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Michael Varin
03-16-2011, 03:58 AM
I regard recognizing that the techniques, tactics, and strategy of aikido are designed to be used in a weapons context as one of the most important realizations one can make about aikido.

Although Iwama style aikido has its flaws, I believe having an Iwama background made it easier for me to understand this connection. Another factor was my interest in boxing, Muay Thai, and mma, which provided a contrast (amongst other things). And of course, my general inquisitive and logical nature.

Once you embrace this idea, and begin to see just how deep the connection is, the potential for so many practices that truly develop the skills of aikido is released. While in theory these practices are always available, the weapons context allows one to apply the principles of the art while using the recognizable techniques without confusion.

The funny thing is that this idea is not original, and it's really quite obvious. In retrospect, I can't believe it took me over 3 years of daily practice for it to begin to sink in.

Reading the comments in some recent threads shows that this is a worthwhile topic for discussion.

What impact does our understanding of the martial context of aikido have on our practices?

If we do not understand the martial context of our art, how can we genuinely develop the specific skills of that art?

If we accept the intimate relationship between aikido and weapons, what are the implications for a modern practitioner? (Think: Will aikido work in the cage?; But I don't carry weapons; I practice aikido to experience harmony of movement; etc.)

Tony Wagstaffe
03-16-2011, 06:08 AM
I regard recognizing that the techniques, tactics, and strategy of aikido are designed to be used in a weapons context as one of the most important realizations one can make about aikido.

Although Iwama style aikido has its flaws, I believe having an Iwama background made it easier for me to understand this connection. Another factor was my interest in boxing, Muay Thai, and mma, which provided a contrast (amongst other things). And of course, my general inquisitive and logical nature.

Once you embrace this idea, and begin to see just how deep the connection is, the potential for so many practices that truly develop the skills of aikido is released. While in theory these practices are always available, the weapons context allows one to apply the principles of the art while using the recognizable techniques without confusion.

The funny thing is that this idea is not original, and it's really quite obvious. In retrospect, I can't believe it took me over 3 years of daily practice for it to begin to sink in.

Reading the comments in some recent threads shows that this is a worthwhile topic for discussion.

What impact does our understanding of the martial context of aikido have on our practices?

If we do not understand the martial context of our art, how can we genuinely develop the specific skills of that art?

If we accept the intimate relationship between aikido and weapons, what are the implications for a modern practitioner? (Think: Will aikido work in the cage?; But I don't carry weapons; I practice aikido to experience harmony of movement; etc.)

You could ask Rik Ellis, Henry Ellis Sensei's son, the question of whether aikido principles work in the cage..... :)

ChrisHein
03-16-2011, 07:24 PM
You could ask Rik Ellis, Henry Ellis Sensei's son, the question of whether aikido principles work in the cage..... :)

Aikido, as well as all other martial arts share principles that can be used in any martial context. So does, Yoga, Football, Olympic diving, and any other physical activity. But I think what Michael is asking is, where do the techniques found in Aikido best fit.

For example, if one studied only Aikido. Became extremely proficient at it, could they just walk into an MMA ring and win? It depends greatly on the skill of his opponent, but I would say almost certainly not. Many skills that are not found in Aikido training are needed to win an MMA bout. Does training in Aikido help with some of the skills one needs to win an MMA bout? I would say yes, but many other skills are needed (clinch technique, ground technique, striking ability and defense, etc.).

However if one considers Aikido in a weapons context (for me, most specifically, armed while facing multiple attackers) does Aikido's technical syllabus contain everything that is needed to be successful? In my opinion the answer is a resounding, YES!

Does MMA training contain all the needed skills to be successful in this same context; I believe no. So this is the context in which Aikido is most useful as a martial art system. It is great at answering questions inside of this context, but not so good at answering the questions one might encounter in say, an MMA bout.

Michael Varin
03-18-2011, 05:12 AM
You could ask Rik Ellis, Henry Ellis Sensei's son, the question of whether aikido principles work in the cage.
Let's discuss this. I would love for Rik or Henry, if he understands well enough what his son is doing, to give their thoughts on this. Here are two clips of Rik Ellis in mma bouts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-juUCqxeFA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk70hkVb_10

What principles of aikido are being used here?

Do we see something that is even remotely recognizable as aikido? Are the techniques, tactics, and strategies aligned with what we learn in aikido?

At what point are we developing the specific skills of mma versus the specific skills of aikido?

My guess is that Rik specifically trains for mma… That's the smart thing to do if you want to pursue it!

Is there an environment in which the common patterns of movement more readily facilitate aikido's techniques? In which the incentives tend to require those techniques?

After all, why do those forms exist if they must be adapted beyond recognition or dispatched outright in a "real fight"?

Alex Megann
03-18-2011, 06:07 AM
Let's discuss this. I would love for Rik or Henry, if he understands well enough what his son is doing, to give their thoughts on this. Here are two clips of Rik Ellis in mma bouts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-juUCqxeFA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk70hkVb_10

What principles of aikido are being used here?



From the description of the first clip:

Aiki-Nonces please note this is not Aikido, it is MMA with two fighters who have a backgroung in Aikido and Taekwondo.

What's an Aiki-Nonce? I understood that "nonce" was prison slang for a sexual offender...

Alex

Hellis
03-18-2011, 07:22 AM
From the description of the first clip:

Aiki-Nonces please note this is not Aikido, it is MMA with two fighters who have a backgroung in Aikido and Taekwondo.

What's an Aiki-Nonce? I understood that "nonce" was prison slang for a sexual offender...

Alex

Rik Ellis has no time for the nameless ones that make derogatory comments from behind the safety of their computer screens, so he kindly gave them a name..
People would leave messages " I don't see Aikido " followed by abuse, when obviously they have not read the information text.

RIK ELLIS is an MMA FIGHTER with an AIKIDO BACKGROUND.
Rik's last two fights lasted 26 seconds and 46 seconds of the first round, not much time to see anything but stars...
Read his article " Aikido in MMA " to see his explanation of the use of Aikido in MMA and the need to adapt...Rik does not visit forums, he is always willing to accommadate you without appointment at his gym..

Henry Ellis
Aikido in MMA
http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/

ChrisHein
03-18-2011, 11:57 AM
Thanks Henry,

Rik looks to be doing quite well with his training too!

As someone who knows MMA and Aikido, Henry, where do you think Aikido's techniques best fit? Do you believe that there is a context where, martially, all of Aikido's techniques fit, without need for serious modification, or where additional techniques do not need to be added?

Hellis
03-18-2011, 12:19 PM
Thanks Henry,

Rik looks to be doing quite well with his training too!

As someone who knows MMA and Aikido, Henry, where do you think Aikido's techniques best fit? Do you believe that there is a context where, martially, all of Aikido's techniques fit, without need for serious modification, or where additional techniques do not need to be added?

Hi Chris

May I just say that I have followed with much approval many of your direct and very sound postings...

I often think that Aikido desperately needs to move forward in the modern era. We are doing defence against a sword attack, not a thing of the past as Rik will tell you from experience. Rik often comes home and tells me how some of the MMA guys ask to see some of the Aikido techniques he applies from all angles and often in ground work...Sankyo is very effective. The techniques are " Aikido " techniques, not as the purists like to preform them in the dojo, in reality based situations.
I even had one guy on AJ say that I should be ashamed to allow my son to do MMA, he didn't offer to tell Rik himself :)
Initially I was surprised to find that once I had been to a ` Fight Night ` I was hooked, I really do enjoy it.

Henry Ellis
Aikido in MMA
http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/

dps
03-18-2011, 12:44 PM
Thanks Henry,

Rik looks to be doing quite well with his training too!

As someone who knows MMA and Aikido, Henry, where do you think Aikido's techniques best fit? Do you believe that there is a context where, martially, all of Aikido's techniques fit, without need for serious modification, or where additional techniques do not need to be added?

Wouldn't it be better to say Rik is using the principles of Aikido?

dps

ChrisHein
03-18-2011, 03:25 PM
I often think that Aikido desperately needs to move forward in the modern era.

I strongly agree with this! I think that contemporary Aikido is in for a growth period. I believe that MMA has opened up the worlds eyes about martial arts in general. It has helped to clear up much about what is "effective" in a certain martial context. This can help us, as Aikido practitioners to understand our art.


We are doing defence against a sword attack, not a thing of the past as Rik will tell you from experience.

This is very real. The classic techniques we find in Aikido are still VERY applicable in todays world. Their scope and reach is far from outdated. People still fight in much the same ways they did thousands of years ago, even with new technologies (like firearms).


The techniques are " Aikido " techniques, not as the purists like to preform them in the dojo, in reality based situations.

There is much more to the techniques found in Aikido then can be understood by training just the forms. Once one begins to actually use the techniques of Aikido, you will see that they take on many different looks and feels. Rik is one of the first of a new breed of Aikido practitioner, one who is learning to USE Aikido beyond theory.


I even had one guy on AJ say that I should be ashamed to allow my son to do MMA, he didn't offer to tell Rik himself :)

I have heard this kind of garbage over and over about my training as well. The only real "shame" is that in a martial art system that is suppose to support open minds and free spirits, people are so quick to judge, and assume that they have any concept of what you are doing, when they have themselves never been down that path. I think it's awesome that you support your son so much!

When I first left regular Aikido training in favor of MMA style training I started to feel let down by much of what I had learned in Aikido. Not the the principles didn't apply to much of what I was doing in MMA, in fact my teacher and many of my classmates were amazed at how fast I picked up the fundamentals of the training (little did they know that much of it was the same in Aikido). But I couldn't regularly get the techniques of Aikdio, nor did I find the typical strategies found in Aikido training (maai, timing, footwork, etc.) to work very well in the MMA context.

It wasn't until I entered a Dog Brothers stick fighting tournament that I found some of what I learned in Aikido to fit perfectly. This opened my eyes to different martial contexts. I realized that not all fights were the same. That different motivations and factors changed the ways in which we fight, dramatically. Things that work well in one martial context might not work well in another. This lead me to my first rough realization that the attacks found in Aikido (katate dori, morote dori, yokomen uchi etc.) were based around the presents of weapons. That meant that the set-up (the most important part of a technique) was based in weapons confrontation, and wouldn't arise in the same way if weapons were not present.

This first realization lead to many more, helping me to make Aikido my own. This allowed me to truly develop my practice. All of this came from understanding that the context of Aikido might not be an unarmed context.

Sorry for the long ramble, but I believe that this is what Michael is trying to get at. Doesn't it seem like Aikido "fits" better in some other context?

Hellis
03-18-2011, 05:41 PM
Chris

Rik was at a party when a guy crashed through the door brandishing a large Katana, he threatened everyone there, Rik said he was crazed and his ex gf was at the party. there was the potential for a ``skid fest`` as every one was terrified ( rightly so ) Rik saw the real danger of the situation and took the guy out and disarmed him using Aikido technique very effectively..

You may be interested to note that my 16 yr old grandson also fights in the cage, he is one of the youngest, rules are a little different, he has had two fights winning them both, the last one in 46 seconds of the first round with a clear knockout, a week before the fight he was told his opponent had pulled out and the only replacement was an 18 yr old, unphased he said " I will take him " he did in 46 seconds..

Henry Ellis
Aikido in MMA
http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/

ChrisHein
03-18-2011, 10:19 PM
Rik was at a party when a guy crashed through the door brandishing a large Katana, he threatened everyone there, Rik said he was crazed and his ex gf was at the party. there was the potential for a ``skid fest`` as every one was terrified ( rightly so ) Rik saw the real danger of the situation and took the guy out and disarmed him using Aikido technique very effectively

This is a type of context where the techniques found in Aikido are likely superior to the kinds of techniques found in MMA. Add a guy who knows how to spar, deal with pressure, resistance and stress (Rik) and it's no surprise that Aikido "worked".

