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Reuben
08-17-2009, 04:21 AM
Just thought i'll share my thoughts on the matter.

I cross train Aikikai Aikido with CMD an MMA style that draws from western boxing, muay thai and BJJ.

I've been training in Aikido for perhaps say 16 years.

However lately, after about 6 months into my training in CMD, I have found that certain aspects of CMD have been incorporated into my Aikido techniques and approach to the art which have unlocked insights that I would have probably not obtained in a traditional Aikido atmosphere.

Perception of an Attack

In Aikido, most students aren't really good attackers. In fact, I think in most Aikido schools, we're trained to be sloppy to let the other person learn the technique. Unfortunately even at the dan levels, due to repeated 'training' of sloppy attacks, we never quite learnt how to do a proper attack, getting further away from practicality.

However, CMD removed my fear of being punched. I no longer flinch and got used to the faster punch speeds. Hence when I trained Aikido, suddenly all the attacks were moving in slow motion and it became incredibly easy to dodge these with increasing efficiency.

You can't expect to apply Aikido to every attack

When I swapped these sloppy attacks with more realistic quick punches, you realized that there are punches that you can't do a technique on (for example a crisp jab), while others which give u a window of opportunity to do something (for example hooks and crosses). When practicing with my students who had little training of any sorts of punches, even when they were trying to punch quick and jab, I managed to complete techniques against these.

For crisp jabs, it was basically learning to keep a distance and circle (much like CMD) while deflecting them with non committal slaps. CMD talks about occupying the space with jabs, while Aikido has it all out there ALREADY occupying this space putting you in an ideal position to redirect non committal attacks without sacrificing defense. Perhaps this is a manifestation of ma-ai.

Realistic Sparring changes your Mindset- you can't always be passive

CMD also introduced me to realistic sparring where you don't really know how the other guy is going to attack. Aikido randoori or jiyuwaza isn't really 'free' in that there are still predetermined attacks and...holds....

It's one mindset doing jiyuwaza and another where there is a real danger of being punched and where it's accepted to get punched as part of the learning process. In an Aikido dojo, if you don't 'pull your punches' and actually connect with someone, you're labelled as a violent person which leads to overcompensation with fake, unrealistic attacks.

When approaching jiyuwaza with this mindset, you actually develop a more pro-active style, moving in before the person has fully gotten up and pre-emptively striking right before he strikes if his posture is weak.

It no longer is an elaborate dance but resembles a realistic scenario where you're really thinking about how to protect yourself. I think this is what many higher dan Aikido masters have found when they mentioned that in a real life situation you need to take a lot more initiative rather than waiting for an attack to come to you.

In fact you unlock true 'jiyu' where you remove the rules of what's acceptable dojo sparring and are free to innovate.

Atemi is super important

Atemi is the act of striking your opponent. Now are often told that atemi is a distracting move and there are even some Senseis who see atemi as sort of a cheating move.

I don't see it that way but as a necessary extension of what Aikido is. In fact, I believe O-Sensei advocated the importance of this. In real life, your opponent is not going to be compliant or stationary and you need a surprise jolt to buy yourself enough time to get into position for a technique.

Training counter-punching in CMD is VERY relevant to the proper application of atemi. The timing and applying the necessary force to disorient your uke is an aspect not trained.

Too often in regular Aikido training, atemi is an afterthought, done poorly and more of just a movement that in the heat of a real fight, it's often forgotten or done ineffectively.

A proper atemi hurts. Imagine getting your face smacked by a fist or being punched below the ribs, and most people will be to disoriented to resist your technique.

Some techniques remain a mystery to me

Still some Aikido techniques continue to be a mystery to me and seem only applicable against a crazy guy charging at you giving you full committal. For example, certain versions of kokyu-ho seem incredibly unrealistic unless the guy continued to hold your hand throughout the movement. This is obviously ridiculous in a real life situation.

However I do see a point in learning these techniques as it does teach you the proper flow and extension needed to execute throws but this should be made clear from the beginning rather than passed off as a 'technique'.

A technique that can only be applied on a compliant uke, is not a real technique to me. It's a practice drill.

Aikido against a trained fighter

Now I have to admit, Aikido against a trained fighter will probably have very limited usage. An experienced fighter who just does a little research on Aikido can easily see what an Aikidoka is trying to do and easily prevent it.

Aikido does rely heavily on the element of surprise. In fact I'll be quite confident if I had to spar with someone who only knew Aikido.

Aikido has no place in the octagon/professional fighting as much as BJJ has no place outside 1 on 1 fighting.

However, the majority of the guys you are going to face are untrained fighters or people who aren't actually expecting you to resist in such a manner. This is really in most cases a true self defense scenario where you're going to be caught by surprise and the attacker isn't expecting you to fight back.

Just imagine getting yourself into a boxing stance when faced with attackers, it immediately puts them on notice that you know how to fight and they react accordingly.

The great thing about Aikido is that you can still assume a non threatening stance and yet be ready to explode into action. It builds muscle reflexes where if someone grabs me, I immediately instinctively move into a throw (yes I once threw my ex-gf and almost threw my Japanese tour operator). It is also very final and yet non lethal. Sure a punch in CMD should end most fights but a proper pin or throw has a certain finality to it perhaps only less as compared to a BJJ choke.

Aikido is still relevant

So in my opinion, Aikido is still very relevant. Sure it may not be as mano to mano effective as MMA, but its applications in a self defense situation are still very real as long as a more realistic emphasis is placed on training.

We often forget that legends such as O-Sensei and Gozo Shioda perfected their art through realistic matches/fights gaining the necessary instincts to be able to pull off Aikido. In a way, realistic sparring may be that missing element to complete Aikido.

Slow and unrealistic attacks do have a role in learning Aikido. It's just that we must learn that once we have reached a certain level of Aikido, it's time to move away from the rules that were created to protect us but at the same time restrain us from the true application of Aikido.

jss
08-17-2009, 04:51 AM
Very interesting post, thanks!
For example, certain versions of kokyu-ho seem incredibly unrealistic unless the guy continued to hold your hand throughout the movement. This is obviously ridiculous in a real life situation.
Why is this obviously ridiculous? Did you try it out?
They grab your wrist, you take their balance and keep them unbalanced throughout the technique. I think most people will hold on to your wrist. And if they do let go, they're in a disadvantageous position, giving you a chance to adapt and do something else.
Of course, in self-defense situations short techniques are preferable. The only reason I see to do something elaborate is if you need to keep adapting to what the other guy is doing, but I'd rather call that a chain of simple techniques than one elaborate technique.

Reuben
08-17-2009, 05:54 AM
Yes, though I find it difficult to get a real litmus test on any hand grabbing techniques since

1) in most cases it's not the most natural way to attack someone.

2) when you tell someone to grab your hand you kinda already implant the thought for him to continue hanging on.

However with beginners for example halfway through a kokyu ho while the person is tenkanning, they let go. In fact in many demos, u find even some experienced ukes letting go early instead of feeling the entire follow through of the technique. When you feel that you're falling down it's only natural to let go of the thing that is bringing you down. When I was teaching students, I constantly had to tell them to consciously NOT let go to feel the full technique. Of course this had something to do with a not so committed attack but I can't imagine a situation where someone rushes at you with full dedication to....hold your hand. :P Maybe if you were in some repressive society that forbade hugs or perhaps in O-Sensei's time where you wanted to prevent someone from drawing his sword but certainly not in this day and age in my opinion anyway.

But point taken you might be right there though I hope this doesn't detract from the main thrust of my post is that there is a place for more realistic attacks and the training of proper attacks and not just the traditional ones in higher level Aikido which is lacking in most traditional schools. Cross training in sparring based discipline might be that missing link short of changing the way Aikido is taught.

jss
08-17-2009, 06:16 AM
When you feel that you're falling down it's only natural to let go of the thing that is bringing you down.
But then you're falling already, so the throw (a throw) has been executed. In my opinion people will let go or resist if they realize you're going to do something with the grab before you actually do something with it. They're cued to your intention and they react to it.

Cross training in sparring based discipline might be that missing link short of changing the way Aikido is taught.
Agreed. Every time I try to pull off something Aikido-like during Taikiken class, I'm reminded of the fact my Aikido training did not prepare me very well for this kind of situation.

Kevin Leavitt
08-17-2009, 06:27 AM
I think Kokyu princples apply in grappling very much so. I am working on getting better at it, but I honestly believe that kokyu is very important in the clinch and when grappling in general. Doing it welll is another thing!

lbb
08-17-2009, 06:28 AM
Yes, though I find it difficult to get a real litmus test on any hand grabbing techniques since

1) in most cases it's not the most natural way to attack someone.

2) when you tell someone to grab your hand you kinda already implant the thought for him to continue hanging on.

What I've been taught is that it's a worst-case scenario for you and a best-case scenario for your attacker. You don't really want to let your attacker get close and establish a grip, but once they've done so and you begin to execute a technique, it's to their advantage to hang on rather than let go. That's the argument on paper, at least, and it's definitely the case when you're taking ukemi from someone who thinks beyond the dance-step-I-do-this-then-you-do-that type of exchange: if you lose your grip on such a person, if you don't move so you're not exposed, etc., you can tell you'd be in trouble if we weren't all good friends.

But point taken you might be right there though I hope this doesn't detract from the main thrust of my post is that there is a place for more realistic attacks and the training of proper attacks and not just the traditional ones in higher level Aikido which is lacking in most traditional schools. Cross training in sparring based discipline might be that missing link short of changing the way Aikido is taught.

I'm grateful for the years I spent freesparring in TKD. While I don't do it any more (the dojang went in one direction, I went in another), and while I'm conscious of its shortcomings, it did give me something that most aikidoka seem to lack, i.e., a lot of experience dealing with people in various shapes and sizes who are trying to hit you -- no scripted attacks, no one attack at a time, just whatever they could do (within the limits of sparring rules), when they wanted to, as many as they wanted to -- and if you got hit, it hurt. Having to deal with an attack that is coming at your head as fast as the attacker can manage it, over and over again, teaches you to react and not freeze.

Lyle Bogin
08-17-2009, 07:25 AM
My experience training with strikes in aikido is that more advanced practitioners demand serious attacks. There is an understanding that if you get punched, it's your own fault.

Reuben
08-17-2009, 10:07 AM
My experience training with strikes in aikido is that more advanced practitioners demand serious attacks. There is an understanding that if you get punched, it's your own fault.

In my own experience (which may be different than yours), these serious attacks merely mean faster and stronger attacks which usually ends up like a traditional Japanese style attack, one hit, one kill sort of attack. That covers one sort of attacker in real life.

But many guys when they come at you, may throw a flurry of smaller punches which many Aikidoka are not necessarily ready to defend against. We might defend the first and even the 2nd but especially when real life punches aren't through a predetermined pattern, we usually end up getting punched.

Also I find that traditional Aikido uke attacks tend to have a big telegraphed movements that informs the nage what is coming. Again this may or may not be true in your experience but it's the general feeling I got from the dojos I've been to during my years of training. UK, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and I think almost all of them gave me this feeling. Also, I find that these attacks aren't really spontaneous....

I would very much like to hear any Aikidoka who has experienced a dojo with true jiyu (or at least in my opinion what jiyu should be like) where the guy can come with ANY attack and even throw combinations not just the traditional Aikido ones. If anyone could share their experience with this and how it has helped their Aikido training (or otherwise), I would be very interested to know your insights on the matter.

MM
08-17-2009, 10:40 AM
I would suggest reading the threads in the Non-Aikido Martial Traditions Forum. Specifically the ones relating to Aikido, Daito ryu aiki, and internal structure.

ChrisHein
08-17-2009, 11:04 AM
For example, certain versions of kokyu-ho seem incredibly unrealistic unless the guy continued to hold your hand throughout the movement. This is obviously ridiculous in a real life situation.

Answering this question was a big one for me. If you had some kind of weapon you were trying to use on "Uke", would it be ridiculous for him to continue holding.

I had a problem with not only Aikido attacks (like wrist grabbing) but also the commitment to the attack. I remember people saying to me "well wrestlers grab the wrist all the time. So wrist grabbing must make since." However in Aikido technique, there is a need for the attacker to continue holding the wrist. In unarmed martial arts, this is not a sound strategy. As soon as you apply something like a nikyo, your attacker will simply pull his hand away.

This changes dramatically when you add weapons to the situation. Now the attacker MUST hold on to your weapon hand, if he doesn't then you simply use your weapon on him.

You should try sparring with some wooden knives, or padded clubs, and see what turns up for you. It changed my whole practice, for the better!

Good luck!

Abasan
08-17-2009, 11:15 AM
Reuben thanks for sharing. My only thoughts would be that atemi is not just limited to the strikes common to aikido or even strikes in the conventional sense. Atemi is perpetual and allows you to make a connection to the partner.

Kevin Leavitt
08-17-2009, 03:47 PM
Reuben wrote:

I would very much like to hear any Aikidoka who has experienced a dojo with true jiyu (or at least in my opinion what jiyu should be like) where the guy can come with ANY attack and even throw combinations not just the traditional Aikido ones. If anyone could share their experience with this and how it has helped their Aikido training (or otherwise), I would be very interested to know your insights on the matter.

Lots of experience with this.

I learned to clinch. Then I learned the clinch was the same as Irimi/Ikkyo and if you go to the outside to the back..that is same as iriminage. In the inside...well lots of things you can do as well.

The principles are all there, just have to learn to work with the tension and stress and the whole startle finch things. Also timing/distance and "push/pull" are variables that must all be dealt with.

If you are working "mid distance" i.e. boxing or sparring...well I don't go there and play...dangerous. Either you are in the fight or out of the fight...make up your mind and get there...fighting is not sparring.

Knifes. Well hard to talk about here without being able to demo. but again, you are either in the fight or out of the fight....don't screw around doing westside story.

But yeah, I tend to like to train with mass and size being thrown into the situation with lots of attacks one after the other since this is what kinda happens...not the size up and bounce of sparring...unless you are in a ego fight in a bar or something...which I don't do.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-17-2009, 04:00 PM
Just thought i'll share my thoughts on the matter.

I cross train Aikikai Aikido with CMD an MMA style that draws from western boxing, muay thai and BJJ.


CMD = Crazy Monkey Defense?

salim
08-17-2009, 06:46 PM
It's the acknowledgment of reality from threads like this, that keep me coming back to Aikiweb. There is so much fluff from many of the threads. Some are oblivious to the real world of self defense and effectiveness of techniques in a sparring situation. I love your perspective. It's always refreshing to read reality threads.

Thanks!

gdandscompserv
08-17-2009, 08:17 PM
It's the acknowledgment of reality from threads like this, that keep me coming back to Aikiweb. There is so much fluff from many of the threads. Some are oblivious to the real world of self defense and effectiveness of techniques in a sparring situation. I love your perspective. It's always refreshing to read reality threads.

Thanks!
Salim,
Would you be so kind to point me towards those threads with the "fluff." I am surrounded by Marines at work all day so I like a little "fluff" in my life.
Thank You,
Ricky
:D

salim
08-17-2009, 08:37 PM
Salim,
Would you be so kind to point me towards those threads with the "fluff." I am surrounded by Marines at work all day so I like a little "fluff" in my life.
Thank You,
Ricky
:D

Wow, there are too many. Just do a search on "what color gi should I wear, when is ok to wear a Hakama, how do I transport a jo or bokken on a motorcycle." The list goes on. None of these things will help your Aikido. Wearing a Hakama and you just started Aikido yesterday does nothing for your technique, maybe hinder or cause you to be tied up. Probably used against you in a sparring situation. Too much focus on superficial things. I think you get the point.

