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Mitchell Rister
01-23-2009, 12:28 PM
I have noticed that many people who study aikido have de-emphasized the importance of training In aikido as a practical self defense. They seem to come up with many reasons why they do so, such as the spiritual and philosophical aspects of aikido are more important. I agree that these issues are an invaluable part of aikido, but I also feel that the practical techniques should be heavily emphasized as part of the aikido journey. I hate to see how aikido has become so heavily criticized as being an ineffective martial art. When I see they way that many people train I can see why there are critics.

If I ever have to use Aikido to protect my family or myself, I want it to work.

gdandscompserv
01-23-2009, 12:30 PM
If I ever have to use Aikido to protect my family or myself, I want it to work.
All I can suggest is; if your aikido doesn't work, don't use it!:D

lbb
01-23-2009, 01:12 PM
If I ever have to use Aikido to protect my family or myself, I want it to work.

Well, of course. And if you ever have to use your door locks, or your ability to dial 911, or your simple common sense to protect your family or yourself, I hope those work too.

I think the point that people are making is that a)if you want aikido to work in a self-defense situation, you're going to have to put some real work into your training, and b)if you rely on aikido to save you, but neglect such simple remedies as (for example) not being a butthead and getting into confrontations, it's like grabbing a life vest and then knocking a big hole in the side of your ship.

gregstec
01-23-2009, 01:32 PM
it's like grabbing a life vest and then knocking a big hole in the side of your ship.

Being a boater, I really like the life vest comment. You are absolutely right - just because you have a defense tool does not mean you need to go looking to use it. Physical conflict is the last thing you want to engage during a confrontation - however, if it is thrust upon you, your conditioned training takes over on a subconscious level, you just do not have time to think about. So the more you train, the more you get conditioned and the better you will be able to handle the unexpected, etc.

Greg

Mitchell Rister
01-23-2009, 02:45 PM
Mary,

Thanks for clearing that up for me. As a student of aikido and a boater I realize the importance of wearing a life vest and also not knocking a hole in the side of my boat.

How do you feel when critics say that aikido isn't practical for self-defense? It bothers me when people speak negatively about the art that I have devoted a lot of time to. On the other hand, I have seen some methods of teaching that don’t offer students practical self-defense techniques.

Mitch

Michael O'Brien
01-23-2009, 03:05 PM
it's like grabbing a life vest and then knocking a big hole in the side of your ship.

Although this is a cute analogy I don't think it really applies to what he was saying.

I think the point he was making is more "I'm already in the ship and I want to make sure I have a life vest".

Even if you don't go out looking for trouble, sometimes it still manages to find you and you need to be prepared for that, period.

How you can "know" Aikido is going to work for that is a different question. In our dojo some of our classes are very "practical" Aikido oriented where we look at the more how to make sure you can defend yourself options in techniques.

Also, we have an open mat class with no formal instruction where you can just show up and find a partner and train on whatever you want. Those are good times to get a partner, or two, or three and do some freestyle type stuff. Have them attack with punches, kicks, tanto, etc and see how it goes.

Just my .02 worth.

Mike

ChrisHein
01-23-2009, 03:24 PM
I agree with your line of thinking Mitchell.

I also believe in martial arts being trained as, well, Martial.

However what kind of events are you picturing when you think of defending your family?

Are you picturing a scene where some bad guy comes into your home, and you fend him off using kotegaishi?

If you are looking to unarmed means for "self-defense" you are looking in the wrong place. Not with Aikido per say, but with unarmed martial arts period.

Even one of the great MMA fighters would be ill advised to defend his family using unarmed means of "self-defense". Weapon use swings the odds largely in your favor, which is what you want when your loved ones life is on the line.

Most of the people who critique Aikido as a system that doesn't work in a "self-defense" situation, are people who are confused about what a "self-defense" situation is.

Most have this glorified idea that "self-defense" is some kind of magical system that allows one to richeously defend themselves against armed people who are better at fighting, and bigger then they are. Unfortunately there is no such system.

If you are truly interested in defending yourself and your family you should train in weapons. I personally believe that Aikido is one of the best weapon support systems one can train in.

lbb
01-23-2009, 04:16 PM
How do you feel when critics say that aikido isn't practical for self-defense? It bothers me when people speak negatively about the art that I have devoted a lot of time to.

