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Fox
04-06-2009, 03:18 PM
Hi have just recently joined an aikido class in my area. I just recently found out that my sensei has an "open mat" policy, this meaning that anybody who would like to "test" aikido can do so again my sensei (shihan/6th dan). He does so in front of his students as well. There seems to be a lot of MMA stuff going on around here and some of those guys don't seem very fond of our style of martial art. Some of them even seem to have enough nerve to be disrespectful directly to my sensei, in those cases he offers anybody wishing to test him onto the mat. I have not seen anybody attempt to "take down" my sensei, but I have heard a few stories from many of his senior students about it. I personally think that it's nice to see his confidence in his art and standing up for it without breaking Aiki principles. Any thoughts or opinions?

gdandscompserv
04-06-2009, 04:06 PM
Don't let Dan see this thread.:p

Fox
04-06-2009, 04:25 PM
Don't let Dan see this thread.:p

who's Dan?

mathewjgano
04-06-2009, 07:34 PM
I personally think that it's nice to see his confidence in his art and standing up for it without breaking Aiki principles. Any thoughts or opinions?

Well it's certainly a limus test many people approve of. I have nothing against that kind of policy. I mean, to me it just sounds like a form of crosstraining or giving a sample of the training if the attitude is as open as the mat is. I can see where some folks could interpret it as a standing challenge if the wrong impression were given...or taken for that matter, but I think generally when people share ideas and experiences it only strengthens them further.

Tom H.
04-06-2009, 08:37 PM
who's Dan?

He's talking about DH (http://aikiweb.com/forums/search.php?searchid=472893), example of the thing Ricky might be talking about: here (http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=217436#post217436).

Mark Mueller
04-06-2009, 11:12 PM
gary, what is your sensei's name....and who did he receive his ranking from? Just curious.....

raul rodrigo
04-07-2009, 12:58 AM
Ueshiba and many of his seniors, usually the ones with a judo background, used to accept challenges. It was how Ueshiba was able to convince the young Shioda to become his student, and how the young Saotome was convinced by Yamaguchi that aikido was worth studying.

Fox
04-07-2009, 02:17 AM
not sure where he got his rank i'll have to ask him next time i see him, but his name is Michael Tan. I know that he was a part of some program in japan as a live-in student, but then again i don't know the name of the program. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Alex Megann
04-07-2009, 03:24 AM
Gary - this seems to be your teacher!

http://fightclub-uk.com/index.php?mod=products&cmd=details&id=10

Alex

Aristeia
04-07-2009, 03:54 AM
hmmm....this is going to end badly..

Geofa
04-07-2009, 06:36 AM
I will call for Rickson Gracie to cames to his dojo.

crbateman
04-07-2009, 07:33 AM
Just my $0.02, but I think a standing challenge might be fine for a MMA school, but will appear boastful, confrontational and undignified in an Aikido dojo. Not looking to be flamed, just offering an opinion...

Nick P.
04-07-2009, 08:19 AM
hmmm....this is going to end badly..

Now why would you go and say something like that? ;)

Following the link provided by Alex, and reading Michael Tan's biography, the publisher of this video goes on to say (note that at least that is not a direct quote from Mr. Tan)....

"This stuff is NOT difficult to learn.
You can, in fact, learn most of it…
OVERNIGHT!
It's that simple."Whoa, you mean I have wasted the last ten years of training when, with this product, I could have learned it overnight?

NOTE> Until Fox confirms this is the same Michael Tan we should not be jumping to any conclusions; my above comments are humour, not fact. I share Mr. Batemen's opinion on the matter.

Geofa
04-07-2009, 08:25 AM
Invite Sensei Tan to post here on Aikiweb!!
Also, dont forget to put on youtube the challengers!!

Ketsan
04-07-2009, 09:35 AM
Seems like a reasonable policy to me. I'm in Aikido because I fought my instructor and lost.

mathewjgano
04-07-2009, 09:55 AM
Thank you Google! http://www.tanaikidojo.com/html/About_Sensei_Michael_Tan.htm

Well, the other web site certainly had a marketing flair! This one looks a little different and in the history portion includes a bit of the AAA, so I'm guessing that's the source of his Aikido training, though he mentions Daito-ryu as well.

gdandscompserv
04-07-2009, 10:40 AM
hmmm....this is going to end badly..
agreed
:eek:

aikidoc
04-07-2009, 05:37 PM
From the website: this is a really strange statement.

"Working with him is his son, Aikido Shihan Fumio Toyoda. Toyoda Shihan is a professional instructor at Aikido World Headquarters. He is actively engaged in training the next generation of shihan-level instructors and promoting Aikido instruction on the national level"

It sounds like Toyoda sensei was the sun of Nidai Doshu. Awkward wording.

Fox
04-07-2009, 06:08 PM
Invite Sensei Tan to post here on Aikiweb!!
Also, dont forget to put on youtube the challengers!!

I don't think that he goes around asking ppl to challenge him, it's people who with to test it, like others coming from martial arts sometimes like to test the effectiveness of aikido on certain techniques of theirs. These past two weeks we've had two judo students join the class after Sensei showed him how he could counter their throws and whatnot. Stuff more along the lines of that, but also those who are disrespectful to Aikido and saying how it wouldn't work on them he offers them to come test it out as well. I think you guys are kinda making assumptions about the type of person he is.

Mary Eastland
04-07-2009, 07:00 PM
Just my $0.02, but I think a standing challenge might be fine for a MMA school, but will appear boastful, confrontational and undignified in an Aikido dojo. Not looking to be flamed, just offering an opinion...
I agree.
Mary

mathewjgano
04-08-2009, 09:18 AM
It sounds like Toyoda sensei was the sun of Nidai Doshu. Awkward wording.

It happens...now which one orbits which?! :p

salim
04-08-2009, 11:45 AM
Ueshiba and many of his seniors, usually the ones with a judo background, used to accept challenges. It was how Ueshiba was able to convince the young Shioda to become his student, and how the young Saotome was convinced by Yamaguchi that aikido was worth studying.

I agree. The method of Ueshiba accepting challenges, allowed him to convince his competitors to study Aikido. It's one way to attract the newer generations. If it's done in a positive, respectable manner, it could provide a real building block to show the effectiveness.

