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Kabura
10-04-2009, 11:11 PM
Has something changed in Aikido? Has the Bokken been removed?

I have recently started back in Aikido, I have been away from it for about 10 years. I started Aikido in Okinawa, then move back to Texas where I went to classes there for 4 months, if which time my job took me to Thailand where studied at Thai Aikikai http://www.thaiaikikai.com/eng/home.html Renbukan Dojo, Fukakusa Sensei ( 7 dan ).

When I was in Thailand we would use the Bokken almost ever class for 10 ~ 15 minutes. All Kyu's and Dan's would do this.

Now that I have started again in Okinawa Aikikai, I carried my weapons bag with me to class, everyone was looking at me and they asked if I was looking for Kendo or Iaido class. I said no I was looking for Aikido. In talking with several members of the dojo, There are shodan, nidan and sandan members that have never held a bokken in their hands.

I didn't get to talk with Yamaguchi sensei about weapons use in his dojo.

Aikido with out the bokken feels hollow to me. When I showed some of the members how shomen uchi and shihonage movements come from the bokken you could see the spark in the eyes in the ahhhhhhhhh moment.

I'm new to this dojo and I don't want step in and make waves and get drummed out.

I'm just wondering is this something that is happening in other dojos around world?

Shadowfax
10-05-2009, 01:16 PM
We use bokken, jo tanto and shini often in my classes. Maybe not every class but at least once a week. Its not a world wide thing or even an organization thing. (my dojo is Aikiki too) I think its just the particular dojo you are at. Maybe you should ask your sensei about his view on the use of weapons in his classes.

Janet Rosen
10-05-2009, 01:37 PM
It is very much a matter of the individual dojo-cho's preference and priorities, not reflective of any kind of large trend.

Lyle Laizure
10-05-2009, 01:41 PM
In the same organization the preference on weapons use varies. It really just depends on the instructor.

gdandscompserv
10-05-2009, 02:11 PM
You won't see much bokken or jo work from Yamaguchi sensei at Okinawa Aikikai in Okinawa, although I believe Michael Veltri sensei teaches weapons at his Okinawa Aikikai DC dojo. Do not be dismayed however; there is much to learn from Yamaguchi sensei without weapon work.
Some folks think that if you want to learn how to use the katana or jo correctly, you should probably learn those things from a good koryu instructor, not from a gendai budo instructor. I happen to agree with that school of thought. People that are really good with weapons will tell you that most aikidoka's weapon work is mediocre at best. If weapon's work is your thing, look around there in Okinawa. Hang out at the Okinawa City Budokan and the Naha City Budokan and see what's available.

ninjaqutie
10-05-2009, 04:34 PM
We have two classes a week dedicated to weapons in my dojo. We do use weapons in our "normal" classes as well. Saturday we actually did defenses against the tanto.

Adam Huss
10-05-2009, 08:04 PM
We've actually invorporated Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo into are aikido training. There are many weapons sets per tests, including buki renzoku/renshu waza (sotai dosa), kumitachi, kumijo, kumitanto, kumitanto jo, kumitachi jo, etc, etc. We place a heavy importance on weapons work and take it seriously. And, yes, most aikido weapons work is mediocre at best....usually incorporating two jo kata and two bokken kata. Speaking of, I now have a question I want to post a new thread on.

Tony, that's too bad about the lack of weapons training. It really is an integral part of training and helps immensely with ma'ai and increasing martial focus and spirit. One reason we say we like to train with weapons (why we train with weapons in aikido is a common question asked during koto shitsumon part of tests) is because we can train in a full out dynamic manner...something not done often in toshuwaza due to potential for injury (usually reserved for advanced classes).

Karo
10-06-2009, 07:20 AM
although I believe Michael Veltri sensei teaches weapons at his Okinawa Aikikai DC dojo.

Yep, just last night we managed to create great chaos and mayhem with the use of jo and tanto :p

Karo

sorokod
10-06-2009, 07:57 AM
If you look at the Aikikai official grading requirements( http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/gradingsystem.htm ) you will notice that the only ken related item is Tachidori from 3rd dan. While different Aikikai affiliated dojos are free do have their own grading system, this surely sets the tone.