Well, there we differ -- personally, I just don't care. I mean, yeah, I care about aikido too, but I just can't care too much about things that don't affect me, like other people's ignorant statements about aikido. Remember that every time you hear such a statement, you're dealing with someone who can't define "practical", can't define "self-defense", and is incapable of constructing a rigorous argument. It's like wrestling with a pig.

lbb
01-23-2009, 04:22 PM
Physical conflict is the last thing you want to engage during a confrontation - however, if it is thrust upon you, your conditioned training takes over on a subconscious level, you just do not have time to think about.

Or it doesn't. Sometimes people find themselves in situations that they've allegedly trained for, and they freeze. Training isn't always at fault, either -- I've seen people with first aid training who fell apart completely when it got real, while people with identical training did fine. I think a large part of the story is how you approach your training. It's not a matter of fantasizing about the Crack-Crazed Urban Scum -- some people can be in a dojo with nice smooth mats, facing another person wearing funny clothes, and can train with a sense of "realness", while others just don't get to that point. It's not what you're doing, it's how you're doing it.

Erick Mead
01-23-2009, 05:56 PM
Or it doesn't. Sometimes people find themselves in situations that they've allegedly trained for, and they freeze. Training isn't always at fault, either -- I've seen people with first aid training who fell apart completely when it got real, while people with identical training did fine. I think a large part of the story is how you approach your training. It's not a matter of fantasizing about the Crack-Crazed Urban Scum -- some people can be in a dojo with nice smooth mats, facing another person wearing funny clothes, and can train with a sense of "realness", while others just don't get to that point. It's not what you're doing, it's how you're doing it.
Amen. One of the things I have come to consider fundamentally distinctive about Aikido is its manner of practice as opposed the content of the practice. DTR Aiki is NOT aikido for this very reason, whatever technical commonality in method of physical action there may be.

This is not merely its -do aspect as a means to personal development, (although it is, but so is tea ceremony, which is distinctly un-martial). The point I am considering is in fact VERY martial at the same time as it aims for something larger and deeper as the very means (not merely the ends) of its martial aspect.

I speak of love. Not pink horsies, "magical candy mountain, Charlie" space-cadet love., I mean momma-tiger love. The kind that don't fear nothing and don't back away from nothing neither, and is happy to jump int the face of a threat five times it size without concern. Mother-love, father-love and brother-love -- in its fiercest and most implacable form.

When O Sensei talked about aiki as ai(love)-ki this is what he meant. This is why we do not compete. This is why we do not train in circumstances that provoke fear responses -- because we are forging a very different pathway in the body and the brain.

It would destroy the fundamental motivation we are trying to create to fight competitively or to try to construct "realistic" fear-based scenarios. I am more daring and intrepid in trying to protect my enemy out of love than I am in trying to destroy him out of fear -- but creating a fearful, stressed environment does nothing to produce the goal in mind.

In fearful circumstances both anxiety AND aggression rise. Under oxytocin-modulated threat (protective instinct), aggression rises but anxiety drops, and the oxytocin cascade takes over the control of the adrenal system. And unlike the adrenal cascade which can be exhausted, oxytocin is positive feedback -- the more of it you make the more your body will make -- until you don't need it any more -- it can build and go on like this for hours -- as it does with women in labor-- whereas the adrenaline is short-acting and has negative feedback to progressively reduce its expression as it increases. Oxytocin has effects on contraction of smooth muscles in the trunk and muscular fascia -- increasing core stability and ability to withstand higher loads than without that action. -- Adrenaline does not do that at all. --

Oxytocin is less effective in males than females but still highly effective in maintaining male parental protective aggression and social bonding. -- But this only emphasizes the necessary strictness of our non-competitive training methods -- especially for naturally competitive men - who are more susceptible to fall into adrenal-driven pathways.

Aikido trains in protective aggression, which is psychologically neurologically, and hormonally, less limited and less hesitant in action, and more durable in its ability to maintain that level of aggression, than either fear-based aggression -- or dominance based aggression (which is inherently calculating, and will give out well before either of the other two).

