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Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 04:22 PM
Ok first of all English is not my native language, so be indulgent with my grammar and typos.

I practiced over 20 years ago boxing - for 3 years and with decent results. However, I have always been attracted to Aikido. It is immediately patent how difficult it is, yet it always seemed to me the ultimate, final conception for fighting.
Unpractical, true: yet since the aim of boxing is the cerebral incapacitation of your adversary, if you defend yourself with boxing and (ouch how unlucky.......) you find your adversary doesn't fall at your first blow, and not even at your second or third, you find yourself engaged in a regular beating and if nobody intervenest to stop the both of you, you and your adversary, with naked hands, are going to inflict each other permanent damages - you will remember that day every time you look in the mirror.
That's how serious that can be.

So, Aikido though difficult is a better conception: if (if) a tecnique is successful, game over and with minimal damage.

Now, I am a beginner, and yet i have seen thus far 5 aikido gyms. Why 5? Because at first I thought I landed in the wrong gym - it's only now that I see that _all_ gyms are like that.

No later than today a black belt could not do sankyo on me - he cpontinued handling my wrist, with scarce success. I must emphasize that I did not oppose any active resistance - i was simply offering my normal posture and stance in such a case. With 25 years of bodybuilding on my shoulders, you can image what could have happened if instead than just offering my normal stance, I would have offered an active and dynamic resistance.
The black belt concluded "well, that's ok anywya, by now you would have been in the hospital".

Arguably, he thought that by wrnagling a bit a strong man's wrist, one may inflict damage.

How does that happen? because in 99% of the gyms, apparently, UKE is a joke. Uke is indulgent and complacent, and actively helps you to delude yourself into the idea that you have learned aikido.
Do these person know what being in a fight with a 180cm tall boxeur with a _mild_ boxing experience means? I have seen by now endless black belts who would be simply overwhelmed by a strong opponent determined to inflict harm. EVIL exists.

It's all fictional. And people end up believing their own fictions.
Now, I know I am being unpopular, but this is a dramatically serious issue for me, because I DO LIKE Aikido and I wish I could learn it.
How?

There was a Zen story of a man who wanted to learn the art of the sword, and his master accepted him as a pupil only if he would have stayed in his house as a servant and ask no questions. For 2 years the guy cooked and cleaned in the house. No fighting or lessons ever occurred. He was about to break the deal and ask when he was going to learn the art of the sword, when the master one day attacked him, with a wooden sword, with such a vehemence that he was badly beaten up and he bled. Since then, every day, many times a day, without any forewarn, he was brutally attacked. Most of his days ended up with injuries and pains. Eventually, he was forced to defend himself or succumb and, in utter desperation, he learned under severe punishment to feel his body as an holistic totality. Form that moment on he started to feel the attack and to follow the flow, and in less than 3 years he become a master of the art.

It may be only a story, but it comes out from one of those old Japan milieus when martial arts were a serious thing.

I have a question. Since most aikido gyms will actively cooperate to corrupt me, what can I do (besides keeping attending the dojo) to develop the presence, the self awareness in combat: any exercises I could do on my own?
I have no real uke, and no one would fight with me - i asked them if we could use the dojo to one to one active combat techniques - i am ready to be "beaten up" for 3 years like in the japanese story: they seemed shocked even by the prospect. To them, techniques are that stupid flaccid menuet they make 5 minutes every other day.

I need the real thing. I need A-I-K-I-D-O, and I need to practice it over and over again, not a few minutes per lesson as it normally occurs only to become another one who does nothing and then thinks "oh, I have sent him to the hospital"...

Any idea? I am desperate. I have no interlocutor.

chillzATL
04-22-2010, 04:56 PM
I have a question. Since most aikido gyms will actively cooperate to corrupt me, what can I do (besides keeping attending the dojo) to develop the presence, the self awareness in combat: any exercises I could do on my own?
I have no real uke, and no one would fight with me - i asked them if we could use the dojo to one to one active combat techniques - i am ready to be "beaten up" for 3 years like in the japanese story: they seemed shocked even by the prospect. To them, techniques are that stupid flaccid menuet they make 5 minutes every other day.

I need the real thing. I need A-I-K-I-D-O, and I need to practice it over and over again, not a few minutes per lesson as it normally occurs only to become another one who does nothing and then thinks "oh, I have sent him to the hospital"...

Any idea? I am desperate. I have no interlocutor.

Well... where to start.. you just have to keep looking for a dojo that trains the way you want. I'll be honest though. In the end, you may find out that Aikido just isn't for you. Aikido dojo that train hard and fast and simply expect you to keep up are few and far between.

At the very least you've come to the right place to start your search anew. If there's a dojo near you that trains the way you're looking to train, someone here will know of it.

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 05:20 PM
Well... where to start.. you just have to keep looking for a dojo that trains the way you want. I'll be honest though. In the end, you may find out that Aikido just isn't for you. Aikido dojo that train hard and fast and simply expect you to keep up are few and far between.

At the very least you've come to the right place to start your search anew. If there's a dojo near you that trains the way you're looking to train, someone here will know of it.

The black belt comes forward with a wooden knife.
I am supposed to do kote gaeshi.
I step backward. It's more than enough.

The black belt says: do the technique.
he comes forward. I do tenkan. It's more than enough.

The black belt stares at me: do the technique.

He comes forward with the knife once again.
I make one step on my side. It is more than enough.

The guys screams: do the technique.

"I just did".
LOL

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 05:51 PM
Ahhhhh. This is why I love forums. They keep my mind ticking.

Do you know what my plea was for?
Now I get it, and it was so simple!

RANDORI !

However, now: how can i manage to explain to these guys in a polite manner I would need randori every time? The gym is not there for me alone.

Randori everyday would be the right (and even Aikido orthodox!) answer.

Randori ladies and gentlemen. Randori.
Give your pupils a chance to be creative, to feel the dynamics, to start experiencing themselves within a really dynamic setting. Give them a chance to make lots of mistakes in a setting that is alive.

Why should a person who feels a passion for aikido be willing to settle down performing like a determined lemur who tries to wrangle a wrist in desperate and utterly blind attempts to implement a technique as if s/he were a zombie?

Randori.
Make your pupils run, jump, dodge, and enjoy dynamic attempts to apply the techniques that flow naturally from within themselves. Your true master is within: how can you meet Him if you can experience your natural flow only occasinally?
Make them face arms placed in ways that are random, and no longer complacent for the purpose.

I dream of a world where any Aikido gym would devote 30 mins to techniques and 30 minutes to collective randori.
That would make your pupils truly spin.

Michael Hackett
04-22-2010, 05:53 PM
Alberto,
There are two sides to this story. Some dojo do practice with an utter lack of martial effectiveness and some are incredibly martial. Even in the most martial dojo, they start new students off gently, with the idea of causing them no harm until they can take ukemi safely. Could the black belt have put an effective sankyo on you? Maybe, maybe not. If he had the skill to do so, it could have been dangerous and damaging to do to a new student, body-building boxer or not.

Find a dojo that you feel comfortable in, try it their way for three months and see if you are getting what you are looking for. If not, move on to something or somewhere else. Remember that Aikido, just like boxing, requires learning some fundamental building blocks for your future training. What seems weak and ineffectual today may prove valuable as your training progresses. And, unfortunately, it may prove weak and ineffectual. I hope you find what you are looking for and need.

chillzATL
04-22-2010, 07:11 PM
I'm having a hard timing understanding what your problem is then... It just sounds like you already know what you want to do In any given situation, so why bother going? Seriously. Why are you there if you think what you are doing is already better than what they are trying to teach you? From your last example that is clearly where the problem is. It's no different than if you boxing coach said "tonight were going to work on the jab" and everytime he tells you to throw a jab you throw a cross instead. He keeps saying "give me you best jab" and you keep throwing the cross saying "that is my best jab!"

Janet Rosen
04-22-2010, 07:26 PM
You cannot walk into a party where everybody is speaking Portuguese and, because you know some Italian, expect to join in the conversation. You may memorize some phrases, but at some point you need to start with words, then sentences, finally paragraphs. And you need to be able to both speak AND listen to the language.

Aikido dojo mostly don't call what they do "kata" and the black belts at your dojo did you a disservice by trying to "apply" a technique to you using muscle instead of backing up and explaining the rationale for fully cooperative kata-based training. If your body does not have a chance to learn and practice over and over again SUCCESSFULLY the proper building blocks of each attack and each technique (and yes, successfully for a beginner means no resistence), then you may do something in randori but it won't be aikido.

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 07:35 PM
Jason, lol.

As stated I knew I was going to be unpopular; but I also found my answer though, and as stated it was even an orthodox one: randori.

However let me explain better to you what may have been given as implied and yet may not be so implied for everyone.

If in Aikido I avoid an attack - that is indeed my best technique: I mean, if the tenet that aikido is meant to avoid fighting holds true, that is quintessential aikido then LOL

This was obviously said, then as now, in an humourous intention.

The underlying issue is another one: our way of teaching aikido is flawed. We put on the tatami all these pupils and we make them practice for years with complacent ukes.

Do you have an idea what kind of impression it may give to a newcomer, who happens not the be utterly stupid after all, seeing black belts that are patently unable to manage even the simplest situation, namely that are called in by the sensei to illustrate a technique and after 7 attempts they still totally fail and the sensei has to take over and illustrate it himself?

It clearly makes the newcomer understand that, in the process, there must have been something broken. It alerts him/her that there is a danger that must be avoided.

