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Michael Varin
07-08-2012, 02:05 AM
Anderson Silva is the best martial artist of our time.

He is the only person who has diplayed aiki consistantly in the UFC, and is really on a different level than most of the top fighters in the world.

Just wanted to say that.

aikilouis
07-08-2012, 05:01 PM
... according to your personal definitions of "aiki" and of what constitutes "the best martial artist of our time".

Michael Hackett
07-08-2012, 08:21 PM
Anderson Silva is clearly the best MMA fighter at his weight in the UFC, and pretty darned good at BJJ. I don't know that he's the best martial artist of our time since I can't even begin to define what that is. I certainly don't want to try him on for size. I am a big fan of his, but I don't think he belongs on some pedestal as that would be a shaky position.

Kevin Leavitt
07-08-2012, 11:22 PM
Yeah he is pretty good. michael, can you provide some clips or examples of where he demonstrates aiki? As I have stated in the past the top guys in BJJ I contend get it, if they cannot verbalize or teach it, they have some abilities, IMO. So no doubt I agree, but just wondered how you make that assessment for discussion or argument as we like to do here!

Michael Varin
07-10-2012, 03:20 AM
Yeah he is pretty good. michael, can you provide some clips or examples of where he demonstrates aiki? As I have stated in the past the top guys in BJJ I contend get it, if they cannot verbalize or teach it, they have some abilities, IMO. So no doubt I agree, but just wondered how you make that assessment for discussion or argument as we like to do here!

Hey Kevin,

I'll get on YouTube and see if I can find them (the UFC pulls a lot of this stuff), but off the top of my head, I would say his fight against Forrest Griffin, his second fight against Yushin Okami, and his most recent fight against Chael Sonnen have very clear and distinct usage of aiki.

Now, let me say that my definition of aiki may be different from some other posters on AikiWeb.

To me aiki is a relational skill; one in which you can produce appropriate and non-random action in response to and cloaked by the opponent's intention/commitment.

Maybe what I am talking about is just his perceptive abilities, but Anderson displays a level of mastery that is rare.

He has many other attributes that make him a great fighter as well. And he sure seems to hit hard!

Michael Varin
07-10-2012, 03:29 AM
Anderson Silva is clearly the best MMA fighter at his weight in the UFC, and pretty darned good at BJJ. I don't know that he's the best martial artist of our time since I can't even begin to define what that is. I certainly don't want to try him on for size. I am a big fan of his, but I don't think he belongs on some pedestal as that would be a shaky position.

Well, I suppose there are many way in which one may define the "best martial artist of our time."

You are correct; he shouldn't be placed on a pedestal. And frankly, can't be if he continues to fight in the UFC.

Here's the thing... Anderson puts himself out there on a level that 99% of us will never approach. And within that environment displays a level of artistry and mastery that is well beyond the label of "fighter."

Richard Stevens
07-10-2012, 09:27 AM
I wonder how long it will be before Sensei Seagal gives an interview to Helwani and takes credit for Silva's "aiki skills"?

Michael Hackett
07-10-2012, 10:08 AM
Michael,

If you are talking about his ability to perceive his opponent's intent, he is superb in that regard, but I strongly suspect that speaks to his BJJ experience and training. I know a number of BJJ black belts and have rolled with a couple and they seem to be physical chess masters. It feels like they are always three or four moves ahead of you and that seems to be the case for Anderson Silva. I will grant you that he does "put it out there", but I think that is the case for all of those UFC guys as well. They play in an incredibly tough environment in a very tough game.

Gorgeous George
07-10-2012, 10:55 AM
I wonder how long it will be before Sensei Seagal gives an interview to Helwani and takes credit for Silva's "aiki skills"?

HAHA!

That's probably one of the 'two or three things they thought were illegal'.

Richard Stevens
07-10-2012, 11:25 AM
Michael,

If you are talking about his ability to perceive his opponent's intent, he is superb in that regard, but I strongly suspect that speaks to his BJJ experience and training. I know a number of BJJ black belts and have rolled with a couple and they seem to be physical chess masters. It feels like they are always three or four moves ahead of you and that seems to be the case for Anderson Silva. I will grant you that he does "put it out there", but I think that is the case for all of those UFC guys as well. They play in an incredibly tough environment in a very tough game.

I think his striking is far superior to his BJJ. That is to say he is great on the ground, but he is at another level standing. I've yet to see him do anything as spectacular on the ground as he regularly does standing. His last second triangle against Sonnen was more a failure of Chael to recognize what was coming. How long did he have wrist control? I knew that was coming and I have no BJJ background.

Locking Travis Lutter up with a triangle and then ending the fight with elbows was impressive, but not amazing. Getting Henderson's back and submitting him with a rear naked was impressive, but still no where near as amazing as what he can do standing.

I would argue that his ability to perceive his opponents intent should be attributed to his years of training in Muay Thai and Boxing. He undoubtedly has a great ground game, but it's not on the level of say a Vinny Malgalhaes or even Damian Maia. However, his stand-up game is simply unmatched. I can watch the guy throw anchor punches all day long.

Michael Hackett
07-10-2012, 12:30 PM
I see it just the opposite Richard. He does have strong striking skills, but he also takes a lot of punishment in doing so. I haven't seen anything spectacular on the ground either, but that holds true for almost all of the submission/BJJ guys as well. He just quietly and competently moves into position and does his thing without any flair or fanfare. Another great skill he has to offer is his tremendous conditioning. He just looks comfortable and capable of doing five or six more rounds without effort. All in all, a tremendous athlete.

Scott Harrington
07-10-2012, 01:49 PM
Just saw the Silva / Ortiz fight. Lots of Aiki when you are grabbing the guy's trunks and hitting him. I guess breaking the rules ( and not have the ref calling it) is part of aiki.

Scott Harrington

DarkShodan
07-11-2012, 04:13 PM
Just saw the Silva / Ortiz fight. Lots of Aiki when you are grabbing the guy's trunks and hitting him. I guess breaking the rules ( and not have the ref calling it) is part of aiki.

Scott Harrington

Thanks Scott.

Yes, and wiping the Vaseline off his eyebrows onto his shoulders before the Sonnen fight, the shoulder strike to Sonnen at the Weight in, the time he wore the mask at the weigh in for UFC 126 to taunt Vitor Belfort.......I could go on. Yes, nice AIKI there Silva!

Gorgeous George
07-11-2012, 05:05 PM
I thought aiki was a physical/mental thing - and not a moral one...

yugen
07-12-2012, 10:04 AM
Just saw the Silva / Ortiz fight. Lots of Aiki when you are grabbing the guy's trunks and hitting him. I guess breaking the rules ( and not have the ref calling it) is part of aiki.

Scott Harrington

Thanks Scott.

