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Robert _DeMatteo
12-14-2010, 10:49 PM
This is my first time posting on this forum, but I have been a member for a few years.

About a year into my training I began having doubts about the martial aspects of Aikido. I wasn't sure if it was effective or if it would work in a real fight. I encountered this question in many different threads here, and the answer always seemed to be "try another art for a while, learn how to fight, then you'll understand Aikido."

I ended up leaving Aikido, and after a few years of training in more "fighting" based arts, I wanted to let others who are doubting Aikido know that this advice is completely accurate.

What I have realized is that the reasons I was doubting Aikido (a focus on not hurting Uke, and on love/harmony, etc) are what makes Aikido so great as a martial art and (more importantly) as a life philosophy.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my new perspective with people I knew would appreciate it.

Good training!

Eva Antonia
12-15-2010, 04:20 AM
Dear Robert,

this is interesting to read! I always play with the thought that I should get to learn some other martial arts (at least dabble a bit with) to know how to attack better and how to defend differently, obviously without leaving aikido for that - but I always postpone thinking that I should first get a bit better in aikido so that it would make sense...

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Best regardsm

Eva

Nick P.
12-15-2010, 08:20 AM
I came to the same conclusion, but from another route; I began studying Tae Kwon Do as a (much) young(er) adult.
It occurred to me that the ability to injure or cripple another human being was not a skill set I wanted to develope. I was good, I was told, but certainly did not feel good about the pain it inflicted on others.

Years later I was introduced to Aikido, and now I am preparing for my sandan exam in January.

There are times where I miss unbridled aggression of TKD, but those periods are fleeting and always pass.

There are no wrong choices, just poor parings of desires and paths chosen.

ChrisHein
12-15-2010, 11:01 AM
What I have realized is that the reasons I was doubting Aikido (a focus on not hurting Uke, and on love/harmony, etc) are what makes Aikido so great as a martial art and (more importantly) as a life philosophy.


I was wondering if you could say a little more about what you mean here?

I feel that physical conflict, by it's very nature involves someone getting hurt. Aikido, a style of studying physical conflict, is not immune to this fact.

When we train, we study this. In the training we also get hurt ourselves and see others hurt. We learn that physical conflict is not a fantasy, but in truth, a very real problem. A problem that can most often be solved through other means. This can be learned through any kind of marital arts training, for this is the nature of martial arts training.

Are you saying that by studying Aikido, you will not have to hurt someone if you were to get into a physical confrontation?

bkedelen
12-15-2010, 03:14 PM
That is why with the fullness of time bullshido wound up making fun of every martial art. They all have things that are or seem silly, and everything that is truly a scam is (usually) perpetrated by an individual, not an art as a whole. Even people to who supposedly go to "real" arts to learn to "real" fighting often fail spectacularly, for example UFC fighters who are regularly training with famous boxing or Muay Thai teachers but cannot manage to throw a straight punch in the octagon.

Marc Abrams
12-15-2010, 03:25 PM
That is why with the fullness of time bullshido wound up making fun of every martial art. They all have things that are or seem silly, and everything that is truly a scam is (usually) perpetrated by an individual, not an art as a whole. Even people to who supposedly go to "real" arts to learn to "real" fighting often fail spectacularly, for example UFC fighters who are regularly training with famous boxing or Muay Thai teachers but cannot manage to throw a straight punch in the octagon.

Benjamin:

Who was it who said "do not say that Aikido does not work; say that your Aikido does not work... Mine works just fine for me..." :D

Someone close by you?;)

Marc Abrams

Anjisan
12-15-2010, 04:38 PM
I came to the same conclusion, but from another route; I began studying Tae Kwon Do as a (much) young(er) adult.
It occurred to me that the ability to injure or cripple another human being was not a skill set I wanted to develope. I was good, I was told, but certainly did not feel good about the pain it inflicted on others.

Years later I was introduced to Aikido, and now I am preparing for my sandan exam in January.

There are times where I miss unbridled aggression of TKD, but those periods are fleeting and always pass.

There are no wrong choices, just poor parings of desires and paths chosen.

I share a similar history as far as TKD and I am preparing for my Sandan exam-although I am going to wait until next summer or Autumn to test. I guess that I have chosen the path to explore the full range of techniques. The thought being that if I want to not hurt people and be able to stop violence then I have to be able to hurt people and cause violence so I can truly make a real choice NOT to do harm.

bkedelen
12-15-2010, 06:36 PM
Marc, I think you misunderstood my post. I was just pointing out that all arts seem sometimes silly to their own practitioners, and that some time with other arts shows goes a long way toward revealing what is great about Aikido.

Erick Mead
12-15-2010, 08:48 PM
I was wondering if you could say a little more about what you mean here?

I feel that physical conflict, by it's very nature involves someone getting hurt. Aikido, a style of studying physical conflict, is not immune to this fact.

When we train, we study this. In the training we also get hurt ourselves and see others hurt. We learn that physical conflict is not a fantasy, but in truth, a very real problem. A problem that can most often be solved through other means. This can be learned through any kind of marital arts training, for this is the nature of martial arts training.

Are you saying that by studying Aikido, you will not have to hurt someone if you were to get into a physical confrontation?

"Hurt" is not the issue, as I see it. I've been hurt riding a bike, I've been hurt training in aikido. Football players receive far more life-long lasting injury than most martial artists, not even considering aikido.

So aikido is violent and a study of violent conduct. What aikido is not -- and is four-square against -- is the mind and soul of violence. It is a study of how to conduct oneself in violent action without a mind of violence. This far Zen in martial training goes. But Aikido goes to a place nearly Christian in concept -- to the point of loving the enemy even as as we engage his violence actively.