Michael Hackett
04-08-2009, 11:53 AM
Tan Sensei's waza looks much like the Daito Ryu I've seen and not like the AAA Aikido from Toyoda Shihan. He seems pretty effective and "martial" in the You Tube clips, but I haven't seen that movement in the AAA lineage. Accepting a dojo challenge is certainly time-honored, but probably not a good practice today in the good ol' litigious United States. OTH, apparently his stuff works.

lbb
04-08-2009, 01:35 PM
I agree. The method of Ueshiba accepting challenges, allowed him to convince his competitors to study Aikido. It's one way to attract the newer generations. If it's done in a positive, respectable manner, it could provide a real building block to show the effectiveness.

But the whole context of the "respectful challenge" doesn't exist in the here and now. Also, I'm willing to bet that many (most?) of us live somewhere where you could get into a world of legal hurt if someone took you up on this challenge and got injured. In the modern world, the idea behind this "open invitation" to dance is a romantic notion with significant practical drawbacks, to the point where I question the good sense of anyone who would do it.

Aikibu
04-08-2009, 02:25 PM
From my own personal experiance it depends on intent. We've had an open mat policy forever and Shoji Nishio Shihan always encouraged his students to check out other arts...

How else does one learn what works and what does'nt??? How else does one make connections in the Spirit of Aikido???

Heck Stan Pranin had the good spirit to invite allot of qualified teachers from all corners on the Martial Arts Universe to the Aiki-Expo's and 99.9% of the time you saw teachers exchanging ideas and learning from each other. What the heck is wrong with that?

I have experianced many technical disagreements over the years here on Aiki-Web and other sites...and as a result met some pretty darn good folks when they dropped in or I went to visit them...Not once have I experianced any intent to harm or embarass me from anyone who showed up. Not once have I ever gone to someone's Dojo with ill intentions...

Stepping on someone else's mat should always be done in this spirit...:)

William Hazen

Cyrijl
04-08-2009, 02:43 PM
But the whole context of the "respectful challenge" doesn't exist in the here and now. Also, I'm willing to bet that many (most?) of us live somewhere where you could get into a world of legal hurt if someone took you up on this challenge and got injured. In the modern world, the idea behind this "open invitation" to dance is a romantic notion with significant practical drawbacks, to the point where I question the good sense of anyone who would do it.

You are just quite wrong. At my school we have many drop ins from other schools and I have gone to other schools for open mat or for just a drop in. Perhaps your school isn't open, I don't know. But there are schools out there. And this even happens in (gasp) massachusetts.

Ron Tisdale
04-08-2009, 03:30 PM
In one sense I can see what Mary is saying but in another sense...

Folks who train in BJJ and similar arts "roll" all the time to show what they can do, what works, and what does not. And I rarely if ever hear of people getting hurt doing it.

Being a meek little blushing flower myself :eek:, I can't imagine "rolling" in aikido the way I see them do it...but maybe if I was 15 years younger I'd give it a shot. At 47, with my neck problems, no way.

My hat is off to Randy Couture...to do what he does at his age?!?!?!

I'd have thought it impossible.

Best,
Ron

tarik
04-08-2009, 03:31 PM
But the whole context of the "respectful challenge" doesn't exist in the here and now. .

Yes, it most certainly does exist in the here in now. I've been a part of both sides of it in my life in the martial arts and beyond. At times, my training would not have progressed without it.

In point of fact, 'respectful challenge' is the entire basis of scientific inquiry and how we expand our collective knowledge. I don't know why it wouldn't be the same in good training, although I acknowledge that many people I've known don't train this way ever.

Also, I'm willing to bet that many (most?) of us live somewhere where you could get into a world of legal hurt if someone took you up on this challenge and got injured. In the modern world, the idea behind this "open invitation" to dance is a romantic notion with significant practical drawbacks, to the point where I question the good sense of anyone who would do it.

Sure, being sued is always a possibility, and there is really nothing you can do to avoid that even if you try to remove all risk. Good risk assessment should take that into account.

But speaking as someone who has been sued before (unsuccessfully), do you seriously make a lot of choices in life based on whether someone is likely to sue you or not?

Personally, I tend to have an decision making process with an ethical filter that includes, but is rather different, than the legalistic low bar of what other people might do to 'threaten' me or assign liability to me. While it sometimes steers me into different decisions than a lawyer might recommend, it seems to serve me well.

Dan Rubin
04-08-2009, 04:07 PM
I'm curious about a statement on Tan Sensei's website, that he is a 4th dan in Kito Ryu, an art which is extinct (according to this thread
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=227969#post227969
and the article the thread is based on). I wonder what the history of the modern Kito Ryu is.

Also, I think there are different visions of what "challenge" means. When I read the original post I pictured "dojo storming," but some other posters seem to be referring to a visitor approaching the teacher after class and asking, "Sensei, could you toss me around a little bit?"

Kevin Leavitt
04-08-2009, 04:55 PM
Good post Tarik!

IMO, open mat is never really "OPEN" mat. that is, no constraints with anything goes! I am pretty open ended on the spectrum of force/non-compliance I think, even then I approach it with a healthy amount of caution and respect.

How I might train with a 20 year old soldier might be different than how I would with a 60 year old female. so you have to take i physicality and mentalitly into account.

Also, you should always have well established controls and safeguards in place to ensure you have adequately identified the risk you are about to accept in the situation.

If you are not trained or experienced in dealing with these types of things, then you can get yourself or someone else hurt very badly with a "OPEN" mat. (and sued!)

Michael Hackett
04-08-2009, 05:14 PM
Maybe I'm missing something here. I see a big difference between having an open mat and accepting challenges. To me anyway, an open mat is an invitation for an outsider to join the class to see what we're doing, first hand. A challenge on the other hand is a physical confrontation between two people, much like the dojo storming of old. My sense of what Mr. Fox initially wrote was that Tan Sensei encourages the challenge concept rather than what I would call an open mat. Obviously I don't know what he means by now and maybe I've completely misinterpreted his original and subsequent posts. We have an open mat policy and outsiders are welcome to come in and train, after they sign a liability waiver and demonstrate a willingness to pay the mat fee (which is rarely ever charged anyway). If a visitor decided to issue a challenge as I've described it, he would be asked to leave immediately. Most of us visit other schools and styles and try to follow their path while being their guests and behave respectfully. Maybe Mr. Fox can clear up what he meant in the first place.

If my original assumption was correct, so be it and I don't pass judgment on Tan Sensei - it is his school, his rules, his reputation, and his liability. Not a wise practice here in California, but his choice.

salim
04-08-2009, 07:43 PM
Healthy, respectful physical challenges are awesome to me. An excellent opportunity to learn from your physical weaknesses and learn what works and what want work. Too many times at my dojo, we have participated in friendly physical challenges. I was able to learn a lot about my physical abilities and test some techniques. I hate to make those excuses, of perhaps I may get hurt. To me it's a cop-out. Maybe it's a scare tactic to persuade others against anything physical. An excuse of really not wanting to learn anything physical.

lbb
04-09-2009, 07:34 AM
You are just quite wrong. At my school we have many drop ins from other schools and I have gone to other schools for open mat or for just a drop in. Perhaps your school isn't open, I don't know. But there are schools out there. And this even happens in (gasp) massachusetts.

