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Guilty Spark
03-10-2009, 03:10 PM
I'm currently serving my final years as a Provost Marshal (MP) in Japan. I've served in Iraq and GTMO doing a similar jobs. Soon I'll be working as a prison guard in Fresno, CA. Outside of that you'll have to buy me some beers after some hard work at the dojo to hear some specifics.

I suppose I was a bit harsh. Its not that aikido is completely ineffective, its just that its by far the least effective MA ever developed imo. It actually makes naturally tough people worse fighters. I and many others would have been far better off never thinking they could catch punches/shanks/etc. into wristlocks or fancy throws. (as I did after 6 years of study).

If it works for you, I think it has to do with your natural attributes. For me and MOST others, i'll just inflate your ego into thinking you can do things you can not.

Hey Jerry, thanks for the reply.

I've actually spoken to a few prison guards who have widely mixed reviews about Aikido in the application of their jobs. Some swear by it, others share your opinion on it. Personally I think a prison guards (also police officer, military police) opinion on Aikido is ideal when discussing the martial effectiveness of it.

You mentioned bulshido so I'd imagine you can understand why I'd ask about your experience considering the mentality of *some* of the posters there.
ie.. "I just got banned from aikiweb those dummies LOLZ lets go troll them". Experience for some of them seems to amount to watching youtube videos.

I actually think I know what you mean when you suggest it makes naturally tough people less effective. Maybe.
My old training partner had multiple black belts in various martial arts. (Twice my age, 3/4ths my weight and I wouldn't try and fight him if I had a sword and two buddies with me).
He had a hard time unlearning his martial arts and doing it the aikido way. I'm sure if he tried to use aikido to defend himself he'd me much less proficient than using his judo, aikijitsu, karate ninjitsu etc..

I don't know much about advanced aikido or cross training but perhaps the key to not making aikido lessen someone's effectiveness (were that the case) would be for said person to find ways to make the aikido work against a boxer, judo type, stand up fighter, whatever. They might be handicapped at the beginning of their training naturally but keep training.

Watching my old partner mix Judo and Aikido (against me) was devastating. He didn't seem to have a problem making what we learned as aikido white belts work (of course that's thanks to his other martial arts experience)
So maybe it does initially make a tough person less 'tough' to an extent but that can quickly be overcame with training and the ability to improvise and adapt.

If I had an example it would be in an instance where I caught someones wrist (I got lucky) and failing to perform a kotegashi I caught his arm in a shinoage standing up. I couldn't take his balance and throw him to the floor so I gave him some atemi (spelling?) to the face.
It was really close quarters and the shinoage allowed me to control him quite easily.

As for catching punches and knives as 'the norm' that's crazy.
I don't know if it's a yoshinkan thing but from day one my instructor repeated over and over you won't catch someone throwing a punch a you and you wont catch a knife coming towards you.

The whole training to catch a punch thing sounds like the same the old "I was talking to a guy who knows a guy who says Aikido doesn't work in UFC becase it's too dangerous, people would get killed, LOL"

wideawakedreamer
03-10-2009, 09:08 PM
As for catching punches and knives as 'the norm' that's crazy.
I don't know if it's a yoshinkan thing but from day one my instructor repeated over and over you won't catch someone throwing a punch a you and you wont catch a knife coming towards you.

The whole training to catch a punch thing sounds like the same the old "I was talking to a guy who knows a guy who says Aikido doesn't work in UFC becase it's too dangerous, people would get killed, LOL"

I agree. I don't recall ever being told by my instructors to catch a punch. It's usually either "get off the line of attack" or "get of the line and hit the other guy while you're at it".

Kevin Leavitt
03-11-2009, 12:40 AM
The whole punch catching thing is usually a what gets translated by some students.

I was teaching nikkyo to a couple of guys the other day trying to get across that I feel it is secondary to reach for uke's hand and primary to use "aiki" or Kuzushi, or atemi (however you want to look at it), first. That is deal with Uke's center then you can do the technique without leaving uke's center (hard to describe here).

They shook heads north and south that they understood, then proceeded to reach for the hand as the primary driver, as that is what everyone emotionally keys on when grabbed.

I have no problem with the principle of nikkyo and I can demonstrate it in a non-compliant environment (principle/not technique), however if the two students I was working with tried it, they would not be successful more than likely, IMO.

So, is it aikido? or is it the fact that it takes time to alot of work to teach people to not do certain things or follow their perceptions/proprioceptions?

There is a reason why we practice the way we do!

I can tell someone to deal with uke's center first and they will still try and catch punches! sigh!

philippe willaume
03-13-2009, 07:21 AM
The whole punch catching thing is usually a what gets translated by some students.

I was teaching nikkyo to a couple of guys the other day trying to get across that I feel it is secondary to reach for uke's hand and primary to use "aiki" or Kuzushi, or atemi (however you want to look at it), first. That is deal with Uke's center then you can do the technique without leaving uke's center (hard to describe here).

They shook heads north and south that they understood, then proceeded to reach for the hand as the primary driver, as that is what everyone emotionally keys on when grabbed.

I have no problem with the principle of nikkyo and I can demonstrate it in a non-compliant environment (principle/not technique), however if the two students I was working with tried it, they would not be successful more than likely, IMO.

So, is it aikido? or is it the fact that it takes time to alot of work to teach people to not do certain things or follow their perceptions/proprioceptions?

There is a reason why we practice the way we do!

I can tell someone to deal with uke's center first and they will still try and catch punches! sigh!

Hello kev

I think it very hard for people to understand that in a thrust punch your opponent center/boddy is connected to his wrist for a fair amount of time and even if the punch is delivered with proper time and no over extension. That connection between the fist and the centre make it practical to use the wrist to control the body.
For a jab or cross even if the jab or cross are delivered with a small gather step. The wrist body connectionist only there before impact, so if you are good at ki-no nogare, your opponent will think he has you and you will have the connection because he your opponent believes he has you (though the windows of opportunity is very small) but otherwise getting the wrist will give you nothing.

So in two thing that looks very similar, in one case you have the man by using the wrist and in the other you have the wrist and the man has you.

I thing that practicing from solid makes it easier to understand that.

phil

Russell Davis
03-20-2009, 03:30 AM
Clarification for Clarence of Henderson;
Best stand up - Muay Thai
Upright Grappling- Muay Thai, Jujitsu, Silat
Groundwork- Jujitsu, Roman Grecko wrestling, TEETH.
Aikido V Boxing, depends on how good the opponents are, depends on the enviroment, Eg open space or telephone box.

* People who box (I have) have the luxury of padded gloves, in the street, you dont get that luxury, and I have seen many people get broken fingers from hitting a hard moving funny shaped thing called a head. (I have one of them too)

A Simple defence is an elbow destruction (elbow in front of your face) or "Crash" into his face & groin, take your pick.

There are also some very interesting Dim Mak targets available to incapacitate or KO anyone, any size. which brings me back to the "State of Mind" element which is often overlooked.

Aikido inside the box V Aikido outside the box??? this would be a more interesting talk point.

Tim Gerrard
03-20-2009, 03:40 AM
Aikido inside the box V Aikido outside the box??? this would be a more interesting talk point.

Or one of them in a box depending on how much they train :D

lbb
03-20-2009, 07:29 AM
"Roman Grecko wrestling"???

Kevin Leavitt
03-20-2009, 07:45 AM
I like gecko wrestling personally! Cept they are hard to hold on to, Greek ones can be difficult too, but they do tend to be a little more orthodox.

C. David Henderson
03-20-2009, 07:51 AM
ninja geckos roam unobtrusively, and blend well with their environment; tis well-known.

Cyrijl
03-20-2009, 09:43 AM
I also concur with the pointing and laughing.

Russell Davis
03-20-2009, 04:37 PM
Did I miss something ?
or are you pointing and laughing at your own ignorance?
(lack of knowledge and EXPERIENCE)

C. David Henderson
03-20-2009, 04:49 PM
Hi Russell;

FWIW, I did not intend to "point and laugh," certainly not at your post. I have a weakness for word-play, which I was indulging; sorry if that felt like or contributed to any piling on.

Respectfully.

cdh

Cyrijl
03-23-2009, 09:10 AM
There are also some very interesting Dim Mak targets available to incapacitate or KO anyone, any size. which brings me back to the "State of Mind" element which is often overlooked.
I am laughing at your childish over simplificaiton and belief in dim mak. Can you please refer to an actual use of Dim Mak in actual combat? With proof please.

Michael Douglas
03-23-2009, 01:54 PM
Dim Mak!
...now, Dim-Mak death-touch Gekkos ... where do I sign?

C. David Henderson
03-23-2009, 03:24 PM
Right below where it says "waiver," I think.

lbb
03-23-2009, 04:55 PM
Since we've now drifted the thread into the animal kingdom, I guess it's okay for me to mention that I have highly trained killer circus ponies for sale.

Guilty Spark
03-23-2009, 05:22 PM
Gotta hate those thread drifts.

Mark Freeman
03-23-2009, 05:53 PM
Since we've now drifted the thread into the animal kingdom, I guess it's okay for me to mention that I have highly trained killer circus ponies for sale.

Ah, but Mary, who trained them?;)

C. David Henderson
03-23-2009, 08:51 PM
Must resist impulse to drift further....

I find it odd to think of Greco-Roman wrestling in terms of ground work, since the major differences between it and freestyle wrestling appear to revolve around attacks below the waist, not pinning technique.

But it seems like an invitation to an endless argument to try and rank different martial arts in terms of their effectiveness in particular situations as much as globally. Not only is it difficult to meaningfully discuss the efficacy of any given art apart from the skill and ability of the given practitioner, given two candidates for any art in any particular context -- say Brazilian Jujutsu or Greco-Roman Wrestling -- the resulting debate tends to resemble a Rorschach slam-fest more than a dialogue.

And that's just the kind of opening the Dim Mak gecko's wait for. 'Dooh.

Kevin Karr
03-26-2009, 03:32 PM
In regards to the OP, I only have this to say about that:

SHU HA RI

Contemplate this.

In re Aikido:

"I believe that O-Sensei was more martial and more spiritual than most people understand." [emphasis added]

First Doshu

Contemplate this.

Lodro
12-17-2010, 02:06 PM
you should have step behind him, that's a classic Aikido move, and it works

Tony Wagstaffe
12-17-2010, 02:23 PM
A friend of mine boxed for the army. I've been studying Aikido for about a month and so I asked him to friendly-spar for a couple of minutes to show him what I'd learned.

Basically, I got owned. I never came close to blending with his jabs. I finally had to tell him to slow his attacks down, so that I could demonstrate Ikkyo and Sankyo.

