PDA

View Full Version : Trying to be aiki, in an MMA world...


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


valjean
10-20-2010, 03:49 PM
Sometimes while at work I'll take 5 minutes to read some aikido blogs or forums, just as a quick break. Usually I find this a pick-me-up, but yesterday I ran across a discussion board where an MMA advocate said a bunch of negative and critical things about aikido. When I then did some additional searches, I quickly started to find more postings and articles with a similarly negative theme about aikido. It kind of depressed me, although I'm not entirely sure why, and so I started to think about the whole MMA-aikido debate. Why does there seem to be so much hostility there, among MMAers w/ regard to aikido?

Well, my natural affinity for aiki reasserted itself this morning, in the form of silly humor. If asked why I study aikido (and speaking as a student with less than two years of practice under my belt), I tend to imagine saying something like, "Because I want to be graceful like the leopard, or, perhaps, the puma;" or "Because I am seeking enlightenment. (Sensei, am I enlightened yet?)"

Whereas, one of my MMA friends, by contrast, is far more likely to say of his own motivation for study, "Because I want to make people bleed," or "Because I want to be able to dominate opponents in the ring or on the street."

This is surely overstated, and I'm confident that many MMA practitioners would object to the stereotype (perhaps while pounding my head into a pancake). But maybe in some small way it does reflect something about aiki as a martial path, or at least as my martial path. We aim to train in budo, but we do not live in the world by seeking combat with others. We train for self- defense by blending and extending, and when possible by side-stepping violent encounters. And many of us want to share laughter and joyfulness in the practice of art. I remember the first time I stepped into an aikido dojo in Cambridge -- the place was almost like a church, you could feel that much positive energy, warmth, and engagement in the air. I knew I wanted to give aikido a try -- even though it took another 10 years for me to actually have the time and opportunity to come back to it.

I can't imagine that MMA would offer me the same things that aikido practice does. Not to say anything bad about MMA, or to suggest that I'm martially more effective than an MMA person with similar training time -- but my intuition is that we're all of us motivated by different things. I hope someday to be good enough at aikido to be able to use it as a practical martial art, but even now I can use it metaphorically in conflict resolution in every-day life. And that's more than good enough for me, even if aikido isn't everybody's cup of tea.

I assume that MMAers also sometimes use their training for resolving non-violent conflicts in every-day life -- but I do confess to wondering what that looks like, and what it means to them?

chillzATL
10-20-2010, 04:35 PM
IMO, that attitude and mindset comes more from people who like MMA and like to talk the talk, but don't actually train themselves. While most MMA fighters wouldn't find much use for aikido, few would openly have anything bad to say about it because it's completely outside the scope of what they do.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that aikido offers something in the way of spirituality or morality that other arts, even MMA, do not. They may not talk about it at length, but they understand it better than most.

Conrad Gus
10-20-2010, 04:55 PM
It is true, though, that aikido, in general, has a lot less of the macho chest-thumping atmosphere that is common in many martial arts clubs (including MMA). It's one of the reasons I like aikido so much.

Janet Rosen
10-20-2010, 04:59 PM
Well, since I'm interested in aikido, I stick to aikido related sites. If my own training goals were congruent with another art, I'd go pick another art to train in. Otherwise, it would be like worrying about what an opera singer or afficionado thought about the Delta blues.

makuchg
10-20-2010, 07:53 PM
This topic, as well as the tough guy type posts run rampant on this site. It is as if all lost sight of the "do" aspect of our art. Aikido is not about stepping into a ring to compete with another, it is about a martial journey to harmony in oneself.

I have many friends in the MMA world, including several professional fighters. What I have found is they understand comparing a martial art to MMA (even though "martial art" is in the acronym) is like comparing apples and oranges. You have very different objectives. And just as we admire their physical prowess in the ring, many respect the spiritual journey we take through our practice.

What will you get out of MMA? Exactly what you put into it

What will you get out of Aikido? Exactly what you put into it.

WilliB
10-21-2010, 12:19 AM
Sometimes while at work I'll take 5 minutes to read some aikido blogs or forums, just as a quick break. Usually I find this a pick-me-up, but yesterday I ran across a discussion board where an MMA advocate said a bunch of negative and critical things about aikido. When I then did some additional searches, I quickly started to find more postings and articles with a similarly negative theme about aikido.

Youtube is also full of that. I think a lot of the blame for these stupid arguments can be placed on the Aikido side -- or more specifically on the false claims that often come from there.