I think perhaps you didn't read the original post carefully. To quote:

I just recently found out that my sensei has an "open mat" policy, this meaning that anybody who would like to "test" aikido can do so again my sensei (shihan/6th dan). He does so in front of his students as well. There seems to be a lot of MMA stuff going on around here and some of those guys don't seem very fond of our style of martial art. Some of them even seem to have enough nerve to be disrespectful directly to my sensei, in those cases he offers anybody wishing to test him onto the mat.

Emphasis added so you'll see what I'm talking about. What OP described is not, not, not what most of us call an "open mat" policy, meaning that members of other aikido dojo can come in and train. It isn't even an "open mat" policy meaning that non-aikidoka can come and take an introductory class. It is an invitation for any yahoo to mix it up with sensei, in front of witnesses. If the situation is as represented by OP, that strikes me as phenomenally dumb.

Still think I'm "just quite wrong"?

Rodger
04-09-2009, 08:07 AM
I don't know if you would an open mat policy in my dojo. However I will on occasion allow other martial artist to train in my dojo as long as they are respectful.

I feel my first obligation is to my students who are currently enrolled.

As far as an open challenge to me that is a recipe for disaster. Sooner or later someone will get seriously injured.

To me if someone challenges me they are challenging me to a fight. It has happened in my dojo only once.

A man walked into my dojo right in the middle of class and asked me if I was ready for my lesson. I asked can I help you and he asked again if I was ready for my lesson I laughed and walked over to him and asked him to leave.

He dropped his gear bag and doubled up his fist. So I punched the guy right in the nose and that was the end of it. He left holding a bloody nose. I cleaned up the mess and my students were really quiet for the rest of the night.

I called the police and filed a report and called it a day.

akiy
04-09-2009, 09:24 AM
Hi folks,

I wonder -- the term "open mat" is sometimes used in aikido dojo to specify a certain kind of class, one that in my experience was a time where students could come in to train with one another on what they would like to work on rather than having directed teachings.

Perhaps, in the context of this thread, what the original poster calls "open mat" may better be labeled as something like "open challenge"?

-- Jun

salim
04-09-2009, 07:42 PM
Open challenge, a recipe to learn. It's all in the approach. I have seen malicious individuals in a demonstrations/training class try to hurt other students or simply try to be overzealous in their application of a technique. Again it's all in the approach and self control of the situation. The objective it's to learn, maybe learn what doesn't work and what will work.

Abasan
04-10-2009, 12:47 AM
I like an open challenge dojo. You have an art that you believe in, then I suppose its time to put that belief in practice.

Otherwise its all hot air to me.

Yip Man founded his wing chun school on the basis of 'hand talk'. I.e. don't use your mouth to tell me about your art, try it for real.

Aikibu
04-10-2009, 10:53 AM
I like an open challenge dojo. You have an art that you believe in, then I suppose its time to put that belief in practice.

Otherwise its all hot air to me.

Yip Man founded his wing chun school on the basis of 'hand talk'. I.e. don't use your mouth to tell me about your art, try it for real.

Amen....Contrary to some beliefs here most challenges do not end up in a lawsuit or with great bodily harm...

In my experiance it results in keeping me humble...showing me where I need work....and letting my students see that I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. I have also made allot of great friends in the Martial Arts community for my willingness and open mindedness...

Heck I started Nishio Aikido as a result of challenging my Sensei...After ending up on my back a few times. LOL :)

This summer I will hopefully have another great opportunity to "practice my beginners mind" :)

William Hazen

Cyrijl
04-10-2009, 01:02 PM
Mary,
Even in the context of open challenges, this does happen pretty often. Sometimes people are explicit about their intentions, sometimes not. I am sure the OP's sensei doesn't just let people come in with knives and guns. It is not the ordeal you seem to make it out to be.

George S. Ledyard
04-10-2009, 03:58 PM
I'm curious about a statement on Tan Sensei's website, that he is a 4th dan in Kito Ryu, an art which is extinct (according to this thread
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=227969#post227969
and the article the thread is based on). I wonder what the history of the modern Kito Ryu is.

Also, I think there are different visions of what "challenge" means. When I read the original post I pictured "dojo storming," but some other posters seem to be referring to a visitor approaching the teacher after class and asking, "Sensei, could you toss me around a little bit?"

A "challenge" is a real confrontation. In the old days in Japan, a challenge could threaten the whole dojo since the membership would leave if the head guy lost. No one wanted to train with someone who couldn't handle himself. So it was serious business. Usually, you didn't get a match with the head guy unless you could take on his senior students successfully.

There isn't much real dojo storming any more. I have never had anyone come in for a challenge in my 28 years of running a dojo. I've had one or two who got on the mat and politely, within the context of the class, checked me out. That was just fine. If I can't handle that I shouldn't be running a dojo in my opinion.

But if someone comes through the door with bad intentions, that's a fight and it won't be pretty.

tarik
04-10-2009, 04:12 PM
But if someone comes through the door with bad intentions, that's a fight and it won't be pretty.

I agree completely. Such an individual is pretty obvious when they show up and they shouldn't even be allowed in the door. In my situation, it's pretty easy to simply not give them directions to the dojo.

On the other hand, someone who respectfully just wants to check things out and challenge the 'reality' is uncommon, but not at all that unusual.

I should mention that my training has been pretty fired up since the Aikiweb clinic and thanks again for being a part of it.

kironin
04-10-2009, 06:44 PM
No one wanted to train with someone who couldn't handle himself. So it was serious business. Usually, you didn't get a match with the head guy unless you could take on his senior students successfully.


pretty much Koichi Tohei Sensei's role for Ueshiba Sensei at one point.

salim
04-10-2009, 07:27 PM
Maybe it's one of the many reason several high ranking Aikidoka of today refrain from physical challenges. Unlike the old Prewar world II Aikidoka, they readily took on the physical challenges. Perhaps there is a fear among today's high level Aikidoka of losing students or questioning the legitimacy of their martial ability. Sure, I have heard a million times the philosophical, spiritual argument.