You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. Matt. 5:21-22

Aikido is not about avoiding the violence -- we are all fundamentally violent. Anyone who says otherwise is lying first to himself. It is about transfiguring the violence within ourselves in the midst of violence all around us -- physical and otherwise. The physical principles of aiki and the psychological/spiritual goals of aikido are integrated toward that end.

Marc Abrams
12-16-2010, 07:35 AM
Marc, I think you misunderstood my post. I was just pointing out that all arts seem sometimes silly to their own practitioners, and that some time with other arts shows goes a long way toward revealing what is great about Aikido.

Benjamin:

I did understand your post! I always get a chuckle when these issues come us. Your teacher's comment has always been the first one that comes to my mind. I think that the silliness tends to come in when we take what we are doing out of context for what we are really doing and why.

Regards,

marc abrams

phitruong
12-16-2010, 08:19 AM
something to consider. many of the old timers who came to learn under Ueshiba were ranked in other martial arts. Ikeda sensei was a judoka before he encountered Saotome sensei.

Amassus
12-16-2010, 06:13 PM
FWIW
I studied a composite style of kung fu and Zen do kai karate as a teenager and then found aikido many years later. Aikido as a martial art is great. However I do get concerned over some training methodologies out there. All in all, aikido provides a wholistic approach to the individual that I didn't find in the striking arts. By this I mean, I had to face my fears on and off the mat during my aikido training and not hide behind being fast or strong as I could do when I was younger in the other martial art I tried.

I hope that makes sense.

Dean.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
12-16-2010, 07:55 PM
I trained in Shotokan before trying Aikido. In the beginning, Aikido thechnique left me extremely frustrated. I thought they were unnecessarily complicated. Now that I am starting to improve, I understand the reason for all these complications: for example, try punching in the solar plexus of someone wearing a bullet proof vest, and they won't even notice.
I am still practicing my Shotokan kata, but I do not regret exploring another dimension in fighting. After all, muggers tend to go after smaller and weaker victims.
Every martial art is special in its own way. I often worry that my lack of coordination will hamper my reactions if I am attacked on the street. But I know I'd better work on all these complications, in case my attacker wears a bullet proof vest. ;)

Robert _DeMatteo
12-16-2010, 09:25 PM
Are you saying that by studying Aikido, you will not have to hurt someone if you were to get into a physical confrontation?

Absolutely not. I have no illusions about the nature of physical conflict, and I don't believe Aikido will turn me into a superhero (though that would be pretty cool :D ). However, what I have realized is that I do not study martial arts to become a "killing machine" and the other arts I studied had too much of an emphasis on hurting the opponent. While I agree that hurting someone is inevitable in a physical conflict, there is a big difference between a nikkyo pin and breaking someone's arm from the start.

Most importantly I realized that the reasons I was drawn to Aikido in the first place hadn't changed and that it was foolish to justify a martial art solely by its lethality. A decent handgun would be cheaper if that were all I was interested in...

Don Nordin
12-17-2010, 12:41 PM
"Most importantly I realized that the reasons I was drawn to Aikido in the first place hadn't changed and that it was foolish to justify a martial art solely by its lethality. A decent handgun would be cheaper if that were all I was interested in..."

Therein is the key for me. I started boxing when 14, I never did super well at it, but I messed with it on an off until I was in my 20's. But there was always something missing. For me it is the wholistic approach that Aikido takes with regards conflict. Avoid the conflict when you can, move out of the way and redirect the agression if you are attacked. Sure there are numerous ways an Aikido play can really hurt someone if they want t, but the beauty of the art is that you do not have to damage/kill the person to stop the conflict.

All that said I have been studying Aikido for about 18 months, I like to think that I could defend myself using Aikido but there is still alot of residual programming in my head that needs to be written over before I think I would be effective without resorting to "old tricks"

Aikibu
12-18-2010, 12:43 AM
It's what you do with your "doubts" that determines what kind of Aikido you will end up with..."Doubting" elements of your practice can be a touchstone for growth or an excuse...That choice is up to you. :)

William Hazen

lbb
12-18-2010, 05:12 PM
I trained in Shotokan before trying Aikido. In the beginning, Aikido thechnique left me extremely frustrated. I thought they were unnecessarily complicated. Now that I am starting to improve, I understand the reason for all these complications: for example, try punching in the solar plexus of someone wearing a bullet proof vest, and they won't even notice.

Same background and similar experience here. Aikido made absolutely no sense to me at first, and the only reason why I didn't get frustrated was because I consciously decided to train without judging and without trying to figure it out. That's one of the great things that I've experienced in martial arts: the experience of setting aside the need to understand everything up front, and to just practice in order to obtain the experiences that provide a framework for the understanding.

RED
12-18-2010, 05:30 PM
I had no idea what Aikido was when I started. I assumed that the people in the funny skirts knew more about their funny skirt art than I did. So, I wasn't really in a position to judge their knowledge of their own funny skirt art at that time.

Anthony Loeppert
12-18-2010, 07:07 PM
Aikido made absolutely no sense to me at first, and the only reason why I didn't get frustrated was because I consciously decided to train without judging and without trying to figure it out.

Yes, this was/is my attitude as well, trust the process even if you don't understand it... how could an aikido beginner really understand anyway. Now 2.5 years in, when I reflect back it is an amazing journey of discovery all because I showed up at class (mostly) regularly and listened with an open mind and tried... and keep trying.

I don't know what rank I'll plateau at but I'm committed to keep doing it until it is no longer interesting and fun, and given that it is only getting more interesting and fun... I guess it will be some time. 3rd kyu yoshinkan at the moment.

Janet Rosen
12-18-2010, 08:14 PM
LOL ... I was the first student at a new dojo and it was pre-YouTube era of slow dialup modems so I couldn't go online for videos; result was it was months before I actually saw people "doing aikido" - talk about suspending judgment and just training :-)