Yes, and wiping the Vaseline off his eyebrows onto his shoulders before the Sonnen fight, the shoulder strike to Sonnen at the Weight in, the time he wore the mask at the weigh in for UFC 126 to taunt Vitor Belfort.......I could go on. Yes, nice AIKI there Silva!

All those are little examples to get into the mind of his opponent and throw off their game. In my limited knowledge isn't part of aiki to lead the mind of your opponent? Didn't you both bite just sitting on the couch? :D Just one way to think about it...

Ryan

Kevin Leavitt
07-13-2012, 03:00 AM
I thought aiki was a physical/mental thing - and not a moral one...

I was gonna say the same thing...but to many aiki has many definitions that also gets into ethics.

For me, Silva is a fighter, a damn good one, and understands how to win a fight. You can bitch all day long about vaseline, pulling down trunks and all that...but in the end, they call him "winner" and "undefeated champion".

I think for many in the martial arts community it is more important how you win, not that you do win. I'd say this is important... to a degree....but in the end, it is most important to keep your priorities straight and understand the fine line you have to walk between winning and losing....and walk it.

Michael Hackett's comments about BJJ are same as mine. That is , three or four moves ahead...yeah...good ole OODA at work. Also not being spectacular on the ground? well many examples of him winning fights by submission at that level means he is damn good on the ground. Several of my BJJ friends have rolled with him and I can assure you, that their experiences were that he is one of the best BJJ experts out there. Cael Sonnen is nothing to sneeze at...guy is damn good on the ground himself...so to say that he is not spectacular on ground...well it is realitive to your opponent.

Silva is one of the best balanced martial artist out there...he can do it all stand up and ground fairly easily, and also have a cup of Joe with Seagal Sensei on the side.

Michael Hackett
07-13-2012, 09:58 AM
Kevin, when I described Silva as unspectacular on the ground, I take nothing away from him. He simply isn't flashy or over-the-top. The submissions I've seen have been quick, effective and strong. There is no question in my mind that he is superb on the ground, but just quietly efficient.

Settokuryoku
07-13-2012, 10:06 AM
A quick comment from the peanut gallery. Greatest martial artists of our time is....Muhammad Ali.

Personal definitions of Aiki: Ali's bobbing and weaving. His unmatched ability to read his opponents so well he was able to daunt them with fainting punches and superb footwork. Then landing devastating precision punches at will great speed and power. He had skills no other did before him. Be it boxing or Muay Thai, Krav Maga, or even MMA, it doesn't matter what his delivery system is he still would have been the greatest. His Aiki was his electrifying skill and talent, in and outside the ring. A fighter who has not been matched in any fighting sport.

Lorel Latorilla
07-13-2012, 12:26 PM
Its obvious from this thread that most of us need to research what aiki means, and how the people that purported to teach aiki and propagated it (i.e., ueshiba, takeda, sagawa, horikawa, etc.) defined aiki.

DH
07-13-2012, 01:06 PM
A quick comment from the peanut gallery. Greatest martial artists of our time is....Muhammad Ali.

Personal definitions of Aiki: Ali's bobbing and weaving. His unmatched ability to read his opponents so well he was able to daunt them with fainting punches and superb footwork. Then landing devastating precision punches at will great speed and power. He had skills no other did before him. Be it boxing or Muay Thai, Krav Maga, or even MMA, it doesn't matter what his delivery system is he still would have been the greatest. His Aiki was his electrifying skill and talent, in and outside the ring. A fighter who has not been matched in any fighting sport.
I am quite sure that what captivated professional seasoned warriors who were chasing the development of aiki.....was not Bobbing and weaving and timing. They had seen quite a bit of that.

I am equally sure that 99% of all those who practice budo have no idea of what they are talking about. They do not feel unusual, nor are they exceptional, nor can they generate unusual power and aiki...they just "share" observations from wherever they may be in their own journey. I mean, everyone is nice and all. Everyone wants to be friendly, but aren't we in pursuit of unusual people with unusual skills. To that end, does it really matter what most people think about aiki? Has it ever mattered?
Dan

Settokuryoku
07-13-2012, 06:46 PM
[A]I am quite sure that what captivated professional seasoned warriors who were chasing the development of aiki.....was not Bobbing and weaving and timing. They had seen quite a bit of that.

[B] I am equally sure that 99% of all those who practice budo have no idea of what they are talking about. They do not feel unusual, nor are they exceptional, nor can they generate unusual power and aiki...they just "share" observations from wherever they may be in their own journey. I mean, everyone is nice and all. Everyone wants to be friendly, but aren't we in pursuit of unusual people with unusual skills. To that end, does it really matter what most people think about aiki? Has it ever mattered?
Dan

I am really hesitant to make a reply, as I am cautioned by assumptions of a possible precarious inducement. On that caveat, I will afford the benefit of the doubt my assumptions are wrong with a productive positive exchange of ideas with this reply. My personal opinion isn't necessary the same as my professional definition of aiki. My personal opinion was crafted to fit the thread.

Simply it was nothing more in my response than expressing my opinion of who I thought was the greatest martial artist. An unorthodox choice of Ali may have taken some by surprise, by all rights and definitions he is a martial artist.

The addition of a secondary comment to may have gone unnoticed, of what I term as generational lapse. Whereby, for example, what is commonly familiar by a previous generation which becomes the foundation for the development of something important to the proceeding generation they have have further improved. Most 15 years don't know what floppy disk, or a ZIP drive are, those 30 and older do. Ask any 15 year old what a CD and USB drives are, and they can tell you. Generational lapse happens in martial arts as well. Allow me to extrapolate.

Before Silva there was Ali and before Ali there was Osensei before him....Mushashi. No matter what label or term placed on fighting principles it is the person who can put it all together and utilize them in such away it seems effortless, like magic dominating most others with exceptional talent and skill who are termed the greatest.

I really have no inclination to who knows what and how much. Surely I have no interest in partaking in internet contests of budo knowledge. Virtual combat is just what it is, virtual. A martial arts fanatic. as I am, studying Aikido as a hobby besides other arts, my profession is being a sports coach. Before coaching, it was being a top amateur competitive athlete. It all has taught me a great deal what "aiki" is or isn't, among a myriad of other things. My experience both in life and career leads me to similar holistic conclusions as Musashi did. Mushashi’s experience lead him to suggest the study of other crafts and professions to get insight on swordsmenship. Insights applied to most everything that still hold water today. It is not simply cross training, which has different intent. No, it is about seeing similarities of what works and what doesn’t, regardless of sport or art. A point Bruce Lee made when he utilize the Ali shuffle.