Protective aggression reckons neither cost nor risk before acting, and stops at nothing other than the protection of the subject of its care -- therefore it acts sooner, and more completely, than either fear-aggression or dominance aggression, and will not give up before the others have run their own much shorter biochemical course.

Momma and poppa birds drive away cats and dogs and hawks -- all the time. Nothing frightens a predator more than a snarling, sniping prey without fear or caution because its mate or offspring is behind it. We train to transpose those motivational cues -- to our enemy -- of all things.

Do you know what animal kills more lions than anything else? -- Zebra -- no fangs, no claws -- just a big lovin' family, with attitude to match -- and those sporty stripes.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-23-2009, 10:02 PM
I have noticed that many people who study aikido have de-emphasized the importance of training In aikido as a practical self defense. They seem to come up with many reasons why they do so, such as the spiritual and philosophical aspects of aikido are more important.

I think the cases where there's no balance between the spiritual-philosophical and the martial aspects of aikido some kind of coping appears.

ChrisHein
01-24-2009, 10:56 AM
"coping"?

Kevin Leavitt
01-25-2009, 03:53 AM
The thing with practices and methodologies such as Aikido is that it reallly covers a spectrum of conflict and violence.

To me, the methodology is about how to deal with conflict skillfully. Conflict comes in many forms, physcial, spiritually, and mentallly. It also can be internal and external.

"self defense" I think comes up alot as it represents what most people perceive should be primarilly what a martial art is about. The external/physical portion of it.

Certainly it is valid and should be addressed as it is a part of the "whole" of the system.

That said, I think we also have to be very careful not to form an over attachment to this aspect in our practice, albeit we push to the back the other aspects of the study of violence and conflict that are, IMO, much, much more important and provide us much, much more opportunities for "use" of the art.

So, when you consider the practice of AIkido has a whole, I think it is a fair conclusion to say "there are better ways/methods to address Self Defense".

We as Aikidoka should actually consider that a compliment and not a shortcoming as hopefully, our practice is about much, much more than that one small aspect of physical and external.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2009, 12:10 PM
"coping"?

People use coping mechanisms (http://changingminds.org/explanations/behaviors/coping/coping.htm) when they they fail to overcome the difficulties they face, in this case the aikido difficulties.

Example A: I can't use aikido waza succesfully in a physical encounter... let's go spiritual.

Example B: I don't understand what O Sensei said in his philosophical writings.... let's break some wrists as in Seagal movies.

Example C: I can't use aikido waza succesfully in physical encounters nor understand O Sensei philosophy... let's dance and sing kumbaya.

And more...

ChristianBoddum
01-25-2009, 12:19 PM
I speak of love. Not pink horsies, "magical candy mountain, Charlie" space-cadet love., I mean momma-tiger love. The kind that don't fear nothing and don't back away from nothing neither, and is happy to jump int the face of a threat five times it size without concern. Mother-love, father-love and brother-love -- in its fiercest and most implacable form.

When O Sensei talked about aiki as ai(love)-ki this is what he meant. This is why we do not compete. This is why we do not train in circumstances that provoke fear responses -- because we are forging a very different pathway in the body and the brain.

-

For a long time I've had this thought, that there may be a way of expressing the love in Aikido as "extreme love",
in contrast to the term "extreme prejudice", an expression often heard in movies, since I am not a military person, I do not know if this is a correct military term.
If it is, then maybe "extreme love" could be what we are aiming for !
A love of action so to speak.

Kevin Leavitt
01-25-2009, 01:37 PM
Never heard the term "extreme prejudice" in the military. In fact, that kind of talk would actually get you in a great deal of trouble more than likely. Rules of War, Law of Armed Conflict, and Geneva Conventions are pretty clear about what is allowed and not allowed.

Militarily speaking, we try to keep emotion out of our military objectives, and simply do what we need to do within the constraints of the rules to accomplish our mission.

When you start injecting words like love and prejudice into the equation, you are getting into an area that is very dangerous ground militarily speaking.

Sure on an individual basis, people are motivated to act for many different reasons, but on a collective level and decision making, action level...it really needs to be void of all that I believe.

lbb
01-25-2009, 03:20 PM
People use coping mechanisms (http://changingminds.org/explanations/behaviors/coping/coping.htm) when they they fail to overcome the difficulties they face, in this case the aikido difficulties.

