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dps
01-07-2010, 08:20 AM
How do you measure martial ineffectiveness? Can you do so in a dojo?

David

chillzATL
01-07-2010, 08:57 AM
variety and intensity?

Sure, but it certainly depends on the dojo and how far the people in it are willing to go to test things out.

gregstec
01-07-2010, 09:40 AM
How do you measure martial ineffectiveness? Can you do so in a dojo?

David

The only true test is in an actual combative situation - any other environment, regardless of intensity, will still only provide a speculative result.

Greg

Garth Jones
01-07-2010, 10:12 AM
Effectiveness under what circumstances? Are you talking about a 'fair' fight - an aikidoist against some other martial artist of similar experience? A drunk in a bar? An aikidiost against a doped up mugger, or a gang of doped up muggers? An assailant with a gun? 1000 aikidoists on a battlefield against a 1000 armed and armored samurai?

The last would probably be the best test of martial effectiveness since one of the main goals of ancient martial arts was to make better soldiers.

Whenever somebody asks me if aikido is good for self defense (another way of asking if it is martially effective) I always wonder (and sometimes ask) defense against what?

So anyway, it seems to me that before the quesiton of 'is aikido martially effective' be addressed, we need to know what we all mean by 'martially effective.' For me that spans a wide range.

Cheers,
Garth

Kevin Leavitt
01-07-2010, 10:50 AM
It is a realitve question for sure. At 50 Meters a Glock is pretty martially effective and any empty handed martial arts are pretyy ineffective for sure.

At grappling range, that ratio may change.

Also, what is the desired outcome of the situation too? Do you care about long term gains, or short terms ones?

Strategically or tactically ineffective?

sorokod
01-07-2010, 10:50 AM
ef·fec·tive: adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result:

What is the specific purpose/result are you thinking about? I do not think that "martial" counts as either.

Eric Winters
01-07-2010, 11:21 AM
Hello Mr. Skaggs,

I am not sure why you asked that question on this site. You know you are not going to get a straight answer. I posted a question earlier about training for a physical conflict and got "aikido is not for fighting", "what are you fighting for", "what kind of a scenario are you talking about", "what if a nuclear missile was shot up your arse?" :D (just kidding about that last one.) I found I get more of a straight answer when talking person to person.

Best,

Eric

SeiserL
01-07-2010, 11:32 AM
How do you measure martial ineffectiveness? Can you do so in a dojo?
Can you make it work.
Yes.

dps
01-07-2010, 11:35 AM
Hello Mr. Skaggs,

I am not sure why you asked that question on this site. You know you are not going to get a straight answer. I posted a question earlier about training for a physical conflict and got "aikido is not for fighting", "what are you fighting for", "what kind of a scenario are you talking about", "what if a nuclear missile was shot up your arse?" :D (just kidding about that last one.) I found I get more of a straight answer when talking person to person.

Best,

Eric
If you and I belonged to the same dojo and trained together, would I be able to judge if your Aikido would be effective in a fight ouside the dojo or vice versa.
Would a sensei be able to tell if his students could?
Would a student be able to tell if his sensei could?

David

George S. Ledyard
01-07-2010, 11:37 AM
The only true test is in an actual combative situation - any other environment, regardless of intensity, will still only provide a speculative result.

Greg

I do not think this is true at all. It's not at all difficult to know when things are martially ineffective. Aikido practice is highly stylized. So the first sign of martial ineffectiveness is when the folks in the dojo can't even make their waza work under the controlled circumstances of practice.

Irimi is at the heart of all martial application. If you go to a dojo and no one can enter without you hitting them, the practice is ineffective. That's my first test... I frequently arrive at dojos to teach and find that not a single student can pull off an irimi when I attack. That's because I REALLY attack. at the majority of the dojos I see around, the students are not really trying to strike their partners. If everyone trains that way day after day, they think they know how to do things they really cannot do. As Frank Doran Sensei says, the "entry" is everything, everything else is just icing on the cake.

I think that the "entry" is the most neglected aspect of Aikido training. I sell a lot of Aikido DVD's. I have a set I call the Principles of Aiki set. Vol. 2 is just on "Entries". I sell fewer of those than the others. I am convinced that this is because people see the title and say to themselves "I know how to do that..."

Anyway, it's a shock when a bunch of third or fourth dans, or even worse, someone running a dojo, finds that they can't do an entry. They can know 500 techniques and without effective irimi, it's just 500 techniques they cannot do.

The second thing one can spot at a dojo at which the practice is clearly martially ineffective is closely related to the above. Can the students at the dojo strike? With speed, with power? If not, then the practice is being done at unrealistically slow speed. People will not be able to adjust when it gets fast and hard.

What does the "intention" feel like during practice. Once again, you can look at the folks in many dojos and see that they have no projection, no forward intention. You can stand in front of them and feel nothing. They have no idea how to organize a strong forward flow of attention. If you attack them fast, or God forbid, with unexpected timing, they are never ready. You can stand in front of someone like this and know you will hit them before you even start.

One of my students gave me a book on the theory of limits as applied to business. While being over my head math-wise after about three chapters, I got the gist of it. It changed my thinking about how we teach our art. The theory of limits says that in any complex system, like a factory (and Aikido is also a complex system of body / mind skills), one needs to analyze the various elements that go into producing the output of the factory and decide which one is the "limiting factor". You can throw all sorts of money and resources into that factory and have no increase in the production whatever if you don't devote them to improving the "limiting factor".

So, in my opinion, most Aikido practice is done without any regard to this idea. People are studying a wide range of techniques, empty hand and weapons, putting all sorts of time and money into their training with almost no increase in actual skill from year to year because they have not addressed the limiting factor in their Aikido.

For the majority of the folks I see training, the limiting factor is the lack of ability or willingness to train with attacks which have speed and power. Strikes have no body integration and hence no actual power. Grabs tend to be "strong" in a way that is totally ineffective. A grab should be designed to effect the partner's balance and his ability to respond. Turning your partner's hand purple by grabbing really hard has no martial effectiveness whatever and is probably making you tight in a way that limits your ability to move freely.

So collectively, I would put all of this under the label of "attacks". Problems with the "attack" is the limiting factor for most Aikido folks. There is simply no possible way for someone to get to any level beyond the rudimentary without addressing this issue. Period. 50% of ones training is in the role of "uke". All sorts of attention is put on the ability to take the fall, very little is put on the actual attack.

Now, that said, fixing this issue is still no guarantee of "martial effectiveness" outside the dojo. But the idea that only combat will tell you anything simply isn't the case. Physical conflict runs through a whole range from a drunk guy shoving you at a bar to two or three fellows with guns confronting you on the street. There innumerable stories of folks with only moderate skills, developed in their dojo environments, using their Aikido "effectively" for self defense on the street. The reason for this is that most attackers out in the real world are not formally trained in anything. Many are simply incompetent. Dangerous perhaps, but not very sophisticated.

Combat is all out, life or death. Most folks will never have to use their Aikido in combat. That doesn't mean that one can't train for martial effectiveness. Do you want to know whether you are "martially effective"? Go up to your local mixed martial arts gym and see about applying what you've worked on in the dojo. Personally, I don't actually care about this issue, but young men often wonder if their stuff "works" and this is a good way to find out. The uchi deshi used to wonder the same thing... they'd go out to the local bars and get in fights, often with the soldiers from the occupation. That's a good way to find out of you can do your Aikido against folks who have no formal training. Of course you might get injured, killed or just plain arrested doing this, but it will tell you something.

Anyway, my feeling is that people need to fix how they train in the dojo and get it to the point at which it actually works within the stylized framework of Aikido itself before they need to start worrying about "combat application" or "martial effectiveness". These discussions are off mark most of the time, I think. Find the "limiting factor" in your training and fix it. Then find the new "limiting factor" and fix that. Progress will result and eventually you will be good at what you do. Then, if you want to experiment with non-traditional applications, go ahead. Folks who worry about this too early in their training typically do not get very good.

dps
01-07-2010, 11:57 AM
IIrimi is at the heart of all martial application.

I take it you are not limiting this comment just to Aikido.

If you are looking for martial effectivenes, wouldn't it be better to spend most of your time on basics and not learn 500 techniques?

David

NagaBaba
01-07-2010, 12:06 PM
I do not think this is true at all. It's not at all difficult to know when things are martially ineffective. Aikido practice is highly stylized. So the first sign of martial ineffectiveness is when the folks in the dojo can't even make their waza work under the controlled circumstances of practice.

Irimi is at the heart of all martial application. If you go to a dojo and no one can enter without you hitting them, the practice is ineffective. That's my first test... I frequently arrive at dojos to teach and find that not a single student can pull off an irimi when I attack. That's because I REALLY attack. at the majority of the dojos I see around, the students are not really trying to strike their partners. If everyone trains that way day after day, they think they know how to do things they really cannot do. As Frank Doran Sensei says, the "entry" is everything, everything else is just icing on the cake.

I think that the "entry" is the most neglected aspect of Aikido training. I sell a lot of Aikido DVD's. I have a set I call the Principles of Aiki set. Vol. 2 is just on "Entries". I sell fewer of those than the others. I am convinced that this is because people see the title and say to themselves "I know how to do that..."

Anyway, it's a shock when a bunch of third or fourth dans, or even worse, someone running a dojo, finds that they can't do an entry. They can know 500 techniques and without effective irimi, it's just 500 techniques they cannot do.

The second thing one can spot at a dojo at which the practice is clearly martially ineffective is closely related to the above. Can the students at the dojo strike? With speed, with power? If not, then the practice is being done at unrealistically slow speed. People will not be able to adjust when it gets fast and hard.

What does the "intention" feel like during practice. Once again, you can look at the folks in many dojos and see that they have no projection, no forward intention. You can stand in front of them and feel nothing. They have no idea how to organize a strong forward flow of attention. If you attack them fast, or God forbid, with unexpected timing, they are never ready. You can stand in front of someone like this and know you will hit them before you even start.

One of my students gave me a book on the theory of limits as applied to business. While being over my head math-wise after about three chapters, I got the gist of it. It changed my thinking about how we teach our art. The theory of limits says that in any complex system, like a factory (and Aikido is also a complex system of body / mind skills), one needs to analyze the various elements that go into producing the output of the factory and decide which one is the "limiting factor". You can throw all sorts of money and resources into that factory and have no increase in the production whatever if you don't devote them to improving the "limiting factor".

So, in my opinion, most Aikido practice is done without any regard to this idea. People are studying a wide range of techniques, empty hand and weapons, putting all sorts of time and money into their training with almost no increase in actual skill from year to year because they have not addressed the limiting factor in their Aikido.

For the majority of the folks I see training, the limiting factor is the lack of ability or willingness to train with attacks which have speed and power. Strikes have no body integration and hence no actual power. Grabs tend to be "strong" in a way that is totally ineffective. A grab should be designed to effect the partner's balance and his ability to respond. Turning your partner's hand purple by grabbing really hard has no martial effectiveness whatever and is probably making you tight in a way that limits your ability to move freely.

So collectively, I would put all of this under the label of "attacks". Problems with the "attack" is the limiting factor for most Aikido folks. There is simply no possible way for someone to get to any level beyond the rudimentary without addressing this issue. Period. 50% of ones training is in the role of "uke". All sorts of attention is put on the ability to take the fall, very little is put on the actual attack.

Now, that said, fixing this issue is still no guarantee of "martial effectiveness" outside the dojo. But the idea that only combat will tell you anything simply isn't the case. Physical conflict runs through a whole range from a drunk guy shoving you at a bar to two or three fellows with guns confronting you on the street. There innumerable stories of folks with only moderate skills, developed in their dojo environments, using their Aikido "effectively" for self defense on the street. The reason for this is that most attackers out in the real world are not formally trained in anything. Many are simply incompetent. Dangerous perhaps, but not very sophisticated.

Combat is all out, life or death. Most folks will never have to use their Aikido in combat. That doesn't mean that one can't train for martial effectiveness. Do you want to know whether you are "martially effective"? Go up to your local mixed martial arts gym and see about applying what you've worked on in the dojo. Personally, I don't actually care about this issue, but young men often wonder if their stuff "works" and this is a good way to find out. The uchi deshi used to wonder the same thing... they'd go out to the local bars and get in fights, often with the soldiers from the occupation. That's a good way to find out of you can do your Aikido against folks who have no formal training. Of course you might get injured, killed or just plain arrested doing this, but it will tell you something.

Anyway, my feeling is that people need to fix how they train in the dojo and get it to the point at which it actually works within the stylized framework of Aikido itself before they need to start worrying about "combat application" or "martial effectiveness". These discussions are off mark most of the time, I think. Find the "limiting factor" in your training and fix it. Then find the new "limiting factor" and fix that. Progress will result and eventually you will be good at what you do. Then, if you want to experiment with non-traditional applications, go ahead. Folks who worry about this too early in their training typically do not get very good.

Hi George,
This is very excellent post, it shoud be required to read by every new subscriber to Aikiweb.

For the majority of the folks I see training, the limiting factor is the lack of ability or willingness to train with attacks which have speed and power.
And if you try to attack with speed and power they think you are aggressive and nobody want to practice with you anymore. :D
Others become very frustrated and are trying to punish you with very painful techniques. What a life.....:cool:

mickeygelum
01-07-2010, 12:39 PM
Are you talking about a 'fair' fight

No such animal when you are in public...on the far side, it would be defined as a confrontation between individuals with the same training, skills and experience...

"what if a nuclear missile was shot up your arse?" :D ROTFLMFAOPMFPCMEO !

Janet Rosen
01-07-2010, 12:40 PM
Great post, George.

I'm sure this is an area where my aikido sucks ;-) but not for want of trying - I think I got interested in it during the yr I trained on an unstable knee and could neither fall nor really move enough to take anybody down: all I had left were entries.
When I work w/ juniors on test prep, say, I will often just stop them from doing technique and ask them to do the entries repeatedly, and I'll also sometimes ask my uke to just work w/ me on them.
Hmm....think I'll have to check out your videos!

George S. Ledyard
01-07-2010, 12:49 PM
Hi George,
This is very excellent post, it shoud be required to read by every new subscriber to Aikiweb.

And if you try to attack with speed and power they think you are aggressive and nobody want to practice with you anymore. :D
Others become very frustrated and are trying to punish you with very painful techniques. What a life.....:cool:

One of my students came to me from another dojo. While a beginner in Aikido, this person had a back ground in another martial art. At his previous dojo, this student clocked the teacher with a shomenuchi and got a lecture about how it was his job to not hit the teacher... seriously. When he came to me, he pulled his strikes and I told him it was his job to hit me and my job not to let him. His reaction was to say "I'm confused".

ChrisMoses
01-07-2010, 01:11 PM
How do you measure martial ineffectiveness? Can you do so in a dojo?

David

I usually just stick a fork in it. If I manage to actually get the fork in them, I figure they're pretty ineffective.

:cool:

gregstec
01-07-2010, 01:31 PM
I do not think this is true at all. It's not at all difficult to know when things are martially ineffective. .

My bad - I read 'effectiveness' in the OP and not 'ineffectiveness'

You are absolutely right, there are many ways to measure and gauge ineffectiveness in the dojo environment. However, even if all obvious ineffectiveness is eliminated, that does not guarantee effectiveness - you would still need to test in a real encounter to ascertain your effectiveness. But, the outcome will only be true for that particular test. :)

Greg

Basia Halliop
01-07-2010, 01:35 PM
I think the wording of this question makes it far easier to answer than other similar questions that have been posted here. It's so much easier to prove something is ineffective than to prove it's effective.

Eric Winters
01-07-2010, 02:08 PM
I think that you cannot truly measure ineffectiveness or effectiveness in the dojo. You can measure certain aspects such as if a person cannot perform a technique against a properly resisting partner, you will have a good idea that it will probably not work with somebody who is really trying to hurt you.

Eric

SeiserL
01-07-2010, 02:11 PM
Are you talking about a 'fair' fight?
My favorite line on this is:

If you find yourself in a fair fight, you haven't trained hard enough.

gregstec
01-07-2010, 02:20 PM
My favorite line on this is:

If you find yourself in a fair fight, you haven't trained hard enough.

My take is that if you think your are in a fair fight, you are being delusional so prepare to get your ass kicked :D

Greg

David Board
01-07-2010, 03:14 PM
George, Your post reflects very well with what I here my sensei saying and doing. Attacking with intent, projecting your energy at nage, etc. And I have read the same comments else where. On the mat I have felt frustration when an attack is weak and half-hearted and the overall technique becomes a feeble act of hand waving and acting.

However, can you help me reconcile some of your comments with other request and remarks I have heard. In particular, my sensei has asked me to slow down and focus on connecting my movements. He said that while fast is fun that to learn the techniques better I need to make the motions slowly and precisely. "Speed will come latter." I have also heard my sensei and others (in particular Mary Heiny Sensei at the last seminar) tell uke to match their attack to the "skill" of their nage. Slow for beginners and fast for more advanced students.

My personal means of reconciling this is that the key is not necessarily speed but intent and projection. This is reflected in my experience on the mat. I have learned quite a bit and felt a solid attack from sempei as they slowly but with intent and projection attack shomenuchi (or other attacks) towards me. As a beginner, can feel where their power is coming from and where it is going. If I follow through with the technique properly I can feel the release and that I have stepped out of their realm of influence to a place I can now act from. If I fail, I can feel where and when the mistake was made. And I can do this with in my ability. Other sempei attack more with speed. I react. Sometimes I react properly, sometimes not. But as a beginner, I don't get a sense of where I failed only that I failed. I shake my head and try again. I think I learn either way but to be honest. I think I learn faster working with the slow sempai. I feel this is the case because after working on a technique with the slow sempei I am more likely to have success with the fast sempei. The reverse however is not true. [Oh and to make things clear, the slow sempei when practicing with each other are far from slow. And when they attacked me in randori at the last test if they were attacking slow I didn't notice, I was too busy reacting.]

Which brings me to matter of etiquette. Asking your nage to slow down, so that you can slow down as Sensei requested. And how to deal with those who might feel they are doing you a favour by going at full speed as you try to focus on a particular aspect of technique. This may be particularly true when working on irmi.

Kevin Leavitt
01-07-2010, 03:39 PM
"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast".

This is an adage in the tactical shooting arena. The goal of tactical shooting is to draw and put effective rounds as fast as possible on the target. There are a couple of elements. one, you want to be faster than the other guy. Yes, but you also want to be accurate.

So in order to train that, you have to imprint the right patterns of movement. So, by slowing down, you gain accuracy. Training this way allows you to imprint good and correct habits, which allow you to gradually increase speed until you can find the sweet spot between speed and accuracy.

So, even in practices where martial effectiveness is even MORE relevant like CQB, Combatives I spend my coaching time trying to get guys to slow the heck down more than I ask them to speed up!

If you can't do it right slow...adding speed is going to make it better? in most cases no. However sometimes speed and audacity count for alot too! usually not....we strive for a better product than one that depends on timing and luck!

George, that is a really great post. Thanks for that!

Mark Kruger
01-07-2010, 03:48 PM
Martially Ineffective... in what context?

What is and isn't effective is very context driven. What is effective at Sekigahara in the 1600's is different from what is effective at a gulp-n-go robbery today.

Clearing a structure at speed works when you are part of a well trained team. There are enough eyes to watch all the angles. Clearing a structure at speed solo when you don't know where the threat is? Suicide. Yet, I had an martial arts instructor complain about how slow I was clearing structure by myself. It turns out his instruction was solely with law enforcement/military trainers who teach teams and he was applying his knowledge out of context

Striking with a closed fist (boxing) figures prominently in the ancient greek world, almost disappears in the medieval european world, and reappears in the modern. I suspect that it is a function of armor. Punching a metal breastplate... not so good. So it all but disappears from toolbox until that armor goes away.