My other comments are less detailed. First, nothing is learned over night. You can't teach talent, either some have it or they don't. There are those who need lots of instruction, not equaling the results in the effort to teach the skill. No magic bullets, just tweaks. Those who are talented and gifted go far with the tweaks. Those who lack talent and skill don’t go as far with the same tweaks. They often need more than just a tweak to raise to common play. If you are a coach you know what I mean, by all that. You just can’t teach talent. Hard work and mental toughness and the right attitude is essential to good performance. No tweak or coaching will fix the lack of that in any athlete, because it is essential to improvement and progress. Second, Budo isn't that complicated, it isn't that sophisticated. It is ancient Japanese combat methods, because if it was complex you could train a broad group of varying individuals to preform their duty. Combat skills where simple enough. Only the talented and the gifted survived living to the next day, and the weak fell. Survival of the fittest. Japanese combat skills where turned to an art, and that is where they got complicated, and in my opinion overly complicated. It is my suspicion it was for exploitation as students where not turned out to the battlefield on demand. They longer you dragged things out, and complex they became the long the students stayed. The sensei would profit financially and by reputation. I would be wrong not to mention for the purpose of preservation of combat skills by way of Japanese style sport, termed Budo. Something, no different than the evolution of modern sports the world enjoys.

Modern sports science is far beyond anything developed in budo. Let’s face it, Budo is antiquated on many levels, yet it is what BJJ and MMA is built on. Goes without say, generational lapse applies here too. Most top and pro athletes today would have been the greatest warriors far beyond those of the past like Mushashi. Most practitioners of martial arts are wooed by the mystical asian warrior syndrome. A syndrome selling to millions of people over the centuries martial arts, until the advent of BJJ. In the same way, the term of aiki is an antiquated term that has become commercial value like many other antiquated information and terms relating to budo and other Asian concepts and terms have. Therefore, it is hard to know what budo really means, since many are sold on it. Far too many teachers and leaders in martial arts commercialize it and exploit it to there gain, something Mushashi also mentioned as it happened in his day. OTOH, modern sports philosophy and science can be applied to the martial arts no matter the style. The results built on budo still incorporate the methods and skills from ancient warriors which hasn’t changed, but has been advanced by modern sports and science to levels beyond those of budo. It really doesn’t matter if people understand budo, today unless they want to preserve the Japanese past. It would be my remiss if I didn’t say this includes the good with the bad, dragging out the instruction by making the art overly difficult for personal gain. 

My personal opinion differs greatly than my professional opinion. I curtailed my personal opinion to fit the thread.

From the peanut gallery, I shouted Ali was the greatest martial artist of our time. Ask me who was the most influential, hmmm..... either Osensei or Bruce Lee. A statement better made over a few beers and a game of Texas hold’em with the guys. That would be after debating who is hotter, Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie.

Settokuryoku
07-13-2012, 07:10 PM
I realized now my fault in not expanding further on a thought to avoid confusion. Modern sports, sports science and science can tremendously enhance martial arts performance no matter what style. Look at what it has and will do for MMA. It goes without mention how modern sports approach and science has helped improve clean athletic performance in all areas. I don't see how a modern sports approach would ever conflict with traditional martial arts. Aiki is a term to describe an action and it's results, many define it differently, applying it unconventionally. As a sport minded person for me it doesn't matter what you call it (aiki) it better happen on demand having winning results. Otherwise it is not worth talking about.

Lorel Latorilla
07-14-2012, 02:58 AM
I am really hesitant to make a reply, as I am cautioned by assumptions of a possible precarious inducement. On that caveat, I will afford the benefit of the doubt my assumptions are wrong with a productive positive exchange of ideas with this reply. My personal opinion isn't necessary the same as my professional definition of aiki. My personal opinion was crafted to fit the thread.

Simply it was nothing more in my response than expressing my opinion of who I thought was the greatest martial artist. An unorthodox choice of Ali may have taken some by surprise, by all rights and definitions he is a martial artist.

The addition of a secondary comment to may have gone unnoticed, of what I term as generational lapse. Whereby, for example, what is commonly familiar by a previous generation which becomes the foundation for the development of something important to the proceeding generation they have have further improved. Most 15 years don't know what floppy disk, or a ZIP drive are, those 30 and older do. Ask any 15 year old what a CD and USB drives are, and they can tell you. Generational lapse happens in martial arts as well. Allow me to extrapolate.

Before Silva there was Ali and before Ali there was Osensei before him....Mushashi. No matter what label or term placed on fighting principles it is the person who can put it all together and utilize them in such away it seems effortless, like magic dominating most others with exceptional talent and skill who are termed the greatest.

I really have no inclination to who knows what and how much. Surely I have no interest in partaking in internet contests of budo knowledge. Virtual combat is just what it is, virtual. A martial arts fanatic. as I am, studying Aikido as a hobby besides other arts, my profession is being a sports coach. Before coaching, it was being a top amateur competitive athlete. It all has taught me a great deal what "aiki" is or isn't, among a myriad of other things. My experience both in life and career leads me to similar holistic conclusions as Musashi did. Mushashiís experience lead him to suggest the study of other crafts and professions to get insight on swordsmenship. Insights applied to most everything that still hold water today. It is not simply cross training, which has different intent. No, it is about seeing similarities of what works and what doesnít, regardless of sport or art. A point Bruce Lee made when he utilize the Ali shuffle.

My other comments are less detailed. First, nothing is learned over night. You can't teach talent, either some have it or they don't. There are those who need lots of instruction, not equaling the results in the effort to teach the skill. No magic bullets, just tweaks. Those who are talented and gifted go far with the tweaks. Those who lack talent and skill donít go as far with the same tweaks. They often need more than just a tweak to raise to common play. If you are a coach you know what I mean, by all that. You just canít teach talent. Hard work and mental toughness and the right attitude is essential to good performance. No tweak or coaching will fix the lack of that in any athlete, because it is essential to improvement and progress. Second, Budo isn't that complicated, it isn't that sophisticated. It is ancient Japanese combat methods, because if it was complex you could train a broad group of varying individuals to preform their duty. Combat skills where simple enough. Only the talented and the gifted survived living to the next day, and the weak fell. Survival of the fittest. Japanese combat skills where turned to an art, and that is where they got complicated, and in my opinion overly complicated. It is my suspicion it was for exploitation as students where not turned out to the battlefield on demand. They longer you dragged things out, and complex they became the long the students stayed. The sensei would profit financially and by reputation. I would be wrong not to mention for the purpose of preservation of combat skills by way of Japanese style sport, termed Budo. Something, no different than the evolution of modern sports the world enjoys.

Modern sports science is far beyond anything developed in budo. Letís face it, Budo is antiquated on many levels, yet it is what BJJ and MMA is built on. Goes without say, generational lapse applies here too. Most top and pro athletes today would have been the greatest warriors far beyond those of the past like Mushashi. Most practitioners of martial arts are wooed by the mystical asian warrior syndrome. A syndrome selling to millions of people over the centuries martial arts, until the advent of BJJ. In the same way, the term of aiki is an antiquated term that has become commercial value like many other antiquated information and terms relating to budo and other Asian concepts and terms have. Therefore, it is hard to know what budo really means, since many are sold on it. Far too many teachers and leaders in martial arts commercialize it and exploit it to there gain, something Mushashi also mentioned as it happened in his day. OTOH, modern sports philosophy and science can be applied to the martial arts no matter the style. The results built on budo still incorporate the methods and skills from ancient warriors which hasnít changed, but has been advanced by modern sports and science to levels beyond those of budo. It really doesnít matter if people understand budo, today unless they want to preserve the Japanese past. It would be my remiss if I didnít say this includes the good with the bad, dragging out the instruction by making the art overly difficult for personal gain. 