His comments:
1. It's not possible to catch/blend with his punches.
2. He's going to throw a combination, so even if I try I'm probably going to get hit (this, too, he demonstrated with a gentle right to my floating rib when I tried for a sankyo).
3. He would never over-extend himself with a "clean attack" like we use in class.
4. All this has been settled with the Gracies in Brazilian Ju Jitsu. Back in the '70's they invited people from all different schools to come down and fight it out. What "came out in the wash" was these three positions, and most effective related styles:
a. STANDING SEPARATE: boxing; kick-boxing
b. GRAPPLING: Muy-Thai; Wrestling
c. GROUND: Wrestling; Ju Jitsu

In sum, I felt helpless and defenseless against his skills.

I wonder why.....:D :rolleyes: :hypno:

Hellis
12-17-2010, 02:46 PM
I wonder why.....:D :rolleyes: :hypno:

Wonder why ??
Because he didn't step behind him when he wasn't looking :straightf

Henry

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Tony Wagstaffe
12-17-2010, 09:37 PM
Wonder why ??
Because he didn't step behind him when he wasn't looking :straightf

Henry

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Tsk tsk....... ushiro ate... One of my favourites.....:) ;)

Anthony Loeppert
12-18-2010, 08:33 PM
As for catching punches and knives as 'the norm' that's crazy.
I don't know if it's a yoshinkan thing but from day one my instructor repeated over and over you won't catch someone throwing a punch a you and you wont catch a knife coming towards you.


Stumbled on this thread and though I'd echo (one more piece of anecdotal evidence) as a Yoshinkan student, I've been told a couple of times the same thing, trying to specifically catch the business end of strike is not wise.

I have been educated that any part of the striking forearm is much easier to make contact with, and usually if you follow it (slide) down there is a wrist attached to it. :)

Tony Wagstaffe
12-18-2010, 08:57 PM
Stumbled on this thread and though I'd echo (one more piece of anecdotal evidence) as a Yoshinkan student, I've been told a couple of times the same thing, trying to specifically catch the business end of strike is not wise.

I have been educated that any part of the striking forearm is much easier to make contact with, and usually if you follow it (slide) down there is a wrist attached to it. :)

;) :)

Mikemac
12-19-2010, 10:06 AM
I've seen that it is not necessarily impossible to engage a boxer successfully with Aikido. Here's a small example of what moves might be effective:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6Q8ShKpM1Q&feature=related

Tony Wagstaffe
12-19-2010, 10:39 AM
I've seen that it is not necessarily impossible to engage a boxer successfully with Aikido. Here's a small example of what moves might be effective:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6Q8ShKpM1Q&feature=related

Box first and you'll know how..... develop hand speed, find the appropriate waza....Quite logical to me.....
To be honest when I first trained T/S aikido, I had my doubts, but soon cottoned on to the waza more suitable against boxers and strikers
For fun we do much what you are doing + throw in a bit of newaza from Judo.... Just ups the game a bit.... Like M.M.A. but without the commitment ....:) ;)

dps
12-19-2010, 11:14 AM
I've seen that it is not necessarily impossible to engage a boxer successfully with Aikido. Here's a small example of what moves might be effective:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6Q8ShKpM1Q&feature=related

That is a good video. I think that the Aikido would be more effective with lots more atemi.

dps

DonMagee
12-19-2010, 11:55 AM
I just re-read this entire thread. Besides wishing I had better spelling and grammer, I still really agree with everything I've said. That's a first! :D

RED
12-19-2010, 12:45 PM
That is a good video. I think that the Aikido would be more effective with lots more atemi.

dps

lol serious, a lack of atemi was the only problem you could find with that guys interpretation of Aiki-principles?

Sorry, I'm being mean.

George S. Ledyard
12-19-2010, 02:07 PM
That is a good video. I think that the Aikido would be more effective with lots more atemi.

dps

Of course Aikido would be lots more "effective" with more use of atemi. That's a total no brainer... But is that the point of your training? Is effectiveness the goal?

Training is about understanding connection on a really fundamental level. All dimensions and possibilities of connection. You want great street Aikido? Sure, any given technique is easier if you have first broken the opponent's ribs, struck him in the throat, finger flicked his eyes, taken out and elbow or knee. In fact, if you really work on your striking, you can develop the one strike knockout and not need any other technique at all. Just as in sword, one cut one death.

Overuse of atemi in training is simply a way to get by with lousy technique. If I can disturb your center by using strikes, I don't have to really understand how to join with you properly. The strikes are a crutch to make up for the fact that one doesn't understand "aiki" very well, if at all.

Now I am not saying that there's anything wrong with atemi waza. It's implicit in everything we do and if I happened to be out in the so-called "real world" and needed to defend myself, there would be mostly atemi waza. But in terms of training emphasis, atemi waza is secondary or even tertiary in importance. The art is the study of connection. Spending ones time focusing on applied technique and atemi waza misses the whole point.

Approaching the art from a purely result oriented standpoint is the wrong way to train, in my opinion. It results in a "he fell down therefore I'm satisfied" approach to the art. A sort of "close enough for government work" attitude.

Aikido is the study of principle. What one seeks is the unattainable; that elusive perfect, effortless, throw, that total calm at the center of the storm. The goal is an understanding of Takeda and O-Sensei's statement that there is no enemy, no opponent. Continuously focusing on fighting simply reinforces the notion of opposition. It is fundamentally a dualistic way of approaching technique. It will never result in the kind of understanding Aikido was, in my opinion, designed to produce.

Now, it is quite clear from reading the material on the forums for many years that a number of folks, some of whom are quite senior and experienced, don't actually care about that. They approach the art from the perspective that it is about self defense, that training should be some sort of preparation for that hypothetical encounter on the street, in the bar, wherever. If technique is "effective" is the main criteria. Ukemi is taught as something oppositional, talk of "resistant" ukemi is the norm.

The result of this kind of training is a strong body, and a strong spirit. It doesn't result in very deep Aikido. It is fairly devoid of the spiritual elements that the Founder spent most of his efforts emphasizing. It's not just foreigners who didn't acre about this fact, even O-Sensei's own deshi were divided into those that really cared about his spiritual vision and those that simply wanted to figure out how to throw people like he did. They didn't understand what he was talking about, didn't really care to, dozed through the lectures, just waiting until the old guy stopped talking so they could get back to technique.

Even though O-Sensei specifically warned his students against becoming trapped in the merely technical, it was far easier to make that ones focus. The idea was that if one simply devoted oneself to hard training, understanding would come of itself.

This is simply not the case. You become what you train. If you train dualistic-ally, me against him (them), that will be your outlook at the end of tour career, no matter how good you have become at throwing folks and torquing the shit out of their joints. If you approach your Aikido with the same fear based mindset that pervades our whole culture these days, then the result is an art that is based on the never ending search for the stronger technique, preparation for increasingly unlikely attacks, fear based vigilance that turns more and more of the people one deals with into potential threats against whom we need to be prepared.

The most important things that we can get from our Aikido training are the things that make or daily lives better. Technique, no matter how strong, no matter how effective, is almost devoid of anything that makes ones life better. Most Aikido practitioners will never, in their entire lives, actually use their Aikido for self defense. This is quite simply a fact.

What are the conflicts we deal with every day? It's POGO, "we have met the enemy and he is us". 90% of the conflicts we deal with on a daily basis can only be effectively dealt with by changing ourselves not by using some un-defeatable technique on some "enemy". Your boss tells you you are layed off... your lover tells you he or she is leaving you... your infant son is having a seizure and you think he is dying... it goes on and on... The issues that arise in our lives every single day and can either be dealt with or make our lives miserable have, for most people, nothing to do with some physical assault from an attacker. Usually the conflicts we deal with are with friends, lovers, co-workers, family members... "
Win / Lose as a way to think about these conflicts is completely inappropriate and does not result in outcomes that will make you more satisfied or happier.

Just as when someone is on his death bed, he never says to himself "I should have put more time and effort into my work", when one is under assault from the kinds of daily conflicts that have to be dealt with in life, one never says to himself "I should have used more atemi in my waza" or "I shouldn't have neglected my nikkyo... if only I had that killer nikkyo my teacher had." These things are largely irrelevant in ones life. For most of life's daily issues, the power and effectiveness of your technique is largely so unimportant as to make one wonder why one spent so much time worrying about the issue when it seems to be so inapplicable for the vast majority of the situations of ones life that really matter.

Technique and the understanding of the principles underlying technique isn't the goal... it is the means to another end which is personal transformation. Too often people transform the art to fit who they are rather than transform themselves using the art. Violent, fear based individuals make their practice violent and fear based. Weak individuals suck the life out of the practice and end up with weak Aikido. The whole point of the art is to look at how one needs to change and adjust the practice accordingly. Strong people need to learn to let go of that strength and relax, weak people need to become strong, aggressive people need to learn to receive, passive people need to be more aggressive.

If the practice is really about personal transformation, then every day one uses the technical practice to work on precisely what is most difficult for that individual. The one who is scared of weapons work should work twice as hard on his or her weapons technique. The one who is scared of being struck needs to do lots of technique from striking attack. The one who is afraid of striking someone else needs to spend a lot of time hitting things. Find the aspect of Aikido that one enjoys the least and work on it the hardest. That's how one uses Aikido training to change oneself. No one in the real world actually cares how good you are at throwing someone. What a singularly irrelevant skill. But they do acre what kind of person you are. People need to be clear about what they need for their lives to be better and structure their training to produce that result. Usually it involves doing just the opposite of what they like to do.

Of course more atemi makes technique work better. But I can assure you that use of atemi in solving the conflicts of daily life will not only not work but you'll end up in the big house for trying. People really need to look at what this art is about and why they do it. Is it merely about what works or is it a search for understanding, truth, some sort of transcendent view of the world that will enhance your own life and the lives of those with whom you come into contact? I'm voting for the latter...

CNYMike
12-19-2010, 04:47 PM
Stumbled on this thread and though I'd echo (one more piece of anecdotal evidence) as a Yoshinkan student, I've been told a couple of times the same thing, trying to specifically catch the business end of strike is not wise.


That depends on what you mean by "catch." In Jun Fan I learned a "catch and release" boxing drill, where both partners have the same lead (ai hanmi) just outside uke's reach and nage (for lack of a better term) "catches" the jab with his rear hand. It's not so much a catch as a paw. One response is to jab at the same time as you catch, and in this version has a focus mitt on the other hand. Nage can also "catch" and then follow the hand back to home with his own cross.

The catch also appears pretty much the same way in the Filipino boxing portion of LaCoste Inosanto Kali. The rationale is that the jabber is trying to probe nage's defenses, provoke a reaction and formulate a strategy based on that. Of course, catching is also a response that can be analyzed, but it's more low key than a dramatic lead hand block.