Reuben Yap has the right perspective.

gdandscompserv
08-17-2009, 08:41 PM
yes I once threw my ex-gf
Perhaps that is why she is your ex gf.;)

and almost threw my Japanese tour operator
How does one "almost" throw someone?

Aikido is still relevant
WHAaat?:eek:

In a way, realistic sparring may be that missing element to complete Aikido.
Please describe "realistic" sparring.

Slow and unrealistic attacks do have a role in learning Aikido. It's just that we must learn that once we have reached a certain level of Aikido, it's time to move away from the rules that were created to protect us but at the same time restrain us from the true application of Aikido.
How does one know when "we have reached a certain level of Aikido?"

gdandscompserv
08-17-2009, 08:47 PM
Wow, there are too many. Just do a search on "what color gi should I wear, when is ok to wear a Hakama, how do I transport a jo or bokken on a motorcycle." The list goes on. None of these things will help your Aikido. Wearing a Hakama and you just started Aikido yesterday does nothing for your technique, maybe hinder or cause you to be tied up. Probably used against you in a sparring situation. Too much focus on superficial things. I think you get the point.

Reuben Yap has the right perspective.
Thank you Salim. I didn't know you were an advocate of naked sparring. Do you have females at your dojo? I must visit sometime.:D

Kevin Leavitt
08-17-2009, 09:08 PM
Salim,
Would you be so kind to point me towards those threads with the "fluff." I am surrounded by Marines at work all day so I like a little "fluff" in my life.
Thank You,
Ricky
:D

Dude I feel soooo sorry for you. I am in class with a bunch of Marines right now.

gdandscompserv
08-17-2009, 10:33 PM
Dude I feel soooo sorry for you. I am in class with a bunch of Marines right now.
lol
Thanks Kevin. They can be trying at times but I love 'em and appreciate them. We ask alot of you folks serving our country and I appreciate all that you do!

akiy
08-17-2009, 10:45 PM
Wow, there are too many. Just do a search on "what color gi should I wear, when is ok to wear a Hakama, how do I transport a jo or bokken on a motorcycle." The list goes on. None of these things will help your Aikido. Wearing a Hakama and you just started Aikido yesterday does nothing for your technique, maybe hinder or cause you to be tied up. Probably used against you in a sparring situation. Too much focus on superficial things. I think you get the point.
Salim, please understand that not everyone shares your thoughts regarding what constitutes an interesting discussion here on AikiWeb. These discussions that you may believe to be "fluff" belong and and are just as welcome here on AikiWeb as much the threads that you yourself may be interested in.

Let's now steer the discussion back to the topic at-hand rather than to its meta-discussion...

-- Jun

Chuck Clark
08-17-2009, 11:04 PM
Dude I feel soooo sorry for you. I am in class with a bunch of Marines right now.

Hey!!! I spent a significant amount of years in my life surrounded by a bunch of Marines and I turned out okay... Well, almost 'all right' because sometimes I still kinda miss the Crotch. :freaky: :straightf

(sorry this is so 'superficial')

Semper Fi,

Reuben
08-18-2009, 02:03 AM
CMD = Crazy Monkey Defense?

Yep, an unfortunate name to be honest but of the many martial arts I've tried over the years before finding Aikido, it really fit into what I was looking for.

not to be confused with Crazy Monkey Kungfu please :P

Reuben
08-18-2009, 02:29 AM
Perhaps that is why she is your ex gf.;)

How does one "almost" throw someone?

WHAaat?:eek:

Please describe "realistic" sparring.

How does one know when "we have reached a certain level of Aikido?"

Lol yes about the 'ex' gf thing though yeah it wasn't cause of that. She had grabbed me from behind and i did a kokyu sort of thing which plunked her on the floor. Redirection of energy...:P

Regarding the tour operator, I was looking at some seafood and engrossed at the crabs in the Sapporo market when he suddenly decided to grab me from behind and make a large noise to which I atemiied and grabbed. So didn't complete the technique.

When I say realistic sparring, I mean the following:

a) Greater variety of attacks allowed from the uke. Combinations are allowed.
b) You're allowed to pace as in you don't have to keep on coming at the nage, you can wait and alter your rhythm of attack
c) No large pull back or telegraphing of moves
d) Feints allowed

Basically a more realistic THINKING uke. An unpredictable one.

Now for as to when is the 'certain level', I would imagine it would be interspersing it with traditional randoori to build familiarity and now and then mixing it up with these realistic randooris. As you become more comfortable with the traditional randoori, then realistic randoori can be introduced stage by stage.

However even in the learning stages, it is important to imprint on the students of the nature of a real attack and how in real life things aren't going to be so preplanned and choreographed. Have a few exercises that even mix it up a LITTLE bit to get them aware of this.

For e.g. sometimes when practicing defences against tsuki attacks, after the class has gained some familiarity of the attack, and can move both inside or outside the attack, I'll tell the uke to punch with either hand without telling the nage. The uke can alter the speed but he should reduce the speed if he finds nage not coping. This way both sides can find an appropriate level and yet keep it random. This I think would be a good starting point. The nage can use different techniques depending whether he goes outside or inside but it's that uncertainty of where the attack is going to go which should be felt.

After all what is randoori for? As I understand it, it's to build spontaneity and a 'no thinking' mind. To be able to apply techniques without thinking about them.

It's already quite a big jump from static techniques to randoori. I remember struggling with it greatly as do I believe most people. Randoori is basically a ramp up in randomness.

If so, isn't the next level of building spontaneity to have a more varied and unpredictable opponent which actually more closely resembles a person in real life?

Yes I understand that many drunk people or street fight situations involve people who charge in and try to deliver that one blow which is what Aikido is trained to deal with. But there are others which come at you throwing a wide variety of punches and unless you have trained for this, you are unlikely to remain calm and be able to execute your technique.

Remember when adrenaline is pumping through your brain, the first thing that goes is fine motor skills. We need to have Aikido students acclimated to the physiological and psychological responses to stress. It's easy to think 'keep calm' but without proper practice and conditioning, I doubt this will be achieved especially when encountered with a situation he was never prepared for. Even if it's a little stress (and this may be a good thing actually especially in a safe environment), the student gets used to the feeling.

Reuben
08-18-2009, 02:50 AM
Reuben thanks for sharing. My only thoughts would be that atemi is not just limited to the strikes common to aikido or even strikes in the conventional sense. Atemi is perpetual and allows you to make a connection to the partner.

I agree with this. The point I was making was that the importance of atemi isn't emphasized enough or even when it is, its execution often just becomes a part of a rote pattern without much thought as to its effect. In fact many demos don't show this and is removed from much of practice for safety reasons that when it comes to really applying it, you find that you don't quite know how to transition from an atemi into a technique which are things that should be explored.

In practice, I found that when you apply atemi, the guy just pretends to recoil back and stays stationary. Anyone who has applied a true atemi will find the real recoil a lot more violent and unpredictable till sometimes you are not in a position to complete the technique you were intending. I mean a punch to the face or below the ribs (common atemi locations) generate quite a lot of reflex reaction from most people.

Now going to go a bit off-topic:

Too often I get students who ask me, 'why doesn't this technique work if he resists me?' to which I show how by resisting the particular technique, he becomes open to another one be it a throw from a different angle or a simple atemi.

Another point that is important is that Aikido is not a set of 'techniques' to be 'completed', it changes and adapts according to the situation and as such, a more unpredictable and in some cases resisting uke helps breed this awareness at higher levels.

Reuben
08-18-2009, 02:59 AM
You should try sparring with some wooden knives, or padded clubs, and see what turns up for you. It changed my whole practice, for the better!

Good luck!

Indeed, I intend to get some foam knives. :D It would be fun and safe! I remember doing this in one of the Yoshinkan dojos I trained at and it really made you respect knives.

No matter how good my techniques against tanto-dori is, I'm not going to risk it and people should not build a false sense of security from practicing weapon taking techniques. RUN RUN RUN being the most important thing.

That being said, I was once had a robber point a knife towards my chest and I had did some sort of koto gaeshi on him before I could quite think and ended up in some sort of yonkyo lock where he was screaming and I was screaming like a little girl as I realized I didn't know what to do after I locked him. I went fully with the yonkyo, probably dislocated something as I heard something pop and a huge scream from the robber. And then kicked him in the ribs a few times before running back home like a girl. Lol hey not beautiful but it works :P

Though of course in general, if the knife guy knows what he's doing, he's in most cases going to slice u :D

salim
08-18-2009, 07:12 AM
Salim, please understand that not everyone shares your thoughts regarding what constitutes an interesting discussion here on AikiWeb. These discussions that you may believe to be "fluff" belong and and are just as welcome here on AikiWeb as much the threads that you yourself may be interested in.

Let's now steer the discussion back to the topic at-hand rather than to its meta-discussion...

-- Jun
Jun,

I agree with Reuben Yap. That's IT.

akiy
08-18-2009, 09:40 AM
I agree with Reuben Yap. That's IT.
Then, next time, please state such agreements without disparaging the discussions of others like you did above.

-- Jun

salim
08-18-2009, 09:53 AM
Then, next time, please state such agreements without disparaging the discussions of others like you did above.

-- Jun

WHAT!

Ketsan
08-18-2009, 10:08 AM
Perception of an Attack

In Aikido, most students aren't really good attackers. In fact, I think in most Aikido schools, we're trained to be sloppy to let the other person learn the technique. Unfortunately even at the dan levels, due to repeated 'training' of sloppy attacks, we never quite learnt how to do a proper attack, getting further away from practicality.

Yep, Aikido attacks, executed properly, IME end sparring matches (not had cause to try them out for real) pretty much instantly.
The problem is that Aikidoka see the kata ("techniques") as being Aikido but don't see the attacks as also being Aikido, even if we commonly use them in kata. For instance in shomen uchi kaiten the defence against shomen uchi is morote dori. Ushiro ryote katadori is near as damn it irmi nage ura. Very rarely though do we attack with the same intensity that we defend.

You can't expect to apply Aikido to every attack

When I swapped these sloppy attacks with more realistic quick punches, you realized that there are punches that you can't do a technique on (for example a crisp jab), while others which give u a window of opportunity to do something (for example hooks and crosses). When practicing with my students who had little training of any sorts of punches, even when they were trying to punch quick and jab, I managed to complete techniques against these.

For crisp jabs, it was basically learning to keep a distance and circle (much like CMD) while deflecting them with non committal slaps. CMD talks about occupying the space with jabs, while Aikido has it all out there ALREADY occupying this space putting you in an ideal position to redirect non committal attacks without sacrificing defense. Perhaps this is a manifestation of ma-ai.

You can't expect to apply Aikido kata to every attack. People like to say "Aikido techniques don't work" forgetting, or just being plain ignorant of the fact, that there are no techniques because the kata were never intended to function as techniques.
People also forget that the attacks are also kata and that tsuki is not a punch it is tsuki, a thurst. IME the best way for training against jabs in Aikido is learning from fore foot irimi shomen because in all important respects it's identical to a jab.

Realistic Sparring changes your Mindset- you can't always be passive

CMD also introduced me to realistic sparring where you don't really know how the other guy is going to attack. Aikido randoori or jiyuwaza isn't really 'free' in that there are still predetermined attacks and...holds....

It's one mindset doing jiyuwaza and another where there is a real danger of being punched and where it's accepted to get punched as part of the learning process. In an Aikido dojo, if you don't 'pull your punches' and actually connect with someone, you're labelled as a violent person which leads to overcompensation with fake, unrealistic attacks.

When approaching jiyuwaza with this mindset, you actually develop a more pro-active style, moving in before the person has fully gotten up and pre-emptively striking right before he strikes if his posture is weak.

It no longer is an elaborate dance but resembles a realistic scenario where you're really thinking about how to protect yourself. I think this is what many higher dan Aikido masters have found when they mentioned that in a real life situation you need to take a lot more initiative rather than waiting for an attack to come to you.

In fact you unlock true 'jiyu' where you remove the rules of what's acceptable dojo sparring and are free to innovate.

Yep, I learned that you have to obey the principles taught in the kata and get in ASAP. Being a good uke is actually more practical than being a good tori I've found. If you can attack really well, if you can make morote dori and ushiro ryote katadori and all the other attacks in such a way that you immobilise and off balance your opponent technique becomes a doddle if you even need something complicated enough to be called a technique.

I wouldn't say that pulling punches is universal in all Aikido dojo, in ours if you pull a punch you get told off. We have yuyo as a safety feature not punch pulling.

Atemi is super important

Atemi is the act of striking your opponent. Now are often told that atemi is a distracting move and there are even some Senseis who see atemi as sort of a cheating move.

I don't see it that way but as a necessary extension of what Aikido is. In fact, I believe O-Sensei advocated the importance of this. In real life, your opponent is not going to be compliant or stationary and you need a surprise jolt to buy yourself enough time to get into position for a technique.

Training counter-punching in CMD is VERY relevant to the proper application of atemi. The timing and applying the necessary force to disorient your uke is an aspect not trained.

Too often in regular Aikido training, atemi is an afterthought, done poorly and more of just a movement that in the heat of a real fight, it's often forgotten or done ineffectively.

A proper atemi hurts. Imagine getting your face smacked by a fist or being punched below the ribs, and most people will be to disoriented to resist your technique.

Again, it depends where you train.

Some techniques remain a mystery to me

Still some Aikido techniques continue to be a mystery to me and seem only applicable against a crazy guy charging at you giving you full committal. For example, certain versions of kokyu-ho seem incredibly unrealistic unless the guy continued to hold your hand throughout the movement. This is obviously ridiculous in a real life situation.

However I do see a point in learning these techniques as it does teach you the proper flow and extension needed to execute throws but this should be made clear from the beginning rather than passed off as a 'technique'.

A technique that can only be applied on a compliant uke, is not a real technique to me. It's a practice drill.

Kokyu-ho means "Breath power exercise." A lot of what goes on in an Aikido dojo is a total mystery to most Aikidoka. Excersises for kata are taught as kata, kata are regarded as technique, weapons work is thought of as being seperate and different from body art.
Aikido is in a mess.

Aikido against a trained fighter

Now I have to admit, Aikido against a trained fighter will probably have very limited usage. An experienced fighter who just does a little research on Aikido can easily see what an Aikidoka is trying to do and easily prevent it.

Aikido does rely heavily on the element of surprise. In fact I'll be quite confident if I had to spar with someone who only knew Aikido.

Aikido has no place in the octagon/professional fighting as much as BJJ has no place outside 1 on 1 fighting.

However, the majority of the guys you are going to face are untrained fighters or people who aren't actually expecting you to resist in such a manner. This is really in most cases a true self defense scenario where you're going to be caught by surprise and the attacker isn't expecting you to fight back.

Just imagine getting yourself into a boxing stance when faced with attackers, it immediately puts them on notice that you know how to fight and they react accordingly.

The great thing about Aikido is that you can still assume a non threatening stance and yet be ready to explode into action. It builds muscle reflexes where if someone grabs me, I immediately instinctively move into a throw (yes I once threw my ex-gf and almost threw my Japanese tour operator). It is also very final and yet non lethal. Sure a punch in CMD should end most fights but a proper pin or throw has a certain finality to it perhaps only less as compared to a BJJ choke.