Ketsan
03-18-2011, 11:30 PM
If we do not understand the martial context of our art, how can we genuinely develop the specific skills of that art?



One cannot dance around in front of a swordsman, or anyone with a weapon, in the way boxers dance around in front of each other in the ring.
Even allowing an opponent a split second means certain death. In order to survive one must act decisively and enter in with total commitment.

That, I feel, is a central element of Aikido. Occasionally we hear about people sparing with boxers and loosing and to my mind and in my experience this is because in our culture fighting is about standing toe to toe with someone as sportsmen do.

The weapon reminds us that this is not a martial way of doing things. In martial arts the only response is the ikken hisatsu response: enter in and finish it now. The weapon also reminds us of the mindset we need, that of "I'm dead if I don't do this" rather than the sporting mind that says "I might loose if this goes wrong."

ChrisHein
03-19-2011, 12:30 AM
I believe that the weapons relation to Aikido is much more than metaphor.

Josh Reyer
03-19-2011, 09:05 AM
I believe that the weapons relation to Aikido is much more than metaphor.

And yet, the primary practice of aikido is weaponless, both currently and historically.

Chris Covington
03-19-2011, 10:02 AM
I think aikido weapons are much better than your backyard samurai sword arts (as seen on youtube). However, I think they lack the depth of classical weapons arts in general. I had a little exposure to aikiken and aikijo but compared to the koryu I've been exposed to they are more shallow. If you can't find good training though take what you can get.

When someone wants mochi they should go to a mochi maker.

Erick Mead
03-19-2011, 10:27 AM
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I believe that the weapons relation to Aikido is much more than metaphor.

And yet, the primary practice of aikido is weaponless, both currently and historically.

The relationship of the swordsman to the weapon and of nage to uke are the same. I cut the opponent as I cut the sword. I cannot tell you how many times I have very simply corrected basic errors by showing students how if they were manipulating a sword instead of a human body they would do this -- and Voila, they do this to the person and he is unhinged at the first impulse.

And then five minutes later they are back to grabbin' n' crankin' ,,, (((sigh))))

Ketsan
03-19-2011, 01:36 PM
I believe that the weapons relation to Aikido is much more than metaphor.

Yeah it's hard to move incorrectly when your hands are forced to stay in your centre and your shoulders are forced to stay down. Performing a technique with a weapon forces you to not use your upper body strength in my experience.

ChrisHein
03-19-2011, 02:12 PM
I think when Michael, or myself say weapon based, or weapon context, we mean something other then what many hear.

For example, I don't believe either Michael or myself are saying that Aikido teaches you how to specifically use any weapon. I for one certainly don't think that you are going to become more proficient at cutting with a sword, or hitting with a stick by learning Aikido.

What I do believe, and what I mean when I say weapon based, or weapon context, is that weapons must be present for the Aikido set-ups to become useful. That weapons must be present (along with multiple attacker situations) in order to use the movement, distance and timing taught by the Aikido syllabus.

This is a valid point:
And yet, the primary practice of aikido is weaponless, both currently and historically.

Aikido practice is primarily taught "weaponless". I personally also believe that in the later part of Ueshiba's life, he wasn't interested in weapon conflict, or conflict of any kind.

However the techniques chosen for, and used in Aikido practice are of the type used for weapons context. Not only seen in Koryu martial arts, but in weapon context arts from China, Europe, and Africa. The types of techniques found in Aikido, are very similar to those seen involving weapons from around the world.

Looking more closely at Koryu though, we can see many forms, very similar to Aikido forms, being done around weapons. Ueshiba, at least in his earlier life, was very interested in these types of techniques, and they clearly have a strong influence on the techniques we see in modern Aikido practice.

So when we try to make Aikido "work" in an unarmed situation, our techniques are a strange fit. Yet when we start to work our techniques around weapons, they will start to fit much more "as prescribed". Ikkyo-Rokyo make abundant sense when we involve weapons. Yet these, principle techniques seem to need modification, or amount mostly to metaphor when we look at them in the context of unarmed fighting.

As we have started sparring around weapons at our school, changing the context(s) and working different ideas, we've found Aikido to work quite naturally in a context involving weapons and multiple attacker. A context where the techniques need no modification, and nothing outside of the common Aikido syllabus is needed.

Rob Watson
03-19-2011, 02:15 PM
The classic techniques we find in Aikido are still VERY applicable in todays world. Their scope and reach is far from outdated. People still fight in much the same ways they did thousands of years ago, even with new technologies (like firearms).

I shall quibble with this above point. History is replete with examples of the 'classical' ways failing spectacularly when pitched against novel weaponry and/or tactics. Agincourt longbow and exploitation of terrain versus mounted cavalry in plate armour. Our minutemens guerilla tactics versus the red coats (apologies to Mr. Ellis) formations. Blitzkrieg. The methods of Boyd do tend to make a mockery of von Clausewitz. The principles at play in nikkyo are tortuously extrapolated to deploy against a cruise missile. Now, I'm as sentimental as the next but I'm also a pragmatist through and through. Let's be clear with ourselves that the practice of classical methods simply do not prepare one for general deployment in the modern era. Certainly there is some overlap, or better yet, intersection of skillsets but competence in one does not imply such in the other.

I will stipulate that one well versed in classical methods will take to modern training more readily and even progress more rapidly and result in a superior end product (at least that is my hope) so there most certainly is great value in study of the classics.

ChrisHein
03-19-2011, 03:22 PM
Hey Rob,
I was being too general and sweeping in my statements, point taken.

What I should have said is: Personal conflict has been carried out in essentially the same way for thousands of years, even with the advent of firearms.

What I was trying to get at is that on a personal level, or perhaps I should say, at close quarters, using handheld weapons, the methods found a thousand years ago, still hold weight today.

Controlling the weapon hand of a person with a pistol, isn't much different than controlling the weapon hand of a person with a knife or sharp rock. There are some nuances, but essentially the way a man would deal with you, at close quarters, armed with handheld weapons 700 years ago are the same as they are today.

Michael Varin
03-20-2011, 02:17 AM
This thread is getting unfocused.

I'm going to reiterate my initial questions, because I believe they best frame this discussion. Whether you agree or disagree, please, try to consider the problem and contribute a focused answer.

I truly believe that this is something that needs to be discussed and that can have positive effects on the future of aikido practice.

What impact does our understanding of the martial context of aikido have on our practices?

If we do not understand the martial context of our art, how can we genuinely develop the specific skills of that art?

If we accept the intimate relationship between aikido and weapons, what are the implications for a modern practitioner? (Think: Will aikido work in the cage?; But I don't carry weapons; I practice aikido to experience harmony of movement; etc.)

Is there an environment in which the common patterns of movement more readily facilitate aikido's techniques? In which the incentives tend to require those techniques?

After all, why do those forms exist if they must be adapted beyond recognition or dispatched outright in a "real fight"?

Mark Uttech
03-20-2011, 05:24 AM
Onegaishimasu, I don't know if some of you may find it relevant to this thread, but I find it useful to carry a bokken/jo in the house or going for a walk in the woods; then I use my imagination... I pay attention to how I use my body, how I use my bokken/jo on uneven terrain; where there's thick undergrowth and many trees; low hanging branches and vines; etc. Lack of space is a type of cage, and not much can be known in advance.
In gassho,
Mark

Brett Charvat
03-20-2011, 12:24 PM
"After all, why do those forms exist if they must be adapted beyond recognition or dispatched outright in a "real fight"?"

--I think this is an important point to ponder. I think some people have an idea that aikido techniques are actual fighting techniques that should be applicable to attackers outside the dojo in the same form that they appear within the dojo, but I'm not so sure that's true. Maybe ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, et al are simply forms that help us to condition our bodies into well-connected units capable of force reception/generation and kuzushi. Once this connected body is forged and the internal principles embodied, the forms themselves might become somewhat unimportant. Perhaps our goal in training should not be to "do ikkyo" to anyone, but rather to instantly unbalance anyone at (or even before?) the moment of contact, to be able to deliver devastating strikes without sacrificing our own balance, to become progressively more difficult to throw or lock.

For a fairly tortured analogy, think of Ushiro Sensei. I believe I've heard him say more than once that the secret of his stuff can be found in the Sanchin Kata. However, I strongly doubt that when confronted by attackers on the mean streets of Out There, he's going to immediately start performing the kata.

There may be more available within the forms of this art than simple waza.

senshincenter
03-20-2011, 05:03 PM
Chris wrote: "What I do believe, and what I mean when I say weapon based, or weapon context, is that weapons must be present for the Aikido set-ups to become useful. That weapons must be present (along with multiple attacker situations) in order to use the movement, distance and timing taught by the Aikido syllabus."

I agree wholeheartedly with the above statement, and so I would like to add this part as well:

What I do believe, and what I mean when I say weapon based, or weapon context, is that weapons must be present OR POTENTIALLY PRESENT for the Aikido set-ups to become useful. That weapons must be present (along with multiple attacker situations) OR POTENTIALLY PRESENT in order to use the movement, distance and timing taught by the Aikido syllabus.

Meaning, for example, in the field of law enforcement, wherein everyone, from the gang-banger that's running upon seeing you to drunk granny out taking her evening walk, is assumed to be armed - where there is no tactical difference allotted for whether or not folks are armed. Everyone is treated as they are armed and all tactics follow that suit.

In that setting, the commonly practiced Aikido syllabus transfers more readily to combat than the commonly practiced MMA syllabus. The reason, in my opinion, is that weapons and/or the potential for weapons being present generates a space/time more fertile for Aikido waza to function and remain viable.

d

sakumeikan
03-21-2011, 02:25 AM
I think aikido weapons are much better than your backyard samurai sword arts (as seen on youtube). However, I think they lack the depth of classical weapons arts in general. I had a little exposure to aikiken and aikijo but compared to the koryu I've been exposed to they are more shallow. If you can't find good training though take what you can get.

When someone wants mochi they should go to a mochi maker.
Dear Chris,
You indicate you have little exposure to aikiken/aikijo how then can you say they are shallow compared to your own koryu?I do not see how you are able to make this assertion with limited experience .
Cheers, Joe.

NagaBaba
03-21-2011, 09:09 AM
Although Iwama style aikido has its flaws, I believe having an Iwama background made it easier for me to understand this connection.
Hi Michael,
As Iwama aikido has nothing to do with formal weapons system, what are your basis for understanding connection aikido with weapons?

ChrisHein
03-21-2011, 11:23 AM
What I do believe, and what I mean when I say weapon based, or weapon context, is that weapons must be present OR POTENTIALLY PRESENT for the Aikido set-ups to become useful. That weapons must be present (along with multiple attacker situations) OR POTENTIALLY PRESENT in order to use the movement, distance and timing taught by the Aikido syllabus.

Meaning, for example, in the field of law enforcement, wherein everyone, from the gang-banger that's running upon seeing you to drunk granny out taking her evening walk, is assumed to be armed - where there is no tactical difference allotted for whether or not folks are armed. Everyone is treated as they are armed and all tactics follow that suit.

In that setting, the commonly practiced Aikido syllabus transfers more readily to combat than the commonly practiced MMA syllabus. The reason, in my opinion, is that weapons and/or the potential for weapons being present generates a space/time more fertile for Aikido waza to function and remain viable.

d

I think you've hit the nail on the head! The presents or potential presents of weapons changes the way someone will try to deal with you.