That's an interesting article you link to. I'm sure, although that definition of "coping mechanism" may be new to some of us, we've all seen those kind of behaviors in action. Still, I note that your examples are all negative, forms of avoidance or denial, while the article you cite also includes positive ways of coping. Why not cite them as well?

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2009, 04:29 PM
That's an interesting article you link to. I'm sure, although that definition of "coping mechanism" may be new to some of us, we've all seen those kind of behaviors in action. Still, I note that your examples are all negative, forms of avoidance or denial, while the article you cite also includes positive ways of coping. Why not cite them as well?

Positive or negative ways of coping...fake dichotomy. Find the balance between martial and spiritual, no need more coping mechanisms.

lbb
01-25-2009, 05:13 PM
Positive or negative ways of coping...fake dichotomy. Find the balance between martial and spiritual, no need more coping mechanisms.

Expand on this thought, if you would. In practical and specific terms, what does handling the situations such as you describe without "coping mechanisms" look like?

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2009, 06:18 PM
Expand on this thought, if you would. In practical and specific terms, what does handling the situations such as you describe without "coping mechanisms" look like?

I don't know people who have managed to find perfect balance between both the spiritual and the martial sides of aikido (so they don't need coping mechanisms to deal with their failure at one or other aspects of the way ) look like. Never meet one of these. Maybe O sensei was the first and the last.

lbb
01-25-2009, 06:47 PM
I don't know people who have managed to find perfect balance between both the spiritual and the martial sides of aikido (so they don't need coping mechanisms to deal with their failure at one or other aspects of the way ) look like. Never meet one of these. Maybe O sensei was the first and the last.

So, all of us put-our-pants-on-one-leg-at-a-time human beings use these "coping mechanisms"? Then my original question -- why do you only cite negative examples of "coping mechanisms" -- is perfectly valid, and not a false dichotomy at all (because, ya did, blanche).

Demetrio Cereijo
01-25-2009, 07:16 PM
So, all of us put-our-pants-on-one-leg-at-a-time human beings use these "coping mechanisms"?
Probably

Then my original question -- why do you only cite negative examples of "coping mechanisms" -- is perfectly valid, and not a false dichotomy at all (because, ya did, blanche).

The false dichotomy is in the negative coping mechanisms vs positive coping mechanisms. Doesn't matter which ones one use, they are still coping mechanisms and don't adress the issue, be it the failure in the martial side of aikido, the failure at the spiritual side of aikido or, more important imo, the failure at balancing both aspects.

Erick Mead
01-25-2009, 07:38 PM
Militarily speaking, we try to keep emotion out of our military objectives, and simply do what we need to do within the constraints of the rules to accomplish our mission.

When you start injecting words like love and prejudice into the equation, you are getting into an area that is very dangerous ground militarily speaking. ... and yet, I dare say, nearly every Medal of Honor awardee acted not from a rational sense of the "constraints of the rules to accomplish the mission." By definition they went way, way, above and beyond those rules -- as an act of supreme love -- and we rightly laud them in that manner as the highest achievement of martial spirit.

Some worthy reading: http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html

As only a recent example, pulled at random, I quote the award citation in full because he is utterly deserving of a complete recounting:*DUNHAM, JASON L.

Rank and Organization: Corporal, United States Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. Always faithful.

mathewjgano
01-25-2009, 11:36 PM
If I ever have to use Aikido to protect my family or myself, I want it to work.

As an expecting father, I hear ya loud and clear! What do you do to test your training? Or what kind of evidence do you have one way or the other about how well you're training?

Aikibu
01-26-2009, 01:17 AM
We have a saying...

It only works if you work it.

Doubt is one thing... It's good to question the practical side of Aikido's Martial effectiveness. Keeps an Aikidoka humble and open minded...But if you don't believe that Aikido will serve you or conversly you can't get past other's "doubts" about Aikido it may be time for you to go find something else to do.

If it's Practical Self Defense you're looking for May I suggest a good semi-auto pistol and lots of range time with a few combat pistol shooting courses thrown in for good measure.