The great thing about Aikido is it's explosiveness. We can just charge people down. I think of it like this: BJJ shoots for the waist and below, Aikido shoots for the waist and above.
I use the power of the charge to pin my opponents arms into their body and force them back or I charge in and open up their guard and go for sumi otoshi or uchi kaiten. It's over in three seconds flat.
You're a striker? Great, I weigh 13 stone, I'm charging in and though you with my guard protecting my centerline and reaching for you and making atemi, good luck stopping me with one punch, if you even clock on to what's going on in time.

The trouble with Aikidoka is that we fight like westerners on the whole. We want to stay mid-range and grind our opponent down. We don't like the idea of ikken hisatsu, of risking everying on one decisive attack japanese stylee and so we get chewed up by those using arts that are suited for mid-range fighting forgetting that those arts get chewed up by close range fighters, like Aikidoka.

We have a defencive attitude and an art that sucks defencively.

Aikido is still relevant

So in my opinion, Aikido is still very relevant. Sure it may not be as mano to mano effective as MMA, but its applications in a self defense situation are still very real as long as a more realistic emphasis is placed on training.

We often forget that legends such as O-Sensei and Gozo Shioda perfected their art through realistic matches/fights gaining the necessary instincts to be able to pull off Aikido. In a way, realistic sparring may be that missing element to complete Aikido.

Slow and unrealistic attacks do have a role in learning Aikido. It's just that we must learn that once we have reached a certain level of Aikido, it's time to move away from the rules that were created to protect us but at the same time restrain us from the true application of Aikido.

Aikido is a rough diamond at the moment. Many instructors don't understand the different parts of the art or how they fit together.
They also don't understand the cultural back ground that Aikido comes from i.e. ikken hisatsu, one strike decides all. Or maybe they just don't like it because it doesn't fit in with the whole pacifism thing people equate Aikido to.
There also needs to be an acknowledgement that the attacking side of the art is as important, if not more important than the defencive part and not just something we do so that we can practice technique.

ChrisHein
08-18-2009, 10:10 AM
I'm going to put something out here that is really a curiosity to me, and maybe I'll get an answer.

So whenever I talk about weapon stuff and Aikido, people are quick to tell me that you should always run when facing a weapon.

Why is that?

Not that I fault the logic, but what they really seem to be saying to me is: well if you're both unarmed then you should kick the snot out of them.

If you find yourself in ANY kind of fight, you should avoid it. I understand that a weapon fight might cost you your life, and that is why people are quick to say you should run. But it should go without saying, in my opinion, that you should avoid all fights, whether your life depends on it or not.

Training and fighting are two very different animals. Because you train in archery doesn't mean you want to shoot people with arrows. I know lots of people have this super fantasy that one day some punk will cross their path and they will defeat him with their martial skills. This fantasy is no less ugly then getting stabbed, or having to stab someone.

Hurting people, and being hurt is never cool. So when people respond with: "you should run", it seems a little redundant to me. We are all talking about training, not fighting. If you feel the need to respond with "you should run" then every thread you post in should be prefaced with "you should run", because you should always run, unless you can't.

Mr. Yap, I'm not picking on you here, I hear the "you should run" statement a lot. It always makes me wonder why people are stating that now, when they don't state it every time we talk about martial arts.

CarrieP
08-18-2009, 11:14 AM
However even in the learning stages, it is important to imprint on the students of the nature of a real attack and how in real life things aren't going to be so preplanned and choreographed. Have a few exercises that even mix it up a LITTLE bit to get them aware of this.

We need to have Aikido students acclimated to the physiological and psychological responses to stress. It's easy to think 'keep calm' but without proper practice and conditioning, I doubt this will be achieved especially when encountered with a situation he was never prepared for. Even if it's a little stress (and this may be a good thing actually especially in a safe environment), the student gets used to the feeling.

Great points. Our dojo does try to incorporate this type of thinking into beginners classes. There are several different ways we do this. We have worked on some exercises to get us moving "off the line" and out of the way of an attack, we have had classes focused on a comitted attack that strikes true. We do some exercises where we can choose one of several variations of a technique we are doing (changing entrance, etc). Also try to stress in ukemi that it's not about giving up, it's about having the best tactical advantage you can when being in a tactically bad position (safety and responsiveness).

Especially in our weapons classes, we stress that, even though it's wooden, it's still a deadly weapon, which helps to give a sense of realism that a strike doesn't always have.

lbb
08-18-2009, 11:26 AM
If you find yourself in ANY kind of fight, you should avoid it.

If you find yourself in ANY kind of fight, it's too late to avoid it...don't you think?

Kevin Leavitt
08-18-2009, 12:20 PM
Chris agree. Mary agree. The failure of most folks in a fight is to first realize that they are indeed in a fight. Either you are or you are not. "Should run" means that you have the option to run. In a civilian setting, this means you have the option to not fight. Most fights however, especially with weapons/'knives...well you are in the fight and can't run. Failure to realize this fact is not good.

I advocate moving into the fight as fast as you can and getting offensive as fast as you can...closing that mid distance and start dealing with it. You only have 10ths of seconds to do this. Wasting them defending or trying to run is getting you tore up even more.

ChrisHein
08-18-2009, 05:44 PM
If you find yourself in ANY kind of fight, it's too late to avoid it...don't you think?

Sorry,
If you are Potentially going to be in any kind of fight, shouldn't you try to avoid it. Is what I mean to say.

Glad you caught that one...

Reuben
08-18-2009, 08:37 PM
Sorry,
If you are Potentially going to be in any kind of fight, shouldn't you try to avoid it. Is what I mean to say.

Glad you caught that one...

Yup of course I agree to this.

However in some cases, whether the person is unarmed or armed does change the decision whether to stand ground or flee.

For e.g., there has been some times in a club where I accidentally bump into a drunk guy and he gets really pissed. Of course I apologize and try to get away first but sometimes that's not enough. There was this one occasion where this rather large and drunk guy grabbed me by my shirt and threatened to punch the shit out of me. I apologized again but sometimes, apologies only serve to make the guy feel more pumped up. He demanded me to bow down to him and kiss his feet.

While his hand was still grabbed onto my shirt, I then applied a nikyo lock and immobilized him while I screamed for the bouncers to take him away.

Now if he was holding a knife to me...I would probably apologize some more and kiss his feet or what not and let him get his way around and even punch/kick me until I could find a moment to flee. After all I think if I placated him enough, as long as I did not get stabbed, it was acceptable to get beat up. That would have been not acceptable if it was a totally unarmed situation.

I totally understand where you are getting at though Chris and I also understand your annoyance.

I'm not saying that both being unarmed means you should kick the snot out of them. It means that both being unarmed, there are more options available. Before a fight there are several pre-fight stages if u can classify it as such, and during those times it is unclear whether you can talk your way out of it and whether it will escalate.

If he threatened to fight, you still have some room to talk and try to avoid the situation. The escalation can still be prevented though of course you're on red alert. Running away at this stage would result in escalation as it would most likely be seen as a sign of weakness and result in him chasing you down. In an unarmed situation, there's still the possibility of trying to resolve things and with the confidence that you can still defend yourself in this situation, there's a longer time you can stay in this 'pre-fight' stage.

However with a knife, the moment he pulls out that knife, I'm outta here!

Reuben
08-18-2009, 08:59 PM
Aikido is a rough diamond at the moment. Many instructors don't understand the different parts of the art or how they fit together.
They also don't understand the cultural back ground that Aikido comes from i.e. ikken hisatsu, one strike decides all. Or maybe they just don't like it because it doesn't fit in with the whole pacifism thing people equate Aikido to.
There also needs to be an acknowledgement that the attacking side of the art is as important, if not more important than the defencive part and not just something we do so that we can practice technique.

Very insightful post.

One of the things I was trying to grasp is that out there, against untrained fighters or non-Japanese arts, not all of them are going to do that one strike decides all. Aikido developed in that environment and it is understandable that the techniques are devised as such.

However Aikido is still applicable in those scenarios if practiced and all I was hoping was that Aikido dojos also trained in dealing with these sorts of attacks by just maintaining ma-ai and quick non-committal redirections. A non-committal attack can be redirected easily and what often confuses students is that they try to apply a full technique that will only work against a ikken hisatsu sort of attack.

This is very much still Aikido but an aspect I feel that has been downplayed and options and focus should be given in this area. This would very much address many of the concerns and criticisms people have of Aikido (some of them which have some truth to it).

Reuben
08-18-2009, 09:03 PM
Great points. Our dojo does try to incorporate this type of thinking into beginners classes. There are several different ways we do this. We have worked on some exercises to get us moving "off the line" and out of the way of an attack, we have had classes focused on a comitted attack that strikes true. We do some exercises where we can choose one of several variations of a technique we are doing (changing entrance, etc). Also try to stress in ukemi that it's not about giving up, it's about having the best tactical advantage you can when being in a tactically bad position (safety and responsiveness).

Especially in our weapons classes, we stress that, even though it's wooden, it's still a deadly weapon, which helps to give a sense of realism that a strike doesn't always have.

Thanks that sounds similar to what I've been trying out at my dojo and it is nice to find that across the world, you find people making similar discoveries in their dojos :D

The fault is not with the art itself but perhaps the way it's being taught where there are many pitfalls if we don't sit down and analyze why Aikido is the way it is. Too often, it's the teacher is always right and many dojos that don't encourage questioning. Of course this is a generalization and there are many exceptions to the rule but there's still too many of these kind of dojos that do little to prepare someone for a real self defense situation.

DonMagee
08-19-2009, 06:09 AM
The great thing about Aikido is it's explosiveness. We can just charge people down. I think of it like this: BJJ shoots for the waist and below, Aikido shoots for the waist and above.
I use the power of the charge to pin my opponents arms into their body and force them back or I charge in and open up their guard and go for sumi otoshi or uchi kaiten. It's over in three seconds flat.
You're a striker? Great, I weigh 13 stone, I'm charging in and though you with my guard protecting my centerline and reaching for you and making atemi, good luck stopping me with one punch, if you even clock on to what's going on in time.

The trouble with Aikidoka is that we fight like westerners on the whole. We want to stay mid-range and grind our opponent down. We don't like the idea of ikken hisatsu, of risking everying on one decisive attack japanese stylee and so we get chewed up by those using arts that are suited for mid-range fighting forgetting that those arts get chewed up by close range fighters, like Aikidoka.
.

Seems like you are counting on your size to win encounters. Remember that a bull fighter fights bulls way bigger then they are. A good striker has no problems circling, hooking, and keeping distance. While it is true that getting in close may give you an advantage, you make it seem like you are advocating just running at them with your hands up. My small experience in boxing tells me that is universally a bad idea. Further more this would need to be something practice often against someone wearing some boxing gloves doing his best to ring your bell. Otherwise how do you know that you are properly defending yourself as you move in and that your opponent can't just step off the line and drill you with the full force of your body momentum and their strength right in the chin with a nice hook (ever walk into a jab, it's way worse then just getting hit with a jab). This is of course all assuming the person you are about to rush knows he is in a fight. But I'm not thinking you are advocating bum rushing people who mean you no harm?

Although personally, if I was going to fight in close, I'd prefer mauy thai mixed with judo. I see aikido as the range between distance striking and the clinch. Which is of course commonly called the trapping range.

Russell Davis
08-26-2009, 04:49 PM
nice article, I use a simple Flow Drill of 1 to 4
low line kick to groin,jab,cross, low thai,which repeats itself in both left & right lead.
this allows me to utillise ANY skill (box,thai,Aiki,MMA)
Start slow then build up the tempo,
there is a counter at each of the entry points
and counter for counter.
its up to you how difficult you want to make it.
hope this is of some use to you and your training.

Russell Davis
08-26-2009, 05:36 PM
just to confirm, the flow drill is not fixed, you can change it to begin with a left hook for example, but your reflexes had better be good.

Cady Goldfield
08-26-2009, 06:53 PM
Reuben,
You might enjoy this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxm09n5lIMk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Frumsoakedfist%2Eorg%2Fviewtopic%2Ephp%3Ff%3D6%26p%3D100423&feature=player_embedded

It's a video of an MMA fighter who uses some "moves" that the YouTube poster compares to some familiar aikido techniques demonstrated by a couple of Aikido teachers (one of whom is Shioda Gozo).

Mike Sigman
08-26-2009, 08:49 PM
Reuben,
You might enjoy this:It's a video of an MMA fighter who uses some "moves" that the YouTube poster compares to some familiar aikido techniques demonstrated by a couple of Aikido teachers (one of whom is Shioda Gozo).One of the problems that I personally think interferes with a discussion of a video like that is the still-present idea that most Aikido techniques are somehow unique, whereas in reality most of them represent standard techniques (regardless of all possible small variations) that have been around for thousands of years. If you understand that, you can understand why some people think that Aikido techniques are related to Bagua techniques, but most knowledgeable CMA people will understand that those "Bagua techniques" are simply variations of old-standards.

Seeing those techniques in a MMA situation caused no perturbation in my aplomb, whatsoever. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Buck
08-26-2009, 11:45 PM
One of the problems that I personally think interferes with a discussion of a video like that is the still-present idea that most Aikido techniques are somehow unique, whereas in reality most of them represent standard techniques (regardless of all possible small variations) that have been around for thousands of years. If you understand that, you can understand why some people think that Aikido techniques are related to Bagua techniques, but most knowledgeable CMA people will understand that those "Bagua techniques" are simply variations of old-standards.

Seeing those techniques in a MMA situation caused no perturbation in my aplomb, whatsoever. ;)

FWIW

Mike

MY FWIW comment: I don't know, I thought about this and reviewed the video. To prove Mike correct or incorrect you would have to have the fighter's history and speak to the fighter about the wazas to see if they are from Aikido.

Bagua techniques and Aikido relationship, how could we validate Mike's claim to be true or false. I don' t think I read any where in Aikido such a thing. Not saying it is or isn't possible. I just need the goods to tell me. I am open to being educated. I don' t know everything. I really interested in seeing the connection. I am not making judgements either way. I just need to see the information. :)

eyrie
08-27-2009, 12:33 AM
MY FWIW comment: I don't know, I thought about this and reviewed the video. To prove Mike correct or incorrect you would have to have the fighter's history and speak to the fighter about the wazas to see if they are from Aikido. The vid description clearly says:
I know these techniques could apply to a variety of martial arts but I just went with aikido. I don't practice aikido by the way. That techniques "look similar" doesn't necesarily mean that they specifically stem from this style or that art. FWIW, Aikido "techniques" aren't that unique... many of the same "techniques" can be found in various other MAs - there's only some many ways to lock, pin, throw and hit another human. As the late Jan de Jong once quipped when asked about this "new" BJJ thing... "It's just jujitsu. There's nothing new under the sun..."

The only real difference I would suggest is in the level of sophistication with which Aikido "techniques" are intended to be applied... whatever that means ;)

Bagua techniques and Aikido relationship, how could we validate Mike's claim to be true or false. I don' t think I read any where in Aikido such a thing. Not saying it is or isn't possible. That's not what Mike's saying at all either...

I just need the goods to tell me. I am open to being educated. I don' t know everything. I really interested in seeing the connection. I am not making judgements either way. I just need to see the information. Well, you obviously need to get out more. ;) And I would encourage you to do so... and go outside your comfort zone and train in other MAs... with other martial artists.

Till then, you'll just have to take someone else's word prima facie... otherwise, the rest of your post reads vaguely like a personal snipe.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-27-2009, 03:07 AM
It's a video of an MMA fighter who uses some "moves" that the YouTube poster compares to some familiar aikido techniques demonstrated by a couple of Aikido teachers (one of whom is Shioda Gozo).

Two different fighters in that clip.

Lyoto Machida is the one doing the "kokyu" throws and Shinya Aoki is the one who does the elbow lock.