My personal opinion differs greatly than my professional opinion. I curtailed my personal opinion to fit the thread.

From the peanut gallery, I shouted Ali was the greatest martial artist of our time. Ask me who was the most influential, hmmm..... either Osensei or Bruce Lee. A statement better made over a few beers and a game of Texas holdíem with the guys. That would be after debating who is hotter, Megan Fox or Angelina Jolie.

Question what isyour definition of aiki, what makes the skill of aiki and thus the martial art of aikido or daito ryu aikijujutsu different from other arts, and how does yoru definition of aiki jive with the likes of Ueshiba, Takeda, Sagawa, etc.?

Michael Varin
07-14-2012, 05:05 AM
Lorel,

Question: How much time per week have you spent training martial arts in the past five years? Ten years? What is your current training regimen? Just curious...

Lorel Latorilla
07-14-2012, 05:41 AM
Lorel,

Question: How much time per week have you spent training martial arts in the past five years? Ten years? What is your current training regimen? Just curious...

How does this relate to the question? Just curious.

Settokuryoku
07-14-2012, 11:53 AM
Being from the peanut galley, My definition of "aiki" was defined to me through Aikido, its practice, and watching Osensei films -based on my experience of coaching. Aiki definitions do change in regard to what subject is being talked about,like sport. But the principles are same even though the fields are different using different language to describe each activity's principles. The approach and application is what changes as the principles remain the same. Aikido approach and application doesn't work well in MMA, for instance. You have to change the language realizing applications and results are different. Some say Aiki is a single principle others say it is a skill set. In this discussion it is less complicated to go with it being one principle. My experience in other martial arts, sports, and MMA- dabbling in it and BSing with the guys- has helped me see a difficulty arises when terms and styles are mixed. When you use Aikido terminology and language to describe aiki and apply it to MMA. But if you use a common and not specialized language, such as using the language of science it creates much less confusion. I speak from experience on that one, learning the hard way. In a non contact sports context Golf and Aikido have allot in common, heck martial arts in general. But, don't expect martial arts to instantly be able to hit a ball. Don't expect golfers to be instantly adept martial artists. Both activities have much in common.

MM
07-14-2012, 01:24 PM
Being from the peanut galley, My definition of "aiki" was defined to me through Aikido, its practice, and watching Osensei films -based on my experience of coaching. Aiki definitions do change in regard to what subject is being talked about,like sport. But the principles are same even though the fields are different using different language to describe each activity's principles. The approach and application is what changes as the principles remain the same. Aikido approach and application doesn't work well in MMA, for instance. You have to change the language realizing applications and results are different. Some say Aiki is a single principle others say it is a skill set. In this discussion it is less complicated to go with it being one principle. My experience in other martial arts, sports, and MMA- dabbling in it and BSing with the guys- has helped me see a difficulty arises when terms and styles are mixed. When you use Aikido terminology and language to describe aiki and apply it to MMA. But if you use a common and not specialized language, such as using the language of science it creates much less confusion. I speak from experience on that one, learning the hard way. In a non contact sports context Golf and Aikido have allot in common, heck martial arts in general. But, don't expect martial arts to instantly be able to hit a ball. Don't expect golfers to be instantly adept martial artists. Both activities have much in common.

IMO, you're defining "aiki" from Modern Aikido. The "aiki" in Modern Aikido is completely different than Morihei Ueshiba's aiki. Two different things. Sort of like equating a VW Beetle with an F-117 Stealth Fighter.

Everyone can learn how to drive a VW Beetle. It'll get you where you need to go. It's dependable and functional. Some beef it up with various other equipment items so it can be more competitive. But, not everyone pilots an F-117. It takes hard work and a different set of skills.

If you think differently, then ask yourself why:

Sagawa, Horikawa, Ueshiba, Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata all were considered very good at 10-15 years of training. Remember, most of them didn't have very much hands on time with their teacher either. Compare that to all the teachers under Kisshomaru/Tohei and how many of them in 40 years have equaled the pre-war students of Ueshiba? Why not with 3-4 times the training years?

Perhaps read this article:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21445
And ask yourself why was Shirata different?

In the simplest of terms, the answer is Daito ryu aiki as taught by Takeda to a select few, who included Ueshiba Sagawa, and Horikawa. Those few, in turn, only taught a select few. Unlike other people who post that there is no secret -- aiki was THE secret. Ueshiba stated that Tenryu could not move him because he knew the secret of aiki. NOT technique. NOT timing. NOT bobbing and weaving. NOT modern sports principles. Something completely different.

The cup that is full is the closed box.
The cup that is on the pedestal is stagnation.
How can you tell that you don't know that you don't know?
Empty the cup and use it.

DH
07-14-2012, 01:58 PM
....... Unlike other people who post that there is no secret -- aiki was THE secret. Ueshiba stated that Tenryu could not move him because he knew the secret of aiki. NOT technique. NOT timing. NOT bobbing and weaving. NOT modern sports principles. Something completely different.

The more people keep assigning aiki as blending,,,the less likely they will ever be able to do so in pressured environments. And this recent teaching of making a four legged animal by.."making connection" is the wrong direction as well. As a method, it is more likely you will be reversed and controlled yourself, and you will not be the one to arrive first. Hence, for understanding what aiki is and how to train it, that mindset is full speed...............in the wrong direction.

Bobbing and weaving and evading and entering are great. They just have nothing to do with aiki. It's fighting principles. Some are better than others.
Dan

Settokuryoku
07-14-2012, 04:50 PM
I really enjoy coaching, it is a great profession. You get to see a variety of levels in talent and skill in players. The players that catch my eye are those not only who can deliver the skill, but have instinct. The ability to utilize strategy. In sports you have to also teach strategy along with skill. If not, well then your not doing your job as a coach, because skill and strategy work hand in hand. You can't afford to have your player(s) not understand and use strategy and expect to win no matter how much skill they have. Strategy is a component I really look for in players. 

When I first seen Osensei in that 1935 film, I was impressed with his ability to move strategically. His movements reminded me of bobbing and weaving. I thought this man had moves I could teach my players. His timing was really well executed. His ability to read his opponents and react. Realizing his innate talent, I wondered who coached him at the time. Later, I found out later who it was and more about Osenseiís sword background, alas it made sense.