The point is a "catch" or something like that is perfectly possible.

As for applying Aikido locks against the full range -- jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts -- I think that is possible. I've had a couple of things pop out in sparring, mostly off a jab cross, so that tells me the distance is right. Remember, all this repition of all these locks makes our bodies and brains familar with those positions and we can go for the instant we feel something useful. How easy it is to pull of it another matter. But not impossible.

dps
12-20-2010, 03:18 AM
Of course Aikido would be lots more "effective" with more use of atemi. That's a total no brainer... But is that the point of your training? Is effectiveness the goal?...

Yes.

Effectiveness is the key to obtaining the other aspects of Aikido.



From the biographical book "The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba", written by Ueshiba Kisshomaru (translated and reprinted in Aiki News #62). Excerpt originally written by Okamoto Ippei and published in the November 1933 issue of Budo magazine.

"[Ueshiba] started with easy techniques using two of his students. Even for an untrained eye, it was clear that he moved very softly... However, in the meantime his students attack him with all their might and still tumble down in a shower of attacks (atemi) to their vital points.
In short his art reaches a conclusion before ordinary judo even starts its work. [The Founder] said, 'My technique is 70 percent atemi (striking) and 30 percent nage (throwing).' "

From the book "Budo Training in Aikido" (aka: Budo Renshu/ Aikijujutsu Ogi), written by Ueshiba Morihei - published in 1933. Translation by Larry E. Bieri and Seiko Mabuchi (Minato Research):

pg. 26 - "True Budo is practiced not only to destroy an enemy, it must also make him, or his own will, gladly lose his spirit (seishin) to oppose you."

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=63425

(bold print by me, dps)

This discussion could be resolved fairly easily. Take out the atemi and practice with a partner who has no intention of cooperating.

Saotome Sensei, who had fifteen years training under the Founder, stated that "if you know that your partner will not strike you, then all techniques are stoppable".

All techniques need to be appropriate to the specific energy given by an attacker. If the attacker knows there can be no atemi, he can shift his energy to make the aplication of any technique impossible. Normally, if the nage has moved correctly and is in the proper position doing this would create a suki and leave the attacker "open". But with no atemi the question would be: open for what?

I remember, one of the last times we had this discussion, Goldsbury Sensei corrected those that had maintained that Aikido was 70% or 90% atemi by pointing out that it was, in reality, 100% atemi.

Saotome Sensei taught us that "every throw you do is a strike which you are choosing not to do." In other words, in Aikido practice, atemi can be implicit rather than explicit. What forces an opponent to keep his energy dispersed so that you can apply a given technique is the possibility at any instant that nage can throw an atemi.

If you make some artifial "rule" that there is no atemi then Aikido is simply a dance like contact improvisation (also where there is no atemi). There would simply be no possibility of application of technique against a trained attacker. If you don't believe this then try it out. This isn't mysticism requiring many years of esoteric training. Just get an experienced partner, preferably one who doesn't share your own predisposition, and try it out.

As for some teacher or other banning atemi... I have hundreds of hours of video in my collection. I have video of Koichi Tohei using atemi, Kisshomaru Ueshiba using atemi, O-Sensei using atemi. Perhaps Tohei Sensei decided, for his own reasons to deemphasize the use of atemi in Aikido practice, but it was there in his technique.

Just look at the people whom O-sensei trained directly... certainly no one from the pre-war era maintained there was no atemi in Aikido. Of the post war era teachers some of the most notable would be teachers like Saito Sensei, Nishio sensei, Hikistuchi Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Chiba Sensei, etc. For every one of these men, atemi is an integral part of their Aikido technique. Is anyone out there maintaining that they all got it wrong? Somehow the whole bunch of them failed to understand the Founder and that a particular individual who may have chosen a different path was the only one who did get it right? I am sorry, I just can't buy it. But once again I say, don't take their word for it. Just practice with ukes who will throw combination attacks, who will resist your throws, who will tighten up when you try to apply a lock, or will slip any attept to grab them... then see.

Aikido is 90 per cent atemi and the atemi is done at or before
the instant of contact to unbalance your opponent.

90 per cent of Aikido is done at or before the instant of contact.

To paraphrase a sensei of mine, " They should of called it (Aikido) Kuzushi.

dps

George S. Ledyard
12-21-2010, 05:28 AM
Yes.

Effectiveness is the key to obtaining the other aspects of Aikido.

From the biographical book "The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba", written by Ueshiba Kisshomaru (translated and reprinted in Aiki News #62). Excerpt originally written by Okamoto Ippei and published in the November 1933 issue of Budo magazine.

"[Ueshiba] started with easy techniques using two of his students. Even for an untrained eye, it was clear that he moved very softly... However, in the meantime his students attack him with all their might and still tumble down in a shower of attacks (atemi) to their vital points.
In short his art reaches a conclusion before ordinary judo even starts its work. [The Founder] said, 'My technique is 70 percent atemi (striking) and 30 percent nage (throwing).' "

From the book "Budo Training in Aikido" (aka: Budo Renshu/ Aikijujutsu Ogi), written by Ueshiba Morihei - published in 1933. Translation by Larry E. Bieri and Seiko Mabuchi (Minato Research):

pg. 26 - "True Budo is practiced not only to destroy an enemy, it must also make him, or his own will, gladly lose his spirit (seishin) to oppose you."

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=63425

(bold print by me, dps)

Aikido is 90 per cent atemi and the atemi is done at or before
the instant of contact to unbalance your opponent.

90 per cent of Aikido is done at or before the instant of contact.

To paraphrase a sensei of mine, " They should of called it (Aikido) Kuzushi.

dps

Everyone who wishes to quote O-Sensei to express the idea that he did believe that martial effectiveness was central to the practice, always takes quites from his writing from the 30's. At that point he was doing either Daito Ryu or was just starting to call what he did Aiki Budo. It wasn't even called Aikido until 1942.

Ueshiba Aikido is really a post war art and if you read his writings from that period they evince very little concern over technical matters and especially over winning and losing. The deshi, who were not as interested in the spiritual side as the Founder used to get chewed out for sneaking out and getting in fights. The Founder specifically stated that Aikido was not for fighting.

If people really want to worry about fighting per se, then one of the styles started by the pre-war deshi, like Shioda Sensei, would make a lot of sense. Frankly, Mochizuki Sensei was doing mixed martial arts before there was a name for it.

Anyway, O-Sensei's ideas about things evolved. He died in 1969. There were 24 years of Aikido development and teaching which all the "it's about fighting" boys always ignore because it all sounded too la la.

RED
12-21-2010, 09:56 PM
They approach the art from the perspective that it is about self defense, that training should be some sort of preparation for that hypothetical encounter on the street, in the bar, wherever. If technique is "effective" is the main criteria. Ukemi is taught as something oppositional, talk of "resistant" ukemi is the norm.



Seriously, where ever that legendary bar is, I bet it is on that place known infamously as "the street" And I bet it is right next to that dark alley I always hear about!!!
I never got it, if that place sucks so bad, why does everyone always talk about how they like to hang out there? :p

Flintstone
12-22-2010, 05:18 AM
Everyone who wishes to quote O-Sensei to express the idea that he did believe that martial effectiveness was central to the practice, always takes quites from his writing from the 30's. At that point he was doing either Daito Ryu or was just starting to call what he did Aiki Budo. It wasn't even called Aikido until 1942.
And we do know that the change of the name to Aikido had nothing to do with O Sensei and a wild whole lot with bureaucracy.

Ueshiba Aikido is really a post war art and if you read his writings from that period they evince very little concern over technical matters and especially over winning and losing.
And then we have the Iwama Ryu, with its proverbial "little concern" over technical matters and that winning and losing thing.

If people really want to worry about fighting per se, then one of the styles started by the pre-war deshi, like Shioda Sensei, would make a lot of sense. Frankly, Mochizuki Sensei was doing mixed martial arts before there was a name for it.
Now THAT is Aikido. Mochizuki was doing Aikido as in he was using Aiki principals when executing all of his wide technical repertory.

Anyway, O-Sensei's ideas about things evolved. He died in 1969. There were 24 years of Aikido development and teaching which all the "it's about fighting" boys always ignore because it all sounded too la la.
Honestly, had you ever trained in the Yoseikan or the Yoshinkan or the Shodokan you'll find it amazing how similar they are to Iwama Ryu. And there are 24 years of Aikido "development" in the middle.

I do not buy that "O Sensei's Aikido evolved technically over the years" thing. Spiritually? Philosophically? Maybe. Technically? No, me doesn't buy that.

If it's not about fighting, or winning, or prevailing... do you still call it "martial"?

Flintstone
12-22-2010, 05:19 AM
Seriously, where ever that legendary bar is, I bet it is on that place known infamously as "the street" And I bet it is right next to that dark alley I always hear about!!!
I never got it, if that place sucks so bad, why does everyone always talk about how they like to hang out there? :p
Good luck out there. Really hope that place doesn't exist at all for your own health. Hey, it's great to keep on living in a dream, isn't it.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
12-22-2010, 05:42 AM
Seriously, where ever that legendary bar is, I bet it is on that place known infamously as "the street" And I bet it is right next to that dark alley I always hear about!!!
I never got it, if that place sucks so bad, why does everyone always talk about how they like to hang out there? :p

Well, a very few people need to worry about places like that because of the life they live or the profession they have. I respect them a lot for chosing aikido as their martial art.

Many, however, prefer to live in a paranoid fear-driven fantasy for reasons that they dont have the courage to confront.

Michael Varin
12-22-2010, 06:45 AM
A friend of mine boxed for the army. I've been studying Aikido for about a month and so I asked him to friendly-spar for a couple of minutes to show him what I'd learned.

Basically, I got owned. I never came close to blending with his jabs. I finally had to tell him to slow his attacks down, so that I could demonstrate Ikkyo and Sankyo.

His comments:
1. It's not possible to catch/blend with his punches.
2. He's going to throw a combination, so even if I try I'm probably going to get hit (this, too, he demonstrated with a gentle right to my floating rib when I tried for a sankyo).
3. He would never over-extend himself with a "clean attack" like we use in class.
4. All this has been settled with the Gracies in Brazilian Ju Jitsu. Back in the '70's they invited people from all different schools to come down and fight it out. What "came out in the wash" was these three positions, and most effective related styles:
a. STANDING SEPARATE: boxing; kick-boxing
b. GRAPPLING: Muy-Thai; Wrestling
c. GROUND: Wrestling; Ju Jitsu

In sum, I felt helpless and defenseless against his skills.

Let's end this once and for all.