William Hazen

Kevin Leavitt
01-26-2009, 03:32 AM
... and yet, I dare say, nearly every Medal of Honor awardee acted not from a rational sense of the "constraints of the rules to accomplish the mission." By definition they went way, way, above and beyond those rules -- as an act of supreme love -- and we rightly laud them in that manner as the highest achievement of martial spirit.

Some worthy reading: http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html

As only a recent example, pulled at random, I quote the award citation in full because he is utterly deserving of a complete recounting: Always faithful.

No, I agree Eric, hence why I put my last paragraph concerning "on and individual basis. It is complicated for sure, but there is a fine line between the external process of carrying out missions and given orders, and the actions you take, and the internal processes that motivate soldiers and people to take action and why they do the things they do.

I think the same paradox exsist in martial arts/budo training as well.

lbb
01-26-2009, 07:06 AM
The false dichotomy is in the negative coping mechanisms vs positive coping mechanisms. Doesn't matter which ones one use, they are still coping mechanisms and don't adress the issue, be it the failure in the martial side of aikido, the failure at the spiritual side of aikido or, more important imo, the failure at balancing both aspects.

Ok, so you rather stubbornly don't like the words "positive" and "negative". I'll change them to "coping mechanisms that don't help the situation/address the issue" and "coping mechanisms that do help the situation/address the issue". It seems clear to me, from reading the linked article and others that it links to, that there are coping mechanisms in both categories; therefore, your contention is untrue.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-26-2009, 07:27 AM
Ok, so you rather stubbornly don't like the words "positive" and "negative". I'll change them to "coping mechanisms that don't help the situation/address the issue" and "coping mechanisms that do help the situation/address the issue". It seems clear to me, from reading the linked article and others that it links to, that there are coping mechanisms in both categories; therefore, your contention is untrue.

Coping mechanisms that adress the issue? It seems to me you haven't understood that coping mechanisms are, by definition, behavioral tools used by individuals to offset or overcome adversity, disadvantage, or disability without correcting or eliminating the underlying condition.

lbb
01-26-2009, 08:19 AM
Coping mechanisms that adress the issue? It seems to me you haven't understood that coping mechanisms are, by definition, behavioral tools used by individuals to offset or overcome adversity, disadvantage, or disability without correcting or eliminating the underlying condition.

Yeah, I didn't get that at all. I read about coping mechanisms like "Adaptive mechanisms: That offer positive help" and "Behavioral mechanisms: That change what we do" and "Cognitive mechanisms: That change what we think" and thought that all of those certainly had the potential to "correct or eliminate the underlying condition" -- and, where it's not possible to do so, that they potentially represent a positive way of dealing with an "underlying condition" that's beyond your power to change (as, indeed, some are). But perhaps you're thinking about a different "underlying condition" than I am?

Erick Mead
01-26-2009, 09:04 AM
No, I agree Eric, hence why I put my last paragraph concerning "on and individual basis. It is complicated for sure, but there is a fine line between the external process of carrying out missions and given orders, and the actions you take, and the internal processes that motivate soldiers and people to take action and why they do the things they do.

I think the same paradox exsist in martial arts/budo training as well.I think we are on the same page. The flip side of the guy taking the grenade is the survivors guilt for those that (usually through no fault of their own, at all) saw their comrades taken and they were not. The guilt is a sense that there should have been, could have been, must have been, that "something more" they (coulda woulda shoulda ) might have found in the situation or themselves that might have saved their buddies. Almost always they are wrong, and there was nothing that would have altered it, but the negative sensibility comes from the same source as the positive motivation that results in posthumous awards.

One can hope that his men will look after one another, and encourage them, but one can only effectively and consistently order them to do what is rationally conceivable and doable. To do that bit more requires, as O Sensei said a "divine technique" of one description or another. And I think that every leader of men in battle has, at most, one and only one St.Crispian's Day speech in him -- it will come forth on its own at need, if ever. That part of battle strategy cannot be planned -- it can however be trained for, even if its execution is in God's hands... Takemusu.

Peter Bowyer
01-26-2009, 09:33 AM
You'll be surprised how effective (and easy to apply) a simple technique really is.