Fully aware of fight reality, I still love the old samurai movies, watching those choreographed movie fights. Stylistic fight scenes when well done are entertaining. Guilty as the next guy, you canít help to be a critic. I laugh to think about the time when I shoot of my mouth critiquing the fight scenes and being put in place by someone who schooled me, an 8th dan Kenjutsu/Kendo champion. It was a very valuable lesson to listen to what he had to say. Let me tell you, I was shocked to here him compliment Osenseiís movements during randori. How Osensei reflected old school strategy used by the samurai to avoid the sword. I asked him, what did he think of how Takeda moved, was it similar to Osensei or was it different? It was an eye opener when he said Osensei blending and movements during randori where authentic. Too many people he said, think movies are true, but they arenít. They are movies. 

That is when I as a player. Now as a coach that really hits home. You can teach players skills, you can teach them strategy, but you canít teach them independently. It is fine to coach fixing a move or tweak a bad habit in players, it must be applicable and sensible to the game. Coaching without teaching applicable strategy, voids skill. I see that so much in coaching, and the players unaware of what they lack wonder why they donít win, and there skills donĎ t match up. That rests on the shoulders of a coach who has failed to understand the importance of and the use of strategy. I always value strategy and itís use. 


In Aikido or other martial arts, I see it happening too. Where the sensei focuses too much on one thing like skill or correcting errors. They over-looking the importance of the whole package. It isnít a fault executed purposefully on the sensei, it is one of those things not easily recognized. Itís a slump thing, a trap thing, that people fall into. 99% of most senseis are in it, and donít even recognize it. The best way to fix it this and discuss it is over beer and a game of Texas holdíem debating first what was the best sports car ever made. I suggest if a person feels they are in that slump, that trap, is to look into the field of sport coaching and sports science. And then go have some beers. 


Settokuryoku
07-14-2012, 09:54 PM
The quote by Wayne Gretzky somes up an idea the importance of strategy that shares with Aikido and MMA is an ear mark any great athlete of any sport.
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

Tommy Lasorda said, The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person's determination. Great athletes have this mental attitude that helps them raise to the occasion to achieving their goal, to win. You can have all the skill in the world, but without determination it doesn't mean [a thing].

One of my favorites is by Pat Riley, If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges. Another important attitude you find in great athletes or martial artists. You find the opposite in those who never become great.

The difference is I think many people think Aiki is just an tool, a weapon they pull out and use. It could be. It could be, for me Aiki is a word, a sound to describe something and it doesn't do that very well at all. A sound doesn't win a fight, what does is what a person does, a combination of mental attitude and the skill. To be great you need the talent. Talent is the ability to see and do things your opponents don't and can't do first. To see how all things come together and what that outcome will be as a result. So Ali's bobbing and weaving is just more than the act of moving in a pattern way. It was aiki. Just as Osensei in his way bobbed and weaved was aiki. I can't think that aiki being a very old Japanese word represents a complex theory and movement requiring specialized micro-instruction. No, it had to be simple and straight forward, it wasn't magic or some advance mathematical formula. Why, well as then and now we are governed by the same laws of physics. If I over complicate my coaching, it shuts down my players over burdening them. My goal is not to impress my players with words, but to bring the best performance out of them and their abilities.To challenge them to levels they didn't know they could reach. It is simple and doesn't need complex language. That is what leadership is about simply communication, being able to motivate, having the tools and skills to do so . With that said, If I could, the beer is on me.

gregstec
07-15-2012, 07:33 AM
There can really be no productive discussion of Aiki in MMA (or Aiki in anything) with so many differing views of what Aiki is - there is just no single point of reference to use as a baseline in the discussion.

As I was reading some of the last posts in this thread, I was thinking about why the differences exist. After I read Mark's post about the 'Secret', things started to become clear. Aiki is a skill that can be taught and learned, but it was not taught to all, if it was, it would not be a secret :) So how best to hide a secret? let's just place it in plain sight :) To do that, the holders of the secret probably came up with two meaning of aiki that were close enough in context to be logically used in the same conversation but having two entirely different meanings, with the public meaning of aiki being morphed into some form of concept, principle, or philosophy and the private real meaning of the aiki skill was not discussed outside the group that knew the secret. As public conversation and belief of Aiki drifted more away from the real meaning, I am sure the holders of the secret were very pleased and did nothing to stop the drift :)

Of course, I have absolutely no evidence to support this conspiracy theory, but it does make for entertaining thought :)

Greg

Lorel Latorilla
07-15-2012, 08:26 AM
Being from the peanut galley, My definition of "aiki" was defined to me through Aikido, its practice, and watching Osensei films -based on my experience of coaching. Aiki definitions do change in regard to what subject is being talked about,like sport. But the principles are same even though the fields are different using different language to describe each activity's principles. The approach and application is what changes as the principles remain the same. Aikido approach and application doesn't work well in MMA, for instance. You have to change the language realizing applications and results are different. Some say Aiki is a single principle others say it is a skill set. In this discussion it is less complicated to go with it being one principle. My experience in other martial arts, sports, and MMA- dabbling in it and BSing with the guys- has helped me see a difficulty arises when terms and styles are mixed. When you use Aikido terminology and language to describe aiki and apply it to MMA. But if you use a common and not specialized language, such as using the language of science it creates much less confusion. I speak from experience on that one, learning the hard way. In a non contact sports context Golf and Aikido have allot in common, heck martial arts in general. But, don't expect martial arts to instantly be able to hit a ball. Don't expect golfers to be instantly adept martial artists. Both activities have much in common.

Aiki is definable and thus teachable. How do you define aiki, and how do you teach it? Did it jive with how Sagawa, Takeda, Ueshiba, etc. saw aiki and taught it?

Settokuryoku
07-15-2012, 12:53 PM
I think there is no productivity in such discussions because there is no definite definition for what it is. This opens things up for allot of subjectivity, and speculation. Let us suppose one day, some early period Samurai was practicing with his sword making a cut in a way he never did before. He stopped hacking through his target, and instead made a cut. A movement that was effortless and got greater results. He felt the difference in his performance. It was more efficient. It was clear to his fellow samurai what he is doing differently, but the performance results differed greatly. Our Samurai friend attributes his new skill Aiki. In sports, athletes experience the same thing. When it all comes together and they do something spectacular. Like when Babe Ruth called his shot. It happens all the time in sports, like the full court swish. The impossible catch or shot. The consistent performance of any great athlete.

We get too hung up on labels and terms, precisely defining things, fitting them to subject. We over do it in figuring out to the nth what they are and what they aren't. We overlook in that case what really is important, the performance, the result. It is a type of perceptual blindness. There is no secrets to be taught, or withheld. There is no secret to say Tiger Woods' swing, or how Babe Ruth hit a home run. In sports it is all out there. There are no secrets to success. Yet, those of us in martial arts believe there are secrets, because we are told early on there is. Because we are taught to be depend on the instructor to tells us how to do things. That the sensei has all knowledge and doles it out just at the right time and stage of training. We then are highly susceptible in believing that there are secrets. We are told there are secrets because those telling us that know the skills and information they withhold are simple to achieve. Think about it, they are not super human in anyway. No, they are human, just like us. Difference is they lead us to believe that they have something special having something we don’t...say Aiki!