Context is king!
The context in which you are fighting makes all the difference. For example, if we look at the typical Aikido rush in and wrist grab attack, v.s. a wrestling double/single leg take down. If your context is unarmed (which is what most people first think of when they think "marital arts") the double/single leg take down seems like the clearly superior technique. Looking to MMA as an example, the double/single leg is a hugely successful technique, used regularly. While the "run in and grab katate" approach has seldom had much effect!

However let's picture a double/single leg done on a man with a holstered pistol. Very likely that the wrestler going for the double/single leg, on a man with a holstered pistol, will end up getting shot. The wrestler will have no control of the weapon hand, as soon as the armed man realized what is happening, he will draw and shoot. Contrast that to the "rush in an grab katate attack". When someone has a weapon, quickly getting control of his weapon hand now suddenly seems like a good idea. Attacking this way may allow us to get to the pistol before it is drawn, saving our life.

Context changes things dramatically, understanding what context our system fits into is of the utmost importance!

Chris Covington
03-21-2011, 08:32 PM
Hi Joe,

It is what it is. The amount of focus on swordsmanship between (most) koryu and aikiken is worlds apart. Many koryu spend 100% of their time studying the sword. In aikido at best it represents 1/3rd or less. Most people aren't going to just study aikiken at their dojo, they'd never progress very far in their aikido would they?

My original response by the way was to Chris and Josh's comments about aikido and weapons and Josh's point, "the primary practice of aikido is weaponless, both currently and historically." I think many arts contain certain weapons left over from an old headmaster or something a teacher picks up to add to class. I've known many teachers pick up some kali to help him and his students understand knives and how they work in a fight. It isn't uncommon now for an aikido or karate teacher to add a litle BJJ into class to at least have some idea of the ground game. Heck I've even added a little bojutsu and "sojutsu" into my class to help round out some skills I think are important. But if I were to claim either weapon as a true skill I possessed, that could rival a master in either art, I'd be in a world of hurt. Like I said, "when someone wants mochi they should go to a mochi maker."

Dear Chris,
You indicate you have little exposure to aikiken/aikijo how then can you say they are shallow compared to your own koryu?I do not see how you are able to make this assertion with limited experience .
Cheers, Joe.

Best regards,

senshincenter
03-22-2011, 01:15 AM
I think you've hit the nail on the head! The presents or potential presents of weapons changes the way someone will try to deal with you.

Context is king!
The context in which you are fighting makes all the difference. For example, if we look at the typical Aikido rush in and wrist grab attack, v.s. a wrestling double/single leg take down. If your context is unarmed (which is what most people first think of when they think "marital arts") the double/single leg take down seems like the clearly superior technique. Looking to MMA as an example, the double/single leg is a hugely successful technique, used regularly. While the "run in and grab katate" approach has seldom had much effect!

However let's picture a double/single leg done on a man with a holstered pistol. Very likely that the wrestler going for the double/single leg, on a man with a holstered pistol, will end up getting shot. The wrestler will have no control of the weapon hand, as soon as the armed man realized what is happening, he will draw and shoot. Contrast that to the "rush in an grab katate attack". When someone has a weapon, quickly getting control of his weapon hand now suddenly seems like a good idea. Attacking this way may allow us to get to the pistol before it is drawn, saving our life.

Context changes things dramatically, understanding what context our system fits into is of the utmost importance!

Couldn't agree more.

For me, it raises the issue of "realistic" in training. Why? Because when folks think of "realism" they as civilians, especially law-abiding civilians, tend to picture the MMA context, for example. However, in my field, nothing, or very little, resembles that context. In my field, the MMA context seems totally unrealistic because it raises its head rarely and only then after someone f-ed up and didn't do a lot of things they should have done.

By extension, folks that picture that MMA context, any/or any of its variants (i.e. absence of weapons, single fronts, single opponents, absence of irreversible consequences, absence of legal ramifications, etc.), also picture folks only attacking in emotionless, sober, measured, and by skilled means. When, in my context of experience, I have never seen anyone commit an act of violence, whether it be minor or major, that was not the opposite of these things. Again, in the MMA context, the measured and skilled "attack" is realistic, but in my context, it is never present.

ChrisHein
03-22-2011, 11:04 AM
By extension, folks that picture that MMA context, any/or any of its variants (i.e. absence of weapons, single fronts, single opponents, absence of irreversible consequences, absence of legal ramifications, etc.), also picture folks only attacking in emotionless, sober, measured, and by skilled means. When, in my context of experience, I have never seen anyone commit an act of violence, whether it be minor or major, that was not the opposite of these things. Again, in the MMA context, the measured and skilled "attack" is realistic, but in my context, it is never present.

This is a good example of what we, as martial arts practitioners tend to often overlook! It's important as martial artists for us to, at the very least, understand that other contexts exist.

Going a step further, we could accept the very real possibility that our system, Aikido, is applicable in a context other than what one might find in an MMA ring. Or in other words, isn't the best means of learning to fight unarmed, however has MUCH to offer martially.

Getting back to Michael's questions:


What impact does our understanding of the martial context of aikido have on our practices?

If we do not understand the martial context of our art, how can we genuinely develop the specific skills of that art?

If we accept the intimate relationship between aikido and weapons, what are the implications for a modern practitioner? (Think: Will aikido work in the cage?; But I don't carry weapons; I practice aikido to experience harmony of movement; etc.)

Byron Foster
03-22-2011, 08:44 PM
It seems that you cannot practice weapons mindfully and get away with being sloppy like you can with basic Aikido techniques. Weapons seem to magnify your bad techniques. Someone could be practicing Aikido quite happily until they pick up a sword and try some cuts. Cutting Kesa-giri it is easy to see your body mistakes, too much shoulder, not turning the arms off at the end of the cut and over rotating, poor posture and too much weight on the front foot. Performing a similar body movement in Aikido, such as Iriminage, it is harder to get the same precision of feedback from your body.

More advanced sword techniques, such as turning to cut an opponent's belly open who is behind you, one learns not to turn the "power" on too soon, that the cut starts from the center, and to really relax the upper body while staying grounded.

Using weapons, one can learn to operate your body more efficiency (strong core, relaxed shoulders) quicker than by just doing Aikido by itself. It can be done, it just takes longer and requires much more self reflection.

If your weapons training consists of banging sticks together like baseball bats, then what I was talking about does not apply.

I learned how to generate power with a weapon first, then found a way to incorporate that body technique into my Aikido. Has anyone else had the same experience? To me that is the real value of weapons training. :straightf

Michael Varin
03-23-2011, 01:13 AM
There seems to be considerable confusion as to what is being discussed here.

It is not so much that the techniques seen in aikido teach the use of weapons, or that training with weapons enhances your tachi waza merely by revealing proper mechanics.

Rather it is that the techniques support, complement, and/or conform to the use of weapons.

It is that the techniques, tactics, and strategies employed have more of a home in a context which is highly likely to involve weapons (and multiple opponents… but that's for another thread).

And mostly, it is the positive impact on training, i.e., the ability to develop true skills, which comes from recognizing this relationship.

We can either earnestly discuss this or relegate ourselves to attempting to pull off shiho nage from a boxers jab and wondering why it doesn't work out so well, and when that fails resorting to any preposterous notion as to why we train these specific techniques when all we really need is jab, cross, and sprawl.

Sometimes it is easier to see things from the other side of the spectrum. To better understand what is being discussed, imagine how foolish it would be for someone to train in the skills of boxing if they knew they were likely to face an opponent armed with a katana, tanto, and possibly shuriken. Further, imagine how equally foolish it would be for someone to train in the skills of wrestling if they knew they were likely to face three or more opponents.

senshincenter
03-23-2011, 02:41 AM
There seems to be considerable confusion as to what is being discussed here.

It is not so much that the techniques seen in aikido teach the use of weapons, or that training with weapons enhances your tachi waza merely by revealing proper mechanics.

Rather it is that the techniques support, complement, and/or conform to the use of weapons.

It is that the techniques, tactics, and strategies employed have more of a home in a context which is highly likely to involve weapons (and multiple opponents… but that's for another thread).

And mostly, it is the positive impact on training, i.e., the ability to develop true skills, which comes from recognizing this relationship.

We can either earnestly discuss this or relegate ourselves to attempting to pull off shiho nage from a boxers jab and wondering why it doesn't work out so well, and when that fails resorting to any preposterous notion as to why we train these specific techniques when all we really need is jab, cross, and sprawl.

Sometimes it is easier to see things from the other side of the spectrum. To better understand what is being discussed, imagine how foolish it would be for someone to train in the skills of boxing if they knew they were likely to face an opponent armed with a katana, tanto, and possibly shuriken. Further, imagine how equally foolish it would be for someone to train in the skills of wrestling if they knew they were likely to face three or more opponents.

Excellent post!

ChrisHein
03-23-2011, 10:48 AM
If that post doesn't clear up the confusion, I don't know what will. Nice post Michael!

graham christian
04-01-2011, 05:32 PM
I believe that the weapons relation to Aikido is much more than metaphor.

Chris. I'm just curious but have you ever been told about riai. I only say this because I have never heard you mention it yet it is precisely to do with your view on Aikido.

Regards.G.

ChrisHein
04-01-2011, 06:09 PM
Chris. I'm just curious but have you ever been told about riai. I only say this because I have never heard you mention it yet it is precisely to do with your view on Aikido.

Regards.G.

No, I can't say I have. I did a quick search and found the riai aikido association, is that the group you are talking about? They are linked to Hombu Dojo through the CAA. What is the history of this style of Aikiodo?

graham christian
04-01-2011, 06:30 PM
No, I can't say I have. I did a quick search and found the riai aikido association, is that the group you are talking about? They are linked to Hombu Dojo through the CAA. What is the history of this style of Aikiodo?

Hi Chris. No that's not what I meant. I would assume they named their Aikido after the concept of riai.

If you look up a youtube video called 'Weapons as meditation' by ginny breeland she explains a bit about it at the end of the vid.

It is a term used by O'sensei, think you'll like it.

Regards.G.

graham christian
04-01-2011, 06:57 PM
Chris. As an add on the view of riai I was taught and teach is actually not much different than that of Saito Sensei. (I'm sure you can find RIAI SAITO SENSEI on the web)

It is once again a word made from ri and ai.

The concept is of the bringing together of principles and in the case of Aikido, as Saito Sensei pointed out it is the bringing together of the universal principles of open hand and those of weapons (the sword and the jo principly) to form the correct motions and attitude of Aikido.

Others I hasten to add may have put a different understanding to this concept but as I said I feel this one, as given by Saito Sensei fits your view.

Regards.G.

ChrisHein
04-01-2011, 11:47 PM
Hmm, I never remember it being called "riai" maybe my teacher just didn't choose to use those words. I have an Iwama background, the concept of weapons and taijutsu being the same thing is something I've heard from day one.

When I'm talking about weapons and Aikido I'm coming from a similar, but different angle. The weapon is the reason to grab a wrist. The weapon is the reason that we don't see double legs, or boxing technique in Aikido. The weapon is uke's motivation. Nage's motivation comes from multiple attackers, not the weapon; but that is material for a different thread.

Saito Sensei often explains the weapon from the vantage point of Nage. I believe however, that the weapon has more to do with why uke is doing what he is doing.

Similar but different.

senshincenter
04-04-2011, 12:31 PM
From a Chiba Sensei interview:

"There’s a story about Tohei Sensei. Sometime around 1960 a pair of wrestlers from Argentina visited the dojo. They were part of a group that was traveling around making a documentary film about the “most dangerous things in the world”. They were both huge men. O-Sensei usually would not allow us to indulge in contests, but on that occasion he gave the go-ahead and told Tohei to have a go, although to this day I still don’t know why. All the students lined up on the mat and O-Sensei sat at the head of the line of instructors. He said, “Tohei, up!” Since he was representing the whole dojo, Tohei Sensei took it very seriously.

I had been the one to greet the wrestlers when they arrived. They were so big that their heads came up past the lintel of the entranceway door. I thought, “Oh no… if we lose we’re going to be so ashamed,” so I discussed it with the other uchideshi and we decided to conceal some wooden swords that we could use those to deal with the wrestlers in the event that Tohei Sensei was defeated [laughter].

The match began. Tohei Sensei immediately moved towards his opponent, who immediately moved back. Ten minutes passed as they circled each other around and around the dojo. Neither of them did anything. Finally, Tohei Sensei chased the wrestler into a corner and leapt toward him. He was so small compared to his opponent, but he ended up heaving him backwards with a judo-like sotogake maneuver, and then pinning him with his tegatana. The wrestler should have been strong in ground techniques, but he couldn’t get up. He tried various ways to escape, but Tohei had him firmly pinned.

I was surprised at the strength of Tohei Sensei’s kokyu power. It’s quite difficult to throw an opponent who’s not coming after you, you know. That’s why Tohei forced him into a corner. I was impressed. O-Sensei didn’t say anything at the time, but afterwards he was angry and said, “There’s no need to throw someone who isn’t attacking you!” It’s true that this wasn’t a very good way of winning in the bujutsu sense. An opponent with a knife could easily run you through if you tried that, so it wasn’t actually very convincing as self-defense. But in that kind of dojo setting I think there probably wasn’t much else he could’ve done."

ChrisHein
04-04-2011, 05:07 PM
I thought, "Oh no… if we lose we're going to be so ashamed," so I discussed it with the other uchideshi and we decided to conceal some wooden swords that we could use those to deal with the wrestlers in the event that Tohei Sensei was defeated [laughter].

And

O-Sensei didn't say anything at the time, but afterwards he was angry and said, "There's no need to throw someone who isn't attacking you!" It's true that this wasn't a very good way of winning in the bujutsu sense. An opponent with a knife could easily run you through if you tried that, so it wasn't actually very convincing as self-defense. But in that kind of dojo setting I think there probably wasn't much else he could've done."

Both interesting.

senshincenter
04-04-2011, 05:37 PM
Yes, these were exactly the points I had zeroed in on.

Michael Varin
04-05-2011, 04:49 AM
He was so small compared to his opponent, but he ended up heaving him backwards with a judo-like sotogake maneuver, and then pinning him with his tegatana. The wrestler should have been strong in ground techniques, but he couldn't get up. He tried various ways to escape, but Tohei had him firmly pinned.
It's a topic for a different thread, but I guess Tohei had been practicing a lot since his run in with Herman two years earlier. ;)

Back squarely on topic, and equally interesting to the points that Chris and David highlighted:

Why did Tohei resort to a "judo-like" leg sweep in this encounter?

Nothing against leg sweeps, but why did Tohei not use one of the recognizable techniques of aikido, that I assume he learned from Morihei Ueshiba and had diligently trained in for around 20 years?

Demetrio Cereijo
04-05-2011, 05:39 AM
Well,

Chiba Sensei himself recalls using typical Judo, instead of Aikido ones, when going for real in self defense.

On another occasion I was in Paris with Noro Sensei, and we visited a night club together. I was having a drink in one room and Noro Sensei was sitting in another room playing cards, or something. Suddenly there was a terrible commotion from where Noro was, so I went in to see what was happening. It was a fight. An old gentleman was Iying on the floor and a young man was kicking him. It was terrible - there was a lot of blood on the floor. I think he would have killed him, so Noro Sensei said to me "Chiba, sort that out." He did not want to get involved.
(Laughter).
I took hold of this man, and stopping his attack, I asked him what he thought he was doing. He spoke to me in French, so neither of us understood and so I pulled him outside...then something happened. My body reacted and I threw him down with O Soto Gari (major outer reaping throw) the judo technique. He hit the ground very hard and I heard a clatter of metal. It was then I realized that he had pulled a knife. My awareness had been such that I reacted to the situation from my subconscious. This guy was a gangster from the Pigalle, and that was why no one stopped him. He was well known apparently...but not to me! It made no difference who he was.
Source: http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/others/chiba.html#Other than your

While, on the other hand, typical aikido techniques failed to him:

Well, we faced each other, and Master Wang made something like Sumo posture with his hands outstretched. I stood and waited for an opening. This went on for some minutes until he moved forward to push me. So I met him, made Tai Sabaki (body evasion) and took his wrist with Kote Gaeshi, (wrist crush/reversal)...his wrist made a loud snapping noise as I applied it. Even though I applied Kote Gaeshi strongly and injured him, he did not go down. Master Wang snatched his wrist from me, and challenged me immediately. So this time he pushed me with both hands in the belly, and threw me quite a distance across the room. I landed, but I also did not go down. It was an amazing throw. My students then came between us, and that was that.
http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/others/chiba.html#With friends like

Or serious striking was needed to soften the challenger prior to pulling aikido technique:

Nobody knew what he did. As I said he was persistent, and every few weeks he would return to challenge us. Each time I had to explain that we could not accept. I think that the man was not quite "right" in the head. Anyway, eventually I personally had enough of him and accepted his challenge. We arranged to meet and sort it out. I insisted that we agree not to press charges in the event of serious injury and we exchanged letters to that effect. I told him as a martial arts teacher I was prepared to die if need be. Well, we met and I initiated with offence, moving directly to him and I struck him first. This threw him back against the wall and as I came towards him he jumped on me: he was like a tiger. I then finished him with Nikyo (the second immobilization). He had had enough by then. There was much blood and he was on the floor screaming. That was the last challenge he offered us - it seems that he did not expect an Aikidoist to initiate an attack.
http://omlc.ogi.edu/aikido/talk/others/chiba.html#Anything else Sensei?

Nicholas Eschenbruch
04-05-2011, 06:21 AM
Well, then again, the Master Wang story has been put into a very different context by some other famous storytellers, so at the end of the day, what do we know....

Terry stated to me, (I'm quoting as best as I can remember) "the uchi-deshi at honbu, particularly Chiba, started giving me a raft of shit that I was being disloyal to O-sensei by studying with Wang, and I asked O-sensei, and he said, 'sure, do what you want' but they wouldn't let up so I said, "why
don't you come and check him out for yourself." So Draeger and me took Chiba, Saotome and Tamura. Well, we walked in, and Wang scopes out Chiba right away, like he knows who has the attitude here, takes one look, and says, 'come here boy.' Seriously, Wang's over sixty, paid lots of dues, is a religious leader and all, and here comes these punks, as far as he's
concerned, in their twenties, copping an attitude. So Wang lets Chiba punch him in the stomach. Nothing. Chiba tries again. Nothing. Well, now Chiba loses his temper, half turns away, and then tries to sucker punch him, thinking it's timing. This time Wang sucks the fist into his belly and then drops, he gives it back, Chiba's arm goes shooting back behind his ear, and he's shaking his wrist in pain. Wang then let Chiba kick him in the groin. Nothing. So Chiba loses it, grabs Wang's wrist and puts a
nikkyo or kote-gaeshi on it, some wrist lock. I don't know what Wang did, it was too fast, but Chiba slams on the floor and Wang's doing something to him with one hand and he's screaming in pain. Finally Wang lets him up and
says, "You've got a little chi, why don't you come back when you acquire more?" Then he turns to Tamura and Saotome, who were standing there with their backs against the wall, and says, "you want to try." They both shake their heads and we all went home. They never gave me shit about Wang again. . . . Far as I'm concerned, Chiba lost his chance at salvation right there. He should have quit everything and sat at Wang's feet."


Ellis Amdur put it somewhere out there, I am too lazy to google right now...

Demetrio Cereijo
04-05-2011, 06:40 AM
Ellis Amdur put it somewhere out there, I am too lazy to google right now...
Here:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=3730

senshincenter
04-05-2011, 10:25 AM
It's a topic for a different thread, but I guess Tohei had been practicing a lot since his run in with Herman two years earlier. ;)

Back squarely on topic, and equally interesting to the points that Chris and David highlighted:

Why did Tohei resort to a "judo-like" leg sweep in this encounter?

Nothing against leg sweeps, but why did Tohei not use one of the recognizable techniques of aikido, that I assume he learned from Morihei Ueshiba and had diligently trained in for around 20 years?

I would propose that the answer is in Osensei's complaint - “There’s no need to throw someone who isn’t attacking you!”

In other words, and this is how I am understanding this thread, Aikido strategy and tactics are not directly relatable to these kind of match-like/stand-offs often seen in "dojo" settings and that is widely through the commerce of martial arts becoming widely accepted as "real," but is rather more directly applicable to moments of actual human-vs-human violence - the kind were life and not trophies and titles are on the line, the kind where someone is looking at jail time, the kind where multiple lives (including the lives of folks not even present) are ruined.

d

sorokod
04-05-2011, 10:35 AM
I would propose that the answer is in Osensei's complaint - "There's no need to throw someone who isn't attacking you!"

Presumably it's atemi all the way when "someone is attacking someone else".

graham christian
04-05-2011, 11:33 AM
I would propose that the answer is in Osensei's complaint - "There's no need to throw someone who isn't attacking you!"

In other words, and this is how I am understanding this thread, Aikido strategy and tactics are not directly relatable to these kind of match-like/stand-offs often seen in "dojo" settings and that is widely through the commerce of martial arts becoming widely accepted as "real," but is rather more directly applicable to moments of actual human-vs-human violence - the kind were life and not trophies and titles are on the line, the kind where someone is looking at jail time, the kind where multiple lives (including the lives of folks not even present) are ruined.

d

David. I couldn't help adding a view here as I found the story fascinating and understood it from a different viewpoint, be it right or wrong.

It reminds me of a scene where two samurai are facing each other with complete zanshin. This is why there is no immediate action.

In this state both parties know that he who attacks has lost.

While the equilibrium is kept they can only move in a circle really. As the description said the sumo was backed into a corner then he knew and Tohei knew he had already lost. Thus Tohei should have bowed out at that point and the sumo should have accepted defeat.

The choice Tohei had was to otherwise stay there with zanshin where the sumo had to give in or attack.

I believe he was scolded for not doing this for those reasons. Basically for showing off.

Of course I may be wrong but that's my take. Not that dissimilar to yours really.

Regards.G.

sorokod
04-05-2011, 02:59 PM
There is a quote from the founder, something like: "twenty and eighty are hundred, sixty and forty are hundred" with the idea that you need to add a little to a powerful attack but a lot to a week attack.

senshincenter
04-05-2011, 03:44 PM
I think this is the exact opposite of what one might see between a duel involving real swords - which is the point of the thread.

Along the same lines, it's not the starting point of the action that is the issue (i.e. revealing), it's more the type of action that is committed once started.

Take this into the street, where crimes are committed. Only dumb, and soon to be dead, cops approach folks (like Tohei did) as if they were holding no weapons. However, in a dojo or any other type of controlled setting, wherein there is a proscription against weapons being present from the onset, it is a perfectly fine. It works. It seems "realistic" - as long as you forget that someone proscribed against weapons being present in the first place.

d

ChrisHein
04-05-2011, 06:49 PM
When dealing with a situation involving weapons (yours, theirs or both) keeping the situation from escalating is of paramount importance. Running at someone so you can Judo-throw them is not where you'd want to take the fight.

Duels are a very specific kind of fighting, whether they are armed or unarmed. Aikido doesn't cover the dueling aspects of fighting very well. This is why you hear so many descriptions of "un-Aikido-like" techniques and tactics when two people duel.

Aikido is based around weapons confrontation and multiple attackers, it's a dramatically different context than that of a duel.

sorokod
04-06-2011, 03:32 AM
I think this is the exact opposite of what one might see between a duel involving real swords - which is the point of the thread

How about a confrontation that involves throwing knives or any other weapon that can be projected?

Along the same lines, it's not the starting point of the action that is the issue (i.e. revealing), it's more the type of action that is committed once started.

I think that this kind of upfront willingness to give up the initial initiative would be considered suicidal from the military tactical point of view.

sorokod
04-06-2011, 07:17 AM
When dealing with a situation involving weapons (yours, theirs or both) keeping the situation from escalating is of paramount importance. Running at someone so you can Judo-throw them is not where you'd want to take the fight.

Duels are a very specific kind of fighting, whether they are armed or unarmed. Aikido doesn't cover the dueling aspects of fighting very well. This is why you hear so many descriptions of "un-Aikido-like" techniques and tactics when two people duel.

Aikido is based around weapons confrontation and multiple attackers, it's a dramatically different context than that of a duel.

What is a "duel"? What is an "armed duel"?

grondahl
04-06-2011, 07:36 AM
Duel?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYGUoZyJs18

senshincenter
04-06-2011, 07:38 AM
How about a confrontation that involves throwing knives or any other weapon that can be projected?

I think that this kind of upfront willingness to give up the initial initiative would be considered suicidal from the military tactical point of view.

Again, as I said, it's not the starting point of the issue that is revealing in the above posted story. That is to say, I'm not posting the story here to discuss the pros and cons of when to move, but rather to say that in this case one just closed the gap to perform a judo throw and the critique was leveled that it's not a move one can do were a weapon to be present.

Yes, initiative is paramount to determining the outcome of a martial conflict. However, initiative in a fight where weapons are present and/or might be present, or when whose presence or absence is unknown (and therefore must be treated as if present even if they are not actually present), is going to mean something entirely different from what initiative means in the "real" situation the martial arts industry has been selling for decades now (i.e. two unarmed adversaries dueling).

For example, true, as in the story, when no weapons are present, one can keep the initiative by pressing the need for range adjustments in the other person, pressing them into a corner, and executing a grab and a throw. However, when weapons are involved, initiative might be about gaining cover and concealment, having surprise, controlling the opponent's movement by gaining positions of advantage and forcing positions of disadvantage, having superior numbers, etc. In other words, it has to be the right kind of initiative and it can't be reduced to merely who closed the gap first in order to press into a corner for a grab and a judo throw. While aggressive, such tactics might be the thing that can get you killed (as when a knife might be present), and being able to say you moved first and/or aggressively isn't going to be enough to save you.

my opinion,
d

senshincenter
04-06-2011, 07:42 AM
Duel?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYGUoZyJs18

Yes. Duel.

sorokod
04-06-2011, 11:41 AM
Yes. Duel.

According to the comments "at this point in our training we are not allowed to strike" so presumabley this is one of those "with knife but no striking duels".

Seriously, if you introduce a concept into a discussion why not define it?

Erick Mead
04-06-2011, 02:24 PM
Duels are a very specific kind of fighting, whether they are armed or unarmed. Aikido doesn't cover the dueling aspects of fighting very well. This is why you hear so many descriptions of "un-Aikido-like" techniques and tactics when two people duel.

Aikido is based around weapons confrontation and multiple attackers, it's a dramatically different context than that of a duel. It is one thing,,. the only thing.

Clausewitz says it in so many words: that wars are duels in other forms, a form that by its nature tend to escalate to extremes.

O Sensei even says it -- but in meaning to avoid or overcome the principle: that he treats many opponents like one and defeats them -- a lopsided duel -- but a duel nonetheless --- not allowing himself to respond by imitating or even acknowledging the first escalatory move. Paradoxically, that may mean actually initiating the "attack" that the magnified "threat" is actually meant to forestall, or, as when the opponent invites an attack and moves to gedan but you remain in chudan, just as you are, as is said in the Doka.

Weapons (like multiple attackers) are simply the first steps into the realm of escalation of "deterrents" that is inherent in this dynamic -- and which only magnify the possibilities of ultimate destruction. They become therefore a key test of how we address this fundamental problem at that first step up the escalator, and which is simply repeated and enlarged ad nauseam in most conflicts, personal, national or otherwise.

The first step on the escalator is so critical -- because it will carry you all the way up, willing or not, and then you have either jump from an ever increasing height to get off it, or start running back down, just to stop you from being carried relentlessly up ...

If you have not read Rene Girard's "Battling to the End," I highly recommend it.

senshincenter
04-06-2011, 03:07 PM
According to the comments "at this point in our training we are not allowed to strike" so presumabley this is one of those "with knife but no striking duels".

Seriously, if you introduce a concept into a discussion why not define it?

I'm sorry for any confusion per my assumption regarding common (or uncommon) usage of words. My point in using the word "duel" is to note the presence of pre-established environments, rules, starting and stopping conditions, allowances, restrictions, and manner for determining a victor.

In particular, I'm pointing out one example in the Tohei story wherein a restriction was placed against weapons being used.

d

sorokod
04-06-2011, 04:58 PM
I'm sorry for any confusion per my assumption regarding common (or uncommon) usage of words. My point in using the word "duel" is to note the presence of pre-established environments, rules, starting and stopping conditions, allowances, restrictions, and manner for determining a victor.

In particular, I'm pointing out one example in the Tohei story wherein a restriction was placed against weapons being used.


Very well, with this in mind, how does a duel situation puts an Aikidoka in a disadvantage?

senshincenter
04-06-2011, 05:14 PM
Again, remember what was said above: commonly understood Aikido strategies and tactics are not directly relatable under the conditions set forth in the unarmed regularly accepted dojo "duel."

An Aikido practitioner, like Tohei did, is going to have to adapt and adjust under those conditions.

sorokod
04-06-2011, 05:23 PM
...are not directly relatable under the conditions set forth ...

Why? I would really like to know why in your opinion this is true.

senshincenter
04-06-2011, 05:39 PM
For example, (real quick here):

I think the way in which a person closes the gap, and the distance from which they start closing that gap, and the rate at which a person closes a gap, is different when weapons are present and/or might be present than when they are not. What is commonly accepted Aikido maai and commonly accepted "Aikido" is subverted by this weapon-free gap and how it is closed.

Want to see for yourself? Run this experiment:

Have your partner slowly and steadily move toward you, closing the gap. Have them try to grab you and wrestle you down in this way. Note how you will respond, but you will do so in such a way that someone on this forum will tell you, "Hey! That is not an Aikido technique."

ChrisHein
04-06-2011, 11:35 PM
Duels are when two people "square off" it's a one on one fight. Aikido technique is not made for this. There are a number of reasons.

First, Aikido doesn't initiate attack, it blends with incoming attack (yes there are some exceptions but at a general rule we blend with what is given) In the Tohei example, the visitor wouldn't attack, so Tohei had to rush him, not really Aikido's strong suit.

Aikido doesn't have clinch technique, multiple attackers don't afford for clinches, so we don't train for them. In a weapon duel this might not be so much an issue (fewer clinches due to weapon range) but in an unarmed duel, it's a major issue.

Aikido doesn't train boxing style striking. In a duel, there is a give and take to the exchange, circling each other and trading blows. Aikido doesn't teach this, again disadvantage to Aikido technique.

These are just a few reasons why unarmed dueling and Aikido don't mix. In armed dueling, one might find use in Aikido technique, but it's not the strong suit of the system.

graham christian
04-07-2011, 03:28 AM
Duels are when two people "square off" it's a one on one fight. Aikido technique is not made for this. There are a number of reasons.

First, Aikido doesn't initiate attack, it blends with incoming attack (yes there are some exceptions but at a general rule we blend with what is given) In the Tohei example, the visitor wouldn't attack, so Tohei had to rush him, not really Aikido's strong suit.

Aikido doesn't have clinch technique, multiple attackers don't afford for clinches, so we don't train for them. In a weapon duel this might not be so much an issue (fewer clinches due to weapon range) but in an unarmed duel, it's a major issue.

Aikido doesn't train boxing style striking. In a duel, there is a give and take to the exchange, circling each other and trading blows. Aikido doesn't teach this, again disadvantage to Aikido technique.

These are just a few reasons why unarmed dueling and Aikido don't mix. In armed dueling, one might find use in Aikido technique, but it's not the strong suit of the system.

Chris, On a lot of things you say I generally to various degrees agre with them. Here however I don't think I agree with any.

The concept of Aikido not initiating attacks is true but that doesn't mean Aikido doesn't make the attack happen. So in truth it's not a matter of waiting and blending with the attack. If the attacker is set on attacking then it is for you to initiate how and when. Similar to sensen no sen.

I'm not saying a beginner can or should even attempt that, just that it is a vital part of advanced Aikido especially when it comes to weapons.

Simply put in physical terms it is nage 'striking' but with the sole intention of giving uke something to attack thus achieving what I pointed out above. In weapons I would put it differently in as much as it is nage presnting an irresistable target of attack for uke.

From that viewpoint nage is initiating the attack.

Clinch techniques? Well there are many koshinage and many practices of 'getting out of' all kinds of holds from bear hugs to neck holds etc. There are also many stories of O'Sensei and sumo and wrestlers for that matter. He used Aikido. Not knowing how to leads us to believe we have to adapt.

Boxing style striking may look different physically but energy motion wise it is no different to what you are used to in Aikido. A right hook is a curved punch and a jab is a straight one. Energy motion wise no different to yokomen and tsuki.

The give and take you refer to in those kinds of fights or 'duels' is something you are taught in Aikido not to be drawn into. However if you look at Aikido more closely you will find it perfect for a 'duel.'

You are training with the principles of how to enter. That's half the story. When you inspect the use of weapons in Aikido you will notice you are training in how to enter and finish. No toing and froing, no give and take and bobbing around. It's all a matter of degree of competence at Aikido.

The funny thing is if you applied merely the principle of maai then the attacker would keep trying to hit you and missing if you are competent enough and the complain that your not playing the game.

This is one of the reasons Aikido isn't and cannot be used in a contest sport for if you have ever seen a boxer who could move around and not be hit you would find he was using some of those self same principles you use in Aikido. If he continued without fighting back it would be stopped by the referee and called a no contest.

Thus in Aikido there is no competition.

Food for thought Chris.

Regards.G.

sorokod
04-07-2011, 04:24 AM
First, Aikido doesn't initiate attack, it blends with incoming attack (yes there are some exceptions but at a general rule we blend with what is given) In the Tohei example, the visitor wouldn't attack, so Tohei had to rush him, not really Aikido's strong suit.

The way we practice, all shomenuchi attacks are initiated by the nage. When nage presents his/her hand for tai no henko, it is a striking hand, the uke has to take it otherwise it will end up in his face. Same in suwariwaza kokyuho. In juyuwaza the nage is encouraged to close the distance and take initiative and not wait for the attackers to gang up on her. I'd say that "Aikido doesn't initiate attack" is a personal interpretation.

As to Tohei story, it makes no sense to me, a person comes into a dojo with a challenge and then proceeds to be passive to the point that he is "chased" into a corner. In effect the verbal challenge was not followed up by a physical one, logic dictates that the "duel" should have been abandoned in favour of some sake drinking perhaps. Maybe this was impossible due to cultural conventions (e.g. loosing face).
In the interview Chiba says "leapt", and not as you say rushed, which has a negative connotation. He uses "leaped" in the following paragraph as well which describes O-Sensei fighting a "match" (would this be a "duel"?) :

"Takeda Sensei was ill at the time and couldn't accept it, so O-Sensei went as his representative and fought the match in the Hokkaido snow.
When the distance (maai) between them closed, O-Sensei suddenly kicked up some snow with his front food and leapt in swiftly to strike his opponent in the side under his arm. Then he threw him."


http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=121

"Aikido doesn't have clinch technique, multiple attackers don't afford for clinches, so we don't train for them. In a weapon duel this might not be so much an issue (fewer clinches due to weapon range) but in an unarmed duel, it's a major issue."


This reasoning makes no sense to me, if a martial art is effective when multiple attackers are present, it must be even more so for a single attacker. If having no "clinch techniques" is not a problem with many attackers why should it be when there is only one? What remains is a statement that Aikido is only effective in a "one on one fight" when the Aikidoka is armed, presumably with a sword/tanto but not with say shuriken. Is this your position?

Aikido doesn't train boxing style striking. In a duel, there is a give and take to the exchange, circling each other and trading blows. Aikido doesn't teach this, again disadvantage to Aikido technique

Have a look at the Nishio sensei's take on striking. Not sure how from "two people "square off" it's a one on one fight" you get a "give and take to the exchange". "give and take" and "exchange" are foreign to Aikido as I understand it but I do not see why is this relevant here.

"These are just a few reasons why unarmed dueling and Aikido don't mix. In armed dueling, one might find use in Aikido technique, but it's not the strong suit of the system"

So Aikido does not mix with unarmed "dueling" and armed "dueling" are not it's strong suit. To what sort of scenarios, in your opinion, is Aikido a good fit?

Michael Varin
04-07-2011, 05:06 AM
I think Graham and David Soroko have both brought up some good points.

The concept of Aikido not initiating attacks is true but that doesn't mean Aikido doesn't make the attack happen. So in truth it's not a matter of waiting and blending with the attack. If the attacker is set on attacking then it is for you to initiate how and when. Similar to sensen no sen.

I think these few sentences are loaded with issues to discuss.

Boxing style striking may look different physically but energy motion wise it is no different to what you are used to in Aikido. A right hook is a curved punch and a jab is a straight one. Energy motion wise no different to yokomen and tsuki.

Are they really energetically the same?

This reasoning makes no sense to me, if a martial art is effective when multiple attackers are present, it must be even more so for a single attacker.
Why must this be true?

What if a system is tailored to work within the demands of multiple opponents, but neglects to exploit the opportunities presented in one-on-one, because of the fact that these opportunities rarely present themselves with multiple opponents and, if they do, attempting to exploit them will likely cost you.

If having no "clinch techniques" is not a problem with many attackers why should it be when there is only one?

I think you may have misunderstood. Getting into a clinch can be a positive in one-on-one; it's almost always a negative with multiple opponents.

This really is a great discussion. But let's not lose sight of the original questions.

Do weapons change the engagement? How? Why?

Same for multiple opponents.

sorokod
04-07-2011, 05:48 AM
David Soroko wrote:
This reasoning makes no sense to me, if a martial art is effective when multiple attackers are present, it must be even more so for a single attacker.


Why must this be true?

What if a system is tailored to work within the demands of multiple opponents, but neglects to exploit the opportunities presented in one-on-one, because of the fact that these opportunities rarely present themselves with multiple opponents and, if they do, attempting to exploit them will likely cost you.


I did not imply that it will turn out to be the most effective approach in a one on one situation. There may be other arts/strategies that, as you say, will exploit opportunities we might choose to ignore. However it must be effective, if you feel that you are loosing efficiency with one attacker, pretend there are two more :-)

sorokod
04-07-2011, 09:11 AM
I regard recognizing that the techniques, tactics, and strategy of aikido are designed to be used in a weapons context as one of the most important realizations one can make about aikido.


I think when Michael, or myself say weapon based, or weapon context, we mean something other then what many hear.

For example, I don't believe either Michael or myself are saying that Aikido teaches you how to specifically use any weapon. I for one certainly don't think that you are going to become more proficient at cutting with a sword, or hitting with a stick by learning Aikido.

What I do believe, and what I mean when I say weapon based, or weapon context, is that weapons must be present for the Aikido set-ups to become useful. That weapons must be present (along with multiple attacker situations) in order to use the movement, distance and timing taught by the Aikido syllabus.


I think that it will be useful to look at the terms and assumptions.

Weapons

By weapons you presumably mean ken/jo/tanto and probably don't mean shuriken, crossbow, tazers or handguns. I am not being facetious since possessing a projectile weapon changes the interaction completely as it allows to inflict damage with minimal risk and invalidates strategies that allow taking calm and deliberate aim. Also note that both Saito Morihiro Sensei and Saito Hitohiro practice shuriken.

Multiple attackers

As I mentioned before, the multiple attacker scenario is not relevant to this discussion. It makes no sense to say that Aikido is effective (whatever that means) against multiple attackers but not effective against a single attacker. It is either efective or not. If you think that the single attacker is a BJJ master that would like nothing better then to take you to the ground, just imagine that you are attacked by three BJJ masters.

Weapon context

Which brings us to weapons context. We have the weapon that is a sword and we have a single attacker. Lets look at this simplified context. Presumably either me or the attacker or both has a sword. Let's look at the implications

1. I do not have a sword, the attacker has a sword. OK, this does change the interaction completely, but one can not make a claim (not with a straight face anyway) that now I can employ Aikido to maximal effect where before I could not.
2. I have the sword, the attacker has no sword. This is definitely a good place to be, and all that suburi practice will be handy, but I just don't see how this may be presented as the prime use case for Aikido.
3. Both I and the attacker have a sword. I think that quite obviously Aikido is the wrong martial art for this situation. There are plenty of disciplines that are dedicated to studying this particular setup.

senshincenter
04-07-2011, 10:42 AM
Has anyone here ran the above offered experiment, or is all this talk just an assumption on what Aikido can and would do, as is too that folks would generally look at it and remain of the opinion that "Aikido proper" is being generated???

If you've tried it, I'd like to hear what you experienced more than what Aikido could or should be able to do as formulated on the chalkboard.

graham christian
04-07-2011, 10:50 AM
I think that it will be useful to look at the terms and assumptions.

Weapons

By weapons you presumably mean ken/jo/tanto and probably don't mean shuriken, crossbow, tazers or handguns. I am not being facetious since possessing a projectile weapon changes the interaction completely as it allows to inflict damage with minimal risk and invalidates strategies that allow taking calm and deliberate aim. Also note that both Saito Morihiro Sensei and Saito Hitohiro practice shuriken.

Multiple attackers

As I mentioned before, the multiple attacker scenario is not relevant to this discussion. It makes no sense to say that Aikido is effective (whatever that means) against multiple attackers but not effective against a single attacker. It is either efective or not. If you think that the single attacker is a BJJ master that would like nothing better then to take you to the ground, just imagine that you are attacked by three BJJ masters.

Weapon context

Which brings us to weapons context. We have the weapon that is a sword and we have a single attacker. Lets look at this simplified context. Presumably either me or the attacker or both has a sword. Let's look at the implications

1. I do not have a sword, the attacker has a sword. OK, this does change the interaction completely, but one can not make a claim (not with a straight face anyway) that now I can employ Aikido to maximal effect where before I could not.
2. I have the sword, the attacker has no sword. This is definitely a good place to be, and all that suburi practice will be handy, but I just don't see how this may be presented as the prime use case for Aikido.
3. Both I and the attacker have a sword. I think that quite obviously Aikido is the wrong martial art for this situation. There are plenty of disciplines that are dedicated to studying this particular setup.

David. I know it's the general considered view, whether it be by99% of Aikidoka or not, but I disagree with your third point above.

It sounds quite logical due to others dedicated to such practice but I fail to see how an art which has the bokken as part of it's art cannot be suited to such a situation.

I have seen my old teacher, going back over twenty years ago, in two such situations where others of such arts challenged his ability.

I'm not going to give examples of past or long term Japanese teachers for people will only say it's due to their past training.

I have had a student go to a kendo class in cyprus and 'defeat' a sixth dan. (Not as a challenge I hasten to add but as moving and cutting in such a way that they couldn't stop him)

I myself have done it in real life twice. Once wasn't actually with swords but was a thug with a large stick versus me with a short stick. Invite, enter cut, game over. My only knowledge being that which I gained in Aikido.

This makes it no better than other sword arts but for some who learn what is there very usable in such situaions. Quality of study and ability exceeds quantity ( ie:no. of years dedicated to) every time as long as both have plenty of experience.

Just thought I'd add my 1%

Regards.G.

graham christian
04-07-2011, 11:14 AM
For example, (real quick here):

I think the way in which a person closes the gap, and the distance from which they start closing that gap, and the rate at which a person closes a gap, is different when weapons are present and/or might be present than when they are not. What is commonly accepted Aikido maai and commonly accepted "Aikido" is subverted by this weapon-free gap and how it is closed.

Want to see for yourself? Run this experiment:

Have your partner slowly and steadily move toward you, closing the gap. Have them try to grab you and wrestle you down in this way. Note how you will respond, but you will do so in such a way that someone on this forum will tell you, "Hey! That is not an Aikido technique."

David. I didn't just go and do that as an experiment but I have done such things in the dojo on numerouse occasions.

Your description I can 'see' seems to fit an in life situation, the type faced by a policeman potentially or security etc. I may be wrong there but that's my guess.

I have taught drills of people moving foreward as you describe and the other person having to feel exactly the point that other passes the edge of their circle or in other words enters maai. Other drills too to do with picking up the intention at the point the person is about to do something.

The last I describe as the practice of shin shin toitsu, not the type of Aikido but the meaning of that term as I was taught it. Driil, drill, drill until it is as real to the person as seeing physical movement with their own eyes.

Add to this a drill on maai which goes beyond physical maai or transcends it if you like and so the closing of physical distance is of no significnce under said demonstration.

For people who can do this I say they must then do only Aikido as a result and so more practice until it is natural.

So yes I have done it and yes have then used Aikido.

Having said all that however I do accept you said commonly held views on aikido and indeed maai. From that point of view I would say, if my experience of commonly held views is correct, that a person would revert to whatever they could do which probably would not look too much like Aikido.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-07-2011, 11:20 AM
Has anyone here ran the above offered experiment, or is all this talk just an assumption on what Aikido can and would do, as is too that folks would generally look at it and remain of the opinion that "Aikido proper" is being generated???


In my experience, in similar situations, I've been told "this is not proper aikido" and "this is not proper judo". Depends on who was watching (or receiving the technique).

ChrisHein
04-07-2011, 12:11 PM
The way we practice, all shomenuchi attacks are initiated by the nage. When nage presents his/her hand for tai no henko, it is a striking hand, the uke has to take it otherwise it will end up in his face. Same in suwariwaza kokyuho. In juyuwaza the nage is encouraged to close the distance and take initiative and not wait for the attackers to gang up on her. I'd say that "Aikido doesn't initiate attack" is a personal interpretation.

I see where you're going with this, but there are some problems with your examples. First off the shomen strike to initiate attacks could be used, but without a reach advantage it's effectiveness on a person who doesn't want to engage, outside of a boxing context are very limited (more on this in just a second when we get to the boxing). The reach advantage comes from a weapon, without the weapon, you're on even ground and you end up in a boxing situation.

For the offering of the hand in tai no henko. My teacher used to love to talk about how if you don't deal with my hand, it's going to be in your face, then he would show me how he could punch me. That sounded like a good point to me, until I started to study boxing. There are a great number of ways to deal with an incoming strike, grabbing the wrist is about the least effective means I can think of. In an unarmed situation the traditional "boxing cover" if a superior technique in every way. I don't need to directly control an unarmed striking hand, I can simply raise my arm to the part that needs to be protected, and cover. If the hand is armed however I must control it, if I don't you could cut and I will not have the ability to block (unarmed).