Let me see if I can explain this even better using your example; in boxing, I was flung almost immediately on the ring: my "uke" was landing real blows. I was in a desperate situation and I HAD to react with REAL jabs.

If uke does not make me feel there is going to be a fight, I am not going to fight.

You say: alberto, you're a moron! you are learning.
Yes, the only problem being: they are going to give me that treatement even if I would have been there 10 years. How ukes attack me, is the very same way they attack black belts, simply. It's a fact, unfortunately. I don't mean everywhere, I am not so naive: but in most dojos, it seems so.

I want ukes that attack. I want ukes that slam me down if i fail. I want to fail and fail and fail because Jason, there is only a way to learn: make your pupils face attacks that are not complacent. From day zero. The habit to face that situation must grow in your pupil parallel and simultaneously to learning the techniques.

Randori may be enough of an answer to this issue, yet it is not a part of daily workouts, but rather an exception - at least here.
It would be _essential_!

Teach to me the techinque at first: I am fine with it. But then treat me like a man: attack me, and attack me as a man.

I am going to try the technique on you, positive, and fail, granted. But not like a zombie that obeys to orders. I want first to dodge, i want to feel myself in the movement, in the flow of an action.

What I see are invarably endless fictional attacks, that do not seem tailored to my weak consitution lol, but in store for me also for the future.
Attack me - FORCE me to react. Make me feel that if i haven't the courage to err, my life could be a stake in a real fight. Our attacks are already necessarily a fiction, there is no need to make them even more fictional.

Randori. Make me find the master within. Make each pupil find his/her own aikido. If you spare your child the risk of falling, s/he will never learn how to walk with his/her gait.

You may do no aikido if you do only randori, but i have seen too many by now that do no randori and no aikido too!

danj
04-22-2010, 08:37 PM
Hi Alberto,

Aikido Kata are paired practice and are the techniques and responses to techniques practiced the world over to learn the form of technique and the safe escape/ defense to technique. The problem with the kata is it doesn't work...its true and has been demonstrated many times by many people.

When you look at solo karate kata you also see also that it doesn't work.. in the sense that the long deep stances and elaborate feet and hand movements aren't often done in kumite/sparring.

Randori/ tanninzugake/ jiyuwaza are a chance to play with the kata but still under controlled circumstances and the norms developed during the kata allow us to do so safely. To much randori without a foundation in kata leads to scrappy aikido. At the end of the day this practice is also with its flaws, governed by uke largely but also by the need for safety.

Bunkai or the application of kata is why we see O'Sensei doing, the technique disappears and its just aiki (being truly in harmony with an opponent..rather than in a flowery way) Its where we all want to get to but it takes some tim (unfortunately many are stuck back at kata and believing that its the end point)

One approach is to find something/someone that satisfies you that aikido can and does work (you sound like you have found the desire from somewhere), once you have done that you shouldn't need to do it every time you step into a dojo... so cast it aside! Then suspend disbelief in daily practice for a period and trust the learning process to get you to your goal.

best,
dan

PS You might enjoy rik-ellis.blogspot.com as an MMA artist that cites aikido as a major influence.

Also one of my teachers David Brown Sensei (http://www.aikidorepublic.com/what-is-aikido/deshi-next-generation/davidbrownsensei) has had some success in working with professional fighters and kareteka.

best,
dan

CurtisK
04-22-2010, 08:43 PM
First you have to clarify for yourself that it is not Aikido you want to learn and live, you just want to learn Aiki(do) techniques.

There are arts such as Aiki-jitsu, forms of Daitorya, and many other martial arts I'm sure that might structure their training a bit more to your liking, but all of them will feel slow when you're in a hurry. (No, I would have no idea where to find this training). However, as you have already learned, you wont fit in at most Aikido dojo's because your goals will be different than everyone elses.

I see three options

1) Patience, practice & persistence. Find the best (of the bad) dojo suited to you and spend a few years learning. Please try not to injure too many other beginners (or sempie), respect sensei and the dojo rules. Maybe even learn Aikido, emphasis on the do.

2) Find some personal Aiki(do) training. Either by yourself or maybe with a few like-minded friends of similar interests, look for a large, strong skilled Yoshodan with access to a dojo and bills to pay.

3) Look for another martial art more suited to your preferred learning style, including the Aiki ones.

Good luck and remember I say all of this without judgement. I have no cause to expect anyone else to want to train or live on the same path I happened to choose. The world may be safer but I admit it would be awfully boring.

Edit: For the record, I like Daniel James post better and may not have written mine if it had been there first :)

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 09:23 PM
First you have to clarify for yourself that it is not Aikido you want to learn and live, you just want to learn Aiki(do) techniques.

There are arts such as Aiki-jitsu, forms of Daitorya, and many other martial arts I'm sure that might structure their training a bit more to your liking, but all of them will feel slow when you're in a hurry. (No, I would have no idea where to find this training). However, as you have already learned, you wont fit in at most Aikido dojo's because your goals will be different than everyone elses.

I see three options (...)

Edit: For the record, I like Daniel James post better and may not have written mine if it had been there first :)

Thank you Curtis.
Yes I agree, I liked a lot Daniel's reply too.

The fact is: I don't take what I engage in lightlhearthedly. I see myself that most persons seem to find in Aikido more of a workout routine than a real training to fight.
Some guys avoid me in fact - they complain I don't "follow" them when they try a technique. Not sure what they mean. They can't ground me and they complain *I* was mistaken. It makes me feel sad because they make me feel as if I was doing something bad to them.

To be honest, most of them in a real fight would likely be overwhelmed. After you train for years with Ukes that don't retreat their arms once they strike so to leave it conveniently placed for your technique, it is fatal that in a real fight most (most, not all of course) would simply find themselves out of tune.

Perhaps it should be emphasized that if I would have been my intention to hurt somebody, I would have never thought of aikido in the first place, of course.

So, if you think that desiring to learn Aikido for use in a real fight makes me unfit for Aikido, what is aikido for, and who is the ideal candidate for it then?

I saw a few videos of something that they called "Real Aikido" - that was more my thing, but in Italy we haven't them and I read a few comments by other aikidokas that said that wasn't aikido uh.

I was under the impression (no irony implied, to be sure) that, being rubricated as a martial art, it was meant to train you to use those techniques in a real fight.
Is it not so? And if it is not so, it is not so now but maybe it was different in the past, or has it become like this over time?

The dojos I saw seem all built up in order to accommodate persons who do not take it too seriously: 1 hour where you actually practice maybe 5 minutes at best, every time several different techinques (which does not contribute to avoid confusion!), randori as a rarity, and ukes that are very gentle regardless of your level.

My ideal setting: 1 hour, 30 minutes of slow techniques (just as now), then 30 minutes with a dedicated partner either to repeat those techniques as many times as you prefer, or for randori.

The fact such would be my ideal setting places me as unfit for Aikido given how most average dojos are, or as unfit under an "ontological" perspective?

Thank you!

Rob Watson
04-22-2010, 10:03 PM
Sweet.
I was just like you and I got what I asked for ... it hurt, a lot, and I found out that I really didn't learn very much that way (not much aikido anyway). I'm sure if you are very up front with the sensei of any dojo they will either tell you 'no thanks' or they will hand you your ass - I don't think you will learn much aikido that way either. It's possible you might but I think it will be a rarity.

A good balance of 'traditional' kata style practice so you can learn the forms with some randori and jiyukeiko will give you a good chance to 'play'. Make no mistake randori is also structured and is not a 'free for all'. Also, private lessons so you can get what you think you need on a regular basis. I think this mix will work in most any art.

The real problem is you are fit and think you can fight and probably can handle a great many aikidoka. Also your idea about stepping back and tenkan or avoidance is actually not at all the aikido I know so it does not work in the slightest. One must dominate and control totally from the first instant or it is not the aikido I know. Since you have what I consider a fatal misconception of aikido you gotta sort that out before getting to far along.

Of course, I don't know very much and I'm not very good so I'm likely completely wrong. I have made several very strong and scary fellows with evil in their hearts and vile intentions about my person cry and beg for mercy ... a bit of sankyo was involved.

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 10:23 PM
Yes sankyo and nikkyo are painful.
The point is: I do not want to make "cry and beg for mercy" anyone. Actually, I never complained for any sankyo or nikkyo. A thin girl said to me she did not mean to hurt me with nikkyo, I told her: I am here to help you to learn too, "you're a petite woman and if a big man grabs your wrist, I would not be too considerate" - do nikkyo as it is meant to be done, and I shall take care of the pain.

We just haven't these ukes.

I just wish I could train in a realistic environment, that is. It has nothing to do with sadism.
Not everybody learns in the same way, but all dojos by now seem to assume there is only one way.

This is more or less the type of answers I expected however. Once most dojos are structured that way, no wonder many persons believe (rightly or wrong is immaterial - for the same perception never arises from karate or boxing, for instance) Aikido can't be used in real fights.

I will settle down with Daniel's reply: "Then suspend disbelief in daily practice for a period and trust the learning process to get you to your goal.". It seems to me the wiser one, integrating it with Curtis': "Find the best (of the bad) dojo suited to you and spend a few years learning."
Private lessons would probably suit me better but I just can't afford them.

Thank you to all.

CurtisK
04-22-2010, 10:26 PM
I have no authority to speak for any never mind all, but most "do" arts are not intended to train you to use techniques in real fights. This does not mean the knowledge can not be applied outside the dojo, it just mean this is not a focus of the training.