A mysterious word aiki as defined by those Lorel Latorilla suggests have aiki and Osensei is vaguely and ambiguously define to us. Being students who are waiting with baited breath for the next morsel of information to complete the puzzle, we are instruction dependent, and our development and performance is at their mercy and whim. That isn't a good thing for the student. A great thing for the instructor who benefits the most from it, and those who profit from it. The sensei who plays the aiki game and the hide and seek with the information like a magician, is worshipped. He/she has loyal dedicated fan base of students holding such a sensei in awe. The sensei gains a reputation. As long as the sensei has devoted students he/she is important, he/she has a position, is wanted. If that sensei acts like a coach they have a short shelf life. The short turn around of students deprives the sensei of the fame and reputation, he/she has to disseminates all the knowledge he/she processes, as the reputation then is based on the students performance. There also isn’t loyal dependent student base holding up the pedestal the sensei is comfortable on. If sports took that angle of martial arts where coaches played games with instruction, knowledge, and their players, we wouldn't have great athletes, we would have sports. We would have struggling athletes never realizing their full potential constantly waiting for that next piece of the puzzle. We would have games to play, or great athletes doing great things. It would only be the coaches who would perform well, and what sense is there to that? There are no secrets, we are told there are and that is the biggest hinderance to all of us. 

The knowledge we need is all around us, at our finger tips. Not hidden in plain sight. But rather staring us in the face, yet we don’t see it. A perceptional blindness.

If we don't think there are secrets like in sports, we become autonomous reaching our potential performance. Now that doesn't mean everyone will be a great athlete, talent plays a huge role in that. You can't turn everyone into a superstar. Realizing that the knowledge is out there all around us, at our finger tips, and that knowledge is obtainable rather then hidden like athletes your performance will improve. Aiki isn't gold, it isn't the mother load find. That when you get it, it magically transform you into something special. It is a word often used to keep people dependent on instruction. Performance is a result of two things hard work/practice, and self evaluation/correcting mistakes and the right mental attitude.

It is said that Osensei skill is unparalleled in Aikido. Why is that? It is plain as day. He had more talent than those he taught, and he with held information. He also insured this by default or design when he allowed people to teach before they had complete knowledge, early in their careers. This doesn't happen in sports, coaches are properly trained if they are to be taken seriously. They require complete knowledge of the game and how to coach players. The difference between a bad and good coach is another subject. What I am taking about is coaches who are taken seriously, as coaches none of the tools are with held from them to coach. A good coach will not withhold any knowledge from their players. What good is a coach who out performs his players? A losing coach. A selfish coach who has lost sight of the big picture.

Now here we are in perceptual blindness arguing over a what is Aiki. A term that simply describes not something, not the mother load, not the magic bullet, instead it describes someone who has put it all together, whose performance is the combination of skill and talent. No different then any other great athlete who became that way from hard work and with the right mental attitude that went beyond his fellow players. An athlete who is autonomous dedicated to developing their performance beyond others. Because they are never satisfied with their performance and always challenging themselves. That is aiki. That is the secret those aiki masters including Osensei keep hidden. Aiki isn't a puzzle piece kept secret that can be reviled and granted at will, even if someone wants you to think so.

I understand a person may think Aiki is a puzzle piece because they lack knowledge that will improve their skill. But, the truth is that the knowledge for improvement is in sports and sports science sitting on a book shelf. Rather than being shrouded in metaphorical and obscure language used to keep the illusion aiki alive. Sliva and many top MMA fighters, and athletes use aiki, though in an application different than Aikido. Though because of sensei's playing games with their students, students are lead to believe aiki is a magic bullet and something special, thus proprietary. It isn't. It is the cumulation of an outstanding work ethic, talent and the right mental attitude that produces improved performance. Because when that doesn't exist any coaching or knowledge is a waste of time. A truth that comes from years of playing and coaching.

Lorel Latorilla
07-15-2012, 01:13 PM
Hello,

Sorry I dont have time to read what you wrote. What is it exactly you teach? Is it the same aiki as Sagawa, Takeda, or Ueshiba? If Silva and other MMA fighters use it,then you must be able to define aiki and it must be teachable correct?

Kevin Leavitt
07-15-2012, 01:46 PM
There are really no secrets...just an awful lot of people that have wasted a lot of training time doing stuff they are lead to believe will lead to something by those that while they may be able to do even.....can't teach it to you.

If you get with someone that can both show you and then teach you, well as many have said, it becomes clear and the rest of this discussion becomes a moot point.

The ones that tend to carry on the conversation are those that have not, or cannot do. At least this has been my experience.

Where I tend to separate myself from those that tend to specialize in this stuff, or spend all there time doing it, is I believe the training has realitive value as far as skills are concerned.

I could be wrong, but..everyone chooses their own ways and priorities.

What you won't find is my arguing about what it is any or isn't any longer...once you get hands on with someone that strips away all the pseudo martial, stylistic, and tactics
Crap, and focuses on the actual development and demonstration of this stuff...well again, you see it for what it is and begin to think...if you have half a brain...."how does this fit into my daily life?"

Kevin Leavitt
07-15-2012, 01:58 PM
Hello,

Sorry I dont have time to read what you wrote. What is it exactly you teach? Is it the same aiki as Sagawa, Takeda, or Ueshiba? If Silva and other MMA fighters use it,then you must be able to define aiki and it must be teachable correct?

I don't see these days how you can operate at a high level and not have some notions of what we label as aiki. Even Silva.

However, I think it is accidental most likely with only the best rising to the top and getting lucky, or maybe they have a really good coach that sets the conditions for these things to occur. Can they replicate it to a high degree, can they teach, can the isolate?

How do they ensure that large groups of those that apply the lessons, guidance, and formula achieve the same skills...or is it implicitly learned, or accidental?

If you do learn it...then how valuable is it realitive to other aspects of ability such as speed, strength, athleticism, or technique...how about the concepts of OODA, and experience...you know being able to think five moves ahead?

I value and I have been impressed by all those I have encountered that do IS....and I think there is great merit in the training. Again, for me it has been about realitive value.

I have found in my own experience that what little I have has been helpful to me in my own daily life and on the mat.

Settokuryoku
07-15-2012, 08:48 PM
Often I will tell my athletes to read something on their off days. Not being perfect I make a reading suggestion because the author explains it better or different than I. Aikido Journal has a blog called "Schism and Disharmony -- The Bumpy Road to Aiki," by Alister Gillies http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/07/14/schism-and-disharmony-the-bumpy-road-to-aiki-by-alister-gillies/#more-20649
My only criticism is it is a blog is a blog. It is too short not able to give more details. If I was going to define aiki in the framework of Aikido this would be it.