Guilty Spark
04-10-2009, 11:52 PM
I think testing aikido in such a way that the OP describes is if anything a good (decent?) way to see if your Aikido training works in a self-defense situation (Difference between a hot and cold attacker aside)

That said North American is the land of lawsuits. People sue for ANYTHING.
I walk into a dojo, challange the teacher. Teacher kicks my ass and I get hurt.
Whats the chances that I can get a good lawyer to argue that the teacher 4th degree blackbelt used unnessary force against me when they ought to know better/have better self control etc..?

In my home town a young adult broke into an old mans house, tried to rob the house then tried to assault the old man when he was caught. Old man beat him up. The prick breaking in got off because he was 'high on cough medicine' and the old man was actually charged with assault.

Dojo challenges may be a good way to test ones skill but is it worth risking the potential lawsuit as stupid as they are? What's the chances the challenger turns out to be a sore looser?

crbateman
04-11-2009, 12:59 PM
Sure, I have heard a million times the philosophical, spiritual argument....which would indicate a wide acceptance of that perspective among those you have discussed it with. Reason enough to give it some merit, even if you do not agree with the reasoning yourself.

salim
04-11-2009, 01:42 PM
Isn't it possible to see how a healthy, friendly challenge can be a great opportunity to learn from each other? Several times in my dojo we have engaged in friendly physical challenges. We reevaluate some techniques after involving ourselves in a friendly full resistance challange. So now we better understand that somethings don't work against a resistant opponent and somethings really work well. Really it's a lot fun, all in good nature. No one had a hot head or had ill intentions. Just professional individuals, learning from a first class sensei.

Cyrijl
04-13-2009, 12:47 PM
That said North American is the land of lawsuits. People sue for ANYTHING.
I walk into a dojo, challange the teacher. Teacher kicks my ass and I get hurt.
Whats the chances that I can get a good lawyer to argue that the teacher 4th degree blackbelt used unnessary force against me when they ought to know better/have better self control etc..?


That's what a waiver is for.

lbb
04-13-2009, 01:14 PM
That's what a waiver is for.

IANAL, but I've heard that waivers aren't proof against a lawsuit (or a guarantee that you'll win if a suit is brought). This has happened a number of times in adventure sports (and even sports that aren't thought to be all that adventurous, like in-bounds skiing): people have signed waivers, become injured, and then they (and their survivors) have sued and won judgments. It wouldn't surprise me to find that the same is true for dojos.

Walter Martindale
04-13-2009, 01:55 PM
IANAL, but I've heard that waivers aren't proof against a lawsuit (or a guarantee that you'll win if a suit is brought). This has happened a number of times in adventure sports (and even sports that aren't thought to be all that adventurous, like in-bounds skiing): people have signed waivers, become injured, and then they (and their survivors) have sued and won judgments. It wouldn't surprise me to find that the same is true for dojos.

It depends on the wording of the waiver, and it's execution. We had a seminar once on waivers at a coach education weekend. One case-study was about a ski-hill in British Columbia, sued by a guy for some reason, in part IIRC because he wasn't properly warned of the hazards on the ski hill when he got hurt. When the ski hill's reps showed up at the court with the waiver for the day in question, as well as the (witnessed) waivers he'd signed every session he'd been at (almost weekly) for the previous three years or so, the judge threw out the case.

I'm not sure if the document is still in print, but you could check out the "Centre for Sport and Law" which used to produce "Waivers and other agreements" a booklet outlining some of the process...
http://www.sportlaw.ca/index.php

Cheers,
W

Marc Abrams
04-13-2009, 02:23 PM
George's post should be taken seriously. There are several issues mixed in here, each having different ramifications.
1) Ego.- Is this challenger trying to "test" an art or the ego. Fights do not have rules other than one person emerges victorious and the other person does not. That can run the range from death to injured ego. Is it really necessary to have to feed into somebody's apparent insecurities and run the risk of that person, or even ourselves being seriously injured or killed?
2) Skill- If the challenger does not know how to take a blow or a fall, a serious injury is likely to result. That is why solid ukemi skills is one minimum criteria that should be taken into account when people want to test their skill sets. What if there is a great disparity between skill sets. Does that mean that one art is better than the other?
3) Environment- What type of training environment do we want to establish and maintain (as teachers), or train in (as students). The explicit and implicit dangers inherent in challenges from unknown challengers creates an atmosphere that I personally would not condone as a teacher or student.

I will only "answer" challenges (either in the dojo that I run or I train in) if I know the person and have worked with them. A level of mutual respect and a believe that the person can safely take what is going to be dished out (on both sides) are minimum requirements. I enjoy life too much to recklessly endanger my life or the life of someone else simply because of a challenge. As Kevin pointed out, the testing of skill sets come with explicit and implicit rules within set paradigms. Step outside of that and one does what is necessary to sustain one's own life. As George pointed out, it gets very ugly at that point in time. Little is ever "proven" by such acts.

If Budo is about protecting and sustaining life, then I do not see how ego-based challenges from unknown people play into that model. Legal liability is just an additional societal factor that should make a person think twice about recklessly endangering life.

Marc Abrams

Dan Rubin
04-13-2009, 03:15 PM
As Kevin pointed out, the testing of skill sets come with explicit and implicit rules within set paradigms. Step outside of that and one does what is necessary to sustain one's own life. As George pointed out, it gets very ugly at that point in time. Little is ever "proven" by such acts.

That's a good point. If the challenge is to see if aikido "works" (as opposed to seeing if the teacher is a good fighter), then presumably the teacher would have to limit his/her response to aikido techniques. What are those, exactly?

For example, if the teacher goes down, is the challenge ended (aikido has no ground techniques)? Then again, some people claim that BJJ is "aikido on the ground," so could the teacher switch to BJJ and still be defending aikido? Some people feel that Kenji Ushiro Sensei is doing aikido--could the teacher switch to Bujutsu Karate and still be defending aikido? If the teacher politely declines the challenge, thus restoring harmony to the situation, has the teacher defended aikido?

I guess my question is this: What is a challenger challenging, and what is the defender defending?

Aikibu
04-13-2009, 04:27 PM
That's a good point. If the challenge is to see if aikido "works" (as opposed to seeing if the teacher is a good fighter), then presumably the teacher would have to limit his/her response to aikido techniques. What are those, exactly?

Let's see if you can answer you're own question. You seem to be confusing yourself.

For example, if the teacher goes down, is the challenge ended (aikido has no ground techniques)? Then again, some people claim that BJJ is "aikido on the ground," so could the teacher switch to BJJ and still be defending aikido? Some people feel that Kenji Ushiro Sensei is doing aikido--could the teacher switch to Bujutsu Karate and still be defending aikido? If the teacher politely declines the challenge, thus restoring harmony to the situation, has the teacher defended aikido?