To contrast, here is a grading syllabus from an Iwama style: http://traditionalaikido.eu/doc/grading_syllabus.pdf

Kevin Karr
10-06-2009, 12:17 PM
This is another one of the unfortunate dichotomies (trichotomy?) of Aikido: some do lots of weapons work, some do a little, and some do none at all. From my experience, I have been taught that weapons, and the sword in particular, are inseparable from the art and one's ability in empty hand technique is directly related to their understanding of the use of the sword (and jo). So, the idea of doing Aikido without training with the bokken, at least, seems nonsensical.

For what it is worth, my advice to the OP is to continue on your own with your suburi practice. I think you will notice an appreciable difference between you and your classmates who never touch weapons.

Allen Beebe
10-06-2009, 02:34 PM
Changes in Aikido that I have noticed:

1. I used to almost always be the youngest in the dojo/seminar.
2. I used to think that I could and would "master" Aikido.
3. I used to think that after after I accomplished "______" I would be fulfilled.
4. I used to think that after accomplishing "_______" and mastering Aikido I would be a) more attractive, b) more popular, c) greatly respected, d) full of power and wisdom, e) essentially new and improved, and f) that would bring me lasting happiness.
5. I used to think that if I just learned "_____" I would be unconditionally martially viable as if that would make me invulnerable.
6. I used to think that "rank" represented something tangible that I could comprehend.
7. I used to think that articles of clothing might represented something beyond articles of clothing.
8. I used to think that if I had better "stuff," I was better somehow.
9. I used to think that another human being could and would save me from my human failings and frustrations.
10. I used to think that I could "push myself beyond my limits" before I found that all I really needed to do was learn that I was more limited by my beliefs than by reality and truly learning my limits is quite liberating.

There are more changes for my Aikido but I've reached the "limits" of my time.

Cheers!
Allen

Kevin Leavitt
10-06-2009, 03:01 PM
Nice Allen, very nice. thanks.

dps
10-06-2009, 03:17 PM
10. I used to think that I could "push myself beyond my limits" before I found that all I really needed to do was learn that I was more limited by my beliefs than by reality and truly learning my limits is quite liberating.

That makes me :) .
David

Mark Freeman
10-06-2009, 03:28 PM
Changes in Aikido that I have noticed:

1. I used to almost always be the youngest in the dojo/seminar.
2. I used to think that I could and would "master" Aikido.
3. I used to think that after after I accomplished "______" I would be fulfilled.
4. I used to think that after accomplishing "_______" and mastering Aikido I would be a) more attractive, b) more popular, c) greatly respected, d) full of power and wisdom, e) essentially new and improved, and f) that would bring me lasting happiness.
5. I used to think that if I just learned "_____" I would be unconditionally martially viable as if that would make me invulnerable.
6. I used to think that "rank" represented something tangible that I could comprehend.
7. I used to think that articles of clothing might represented something beyond articles of clothing.
8. I used to think that if I had better "stuff," I was better somehow.
9. I used to think that another human being could and would save me from my human failings and frustrations.
10. I used to think that I could "push myself beyond my limits" before I found that all I really needed to do was learn that I was more limited by my beliefs than by reality and truly learning my limits is quite liberating.

There are more changes for my Aikido but I've reached the "limits" of my time.

Cheers!
Allen

Hi Allen,

Excellent post, thanks, permission to plagarise and use it outside of this forum?:)

regards,

Mark

Allen Beebe
10-06-2009, 03:38 PM
Hi Allen,

Excellent post, thanks, permission to plagarise and use it outside of this forum?:)

regards,

Mark

Mark,

Sure, use away! I just had a minute at lunch and decided to toss a post, nothing special. I'm glad it "resonated" with some.

Take care,
Allen

Howard Popkin
10-06-2009, 05:47 PM
Al,

Shakespeare couldn't have said it better :)

Howie

thisisnotreal
10-06-2009, 05:55 PM
Mr. Beebe - It was great. Thank you.

gdandscompserv
10-06-2009, 07:38 PM
Mark,

Sure, use away! I just had a minute at lunch and decided to toss a post, nothing special. I'm glad it "resonated" with some.