Chris Li
07-16-2012, 12:28 AM
Often I will tell my athletes to read something on their off days. Not being perfect I make a reading suggestion because the author explains it better or different than I. Aikido Journal has a blog called "Schism and Disharmony -- The Bumpy Road to Aiki," by Alister Gillies http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/07/14/schism-and-disharmony-the-bumpy-road-to-aiki-by-alister-gillies/#more-20649
My only criticism is it is a blog is a blog. It is too short not able to give more details. If I was going to define aiki in the framework of Aikido this would be it.

Interesting, since much of that blog has its roots in some of the folks who are disagreeing with you here...

Best,

Chris

Lorel Latorilla
07-16-2012, 12:32 AM
I don't see these days how you can operate at a high level and not have some notions of what we label as aiki. Even Silva.

However, I think it is accidental most likely with only the best rising to the top and getting lucky, or maybe they have a really good coach that sets the conditions for these things to occur. Can they replicate it to a high degree, can they teach, can the isolate?

How do they ensure that large groups of those that apply the lessons, guidance, and formula achieve the same skills...or is it implicitly learned, or accidental?

If you do learn it...then how valuable is it realitive to other aspects of ability such as speed, strength, athleticism, or technique...how about the concepts of OODA, and experience...you know being able to think five moves ahead?

I value and I have been impressed by all those I have encountered that do IS....and I think there is great merit in the training. Again, for me it has been about realitive value.

I have found in my own experience that what little I have has been helpful to me in my own daily life and on the mat.
Hi Kevin,
Nobody is saying those other things are not important. But if "aiki" is another thing to add to the toolbox, then it is very valuable. If there is great merit in the training, there is great meritin in the training. It's as simple as that. My issue is that some people want to define aiki in the way they want to define it. There are many people out there claiming to teach aiki, including Mr. Stark. I want to know what his definition of aiki is, how he teaches it, and how it jives with the definitions of the people that characterized their arts with a thing called aiki and how it jives with the training paradigms.

Lorel Latorilla
07-16-2012, 12:45 AM
Hey Lukas Stark,

How is Philipp Buck Burgess?

Kevin Leavitt
07-16-2012, 04:52 AM
Hi Kevin,
Nobody is saying those other things are not important. But if "aiki" is another thing to add to the toolbox, then it is very valuable. If there is great merit in the training, there is great meritin in the training. It's as simple as that. My issue is that some people want to define aiki in the way they want to define it. There are many people out there claiming to teach aiki, including Mr. Stark. I want to know what his definition of aiki is, how he teaches it, and how it jives with the definitions of the people that characterized their arts with a thing called aiki and how it jives with the training paradigms.

Lorel...I am with you and agree. As I stated, if you have experienced it, there is no question about what we are talking about. While the topic is about "aiki" it was very specific to discuss how Silva is demonstrating it, which is purely in a physical realm...and NOT in the realm of spiritual, ethics, or any other aspect or quality that gets ascribed to Aikido.

You and I are on the same wave length..sorry didn't mean to imply we were not.

Lorel Latorilla
07-16-2012, 05:13 AM
Lorel...I am with you and agree. As I stated, if you have experienced it, there is no question about what we are talking about. While the topic is about "aiki" it was very specific to discuss how Silva is demonstrating it, which is purely in a physical realm...and NOT in the realm of spiritual, ethics, or any other aspect or quality that gets ascribed to Aikido.

You and I are on the same wave length..sorry didn't mean to imply we were not.

Thats the problem. We can watch the video and say Silva is expressing aiki, because his movements says things to our eyes that suggests he is expressing aiki. I'm still interested in someone expressing how what hes doing is aiki in words.

Kevin Leavitt
07-16-2012, 07:02 AM
agreed. I asked the same thing earlier in this thread. Not that I don't think he is or isn't....just that it is one thing to believe that he is and state that empirically. Once you make that statement, you need to provide an objective assessment so we can all understand. Otherwise it gets all muddy.

Settokuryoku
07-16-2012, 09:49 AM
Interesting, since much of that blog has its roots in some of the folks who are disagreeing with you here...

Best,

Chris

I was trying to make peace, find common ground. Why argue pointlessly and ignorantly, why not tell someone in a way they understand, you understand their point, respecting that, and at the same time answer their questions respectfully. I wasn't going to bring up the things I disagreed with in the blog. By doing so I would have really gotten into thread drift, worse open myself up to inductive discussions. Why shoot myself in the foot?

Aiki like the article said isn' a proprietary word, "When reviewing the literature, it does seem to mean different things to different people." The definition isn't a strict one pertaining specifics. Because the term isn't cut in stone, different understanding arise and disagreements follow. I wouldn't use the word glibly to the use of the word aiki, as the blog did. Rather, I see it is being too broadly applied, and used far too proprietarily. In terms of the broadness, the word runs along the same lines as the words like, unique, and genius. Never the less that is the nature of language. The underlining point here is the term aiki doesn't specific thing or belong to anyone on or art.

Why than can't some people afford the idea that someone like Silva can't utilize aiki? I have already answered that question. So of course, Silva can use aiki, lots of people do, and I have explained why that is true too. No sense in going over old ground.

Being a professional coach, an athlete and studying Aikido gives me a more liberal understanding of aiki. I have no problem with saying Silva or others have aiki. I have no problem saying aiki in my mind isn't a thing, but instead having it all come together consistently. Here is where I think people have trouble. It is a matter of the application and the results of that application. We are too hung up specific application and results. If it doesn't fit in that box, it isn't aiki.

I don't see things that way, my profession and experience tells me things don't fit into neat little boxes. Besides, putting things into boxes when being discussed leads to fruitless arguments. It also provides opportunities for exploitation by people looking for personal and financial gain.They require things to be in boxes. You can't sell something that isn't unique, it has lesser value. You can't be unique and special if others have it too.

The point has come down too for me is to analyze Silva's performance and from there we can identify his use of aiki.

Settokuryoku
07-16-2012, 10:35 AM
The point has come down too for me is to analyze Silva's performance and from there we can identify his use of aiki. Meaning it is my personal thought Silva took from Seagal and made it his own. Caveat is it doesn't mean other fighters or people didn't come to develop aiki with or without labeling it such. It doesn't mean Silva hasn't used it differently than what Aikido people are accustom to seeing it employed.

Tim Fong
07-16-2012, 10:40 AM
What's up Buck? Or should I say, hi Samurai Jack?