I guess my question is this: What is a challenger challenging, and what is the defender defending?

Rhetorical Questions....

William Hazen

Dan Rubin
04-13-2009, 04:31 PM
You seem to be confusing yourself.

A frequent problem for me. :)

Kevin Leavitt
04-13-2009, 04:54 PM
Dan Wrote:

For example, if the teacher goes down, is the challenge ended (aikido has no ground techniques)? Then again, some people claim that BJJ is "aikido on the ground," so could the teacher switch to BJJ and still be defending aikido? Some people feel that Kenji Ushiro Sensei is doing aikido--could the teacher switch to Bujutsu Karate and still be defending aikido? If the teacher politely declines the challenge, thus restoring harmony to the situation, has the teacher defended aikido?

Good points. Personally I don't separate out dynamic movement based on where I am (standing or on the ground) it is all the same for me. (BJJ is aikido on the ground and vice versa).

What might be different is the amount of assumed cooperation, assumed strikes/tactics that we are going to agree to recognize etc. Even then, any two people will not completely be able to synchronize that effort (i.e striking then moving appropriately even though it may be light contact through reduction in force, not positional effectiveness).

The communication process is very, very difficult when you start framing assumptions, parameters, constraints and limitations around the framework.

This though, I think is the most important thing to get right in the dojo environment, setting the proper environmental conditions to correctly train and measure against.

I have never been a a dojo at all that does not get myopic at some point in it's training focus and forget to "keep it real". It is just something that is hard to sustain on a day to day basis.

Some do it better than others...some folks are way, way, way out there away from reality! :)

Marc Abrams
04-13-2009, 05:11 PM
Dan Wrote:

Good points. Personally I don't separate out dynamic movement based on where I am (standing or on the ground) it is all the same for me. (BJJ is aikido on the ground and vice versa).

What might be different is the amount of assumed cooperation, assumed strikes/tactics that we are going to agree to recognize etc. Even then, any two people will not completely be able to synchronize that effort (i.e striking then moving appropriately even though it may be light contact through reduction in force, not positional effectiveness).

The communication process is very, very difficult when you start framing assumptions, parameters, constraints and limitations around the framework.

This though, I think is the most important thing to get right in the dojo environment, setting the proper environmental conditions to correctly train and measure against.

I have never been a a dojo at all that does not get myopic at some point in it's training focus and forget to "keep it real". It is just something that is hard to sustain on a day to day basis.

Some do it better than others...some folks are way, way, way out there away from reality! :)

Kevin is 100% accurate about ALL dojos having to struggle to not become overly myopic. In order to push our training, we need a lot of implicit trust in our partners. That is why the unknown challenger is simply a more dangerous proposition. This points out the importance of the role of the uke in our training. I utilize a blog on my dojo website to accompany training themes. This was a blog that I wrote on the role of the uke in Aikido training
http://aasbk.com/blog/?page_id=8

Both Nage and Uke have a great deal of responsibility in order to train seriously, without having to engage in competition with one another.

Marc Abrams

Guilty Spark
04-13-2009, 07:31 PM
That's what a waiver is for.

Not sure how much I would trust a simple wavier in this instance.

Kevin Leavitt
04-13-2009, 10:48 PM
Waivers don't excuse or cover irresponsibility or absolve you of running a responsible dojo. Actually, I don't think waivers are really worth a whole lot, but I am not a lawyer.

Abasan
04-14-2009, 10:42 AM
It depends on the wording of the waiver, and it's execution. We had a seminar once on waivers at a coach education weekend. One case-study was about a ski-hill in British Columbia, sued by a guy for some reason, in part IIRC because he wasn't properly warned of the hazards on the ski hill when he got hurt. When the ski hill's reps showed up at the court with the waiver for the day in question, as well as the (witnessed) waivers he'd signed every session he'd been at (almost weekly) for the previous three years or so, the judge threw out the case.

I'm not sure if the document is still in print, but you could check out the "Centre for Sport and Law" which used to produce "Waivers and other agreements" a booklet outlining some of the process...
http://www.sportlaw.ca/index.php

Cheers,
W

Thanks for the link! We seldom do waivers here in Malaysia since nobody really sues here like they do in the US. But hey you never know right?

Cyrijl
04-14-2009, 01:37 PM
Not sure how much I would trust a simple wavier in this instance.

The waivers I have signed are not simple. They usually have a great deal of wording regarding potential of injury and death. I always refer to it as the "if i die paper".

Like I said in the beginning, for me, it would depend on the intention of the person who showed up. I'd hope my coach would be able to differentiate earnest interest and some crackpot.

If a waiver won't protect you against a guy off of the street, it is not going to protect you against a fellow student. I think it is just a red herring.

Aikibu
04-14-2009, 03:05 PM
Both Nage and Uke have a great deal of responsibility in order to train seriously, without having to engage in competition with one another.

Marc Abrams

Yup. :)

Again it boils down to intention and the cultivation of Martial Awareness...

Tonight I am visiting another Aikido Dojo here in Ventura and Ideally we will both step off the mat being better people for the experiance.

WIlliam Hazen

tarik
04-18-2009, 11:45 PM
I will only "answer" challenges (either in the dojo that I run or I train in) if I know the person and have worked with them. A level of mutual respect and a believe that the person can safely take what is going to be dished out (on both sides) are minimum requirements.

Ha. I don't even let people on the mat (or get on theirs) if I don't have that relationship of mutual respect and more than that, a mutual understanding of the rules of engagement.


Both Nage and Uke have a great deal of responsibility in order to train seriously, without having to engage in competition with one another.

This is why, because, IMO, to really get somewhere in our training, competition is necessary. Competition in the cooperative sense.. sometime now being called coopetition, which is both silly and an understandable attempt to elucidate the difference.

With respect to waivers, IANAL, but they do not prevent anyone from suing, but they can provide evidence that the signer was made aware of the risks and entered into an agreement to 'not sue'. That CAN cause a case to be dismissed eventually (and I've heard of such cases), but a waiver, no matter what it says, will not protect someone who is negligent or abusive in their actions.

The reality is that FEAR of lawsuits has far more effect on most people than actual, real lawsuits.

Kevin Leavitt
04-19-2009, 08:20 AM
I am in my third week of running an "Open Mat" in our dojo right now on Saturday mornings. I was given permission to teach basic Ne Waza (AKA was "ground fighting or BJJ).

The stuff I am teaching is right out of the Army Combatives manual and level I course. (basic ne waza drills)

The only difference is the time I have to teach it (Army 8 hours a day for 5 days vice dojo 1 hour a week for ???? months).