My sensei commonly makes refferences to how the thought/action behind a technique would be modified for a real life situation. I've always got the impression he does this since we have a diverse class and he does his best to engage everyone and keep things interesting. However, from him, much reading I have done, personal experience and many, many topics on this very forum, it would be a very unconventional situation for an Aikidoka ever to need to use martial skills is any real life situation. This is part of the "do" in Aikido.

Now forget what I wrote, it applies but... I agree with you. I dont want to train to learn to fight better, but being relativaly new I'm addicted and want to train more and harder for no other reason that I enjoy it. Not that I'm "better" than anyone in my class, but I want stronger, more real uke simply because it is more intersting and I feel I learn more. Sometime I speak up and say "hold tighter" or pull/push harder, but I also realize that they are there for their training not mine.

Things I do:

- I know who the soft students are and avoid them when possible, but practice best I can very politely when we are partnered
- Practice all the movements I know, going over the techniques in my mind, at home daily. This helps me teach my body to know what to do; so rather than me having to think about how to do it during class, I can focus on how to do it better.
- I'm taking classes with a friend and we practice some techniques together outside of class. We do our best not to get ahead of ourselves and focus solely on sharing our understanding of what sensei taught us.

Most important thing I have learned so far in AIkido that would help in a real fight: balance. Mine and my opponents. This includes knowing the line of attack and not being there.

Shadowfax
04-22-2010, 10:29 PM
Just keep searching for a place that suits you.

On first reading your original post I had the same impression of some of the others here. Then I read more and I thought I thought about what you are saying and I think I can understand where you are coming from. Your last post especially made it clear to me.

I also like to train hard and fast and I tend to prefer someone to not baby me or go easy on me. I do have the good fortune to have a sensei and dojo mates who don't get mad if they can't move me and don't see it as a flaw in me but rather look at it as an opportunity to work on themselves. I've had a few in early days who did pull the if you don't move I could break your arm card.... it happens. its just frustration speaking. Ignore that and just train. Actually learning to follow your partner when you are uke has useful benefits. You will find it helps you to learn just as much about connection as being nage, not to mention eventually you learn how to spot openings in order to reverse the technique. :D

I have heard that there are those out there who don't have this point of view about heavy ukes. Trust me there are dojos that don't take this view. You just have to find them.

My dojo is not the, beat you till you figure it out type, but is also not overly soft. It's a nice middle road. We do lots of paired slow work. Its very important to do so. Teaching the body how to move in the patterns of the technique.

But yeah I like randori and jyu waza and kaeshiwaza and so on. They allow us to explore what we have learned and see what things we have going well and what things we need work on. Fortunately these are a regular feature in my classes. Even the beginners get to play with them a bit. But it definitely shows the vast difference in time spent working on paired kata between a first timer and a 5th kyu and a 5th kyu and a shodan and so on.

Anyway I think I do understand your frustration. I hope you find what you are searching for. I can speak for the satisfaction of training in a dojo that is exactly right for your needs.

CurtisK
04-22-2010, 10:32 PM
Also, for the record, your English is just fine and better than many native speakers who grew up in the Internet age.

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 10:49 PM
I dont want to train to learn to fight better, but being relativaly new I'm addicted and want to train more and harder for no other reason that I enjoy it. Not that I'm "better" than anyone in my class, but I want stronger, more real uke simply because it is more intersting and I feel I learn more

p-r-e-c-i-s-e-l-y.

I don't seek a "more realistic" opportunity because I want to fight, but because I feel the real paradigm beyond the whole thing ought to be that one - the _real_ fight.
Practicing Aikido without striving for that paradigm, seems pointless to me.

You used a magnificent word - maybe because I am more of a pessimistic guy it did not come to my mind: "enjoy".

Fighting is enjoyable. And it is a magnificent way to structure a personality, not a fighter.

When you also say "I am not better than anyone in my class", I am totally with you there. It is in fact my greatest fear that, if I voice my learning needs, they may believe I feel better or superior to them, or that the Sensei may feel annoyed.

I just need the action.

Take Kote gaeshi. Do you know what I'd need?
A guy that attacks me with a punch. I start retreating or dodging, and he KEEPS attacking me. Once I FEEL the magic moment for ME has arrived, I'll try the technique - and I will fail miserably NO PROBLEM! but I dream of the possibility to learn it in a setting where my whole being may be called in.

I wish I could just try only a PART of the technique, and this precisely because I am NO superior to anyone. If uke attacks me with a punch, my tendency would be to cross with my jabs, of course. Instead now I need to brush aside his arm and also grab it.

This alone, would need me to be attacked repeatedly in order to make the mere brushing aside and grabbing (I'd think of the Kote gaeshi after I assimilate that part!) as FLUENCY, as something that comes out of my whole being. Which will simply never happen if I train 2 minutes on it every ten days, since techniques vary constantly.

I leatrn the technique first like a dummy. Then, I am called in a real action.
I dodge, I step back, I wait to feel either the right moment for me or a real danger. Then I try a part of the technique. And we start back.

The aikidokas look at me with puppy eyes - do the technique, I am here with this still arm for you...
But I need to dance.

Abasan
04-22-2010, 11:06 PM
If you are sincere in learning, you will find your teacher one day. But keep training. Sometimes we have preconceived notions. Keep asking too.

Form be gets function. You do have to learn the form to understand function. But sticking to form won't be effective till you achieve function. If your dojo mates get stuck in their forms, then you know they have yet to understand function. Maybe they are still in the process of achieving it, so bear with them. At the same time, your sensei and senior belts must be able to show you they have grasp function over form, otherwise you'll never learn much in that dojo.

Look for good teachers to attend their seminars. Don't worry about affiliations at this stage. If you get the chance to meet Inoue (Shihan?Sansho?), then do so. Ask him what's aiki. Tell him those brutes in Aikikai keep thinking pain is enough to take a boxer down (:D)

ChrisHein
04-22-2010, 11:11 PM
My ideal setting: 1 hour, 30 minutes of slow techniques (just as now), then 30 minutes with a dedicated partner either to repeat those techniques as many times as you prefer, or for randori.


At our school we do an hour of forms (technique) followed by an hour of Randori. There are schools out there for you, you just have to keep looking.

chillzATL
04-22-2010, 11:22 PM
p-r-e-c-i-s-e-l-y.

I don't seek a "more realistic" opportunity because I want to fight, but because I feel the real paradigm beyond the whole thing ought to be that one - the _real_ fight.
Practicing Aikido without striving for that paradigm, seems pointless to me.

You used a magnificent word - maybe because I am more of a pessimistic guy it did not come to my mind: "enjoy".

Fighting is enjoyable. And it is a magnificent way to structure a personality, not a fighter.

When you also say "I am not better than anyone in my class", I am totally with you there. It is in fact my greatest fear that, if I voice my learning needs, they may believe I feel better or superior to them, or that the Sensei may feel annoyed.

I just need the action.

Take Kote gaeshi. Do you know what I'd need?
A guy that attacks me with a punch. I start retreating or dodging, and he KEEPS attacking me. Once I FEEL the magic moment for ME has arrived, I'll try the technique - and I will fail miserably NO PROBLEM! but I dream of the possibility to learn it in a setting where my whole being may be called in.

I wish I could just try only a PART of the technique, and this precisely because I am NO superior to anyone. If uke attacks me with a punch, my tendency would be to cross with my jabs, of course. Instead now I need to brush aside his arm and also grab it.

This alone, would need me to be attacked repeatedly in order to make the mere brushing aside and grabbing (I'd think of the Kote gaeshi after I assimilate that part!) as FLUENCY, as something that comes out of my whole being. Which will simply never happen if I train 2 minutes on it every ten days, since techniques vary constantly.

I leatrn the technique first like a dummy. Then, I am called in a real action.
I dodge, I step back, I wait to feel either the right moment for me or a real danger. Then I try a part of the technique. And we start back.

The aikidokas look at me with puppy eyes - do the technique, I am here with this still arm for you...
But I need to dance.

You're not going to find any dojo that's going to give an inexperienced person what you're asking for. You're just going to hurt someone. That same scenario has happened more times than you can count. I have little doubt that you can find a number of people in any dojo that would be more than willing to go hard and fast with you, but they're not going to do it when you haven't proven that you can do the techniques in a controlled manner in a static or slowed down situation. That's not for your benefit either,it's for theirs and it's perfectly understandable.
You gotta walk before you can run! :)

DonMagee
04-22-2010, 11:36 PM
Alberto Italiano,

I agree with you. Personally I think you have the right mindset to learn to really apply techniques. Unfortunately you are going to find very little in the aikido world who agree with you.

You should always keep looking. But you may also want to start looking outside of aikido. What is it about aikido that draws you to it?

Try Jujutsu style which will have similar throws and joint locks and typically will be more agressive. Don't even count out good old fashioned judo.

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 11:38 PM
At our school we do an hour of forms (technique) followed by an hour of Randori. There are schools out there for you, you just have to keep looking.

My dream.
Unfortunately one has to find what he can where life has put him to live.

But perhaps there is something we can do - well not me, I mean.
Spreading, under control of each sensei of course, the idea that making your pupils do form for half the session and randori for the second half could be a good solution to get Aikido rid of that idea it's unsuitable for real fights.
To date, there are just too many dojos that consider randori as an occasional option.