Being able to push someone many feet away is a great skill. Unless the other person has a projectile launcher (gun) in which case opening the range gets you perforated repeatedly (dead). If you both have guns, you both die if the range opens from contact. I've watched classmates of mine do this repeatedly with simunitions. Given that context, you have to maintain contact to keep them from deploying their weapon.

Shooting in for a double leg takedown is a very effective wrestling move. Change the context and place a knife in the hands of the person being taken down. A double leg results in a number of serious cuts in the back if your lucky and a slit throat if you aren't.

So, before we talk about martial effectiveness, we need to define the context. Where are we? When are we? How many folks are involved? What are the goals of the parties involved? Are there weapons? Who has the weapons? Is there some form of armor? Is there a disparity in weapons, skill, size, strength, numbers? Does one side have an initiative advantage or deficit? Are there legal restrictions on how much and who can apply force?

SeiserL
01-07-2010, 04:38 PM
"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast".
Another of my favorites. First heard it shooting.

I usually start people off with slow and smooth then slow and smooth.

When slow is smooth you can feel intent. IMHO, intent makes it effective or not.

Garth Jones
01-07-2010, 05:32 PM
George Sensei,

Thanks for that great commentary. If the beginning is no good, the rest doesn't really matter. I always appreciated when one of my students manages to hit me. On the one hand, they did a good attack, and on the other they have reminded me that I need to keep training!

I do like Mary Heiny Sensei's thoughts on ramping up the attack as nage gets better.

Cheers,
Garth

donplummer
01-07-2010, 05:34 PM
IMHO, someone with training, even from a purportedly "peaceful" martial art or self defense system, such as Aikido, will outperform someone with no training in anything, John Doe persay, the majority of the time. I first realized that Aikido had changed my mentality concerning "martial effectiveness" when after only 3 weeks of Aikido training I found my self guiding someone's body to the floor, (as a Night Club Bouncer), instead of simply using my size and strength to subdue them in a much more violent encounter, as I had done for 10 years previous. My Aikido works in a fight. Does yours??

Cliff Judge
01-07-2010, 05:49 PM
And if you try to attack with speed and power they think you are aggressive and nobody want to practice with you anymore. :D
Others become very frustrated and are trying to punish you with very painful techniques. What a life.....:cool:

There's got to be a way to ramp up the intensity of attacks without turning the whole thing into a fight or ego game on the mat.

I train with people who will hit me hard, fast, and accurately. With most of these guys and girls, there is just no doubt or question in my mind that they are giving me a high level of energy in the attack because they want to pull me up and make me better. The attack is something they are giving me. If I screw up and take the hit, I go "Thank you!" And there's usually some concern in my partner's face, you know, just a simple "Are you okay?"

Other people....it's like they really just want to hit you hard so that you don't try to partner up with them again. The attack is often followed up by resistant ukemi if you get it right, or cold disregard or even satisfaction if they connect. I don't particularly like the kind of dynamic that develops from this kind of interaction on the mat, particularly if it's one of my sempai doing it.

Anyway, my point is, there's a difference between everybody learning to function at the highest level of intensity that can be sustained between them and the partner they are working with at the moment, and everybody just trying to get in there and hurt each other.

Dan Rubin
01-07-2010, 05:58 PM
I think that the answer to David Skagg's question is complicated by the mental/emotional aspect of fighting. A student might have superb skills in the dojo, but not have the fighter's mentality that is necessary on the street. Another student might do poorly in the dojo, yet turn into a tiger when physically provoked. Perhaps the former student grew up in a safe neighborhood and has never been in a real fight, and the latter student grew up in a rough neighborhood and has lots of experience in street fights.

The questions in post #9 remain as to whether the student's aikido would be effective (ie., "adequate to accomplish a purpose") on the street. But a fighter would be foolish to limit himself to any particular sort of techniques (if for no other reason than this would give an advantage to an opponent who is familiar with the art the student studies). As George Ledyard wrote in another thread, "if someone comes through the door with bad intentions, that's a fight and it won't be pretty."

So I think that if I were to try to answer the questions in post #9, I would need to know more about the student than how well he (or she) performs on the mat.

Mark Kruger
01-07-2010, 06:57 PM
"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast".
True. It is a very useful paradigm.

Take a pistol draw stroke. The best way to see and feel where the inefficiencies, excess tension, and wasted motion in a draw stroke are is to do them slowly. The same thing holds for aikido technique.

However, the only way to really get fast is to... go fast. This gets really obvious with something like splits or target transitions. You can't learn to see the sights when shooting sub-.2 second splits with a pistol if you don't shoot sub-.2 second splits. Obvideolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAnnK63PqF8&NR=1 (No, that's not a machine gun. Yes, he reloaded in the middle of all that.) Jake Di Vita, the gentleman in that video, didn't get that fast by going slow and smooth. He pushs past the comfort zone and gets a little sloppy (but not so far as to be unsafe), then pulls back. Repeat ad nauseaum. The comfort zone gets inexorably pushed farther and farther out this way.

Also, if you spend all your time going slow and smooth, you can easily run afoul Mroz' Law: Anything at all will work at 1/2 speed and 1/2 force, Most things will work at 3/4 speed and 3/4 force, A surprising number of things will work at 7/8 speed and 7/8 force, but almost nothing works at full speed and full force. Just because it works slow and smooth doesn't mean it will work when things get interesting. I think alot of martial arts drift into this sort of problem if they don't have an "alive" component in them.

Kevin Leavitt
01-07-2010, 08:17 PM
agree Mark absolutely. However, for teaching fundamentals and developing the correct Kinesthetics... I have found that you have to slow folks down a bit. However, once you do this, yes then you have to speed it back up and develop the correct reflexes to do it at speed with aliveness.

I agree that we do get caught in the drift you speak of and begin to practice only at a very low level of pressure and non-cooperation and we stagnate.

Kevin Leavitt
01-07-2010, 08:27 PM
I think that the answer to David Skagg's question is complicated by the mental/emotional aspect of fighting. A student might have superb skills in the dojo, but not have the fighter's mentality that is necessary on the street. Another student might do poorly in the dojo, yet turn into a tiger when physically provoked. Perhaps the former student grew up in a safe neighborhood and has never been in a real fight, and the latter student grew up in a rough neighborhood and has lots of experience in street fights.

The questions in post #9 remain as to whether the student's aikido would be effective (ie., "adequate to accomplish a purpose") on the street. But a fighter would be foolish to limit himself to any particular sort of techniques (if for no other reason than this would give an advantage to an opponent who is familiar with the art the student studies). As George Ledyard wrote in another thread, "if someone comes through the door with bad intentions, that's a fight and it won't be pretty."

So I think that if I were to try to answer the questions in post #9, I would need to know more about the student than how well he (or she) performs on the mat.

In my combatives classes, I run drills that are designed to produce excessive stress and sensory/neural overrides in order to deal with this issue. You cannot sustain training by training this way all the time, but it is a very important part of training if you are training for real.

Rob Watson
01-07-2010, 08:49 PM
Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon - lots of folks with lots of guns and bombs etc .... martially effective? If one wishes to measure martial effectiveness one must first define martial effectiveness - easier said than done. In some situations simply standing up ends the encounter and restores calm and is therefor martially effective (the conflict is ended with no more harm).

Such a huge spectrum of application it is mind boggling. Read Clauswitz 'On War' (at one time THE war fighting book) then read the works of John Boyd (the new war fighting paradigm) and realize the problem is much bigger than at first glance.

Maybe war fighting (martial) is not really what one is interested in but law enforcement aspects of conflict and the use of arresting techniques, etc - not really martial arts at all.

Self defense for personal protection or how about executive protection or maybe bouncing ... so many different conflicting constraints that generalized solutions simply cannot fit.

While I would hazard to argue that principles of aikido can be applied in all realms of conflict shiho nage cannot. So the quick answer would be the principles of aikido can be applied to any martial situation effectively in theory but putting them into practice ... well that takes practice. Actual techniques of aikido (or any art) are only applicable in a fairly narrow spectrum of conflict.

General MacArthur can project his intent all he wants but it doesn't help to root out bunkers on Mt. Surabachi!

Shameless plug : George Ledyards 'Principles of Entry' is a must have - I learn something every time I watch even a few minutes of it.

L. Camejo
01-07-2010, 09:36 PM
Martial ineffectiveness in a dojo:

If student A is attempting waza X which is supposed to result in a particular throw or a pin when attacked in manner Y and the result is neither a throw nor a pin then waza X is executed in an ineffective manner.

At this point it is student A's job to deconstruct and analyze his waza and address the lacking areas. Student A can then repeat the practice of Waza X with varying levels of resistance and counter attacks thrown in to increase the level difficulty and by extension, the level of skill required to achieve expected result.

Best

LC

mickeygelum
01-07-2010, 10:25 PM
If you and I belonged to the same dojo and trained together, would I be able to judge if your Aikido would be effective in a fight ouside the dojo or vice versa.
Would a sensei be able to tell if his students could?
Would a student be able to tell if his sensei could?

David


These questions are puzzling to me... you have stated that you are Nidan in Tae Kwon Do.

Have you never been in the role to evaluate a student or two?

Have you never given pointers to kyu ranks while sparring?

When sparring with your peers, were you able to evaluate their ability to fight?

Do those situations afford you the opportunity to evaluate their skills to determine their ability to fight outside of the dojang?

Do you think you could evaluate if your instructor could fight outside of the dojang?

I am befuddled, help me understand?

seank
01-08-2010, 06:27 AM
This is an interesting thread but I would ask one question regarding about focussed attacks to facilitate martial effectiveness per George's post.

I am quite adept at striking with hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. depending on the range, body position, etc. from my training in kyokushin, however I can't attack at more than a fraction of my ability because I can't receive the same in kind. I would go so far as to suggest either nage or myself would be seriously injured in the process (nage if they couldn't effect a technique, me probably if they did!)

Similarly, can you really make something martially effective without testing the rigours of being injured as you are in virtually any fight. We used to train extensively in driving elbows into forearms, knees into shins, etc. in an attempt to overwhelm your opponent - a sort of Pyrrhic victory. The last person left standing was the one who could take the most punishment.

Acting this way turns the whole things on its ear, but is it a true representation of a fight?

Cliff Judge
01-08-2010, 09:18 AM
This is an interesting thread but I would ask one question regarding about focussed attacks to facilitate martial effectiveness per George's post.

I am quite adept at striking with hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. depending on the range, body position, etc. from my training in kyokushin, however I can't attack at more than a fraction of my ability because I can't receive the same in kind. I would go so far as to suggest either nage or myself would be seriously injured in the process (nage if they couldn't effect a technique, me probably if they did!)

Similarly, can you really make something martially effective without testing the rigours of being injured as you are in virtually any fight. We used to train extensively in driving elbows into forearms, knees into shins, etc. in an attempt to overwhelm your opponent - a sort of Pyrrhic victory. The last person left standing was the one who could take the most punishment.

Acting this way turns the whole things on its ear, but is it a true representation of a fight?

I enjoy training knife defenses. I am aware that I would most likely get cut up if I ever had to use those skills. However, I am really not interested in slashing myself open for the purpose of making my training more reality-based. :)

gdandscompserv
01-08-2010, 10:28 AM
Anyway, my feeling is that people need to fix how they train in the dojo and get it to the point at which it actually works within the stylized framework of Aikido itself before they need to start worrying about "combat application" or "martial effectiveness"
That's a keeper.

George S. Ledyard
01-08-2010, 11:36 AM
This is an interesting thread but I would ask one question regarding about focussed attacks to facilitate martial effectiveness per George's post.

I am quite adept at striking with hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. depending on the range, body position, etc. from my training in kyokushin, however I can't attack at more than a fraction of my ability because I can't receive the same in kind. I would go so far as to suggest either nage or myself would be seriously injured in the process (nage if they couldn't effect a technique, me probably if they did!)

Similarly, can you really make something martially effective without testing the rigours of being injured as you are in virtually any fight. We used to train extensively in driving elbows into forearms, knees into shins, etc. in an attempt to overwhelm your opponent - a sort of Pyrrhic victory. The last person left standing was the one who could take the most punishment.

Acting this way turns the whole things on its ear, but is it a true representation of a fight?

a) obviously, an imbalance between what you can deliver and what you can take back is clearly a reason to tone it down; I was that way when I started. I cam from a Shotokan background (just some college classes) and I could attack far harder than what i could take back. So I had to tone it down until I got my ukemi skills up

b) any encounter with someone who is not operating on the Aikido paradigm will likely be highly impactive. I think this is one of the reasons one develops a more formalized training style. Othewise folks would be injured all the time and you would only have two or three crazed Aikido maniacs training. By having a certain structure to train we can keep things predictable enough to avoid too many accidents and still train in such a way as to isolate the key principles we wish to work on.

c) the desire to go beyond the form is entirely an individual decision. I do not think that it is necessary unless ones interest is largely focused on fighting. The form of physical Aikido technique had meaning for the Founder. Changing that to get to fighting skill is, in a sense, a de-volution of the art. Aikido is quite challenging enough to give one a lifetime of study without feeling that we need to change it from the broad presentation given us by the many teachers who succeeded O-Sensei.

d) what I am simply asking for is that the outer form of the practice have actual content. If there is an attack, I would like it to be a committed attack, regardless of how formilzed it seems to be. If there is a throw, I'd like to actually be a throw that would throw someone who isn't just colluding and running around you in circles.

Aikido practice is designed to change the practitioner in a number of ways. Some are physical, all are psychological. It is a form of character development. It is a practice designed to allow you to have access to the benefits of martial training but with a focus that is not about fighting, in fact about not fighting. I take the non-violent message of the Founder very seriously. But many people think that being non-violent means sucking the life out of the techniques. I think that is wrong. Training with little or weak intention will never reveal anything of any depth about the power of non-resistance. It will never develop the strength of character that would allow one to stand in the midst of conflict with a calm mind. It will never help the student transform what has made him fearful into something more positive.

Weak Aikido is just that, weak. It has nothing whatever to do with what O-Sensei taught. It might be good exercise, it might be a fun way to work out with like minded friends. The dojo can, in fact, be a second family that so many of us crave.

Aikido is an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection. For various reasons it has attracted a group of practitioners who are actually terrified of really connecting. So the fear-based high testosterone boys tend to turn their practice into some kind of martial competition, attempting to cover over their fear with aggression. Folks with less physical prowess tend to go other direction and suck the life out of the practice energetically. Then the two groups snipe at each other over the fact that the other didn't understand O-Sensei's Aikido at all.

In fact, I do not think that either of these groups is doing Aikido as the Founder intended it to be. If ones practice isn't making one less fearful in a substantial way, it cannot be said to have anything to do with the "Art of Peace". Practicing to get strong enough to defeat all enemies isn't really dealing with what makes one fearful. Nor does hanging out with a bunch of like minded folks and enforcing an atmosphere of harmonious cooperation at the dojo. When the practice is designed to make everyone comfortable, it isn't designed to be transformative (except to the most damaged amongst us who may need that to train at all).

Aikido should make us more sensitive but less reactive. It should teach us to have another response to being attacked, physically or emotionally, than to attack back. It should impart confidence without arrogance. It should allow one to interact with ones fellows in a way that doesn't require that they change to fit your insecurities. If it has anything to do with conflict resolution, there needs to be some conflict in the practice so that one can practice resolving it.

All of this start with being honest on the mat. The term for this is "makoto" often translated as sincerity. Insincere attacks, insincere ukemi, will not yield anything of great value. While most people would say that not being fearful is a good thing, I think that most have no actual notion of just how powerful a person is who is no longer operating out of fear. Aikido practice is about discovering this for oneself. Unfortunately it falls short a lot of the time. But that is the fault if the practitioners, not the art itself.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-08-2010, 11:45 AM
Aikido is an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection. For various reasons it has attracted a group of practitioners who are actually terrified of really connecting. So the fear-based high testosterone boys tend to turn their practice into some kind of martial competition, attempting to cover over their fear with aggression. Folks with less physical prowess tend to go other direction and suck the life out of the practice energetically. Then the two groups snipe at each other over the fact that the other didn't understand O-Sensei's Aikido at all.

In fact, I do not think that either of these groups is doing Aikido as the Founder intended it to be. If ones practice isn't making one less fearful in a substantial way, it cannot be said to have anything to do with the "Art of Peace". Practicing to get strong enough to defeat all enemies isn't really dealing with what makes one fearful. Nor does hanging out with a bunch of like minded folks and enforcing an atmosphere of harmonious cooperation at the dojo. When the practice is designed to make everyone comfortable, it isn't designed to be transformative (except to the most damaged amongst us who may need that to train at all).

Aikido should make us more sensitive but less reactive. It should teach us to have another response to being attacked, physically or emotionally, than to attack back. It should impart confidence without arrogance. It should allow one to interact with ones fellows in a way that doesn't require that they change to fit your insecurities. If it has anything to do with conflict resolution, there needs to be some conflict in the practice so that one can practice resolving it.

All of this start with being honest on the mat. The term for this is "makoto" often translated as sincerity. Insincere attacks, insincere ukemi, will not yield anything of great value. While most people would say that not being fearful is a good thing, I think that most have no actual notion of just how powerful a person is who is no longer operating out of fear. Aikido practice is about discovering this for oneself. Unfortunately it falls short a lot of the time. But that is the fault if the practitioners, not the art itself.

Thank you very much once again, George Sensei. Your writing often helps me clarify my own thoughts on aikido in really important ways. Best for your life and training

N

Eric Winters
01-08-2010, 11:48 AM
I wish I could put my mind into words like that. This is probably the best post I have read yet on this subject.

Thanks Mr. Ledyard

Eric

a) obviously, an imbalance between what you can deliver and what you can take back is clearly a reason to tone it down; I was that way when I started. I cam from a Shotokan background (just some college classes) and I could attack far harder than what i could take back. So I had to tone it down until I got my ukemi skills up

b) any encounter with someone who is not operating on the Aikido paradigm will likely be highly impactive. I think this is one of the reasons one develops a more formalized training style. Othewise folks would be injured all the time and you would only have two or three crazed Aikido maniacs training. By having a certain structure to train we can keep things predictable enough to avoid too many accidents and still train in such a way as to isolate the key principles we wish to work on.

c) the desire to go beyond the form is entirely an individual decision. I do not think that it is necessary unless ones interest is largely focused on fighting. The form of physical Aikido technique had meaning for the Founder. Changing that to get to fighting skill is, in a sense, a de-volution of the art. Aikido is quite challenging enough to give one a lifetime of study without feeling that we need to change it from the broad presentation given us by the many teachers who succeeded O-Sensei.

d) what I am simply asking for is that the outer form of the practice have actual content. If there is an attack, I would like it to be a committed attack, regardless of how formilzed it seems to be. If there is a throw, I'd like to actually be a throw that would throw someone who isn't just colluding and running around you in circles.

Aikido practice is designed to change the practitioner in a number of ways. Some are physical, all are psychological. It is a form of character development. It is a practice designed to allow you to have access to the benefits of martial training but with a focus that is not about fighting, in fact about not fighting. I take the non-violent message of the Founder very seriously. But many people think that being non-violent means sucking the life out of the techniques. I think that is wrong. Training with little or weak intention will never reveal anything of any depth about the power of non-resistance. It will never develop the strength of character that would allow one to stand in the midst of conflict with a calm mind. It will never help the student transform what has made him fearful into something more positive.

Weak Aikido is just that, weak. It has nothing whatever to do with what O-Sensei taught. It might be good exercise, it might be a fun way to work out with like minded friends. The dojo can, in fact, be a second family that so many of us crave.

Aikido is an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection. For various reasons it has attracted a group of practitioners who are actually terrified of really connecting. So the fear-based high testosterone boys tend to turn their practice into some kind of martial competition, attempting to cover over their fear with aggression. Folks with less physical prowess tend to go other direction and suck the life out of the practice energetically. Then the two groups snipe at each other over the fact that the other didn't understand O-Sensei's Aikido at all.

In fact, I do not think that either of these groups is doing Aikido as the Founder intended it to be. If ones practice isn't making one less fearful in a substantial way, it cannot be said to have anything to do with the "Art of Peace". Practicing to get strong enough to defeat all enemies isn't really dealing with what makes one fearful. Nor does hanging out with a bunch of like minded folks and enforcing an atmosphere of harmonious cooperation at the dojo. When the practice is designed to make everyone comfortable, it isn't designed to be transformative (except to the most damaged amongst us who may need that to train at all).

Aikido should make us more sensitive but less reactive. It should teach us to have another response to being attacked, physically or emotionally, than to attack back. It should impart confidence without arrogance. It should allow one to interact with ones fellows in a way that doesn't require that they change to fit your insecurities. If it has anything to do with conflict resolution, there needs to be some conflict in the practice so that one can practice resolving it.

All of this start with being honest on the mat. The term for this is "makoto" often translated as sincerity. Insincere attacks, insincere ukemi, will not yield anything of great value. While most people would say that not being fearful is a good thing, I think that most have no actual notion of just how powerful a person is who is no longer operating out of fear. Aikido practice is about discovering this for oneself. Unfortunately it falls short a lot of the time. But that is the fault if the practitioners, not the art itself.

Cliff Judge
01-08-2010, 12:23 PM
Aikido practice is designed to change the practitioner in a number of ways. Some are physical, all are psychological. It is a form of character development. It is a practice designed to allow you to have access to the benefits of martial training but with a focus that is not about fighting, in fact about not fighting. I take the non-violent message of the Founder very seriously. But many people think that being non-violent means sucking the life out of the techniques. I think that is wrong. Training with little or weak intention will never reveal anything of any depth about the power of non-resistance. It will never develop the strength of character that would allow one to stand in the midst of conflict with a calm mind. It will never help the student transform what has made him fearful into something more positive.

This. I'm going to print this out on nice paper and frame it.

dps
01-08-2010, 12:24 PM
These questions are puzzling to me... you have stated that you are Nidan in Tae Kwon Do.

Have you never been in the role to evaluate a student or two?

Have you never given pointers to kyu ranks while sparring?

When sparring with your peers, were you able to evaluate their ability to fight?

Do those situations afford you the opportunity to evaluate their skills to determine their ability to fight outside of the dojang?

Do you think you could evaluate if your instructor could fight outside of the dojang?

I am befuddled, help me understand?

It was a question to hear other people's responses not to express my own thoughts.

When you posted a remark about my martial ineffectiveness, I thought that would be a good topic of discussion with a different spin on the "done to death topic of Aikido martial effectiveness".
Sort of lets kick the dead horse in a different way, martial ineffectiveness.

David

chillzATL
01-08-2010, 12:40 PM
I used to enjoy these sort of threads, but now they're just painful. Everyone bases ineffectiveness/effectiveness on what they do or know. Someone who trains MMA is going to view everything from that perspective. Anything less, to them, is ineffective. The same goes for someone who trains boxing, bjj, etc etc etc. It's so subjective that it's painful to discuss. People with more intensive fighting backgrounds will tell another person that what they're doing won't work in a "real fight", completely oblivious of the notion that their concept of a fight is two skilled people who are tuned to the situation, going at it, but that's just what's real to them. That's why I have to shrug when I hear people like Matt Thornton, who I respect and have little doubt in the effectiveness of his system, saying things like "kotegaeshi is bullshit, that doesn't work in a real fight". In my early years I had to use Aikido in a fight twice and had a classmate who used it once. In all three cases the techniques used were ones that are commonly stated to not work (kotegaeshi, shihonage, kokyunage), yet in all three cases they worked perfectly well and the conflict ended immediately. How can anyone tell me those situations weren't real?

When I first started training I simply wanted to be able to defend myself from the types of conflict I regularly saw. That being street fights, bar fights, etc. To me, that was real and today, it still is. While my view and desire to learn more has expanded over the years, I made sure that what I was doing, at the minimum, was going to prepare me for those situations. I've seen a few fights in my day and I've never seen two trained boxers or MMA fighters going at it on the street. The few times I've seen actual fighting skill on display, it was the defender who had it, not the aggressor. People who have fighting skill rarely walk around the street looking for a fight. You tend to learn very quickly that there is always a bigger fish in the pond. That's certainly not a universal truism, but it's one I feel safe enough making in this context. The point being that it's not hard for an average aikidoka to train at a level that gives them some assurance that what they're doing is going to work for them and is in fact, not martially ineffective.

Again though, it's based on what you know and what you feel you need to be prepared for. If you're looking around the dojo and you can't tell, then you likely have no understanding of what you need to be prepared for in the first place. If you've never thrown a real punch or felt one from someone, even if you're holding pads for them, you have nothing to base it on. If in your training you've never had good, hard, fast, non-telegraphed attacks come your way, then you likely aren't prepared for even the most basic of fighting situations. If you want to be prepared, you need to either spend some time learning a bit more or find someone who already does and can give you some measure of reality. Where you go from there is up to you.

Apart from my rambling, which I had to get out, both George and Kevin stated things perfectly.

mickeygelum
01-08-2010, 03:22 PM
When you posted a remark about my martial ineffectiveness, I thought that would be a good topic of discussion with a different spin on the "done to death topic of Aikido martial effectiveness".

Mr. Skaggs,

I made no such statement, though since you have, I concur.

Are you going to respond to my query, or just not participate in a discussion you initiated?

Dan Rubin
01-08-2010, 03:39 PM
In my combatives classes, I run drills that are designed to produce excessive stress and sensory/neural overrides in order to deal with this issue. You cannot sustain training by training this way all the time, but it is a very important part of training if you are training for real.

I've done a little such training and it was very valuable to educate me on the effects of adrenaline on my mind and body and how to deal with it. But in my previous post I was talking more about the effects of fear than the effects of adrenaline (although I recognize that there's an overlap).

As to David Skagg's questions, I suppose one could determine from practice in the dojo that the student would be effective in a fight, yet at the same time determine that the student's attempts to apply aikido during that fight (whether it's aikido techniques or simply aikido principles) would be ineffective.

As for George Ledyard's posts, I agree with and appreciate everything he's written here. Thanks, George.

Kevin Leavitt
01-08-2010, 08:58 PM
I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.

thisisnotreal
01-08-2010, 09:15 PM
I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.

that is because the fear is not about the fighting, losing or even the dying itself. it is about what comes after. same for everyone as it is a great equalizer of all men. this is an issue of beliefs and origins, promises and trust more than ass kicking, my friend.

Dan Rubin
01-08-2010, 10:32 PM
I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.

I agree completely. I've always been afraid of heights, but my first time on the Confidence Course at Quantico (many many years ago) I learned that my ideas about fear had been wrong. I had thought that facing danger meant one must stop being afraid, or must "overcome" being afraid, or must suppress the thought that one is afraid. What I learned that day is that facing danger meant one must act while being afraid. I think that that is what a successful warrior (of any sort) must learn how to do.

However, when I participated in the stress training that I mentioned earlier, I knew that my "opponent" was not trying to injure me, let alone kill me. That by itself distinguishes dojo training from fighting.

George S. Ledyard
01-09-2010, 12:43 PM
I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.

It's not that you have no fear... it's that you stop being fearful of as many things. I have a number of friends who are combat veterans, very hard core. Some were really damaged by the experience. But a number of them, especially the guys who had a personal practice like the martial arts, simply ended up as guys who are not scared by the million and one things that effect most folks.

I think that physical bravery is the easiest trait to develop. Just look at the extraordinary acts of courage done by ordinary people put into combat situations or natural disasters. But look at how difficult it seems to be for human beings to stop being afraid of each other...

I have friends who wouldn't bat an eye being on the mat with five guys with sticks trying to hit them... but ask one of them to have a sincere conversation with one of his peers? You'd think it was asking the impossible. The toughest guy you've ever met will let his marriage crumble rather than go to counseling. The prospect of talking about his own feelings is just too frightening.

People are terrified of being hurt by each other. That hurt can take the form of criticism or judgment. It can take the form of rejection. In the extreme you get a young man who shoots another because he was "dissed". Virtually every way in which we are fearful of our fellows produces a way in which we can hurt them. It goes back and forth and the result is a society of people who are terrified of each other. Then, when the powers that be go out of their way to exploit this fearfulness for their own ends, you end up with the kind of crazed, polarized mess we have today.

Aikido training should develop ones awareness of the fundamental connection between all of us. You have to be willing to put oneself into a physically intimate relationship with your classmates. You need to make yourself vulnerable, just as in relationship. There can be no connection, no technique without being vulnerable. Contrary to what many folks who are "fighters" might believe about the art, I think that one of the most important aspects of our training is learning to "lose" i.e. take the fall, receive the technique.

In life we "lose" all the time. My wife dropped divorce papers on me, a student lost his job, a boss rains all over you about something that wasn't your fault, a child is killed in some war far away, a hurricane destroys your home, a fire burns your dojo to the ground, it is endless.

There is no magic technique that keeps one safe from these things. What? You're going to nikkyo the boss when he's being a jerk? What cool fighting technique will protect you from the devastation of a child passing? No, you are taking a hit. After that, it's a matter of how you handle it, what kind of ukemi you take. If you contract around the pain and hold onto it, the hit may be so hard it destroys you. Or you can go with it, let it move through you, and perhaps take it into something more positive.

I believe that Aikido practice, when it done well develops the ability to stand at the center of chaos and be strong, physically and emotionally. At the same time it also helps one realize that the winning and losing model we often buy into in our lives, is simply not functional for most of our human experience. Shit happens. You aren't in control of it, you can't defeat it, resistance is futile. That's the ukemi side. Things are going to happen in which you are taking a fall. Do you want to hit hard and hold that injury in your life or can you take the fall and move on? As a lapel pin I once had said, "Live right, eat healthy, die anyway."

That's the central fact of existence. We are all going to die. Good martial arts training should heighten ones awareness of just how fragile the human being is. At some point, you realize that fighting is really a no win proposition most of the time. As we can see from our various military enterprises in my own lifetime, in doing what is necessary to "win" we end up damaging ourselves on a very core level. The price of such a "victory " will be paid for at least two generations in the damage done to the current participants and the the issues they pass on to their own kids because they haven't dealt with the damage.

It's not that Aikido is unique in this at all. Many of the most amazing, high quality individuals I have ever met are lifetime martial artists. But Aikido is specifically structured to develop this sense of connection coupled with a letting go of attachment to particular outcome. In this interaction with our partners we learn to relax and allow the partner to act as he or she wishes and let the technique become what it needs to. Take musu aiki. And if suddenly we are taking the fall, that's ok too.

While this paradigm might not be the best one for developing fighters for combat, I think it a very good one for developing human beings who can live their lives doing more good than harm, leaving things around them better than when they arrived in the world.

So Aikido can help people lose their fear of being intimate. It can help them to stop worrying about "losing" something when dealing with others. In short, it can help people move out of the "if I'm not winning, then I'm losing" mode of thinking most folks operate under.

So, it's not that we stop being afraid. We just narrow down what we are afraid of to what is of real significance and stop being afraid all the time of what doesn't actually matter. When we stop being afraid we gain our freedom to act.

Shadowfax
01-09-2010, 01:39 PM
Mr Ledyard, there are about a half dozen reasons why that post had a pile of meaning for me.Thank you.

mickeygelum
01-09-2010, 01:41 PM
it's not that we stop being afraid. We just narrow down what we are afraid of to what is of real significance and stop being afraid all the time of what doesn't actually matter. When we stop being afraid we gain our freedom to act.


Very nice...:ki:

Mickey

Russ Q
01-09-2010, 02:48 PM
While this paradigm might not be the best one for developing fighters for combat, I think it a very good one for developing human beings who can live their lives doing more good than harm, leaving things around them better than when they arrived in the world

So eloquent sensei! I believe if we can take a bigger view of our lives (and beyond our lives) and how our actions can affect our relationships and environment in very profound ways....then....more folks would buy into this kind of thinking.

Thank you.

Russ

Don_Modesto
01-09-2010, 04:27 PM
Damn, George, write a book already. I want to archive almost everything you post. Would be great to just pull it all down from the shelf.

Thanks for taking time.

raul rodrigo
01-09-2010, 08:29 PM
Thank you, Ledyard sensei.

OwlMatt
01-09-2010, 11:13 PM
I do not think this is true at all. It's not at all difficult to know when things are martially ineffective. Aikido practice is highly stylized. So the first sign of martial ineffectiveness is when the folks in the dojo can't even make their waza work under the controlled circumstances of practice.

Irimi is at the heart of all martial application. If you go to a dojo and no one can enter without you hitting them, the practice is ineffective. That's my first test... I frequently arrive at dojos to teach and find that not a single student can pull off an irimi when I attack. That's because I REALLY attack. at the majority of the dojos I see around, the students are not really trying to strike their partners. If everyone trains that way day after day, they think they know how to do things they really cannot do. As Frank Doran Sensei says, the "entry" is everything, everything else is just icing on the cake.

I think that the "entry" is the most neglected aspect of Aikido training. I sell a lot of Aikido DVD's. I have a set I call the Principles of Aiki set. Vol. 2 is just on "Entries". I sell fewer of those than the others. I am convinced that this is because people see the title and say to themselves "I know how to do that..."

Anyway, it's a shock when a bunch of third or fourth dans, or even worse, someone running a dojo, finds that they can't do an entry. They can know 500 techniques and without effective irimi, it's just 500 techniques they cannot do.

The second thing one can spot at a dojo at which the practice is clearly martially ineffective is closely related to the above. Can the students at the dojo strike? With speed, with power? If not, then the practice is being done at unrealistically slow speed. People will not be able to adjust when it gets fast and hard.

What does the "intention" feel like during practice. Once again, you can look at the folks in many dojos and see that they have no projection, no forward intention. You can stand in front of them and feel nothing. They have no idea how to organize a strong forward flow of attention. If you attack them fast, or God forbid, with unexpected timing, they are never ready. You can stand in front of someone like this and know you will hit them before you even start.

One of my students gave me a book on the theory of limits as applied to business. While being over my head math-wise after about three chapters, I got the gist of it. It changed my thinking about how we teach our art. The theory of limits says that in any complex system, like a factory (and Aikido is also a complex system of body / mind skills), one needs to analyze the various elements that go into producing the output of the factory and decide which one is the "limiting factor". You can throw all sorts of money and resources into that factory and have no increase in the production whatever if you don't devote them to improving the "limiting factor".

So, in my opinion, most Aikido practice is done without any regard to this idea. People are studying a wide range of techniques, empty hand and weapons, putting all sorts of time and money into their training with almost no increase in actual skill from year to year because they have not addressed the limiting factor in their Aikido.

For the majority of the folks I see training, the limiting factor is the lack of ability or willingness to train with attacks which have speed and power. Strikes have no body integration and hence no actual power. Grabs tend to be "strong" in a way that is totally ineffective. A grab should be designed to effect the partner's balance and his ability to respond. Turning your partner's hand purple by grabbing really hard has no martial effectiveness whatever and is probably making you tight in a way that limits your ability to move freely.

So collectively, I would put all of this under the label of "attacks". Problems with the "attack" is the limiting factor for most Aikido folks. There is simply no possible way for someone to get to any level beyond the rudimentary without addressing this issue. Period. 50% of ones training is in the role of "uke". All sorts of attention is put on the ability to take the fall, very little is put on the actual attack.

Now, that said, fixing this issue is still no guarantee of "martial effectiveness" outside the dojo. But the idea that only combat will tell you anything simply isn't the case. Physical conflict runs through a whole range from a drunk guy shoving you at a bar to two or three fellows with guns confronting you on the street. There innumerable stories of folks with only moderate skills, developed in their dojo environments, using their Aikido "effectively" for self defense on the street. The reason for this is that most attackers out in the real world are not formally trained in anything. Many are simply incompetent. Dangerous perhaps, but not very sophisticated.

Combat is all out, life or death. Most folks will never have to use their Aikido in combat. That doesn't mean that one can't train for martial effectiveness. Do you want to know whether you are "martially effective"? Go up to your local mixed martial arts gym and see about applying what you've worked on in the dojo. Personally, I don't actually care about this issue, but young men often wonder if their stuff "works" and this is a good way to find out. The uchi deshi used to wonder the same thing... they'd go out to the local bars and get in fights, often with the soldiers from the occupation. That's a good way to find out of you can do your Aikido against folks who have no formal training. Of course you might get injured, killed or just plain arrested doing this, but it will tell you something.

Anyway, my feeling is that people need to fix how they train in the dojo and get it to the point at which it actually works within the stylized framework of Aikido itself before they need to start worrying about "combat application" or "martial effectiveness". These discussions are off mark most of the time, I think. Find the "limiting factor" in your training and fix it. Then find the new "limiting factor" and fix that. Progress will result and eventually you will be good at what you do. Then, if you want to experiment with non-traditional applications, go ahead. Folks who worry about this too early in their training typically do not get very good.

I think I'm just going to copy and paste this into every "aikido in real life" thread from now on.

lbb
01-10-2010, 07:54 AM
Damn, George, write a book already.

That.

Thanks for taking time.

That too.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-10-2010, 09:22 AM
Damn, George, write a book already. I want to archive almost everything you post. Would be great to just pull it all down from the shelf.

Thanks for taking time.

I second. It would be so much nicer than my folder with George Ledyard snippets on my hard drive.

aikishihan
01-10-2010, 10:45 AM
Over the decades, we have suffered loss after loss of our first pioneers of Aikido, our Senseis, our Sempai , our sources of inspiration.

Let us learn from our mistakes, in order not to repeat them.

George Ledyard Shihan is one of those rare gifts to Aiki and to mankind, that we are foolish to take for granted. No more. Let us encourage him to write his books, talk his walks. After all, he has always walked his talk.

George, yoroshiku onegaeshimasu!!!!!!!!

francis y takahashi

George S. Ledyard
01-10-2010, 11:26 AM
Over the decades, we have suffered loss after loss of our first pioneers of Aikido, our Senseis, our Sempai , our sources of inspiration.

Let us learn from our mistakes, in order not to repeat them.

George Ledyard Shihan is one of those rare gifts to Aiki and to mankind, that we are foolish to take for granted. No more. Let us encourage him to write his books, talk his walks. After all, he has always walked his talk.

George, yoroshiku onegaeshimasu!!!!!!!!

francis y takahashi

Francis, You embarrass me... especially something like that coming from my favorite Happy Buddha. I've thought about a book... but I have to say, talking to Ellis and Bill Gleason about how much work it actually is, hasn't made me want to jump right up and give it a try. Especially the fairly small return for such massive effort. How about an Aikido based thriller that would sell big time at airports? and have movie rights? and I could have an agent... and maybe an "entourage"... I always wanted to have an "entourage". Well. may be not. I think for the time being, I'll stick with my videos. Between these forums and my videos, I think I can do the most good without giving myself an ulcer... Now, if we are talking about Peter G putting his material into book form, I am all over that!!!!

Linda Eskin
01-10-2010, 11:59 AM
Yeah, what Francis Takahashi and the others said! :D

...I've thought about a book... but I have to say, talking to Ellis and Bill Gleason about how much work it actually is, hasn't made me want to jump right up and give it a try. Especially the fairly small return for such massive effort. ...

Any chance one or more of your students is a writer, editor, or publisher who could compile your posts, transcribe interviews and videos, help you with an outline and editing, and take of the administrative details? A lot of very good books by very busy people are written with a tiny mention of a co-author on the cover.

... Between these forums and my videos, I think I can do the most good without giving myself an ulcer... Now, if we are talking about Peter G putting his material into book form, I am all over that!!!!

Your videos are a tremendous resource (well, and your forum posts, too), and I'm very grateful to have several of them. The rest are on my shopping list. :)

Nicholas Eschenbruch
01-10-2010, 12:23 PM
Well, it could have chapters that have topics similar to the DVDs and topical courses you give.... or at least you could already start to organise the material that way, just in case one day you decide to do a book.... and then it could have some aikiweb community involvement, I have published/ edited a couple of books, and sure others would help as well....maybe a senior student of yours could be project manager....

...and I guess this has wondered way off topic and should be a different thread, "Lobbying for Ledyard Sensei's book". Jun? Help?

George S. Ledyard
01-10-2010, 01:42 PM
Any chance one or more of your students is a writer, editor, or publisher who could compile your posts, transcribe interviews and videos, help you with an outline and editing, and take of the administrative details? A lot of very good books by very busy people are written with a tiny mention of a co-author on the cover.


Actually, if it happens, that's likely to be the way it does. The editor who helped Ellis is a former student of mine and a friend. But he's a professional so the more I hand over, the more expense I have out of pocket. But it is not out of the question. I have put many hundreds of hours into my on-line writings and that represents a giant head start on a book if I would cull all of that for what is useful. Anyway, we'll see... definitely do not hold your breath on this one.

Franklin Newby
01-10-2010, 04:23 PM
How about an Aikido based thriller that would sell big time at airports? and have movie rights? and I could have an agent... and maybe an "entourage"...

I got to thinking, wouldn't that be cool...and then took it a step farther. Probably too far. lol

Imagine the thriller becoming an international best seller and the movie rights getting sold for a staggering amount. Movie gets made and again breaks box-office records. George Ledyard Sensei's likeness starts appearing on billboards, magazines, bedsheets and toothpaste. Hollywood's elite come knocking...
Who wouldn't want to see a buddy cop comedy starring Adam Sandler and Ledyard Sensei?

http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs128.snc3/17571_244774382890_671927890_3357761_7405500_n.jpg

lbb
01-10-2010, 04:36 PM
How about an Aikido based thriller that would sell big time at airports? and have movie rights?

Hell yeah, it could be the next "Gymkata".

dps
01-10-2010, 05:28 PM
.
Who wouldn't want to see a buddy cop comedy starring Adam Sandler and Ledyard Sensei?


Sandler?

Ledyard and Segal in,

" Above The Law Down In The Bayou".

David

swchiro
01-10-2010, 10:06 PM
So, so true Lynn, agree with ya...and until you are in the real martial street fight situation, no one from 7th kyu to 10th dan, will know the out come or how you will really react. So many human internal factors and external environmental factors that come together in those microseconds of an altercation....

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2010, 01:10 AM
I got to thinking, wouldn't that be cool...and then took it a step farther. Probably too far. lol

Imagine the thriller becoming an international best seller and the movie rights getting sold for a staggering amount. Movie gets made and again breaks box-office records. George Ledyard Sensei's likeness starts appearing on billboards, magazines, bedsheets and toothpaste. Hollywood's elite come knocking...
Who wouldn't want to see a buddy cop comedy starring Adam Sandler and Ledyard Sensei?

http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs128.snc3/17571_244774382890_671927890_3357761_7405500_n.jpg

Franklin,
I'm afraid you have way too much time on your hands... I about broke a rib I saw this... too funny!
- George

Kenneth Bryan
01-11-2010, 01:32 AM
I've seen a few fights in my day and I've never seen two trained boxers or MMA fighters going at it on the street. The few times I've seen actual fighting skill on display, it was the defender who had it, not the aggressor. People who have fighting skill rarely walk around the street looking for a fight.

This I find to be one of the truest statements in the thread. I also think that is what aikido represents even more than many other martial arts. When a person "knows" that what they can do in a given situation can be "effective" it can allow that person to be confident without being the agressor. Most people with enough training an a given "fighting" style to be "effective" simply don't have the need to prove it others. The fact that they KNOW it for themselves seems to be good enough. It is generally those that haven't trained enough (or at all) that feel the need to prove how effective their fighting skills are.
_______________________________________________________________
Now, that being said, when I decided I wanted to train I didn't come to an aikido dojo to get spiritual enlightenment, social and personal grounding or harmony with the universe. I was simply looking for a way to NOT get my butt kicked. In the beginning I asked many times how effective some of the things we did in "training" could be in a "real" situation. What frustrated me to no end was that NO ONE seemed to be willing to discuss anything remotely entertaining the thought of a "real fight". In fact, any discussion of "fighting" at all would get a swift admonishment that aikido wasn't about fighting [from a few aikidoka].

Many times I had considered quitting as some if what I was doing felt like a waste of time, energy, money etc......Fortunately, I stuck around for a while. And through all of the sometimes new-age-hippie-feeling aspects of what I was seeing, I was able to run across a few people who, when they threw me, I could not have resisted (even knowing what the technique was going to be). I also found that the more I tried to really hit them (not trying to trick them or track them, but really try to make that punch or grab something they couldn't just brush to the side) the harder it was for me to resist taking the fall (or falling flat on my face). THIS interested me! The strange part was it wasn't because it hurt, or I would have been knocked out, but more that I COULDN'T have hit him/her with that attack AND that I was wide open to a counter attack IF they so chose to use one! -WOW!- Then what I realized was that because we were in the dojo they "chose" not to launch that counter attack. Occasionally they might touch or tap where they could have placed a pretty devistating atemi while I was off balance and falling to the floor just as a reminder. It helped me to start to realize that being in the right place to not get hit can be far more effective than I initially thought. (not at all saying that I am any good at being in that position just yet....lol). It wasn't the sankyo that was the "real" part of the defense, it was everything that led up to that sankyo (though I still like my joint locks for those times where I screw up my positioning and would like a little extra insurance;) )

I think the point I am trying to make is, that for the beginner, the understanding that an argument in a bar or at a ball game won't end up in you getting beat all around the floor or stadium is a big part of what helps to build the confidence to become more serene and less violent in your understanding of training. The knowledge that you "COULD" effectively resort to whatever you needed to do to protect yourself makes you less likely to feel threatened enough to do it. I think where the questioning of this issues comes into play is that very often in the realm of aikido training people aren't really understanding the martial applications of what is happening in the training. It can become rather confusing for the new (and sometimes not so new) practitioner.

I hated the fact that almost no one was willing to point this out to me. In my mind, you can't "choose" to resolve a conflict "peacefully" unless you fully understand that you can resolve it violently. Without the understanding of violence you aren't really making a choice. You were only doing what you have been taught. Over time I have been able to read between the lines sometimes as to what the options are (much of it with the help of my sensei after really questioning what I was doing and why I was training). Coming from a lifestyle in my past that required that you be prepared fight on a pretty regular basis, this understanding was important for me to grasp if I was to continue to train in this art. Well, I am still here. To me this means that in my mind, I must be satisfied that aikido can and is an effective form of self defense for most of what may realistically happen to me....Now I just have to learn to make it that effective :D

I am not a person with alot of rank or decades of practice under my belt. I think, though, coming from that perspective that I can relate to the "effectiveness" question. What I realized was that those sempai that seemed "offended" by being asked about their ability to fight may have just been far enough removed from that basic understanding to not remember how important it is to someone trying to decide if their time and dedication will truly help them to protect themselves. For them, it was no longer nessessary to "prove" aikido's effectiveness because for them it had been proven long ago.

Sorry for the long winded rant but I am just coming to a point where I think I can see a little of both sides of the coin.

Shadowfax
01-11-2010, 07:41 AM
Kenneth,
Didn't see a long winded rant... but I sure did see a really good post. Thanks for taking time to write all that out and share it. A lot of us newbies will appreciate it. And I hope maybe some of the experienced ones will take the reminder to heart. :)

Franklin Newby
01-11-2010, 10:15 AM
Franklin,
I'm afraid you have way too much time on your hands... I about broke a rib I saw this... too funny!
- George

"Too much time on my hands..." - I hear that way too often. lol
Anyways, I'm glad you liked it - I was hoping I didn't shoot myself in the foot with that post.
But in all seriousness, thanks for your enlightening posts sir.
This has been a great thread!

-Frank

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2010, 10:26 AM
I was simply looking for a way to NOT get my butt kicked. In the beginning I asked many times how effective some of the things we did in "training" could be in a "real" situation. What frustrated me to no end was that NO ONE seemed to be willing to discuss anything remotely entertaining the thought of a "real fight". In fact, any discussion of "fighting" at all would get a swift admonishment that aikido wasn't about fighting [from a few aikidoka]. .

Hi Kenneth,
When a prospective student comes into the dojo to check things out, I usually sound them out as to what they want out of the training. If their interest in training is along the lines of what you just stated, I send them elsewhere or tell them to do my applied self defense class. I do not recommend that they do Aikido.

One weekend with Payton Quinn at his ranch in Colorado would do more for your self defense ability than years of Aikido. Peyton Quinn (http://www.rmcat.com/) You could save a huge amount oif time and money. Seriously, Aikido has to be the longest road to any fighting capability that you could come up with.

The seniors who tried to tell you that it wasn't about fighting were telling you the truth. It was to their credit that they didn't bullshit you with assurances of the devastating practicality of the art. It may not be what you wanted to hear but it was the truth.

Now, that being said, when I decided I wanted to train I didn't come to an aikido dojo to get spiritual enlightenment, social and personal grounding or harmony with the universe..

I realize that this was said some what sardonically, but I actually think this is really the only reason to train in Aikido. It is precisely what the Founder created Aikido practice to be. Aikido is a system of personal development which uses a martial paradigm. It just isn't a practical fighting system.

Asking a bunch of Aikido seniors about practical self defense application is like walking into a lab full of theoretical physicists and asking them if what they are studying has any actual use. It's not that the principles thay are studying don't apply everywhere, it's that what they are looking at is something other than practical application.

I am not saying that Aikido doesn't "work". I am saying that it has to be about the silliest way to train if one simply wants to be able to fight out on the street. It would be hard to find a martial art which took longer to get one to the level of practical capability.

I think that many people come to Aikido for the wrong reasons. Often they are sold a bill of goods about what they are learning when they start. This is one of the reasons you see people leaving to go do mixed martial arts and such or quitting Aikido to train with one of the internal power folks. Aikido, for them, didn't deliver the goods they thought they were after.

I was lucky. Saotome Sensei, right from the very start, told us that if we were simply interested in self defense, we should buy a gun. That, coming from one of the most martially capable Aikido teachers I have ever seen was enough to convince me that what we were after was something different.

I do not think I would be doing a beginner any service by assuring them of the practicality of what they are studying. Quite the opposite. If they come in for the right reasons, they tend to stay. At some point in the process they realize that they actually have acquired some martial capability. But it is the by product of proper training, not the focus of that training.

Anyone who is totally wedded to the idea of practical fighting application of their Aikido should really do one of the Aikido styles that came out of the 30's. Patrick Auge down in LA is Mochizuki Sensei's senior foreign student. Chuck Clark Sensei and his own Aaron up here in the Seattle area come out of the Tomiki lineage although they have their own style now. Amos Parker Shihan or Robert Mustard Sensei come from the Shioda lineage. Allan Beebe trained with Shirata Sensei. These systems were founded by teachers who trained with O-Sensei before the art was even called Aikido. If you want martial application, that's where to go, in my opinion. Post war Aikido was structured differently and was intended to be something different.

Kenneth Bryan
01-11-2010, 12:08 PM
I think that you may have misinterperated (or I failed to explain properly) what I was trying to say. Most people training in a "martial" art would like to know if what they are doing would be helpful in life and death situation (either from recognizing and removing yourself from the danger to begin with or by being able to physically get out of said situation). To seek enlightenment alone one could go to church or take yoga. I must agree that if the quick fix of being able to "win" immediately is the goal that aikido does take too long to keep most with that intention around. My idea was not to kick anyone's butt but to avoid getting mine kicked (re reading my post it may have appeared that way). In the situations I have been in in my younger days, the goal was generally to LIVE when confronted with, lets just say, agressive individuals who really might want to do me harm.

What I was saying is that it is far easier to gain the "enlighenmet" if you understand what you are doing is viable. This statement illustrates that..

Saotome Sensei, right from the very start, told us that if we were simply interested in self defense, we should buy a gun. That, coming from one of the most martially capable Aikido teachers I have ever seen

much easier for him to fully grasp that concept understanding that he is very martially capable. For me, only being a new shodan and only having trained since 2002, having many people senior to me and seeing how they present themselves and having many people junior to me and how they present themselves have noticed a direct corrilation between how "good" they are [for lack of better term] and how much they feel the martial viability isn't important. I have noticed this not just in aikido but in other arts as well which is where this statement came from....

Most people with enough training an a given "fighting" style to be "effective" simply don't have the need to prove it others. The fact that they KNOW it for themselves seems to be good enough. It is generally those that haven't trained enough (or at all) that feel the need to prove how effective their fighting skills are.

I have no doubt that I haven't trained enough to have reached that point. I do know that the better I feel about my training (and its potential practical application) the less that application seems important. Wondering if I am the only one to see this corilation or feel this way.

Cliff Judge
01-11-2010, 12:39 PM
.Anyone who is totally wedded to the idea of practical fighting application of their Aikido should really do one of the Aikido styles that came out of the 30's. Patrick Auge down in LA is Mochizuki Sensei's senior foreign student. Chuck Clark Sensei and his own Aaron up here in the Seattle area come out of the Tomiki lineage although they have their own style now. Amos Parker Shihan or Robert Mustard Sensei come from the Shioda lineage. Allan Beebe trained with Shirata Sensei. These systems were founded by teachers who trained with O-Sensei before the art was even called Aikido. If you want martial application, that's where to go, in my opinion. Post war Aikido was structured differently and was intended to be something different.

(I must plead for forgiveness in advance here, and ask that Jun not kick me off the forum for taking a thread on the martial effectiveness of Aikido and nudging it over in the direction of a system vs system debate, but I am really curious about this.)

I understand why you might point a prospective student who is looking for more street effectiveness to Yoseikan (Aikido with integrated karatedo and judo as I understand it) or Tomiki (competition). But what do you think the Yoshinkai have to offer such a candidate that subsystems closer to the Aikikai do not?

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2010, 12:54 PM
(I must plead for forgiveness in advance here, and ask that Jun not kick me off the forum for taking a thread on the martial effectiveness of Aikido and nudging it over in the direction of a system vs system debate, but I am really curious about this.)

I understand why you might point a prospective student who is looking for more street effectiveness to Yoseikan (Aikido with integrated karatedo and judo as I understand it) or Tomiki (competition). But what do you think the Yoshinkai have to offer such a candidate that subsystems closer to the Aikikai do not?

My experience with the Yoshinkai folks is not great. In fact, the few times folks from their style have trained with us, everyone seemed to pretty compatible. But Shioda left O-Sensei mostly because he couldn't go with him on the spiritual side so the Yoshinkai folks seem to have little preoccupation with such things. Their technique tends be very direct and they are better at teaching the fundamentals than most styles. Mostly they seem to uniformly train very hard.

dps
01-11-2010, 01:06 PM
What I was saying is that it is far easier to gain the "enlighenmet" if you understand what you are doing is viable.

Which is why the goal of making what you are doing viable is more important than making your goal enlightenment.

Look at the life of O'Sensei. He reached his enlightenment as a result of his goal for strength and martial mastery.

David

C. David Henderson
01-11-2010, 01:55 PM
Really? Or did he create his budo out of an enlightenment experience animated by his religious practices? And did his "golden light experience," while reportedly taking place after an encounter with a kendo expert, occur because he practiced a viable budo, or because his budo already was infused and informed by his spiritual practices?

I frankly don't know how to answer this, but it seems like a chicken-and-egg proposition. I think I recall reading, however, that after he begin to involve himself more deeply in his religious practices others reported a marked jump in his "power" as a martial artist.

Respectfully,

cdh

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2010, 01:59 PM
Which is why the goal of making what you are doing viable is more important than making your goal enlightenment.

Look at the life of O'Sensei. He reached his enlightenment as a result of his goal for strength and martial mastery.

David

David,
I am sorry but that simply is not the case... He reached Enlightenment, so to speak, because he performed all sorts of meditative / misogi exercises every day of his adult life. He spent more time on those than he ever did working on his martial waza. In the end he created Aikido to bring his waza into accord with his spiritual work not the other way around.
- George

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2010, 03:00 PM
Which is why the goal of making what you are doing viable is more important than making your goal enlightenment.

What is viable David? Does it mean that if someone grabs you as they do in class you can perform a given technique? Then sure, I am all over that. But what does that have to do with the ability to defend oneself? As folks are so fond of pointing out, no one attacks that way.

Real world attacks are almost always ambushes, meant to take you by surprise and defeat you before any waza you might know could be utilized. In most cases, predators work in groups so we are talking about multiple attacker situations. In a very significant number, we are talking about weapons (enough that you have to assume the presence of weapons when you train). In that kind of situation, the first guy you touch needs to go down and not get up.

Is that what you are training for in your Aikido? If so you must be training quite differently than any Aikido I have seen. If self defense in a bar is your goal, you need to train in an environment in which there is furniture, non-combatants, the need to integrate verbal along with physical technique. You need to practice in the type of clothes and footwear you'd be wearing. I have never seen Aikido practiced that way. It's the same if you want to use your skills out on the street... You need to train on slippery pavement, amongst parked cars, etc.

Peyton Quinn, who has actually used his Aikido in real situations once said, "You'd be amazed how well iriminage works when you bounce the guys head off the bar..." Is that what you mean by making your technique viable? Because that's what the stuff looks like in a fight. Are you training that way in your dojo? I'm not saying you have to actually practice it that way... but you have to be thinking about it that way when you practice or you won't apply it that way when you are in the middle of it.

It's not about how hard you throw, it's not about how strong your wrist locks are, or if you can move a guy who trying not to move. If you want viable self defense capability, you need to get out of the dojo and cross train, preferably do some scenario based training in which you can check out if your Aikido works in the environment in which you might have to apply the technique. You need to work on your Aikido with people who aren't doing Aikido.

The amount of wishful thinking in Aikido is tremendous. All sorts of folks convince themselves that what they are doing is martial and "viable" simply because they train roughly. If people are getting injured on the mat, then it must be "real", not like those Aiki bunnies. A lot of this is just samurai wanna be non-sense. When I was younger and not so smart I had a lot of that in me. A lot of years of training has shown me how silly I was. I have done combat arts and Aikido, in any way it is normally practiced, in the vast majority of styles, simply isn't one. Attempting to make it into one is like trying to rebuild your Rolls and make it a hot street racing car. No matter how you try, it will never be that because it was designed to be something else.

If one trains properly, a certain amount of self defense skill will be a by product of the training, yes. But if that is your prime concern, you should do another type of training and / or get out and practice your stuff outside of the dojo.

I only go on about this because I see so many people absolutely missing what is deep and amazing about the art in an effort to shape it into something it is not. There is way better training out there for straight self defense; if that's the primary concern, one should go do that training. Why do you think that there is not a single military, law enforcement, corrections, security, executive protection, or personal protection organization out there which uses Aikido as the central core of its defensive system? It's because it's too complex, hard to train, takes too long, focuses on a lower level of force application than what is required in many situations, etc.

I am really serious about this... If you live in an dangerous area in which you expect to have to defend yourself, or you hang around in bars with men consuming alcohol with some frequency, or you have a stalker problem, or any serious violent threat to your physical well being, do some other training. Don't live in some fantasy that your dojo Aikido training will protect you and your family. It might... but there is a lot of training out there that would be a thousand times more certain if that were my major concern for doing a martial art. This is not Aikido's weakness, it is its strength, in my opinion. But I realize that this isn't necessarily something on which everyone would agree with me.

lbb
01-11-2010, 03:05 PM
I am really serious about this... If you live in an dangerous area in which you expect to have to defend yourself, or you hang around in bars with men consuming alcohol with some frequency, or you have a stalker problem, or any serious violent threat to your physical well being, do some other training.

...and some other things besides training, too. There are many options for dealing with threats, including some very simple, direct, common-sense things like (for example, if you're being stalked) making sure that the building security where you work and live is aware of the problem. If your well-being is in danger, it's probably wise to employ more than just one option in dealing with it, or at least take multiple options into consideration.

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2010, 03:34 PM
If your well-being is in danger, it's probably wise to employ more than just one option in dealing with it, or at least take multiple options into consideration.

Hi Mary,
This is absolutely true. Real self defense systems are layered. They must address multiple situations, and multiple levels of force. A real defensive system should include weapons training, empty hand training, weapons retention, grappling, use of force training, etc.

A lot of self defense is about strategy as much as technique. And the strategies must take into consideration what your personal requirements are. Are you an LE professional, are you in the military and on the front line? Are you doing executive protection or are you a civilian who just needs some capability just in case?

What many men mean when they say they want to be able to defend themselves is that they want to be able to hang at their local bar or pub and not worry about getting beaten up. Is it really worth taking all the time, money and effort which martial arts training requires just to be able to do that? Or would it be simpler not to hang around in places like that?

You know where Aikido really shines in terms of real world application? Low level force restraint for law enforcement, corrections, and security personnel and weapons retention for anyone carrying a firearm (or other weapon) That's where dojo training most directly applies to some real world application.

Most civilians have little need for low level force restraint capability. Women have almost none. Almost any defensive situation a typical civilian might encounter would be at a threat level in which high level impact techniques or deadly force would be appropriate. Facing a threat of a certain level and responding at an insufficiently low level of force can be disastrous. That's why Aikido, which largely focuses on lower level force application, is not a great art as the foundation for a layered self defense system. Study something that teaches you how to take someone out, fast and violently, then add Aikido to give you some options. I'd have firearms as part of that system unless that was simply impossible for legal reasons and if I couldn't I'd have a couple layers of weapons capability, maybe even if I could.

Kevin Leavitt
01-11-2010, 11:22 PM
Agree a 100% with your last post George!

Michael Fitzgerald
01-12-2010, 04:09 AM
How do you measure martial ineffectiveness? Can you do so in a dojo?

David

I think honesty, real honesty- with yourself, and the ability to be deadly serious (I don't mean gruff or terse) are madatory if you want to develop 'martial' effectiveness through your Aikido or Karate or whatever etc.
ask yourself- can I look death in the face and maintain a fixed purpose?
This is a tough call, most people aren't capable of answering it honestly.
I mention this aspect because most people (I am guessing) will focus on the 'martial' effectiveness of their physical techniques- and define this by whether there is anyone in their dojo that can 'defeat' their awesome [insert technique name].
I think this type of thinking is a mistake.

drilling your physical techniques is an important aspect of honing martial skill- but your attitude- not only to training, but to your life- the life you are responsible for preserving, is in my opinion a governing factor.

Soo...can you gauge your attitude in the dojo and apply observations from that analysis to your life outside the Dojo?

I think I can.

BTW, I am obviously not an acomplished academic or vastly experienced in Aikido- i am just offering my opinion to add to the discussion- so please don't come at me with that "you can't tell me about boats, I know bout boats!" malarchy. Just take it for what it's worth to you.

kthx.

P.S. this is my deadly serious face :straightf

Kevin Leavitt
01-12-2010, 08:17 AM
It requires only two things. The physical means to do something about it, and two, the willingness to take action.

mickeygelum
01-12-2010, 11:01 AM
It requires only two things. The physical means to do something about it, and two, the willingness to take action.

Quite true, Kevin.

Take Kevin's statement, sit in front of a mirror, look yourself straight in the eye and ask yourself the questions....the answer will be readily known.

Train diligently, train well,

Mickey

George S. Ledyard
01-12-2010, 11:24 AM
I think honesty, real honesty- with yourself, and the ability to be deadly serious (I don't mean gruff or terse) are madatory if you want to develop 'martial' effectiveness through your Aikido or Karate or whatever etc.
ask yourself- can I look death in the face and maintain a fixed purpose?
This is a tough call, most people aren't capable of answering it honestly.
I mention this aspect because most people (I am guessing) will focus on the 'martial' effectiveness of their physical techniques- and define this by whether there is anyone in their dojo that can 'defeat' their awesome [insert technique name].
I think this type of thinking is a mistake.

drilling your physical techniques is an important aspect of honing martial skill- but your attitude- not only to training, but to your life- the life you are responsible for preserving, is in my opinion a governing factor.

Soo...can you gauge your attitude in the dojo and apply observations from that analysis to your life outside the Dojo?

I think I can.

BTW, I am obviously not an acomplished academic or vastly experienced in Aikido- i am just offering my opinion to add to the discussion- so please don't come at me with that "you can't tell me about boats, I know bout boats!" malarchy. Just take it for what it's worth to you.

kthx.

P.S. this is my deadly serious face :straightf

Michael,
This is VERY nice.
- George

Rob Watson
01-12-2010, 05:30 PM
Quite true, Kevin.

Take Kevin's statement, sit in front of a mirror, look yourself straight in the eye and ask yourself the questions....the answer will be readily known.

Train diligently, train well,

Mickey

This is why the mirror is one of the 'big three' in Japan. Polish the mirror everyday the ensure accurate reflection.

Stormcrow34
01-12-2010, 06:09 PM
It requires only two things. The physical means to do something about it, and two, the willingness to take action.

Agreed. Your posts are always spot on Kevin.

And to add to that, I think it helps to sit down and honestly decide what is and isn't worth taking action over before the "moment of truth arrives". Make a list now. The last thing we need is a mind muddied and bogged down with an ethical dilemma and a physical freeze while being assaulted.

Stormcrow34
01-12-2010, 06:13 PM
This is why the mirror is one of the 'big three' in Japan. Polish the mirror everyday the ensure accurate reflection.

Interesting, what are the other two?

Andrew Macdonald
01-12-2010, 07:20 PM
morning everyone

(before morning coffee so this might have to be edited at a later date, please don;t hate me for my lack of caffine)

this is a good an interesting topic, and one that all people in the martial arts have to deal with at some time)

there are many many things you have to consider for Martial effectiveness. Alot of people tried to defien what this effectiveness meant in Aikido, for me this is kind of answer b looking at the training, i am not trained to dodge bullets so i will not ask my aikido to be effective against that, yes i might be able to rol out of the way but that would be down to luck i thnk that any so of battle plan,

Aikido is not a sport so again i would not be expecting myself to go in to a karate arena and conme out with a gold medal, i would hope thoguh that i could use my footwork and some technique to get out of the way (kararte people that i have met punch really hard :) )

how ever if i am attacked in the street byone or more people that i would expect my aikido to be of some use to me,

by this i don;t mean that i am going to be doing very clean teachniques and walk away without a scratch but that i can use the attirbutes that i learn in aikido , footwork, unbalancing, joint control... to survivie, as this is the area that I am training aikido for

again when you get in to symantics like that you can argue forever about the emanig behind a word or phrase

to make you Aikido effective, you really need good partners, and you need to do resistant training, parneter that are not going ot 'let you off' with having opening in your technique, lots of time in the dojo i have been doing a technique and my uke (for many reason, sometime a higher grade who whants to point somethig out, sometimes a lower grade who isn't sure of the ukemi) has shaken me off and walked out out of the tech.

so muy tachniques have alot of openings, i need to tighten them up, and i need my uke to really try to attack me

mindset is also very inportant, if you are not used to physcial confronttation your stuff will have less chance of working, i have done some training with solders and one of thier ideas it to do some really hig impact CV training and then wheny ou are at your limit then attack each other, you are to tired to think, and you just react

very very nice training in my opinion

if you want to check more on reality training and the adreneline dump check out Geoff Thompson, excellent Martial artist. has writtne alot about effective training

lbb
01-12-2010, 08:37 PM
Interesting, what are the other two?

Is this a reference to the "three sacred treasures" (the sword, the jewel and the mirror)? These are three artifacts that all have their place in the legends of the founding of the Japanese nation. I remember the story of the sword, but I've forgotten the other two.

Lyle Bogin
01-14-2010, 05:59 AM
My karate chop is bigger than your karate chop. And my stare is much harder.

Stephen Kotev
01-14-2010, 10:11 AM
What is viable David? Does it mean that if someone grabs you as they do in class you can perform a given technique? Then sure, I am all over that. But what does that have to do with the ability to defend oneself? As folks are so fond of pointing out, no one attacks that way.

Real world attacks are almost always ambushes, meant to take you by surprise and defeat you before any waza you might know could be utilized. In most cases, predators work in groups so we are talking about multiple attacker situations. In a very significant number, we are talking about weapons (enough that you have to assume the presence of weapons when you train). In that kind of situation, the first guy you touch needs to go down and not get up.

Is that what you are training for in your Aikido? If so you must be training quite differently than any Aikido I have seen. If self defense in a bar is your goal, you need to train in an environment in which there is furniture, non-combatants, the need to integrate verbal along with physical technique. You need to practice in the type of clothes and footwear you'd be wearing. I have never seen Aikido practiced that way. It's the same if you want to use your skills out on the street... You need to train on slippery pavement, amongst parked cars, etc.

Peyton Quinn, who has actually used his Aikido in real situations once said, "You'd be amazed how well iriminage works when you bounce the guys head off the bar..." Is that what you mean by making your technique viable? Because that's what the stuff looks like in a fight. Are you training that way in your dojo? I'm not saying you have to actually practice it that way... but you have to be thinking about it that way when you practice or you won't apply it that way when you are in the middle of it.

It's not about how hard you throw, it's not about how strong your wrist locks are, or if you can move a guy who trying not to move. If you want viable self defense capability, you need to get out of the dojo and cross train, preferably do some scenario based training in which you can check out if your Aikido works in the environment in which you might have to apply the technique. You need to work on your Aikido with people who aren't doing Aikido.

The amount of wishful thinking in Aikido is tremendous. All sorts of folks convince themselves that what they are doing is martial and "viable" simply because they train roughly. If people are getting injured on the mat, then it must be "real", not like those Aiki bunnies. A lot of this is just samurai wanna be non-sense. When I was younger and not so smart I had a lot of that in me. A lot of years of training has shown me how silly I was. I have done combat arts and Aikido, in any way it is normally practiced, in the vast majority of styles, simply isn't one. Attempting to make it into one is like trying to rebuild your Rolls and make it a hot street racing car. No matter how you try, it will never be that because it was designed to be something else.

If one trains properly, a certain amount of self defense skill will be a by product of the training, yes. But if that is your prime concern, you should do another type of training and / or get out and practice your stuff outside of the dojo.

I only go on about this because I see so many people absolutely missing what is deep and amazing about the art in an effort to shape it into something it is not. There is way better training out there for straight self defense; if that's the primary concern, one should go do that training. Why do you think that there is not a single military, law enforcement, corrections, security, executive protection, or personal protection organization out there which uses Aikido as the central core of its defensive system? It's because it's too complex, hard to train, takes too long, focuses on a lower level of force application than what is required in many situations, etc.

I am really serious about this... If you live in an dangerous area in which you expect to have to defend yourself, or you hang around in bars with men consuming alcohol with some frequency, or you have a stalker problem, or any serious violent threat to your physical well being, do some other training. Don't live in some fantasy that your dojo Aikido training will protect you and your family. It might... but there is a lot of training out there that would be a thousand times more certain if that were my major concern for doing a martial art. This is not Aikido's weakness, it is its strength, in my opinion. But I realize that this isn't necessarily something on which everyone would agree with me.

snip...

You know where Aikido really shines in terms of real world application? Low level force restraint for law enforcement, corrections, and security personnel and weapons retention for anyone carrying a firearm (or other weapon) That's where dojo training most directly applies to some real world application.

George,

These two replies are absolutely amazing. I would like to nominate them for permanent status on this forum. So many of discussions on Aikiweb stem from these issues in my opinion. I wish folks would just read this first and save us the trouble of having to reiterate it all over again. You capture it so conscisely!

Best,
Stephen

dps
01-15-2010, 04:34 AM
Personal transformation is not a choice it is what happens in life whether you want to or not.

If you choose to use Aikido (a martial art) as your means for personal transformation then how do you measure your progress if not by the effectiveness of your Aikido?

How do you know where you are at if not by the ineffectiveness of your Aikido?

From the moment we are born we are on a journey of personal transformation. At some point in our lives we make choices about what we will or will not use for this journey. It could be sports like baseball, football, soccer, fencing. It could be music, art, dancing. It could be the work you do.

From his teens to his early forties O'Sensei driving ambition was to be stronger than anyone else and a better martial artist than anyone else. This he accomplished to a great degree. It set the stage for the last forty some years of his life.

I am not talking about wanting to learn an art to kick ass, not does it matter what the neighborhood is like where you live. It is about the vehicle you chose for the transformation.

O'sensei had a martial art that he studied and a philosophy tha he belived in. The goal in his martial art was martial effectiveness.

The goal in his philosophy was separate.

David

dps
01-15-2010, 05:00 AM
Irimi is at the heart of all martial application. If you go to a dojo and no one can enter without you hitting them, the practice is ineffective. That's my first test... I frequently arrive at dojos to teach and find that not a single student can pull off an irimi when I attack. That's because I REALLY attack. at the majority of the dojos I see around, the students are not really trying to strike their partners. If everyone trains that way day after day, they think they know how to do things they really cannot do. As Frank Doran Sensei says, the "entry" is everything, everything else is just icing on the cake.

Anyway, it's a shock when a bunch of third or fourth dans, or even worse, someone running a dojo, finds that they can't do an entry. They can know 500 techniques and without effective irimi, it's just 500 techniques they cannot do.

The second thing one can spot at a dojo at which the practice is clearly martially ineffective is closely related to the above. Can the students at the dojo strike? With speed, with power? If not, then the practice is being done at unrealistically slow speed. People will not be able to adjust when it gets fast and hard.

What does the "intention" feel like during practice. Once again, you can look at the folks in many dojos and see that they have no projection, no forward intention. You can stand in front of them and feel nothing. They have no idea how to organize a strong forward flow of attention. If you attack them fast, or God forbid, with unexpected timing, they are never ready. You can stand in front of someone like this and know you will hit them before you even start.

One of my students gave me a book on the theory of limits as applied to business. While being over my head math-wise after about three chapters, I got the gist of it. It changed my thinking about how we teach our art. The theory of limits says that in any complex system, like a factory (and Aikido is also a complex system of body / mind skills), one needs to analyze the various elements that go into producing the output of the factory and decide which one is the "limiting factor". You can throw all sorts of money and resources into that factory and have no increase in the production whatever if you don't devote them to improving the "limiting factor".

So, in my opinion, most Aikido practice is done without any regard to this idea. People are studying a wide range of techniques, empty hand and weapons, putting all sorts of time and money into their training with almost no increase in actual skill from year to year because they have not addressed the limiting factor in their Aikido.

For the majority of the folks I see training, the limiting factor is the lack of ability or willingness to train with attacks which have speed and power. Strikes have no body integration and hence no actual power. Grabs tend to be "strong" in a way that is totally ineffective. A grab should be designed to effect the partner's balance and his ability to respond. Turning your partner's hand purple by grabbing really hard has no martial effectiveness whatever and is probably making you tight in a way that limits your ability to move freely.

.

Maybe the " limiting factor" is that they are not practicing Aikido as a martial art, their goal is not martial effectiveness and thus their Aikido is ineffective.

David

George S. Ledyard
01-15-2010, 09:16 AM
Maybe the " limiting factor" is that they are not practicing Aikido as a martial art, their goal is not martial effectiveness and thus their Aikido is ineffective.

David

Ipso Facto, one might say. Yes, I think you are correct that this is the case. But very few people will tell you this straight out. Folks tend to be very sensitive about this area. Hardly anyone would admit that what they do doesn't work but they don't care about that.

philippe willaume
01-30-2010, 05:51 AM
How do you measure martial ineffectiveness? Can you do so in a dojo?

David
By sparing, if possible with other style and situational pressure testing. (So as long as we talk about close quarter, and no fire arms, yes it is possible in a dojo)
In any case sparing/pressure testing will always tell you what does not work

As it as been mentioned before, there is a technical, tactical, strategically aspect to any fight be it in earnest or for play as they used to say in Germany.
To make it simple and for this discussion purpose if we define
Technical as covering how you do things
Tactical as how you go about making things and how they chain together
And strategically has how you prepare yourself and the environment, ideally to have a tactical advantage from the bat and what situation you would like to bring the fight into.

For me the trick is not to know what to apply when, it is to know how you create the situation where you can apply a technique and what you can do it that technique is resisted.
Randori –with kokyu throw version of a given technique is fantastic for that.

You do need to have the degree of fitness and body conditioning adapted to what your policy is.
And you do need to spare to underetand what you can expect from your opponent and what you can reasonably achieve/the steps to create a situation where you will get what you want.

Irimi is important but it is just a technical tool, but you just need to know when you to go against tem to let them go by (another thing they used to say in Germany a few hundreds years ago)

All the irimi in the world are useless, if you get leg baited and don’t know how to suck it up or how to see it coming.

I hate to use that word because it makes me sound like the natural son of Candelizza rice and Donald Rumsfeld but to be effective you aikido need to be “full spectrum”
Ie sokumen irimi is exactly the same as elbowing or punching/palm strike /tekatana. Someone in the face/throat. The only difference in the strike is range and the only difference in intensity is what we want to achieve.

phil

Ketsan
01-30-2010, 12:21 PM
If self defense in a bar is your goal, you need to train in an environment in which there is furniture, non-combatants, the need to integrate verbal along with physical technique. You need to practice in the type of clothes and footwear you'd be wearing. I have never seen Aikido practiced that way. It's the same if you want to use your skills out on the street... You need to train on slippery pavement, amongst parked cars, etc.

Not really. I think you're assuming people are quite dim and can't react to the circumstances without very specific training. I went into break up a fight about a month back, got into contact with the opponent, slipped on the ice and took him down with me. I extricated myself from under him and got onto my knees and pinned him. I've never trained to do that, never even considered what I'd do in that situaton. I've certainly never trained on ice to have someone land on me while trying to take ukemi while trying to get a choke on. It was just the obvious thing to do with my training in the circumstances.
I was in a position which didn't suit me or what I'm trained to do, so I moved to one that did, that's a principle of Aikido; move to where you're strongest and work from there. I'd argue that for anyone with even a basic level of training in any art that is common sense.


Peyton Quinn, who has actually used his Aikido in real situations once said, "You'd be amazed how well iriminage works when you bounce the guys head off the bar..." Is that what you mean by making your technique viable? Because that's what the stuff looks like in a fight. Are you training that way in your dojo? I'm not saying you have to actually practice it that way... but you have to be thinking about it that way when you practice or you won't apply it that way when you are in the middle of it.


I'd be seriously shocked if we're not all thinking that way. Can anyone here honestly say that they've not contemplated how they would react in a given situtation with the training they have? I think it's true of any art that you care to name that if you don't contemplate it's use outside of training it wont be effective. Otherwise you're just training to train, you're learning nothing except how to learn learning.

In an Aikido context that means you become brilliant at learning Aikido and no doubt your Aikido kata will be excellent, but what good is that? Is being able to perform Aikido kata of any use? Well you can't fight with it, so not martially it has no value. Is the simple repetition of Aikido kata better than the simple repetition of Karate kata? Will you reach any greater spiritual or philosophical insights by performng Aikido kata than you will performing Karate kata? No.

It's only when, IMO, you start imagining how you would apply the lessons of Aikido kata to the real world that you start to really learn Aikido. That's when it ceases to be the repetition of a dead form and becomes a living process and it's only when you start to imagine and mentally reherse its actual application that Aikido becomes an art seperate from any other otherwise you can repeat any kata from any art ad infinitum with the same results.

As you've said, the spirtual content was in O-Sensei's spiritual practice not in his martial practice. So logically the martial practice isn't an efficent route to spirital insights or development. If you want those you have to meditate and practice misogi. Logically the martial side has to stand on its own as martial practice or it is simply a distraction from serious spiritual practice. If it doesn't stand on its own it should be abandoned as a pointless excercise and Aikido should adopt meditation and misogi as it's main practices. Or "recreate" a martially effective form of Aikido.

Personally speaking I practice Aikido because for me it's an excellent martial art. For my spirtual development I go seek the advice and teachings of the monks and nuns at the local buddhist centre, they can help me more in my spiritual practice than my Aikido instructor can.

All the above is IMO of course.

Aikibu
01-30-2010, 02:26 PM
Great Discussion...

I agree with those who wish to practice Aikido as a Martial Art...If it does not work the biggest mistake you can make is fooling yourself into thinking it does especially in physically dangerous circumstances...

Something I see not being brought up...The Huge difference between those folks who come to practice Aikido with Martial Experience and those whose only "Martial" experience is Aikido...

All it takes is one or two Kumite Sessions for a man or woman to know that a huge part of any Martial System is the ability to execute your practice under duress and physical pain. Experienced Martial Artists bring this understanding to Aikido and then learn to transcend retaliation (not sure if this is the way I want to articulate Aikido but it will do for now :) ) While if one never has the experience of being hit or "fighting" it's harder to embrace this concept in a Practical Sense.

Simply put... Toughing up the Body will lead to Strengthening of the Spirit so to speak (Apologies to Bodhidharma for my simplification) but I am not so sure it works the other way around. :)

I think (there I go thinking again LOL) that may be one of the many reasons why Shoji Nishio encouraged his students to explore other Martial Practices not because Aikido lacks anything per se....But to fully understand why Aikido must be effective as a Martial Art if it is to be considered as a Budo.

I have also often wondered if this is why O'Sensei kept encouraging Shoji Nishio to innovate Aikido as a Martial Art...so folks would not "get stuck" in it's great spiritual ideology.

William Hazen

mathewjgano
01-30-2010, 04:56 PM
Something I see not being brought up...The Huge difference between those folks who come to practice Aikido with Martial Experience and those whose only "Martial" experience is Aikido...

Good point. Different folks approach the same training differently and while they may eventually arrive at a similar result, previous training/experiences will make a huge difference in how the respective learning curves will compare...in both overall progress and individual skills. I had no formal training to speak of before coming to Aikido, but I did have enough "street" smarts to understand a thing or two about fighting, at least in terms of realism (Ironically, it was that "common knowledge" that almost caused me to dismiss Aikido due to the cooperation I saw going on).
Which leads me to the idea that there are different kinds of martial in any given martial situation. I came to Aikido knowing something about relaxing to get out of a pin because I grew up being physically dominated by all my friends. The "practice" I had gained against the mount almost daily for years (I was definately the omega wolf of our little pack) contributed a lot to my sense of practicality for fighting. That's not to say I'm ready for the effects of a solid strike to the head or liver or any other number of circumstances that would seriously affect my performance in any situation, let alone one where my life or someone else's is on the line.
There are few teachers like the physicality of experience, if that makes any sense. Sure, you can still look up at the stars and not see all the light, but generally at least you can see something to guide the way.

Simply put... Toughing up the Body will lead to Strengthening of the Spirit so to speak (Apologies to Bodhidharma for my simplification) but I am not so sure it works the other way around. :)
I think one lends to the other, but neither automatically leads to the other. Certainly the only thing which will toughen the body is a relatively tough/demanding experience, which is more physical in nature (more body-oriented), but when i consider examples such as those monks who set themselves alight to protest during the Vietnam War, I can't help but consider the benefit that might come from occasionally looking to the mind in order to learn how to be tough. Then again, for all I know they trained for it by enduring great pain, so that may be a bad example, I'm not sure...and I'm certainly not suggesting anyone sit down and contemplate instead of doing it on the mat with a bokken flying at your face...the latter probably gets you more bang for your buck.
Anyhoo...
My two bits.
take care,
Matt

Kevin Leavitt
01-30-2010, 07:03 PM
Alex wrote:

Not really. I think you're assuming people are quite dim and can't react to the circumstances without very specific training. I went into break up a fight about a month back, got into contact with the opponent, slipped on the ice and took him down with me. I extricated myself from under him and got onto my knees and pinned him. I've never trained to do that, never even considered what I'd do in that situaton. I've certainly never trained on ice to have someone land on me while trying to take ukemi while trying to get a choke on. It was just the obvious thing to do with my training in the circumstances.
I was in a position which didn't suit me or what I'm trained to do, so I moved to one that did, that's a principle of Aikido; move to where you're strongest and work from there. I'd argue that for anyone with even a basic level of training in any art that is common sense.

I have been in similar situations (breaking up a fight and bouncing) and have had similar experiences and the results that you have had.

The fact that you could change the situation and dictate the terms of the fight means you were in control of the situation for whatever reason.

I think though, that you have to be careful with drawing the conclusion that it is not necessary to not train under the conditions that George outlines.

You were breaking up a fight. That could be much different than being the object of the fight. How much investment was the person fighting really putting into things to defeat you?

What happens when you can no longer dictate the terms and conditions of the situation? How do the environmental considerations impact you then?

Noise, smell, lights, movement....what happens when you are "behind" in the process and you are taking in lots of sensory information and trying to figure out what is going on?

This occurs when you are "ambushed" and trying to process all the input.

Sure, I agree, it is possible to NOT train as George states and be sucessful, apparently you were.

However, as you state, YOU decided to break up the fight. You were able to get into the fight and dictate the terms. Yes, I understand that you slipped on the ice and lost some of the terms, and it sounds like you were able to gain back control. I am sure your training helped you out in this area.

I'd caution against assuming that you'd be sucessful in every situation though. I think it depends on many things.

Things such as the level of investment of the person your fighting and his intent. THe number of folks involved, Light...space, etc.

One of the most dangerous things for someone, I believe is to actually have an encounter and realize success. It can cause you to discount and dismiss alot of other things and form a set of criteria that is totally framed around the situational conditions of that particular encounter.

Anyway, not trying to say you are wrong, as you clearly demonstrated that your training was good enough for that encounter.

I just caution you to make sure you understand the things in the situation that played in your success when you evaluate other situations based on your success!

George S. Ledyard
01-31-2010, 03:34 AM
Not really. I think you're assuming people are quite dim and can't react to the circumstances without very specific training. I went into break up a fight about a month back, got into contact with the opponent, slipped on the ice and took him down with me. I extricated myself from under him and got onto my knees and pinned him. I've never trained to do that, never even considered what I'd do in that situaton. I've certainly never trained on ice to have someone land on me while trying to take ukemi while trying to get a choke on. It was just the obvious thing to do with my training in the circumstances.
I was in a position which didn't suit me or what I'm trained to do, so I moved to one that did, that's a principle of Aikido; move to where you're strongest and work from there. I'd argue that for anyone with even a basic level of training in any art that is common sense.

The fact that you managed to come up with something for which you had not trained and were able to prevail does not in any way invalidate what I was saying. Scenario based training is absolutely the way to go if you are training for practical application. Just read
Peyton Quinn's book Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training. His experience is replete with martial artists who could not access their skills under pressure.

Folks are always touting the "martial" effectiveness of Aikido based on encounters with subjects who have little or no actual training. Ellis Amdur once defined martial arts as "training to fight another professional". What you are talking about is simple "self defense".

In self defense, one is not training with the expectation that one will encounter a highly trained opponent. Dangerous perhaps. Armed, quite possibly, but not highly trained.

I'd be seriously shocked if we're not all thinking that way. Can anyone here honestly say that they've not contemplated how they would react in a given situation with the training they have? I think it's true of any art that you care to name that if you don't contemplate it's use outside of training it wont be effective. Otherwise you're just training to train, you're learning nothing except how to learn learning.

I'd be seriously shocked if many of the Aikido folks I know do think this way at all. This is a young males fantasy world. Sure, when I was young I thought about what I would do if I encountered one or more evil doers out on the street. Of course, in 34 years of Aikido that's never happened. Nor has a single one of my students ever done so except for my law enforcement, executive protection and security students (who did not study Aikido with me but a far more eclectic mix of skills)..

In an Aikido context that means you become brilliant at learning Aikido and no doubt your Aikido kata will be excellent, but what good is that? Is being able to perform Aikido kata of any use? Well you can't fight with it, so not martially it has no value. Is the simple repetition of Aikido kata better than the simple repetition of Karate kata? Will you reach any greater spiritual or philosophical insights by performing Aikido kata than you will performing Karate kata? No.

I absolutely reject the notion that the art of Aikido has no value outside of some anticipated practical self defense application or martial encounter with a trained martial artist (duel?).

Aikido is an art, the practice of which has its own inherent value. As I have said many times, if one is training properly, some degree of self defense capability is a by product of the training. But is not the point of the training.

This is not just an issue with Aikido, it exists in most traditional martial arts. If real world application is the standard by which we judge, then many of the elements of our training are archaic and irrelevant. And many practical techniques, strategies, and technologies are ignored. So we dump what seems impractical and add what seems modern and up to date. Soon it isn't the same art at all.

Aikido is an art which, in my opinion, is about the study of connection... physical, psychological, and spiritual. Nothing I have heard or read about the Founder or his deshi, including what I heard from my own teacher who was one, contradicts this view. If you look at the entire quarter century period of the Founder's life after WWII, which is when the art actually became Aikido (1942), I would say that the Founder's teaching showed a staggering lack on concern for the practical application of the art. His entire focus was on how the techniques of Aikido contained the various principles at work in the universe, that the doing of Aikido could and would on some level, bring things into harmony.

All the time I see people bringing the mind of conflict into the dojo and trying to remake Aikido into something it is not. The people who do this never get very good at the art. In the pursuit of "practical" skills, they content themselves with the surface and never delve into what is far deeper in the practice.

It's only when, IMO, you start imagining how you would apply the lessons of Aikido kata to the real world that you start to really learn Aikido. That's when it ceases to be the repetition of a dead form and becomes a living process and it's only when you start to imagine and mentally reherse its actual application that Aikido becomes an art seperate from any other otherwise you can repeat any kata from any art ad infinitum with the same results.

I think that this misses the point entirely. This kind of statement shows a lack of understanding of what kata is. It is not and never was a "stale repetition of a dead form". Kata means form. Marshal McKuen once said, "the media is the message". Well, in Aikido the form is the message. The basic techniques of the art illuminate the these fundamental forms. These then combine and recombine to create an infinite interplay of form. One can spend ones entire life in the study of how to bring ones body and mind into accord with these forms. The more you know, the more you understand you don't know.

Masakatsu, agatsu "true victory is victory over oneself". It isn't about winning over another.

I was trained by one of the most martially capable Aikido teachers of the post war period. I always find it ironic when I end up one side of a disagreement with someone who is championing Aikido as a "martial art". I've taught bouncers, executive protection, law enforcement, corrections, and security professionals. I get "application". But none of that was Aikido. Aikido is so much more than that.

As you've said, the spirtual content was in O-Sensei's spiritual practice not in his martial practice. So logically the martial practice isn't an efficent route to spirital insights or development. If you want those you have to meditate and practice misogi. Logically the martial side has to stand on its own as martial practice or it is simply a distraction from serious spiritual practice. If it doesn't stand on its own it should be abandoned as a pointless exercise and Aikido should adopt meditation and misogi as it's main practices. Or "recreate" a martially effective form of Aikido.

O-Sensei stated that training was misogi. The Founder made no distinction between his Aikido and the other practices he pursued. That included farming. It was all Aikido to him. There is no question that we have perhaps limited the scope of what Aikido is more than the Founder did. I for one am not prepared to move to the country and investigate how farming fits in to my Aikido. But I think we received an art from the Founder that quite clearly was not intended as a practical fighting style. Ellis Amdur has quite an interesting section in his latest book about how and why the forms of Aikido were developed by the Founder after the war. Practicality of application did not enter into it. Making the art about fighting will cause the practitioner to miss entirely what is right there before him.

Personally speaking I practice Aikido because for me it's an excellent martial art. For my spirtual development I go seek the advice and teachings of the monks and nuns at the local buddhist centre, they can help me more in my spiritual practice than my Aikido instructor can.

All the above is IMO of course.

The fact that your Aikido instructor can't match the local Buddhist teachers on the spiritual side of things is the direct result of the divorce of Aikido practice from its spiritual roots. When the art is merely physical, when technique is simply about whether it works or not, one isn't going to get very deep into anything more ethereal.

I am not saying that technique shouldn't "work". I am saying that practical application is not the point nor is it the standard by which the art's value is measured. It certainly wasn't what the Founder was thinking about when he created the art.

And all of what I am saying is certainly my opinion. People can make Aikido into whatever they want. There's no copyright or trademark on Aikido. The attempt to contain it in a box as in a certain style or other is laughable and can't be done. So make it whatever you want. I am just suggesting that folks not settle for Aikido lite. That's just what an Aikido limited towards practical application can be. It just misses the really good stuff.

lbb
01-31-2010, 10:19 AM
Aikido is an art, the practice of which has its own inherent value. As I have said many times, if one is training properly, some degree of self defense capability is a by product of the training. But is not the point of the training.

This is not just an issue with Aikido, it exists in most traditional martial arts. If real world application is the standard by which we judge, then many of the elements of our training are archaic and irrelevant. And many practical techniques, strategies, and technologies are ignored. So we dump what seems impractical and add what seems modern and up to date. Soon it isn't the same art at all.

If you'll allow a digression...omit the word "martial" from the above, and swap out "Aikido" for, say, "ceramics", and it seems to me that the same holds true. Seems to me -- and I speak as an outsider, as someone who has no talent whatsoever for the fine arts -- that there are many practices that are diminished if they are judged either by purely utilitarian standards or purely decorative aesthetics.

With any pastime that doesn't consist purely of immediate gratification, the reasons why people pursue it are numerous and diverse, but generally consist of various longer-term gains. It's interesting that the pursuit of a practice that seemingly takes you far away from immediate gratification, can eventually lead back to a reward that is pretty much purely in the moment. As Buzz Holmstrom wrote in his journal after being the first boater to run the Grand Canyon solo:

"I had thought -- once past [the last big rapid] -- my reward will begin -- but now -- everything ahead seems kind of empty & I realize that I have already had my reward -- in the doing of the thing..."

How many rewards go unclaimed, simply because we're looking for them in the wrong places?

Ryan Seznee
01-31-2010, 10:44 AM
...
Striking with a closed fist (boxing) figures prominently in the ancient greek world, almost disappears in the medieval european world, and reappears in the modern. I suspect that it is a function of armor. Punching a metal breastplate... not so good. So it all but disappears from toolbox until that armor goes away.
...


Boxing didn't disappear from the Greek/Roman world (or the modern civilized world at the time) till it was made illegal by the religious (largely Christian) influence on the emperor at the time. In the original conception of boxing, fighters armored their fists to make striking more effective (this is how it came to be know as "boxing" in the first place). This resulted in a LOT of deaths, which is why it was banned by law. It was seen as too barbaric, which one could argue that it was too martially effective... depending on your definition.

Walter Martindale
01-31-2010, 12:25 PM
This is a great thread thanks mainly to Ledyard Sensei's contribution. Thank you for these remarks.

Another "effective" defense/fight training group are the TFT people
http://www.targetfocustraining.com/
Well, according to their testimonials.. I haven't been able to afford (or access, really) their material or training. Anyone here have experience with them?

Again - Thank you George...
Walter

mickeygelum
01-31-2010, 02:18 PM
Greetings All,

Here is an article that I feel is relevant to this thread. It is written by a federal law enforcement agent, who is also a very skilled martial artist.

Here is the link to his profile,
http://www.blackbeltmag.com/archives/746
Here is the link to the essay,
http://www.albokalisilat.org/rant9.html

Train well,

Mickey

Ketsan
01-31-2010, 08:49 PM
Just read
Peyton Quinn's book Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training. His experience is replete with martial artists who could not access their skills under pressure.

I'd call that an untrained mind. Pure and simple. That's what happens when you don't consider the practical application of what you're doing. Then when the mind is put in such a situation it naturally yells out, "What do I do?"


Folks are always touting the "martial" effectiveness of Aikido based on encounters with subjects who have little or no actual training. Ellis Amdur once defined martial arts as "training to fight another professional". What you are talking about is simple "self defense".

Well this is true, but then this is probably because there just aren't really that many professionals out there. Speaking personally I'm in Aikido because I'd spent years learning TKD, Kick boxing, Lau Gar and Jujutsu, went to an Aikido class and lost to my instructor. From that I've gone on to watch Aikidoka defeat practitioners of just about any art you care to mention.

Ueshiba was famous for doing just that, so at some point something's gone seriously wrong if Aikido practitioners are no longer capable, as a group of doing that.


In self defense, one is not training with the expectation that one will encounter a highly trained opponent. Dangerous perhaps. Armed, quite possibly, but not highly trained.

As you point out, we're studying Aikido, not self defence. Ueshiba trained to defeat Judoka, there are notes about how to do it, aren't there? No doubt if Muay Thai or any art you care to mention had been as big as Judo was in Japan at the time he'd have been equally interested in developing ways of using his training to defeat them. Isn't this adaption, this harmonisation really what Aikido is about?


I'd be seriously shocked if many of the Aikido folks I know do think this way at all. This is a young males fantasy world. Sure, when I was young I thought about what I would do if I encountered one or more evil doers out on the street. Of course, in 34 years of Aikido that's never happened. Nor has a single one of my students ever done so except for my law enforcement, executive protection and security students (who did not study Aikido with me but a far more eclectic mix of skills)..

The people most likely to survive an emergency tend to be the people that plan for it. This is true of all situations. Survivors from airliner fires tend to be the ones who were planning their escape before there was a fire. They plan on every flight and probably every situation they consider potentially dangerous. This is true of many survivors from all types of disasters. Atheletes do it too; they visualise the event before it happens. Buddhism has tantra where they visualise being a buddha to develop those qualities in themselves.
The young males fantasy world would seem to have a highly practical end product: It trains the mind to react and instils confidence. Simply constantly visualising being calm and collected while under attack has uses.


I absolutely reject the notion that the art of Aikido has no value outside of some anticipated practical self defense application or martial encounter with a trained martial artist (duel?).

Aikido is an art, the practice of which has its own inherent value. As I have said many times, if one is training properly, some degree of self defense capability is a by product of the training. But is not the point of the training.

I agree but I think serious martial training is an aspect of Aikido and linked to that martial effectiveness.


This is not just an issue with Aikido, it exists in most traditional martial arts. If real world application is the standard by which we judge, then many of the elements of our training are archaic and irrelevant. And many practical techniques, strategies, and technologies are ignored. So we dump what seems impractical and add what seems modern and up to date. Soon it isn't the same art at all.

If they're archaic and irrelevent now they've been archaic and irrelevent for hundreds of years. They've never been effective systems. I think it more likey that people's mentality is different today than it was when these systems were created.


Aikido is an art which, in my opinion, is about the study of connection... physical, psychological, and spiritual. Nothing I have heard or read about the Founder or his deshi, including what I heard from my own teacher who was one, contradicts this view. If you look at the entire quarter century period of the Founder's life after WWII, which is when the art actually became Aikido (1942), I would say that the Founder's teaching showed a staggering lack on concern for the practical application of the art. His entire focus was on how the techniques of Aikido contained the various principles at work in the universe, that the doing of Aikido could and would on some level, bring things into harmony.

All the time I see people bringing the mind of conflict into the dojo and trying to remake Aikido into something it is not. The people who do this never get very good at the art. In the pursuit of "practical" skills, they content themselves with the surface and never delve into what is far deeper in the practice.


Hmm, my line comes through Chiba who was/is quite adament that Aikido is a fighting art, or at least that's what was imparted to his students who now head up the association. Although that, I feel, is changing as the association moves closer to hombu. I don't disagree that Aikido is about connection per se but I do ask the question, "Great, you've connected and you're in harmony, and what?" For me the answer, at least in part, is that it makes you more effective in a martial sense.

I'm curious, how would you define being good at Aikido? Can you watch someone perform and see it or is it something that's felt? How do you know someone is good at producing this connection?


I think that this misses the point entirely. This kind of statement shows a lack of understanding of what kata is. It is not and never was a "stale repetition of a dead form". Kata means form. Marshal McKuen once said, "the media is the message". Well, in Aikido the form is the message. The basic techniques of the art illuminate the these fundamental forms. These then combine and recombine to create an infinite interplay of form. One can spend ones entire life in the study of how to bring ones body and mind into accord with these forms. The more you know, the more you understand you don't know.

Actually I agree with you. My point was that if all the student ever does is learn to perform the kata, as some sport karate dojo do, without studying it content and finding applications then they're just performing a dead form.

In actual fact one thing I love about Aikido is the richness of the kata. Everytime I do my "fantasizing" as us young men are apt to do and I reach a problem or every time I have a sparring match with someone from another martial art and I reach a problem the first port of call for me is the kata.

My view of Aikido is defined by my current understanding of the kata. In the kata we enter in, take control to prevent resistance and then throw or submit the person. That's a martial skill, that's fighting, the kata contain all the information to make you really good at entering in, unbalancing and throwing or submitting someone.

This is the skill I'm assessed on everytime I grade and from checking this skill presumably my instructors make judgements about how well I'm connecting to uke. The two, IMO, are obviously one and the same. My instructors can't show me how to do this in a non-martial context and the kata certainly don't show me how this is done. Ueshiba didn't arrive at this understanding through martial arts either, he arrived at his realisations through meditation and misogi.

To make matters worse I can see the same techniques in other arts and they're not talking about connection, they're talking about flattening people. Even worse the Aikido version of the technique is, in my experience, always more effective. Not because the form of the kata is better per se but because the kata contains better information.
Perhaps the jujutsu version of shiho nage misses the information about extending and stretching the opponent for example.


Masakatsu, agatsu "true victory is victory over oneself". It isn't about winning over another.

Victory over yourself is the basis of all victory. An untrained mind lends itself to defeat more than it does victory.


I was trained by one of the most martially capable Aikido teachers of the post war period. I always find it ironic when I end up one side of a disagreement with someone who is championing Aikido as a "martial art". I've taught bouncers, executive protection, law enforcement, corrections, and security professionals. I get "application". But none of that was Aikido. Aikido is so much more than that.

I see it as that Aikido contains martial arts or that martial arts is the tool used to realise Aikido. Why have a martial form without a martial intent? Why have correctness of technique if that correctness has no physical use? I don't see why you couldn't teach connection with ball room dancing. In fact it would probably be easier to do so if only because there would be less conflict between the goal and the method.


O-Sensei stated that training was misogi. The Founder made no distinction between his Aikido and the other practices he pursued. That included farming. It was all Aikido to him. There is no question that we have perhaps limited the scope of what Aikido is more than the Founder did. I for one am not prepared to move to the country and investigate how farming fits in to my Aikido. But I think we received an art from the Founder that quite clearly was not intended as a practical fighting style. Ellis Amdur has quite an interesting section in his latest book about how and why the forms of Aikido were developed by the Founder after the war. Practicality of application did not enter into it. Making the art about fighting will cause the practitioner to miss entirely what is right there before him.


Well I suppose if you goal is connection to the universe everything becomes Aikido. Unless you can find something outside of the universe. :D


The fact that your Aikido instructor can't match the local Buddhist teachers on the spiritual side of things is the direct result of the divorce of Aikido practice from its spiritual roots. When the art is merely physical, when technique is simply about whether it works or not, one isn't going to get very deep into anything more ethereal.

I am not saying that technique shouldn't "work". I am saying that practical application is not the point nor is it the standard by which the art's value is measured. It certainly wasn't what the Founder was thinking about when he created the art.

Surely though if you're better connected to the universe and everyone in it and your mind-body connection is good then practical application comes more naturally? Isn't that basically what Ueshiba was on about? Surely practical application would actually be a test for your ability to connect and harmonize?
Surely we also get into the realm of skillful means in that you would be in harmony with the situation and would therefore do the most appropriate thing? Occasionally that's actually how I see Aikido.


And all of what I am saying is certainly my opinion. People can make Aikido into whatever they want. There's no copyright or trademark on Aikido. The attempt to contain it in a box as in a certain style or other is laughable and can't be done. So make it whatever you want. I am just suggesting that folks not settle for Aikido lite. That's just what an Aikido limited towards practical application can be. It just misses the really good stuff.

There are no techniques in Aikido. :)

Aikibu
02-01-2010, 12:41 PM
Brilliant Post Alex and I agree with many of your replies to Sensei Ledyard...and Sensei Ledyard's musings are right on as well...

This is the kind of exchange Aikido needs to keep it relevant as a Martial Art...and...A Way...

The Irony here is I believe these two parts or "points of view" to be symbiotic...both would seriously lose something without the other...

I however am from the same "school" as you are...Aikido if it is to stay relevant as a Martial Art...It must have the tools to be one...and without those tools... One cannot build a place to house one's spirit.

William Hazen

bothhandsclapping
03-31-2012, 12:46 AM
Effective? Simple answer, do you feel better off for having trained?

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2012, 05:33 AM
IMO how it makes you feel is not what is important. I think you need feedback that is honest and objective as can be. There is nothing wrong with doing things that make you feel good, it is a big part of our overall health and well being, however when focusing on effectiveness, feeling good about yourself is not the highest priority in training

oisin bourke
03-31-2012, 07:45 AM
As Buzz Holmstrom wrote in his journal after being the first boater to run the Grand Canyon solo:

"I had thought -- once past [the last big rapid] -- my reward will begin -- but now -- everything ahead seems kind of empty & I realize that I have already had my reward -- in the doing of the thing..."


That is a great quote. Thanks for that.

jackie adams
03-31-2012, 11:16 AM
Reducing down Japanese martial arts and aikido to only a way of fighting omits a wealth of other knowledge and experiences broadening and enriching the practitioner. Worst of all, it renders the greater effectiveness of martial arts.

The world is a big place, I can't reduce the world to my little sphere of existence. Having that said, most of us who are taking Aikido, for example, don't need to prepare for battle, We are not soldiers who will go to war. Our daily lives don't dictate we must rely on the effectiveness of our training for self defense.

The bulk of martial arts teach as technique isn't effective any more warfare combat. Being aware of many types of modern wars from drug wars in Mexico to large scale wars of Africa and the Middle East, modern warfare techniques are favored. Martial arts are not used as they where when they came into existence in ancient times.

In our daily lives, for most, we have the luxury of not being attacked at any instant no matter where we go. We have police to protect us. We have a favorable societal structure, allowing us a freedom to live our lives without the constant need to use self-protection from violent attacks. If the decision is made to pursue a path of martial arts fighting, it is granted as a choice by way of fighting venues, not as a requirement for daily living.

The living topography of modern life not being consumed by the need for self protection allows greater freedoms to peruse interests. In turn, people then focus on their well being beyond combat needs. Our needs change. Martial art purpose changes to fulfill our other purposes. For examples, to exercise mind and body. To broaden our horizons. To be in something with other people; eliciting friendships, learning about ourselves and others. To fulfill our spiritual, moral, ethical needs. There are a myriad host of other areas in the human experience (including the tangible and abstract self defense) martial arts / Aikido offers benefits outside the combat experience.

Modern martial arts, and Aikido in particular are a great opportunity to expand a person's life in many areas. Because of that, martial arts/ Aikido has a greater appeal to a wider swath of society. All sorts of people from different walks of life, different backgrounds, different reasons to join a class. The result from a diverse population is sustainability of the martial arts as a whole. Therefore, delineating the greater purpose and effectiveness of martial arts - IMHO

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2012, 11:46 AM
Yes, but the topic is about martial ineffectiveness, or conversely effectiveness.

I agree that there are many benefits to a practice of budo in reference to the many great examples you give.

I don't entirely agree however, that as citizens we should allow ourselves to simply hand over our responsibilities of martial power and force to society or institutions simply because they ask us too, or we have painted a perspective that we have evolved to such a degree of civility that there is no longer a need to understand or possess martial competence.

I think there is a balance. I think as budoka you take on the roll, or should, of that of a warrior. It does not mean you need to walk around with a big stick or gun or be paranoid, a survivalist, or aggressive.

I think it does require you to think, understand the nature of violence, our society, how fragile peace really can be, and at some level realize the triggers of when you must stand up for something...and when not.

The institutions want you to become a passive sheep they can control. It makes life easier for society and manageable.

Having the courage to be an active and engaged citizen is important. It can be voting, protesting, military service, volunteer work, or any number of things that are important to you to promote.

However the luxury of peace we live in must be protected at the base level by the people and not the institutions and governments. I have seen too many bad things in areas where this is allowed to happen.

Budoka have a responsibilty .

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2012, 11:48 AM
so yeah...at some level it is important that martially we are effective in what could be called the fighting end of things.

lars beyer
03-31-2012, 02:57 PM
Yes, but the topic is about martial ineffectiveness, or conversely effectiveness.

I agree that there are many benefits to a practice of budo in reference to the many great examples you give.

I don't entirely agree however, that as citizens we should allow ourselves to simply hand over our responsibilities of martial power and force to society or institutions simply because they ask us too, or we have painted a perspective that we have evolved to such a degree of civility that there is no longer a need to understand or possess martial competence.

I think there is a balance. I think as budoka you take on the roll, or should, of that of a warrior. It does not mean you need to walk around with a big stick or gun or be paranoid, a survivalist, or aggressive.

I think it does require you to think, understand the nature of violence, our society, how fragile peace really can be, and at some level realize the triggers of when you must stand up for something...and when not.

The institutions want you to become a passive sheep they can control. It makes life easier for society and manageable.

Having the courage to be an active and engaged citizen is important. It can be voting, protesting, military service, volunteer work, or any number of things that are important to you to promote.

However the luxury of peace we live in must be protected at the base level by the people and not the institutions and governments. I have seen too many bad things in areas where this is allowed to happen.

Budoka have a responsibilty .

I feel your logic is a bit slippery because there is a very fine line between martial arts practise and paramilitary training..
Let me give you an example from real life:

I know a ninjutsu guy who was arrested for carrying a nunchaku on the street and he was subject to police surveillance for a period of time because the judge who sentenced him regard his ninjutsu school as a paramilitary organisation, which makes sence because they engage in modern tactical weapons practise, combat swimming, climbing buildings, stealthy night attack drills etc. I guess itīs a normal reaction to ask oneself why civilians need to know stuff like that ?
How effective do we need our martial skills to be in order to feel they are "up to date" so to speak..?
And why do we practise martial arts anyway? For me personally itīs a question of personal protection and development and thatīs it. You can only change yourself.
IMHO
Lars

Tim Fong
03-31-2012, 03:17 PM
Yes, but the topic is about martial ineffectiveness, or conversely effectiveness.

I agree that there are many benefits to a practice of budo in reference to the many great examples you give.

I don't entirely agree however, that as citizens we should allow ourselves to simply hand over our responsibilities of martial power and force to society or institutions simply because they ask us too, or we have painted a perspective that we have evolved to such a degree of civility that there is no longer a need to understand or possess martial competence.


Exactly. A democracy is supposed to allow everyone feedback in decision making. Some of the most crucial decisions are how a group of people are going to deal with violence, either inside the national community, or outside. If average citizens are not capable of facing and reflecting on the realities of violence, then they cannot make good, or even marginally competent decisions on the governance of same. I agree with what you say about turning over responsibility to institutions simply because they ask us to. Institutions are made up of people who have made some common agreements, or in a Boydian sense, share a common orientation. I think the problems arise when particular factions capture an institution and tilt its operation to their specific goals and objectives which may no longer reflect the common good of the people who have nominally accepted the institution's orientation. We might say that those who have captured the institution do have a common orientation, but theirs is to their own self-aggrandizement and personal profit.

Part of the problem too is what happens when members of a community no longer understand the principles of reciprocity and obligation, because it is from those fundamental building blocks that a community can prevent institutional capture. That tension, between personal and institutional loyalty is a longer topic, and probably beyond the scope of this thread. It is, however, part of an article I'm working on right now that will go out next week. Kind of appropriate that I found myself reading your post this afternoon.

Demetrio Cereijo
03-31-2012, 03:22 PM
How effective do we need our martial skills to be in order to feel they are "up to date" so to speak..?

As effective as is allowed in a society where the State has the legitimate monopoly over the means of violence.

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2012, 04:36 PM
I feel your logic is a bit slippery because there is a very fine line between martial arts practise and paramilitary training..
Let me give you an example from real life:

I know a ninjutsu guy who was arrested for carrying a nunchaku on the street and he was subject to police surveillance for a period of time because the judge who sentenced him regard his ninjutsu school as a paramilitary organisation, which makes sence because they engage in modern tactical weapons practise, combat swimming, climbing buildings, stealthy night attack drills etc. I guess itīs a normal reaction to ask oneself why civilians need to know stuff like that ?
How effective do we need our martial skills to be in order to feel they are "up to date" so to speak..?
And why do we practise martial arts anyway? For me personally itīs a question of personal protection and development and thatīs it. You can only change yourself.
IMHO
Lars

Didn't mean to imply that people need to run around with weapons or as ninjas...just that we need to have the courage and willingness to stand up and hold ourselves and others accountable. At the very basic level, however, it does mean the willingness to face physical conflict. It could be like Ghandi, or it could be in the form of armed resistance.

Agreed you can only change yourself, but you can also hold others responsible and accountable for their actions.

I can't really speak to what exactly civilians need to know. Each of us has to make our own decisions in that area. Agreed, in this day of firepower and technology it is difficult to keep skills up to date. Again, even if you simply have the willingness or courage to get involved, hold them accountable, that is what I think is important. Effectiveness can come in many ways and forms.

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2012, 05:05 PM
Kinda getting off topic, sorry for that. To get back on topic. I guess what I a, really saying is that budo is centered around basically seven virtues. As budoka it is our responsibility to be true to them. It can be tough to do, as we are constantly faced with compromises in our lives. Budo should give you the skills in order to learn to be strong and have courage to stand up for what you believe in.

Sometimes this is not comfortable nor does it go in line with the majority. So for me, it is not enough to feel good about yourself, but getting to the truth. Martially, budo should be giving us the skills we meed to do the right things even in the face of adversity.

bothhandsclapping
03-31-2012, 05:47 PM
Having stared hundreds of times into the eyes of a 105 year old zen master, I can assure you there is no greater martial effectiveness than knowing the workings of one's own mind ... all the techniques in the world will not help you in the presence of such a warrior.

To that end, is aikido an effective martial art? Does it help really you understand the workings of your own mind? Does your teacher teach this? Do you teach this?

observer
03-31-2012, 09:46 PM
For years I've read the discussions on this forum and I see that you are not at all interested in Morihei Ueshiba's art, but what is left after it, and today is called aikido. And this, in no case is a martial art, and hence the discussion about its effectiveness on the street does not make sense.

The Art of Morihei Ueshiba is ingeniously simple, effective as a martial art, and easy to master. It contains a modest resource (techniques), probably just too simple to meet commercial requirements. It basically boils down to two words. Avoid and kill. It is important to focus on all the selected techniques. Why these and not others of the possible thousands? And we are talking only about twelve (ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, shiho-nage, kote-gaeshi, irimi-nage, kaiten-nage, ude-kime-nage, juji-nage, koshi-nage and tenchi-nage). They are special. To understand it ask the question - how to achieve a goal if trained reflexes allow us to avoid the attack? Simple. Just make your opponent look up and then bend him down and hit his head on the ground to break the neck. No need at all to unhinge him (!!). These are the assumptions, the limit on the battlefield, and unacceptable in any way on the street.

I added my 2 cents on the adaptation of these dangerous assumptions to self-defense as shown on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5p1gYki0Zc). Among 12 techniques I focused on the middle of them. I brought the end of all the techniques into one. It let me control the projection by throwing the opponent on his back. By holding the opponent's hand his head is safe. What I proposed is similar to Morihei Ueshiba's approach, no less, he did not take into account the fact that the attacker will have the opportunity to repeat his attack.

My approach is related to the experience as a competitor, coach and referee in Judo. In most cases the competitor during the judo match is classified as stunned after the fall of the 'ippon' despite the fall in training thousands of times. And here I go back to topic trying to express my view on the effectiveness of martial arts on the street. It is not about that, as in sport, to establish your dominance by emaciation, or injury to an opponent. There is only one way to survive - you should intimidate him. Have him come up against the unexpected. Demonstrate your power.

bothhandsclapping
03-31-2012, 11:31 PM
Here's where we might be seeing the world a little differently ...

I'm sure it has been asked before, but given a martial artist in a tough neighborhood, in which case do we consider his art more effective ...
- He/she gets into a 'street fight' and 'wins' (however we choose to define it)?
- He/she does not get into a fight?

The corollary ... who is most likely to get in a street fight -
- The martial artist who is convinced that there is trouble coming, and hurries along.
- The martial artist who is convinced that there is trouble coming, but has trained 10 years for just this moment.
- The martial artist who understands that 'being convinced that there is trouble coming' is just a thought ... a thought that is free to come and go ... and so the thought goes..

The last question ... if being 'dominant' (the 2nd martial artist in the above question) is such an advantage, why is it that nearly every bar fight begins with a confrontation involving the biggest guy in there?

lars beyer
04-01-2012, 12:06 AM
Didn't mean to imply that people need to run around with weapons or as ninjas...just that we need to have the courage and willingness to stand up and hold ourselves and others accountable. At the very basic level, however, it does mean the willingness to face physical conflict. It could be like Ghandi, or it could be in the form of armed resistance.

Agreed you can only change yourself, but you can also hold others responsible and accountable for their actions.

I can't really speak to what exactly civilians need to know. Each of us has to make our own decisions in that area. Agreed, in this day of firepower and technology it is difficult to keep skills up to date. Again, even if you simply have the willingness or courage to get involved, hold them accountable, that is what I think is important. Effectiveness can come in many ways and forms.

I get your point, and I want to add that paramilitary training and uncontrolled spread of firearms leads to conflict and civil war.
We only need to look to those countries that Nato and UN have decided to engage.
It is my belief that Aikido can help change the world for the better, maybe not in a giant leap but inch by inch and it starts on the individual level.

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Groucho Marx

jackie adams
04-01-2012, 12:53 AM
Ineffectiveness is defined by effectiveness. I can't help to think there is more to effectiveness then to limit it to just individual physical performance in a control space or environment. In other words, I am talking about student evaluation of effectiveness in a dojo. Martial arts (synonymous with Aikido) is dependent on group dynamics.

If you don't have a training partner you can't practice. In that sequence of thought, if you only have one partner, you therefore limit the scope of your training experiences available; equate to knowledge and skill.

In contrast if you expand the scope of your training to include others and their experiences, you therefore increase your training experiences exponentially. The greater the training dynamic as a result of the contact with others increases both the knowledge and skill bases of all individuals. The more the merrier.

The interpretation in evaluating ineffectiveness or effectiveness, as they go hand in hand, based on a comprehensive scale rather than a minimal scale. Effectiveness is beyond both skill and skill set performance evaluation of any one individual. Determining what is effectiveness and ineffectiveness in a dojo is trumped by the value gained from the group training dynamic. The more people you train with, the more they offer. Therefore, the more there is to exchange with in all areas that the martial arts offers. Ineffectiveness is best determined by the scope of training partner experiences in and out of the dojo, and not solely on the individual's skill set performance.

lars beyer
04-01-2012, 03:01 AM
As effective as is allowed in a society where the State has the legitimate monopoly over the means of violence.

Without this monopoly there would be no state.. so it sounds a bit contradictory to me.

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2012, 04:17 AM
I get your point, and I want to add that paramilitary training and uncontrolled spread of firearms leads to conflict and civil war.
We only need to look to those countries that Nato and UN have decided to engage.
It is my belief that Aikido can help change the world for the better, maybe not in a giant leap but inch by inch and it starts on the individual level.

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Groucho Marx

I disagree that the firearms are the problem. They are tools which empower. The root problem is what needs to be addressed which is greed, imbalance of power, corruption etc. As it becomes institutionalized those in power want to take this away from those that don't have it.

In the countries that we are in as NATO and UN, the problems are much more complex than the weapons. Sure we are there because the weapons have empowered what ever cause or conflict is being fought, but they are not the root problem.

The ones you don't here much about where the people don't have any means or the willingness to fight back, well the attrotcities are there, just because we are not there does not mean they are not occurring. Yes, I think we do tend to get involved in areas where the people are armed.

I think there is probably a correlation most definitely to them being armed. We tend to go where people and governments have hope to make positive change. Without this willingness of the people to fight for themselves, then you really are wasting your time as eventually they will be subjugated again by the few.

Unfortunately in today's world possessing the means to fight back with force is a reality in most places. One day maybe this will change. Of course in the west, we do have the luxury of being able to do much of this with civil means. However, I think it is important for us to not lose sight of the fragile nature of this.

lars beyer
04-01-2012, 05:05 AM
I disagree that the firearms are the problem. They are tools which empower. The root problem is what needs to be addressed which is greed, imbalance of power, corruption etc. As it becomes institutionalized those in power want to take this away from those that don't have it.

In the countries that we are in as NATO and UN, the problems are much more complex than the weapons. Sure we are there because the weapons have empowered what ever cause or conflict is being fought, but they are not the root problem.

The ones you don't here much about where the people don't have any means or the willingness to fight back, well the attrotcities are there, just because we are not there does not mean they are not occurring. Yes, I think we do tend to get involved in areas where the people are armed.

I think there is probably a correlation most definitely to them being armed. We tend to go where people and governments have hope to make positive change. Without this willingness of the people to fight for themselves, then you really are wasting your time as eventually they will be subjugated again by the few.

Unfortunately in today's world possessing the means to fight back with force is a reality in most places. One day maybe this will change. Of course in the west, we do have the luxury of being able to do much of this with civil means. However, I think it is important for us to not lose sight of the fragile nature of this.

Itīs true we have the luxory to fight with civil means and itīs wise to continue along this path I think.
Cheers

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2012, 05:30 AM
Here's where we might be seeing the world a little differently ...

I'm sure it has been asked before, but given a martial artist in a tough neighborhood, in which case do we consider his art more effective ...
- He/she gets into a 'street fight' and 'wins' (however we choose to define it)?
- He/she does not get into a fight?

The corollary ... who is most likely to get in a street fight -
- The martial artist who is convinced that there is trouble coming, and hurries along.
- The martial artist who is convinced that there is trouble coming, but has trained 10 years for just this moment.
- The martial artist who understands that 'being convinced that there is trouble coming' is just a thought ... a thought that is free to come and go ... and so the thought goes..

The last question ... if being 'dominant' (the 2nd martial artist in the above question) is such an advantage, why is it that nearly every bar fight begins with a confrontation involving the biggest guy in there?

There are people in the world that live in areas for whatever reason that they cannot leave of avoid the circumstances they are in. Why do people persist on living in Darfur?

There are people all over the world that live in bad areas and are constantly at risk for violent encounters. They cannot avoid them, they are not asking for them..they are just there and it is their life.

I am sure they have developed habits and mechanisms to avoid and mitigate it as much as possible, but sometimes it is a reality that they must face it.

For many of us, this may hold true as well. At some point in our life, as much as we try, we may be faced with making tough choices about our actions. It may not matter how we live our lives, how much we go to church, how big or strong we are, or how much we stay in well lit areas etc....

At some point in time we may be faced with that which we have worked hard to avoid or mitigate.

So what do you do? What are you prepared to do? What choices do you make? What choices do you really have? How much dissonance are you experiencing?

We should not live our lives in fear of this or develop a survivalistic paranoia that has us looking costantly for potential trouble.

However, budo should be about achieving balance and awareness. Being martially effective is not just about knowing 12 killer moves, or intimidating, or avoidance either...it is about being mindful and prepared personally. It is about understanding self, your limitations, your triggers, your emotions, and understanding as much as possible your "enemies".

Can't answer why big guys get into bar fights. There is a lot of irrational stupidity in those situations that I tend to avoid. I have though gotten into those stupid things before and when I look back, yea...I was part to blame at some level for my involvement.

There have been other situations in which it was not intended and for whatever reason...well there I was....had to quickly figure out what I needed to do. Most times it was not exacerbating the situation and breaking the decision cycle of the risk I was facing and simply walking away. Others I have had to engage in someway, again quick action to disrupt the decision cycle of my "opponent" and decisive action helped me to minimize and mitigate the situation.

I'd say that my background in budo was very important because the methodology provided me a means to understand management of stress and fear. I've used that same methodology to train in weapons and to understand my limitations and capabilities in various scenarios. If trained correctly, it wires you to respond in appropriate ways.

So, I can't answer they various what ifs..or provide solutions to avoidance or mitigation necessarily. I can tell you that if you do train properly and appropriately that you will begin to understand self and begin to see things with an expanded perspective. The more you experience, the more data you have, the better decisions you can make, and hence the more effective you can be.

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2012, 05:32 AM
Itīs true we have the luxory to fight with civil means and itīs wise to continue along this path I think.
Cheers

By all means Lars! Thanks for the discussion!

lars beyer
04-01-2012, 07:16 AM
Okokok, Iīll shut up and fix my bike... thanks !

Lunatic Bodhisattva
04-01-2012, 09:20 AM
As everyone else has stated, it all depends on the situation. If you have a gun and I am more than 10 ft away from you I am running my ass off to remove my body from your sight.

If we are talking about physical confrontation with someone with equal or greater martial skill, good strong atemi is very likely the only way you will be able to gain control of your opponents center and execute any aikido technique.

I train and spar with a very talented long time martial artist trained in Ninjutsu from time to time and maybe one out of 7 battles I can control his center and pull off an aikido technique. This is always due to irimi, timing and a quality atemi. Quite frankly he is a far better Martial Artist then I, and he generally kicks my ass all over the place, so I am tickled to death when my timing, Atemi, and Irimi is correct and I can take his center, Hell I am overjoyed when I can land a strike!! *laughs*.

Some drunk yahoo at a bar who's feeling angry and real tough, I feel sorry for them cause they are going to be pinned with their nose to the floor in a couple of seconds after they decide to commit to violence. Anyone with a basic understanding of Aikido body movement and a few techniques under their belt should have no problem defending against a roundhouse punch and taking drunk bar guy to the ground.

Lastly I have to say that I agree I see weak attacks all the time in the dojo. A good attack doesn't have to be fast and strong, or full speed, in fact slow to medium with good intention and ki and good but not intense resistance is an amazing learning tool for how to do a technique properly and know if you have done it correctly. You can just feel when it is right and when you have taken Uke's center.
You don't have to go full speed but you should be trying to hit me, if I am there when the punch lands then that is my fault...

E

Aikibu
04-01-2012, 11:15 AM
Without this monopoly there would be no state.. so it sounds a bit contradictory to me.

Agreed.... The legitimized use of violence defines the state...at least that's an accepted premise among a vast majority of Western Political Scientists. ;)

William Hazen

lars beyer
04-02-2012, 04:33 AM
Agreed.... The legitimized use of violence defines the state...at least that's an accepted premise among a vast majority of Western Political Scientists. ;)

William Hazen

And a lot of Aikidokaīs. I think itīs ok to accept violence as a means to solve conflict, at least as long as people behave like apes thats the name of the game...but this should only make us aspire to set the bar higher.. No ?

Kevin Leavitt
04-02-2012, 05:04 PM
Yes, we should be striving for a higher bar. As long as we recognize reality.

lars beyer
04-03-2012, 04:51 AM
Yes, we should be striving for a higher bar. As long as we recognize reality.

Reality.. either a series of boring facts that will surely end all dreaming and reaching for higher goals
or a sphere where everything is possible if you believe in it.
Or somthing in between. I canīt stop likening Oīsensei to the guy in "the allegory of the cave" by Plato who walked out into the sun and saw something still a product of the same "reality" but removed from the schackles and restrictions of perception and expressing true freedom, like any other true art btw.

phitruong
04-03-2012, 07:14 AM
at least as long as people behave like apes thats the name of the game...but this should only make us aspire to set the bar higher.. No ?

of course you need to set the bar higher, them monkey can really climb. matter of fact, you should just put bars all around, safer that way. :)

jonreading
04-03-2012, 02:56 PM
The martial art that we call aikido is a technical curriculum whose application is in the art of man-to-man conflict. As civilians, we have some allowance to redefine this application to a broader sense of conflict, not necessarily militant.

I think if you argue to remove the successful demonstration of technical knowledge you are no longer talking about a martial art (a technical education), but rather a liberal art (a general education).

lars beyer
04-03-2012, 03:35 PM
The martial art that we call aikido is a technical curriculum whose application is in the art of man-to-man conflict. As civilians, we have some allowance to redefine this application to a broader sense of conflict, not necessarily militant.

I think if you argue to remove the successful demonstration of technical knowledge you are no longer talking about a martial art (a technical education), but rather a liberal art (a general education).

As far as I know Oīsensei redefined aikibudo to aikido in the course of his martial career..? He also stated that Aikido is the budo of love and compassion. He also engaged in religious activities in a religion that now promotes Esperanza because the goal is to unite all of mankind, to break down the barriers between "us and them".
I am no expert in Omoto Kyo at all, but I have read some of their texts and their goals and to me it seems that Aikido is the physical realisation of Omoto Kyo. Actually doing basic Aikido training
is practising Omoto Kyo principles.. This also goes very well in hand with the fact that Onosaburo Deguchi encouraged Oīsensei to use his martial skills to build a budo of love..?
So I guess in that sence we are allowed to define Aikido as liberal as we wish for as long as Aikido stays connected to itīs martial roots. And can still be considered a martial art. I think the true genius lies in the seemingly dualistic compromise we feel is somewhat a huge bite to chew that love and war are two pieces of the same puzzle.. they are inseperable in fact.

lars beyer
04-03-2012, 03:40 PM
of course you need to set the bar higher, them monkey can really climb. matter of fact, you should just put bars all around, safer that way. :)

Now youre talking ! We make a Zoo with people inside the cages behind glass and the animals on the outside having fun studying us.
:)

lars beyer
04-03-2012, 03:49 PM
Now youre talking ! We make a Zoo with people inside the cages behind glass and the animals on the outside having fun studying us.
:)

Maybe they allready do..:drool:

Kevin Leavitt
04-03-2012, 04:38 PM
As far as I know Oīsensei redefined aikibudo to aikido in the course of his martial career..? He also stated that Aikido is the budo of love and compassion. He also engaged in religious activities in a religion that now promotes Esperanza because the goal is to unite all of mankind, to break down the barriers between "us and them".
I am no expert in Omoto Kyo at all, but I have read some of their texts and their goals and to me it seems that Aikido is the physical realisation of Omoto Kyo. Actually doing basic Aikido training
is practising Omoto Kyo principles.. This also goes very well in hand with the fact that Onosaburo Deguchi encouraged Oīsensei to use his martial skills to build a budo of love..?
So I guess in that sence we are allowed to define Aikido as liberal as we wish for as long as Aikido stays connected to itīs martial roots. And can still be considered a martial art. I think the true genius lies in the seemingly dualistic compromise we feel is somewhat a huge bite to chew that love and war are two pieces of the same puzzle.. they are inseperable in fact.

Sure....you are free to do whatever u wish. People connect to things in different ways. However, I think you also have to consider that as real as MS Flight Simulator maybe....it still is not flying a real plane. I think at some point you cross the line and it ceases to become martial. Where that is...might be exactly hard to define, but for me, I also see no reason to compromise the martial integrity to achieve the same results. Unfortunately, in my experiences, I have seen enough examples of compromise that we have way too many people doing stuff that does not really quality as a quality practice.

jonreading
04-03-2012, 11:00 PM
I tend to agree with Kevin here. At some point there needs to be a concrete manifestation of separation where aikido movement is no longer considered martial. For me, that point is at least manifest if one cannot demonstrate the function of the martial aspect of the art.

I think if you argued a technical education as it related to law, or medicine, or engineering... Is a doctor able to maintain her license to practice medicine if she cannot competently perform surgery? What about a lawyer? They went to school. They received an education. But there is a practicality component to a technical education that aikido people sometimes ignore. This is not necessarily a problem if we cease to consider our education technical. The problem comes in when we think we are doctors with our 5 year liberal arts degree in appreciating Pink Floyd's "The Wall" album...

I think we face a challenge to either perform a technical function (and retain our technical education status as a martial art) or leave behind the technical designation and embrace a general education that allows us to pursue personal ideology.

bothhandsclapping
04-03-2012, 11:42 PM
I presume that when Ueshiba named his art, there already was the understanding that a 'do' was an art that had transitioned away from purely technical (practical) utility. I could be mistaken here.

Is it possible it's his students that continually want to bring aikido back from the land of 'do'.

What do you make of him kneeling in seiza, his students rushing in, laying hands on the top of his head and then doing a forward roll?

Kevin Leavitt
04-04-2012, 01:49 AM
I tend to agree with Kevin here. At some point there needs to be a concrete manifestation of separation where aikido movement is no longer considered martial. For me, that point is at least manifest if one cannot demonstrate the function of the martial aspect of the art.

I think if you argued a technical education as it related to law, or medicine, or engineering... Is a doctor able to maintain her license to practice medicine if she cannot competently perform surgery? What about a lawyer? They went to school. They received an education. But there is a practicality component to a technical education that aikido people sometimes ignore. This is not necessarily a problem if we cease to consider our education technical. The problem comes in when we think we are doctors with our 5 year liberal arts degree in appreciating Pink Floyd's "The Wall" album...

I think we face a challenge to either perform a technical function (and retain our technical education status as a martial art) or leave behind the technical designation and embrace a general education that allows us to pursue personal ideology.

I agree and had the same thought, concerning something along the lines of demonstrating technical proficiency or accountability. I think that by nature aikido (or aikidoka) tend to de-emphasize the technical education in an attempt to prevent aikido from turning into a rote mechanical, step-by-step processed practice. This has probably been the greatest challenge for me to reconcile in my own practice. I hope that I am at a point now where I can interpret and assess what I consider to be "Quality". I think I have reached that through an number of awesome teachers both in Aikido and other arts over the last 20 years of training.

When we look at methodology for training, I think it is best to maybe train in some more basic fundamentals that would provide a foundation prior to doing a more advanced practice such as Aikido.

I think alot of the issue may be that many teachers in Aikido simply teach what they learned or what they are interested in working on. If you are going to get a PhD in Nuclear Physics, you don't enroll in the PhD program, you spend some time/years on some fundamentals that lead up to that practice.

Unfortunately, in most aikido organizations, we hang up a sign that say "aikido classes....come join"..and we through beginners into a methodology that while they like the fact that it is gentle, they agree with the philosophy and can identify with the dojo members...they simply do not have the fundamentals, training, or have developed the prerequiste structure to begin such a practice.

So, we have a high failure rate of students sticking with the art.....of those that stay...you end up with people that have prefected what I call "dojo-fu" and can follow the patterns and movements, and yes, they become very good at "aikido". However, from my obeservations, they operate in some very tight constraints and conditions. They conduct class they way they were taught, they cannot interpret or synthesize new concept well, teaching adaptively with students that present different challenges and paradigms well. They stick to the agenda, or "reciepe" that "sensei" taught them since that is what they know. In alot of cases, at each generations, without synthesis, or exposure, a small bit is lost along they way in translation.

I think if the model were to teach students to a basic black belt level a very solid, fundamental martial curriculum, then say, after 5 years of so...then "graduated" to a "aiki" level of curriclum then you'd be better of then taking the "one size fits all" 0 to 60 MPH curriculum that we tend to do.

That said, I have also seen aikido instructors without a solid background try establish a basic/fundamental basic practice...and it ends up being a static "one-step" process that EVERYONE reaches the conclusion that it is a waste of time.

Personally, i feel there is probably a reason that most Sensei I have respected and feel are worth there weight have spent a great deal of time in arts like Muay Thai, Judo, and BJJ where they learn how to move in non-cooperative environments. I am also intriqued by the IS/IP methods that are being done as well as a method of development/preparation. However, a hodge-podge of the two, don't seem to work well.

PeterR
04-04-2012, 02:37 AM
Japanese martial arts have a long tradition of linking philosophy/religion with practice but I do think Aikido tends to suffer more of the philosophy dictating the practice rather than growing out of and guiding the practice. This manifests itself at the beginners level and all the way up to instructors.

I still remember being visited in the first dojo I opened up with an earnest young man clutching his little red book (shades of Mao but it was John Steven's) insisting what I was doing was not Aikido. I still wonder how his views changed once he actually started training but the truism is that many people who come to the art already have a very strong opinion what that art is supposed to be.

The principles of Aikido practice are in the waza. The training using paired practice, drills and randori are meant to make those waza martially effective and through them we can incorporate the philiosophy.

PeterR
04-04-2012, 05:20 AM
Perhaps I should add that Aikido has become a victim of its own popularity. These is so much out there both in book form and the internet that someone new to the art is already fully loaded with the various interpretations of philosophy that it is easy to forget the base of the art.

Benjamin Green
04-04-2012, 09:36 AM
How do you measure martial ineffectiveness?

Can the person deal with a decent attack? Can they reliably stop the other guy?

Of course in order to do that you have to have people who are skilled at attacking - and that's where a lot of aikido clubs seem to fall down. The minute you lose that selection pressure the rest of it starts to go squify.

To a certain extent, if you know what a decent attack looks like, you can just eyeball it. Some things you can look at and see how wide open the other person is - how inefficient their movement. And you know, sure as sure, if that's the best they can do, you could take them.

It's harder to judge relative skill. You can generally tell if you can take someone less skilled than you - but it can be hard to judge who's just a little bit more skilled than someone else when they're both less skilled than you. Then again, I'm not sure whether there's much merit in measuring such small differences in skill to begin with. One or two belts between people... a lot of the time, it could still go either way, in my opinion.

Can you do so in a dojo?

A fair bit of what someone'd actually do in a fight just comes down to what sort of person they are. As far as the effectiveness of their technical skills goes though - sure.

lars beyer
04-04-2012, 11:55 AM
Sure....you are free to do whatever u wish. People connect to things in different ways. However, I think you also have to consider that as real as MS Flight Simulator maybe....it still is not flying a real plane. I think at some point you cross the line and it ceases to become martial. Where that is...might be exactly hard to define, but for me, I also see no reason to compromise the martial integrity to achieve the same results. Unfortunately, in my experiences, I have seen enough examples of compromise that we have way too many people doing stuff that does not really quality as a quality practice.

"You have seen enough".. that sort of explains it all.
Peace
Lars

Chris Evans
08-20-2012, 10:15 AM
"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast".

This is an adage in the tactical shooting arena. The goal of tactical shooting is to draw and put effective rounds as fast as possible on the target. There are a couple of elements. one, you want to be faster than the other guy. Yes, but you also want to be accurate.

So in order to train that, you have to imprint the right patterns of movement. So, by slowing down, you gain accuracy. Training this way allows you to imprint good and correct habits, which allow you to gradually increase speed until you can find the sweet spot between speed and accuracy.

So, even in practices where martial effectiveness is even MORE relevant like CQB, Combatives I spend my coaching time trying to get guys to slow the heck down more than I ask them to speed up!

If you can't do it right slow...adding speed is going to make it better? in most cases no. However sometimes speed and audacity count for alot too! usually not....we strive for a better product than one that depends on timing and luck!

George, that is a really great post. Thanks for that!

George's post is awesome, but George already received well deserved kudos, I'll chime in here.

Good observations here.