I also do a few minutes of Randori each class as it is important.

The other difference is that I am working with Aikidoka so I tend to take micro pauses and relate what we are doing back to aikido principles and structure such as posture, breathing, irimi, etc...sense most have an understanding or have come to the dojo to understand these things.

I hope that we will be able to turn up the heat on the aliveness and mat randori in the future, but it will take a while for a number of reasons.

We have the mutual respect thing covered as I am working with aikidoka from my dojo and we have the established.

What we don't have is an understanding of the paradigm in which we are training.

We have different levels of understanding of skill and pressure and control.

We have a different understanding of what the objectives are when you are training in ne waza.

So, if I were to say "on your knees, slap hands and ROLL!" someone would get hurt very seriously at this point.

AND this is in a dojo with alot of mutual respect. It will take a while to develop enough understanding and skill in a few committed students to begin to train that way.

It is scary when there is one of you and a bunch of them and you are having to supervise all of them to make sure someone isn't getting over zealous.

Once you become an instructor you begin to really understand responsibility, liability and what you have to do to LEAD and guide a dojo or a class through training and NOT GET ANYONE HURT!

Open mat IMO does not mean literally "OPEN for anything!".

tarik
04-19-2009, 11:36 AM
It is scary when there is one of you and a bunch of them and you are having to supervise all of them to make sure someone isn't getting over zealous.

Once you become an instructor you begin to really understand responsibility, liability and what you have to do to LEAD and guide a dojo or a class through training and NOT GET ANYONE HURT!

Open mat IMO does not mean literally "OPEN for anything!".

I think this gets away from what the original poster was discussing as open mat, but I have to agree with you.

Being responsible for everyone on your mats is a pretty heavy and pretty scary. Even though I've taught in various forms and even some situations which are much more 'dangerous' (scuba), I learn more every day how important it is to have a systematic way to help people drill the necessary skills to progress safely.

IMO, an open mat is there to allow people to select and practice and test what they know and/or are learning within the guidelines that they've been taught even if part of their practice is to stretch and experiment around those guidelines.

Autrelle Holland
05-26-2009, 11:01 PM
I came across this on the Aikido Journal page, and I thought I would repost what I said there, here. I hope that I am not very late in this discussion.

This is something that happens in most schools of Martial Arts, Aikido included. Whenever I have had a group class, I have always offered that sort of practice to my students. As far as visitors, well, that’s different. When I have a visitor come, and they approach me as such, I have to remember that they have only seen me do Aikido, and that the class may have been catered just so they can keep up. They don’t know that I have a background in Tang Soo Do, I cross train in Wing Chun, Kickboxing/Jeet Kune Do, Kali, BJJ, etc. They don’t know that I used to beat people up on the streets all of the time, cos I used to be a complete d***. I usually entertain anyone that wants to see what’s up, as long as they are both friendly, and they have signed the waiver. If they seem unfriendly, disrespectful, or even potentially dangerous, I usually warn them to leave. Frankly, my students understand that if someone comes around like to my dojo, that we are either going to call the police, or jump the person, and then call the police. Dojos are not the place for strangers to come in and bust up the place.

I’ll share with you an anecdote:

I used to sublet a space back before 9/11, and I had about five regular students that I would pound on. Those great students of mine were my “wolfpack.” They trained so hard, it was absurd. A friend of one of my students trained at a Kung Fu school, and in his style, they sparred and competed regularly, colored belts, etc. My student would often come to class excited to tell me about her friend’s newest tournament success, or promotion or such. I met him on a few occasions also, He is a very respectful young man who I am still friends with to this day. He often came and watched my classes, and was waiting for permission from me to attend a practice.

Well, when 9/11 happened, the gentleman that I subleased from was called back into active duty, so I lost the space. I would have the students train in my backyard until I figured something else out. On one of these occasions, this young man came over to train. The subject of that class was Aiki Jo (go figure), and he did very well for his first time. When he was leaving, he thanked me for the instruction, and suggested that next time, he bring his gear over so that we can spar.

So.

Here’s my problem. I’m extremely proud about my training. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m not the best by far, or even that good at all, but, I take my training very seriously. Next problem is that he put me on front street, in front of all of my students, in my very home. Last problem, I was still dealing with people in my area feeling that Aikido was not a viable art. In my mind, had I simply said no, he was going to go back to his school, and tell everyone how “nice” I was, but I was not open to any sort of match or challenge. I asked him what sort of gear, and he described a full head-to-toe set up of safety gear. To which I replied:

“We don’t need any of that stuff. We can spar right now.”

Uh-oh. Everyone in my room looked worried as I said this, including the young man. I assured him that this would be a very friendly encounter. So we go to the backyard, and we both warm up a bit first. He asked me if we were only striking, or if we could use grappling also, and I told him he should feel free to do whatever he wants. When we started, I was gauging his tactics and strategy, playing “the game” as I call it in sparring. I wanted to see how he dealt with attacks to his center, so I threw a very simple probing front kick.

It landed squarely and struck his testicles, and he immediately bent over and had to stop. This was in the first 15 seconds or so.

I didn’t mean to even hit him at all, it just happened. I stopped and tried to help him, and he was fine. Once he collected himself, he wanted to continue. I insisted that we shouldn’t given that he just suffered a mild injury, but he insisted that we continue, so I obliged him. As a testament to his good training, he managed to pull off a very very nice takedown in sparring. I was punching him and he threw me in something like Sokumen Iriminage, augmented with a front leg sweep.

Well, he tried to throw me like that :). As he began to push back against my chest and kick my leg forward, I picked up my leg that he was sweeping and kicked his face, and followed up with three punches to his face and and sidekick to his sternum, which made him give up. We concluded the match with respect, and I gave him the simple advice that every technique has a counter, that’s all.

I asked my student, his friend, what she learned that night. She said, “keep your hands up!” I explained to her that I simply would not go to his school, and after the class, insist on touching hands with his Sifu, and that if she ever did something so stupid, she should expect to get beaten up. I explained to her that in the culture of Martial Arts, there is a time and a place for everything, including matches and challenges, and as Martial Artists, we should always be careful. I once went to a Wing Chun seminar taught by my Sifu’s Sifu, and he got challenged. That’s a different story for another day, but suffice to say, that guy got beaten up too.

All of this to say that all other factors aside, I admire the instructors willingness to showcase exactly how capable Aikido is.