As for what chillzATL said, it's quite right and sensible. One has to learn how to walk before running. But we are already in tune there, actually - my "run" is not meant to apply the technique, but as I said to get myself gradually (exactly!) accustomed to a _portion_ of the technique, only this time in a dynamic setting.

The holistic perception of your whole being engaged in "dancing" around your opponent is essential in itself, or at least every fiber of my being seems to scream so to me!
We cannot be more goofy at randori than how we already are when studying the form.

We want control, and it does not escape my attention or intelligence that control is not an option but mandatory. But we also need to get our pupils accustomed to the dynamic setting since day one - in that setting they will do what the know to do - if little, little; if much, much.

My best day in 1 month of aikido has been 20 minutes a few days ago. The sensei went away and allowed us to practice freestyle as a couple of black belts were overseeeing. I picked a girl, Beatrice, who was willing to learn and was a principiant as myself.
I attacked her and she tried techniques - and then it came the beautiful part, attempting to do ikkyo she moved my arm outward instead than inward, and besides i was retreating rather than hrling towards her. I stopped realizing she came to a standstill and didn't know what to do. We paused a second, than I exclaimed: "put me in shio nage! the position may be suitable. Do something Bea!"
She did a perfect shionage.

I loved that moment.

Let's spread this option. Our pupils may benefit from randori immensely, and do not make tho adult guys always the wrong of assuming them as irresponsible adults who need tutoring at all times.
I have never been grounded feeling happier than that day.

Rob Watson
04-22-2010, 11:43 PM
Yes sankyo and nikkyo are painful.
The point is: I do not want to make "cry and beg for mercy" anyone.

I'm afraid I didn't present the situation clearly. These fellows were intent on evil and would not be stopped without being locked up unable to move. The result was seemingly exactly what the situation called for and no one was hurt. The alternative to "cry and beg" was much worse.

What I should have said was since you boxed for 3 years why don't you give aikido the same time? With 3-5 hours a day of high level instruction and dedicated practice you should become quite proficient in 3 years.

Anyway you seem to be looking not for info but validation of your opinion so best of luck on your journey. I hope you heal well and fully.

Alberto_Italiano
04-22-2010, 11:58 PM
Alberto Italiano,

I agree with you. Personally I think you have the right mindset to learn to really apply techniques. Unfortunately you are going to find very little in the aikido world who agree with you.

You should always keep looking. But you may also want to start looking outside of aikido. What is it about aikido that draws you to it?

This question calls a reply!
In short: that Aikido is impossible.

So, it is going to give to me a true metaphysical experience, because if I ever want to be able to _fight_ using that, I will need to call _all_ my being in.

This is why I need the randori option. Studying the metaphysical beauty and impossibility of Aikido eventually making it fit a real fight, is to me a dream worth pursuing. I am ready to beat my face one million times on the tatami for that. But at times it is this very same enthusiasm and intention that is seen as too unusual, and frames me.

I feel like a canary in a cage in the setting most Dojos use. I wish they could let me fly 30 minutes every other day, I just wish I could experience and follow _also_ the flow I feel within; but merely expressing this need is immediately faced with disbelief - this because of the prevailing habit in most Dojos I think, and not because there would have been anything really detrimental to Aikido in it.

This is why i said spreading to all Dojos the idea of making randori a daily part of your pupils protocollar training might do an enormous deal of good to Aikido - besides attracting more akidokas maybe.

How will I ever learn a decent iriminage, if I can't freely dance?

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:02 AM
Anyway you seem to be looking not for info but validation of your opinion so best of luck on your journey. I hope you heal well and fully.

No, why? perhpas you expected a different answer - I simply did not get your idea of "cry and beg" - it just did not make ring any chord in me.

Actually, I was settling down with Daniel's and Curtis suggestions, when suddenly someone seemed to understand what I was saying. I wasn't hoping anymore for that!

If that validates my opinion, I don't know. I only know it was a validation I was not hoping to get, for I was about to part with Daniel's and Curtis suggestions.

If having a passion for something is a malady, I hope I won't heal at all.

CurtisK
04-23-2010, 12:31 AM
An interesting thing about starting on a path, is that you have to begin from where you are. Alberto or any of us would not need Aikido if we already knew all of the lessons. This is a great place to confirm that his experience is very common.

The important part is that we all agree that it is up to you to take out of each moment, and training session, what ever you can.

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:58 AM
The important part is that we all agree that it is up to you to take out of each moment, and training session, what ever you can.

That's the only way and this is exactly what I'm gonna do.
I will see what extras I may add, maybe over time I can find a dedicated aikido partner with whom to practice more intensively. Maybe.

I just wish the average Dojo could have more to offer as far as being involved in a more realistic combat, and as far as letting pupils (well, 40yo ones lol) experience and follow their own inner needs and not only formal prescriptions, are concerned.

Aikido could have a significant boost, and even a better reputation as far as fighting real effectiveness is concerned, if randori would become a standard part of daily lessons.
But after all, once stated this 2 or 3 times, I cannot expect that everybody immediately understands how significantly this would help Aikido and Dojos as a whole. That's probably the only lesson in Aikido I have truly understood, but I have understood it well: we need randori as a standard.

I thank you all for your useful and meaningful insights. You have been most helpful, and a hearthfelt thank you to those who made an effort to empathize with this need of mine without judging it a freak of nature.

ciao
Alberto

lbb
04-23-2010, 08:40 AM
TI just wish the average Dojo could have more to offer as far as being involved in a more realistic combat, and as far as letting pupils (well, 40yo ones lol) experience and follow their own inner needs and not only formal prescriptions, are concerned.

As Jason already explained, there's a legitimate reason why a dojo wouldn't allow you to "follow your own inner needs": because doing so would cause injury to you and others. I'm not talking about a few bruises, either, but joint injuries that can have permanent effects (and likely will, if you're 40 years old). It may well be, though, that you are one of the many big strong guys who just keep saying, "I don't believe it, prove it to me," and who only find out too late that they were wrong -- after someone is seriously hurt.

One of my favorite pastimes is whitewater kayaking. People who are new to whitewater do not understand its dangers. Some of them "know that they don't know", and even if the dangers may seem exaggerated to them, they act according to the cautions that their guides and instructors give them. Pretty soon they find out that, in fact, the dangers weren't exaggerated -- but because they acted with appropriate caution, their hardest lesson is a cold swim and a few bruises from the rocks. Other people come to whitewater and think that they know about its dangers, because they have paddled a sea kayak, or paddled a canoe around a lake, or they've been a lifeguard in a pool, or they have sailed a sailboat. These people make bad decisions about risk. They believe that their understanding of the dangers of another situation qualifies them to ignore the advice that they are given by experienced whitewater paddlers. They feel that the conventional wisdom of whitewater must be wrong -- they have this bizarre belief that all these people, who have been doing it for years, are doing it wrong and don't know what they're talking about. These people end up getting educated in a very hard school, sometimes with fatal consequences. Most of those who survive are too arrogant to admit that they were wrong and start again, this time with a true beginner mind. It's a shame, but on the other hand, I'm never sorry when one of these people decides that "whitewater is stupid" and stomps off in a huff. I'm safer without them on the river.

Ketsan
04-23-2010, 09:32 AM
I cannot expect that everybody immediately understands how significantly this would help Aikido and Dojos as a whole.
ciao
Alberto

I do Judo as well as Aikido and I don't understand it. I've seen a third dan Judoka struggle to defeat a third kyu Aikidoka. I've seen a third kyu Aikidoka lock down a nidan Judoka with his posture and then pick up and dump the nidan on his arse.

From what I've seen randori actually makes a person less effective.

Aikibu
04-23-2010, 10:05 AM
Apologies for being late to the party...

I spent a year looking at Aikido Dojo's and Sensei's before I found one I liked...My only criteria was can this due kick my a** and/or handle himself in a Fight/Martial confrontation?

That's it...

If your Aikido does not teach you how to handle conflict ESPECIALLY physical conflict then don't waste your time.

You say you've been boxing for years? That is excellent! You are the perfect student for Aikido...In the early days most every Aikido student had serious experience in other martial arts before they came to Aikido...

Don't settle...Your head and heart are both in the right place...You will know when you find what you're looking for. :)

William Hazen

bulevardi
04-23-2010, 11:13 AM
Try the Yoshinkan Aikido? I heard they train a little harder.
http://aikiweb.com/wiki/Yoshinkan

Or otherwise try with something like hapkido or taekwondo ?
That's something harder and more combat-wise.

Aikido is not about fighting: aikido is actually about not fighting.

And if you want to beat someone up, you can go play golf, with a golf stick you can beat someone better than with Aikido :)

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:00 PM
As Jason already explained, there's a legitimate reason why a dojo wouldn't allow you to "follow your own inner needs": because doing so would cause injury to you and others. I'm not talking about a few bruises, either, but joint injuries that can have permanent effects (and likely will, if you're 40 years old). It may well be, though, that you are one of the many big strong guys who just keep saying, "I don't believe it, prove it to me," and who only find out too late that they were wrong -- after someone is seriously hurt.

36 boxing matches, 27 wins, 8 knock outs, 2 even, 7 lost, koocked out once but I sttod up before 10.

Come hurt me with your iriminage

LOL

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:08 PM
And if you want to beat someone up, you can go play golf, with a golf stick you can beat someone better than with Aikido :)

precisely what I don't want to do - I said it several times in my posts, though I fully understand one may not want to read them all in their entirety - however, i said I don't want to hurt anybody.