Take care,
Allen
^Somebody that's got IT!
Nicely put Sir.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/bowdown.gif

Allen Beebe
10-06-2009, 07:56 PM
Thanks guys.

I'm starting to get a little embarrassed though . . . seriously! I'm certain I just happened put some words to what a lot of Aikiweb readers have experienced.

Crawling back into my hole,
Allen

"Somebody that's got [sh]IT!"
{Thanks for that slow pitch Ricky!;) :D )

Shakespeare indeed . . . sheesh . . . you're giving me the Willies Howie! (Harr-Harr! I crack myself up.)

Nafis Zahir
10-07-2009, 01:17 AM
What has changed, IMHO, is Aikido has become watered down. Sure, you can practice Aikido without weapons, but when you study weapons and how they relate to body movements, you get a much better understanding of the art and the pratical application of a technique. The body movements and taiso of those who do weapons is more advanced than those who do not use weapons. Saying Aikido doesn't need weapons is the same as saying Aikido has no real need for Atemi, which is somethin else that has mostly disappeared from modern day Aikido.

aikidocapecod
10-07-2009, 08:29 PM
I am a long time student of Gleason Sensei Shobu Aikido of Boston. He often works with bokken and jo. In fact this Saturday there is a weapons seminar. I have learned so much about how to move through weapons work. Part of dan testing in the ASU schools, under the direction of Saotome Sensei requires bokken, jo and tanto work.

So from my point of view, the bokken is still a very important part of Aikido training.

Thanks....Larry

sunrod
10-08-2009, 07:56 AM
...
Some folks think that if you want to learn how to use the katana or jo correctly, you should probably learn those things from a good koryu instructor, not from a gendai budo instructor. I happen to agree with that school of thought. People that are really good with weapons will tell you that most aikidoka's weapon work is mediocre at best.

Surely the aim of weapons in aikido isn't to become a 'weapons master', aiki weapons augment empty hand training.

One of the main benefits of weapons training is, IMHO, that you have an ever willing partner to train with whenever it suits you (i.e. even when the dojo's closed). I love the fact that I can practice aikido everyday by spending 10-20 minutes in the garden going through my suburi.

J.

lbb
10-08-2009, 08:23 AM
Surely the aim of weapons in aikido isn't to become a 'weapons master', aiki weapons augment empty hand training.

Well, they do, but there's something about that phrasing that I don't like. Weapons aren't some kind of training tool that were invented to help your aikido training; they predate aikido by centuries, and aikido comes from weapons work. In studying aikido, weapons work is generally an adjunct, but I think it's important for the aikido student to understand that they're dipping a toe into a great big ocean...and that even if all you're doing is dipping in a toe, you still need to treat the ocean with respect. Toward that end, I don't think you really ought to do aikido weapons practice with a constant mindset of "...and how can this help my empty hand practice?" That leads to a failure to understand and respect the weapon for what it is.

sunrod
10-08-2009, 12:55 PM
Weapons aren't some kind of training tool that were invented to help your aikido training; they predate aikido by centuries, and aikido comes from weapons work.

True enough weapons weren't invented for aikido training but the fact that aikido comes from weapons makes them an ideal training tool, no?

I think it's important for the aikido student to understand that they're dipping a toe into a great big ocean...and that even if all you're doing is dipping in a toe, you still need to treat the ocean with respect

I regularly use my fellow aikidoka as a training tool (& gladly offer myself up in the same way) but that doesn't mean we treat each other with disrespect.

Toward that end, I don't think you really ought to do aikido weapons practice with a constant mindset of "...and how can this help my empty hand practice?"

I've heard that Saito Sensei used to say 'when training with weapons think of taijutsu & when training taijutsu think of weapons'.

What I take from this is that it's the same, whether holding a bokken, a jo or a person. We train our bodies & our spirit in all these forms of practice.

That leads to a failure to understand and respect the weapon for what it is.

Ultimately, what it is is a piece of wood. It's only our perspective that makes it a weapon, a training tool...or a walking stick. (Sorry, being a little flippant to make a point :D ).