Dan Rubin
05-27-2009, 09:20 AM
Autrelle

Your post recalls something I tried to say earlier in this thread, that there is a difference between "defending aikido" and "defending yourself." You have a varied background in the martial arts, and you called upon your varied background in dealing with the challenge. Yet you conclude that accepting challenges can "showcase how capable Aikido is." Actually, accepting challenges will only showcase how capable you are.

If an instructor has trained in no other art than aikido, he or she could claim that whatever he does must be aikido, but even that would be specious reasoning.

And what about your challenger? Was your challenger challenging aikido? Or was he challenging you. I believe that both of you may have thought that aikido was being challenged, but in reality he could only have challenged you and that you could only have defended yourself, not aikido.

Dan

Ron Tisdale
05-27-2009, 09:30 AM
Hi Autrelle, haven't read you in a while, good to read you again.

I do have one small concern about your post...are you sure there was a "challenge" at all? In many of the arts where there is sparring, asking to spar is not considered a challenge at all.

There was one tae qwan do (sp?) school I attended, where the juniors were not allowed to ask the seniors to spar. But that was the only place I remember where asking to spar was considered a challenge. And in wrestling, people would roll all the time. I hear it's the same in BJJ.

Best,
Ron (I guess I'm not sure what it serves to shut down someone so decisively in a sparring session...just trying to get my head around the topic)

DH
05-27-2009, 11:49 AM
Personally I find the subject fascinating. The core of aikido is Aiki and its effectiveness; always was, still is, and always will be. No matter how many dilatants say otherwise -they cannot change the message of the founder. It's documented in what he said and in what he did. The misunderstanding of both his message and his actions and what HE was doing with his body as well as how the ukes themselves warped that in later exhibitions as understood by the vast majority of MAers will never change the reality of what he did and said.

Aiki is the penultimate force in the martial arts. Viable in any format. Open mat was never a question to the founder, it's not a question today among those capable of delivering his message in physical form.
That said, I think the discussion is difficult to have with those doing aikido -as a form- compared to those doing aiki. Learning Aiki and then training to actually use in combative formats results in knockout power, and grappling control, full-on with total resistance with trained grapplers. The hard work is tempering your body to create aiki and then learning how to use it against people who can *actually* fight. But first you have to learn it from someone capable of doing that...and capable of teaching it to you. As more and more are finding out...finding people who actually know aiki and can use it in combatives may be difficult.

As for open mats and the martial arts
There used to be an honesty about skill in martial arts. Capable men were appluaded and sought after for that quality. All that is being gradually replaced by a majority who are unwilling to step up and instead rely on ranking from within and cooperative play as validation of something or other. It's a reversing, or revision of all that martial arts were ever about There is a new modern artifice that on many levels seeks to replace the reality of what they are practicing-even to the extent of rewriting the history and intent of the arts themselves. While on the one hand people applaud the arts founders-on the other they condem the very practices and paths of the men who founded the arts in the first place. Even to the point of dismissing their martial procliviities as something to be forgiven for or *understood* in context by a more educated post modern practitioners view! If it wasn't such a sad a state of affairs it would be comical. I have always maintained that were most these arts founders to come back they would hardly recognize what has become of their own arts- in our less than capable hands.

As for Aikido
Were Ueshiba NOT a budo man who took on challengers in an open mat format-and who went to other mats as well.....we would not be discussing him or his art in the first place. he and his art would be dead to us.

Hello Ron
Shutting down someones game is not all that relevant unless you are capable of much more. Further, to do so while playing other peoples games-not your own.
Examples; were you to do push hands with a Master level Chinese teacher and shut him down and look in his eyes and see it on his face and YOU know you are capable of much more...then it says a lot to the both of you. Or have teachers push you and see them bounce themselves off of you, or see BJJ, Judo and MMA guys exhaust themselves trying to hit or throw you and you're fine and have not unloaded yet yourself. So, in one sense its not about stopping someone with your body. Its more about what you are capable of delivering were you to just go at it full-on, right? And about the research. So what if...most of the time you never need to go that far? It does tell you something about comparative worth of your art and/ or your training regimen. Further still...its about research and learning what works or not, what worked better, what YOU need to work on and develop more,just like the old timers did to become....the founders in the first place.
Never would I or they have imagined that as a practice- it would be condemned by a modern awareness.
Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
05-27-2009, 12:11 PM
Well, I guess I didn't look at it from that light. I kind of looked at it as someone in an aikido dojo was asked to spar, and when they did, they kind of beat the training partner up. They didn't just bounce them around, they didn't throw them, they didn't just stop their throws...they kind messed them up a bit. It's not clear how much from the post.

I'm asking was what happened a "challenge"? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with a challenge...I am asking if there WAS one to begin with. And if not, is what happened appropriate to no challenge to begin with?

Best,
Ron

DH
05-27-2009, 12:25 PM
Well, I guess I didn't look at it from that light. I kind of looked at it as someone in an aikido dojo was asked to spar, and when they did, they kind of beat the training partner up. They didn't just bounce them around, they didn't throw them, they didn't just stop their throws...they kind messed them up a bit. It's not clear how much from the post.

I'm asking was what happened a "challenge"? I'm not saying there is anything wrong with a challenge...I am asking if there WAS one to begin with. And if not, is what happened appropriate to no challenge to begin with?

Best,
Ron
Hi Bud
I was addressing the OP. It was pretty clear and definitive in that the 6th dan said anyone could test his aikido and then he went on to discuss MMA types (whatever that means these days) who looked down upon his teacher.
While most tend to see my input as negative toward aikido they completely miss the many times I argue FOR aikido. I state over and over that "Aikido can be one of the most powerful arts in the world." ....just not in the hands or with the practices of most in the art I have ever seen or felt. It comes to its own only with the aiki used in te aikido of the founder. Which is on another planet from everyone I continue to meet in the art. So the idea of open mat really is a non-starter for discussion to me. It should be a pre-requisite.

Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
05-27-2009, 01:02 PM
Ah, that explains it! I was addressing Autrelle, the last post before mine.

:D :eek:

Best,
Ron

Autrelle Holland
05-27-2009, 04:06 PM
Autrelle

Your post recalls something I tried to say earlier in this thread, that there is a difference between "defending aikido" and "defending yourself." You have a varied background in the martial arts, and you called upon your varied background in dealing with the challenge. Yet you conclude that accepting challenges can "showcase how capable Aikido is." Actually, accepting challenges will only showcase how capable you are.

If an instructor has trained in no other art than aikido, he or she could claim that whatever he does must be aikido, but even that would be specious reasoning.

And what about your challenger? Was your challenger challenging aikido? Or was he challenging you. I believe that both of you may have thought that aikido was being challenged, but in reality he could only have challenged you and that you could only have defended yourself, not aikido.

Dan

True, true, true. I understood that the original poster said that his teacher only used Aikido, and I was commending that. As far as what was happening to me, you have great points. The only thing that I know is that when people ask me what I do, I tell them, Aikido. Anyone that knows me knows I do Aikido and promote Aikido. So even though the guy was not challenging Aikido in so much, it would have come out as an Aikido guy getting beaten up in front of his Aikido students. But you are right - I could have been more exacting.

Hey Ron, great to see you. I've been working on my own blog entries and an Aiki Jo manual. If you're interested, hit me up.

Cheers everyone!

Dan Rubin
05-27-2009, 07:22 PM
Anyone that knows me knows I do Aikido and promote Aikido. So even though the guy was not challenging Aikido in so much, it would have come out as an Aikido guy getting beaten up in front of his Aikido students.

I see what you mean. That puts an interesting and ironic twist on my argument.

Dan

Rabih Shanshiry
05-28-2009, 08:28 AM
Aiki is the penultimate force in the martial arts.

Others probably know the answer from your previous posts but for me and the other newbies on the board: What is the ultimate force in martial arts in your opinion?

...rab

Autrelle Holland
05-28-2009, 12:00 PM
Hi Autrelle, haven't read you in a while, good to read you again.

I do have one small concern about your post...are you sure there was a "challenge" at all? In many of the arts where there is sparring, asking to spar is not considered a challenge at all.

Ron,

Years later, I reflect that you may be right. At that moment, I may have let my own insecurities get the best of me. If true victory IS self-victory, that day was a loss for sure. But even today, I can't say that I wouldn't handle a similar situation to differently. Maybe I would. Humph.

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2009, 12:38 PM
:D Hey, remember *you* were in the situation...there is no way in which *I* would know better than you. Kudos for handling it safely! You know me...I just like to over think things... :D

But seriously, I do like to entertain these thoughts from time to time, if only to have the thinking out of the way if a situation arises...the flip side of that is re-evaluting my thinking from time to time, so that I don't act on thinking that is not up to date, so to speak.

I can only guess, but if I had to, I would guess that I would just do the best I could...and if I found out I was faced with more than what it first seemed, then escalate appropriately.

Best,
Ron

DH
05-28-2009, 12:38 PM
Others probably know the answer from your previous posts but for me and the other newbies on the board: What is the ultimate force in martial arts in your opinion?

...rab
Mr. Shanshiry
Aiki is a result of manipulating energy between two people- from tempering and changing your body from within. It is an old concept that existed in India, China and in Japan. The easiest way to conceptualize it is to imagine that someone could have trained their body to remain in balance with contradicting forces held within it, through the use of bone and tendon and fascia more than muscle and that your breath could be trained to enhance that sense of being suspended in balance. Now imagine that someone pushing or pulling on you doesn't really feel like much to you but they have to exert a lot of effort to get nowhere. Now imagine your body were so connected that were you to move even a small amount the power differential between you and other normally trained people was so overwhelming that they felt they were either magnetically drawn to you by their grip or they were manipulated and thrown or locked. Now add waza to that equation.
While it is defined by different "ways" to use it, different arts and their techniques etc. Teachers and students alike from traditional arts like Aikido, Daito ryu, Taiji, Bagua, are noting that for some strange reason it feels like the best in their arts. Others of a more aggressive breed; Judo, MMA, BJJ are noting it is very practical and powerful in freestyle grappling-if you meet someone who knows how to use it in that venue...not everyone does!
Of course it is far more complicated than that but hopefully it helps paint a picture
Cheers
Dan

Rabih Shanshiry
05-28-2009, 03:15 PM
Mr. Harden,

That was a deep and fascinating commentary on Aiki that I will have to ponder. It will probably be many, many years before I understand all of it but it hints towards fascinating depths.

In your previuos post, you mentioned that Aiki was the penultimate force. Being that Aiki is the penultimate force, I was wondering what in your estimation is the ultimate force? I'm not sure if you answered that or if it went over my head. Apologies in advance if the latter is the case.

...rab

DH
05-28-2009, 06:07 PM
I did skip that didn't I? I said penultimate because I do not believe that aiki is enough. It is "nearly" enough though. But serious fighters are a great equalizer. particularly stand off headhunters and weapons. I believe the ultimate is having the experience and skill to use aiki in anything. Aiki and the ability to use it freestyle in any venue -together-make the ultimate. With multiple weapons, knives and twin sticks and in training in serious grappling; full force with strikes and kicks. You have to reach a stage where you have serious controling power in anything you do. And that takes further research and practice.
I don't think its a coincidence that men with aiki power (internal power) enjoyed weapons and enjoyed mixing it up. The best way...the only way... to do that is with an open mat policy and on other peoples mats, not just your own.
Cheers
Dan

DH
05-28-2009, 07:18 PM
Mr. Harden,

That was a deep and fascinating commentary on Aiki that I will have to ponder. It will probably be many, many years before I understand all of it but it hints towards fascinating depths.

In your previuos post, you mentioned that Aiki was the penultimate force. Being that Aiki is the penultimate force, I was wondering what in your estimation is the ultimate force? I'm not sure if you answered that or if it went over my head. Apologies in advance if the latter is the case.

...rab
Anent many years to understand:
That would be unfortunate since I and others can not only explain it to you but teach it to you over a few years. And you would continue to grow and grow; step by step and with each step noticable. What may be of interest to you, is that many in the arts that like to claim "aiki" as their provinance would then be asking you "what" you are doing "how" you are doing it since they will no longer be able to manage you when you choose to move. Many, even some of their best, may be stumped by you.
It's only a mystery if those who hold the information choose to leave it that way
Cheers
Dan

Tom H.
05-28-2009, 08:15 PM
Anent many years to understand:
That would be unfortunate since I and others can not only explain it to you but teach it to you over a few years.
++

Don't buy into the roundabout "twenty-years-of-waza and a good day at the dojo" method of training aiki. It's a great way to pass time, but why not use a systematic approach that trains aiki directly?

I started from about the least martial and most under-developed body you can imagine. Dan has been working with me for less than three years, and already people who knew the old me are saying stuff like, "you have a new body". I am still weaker than I want to be; I still have many negatives habits and deficiencies, but the progress is undeniable, and "pretty soon" I hope to get additional validation in, e.g. an external judo environment.

Oh, it's not something magic about this Dan fellow, either. Akuzawa Minoru is getting similar results with different methods in Tokyo. There are probably other groups out there.