It seems incredibly difficult to make aikidokas understand that they would only benefit, even in economical terms, if they could do something to make their martial art come out from the closet where so many sense it as utterly uneffective in real combat.

However, by "real combat" I do not mean street fight.
If I practice a martial art, I want to feel the beauty of the fight, of the struggle: it is enjoyable, it is rinvigorating, and I can take quite a lot of punishment without etiehr getting scared or thinking it's wrong.

There is nothing to do, this whole issue is hopeless. We have reared whole generations of aikidokas with fear of getting engaged. To me, this is the utter failure a martial art may stumble into.

Once you relinquish the kinsetetic pleasure of a fight, the self-structuring power it entails, the real respect it elicits in you for your opponent, the real measure of your own vulnerability and limits, once you do that and you do't even realize what you have lost, you're no longer attending a martial art gym, but a tea party.

I think that many aikidokas that have been on the tatami for years, never had a serious confrontation - if they did, they would understand immediately that nearly all they have learnt the easy way with complacent ukes is simply unusable against a determined opponent.

Bha.

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:10 PM
Apologies for being late to the party...

I spent a year looking at Aikido Dojo's and Sensei's before I found one I liked...My only criteria was can this due kick my a** and/or handle himself in a Fight/Martial confrontation?

That's it...

If your Aikido does not teach you how to handle conflict ESPECIALLY physical conflict then don't waste your time.

You say you've been boxing for years? That is excellent! You are the perfect student for Aikido...In the early days most every Aikido student had serious experience in other martial arts before they came to Aikido...

Don't settle...Your head and heart are both in the right place...You will know when you find what you're looking for. :)

William Hazen

Thank you William.
It is conforting seeing that there are a few who still are able to understand that conflict is quintessential to martial arts. And that it has nothing to do with beating guys randomly.
Practicing Aikido without cultivating unceasingly randori or conflict like simulations is like somebody learning how to write a computer program but never writing the actual code him/herself: the first time s/he does, finds out it's all buggy.

lbb
04-23-2010, 12:19 PM
36 boxing matches, 27 wins, 8 knock outs, 2 even, 7 lost, koocked out once but I sttod up before 10.

Come hurt me with your iriminage

LOL

Yeah, okay, I think you just demonstrated what you're all about. You're all that and a bag of chips, dude. Should I stand up to cheer, or may I applaud while sitting down?

(someone clue me in...did I say anything about wanting to or intending to hurt this jamoke?)

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:27 PM
Yeah, okay, I think you just demonstrated what you're all about. You're all that and a bag of chips, dude. Should I stand up to cheer, or may I applaud while sitting down?

(someone clue me in...did I say anything about wanting to or intending to hurt this jamoke?)

behind the humour there is a serious issue Ibb.
You just refuse to see it, and I can't open the eyes of somebody who wants to keep them closed.

Dojos, Aikido dojos, would benefit immensely from randori as standard practice.

You just refuse to see that simple point: we are (dis)educating our paying pupils deluding them into the very dangerous and false confidence they can defend themselves against a determined opponent who is somewhat combat savvy.

As for my answer, you were mentioning my 40 yo joints - on my nose, eyebrows, and chin have landed the hooks and jabs of 6 feet tall black boxeurs. I was just stating that I haven't such concern with my joints as you seem to have. However, I do would be considerate with those of the others - but since you were mentioning mine, that's where my joints stand.

George S. Ledyard
04-23-2010, 12:34 PM
precisely what I don't want to do - I said it several times in my posts, though I fully understand one may not want to read them all in their entirety - however, i said I don't want to hurt anybody.

It seems incredibly difficult to make aikidokas understand that they would only benefit, even in economical terms, if they could do something to make their martial art come out from the closet where so many sense it as utterly uneffective in real combat.

However, by "real combat" I do not mean street fight.
If I make a martial art, I want to feel the bauty of the fight, of the struggle: it is enjoyable, it is rinvigorating, and I can take quite a lot of punishment without etiehr getting scared or thinking it's wrong.

There is nothing to do, this whole issue is hopeless. We have reared whole generations of aikidokas with fear of getting engaged. Ti me, this is the utter failure a martial art may stumble into. Once you relinquish the kinsetetic pleasure of a fight, the self-structuring power it entails, the real respect it elicits in you for your opponent, the real measure of your own vulnerability and limits, once you do that and you do't even realize what you have lost, you're no longer attending a martial art gym, but a tea party.

I think that many aikidokas that have been on the tatami for years, never had a serious confrontation - if they did, they would understand immediately that nearly all they have learnt the easy way with complacent ukes is simply unusable against a determined opponent.

Bha.

Alberto,
a) Aikido is broken and at 99% of the dojos you will encounter, with twenty years of boxing under your belt, you will be able to knock even the teacher out cold.

b) When you look for that elusive dojo which fits what you are looking for, do not mistake a teacher who hurts you for one whose Aikido is very good. There are some folks out there who are REALLY strong and will crank a technique on you and think that is good Aikido. It will hurt, even injure you but it isn't necessarily great aiki.

The easiest way to tell if you are at the right place is to see if anyone can handle your boxing style attacks. Ask the teacher how they'd handle them. It's all about irimi. If the teacher can't get in on you, then you will not be happy at that place, period. There are whole dojos out there where no one, including the teacher, understands irimi. This lack is immediately apparent to people who have done a lot of some other art. It's why so many people think Aikido doesn't work. I'd look for a dojo which has a ton of students who have done other martial arts and stay away from the ones that everyone has just studied Aikido.

But basically, once you think the teacher, and perhaps the seniors, know what you want to know. Then you'll have to be patient and do the training. Class will still be formalized because that's how you isolate and study principle. If you want to try some sparring with unorthodox attacks, it will be after class. When I trained with Saotome Sensei, that was one of the very best ways to get some virtually private instruction. Sensei would see us working on stuff, be incapable of sitting there while we floundered around, and he'd jump on the mat and show us stuff we'd seldom, if ever, do in class.

There's just no way you can train at a dojo where, as a white belt, you know you can knock anyone in the place out cold. You will never get the depth out of the training you are looking for. If you stay, they will degrade your skills to the point at which you will not only NOT be learning any Aikido that's worth much, but you will lose the edge you came in with.

William H basically said it. You need to look long and hard for the right dojo. I wouldn't have said that, in my case, my only requirement was that the teacher be able to kick my ass... There are many people around like that and most have shitty Aikido. What you need to be looking for is something much more rare... someone who can kick your ass and do so with subtlety and finesse. If you find yourself on the floor after throwing a jab and you are not sure why you are there, you are in the right place.

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:35 PM
Ok let's make a more visual example:

these guys ina real fight are going to be wiped off instantly:
http://www.vimeo.com/3384550

Instead, these guys are going to stand and last:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB01hhonf8Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8mZo3Qn4ww

I hope this clarifies a bit possible misunderstanding. because I really have a background in fighting and I can tell you, the guys in the first video are going to incur into serious damage if confronted with a real danger.

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 12:43 PM
Alberto,
a) Aikido is broken and at 99% of the dojos you will encounter

oh.
Now, this makes sense.
Finally.

I will keep attending one of thosze dojos, we just haven't anything else here. I'll try to get the best out of it anyway. It's just a bit "depressing".

I'm going to tell you this: in the dojo we practiced iriminage. Ukes were complacent. Eventually, they said my iriminage was decent.

I found out an old acquaintance of mine from the boxing gym who is willing once in a fluke to let me practice some aikido with him. The first time I attempted an iriminage on him, there was simply nothing working. His head would simply refuse to turn, and he would simply not lean, even when dodging his jab.

I am grateful for this because now I know my iriminage is good for fighting mosquitoes. Keeping the work out in the Dojo, i would have been deluded into believing it had some degree of effectiveness. It had none.

I prefer this frankness, then fictional iriminages.

I am going to fight this fight. I'll try to learn this aikido, against all odds. I only wish I could meet here more guys like you George.

Aikibu
04-23-2010, 12:49 PM
Alberto,
William H basically said it. You need to look long and hard for the right dojo. I wouldn't have said that, in my case, my only requirement was that the teacher be able to kick my ass... There are many people around like that and most have shitty Aikido. What you need to be looking for is something much more rare... someone who can kick your ass and do so with subtlety and finesse. If you find yourself on the floor after throwing a jab and you are not sure why you are there, you are in the right place.

George this exactly what I meant....Thanks for saying better than I did...For me Aikido is a martial art and the best Aikido I've experienced fits your description to a T.

Ending up on the mat with Fowler Sensei's smiling face looking down and asking me if I am ok (with no serious harm being done to me THAT is Aikido LOL) is exactly how I found my practice. :D

To further clarify my "criteria" Aikido should START by giving you the ability to prevail in a Martial Encounter but it certainly does not end there...:) That is only the very beginning.

William Hazen

George S. Ledyard
04-23-2010, 01:04 PM
behind the humour there is a serious issue Ibb.
You just refuse to see it, and I can't open the eyes of somebody who wants to keep them closed.

Dojos, Aikido dojos, would benefit immensely from randori as standard practice.

You just refuse to see that simple point: we are (dis)educating our paying pupils deluding them into the very dangerous and false confidence they can defend themselves against a determined opponent who is somewhat combat savvy.