Things like "defeat any opponent effortlessly by using his own power against him, regardless of your size and his".... etc etc etc.

Those who spout hot air like that should not be surprised about some blowback.

SeiserL
10-21-2010, 04:36 AM
Perhaps its like being MMA in an Aiki world.

IMHO, just different intent and intensity.

There are many styles/schools to match what we want and who we are.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-21-2010, 07:40 AM
I assume that MMAers also sometimes use their training for resolving non-violent conflicts in every-day life -- but I do confess to wondering what that looks like, and what it means to them?

Instead of avoiding non-violent conflicts until they get tired and dissapear in a sea of love and universal harmony they tackle, throw, pin, punch and choke non-violent conflicts until the non-violent conflict is ko'ed.

MMA practitioners are the mongol horde on roids.

lbb
10-21-2010, 07:42 AM
I'm not a huge fan of the metaphorical uses of aikido ('I was in this meeting at work, and things were getting tense, and I used aiki to blah de blah de blah"), and a huge cynic where such things are involved...but even I will admit that the metaphor can work. If you're a believer in such, then don't you owe it to yourself to walk the talk? And doesn't walking the talk include not manufacturing nonexistent conflicts, and not engaging in conflicts when there's the opportunity to "get off the line" (metaphorically speaking)?

It seems to me that this is just such a case. Point the first, I question whether the conflict exists. MMA and aikido have different goals, although if the goals are defined broadly they will certainly overlap. MMA and aikido practitioners are often after different things, much like a person with a toothache and. a person with a broken leg. The person with the toothache doesn't get in a snit because the person with the broken leg is going to an orthopedist and not a dentist.

Point the second, insofar as there is a conflict, you don't have to engage in it. You never have to go there. You are not called on to defend the honor of aikido, or anything silly like that. You are not an aikido missionary trying to nail shoes on the heathen. It doesn't have to be your problem. If you're dealing with a blowhard, such as Jason describes, recognize it as such, smile and change the subject. You're not going to convince a blowhard. If you're the one who's puffing hot air yourself, as Willi describes, just stop doing that. Just as you can't convince a blowhard, blowhards rarely convince anyone else.

Michael Neal
10-21-2010, 07:59 AM
I find that in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, both MMA related arts, most people are quite down to earth and humble. It is difficult for an ego to survive in an atmosphere where your skills are tested realistically and you are humbled regularly by more skilled people in sparring.

I just went back to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu this week after 4 1/2 years of not training and I can tell you it was most humbling, but nobody tried to haze me or attempted to show me up. The black belt I sparred with kind of just toyed with me lightly as I attempted in vain to do techniques. They worked with me at my level of conditioning and were very friendly and helpful.

Although I have not trained MMA specifically I am sure the mindset is similar for most practitioners, but you certainly do have a little bit of a thug element involved as well, at least wanna be thugs.

Most Aikidoka I trained with were great people but I actually found more snobbery, affectation, and passive aggression in Aikido. It was just a few people but significant enough to me to notice a difference in training attitudes.

MM
10-21-2010, 08:12 AM
I'm not a huge fan of the metaphorical uses of aikido ('I was in this meeting at work, and things were getting tense, and I used aiki to blah de blah de blah"), and a huge cynic where such things are involved...but even I will admit that the metaphor can work. If you're a believer in such, then don't you owe it to yourself to walk the talk? And doesn't walking the talk include not manufacturing nonexistent conflicts, and not engaging in conflicts when there's the opportunity to "get off the line" (metaphorically speaking)?

It seems to me that this is just such a case. Point the first, I question whether the conflict exists. MMA and aikido have different goals, although if the goals are defined broadly they will certainly overlap. MMA and aikido practitioners are often after different things, much like a person with a toothache and. a person with a broken leg. The person with the toothache doesn't get in a snit because the person with the broken leg is going to an orthopedist and not a dentist.

Point the second, insofar as there is a conflict, you don't have to engage in it. You never have to go there. You are not called on to defend the honor of aikido, or anything silly like that. You are not an aikido missionary trying to nail shoes on the heathen. It doesn't have to be your problem. If you're dealing with a blowhard, such as Jason describes, recognize it as such, smile and change the subject. You're not going to convince a blowhard. If you're the one who's puffing hot air yourself, as Willi describes, just stop doing that. Just as you can't convince a blowhard, blowhards rarely convince anyone else.

and

I find that in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, both MMA related arts, most people are quite down to earth and humble. It is difficult for an ego to survive in an atmosphere where your skills are tested realistically and you are humbled regularly by more skilled people in sparring.

I just went back to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu this week after 4 1/2 years of not training and I can tell you it was most humbling, but nobody tried to haze me or attempted to show me up. The black belt I sparred with kind of just toyed with me lightly as I attempted in vain to do techniques. They worked with me at my level of conditioning and were very friendly and helpful.

Although I have not trained MMA specifically I am sure the mindset is similar for most practitioners, but you certainly do have a little bit of a thug element involved as well, at least wanna be thugs.

Most Aikidoka I trained with were great people but I actually found more snobbery, affectation, and passive aggression in Aikido. It was just a few people but significant enough to me to notice a difference in training attitudes.

Just thought they were well worth repeating. Good posts.

guest1234567
10-21-2010, 08:39 AM
, but yesterday I ran across a discussion board where an MMA advocate said a bunch of negative and critical things about aikido.



In all MMA there are all kind of people perhaps I'm so lucky never meeting people like that. I know and trained with judo,karate, ninjutusu, and jijiutsu practicers who wanted to know how it feels training with us, in our dojo is one guy who practiced judo before and another who practice ninjutsu the days we have no aikido, all of them are humble and respect our MMA.

valjean
10-21-2010, 09:22 AM
Point the second, insofar as there is a conflict, you don't have to engage in it. Just as you can't convince a blowhard, blowhards rarely convince anyone else.

Yes.

No particular interest in proselytizing here. Me, I just want to achieve the grace of the leopard. (Or, perhaps, the puma.)

MM
10-21-2010, 10:06 AM
Yes.

No particular interest in proselytizing here. Me, I just want to achieve the grace of the leopard. (Or, perhaps, the puma.)

Off the topic, but is there an aikido dojo in Wexford?

Michael Neal
10-21-2010, 10:08 AM
It is also worth noting though that occasionally there are some people in BJJ and Judo dojos that will haze you. I have experienced that many times. I am stubborn enough that I just used it as a leaning experience and made it a point to train with them as much as possible, it made me much tougher. Consider it realistic training in dealing with an agressive bully.

Michael Neal
10-21-2010, 10:43 AM
Modification, a few times this has happened not many. Usually when visiting other dojos that I should have done research about beforehand.

valjean
10-21-2010, 10:55 AM
Off the topic, but is there an aikido dojo in Wexford?

Yes, sort of. This is even further off topic, but Western PA has a municipal oddity that I've never seen anyplace else I've lived: the postal designations (e.g., "Wexford") don't match the actual village names (e.g., "Franklin Park"). I'm still not sure why this is so.

Anyway, the dojo here is Aikido of Franklin Park, which I believe sits in the postal designation "Wexford." Ours is a small but dedicated group, affiliated with Capital Aikikai in DC. We have about six or seven regular students, mostly 40 to 50 somethings (like me), and all trying to squeeze in aikido practice around busy jobs and families. It's a nice little community to have, and our teacher is excellent. Visitors to the dojo are surely welcome!

valjean
10-21-2010, 11:08 AM
It is also worth noting though that occasionally there are some people in BJJ and Judo dojos that will haze you. I have experienced that many times. I am stubborn enough that I just used it as a leaning experience and made it a point to train with them as much as possible, it made me much tougher. Consider it realistic training in dealing with an agressive bully.

;) Man, you should see the hazing that some of those tai chi ch'uan folks have put me through. *Those* people are just brutal.

Michael Neal
10-21-2010, 01:35 PM
I would love to be hazed by Tai Chi, what a story that would be

Alfonso
10-21-2010, 04:16 PM
here's a tai chi hazing

http://www.56.com/w80/play_album-aid-8284545_vid-NTE2MjczMDI.html

Michael Neal
10-21-2010, 07:00 PM
that's funny, what the heck is that? I would not worry about being hazed by those guys :)

RED
10-21-2010, 09:50 PM
Off the topic, but is there an aikido dojo in Wexford?

Nope.
There is a Karate of Wexford however.

Dr Yoram Vodovotz however is at Capital Aikikai in PA ...Franklin Park, not Wexford

RED
10-21-2010, 09:56 PM
Most Aikidoka I trained with were great people but I actually found more snobbery, affectation, and passive aggression in Aikido. It was just a few people but significant enough to me to notice a difference in training attitudes.

:(
I'm sorry that that was your experience.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
10-22-2010, 05:05 AM
:(
I'm sorry that that was your experience.

Not just his experience, I think there is something more there.

And I also agree with previous posters: I have never heard anything derogatory about aikido from the actual BJJ and MMA people I sometimes roll with. Its just not something they pass judgement on, it's outside of what they do.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-22-2010, 06:33 AM
In my experience, BJJ/MMA, Kickboxing and Judo guys are in general more respectful and open minded about Aikido than aikidoka about said arts.

Flintstone
10-22-2010, 06:57 AM
In my experience, BJJ/MMA, Kickboxing and Judo guys are in general more respectful and open minded about Aikido than aikidoka about said arts.
Yes. It. Is.

amoeba
10-22-2010, 07:44 AM
Hm, the aikidoka I know have no problem with other martial arts... I do a little karate in addition and nobody ever said anything bad about that. And I don't think their attitude towards e.g. Kickboxing is that much worse...

RED
10-22-2010, 10:06 AM
I've known a lot of cross trainers. Most Aikidoka I've met have come from other arts. I never knew there was an issue people in regards to people who do other arts; neither BBJ/MMA nor Aikidoka. ??

Regardless, maybe too many generalizations are being slung about this thread right now. lol

Ryan Seznee
10-22-2010, 02:05 PM
I don't hang out with many people from other martial arts, but I do have a friend who trains in BJJ. He has nothing derogatory to say about any other martial art, and it is my impression that his gymmates felt the same way. I find people who are focused on pointing out the flaws of others do so because they don't want people looking at them.

Kevin Leavitt
10-22-2010, 02:21 PM
A big part of Aiki for me is learning how to face paradigms, problems, fears, etc and learning to understand them better. To figure out what is really going on at the root level and trying to reach an authentic understanding of the world around me.

In that respect I have found the allegory of my budo practice to be more about listening..or better yet, hearing instead of being heard.

I think it is easy for us all to self identify with some ideals, values, mores or what not that we aspire to begin to try and pull away from or separate the things that we don't like, fear, or simply don't understand completely.

I know that fear has cost me alot of experiences early in my life!

Anyway, I think the biggest lesson we can learn in aikido is "things are not quite what they always seem".

We certainly don't want others judging what we do in aikido simply from cursory observation, why is it that we feel the need to do this when we supposedly study an art that is trying to not do that very thing!

Many in aikido, imo, simply what to take a revisionist view of the founder's intent. We attempt to reframe our practices to mean the whole peace and harmony thing without attempting to really understand the nature or root of violence or conflict.

In many respects, I think, folks that do MMA (and I am one of them) are more honest in their practice in the fact that they don't sugar coat the meaning of what we are doing...which is bad things to people in a good way!

For me, Budo is not so much about avoiding conflict or trying to make it something that it is not...but how we live our lives and how we deal with violence that is what it is all about.

We can face with anger and/or revenge in mind, or we can face it with a clean heart and compassion.

For me, it is not what we do, but how approach it when we approach it.

For most of my MMA buddies, they are some of the most compassionate and caring people in the world...and they understand and make no bones about what they are capable of doing and what they are willing to do if they have to.

With warriors of this mind set, you find a pretty low tolerance for bullshit and their BS meter is pretty well calibrated.

They can smell it a mile away...unfortunately, there are many folks in Traditional martial arts that have no clue what is really going on in their practice.

This is not to say everyone is like this in TMAs, of course not. But if the shoe fits.....

That said, as a few others have mentioned, there are the "wannbee" MMAers too.

These guys (and me) have the same opinion of those "Tapout" wannabee/gang bangers as well.

Embrace your fears and let go of your pre-conceptions...you might be suprised what you find!

guest1234567
10-22-2010, 02:44 PM
A big part of Aiki for me is learning how to face paradigms, problems, fears, etc and learning to understand them better. To figure out what is really going on at the root level and trying to reach an authentic understanding of the world around me.
In that respect I have found the allegory of my budo practice to be more about listening..or better yet, hearing instead of being heard.

I agree with that, I always try to understand why somebody does not respect other people, respect their ideas and thoughts, even sometimes in a forum

Anyway, I think the biggest lesson we can learn in aikido is "things are not quite what they always seem".

very wise


Embrace your fears and let go of your pre-conceptions...you might be suprised what you find!

Maybe that is why I never met guys like others described.
I believe in the mirror of the relationsships, people will treat you as you treat them