The techniques you see in aikido are related to the use of weapons.

MMA is looking at small sliver of all combat. It is highly refined for what is does.

But for a moment imagine the poor boxer who says, as the life bleeds out of his body, "I got pwned by the kyudo guy." Believe me there is a reason why boxers don't fight archers.

Face a boxer, kick-boxer, muay thai, wrestler, or bjj'er with a sword and witness the difference. All those styles are completely ineffective against a sword. All of their attacks and defences and strategies will result in death for the practitioner against a sword. Do you think samurai were stupid? They fought and killed and died for a living.

Reflect on the context of weapons, multiple opponents, and surprise and aikido will cease to be a mystery... Don't be disappointed as mastering it still will be!

If you knew that someone was going to use a weapon on you, or that they always carried weapons, what might your method of attack look like? What might your strategies be?

If you were a man who always carried weapons and favored using them, what might you want out of a martial art? What situations would you prepare for?

Any aikidoist who desires to understand the practical application of the techniques of their art, must consider these questions.

kewms
12-22-2010, 10:21 AM
I do not buy that "O Sensei's Aikido evolved technically over the years" thing. Spiritually? Philosophically? Maybe. Technically? No, me doesn't buy that.


So you're saying that one of the greatest martial artists of his generation stagnated for more than two decades? I don't buy *that*.

Katherine

Don Nordin
12-22-2010, 10:38 AM
I find these discussions interesting. Its not just Aikido vs Boxing it's all the Aikido vs take your pick. I remember when I first showed up at our Dojo and Sensei was discussing the teaching method, techniques and principles. He basically stated that the priniciple are the foundations of all Aikido. At the time I had no idea what he was really saying. Now I think I understand what he was referring to. Principles are not techniques. The principles of Aikido are fairly simple, keep proper distance, stay ballanced, focus on everything going on around but nothing in particular, avoid conflict, ect..
Now if you apply that to conflict with a boxer you may have a favorable outcome to the conflict. If you are able to keep your distance, the boxer will be forced to change his style and may become off balanced as a result, which could give you an opportunity. Also by maintaining proper distance the punches will be less effective.
Looking at the video it does not appear to me that the "boxer" is really throwing committed punches. I can speak from experience here, you will feel every knuckle of the boxer if you get hit hard, even with the glove on. In the video the Aikido player appears to be willing to take a hit to gain an opening. A good number of boxers can hit your forearm hard enough to break it. So that stategy may not work out well with a hard hitter.
Personally speaking I feel like the relatively little Aikido training I have had (18 months) has taught me to keep the principles in mind first.Maybe after several more years effective techniques for any situation will flow from adherence to the principles. In the mean time I try not to get hit.

RED
12-22-2010, 02:19 PM
Well, a very few people need to worry about places like that because of the life they live or the profession they have. I respect them a lot for chosing aikido as their martial art.

Many, however, prefer to live in a paranoid fear-driven fantasy for reasons that they dont have the courage to confront.

Here's how I view things:

I've had a hard life. I've seen some crap in my life. I've lived in places where the danger of wild dogs eating your new born baby when you aren't looking is a real threat.
There are bad things in this world, monsters are real, and the dark is a scary place...but it'll be okay. It isn't right, it isn't fair for the world to be so dangerous, but I've reconcile it.

Bad stuff happens. No mater how long you train, how much you prepare, the fact of this world is that "The Good Lord taketh " sometime. There are dangers beyond our control. I think once it is reconciled you can move on and look forward to the fact that "The Good Lord giveth", without looking over your shoulder.

So, I refuse to train for imaginary fights that may or may not happen. I once was told "The true art behind ukemi is the ability to know when you are bested by your nage, when your ballance is completely gone, and surrender to the overwhelming truth that is gravity."
Surrendering to what is beyond your control is a choice for a life of purpose. I will then choose to train until I learn how not to be afraid, until I clearly surrender to my uke's energy, or surrender to the gravity of a throw, without the fear that comes with not being in control.
People always want to be in control of every aspect of their lives, I think that where much of the "on the street" and "the dark alley" talk comes from.

The good or the bad; there is much I have a say in, for which I'm thankful. But there is much I will never have any say in, and I've learned that I wouldn't have it any other way.

Like I've mentioned, I've seen some stuff in my life that aren't okay, and will never be okay, but one day I saw something so tremendous I refused to live another day in fear of all these things I was helpless to prevent.

George S. Ledyard
12-22-2010, 03:57 PM
I do not buy that "O Sensei's Aikido evolved technically over the years" thing. Spiritually? Philosophically? Maybe. Technically? No, me doesn't buy that.

If it's not about fighting, or winning, or prevailing... do you still call it "martial"?

Technique is the earliest stage of ones development. In the "aiki" arts this stage may take quite a bit longer than in something like mixed martial arts because the training requires so much reprogramming of what the mind / body starts out with as the default setting. It takes quite a bit of work to reprogram all those reactions.

But eventually, great martial arts are really mental. These arts developed in Japan amongst a class of folks all of whom were warriors. In other words, everyone knew technique. The guy you expected to fight had been training since childhood, just like you.

Each school had it's so-called secrets, which against someone not of the highest caliber, might give the crucial advantage over his opponent. But "tricks" have never been seen as effective against someone at the top level. There is something going on which is far more fundamental than that. This is what changes over time... and certainly can result in someone getting better and better as he gets older.

There's nothing wrong with having great technique. We keep working on that our whole lives. But one finds that, as ones understanding increases, the rules change. Things you were told NEVER to do become ok because you are operating on another level. Look at Mohammed Ali, dancing around with his hands down at his sides. If you did that at a lesser level, you'd get knocked out so fast you wouldn't see it coming. His work had progressed to the point at which it was more mental than physical. His ability to feel what his opponent was going to do, even as he had the thought of doing it, was fantastic. So he could violate the basic rules because he had moved to another level. But it wasn't about physical technique at that point. Everyone he fought was a master of the same techniques... jab, cross, hook, uppercut, etc But it didn't matter because no one could touch him... not when he was in his prime.

O-Sensei focused on connection. His Aikido was largely focused on integration. The whole internal power discussion directly relates to his spiritual outlook and how he saw its relation to Aikido technique. O-Sensei's primary focus was on himself. How does one bring the forces one is using into balance? What flows outwards must be in balance with what flows in. As in the Chinese arts, this is multi-dimensional... up-down, forward-back, right-left, all in balance. The accomplishment of this over time changes ones psychology. It has to because there is no separation between mind-body-spirit.

I have read nothing that would indicate that O-Sensei saw any separation whatever between what for him was technical and what was spiritual. I realize that these concepts are far above our pay grade, at least for most of us, but I think it is important to try to understand, at least what was meant. This is no different if you compare how O-Sensei talked about what he was doing or if you listen to how the senior teachers of Systema talk about they do.

Both Systems have a spiritual foundation. For O-Sensei it was an arcane mix of Shinto based ideas coupled with a sprinkling of influences from other spiritual systems. For the Systema folks like Michael Ryabko or Vladimir Vasiliev, it is Orthodox Christianity. The founders of both martial systems maintained that it is not possible to get to the highest level relying on ones own power. Both O-Sensei and Ryabko talked about opening up to the "divine" and drawing power from that source.

I do not think that it is an accident that both systems, although Aikido has been less successful in this regard in my opinion, focus on relaxation and non-resistance. When the training is what it should be, the focus is on removing all tension, mental and physical. This inevitably results in a psychological dimension of practice because the majority of our tension is directly related to our mind and how we think about what we are doing.

The internal power training which has been discussed at length is about focusing on oneself and bringing the various components of the mind-body into an integrated state. It is largely a solo endeavor, although I really appreciate the way Dan H teaches many of the exercises under load with a partner. Anyway, you are not trying to do anything to anyone else. You are integrating yourself.

The more relaxed you get, the more you release your tension and integrate the various components of your body, the more sensitive you are to outside forces. I am not saying that the spiritual side of this comes automatically, I don't think it does. Takeda, Sagawa, and Ueshiba all were masters of the "aiki" skills but only O-Sensei had the spiritual bent that led him to change the art from one devoted to fighting to one that allowed one to manifest the principles that govern the universe in ones body via technique. It's not that these principles weren't in operation in Daito Ryu, they certainly were. In fact these principles operate in all places at all times, in all arts because they are so-called "universal" principles.

But O-Sensei changed the form of the practice to focus on these principles and the trans-formative effect on the individual of integrating oneself with these principles. It was meant to be a spiritual practice.

So, O-Sensei kept developing throughout his entire life. At the very end of his life he stated that he was just beginning to understand Ikkyo. You can't say that he kept changing on a spiritual level but didn't develop technically... there is no separation.

Anyway, you become what you train. If you take the idea that you can just focus on technique and spiritual thing will come later, you will inevitably hit a dead end in which your technique stops progressing because the limiting factor will no longer be something physical. You can see this in innumerable high level practitioners. Their stuff hasn't changed in years and years because the focus of their training was outward on technique and how one could apply it to defeating an opponent outside oneself. A inward focus, both technical and spiritual, gives one the freedom to keep developing technically indefinitely. That's why O-Sensei's Aikido at the end of his life didn't look like what he did in his fifties and didn't look like what most of his students ended up doing. He kept changing, they didn't. They never understood his spiritual ideas and how they related to the practice and chose instead to master the form but not the content.

Of course, there is a continuum I am talking about. Some teachers freed themselves more from technical restraints of form and pursued some notion of a spiritual underpinning and others seemed almost entirely uninterested. But it is clear to me that O-Sensei's Aikido was meant to reveal the truth of non-separation, of the essential interconnectedness of things. Technique was a tool for that study. If ones interest is in fighting, all ones training starts with the fundamentally dualistic mindset that virtually precludes understanding this fact that way the Fonder understood it.

Frankly, if ones only interest is in fighting and applied technique. I'd quit Aikido and go train with Dan H. Skip the Aiki-Do and just pursue the "aiki". He'll get you to fighting effectiveness much quicker and you won't be saddled with all sorts of Aikido techniques which were created for an entirely different purpose altogether.

I keep repeating these things over and over because this is what I was taught by my own teacher and I think it is important that someone be "fighting the good fight" so to speak. Rather than shrink this amazing art of Aikido to fit ones "little mind" of all of our psychological issues why not try to change ourselves for the better and tap into a "Big Mind" understanding of the art? Of course that is far more difficult. Letting go is the hardest thing we can ask of ourselves. But don't try to make Aikido into just another system that emanates from the fearful mind, that will never change anything for the better because it simply buys into the essentially fearful, oppositional mindset that we all have. Technique alone is not the answer. There are folks out there who could tear you apart with their Aikido whom I wouldn't for one second wish to emulate on a personal level. I hope people will look for something greater than that.