As for my answer, you were mentioning my 40 yo joints - on my nose, eyebrows, and chin have landed the hooks and jabs of 6 feet tall black boxeurs. I was just stating that I haven't such concern with my joints as you seem to have. However, I do would be considerate with those of the others - but since you were mentioning mine, that's where my joints stand.

Albert,
This is a common problem who come to Aikido from competitive backgrounds. What usually happens is that their fundamental settings make everyone in the place uncomfortable. Great pressure will be brought to bear until you either change how you act or go away. Either will restore harmony in the dojo. Aikido people tell themselves all sorts of stuff about how dangerous what they do is, hwy we don't compete, etc. Most of it has little grounding in reality, at least the way they train. What they say might actually be true, if they actually had the skills, but in most cases, it's just wishful thinking and an excuse to not be better at what they do.

It's like listening to someone telling you why you don't resist at a certain point in a technique because you are open for an atemi. Except that you know that they could take their best shot and not do anything other than be annoying because they've never actually worked on their atemi. It's just symbolic with no grounding in reality.

You have hit and been hit. That puts you in a reality zone right from the start that most Aikido folks have not experienced. My wife came from a competitive fencing background and she continues to have issues with Aikido people because they can't actually handle it when you really attack. At fifth kyu she had her way with a San Dan in bokken class with Saotome Sensei. She was told to attack, so she ATTACKED. The poor fellow caved every time, much to Sensei's amusement. He kept telling the poor fellow, "Ha, ha ha, you died!"

The fact of the matter is that most Aikido people do not really know the difference between an attack that is really committed and one that is devoid of actual intention to strike. Nor do they have any notion of how a fighter will stand in the eye of the hurricane to fight for the center line in a fight. They are all too busy getting out of the way, which they've been doing in the training since day one. Their mindset is essentially escapist and anyone who really attacks will dominate them.

Then, after you've mauled them, they will tell you that you aren't very spiritual and your energy body isn't very sensitive (this actually happened to me).

That said, Randori isn't the only answer. Not even the most important. If you want to really develop great aiki, there is a huge amount of work to be done which has nothing whatever to do with practical application. The Kata of Aikido should be targeted at developing and understanding of specific principles which, if you are busy focusing on free application of technique, you will certainly never become aware of. There is a reason that virtually all traditional Japanese martial arts were kata based. The problem has been that, unless the person you are training with actually understands what the kata are intended to do, what the "ura" of the kata are and not just the "omote" of the kata, then it all becomes stultified.

Anyway, good luck finding what you need. Everything you have said has been noted by virtually all experienced martial artists when they have entered a typical Aikido dojo. You will not be happy until you find the atypical dojo and teacher. This may entail moving, depending on where you are.

George S. Ledyard
04-23-2010, 01:10 PM
I am going to fight this fight. I'll try to learn this aikido, against all odds. I only wish I could meet here more guys like you George.

I will always remember Peyton Quinn's statement about iriminage... (He is an expert on real world fighting with a number of books under his belt and several black belts in different arts, including Aikido).

He said, "You'd be amazed at how well iriminage works when you've bounced the guys head off the bar..."

I have always liked that one very much. When I am practicing the "art" of Aikido it always serves to remind me that there is the earthy side to what we do that is always just a fraction away.

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 01:18 PM
The fact of the matter is that most Aikido people do not really know the difference between an attack that is really committed and one that is devoid of actual intention to strike. Nor do they have any notion of how a fighter will stand in the eye of the hurricane to fight for the center line in a fight. They are all too busy getting out of the way, which they've been doing in the training since day one. Their mindset is essentially escapist and anyone who really attacks will dominate them.

George, you wrote a masterpiece. Dunno who you are but I can tell when somebody speaks the truth.

I am going to trust your advice: so, supposing(as it is likely) that I can never find a right dojo where I live, and given I am not likely to relocate (well, we are no longer, maybe unfortunately, in those times where a man pursuing inner enlightenment could decide to relocate and change completely life devoting himself exclusively to a martial art), do you think that if I practice a lot of kata alone that would make some difference?

I am going to consider your opinion on this as gold.
You spoke the truth.

chillzATL
04-23-2010, 01:27 PM
This thread is funny to me. Funny because I remember threads from 10 years ago where I suggested that a person should be able to effectively use aikido after 6 months to a year of serious, dedicated practice and was basically told that what I was doing "wasn't aikido" or wasn't "real aikido". I was effectively ran out of a thread where I suggested that a if a shodan wasn't capable of defending themselves then they didn't deserve the rank.

Fast forward to today and we have vets like Ledyard sensei telling Alberto that he should seek out the very same type of training, but I can't find myself in agreement with him!

crazy I says!

George S. Ledyard
04-23-2010, 01:32 PM
do you think that if I practice a lot of kata alone that would make some difference?.

If you can get a chance to get to some workshops with Dan Harden, Mike Sigman or Aukuzawa Minoru, you can get s start on getting some solo exercises that will start to teach your body to power differently than what you've done in boxing. I know that some of them at least are starting to get a following in Europe.

Other than that, do a lot of static technique with partners who are trying to be solid. Your goal should be to be as relaxed and soft as possible while being able to off-balance the partner without having them feel much at all. You have to have someone work with you who can do this to know what it should feel like. If you do lots of static practice and really learn to connect, people like your boxing friend will not be able to stop you.

Aikido folks are great at movement. They tend to be bad at really joining with an attacker's power. They mistake avoidance for "aiki". You need to have technique that attains kuzushi at the instant of the touch. Static technique is to develop an understanding of the proper pathways in your body for accomplishing this. Then, when you put that back in to your movement, you have something that has real content.

George S. Ledyard
04-23-2010, 01:47 PM
This thread is funny to me. Funny because I remember threads from 10 years ago where I suggested that a person should be able to effectively use aikido after 6 months to a year of serious, dedicated practice and was basically told that what I was doing "wasn't aikido" or wasn't "real aikido". I was effectively ran out of a thread where I suggested that a if a shodan wasn't capable of defending themselves then they didn't deserve the rank.

Fast forward to today and we have vets like Ledyard sensei telling Alberto that he should seek out the very same type of training, but I can't find myself in agreement with him!

crazy I says!

Actually, I think that you are reading a lot in to what I said that was unintended. If you looked at how we train at my dojo, it wouldn't look much different than many dojos. I have never seen a shodan who can defend himself in a fight against an experienced attacker using Aikido. My students certainly can't. I am very happy if, by Shodan, my students have an understanding of what the principles are, can utilize them in the formalized setting of Aikido kata, and have developed a process by which they understand how to train effectively to develop their skills further.

I remember the thread you are referring to and what you said then was wrong, if what you wished to do was develop an understanding of how to do Aikido with Aiki. I have said the same thing above to Alberto. Yes, he needs to be at a place at which the teacher, at the very least, is someone who is good enough to teach him what he wants to know. But, I also said that the principles that need to be understood in Aikido, to actually be doing ones technique with what I consider to be a degree of "aiki" take a lot of patience to develop. I do not think that lots of focus on applied technique will do that, in fact it will serve to distract you from what needs to be done.

Applied technique, or what Albert is calling randori, should only become a focus after one has internalized the principles of aiki enough that the challenge of applying them freely, under pressure, doesn't cause one to fall back onto older bad body / mind habits. Otherwise you are simply imprinting the wrong thing in your mind and body simply to win. You may win, but your learning is losing.

lbb
04-23-2010, 02:00 PM
behind the humour there is a serious issue Ibb.
You just refuse to see it, and I can't open the eyes of somebody who wants to keep them closed.

I'm not sure if this is an example of false premise, unqualified expert opinion or perhaps cult of personality (http://www.johntreed.com/debate.html). Maybe all three? It's the old "I'm right and you just refuse to see it" line. Now, mind you, it can be true from time to time that person A is right and person B does refuse to see it. What's bogus is when someone just pulls this line out of thin air, as you've done here. You made a post; I responded. You ignored my point and responded to that with irrelevant statistics about how many times you've been knocked out, and a sneering invitation for me to hurt you with my iriminage; I called that childishness what it is. Now I'm the one who's deluded and blindly refusing to see your point? Thanks, I can do without that kind of "enlightenment".

As for my answer, you were mentioning my 40 yo joints - on my nose, eyebrows, and chin have landed the hooks and jabs of 6 feet tall black boxeurs. I was just stating that I haven't such concern with my joints as you seem to have. However, I do would be considerate with those of the others - but since you were mentioning mine, that's where my joints stand.

Nose, eyebrows and chin are not joints. Joints include shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, hips and so on. Injuries to joints tend to have long-lasting or permanent effects, unlike the injuries you're speaking of. Speaking from experience, I'll take a broken nose any day over torn wrist ligaments. A broken nose is nothing. And what does the race of the boxers who hit you have to do with anything?

chillzATL
04-23-2010, 02:30 PM
Actually, I think that you are reading a lot in to what I said that was unintended. If you looked at how we train at my dojo, it wouldn't look much different than many dojos. I have never seen a shodan who can defend himself in a fight against an experienced attacker using Aikido. My students certainly can't. I am very happy if, by Shodan, my students have an understanding of what the principles are, can utilize them in the formalized setting of Aikido kata, and have developed a process by which they understand how to train effectively to develop their skills further.