A buddy and I used to spar in the backyard ALL THE TIME when we were yonunger, eventhough neither of us had any MA training...we just loved the movies so we emulated them. He's a great grappler/submission and I was a striker. It had been a long time since we had done that and I recall a few summers ago he challenged me (since I was now in Aikido). I avoided quite effortlessly with simple Tenkans until he managed to shoot for my waist. He quickly got me to the ground and had me in a scissor hold around my stomach (didn't help that I had to pee too!). However, it was nothing to obtain his hand and apply a sankyo on him, IMMEDIATELY having him release.

Granted this was just friendly sparring but it was interesting to identify how techniques become engrained in you. Side note: he hasn't challenged me again - eventhough he says he will. ;)

Demetrio Cereijo
01-26-2009, 10:17 AM
But perhaps you're thinking about a different "underlying condition" than I am?

Perhaps.

I suggest you to read the following paragraphs taken from an interview with T.K. Chiba Shihan (http://www.aikidoonline.com/index2.asp?location=/Archives/2000/oct/feat_1000_tkc.html):

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss Zen training and its increasingly important association with Aikido training.

To begin with, I would like to describe how I began Zen training which, in a passive way, was due to my teacher, Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. What I mean by a "passive way" is that he taught me the importance of spiritual discipline along with martial discipline. However, the system of spiritual discipline he followed was based on CHINKON-KISHIN (method of pacifying the soul and regaining or recovering the spirit) derived from ancient Shintoism and its extension - the study of Kototama doctrine (the miraculous power of language inherent within the Japanese alphabet). The composition of O-Sensei's teaching of ancient Shintoism was based upon the KOJIKI', interpreted under the strong influences of Deguchi Wanisaburo of the Ohomoto Religion, who was the spiritual teacher of the Founder. The KOJlKl provides an account of the creation and development of the universe, along with the origin of the Japanese race and its state.

Although I was an uchideshi at the time, I found it extremely difficult to follow and I was unable to understand most of the words O-Sensei was using in his teaching. Shintoism was the spiritual backbone of his Aikido, and in order to understand his teachings, one had to understand the KOJlKl, which required extensive study. Unfortunately, I belonged to the generation whose education was strongly affected by the post-war policy carried out by G.H.Q. (General Headquarters of the Occupation Army), established in October of 1945 (1 entered Junior school in April, 1946), the central premise of which was the systematic denial of the Japanese culture, tradition and history. Thus, the myth and the world view represented by the KOJlKl was, for a time, denied as unscientific, an absurd superstition. This view was even widely supported by the post-war Japanese academic world. As for myself, being brought up and educated this way, I found the Founder's teachings not only difficult to follow, but also apparently nonsensical.

Nevertheless, the Founder always emphasized the importance of spiritual discipline ("religious faith", in his exact words) and the practice of farming along with martial discipline, if one wished to achieve one's goals. I had no problem with following the practice of farming and martial discipline (I still do both even up to today). However, I could not avoid the increasingly strong internal resistance that, as time went on, built up within me toward the Founder's spiritual discipline. I suffered from an internal split and feared the loss of unity between the physical art and spiritual discipline which was supposed to be the underlying principle of the art.

I started to look to Zen training as a substitute for the Founder's teaching. As I see it, it was a positive turning point in my Aikido life. However, I can't deny that it was an escape from the Founder. That is what I meant by my reference to "passive way".


Its clear to me Chiba Shihan says he was unable to follow O Sensei's shinto/omoto spirituality, so as a coping strategy he went into Zen spirituality. Maybe what Chiba Shihan did is what you call positive coping strategies, however, failing to follow the shinto/omoto spirituality (what I consider "the underlying condition") is still here.

lbb
01-26-2009, 10:37 AM
So -- back to where this thread started -- the "underlying condition" in this case is that (for whatever reason) one cannot use aikido for self-defense?

Kevin Leavitt
01-26-2009, 11:03 AM
Well, I bring this up it seems about once a year....reminds me of a story about 10 years ago when Saotome Sensei came home to the Wash DC area dojo (he lives in FL), and the "caretaker" of the dojo was informing him that since the house/dojo was empty at night that the crack addicts in the neighborhood were using the front porch to smoke crack in the dark. He informed Sensei that he should be careful at night going outside on the porch etc.

Listening carefully to what Sensei might say...he paused, nodded, and took a draw on his cigarette then said in his japanese/american accent..."oh, should have brought shotgun back from Florida with me!".