Buck
08-27-2009, 06:08 AM
After another review of the clip, Machida than looks more like he is intending and distinctly doing Aikido. That waza more distinct. But, I am not sure because I don't know his background, can't say for sure. Just speculation.

Shinya Aoki's doing the elbow lock that he could of just fell into and didn't come form any art. There is that possibility. But he does use his hips to make it work. I don't know is background either.

I am sure there are those who know these fighters better than I. I haven't looked into their training background.

My feeling is that any in a fight will work if it takes the opponent by surprise and is something unfamiliar to the opponent to be pulled off and not countered. That can come from any art or a created technique. Point is, in terms of debate, it has to work what ever it is, which is more important than where is comes from. I say this in the simplist term and genuine terms.

It's niceto see Aikido waza (possibly) working in MMA.

Kevin Leavitt
08-27-2009, 06:12 AM
Ignatius wrote:

As the late Jan de Jong once quipped when asked about this "new" BJJ thing... "It's just jujitsu. There's nothing new under the sun..."

The only real difference I would suggest is in the level of sophistication with which Aikido "techniques" are intended to be applied... whatever that means

Nothing new is correct. I hear this all the time from my fellow Judoka, that BJJ is no different than Judo and it is infact that same as it really came from the same Kodokan Judo. Yes, technically it is correct that there is/was nothing new or special about BJJ.

So why is it that Judo has changed it's rules so dramatically this year? Why is it that I can walk into a Judo Tournament playing by their rules as a Judo White Belt/BJJ Purple Belt and walk out with a third place medal against two other black belts?

Well the difference is as you state Ignatius, how it is pracitced and what emphasis is put on what aspects of the "fight".

So yes, I agree 100%, there are only so many ways to lock or throw a human being...absolutely! As you state though, it is how it is practiced that makes the difference on how well you can do it given a certain set of parameters or conditions.

Aliveness matters, and Aliveness is enough of a factor to make a distinction between two "styles" doing the exact same thing.

When folks make video comparisons like this what they are essentially doing is the classic Cognitive Dissonance Theory example of "Buying a New Car".

http://tip.psychology.org/festinge.html

They are essentially attempting to reduce dissonance through comparison. Festinger proposes there are two ways to solve the problem. 1. Come to the conclusion that you are not going to be a fighter in the ring and dissassociate. 2. Admit that you need the skills and abandon your current processes and adopt ones that will lead you to where you want to go.

However, continuing to say "Hey look at this guy using Aikido in a real fight...." does no good at all since the correalation simply is illogical and does not apply to you personally.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-27-2009, 06:31 AM
After another review of the clip, Machida than looks more like he is intending and distinctly doing Aikido. That waza more distinct. But, I am not sure because I don't know his background, can't say for sure. Just speculation.

Shinya Aoki's doing the elbow lock that he could of just fell into and didn't come form any art. There is that possibility. But he does use his hips to make it work. I don't know is background either.

I am sure there are those who know these fighters better than I. I haven't looked into their training background.

Why haven't you checked their background?. Not a difficult task.

salim
08-27-2009, 07:11 AM
Ignatius wrote:

Nothing new is correct. I hear this all the time from my fellow Judoka, that BJJ is no different than Judo and it is infact that same as it really came from the same Kodokan Judo. Yes, technically it is correct that there is/was nothing new or special about BJJ.

So why is it that Judo has changed it's rules so dramatically this year? Why is it that I can walk into a Judo Tournament playing by their rules as a Judo White Belt/BJJ Purple Belt and walk out with a third place medal against two other black belts?

Well the difference is as you state Ignatius, how it is pracitced and what emphasis is put on what aspects of the "fight".

So yes, I agree 100%, there are only so many ways to lock or throw a human being...absolutely! As you state though, it is how it is practiced that makes the difference on how well you can do it given a certain set of parameters or conditions.

Aliveness matters, and Aliveness is enough of a factor to make a distinction between two "styles" doing the exact same thing.

When folks make video comparisons like this what they are essentially doing is the classic Cognitive Dissonance Theory example of "Buying a New Car".

http://tip.psychology.org/festinge.html

They are essentially attempting to reduce dissonance through comparison. Festinger proposes there are two ways to solve the problem. 1. Come to the conclusion that you are not going to be a fighter in the ring and dissassociate. 2. Admit that you need the skills and abandon your current processes and adopt ones that will lead you to where you want to go.

However, continuing to say "Hey look at this guy using Aikido in a real fight...." does no good at all since the correalation simply is illogical and does not apply to you personally.

Awesome. I couldn't agree more.

phitruong
08-27-2009, 07:27 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWG6eglkLa8 looked like aikido, no? or jujutsu? or many other martial arts?

Abasan
08-27-2009, 08:34 AM
Ignatius wrote:

Why is it that I can walk into a Judo Tournament playing by their rules as a Judo White Belt/BJJ Purple Belt and walk out with a third place medal against two other black belts?


Because you're an aikido black belt?? :D

DH
08-27-2009, 08:35 AM
Aliveness- is a not a minor difference in training either. In and of itself it is a major consideration for what the body can absorb, and redirect, what it can do in failure to turn the tables, what it can negate; either completely or partially, and what it can do to change the mindset and intent of the opponent and more importantly what it does to change your own mindset.

Everyone is familiar enough with my anti-ukemi rants so I won't go there again. Consider that the video showed two different waza being employed. The waza is consistent with any number of arts. How many think they would have been able to "catch" the opponent when that opponent was punching and kicking the crap out of you and trying to set you up in a calculated, experienced and planned methodology all his own?
The way to -get- there is to go there and train.
Cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
08-27-2009, 08:56 AM
Because you're an aikido black belt?? :D

lol. Well this is probably why I am so experienced in this topic of dissonance. After doing martial arts in the Traditional sense for 15 years, I had to face a bunch of soldiers who didn't really care what my background was and refused to recoginize my training "experience".

It was a disconcerting few weeks of trying to take inventory of what I had been doing for the last 15 years!

The good news was once I figured out what was going on, it allowed me to embrace a new way of training. I found that because of my background in aikido and TMA, I was able to advance fairly rapidily in gaining new skillz.

So the good news for most of us, is that our training does not have to looked at as a waste of time.

eyrie
08-27-2009, 05:45 PM
Hi Kevin,

Well the difference is as you state Ignatius, how it is pracitced [sic] and what emphasis is put on what aspects of the "fight"....... it is how it is practiced that makes the difference on how well you can do it given a certain set of parameters or conditions. Absolutely. By the very nature and diversity of Aikido practice itself, and I cæveat this by saying - the way it is practiced in various places, and the way it was intended to be practiced, as Ueshiba (may or may not have) intended for it, may be 2 entirely different things.

IMO, the focus on what is Aikido waza or "not" Aikido waza is missing the whole point of Aikido - which by its very nature being a "formless" art - as is the case with ALL martial arts performed at higher and higher levels of sophistication - has NO waza. The whole point of any MA training is to change (read retrain/untrain) the way you move, respond, react - or in this case NOT move, respond, react - if you catch my drift.

Aliveness matters, and Aliveness is enough of a factor to make a distinction between two "styles" doing the exact same thing. When I first came across that word, I felt many people were largey using it as some MMA buzzword, and in many cases, no one I spoke to could really elaborate what that meant. To them it was mostly about being in the "fight" mindset and kicking someone else's a$$. It wasn't until I read what Matt Thornton had to say about it, that I found myself entirely in agreement with him. I don't see how one could possibly train in a MA, traditional or otherwise, and not train "alive". Perhaps, it is less overt in some places than others? Hidden in plain sight as it were...?

Which brings me back to the point about Aikido waza... it's not much different to your basic garden variety jujitsu - kotegaeshi, shihonage, iriminage, tenchinage, kaitennage etc... they are all found in various forms of "jujitsu" - whether they be of Japanese, Chinese or other derived origins. It matters not that such-and-such-a style does it slightly differently - the basic premise and principle of the technique is exactly the same. The human body can only be made to move and respond in fairly predictable ways, when appendages are bent, twisted and folded in ways they were not meant to be, or when poked, punched and kicked in various places.

But the whole point about learning Aikido waza isn't just so you can do something to someone, in which case, you might as well be doing your garden variety jujitsu, but so that you also learn and condition yourself not to move, respond and react in predictable fashion to such techniques being applied on you - whatever that means. ;)

...two ways to solve the problem. 1. Come to the conclusion that you are not going to be a fighter in the ring and dissassociate. 2. Admit that you need the skills and abandon your current processes and adopt ones that will lead you to where you want to go. Hmmm.... is THAT why the views here are so polarized? :D

....to say "Hey look at this guy using Aikido in a real fight...." does no good at all since the correalation simply is illogical and does not apply to you personally. Precisely. Hence, my admonition to get outside the safe box one calls the "dojo" and train with other MA stylists - on their turf, with their rules. Or take option #1. ;)

Jason Morgan
09-04-2009, 10:39 AM
Some techniques remain a mystery to me

Still some Aikido techniques continue to be a mystery to me and seem only applicable against a crazy guy charging at you giving you full committal. For example, certain versions of kokyu-ho seem incredibly unrealistic unless the guy continued to hold your hand throughout the movement. This is obviously ridiculous in a real life situation.



When you look at those techniques, especially ones where uke grabs a wrist and keeps holding it for no apparent reason, think of what the fight would be like if you were holding a weapon, or if they had a weapon. We train weapons regularly and I've found that many of the techniques reflect a situation in which either nage or uke is attempting to retain and attack with a weapon.

Shany
09-05-2009, 03:31 PM
I Do real surprise attacks on my teacher, while he is walking around, or checking other students. just like a crazy man would jump on u out of the blue.

I love it!

Grant Buhr
09-15-2009, 03:30 PM
I Do real surprise attacks on my teacher, while he is walking around, or checking other students. just like a crazy man would jump on u out of the blue.

Not now, Cato! :p

Suru
09-15-2009, 08:44 PM
I've been training in Aikido for perhaps say 16 years.

you realized that there are punches that you can't do a technique on (for example a crisp jab)

You've been training Aikido for 16 years, and you never learned jab defense? Put up a flat, opposite hand and grip the fist when it touches the palm. Simultaneously grab the wrist with the same-side hand and with uke's fist and elbow in a vertical "tenchi," drop it straight to the ground with your center. Nikkyo and kote gaeshi become readily available, among others.

Drew

Kevin Leavitt
09-15-2009, 09:13 PM
I can't do that when someone is really bent on using my face as a side of beef. About the best I can do it protect myself from getting knocked out and then move in for the clinch and irimi. That is what I hope for.

Suru
09-15-2009, 09:43 PM
Standing dynamically in kamae reduces an attacker's jab efficacy considerably.

Drew

TEARO
09-16-2009, 12:04 AM
What's CMD?8-)

Tim Fong
09-16-2009, 12:32 AM
You've been training Aikido for 16 years, and you never learned jab defense? Put up a flat, opposite hand and grip the fist when it touches the palm. Simultaneously grab the wrist with the same-side hand and with uke's fist and elbow in a vertical "tenchi," drop it straight to the ground with your center. Nikkyo and kote gaeshi become readily available, among others.

Drew

When people are throwing the jab with bad intentions, I've found this difficult. Any pointers?

Tim

Demetrio Cereijo
09-16-2009, 06:49 AM
Learn to box.

Kevin Leavitt
09-16-2009, 07:21 AM
Well Boxing is fine and you learn some good skills, but boxing ain't really fight'n either. Boxing is basically a sport of attrition where two guys square off and trade punches and blocks in a very limited range of combat with some big ass gloves on.

I tend to not like to sit in that range and trade blows, but that is me!

C. David Henderson
09-16-2009, 07:58 AM
Hi Drew,

I think the qualifier you may have somewhat overlooked is "crisp." FWIW I had the same reaction to your question about tsuki irimi nage when the striker removes his hand quickly. (The video example seemed to involve the more typical tsuki-as-thrust opening).

The technique you describe here is one I've practiced (a little), but I doubt it would be a high percentage move against a skilled striker.

Ever read the scene from "Musashi" where he plucks the fly from mid-air with chop sticks, then releases it unharmed, thereby persuading his would-be attackers to run away?

If you're that fast, as my teacher sometimes says, you probably don't need Aikido.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-16-2009, 09:07 AM
Well Boxing is fine and you learn some good skills, but boxing ain't really fight'n either.

Hoping to make clearer my previous post.

Learn to box so you can really understand boxing strikes, i.e. the jab: What is a jab, when is useful, how is done, why the jab and not other strike...?.

Then you can try to figure how to deal with them with aikido.

ChrisHein
09-16-2009, 10:05 AM
Learn to box.

This is great advice for 2 reasons.

A. What most people are talking about when they say "fight", is some kind of unarmed exchange that has to do with your position on the social latter (breeding rights, tribal position :D ) . So learning to box is very relevant to this question. Learn to box, good answer.

B. If they do learn to box, they will learn that there is much more to fighting then boxing. And while boxing is a very useful skill, they would much rather use another skill set when facing real danger. This is the reason the military has stockpiles of weapons, but not boxing gloves.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-16-2009, 10:10 AM
Chris, your post reminded me about this article:

http://www.hoplology.com/articles_detail.asp?id=14

Suru
09-16-2009, 10:56 AM
When people are throwing the jab with bad intentions, I've found this difficult. Any pointers?

Tim

For starters, I don't believe this or any technique has 100% effectiveness for anyone. I think if an attacker is going to throw a jab, it will always be as "crisp" as possible, although less powerful than a wound-up punch. Catching a glimpse of an incoming jab and getting the hand up in time to catch the punch is certainly not easy, but with more practice it becomes more viable. There is certainly an important pointer that didn't come to mind as I wrote my post; a same-side step back should occur simultaneously with the palm stop, grab, and wrist grab.

Drew

Stormcrow34
09-16-2009, 11:05 AM
Catching jabs out of the air? Stepping back? From what I recall, the last time I stepped back to avoid a jab, there was a straight right waiting for me. A jab is a setup punch. Primarily, it judges distance, blinds and creates openings by illiciting a response. Over reacting to one can be a very bad idea. Boxers (who deal with it most often and most effectiviely) sometimes deal with a jab by bobbing and weaving and slipping inside the stiff end of the punch.

Suru
09-16-2009, 12:29 PM
Catching jabs out of the air? Stepping back? From what I recall, the last time I stepped back to avoid a jab, there was a straight right waiting for me. A jab is a setup punch. Primarily, it judges distance, blinds and creates openings by illiciting a response. Over reacting to one can be a very bad idea. Boxers (who deal with it most often and most effectiviely) sometimes deal with a jab by bobbing and weaving and slipping inside the stiff end of the punch.

All I can say is that's what I learned from a highly qualified, excellent sensei. Well, I can say one more thing; I wouldn't cuss out Mike Tyson then try it on him.

Drew

Kevin Leavitt
09-16-2009, 12:33 PM
Jabs are skillfully used to off balance, gain the iniative, and close distance. the fact that it actually hits you may or may not matter, it really is the secondary effects that you need to be concerned with such as the other hand, the fact that he has taken away space, has momentum, or has caused you to go off your center.

Parrying and moving to a better position than I am currently in is about all I can really do.

Suru
09-16-2009, 01:02 PM
Something I learned at my original dojo, which then got reinforced at my first Saotome Shihan seminar back in about 2000, is to be able to commit to a technique, but also being alert enough to switch it up in a tenth of a second (human reaction time) if need be. I learned to be aware that uke surely does have a reserve fist and that this must be acknowledged and respected. Uke also has two feet, two knees, and one hell of a powerful forehead.

Kevin, I am really glad you brought that up because it is of paramount importance to be mindful of, even though it surely does not simplify matters for nage.

Drew

DonMagee
09-17-2009, 05:52 AM
Well Boxing is fine and you learn some good skills, but boxing ain't really fight'n either. Boxing is basically a sport of attrition where two guys square off and trade punches and blocks in a very limited range of combat with some big ass gloves on.

I tend to not like to sit in that range and trade blows, but that is me!

My boxing coach tells me boxing is about slipping, off-balancing your opponent, and knocking him out. He has told me that if you are getting hit, you are doing it wrong.

When I first put on 16 ounce gloves they seemed huge compared to mma gloves. And while they do make a difference, I'm less convinced on that difference. When I think about my first amateur fight that I hope to have in the next year, I start to think about how small those 10 and 12 ounce gloves really are.

Honestly, boxing has taught me more about how to 'enter' in on a striking opponent then any other martial art experience I have had. And I've only trained it for 2 weeks. You make your opponent punch, you make it look like it will land, then you are not there anymore causing him to fall off balance (even if just a little) because he expected the hit. Of course while you are stepping in you are throwing that big left hook, followed by another two are three big blows as you move back out to a safe distance.

I suck at it right now, but there are guys that I simply can't hit with any form of effectiveness. I highly recommend anyone to take up boxing training. Even if they never fight (but still spar) they will learn a ton about striking, distance, and movement. Just like I recommend everyone take some kind of ground grappling. Obviously muay thai, or full contact karate, etc would also impart similar skills and teach kicking. I would probably do muay thai if it was available. But for now I just can't wait to see where I'm at in 6 months.

Stormcrow34
09-17-2009, 06:57 AM
Nice post on the jab, Kevin.

I also think it's a great idea to take up some form of striking where you actually make some contact, because nothing prepares you for getting hit, like getting hit! And if we learn to occasionally eat a jab without panic setting in, we can focus on more important issues like getting inside, setting up a throw, etc. Perhaps training our body to absorb a jab is easier and more likely than devising some fancy defense against a lightning fast, uncommitted punch?

I think it was Mike Tyson who said it best when being interviewed about his opponents plan to defeat Iron Mike: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face".

Fortunately, there aren't too many people out there that hit like Mike Tyson.

Ben Tang
09-17-2009, 10:15 PM
Hi Reuben,
Thanks for the insight.
I would like to share my personal thoughts..

Aikido is not meant to be compared to other forms of martial art used for self defense. Many has tried to pit Aikido against other MMA fighting i.e. KDTA, CMD, Karate..

The essence of fighting is totally different

The most basic rule of Aikido is establishing the threat and moving away instead of receiving punches /kicks; hence the irimi tenkan and kaiten movement. If you compare this with other "receiving" martial art ..it will involve some blocking; be it kickboxing, CMD, KDTA, karate etc..

Aikido trains someone to avoid conflict. Thats the philosophy built into it ..the way of harmony..

If a student of Aikido expects to be a street fighter upon completing their dan or higher ranks I think he is looking in the wrong place to start with.

katate tori, shomen and yokomen technique were all simulated attacks of the sword..
the hand as explained before is an extension of the sword hence vice versa

No doubt, no one will rush at you with a samurai sword in this century but we have to understand that Aikido was created by Osensei based on aikijiujitsu which is a samurai art widely used when everyone was wielding sword.

They dont jab or kick, they cut !! SO the inherent danger was the sword and not the arms or legs.. so aikijiujitsu protects life...

:)

Kevin Leavitt
09-18-2009, 09:10 AM
Ben Tang wrote:

The most basic rule of Aikido is establishing the threat and moving away instead of receiving punches /kicks; hence the irimi tenkan and kaiten movement

Irimi is not moving away, but entering. tenkan is a turn, and kaiten well, not good and really defining it, but it also involves entering and turning as well. The whole prinicple is not so much moving away or avoidance but about entering at the right vector/angle and spiraling in and turning at a decreasing radius.

Ben wrote:

Aikido trains someone to avoid conflict. Thats the philosophy built into it ..the way of harmony..

Disagree here as well. Avoidance is not what it is about, that does not authentically resolve conflict. In fact, we don't need a martial practice at all to teach avoidance. No, The way of harmony is learning to embrace it, and change it. Facing it and dealing with it in a skillful manner.

gdandscompserv
09-18-2009, 12:24 PM
Facing it and dealing with it in a skillful manner.
Yeah.:cool:

C. David Henderson
09-18-2009, 12:40 PM
FWIW, I have the same reaction as Kevin.

I recognize not everyone trains in the same fashion, but it would not accurately describe my practice to say I have been taught to always "establish[] the threat and mov[e] away [from it] instead of receiving."

Preempting the attack, whether called "sensen no sen" or (if you're Osensei) something else or more, conceptually seems to involve a higher order of "harmonizing" than reacting to an attack and avoiding it.

YMMV

cdh

Eugene Leslie
01-04-2010, 09:40 PM
Mr. Yap

Thanks for the insight into Aikido as it applies to the world of MMA and real life situations. I wondered how it was viewed by fighters like yourself.
I too have found in Aikido training the lack of realistic "street" fighting for self-defence and have come across guest instuctors (no disrespect towards Sensei's intended) who bring their own assistants that offer no resistance and assist the instructor in their techniques without resisting or attacking in an unpredictable manner, and I found myself wondering about real-life situations.
I have a background of some hard style martial arts (just dabbled and by no means am I an expert or proficient) and I've been in real fight situations as a younger man and it seems to me that it all comes down to WHY one is training in Aikido.
If one is training to be an aggressor than he's there for the wrong reasons. This is more than opinion as O' Sensei said himself not to casually teach Aikido techniques to anyone in case it is used by thugs.
I understand that you're talking about strikes or the lack thereof in Aikido and I agree...but if I could go back in time and learn JUST Aikido, no other martial arts, then I think I would apply the fluidity and adaptiveness of Aikido as O'Sensei intended and my mind would not be occupied by thoughts of "what if" and "should I". I would react with pure Aikido and keep myself AND my opponent unharmed.
As it is I am a beginner and my cup still has some emptying to be done. If I were confronted at this stage I would no doubt strike out first because I know my capabilities: on the other hand, the reason I started Aikido was to be the civil, empathetic person that I truly am, devoid of ego and strive to be the the loving person that O'Sensei envisioned people of peace loving character to be. I have no desire to knock teeth out...it's reprehensible to me. Once again am I fighting for pride or protection? If there's a child involved than I guess anything goes.
Now I know you're a MMA guy so you're coming from a livelihood angle in a way and I respect that.
As you said; O' Sensei was in real, potentially deadly fights and it honed his skills immeasureably and the development of Aikido benefitted.
Perhaps O'Sensei did the real fighting for all the younger people in generations to come who need not know real violent aggression in their life. Some younger Kohei and Sempai I have come into contact with probably couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag...but the development of character and in time technique will make these youngsters into men that an aggressor will be sorry to confront, regardless of strikes or no.
The rejection of ego and the love of peace are paramount to Aikido proficiency as it pertains to O'Sensei's vision.
Once again WHY does one train in Aikido?
Hopefully for the DO to KI and AI.

Eugene Leslie
01-04-2010, 09:54 PM
I also think it's a great idea to take up some form of striking where you actually make some contact, because nothing prepares you for getting hit, like getting hit! And if we learn to occasionally eat a jab without panic setting in, we can focus on more important issues like getting inside, setting up a throw, etc. Perhaps training our body to absorb a jab is easier and more likely than devising some fancy defense against a lightning fast, uncommitted punch?

After rereading this thread I just have to agree with this somewhat...
(somewhat).
It goes back to the reason one takes Aikido...If it's for self-defense then I am bound to agree with Mr. Crowell.
When I was a young 14 year old football player our (poor) coach had us run plays and positions, never wearing our gear....when our first game came up we got crushed BECAUSE we had never been hit before....
a good analogy as any but if you're training for scrapping purposes than YES. punch me first so i know what to expect in a real fight and I won't panic or freeze.

Reuben
01-04-2010, 11:30 PM
Hi Reuben,
Thanks for the insight.
I would like to share my personal thoughts..

Aikido is not meant to be compared to other forms of martial art used for self defense. Many has tried to pit Aikido against other MMA fighting i.e. KDTA, CMD, Karate..

The essence of fighting is totally different

The most basic rule of Aikido is establishing the threat and moving away instead of receiving punches /kicks; hence the irimi tenkan and kaiten movement. If you compare this with other "receiving" martial art ..it will involve some blocking; be it kickboxing, CMD, KDTA, karate etc..

Aikido trains someone to avoid conflict. Thats the philosophy built into it ..the way of harmony..

If a student of Aikido expects to be a street fighter upon completing their dan or higher ranks I think he is looking in the wrong place to start with.

katate tori, shomen and yokomen technique were all simulated attacks of the sword..
the hand as explained before is an extension of the sword hence vice versa

No doubt, no one will rush at you with a samurai sword in this century but we have to understand that Aikido was created by Osensei based on aikijiujitsu which is a samurai art widely used when everyone was wielding sword.

They dont jab or kick, they cut !! SO the inherent danger was the sword and not the arms or legs.. so aikijiujitsu protects life...

:)

Thanks Ben :D Good to see a fellow Malaysian here! I totally agree that Aikido is a different sort of martial art than the other martial arts you mentioned.

Aikido is also often promoted as a self defense and I'm not expecting an Aikidoka to go out in the street and fight everyone, but I do hope that an Aikidoka should at least be able to neutralize an attack or avoid confrontation when confronted in the street.

Avoiding confrontation is something that can be taught without the Aikido movements. The Aikido movements do reinforce and cultivate this concept but such techiques should also deal with the the former, the 'neutralizing an attack' part which is what makes Aikido a martial art with a philosophy rather than just a philosophy.

I also understand Aikido's origins and the reason behind somewhat traditional attacks that are not seen 'on the street'. However there is no reason why Aikido should not be updated to reflect the modern world where people do not attack with swords (most of the time) nor in a single strike manner. A lot of Aikido is still relevant and applicable, in fact I recently pulled off a classic irimi nage in a MMA sparring session. It's just adapting and getting people aware of the randomness and unpredictability of real situations which is something randoori in my opinion does not address to a sufficient extent.

There's a difference between becoming a streetfighter (which I'm not saying is good) and being able to defend yourself on the street (basically, real world applications).

Eugene Leslie
01-04-2010, 11:41 PM
Very good point Mr. Tang.
Aikido comes from an age when swords were the weapons of choice and that is a very good point when comparing Aikido w/ other martial arts. Anyone can take a beating, but Aikido can save a life by not getting cut, or having your head cracked on the pavement by rolling, or sidestepping a thrusting knife and countering, etc..

Andrew Macdonald
01-04-2010, 11:44 PM
i am not sure of this is what you mean by realistic sparring

but

i spent many years in karate before comng to aikido, I still go and play with the karate oy sometimes and try to throw in some aikido if we have agreed it is ok before hand

i have notice many of the same thing as you mentioned, it can be difficult to do a techniques of a 'tester jab' but it is a different sort of fight, outside i wouldn;t be softing up people with jabs so much as going in to do as much damage as possible and so would my opponent at the time i guess

on attcking, yes many many aikidoka need to leanr to attack better, I sometimes (depending on grade) start really going for the attacks, sometimes bobbing and weaving before hand so i don;t telegraph the punch, really changes the feel of the training

Reuben
01-04-2010, 11:57 PM
Mr. Yap

Thanks for the insight into Aikido as it applies to the world of MMA and real life situations. I wondered how it was viewed by fighters like yourself.
I too have found in Aikido training the lack of realistic "street" fighting for self-defence and have come across guest instuctors (no disrespect towards Sensei's intended) who bring their own assistants that offer no resistance and assist the instructor in their techniques without resisting or attacking in an unpredictable manner, and I found myself wondering about real-life situations.
I have a background of some hard style martial arts (just dabbled and by no means am I an expert or proficient) and I've been in real fight situations as a younger man and it seems to me that it all comes down to WHY one is training in Aikido.
If one is training to be an aggressor than he's there for the wrong reasons. This is more than opinion as O' Sensei said himself not to casually teach Aikido techniques to anyone in case it is used by thugs.
I understand that you're talking about strikes or the lack thereof in Aikido and I agree...but if I could go back in time and learn JUST Aikido, no other martial arts, then I think I would apply the fluidity and adaptiveness of Aikido as O'Sensei intended and my mind would not be occupied by thoughts of "what if" and "should I". I would react with pure Aikido and keep myself AND my opponent unharmed.
As it is I am a beginner and my cup still has some emptying to be done. If I were confronted at this stage I would no doubt strike out first because I know my capabilities: on the other hand, the reason I started Aikido was to be the civil, empathetic person that I truly am, devoid of ego and strive to be the the loving person that O'Sensei envisioned people of peace loving character to be. I have no desire to knock teeth out...it's reprehensible to me. Once again am I fighting for pride or protection? If there's a child involved than I guess anything goes.
Now I know you're a MMA guy so you're coming from a livelihood angle in a way and I respect that.
As you said; O' Sensei was in real, potentially deadly fights and it honed his skills immeasureably and the development of Aikido benefitted.
Perhaps O'Sensei did the real fighting for all the younger people in generations to come who need not know real violent aggression in their life. Some younger Kohei and Sempai I have come into contact with probably couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag...but the development of character and in time technique will make these youngsters into men that an aggressor will be sorry to confront, regardless of strikes or no.
The rejection of ego and the love of peace are paramount to Aikido proficiency as it pertains to O'Sensei's vision.
Once again WHY does one train in Aikido?
Hopefully for the DO to KI and AI.

Thanks Eugene, that was an excellent post.

I can understand where you are coming from.

To be honest, Steven Seagal was the reason I joined Aikido way back some 16-17 years ago. I'm sure many of us can say the same with Aikido enjoying a huge surge in popularity while he was in fashion. Who wasn't attracted by the fluidity, dynamisn and basically the effortlessness of Aikido against a physically stronger opponent? I'm not a 'MMA fighter' as you put it, as I actually started with Aikido and only have been training in MMA for a year.

I was also the more passive type, didn't really like to start trouble and all these combined made Aikido seem to be an ideal form of self defense to take up.

There are those that do Aikido purely for its philosophy, the way it changes your world view or just for some good ol fun. In fact, I still practice Aikido because I still enjoy doing so despite knowing its limitations.

However a significant percentage of Aikido practitioners also do it because they believe it's applicable as a self defense and is often marketed as such.

The thing is O'Sensei probably came up with a viable art that could be used in self defense. For him and many others, Aikido works in real life situations as well. Perhaps someone who studied Aikido a little could counter it but generally, if you didn't know what he was doing, Aikido works. In fact, Aikido once protected me when I was attacked at knife point on the street where I disabled the attacker (somewhat ungracefully I might add) but in this scenario I had the element of surprise + a static knife target. It was still an unnecessary risk but that's another story.

Nowadays, the way Aikido is being taught does not prepare one for such real life scenarios. I was lucky that the target was static in my real life application but most of the times, your target will be a moving, raging, unpredictable opponent.

Aikido requires you to remain calm in a confrontation, something that cannot be developed unless you've been in a real fight yourself where you truly fear for your life. Sparring is a close approximation which still is for the most part safe. Randoori is on a step lower where you are generally limited to a certain preset kind and rhythm of attack and to me is insufficient to develop that sort of calmness.

O'Sensei, Gozo Shioda (in fact I heard Gozo Shioda actively looked for fights in his youth to test his skills) had acquired the necessary calmness and understanding of fight mechanics to make Aikido work. If u were just in an average dojo, these things would not be picked up.

Okie one instance where I tried using Aikido where I allowed my friend to attack me anyway he wanted. I quickly realized that ma-ai was not something that can be grasped from randoori or class. After getting hit several times in the face, I then truly had an 'ah ha' moment where I understood what it meant by ma-ai and the whole purpose of having your hands out. Occupying the space, and distancing yourself properly made it difficult for him to attack me unless he made a truly committal attack. I eventually got taken down through a mad bull rush takedown which I was ill prepared for :P but throughout the session both parties weren't' getting any headway, I wasn't pulling off any techniques (my friend knew Aikido too so he knew exactly what i was doing) but he wasn't landing any punches in either.

So in short, what I'm saying is that there are new tools that SHOULD be introduced into Aikido. To me sparring is NOT competition, it's about learning. In a sparring match, there's no real 'winner or loser', sure you may realize you have been 'outplayed' but I generally come out feeling hey, I learnt something even when I was 'outplayed'. As such, I really don't see why more realistic training cannot be introduced into Aikido at least at a brown belt level.

Eugene Leslie
01-04-2010, 11:57 PM
Hey guys correct me if I'm wrong but "attack" and Aikido are not compatable. Jab, punch, smash? Situational, family defense... maybe; But to intentionally seek out your opponent's blood doesn't jive with Osensei's vision of what Aikido should be.
I'm not trying to be anal here...just reconciling the philosophy, which a high level, proficient practitioner can possibly apply, making Aikido the ultimate peacemaker through neutralization.

Reuben
01-05-2010, 12:00 AM
i am not sure of this is what you mean by realistic sparring

but

i spent many years in karate before comng to aikido, I still go and play with the karate oy sometimes and try to throw in some aikido if we have agreed it is ok before hand

i have notice many of the same thing as you mentioned, it can be difficult to do a techniques of a 'tester jab' but it is a different sort of fight, outside i wouldn;t be softing up people with jabs so much as going in to do as much damage as possible and so would my opponent at the time i guess

on attcking, yes many many aikidoka need to leanr to attack better, I sometimes (depending on grade) start really going for the attacks, sometimes bobbing and weaving before hand so i don;t telegraph the punch, really changes the feel of the training

I think you hit it right on the nail. Basically REALLY going for the attack, not telegraphing it and having an attack that you'll have something to be fearful about rather than just a small 'ouch' does change the feel of the training. This combined with more random attacks rather than traditional ones would be the sort of sparring I would like to see become more mainstream with the higher grades.

Reuben
01-05-2010, 12:03 AM
Hey guys correct me if I'm wrong but "attack" and Aikido are not compatable. Jab, punch, smash? Situational, family defense... maybe; But to intentionally seek out your opponent's blood doesn't jive with Osensei's vision of what Aikido should be.
I'm not trying to be anal here...just reconciling the philosophy, which a high level, proficient practitioner can possibly apply, making Aikido the ultimate peacemaker through neutralization.

You know what I mean :D.

Uke is also meant to be a representation of your 'ATTACKER' and hence he does attacks. If 'uke' is not meant to attack and his tsuki and yokomen uchis are not 'attacks'...then Aikido would be simply an art to be only used in the dojo.

Eugene Leslie
01-05-2010, 12:14 AM
I was referring more to Mr. Mcdonald's comments, but yes I know what you meant.
I guess it really comes down to "faith" in Aikido.
What was Osensei? under 5' and 120lbs?
What about the power of Ki?
Tell me Reuben (you've been training for quite awhile) do you think an Aikidoka can be as fluent and as devastating as Steven Seagal with enough training? (I too was a big fan at the time and he has been quite the ambassador).
The question is a two-parter:
- Against a common thug
- Against a trained fighter (unusual circumstances to be sure).

Reuben
01-05-2010, 12:21 AM
Well I wouldn't know how devastating Steven Seagal is in real life :D but

1) Against a common thug:

This is what I am hoping to answer, and I am tending towards yes with more realistic training.

2) Against a trained fighter:

No, but Aikido wasn't intended as such and I don't see it as a failing.

In Aikido we learn to train without resistance but we must train for a common thug's resistance (at higher grades) if we are practicing Aikido also for its self defence element.

Eugene Leslie
01-05-2010, 12:36 AM
The "appearance" of devastation by Seagal and hollywood. LOL!
Osensei was one in a trillion..a gift from the universe itself; he harnessed ki and self-awareness and I find myself desiring those mystical powers but I'm a speck compared; I know humility and sincere understanding are more important and must come first.
I've been corrupted and hard-wired by western egotistical thinking...I must conquer myself. the real fight is with me.

rroeserr
01-05-2010, 03:51 PM
Well I wouldn't know how devastating Steven Seagal is in real life :D but

1) Against a common thug:

This is what I am hoping to answer, and I am tending towards yes with more realistic training.

2) Against a trained fighter:

No, but Aikido wasn't intended as such and I don't see it as a failing.

In Aikido we learn to train without resistance but we must train for a common thug's resistance (at higher grades) if we are practicing Aikido also for its self defence element.

Strange...I was told multiple attackers, with bladed weapons.

"Even through surrounded by a great number of enemy
View them as one person
And so fight on!"
-from O'sensei's Doka

Reuben
01-05-2010, 06:43 PM
Lethal intent and trained fighters are different tho...

dalen7
01-06-2010, 02:52 AM
Perception of an Attack

In Aikido, most students aren't really good attackers.

However, CMD removed my fear of being punched. I no longer flinch and got used to the faster punch speeds.

You can't expect to apply Aikido to every attack

When I swapped these sloppy attacks with more realistic quick punches, you realized that there are punches that you can't do a technique on (for example a crisp jab),

Realistic Sparring changes your Mindset- you can't always be passive

CMD also introduced me to realistic sparring where you don't really know how the other guy is going to attack. Aikido randoori or jiyuwaza isn't really 'free' in that there are still predetermined attacks and...holds....


Heh, cant believe I didnt add my 2 cents.
[not missing much, and I pretty much agree with what you have said and believe many might share similar sentiments who have had a similar experience.]

As was pointed out in this thread, many fear that they have wasted their time so do not choose to look at the options that challenge their pre-held beliefs concerning what they have been involved in. [i.e. Aikido] But as what is pointed out, it actually allows you to go deeper.

This principle goes for anything really.
Same in my religious/spiritual life.
You get to a point in that which is the excepted norm, where you reach its limits, and see the shortcomings of the structure which really was never part of the structure... but you mistook it for just that.

You either go away bitter in delusionment, and thus loosing access to any of the key truths of said teaching/training, or it evolves on a new level all together. [i.e. the reptile did not learn to walk more efficiently but learned to fly thus bypassed walking altogether.] ;)

Anyway valid points you brought up with the live training in Aikido.
Cant speak for every dojo, but it seems many would benefit from adding randori as a key element to their advanced training. [perhaps many do]

But as hinted at, people have at times [very] sloppy attacks.
Take a bit of boxing and you will realize that certain techniques in Aikido have to be applied differently - and your really relying on the core principles that you either picked up or didnt... and no, your Aikido will not look like something you do on your test.

I pulled kotegaeshi at my Thai-boxing/MMA class on a guy when we had a grappling session. But we both were on the ground, and not suwariwaza style either and I took the principle and got it to work.

Can I reproduce this? Again, its not about one set way of doing it... next time we might not be in that situation/position, etc. Its about taking the core principles and working with it... [it may be I never get it to work again... but then I will have other things to draw upon as I expand my arsenal as it were.]

As for the part of not being afraid to be hit... truth is Im not to keen on it. Used to be where it didnt phase me to get my head knocked around back when I did my short training in kickboxking. But, like with sk-8 boarding on ramps... I found as I aged, things hurt more.

[years back in my late 20s I went on a ramp and slammed... never experienced pain like that before, yet I had slammed quite a lot in my younger years and it had no affect on me.] :D

Ideally I suppose the best option for people aging would be to learn BJJ on the side of their Aikido... if they ever got into a fight [competition, etc.] they can minimize the punches perhaps and take it to the ground. [What do I know, I dont really watch that much MMA despite my interest in the concepts behind cross-training, etc.] :)

Anyway, sometimes we just dont really relate to something till we try it out... at times this may not be practical or wise, but its good to remember that things are sometimes a bit more than what we can actually relate to despite how much we think we get it. ;)
[and no, I am not claiming to have gotten it... but I am happy with what I have learned in almost the past 3 years] :D

Peace

dAlen

DonMagee
01-06-2010, 06:15 AM
i am not sure of this is what you mean by realistic sparring

but

i spent many years in karate before comng to aikido, I still go and play with the karate oy sometimes and try to throw in some aikido if we have agreed it is ok before hand

i have notice many of the same thing as you mentioned, it can be difficult to do a techniques of a 'tester jab' but it is a different sort of fight, outside i wouldn;t be softing up people with jabs so much as going in to do as much damage as possible and so would my opponent at the time i guess

on attcking, yes many many aikidoka need to leanr to attack better, I sometimes (depending on grade) start really going for the attacks, sometimes bobbing and weaving before hand so i don;t telegraph the punch, really changes the feel of the training

It really worries me that so many martial artists think that a 'street thug' or 'angry attacker' is going to always be a rage blinded idiot who just runs at you throwing wild haymakers trying to kill you. It worries me even more that not only do they think this, they absolutely count on it.

Kevin Leavitt
01-06-2010, 07:00 AM
Worries me too Don. That mind set might give you comfort in that you have a particular scenario in your head and you've already played out the roles with the actors.

In reality that Thug, In economic terms, as calculated the cost/benefit ratio risk/return in his head and has a game plan and is actually fairly surgical in his attack. Don't confuse it with skill, as he may have none other than suprising you and overwhelming you with whatever to get to what he wants, acheive his objective and exit.

If you can weather his attack, regroup, and turn the tide in your direction...that is the key IMO and something we probably need to practice over and over from positions of failure.

Counting on him being off balance, in a rage...yeah...sure, that is one scenario for sure...but it is jus that, one scenario.

Stormcrow34
01-06-2010, 07:18 AM
Worries me too Don. That mind set might give you comfort in that you have a particular scenario in your head and you've already played out the roles with the actors.

In reality that Thug, In economic terms, as calculated the cost/benefit ratio risk/return in his head and has a game plan and is actually fairly surgical in his attack. Don't confuse it with skill, as he may have none other than suprising you and overwhelming you with whatever to get to what he wants, acheive his objective and exit.

If you can weather his attack, regroup, and turn the tide in your direction...that is the key IMO and something we probably need to practice over and over from positions of failure.

Counting on him being off balance, in a rage...yeah...sure, that is one scenario for sure...but it is jus that, one scenario.

Amen...I think you hit the nail squarely.

To anyone interested in the topic of self defense, I highly recommend a book titled: "Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence," by Rory Miller.

The author is a prison guard who has significant experience with "street thugs" and insists that these type of attacks are almost always faster, harder and more surprising and coordinated than we could anticipate.

I'm no expert on the subject, but I think this is why it's important to be able to take a shot or two without freezing up.

Kevin Leavitt
01-06-2010, 07:20 AM
Well I wouldn't know how devastating Steven Seagal is in real life :D but

1) Against a common thug:

This is what I am hoping to answer, and I am tending towards yes with more realistic training.

2) Against a trained fighter:

No, but Aikido wasn't intended as such and I don't see it as a failing.

In Aikido we learn to train without resistance but we must train for a common thug's resistance (at higher grades) if we are practicing Aikido also for its self defence element.

Reuben,

In light of the conversation about fighitng, I disagree that our objective is to learn to fight without resistance. In my experiences that has been a failing proposition for me as a strategy. Resistance implies "defense only" without offensive countermeasure being applied as "resistance" would be anything that is offensive. You simply cannot control a fight without seizing the iniative and controlling your opponent, this is offensive in nature and hence you must dominate and control.

Personally what I think gets lost in perspective is that Aikido is a methodology for learning certain aspects of a martial pracitce...it is not a "fight strategy" per se....so when I hear "Aikido is about fighting without resistance". That implies that it is a particular way/strategy for fighitng...and I personally feel that is where we get into trouble and folks start looking at aikido as a flawed methodolgy, when in fact it is not, it is simply being looked at in the wrong way.

Fighting is my life. It is what I do. As such, I have found a place for aikido as a methodology for mastering some very key and important concepts, and frankly, It is challenging slow, but does a good job in doing what it is designed to do which is to teach you how to move your body in very efficient ways.

Integrating this into a "fight strategy"...i.e "cross training" or "MMA", is the correct perspective I think....at least it is the one that works best for me. How do you take your basic fight plan and strategy, ie clinch, kicking, punching, weapons, pushing, shoving, use of mass etc....and make it more efficient?

To me, it requires looking at all the elements and aspects of fighitng and diving in on the spectrum and training each of them under methods of control. Randori is one element, Waza is another element..etc.

I think if we loook at aikido more as a methodology to learn some very important elements of fighitng and less of a method of fighting, it changes how we perceive and judge aikido as a success or failure.

dps
01-06-2010, 07:30 AM
Hello Don,

Does boxing give you a different perspective on atemi?

David

Kevin Leavitt
01-06-2010, 07:31 AM
Amen...I think you hit the nail squarely.

To anyone interested in the topic of self defense, I highly recommend a book titled: "Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence." by Rory Miller.

The author is a prison guard who has significant experience with "street thugs" and insists that these type of attacks are almost always faster, harder and more surprising and coordinated than we could anticipate.

And I think this is why it's important to be able to take a shot or two without freezing up.

Thanks.

on taking a shot or two. I agree. When I started Army Combatives, we always practice from "point of failure". If we are in those situations...something has gone wrong...something failed, and THAT is what we must work our way out of.

Our experienced Shihan always talk about the importance of Ukemi. Ukemi is failure and ukemi should be about not falling or diving, but correcting that failure. So, I believe that we have that element in Aikido if we look at ukemi as a primary important thing.

However, we always seem to start at parity in aikido. An equal kamae. So I believe that many of us begin to translate our training to situations as we will always be on parity or somehow stop the bad guy from ever gaining the iniative or upper hand, and that ukemi is a secondary role.

I personally think this is a very dangerous proposition and perspective.

So for me, I love Ukemi as my ukemi is not about rolling, diving, or laying down, but about me maintaining my integrity, and regaining myself and finding the gaps and weaknesses in nage.

Done right, it makes Nage better too!

So, I think we should really do a better job in alot of cases of emphasizing the importance of ukemi and the role of uke as the person that is primary in waza.

dps
01-06-2010, 07:33 AM
I think if we loook at aikido more as a methodology to learn some very important elements of fighitng and less of a method of fighting, it changes how we perceive and judge aikido as a success or failure.

To say it another way, Aikido is one tool in your self defense tool box.

David

Kevin Leavitt
01-06-2010, 07:37 AM
Hello Don,

Does boxing give you a different perspective on atemi?

David

I think you have to be careful with boxing..just like you do with anything else. Boxing is also predicated on "rules" and assumed constraints, just like Judo, BJJ, Aikido or any other method of training.

Boxing is a sport of attrition and a sport that has very limited things you can do to your opponent. So, therefore, boxing strikes and strategies dictate to a large degree how you will punch. Some of those punches and bobing and weaving will get you in trouble.

Of course, there is great, great value in studying boxing as long as you keep this in mind.