I remember the thread you are referring to and what you said then was wrong, if what you wished to do was develop an understanding of how to do Aikido with Aiki. I have said the same thing above to Alberto. Yes, he needs to be at a place at which the teacher, at the very least, is someone who is good enough to teach him what he wants to know. But, I also said that the principles that need to be understood in Aikido, to actually be doing ones technique with what I consider to be a degree of "aiki" take a lot of patience to develop. I do not think that lots of focus on applied technique will do that, in fact it will serve to distract you from what needs to be done.

Applied technique, or what Albert is calling randori, should only become a focus after one has internalized the principles of aiki enough that the challenge of applying them freely, under pressure, doesn't cause one to fall back onto older bad body / mind habits. Otherwise you are simply imprinting the wrong thing in your mind and body simply to win. You may win, but your learning is losing.

I think that both our views on training have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years. What I seek to gain from my training, both inside the dojo and at home, has changed quite a bit. I agree with what you said regarding aiki in aikido, but that doesn't change my belief that Aikido, even without what we now consider "aiki", can and should be effective in a much shorter time period than most seem to expect. That's the only aikido I've ever known , so I can't pretend to see it any other way.

anyway, back on topic. My feelings are that Alberto's problems are with that "process". He's not seeing the benefit of slowing things down and feeling his way through the technique. He just thinks that slow and soft isn't going to get him anywhere so he wants to go hard and fast earlier than he probably should. Then again, maybe his boxing background has given him more sensitivity than I am giving him credit for? Maybe he's able to tell that the people he's working with "just don't have it". I'm willing to accept that too.

Shadowfax
04-23-2010, 02:42 PM
Ledyard sensei I am thoroughly enjoying your posts, as always. :)
especially enjoyed:

What you need to be looking for is something much more rare... someone who can kick your ass and do so with subtlety and finesse. If you find yourself on the floor after throwing a jab and you are not sure why you are there, you are in the right place.

Mary... why do you always seem to be so angry?

It's the old "I'm right and you just refuse to see it" line.

From my perspective what he was trying to say is...."you are not understanding what it is I am trying to say."

And I would have to agree with him on that one. It isn't a case of who is right or who is wrong here. It is a case of this man is looking for something you are not and you apparently are satisfied with a kind of training that ,for him, is not satisfying. He has more than once noted that it is not just sheer brute fighting he is after. it is not just to beat the snot out of someone or to get the snot beat out of him he is looking for. He is looking for aikido, just not YOUR aikido. Neither your style of practice nor what he is searching for is right or wrong. Just different. This man needed to know that what he is looking for does indeed exist. At least then even if he must settle for something less than what he would like for now he at least knows that he has a hope of attaining it in time.

At least that is how I'm understanding it. But then what does a lowly 6th kyu know about aikido?

RED
04-23-2010, 03:11 PM
I agree you should mistake some one who can hurt you, for some one who is a fine Aikido teacher.
I've trained with 6th kyus and thrown by Shihans... want to take a guess which ones I've actually sustained injuries from?

I've only ever sustained injuries from kyu students. It is stiff, jerky and they muscle through you with all your might, regardless if you are putting up resistance. Which causes injury.

However, I've been thrown by black belt ranks while putting up GREAT resistance. And I've been thrown 7 feet by Shihan by just turning around to see what's behind me. (Seriously, Shibata Sensei must find it amusing to sneak up on students!)

I'm just saying, you shouldn't confuse pain with effective technique man.

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 03:43 PM
[QUOTE=Mary Malmros;256222]
Nose, eyebrows and chin are not joints.QUOTE]

Really?
Gee, you truly learn something in this dojo lol

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 03:57 PM
He has more than once noted that it is not just sheer brute fighting he is after. it is not just to beat the snot out of someone or to get the snot beat out of him he is looking for. He is looking for aikido, just not YOUR aikido.

Thank you for having read those parts Cherie.
I can't dispel this impression in those who ascribe to me the intention to hurt, but at least I can see that I am not writing something so utterly incomprehensible that nobody reads it.

Boxing without a sparring partner would be unconceivable. You work on the bag, you shadowbox, but then, everyday, you are sparring. It's there that you really get the guts of the thing out of the ideogram.

My limited intelligence fully grasps that aikido doesn't punch - yet, it could still do sparring as an invaluable part of a daily training. Aikido sparring. That's why I (maybe under a misconception) mentioned randori.

Fighting without fighting is no fighting at all.
And, once engaged, you're engaged. It's not a matter of throwing a lucky sankyo on a drunkard and then rushing to tell your friends over and over again. It's a matter of delaing with a competent engagement deliberately and violently, vehemently intent on mauling you badly, suddenly, repeatedly.
If a martial art forgets that's its goal, it has missed the only earthly criterion that can tell: your spirit now dominates matter.

Alberto_Italiano
04-23-2010, 04:13 PM
perhaps I should add how grateful I am to all of you.
Really.
Included those who disagreed with me - no problem.

lbb
04-23-2010, 08:34 PM
Mary... why do you always seem to be so angry?

From my perspective what he was trying to say is...."you are not understanding what it is I am trying to say."

Cherie,

You've taken a reasonable objection to being referred to as willfully ignorant and mischaracterized it as "always angry". His words: "You just [B]refuse to see it, and I can't open the eyes of somebody who wants to keep them closed." That's very different from what you just said.

lbb
04-23-2010, 08:45 PM
Fighting without fighting is no fighting at all.
And, once engaged, you're engaged. It's not a matter of throwing a lucky sankyo on a drunkard and then rushing to tell your friends over and over again. It's a matter of delaing with a competent engagement deliberately and violently, vehemently intent on mauling you badly, suddenly, repeatedly.
If a martial art forgets that's its goal, it has missed the only earthly criterion that can tell: your spirit now dominates matter.

But this is the problem, Alberto -- aikido was created decades ago by a man who is now dead, and whose ideas and concepts have come to us in forms that are rarely unambiguous. It isn't at all clear that "fighting" was the goal of O-Sensei's martial art, at all -- get ten aikidoka together, and you'll have twelve opinions on that one. And, even if you were to accept that as unquestioned, there's still the rather large issue of the right method to get there -- whether you should start with the most realistic possible applications on day one, or develop other things first.

So who gets to say what the "goal" of aikido is? The one who shouts the loudest and bullies the most effectively? The one who drops names and pulls rank the best? Or maybe, given that we were not handed some kind of unambiguous "this is the goal of aikido" document, in which all terminology is quite clear, we need to grant ourselves and each other a certain leeway in figuring out what that goal is. And let's not forget, "aikido" doesn't have a goal. "Aikido" has no body, no will, no brain -- it does not act on itself. The people, dojos and organizations that are part of it may all have goals...but it strikes me as futile to try and establish what the "goal" of aikido is, and pointless to try and arm-twist others into accepting your goals as theirs.

Shadowfax
04-23-2010, 08:55 PM
This comparison also stuck in my head today but I didn't have the time on my lunch break to comment on it.

Mary's discussion about white water rafting...

Its a great analogy but it does not quite fit the situation. If the OP were someone completely new to martial arts yeah maybe. But he's not new to martial arts, he's new to aikido. He understands there is inherent risk. He accepts the risk and has previous training that will help him, that another newcomer might not have.

Suppose someone comes to WWR who has previous experience doing something like say IDK speed boat racing. I don't know enough about boating to know what would be a comparably dangerous water sport.

Putting in into my own perspective as an equestrian.

Say I have a highly trained Reining horse. (western...cowboy hats and sliding stops and all that stuff) and someone comes to me who has only ever been led around on a gentle pony ride. Sure I would not let them get on my super sensitive, unforgiving, reactive, powerful, experienced rider only, horse and just go for a ride. They could get very hurt when the horse responds as trained.

But say a very experienced Dressage horse (English rider, fancy dance steps and all that) rider comes to me and wants to ride. I would feel comfortable letting them on my horse because even though they might not know all the moves just so they would at least have had training to help them stay in the saddle safely while they figgured it out.

I have actually seen just such circumstances in play with some highly skilled horse trainers swapping rides in the middle of a performance.

In the dojo where I train I started out on the same day as one other person.

I entered the dojo with zero past experience in anything resembling a martial art. He had a high degree of skill in another martial art. I spent months just learning how to roll without pulling something. He needed to work on some things but could take ukemi without damage. Certainly he was permitted to join the more advanced classes far sooner than I was. Why? His previous experience did not necessarily make him good at aikido but it did make him less likely to get injured while doing aikdo.

In that perspective I really don't see why it should be so objectionable that this newbie to aikido wants to train a bit harder than what most beginners are given.

Rob Watson
04-23-2010, 09:33 PM
Ok let's make a more visual example:

these guys ina real fight are going to be wiped off instantly:
http://www.vimeo.com/3384550

Instead, these guys are going to stand and last:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB01hhonf8Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8mZo3Qn4ww

I hope this clarifies a bit possible misunderstanding. because I really have a background in fighting and I can tell you, the guys in the first video are going to incur into serious damage if confronted with a real danger.

Let's just chalk this up to a language problem. The first clip is a university club - I only have ever been in one of these and it was nothing like the clip but then again I would not be surprised if the clip is fairly representative as I would consider such a club more along the lines of a social club- my 'data set' is small so I can go either way here.

The other two clips are actually pretty much different beasties (from each other) and still not quite like my experience. The #2&3 clips both have quite a few finishing moves that are not what the OP is looking for so I'm confused as to why the OP likes what he sees there. I guess I'm lucky (yes Maggie, Shibata Ichiro will teach one some interesting stuff -that is the one Shibata I know) since I've only had very high level instructors.