That kinda put the whole self defense/aikido thing in perspective for me!

Erick Mead
01-26-2009, 11:15 AM
Maybe what Chiba Shihan did is what you call positive coping strategies, however, failing to follow the shinto/omoto spirituality (what I consider "the underlying condition") is still here.But that begs the question -- What IS the "underlying" shinto/omoto spirituality drawn from the Kojiki ?

In a word -- kotodama -- and in a shorter word: SU

THE Word, in other words.

[Which makes Aikido practical lessons on loving one's enemy and turning the other cheek.] :D

Ron Tisdale
01-26-2009, 11:20 AM
So -- back to where this thread started -- the "underlying condition" in this case is that (for whatever reason) one cannot use aikido for self-defense?

Hi Mary, I'm waiting for the circus ponies to trot out... :D

No one can use ANYTHING for self-defense in all situations. Even shot-gun-fu has been known to fail from time to time.

Best,
Ron (interesting take on this discussion though...)

Demetrio Cereijo
01-26-2009, 11:24 AM
So -- back to where this thread started -- the "underlying condition" in this case is that (for whatever reason) one cannot use aikido for self-defense?
Let's see,

I have noticed that many people who study aikido have de-emphasized the importance of training In aikido as a practical self defense. They seem to come up with many reasons why they do so, such as the spiritual and philosophical aspects of aikido are more important. I agree that these issues are an invaluable part of aikido, but I also feel that the practical techniques should be heavily emphasized as part of the aikido journey. I hate to see how aikido has become so heavily criticized as being an ineffective martial art. When I see they way that many people train I can see why there are critics.

If I ever have to use Aikido to protect my family or myself, I want it to work

The underlying conditions in the OP are a) his disagreement on how many people study aikido de-emphasizing the self defense aspects while putting more importance in the spiritual and philosophical , b) what he feels when he sees aikido critizised for being perceived as an ineffective martial art and c) his desire to have functional aikido based self defense skills.

What can he do to eliminate/correct this underlying conditions? The disagreement, hate and desire he feels?

a) Make everybody train with heavy emphasis in practical self defense. No more disagreements.

b) Change the minds of people who perceive aikido as an ineffective martial art. No more critics, no more hate.

c) Aquire functional aikido based self defense skills. His desire obtained.

Mitchell Rister
01-27-2009, 12:21 PM
I appreciate all the response to my original post. I am not the best at writing clearly so naturally some of you have misunderstood my intention. I know aikido can be effective in self-defense as well as beneficial in many other areas in life.

I have worked the last four years in a secure facility that housed violent criminals with mental illness. Their crimes ranged from serial killings to child molestation. It was a very dangerous environment. Staff were regularly attacked and often seriously injured. Sometimes residents would knowingly try to infect staff with blood born pathogens, such as HIV. Two of my friends have to take shots because they were bitten by an infected person.

In prisons, guards are able to use pepper spray, handcuffs, confinement, and even guns to protect themselves. In the setting I worked at, which looked like a prison from the outside, staff were limited to using only their bare hands and techniques learned during a two day training course each year which allowed them to practice about 4 different techniques, a total of about twenty times, to a person who wasn’t even attacking. Staff were then certified to use these techniques and expected to do so if a crisis arose. There were also cameras recording every inch of the facility, other than the restrooms and bedrooms, so we had to be extra careful not to even bruise the residents who were trying to seriously hurt us. About 90% of the time a resident attacked a staff, they would later call abuse on that staff and try to get that staff fired.
In this setting awareness and prevention are very important just as they are important everywhere else. Effective technique is also important in this setting just as it is everywhere else as well. Relying on the inadequate training that we received from our employer proved to be a big mistake for those who did so.

I believe my training in aikido helped keep me safer while a worked at that facility. I had trained for 10 years before I started that job, and always took my training very seriously. I was never injured, during the countless altercations I faced. I was never able to pull off a flawless shihonage, but I was able to protect myself. I was also able to protect my family by not bringing home HIV to my soon to be wife. Luck may have been on my side, but aikido probably had something to do with it also. Thankfully, I have recently found a similar job that is much safer.

I have much to learn and who knows if or when I may be faced with another dangerous situation, so I will continue to study aikido.

Mitch