Muay Thai is good because it allows kicks and clinching etc...so I believe the timing and "game plan" you develop in Muay Thai to be a better fit to MMA training, and it is why you see MMA guys studying MT vice Boxing. Of course, MT has it's weaknesses as well.

Andrew Macdonald
01-07-2010, 12:54 AM
this is really an excellent thread

cross training actually assists all styles of MA as these days many arts have become very specific in the methods

broadening your horizons i.e. adding striking to a grappling art and vice versa can never be a bad thing

As for striking IMO

you need to train at different levels

slow and controlled: to get the feel

faster and hard: to get a more practical application

free: to help build up a mental toughnessmore flow of you technique. also build up defensive footwork ie. if you miss the defense you need to have the footwork to get back into a good position

the attack from these also vary in ferocity and style,

yes not all attacks are from a uncontrolled thugbut we must be prepared for the worst

there are very few traditional martial arts that were designed to defeat other martial artists, if you look at the huge difference between sport fighting and real fighting this really become very clear. but most people who want to 'test' their skill go into the competition circuit and there fore have ton change their game to suit

this is no a option in aikido really, so we have ot try to bring realistic training in ot our dojo, without changing what O-sensei had in mind

Eugene Leslie
01-07-2010, 01:25 AM
Reuben,

In light of the conversation about fighitng, I disagree that our objective is to learn to fight without resistance. In my experiences that has been a failing proposition for me as a strategy. Resistance implies "defense only" without offensive countermeasure being applied as "resistance" would be anything that is offensive. You simply cannot control a fight without seizing the iniative and controlling your opponent, this is offensive in nature and hence you must dominate and control..

Yes sir. I agree. good point. Has anyone seen that new show "Steven Seagal: Lawman"? Apparently he demonstrates Aikido to his fellow cops and the rookies on occassion and it's all proactive..for obvious reasons.

Kevin Leavitt
01-07-2010, 05:48 AM
To say it another way, Aikido is one tool in your self defense tool box.

David

Hey David. Splitting hairs of course, and I have followed your post long enough on Aikiweb to value highly your opininons so my contrary comments below are simply for the sake of discourse and discussion!

I think the paradigm of "Aikido is one tool in your tool box" is the best one we can have. Tool to me implies specialization and application. A phillips head screw driver is a tool for example, a specific tool for a specific kina screw. Screwing screws though is a much broader concept and the are methods and principles involved in doing so.

In that vein I would equate Aikido to the much broader paradigm, not the more narrow one.

As a methodology we are not so much concerned with the particular use of "getting the job done in the most fast in efficient way", but the study of the "Art" of screwing screws. We are concerned with how you balance your weight correctly, the right amount of pressure on the screw driver for wood, metal, number of turns needed etc.

In reality, we would look at someone that was putting that much time in the "Art of Screws" as well...being a little screwy himself!

Yet, this is what we do day in and day out in the aikido dojo! A breakdown of some very detailed and frankly inane things that while related to fighting and applicable...probably do not make us any better at using the figurative screwdriver over anyone else that simply picks up the screwdriver and two minutes later sets it backdown and goes and grabs a beer with no more thought of the screw.

No, an Aikidoka would scoff at the fact that it was not the most efficeint use of the screw driver, he could have used much less turns if he used his body instead of just his wrist! etc...LOL!

Again, I believe, such is the paradigm of aikido. It is much less a tool and much more about conceptually looking at the broader concept of martial kinesthetics. Because of this, we have developed methodology called "Aikido" that provides us a framework to practice and study martial kinesthetics.

I beleive that through this study, we can use our framework to adapt and interpret what we know into other areas of our lives. Phyiscally, Spirutlaly, Emotionally....of course...speficially...Martially.

So I think that calling it a "tool in the tool box" sends us the wrong message, and I think that for many beginners when we send them the message of "tool" they equate that to "application" and hence we have the dissonance that we have in "aikido doesn't work in a real fight" develop as intuitively and instinctively what they feel does not agree with the paradigm/definition that they think that aikido is!

John Connolly
01-07-2010, 06:33 AM
To the OP,

Great post. Very sensible, and I am in great agreement with most of your analysis. Very conceptually holistic too.

p.s. Fantastic post, Kevin!

p.p.s. I suppose I have nothing actually useful on the topic other than "Kudos!".

DonMagee
01-08-2010, 07:09 AM
Hello Don,

Does boxing give you a different perspective on atemi?

David

Would it be surprising to know that my coach only has me throw 3 punches 99% of the time? Almost all of the training is just different combos of jab, cross, hook.

Really, it just reinforced what I already knew.

1) Getting punched sucks.
2) Speed, power, and agility count for a LOT. Anyone who says otherwise has never been in a fight.
3) No on ever throws a single punch, it's like holding a sign saying hit me.
4) Those 'big soft pillows called gloves are neither big nor soft.
5) It's still possible for me to be overwhelmed and break rank so t he speak.
4) Getting punched sucks.

I also learned a lot abou the sport. What I thought was just two guys taking turns hitting each other is really about slipping and entering.

My coach would say "make them miss, make them pay". Most of the ring training revolved around slipping punches. You learn to enter when your opponent punches and then hit him from an unseen and undefended angle. It is those punches, the one's you don't see coming, that knock you on your ass.

I've been in martial arts from a young childs age. I still find myself 'breaking' durring heavy boxing sparring. By breaking I mean making huge fight ending mistakes like closing my eyes, turning my head, exposing my chin when I punch, and getting overwhelmed and actually turning away from my attacker.

That is why I started boxing actually. While I've made great strides in these areas though aliveness training in bjj and the small amount of mma training I do from time to time, I want to once and for all break myself of the fear of getting punched in the face by a man who wants to knock me out.

The advantage of it all is that I know punch at least twice as fast, twice as hard, and way way more accurately then I did a year ago.

Boxing is a weird beast though. Almost none of the training I've had in the past (except the few random muay thai lessons) transfers to it. The footwork is the exact opposite of judo for example. However at least 75% of everything I've learned (hell maybe 90%) is directly transferable back to my previous training. On top of that it is the hardest physical exercise I've ever done in martial arts. I've been out of boxing for a few weeks due to filling in for a teacher at the college who was sick, but I can't wait to get back. It doesn't matter that I suck at it and get beat up by 17 year old kids. It is awesome.

Stormcrow34
01-08-2010, 09:21 AM
The advantage of it all is that I know punch at least twice as fast, twice as hard, and way way more accurately then I did a year ago.



Thanks for sharing Don...I was going to call you Mr. Magee, but didn't know if you would think I was busting your chops. :D

Have you noticed how fast and smooth your punches/combos are after you take off the gloves? Those things are much heavier than they look too!

I boxed a little as a teenager, and more recently (as an over-the-hill adult) started training in Yoseikan Budo. Although that was a long time ago, I noticed right away the commonalities between aikido taisabaki and basic boxing footwork. Irimi, hiraki, nagashi, and irimi senkai all seem pretty similiar when broken down. What do you think?

DonMagee
01-08-2010, 12:54 PM
Thanks for sharing Don...I was going to call you Mr. Magee, but didn't know if you would think I was busting your chops. :D

Have you noticed how fast and smooth your punches/combos are after you take off the gloves? Those things are much heavier than they look too!

I boxed a little as a teenager, and more recently (as an over-the-hill adult) started training in Yoseikan Budo. Although that was a long time ago, I noticed right away the commonalities between aikido taisabaki and basic boxing footwork. Irimi, hiraki, nagashi, and irimi senkai all seem pretty similiar when broken down. What do you think?

I'd say there are some very basic similarities. A lot of the footwork in boxing just boils down to 'move the lead leg first'. I do a lot of what I call 'opening the door' when I box which I guess you could say is similar to Nagashi. Except I take a quick step in as I do it and throw a left hook.

Stormcrow34
01-09-2010, 10:04 AM
I'd say there are some very basic similarities. A lot of the footwork in boxing just boils down to 'move the lead leg first'. I do a lot of what I call 'opening the door' when I box which I guess you could say is similar to Nagashi. Except I take a quick step in as I do it and throw a left hook.

I guess these are just some random thoughts on correlating boxing footwork and Aikido tai sabaki, so bear with me.

I agree with you, always step with the lead foot first. But isn't stepping with the lead foot first basically the same as forward tsugi ashi?

Nagashi reminds me of rolling with a punch or a shoulder roll that sets up a counter.

Hiraki is sort of like side-stepping to cut off the ring or set up a better angle. So say you're right handed and you're sparring a hypothetical southpaw opponent, you want your lead foot to be outside his lead foot to land a straight right. A short side-step puts you in that position, so can Soto Irimi if you're on the outside.

A short Irimi is like a step jab while a long Irimi is moving inside to clinch or work the body.

Irimi senkai is a way to turn your opponent for better position if you are cornered, for example.

I have no experience in any other aikido style, but maybe Yoseikan tai sabaki isn't the same as standard aikido tai sabaki? Or perhaps I'm just reaching for common ground?

DonMagee
01-09-2010, 07:13 PM
I guess these are just some random thoughts on correlating boxing footwork and Aikido tai sabaki, so bear with me.

I agree with you, always step with the lead foot first. But isn't stepping with the lead foot first basically the same as forward tsugi ashi?

Nagashi reminds me of rolling with a punch or a shoulder roll that sets up a counter.

Hiraki is sort of like side-stepping to cut off the ring or set up a better angle. So say you're right handed and you're sparring a hypothetical southpaw opponent, you want your lead foot to be outside his lead foot to land a straight right. A short side-step puts you in that position, so can Soto Irimi if you're on the outside.

A short Irimi is like a step jab while a long Irimi is moving inside to clinch or work the body.

Irimi senkai is a way to turn your opponent for better position if you are cornered, for example.

I have no experience in any other aikido style, but maybe Yoseikan tai sabaki isn't the same as standard aikido tai sabaki? Or perhaps I'm just reaching for common ground?

I'd say your just better versed in the footwork of aikido then I am :D

Stormcrow34
01-10-2010, 10:48 AM
I'd say your just better versed in the footwork of aikido then I am :D

Don't count on it, I'm just a lowly kyu here, and it appears I made the mistake of thinking you train in aikido. Oh well, nice talking and happy landings!

DonMagee
01-10-2010, 08:54 PM
Don't count on it, I'm just a lowly kyu here, and it appears I made the mistake of thinking you train in aikido. Oh well, nice talking and happy landings!

Oh I still train with my aikido instructor from time to time. I've just changed my focus to combat sports.

Reuben
01-12-2010, 01:16 AM
Reuben,

In light of the conversation about fighitng, I disagree that our objective is to learn to fight without resistance. In my experiences that has been a failing proposition for me as a strategy. Resistance implies "defense only" without offensive countermeasure being applied as "resistance" would be anything that is offensive. You simply cannot control a fight without seizing the iniative and controlling your opponent, this is offensive in nature and hence you must dominate and control.

Personally what I think gets lost in perspective is that Aikido is a methodology for learning certain aspects of a martial pracitce...it is not a "fight strategy" per se....so when I hear "Aikido is about fighting without resistance". That implies that it is a particular way/strategy for fighitng...and I personally feel that is where we get into trouble and folks start looking at aikido as a flawed methodolgy, when in fact it is not, it is simply being looked at in the wrong way.

Fighting is my life. It is what I do. As such, I have found a place for aikido as a methodology for mastering some very key and important concepts, and frankly, It is challenging slow, but does a good job in doing what it is designed to do which is to teach you how to move your body in very efficient ways.

Integrating this into a "fight strategy"...i.e "cross training" or "MMA", is the correct perspective I think....at least it is the one that works best for me. How do you take your basic fight plan and strategy, ie clinch, kicking, punching, weapons, pushing, shoving, use of mass etc....and make it more efficient?

To me, it requires looking at all the elements and aspects of fighitng and diving in on the spectrum and training each of them under methods of control. Randori is one element, Waza is another element..etc.

I think if we loook at aikido more as a methodology to learn some very important elements of fighitng and less of a method of fighting, it changes how we perceive and judge aikido as a success or failure.

Yes I was not implying that Aikido should train WITHOUT resistance. Quite the contrary, but in general while we are learning, we are often told to let the person do the technique to us and this carries on even to the advanced levels to a certain extent.

If Aikido is viewed as a tool in a toolbox rather than a complete answer I would totally agree and from this I have actually gleaned lots of valuable lessons from Aikido.

Aikido coming into play from Clinch

For example, I have been working on fighting from clinch lately and a lot of Aikido moves have a lot of relevance there. I have successfully applied several locks in such situations once I have had contact with the person.

Traditional Aikido assumes you're this leet person who can use Aikido from the start while your attacker is starting to attack you no matter how unpredictable, persistent, fast and relentless he is. In my opinion, unless you're really really really good, this is not going to happen easily especially not with a two/three times a week training. Real fact is that for Aikido to work, you need a great ability to read your opponent's moves, something that static training and traditional randoori do not inculcate.

Once you're in the clinch position however, things change. He no longer can punch you as much and the game is a lot more slower with more body contact. This is a great time to use your Aikido sensitivity to feel his balance and utilize his weak points.

You're not so much trying to intercept his punch and his momentum at the very exact moment he's going to be most off balance (that's hard), you're probing him for weaknesses and grabbing him.

From this point, I found that I could actually use pull off locks like kote-gaeshi and hiji-jime (one of the most common ones I manage to get off actually) and my sensitivity developed from Aikido training made me realize the moments that these locks would work.

However when we weren't allowed to clinch (to just train striking techniques), it was extremely hard to get anything off (even with MMA gloves) unless he messed up.

Just thought I'll add this in since it was something I recently discovered :D

osaya
01-12-2010, 05:32 AM
Aikido coming into play from Clinch

For example, I have been working on fighting from clinch lately and a lot of Aikido moves have a lot of relevance there.

Once you're in the clinch position however, things change. He no longer can punch you as much and the game is a lot more slower with more body contact. This is a great time to use your Aikido sensitivity to feel his balance and utilize his weak points.

However when we weren't allowed to clinch (to just train striking techniques), it was extremely hard to get anything off (even with MMA gloves) unless he messed up.

i'm in agreement with your assessment Reuben.

just a quick 2 cents from me FWIW. a quick background about me is that i've been training in aikido for about 4 years now, with no other significant prior MA training nor 'live sparring' experience.

a few weeks ago, i met up with a martial arts enthusiast (mainly Chinese-based MAs) who was well conditioned and a fairly seasoned fighter. we had a couple of friendly 'spars', and bearing in mind that i have had zero experience in sparring prior to that, these were the results:-

the first spar we had was purely grappling - and i was pleased to have held my own fairly well then. i successfully threw him a couple of times using my aikido training simply by 'reading' and feeling his movements, but of course got slammed a couple of times as well. balanced out okay in the end i guess.

however, when we went into a striking/punching spar, i got thrashed big time. i got a black eye, a bloody nose, and not much to show for it. LOL.

Kevin Leavitt
01-12-2010, 07:12 AM
Reuben, good post.

I am kinda a fan of John Boyd's work these days, as I think it gives us a good index and model to talk from. (OODA)

Traditional Aikido assumes you're this leet person who can use Aikido from the start while your attacker is starting to attack you no matter how unpredictable, persistent, fast and relentless he is. In my opinion, unless you're really really really good, this is not going to happen easily especially not with a two/three times a week training. Real fact is that for Aikido to work, you need a great ability to read your opponent's moves, something that static training and traditional randoori do not inculcate.


If your really, really good, then you are able to read the situation and control your opponent, or gain control, or regain control fairly rapidly. Your correct, I don't think this is the primary goal or practice of Aikido..that is, to gain such experience, to naturally I think this is where alot of the problem comes in when we try and take dojo methodology to the streets and then get beat cause we simply do not have the experiences necessary to read the situations, and make the appropriate choices in a fast moving and free environment. I think this has little to do with actual waza or technique and alot to do with general body skills and proprioceptive reflex (or something like that!).

It is why "alive" arts practice the clinch so much...not that the clinch is superior in form or technique.

I haven't gotten too many KG in the clinch, but have pulled of Hiji-Jime more than once. As experience level goes up though, it gets harder and harder to do as they learn to protect these things of course! although, add in weapons, and these things amazingly become relevant again!

Thanks for the clarification and good post!

dalen7
01-14-2010, 04:16 AM
1) Getting punched sucks.
2) Speed, power, and agility count for a LOT. Anyone who says otherwise has never been in a fight.
3) No on ever throws a single punch, it's like holding a sign saying hit me.
4) Those 'big soft pillows called gloves are neither big nor soft.
5) It's still possible for me to be overwhelmed and break rank so t he speak.
4) Getting punched sucks.

I want to once and for all break myself of the fear of getting punched in the face by a man who wants to knock me out.

Totally agree with number 1 and number 4! :D

Also, like you, I would like to rid myself of the fear of being punched in the face.

I still have to say age has to have something to do with all this.
Back at around the age of 18/19 being hit in the head didnt really phase me. [neither did wiping out/slamming on a sk8 board ramp... though it did take the air nicely out of me.]

With age, I have found both falling on ramps and getting punched in the face... sucks. [Gives me a new perspective on a few things to be certain... and I agree, those gloves arent that soft, especially the light ones that I have been popped in the face with recently.] :)

One thing though, cardio... boxing/thai boxing has that going for it.

All the pieces of the puzzle seem to be coming together for me though concerning cross-training, etc. as to what does what, why and when, etc. :)

As of now my newest thing is to try the bridge exercise for wrestling to build up neck strength. The importance of conditioning for any martial art, as well as just staying healthy is becoming more of a priority than technique, etc.

I remember when me and a group of friends got together at around 18 and one guy came back from college and challenged everyone one on one. He was a small guy and wiped everyone but me out... [pinned]. I had no technique, or knowledge of any ground/grappling sport, etc. and relied on pure strength.

It says a lot for him, and me, I suppose, that neither of us could pin the other. [I was too strong, though light... about 145lbs benching around 250lbs - and he had technique]

Its only very recently that I have even thought about training in any grappling, etc. - I had always preferred the striking arts, though my time in Aikido has helped me to see the value and place of grappling, etc.

... now, if I can only get more weapons training in. :)

Peace

Dalen

dalen7
01-14-2010, 04:31 AM
But isn't stepping with the lead foot first basically the same as forward tsugi ashi?

Nagashi reminds me of rolling with a punch or a shoulder roll that sets up a counter.

Hiraki is sort of like side-stepping to cut off the ring or set up a better angle. So say you're right handed and you're sparring a hypothetical southpaw opponent, you want your lead foot to be outside his lead foot to land a straight right. A short side-step puts you in that position, so can Soto Irimi if you're on the outside.

A short Irimi is like a step jab while a long Irimi is moving inside to clinch or work the body.

Irimi senkai is a way to turn your opponent for better position if you are cornered, for example.

One problem is the lack of a consistent naming convention for steps/footwork in Aikido, as they tend to vary... or be as generic as just saying tai-sabaki for everything.

Makes it difficult sometimes in communicating points - [unless, with what you did, you describe each step] :)

Peace

Dalen

p.s.
We have 7 steps/footwork our 6kyus have to learn, which apply to the techniques themselves... and a couple of those have 2-3 variations to them. [the ones that specifically deal with weapons]

Reuben
02-10-2010, 03:31 AM
Would it be surprising to know that my coach only has me throw 3 punches 99% of the time? Almost all of the training is just different combos of jab, cross, hook.


The interesting thing about why stuff like boxing is useful for Aikido is that boxing doesn't train so much on the technique. Once you get the technique down, it's more about learning how to chain them together and when to use them and most importantly how to read your opponent.

Aikido on the other is on the end of the spectrum where we spend most of our time perfecting technique and where we respond to predetermined types of attacks so we don't quite learn to read your opponent so much.

As I mentioned before, perhaps the greatest thing you can take from MMA and sparring martial arts is the ability to read your opponent.

Kevin Leavitt
02-10-2010, 07:03 AM
I can't really recall us in my Aikido training ever focusing on footwork as a step by step drill. It has always pretty much been "move your feet".

Reuben brings up a good point about chaining together movements.

I big challenge we do run into in aikido is the "one attack and stop moving syndrome".

It happens just about every person I know in my dojo as a beginner because they are trying to learn correct movements, posture, timing etc...and they simply cannot put it all together at one time, so their brains tend to do one thing...then stop.

I think this can become a bad habit, and it is incorrect and probably a big reason we get the "not alive" label put on what we do.

I don't train this way and try and keep moving regardless if I am uke or nage. I will control my speed based on the ability and skill level of uke, and may "shape" myself to allow nage to see the appropriate response...but other than that....keep moving throughout the continuum of the situation.

As a CQB instructor, I find that actually the movements we practice in aikido to be much more useful in reality (done correctly) than say the movements of boxing, which is all about striking and loss of contact until the next punch most of the time.

In CQB you will place a hand on someone, move forward gaining a kinesthetic feel for what is going on and react to it appropriately.

So I find...done correctly....if we are training the "feel" of the situation and less concerned with perfection of technique...as IMO technique only really gives us a context and shape to work with.....then it can be very, very alive and real.

Erick Mead
02-10-2010, 08:32 AM
I can't really recall us in my Aikido training ever focusing on footwork as a step by step drill. It has always pretty much been "move your feet". Amen. Apart from some aiki taiso and happo undo, I suppose.

I big challenge we do run into in aikido is the "one attack and stop moving syndrome"....they are trying to learn correct movements, posture, timing etc...and they simply cannot put it all together at one time, so their brains tend to do one thing...then stop.

I think this can become a bad habit, and it is incorrect and probably a big reason we get the "not alive" label put on what we do. There are places where movements cease/reverse/still/whatever you want to call it, these are natural and I call them cusps -- like the break of the wave. (It is the only safe place to pause, hesitate, wait, etc. and the dynamic takes over, so that you don't have to think/plan, etc. just surf).

At a cusp, action can break in can almost any direction and so "reading" defeats the purpose -- beyond that, unrelenting spiral entry (irimi tenkan) and you find techniques as they happen. Troughs on the other hand are very dangerous if you are not already moving steadily through it -- you are about to get dumped on.

As a CQB instructor, I find that actually the movements we practice in aikido to be much more useful in reality (done correctly) than say the movements of boxing, which is all about striking and loss of contact until the next punch most of the time.I try to tie the fundamentals into a series of techniques that progress on the same point in some way. Last night as an example we went through a progression on the continuity of in-yo action. First, we worked the whole body -- both sides -- first in and then yo in funetori, and then in happo undo, considering the turning/spiral aspects of the cusp reversals in the transitions. Then we worked on applying this in a kokyunage with spiral entry using both sides together .

Then we worked both sides together but opposite -- tenchi. I usually give an example of blades in many techniques because it usually creates the correct "shape" of the movement -- for tenchi I show the extended hands as with two knives pointed at his chest -- the advancing hand thrusts up into the neck, then turns out to cut out through the carotid on the near side while the back hand draw cuts down the belly and then opens out to cut out through the femoral artery with the body entering and turning to drive both actions at once.

Then we worked on an in-yo flow of the same advance-thrust and draw-cutting but on only one side and applying it in kokyunage and kaitennage.

Then we moved to ground from there and worked on pressing spiral entries to "find" various controls and pins as uke flipped over in the kaitennage trying to ukemi out of the technique, and emphasizing that transition to a pin or control is a "trough" lacking any safe margin for hesitation or "cusp" at that transition. The need is to press fully through it to the eventual control or pin in the same in-yo spiral entry manner as standing, and illustrating the possibilities of easy reversals by uke in the course of that "fall" if nage fails to press cleanly through or lingers in the trough.

That's sort of how we train --- different stuff different nights, but in the same sorta way.

Jeeves
02-10-2010, 04:39 PM
I have to agree with you, and by the way, wonderful post.

Let me say first of all, that my Aikido training is limited I've only been training for a few months, most of my background has been in boxing, which I did with gusto for several years before injuring myself severly enough to never be able to continue the sweet sciennce again.

Obviously Aikido is a beatiful art, but, at least as I have seen it practiced so far, it's applications are somewhat limited. It does teach foot work, positioning, and proper technique both in applying and recieving a throw. Perhaps even more importantly it teaches peaceful resolution of conflicts with minmal force.

My major difficulty with Aikido has been in the application "uke" techniques. As any boxer will tell you stepping through a puch is a sure way to get taken apart, and hurt rather badly. This emphasis on straight linear, and rather transparent movements from uke is somewhat limiting. Worse still, many of my training partners, even a few who have been training for several years, appear to lack basic punching technique, the use of shoulder and head feints to comit a defender to an action, and the use of combinations and advanced footwork from the position of uke.

I don't really object to any of this, mostly because I think the spiritual benefits of Aikido are quite wonderful and fulfilling, and the training is much easier on body than boxing ever was, however I worry sometimes about the younger kids that are training in Aikido. Many of them are going to be shocked if and when they get into their first fight, and that first real punch lands flush. Pain, adreneline and fear are all things that are not readily simulated in Aikido, nor is the presence of a focused consistant combatant bent upon the bodily harm of the practitioner.

This isn't to say that Aikido isn't effective, but as mentioned its primary use may be in surprising an opponent with a set of techniques the practioners assailants are unused too. Perhaps more importantly however I think many aikido practitioners need to rethink the role uke. Intention, in my opinion, needs to mean more than giving full power to a punch, it needs to entail the proper technique behind the punch as well as the potential follow-up after that attack, whether that be a head-butt, elbow or an upper-cut.

This isn't to that anyone should go looking for fights in bars or anywhere else, I've been there, and no matter how tough anyone thinks they are, there is always someone tougher, meaner, or more willing to pull a gun, i simply think that maybe the role of uke needs to be rethought and perhaps taken back to what the founder intended. but then again what the hell do I know.

Cheers

carpeviam
01-27-2015, 06:20 AM
Thanks for this article. My sensei recently introduced sparring to my dojo. He used to spar a lot in his youth and is a big proponent of cross training. I love it--and I feel like I now have a great opportunity to field-test some of the things I've been learning--but it seems like I'm starting from square one again when I step up to spar with someone else. Whereas in aikido, I'm guided toward learning connection, smoothness and flow, on our sparring nights, I'm told to learn taking a new angle, keeping my guard up, following up a strike with another strike. And while I know that, theoretically, taking a new angle = stepping off the line, and following up with a second/third/etc strike = maintaining flow, I haven't been able to unify the two practices in the real world yet. Most of the time, aikido practice is so slow and thoughtful, while the sparring is so fast and instinctive. But it's good to know that the unification is out there. I assume that, with enough mat time, I'll be able to put the flow and connection of aikido into my sparring training and the speed and proactiveness of sparring into my aikido training.

earnest aikidoka
01-31-2015, 09:16 AM
You should check out my post 'Aikido: a Striking art?'.

JP3
02-01-2015, 12:10 PM
Reuben wrote, "if someone grabs me, I immediately instinctively move into a throw (yes I once threw my ex-gf and almost threw my Japanese tour operator)."

Man, that's hilarious, sorry. No wonder she's the ex.... You've probably heard that one before, probably in this thread.

I totally agree with the O/P in all it's statements, especially about the speed and effectiveness of a trained fighter's hand techniques being very difficult to deal with unless you train with them coming at you full-tilt boogie with bad intent on a regular basis.

You can, if you are actually interested in having a street-effective martial art in less than 30 years or so of aikido practice, do what Reuben does, and cross-train in MMA or any other type of realistic interaction involving physical conflict. Or, you can do such training in your own school, but it requires a commitment to not backslide into the easier, softer, slower... less painful methods of attack. Real bad guys !ATTACK! folks, don't forget that.

Let me say this. It is not fun, while in training at your school, to get punched in the nose, mouth or short ribs, belly, or groin (guys or girls). However it IS much less fun to have it happen on the street and have it go very, very bad for you and yours if you never actually dealt with a true, hard intent, bad-ass punch coming in with intent to push your face in, or worse.

If it happens in your school, dojo or training hall, and the damage is dealt to you by one of your (I hope) friends (at least training partners who should have everyone's learning and mutual benefit & welfare in mind) it is a lot easier to deal with. Having your ego bruised is in itself a good learning experience. If you screw up (it will happen, happened to me last week) just grin, accept the error as being yours, think about why it happened RIGHT THEN while you are rubbing at the ding (memories fade unless you immediately make use of them - Pimmsler method of learning, look it up), and get up, maybe literally, get back on the horse (mat, duh) and try the same situation again. Keep doing it until the situation becomes familiar. You'll know that it is when it suddenly seems to be slower.... Note: It's not a slow-motion sequence fight scene sort of thing, but you'll feel less wound-up, there'll be more than enough time to do what you need to do, etc.

In our school, the bridge I use to get folks over this hurdle -- at least to start them over it - is to start them using/doing the Merritt-Stevens system (you could use any short series of techniques, I just like that one for various reasons, which is really simple (it's only 10 techniques in length). The way we do it is start out with a very basic attack, done slowly and with all the usual "controls" in place so people can at least "learn the dance steps" without being scared that the person is going to take their head off. I have found that not to be conducive to learning at early stages!

Once they sort of get the idea on where they are supposed to go and what they do, then uke is allowed (uke is always a much-higher rank person who knows what to do) to ddial up the, initially, force of the attack (not the speed, I have everyone use a super-huge long wind-up haymaker punch that starts in Alabama and ends up in Texas at the tori's face). Just dealing with the increase in actual force (which cannot be hidden, it has to be dealt with) is a huge confidence builder.

Then, progress to a stepping cross (lunge punch), which speeds up the inbound strike, but keep it full power. That stepping cross will be exchanged in turn for shorter, sharper strikes, until the student is dealing with the crisp jab... which in my personal opinion is one of the hardest things to deal with (by this I mean to actually interact with in order to gain a grip/hold/lock on it as the initiation of a typical aikido technique). No need to go into how a judoka could be trained to attempt a slip entry into a clinch, then throw, that's not what they, the students who have no other training, are doing.

By the time folks are working on that ful-power thing, with things comeing at the full speed and with scary power regularly for about 90 days, it's amazing to see the confidence they've gained -- with quite a bit of that confidence coming from when they failed and got smacked. Their oppoinent immediately stops to make sure they aren't really badly hurt, assists with bleeding noses (it will happen, unfortunately), then the quick talk about what "went wron," and then right back at it with little to no interference from me. That keeps it a quite personal experience for the pair, which builds camaraderie in the school, keeps embarrassment down, and the whole while builds the character of the person up. They have taken a punch, and yes it hurt. But no, it really wasn't THAT bad, was it... no, it wasn't. The unknown experience is feared. The poison of fear is knowledge.

Michael Neal
02-17-2015, 09:56 PM
Kokyu is pretty much my go to technique from grappling either on the ground or standing, do the same movement with grips instead of having your wrists grabbed. It's great counter throw as well as a good way to turn your opponent onto his back in BJJ.