Thanks for making me think
J.

Dan Rubin
10-08-2009, 05:28 PM
Has something changed in Aikido? Has the Bokken been removed?... Aikido with out the bokken feels hollow to me.

You might be interested in reading "A Revisionist View of Aikido History," by Stanley Pranin, at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=24. He expresses the same concerns that you do.

gdandscompserv
10-08-2009, 08:16 PM
Some would argue that what has changed in aikido is the internal skillz. That's the stuff I want. If I must learn weapons to learn IS then I will, but I hear they can be learned without.:D

observer
10-09-2009, 02:02 AM
You might be interested in reading "A Revisionist View of Aikido History," by Stanley Pranin, at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=24.

Someone replied to one of my posts stating that I am "so wrong" that he doesn't even know how to begin to respond. I think the same thing about what Stanley Pranin wrote. Nevertheless, I'll explain why.

The position of O-Sensei on Aikido weapons training is based off of the interviews that the author himself carried out with different people. Hence his conclusion is false. The idea of Aikido came at a time when Morihei Ueshiba was already an experienced Martial Art instructor, as well as an expert in the art of the sword. It's easy to see how his art refers to the sword, simply by looking closer at the techniques he selected. These are the up-down techniques, which illustrates the sword's cutting (shomen). That's all. Thus the distortion of the 8th dan shihan's words, under the pretext of the incorrectness of English language, is inexcusable. Aikido is the next step in the Martial Art, as the killing does not need a sword, it can be effectively done with bare hands.

sorokod
10-09-2009, 03:21 AM
These are the up-down techniques, which illustrates the sword's cutting (shomen). That's all.

It is a bit like saying that playing the violin is about moving hands and fingers. Not completely incorrect, but completely missing the point.

Also shomen does not mean "sword's cutting".

phitruong
10-09-2009, 10:10 AM
Some would argue that what has changed in aikido is the internal skillz. That's the stuff I want. If I must learn weapons to learn IS then I will, but I hear they can be learned without.:D

you can't learn internal skillz without a nunchuck. so try that and don't forget to setup a video camera to capture your practice and post it. :D

personally, i don't think O Sensei had any significant IT, since nobody had seen or read that he used a nunchuck. I, on the other hand, whichever the other hand, followed the footstep of Bruce Leeroy, have mastered the internal skillz. :D

Dan Rubin
10-09-2009, 10:46 AM
Someone replied to one of my posts stating that I am "so wrong" that he doesn't even know how to begin to respond. I think the same thing about what Stanley Pranin wrote.

And yet, you do respond. :D

The position of O-Sensei on Aikido weapons training is based off of the interviews that the author himself carried out with different people. Hence his conclusion is false.

(1) I don't understand your logic. How do those interviews lead to false conclusions?
(2) What do you base your opinion off of? (I'm not saying you're wrong, but I would like to know.)

Thus the distortion of the 8th dan shihan's words, under the pretext of the incorrectness of English language, is inexcusable.

In what way was the shihan's words distorted?

Aikido is the next step in the Martial Art, as the killing does not need a sword, it can be effectively done with bare hands.

Are you saying that earlier martial arts did not include techniques to kill with bare hands?

Aikibu
10-12-2009, 01:14 PM
It's pretty simple to me and to those whose Aikido Practice focuses on "weapons" skills...

Such things as timing.. Irimi... Maai...Atemi...are vastly different and with all due respect are much better with a core based Weapons Practice...

Also folks tend to be more mindful and focus better with a Bokken. Jo, or Katana in their hands and it makes the transition to empty handed techniques more transparent when you see their weapons equivalent....Bad Habits tend to be minimized too. Learning "how not to get cut or whacked" makes "how not to get hit" allot easier most of the time.

I am no Koryu Expert (far from it) but I would think this may be at the root of most Budo Practices?

Just my experience anyway. :)

William Hazen

Kabura
10-14-2009, 02:47 AM
You might be interested in reading "A Revisionist View of Aikido History," by Stanley Pranin, at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=24. He expresses the same concerns that you do.

Thank you for the great link.