Anthony Loeppert
12-22-2010, 04:18 PM
I think once it is reconciled you can move on and look forward to the fact that "The Good Lord giveth", without looking over your shoulder.

So, I refuse to train for imaginary fights that may or may not happen.

So you swap training for imaginary (I'd use the word hypothetical) fights for believing in imaginary beings (the Lord - good or otherwise)...

I get your point (I think) that paranoia isn't always the best motivator or way to occupy your time but as the boy scouts say, "be prepared". Plus I think "imaginary fight(ing)" is basically what goes on in dojo's so if you don't do that, but you do practice aikido, what is it that do you? It is a genuine question - no snarkiness.

Flintstone
12-22-2010, 05:26 PM
So you're saying that one of the greatest martial artists of his generation stagnated for more than two decades? I don't buy *that*.

Katherine
No. He did not. I just say that prewar exponents' techniques and Iwama Ryu's techniques are very similar. And all of them very different from all that's in the middle (chronologically speaking).

I don't buy that those in the middle are/were doing what O Sensei taught them. What was that about nobody trying to do O Sensei's Aikido?

Flintstone
12-22-2010, 05:55 PM
Technique is the earliest stage of ones development. In the "aiki" arts this stage may take quite a bit longer than in something like mixed martial arts because the training requires so much reprogramming of what the mind / body starts out with as the default setting. It takes quite a bit of work to reprogram all those reactions.
Means you need to learn technique by heart before moving on. Means effectiveness and winning and not losing.

There's nothing wrong with having great technique. We keep working on that our whole lives. But one finds that, as ones understanding increases, the rules change. Things you were told NEVER to do become ok because you are operating on another level. Look at Mohammed Ali, dancing around with his hands down at his sides. If you did that at a lesser level, you'd get knocked out so fast you wouldn't see it coming. His work had progressed to the point at which it was more mental than physical. His ability to feel what his opponent was going to do, even as he had the thought of doing it, was fantastic. So he could violate the basic rules because he had moved to another level. But it wasn't about physical technique at that point. Everyone he fought was a master of the same techniques... jab, cross, hook, uppercut, etc But it didn't matter because no one could touch him... not when he was in his prime.
You are making my point. You REACH that level, not BEGIN at that level. Besides, are you saying that Cassius Clay was not interested in winning and not losing or effectiveness for that case?

O-Sensei focused on connection. His Aikido was largely focused on integration.
From which he could DEFEAT all of those guys.

The whole internal power discussion directly relates to his spiritual outlook and how he saw its relation to Aikido technique. O-Sensei's primary focus was on himself. How does one bring the forces one is using into balance? What flows outwards must be in balance with what flows in. As in the Chinese arts, this is multi-dimensional... up-down, forward-back, right-left, all in balance. The accomplishment of this over time changes ones psychology. It has to because there is no separation between mind-body-spirit.
That's great. That's what makes Aikido great. That's what made him never losing to an opponent.

I do not think that it is an accident that both systems, although Aikido has been less successful in this regard in my opinion, focus on relaxation and non-resistance. When the training is what it should be, the focus is on removing all tension, mental and physical. This inevitably results in a psychological dimension of practice because the majority of our tension is directly related to our mind and how we think about what we are doing.
And that leads to success and prevalence.

The internal power training which has been discussed at length is about focusing on oneself and bringing the various components of the mind-body into an integrated state. It is largely a solo endeavor, although I really appreciate the way Dan H teaches many of the exercises under load with a partner. Anyway, you are not trying to do anything to anyone else. You are integrating yourself.
For fighting effectiveness.

The more relaxed you get, the more you release your tension and integrate the various components of your body, the more sensitive you are to outside forces. I am not saying that the spiritual side of this comes automatically, I don't think it does. Takeda, Sagawa, and Ueshiba all were masters of the "aiki" skills but only O-Sensei had the spiritual bent that led him to change the art from one devoted to fighting to one that allowed one to manifest the principles that govern the universe in ones body via technique. It's not that these principles weren't in operation in Daito Ryu, they certainly were. In fact these principles operate in all places at all times, in all arts because they are so-called "universal" principles.
That's not an argument against my opinion. He still could defeat you and me ;) .

But O-Sensei changed the form of the practice to focus on these principles and the trans-formative effect on the individual of integrating oneself with these principles. It was meant to be a spiritual practice.
ONCE he became proficient technically speaking.

So, O-Sensei kept developing throughout his entire life. At the very end of his life he stated that he was just beginning to understand Ikkyo. You can't say that he kept changing on a spiritual level but didn't develop technically... there is no separation.
There is for me and I'm not O Sensei. Do you really believe that it took him 50 years of rigorous training to begin to even understand Ikkyo? Was he that bad?

Anyway, you become what you train. If you take the idea that you can just focus on technique and spiritual thing will come later, you will inevitably hit a dead end in which your technique stops progressing because the limiting factor will no longer be something physical. You can see this in innumerable high level practitioners. Their stuff hasn't changed in years and years because the focus of their training was outward on technique and how one could apply it to defeating an opponent outside oneself. A inward focus, both technical and spiritual, gives one the freedom to keep developing technically indefinitely. That's why O-Sensei's Aikido at the end of his life didn't look like what he did in his fifties and didn't look like what most of his students ended up doing. He kept changing, they didn't. They never understood his spiritual ideas and how they related to the practice and chose instead to master the form but not the content.
I cannot agree with you here too. So I need the spiritual to keep progressing in my technique? Does it work too for Chess or Civil Engineering? Sorry but no. No.

Of course, there is a continuum I am talking about. Some teachers freed themselves more from technical restraints of form and pursued some notion of a spiritual underpinning and others seemed almost entirely uninterested. But it is clear to me that O-Sensei's Aikido was meant to reveal the truth of non-separation, of the essential interconnectedness of things. Technique was a tool for that study. If ones interest is in fighting, all ones training starts with the fundamentally dualistic mindset that virtually precludes understanding this fact that way the Fonder understood it.
You mean then than prewar students did not understand a thing. Frankly, what's the different between those prewar deshi's techniques, the pictures of Noma Dojo, and Iwama Ryu's? Where is that technical progress?

Frankly, if ones only interest is in fighting and applied technique. I'd quit Aikido and go train with Dan H. Skip the Aiki-Do and just pursue the "aiki". He'll get you to fighting effectiveness much quicker and you won't be saddled with all sorts of Aikido techniques which were created for an entirely different purpose altogether.
For what purpose were Aikido techniques created? Were they created by O Sensei? Or they predate him by hundreds of years? Were they not created to defeat and prevail in armed and unarmed confrontation?

I keep repeating these things over and over because this is what I was taught by my own teacher and I think it is important that someone be "fighting the good fight" so to speak. Rather than shrink this amazing art of Aikido to fit ones "little mind" of all of our psychological issues why not try to change ourselves for the better and tap into a "Big Mind" understanding of the art? Of course that is far more difficult. Letting go is the hardest thing we can ask of ourselves. But don't try to make Aikido into just another system that emanates from the fearful mind, that will never change anything for the better because it simply buys into the essentially fearful, oppositional mindset that we all have. Technique alone is not the answer. There are folks out there who could tear you apart with their Aikido whom I wouldn't for one second wish to emulate on a personal level. I hope people will look for something greater than that.
This part is just preaching to the core. I believe, understand and share with you that last part. But that's not about Aikido. It's about being a better human being. Or are this kind of Aikidoka morally superior to Judoka, Kempoists, F-1 racers or Architects? That part is all about ego.

Flintstone
12-22-2010, 05:57 PM
So you swap training for imaginary (I'd use the word hypothetical) fights for believing in imaginary beings (the Lord - good or otherwise)...

I get your point (I think) that paranoia isn't always the best motivator or way to occupy your time but as the boy scouts say, "be prepared". Plus I think "imaginary fight(ing)" is basically what goes on in dojo's so if you don't do that, but you do practice aikido, what is it that do you? It is a genuine question - no snarkiness.
She is "connecting". I believe that's what Ki no Michi is about instead of Aikido?

RED
12-22-2010, 06:31 PM
She is "connecting". I believe that's what Ki no Michi is about instead of Aikido?

I wasn't referring to the concept of connection in my post. I wasn't referring to technique or waza. I made a statement about training mind-sets, and only meant to voice my personal mentality towards approaching martiality. I did not mean to suggest anything about my opinion of technique or waza, sorry if it seemed implied. I believe in connection in training,and engaging your attacker's center, but was not referring to it this time.
I believe Ledyard Sensei was the one that was talking about "connection". I guess I'll take it as a compliment to be confused with an Aikidoka with his ranking. lol

kewms
12-23-2010, 12:08 AM
No. He did not. I just say that prewar exponents' techniques and Iwama Ryu's techniques are very similar. And all of them very different from all that's in the middle (chronologically speaking).

How many of those people have you actually trained with? Video is pretty misleading -- two aikidoka can look the same but not feel the same. I certainly wouldn't want to make blanket statements about any of the uchi deshi (or any senior aikidoka) without actually having trained with them.

Katherine

Flintstone
12-23-2010, 07:05 AM
How many of those people have you actually trained with? Video is pretty misleading -- two aikidoka can look the same but not feel the same. I certainly wouldn't want to make blanket statements about any of the uchi deshi (or any senior aikidoka) without actually having trained with them.

Katherine
Video? I train regulary in the Yoseikan lineage for some 8 years now and being flirting with Iwama Ryu for some years too. Aikikai 10 years now. I know what I'm saying. Video? Who said video?

RonRagusa
12-23-2010, 08:00 AM
I keep repeating these things over and over because this is what I was taught by my own teacher and I think it is important that someone be "fighting the good fight" so to speak. Rather than shrink this amazing art of Aikido to fit ones "little mind" of all of our psychological issues why not try to change ourselves for the better and tap into a "Big Mind" understanding of the art? Of course that is far more difficult. Letting go is the hardest thing we can ask of ourselves. But don't try to make Aikido into just another system that emanates from the fearful mind, that will never change anything for the better because it simply buys into the essentially fearful, oppositional mindset that we all have. Technique alone is not the answer. There are folks out there who could tear you apart with their Aikido whom I wouldn't for one second wish to emulate on a personal level. I hope people will look for something greater than that.

I admire your persistence George. Your head must really be starting to hurt from repeatedly banging it into that brick wall. Talk about hidden in plain sight...

Best,

Ron

Nicholas Eschenbruch
12-23-2010, 08:03 AM
I admire your persistence George. Your head must really be starting to hurt from repeatedly banging it into that brick wall. Talk about hidden in plain sight...

Best,

Ron

+1

RonRagusa
12-23-2010, 08:05 AM
What was that about nobody trying to do O Sensei's Aikido?

Just as easily might have been an instruction as pejorative observation. For example, "You're not doing my Aikido!" as in, "Do your own Aikido!"

Best,

Ron

MM
12-23-2010, 08:24 AM
I think George's post (#294) was great. Worth re-reading.



The internal power training which has been discussed at length is about focusing on oneself and bringing the various components of the mind-body into an integrated state. It is largely a solo endeavor, although I really appreciate the way Dan H teaches many of the exercises under load with a partner. Anyway, you are not trying to do anything to anyone else. You are integrating yourself.

For fighting effectiveness.


No.

There's a misunderstanding here. Daito ryu aiki (which = the aiki that Ueshiba's had which = a physical body skill) is a changing of the body to allow the body to work at a very fundamentally different manner than normal. This aiki isn't a "tool" and isn't a "technique" as most of the world defines those terms. The exercises of aiki rewire and rebuild a body to internally work differently such that the aiki body is a more "martial" body.

That isn't to say it can *not* be used in other venues, but someone with aiki who then proceeds to learn a martial system will stand out significantly. The very real and important point here is that aiki, by itself, will not create a martial artist, a fighter, a boxer, etc. One must learn those martial systems.



But O-Sensei changed the form of the practice to focus on these principles and the trans-formative effect on the individual of integrating oneself with these principles. It was meant to be a spiritual practice.

ONCE he became proficient technically speaking.


Not really. Look back at the timeline. Ueshiba first started training with Takeda in 1915 but it wasn't extensive. He moves to train with Deguchi in 1920. Then in 1922, he trains extensively with Takeda for about 6 months. By 1922, he had two years with Takeda and two years with Deguchi. He was already intertwining aiki with spirituality. By the 1930s, he had at least 7 years of devoted training using both. It wasn't a matter that he became technically proficient first. He became proficient in both at the same time.

There's more than a few pre-war students from the Kobukan era who are quoted saying that they didn't understand Ueshiba's lectures. And it was debated whether Ueshiba was his best pre-war or post-war. However, some talk about his power and how he felt like lightning/electricity in pre-war and then some talk about how ghost-like and soft he was in post-war.

I think Ueshiba changed both his techniques and his spiritual ideology throughout his life. But, he did so with both technical and spiritual as one entity, starting from the beginning.


There is for me and I'm not O Sensei. Do you really believe that it took him 50 years of rigorous training to begin to even understand Ikkyo? Was he that bad?


No, he wasn't that bad. But, both aiki and spirituality are an ever evolving entity. Throughout the Japanese arts and the Chinese arts, those martial artists who had aiki continued to talk about how they kept progressing and getting "stronger" (budo or martial strong, not physical) even as they aged.



Anyway, you become what you train. If you take the idea that you can just focus on technique and spiritual thing will come later, you will inevitably hit a dead end in which your technique stops progressing because the limiting factor will no longer be something physical. You can see this in innumerable high level practitioners. Their stuff hasn't changed in years and years because the focus of their training was outward on technique and how one could apply it to defeating an opponent outside oneself. A inward focus, both technical and spiritual, gives one the freedom to keep developing technically indefinitely. That's why O-Sensei's Aikido at the end of his life didn't look like what he did in his fifties and didn't look like what most of his students ended up doing. He kept changing, they didn't. They never understood his spiritual ideas and how they related to the practice and chose instead to master the form but not the content.
I cannot agree with you here too. So I need the spiritual to keep progressing in my technique? Does it work too for Chess or Civil Engineering? Sorry but no. No.


We're talking martial arts, not engineering or games. And I think George is stating that focusing solely on techniques as it relates to defeating an opponent will only get you so far. I think he's right. Even Kodo said his art was formless. These men worked on becoming the best that they could be and IMO that focus was derived by physically changing their body, mentally changing their minds, and by changing spiritually. Ueshiba just took it to the extreme in the spirituality area.



Of course, there is a continuum I am talking about. Some teachers freed themselves more from technical restraints of form and pursued some notion of a spiritual underpinning and others seemed almost entirely uninterested. But it is clear to me that O-Sensei's Aikido was meant to reveal the truth of non-separation, of the essential interconnectedness of things. Technique was a tool for that study. If ones interest is in fighting, all ones training starts with the fundamentally dualistic mindset that virtually precludes understanding this fact that way the Fonder understood it.
You mean then than prewar students did not understand a thing. Frankly, what's the different between those prewar deshi's techniques, the pictures of Noma Dojo, and Iwama Ryu's? Where is that technical progress?


The pre-war students had just as much a hard time understanding Ueshiba's spiritual talks as the post-war students did. Few got it. That's a fact. That isn't to say they didn't understand a thing. They got something from Ueshiba -- a bit of aiki. It only takes a quick glance at people like Shioda, Tomiki, and Mochizuki to see that they didn't really, totally agree with Ueshiba's spiritual ideology or how he changed things.

Techniques are a completely different thing. Anyone can mimic techniques. Look at the Ohio students who studied diligently from books and then showed up at a Tohei seminar. Tohei was impressed with what they had done. Look at Kisshomaru stating that it should only take a couple of years to learn techniques. In a cooperative training environment such as Modern Aikido, anyone can mimic the techniques. For 40 years, we have proven that true. However, that is not the same as doing the techniques as Ueshiba did them. The form is the same but the function is completely different.


For what purpose were Aikido techniques created? Were they created by O Sensei? Or they predate him by hundreds of years? Were they not created to defeat and prevail in armed and unarmed confrontation?


Ueshiba changed and modified the Daito ryu syllabus for his own personal, spiritual goals. Those were created by Ueshiba, yes. Do they look similar to Daito ryu techniques? yeah. Are they the same? No. Even Ueshiba is quoted as saying that he hated teaching at the military schools because it was all about winning and killing.

Looking back to the demonstration where Ohba, as uke, changed his attacks to be completely realistic, we can see Ueshiba having to revert back to *other* things than what he wanted to show. Ueshiba was furious about it, too. That was not his aikido. And it didn't look like any other demonstration he had given.

Compare Daito ryu and aikido techniques with koryu jujutsu techniques. Why are they different? Compare Sagawa with Ueshiba. Why was Sagawa not impressed with Ueshiba's "techniques"? Why was Mochizuki not happy with Ueshiba when Ueshiba changed and altered techniques? Why did Tomiki try to add some sort of "competitive" element? Why was Shioda's school chosen for the police but Modern Aikido wasn't? Did not Ueshiba teach at many military schools? What changed?

MM
12-23-2010, 08:42 AM
I'd disagree. The techniques in aikido are related to using aiki. It's why the techniques in Daito ryu and aikido look different than koryu jujutsu. The primary point of aikido techniques aren't about using a weapon. For Ueshiba, that primary point was aiki and spirituality intertwined. And as one pre-war student said, nikkyo (or one of them) was about body development not about it being a technique.

In another place, there's mention of working on a wrist technique, not for practical purposes but because as uke, doing it one way caused pain while doing it another way, nothing was felt by uke and the "technique" didn't work. In other words, they were working out why if you did it correctly, it negated the lock. Not that it was an efficient manner of dealing with someone who had a weapon.

Aiki works armed or unarmed (That isn't to say that an unarmed person would fare well against an armed one). Modern Aikido, though, is different. It lacks aiki, so the context of practice is very different. I still wouldn't say those techniques rely upon weapon usage. Just look at some of the Filipino arts and you can see how they intertwined empty hand with weapons usage. Or koryu jujutsu where, I believe, a weapon is implied. None look anything like aikido or Modern Aikido.

That also isn't to say that you can't use aikido or Modern Aikido in a weapons usage manner. But, that isn't the primary function of either, IMO.

Mark

Let's end this once and for all.

The techniques you see in aikido are related to the use of weapons.

MMA is looking at small sliver of all combat. It is highly refined for what is does.

But for a moment imagine the poor boxer who says, as the life bleeds out of his body, "I got pwned by the kyudo guy." Believe me there is a reason why boxers don't fight archers.

Face a boxer, kick-boxer, muay thai, wrestler, or bjj'er with a sword and witness the difference. All those styles are completely ineffective against a sword. All of their attacks and defences and strategies will result in death for the practitioner against a sword. Do you think samurai were stupid? They fought and killed and died for a living.

Reflect on the context of weapons, multiple opponents, and surprise and aikido will cease to be a mystery... Don't be disappointed as mastering it still will be!

If you knew that someone was going to use a weapon on you, or that they always carried weapons, what might your method of attack look like? What might your strategies be?

If you were a man who always carried weapons and favored using them, what might you want out of a martial art? What situations would you prepare for?

Any aikidoist who desires to understand the practical application of the techniques of their art, must consider these questions.

Nick
12-23-2010, 09:30 AM
No. He did not. I just say that prewar exponents' techniques and Iwama Ryu's techniques are very similar. And all of them very different from all that's in the middle (chronologically speaking).

I don't buy that those in the middle are/were doing what O Sensei taught them. What was that about nobody trying to do O Sensei's Aikido?

As someone who's studied both boxing and aikido (since that's where this discussion began)... thanks for laying it out like this and saving me the trouble, Alejandro. With all respect to what George has been saying, I still hold that the MARTIAL side of aikido is as important as the ART side. If you study aikido only to grow as a person and reach spiritual tranquility, that's absolutely your prerogative and I wish you well. Just don't be surprised if it doesn't work IF avoidance and verbal disarmament (what I call "real" aikido) fail. Once you learn the martial, you begin to understand the art.

Also, a quick bit of props for boxers: you want to talk about spiritual development? Try standing up and fighting someone in front of a couple hundred strangers. That, coupled with the shugyo of a boxing regimen, taught me as much about myself as any randori or misogi session. Most of the boxers I met (and many I've seen interviewed, for that matter) defied the stereotype and were/are thoughtful, peaceful people outside of the gym/ring, just like aikidoka.

George S. Ledyard
12-23-2010, 11:38 AM
As someone who's studied both boxing and aikido (since that's where this discussion began)... thanks for laying it out like this and saving me the trouble, Alejandro. With all respect to what George has been saying, I still hold that the MARTIAL side of aikido is as important as the ART side. If you study aikido only to grow as a person and reach spiritual tranquility, that's absolutely your prerogative and I wish you well. Just don't be surprised if it doesn't work IF avoidance and verbal disarmament (what I call "real" aikido) fail. Once you learn the martial, you begin to understand the art.

I always find myself in the position of playing devil's advocate on these forums... when I'm talking to someone like Graham I end up sounding like Attila the Hun and when I'm responding to someone like Tony I end up sounding like some New Age, wishful thinking Aikido practitioner.

So, just to clarify... Aikido should be a balance between the martial and the spiritual. They are equally important. Note I said equally. Very few people I encounter seem to be able to hold those two aspects simultaneously' This was true of the deshi as well. This is the source, I believe, of O-Sensei's frustration that "no one is doing my Aikido".

Seattle tends to be a hotbed of "spiritual" Aikido, so normally, I am reaction against the tendency to be in love with Aikido and notions of O-Sensei that are based on very little, if any, factual information. The martial side is weak on the West Coast generally, with some notable exceptions. But folks are serious about the art as a transformational path.

On the other hand, the East Coast, where I am from, likes to think of itself as really martial and the make fun of the West Coast non-martial paradigm. However, I am often struck by how unthoughtful many of these folks are about what they do. It's just a form of martial exercise for them. Or a pursuit of power designed to make fearful people less fearful.

The number of folks, like a William Gleason or a Matsuoka Sensei, who can walk the talk on the mat and also have pursued a vision of Aikido that is something more than jiu jutsu is too small for my liking. The Aikido of O-Sensei, a vision passed onto me by my own teacher Saotome Sensei, is an "endangered species". We have gotten to the point at which the martial boys aren't even doing very good martial arts and the "spiritual folks" aren't doing anything with very deep spirituality.

When I talk about these things, I am generally referring to the teachers, the folks who have voluntarily set themselves up as transmitters of the art. I constantly encounter teachers of Aikido who have never read Aikido Journal, never participated on the forums nor have they read the threads, never bothered to read Peter G's developing masterpiece here on Aikiweb... Often these teachers have no background whatever in any martial arts apart from Aikido. They have little or no knowledge of weapons, of striking arts, grappling, boxing, knife / stick arts, pretty much zero experience in anything but Aikido.

So, you have an art that is being transmitted by people who don't know the history of the art, don't have the least idea about the spiritual foundations of the art as the Founder understood them, don't have a solid martial background and can't offer their students much depth in any area. These folks skipped the Aiki Expos. They have ignored, even actively resisted, the opportunities that now exist to tap into teachers from outside who have been willing and even eager to help Aikido folks be better at what they do, like Aukuzawa, Mike S, Dan H, Toby Threadgill, Howard Popkin, etc.

So when I see on the forums those folks who seem to believe that Aikido is just some form of jiu jutsu, whose Aikido, as expressed through their posts anyway, seems to be limited to what I would call the "bop and torque" school of Aikido, I try to point out that it is far more than than what they seem to see in the training. I think this is really a thoughtful martial art for thoughtful people. Pursuit of martial prowess for its own sake isn't why the art was founded. It misses half the picture.

On the other hand, the "wishful thinking" school of Aikido is missing the other half. They are full of lofty ideals which they have virtually no ability to connect to their actual technique. They love the idea of O-Sensei as the un-defeatable martial artist / spiritual genius but have made no effort whatever to become that themselves. They do bad martial arts and call it spiritual. It's just as out of balance with O-Sensei's Aikido as the "bop and torque" folks are,

In a past post I referred to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, one of my favorite books. Pirsig talks about these two paradigms, which he refers to as the rational / scientific worldview and the "groovy" world view (it was written in the 70's when that term was in common usage).

In the Aikido community, one sees both of these paradigms functioning, with the rational / scientific folks pursuing technical mastery with little thoughtfulness beyond what is practical, beyond what works and the "groovy" folks who love the ideas, adore O-Sensei (even though they know very little about him), and have absolutely no idea how to apply the techniques of the art in a martial encounter and don't generally care that they don't.

I think that the point of Pirsig's book was that genuine wisdom only happens when these two seemingly oppositional paradigms are unified, like Yin and Yang, inseparable, constantly ebbing and flowing around each other, but having a balance that is always present. Real mastery of Aikido is the same. It should have a balance between the martial and the spiritual. One should be free to manifest technique in any way that is required. Technique designed for exploration of the principles of connection isn't going to be the same as technique that is designed to save your life in a deadly encounter. A solid underpinning of knowledge both intellectual and martial should be the goal if one is striving towards mastery.

So, addressing the original topic of the thread, what I see as the issue with most of the ways folks have addressed the issue of boxing type attacks, shows a lack of sophistication in their understanding of the principle of irimi. There was a story about Shioda Sensei after the war... He and his students did a demo for some American service men. After the demo, the service men, who had a Golden Gloves boxer in their midst, asked about how they'd handle bxing style attacks. Initially, Shioda had his boys try to deal with the boxer but he "owned them". They couldn't get any of their cool locks etc without getting nailed repeatedly. So then Shioda, to preserve the honor of the art, came out and faced off with the boxer. When the boxer jabbed, instead of trying to snag the jabbing arm, as his students had tried in vain to do, Shioda slipped the jab, went straight in, snagged the back arm and dropped the guy with what I guess was a shihonage or figure four.

Anyway, this is where the difference lies between a focus on what seems to work, what is effective in a limited sense and developing an understanding of deeper principle through better training. Irimi is a very deep principle and it is not well understood. Even Shioda's tough boys made the mistake of trying to deal with the attack whereas Shioda went to the center. There was no second strike possible. That was "irimi". When irimi is executed properly, there should be no second strike possible.

So, all the sparring type responses to boxing, where there's a give and take, where there's even a chance for the boxer to throw a combination, are not ultimately what you are shooting for. What you really want is to not let the boxer determine the timing of his strike, which you do by initiating, and you want to occupy the space he needs to be in to hit you. If you can do that, then a boxer is no different than any other striking attacker.

kewms
12-23-2010, 12:33 PM
Video? I train regulary in the Yoseikan lineage for some 8 years now and being flirting with Iwama Ryu for some years too. Aikikai 10 years now. I know what I'm saying. Video? Who said video?

You didn't answer the question. How much direct physical knowledge do you have of the differences between pre-war and post-war aikido, particularly as practiced by uchi deshi from those periods?

Just because a dojo belongs to the ASU, that doesn't mean the chief instructor -- much less the students -- has any ability to replicate what Saotome Sensei is doing. So I'm generally skeptical of the assumption that a particular lineage necessarily replicates the aikido of its founding instructor.

Katherine

Nick
12-23-2010, 01:59 PM
So, all the sparring type responses to boxing, where there's a give and take, where there's even a chance for the boxer to throw a combination, are not ultimately what you are shooting for. What you really want is to not let the boxer determine the timing of his strike, which you do by initiating, and you want to occupy the space he needs to be in to hit you. If you can do that, then a boxer is no different than any other striking attacker.

And a good boxer would never let you get his center, but now it's me playing devil's advocate :).

I agree completely; like with everything, balance is necessary. You train in the dojo for the necessary physical response. You train outside of the dojo to grow the necessary mental responses (e.g. learning in-depth the history of the Arts), and eventually the physical and the mental merge and you train inside and outside the dojo and acquire the necessary spiritual responses.

Cheers,
Nick

George S. Ledyard
12-23-2010, 05:18 PM
No. He did not. I just say that prewar exponents' techniques and Iwama Ryu's techniques are very similar. And all of them very different from all that's in the middle (chronologically speaking).

I don't buy that those in the middle are/were doing what O Sensei taught them. What was that about nobody trying to do O Sensei's Aikido?

Kihon Waza is kihon waza. Saotome Sensei's kihon waza is pretty much the same kihon waza as the Yoshinkan / Iwama folks, with minor differences. The question is really whether it all stops there or keeps going. Both Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei do their Aikido on an entirely different basis when they are not just teaching basics. Each can manifest technique in a multitude of ways depending on the purpose at the time.

Saito Sensei saw his mission as preserving O-Sensei's Aikido, as he was taught that Aikido. Repeatedly one would hear later deshi saying that if one wished to know how a technique was done earlier by the Founder, one should ask Saito Sensei. Saito Sensei even walked around when teaching with a little book of O-Sensei's technique, saying "See, I didn't change a thing!".

While valuable for the rest of us to have a moment of Aikido history frozen in time that we can refer back to, I do not think that this is what O-Sensei had in mind. He was on the record as saying that one can get trapped by technique and to be wary lest that happened. Many of the post war greats, like Yamaguchi Seigo, worked out their own Aikido. To me that is the point. To work out your own Aikido and keep working it out until you pass away. Everyone who limits himself to imitating someone else's Aikido inevitably falls short. Only if you add something from your own investigations into the mix and make that Aikido truly your own can you hope to go as far or farther than ones own teacher. Only that way can the art grow rather than shrink with each generation.

Not one of Saotome Sensei's students looks like him, not Ikeda Sensei and not any of the rest of us. And Sensei is quite overtly proud of that fact. He taught us how to train but didn't try to tell us what to train. He left that for us to find out. Each of his students has taken a different path on that journey, and the best of them will leave Aikido with something that is his or her unique contribution.

As far as I am concerned, that is the process as it should be.

George S. Ledyard
12-23-2010, 05:31 PM
And a good boxer would never let you get his center, but now it's me playing devil's advocate :).

I agree completely; like with everything, balance is necessary. You train in the dojo for the necessary physical response. You train outside of the dojo to grow the necessary mental responses (e.g. learning in-depth the history of the Arts), and eventually the physical and the mental merge and you train inside and outside the dojo and acquire the necessary spiritual responses.

Cheers,
Nick
Well, of course, that's martial arts... no one lets you get anything. You have to take it. It's back to that old question of who would win when an Aikido guy meets a guy who does art X/Y/Z? The answer is the guy who is best at what he does.

Ushiro Kenji, when asked what would happen if two opponents met who both understood what he was teaching. He replied that the guy who would win would be the guy who got inside the best. That is a perfectly good Koan to reflect on and one, the answer of which, will change with time and understanding.

Keith Burnikell
02-12-2011, 08:51 PM
OP, engaging any more-experienced martial artist looking for a favorable outcome is a tall order.

Can Aikido be effective against other martial arts? Yes.
The issue appears to be 'why does it appear to take so much longer to become 'proficient' in aikido?

Many reasons. The two most obvious are repetitions and training mindset.
Repetitions. I'll explain.
Haganah has 16 week rotations. Lot of reps. Krav Maga has similar drills.
How many punches does a boxer throw in a year? How many combos thrown in Karate, TKD, MuayThai? How much uchikomi is done in a Judo class? Assuming that all of the MAs have good instructors it boils down to how quickly the requisite skills are gained and NOT playing the other guy's game. Note I said skills, not techniques.
I believe that the answer lies in lots of quality repetitions. Going through full throws in Aikido (especially projections) eats up a lot of time and exhausts ukes quickly. Not so in other martial arts. So, there's a potential for disparity in the efficiency of gaining knowledge. This can be remedied by stopping short of the actual throw/pin 4 out of 5 times. Then there's the 'talking'. How many times have aikidoka had to sit through 10-15 minute breaks expounding about O'Sensei and other such topics and crucial time is taken away from a 2 hour class. In many Aikido dojos, there's simply far too much talking.

Training mindset:
Go to a boxing gym and look at the training dedication, focus and discipline. They don't hide behind philosophies for why their techniques don't work, they train to fix the issues.

Perhaps that's why dedicated boxers with ~ 3 years under their belt are usually far better at boxing than the usual 3 year aikido practitioners are at aikido. It's not just skill, it's the peripheral aspects. They're fitter and tougher mentally. They learn their sport thoroughly and WILL annihilate you if you stand in front of them. Evading won't help much. They're masters at eating up space and not overcommitting. However, after hanging out with my friend who was a pro-fighter he demonstrated very subtle deflections and parries. I was amazed at how soft they were. In fact, at his level (and he was good) I saw a great similarity to Systema.

I have trained with an Aikidoka that I felt trained in Aikido with the same fire and focus that boxers train. His aikido is impressive. He's a no name to most people on here but I have seen him mix it up with a trained fighter. Aikidoka was 150lbs soaking wet. The guy he fought was 230lbs, highly trained and younger. Result, the big guy was a dish rag when he was done. No aikido principle was broken at any time that I could see. Aikido works.

Story two: I've witnessed an Aikidoka use aikido to stun a proficient MMA practitioner! It did involve the appropriate use of atemi. IMHO, those instructors (no matter the rank) that fail to include atemi waza in the training of their students are doing them a HUGE injustice or poorly trained themselves.

Given enough repetitions, the inefficiencies disappear and you distill your skills down to the fundamental principles. Then you can train for specific opponents but the principles remain the same.

As to the previous comments concerning carrying firearms: I agree, firearms are highly effective but use of a firearm WILL be a life changing event for you. Period. My breaking anyone's arm while controlling him is a lot different to resorting to shoot him in the face in response to a dangerous beat down. In addition, there are many times I am not allowed to have a weapon on my person...e.g. airports. Aikido's really nice to know in such a circumstance.

Summarizing, if Aikidoka trained with the same focus and efficiency as boxers/Muay Thai practitioners their learning curve would be much steeper. I don't believe that such an approach to training would in anyway compromise the philosophical benefits of Aikido.

Eric Winters
02-13-2011, 12:50 PM
Hi Keith,

Great post.

Eric

lbb
02-13-2011, 04:06 PM
OP, engaging any more-experienced martial artist looking for a favorable outcome is a tall order.

OP started this gazillion-page thread two years ago. I doubt he's still reading.

tlk52
02-14-2011, 09:52 AM
one sensei who has an extensive boxing background is Harvey Konigsburg of Woodstock NY.

he'll be teaching with Yamada Sensei at the
Midwest Aikido Center/April 30th - May 1st
4349 North Damen Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60618
Telephone: 773.477.0123
info@midwestaikidocenter.org

George S. Ledyard
02-14-2011, 10:11 AM
OP started this gazillion-page thread two years ago. I doubt he's still reading.

He's probably got his black belt by now and is teaching the beginners this thread has gone on so long...

Eric Winters
02-14-2011, 12:28 PM
Don't all you neebies understand that restarting an old thread is just plain stupid. All of us aikiweb sempei have read through these threads and came up with THE ANSWERS.

Jeez, how totally kohei of you.

Eric "aikiweb sempei" Winters

DonMagee
02-15-2011, 07:23 AM
OP, engaging any more-experienced martial artist looking for a favorable outcome is a tall order.

Can Aikido be effective against other martial arts? Yes.
The issue appears to be 'why does it appear to take so much longer to become 'proficient' in aikido?

Many reasons. The two most obvious are repetitions and training mindset.
Repetitions. I'll explain.
Haganah has 16 week rotations. Lot of reps. Krav Maga has similar drills.
How many punches does a boxer throw in a year? How many combos thrown in Karate, TKD, MuayThai? How much uchikomi is done in a Judo class? Assuming that all of the MAs have good instructors it boils down to how quickly the requisite skills are gained and NOT playing the other guy's game. Note I said skills, not techniques.
I believe that the answer lies in lots of quality repetitions. Going through full throws in Aikido (especially projections) eats up a lot of time and exhausts ukes quickly. Not so in other martial arts. So, there's a potential for disparity in the efficiency of gaining knowledge. This can be remedied by stopping short of the actual throw/pin 4 out of 5 times. Then there's the 'talking'. How many times have aikidoka had to sit through 10-15 minute breaks expounding about O'Sensei and other such topics and crucial time is taken away from a 2 hour class. In many Aikido dojos, there's simply far too much talking.

Training mindset:
Go to a boxing gym and look at the training dedication, focus and discipline. They don't hide behind philosophies for why their techniques don't work, they train to fix the issues.

Perhaps that's why dedicated boxers with ~ 3 years under their belt are usually far better at boxing than the usual 3 year aikido practitioners are at aikido. It's not just skill, it's the peripheral aspects. They're fitter and tougher mentally. They learn their sport thoroughly and WILL annihilate you if you stand in front of them. Evading won't help much. They're masters at eating up space and not overcommitting. However, after hanging out with my friend who was a pro-fighter he demonstrated very subtle deflections and parries. I was amazed at how soft they were. In fact, at his level (and he was good) I saw a great similarity to Systema.

I have trained with an Aikidoka that I felt trained in Aikido with the same fire and focus that boxers train. His aikido is impressive. He's a no name to most people on here but I have seen him mix it up with a trained fighter. Aikidoka was 150lbs soaking wet. The guy he fought was 230lbs, highly trained and younger. Result, the big guy was a dish rag when he was done. No aikido principle was broken at any time that I could see. Aikido works.

Story two: I've witnessed an Aikidoka use aikido to stun a proficient MMA practitioner! It did involve the appropriate use of atemi. IMHO, those instructors (no matter the rank) that fail to include atemi waza in the training of their students are doing them a HUGE injustice or poorly trained themselves.

Given enough repetitions, the inefficiencies disappear and you distill your skills down to the fundamental principles. Then you can train for specific opponents but the principles remain the same.

As to the previous comments concerning carrying firearms: I agree, firearms are highly effective but use of a firearm WILL be a life changing event for you. Period. My breaking anyone's arm while controlling him is a lot different to resorting to shoot him in the face in response to a dangerous beat down. In addition, there are many times I am not allowed to have a weapon on my person...e.g. airports. Aikido's really nice to know in such a circumstance.

Summarizing, if Aikidoka trained with the same focus and efficiency as boxers/Muay Thai practitioners their learning curve would be much steeper. I don't believe that such an approach to training would in anyway compromise the philosophical benefits of Aikido.

I've always believed it was not the bag work, uchikomi, or pushups that made me a better fighter, but the sparring, randori, and mental desire.

One set of training builds conditioning and muscle memory and the other builds creativity and working knowledge of how to use it. If I had two boxers who were identical in every way except for one omitted sparring from his training, I know where I'd be putting my money down in vegas. :D

Keith Burnikell
02-23-2011, 09:19 PM
Don, I agree with you. The boxers who spar are the most creative and would be where I'd put my money too. But, before you spar you do the 'reps'! It's just easier to get to sparring in boxing.

How can anyone appreciate George's description of the ikkyo curve unless they've done a few thousand ikkyos themselves?
How does a trainer discuss combinations if he's working with a boxer who doesn't have a fluid punches in his/her repertoire?

Unfortunately, I know far too many Shodans/Nidans that simply would not be able to acquit themselves in a scrap, let alone against a boxer with just 6 months training. So the question remains: In 4 years how many jabs does a boxer throw sparring vs ikkyo by a Shodan? 100:1 ; 1000:1 How many minutes of randori vs how many hours of sparring?

I'd hazard a guess that Saotome, Chiba, Saito, Shioda, Tomiki would have all been more than capable in a scrap by Shodan/Nidan level. Not only because they are/were exceptional students but because their preparation was far more 'rigorous' and focused.

I believe there's an opportunity here!

Michael Varin
02-24-2011, 03:14 AM
But, before you spar you do the 'reps'! It's just easier to get to sparring in boxing.


Unfortunately, I know far too many Shodans/Nidans that simply would not be able to acquit themselves in a scrap, let alone against a boxer with just 6 months training. So the question remains: In 4 years how many jabs does a boxer throw sparring vs ikkyo by a Shodan? 100:1 ; 1000:1 How many minutes of randori vs how many hours of sparring?


I believe there's an opportunity here!
I do, too!

But I strongly dispute the notion that an aikidoist can't be at the same level as a boxer in 6 months, all other things being equal.

A boxer obviously prepares for boxing. What are we preparing for? Boxing?

True. That will not be accomplished in 6 months, primarily, because it is a foolish pursuit.

How could training in techniques that are not designed for the context of boxing prepare you for that context?

On the other hand, it you train the techniques of aikido in their proper context (weapons and multiple opponents) and with resistance, i.e., sparring, it is very possible to develop competent martial artists in a time frame closer to what we expect from boxing or bjj.

That is the new frontier of aikido.

Keith Burnikell
02-26-2011, 10:54 AM
Michael, you're absolutely right, a boxer prepares for boxing.

Aikidoka prepare for life. Unfortunately, life contains folks that prepare unlike us and we, on occasion, have to deal with them. Training in a vacuum in this regard is dangerous. It creates an unrealistic notion for many of the students.

We're agreed. Aikido students can be developed faster than is normally the case, but a modification of some of the teaching methodologies is needed.
I know that there are people far more knowledgable than I who are working on this. I'm excited to see the results.

AsimHanif
02-26-2011, 01:33 PM
Good points Keith. One of my main focuses is showing how the principles (not techniques) of boxing and aikido are the same. I agree though, the methodology has to change along with a certain mindset. Basically people have to be willing to do the work; the hard physical work. We have to get out of theorizing and work from an honest standpoint.
In the (self serving) video below, the kid I'm working with will do that combination or variation uncountable times. Constantly polishing his mirror so to speak. I just don't see a lot of aikido people who work at that level of consistency.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwBtkuJ6HPI

Keith Burnikell
02-26-2011, 03:44 PM
Exactly!
For those that train like you say, their aikido's impressive and they just seem to learn faster than anyone else. Funny how that works!:)

This problem is compounded when we try to absolve ourselves of any responsibility for our training by saying they're gifted. They're just willing/able to work harder and sacrifice more than the rest of us.

I just don't see a lot of aikido people who work at that level of consistency.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwBtkuJ6HPI