I do recall an interesting bit from another boxer/grappler named Tennenhouse (sp?) and I hope he has healed well and fully. I think he may have changed his mind a bit after the fun at the expo.

Really, imagine going to a boxing gym and seeing rope jumping, shadow boxing and speed bag work ... what do you think the impression of the fighting abilities of that methodology? If one did not know anything about the training method the impression would not be so great I'll wager. Now consider the goal of aikido training to be takemusu aiki but the training method is the kata that are techniques of aikido. To mistake the training drills and conditioning drills that are the kata, etc. for the result (talemusu aiki) one would not get a very good impression of that methodology either. I don't care what ones fighting backgrounds is if one expects to get to takemusu aiki right after shodan (or sooner) then there will be some disappointments in the future. Not to mention the masses of folks that have been trained as boxers but how many Ali or Dempsey are there ? Why expect more from aikido?

If someone wants to learn about real combat then the armed forces are the place to go as that is their profession. Anything short is a fantasy so one must be honest with ones self.

Meh, what do I know ... I can barely make through kids class without a nervous breakdown.

Alberto_Italiano
04-24-2010, 05:58 AM
Ok.

Now, let's set aside two worst case scenarios:
1) you are not going to be attacked by more competent attackers at once (maybe even armed - though a boxer might frame even 4 or 5 unarmed and utterly uncompetent attackers, a competent boxer cannot handle more than two foes at once if those foes know how to fight, and also in that case he admits he is in a complicated situation that may spin out of his control. In reral life more attackers attack simultaneously, though the idea aikidokas may have of "simultaneous" is somewhat romantic)
2) you're not going to be attacked suddenly. If I'd have an issue with you say in a bar, I would leave you alone letting you think you had your way, and I will keep checking on you being sure i'm out of your direct sight. After 2 hours, when you don't think about it anymore and I let you gulp a few more drinks, without saying a word you would find me hitting you vehemently out of the blue. That's how a bastard in a bar would behave. This is why I quit going to bars lol.

These 2 scenarios are not ours.

Let's imagine instead 1 unarmed but competent attacker (not Mike Tyson: you won't need that to have a serious problem), who for some silly reason is giving to you forewarnings of his intentions (a truly good fighter doesn't talk much, though - and this exactly and INTENTIONALLY because he doesn't want to prepare you...).

Do you know how fast a jab is when thrown at you competently? It's something that lasts much less than a second, probably about a couple of tenths of a second, and it lands nvariably at the second attempt if you're standing still (oh! two consecutive jabs... amazing! lol). Now, people unused to combat may think that the attacker lands a blow and then stays there watching in bewilderment what happens or that he waits to see you falling or because he may believe that suffices. That's not what how it is going to be.

The guy who attacks you knows what happens, so he has no need to stay here a few seconds resting in order to contemplate his handiwork.
Therefore, in maybe a second you will find at least 4 blows landing on your face, and you will find more and more coming your way without pauses in between, and darting against you from several directions that you won't see clearly in the least because a competent attacker uses combinations of blows that are not invented on the spot but tested already in combat.

If you have never been competently hit on your face in a combat, maybe you have no idea how it is. If you have, you will know I'm telling the truth.
Firstly, it is not really painful as one may think (although since you're not wearing boxing gloves, you will find yourself with a broken lip instantly, and probably also with a broken tooth - this normally at the first blow already), however you will feel the taste of your blood in your mouth and you will realize your lip has open at least internally - if it never happened to you before, this already will cause to you a tendency to cringe and lift your hands to your mouth instead then fighting back immediately, or bend on yourself (for instance) but you won't have any time to concentrate on your sensations - for you will be being repeatedly hit on your ears as you bend, and uppercuts will start looking for your nose and lips again as more hooks will land on your ears making you experience funny variations of pressure. At this stage, or maybe even at the very first blow if delivered on your chin, you will start experiencing something you didn't know it exists: you will be unable to see for fractions of a second: you will witness mysterious flashes of light as if somebody were sweeping a torch beam right in front of your nose to make you blind. At the same time, if you are standing, you will feel that your ankles utterly fail to you. That is a cerebral concussion what you're living: your FIRST one?

As you are concentrated (and probably terribly frightened because you have no previous criterion to evaluate the degree of damage that may have been inflicted on you) trying to understand what is going on, you will be devastated if you have never been in a real fight before. If you didn't already, the mere fact your ankles are starting to fail to you will cause you to fall on the ground: you are probably going to hit the floor with your knee first (or maybe you feel both ankles fail, and you fall down like an emptied bag carried by a wirlwhind and you will understand there was a cognitive gap between the sensation of the blow and the funny fact you now see a floor), and since you have been engaged in a regular street fight, nobody will call in a referee to brush your opponent aside: in the next 2 seconds you will witness about 12 more blows landing on your face. Once on the ground the guy won't kick you in the face or on your body, though he could, but will be on top of you (god forbids that you fell prone, exposing your backbone!) and will start beating your exposed face with direct blows, this round delivered mostly with his strongest arm.

And do not think your atemi will do something to him: your attacker is used to see combinations of blows coming his way and actually hitting him and he knows how not to get scared by them; if you flash a hand before his nose, he won't simply care. A boxer crosses your jabs with his ones without stopping or losing his orientation, let's figure your atemi. A competent attacker is ready to take some punishment in order to get at you.

This is a somewhat realistic account (at least as far as my writing allows) of what you may experience and find yourself into if an attacker who is used to fight engages you.

Now, my concern is: how many aikidokas ever thought that their skills are ultimately meant to be confronted with this? And if not with this, I refuse to accept that a beautiful martial art as Aikido is all about demonstrations.

Combat is a serious thing.
I am not (NOT) advocating that our aikidokas ought to beat themselves in the dojos. Why a few can't understand this?
I am telling a different story altogether: I am wondering whether we are aware that most dojos make no effort AT ALL to make their pupils ready for this scenario. At no stage, simply.

I am sure a good aikidoka might stand a chance - I am not joking.
But if we keep training them like we do, namely facing 100% fictional attacks that do not even reproduce the actual speed of an attack and how it will keep coming several times within a second, if our aikidokas are never offered on a regular basis the chance to move within the speed of a real attack (without lading the actual blows, of course!) and if we keep them fighting with ukes who have only one arm, and that place it conveniently for you, and never withdraw it for charging the second attack, most of them will think that the iriminage they do is going to save them from such a frontal attack.

This is why the black belt that attacked me was puzzled that I just dodged without doing the techniques: we arrived there from two different paths. He thought an attack was a one thrust thing; instead I was ready to see a guy who kept coming.

Maybe because I had this background; but to me, who long ago have been hit by determined attackers, it is utterly impossible to practice aikido without remembering how a real attacker would confront me.

I take this occasion to thank you all. If I would not appreciate your answers, and all the perspectives you bring in, I wouldn't be here. So, even if I don't mention you one by one, consider as if I have thanked you all. I do read your posts, and I do appreciate your time and efforts.

phitruong
04-24-2010, 07:34 AM
this teacher (passed away recently) had background in boxing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyxbvg4fJ-M&feature=related watch how he moved. learn the principles behind aikido then make it your own.

have you thought of because you have been hit in the past, your mind and body already imprinted certain ways of moving, that is you mind and body are fixed, no longer fluid? no longer open to other possibilities?

btw, when dealing with boxers, i don't trade jabs. i usually drop and take out the legs.

C. David Henderson
04-24-2010, 09:03 AM
(yes Maggie, Shibata Ichiro will teach one some interesting stuff -that is the one Shibata I know)

:D

And one of the things he instills in students is a certain concentration on where he is and what he's doing all the time he's on the mat -- for reasons to which I believe Maggie has alluded.

:cool:

RED
04-24-2010, 05:14 PM
:D

And one of the things he instills in students is a certain concentration on where he is and what he's doing all the time he's on the mat -- for reasons to which I believe Maggie has alluded.

:cool:

That man strikes terror in me! :p I imagine the Jaws theme playing while you are training... wondering where he might be, hoping he won't strike. :confused:

But seriously:

The image of Aikido might be a bit broken.
For example this video clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k_uumIQ1uk

What this man is describing Aikido to be is a misrepresentation of what Aikido really is. What this man is describing Aikido as is what you see in a Steven Seagal movie. Grabbing punches out of the air? Seriously? People think that's what Aikido is? I'm sorry, but if your Sesnei is teaching you that grabbing strikes with your fingers in mid-air is proper technique then you have a major issue. And if your sensei is teaching you to lose your extension to do some half-assed joint manipulations up close you might have a bigger issue. (I'm sorry, but grabbing anything directly is incorrect according to everything I've been taught. The first point of contact if going for a grab with a strike is always the blade side of the hand, forearm, or wrist.. prettying much anything than your delicate fingers that can miss an object easily, you never just pluck something out of the air. Nor would an Aikidoka give up his extension for a joint lock. I think that's abandoning an Aikido principle. IMO)

I've seen what people are calling Aikido on the web. I'm seeing a lot of videos of 7th kyu poorly executing what they think is a Sankyo bull headedly on their BJJ friends, and getting their butts kicked. People think movies and youtube videos red necks take in their basements are what Aikido is. There is too much bad Aikido out there, and too much stuff being called Aikido that isn't Aikido.

I think Aikido is a miss understood art, and a rarely practiced art. I think there are fewer Aikido dojo out there than there are dojo that claim to be Aikido.:crazy: