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Chris Knight
07-04-2012, 04:30 AM
After reading a few threads recently, it's made me wonder whether teachers have a duty of care to their students -

especially when studying a martial art for the first time (like myself), looking at recent video footage, there are clearly Aikido classes being carried out with no MARTIAL context what-so-ever.

And that's coming from a hobbyist martial artist, so if I can notice this, what are other people thinking?

Don't teachers have a duty of care to inform students that basically they aren't studying an art with a martial context and that the lessons learned, some of which may be portrayed as "useful" body movements on the "street TM", may just lead the student down the proverbial "delusional lane."

It annoys me, so what do experienced budo people think?

Mark Uttech
07-04-2012, 04:54 AM
Onegaishimasu, I tell my students from the getgo that how they practice is how they will be. If they are serious, ten years of practice is a good first goal. We do practice weapons from the beginning as an extension of the body, and we do learn what we can from traditional technique without turning our backs on innovations. Hope this helps.
In gassho,
Mark

Kevin Leavitt
07-04-2012, 05:19 AM
Caveat emptor. Buyer beware. You'd think that teachers would do this, but some are being dishonest. Others are deluded and have no clue as to what they are doing. In the end, ego will rule and they either believe the lies they are propagating or don't want to admit they are perpetuating. Or they simply don't know any better...again ego and fear will keep them from seeking the truth.

Either way...it is the students responsibility to seek the truth and not the burden for the teacher. Accept responsibility for yourself from day one...don't put it on the system and your teacher, and you will go far, be less frustrated, and eventually find the truth you are seeking.

Mario Tobias
07-04-2012, 08:27 AM
I echo Kevin's opinions. For me, it is a dilemma and a difficult one. The burden lies on the student to search for what's true. But if you are just starting, you don't know these things. Even us aikidoka who have been practicing for years, we do not know what we are really seeking, where to find it or how to attain it. But at the end of it all, you realize that the student is his own true teacher. When one realizes this then I think this is where one's true progress starts.

phitruong
07-04-2012, 09:34 AM
responsibility on both, student and teacher. the only solution that i found that is workable. get out and practice with other folks outside of your dojo/organization, even outside of your art. if your dojo/organization doesn't encourage this sort of thing, beware. this goes to every martial art practice, not just aikido. it goes to both student and teacher, not just student.

Brett Charvat
07-04-2012, 11:16 AM
While I share the concern of the OP, I think Kevin is spot-on about the responsibility ultimately resting with the students themselves. I strongly doubt that very many aikido teachers consider what they are teaching to be martially invalid but continue teaching it anyway out of indifference or malice. Most teachers that I've met in this art are convinced that what they are doing and teaching is effective, whether it is or not. At that point, it's up to us as students to determine whether or not we're getting what we want from our teacher. If not, maybe it's time to find another teacher, or another school, or another art altogether.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
07-04-2012, 12:01 PM
As teachers, we cannot absolve students from their own responsibility of picking us, from amongst all others. Of course, nobody should deceive others actively, or lie, but if some student is going to deceive themselves about what they are intending to do in aikido, there is little I can do as a teacher, even if I state my goals as honestly and openly as I can. And there is little I can do as a student either, but walk away, if I believe my teacher is deceiving him or herself. I do not think there is much use in digging for "the truth" being on one or the other side in such sitations, though it is terribly tempting.

But seriously, that's the same in all walks of life in some way, we are not transparent to ourselves, and neither are we to others, and we all have to deal with it.

I feel there are many people who are disgruntled about the "effectiveness" of aikido, in whatever respect, and then blame their teachers, while they were pursuing some fantasy of their own in the first place, now having a hard time waking up and taking responsibility.

Of course, then we get the situation where mutual self-deception sort of stabilises a system that loses any outside reference. But again, that is really not limited to aikido, or "effectiveness", many religious sects work like that, lots of relationships do, whatever....

Dave Gallagher
07-04-2012, 12:17 PM
Chris, The first lesson is to learn the difference between budo and bujutsu. If you want to learn "martial skills" then you should seek a bujutsu ryu.
The path of Aikido budo is something much different than mere martial technique.

Hilary
07-04-2012, 01:08 PM
Interesting can of worms this, fluffy bunnies notwithstanding, this is a martial art. I do believe that the new student is owed context, especially if this is their first venture into martial arts. People with significant rank in other arts should be able to figure it out for themselves.

I will, typically, explain to a new person (I am yudansha but not sensei) that Aikido is a little more difficult to get to a real world application level than the standard kicking and punching curriculum. That Aikido requires a sensitivity to ukes movement not required in basic striking arts and that (particularly for men) you have to unlearn the whole muscling thing to get that sensitivity, and this takes time (14 years in and Im still muscling things on occasion).

I do explain to them that if they think they are going to become a whirling cyclone of death and whoop ass that this may not be the right thing. What they will learn are principles of moving, locking, destabilizing/throwing, falling, all based on natural movement, that will allow them to control an opponent(s); with minimum expenditure of energy and allow them to inflict the least amount of damage the situation requires. This all presupposes diligent training over many years viewed though a lens of realistic expectation concerning ones basic physical milieu. Whilst they blink at me attempting to parse the previous sentence I tell them, essentially, if you are weak, slow, uncoordinated and myopic we will improve you to the best of your ability, but dont expect to be Steven Segal any time soon.

In previous arts (kempo, tang soo do) we always made a distinction between theoretical style/form and application level technique. In my current dojo it is more along the lines of, here is an idealized attack performed slowly so you can understand how a given principle applies to a specific technique(s). Later it becomes this is how you do it at the next level/how it would really be applied. In free style I tend to throw more punches, backfists, knees, elbows, kicks, and the dreaded double punch (at less than full speed) just to acclimate my training partners to wider menu of aggression.

Shadowfax
07-04-2012, 01:51 PM
My teachers have always been straight up about aikido's effectiveness and the things they teach. They tell us that if we are looking for something that will be effective in a street situation to go get a carry permit, buy a gun and learn how to use it.

As for videos on line. They really are not a good way to judge the entirety of what someone is teaching in their dojo. You can get an idea of what their technique is like but they really don't usually give you a full idea of that person's philosophy on the subject.

Chris Li
07-04-2012, 03:01 PM
Chris, The first lesson is to learn the difference between budo and bujutsu. If you want to learn "martial skills" then you should seek a bujutsu ryu.
The path of Aikido budo is something much different than mere martial technique.

Interestingly, the very oldest bujutsu ryu in Japan, more than 600 years old, starts with "Methods of War become Methods of Peace" (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-03-11/aiki-budo-is-the-way-of-human-development).

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
07-04-2012, 03:06 PM
My teachers have always been straight up about aikido's effectiveness and the things they teach. They tell us that if we are looking for something that will be effective in a street situation to go get a carry permit, buy a gun and learn how to use it.

Which makes a kind of sense - except that most of my adult life has been lived in places where it is very difficult or impossible to carry a gun legally. I suspect that applies to most folks these days, depending on where you live.

Also, a gun is a somewhat more extreme option than most people (I think) want to take on a daily basis.

All in all, it's not really a realistic alternative for most people.

Nothing will make you invulnerable, but as a fringe benefit it's not bad. :cool:

Best,

Chris

Dave Gallagher
07-04-2012, 03:30 PM
Interestingly, the very oldest bujutsu ryu in Japan, more than 600 years old, starts with "Methods of War become Methods of Peace" (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-03-11/aiki-budo-is-the-way-of-human-development).

Best,

Chris

.....Yes, interesting but does not change the difference between budo and bujutsu and for those like Chris seeking one without the other.

Chris Li
07-04-2012, 03:34 PM
.....Yes, interesting but does not change the difference between budo and bujutsu and for those like Chris seeking one without the other.

What I'm saying is that the budo/bujutsu dichotomy is an artificial division that doesn't really hold up if you look back historically.

Best,

Chris

Dave Gallagher
07-04-2012, 04:41 PM
What I'm saying is that the budo/bujutsu dichotomy is an artificial division that doesn't really hold up if you look back historically.

Best,

Chris

The sword is for defeating the enemy, not for defence. Face the enemy, brace yourself for death, and attack. A quote by Tōgō Tōbei Shigetaka (1561~1643), founder of the Jigen-ryū style of swordsmanship.
I think that sums up the difference pretty well. I also recall the saying about the goal of bujutsu..."to break through to their center and destroy them".

Chris Li
07-04-2012, 04:55 PM
"The sword is for defeating the enemy, not for defence. Face the enemy, brace yourself for death, and attack." A quote by Tōgō Tōbei Shigetaka (1561~1643), founder of the Jigen-ryū style of swordsmanship.
I think that sums up the difference pretty well. I also recall the saying about the goal of bujutsu..."to break through to their center and destroy them".

Sure, but I could bring up quotes like that from 20th century martial arts as well.

On the other hand, martial arts as vehicles for personal or even societal development existed historically long before the artificial budo/bujutsu division.

Best,

Chris

Gerardo Torres
07-04-2012, 05:27 PM
What I'm saying is that the budo/bujutsu dichotomy is an artificial division that doesn't really hold up if you look back historically.

Best,

Chris
Got to agree with Chris on this one. The popular budo vs. bujutsu definitions and dichotomy is inconsistent with historical facts. Budo has "bu" in it so it has to be martial and effective as well. Bujutsu schools also have human development as a core principle, dating back several centuries. If one of such schools or exponents say something in the line of "the aim of [insert art] is to survive/kill/etc.", it only speaks of its practical aim and efficiency, but it does not take away from other goals. Another angle, from one of my teachers, is that a place exclusive to budo training is where you follow a single "way", whereas a place for bujutsu offers "many paths". I've also seen the terms budo/bujutsu used interchangeably; it's hardly clear cut.

Chris Li
07-04-2012, 05:32 PM
After reading a few threads recently, it's made me wonder whether teachers have a duty of care to their students -

especially when studying a martial art for the first time (like myself), looking at recent video footage, there are clearly Aikido classes being carried out with no MARTIAL context what-so-ever.

And that's coming from a hobbyist martial artist, so if I can notice this, what are other people thinking?

Don't teachers have a duty of care to inform students that basically they aren't studying an art with a martial context and that the lessons learned, some of which may be portrayed as "useful" body movements on the "street TM", may just lead the student down the proverbial "delusional lane."

It annoys me, so what do experienced budo people think?

Well, I think that's basically right - but the people teaching often do not, themselves, realize that what they're doing just doesn't work very well.

In the end, the students need to be aware, and not get sucked in by the "mystique".

Best,

Chris

Mary Eastland
07-04-2012, 06:07 PM
After reading a few threads recently, it's made me wonder whether teachers have a duty of care to their students -

especially when studying a martial art for the first time (like myself), looking at recent video footage, there are clearly Aikido classes being carried out with no MARTIAL context what-so-ever.

And that's coming from a hobbyist martial artist, so if I can notice this, what are other people thinking?

Don't teachers have a duty of care to inform students that basically they aren't studying an art with a martial context and that the lessons learned, some of which may be portrayed as "useful" body movements on the "street TM", may just lead the student down the proverbial "delusional lane."

It annoys me, so what do experienced budo people think?

Hey Chris:
A video is a snapshop on the web. A whole style can't be judged by a video taken out of context. Most videos are put up to show a point or start a conversation. You can't tell how effective a martial art is by how it looks on youtube.

I talk about peacefulness yet we most always train in self-defense mode.

Shadowfax
07-04-2012, 09:12 PM
Which makes a kind of sense - except that most of my adult life has been lived in places where it is very difficult or impossible to carry a gun legally. I suspect that applies to most folks these days, depending on where you live.

Also, a gun is a somewhat more extreme option than most people (I think) want to take on a daily basis.

All in all, it's not really a realistic alternative for most people.

Nothing will make you invulnerable, but as a fringe benefit it's not bad. :cool:

Best,

Chris

Oh yes agreed that a lot depends on where you live and the environments you are in. But for the vast majority of us really how likely are we ever to need to defend ourselves from an attacker? Better to avoid being in the places and situations that would call for such knowledge. (and I do realize that for some this is not so easy or possible)

Now I'm not saying aikido can't be really useful. It has come in handy for me a few times. Nothing life threatening but all the same I was able to handle myself and keep control of situations that might have been worse without the awareness and muscle memory that aikido has given me thus far. But I'm not in aikido because I am worried about getting into a life threatening conflict and I'm not very likely to be involved in a serious fight. I think there is a lot more to be gained from aikido than the skill to beat up an attacker or win a fight. So while martial effectiveness does matter to me to a degree it is not my first concern. My thought is that if it is ones first concern then aikido might not be the right MA for them to be involved in. But that's just my thoughts as a very junior aikidoka. I may have very different thoughts on it in 5-10 years. :)

LinTal
07-04-2012, 09:24 PM
But for the vast majority of us really how likely are we ever to need to defend ourselves from an attacker? Better to avoid being in the places and situations that would call for such knowledge. (and I do realize that for some this is not so easy or possible)


Attacks come in different forms though - I know that when I do aikido I feel more relaxed and resilient in the face of stress or emotional pressure, and my relationships are healthier too...

crbateman
07-04-2012, 09:37 PM
Teachers can only teach what they know. If they do not know aikido as a budo, they cannot teach it that way. Just as ice cream, there are different "flavors" in aikido, and a student should learn about their prospective teacher before investing their time and money. If your training is not giving you the "taste" you want, you will know it, and can look for a more suitable situation. You do not have to become expert in aikido to know if the fit is right for you.

lbb
07-04-2012, 09:42 PM
Don't teachers have a duty of care to inform students that basically they aren't studying an art with a martial context and that the lessons learned, some of which may be portrayed as "useful" body movements on the "street TM", may just lead the student down the proverbial "delusional lane."
Well, no, they don't -- but I think you're really talking about a moral obligation, and not a legal obligation such as duty of care. As for whether they have a moral obligation, would you really expect that some knucklehead who promotes his martial art as being useful for "street self-defense" would feel such an obligation? As far as I'm concerned, if you even use the term "street self-defense" with a straight face, you should just get the forehead tattoo that says "BUFFOON". That goes whether you're a fraud trying to sell people on "street self-defense" or a fool trying to find it/buy it.

Since you used the phrase "duty of care", you're no doubt also aware of other concepts like a patient refusing care and acting against medical advice. When that happens, what do you do? You don't tackle them and force them to do the sensible thing, you try to help them and if your help's not wanted, you step back and let them do what they're going to do. People frequently don't want to do the thing that will help them, you know, and they frequently don't want to hear the unvarnished truth. People walk around with their ideas and their agendas, looking for confirmation of what they want to believe and frequently ignoring explicit information to the contrary.

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 02:09 AM
Caveat emptor. Buyer beware. You'd think that teachers would do this, but some are being dishonest. Others are deluded and have no clue as to what they are doing. In the end, ego will rule and they either believe the lies they are propagating or don't want to admit they are perpetuating. Or they simply don't know any better...again ego and fear will keep them from seeking the truth.

Either way...it is the students responsibility to seek the truth and not the burden for the teacher. Accept responsibility for yourself from day one...don't put it on the system and your teacher, and you will go far, be less frustrated, and eventually find the truth you are seeking.

I agree with this as long as we are talking about adults. An adult needs to be able to look at something reasonably and decide how martial it really is for himself. But the vast majority of martial arts students are children, and a responsible teacher needs to be up-front with children.

Chris Knight
07-05-2012, 03:17 AM
Chris, The first lesson is to learn the difference between budo and bujutsu. If you want to learn "martial skills" then you should seek a bujutsu ryu.
The path of Aikido budo is something much different than mere martial technique.

I have recently seen experienced practitioners on this site stating that budo has to be effective - to be defined as such?

Hey Chris:
A video is a snapshop on the web. A whole style can't be judged by a video taken out of context. Most videos are put up to show a point or start a conversation. You can't tell how effective a martial art is by how it looks on youtube.

I talk about peacefulness yet we most always train in self-defense mode.

I disagree and agree in the same context - I know all about the "it has to be felt scenario" however, by looking at recent videos posted here in relation to aikido,
no connection to uke, no developed centre, no concept of core stability, rocking on the feet, not being grounded, no centre line rotation, reliant on UKE - the list goes on and on. I disagree you cant tell how effective it can be via visuals

Yes, interesting but does not change the difference between budo and bujutsu and for those like Chris seeking one without the other.
where did I say that??

Interesting can of worms this, fluffy bunnies notwithstanding, this is a martial art. I do believe that the new student is owed context, especially if this is their first venture into martial arts. People with significant rank in other arts should be able to figure it out for themselves.

I will, typically, explain to a new person (I am yudansha but not sensei) that Aikido is a little more difficult to get to a real world application level than the standard kicking and punching curriculum. That Aikido requires a sensitivity to uke's movement not required in basic striking arts and that (particularly for men) you have to unlearn the whole muscling thing to get that sensitivity, and this takes time (14 years in and I'm still muscling things on occasion).

I do explain to them that if they think they are going to become a whirling cyclone of death and whoop ass that this may not be the right thing. What they will learn are principles of moving, locking, destabilizing/throwing, falling, all based on natural movement, that will allow them to control an opponent(s); with minimum expenditure of energy and allow them to inflict the least amount of damage the situation requires. This all presupposes diligent training over many years viewed though a lens of realistic expectation concerning ones basic physical milieu. Whilst they blink at me attempting to parse the previous sentence I tell them, essentially, if you are weak, slow, uncoordinated and myopic we will improve you to the best of your ability, but don't expect to be Steven Segal any time soon.

In previous arts (kempo, tang soo do) we always made a distinction between theoretical style/form and application level technique. In my current dojo it is more along the lines of, here is an idealized attack performed slowly so you can understand how a given principle applies to a specific technique(s). Later it becomes "this is how you do it at the next level/how it would really be applied". In free style I tend to throw more punches, backfists, knees, elbows, kicks, and the dreaded double punch (at less than full speed) just to acclimate my training partners to wider menu of aggression.

probably the best post on here in a long time - thanks!

Kevin Leavitt
07-05-2012, 03:42 AM
I agree with this as long as we are talking about adults. An adult needs to be able to look at something reasonably and decide how martial it really is for himself. But the vast majority of martial arts students are children, and a responsible teacher needs to be up-front with children.

Agree, however, parents are responsible for their children. Unfortunately, as you know, there are no standards in most organizations or governing bodies that define practices, safety, and child protection within martial arts...at least in the US....so the reality of it is "Caveat Emptor".

I think places like France have this controlled alot better.

One thing we have strove to do in the Jiu Jitsu Organization I am working on and co-founding is to develop standards and instructor certifications, require background checks and CPR/AED training etc.

Shadowfax
07-05-2012, 07:20 AM
Attacks come in different forms though - I know that when I do aikido I feel more relaxed and resilient in the face of stress or emotional pressure, and my relationships are healthier too...

As do I. Since the thread was discussing the martial effectiveness however I was not considering emotional stress types of situations. Because this was not the topic of this discussion.

Let me be more clear. How many of us are likely to find ourselves in a situation in which a person is attacking us in a physically violent manner and attempting to harm us or kill us? For most of us I would say that the chances of that are pretty low. And yes focusing on the more useful and more commonly needed aspects of handling emotional stress and relationships is going to be more useful than worrying about whether or not you can disarm some dude with a gun or take down a boxer in a fist fight, unless you are the sort of person who finds themselves in such situations frequently. And in that case it might be a good idea to look into martial arts other than aikido.

lbb
07-05-2012, 08:26 AM
I agree with this as long as we are talking about adults. An adult needs to be able to look at something reasonably and decide how martial it really is for himself. But the vast majority of martial arts students are children, and a responsible teacher needs to be up-front with children.

Are you talking about aikido dojos, or strip-mall McDojos? If the former, are you really seeing aikido sensei telling children (or their parents) that they're going to learn how to deal with a violent physical attack, even if it comes from a larger person (and never mind the idiocy of people who try to deal with bullying or abuse or any other threat by signing the kid up for martial arts training, do you really see aikido sensei going along with this idiocy)? If the latter, is this the forum to talk about unethical business practices at non-aikido schools?

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 02:01 PM
Are you talking about aikido dojos, or strip-mall McDojos? If the former, are you really seeing aikido sensei telling children (or their parents) that they're going to learn how to deal with a violent physical attack, even if it comes from a larger person (and never mind the idiocy of people who try to deal with bullying or abuse or any other threat by signing the kid up for martial arts training, do you really see aikido sensei going along with this idiocy)? If the latter, is this the forum to talk about unethical business practices at non-aikido schools?

I think what I said applies to any martial arts school that teaches children, aikido or otherwise.

phitruong
07-05-2012, 02:15 PM
I think what I said applies to any martial arts school that teaches children, aikido or otherwise.

isn't that the responsibility of the parents? as far as i know, most paper works required parental signatures when the kid is less than 18 years of age.

OwlMatt
07-05-2012, 02:41 PM
isn't that the responsibility of the parents? as far as i know, most paper works required parental signatures when the kid is less than 18 years of age.
Of course. But chances are mom and dad, no matter what they signed, aren't standing over our shoulders telling us what to teach. That together with the impressionability of children, I think, means we have to be more careful teaching children than adults who are better equipped to make their own decisions.

Shadowfax
07-05-2012, 02:59 PM
are you really seeing aikido sensei telling children (or their parents) that they're going to learn how to deal with a violent physical attack, even if it comes from a larger person

Thinking about this subject this morning on my way to work. I have to say that I cannot recall any time or place I have heard or seen an aikido instructor claim that aikido will make a student capable of winning a street fight or into a great fighter other such business. I have never seen aikido advertised that way. It certainly is not advertised that way by my teachers. Not saying that if I have not seen it it does not exist but at least if it does it is not common to make such a claim...

Chris Li
07-05-2012, 03:23 PM
Thinking about this subject this morning on my way to work. I have to say that I cannot recall any time or place I have heard or seen an aikido instructor claim that aikido will make a student capable of winning a street fight or into a great fighter other such business. I have never seen aikido advertised that way. It certainly is not advertised that way by my teachers. Not saying that if I have not seen it it does not exist but at least if it does it is not common to make such a claim...

I think that he's talking about things like this:

From the USAF website - The Aikidoist trains to apply various wristlocks, arm pins or unbalancing throws to subdue and neutralize attackers without serious injury. Such practice is done in tandem with learning the art of falling, or "ukemi", which trains the body and mind to receive such techniques in a safe manner.

I'm not picking on the USAF, most Aikido schools have some kind of similar language in their description. Anyway, the implication is that what you are being taught is being taught in a context that is at least potentially applicable martially.

Best,

Chris

Shadowfax
07-05-2012, 04:14 PM
I think that he's talking about things like this:

From the USAF website - The Aikidoist trains to apply various wristlocks, arm pins or unbalancing throws to subdue and neutralize attackers without serious injury. Such practice is done in tandem with learning the art of falling, or "ukemi", which trains the body and mind to receive such techniques in a safe manner.

I'm not picking on the USAF, most Aikido schools have some kind of similar language in their description. Anyway, the implication is that what you are being taught is being taught in a context that is at least potentially applicable martially.

Best,

Chris

Fair enough although I think the quote is not inaccurate. I think that a person wishing to peruse a martial art is responsible to research and find out just what the art they are interested in is about and whether or not it will help them achieve their goal. Like I said earlier in my dojo people are pretty much told from day one that this is not a place to learn how to win fights. If you want to win a fight then another martial art is probably a better fit. But I don't think that it is necessarily something every teacher must spell out to every student. Just because someone is paid for a thing does not mean that they are infallible or an expert. The doctor who graduated at the bottom of his class is still called Dr.

Children are a different matter and in that case the parents have responsibility to make sure that the child is receiving the training they desire the child to have.

Sadly I do see people who just blindly trust the "expert" and never question anything and are then surprised if/when they get a bad outcome. I come across it in the horse world all the time. Horse is crippled by bad foot care and the owner says well I just trusted that the farrier knew what he was doing so even when I thought something didn't look right I didn't say or do anything until the animal was really ruined. People need to get over this "everyone gets a blue ribbon/nobody can ever be allowed to feel a negative emotion" mentality of the world and start being held responsible for their choices instead of pawning them off on others.

I came to aikido with zero background or previous knowledge about a martial art of any kind. And I still was intelligent enough to ask questions and do my research and know and understand what it is I was getting into. I didn't need someone to tell me that I was not going to get a black belt in no time flat and be able to go out brawling and win some fights....

phitruong
07-05-2012, 04:24 PM
I didn't need someone to tell me that I was not going to get a black belt in no time flat and be able to go out brawling and win some fights....

of course you can get a black belt fast. just order it online and fed-ex overnight. and of course you can go out brawling and win, providing that you know how to pick fight with folks who can't defend themselves. for a low monthly payment of $19.99, i can tell you how to do it. :)

Chris Knight
07-05-2012, 05:39 PM
hi cherie. ive no interest in brawling and that would be quite laughable if you knew me. Im not interested in grades and Im under no illusion about what aikido applies to etc. however my original question was about martial context and if i can spot flaws being a 4th kyu it must annoy budoka who see videos banded about which is contrary to any form of aikido.

im more than intelligent enough to ask the right questions. this isnt about my training just delusional training in general

Rupert Atkinson
07-05-2012, 05:40 PM
What I always find funny is that a new student of whatever style will, after a few lessons, start espousing all its quirks with positive zeal to his/her friends. So, a new ki aikido student will enlighten all his friends as to the wonders of soft training, and so likewise will new students to Iwama, Yoshinkan, or Aikikai styles explain their style's particular virtues. Of course, new Tomiki students will soon exclaim how good their new art is because it has competition.

Let the buyer beware someone said above. I don't think so. To beware you first have to be aware. New students are easily molded into whatever they fall into. It's just a systemic thing, and I don't think any teacher will enlighten them as to their lot because said teacher is fully into said lot.

lbb
07-06-2012, 10:50 AM
I think what I said applies to any martial arts school that teaches children, aikido or otherwise.

Ok. Applies how? Where's the fraud that you're concerned with? What exactly do you think aikido schools are teaching children, and how is it fraudulent? Or do you somehow feel that it's a dojo's job to perpetually disabuse its students every fool notion about martial arts that they may have picked up elsewhere and cherish in their secret hearts?

lbb
07-06-2012, 10:57 AM
if i can spot flaws being a 4th kyu it must annoy budoka who see videos banded about which is contrary to any form of aikido. l

That doesn't necessarily follow -- if anything, I'd say it's the opposite. You've got just enough experience to spot flaws (or what you believe to be flaws), and it's making you all indignant. Unfortunately, you can't do anything about it, unless you believe that posting an endless succession of righteously indignant comments on Youtube is "doing something". You don't own the word "aikido" and you can't stop other people from using it in ways that you don't like. Your only choice is to go on being indignant about it, or realize that you don't control it and get on with your life. I suspect the large majority of people who keep practicing for any significant time choose the latter.

Lyle Laizure
07-06-2012, 01:51 PM
Don't teachers have a duty of care to inform students that basically they aren't studying an art with a martial context and that the lessons learned, some of which may be portrayed as "useful" body movements on the "street TM", may just lead the student down the proverbial "delusional lane."

It annoys me, so what do experienced budo people think?

Some things we learn/teach are for specific skills needed in our training and may not be martialy applicable. This should be pointed out. The problem is that there are a lot of instructors that don't understand what is and isn't viable for defense.

This is what is wrong with most self-defense classes as well. (But I am not going to get on that soapbox.)

Chris Knight
07-06-2012, 04:51 PM
mary, me indignent? Thats strange seeing as though pretty much all you hear on this forum is from serious budoka Constantly on about the lack of aiki and body skills in aikido. i dont think ive said anything to the contrary. u live in mass, why dont u check it out and then come back with a more educated comment? or are you more concerned with lecturing others? and yes i believe the flaws i see are genuine

lbb
07-08-2012, 08:12 PM
mary, me indignent? Thats strange seeing as though pretty much all you hear on this forum is from serious budoka Constantly on about the lack of aiki and body skills in aikido. i dont think ive said anything to the contrary. u live in mass, why dont u check it out and then come back with a more educated comment? or are you more concerned with lecturing others? and yes i believe the flaws i see are genuine

That's all very nice -- has nothing to do with my point, though. The point is that (if we accept as given that everything you say is right) you seem upset at the idea that other people can say wrong things. Well, yeah, they can. People can proclaim that the earth is flat and that 2+2=5. You can't stop them from doing so. So, my answer to the original question, the subject of this thread, "Shouldn't we be responsible?" is -- how can we possibly be responsible for what someone else says?

Kevin Leavitt
07-08-2012, 11:36 PM
Let the buyer beware someone said above. I don't think so. To beware you first have to be aware. New students are easily molded into whatever they fall into. It's just a systemic thing, and I don't think any teacher will enlighten them as to their lot because said teacher is fully into said lot.

It is a double edge sword....at least in the US. US commerce and society dictates pretty much that you are free to do whatever you like. If two people want to establish a relationship to teach and learn then they are free to do so. In this sense caveat emptor applies. It is up to the consumer to educate themselves. This applies to everything except where direct harm in concerned, mainly with food and drugs.

Outside of that there are consumer advocacy groups that can educate and inform. I have always felt that people are way too accepting of martial art masters. In physical fitness there are standards such as ACSM and other organizations that cover conditioning and physical arts. However in Martial arts, this seems to all go out the wayside.

For most parents, myself included, my kids did TKD, not to become a lethal master, but to learn basic movement, get exercise and because they enjoyed the heck out of master Kim's classes. My son does Aikido know. He likes it, the teacher follows fundamentals of safety and that it all that is important right now.

For adults, well, I still believe that we have an obligation to inform ourselves. I support the right of the guy with a mcdojo certificate to hang up his shingle. If people like him and want to pay him money to get exercise and feel good, then they should be able to do that unless someone can prove harm in the direct sense is being done.

Contrary, I have the right to set up next door to him and provide enlightenment and inform those what I consider to be the tough questions that should be asked by those that are serious about being effective.

Over legislation and government involvement has not proven to me to solve the problem and tends to force a level of mediocrity and apathy. People should step up and take control and accountability of their own lives.

Chris Knight
07-09-2012, 04:40 AM
That's all very nice -- has nothing to do with my point, though. The point is that (if we accept as given that everything you say is right) you seem upset at the idea that other people can say wrong things. Well, yeah, they can. People can proclaim that the earth is flat and that 2+2=5. You can't stop them from doing so. So, my answer to the original question, the subject of this thread, "Shouldn't we be responsible?" is -- how can we possibly be responsible for what someone else says

believe everything I say? Who said that? I know jack shi* and still can sniff out poor aiki principles -
my point is shouldn't this be governed better by some kind of body, or teacher's take responsibility for their students. In my eyes, if we're not trying to replicate Ueshiba's art, what's the point of calling it aikido?

Kevin Leavitt
07-09-2012, 07:59 AM
I'm under ASU. ASU, USAF, etc? what is wrong with those organizations?

Richard Stevens
07-09-2012, 08:21 AM
If someone is interested in personal (spiritual/physical) development and not concerned with martial effectiveness it seems like Yoga may be a more logical pursuit?

While students have a responsibility to try and realistically assess what they are learning, instructors have a responsibility to not fill their students heads with false notions of effectiveness. Everyone just needs to be realistic.

lbb
07-09-2012, 08:23 AM
believe everything I say? Who said that?

Not me. I'm not sure where you're getting that, but it wasn't anything I said.

I know jack shi* and still can sniff out poor aiki principles -
my point is shouldn't this be governed better by some kind of body, or teacher's take responsibility for their students.

I think those are two different things, so let's talk about them separately.

1. Shouldn't this (what is taught under the name of "aikido") be governed better by some kind of body? Some people's answer to this would be a vehement "yes", yourself among them, and I can certainly see where that comes from: the desire (if I'm not mistaken) to have every school that teaches aikido, be teaching a uniform style that meets certain standards. I understand how that can be seen as desirable, but here's where we differ: I'm pretty sure it's not achievable. As a purely practical matter, that level of control does not exist. The power to regulate who uses the word "aikido" and what they do under its name, is a power that no governing body could ever achieve. Furthermore, my experiences with governing bodies and self-appointed guardians of standards leads me to believe that any serious attempts to impose such standards would do more harm than good. It's the nature of the beast.

2. Shouldn't teachers take responsibility that what they are teaching is valid aikido, and that their students learn it effectively? Again, some people's answer would be "yes", and I can see where that is a desirable goal. Where I disagree is with the notion that a teacher can ultimately control this outcome, and also that a teacher can be forced to take this responsibility (see 1 above). Yes, teachers should take the responsibility to make their best effort to convey valid aikido. They should also floss at least twice daily, but we can't force them to do that, either. We also can't force students to accept what is being taught, no matter how correct it is. I've seen a lot of people come into dojos, aikido and otherwise, with their heads so filled with utterly false crap that there's no room for whatever that dojo is trying to teach. I've seen new students who have read up on their new martial art and who know all about it -- more than the sensei that is trying to teach them, apparently. You really can't "take responsibility" for someone's learning when their head's in such a state.

Ultimately, for me, it all boils down to the old adage about leading a horse to water -- for both teacher and student. If I had to come up with a single word for what you're talking about, I'd call it "integrity". It's a fine word and a noble goal. But it's different from accountability. Accountability has its limits imposed by what you can control -- which, in this case, is very little -- and integrity can never be forced. It can be encouraged, it can be nurtured...it can be stifled and choked and thwarted much more easily. One thing that, in my opinion, thwarts the pursuit of integrity is the overzealous pursuit of orthodoxy. It's easy to mistake orthodoxy for integrity, but they are not the same: integrity can and does thrive in diversity. That's why governing boards so often defeat their own purpose: they succeed (to some degree) in enforcing orthodoxy, but they fail to inspire integrity. And so, people go seek it elsewhere, understanding that integrity is not the property of any authority.

Mary Eastland
07-09-2012, 09:06 AM
Other variables are the student's commitment and ability. Each student approaches the art from a unique perspective: their own. Two Students who start on the same day, practice the same amount of time and in the same dojo will look and feel different because of their own understanding, background and physical ability.

Kevin Leavitt
07-09-2012, 09:44 AM
and it also harkens the old philosophical comment on "what exactly is quality, and how do we know when we see it?"

Chris Knight
07-09-2012, 09:58 AM
I'm under ASU. ASU, USAF, etc? what is wrong with those organizations?

hi kevin, nothing whatsoever - i just think that aikido groups shouldn't be able to utilise the name unless authorised by a higher body when they post videos which are absolutely, in no way related to our art, hopefully....

hope the arms improving and you're back in action soon!

chris

Belt_Up
07-09-2012, 10:33 AM
i just think that aikido groups shouldn't be able to utilise the name unless authorised by a higher body

This would be a nightmare. Given the revisionism and general hijinks we've seen when organisations don't have an iron grasp of this martial art, I dread to think what would happen if a 'higher body' was so empowered. You cannot empower a group to uphold individual integrity.

ramenboy
07-09-2012, 11:34 AM
Chris, The first lesson is to learn the difference between budo and bujutsu. If you want to learn "martial skills" then you should seek a bujutsu ryu.
The path of Aikido budo is something much different than mere martial technique.

A few of us had a nice conversation w seki sensei one summer, and he said I think basically the same thing.

We have to define for ourselves, what it is we want. Jutsu or do... Self preservation, or self improvement

Chris Li
07-09-2012, 11:51 AM
A few of us had a nice conversation w seki sensei one summer, and he said I think basically the same thing.

We have to define for ourselves, what it is we want. Jutsu or do... Self preservation, or self improvement

Seki, for all that I loved training with him, has never been much of a thinker.

"Jutsu" doesn't mean self preservation, just as "do" doesn't mean self improvement.

Best,

Chris

ramenboy
07-09-2012, 01:01 PM
Seki, for all that I loved training with him, has never been much of a thinker.

"Jutsu" doesn't mean self preservation, just as "do" doesn't mean self improvement.

Best,

Chris

How's that, Chris?

How would you explain the meanings of jutsu and do?

I mean, sure, literally translated that's not the meanings, but in the context of 'martial' art, etc, what other definitions are there

Chris Li
07-09-2012, 01:25 PM
How's that, Chris?

How would you explain the meanings of jutsu and do?

I mean, sure, literally translated that's not the meanings, but in the context of 'martial' art, etc, what other definitions are there

That's just it - the dichotomy is kind of a modern misunderstanding that was exacerbated by Donn Draegger, and that some Japanese have latched onto. It's really not that clear or profound a division of definitions.

Best,

Chris

ramenboy
07-09-2012, 01:38 PM
That's just it - the dichotomy is kind of a modern misunderstanding that was exacerbated by Donn Draegger, and that some Japanese have latched onto. It's really not that clear or profound a division of definitions.

Best,

Chris

THATS NOT THE ANSWER I WAS LOOKING FOR!!!!!! :)

Maybe it' was a way for us westerners to try to understand. Just like there's no real western meaning for ki...

lbb
07-09-2012, 01:55 PM
THATS NOT THE ANSWER I WAS LOOKING FOR!!!!!! :)


Nice.

ramenboy
07-09-2012, 01:58 PM
Nice.

;)

Kevin Leavitt
07-09-2012, 04:33 PM
hi kevin, nothing whatsoever - i just think that aikido groups shouldn't be able to utilise the name unless authorised by a higher body when they post videos which are absolutely, in no way related to our art, hopefully....

hope the arms improving and you're back in action soon!

chris

Thanks for asking Chris, today was my first day back on the mat, teaching though and very easy. Will have to train conservatively for a while.

In theory, of course I agree that it would be nice if there was such a thing as Aikido (tm).

However, looking at a few of the other post, I have to say, I agree and think we are actually better off without the (tm). I think overall the hybridization, and freedom to interpret has probably paid us more dividends than determent.

If there was one singular organization that got to decide what was and what was ot aikido....think about it....

Someone or a board would have to quantify that somehow. We'd have test that would be standardized. Only select people would be able to promote. It would get very expensive. Interpretation or creativity would be very limited or limited to the few guys that sat on the top of the very steep paramid.

Take a look at the downfall of judo and judo organizations in the US. Lots of in fighting, they constantly change the rules for various reasons, sometimes for safety, but lately IMO it is to keep Jiu Jitsu players, Sambo, and Grapplers from being successful and co-opting Judo and changing it. Can't blame them really, it is at risk if you are the status quo.

Think about the guys like Dan Harden. People that decided to spend time with him would be ex-communicated and stripped of the ability to use the Aikido(TM) label. Student bodies would be split. The focus would be completely wrong. We'd be focusing on organizational politics and climbing the ladder vice actually improving what we are doing.

I'd say most, if not all of the major guys here on Aikiweb would be stripped of the ability to use the AIkido(TM).

So then what?

We'd have to appeal to some sort of national or state board to start a new art or derivative. The National Body for Martial Arts would be very hesitant to improve another Aiki like organization since the 200,000 plus Aikido(TM) body would be very powerful and lobby to prevent us. That and if they did that, there would be a landslide of everyone wanting to start there own new art cause they didn't agree with the establishment that purports mediocrity at best as it is most profitable that way.

I think education is the best way. We can inform people as best we can about how to make good decisions and navigate the maze. I got my start and what would be considered a "McDojo". I knew nothing about martial arts and simply took what was offered at the health club. As I became more and more educated, and my thirst grew deeper, I sought out more and more information and trained with others. I'd say it took me a good 15 years of training before I felt I understood training and what constituted good training for myself.

Yeah, it is frustrated and comical to see some of the garbage that is out there.

davoravo
07-09-2012, 11:26 PM
I don't really think this (the OP) is an issue. Most teachers repeatedly state that there are better ways to learn to fight. My first teacher taught that "this shouldn't be teaching you how to hurt someone but makIng you realize how vulnerable and easily hurt you would be in a fight."

Equally there is plenty of stuff on the Internet criticizing aikido and lots of information that "if you want to learn to fight you have to get out and fight" and aikido training obviously doesnt involve fighting. I think most aikidoka are like me, far too pretty to have our faces smacked evey week in training. All in all there is plenty of information available to make an informed choice.

Yes, there are some deluded students but I think they are looking for Ki magic instead of hard work. hopefully they realize their own aikido is not good enough to use in a fight. They are probably also very unlikely to get into a fight. Seems those folk who seek out real rough and tumble training get into a lot more fights than us fluffy bunnies.

As a slight tangent to your question, but still on topic - Do people think martial arts instructors should or "have a duty" ensure that their students can defend themselves, irrespective of their main art.? ie should self defense techniques be taught as a regular break out from class?

I used to practice elbow strikes, groin knee strikes and groin kicks (oh, and some punches) on a heavy bag when I first started aikido. In terms of "techniques" there is probably not much more that needs to be added (eye gouges, judo chop to neck - oh, that's shomen uchi). Get an old fairbairn or Sykes manual and you should be good to go!

But of course how you train is slightly different to what you train (a list of techniques), which is a big part of what you are saying.

(oh, look, I have answered my own question. :-) )

The most important part of any self defense course is protecting yourself by avoiding trouble and dangerous environments. This is certainly an area I think every Martial arts instructor should consider teaching.