a challenge to do the reading suggested, and grow a bit. You'll find out very quickly (among other things) that karate is from Okinawa (it's not from the mainland of Japan), and Ueshiba had little to no exposure to it during the time aikido was being formed. His mentor, Sogaku Takeda, did in fact fight a kareteka once, but did not adopt that particular striking strategy himself. Daito Ryu already contains atemi...no reason to go outside to find it.

Best,
Ron

rob_liberti
05-16-2008, 11:28 AM
Many of the people on this forum have spent our entire lives reseaching aikido, its orgins, how to best do it, and what to combine with it (and what not to combine with it!) for our various goals, etc. We all continue to evolve and change. There is enough confusion that we have sorted out most of the verifyable facts.

If you are irritated enough to risk a bit of safety and comfort, I know an expert in that field that would love to prove to you the power of DR oriented striking and weapons taking. Hovever, going in with that kind of attitude will just get your butt kicked as opposed to getting yourself invited to learn.

Rob

DonMagee
05-16-2008, 12:09 PM
Ya know, it irritates me to no end about the comments on my research. The same could be said of anybody else's research. Nobody can prove what they have read is true, nor can it be disproved. We can all find holes in anybodys research, and we can find what we believe to be true. The fact of the matter is, NOBODY is an expert in this field. Hence Ueshiba wanting his art to evolve. It is constantly changing. I feel that it is o.k. to disagree, but the attitudes of some on here are very much primadonna like. I thought this was a forum to discuss varying points of view, and to be able to share new things learned or discovered. Not to be told one is absolutely wrong because they are not agreed with. I guess in this sense I am absolutely wrong. Y'all have a great day. :)

This is a sad attitude to have. I am not a fan of the respect what everyone says and pretend it is true club. Instead of getting angry, I suggest finding evidence to back up your claims then post that evidence for discussion.

d2l
05-16-2008, 01:55 PM
Aikido
Ken Williams
1. The Background of Aikido
Aikido is a scientific form of self-defence created over fifty years ago by Master M.
Uyeshiba, who is still practising at the age of eighty-six at the world centre of the fighting art -
the Aikikai, Tokyo, Japan. Aikido was a secret known only to a relatively few privileged
Japanese up until as recently as 1948. The requirements to gain entrance into the inner chambers
of the Aikido gymnasium and to learn Aikido's art and philosophy were many including at least
two recommendations from well-known, respected citizens of Japan.
Aikido is a combination of many martial arts including ju-jitsu, Kendo and Karate. Most
Budo (military arts) originated from a kind of physical fitness programme, developed into selfdefence
arts and then on to refined Budo.

O.K., theres one source to mull over. Please forgive me for just posting the first section. I don't know how much space is alotted on here.

Aikido (合気道, aikidō?) is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) life energy"[1] or as "the Way of harmonious spirit."[2] Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. The aikidoka (aikido practitioner) "leads" the attacker's momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are completed with various throws or joint locks.[3] Aikido can be categorized under the general umbrella of grappling arts.

Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s, partly due to Ueshiba's involvement with the Ōmoto-kyō religion. Ueshiba's early students' documents bear the term aiki-jūjutsu.[4] Many of Ueshiba's senior students have different approaches to aikido, depending on when they studied with him. Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques learned from Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.

My school tends to go more of the Jutsu way, however we do not ignore the Do.

This is a mental and spiritual problem and not just a physical one. How is it possible to
become more creative if what we do teaches us how not to be? Clearly, we can't. So how we
train matters. It matters a great deal. To experience something we don't normally experience,
we have to practice in ways that do not reinforce our normal knowing-ness. We have to train
in ways that do not reinforce our pre-existing sense of the work-a-day world. The founder of
aikido was aware of this problem. He didn't want his techniques to become static and
mechanical. He didn't want people to imitate him or his students in a stereotyped way. He
knew that those who just copied what he did could not expect to transcend the limits of the
conscious mind. What did he think people should do, then? His whole life was an answer to
this question. He suggested, both in what he wrote and in how he lived, that change itself be
allowed to show the way. He suggested we accept the significance of an ever-changing
universe from the very start. Ralph Petmann.

Seems to me Ueshiba did want his art to evolve and go down new paths. Again forgive the small postings.

Paul Linden gives pretty good advice in his books. I didn't realize I already had him on a C.D. So much for "proving" sources to what one believes. It's kind of like religion, everybody is wrong, and yet everybody is right. :D

Ron Tisdale
05-16-2008, 02:25 PM
The material from Ken Williams is just flat wrong. He's got a few truths mixed in with the usual bs to make it all look good. This part especially is wrong:

Aikido is a combination of many martial arts including ju-jitsu, Kendo and Karate. Most
Budo (military arts) originated from a kind of physical fitness programme, developed into selfdefence
arts and then on to refined Budo.

But hey, it's your boat, use whatever floats it.

This part, however, is correct:

Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s, partly due to Ueshiba's involvement with the Ōmoto-kyō religion. Ueshiba's early students' documents bear the term aiki-jūjutsu.[4] Many of Ueshiba's senior students have different approaches to aikido, depending on when they studied with him. Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques learned from Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.

Please note the apparent contradiction between:
Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu
and
Aikido is a combination of many martial arts including ju-jitsu, Kendo and Karate.

Did it occur to you that one of these might be incorrect?
Best,
Ron

DH
05-16-2008, 03:08 PM
It also did not diverge in the 1920's
People confuse Ueshibas religous pursuits with his actual activities real and whole.
Always remember if he was so enamored of all this...er stuff. and had trained in all this other...stuff. What possesed him, on that day when he fnally arrived to teach for the frst time and open his dojo to...to.... call it Daito ryu? Which he proceeded to teach in detail to all of those founding students who were the recipients of the Daito Ryu hiden Mokuroku scrolld and more.
Things began to change in the mid to late thirties. I have to check, but I think he starting forging the scrolls (screwing around and writing them out as something else beside DR) while writing the changed name on a DR mokuroku somewhere around mid 30's.

rob_liberti
05-16-2008, 06:37 PM
Check this page out:

http://www.ellisaikido.org/histuk.html

I can see where that alternate history of aikido may have been a bit self-serving to his MMA club.

Rob

d2l
05-17-2008, 02:09 AM
So once again we get into a pissing contest over who is right, and who is wrong. Nevermind the madrid of OPINIONS written by those on this site, or by whom they cite their "facts" from to enforce what they believe to be true. We are all right in our opinoins and research, and yet wrong at the same time. As the ol saying goes, sometimes it's not what is said, but HOW it is said. Ahh, gotta love oxymorons. So, as to make peace with myself and others, and not fall victim to what I have learned from the Do aspect of Aikido/Jutsu, I will not let my frustration conquer me. I am done with this thread. Stay safe everyone. :)

dps
05-17-2008, 06:39 AM
....Aikido gymnasium ...

Did they play basketball and volleyball at this gymnasium?:)

David

Ron Tisdale
05-17-2008, 11:22 AM
You still don't get it do you? It's not a matter of a "pissing contest". But hey, as I said, what ever floats your boat.

Be well,
Ron
So once again we get into a pissing contest over who is right, and who is wrong. Nevermind the madrid of OPINIONS written by those on this site, or by whom they cite their "facts" from to enforce what they believe to be true. We are all right in our opinoins and research, and yet wrong at the same time. As the ol saying goes, sometimes it's not what is said, but HOW it is said. Ahh, gotta love oxymorons. So, as to make peace with myself and others, and not fall victim to what I have learned from the Do aspect of Aikido/Jutsu, I will not let my frustration conquer me. I am done with this thread. Stay safe everyone. :)

crand32100
05-17-2008, 06:30 PM
Mary,
Great post! I detest writing in these discussions, and for the most part don't like even reading them, but you've got courage. My personal opinion: if you want to be a good fighter, aikido is for the most part the worst place to go. That doesn't mean that the lessons don't have value. I'd like to think I can move myself if I need to escape something. But I personally can't get past this idea: the most ruthless person will most likely win. If you are up against someone that is drugged, stupid, or born with a true loathing for fellow mankind, you have to ask yourself if you have what it takes to be just as ruthless, because there is no time to go back into your garage for techniques. I know that I don't have what it takes, and if something terrible enough occurred to make me forget this, I wouldn't likely be using aikido techniques on my opponent. I like to think that at least I have the sense to be running when others will be trying out their shihonages. I bet you'll enjoy the responses to this post Mary because like you suggested those in agreement don't tend to speak up.

rob_liberti
05-17-2008, 09:00 PM
Do you call your aikido a "martial" art?

Aikibu
05-17-2008, 11:35 PM
Do you call your aikido a "martial" art?

Yes... we've (Aikido and I) been married almost 20 years now and it has been a beautiful relationship. :D

Ohh I thought you meant Marital Art....

Now when I can find a woman who's also married to Aikido the "Martial Art" and can tolorate me long enough to "Jump the Jo"

Well then... It will be one happy Marital Martial Bunch! :D

Sorry guys and gals I thought an "extra" bit of silliness might lighten things up-. :)

William Hazen

You try thinking straight with years of surf boards dinging your knoggin!

rob_liberti
05-18-2008, 06:21 AM
:) :) :)

Well, there you have it.. We achieved some level of harmony as well...

Back to my good friend Tyler - even Mary teaches how to fight for your life. Apparently, she just narrowed the scope of the term fight to only mean sport fighting which gave the thread title more bang - but was a bit confusing. (And apparently she makes some distinction between that kind of training from aikido training.) My only point here is that if what you are doing is based on principles then they are supposed to work in conflict and in no-conflict or they are not principles - they are delusion. And aikido is just not SUPPOSED to be about delusion (unless you are in aikido marketing then all bets are off).

Rob

Mary Eastland
05-18-2008, 07:22 AM
Aikido is a martial art founded by the late Ueshiba Morihei O-Sensei of Japan. Ueshiba O-Sensei was one of the greatest masters of martial arts in any country or any period of recorded history. Through tremendous soul searching for the truth of Budo, he was led to his own spiritual enlightment.

Aikido is a martial art based on the laws of nature, the order of the universe. As such it provides not only the necessary skills for self defense but also builds self-confidence, character, self-respect, and respect for others. It teaches us how to transform our aggression and the difficulties of our everyday life into joy and self-improvement. Practiced properly it enables us to bring our mind and body under the control of our will and thereby realize our true nature as human beings.

"The victory of Shobu Aikido is to strike down and destroy the mind of doubt and conflict within yourself. It is to realize and carry out the destiny we have received from divine providence. It is the spirit of universal protection and nurturing, giving renewed energy to oneself. This is the true Budo."

Hi Rob:

I don't see any conflict with the aikido that I train in or that Tyler is speaking of with this quote from the Shobo Aikido home page.

Sport fighting and defending your life are very different...I thought we all understood this. :)
Mary

Ron Tisdale
05-18-2008, 08:28 AM
I know that I don't have what it takes, and if something terrible enough occurred to make me forget this, I wouldn't likely be using aikido techniques on my opponent. I like to think that at least I have the sense to be running when others will be trying out their shihonages.

The one time I really needed to find out if I "had what it takes", running wasn't an option. I couldn't leave my great aunt to the mercy of the thugs. To me, leaving someone defenseless wasn't an option. Fortunately, I was able to resolve the issue without "trying out my shihonage", which wasn't even on my mind at the time. I didn't think about technique at all...I thought about connecting to my opponants, without being intimidating.

Personally, I don't think I would have been able to pull that off without the pressure testing in the dojo. But that's just my best guess. No way to prove it.
Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2008, 08:53 AM
Rob Liberti wrote:

My only point here is that if what you are doing is based on principles then they are supposed to work in conflict and in no-conflict or they are not principles - they are delusion.

I disagree on this point. Principles are designed to help us from a common operational base or a frame of reference to base future decisions on. They are not designed to be applied directly as taught.

We work very much this way in the military. I spent the first couple years as an Infantry Officer studying princples and doctrine ad nausem. I then went to a school that was designed to put these things in use in very creative ways at "full combat speed". One thing that kept getting driven home is that you must be able to articulate and identify the principles and doctrine you are using....and when you violate it...be able to articulate why you chose to do so.

That is you may choose to violate the principle of Steath in favor of Speed because it may cost you your mission.

Principle based arts like aikido serve a purpose to provide a doctrinal framework or foundation.

Much of the problem is that many don't ever really understand completely (if you can) how to apply these principles or doctrine.

My own personal opinion is if you are sitting around waiting for someone to tell you or show you...you'll be there for a long time...and probably end up feeling ripped off and griping about it on aikiweb.

I have found the same to be true in the Army. If you sit around waiting for someone to tell you or to train you....well you are going to miss the boat.

The knowledge is all there...it is up to each individual to get out and explore the principles and make them their own.

Most of us, myself included, come into the art of aikido with a very limited and narrow view of application (self defense), when what we are doing in the dojo does not meet that view directly, we start experiences conflict and question what is we are doing.

If we can get past this, and except it for what it is, and open ourselves up a little more and let go.....well we can begin to experience it in a different way.

I personally have a distain for the use of self defense and aikido in the same sentence.

Aikibu
05-18-2008, 12:24 PM
Rob Liberti wrote:

I disagree on this point. Principles are designed to help us from a common operational base or a frame of reference to base future decisions on. They are not designed to be applied directly as taught.

We work very much this way in the military. I spent the first couple years as an Infantry Officer studying princples and doctrine ad nausem. I then went to a school that was designed to put these things in use in very creative ways at "full combat speed". One thing that kept getting driven home is that you must be able to articulate and identify the principles and doctrine you are using....and when you violate it...be able to articulate why you chose to do so.

That is you may choose to violate the principle of Steath in favor of Speed because it may cost you your mission.

Principle based arts like aikido serve a purpose to provide a doctrinal framework or foundation.

Much of the problem is that many don't ever really understand completely (if you can) how to apply these principles or doctrine.

My own personal opinion is if you are sitting around waiting for someone to tell you or show you...you'll be there for a long time...and probably end up feeling ripped off and griping about it on aikiweb.

I have found the same to be true in the Army. If you sit around waiting for someone to tell you or to train you....well you are going to miss the boat.

The knowledge is all there...it is up to each individual to get out and explore the principles and make them their own.

Most of us, myself included, come into the art of aikido with a very limited and narrow view of application (self defense), when what we are doing in the dojo does not meet that view directly, we start experiences conflict and question what is we are doing.

If we can get past this, and except it for what it is, and open ourselves up a little more and let go.....well we can begin to experience it in a different way.

I personally have a distain for the use of self defense and aikido in the same sentence.

Thanks again sir and I agree....To further illustrate this mindset I am reminded of a very old story in the Bible...I think it's in the old testament and I can't remember the names or circumstances but here it goes...

One of the leaders of the tribes of Israel was tasked with an important mission to infiltrate a fortress and defeat the garrison. He realized he needed only the best warriors and wondered how he could go about selecting them. The army had been marching for days when they came to the bank of a small river. The men were very thirsty and tired from marching. An old salt took the leader down by the river bank and had him watch the men drink from the river. He saw why in just a few moments...Tired and thirsty most of the men threw down thier weapons, and drank from the river like dogs gulping as much water as they could...A much smaller group of men squatted or knelt on the bank carefully placing thier weapons beside them. They cupped thier hands and sipped the water being careful to remain alert as they did so even though there was no enemy within miles. The leader had no further trouble choosing which men to carry out his mission...

Thousands of year later much the same methodology is used to determine who is qualified to be a member of certain elite branches of our Armed Forces...

Aikido is a Martial Art but there are those who practice it with Martial intent and those that don't... that IMO is the reason some folks perception of Aikido as a wishy washy yoga with a partner exercise...

Self Defense without Martial Intent or any practice which does not build a Martial Spirit is just another way to separate a fool from his/her money

William Hazen

rob_liberti
05-18-2008, 08:05 PM
Mary,

OF COURSE I UNDERSTAND there is a difference between "sport fighting" and "self defence". I'm not confused on that point. Accusing me of "that" doesn't mean it was my point of confusion.

What you seem to continue to fail to understand is that the term "fight" is a broader term than the phrase "sport fighting". That was the issue I was confused about: what you meant to convey. In my opinion, if you meant "fight" to only mean "sport fighting" that's when one normally uses a qualifying word like "sport" in front of "fighting" so I (we all) don't end up confused by what you intended to convey. My teacher's website is not in conflict with what I am saying in terms of the broader sense of the term "fight".

For instance, for "self defence" you may have to "fight for your life". "Fight for you life" is a pretty common phrase, in fact. It is an example of a normally accepted meaning for the word "fight" - as opposed to the much more narrow scope of "sport fighting".

Kevin,

I disagree on this point. Principles are designed to help us from a common operational base or a frame of reference to base future decisions on. They are not designed to be applied directly as taught.

I don't want to fight with you about this (which I do not mean to be sport fighting!), but honestly we are talking past each other in terms of the word "principle".

What exactly is the principle of "stealth" or the principle of "speed"? To me, they are important concepts but not principles.

I have been writing here for a long time now and in many posts I have expressed that aikido attacks are primarily symbolic attacks. In aikido, we might practice, "tate/yoko" how veritical movement has got to be the main movement in aikido. It is practiced in normal aikido class (hopefully). That principle must work under any amount of pressure. Also, the principle of "entering and recieving" is practiced in normal aikido class. Your partner attacks with a silly over the head strike and you enter, and instead of slamming into their arm (hopefully!), you recieve it as you move in, unify (another principle) and move with them using your entire body. These principles have to work when say fighting for your life on an airplane when someone has a box cutter and you have a rolled up magazine. Other example of normally accepted aikido principles might be something like "weight underside", "keep one point". They have to work under pressure too even if you never sport fight.

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2008, 08:17 PM
No fight intended, just discussion. Speed and Steath are basic prinicples of combat within the U.S. Army. I used them as an example to discuss the concept of principles as they relate to my experiences. BTW, the DO apply to martial arts in general. We just tend to not practice them in the dojo.

That was my point though, and what I disagreed with. Principles must be universal, but they may or may not be applied in a particular situation, or you might favor one principle over another. It doesn't mean the they are not factors in the situation, but you might choose to exploit another one that gives you a tactical edge.

I'd love to have a further discussion with you on principles, I think it would be very interesting. (In a good way).

Your example with the airplane...

I think I look at it differently. I think things like "concentrated mass", audacity, seizing the iniative, and overwhelming firepower/strength play much more into the situation as principles than maybe some of the things we practice in the dojo on a normal basis.

Entering...I'd call it "closing the distance" Definitely...you have to be able to reach out and touch someone in order to affect them. That one I'd agree with.

Let me do some work and thought on principles and post something. We might find we'd agree on many, or at least may be looking at it differently from a different perspective.

Thanks.

rob_liberti
05-18-2008, 09:17 PM
Okay, so there is an issue of context or depth here. I think I need to build a few concepts to explain my position.

1) I think aikido is about mind, body, and spirit. I have heard some helpful ideas like:
Our physical body comes up from the ground.
Our spiritual essence comes down from the heavens.
Where they meet is what we call our Mind.
(YMMV)

2) Hopefully we can agree that aikido offers a physical practice which takes a lot of mental discipline and effort, that develops strong spirit.

Considering aikido in those terms, the ONLY principle that is meaningful within such a context is the "principle of correspondence" (and all other meta principle of that one).

The principle of correspondence basically says: As above, so below; as below, so above. If it is true on one level, it must be true on all levels. This principle states that there is a harmony, agreement and correspondence between these planes, delineated as
The Great Physical Plane
The Great Mental Plane
The Great Spiritual Plane

So an aikido principle like "tate/yoko" (vertical is main, followed by horizontal) can work on all levels. Trees grow straight up, and branches grow off of that. Some people might even consider a very large tree a spiritual place because that is where a lot of earth energy comes up from out of the ground. If you need a better example of tate/yoko in terms of spirituality, how about the sign of the cross? I'm not an expert in this area for sure. But to make the point clearer, when yoko (meant as horizontally based movement) becomes primary, that is muscling/not primarily coming from center, which is typically thought of as ego based movement. I might say that irimi/tenkan is a meta principle of "tate/yoko". "Entering and turning" can have physical meaning, but is also applicable in a verbal conflict. (Spiritually, we might look to the kotodama of "E" for verticality and "A" for expansion from that. Or look to flowing water rising up after crashing into a rock. Again, I'm not an expert in this area.)

In such context, I wouldn't consider "stealth" to be a thread common to all techniques. There are times when you want people to be very aware of you. I can think of sword work examples where I want to "cut the person's vision" so I can take advantage. I have the same contextual issue with "speed". For example, there are going to be times when it is more advantageous to be slow and methodical.

As I see it, principles in aikido are supposed to be the "spine" of the techniques that hold them all up. Those things have to work under stress at least as well if you are fighting for your life, sport fighting, or just practicing with purely symbolic attacks. That's my issue with "fight does not work in aikido". I can agree if what is meant by "fight" was what I would have considered "yoko" or horizontal movement being main. But that's as far as I can go with the phrase because without some form of pressure testing, muscling techniques will work (or trick you into thinking they do - which I think we have been in agreement on all along).

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2008, 09:32 PM
Rob,

Good stuff. If you have not read this it is worth checking out.

http://www.amazon.com/Awakening-Spine-Vanda-Scaravelli/dp/0062507923/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211163761&sr=8-1

Scaravelli codified through her practice in yoga alot of the things you talk about. Breath, Wave, Gravity.

Yes, context and depth are probably at issue here, I agree.

I agree that RE Stealth, there are times you want people to know you are there, absolutely. In these cases you make a choice to violate that principle in favor of another.

Slow and methodical can be good to. Even in combat. One thing beginners do is rush to much into the heat of battle without letting the situation develop.

Slow and methodical (patience) comes into play a great deal strategically for sure.

I think the main thing is that you don't get to arbtarily pick which principles you wan to ignore, which is what I think your point is too. They are always present and something you are always subject too.

rob_liberti
05-18-2008, 10:25 PM
I think the main thing is that you don't get to arbtarily pick which principles you wan to ignore, which is what I think your point is too. They are always present and something you are always subject too.

I agree. My way of thinking is that if there are ANY situations on any level where speed or stealth do not work (or maybe are just not desirable) then they are not principles as I understand the term "principle" in terms the "principles of aikido". To me, terms like "speed" and "stealth" are just sometimes-helpful "concepts" or "factors".

For instance, speed in getting home from work to help with my son - desirable to my wife. Speed in love making .... YMMV ;) :) (So speed would not be a "principle" of many marriages.)

Rob

DonMagee
05-18-2008, 11:14 PM
I see it as a case of ideals vs reality. There is how we all want it to be and the standard we hold ourselves to, and what happens when the crap hits the fan.

Kevin Leavitt
05-19-2008, 06:59 AM
Good summation of thing Don. The case from Rob's standpoint, and I agree, is that in order for something to be a principle in must be applicable not only in practice, but when it hits the fan...if it is not then it is not a principle.

My point is that you can "weight" or supress principles in order to enhance or achieve a particular endstate or outcome. In aikido, our objective is the perfection of the way, there are certain things (principles) that were isolated in and out in order follow and understand the Way.

Same is true for "when the crap hits the fan". We train or implement pinciples slightly different in order to realize a certain level of efficiency.

Same principles apply, but the situation/endstate causes us to weight our focus maybe in a different manner.

It is why, I think we need to be concerned about the linkage between fight (when the crap hits the fan), and the (DO), to ensure we have an understanding of the principles that come into play totally.

Thinking about it, maybe principles is not the right word...

Good discussion anyhow.

MM
05-19-2008, 08:41 AM
Speed, slowness, stealth, methodical, hasty, soft, hard, etc are all tactics to me. Never principles. A principle to me is what I consider the body structure/aiki. It is always there. *How* I use it is tactics. If I want to be soft and redirect, hard and redirect, fast and strong, slow, etc. It's all tactics. You can vary tactics. You shouldn't vary principles.

Or another example, I view a principle in kali as disable/break/kill/destroy whatever comes into range. Now, I can do that quickly, slowly, against a joint, a bone, a tendon, a muscle, with a stick, a knife, a hand, etc.

The principle is the base. It happens no matter what. The tactics are how the principle is employed or used. Those change.

IMO,
Mark

Kevin Leavitt
05-19-2008, 11:25 AM
Good points Mark.

Done a little more thinking on the subject. Here are some base principles that are used at the base infantry level that I think are applicable to all martial actions.

They are very, very basic princples, which I think asI dig into this, I find that what I thought were principles are not necessarily principles but the implementation of principles.

Thanks for making me think hard about this!

Tactical Manuever. You cannot affect things unless you can move. Movement alone is not enough, you must be able to employ "combat power".

Advantage. Exploit your own strengths while preventing the enemy from exploiting his own. (Speed and Stealth would fall into this area I think).

Combinations. You must be able to creatively combine weapons, tactics, and what not to create confusion for the enemy and opportunities for you.

Tactical Decisionmaking. Make quick decisions and iniate appropriate actions in order to create a tempo that overwhelms. (Speed would fall here, not speed itself, but the ability to make decisions based on training and experience).

Combat Power. Having the requisite skills necessary to employ in the fight.

Situation. Every situation is unique and must be solved on its own merits.

MM
05-19-2008, 12:41 PM
Good points Mark.

Done a little more thinking on the subject. Here are some base principles that are used at the base infantry level that I think are applicable to all martial actions.

They are very, very basic princples, which I think asI dig into this, I find that what I thought were principles are not necessarily principles but the implementation of principles.

Thanks for making me think hard about this!



Yeah, I think our military uses tactics and strategy quite a bit more than principles. Thought about what the military might use as principles and only came up with a couple things.

Mobility. The military is designed to be mobile. And when engaging, how that mobility is used becomes tactics.

Civilians. Do not engage or shoot civilians. So, when going into an engagement, this principle has redefined our tactics and strategy. Otherwise, we'd just bomb cities like we did in WWII and expect civilian casualties.

Firepower. We use some sort of firepower. It's a given. From pistols to missiles. It doesn't change. (Better tech changes the form, but not the principle). How we utilize firepower is tactics.

Mobility, civilians, or firepower -- those don't change no matter how we engage another force. But, when we get to utilizing these principles, then a whole world of options opens up. That's where tactics come into play.

So, back to aikido ... when looking at aikido, what are some of the principles? Tenkan? Irimi? Or are those really tactics?

As I'm told, Daito ryu brought a person in and down at one's feet for break/kill. So, that could be a principle. If Ueshiba changed that from in and down to say, bounce off or pass through, then that could be a principle. But, I think the core body skills or the aiki is a principle to both Daito ryu and aikido.

These principles must not only stand up to training in the dojo, but also to the fight part. Principles do not change because environment changes. (For the military, think about the differences between arctic and desert. The military still needs to be mobile. You still can't just shoot civilians in either the snow or sand.)

Whether sport fighting, self-defense, or training, aikido's principles must hold true.

Kevin Leavitt
05-19-2008, 01:35 PM
My thoughts are that irimi and tenkan are implementations or the concept of mobility.

I agree once you accept and understand the concept of mobility. That is, you cannot affect the fight until you can move to a position of advantage, then it opens up a range of options to consider martially.

for example, I put irimi/tenkan into the same categoy as the clinch. It would also involve shrimping to the guard etc.

It doesn't matter what art or system you practice, if you don't address mobility then you will have issues.

How much do you need to go into it? I think it depends on your endstate.

This is the beauty of understanding the concept of the principle.

From an aikido standpoint we are concerned with teaching irimi/tenkan as the basis of our art. It teaches us to move and to probably most appropriately provides the basis for everything else in aiki DO.

Aikido may not be concerned with the clinch our shrimping to the guard per se, as it focuses on a different aspect of mobility that would take away from the time we have to spend on the teaching points of aikido.

However if your intent is to broaden your range of tactical understanding of mobility at a more complete range, you will need to spend some time working the clinch, guard, and all that.

Kevin Leavitt
05-19-2008, 01:43 PM
To continue on....

Firepower.

Once you understand how to move, then you have to be able to do something with that movement to end the fight. There is a spectrum, I think, from complete disengagement (running?) to complete engagement (destruction).

Firepower might imply guns, but I think it conceptually involves whatever you have to influence the fight, from fist, elbows, sticks, knives, guns...or your own two legs to remove yourself from the fight.

agreed...how we use them is the tactics of it.

What is important is to understand the linkage between mobility and firepower.

If you can't move, you can't use it.

BJJ says "position before submission". I like that because it drives home the importance of dominance or mobility to the situaiton.

Do a scenario of trying to draw a gun while your opponent in mounted on you...see who wins, the guy with the gun, or the guy with positional control, or mobility!

From an aikido standpoint I think we stress this a great deal in everything we do. Again Iriminage is a wonderful application of this. Those that plant their feet and then reach to grab uke usually find they are not successful, you have to keep moving while letting the situation develop.

Again, what is key is to understand the relationship between firepower and mobility. Firepower without mobility does not work, and vice versa, mobility without firepower does not work.

Mary Eastland
05-20-2008, 08:38 AM
Well, nice try, Tyler and others who tried to write about the joy of Aikido training.

I still know you are out there....

There's a lot of fear in the world....Aikido training can help us transform that fear.
When folks can let go of their attachment to winning and argument and being right...it is a good beginning. :)
See ya on the mat,
Mary

L. Camejo
05-20-2008, 03:13 PM
There's a lot of fear in the world....Aikido training can help us transform that fear.
This is a very poignant statement. What I was wondering however is how exactly does Aikido transform that fear. What precisely about Aikido's practice method, principles, philosophy, techniques, tactics, etc. help human beings transform their fear into something else?

The reason I ask is because I have come across too many in the Aikido world and elsewhere who insist to me that they are well on the road to having transformed that fear, but quickly resort to many fear-driven responses when I blend with them and negate their waza when we start doing some "honest" training (i.e. Aikido training where both partners can use their free will to deal with his partner's techniques).

Imho there is an inherent dualism in Aikido - you are required to honestly face what you want to honestly transcend. In an earlier post I indicated that some of the truly fearless and by extension, peaceful and loving people I have encountered are those who have been well forged in the fire of extreme fear and danger. They have no delusions about the principles, tactics and strategies required to succeed in conflict and as a result they have engendered a self that is no longer driven by a desire to "compete and win" or a fear of losing anything.

Imho, as a result, I think it is extremely difficult if not impossible to truly reach the Aikido ideal of transcendence of fear without being schooled and guided by fear itself at some point during ones training. In those who have been through this school, fear is no longer a driver of their thoughts and actions, for those who have avoided dealing directly with fear in an attempt to transcend it, I find that fear-driven responses to conflict lie just beneath the facade of their everyday, "peaceful", "fearless" selves. This has merely been an observation - I reserver the right to be wrong. :)

Best
LC

Stefan Stenudd
05-20-2008, 03:26 PM
There's a lot of fear in the world....Aikido training can help us transform that fear.
I love that statement, and I agree with it.
In aikido we face some of our fears, and learn to overcome them. That's both on a basic physical level - like learning to fall, or to trust the technique when attacked - and on a mental one, where we try something we might fail miserably at, persevere and become diligent. And we learn to trust our training partners, which is also very good remedy against fear.
Just to mention a few aspects of it.

rob_liberti
05-20-2008, 04:58 PM
Alright, what the heck...

I do find people sport fighting in Aikido to be completely valid.

I love that I get to meet myself and become the whole person I was meant to be - and how I cannot be deluded about it because I pressure test it, and go out and try other dojos and other martial arts.

I truly enjoy training.

I find it fabulous to really connect with uke and with someone doing anti-aiki using the internal skills to prevent technique...

It is a truly wonderful thing that people can take ukemi at 50 years old... Especially if they can take tobi ushiro ukemi from iriminage!

I think it is just wonderful that a 64 year old tiny woman throw a really big man even if it wouldn't work on the street - as long as she is not deluding herself or teaching her unpressure-tested technique as self-defence.

Rob

Aikibu
05-20-2008, 06:09 PM
Well, nice try, Tyler and others who tried to write about the joy of Aikido training.

I still know you are out there....

There's a lot of fear in the world....Aikido training can help us transform that fear.
When folks can let go of their attachment to winning and argument and being right...it is a good beginning. :)
See ya on the mat,
Mary

The purpose of any Budo Practice is to transform the person who practices it into a better human being.

Aikido is not the only practice which does this but it is the practice I chose. I am very thankful "it found me."

William Hazen

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-21-2008, 02:25 AM
This is a very poignant statement. What I was wondering however is how exactly does Aikido transform that fear. What precisely about Aikido's practice method, principles, philosophy, techniques, tactics, etc. help human beings transform their fear into something else?

The reason I ask is because I have come across too many in the Aikido world and elsewhere who insist to me that they are well on the road to having transformed that fear, but quickly resort to many fear-driven responses when I blend with them and negate their waza when we start doing some "honest" training (i.e. Aikido training where both partners can use their free will to deal with his partner's techniques).

Imho there is an inherent dualism in Aikido - you are required to honestly face what you want to honestly transcend. In an earlier post I indicated that some of the truly fearless and by extension, peaceful and loving people I have encountered are those who have been well forged in the fire of extreme fear and danger. They have no delusions about the principles, tactics and strategies required to succeed in conflict and as a result they have engendered a self that is no longer driven by a desire to "compete and win" or a fear of losing anything.

Imho, as a result, I think it is extremely difficult if not impossible to truly reach the Aikido ideal of transcendence of fear without being schooled and guided by fear itself at some point during ones training. In those who have been through this school, fear is no longer a driver of their thoughts and actions, for those who have avoided dealing directly with fear in an attempt to transcend it, I find that fear-driven responses to conflict lie just beneath the facade of their everyday, "peaceful", "fearless" selves. This has merely been an observation - I reserver the right to be wrong. :)

Best
LC

Hi Larry,
nice post, I mostly agree. I think what the exact methods of working with fear are in Aikido depends totally on a given person and their situation though. Some are afraid of the ground to start with, and learning forward rolls is a great challenge. I was a bit like that. I have seen people being very brave in trying to get their unresponsive bodies to learn ukemi... Nowadays, I have overcome a lot of fears, but yes, that could still mean that if you were to train with me as you say I would be, on some level, a little afraid, so no contradiction there. (On another level, I would quite enjoy it I think, but it took many years to get there). In my experience, there has always been another level of fear to discover so far, it may just get more subtle. Fears come in so many forms and disguises... some might be terribly afraid of touchy feely aikibunny connection exercises.
( I find the fear of aikibunny a most interesting one, but that would be another thread...)

Have a nice day!
Nicholas

Ketsan
05-21-2008, 05:26 AM
This is a very poignant statement. What I was wondering however is how exactly does Aikido transform that fear. What precisely about Aikido's practice method, principles, philosophy, techniques, tactics, etc. help human beings transform their fear into something else?

The reason I ask is because I have come across too many in the Aikido world and elsewhere who insist to me that they are well on the road to having transformed that fear, but quickly resort to many fear-driven responses when I blend with them and negate their waza when we start doing some "honest" training (i.e. Aikido training where both partners can use their free will to deal with his partner's techniques).

Imho there is an inherent dualism in Aikido - you are required to honestly face what you want to honestly transcend. In an earlier post I indicated that some of the truly fearless and by extension, peaceful and loving people I have encountered are those who have been well forged in the fire of extreme fear and danger. They have no delusions about the principles, tactics and strategies required to succeed in conflict and as a result they have engendered a self that is no longer driven by a desire to "compete and win" or a fear of losing anything.

Imho, as a result, I think it is extremely difficult if not impossible to truly reach the Aikido ideal of transcendence of fear without being schooled and guided by fear itself at some point during ones training. In those who have been through this school, fear is no longer a driver of their thoughts and actions, for those who have avoided dealing directly with fear in an attempt to transcend it, I find that fear-driven responses to conflict lie just beneath the facade of their everyday, "peaceful", "fearless" selves. This has merely been an observation - I reserver the right to be wrong. :)

Best
LC

Good post.

philippe willaume
05-21-2008, 05:56 AM
To continue on....

Firepower.

Once you understand how to move, then you have to be able to do something with that movement to end the fight. There is a spectrum, I think, from complete disengagement (running?) to complete engagement (destruction).

Firepower might imply guns, but I think it conceptually involves whatever you have to influence the fight, from fist, elbows, sticks, knives, guns...or your own two legs to remove yourself from the fight.

agreed...how we use them is the tactics of it.

What is important is to understand the linkage between mobility and firepower.

If you can't move, you can't use it.

BJJ says "position before submission". I like that because it drives home the importance of dominance or mobility to the situaiton.

Do a scenario of trying to draw a gun while your opponent in mounted on you...see who wins, the guy with the gun, or the guy with positional control, or mobility!

From an aikido standpoint I think we stress this a great deal in everything we do. Again Iriminage is a wonderful application of this. Those that plant their feet and then reach to grab uke usually find they are not successful, you have to keep moving while letting the situation develop.

Again, what is key is to understand the relationship between firepower and mobility. Firepower without mobility does not work, and vice versa, mobility without firepower does not work.

Hello kevin

We could describe any martial techniques in term of position, isolation and then application. As you said, to translate that into concrete application.

IE he strike shomen he over commits= he as given us isolation buy stepping (tenchin/ tenkan/irimi) we have position because he can not really harm us where we have moved because he is over committed
We are in situation where we have a big window to do something and he has small windows to do something armful to us

He strike shomen and he is stable and balanced, this a totally different story
We will have to do something to make moving safe so that we can gain position
Ideally what ever we do to be safe should as well give us isolation.

You can do exactly as you did before and time it so that you unbalance him.
Obviously this about equal window of opportunity. So to make it work you do need to be significantly better than your opponent

Or you can hit him in the face, throat, lower thoracic area (well anywhere that is good money for value)
That will make the entry safer and get us something in the isolation front
Here you have bigger windows of opportunity than your opponent

But really I would call that only one part of the principle, the principle that pertains to the technical application
I would say we have the necessity of understanding tactical principles as well a generic strategic line.
I think modern martial art tuition , may be except bjj, is not very good at that level (of course there is always exception at the club basis)

If you take medieval fencing manual for example
There are presented in way that gives you techniques, the strategic line and the tactical implementation of that strategy. As well decision making is kind of pre digested so that choice in action is very simple binary (either your opponent is strong or weak in his contact).

As an example
The system has only 5 guards/position that are defeated by 4 strikes
At the end there is only 5 position where you can hold you sword relative to you centre the way the blade is oriented only affect the speed at witch you can react
What ever you do with the sword, you can only have you hands in front and above your centre, at the same vertical level or behind and above, the same 2 possibility down below and of course straight in front of you.
That the strike is protecting against attack on the shortest line of attack starting from an optimised position. So you are going to either deflect it or hit first.

phil

rob_liberti
05-21-2008, 10:18 AM
I think it is worth making the clear distinction between "transform" and "transcend". In my opinion, the only way through a problem is THROUGH it - not just focusing on another plane of reality to avoid it all together. Which is why I am in agreement with Larry that it would be going too far to suggest that fighting has nothing to do with aikido or anything that is about self-defence for that matter. Aikido doesn't have to be taught like Krav, whatever.. But since Osensei's aikido worked on all challengers, that should be something we aspire to as well.

To that end, I certainly do not think you MUST train competition-oriented initially or even primarily. Of course some will disagree - but level appropriate progressive resistane works for me. No pressure EVER - fine by me - just not my cup of tea and apparently not Osensei's either.

Rob

Mary Eastland
05-22-2008, 08:39 AM
Let me begin by saying: Rob, I don’t think you have noticed …but the tone and content you use with me is different than when you are talking with the gentlemen on this board. Please write in response to me with the respectful tone you use with them…. Thank you.

Now…. some thoughts about fighting and self- defense.

To me: (this is not a judgment of what others do... …folks should train how they want and they can call it whatever they want)
Fighting: is about who wins and loses in a match. There are agreed upon rules and someone to help keep those rules. Ex. (a referee).
Self defense: is about whatever it takes to defend yourself. It’s a whole science of study… just as fighting is. Fighting is just a small part of self-defense.
Here is an example of how I practice Aikido in daily life. I am the front desk co-ordinator in a busy library. Most patrons are wonderful. Some, however, are not. Let’s take David for example. David’s agenda is to get away with whatever he can however he can. He does not mind being rude, mean and faking like he is angry to win. Winning to him is not paying his fines or taking out more than he is supposed to. My practice with David is to not take him personally, to extend ki towards him before he gets to the desk, to turn and face him squarely, to listen intently from my center and to be extremely pleasant as I interact with him.
These are all self defense/Aikido strategies. If David continues to be nasty I have other ideas like walking away or referring him yet again to my boss. David may not be physically dangerous to me…yet he can be very dangerous to my well being and to the well being of the women who work with me and do not train.
Now some minds might think that this has nothing to do with self-defense because it is not about physical fighting. Self-defense starts within. It is a decision to be responsible for one’s self no matter what. It is a very serious commitment and way of living. However, training can be fun. Many assumptions are made on this board about how people train because of how they write. You really can’t know how people train until you train with them.
Resistance and reality testing are a very important part of training. I think they must be used cautiously with careful intention. We use them in our dojo. Our focus is to develop correct feeling which will be dependable in all situations.

Mary

Ketsan
05-22-2008, 10:15 AM
Someone in my dojo said something last night which made me think about this thread. In Japan they're as interested in what you can take as they are in what you can dish out, maybe even more interested.

If you're in a dojo which isn't bothered about being able to dish it out, is there going to be anyone in the dojo who has the strength of character to take it? On an individual level is training with someone who can't dish it out (within reason) helping you develop a strong spirit and a strong character?

I make no statements, I just ask questions.

philippe willaume
05-22-2008, 10:18 AM
Let me begin by saying: Rob, I don’t think you have noticed …but the tone and content you use with me is different than when you are talking with the gentlemen on this board. Please write in response to me with the respectful tone you use with them…. Thank you.

Now…. some thoughts about fighting and self- defense.

To me: (this is not a judgment of what others do... …folks should train how they want and they can call it whatever they want)
Fighting: is about who wins and loses in a match. There are agreed upon rules and someone to help keep those rules. Ex. (a referee).
Self defense: is about whatever it takes to defend yourself. It’s a whole science of study… just as fighting is. Fighting is just a small part of self-defense.
Here is an example of how I practice Aikido in daily life. I am the front desk co-ordinator in a busy library. Most patrons are wonderful. Some, however, are not. Let’s take David for example. David’s agenda is to get away with whatever he can however he can. He does not mind being rude, mean and faking like he is angry to win. Winning to him is not paying his fines or taking out more than he is supposed to. My practice with David is to not take him personally, to extend ki towards him before he gets to the desk, to turn and face him squarely, to listen intently from my center and to be extremely pleasant as I interact with him.
These are all self defense/Aikido strategies. If David continues to be nasty I have other ideas like walking away or referring him yet again to my boss. David may not be physically dangerous to me…yet he can be very dangerous to my well being and to the well being of the women who work with me and do not train.
Now some minds might think that this has nothing to do with self-defense because it is not about physical fighting. Self-defense starts within. It is a decision to be responsible for one’s self no matter what. It is a very serious commitment and way of living. However, training can be fun. Many assumptions are made on this board about how people train because of how they write. You really can’t know how people train until you train with them.
Resistance and reality testing are a very important part of training. I think they must be used cautiously with careful intention. We use them in our dojo. Our focus is to develop correct feeling which will be dependable in all situations.

Mary

Hello mary

You know self defence for the best part is all about not doing stupid thing in stupid place with stupid people.
Self defence is much more about parking 2 level up or down because you do not like the look of the 3 guys chatting near the pedestrian exit or making a detour because you have a bad feeling about a dark alley that it is about permanently imprinting David facial features in your desk mahogany.

In self defence (or any conflict) physical violence is only one tool you have at your disposal. (and it is a tool that if you are not trained with and willing to use, you’d better leave in the toolbox)

I am not Clauswitz but not letting David get to you/get his way is about fighting and winning no matter what periphrases we may thing of not to use those terms.
It is your will against is his will. His well being against your well being.

I think the idea, when we say you need the martial aspect of aikido, is equating to say that the martial aspect is to be willing and able to do what it takes to win.
The will can express itself in manyform but regardless if you choose to use witticism, pin or physical damage. it is done with same willingness to do what it takes to win.
phil

Michael Douglas
05-22-2008, 10:37 AM
...
To me: (this is not a judgment of what others do... …folks should train how they want and they can call it whatever they want)
Fighting: is about who wins and loses in a match. There are agreed upon rules and someone to help keep those rules. Ex. (a referee).
Self defense: is about whatever it takes to defend yourself. It’s a whole science of study… just as fighting is. Fighting is just a small part of self-defense.
I'm glad you started by giving others a chance to call whatever ... whetever we want, so here I'm stating that surely the 'fighting' you firstly define is not 'fighting' but 'sport fighting'.
If 'Self-defence' is at the other end of the spectrum then there is a huge space to include what I would call 'fighting' which is indeed a part (maybe not so small) of self-defence.
To my mind 'fighting' is physical combat between two or more creatures, humans in our sphere of aikidoish interest. It cannot possibly be restricted in its definition to include a referee or even a winner and a loser!

Enrique Antonio Reyes
05-22-2008, 07:25 PM
Hi Mary,

I am a new member of this community and I haven't had the chance to review all the posts here.

I believe there are two aspects of fighting "attacking" and "defending"

If you are talking about attacking then I can probably tell you right away won't be effective. Better to use other striking arts like boxing or muay thai or more exotic arts like karate or taekwondo.

When defending there will be various scenarios like single attacker, multiple attackers, whether armed or unarmed, armed with a knife, a stick, a gun, so forth and so on...

I personally believe that pure Aikido works best with Multiple Unarmed Attackers in a way that it lets you use your Irimi and tenkan movements with probably the use of throws and locks to evade the various attacks.

For multiple armed attackers I'd rather not fight, shoot them down or probably run for my life.

For a single armed attacker I would probably use a bit of aikido but mix it up with practical moves (like do a kote-gaeshi but using an x-blocking motion to catch the hand, not expecting them to do a hardfall once I apply the technique among others...

for a single unarmed attacker...personally I would rather choke them out.

But I really don't want to fight so I guess Aikido is my first line of defense especially when the only enemy is my ego...

Have a nice day.

Iking

DH
05-22-2008, 09:00 PM
I see the whole thread as one big excuse for failure in understanding the truth of aiki.
The presumption is that there is or needs to be a fight in handling all forms of agression. My answer is that if you actually had aiki in the first place you would have a deeper understanding of just how and why you could handle and neutralize many forms and levels of agression through aiki. THAT is why there is no fight. It's not because someone is afraid or says they have risen above and no longer wants to fight.

As for those who talk about ki and center as some sort of ghosty aikibunny force? I have found that the pretenders-and that is exactly what they are, even if they don't realize it yet-hold on to the notions of Ki and extending it and all manner of ephemeral shenanigans for several reasons. Some of which is that they really do not want to fight, they don’t have the stomach for it, or they can't fight and are afraid to face that reality. The saddest of all are those who simply have no clue what sort of power is truly available –to them- in understanding moving from center and using Ki and all the other stuff they talk about but have no hope of proving beyond some imaginings. It is the chief reason they keep it at arms length as “a feeling” they try to manifest. The comedy is if you could hand it to them, and they saw the amazing things they could do with it to truly handle people with ease without harm, I’d bet there isn’t one, single one of them who would put it down.
It is very simple to out the pretenders even within their fears or stated disinterest in actual confrontation, all without fighting and without any excuses to “not want to fight.” If they are ever in a room with those who do understand and can manifest these things and their own students are allowed to feel someone with real aiki skills and then test their own teachers- those teachers will be undone. Ki and center is about power. If a teacher states they have it and teach aiki as a way and yet do not have it immediately and instantaneously accessible to them, without any waza - then everyone in that room will know they are fraud. Maybe an unintentional fraud through ignorance, but a fraud none-the-less in that it will be made publicly known that they don’t know what they’re doing. Maybe all they've got is some blending/flowy waza they call "aiki," which actually has nothing at all to do with the reality of aiki.
It’s really that simple.
In the end their students will at least start seeing them and the real potential of the art they were supposedly teaching, in a whole new light.
I agree with Rob that it would be far more powerful to start to ACTUALY learn what aikido was supposed to be. So that in the end some little old lady can actually have power, real and whole and choose not to use it. And at any moment could demonstrate it clearly and definitively for all to see and still…choose to not fight.

Fight would most certainly work in anyones aikido who understands aiki, in the sense that maybe for the first time in their martial careers they could see how they can actually STOP violence...without fighting.
I see the whole idea of there not being fight in aikido as a truly profound loss of understanding of aiki. Further, one big excuse for that failure in understanding it. Again, I'd bet the house if you gave those in denial access to real Aiki power. Not one would put it down and walk away.

Aikibu
05-22-2008, 09:16 PM
Great Post Dan...and an excellent expression of Budo.

William Hazen

rob_liberti
05-24-2008, 09:28 AM
Mary,

I think you may be drawing a false conclusion here.
None of the other gentlemen posted a page from my teacher's website to argue a point I wasn't making. If someone with different genitals did that I assure you the response would have been the same. I have like 800 posts here. You can find my arguing in much the same style with Mike Sigman for like 200 of them and I'm pretty sure he's a guy.

And, no suprise here, I totally agree with Dan, and Larry for that mater.

Rob

Erick Mead
05-24-2008, 09:51 AM
I see the whole thread as one big excuse for failure in understanding the truth of aiki. The presumption is that there is or needs to be a fight in handling all forms of agression. SO what you are saying here is that you agree with the main thrust of the thread ...

My answer is that if you actually had aiki in the first place you would have a deeper understanding of just how and why you could handle and neutralize many forms and levels of agression through aiki. THAT is why there is no fight. It's not because someone is afraid or says they have risen above and no longer wants to fight.See, now there we can have common ground.

What the main thrust of the thread is getting at is is O Sensei's point about there being no resistance in aikido and that to attack is to lose before you have begun. Why? Not because some airy-fairy enlightened aura surrounds and protects one from physical harm. I dare say that I have become far more aware of just how vulnerable a person standing around idly really can be.
If a teacher states they have it and teach aiki as a way and yet do not have it immediately and instantaneously accessible to them, without any waza - then everyone in that room will know they are fraud. Maybe an unintentional fraud through ignorance, but a fraud none-the-less in that it will be made publicly known that they don't know what they're doing. Maybe all they've got is some blending/flowy waza they call "aiki," which actually has nothing at all to do with the reality of aiki.
It's really that simple. If you have it, define it. Shouldn't be hard if it really is THAT simple. My statement of its actual physcial basis is NOT simple, but not incomprehensible or unnecessarily complicated. I may be right or wrong in gross or particulars, but as Freeman Dyson once said I'd rather be wrong than vague ... and for that reason I make independently verifiable statements founded in physical observations, not self-promotion, nor demeaning of others.

To be clear, neither expressing nor not expressing ideas in this manner means nothing about one's physicality, but while some people do not necessarily have the facility to express or make use of both aspects, some do.

SO... for the benefit of those reading, please state, in the simplest physical terms you know how, what you are talking about --- if it is different from what I have talked about and anybody here can go read for themselves what that is. If you want to do that at greater length than appropriate here, take the time and develop your ideas in the aikiblogs and point us to it. I have.

It can be rules of thumb for structure and dynamics like the Aunkai folks are using for their version of tanren, or like those of Rocky Izumi in his "principles" work, or more detailed discussion of what is contained in the various kokyu undo -- those are all perfectly comprehensible and show a valid physical basis for both what they are doing and its coherence with what they say they are trying to do, as well as with what we know of biomechanics and basic physics. There are many useful ways to do it based on careful observiton and description. Akuzawa gets his point across in writing in a coherent way. It need not be as close to the physics as I try to be -- practical descriptions and working principles work just fine.

Why not give it a go, Dan? I promise I won't even critique it.

Mike Sigman
05-24-2008, 10:18 AM
You can find my arguing in much the same style with Mike Sigman for like 200 of them and I'm pretty sure he's a guy.
I am. And hey... I tried to tell you. Worse yet, there's even more facets that I didn't even mention. ;) The suggestion I'd make now is that you find my posts about how Shaolin also uses these same skills, how the dantien works in relation to them, and so on. For instance, Ushiro's approach is certainly a viable approach... but it's the approach of karate and not Aikido. So there's more to it.

Mike

Dathan Camacho
05-24-2008, 10:48 AM
We naturally have an innate tendancy to tense up during conflict right? I think psychologists call that tendancy "fight or flight"?

I've noticed that Aikido has improved my ability to stay relaxed during conflict and resist the "fight or flight" reaction. You know those moments where your practice partner has one of your limbs, is about to apply a technique, and the only way to prevent it from hurting is to relax?

I think learning to relax in those situations has improved (not eliminated :rolleyes: ) my ability to relax in situations involving conflict - tense business meetings, disagreements with my spouse, "debates" during pickup basketball games, etc. And learning to appropriately handle conflict prevents fights, right? :)

RonRagusa
05-24-2008, 12:03 PM
SO... for the benefit of those reading, please state, in the simplest physical terms you know how, what you are talking about --- if it is different from what I have talked about and anybody here can go read for themselves what that is. If you want to do that at greater length than appropriate here, take the time and develop your ideas in the aikiblogs and point us to it. I have.

Hi Erick -

I realize that you meant this for Dan but I thought I'd like to take a stab at explaining what Mary and I are driving at when we write about Ki development and extension of Ki. Keeping things simple is easy since it is, in our view, simple.

Our Ki development work, apart from waza, involves progressively increased pressure testing, in the form of partnered exercises, while standing in various postures and in motion. The primary objective for the tester (uke) is to provide nage with an opportunity to lose one point and become unbalanced. Nage's job is to learn to absorb and redirect the incoming energy so that a state of unbalance is avoided. A combination of metaphor (keep one point, extend Ki etc) and feedback provide nage with images to aid visualization of what is happening inside and reference points from which progress may be evaluated. We have many exercises that we regularly practice in this way.

Ki development is a matter of attaining what Maruyama sensei calls "correct feeling." Please note that the word feeling is used in the physical context; from dictionary.com:

noun
1. the function or the power of perceiving by touch.
2. physical sensation not connected with sight, hearing, taste, or smell.

We also refer to this as mind/body coordination. When mind and body are coordinated we say Ki is being extended. Extension of Ki is not characterized by mysterious action at a distance; it is decidedly an internal phenomenon that can be perceived externally. Demonstrations of so called Ki tricks are examples of what is possible when mind and body are coordinated.

As to how this side topic relates to the central theme of the thread; we do this without introducing the fighting paradigm into our training. Our cup of tea may not appeal to everyone but then again, we only serve to those who wish to partake of their own volition.

Best,

Ron

L. Camejo
05-24-2008, 02:20 PM
We also refer to this as mind/body coordination. When mind and body are coordinated we say Ki is being extended. Extension of Ki is not characterized by mysterious action at a distance; it is decidedly an internal phenomenon that can be perceived externally. Demonstrations of so called Ki tricks are examples of what is possible when mind and body are coordinated.

As to how this side topic relates to the central theme of the thread; we do this without introducing the fighting paradigm into our training. Our cup of tea may not appeal to everyone but then again, we only serve to those who wish to partake of their own volition.Hi Ron,

Interestingly enough we utilize a similar approach in the sense that one is placed in situations to deal with increased targeted aggression by utilizing mind/body coordination. In what we call resistance randori (which is very similar to what goes on in an Aikido competition, i.e. ones partner is fully allowed to stop a poorly executed technique or counter it) it is critical to deal with ones partner/attacker utilizing proper mind/body coordination else one is unable to execute anything that successfully results in a throw or pin of the opponent.

In this sense the removal of the struggle (fight) or fear element in the mind of the student is paramount, otherwise this person will not be able to effectively coordinate mind/body and deal with the imminent, continuous attack. As soon as fear and tension enter the mind and body, coordination becomes quite difficult to the point of being impossible. The result is poor response to the attack and poor technique.

Interestingly enough, as resistance levels are gradually increased and the student systematically overcomes any fears or tensions associated with that increase, he is less and less inclined to resort to fear-driven, gross muscle responses and trains the self to utilize a coordinated mind/body as required for Aiki waza. So in our case, although a "fight" paradigm as defined by Mary to be "sport fighting" is used by us (i.e. resistance randori that mimics Aikido competition), it actually assists the student in being able to manifest quality Aiki waza under conditions that allow the attacker to exercise free will to thwart the execution of Aiki waza.

So imho if one avoids the whole "fight" concept in training then one can be losing out on a whole section of very enlightening experiences and learning. Imho one of the best things about Aiki waza is to remove the potentiality of a "fight" if one has the requisite skills to do so.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

Tom H.
05-24-2008, 06:09 PM
We naturally have an innate tendancy to tense up during conflict right? I think psychologists call that tendancy "fight or flight"?

I've noticed that Aikido has improved my ability to stay relaxed during conflict and resist the "fight or flight" reaction. You know those moments where your practice partner has one of your limbs, is about to apply a technique, and the only way to prevent it from hurting is to relax?That's a very important concept. I believe the military deals with similar problems training its warfighters. I also saw a Da Cheng Chuan exercise that worked to remove the reflexive flinch out of near misses, or even hits, to the face. If you can't stay clinical, relaxed, and in control of yourself and your reactions, you probably won't do well in a aikido, jujitsu, MMA, trial court, or other combative situation, I'd guess.

Tom

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2008, 07:26 AM
Teaching soldiers to "relax" can be a tricky thing to get into. I'd be hesitant to go the aikido route as it could cause some issues for them and get them killed if they don't understand it. I'd rather have a tense soldier that fights than one that is relaxed and does not move forward into battle.

Anyway, we do teach relaxation and breathing when teaching marksmanship and reflexive fire. In Modern Army Combatives the lesson is driven home as well.

Basically you train as you fight and will fight as you train. you have to walk a fine line between "good tension and bad", and develop good habits that you will default to.

I think we tend to not deal with relaxation clinically as say we do in aikido, but try and integrate it into the stress model of training where appropriate.

When I was a TAC officer from OCS we induced alot of stress on candidates looking for the ones that would keep their cool under pressure, continue to move on to the objective/endstate AND make decisions.

The point is, there are different levels of relaxation and focus (mushin), and much more to it than being "physically relaxed and responsive".

RonRagusa
05-25-2008, 08:46 AM
In what we call resistance randori (which is very similar to what goes on in an Aikido competition, i.e. ones partner is fully allowed to stop a poorly executed technique or counter it) it is critical to deal with ones partner/attacker utilizing proper mind/body coordination else one is unable to execute anything that successfully results in a throw or pin of the opponent.

Hi Larry -

We have a similar exercise where uke and nage continually swap roles as the situation dictates. The first object is for each participant to look for an opening in which to execute a throw. We currently perform this exercise using only grabs so it sort of resembles judo randori w/o the ground work. In order to keep the movement continuous students are encouraged to keep the attacks temporary so that the grabs are continually appearing and disappearing. Students are discouraged from grabbing and clamping down in a 'hold on for dear life ' manner as this would stop the action and thwart the second objective of the exercise which is to explore how energy flows in a two person dynamic.


In this sense the removal of the struggle (fight) or fear element in the mind of the student is paramount...

I fully agree. One thing though, the fear induced by an attack is often a result of the attacker displaying anger, hostility, obvious intention to do bodily harm etc. In that sense, fight and fear become very different aspects. Resistance training helps the student overcome the fight instinct but the factors that induce fear are not replicable in the dojo in a really convincing way. No amount of controlled fighting on the mat is going to prepare a student for the emotional assault of an attacker hell bent on destruction. What we do is to stress that it's the body part or weapon that's going to do the damage and that the rest is all noise and chest thumping. We've found that training with this in mind actually strengthens ones ability to let negative emotional displays pass by like so much smoke in the wind. Students who work in service industries have told us that they have benefitted greatly and are better able to deal with angry customers than before beginning their training.

Best,

Ron

Tom H.
05-25-2008, 09:29 AM
When I was a TAC officer from OCS we induced alot of stress on candidates looking for the ones that would keep their cool under pressure, continue to move on to the objective/endstate AND make decisions.Thanks Kevin, I was hoping you (i.e. someone with actual relevant experience, vice myself) would chime in.

L. Camejo
05-25-2008, 10:34 AM
the fear induced by an attack is often a result of the attacker displaying anger, hostility, obvious intention to do bodily harm etc. In that sense, fight and fear become very different aspects. Though this is correct in a limited sense I have found through experience that as long as the person being attacked realizes that it is upon him/her there is an instinctive increase in pulse rate and an involuntary tension that starts manifesting before the attack makes any contact. This has less to do with the body language of the attacker per se (esp. when there is no time to perceive body language when the attack is already upon you) and has more to do with a basic animal reaction to being in immediate danger imho.

Outside of official classes we have tested this using both models of surprise attack (where there are no or limited signs of impending violence) and a telegraphed attack (where body language, intent etc. is an obvious precursor). These two generally simulate the two basic modes of physical violence (asocial and social) the average civilian may encounter - the sociopath (who will just walk up without warning and take you out) and the bully (who woofs and chest thumps to gain "strength" before actually attacking).

In cases where there is no telegraph of the attack the usual response is tension by way of attempting to brace against the full force of the surprise attack by some means or getting out the way but sacrificing ones physical and mental balance in the process. Both of these responses work against our principles of applying Aiki waza as ones mai ai, tsukuri etc. has already been compromised. In the case of attacks with a precursor of violent intent the effects can be seen by a subtle stepping back before entering to intercept the attack (a result of the mind being stopped by fear of entering), or bracing for the attack without proper tai sabaki etc. In the end, whether the person sees the attack coming from early on or not, the usual response has been an expression of either fear or tension resulting from untrained reflex responses.Resistance training helps the student overcome the fight instinct but the factors that induce fear are not replicable in the dojo in a really convincing way. No amount of controlled fighting on the mat is going to prepare a student for the emotional assault of an attacker hell bent on destruction.I agree that it can't be fully replicated yet within a dojo environment. However, there is training within the Aikido randori paradigm that can be undertaken that allows the student to remove the ego from the conflict so that he can deal with the situation at hand. Once again, the emotional assault you refer to must resonate with something within the person being targeted. If one is overly consumed in protecting the ego, ones own life, then this creates fear - the fear of losing ones life, of being hurt, assaulted etc. When there is no ego to protect there is no fear, there is no emotion (mushin??) hence there is nothing vulnerable to being emotionally assaulted. As someone who has experienced violent encounters (both armed and unarmed) I can say that the removal of ego and by extension any fear relating to loss of life etc. was critical to survival in the midst of severe threat. This removal of ego (in my little case) was developed over time by being constantly "stabbed" in full resistance randori where one quickly realizes that any attachment to technique, self preservation etc. would only result in being stabbed more often as the mind and body lost its ability to adapt and respond. The mind had to be clear to deal with the threat. A clear mind resulted in less negative tension in the body, allowing one to move as required to deal with the threat. I also experienced the opposite where fear generated by a need to protect my wife placed me in a mental state where I could not function as required until I could remove that fear. Imho Ueshiba M. was so correct in his whole approach to Aikido and the need to maintain mushin mugamae in th midst of danger.We've found that training with this in mind actually strengthens ones ability to let negative emotional displays pass by like so much smoke in the wind. Students who work in service industries have told us that they have benefitted greatly and are better able to deal with angry customers than before beginning their training. True. But imho an angry customer does not constitute a high threat situation, it is one of the working conditions if you do customer service. This type of understanding can be gained more readily by a good conflict management and customer service training seminar in under a day. Don't get me wrong - if this is the goal of the practice, fine. Like Kevin L. always says- endstate is important to how and what you train.

Getting back to the thread point about fighting. I guess if one is aiming at training to maintain a calm centre when dealing with unruly clients or a similar "threat" level then an approach that does not engage some of the realities of physical self defence such as resistance, serious intent to harm etc. is fine. However, for those who may want to deal with a slightly higher threat level I think there are many things that can be learnt about how the mind/body coordinates and also un-coordinates when faced with various threat levels. Even though we can't replicate real violence in the dojo, there are many many levels between the dojo and outer world environments that can be explored imho.

Best.
LC

DH
05-25-2008, 10:39 AM
[QUOTE=Kevin Leavitt;207245] I'd rather have a tense soldier that fights than one that is relaxed and does not move forward into battle.[QUOTE]

In various posts in the past you have equated relaxation to static "not moving" like you have done again here. I wonder what Vlad thinks about that in training your counter parts in Russia. Systema teaches Spetznats how to move fight, shoot, run, and climb while relaxing.

For that matter free-running utilizes a form of whole body relaxation.
Rickson Gracie trains to relax, and relaxes when fighting. I know Greco Roman wrestlers who talk about relaxing various parts of their bodies while moving and changing positions.

I think everyone talks from their own experiences and levels of understanding. Their "experiences" shape and form their opinions. It neither makes them right, or true, They're just expressing their current level of understanding, and that' all. I think of relaxation as very fast movement, with power and less aerobic taxing of the system and in grappling a far more efficient means to deliver power and move. Like I said though. that's just another "opinion."

Buck
05-25-2008, 11:21 AM
FWIW, there are dual ideas and applications of relaxation going on here. With so many opinions, it is hard to follow.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2008, 01:49 PM
Dan,

As you state different levels of understanding and perspective. It depend on if you are looking at it from an institutional view or a personal view I think.

When you are thinking institutionally you have to consider the complexity of the environment and their are tradeoffs.

Much like when you probably teach what you teach at a seminar or what not...you only have so much contact time with your audience so you need to focus on the a few baseline teaching points.

When you look at things from on a personal level, well I think there is a different level of focus and detail.

It is balancing and merging these two areas together that is a challenge.

For example I find the training that I do within budo to be a very important part of my "soldiering" and I think it is what best defines me as a warrior. However, when training soldiers through the institution that is the Army things are a little different in my approach to training.

Various reasons, but the institution is important to consider.

We run into the same thing within the institution of aikido. Each of us has our own opinions about what is important and how we should train, but if we are going to be successful in working with the institution, we must understand it, and consider it, and realize it's importance in what we do.

RonRagusa
05-25-2008, 03:09 PM
Getting back to the thread point about fighting. I guess if one is aiming at training to maintain a calm centre when dealing with unruly clients or a similar "threat" level then an approach that does not engage some of the realities of physical self defence such as resistance, serious intent to harm etc. is fine. However, for those who may want to deal with a slightly higher threat level I think there are many things that can be learnt about how the mind/body coordinates and also un-coordinates when faced with various threat levels. Even though we can't replicate real violence in the dojo, there are many many levels between the dojo and outer world environments that can be explored imho.

Hi Larry -

We train to ultimately maintain a calm center regardless of the threat level of the situation. Examples of everyday life applications that our students have been confronted with and successfully resolved run the gamut from midly annoying to outright physical assault. The beauty of Aikido is that it allows us to maintain that calm center along the full spectrum of interpersonal conflicts. Training methodologies are going to be determined by a variety of factors that will differ greatly from venue to venue.

Best,

Ron

DH
05-25-2008, 03:10 PM
I try to be very circumspect in offering opinions on military or LEO. Those are best left to those doing them. That said those teaching in those venues have been and are constantly learning themselves and have a history of making errors and or changing their views over time.
Again, I find it interesting in that the training methods of the Russian Spec ops seems to differ markedly from what you are doing. Their training seems to be far more "relaxed" and "responsive," a couple of things you specifically downplayed at the end of your prior post.
Spetznats seems to embrace what you do not and have been very successful with it. So I though I would add others like Rickson, and Greco Roman wresttlers and free running to the mix as people who train with rapid movement in a relaxed state.
I have debated this with you in the past, that internal training and relaxation improves power, responsiveness, and.....speed in all form of combative movement and workload. No sense arguing about it again, so I'll leave it alone. Seems we have never agreed on this topic and never will. You're not able to see it yet.
Everyone has their own goals and experiences. I choose to focus on what works, and that is for rapid positional change, real power, retained balance in odd situations and speed. All through internal training (aiki). I tend to consider your understanding and opinions as emblematic of your current aikido teachers and that DR guy you invite down to teach. Neither of whom, I think, are equipped to show you anything or help your understanding of what I have been trying to explain to you for years now, so I am going to let it drop. If you continue to pursue training with some men who understand internals and "real" aiki- and walk away from that other stuff for a while, you just might get to a point where you see some vastly different potential in human movement. Until that happens, good luck in your training.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2008, 03:39 PM
Dan, I cannot comment on "Spetznats" (sic) as my only experiences have been working with a few Georgian officers trained by the Russians and we never got into this level of discussion as it was not relevant to what we were doing.

I have debated this with you in the past, that internal training and relaxation improves power, responsiveness, and.....speed in all form of combative movement and workload. No sense arguing about it again, so I'll leave it alone. Seems we have never agreed on this topic and never will. You're not able to see it yet.

You are making some incorrect assumptions about what I believe on a personal level.

In training you have to establish priorities and focus on endstates. What you ultimately focus on is that which may not be theorectically the best way, or the "university solution", but that which gets you to your goal.

I tend to consider your understanding and opinions as emblematic of your current aikido teachers and that DR guy you invite down to teach. Neither of whom, I think, are equipped to show you anything or help your understanding of what I have been trying to explain to you for years now, so I am going to let it drop.

So noted, thanks.

If you continue to pursue training with some men who understand internals and "real" aiki- and walk away from that other stuff for a while, you just might get to a point where you see some vastly different potential in human movement. Until that happens, good luck in your training

Well I have been fortunate through the years to train with alot of people "martially" both within the military and outside. I have constantly been suprised and after 24 years of "martial" training, I learn something new everyday.

Who do you consider to be worthy? Mike Sigman, Rob John, others?

I try to be very circumspect in offering opinions on military or LEO. Those are best left to those doing them. That said those teaching in those venues have been and are constantly learning themselves and have a history of making errors and or changing their views over time

Sounds good to me, I agree.

mathewjgano
05-25-2008, 04:12 PM
Teaching soldiers to "relax" can be a tricky thing to get into. I'd be hesitant to go the aikido route as it could cause some issues for them and get them killed if they don't understand it. I'd rather have a tense soldier that fights than one that is relaxed and does not move forward into battle.

You probably explained this in a prior discussion, but I was curious about what it is you think might be confusing or otherwise detrimental to a soldier. Referring to your remarks about institutional and personal aims, I can understand how a lot of the Aikido componants might not fit very well: some reishiki could potentially waste time and I understand how trying to not harm an attacker could get you killed in a firefight, but it seems to me the physical qualities of Aikido (aikijutsu, essentially), as well as many of the concepts would be pretty useful.
Relaxation in particular seems invaluable. I'm not a soldier so I don't want to sound presumptuous; please forgive me if I do, I know these are just an outsider's take. When I think of a tense soldier I think of a fear-based, rigid mindset. When i think of a relaxed soldier I think of a fearless, flexible mindset. Obviously these are merely my own perceptions, but I'm curious about how you would characterize the two.
Take care,
Matthew

Aikibu
05-25-2008, 04:59 PM
All this talk of what Spetsnatz is trained to do by folks with little if any experiance with them or any form of Special Operations training is silly...

Relaxation and breathing to perform at a higher level of 'Martial" functioning under duress is not a new paradigm and dates back thousands of years...

So I guess in a certain sense those who say Aikido does not work under duress if one is tense and not breathing correctly are absolutely correct....

However a part of most all Martial Systems is need to learn how to focus and relax while under duress... Aikido is no different.

Hence "fighting" yourself does not work at all in Aikido...You MUST learn to breath,focus,and relax...and in point of fact should be the main goal of practice....

What to get there quick? Rolling and Breakfalls...Lots of them in the beginning of class....:D Tucker all those testoterone hyped up newbies out....THEN they will begin to learn...LOL

William Hazen

Erick Mead
05-25-2008, 06:35 PM
You probably explained this in a prior discussion, but I was curious about what it is you think might be confusing or otherwise detrimental to a soldier. ... Relaxation in particular seems invaluable. I'm not a soldier so I don't want to sound presumptuous; please forgive me if I do, I know these are just an outsider's take. When I think of a tense soldier I think of a fear-based, rigid mindset. When i think of a relaxed soldier I think of a fearless, flexible mindset. Kevin is Army. I was Navy, an aviator, and had Marine training. I will speak from my experience and it may not differ that much from Kevin's. There is a vast universe of difference between relaxation in the face of threat arrived at THROUGH the initial tension and, frankly, abject terror, and that arrived at through exhortation to simply "relax" in the face of threat.

Flying close aboard to land on a pitching frigate deck with the superstructure making 15 foot excursions on a flight deck where you have about ten foot clearance on a fifty-eight foot rotor arc -- well, if you're not relaxed doing it you are swiftly dead, but if you began training without the godawful heeby-jeebies and your body tight as a string on a two dollar guitar you will not get through to the regime that you need to have to operate successfully.

DH
05-25-2008, 07:17 PM
All this talk of what Spetsnatz is trained to do by folks with little if any experiance with them or any form of Special Operations training is silly...
William Hazen

Well I don't know how a single question (asked twice, then answered) equals "all this talk about..."
I referenced what I have read and what I have been told personally by guys recently out of spec ops, along with some guys who train with Vlad and Michael, I asked Kevin how he thinks his model would compare to their training model involving extensive relaxation in motion. Oh well.

The rest, William, was addressing an idea often expressed by Kevin over the years that somehow relaxation in internal training, was static, stagnant and could not by used in grappling/Judo/ BJJ or any live environment. It's all here in many, many threads and posts. When I saw the same thought come to light again in this thread regarding relaxation and a failure to be able to move well, it piqued my interest. I can understand a lack in understanding of real power and speed in relaxation and structure from the people he regularly trains with, but I thought he would see something more from his new pursuits. Especially since he has trained with Ark and Mike.. I guess not.
Time and different levels of experience on both sides have formed opinions. It's just an old debate not worth pursuing any longer. I'd just as soon thank Kevin for his service and be done with it.
I'm out.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2008, 07:51 PM
If you talk to SOF guys, you will get as many opinions as there are SOF guys. The subset that are into what you are doing are obviously going to say that it is important as it is important to them. Others might not put quite the same emphasis on it.

Guys, we are kinda hijacking this thread, so If you wan to discuss it, we might want to take this else where.

Dan, since meeting up with Mike Sigman, I have been trying to incorporate what he tried to convey to us, I think it is more a limitation of my own and maybe not of the concepts. My premise still stands though when you consider the amount of time you have to devote to training and what you will spend time doing.

FWIW, I am going to spend next weekend with Rob John and Aukzawa, so at least my actions should tell you a little about how a value it personally.

Anyway, I don't mean to ignore anyone, but I'd rather discuss this in another thread so I am going to end my responses here since this is not the intent of this thread.

Aikibu
05-26-2008, 01:59 AM
Kevin is Army. I was Navy, an aviator, and had Marine training. I will speak from my experience and it may not differ that much from Kevin's. There is a vast universe of difference between relaxation in the face of threat arrived at THROUGH the initial tension and, frankly, abject terror, and that arrived at through exhortation to simply "relax" in the face of threat.

Flying close aboard to land on a pitching frigate deck with the superstructure making 15 foot excursions on a flight deck where you have about ten foot clearance on a fifty-eight foot rotor arc -- well, if you're not relaxed doing it you are swiftly dead, but if you began training without the godawful heeby-jeebies and your body tight as a string on a two dollar guitar you will not get through to the regime that you need to have to operate successfully.

Nice post Kevin...My entire Army Active/Reserve Career was in SOF and were it not for a very bad PLF I might have retired. LOL... and having been through a few hard "training" landings :D It's good to know the relaxation through focused training pradigm is universal...

Which maybe the reason I am still here. :)
I'd like to think based on my experiance that learning the OODA Loop has allot to do with getting through the inital heebie jeebies of any Martial Training and into the focused relaxation stage...

To summerize you can't really express Aikido techniques fully unless you learn how to act out of your center in a state of "relaxation."

William Hazen

Aikibu
05-26-2008, 02:16 AM
Well I don't know how a single question (asked twice, then answered) equals "all this talk about..."
I referenced what I have read and what I have been told personally by guys recently out of spec ops, along with some guys who train with Vlad and Michael, I asked Kevin how he thinks his model would compare to their training model involving extensive relaxation in motion. Oh well.

The rest, William, was addressing an idea often expressed by Kevin over the years that somehow relaxation in internal training, was static, stagnant and could not by used in grappling/Judo/ BJJ or any live environment. It's all here in many, many threads and posts. When I saw the same thought come to light again in this thread regarding relaxation and a failure to be able to move well, it piqued my interest. I can understand a lack in understanding of real power and speed in relaxation and structure from the people he regularly trains with, but I thought he would see something more from his new pursuits. Especially since he has trained with Ark and Mike.. I guess not.
Time and different levels of experience on both sides have formed opinions. It's just an old debate not worth pursuing any longer. I'd just as soon thank Kevin for his service and be done with it.
I'm out.

I get you Dan...and I did not mean to hurt your feelings.

My Apologies.

William Hazen

Guilty Spark
05-26-2008, 04:06 AM
My problem is not that some people choose to not train for effectiveness, but that those same people are usually the most vocal about how their stuff is the best for self defense.



This is my biggest point of contention with bitches about aikido.

98% of the people saying OH aikido is Teh deadly AREN'T people who practice aikido, but other martial artists trying to ridicule aikido.

Few and far between are the people who I've seen who promote un realistic training yet claim it to be the best self defense ever.

No the people who mention aikido and best "self defense ever" are people trying to make fun of it or giving bullshit examples of "some guy" who they met at the gym who claimed you can stop time with aikido.
Maybe whitebelts with a couple of hours of matt time who have read too many space books. Either way people are basing their opinions on stupid comments made by people talking out of their ass.

Kevin Leavitt
05-26-2008, 04:42 AM
effectiveness is a wide topic! what is it? I'd tend to agree with Mary on this one, is aikido about more than fighting? How do you transcend it?

Stefan Stenudd
05-26-2008, 06:29 AM
I'd tend to agree with Mary on this one, is aikido about more than fighting? How do you transcend it?
I agree, as well, on those important qustions.
To me, aikido is primarily something for the dojo. The aikido that works in the dojo is the aikido that works.
And it has its multiple rewards: peace of mind, some healthy exercising, artistic inspiration, training on finding the win-win situation, and on, and on. All of it is applicable to life outside the dojo. Of course, self-defense, too. But that's just a tiny part of it.
If I allow myself to focus too much on self-defense aspects, I risk losing most of the other benefits. And practice gets kind of boring.

philippe willaume
05-27-2008, 07:07 AM
I agree, as well, on those important qustions.
To me, aikido is primarily something for the dojo. The aikido that works in the dojo is the aikido that works.
And it has its multiple rewards: peace of mind, some healthy exercising, artistic inspiration, training on finding the win-win situation, and on, and on. All of it is applicable to life outside the dojo. Of course, self-defense, too. But that's just a tiny part of it.
If I allow myself to focus too much on self-defense aspects, I risk losing most of the other benefits. And practice gets kind of boring.

Kev& steph is that not more a matter of from over function?

I mean I have practice a few martial arts when I was young fit and beautiful, and apart the few perineums here and there. The practice usually makes us “better” man and usually martial arts exponent tend to be less prone to usage of violence, regardless of the arts. (The exception being the few perineums mentions earlier).

For me to reap the benefits of a martial arts and aikido is a martial arts, you do need to practice it as a martial arts. You can not say you have transcended piano playing just by using the black notes, having disregarded the white ones because it distract you from using the black.
That goes as well for fluffy bunny aikido. For all the softer style of aikido I have seem there is always something of martial significance in them. (Where its is acknowledged by them or other is a totally different story). In fact most of the time I find it useful because that softness usually come from with the exposition of every component of the technique, which can only improve the martial aspect of the said technique

Sure there is a component of self defence in aikido as any martial arts is based a bout defeating one or several opponents whilst not being critically wounded or disabled.
But that itself is only one part of self defence.

There is as much beauty and inspiration is a technique delivered when you are winning from start to begin. (ie you partner/opponent is totally at your mercy) as there is in one

If by win-win you mean that tori and nague get benefits from a given technique, but this is the point of training.
The point of a martial art is that we win and the opposition loose.

The beauty of aikido is that the win can take the from we like from not being there to as much as damage as we possibly can pass by a pin.

The point I am trying to make is that Mary example could be explained using horse riding in the role of aikido. This is precisely the way to deal with strong willed mare. (that, carrots and sugar, a walking the said mare in head collar). You can not afford to let he get to you and your will need to prevail.

Horse riding, aikido, other martial arts, can be used in everyday life and by such transcended, however for that to happen the purpose of horse riding does not need to be any thing else than riding a horse.
phil

Peter Goldsbury
05-27-2008, 08:51 AM
I am currently finishing the next column for my Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation series and I had occasion to translate a substantial section of Hideo Takahashi's Takemusu Aiki. Up to now, the only available parts in English have been the few sections that have appeared in Stanley Pranin's AJ magazine & columns, which formed the basis of Ellis Amdur's Three Peaches and Hidden in Plain Sight essays.

One of the issues for my next TIE column is Ueshiba's contribution to the military prowess of the Japanese Imperial army & navy and there is good evidence that this was very impressive. The section of Takahashi's book that I have focused upon appears in Part 4 of Stan's summaries of Kisshomaru Ueshiba's biography.

The section deals with a mystical experience that O Sensei had in December 1940, two years before he escaped to Iwama, and at a time when he was playing a huge role in the activities of Japan's military government. Much has been made of the Golden Body episode that occurred much earlier, but the 1940 mystical experience is rarely mentioned. In this account, Ueshiba contrasts his knowledge previous to 1940 with the requirements enjoined by the vision. The account of the vision was couched in Oomoto terms and involved his own possession by the guardian deities of aikido. At one point Ueshiba states that he became (= was possessed by) Izanagi-no-mikoto, who played a pivotal role (literally) in creating the world (= Japan). (This was the era of ubuya = birth huts etc). But he had a truly awesome training regime.

The angst caused by his doubts about the authenticity of the vision supposedly caused an illness that lasted one year. I suspect that part of the angst was caused by the need to square the vision he experienced in 1940 with his pivotal role in the Japanese military before and afterwards. Note that the Budo manual was produced in 1938 and consisted of simple effective techniques that Ueshiba considered would have been effective for Japanese soldiers to kill the enemy in the field of battle.

As a result of the vision, Ueshiba explains his method of ascetic training to his audience in the Byakou Shinkoukai and mentions in passing just how wrong the Japanese army was, in its general interpretation of keiko. He resorts to mysterious kanji but basically argues that the military methods focused only on the body and not on the spirit, as he himself conceived this. If they had focused on the spirit, they would have realized that aikido was truly a divine work, dedicated to unifying the entire universe.

The relevant discourse in Hideo Takahashi's book is clearly a reflection made after the events. Ueshiba mentions the effects of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings and he obviously could not have made these remarks in 1940. However, the section is a sustained meditation on the essential divine aspects of training, as he saw it, and how the Japanese military largely missed all these aspects. The message appears to be that killing people does not figure at all in aikido, even for the military (though this is not explicitly stated).

Ueshiba came to this realization when he was closely involved with the Japanese military and as a result of sustained reflection on his training before 1940. He does not state whether there is an essential connection between the realization and his own military experience. Actually, since he believed he was an avatar, I suspect not.

Given the content of this thread, I thought that I should point out that Morihei Ueshiba's own thinking about the issue is by no means as clear as the title of the thread would lead us to believe.

Best wishes to all,

DH
05-27-2008, 11:05 AM
Given the content of this thread, I thought that I should point out that Morihei Ueshiba's own thinking about the issue is by no means as clear as the title of the thread would lead us to believe.

Best wishes to all,

I wonder how many Aikido folks are either incapable or uninterested in actually doing Ueshiba's Aikido. I wonder, of those, how many are uninterested BECAUSE they're unable? In other words of those who wanted to, but couldn't figure it out-how many decided to "opt out" of the martial veracity (that leads to actual controlling of an attacker) all together due to their own personal failings.
I wonder how many, if they were handed the true power of aiki and all the power and skills it conveys, would be so willing to put it down, and go back to what they were doing?
My guess is...not a single one of them would do that.

How much argument is through true lack of understanding, and how much is just passive/aggressive posturing due to a lack of real skill?
It's rhetorical of course, but I think we would find many folks in those categories.

Erick Mead
05-27-2008, 12:30 PM
I wonder how many Aikido folks are either incapable or uninterested in actually doing Ueshiba's Aikido. I wonder, of those, how many are uninterested BECAUSE they're unable? In other words of those who wanted to, but couldn't figure it out-how many decided to "opt out" of the martial veracity (that leads to actual controlling of an attacker) all together due to their own personal failings.
I wonder how many, if they were handed the true power of aiki and all the power and skills it conveys, would be so willing to put it down, and go back to what they were doing?
My guess is...not a single one of them would do that.

How much argument is through true lack of understanding, and how much is just passive/aggressive posturing due to a lack of real skill?
It's rhetorical of course, but I think we would find many folks in those categories.I wonder if you've read what traits constitute passive aggressive behavior? A few of them, according to Dr. Wetzler, include:

* Ambiguity
* Blaming others
* Complaining
* Does not express hostility or anger openly - (e.g., expresses it instead by leaving notes)
* Fear of authority
* Fear of dependency
* Fosters chaos
* Resentment
* Resists suggestions from others
* Sarcasm
* Stubbornness
* Sullenness
* Willful withholding of understanding

Aikibu
05-27-2008, 12:41 PM
I wonder how many Aikido folks are either incapable or uninterested in actually doing Ueshiba's Aikido. I wonder, of those, how many are uninterested BECAUSE they're unable? In other words of those who wanted to, but couldn't figure it out-how many decided to "opt out" of the martial veracity (that leads to actual controlling of an attacker) all together due to their own personal failings.
I wonder how many, if they were handed the true power of aiki and all the power and skills it conveys, would be so willing to put it down, and go back to what they were doing?
My guess is...not a single one of them would do that.

How much argument is through true lack of understanding, and how much is just passive/aggressive posturing due to a lack of real skill?
It's rhetorical of course, but I think we would find many folks in those categories.

The Pot calling the kettle black? Really Dan I don't doubt your skills but talk about passive agressive posturing? LOL

What good is the true power of Aiki if all one does is beat oneself on the chest because they are "right" and most everyone else is "wrong"

Most Aikidoka are concerned with cultivating the "True Spirit of Aikido" Most have different interpretations on what Ushiba meant by that.

Can one have Aiki Spirit without Aiki Power? Yup

Will Having an Aiki Spirit make the Aikidoka a better human being? Yup

Can one cultivate an Aiki Spirit without developing Aiki Power? Yup

So One has Nuclear Weapons...The other sticks and rocks...What keeps one from using Nuclear Weapons to harm those without?

Technique?

Breathing?

Solo Practice?

Knowing that most "understand nothing?"

I humbly submit that unless one cultivates thier spirit in any Martial Arts practice (Which by the way is the goal of most ALL Asian Martial Arts) that they will become forever lost in the power of thier technique and will never see the meaning behind why they practice and what they do....

We BTDT's have a name for that....Blackbelt Disease

William Hazen

Erick Mead
05-27-2008, 12:54 PM
I am currently finishing the next column for my Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation series and I had occasion to translate a substantial section of Hideo Takahashi's Takemusu Aiki. ... Ueshiba's contribution to the military prowess of the Japanese Imperial army & navy and there is good evidence that this was very impressive. ... a mystical experience that O Sensei had in December 1940, two years before he escaped to Iwama, and at a time when he was playing a huge role in the activities of Japan's military government.

The angst caused by his doubts about the authenticity of the vision supposedly caused an illness that lasted one year. I suspect that part of the angst was caused by the need to square the vision he experienced in 1940 with his pivotal role in the Japanese military before and afterwards. Note that the Budo manual was produced in 1938 and consisted of simple effective techniques that Ueshiba considered would have been effective for Japanese soldiers to kill the enemy in the field of battle.

Ob. Prof. Goldsbury's point -- There are two competing memes at this time on the Pre-War Post-War dichotomy -- O Sensei as a political naif, whose experience with the more calculating and politically aggressive nationalist factions reached an an irreconcilable collision before the War was widened to include the United States.

The other meme is that O Sensei was a committed nationalist and pragmatist who changed his stripes after the war when the winds began blowing the other way.

I find it interesting that his political disaffections track the former more than the latter. In July 1940, Adm. Yonai (by some accounts, the Emperor's choice) lost the premiership and the pro-Axis faction began gaining the upper hand throughout Konoe's government, suppressing the peace faction, progressively eliminating the pro-U.S. politicians like Yonai, and, despite Konoe's personal diplomacy, following the stunning personal intervention by suggestion of the Emperor himself to make a last effort to avoid war (reacting perhaps to the loss of his choice of premier in Yonai), culminated in the October deadline passing without agreement and the Pearl Harbor expedition and War with the U.S. following.

I also find it interesting that the two claims of religious revelations are joined by a long period fo claimed illness in the year bridging the 1940 and the 1942 visions. A claim of illness and of newly enlightened religious fervor are both acceptable postures by which to resolve a serious honne/tatemae conflict, and the coincidence of both here, bookended, is simply not credibly portrayed as anything else in context.

At the same time the Kobukan dojo which had operated fine without official recognition for ten years was formally incorporated under the regulatory authority of the Health ministry in April 1940, which turns out to have been a preparatory action to its amalgamation of all the martial arts into the increasingly fascistic and state-run Butokukai in 1941. These represented a progressive loss of personal control over the art, and the departure of some of his key students into military service made it difficult to avoid. The retreat to Iwama at the behest of his third vision in 1942 is consistent with this increased disaffection with the direction others were going with budo in general; and with his budo in particular.

DH
05-27-2008, 02:26 PM
The Pot calling the kettle black? Really Dan I don't doubt your skills but talk about passive aggressive posturing? LOL. What good is the true power of Aiki if all one does is beat oneself on the chest because they are "right" and most everyone else is "wrong"
William
There was no passive/aggressive intent on my end. I am at work. Let me wrap my head around what I am trying to say and see if I can make it more clear later. It’s really not a value judgment as it is all correct. No one is wrong. At least in the sense that they have picked and chose what they wanted to do. I was talking about what would happen if the more passive group was given real aiki, and how it would or could change them and their expression of the art.
It isn't a question of you or I. It's a question of what Uehsiba was doing, which as Peter pointed out was by no means as simplistic as "Fight does not work in aikido" would suggest.
You read a host of people trying to make their aikido more martially effective and sound. Some do it by adding external attributes and waza, such a judo or more aggressive approaches. Others state that they aren't interested in martial attributes that much, some not at all.
So again, I wonder, how many were they to learn and feel the power available would opt for that as the core of what there new “Aikido with AIKI” would be. It wouldn’t look or feel like what they currently doing and their power would go way up. Would it change their view of both Ueshiba, and their own art.
I don't think it’s a belief without substance. I think it's a belief with substance. Which is why I am a fan of the man, not what has become of his art. Were folks to be enabled to experience and have power to really stop and handle much higher levels of aggression with much more ease and joy, I think it would actually change them-in all the ways outlined in many posts. However it would change them by enabling them to exhibit aiki and do aiki.

Most Aikidoka are concerned with cultivating the "True Spirit of Aikido" Most have different interpretations on what Ushiba meant by that.

Can one have Aiki Spirit without Aiki Power? Yup

Nope
We hold a different view of what aiki really is. I don't see blending and giving ground as aiki. I see it as power to kill, but to make peace. Unless your body is imbued with that power, you wont transcend to a place where you can see through its use to maim or its use to make peace. It's all cheap talk. I think fighters of many different disciplines, (not just aikido) have a clearer understanding of just what that means than those who always shy away from higher levels of confrontations. The peace it can bring comes from the power it holds and the peace it brings to you.

Will Having an Aiki Spirit make the Aikidoka a better human being? Yup
Again, looking at where Ueshiba came from and what he enjoyed doing and exhibiting was?....
Power
Any answer is meaningless without common understanding. Staring at someone through their center and more or less sending good or neutralizing thoughts their way is not something-it seems-Ueshiba was saying, nor doing

I humbly submit that unless one cultivates their spirit in any Martial Arts practice (Which by the way is the goal of most ALL Asian Martial Arts) that they will become forever lost in the power of their technique and will never see the meaning behind why they practice and what they do....

William Hazen
And cultivating what Aiki-do was and is meant to be is the cultivation I am talking about. Not pacifism without strength. Once someone understand AIki -"Giving in to get your way" takes on a different meaning.

Aikibu
05-27-2008, 03:06 PM
William
There was no passive/aggressive intent on my end. I am at work. Let me wrap my head around what I am trying to say and see if I can make it more clear later. It’s really not a value judgment as it is all correct. No one is wrong. At least in the sense that they have picked and chose what they wanted to do. I was talking about what would happen if the more passive group was given real aiki, and how it would or could change them and their expression of the art.
It isn't a question of you or I. It's a question of what Uehsiba was doing, which as Peter pointed out was by no means as simplistic as "Fight does not work in aikido" would suggest.
You read a host of people trying to make their aikido more martially effective and sound. Some do it by adding external attributes and waza, such a judo or more aggressive approaches. Others state that they aren't interested in martial attributes that much, some not at all.
So again, I wonder, how many were they to learn and feel the power available would opt for that as the core of what there new “Aikido with AIKI” would be. It wouldn’t look or feel like what they currently doing and their power would go way up. Would it change their view of both Ueshiba, and their own art.
I don't think it’s a belief without substance. I think it's a belief with substance. Which is why I am a fan of the man, not what has become of his art. Were folks to be enabled to experience and have power to really stop and handle much higher levels of aggression with much more ease and joy, I think it would actually change them-in all the ways outlined in many posts. However it would change them by enabling them to exhibit aiki and do aiki.

I understand what you're trying to convey I think. I just suggest you work on your articulation of Aiki. For the record I never wanted to emulate Usihiba's Aikido I much prefer Shoji Nishio Shihan's interpretation of it. It's a much more technically improved version of it grounded in Budo That may be hard for some in the Aikido world to accept but those folks just need to jump out of the box they have constructed around Aikido. The cultivation of Aiki Power/Spirit in my experiance can be done through other means than Martial ones...So I am not sure why you think it's neccesary to link power with martial intent and deride the power of non-martial techniques like Pacifism


Nope
We hold a different view of what aiki really is. I don't see blending and giving ground as aiki. I see it as power to kill, but to make peace. Unless your body is imbued with that power, you wont transcend to a place where you can see through its use to maim or its use to make peace. It's all cheap talk. I think fighters of many different disciplines, (not just aikido) have a clearer understanding of just what that means than those who always shy away from higher levels of confrontations. The peace it can bring comes from the power it holds and the peace it brings to you.

Again your preaching to the choir Dan. I understand what your saying and we just have different flavors of the same ice cream is all. The caveat to this kind of power was best stated by Lord Acton "Power corrupts and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely." The DR Master that Ushiba learned from only saw the power of destruction in Aiki and as Eric Mead and Professor Goldsbury both infer O'Sensei saw the folly of this...Maybe I am missing something but this general caveat about Aiki Power is no where in your recent posts.

Again, looking at where Ueshiba came from and what he enjoyed doing and exhibiting was?....
Power
Any answer is meaningless without common understanding. Staring at someone through their center and more or less sending good or neutralizing thoughts their way is not something-it seems-Ueshiba was saying, nor doing I did not mean to suggest that either Dan what I meant was one can develop Aiki Spirit without Aiki Power...Indeed Millions of Chinese practice Tai Chi everyday...How many would you venture to guess develop that kind of power? Millions of us sit Zazen everyday. Do I sound enlightened to you. LOL :D I humbly submit to you however that sitting may have made me a better person...LOL

The Car is only a Vehicle for the journey...

And cultivating what Aiki-do was and is meant to be is the cultivation I am talking about. Not pacifism without strength. Once someone understand AIki -"Giving in to get your way" takes on a different meaning.

No the meaning is the same in my view it's just expressed along the 3 axis's of the human experiance Physical, Ego, and Spiritual. It is possible to cultivate one two or all three using only the physical However it is alos possible to express Aiki without mastering all three too (one LIFTOFF!!! lol)

William Hazen

Blake Holtzen
05-28-2008, 04:23 AM
***Please hold for a momentary thread hijack***

Does anyone know why Dan never responds to my emails.
It really makes it hard to communicate... :(

***Please continue with your regularly scheduled thread***

Take Care

-Blake

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2008, 08:39 AM
Hi Blake,
Dan is hard to get, he's a busy man.

In other words, get in line! :D No, really, I just think he's really swamped is all.

Best,
Ron

Demetrio Cereijo
05-28-2008, 10:06 AM
The caveat to this kind of power was best stated by Lord Acton "Power corrupts and Absolute Power corrupts absolutely."

With great power comes great responsibility.

Aikibu
05-28-2008, 11:14 AM
With great power comes great responsibility.

And in a nutshell.. this describes Budo. :)

Thanks DC

William Hazen

Rick Berry
05-28-2008, 12:50 PM
Who's right, who's wrong, who cares? Why must contention come into conversation rather than reason and thoughtfulness? I simply leave you with this thought to ponder: There is a Rosicrucian saying that's almost as old as time. Those who know don't say; those who say don't know.

MM
05-28-2008, 01:07 PM
Who's right, who's wrong, who cares? Why must contention come into conversation rather than reason and thoughtfulness? I simply leave you with this thought to ponder: There is a Rosicrucian saying that's almost as old as time. Those who know don't say; those who say don't know.

First, there is right and there is wrong. Sometimes, you get shades of grey. But, in the strictest sense, you are either one or the other. Step outside on a sunny, cloudless day and tell someone that the sky is neon orange, full of clouds with bright yellow spots floating around them. Good luck with that.

Or how about you tell your budo teacher who cares if he's/she's right or wrong in teaching you his/her martial art. There are quite a few people who have been led down the wrong path in the martial arts and when they found out about it, they weren't very happy.

Second, contention comes into play because people are too stupid to realize that they're arguing from very marshy, sandy ground and while they're sinking rapidly, they're still yelling that everything around them is just fine. When, all they'd have to do is step away from the quicksand and onto more solid ground to get a look at other things out there, instead of trying to convince people that their world is really great. Reason? Thoughtfulness? Or emotional touchy feely drivel? (And for those of you who like to jump the gun, no, this is not directed towards the OP or anyone in particular. It's a generalization like the rest of the post.)

Third, it seems like a silly quote, wouldn't you say? I mean, it pretty much takes out all teachers worldwide. Rather than having great teachers who are passing on information, according to that quote, those teachers would be silent. And the ones actually "teaching" would be clueless. Would you tell *your* teacher that quote? And in essence, label him/her as someone who doesn't know? Beyond that, if everyone who did know, didn't say, then all that knowledge would have died with them. So, we wouldn't have all that koryu history, would we? Kind of hard to put a lot of stock into a saying that really doesn't apply to most of the world, wouldn't you say?

Mark

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2008, 01:11 PM
Kind of hard to put a lot of stock into a saying that really doesn't apply to most of the world, wouldn't you say?

Yeah, but it's quick, and it's snappy, so what the hell!?!? Have at it! :D

Best,
Ron

MM
05-28-2008, 01:18 PM
Yeah, but it's quick, and it's snappy, so what the hell!?!? Have at it! :D

Best,
Ron

Well, what do I know? LOL! I'm saying, so according to the saying, I don't know. Does that mean I'm saying I don't know? Or I don't know what I'm saying? :freaky: :confused:

mikebalko
05-28-2008, 01:32 PM
I understand what you're trying to convey I think. I just suggest you work on your articulation of Aiki. For the record I never wanted to emulate Usihiba's Aikido I much prefer Shoji Nishio Shihan's interpretation of it. It's a much more technically improved version of it grounded in Budo

I know aikido students love to tell tall tales about the exploits of the master they chose. When did Nishio ever win a challenge match against a sumo champion, or a judo champion? Better yet, in his time he should have been able to effortlessly toy with a UFC heavyweight champion! When did he defeat a iaido master with a live blade while he was empty handed or allow a firing squad to shoot live ammo at him? Hell, when did he even tell a group of regular guys to attack him in any way they wanted so he could prove what you call his technically improved version in a context other than having his own students "attack" with something other than a telegraphed shomen uchi? I know, I know, he could have done all that easilly but it would have been against the "aikido spirit" you speak of. Ueshiba was only able to do these things because of superior technique, not speed or strength from "air rowing", deep breathing or prayer!
Your comment is the perfect example of what the other poster was talking about. You never wanted to emulate the founder because you never witnessed these things because nobody was alive who could do them right in front of you so you probably think that they are myths and impossible for your teacher, you, or anybody else to do so you "don't want to do be able to them"! I bet that Nishio himself would disagree (or would have disagreed? I can't keep track of which of the old timers are even still alive) with your statement himself.

Misogi-no-Gyo
05-28-2008, 01:59 PM
There is a Rosicrucian saying that's almost as old as time. Those who know don't say; those who say don't know.

Oh, the irony... is that saying ever self-invalidating and a clear oxymoron. I do believe that was redundant. So much for Rosicrucian sayings...

.

Adman
05-28-2008, 02:15 PM
Ueshiba was only able to do these things because of superior technique, not speed or strength from "air rowing", deep breathing or prayer!
Yet, many are arguing the exact opposite.

Your comment is the perfect example of what the other poster was talking about.

I think you've misinterpreted both William's and "the other poster's" comments.

Adam

Aikibu
05-28-2008, 02:34 PM
I know aikido students love to tell tall tales about the exploits of the master they chose. When did Nishio ever win a challenge match against a sumo champion, or a judo champion? Better yet, in his time he should have been able to effortlessly toy with a UFC heavyweight champion! When did he defeat a iaido master with a live blade while he was empty handed or allow a firing squad to shoot live ammo at him? Hell, when did he even tell a group of regular guys to attack him in any way they wanted so he could prove what you call his technically improved version in a context other than having his own students "attack" with something other than a telegraphed shomen uchi? I know, I know, he could have done all that easilly but it would have been against the "aikido spirit" you speak of. Ueshiba was only able to do these things because of superior technique, not speed or strength from "air rowing", deep breathing or prayer!
Your comment is the perfect example of what the other poster was talking about. You never wanted to emulate the founder because you never witnessed these things because nobody was alive who could do them right in front of you so you probably think that they are myths and impossible for your teacher, you, or anybody else to do so you "don't want to do be able to them"! I bet that Nishio himself would disagree (or would have disagreed? I can't keep track of which of the old timers are even still alive) with your statement himself.

How I can comment on this post except to say you seem to have absolutely no clue what you're writing about except to illustrate that this post is a text book example of Argumentum Ad Authoritum...

You want the reader to assume you are writing from a position of experiance and expertise... However the only thing your post shows is that you do not have any factual basis in either Aikido History, O'Sensei relationship with Shoji Nishio, or relevent experiance in the subject matter being discussed...

There is plenty of background information out there for you to research in order for you to actually contribute to this discussion

All you need to do is jump out of the box....:)

William Hazen

Misogi-no-Gyo
05-28-2008, 02:40 PM
I know aikido students love to tell tall tales about the exploits of the master they chose. When did Nishio ever win a challenge match against a sumo champion, or a judo champion? Better yet, in his time he should have been able to effortlessly toy with a UFC heavyweight champion! When did he defeat a iaido master with a live blade while he was empty handed or allow a firing squad to shoot live ammo at him? Hell, when did he even tell a group of regular guys to attack him in any way they wanted so he could prove what you call his technically improved version in a context other than having his own students "attack" with something other than a telegraphed shomen uchi? I know, I know, he could have done all that easilly but it would have been against the "aikido spirit" you speak of.

Right... right... right... ...and? you maybe perfectly wrong, too. Not that I particularly agree or disagree with your statement, but the conclusion you seem to point to just isn't very logical.

I'm wondering if you ever met Nishio Sensei, yourself. When it came to the physical (read: martial) side of things, Nishio Sensei was, is and will always be very well respected.

Ueshiba was only able to do these things because of superior technique, not speed or strength from "air rowing", deep breathing or prayer!

Right... right... right... ah, wrong. Sorry, but if you had the opportunity to have asked O-Sensei, he would have said it was these very things you dismiss that made him the man and martial artist he was. Misogi-no-Gyo was the foundation upon which he built and transmitted his art to his close disciples. You can ask them, well any that are left who might respect you enough to tell you.

Your comment is the perfect example of what the other poster was talking about. You never wanted to emulate the founder because you never witnessed these things because nobody was alive who could do them right in front of you so you probably think that they are myths and impossible for your teacher, you, or anybody else to do so you "don't want to do be able to them"! I bet that Nishio himself would disagree (or would have disagreed? I can't keep track of which of the old timers are even still alive) with your statement himself.

I met Will Hazen when he came to an Aikido class I was teaching back in the mid-nineties. He was respectful enough, and he made the point then he still makes today. That being that he chose to seek and follow his own teacher, Nishio Sensei and the martial arts at which he was the center. While I am known not to agree that Aikido off the main line is the Aikido of the Founder, that is very much the point of starting something (somewhat) different. Sounds like Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Shodokan, Shin-Shin Toitsu, ...etc. to me, only that from what I remember, Nishio Sensei remained aligned with the Aiki-kai. Let's remember, O-Sensei, himself did the same thing to some degree when he chose to create Aikido as a martial art form separate from and different than Daito-Ryu. Now, that tiny, little aspect of my point may fall on the deaf ears of Rob, Mike, Dan and others who seem to get a lot of attention for their opinions on O-Sensei's Aikido, but you can't simply dismiss Nishio Sensei because he chose to forge his own path, nor Mr. Hazen for following his very capable teacher. Can you? Then again, you are from Canada, aren't you?

...just for the record, who is your Sensei, by the way?

.

Aikibu
05-28-2008, 03:16 PM
Right... right... right... ...and? you maybe perfectly wrong, too. Not that I particularly agree or disagree with your statement, but the conclusion you seem to point to just isn't very logical.

I'm wondering if you ever met Nishio Sensei, yourself. When it came to the physical (read: martial) side of things, Nishio Sensei was, is and will always be very well respected.

Right... right... right... ah, wrong. Sorry, but if you had the opportunity to have asked O-Sensei, he would have said it was these very things you dismiss that made him the man and martial artist he was. Misogi-no-Gyo was the foundation upon which he built and transmitted his art to his close disciples. You can ask them, well any that are left who might respect you enough to tell you.

only that from what I remember, Nishio Sensei remained aligned with the Aiki-kai. Let's remember, O-Sensei, himself did the same thing to some degree when he chose to create Aikido as a martial art form separate from and different than Daito-Ryu. Now, that tiny, little aspect of my point may fall on the deaf ears of Rob, Mike, Dan and others who seem to get a lot of attention for their opinions on O-Sensei's Aikido, but you can't simply dismiss Nishio Sensei because he chose to forge his own path, nor Mr. Hazen for following his very capable teacher. Can you? Then again, you are from Canada, aren't you?

...just for the record, who is your Sensei, by the way?

.

Thanks Shaun...FYI Nishio Shihan started his expression of Aikido and Iaido with the "permission/blessing" of O'Sensei which is part of the reason why we are still affiliated with the Aikikai and his form of Iaido has been recognized by the All Japan Iaido Federation. Also of note is the fact the Government of Japan awarded Shoji Nishio one of it highest civilian honors for his development of Budo before he passed away in March of 2005.

William Hazen

mikebalko
05-30-2008, 03:14 AM
Adam, most people who think that they are doing aikido are completely delusional and in denial as the responses to my post prove. That is what I thought, nobody can address any of the points I made.
Will, thanks for letting me know what my post was a classic example of professor. My knowledge of aikido history comes from reading interviews on Aikido Journal, seeing as how none of the shihan or instructors I have trained with ever bothered to mention a single thing about it. Ueshiba's relationship with Nishio is irrelevant to the subject being discussed. Unlike the vast majority of aikido people I have come across, my "experience and expertise" comes in the form of letting anyone attack me in any way they choose and by testing so-called experts by attacking them in any way I chose WITH advanced warning and their consent of course. I'm nobody and nothing much, yet very few instructors and zero shihan accepted even though many claimed that aikido made it possible to deal with any attack without hurting the attacker, so I guess their concern for my safety wasn't the reason for refusing my humble request. Strangely enough by adopting this training method that they refused to I was able to figure out when a pure aikido lock and throw can realistically be applied, when it is impossible for anyone to succesfully complete one, and that it is impossible to deal with unskilled attacks without striking and injuring your attacker. This "aikido pacifism" that so many people talk about is not a choice you make as the defender but something that is only possible when attacked in ways that make landing an effective strike, breaking an arm or slamming your attacker into the ground impossible and easy to counter.This type of attack is recognizable as it occurs.
Where are the stories of Nishio's exploits Will? Provide one link to back up what you said about his technical superiority in comparison to the founder of the art. Give us one example of Nishio proving himself because I have already read an unhealthy amount of aikido books, articles, interviews and forum posts and I have never come across one.
Shaun, respected by who? Where are the martial artists outside of aikido who say that they were powerless against Nishio?
Apparently Ueshiba also said he learned swordsmanship from a little magic tengu goblin that came down from the mountains and that he was posessed by a deity so it must be true! Do you still believe in Santa Claus also, as illogical as that faiy tale is? Ueshiba was really big on telling his disciples that they could acquire skill by doing what he said and not by doing what he did. The examples of not doing "competitive" training with a resisting partner and not engaging in challenge matches come to mind.
It isn't a matter of shihan respecting me enough to tell me, it's a matter of them trying to figure it out themselves, patching it together as best they could and making it up as they go, they just don't know, they all admit they couldn't really understand Ueshiba's unintelligible gibberish, or duplicate anything he was doing so they didn't really have any choice. Should I respect them just because they took lessons from and were given rank from a powerful martial artist based on his personal relationship with and fondness for them, without them ever having really proven their understanding, skill and ability, often doing just the opposite in Ueshiba's presence and frequently receiving his criticism? The story about Tohei v.s. the wrestler comes to mind. Ueshiba still gave Tohei his blessing and permission to teach. In your opinion respecting shihan just for that would be much more logical? The real question is what can they really do that is so impressive that any martial artist should respect them? I didn't dismiss Nishio because he came up with "something new" (although in my opinion he didn't) I didn't dismiss him at all, I dismiss Will's claim that Nishio's "something new" was technically superior to the original. It might be, unfortunately there just isn't any evidence of that and there never will be since he's dead.
Very good, you recognized the canadian flag under my name, you just got a shiny new dan rank in the art of discrimination, whatever dan ranks are worth or proof of.
My sensei was 6th dan under Saotome, last I heard my ex sensei doesn't practice or teach aikido anymore, maybe because the average guy without any matial arts training of any kind could block or counter all of the techniques he attempted. If you didn't follow along and fall down when you were supposed to it degenerated into a clinch and wrestle. When Saotome came to do $eminar$ only our instructors were given the priviledge of "attacking" him. They were awesome at following along and taking dives for him! I never met Nishio but I did get to "attack" Yoshio Kuroiwa once. He was also "very well respected" with his little twig of a stick and attempts to show the nonexistent connection between boxing punches and aikido techniques. The result was the same as when I "attacked" my instructor except I guess Kuroiwa was too tiny, old, feeble and blind from his boxing career to trade punches anymore or to wrestle so he just gave up trying to apply his ikkyo. I guess that was proof of that "aikido spirit" Willy was talking about? It's funny, I keep reading about how effective Ueshiba's technique was when he was the same age which makes one wonder what exactly Kuroiwa was well respected for? Modifying Ueshiba's art to make it less effective?
Wow, "permission and blessing", how p.c., sounds like that legendary japanese passive aggressive diplomacy to me, too bad what the Aikikai teaches is nothing like what Ueshiba was doing as he stated himself in that quote I read when he said something about being on a path, looking back over his shoulder and seeing that nobody was following him. That was from John Steven's "hagiography" of Ueshiba though so I predict that some amateur historian will claim it is not a reliable source and Ueshiba never said that but from what I have seen and experienced it is accurate if all of the stories about Ueshiba's abilities are actually true and not some great publicity stunt.
Oh! I stand corrected! If the weak, civilian, americanized, lacky, puppet government put into power by the west that banned the practice of martial arts after WW2 gave Nishio an award he must have been totally bad azz! :rolleyes:

aikilouis
05-30-2008, 04:44 AM
One thing one has to grant to trolls, they rarely run out of breath. I'm sure it helps them a lot during practice.

Aikibu
05-30-2008, 09:19 AM
Wow... That was amazing....LOL

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
05-30-2008, 09:37 AM
Not that I particularly agree or disagree with your statement, but the conclusion you seem to point to just isn't very logical. I'm not in this other than as a reader (i.e., I'm not for or against Balko, Nishio, or anyone), but if his statement isn't logical, Shaun, would it be too much for you to explain where his logic is wrong? I'm wondering if you ever met Nishio Sensei, yourself. When it came to the physical (read: martial) side of things, Nishio Sensei was, is and will always be very well respected. Why does Balko have to have met Nishio for his questions to be valid? How did the topic get diverted to Balko personally? Right... right... right... ah, wrong. Sorry, but if you had the opportunity to have asked O-Sensei, he would have said it was these very things you dismiss that made him the man and martial artist he was. Misogi-no-Gyo was the foundation upon which he built and transmitted his art to his close disciples. You can ask them, well any that are left who might respect you enough to tell you. Shaun, how is it that you know what O-Sensei or any of his "close disciples" would have said in response to a question? Then again, you are from Canada, aren't you?

...just for the record, who is your Sensei, by the way?
There we go personally after Balko again. Frankly, I think some of Balko's points and questions should be factually rebutted, if possible, but what I'm pointing out is this typical diversion to personal attack that seems to come up pretty often for a "spiritual" sort of forum. ;)

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
05-30-2008, 09:57 AM
You know, I'm not _totally_ in disagreement with Mike B.

I follow his argument about Nishio not having the same reputation and therefor challenging any claim of passing Osensei. Fair point if you ask me. I wouldn't take it SO FAR to call someone who followed Nishio and believed that to be delusional.

But, delusion is a tough thing. If you are deluded you cannot know it (or you wouldn't be deluded!). I personally saw a 5th or 6th dan (don't know and don't care) of Saotome sensei remark that he was giving up aikido because no one but Saotome sensei could deal with his power. I then watched when he paired up with Gleason sensei at the seminar. He did some bizzare inverted shomen with the thumb leading. Gleason sensei bounced him pretty much by the face about three times each "attack". It was never escalated, and Gleason sensei just attacked and took ukemi when it was his turn. Later I heard that person stopped teaching aikido.

To Mike B's points more directly, I'll offer another story. I heard that Saotome sensei was actually a judo champ in Japan. He met Yamaguchi sensei and was apparently so impressed that he became his uchi deshi. At shodan, I believe Saotome sensei was introduced/given (I have no idea how this works) to Osensei to be his uchi deshi. I believe that "judo champ" must qualify as someone from another martial art being impressed with aikido skill - and of someone other than Osensei.

This quote I want to address becuase it just bugs me a bit:
Should I respect them just because they took lessons from and were given rank from a powerful martial artist based on his personal relationship with and fondness for them, without them ever having really proven their understanding, skill and ability, often doing just the opposite in Ueshiba's presence and frequently receiving his criticism? I understand the message here, but I would nit pick a bit and say that you should just respect them period, right or wrong, delusional or not. As to the intent of that message, I basically agree. (covering up for the on slaught :) )

In my case, I found people who could do things I couldn't do. I continue to find such people and I work hard. And Mike B, having felt much the same about things myself, I would offer you the advice that just bitching about not finding such people or being unwilling to play their games to learn in their preferred training methodologies isn't going to get you very far either.

If you want to feel aiki power in a no holds barred match, go visit Dan. I believe Aukuzawa is in DC this weekend - it's not too late to catch a flight.

If you want to experience things you probably cannot do in a more structured aikido class then go find Gleason sensei. I'll bet Ron and Mary who have been on this thread a bunch will also fall into that category and I'm sure there are many others.

If you just can't stand the idea of aikido class in any format (I'm sure Larry the shoto-thug would offer you a less structured opportunity if you approach him) - well - I don't want to speak for Mike Sigman but I'm sure he'd be willing to show you a few things you probably can't do outside of aikido class structure. I'm not sure if he'll offer you an out and out fight but he's online you can always ask him.

Rob

Aikibu
05-30-2008, 10:04 AM
I'm not in this other than as a reader (i.e., I'm not for or against Balko, Nishio, or anyone), but if his statement isn't logical, Shaun, would it be too much for you to explain where his logic is wrong? Why does Balko have to have met Nishio for his questions to be valid? How did the topic get diverted to Balko personally? Shaun, how is it that you know what O-Sensei or any of his "close disciples" would have said in response to a question? There we go personally after Balko again. Frankly, I think some of Balko's points and questions should be factually rebutted, if possible, but what I'm pointing out is this typical diversion to personal attack that seems to come up pretty often for a "spiritual" sort of forum. ;)

Mike Sigman

Wow this thread sure is going south fast but then again Why am I not surprised...

How is it you can parse this into an attack on one poster without applying the same 'observations" to the other?

Although some of Mr B observations of Aikido are legitimate and have been debated a 100 times here how is it you decided rather than addressing his points yourself and thus contributing to the thread you've decided to pick a side? You contradicted yourself Mike

I've met Shaun and I know him to be an insightful and thoughtful guy I have not met you, or Mr Balko so I can't say anything about the effectiveness of your respective arts. All I know is when challenged to back his "observations" with facts Mr Balko got his feelings hurt and decided not to rebut my observations with facts but by insulting both me, Shoji Nishio and the Japanese Government LOL

I am not sure you read Mr Balko's last post so I will stop here....

Oh well...It's another good day above ground...Time to go enjoy it. :)

William Hazen

rob_liberti
05-30-2008, 10:05 AM
To Shaun Raven's points - I have to say I find it completely plausable that his teacher learned some/all of the purification exercises from Osensei and that such training is incredibly valuable on many levels. Having not experienced them myself I cannot say much further on that subject.

Rob

Mike Sigman
05-30-2008, 10:17 AM
how is it you decided rather than addressing his points yourself and thus contributing to the thread you've decided to pick a side? You contradicted yourself Mike I didn't contradict myself, in any legitimate usage of the word. If you mean I didn't point out that every side had some personal stuff that was unnecessary, OK.... but that's my point. No one needs to get into personalities. But particularly not in the usual "let's gang up on him" style that gets tiresome.

I've met Shaun and I know him to be an insightful and thoughtful guy I have not met you, Nor have I met you... but dragging you personally into the conversation is exactly the sort of thing I was just pointing out. You guys can't seem to resist and then immediately end each post with some spiritual throwoff to show you're above the fray. :crazy:

My fault for even mentioning it.

Mike

Aikibu
05-30-2008, 10:30 AM
You know, I'm not _totally_ in disagreement with Mike B.

I follow his argument about Nishio not having the same reputation and therefor challenging any claim of passing Osensei. Fair point if you ask me. I wouldn't take it SO FAR to call someone who followed Nishio and believed that to be delusional.

But, delusion is a tough thing. If you are deluded you cannot know it (or you wouldn't be deluded!). I personally saw a 5th or 6th dan (don't know and don't care) of Saotome sensei remark that he was giving up aikido because no one but Saotome sensei could deal with his power. I then watched when he paired up with Gleason sensei at the seminar. He did some bizzare inverted shomen with the thumb leading. Gleason sensei bounced him pretty much by the face about three times each "attack". It was never escalated, and Gleason sensei just attacked and took ukemi when it was his turn. Later I head that person stopped teaching aikido.

To Mike B's points more directly, I'll offer another story. I heard that Saotome sensei was actually a judo champ in Japan. He met Yamaguchi sensei and was apparently so impressed that he became his uchi deshi. At shodan, I believe Saotome sensei was introduced/given (I have no idea how this works) to Osensei to be his uchi deshi. I believe that "judo champ" must qualify as someone from another martial art being impressed with aikido skill - and of someone other than Osensei.

This quote I want to address becuase it just bugs me a bit:
I understand the message here, but I would nit pick a bit and say that you should just respect them period, right or wrong, delusional or not. As to the intent of that message, I basically agree. (covering up for the on slaught :) )

In my case, I found people who could do things I couldn't do. I continue to find such people and I work hard. And Mike B, having felt much the same about things myself, I would offer you the advice that just bitching about not finding such people or being unwilling to play their games to learn in their preferred training methodologies isn't going to get you very far either.

If you want to feel aiki power in a no holds barred match, go visit Dan. I believe Aukuzawa is in DC this weekend - it's not too late to catch a flight.

If you want to experience things you probably cannot do in a more structured aikido class then go find Gleason sensei. I'll bet Ron and Mary who have been on this thread a bunch will also fall into that category and I'm sure there are many others.

If you just can't stand the idea of aikido class in any format (I'm sure Larry the shoto-thug would offer you a less structured opportunity if you approach him) - well - I don't want to speak for Mike Sigman but I'm sure he'd be willing to show you a few things you probably can't do outside of aikido class structure. I'm not sure if he'll offer you an out and out fight but he's online you can always ask him.

Rob

Man just as I was about to go surf...LOL Rob I love this post which by the way mirrors my feelings about all Martial Arts and Artists.

As I have said a hundred times before...How did I come to practice Shoji Nishio's Aikido? Simple criteria really I just went to a bunch of Dojo's here in Southern California to see if I could kick the instructors ass... I went to dozens of places and got really frustrated because I did not experiance Aikido as a Martial Art only Aikido the feel good philosophy...What good is Aikido if it's not practiced as a Martial Art???

I called up Susan Perry of the old Aikido Today Magazine directly and asked her if she knew of anyone here I might like to practice with. I explained my background history in Karate,Judo and Combatives...She gave me Masa Tazaki's number and also mentioned Larry Reynosa along Hiru (spelling) Matsouoka both of them Seagal Yudansha's...

I called up Masa and found he was the Senior Student of someone called Shoji Nishio who was (and still is not) not widely known in the US. Masa is old school...He said he did not want to waste his time with me LOL and introduced me to Mike Fowler who is still my current Sensei. To make a long story short I found what I was looking for...That is my personal experiance....

So folks can harp all they want about Aikido's ineffectiveness but anyone who has been to an Aiki-Expo and seen some of the best practicioners knows that there is some really excellent Aikido out there and that it is very effective as a Martial Art and it's not just Nishio Ryu either...

Hopefully Stan Pranin or someone like him will put together another Aiki-Expo and we can all show up and learn from each other and folks like Balko can see Aikidoka who actually walk the walk....

Good Aikido is out there so stop whining and find it...LOL

William Hazen

Aikibu
05-30-2008, 10:41 AM
I didn't contradict myself, in any legitimate usage of the word. If you mean I didn't point out that every side had some personal stuff that was unnecessary, OK.... but that's my point. No one needs to get into personalities. But particularly not in the usual "let's gang up on him" style that gets tiresome.

Did you ask yourself why some folks appeared to "gang up" on him??? Instead... How about supporting his arguments with your own point of view?

Nor have I met you... but dragging you personally into the conversation is exactly the sort of thing I was just pointing out. You guys can't seem to resist and then immediately end each post with some spiritual throwoff to show you're above the fray. :crazy:

"Above the fray" ??? Of course you don't know me Mike LOL Anyone who knows me knows I love to get in there and mix it up LOL Heck I COULD BE SURFING RIGHT NOW!!! LOL I just asked the guy to explain himself with some actual factual information is all... Instead of just assuming we knew he was an "expert" I think he did an excellent job after some prompting. LOL :D

My fault for even mentioning it.

Mike

No apology needed really...

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
05-30-2008, 10:50 AM
Did you ask yourself why some folks appeared to "gang up" on him???
Sure I did. Some were Nishio guys playing "my style".

LOL (but in a spiritual way... I'm above all this earthly stuff)

;)

Mike

gdandscompserv
05-30-2008, 12:43 PM
No one needs to get into personalities.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=170543&postcount=2;)

Aikibu
05-30-2008, 12:45 PM
Sure I did. Some were Nishio guys playing "my style".

LOL (but in a spiritual way... I'm above all this earthly stuff)

;)

Mike
I am honored you wish to emulate me. :)

William Hazen

mdsmith
06-02-2008, 05:47 AM
Hello. I'm new to the forum, and don't want to ruffle anyone's feather's, but I thought I'd give my 2 cents here. I agree with you about all of the joy and benifits of aikido that don't involve fighting, but you still can't avoid the fact that aikido is a martial art. Since one of the main purposes of a matial art is to provide a way to defend yourself, it seem logical to expect the techniques that you're learning in class to be practical. I feel that an aikido dojo should be able to offer both the practical and the spiritual side of the art. I'm lucky enough to have a school in my area that does just that. I can go to class, get a great workout, enjoy interacting with the other students, leave with a clear calm mind AND feel confident walking down the street.There! I said it out loud for all to hear. :D

I scratch my head over all the talk about fighting and Aikido...it seems like another planet.

Have most people who train in Aikido "to not fight" gone underground...Are you still out there????
Are you afraid to write because of the trends of real fighting and active resistance. :cool:

If people want to fight ...why don't you fight? :freaky:

Come out...come out wherever you are...I know that there are tons of people here who train in Aikido and are not the least bit interested in fighting.

Let's talk about how we don't find any fighting in Aikido.
Let's talk about how we meet oursleves and become the whole person we are meant to be.
Let's talk about the joy of training.
How fabulous it is to really connect with uke....how wonderful it feels to take ukemi at 50 years old...how beautiful it looks to see a 64 year old tiny woman throw a really big man even if it wouldn't work on the street.

Let's blend and communicate and enjoy the flow.

Mary

mdsmith
06-02-2008, 07:53 AM
Sorry, I had to add a thought. I hope that everyone gets what they're looking for out aikido no matter what it is. However, if your teaching aikido geared toward the soft, spiritual side without concern for practicallity, and someone walks into your dojo looking to learn how to physically defend themselves, you have a moral obligation to tell them that you can offer them that. Otherwise you giving these people a false sense of confidence that could get them seriously hurt.

Mary Eastland
07-07-2012, 03:53 PM
Seems only fair that we drag this thread out too. ;o)

graham christian
07-07-2012, 04:34 PM
No fight, no resistance, no enemy, ;)

Peace.G.

SRB
07-16-2012, 04:12 AM
"The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things."
Miyamoto Musashi
:ai: :ki: :do:

genin
07-16-2012, 08:08 AM
"The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things."
Miyamoto Musashi
:ai: :ki: :do:

This is so true. I was watching some dvd recently on "sexual mastery" (sounds worse than it really is) and they referenced being centered, like in Aikido. Nothing lude or elicit intended in that, but the whole point was about maintaining a balance of male and feminine energy within oneself. You know, all the stuff that Aikido teaches in every other aspect of one's life.

It's not like they said Wing Chun, or Karate or some such. They could've said anything, but yet Aikido was specifically mentioned. The reason is obviously because the fundamental principle of this art is so far reaching that it can be applied anywhere, to any subject. Having a centered self.

Gorgeous George
07-21-2012, 02:05 PM
Dunno. I view Aikido from the founder, Morihei Ueshiba. And *his* aikido was tested by many other martial artists. *His* aikido worked against anyone willing to test themselves against him. *His* aikido held up against all kinds of active resistance. He was interested in whether or not his deshi *won* their fights, even when he yelled at them not to fight.

Got not problems with people wanting to be all "flowing" and connecting and such. Just don't call it Ueshiba's Aikido because it isn't.

Excellent.
Thank you for this, Mark.

TokyoZeplin
07-22-2012, 01:16 PM
Thought I would share an article I got today, since it has some relevance to this (the parts about Gozo Shioda).

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/07/22/the-martial-artist-on-stage-by-david-lynch/

Some might say he is not practising O Sensei's Aikido (or rather, how it was at the very end, where as far as I understand it was much less strict and "violent", and much more "flowey"), but nonetheless, one can certainly not say that his Aikido didn't have a martial direction and value to it.

yugen
07-23-2012, 10:24 AM
Hi All,

I read this line in a post below:
I view Aikido from the founder, Morihei Ueshiba. And *his* aikido was tested by many other martial artists.

First off, I'm not an aikido guy, so my following questions and comments are not meant to disparage Aikido in any way, but rather for my own edification.

I was wondering who actually tested Ueshiba? "Who" meaning any martial artists of high profile? I recently read the book about Yukiyoshi Sagawa and there is a part in there where he stated that when Ueshiba was traveling in the early days and giving his instructions only his immediate students who came with him took ukemi from him, whereas Sagawa states Takeda would let anyone from the class grab him.

Is he implying that Ueshiba didn't let just anyone grab him? One could read this that Ueshiba didn't let himself be really tested - that is if what Sagawa states is true.

thanks,
Ryan

Chris Li
07-23-2012, 10:43 AM
Hi All,

I read this line in a post below:

First off, I'm not an aikido guy, so my following questions and comments are not meant to disparage Aikido in any way, but rather for my own edification.

I was wondering who actually tested Ueshiba? "Who" meaning any martial artists of high profile? I recently read the book about Yukiyoshi Sagawa and there is a part in there where he stated that when Ueshiba was traveling in the early days and giving his instructions only his immediate students who came with him took ukemi from him, whereas Sagawa states Takeda would let anyone from the class grab him.

Is he implying that Ueshiba didn't let just anyone grab him? One could read this that Ueshiba didn't let himself be really tested - that is if what Sagawa states is true.

thanks,
Ryan

Well, there's Tenryu (http://sumodb.sumogames.com/Rikishi.aspx?r=3739), of course:

I dissolved the Kansai Sumo Association in 1937 and in January of 1938 I went to Manchuria as a physical education instructor. In the spring of 1939 in an effort to spread Japanese martial arts in Manchuria too, we invited Japanese teachers to the country and arranged to have high local officials observe their demonstrations. The arts demonstrated were Kendo, Judo, Kyudo and Aikido. Since the dojo had not yet been completed, we asked the participants to give demonstrations in the dojo of the Chuo Bank.

Ueshiba Sensei brought Mr. (Noriaki) Inoue with him. After they showed some techniques, Ueshiba Sensei said: “You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us. Since you are all martial arts practitioners, if there is a man among you, come and test this old man.” However, no one stepped forward. At 35 I was the youngest among them. I had recently arrived in Manchuria and several government officials were observing the demonstration. I thought that I should test my own ability and said, “Yes, I will try”. Ueshiba Sensei replied: “You are Mr. Tenryu, aren’t you? You too are probably imagining that an old man like me won’t be able to throw you very well. However, budo is much more than what you think it is. He offered his left hand saying it was weaker than his right and continued: “You must be quite strong physically. I am not putting strength into my arm so you can do anything you want with it. Try!”

I thought that this old man was speaking nonsense and slapped his hand down as I grabbed it. But the moment I touched him I was startled. I felt as if I had taken hold of an iron bar. Of course, I knew very well from my experience in Sumo that it would be useless to struggle against him. I immediately knew I had been defeated. However, I couldn’t just leave things like that and attempted to twist his arm up and out. He didn’t move an inch. I tried again with both hands using all my might. But he used my strength against me and I fell down.

Best,

Chris

yugen
07-23-2012, 11:18 AM
excellent! thanks Chris, I've never read that before.

Best,
Ryan

TokyoZeplin
07-23-2012, 12:37 PM
excellent! thanks Chris, I've never read that before.

Best,
Ryan

I don't have a link right now, but you can find it referenced several places:
Shioda Gozo also went up against Ueshiba, his first day of seeing him. As he recalled, he was seeing a demonstration (in Ueshibas dojo I believe), and Ueshiba seemed to notice his disbelief in what was going on. Shioda, then a Judoka, was asked if he wanted to attack (with any attack he preferred). Shioda, thinking that Ueshiba would never expect it from a Judoka, attacked with a kick. He then recalls clashing his head against the wall at the other end of the mat, and signed up the next day to learn Aikido.

MM
07-23-2012, 01:02 PM
Might be some stuff here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15035

yugen
07-23-2012, 01:40 PM
good stuff!

thanks again,
Ryan