Engaging early is great, but it's still based on your attackers desire to attack, no attack, no Aiki. And honestly if they are not attacking, why would you want to engage with them? The idea of rushing someone who isn't attacking you is not really along the philosophy of Aikido.

As to Tohei story, it makes no sense to me, a person comes into a dojo with a challenge and then proceeds to be passive to the point that he is "chased" into a corner. In effect the verbal challenge was not followed up by a physical one, logic dictates that the "duel" should have been abandoned in favour of some sake drinking perhaps. Maybe this was impossible due to cultural conventions (e.g. loosing face).

Stories are stories, it's hard to know what happened, using the story to illustrate some points was where I was going.

In the interview Chiba says "leapt", and not as you say rushed, which has a negative connotation. He uses "leaped" in the following paragraph as well which describes O-Sensei fighting a "match" (would this be a "duel"?) :

Leapt, rushed, I don't know, semantics, translations, story telling, it's would be hard to get to the bottom of this.

Yes, Ueshiba fought many duels. That doesn't mean that his system is designed for dueling.

This reasoning makes no sense to me, if a martial art is effective when multiple attackers are present, it must be even more so for a single attacker. If having no "clinch techniques" is not a problem with many attackers why should it be when there is only one?

It would seem that way, but years of randori, sport competition and getting into fights has taught me that they aren't. So why are they different?

First and foremost, duels (one-on-one) fights are held to see who is better. The goal is to decisively defeat your opponent. This goal forces you to constantly engage your opponent, whether they are pressing you or not. This requires things like boxing technique, clinch fighting, and other methods of sustained conflict. Aikido is not designed this way. In Aikido technique I'd be more then happy to let someone not attack me, turn around and go about their business. It is the attackers attack that makes me respond.

What remains is a statement that Aikido is only effective in a "one on one fight" when the Aikidoka is armed, presumably with a sword/tanto but not with say shuriken. Is this your position?

They could have a shuriken as well. Or a pistol, or any other form of handheld weapon.

Have a look at the Nishio sensei's take on striking. Not sure how from "two people "square off" it's a one on one fight" you get a "give and take to the exchange". "give and take" and "exchange" are foreign to Aikido as I understand it but I do not see why is this relevant here.

I've seen Nishio Sensei, I'm not exactly sure what you are highlighting here. Boxing is a different animal then is see in Aikido. It's also hard to get at what "Aikido is" because there are so many different branches of Aikido. Some Shihan, have tried to add much striking, and actual boxing technique to their Aikido. However these techniques are not what all styles of Aikido share. However things like Katate dori, Shiho nage, and Kotegaeshi are things we all have in common.

So Aikido does not mix with unarmed "dueling" and armed "dueling" are not it's strong suit. To what sort of scenarios, in your opinion, is Aikido a good fit?

Armed while facing multiple opponents.

senshincenter
04-07-2011, 03:23 PM
Yes, thank you for understanding that point - it being a mixture of two elements: a specific martial conflict (i.e. closing the gap slowly and steadily for the purposes of grabbing) AND a commonly understood Aikido.

I, and perhaps like you, do not define "Aikido" by the commonly practiced technical curriculum. Such that when I clock this guy in the face or kick him in the groin it's as pure a form of Aikido as if I were doing Ikkyo.

On a related note, once I did my own experiment on something similar to this. In that experiment, the guy's intention was not so much to grab me as it was to strike at me (again, under pre-decided proscriptions against weapons being present). At the same time, I set myself the task of having to enter to the aggressor's shikaku - the one to the rear, as commonly practiced in many a regular Aikido technique (e.g. Irimi Nage).

Folks who had never done such training right away looked at it and shouted their usual Aikido slogans: "You need to enter more!" "It's too passive!" "Aikido has to be assertive!" Yada yada yada. Guess how many folks put their version on film? None.

What I saw from the experiment was the tactical need in regular Aikido waza like Irimi Nage to have an attacker truly aggress. When, for example, there is no outright hatred and over-whelming desire to kill you, the need to aggress on the part of the attacker is often outweighed by the need to maintain a technical base of operation. Or, additionally for example, when there are no weapons present or when the threat of weapons are not present, the closing of the gap is not so precarious a task. As a result, true aggression can again be outweighed by the need to maintain a technical base of operation.

This is why, in the experiment, since I was limited to the task of entering to a given shikaku, while I was facing an energy that was by choice allowed to be conservative and probing, non-aggressive, I was left with what I considered to be the best option: baiting, slipping, and following return motions. This is not normally a part of Irimi Nage, though it is for me a part of Aikido, and as a result, folks looked at it and screamed: "Not Aikido!" "Not Good Aikido!" For me, pressed by all the criteria and restrictions, I found what I learned very insightful. and the Aikido I was practicing jumped to a whole other level of application.

Here's that video:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/shikakuintermediate.html

Here's a counter-example as my deshi is going through the tough spots of learning how to do this:
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/latwone.html

Again, outside, at work for example (Law Enforcement), guess how many times I have faced these dojo duel situations: None.

In real life, aggression is an automatic part of human-vs-human violence. As such, weapons are almost always present or it's in your interest to treat them as such.

Still, I feel my practical insights gained on baiting, filling, and following return motion has served me well on and off the mat. I also feel I understand Irimi Nage at a much deeper level too.

sorokod
04-07-2011, 04:27 PM
Chris

From the link in your signature I see that you have your own school. How does the attitude that Aikido is in its best when

"Armed while facing multiple opponents."
is reflected in your training? What weapons are you using and within those weapons do you apply an existing methodology and if so which one?

ChrisHein
04-07-2011, 06:31 PM
Chris

From the link in your signature I see that you have your own school. How does the attitude that Aikido is in its best when

is reflected in your training? What weapons are you using and within those weapons do you apply an existing methodology and if so which one?

My students are huge supporters of the idea. In fact, I've never worked with anyone who couldn't quickly see what I was getting at.

My training heavily reflects this idea. We discuss and work with many different types of weapons, both modern and traditional.

What do you mean by methodology? Methodology of the weapon specifics (bladed, projective, long etc) or do you mean Aikido methodology as it pertains to the weapon? I'm not sure what you mean.

sorokod
04-08-2011, 12:32 AM
For example, if you consider the sword, which sword school/tradition/discipline are you basing your sword work on? Then, how do integrate this into training for "Armed while facing multiple opponents"?

Also, when you say "Armed while facing multiple opponents", are the opponents armed as well?

ChrisHein
04-08-2011, 11:46 AM
For example, if you consider the sword, which sword school/tradition/discipline are you basing your sword work on? Then, how do integrate this into training for "Armed while facing multiple opponents"?

The specific weapon skills are best taught by a weapon school. For example, I said firearms and Aikido are highly compatible systems. That doesn't mean that Aikido is good at teaching you to use a pistol. What it means is that Aikido is a base system which teaches you to keep your weapon hand free (wrist techniques), keep you out of the clinch (body techniques) and in a good position to use your weapon (tai sabaki). The specifics of the weapon are not taught within the syllabus, but the ability to keep your weapon useful is.

This point is where many people get confused when I say that Aikido is a weapon based system. Aside from aikiken and aikijo, Aikido doesn't teach weapon specifics. Instead Aikido teaches you how to stay free from attacks that would inhibit your weapon use. If you've ever struggled over a weapon you can appreciate how important this skill is.

Also, when you say "Armed while facing multiple opponents", are the opponents armed as well?

The opponents may also be armed. But Aikido doesn't tech lot's of specifics about this. For example, if you were in a one-on-one sword fight, as I was saying, Aikido doesn't teach many of the needed skills that you may learn in say a koryu sword heavy system. However Aikido does teach us to deal with basic armed attacks: Yokomen, Shomen, Tsuki. Here is a quick video of me explaining the basics of this idea:

http://www.aikidostudent.com/content/?p=290

jonreading
04-08-2011, 09:27 PM
What impact does our understanding of the martial context of aikido have on our practices?

If we do not understand the martial context of our art, how can we genuinely develop the specific skills of that art?

If we accept the intimate relationship between aikido and weapons, what are the implications for a modern practitioner? (Think: Will aikido work in the cage?; But I don't carry weapons; I practice aikido to experience harmony of movement; etc.)

First, I believe that what we are training, "aiki" of "aikido" happens before physical contact. "Aiki" [as I understand it now] is a transition of balance and control from one or multiple parties into one, a unification of you and your partners. So the scope of aikido is this small window which precedes contact and carries through the conclusion of your engagement. If you have aiki, we are doing aikido. If you do not have aiki, we are doing jutsu.

The martial context in which we are training is to understand the strategy of creating an encounter which allows us to connect with our partner and seize control of the engagement in such a manner as to allow your partner the opportunity to be complicit. Weapons provide great training tools for us to experience different ranges of engagement, consideration of combat variables and movement considerations using a weapon to list just a few. In any case, weapons allow us a new tactic in which to employ our aikido principles (which are consistent through applications).

Martial application is the blueprint for martial arts. Understanding the how's and why's of what we do is essential to elevated understanding of aikido. I believe we have a lot of bad aikido because we stopped remembering the how's and why's of what we do. Weapons are just one of many tools to examine the underlying principles of aikido.

Now, you get what you pay [for]. I think you can happily train in aikido and never pick up a weapon. I do not believe you will have the same experience as one someone who does but maybe you do not want that experience. However, I do believe the experience you will miss is one that explains the how's and why's of aikido and unless you get access to that information from another source you will be disadvantaged against your peers [who use weapons].

I know many aikido people who could tell you how to throw someone. But I know few that could walk into a judo tournament and throw any one.

graham christian
04-09-2011, 04:05 AM
Here's a quick thought for anyone. As you get better and better at Aikido and reach a good competant level then you may realize this:

Aikido IS a weapon.

Regards.G.

ChrisHein
04-09-2011, 12:52 PM
Here's a quick thought for anyone. As you get better and better at Aikido and reach a good competant level then you may realize this:

Aikido IS a weapon.

Regards.G.

Hmm, while I can appreciate the comparison, that statement can be a bit misleading and quickly derail where we are going.

Aikido, is a system. A system that teaches many things, some of these things likely have great application in a martial context, but that doesn't make Aikido a "weapon".

I could say that learning to drive a NASCAR is a weapon. Truth is, that if I hit you with my car I'm using it as a weapon, but that doesn't make NASCAR a weapon.

Sorry to be a nitpicker, but we've got to stay clear about where we are going.

graham christian
04-09-2011, 01:33 PM
Hmm, while I can appreciate the comparison, that statement can be a bit misleading and quickly derail where we are going.

Aikido, is a system. A system that teaches many things, some of these things likely have great application in a martial context, but that doesn't make Aikido a "weapon".

I could say that learning to drive a NASCAR is a weapon. Truth is, that if I hit you with my car I'm using it as a weapon, but that doesn't make NASCAR a weapon.

Sorry to be a nitpicker, but we've got to stay clear about where we are going.

Hi Chris.
It is a bit away from the meaning of the discussion but on the other hand in this country at least it is considered a lethal weapon if you are a competant martial artist. Whether its your hands feet whatever. So by law you can't go around misusing your skill.

All martial arts are lethal weapons by design when you think about it. Emphasis on by design.

However, it needn't be part of the discussion per say, just a reminder.

I find the thread very interesting and the different approaches to do with weapons and thoughts on their connection to how each does Aikido.

I'm sure I read a story about a monk who started or introduced kempo to japan. (in this story it was presented as the forerunner to all that led to Aikido etc.) The monk was faced by a samurai and I don't quite remember the ins and outs but basically, unarmed easily defeated the samurai. His response was that he always carried his weapons with him for they were in him.

I'm sure someone on here will know the relevant sources.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-09-2011, 03:35 PM
I'm sure I read a story about a monk who started or introduced kempo to japan. (in this story it was presented as the forerunner to all that led to Aikido etc.) The monk was faced by a samurai and I don't quite remember the ins and outs but basically, unarmed easily defeated the samurai. His response was that he always carried his weapons with him for they were in him.

I'm sure someone on here will know the relevant sources.

You're talking about Chingempin.

And the tale is probably false, as usual in this kind of legendary tales of martial awesomeness.

graham christian
04-09-2011, 04:08 PM
You're talking about Chingempin.

And the tale is probably false, as usual in this kind of legendary tales of martial awesomeness.

I just looked him up and found the tale you refer to. That was related to the art of ken, interesting.

However I have been looking for the story I was refering to and found it. It's under the heading 'kempo the ancient ultimate weapon'

Granted it is as you say a legendary tale and maybe false but the write up with it was good reading.

Regards.G.

ChrisHein
04-09-2011, 08:17 PM
Looks like we're getting WAY off topic here.

Is it possible for an unarmed man to beat a strong willed, goal oriented armed man? Yes. Is it in anyway likely? No. Is there any system that can teach the average person to do this consistently? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Does being armed offer the best chances of survival? Most certainly.

Okay, enough of that.

graham christian
04-10-2011, 07:09 AM
Looks like we're getting WAY off topic here.

Is it possible for an unarmed man to beat a strong willed, goal oriented armed man? Yes. Is it in anyway likely? No. Is there any system that can teach the average person to do this consistently? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Does being armed offer the best chances of survival? Most certainly.

Okay, enough of that.

Chris. Why is it way off topic? It's to do with Aikido and weapons: the connection.

From how I learned the connection was obvious. In fact I have done many lessons precisely from that perspective. Every technique done from the viewpoint of if and how it relates to a weapon from both sides.

What I mean by both sides is this. You can give a student or partner two weapons, whether two bokken or wooden knives and taking both wrists try to do let's say tenshinage. On the other hand you can be the person holding the weapons and while being held try to do tenshinage.

The point is you can experiment and find out and recognise much from that type of training.

In a war I would agree with what you said above however in any other scene in life I would say it would have the opposite effect.

The best purpose for using weapons in Aikido, from my view anyway, is what you gain by so doing which is nothing to do with carrying weapons or facing weapons on the street. It's the developement of a calm mind in dangerous situations, it's the developement of zanshin, it's the developement of movement without thought, it's so many things and in fact all those things are the best weapons.

All ways of weapon practice are useful if they lead to better qualities of movement and states of mind.

Respectfully.G.

Mark Freeman
04-10-2011, 04:24 PM
Is it possible for an unarmed man to beat a strong willed, goal oriented armed man? Yes. Is it in anyway likely? No. Is there any system that can teach the average person to do this consistently? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Does being armed offer the best chances of survival? Most certainly.


I agree with this, in that the 'average' person has very little chance at all in this situation. Exceptional is what you'd have to be to come out on top, doesn't really matter what your art is. I do think that Aikido offers the right principles to follow that lead people towards the skill required to improve their chances.

I also agree with this:
The best purpose for using weapons in Aikido, from my view anyway, is what you gain by so doing which is nothing to do with carrying weapons or facing weapons on the street. It's the developement of a calm mind in dangerous situations, it's the developement of zanshin, it's the developement of movement without thought, it's so many things and in fact all those things are the best weapons.

All ways of weapon practice are useful if they lead to better qualities of movement and states of mind.



This is what I use weapons for in my practice too. well put Graham.

regards,

Mark

ChrisHein
04-10-2011, 07:21 PM
Chris. Why is it way off topic? It's to do with Aikido and weapons: the connection.

Because the idea of the thread is physical weapons. Not if training in Aikido can make your unarmed body into a weapon. We start to get more tangential when we bring up unfounded stories of unarmed people defeating armed people.

Could there be a general relation between what you are saying and the original idea behind this thread, yes, but I don't believe it's in the spirit of the original post.

graham christian
04-10-2011, 09:24 PM
Because the idea of the thread is physical weapons. Not if training in Aikido can make your unarmed body into a weapon. We start to get more tangential when we bring up unfounded stories of unarmed people defeating armed people.

Could there be a general relation between what you are saying and the original idea behind this thread, yes, but I don't believe it's in the spirit of the original post.

Well put. Point taken.

Regards.G.

Michael Varin
04-11-2011, 02:24 AM
For me, the interesting discussion is not with the things that always/never are, which I'm pretty sure don't exist. Nor is it in the many areas of overlap that I doubt many of us would argue do exist.

The importance of this concept and the heart of this discussion, in my mind, revolve around a way to enhance our training. To provide us with an opportunity to develop real skills. To provide the context in which the movement patterns and techniques of aikido arise naturally and more frequently. To provide the motivations that give clarity to the techniques.

Good boxers know about the jab and cross. They know how they will use the jab and cross, and when they are appropriate. They have a number of methods of training the jab and cross. Within a match, the jab and cross occur naturally, and "fit" when they do occur. The jab and cross can be executed under pressure in the same way that they are in light training.

Can aikidoists say the same thing about ikkyo or the various blends to yokomen uchi?

Would a boxer have as many opportunities to use the jab and cross under pressure, if his opponent had a bokken? Would he have the motivation to use them?

ChrisHein
04-11-2011, 10:58 AM
Yes, here again we see how context is king. The boxer knows what context his skill set falls into. Whenever that context arises, his skills are naturally available to him because of his training within that context. The boxer outlined above would have a very hard time if he tried to use those skills in an organized wrestling match!

Looking at the example of a boxer, trying to box in a wrestling match, is obviously flawed. It's easy to see why boxing won't work in a wrestling match. The reason it won't fit is due to a restricting and unnatural ruleset, put in-place by the wrestling organization holding the match. There are other contexts, naturally occurring contexts, which create contextual problems that are much less obvious.

Weapons conflict, and multiple attackers can be just such context. First because we are far less familiar with them, secondly because of our desire to see all martial arts systems as dealing with one context, one-on-one, unarmed.

The simple fact that a weapon is present dramatically changes the context. A weapon is capable of delivering many times the force that an unarmed person can manage. The paramount importance of controlling the weapon makes weapons conflict inherently different than unarmed conflict. This changes the techniques that would be "natural" to use.

jeremymcmillan
04-12-2011, 10:23 AM
Good boxers know about the jab and cross. They know how they will use the jab and cross, and when they are appropriate. They have a number of methods of training the jab and cross. Within a match, the jab and cross occur naturally, and "fit" when they do occur. The jab and cross can be executed under pressure in the same way that they are in light training.

Can aikidoists say the same thing about ikkyo or the various blends to yokomen uchi?

Would a boxer have as many opportunities to use the jab and cross under pressure, if his opponent had a bokken? Would he have the motivation to use them?

IMO, there's an elephant in the room: tai sabaki (called "footwork" by boxers). Here's a clip of Bas Rutten ranting about things he knows nothing about. Specifically he refers to yokomenuchi blend and ikkyo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k_uumIQ1uk

At ~25 seconds he says that stopping a (haymaker) cross punch and that dodging a jab to get the ikkyo grab (he leans back) just don't work. Actually he's right, but it's a straw-man argument because that's not how the techniques are supposed to work at all. At the end what he's saying is that failed execution of Aikido techniques are not effective. Duh. Ironically he does seem to be a fan of kotegaesh, never mind the same "footwork" which gives your kotegaesh power will get your face away from a jab.

I'm a short guy. With weapons (tachi dori: yokomenuchi ikkyo/kotegaesh) if I don't get the taisabaki right, I don't get any opportunity to execute the technique. If I don't move at all I might get whacked. It's great for learning timing skills (sen-no-sen, kokyu) and taisabaki which translate directly to unarmed techniques.

IMO, the weapons training is foremost (as a beginner, first things first) a crucible for developing and testing fundamental skills which apply to many techniques and arts. I have a friend who is learning and playing a lot of tennis. The fundamental skills are even similar in other sports.

Aikibu
04-19-2011, 01:18 AM
IMO, the weapons training is foremost (as a beginner, first things first) a crucible for developing and testing fundamental skills which apply to many techniques and arts. I have a friend who is learning and playing a lot of tennis. The fundamental skills are even similar in other sports.

"Aikido is The Sword."

In my experience in our Aikido there is no separation between weapons and tai sabaki.... Zero.... Now I know some folks have stated "they have seen" (and sadly dismissed) Shoji Nishio's Practice. All I can say is that you pick up a bokken on day one and it is an integral part of every technique. There is no "connection" because to say so would imply there is a "separation".

Every movement is done with the sword in mind (if not in your hand). And you instantly can tell those who practice this way from those who don't. :)

William Hazen

PS. We are not the only Martial System that practices this "way" but we as far as I know We "may" be the only Aikido Practice that does. :) (Apologies in advance if I offend those Aikidoka who say they practice this way. I would love to hear more about it. :) )

Michael Varin
04-19-2011, 05:47 AM
IMO, there's an elephant in the room: tai sabaki (called "footwork" by boxers). Here's a clip of Bas Rutten ranting about things he knows nothing about. Specifically he refers to yokomenuchi blend and ikkyo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k_uumIQ1uk

At ~25 seconds he says that stopping a (haymaker) cross punch and that dodging a jab to get the ikkyo grab (he leans back) just don't work. Actually he's right, but it's a straw-man argument because that's not how the techniques are supposed to work at all. At the end what he's saying is that failed execution of Aikido techniques are not effective. Duh. Ironically he does seem to be a fan of kotegaesh, never mind the same "footwork" which gives your kotegaesh power will get your face away from a jab.

I'm a short guy. With weapons (tachi dori: yokomenuchi ikkyo/kotegaesh) if I don't get the taisabaki right, I don't get any opportunity to execute the technique. If I don't move at all I might get whacked. It's great for learning timing skills (sen-no-sen, kokyu) and taisabaki which translate directly to unarmed techniques.
OK. Great post. We can get this thread going again.

Bas Rutten is one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to one-on-one empty-hand fighting. That clip demonstrates precisely what this thread is about. And it has nothing to do with "failed execution" of aikido techniques.

It has everything to do with CONTEXT.

Why would anyone every attempt the blends we see in aikido against empty-hand strikes? The risk versus reward is just too high, when more reliable techniques exist.

But add a sword or knife, and you see that those blends are all that you can hope to do (this doesn't mean that they make the situation "easier").

On the other hand, all of the empty-hand techniques and strategies we see in mma are almost certain suicide against a sword or knife.

Additionally, those same empty-handed techniques don't really complement the use of weapons, so why would they be the focus of someone who is primarily interested in using his weapons?

But recognizing this is only part of the puzzle... What are we going to do about it?

How can we use this knowledge to enhance our training?

Aikibu
04-19-2011, 11:16 AM
OK. Great post. We can get this thread going again.

Bas Rutten is one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to one-on-one empty-hand fighting. That clip demonstrates precisely what this thread is about. And it has nothing to do with "failed execution" of aikido techniques.

It has everything to do with CONTEXT.

Why would anyone every attempt the blends we see in aikido against empty-hand strikes? The risk versus reward is just too high, when more reliable techniques exist.

But add a sword or knife, and you see that those blends are all that you can hope to do (this doesn't mean that they make the situation "easier").

On the other hand, all of the empty-hand techniques and strategies we see in mma are almost certain suicide against a sword or knife.

Additionally, those same empty-handed techniques don't really complement the use of weapons, so why would they be the focus of someone who is primarily interested in using his weapons?

But recognizing this is only part of the puzzle... What are we going to do about it?

How can we use this knowledge to enhance our training?

Going to the next seminar might be a good start. It may solve all your "puzzles" for you. :)

William Hazen