Gerardo Torres
07-16-2012, 12:21 PM
I don't understand the premise that because Silva is an elite level combat sport athlete, he has to know (or at least have some idea) about aiki. Are we talking about Takeda and Ueshiba's aiki, or yet another made-up personal definition? I'm not saying Silva has it or not, I'm only challenging the idea that because he's good at what he does, he has to know or have aiki to any degree. The aiki that came from Takeda and Ueshiba is hardly something you can get by chance or just by training hard in whatever, and suddenly at some high performance level "aiki" will manifest. I mean, dedicated budoka who were actively and specifically looking for aiki even under some of the best aiki exponents... missed it. Exponents of aiki-focused arts that are supposed to be authorities, are missing it. It's hard to come by, hard to get, harder still at a level usable for fighting, very rare. Then why would this skill suddenly appear in athletes and disciplines that were not actively training it or researching it?

Budd
07-16-2012, 01:57 PM
The more people keep assigning aiki as blending,,,the less likely they will ever be able to do so in pressured environments. And this recent teaching of making a four legged animal by.."making connection" is the wrong direction as well. As a method, it is more likely you will be reversed and controlled yourself, and you will not be the one to arrive first. Hence, for understanding what aiki is and how to train it, that mindset is full speed...............in the wrong direction.

Bobbing and weaving and evading and entering are great. They just have nothing to do with aiki. It's fighting principles. Some are better than others.
Dan

Hi Dan,

Your comment on the "four legged animal" caught my eye on a couple levels. 1) Your statement that it's a recent teaching - recent as in you've only just heard of it or recent in that it's a new way to describe some things? 2) Your analysis of it as a method - could you be more specific what you mean by method, as in a fighting method? A method to drill a specific skill? Something else? 3) Were you referring to the four legged animal mindset as being full speed in the wrong direction or the more general "sports approach" that this thread is mostly about?

Apologies to the OP if this seems thread drift, but I wanted to clarify what Dan meant as he's brought up words similar to these before and particularly here while I don't think it's related at all to the original thread, I am curious as to the rationale in the commentary. I actually think the "making a connection" notion is quite related to IS, aiki and sports performance, depending on how you implement it.

Anyways, FWIW.

Lorel Latorilla
07-16-2012, 10:50 PM
I was trying to make peace, find common ground. Why argue pointlessly and ignorantly, why not tell someone in a way they understand, you understand their point, respecting that, and at the same time answer their questions respectfully. I wasn't going to bring up the things I disagreed with in the blog. By doing so I would have really gotten into thread drift, worse open myself up to inductive discussions. Why shoot myself in the foot?

Aiki like the article said isn' a proprietary word, "When reviewing the literature, it does seem to mean different things to different people." The definition isn't a strict one pertaining specifics. Because the term isn't cut in stone, different understanding arise and disagreements follow. I wouldn't use the word glibly to the use of the word aiki, as the blog did. Rather, I see it is being too broadly applied, and used far too proprietarily. In terms of the broadness, the word runs along the same lines as the words like, unique, and genius. Never the less that is the nature of language. The underlining point here is the term aiki doesn't specific thing or belong to anyone on or art.

Why than can't some people afford the idea that someone like Silva can't utilize aiki? I have already answered that question. So of course, Silva can use aiki, lots of people do, and I have explained why that is true too. No sense in going over old ground.

Being a professional coach, an athlete and studying Aikido gives me a more liberal understanding of aiki. I have no problem with saying Silva or others have aiki. I have no problem saying aiki in my mind isn't a thing, but instead having it all come together consistently. Here is where I think people have trouble. It is a matter of the application and the results of that application. We are too hung up specific application and results. If it doesn't fit in that box, it isn't aiki.

I don't see things that way, my profession and experience tells me things don't fit into neat little boxes. Besides, putting things into boxes when being discussed leads to fruitless arguments. It also provides opportunities for exploitation by people looking for personal and financial gain.They require things to be in boxes. You can't sell something that isn't unique, it has lesser value. You can't be unique and special if others have it too.

The point has come down too for me is to analyze Silva's performance and from there we can identify his use of aiki.
Good point Buck aka Jack!

hughrbeyer
07-16-2012, 11:00 PM
Aiki like the article said isn' a proprietary word, "When reviewing the literature, it does seem to mean different things to different people." The definition isn't a strict one pertaining specifics. Because the term isn't cut in stone, different understanding arise and disagreements follow... I have no problem with saying Silva or others have aiki. I have no problem saying aiki in my mind isn't a thing, but instead having it all come together consistently. Here is where I think people have trouble. It is a matter of the application and the results of that application. We are too hung up specific application and results. If it doesn't fit in that box, it isn't aiki.

I don't see things that way, my profession and experience tells me things don't fit into neat little boxes. Besides, putting things into boxes when being discussed leads to fruitless arguments. It also provides opportunities for exploitation by people looking for personal and financial gain.They require things to be in boxes. You can't sell something that isn't unique, it has lesser value. You can't be unique and special if others have it too.

The point has come down too for me is to analyze Silva's performance and from there we can identify his use of aiki.

Trouble with your approach is that everything gets flattened out into mush. The reason why some are insisting on a particular definition of "aiki" is because they care about what it signifies: a set of body skills which are not common, are not easy to come by, but were demonstrated and taught by Takeda Sokaku and Ueshiba Morihei. (Who called them "aiki." Hence the name.)

Allowing "aiki" to mean something like "martially effective movement", which appears to be all you mean by it, doesn't get you out of any boxes. It just makes it impossible to talk about the truly interesting distinctions: Does Silva win the same way Ueshiba won? Does he leverage the same skills or is he using different skills? How are they different? How does that show up in his movement?

It also makes it impossible for you to address Kevin's hypothesis on his own terms. Is it true that you can't get to a high level of martial performance without some level of aiki skills, as Ueshiba and Takeda defined them? Why or why not? What markers could we observe to provide evidence one way or the other? You can't even enter the conversation, because you've turned the distinctions that matter into mush.

Yeah, we can all join hands and sing kumbaya and declare your definition of aiki to be as good as anybody's. But then the word becomes useless, and the concept the word stands for is lost. This has already happened, almost completely. Which makes it a matter of some urgency to recover the word, the concept, and the skills they represent.

Michael Varin
07-17-2012, 05:04 AM
How does this relate to the question? Just curious.

Lorel,

Clear out some space in your PMs, and you'll find out.

MM
07-17-2012, 06:54 AM
Trouble with your approach is that everything gets flattened out into mush. The reason why some are insisting on a particular definition of "aiki" is because they care about what it signifies: a set of body skills which are not common, are not easy to come by, but were demonstrated and taught by Takeda Sokaku and Ueshiba Morihei. (Who called them "aiki." Hence the name.)

Allowing "aiki" to mean something like "martially effective movement", which appears to be all you mean by it, doesn't get you out of any boxes. It just makes it impossible to talk about the truly interesting distinctions: Does Silva win the same way Ueshiba won? Does he leverage the same skills or is he using different skills? How are they different? How does that show up in his movement?

It also makes it impossible for you to address Kevin's hypothesis on his own terms. Is it true that you can't get to a high level of martial performance without some level of aiki skills, as Ueshiba and Takeda defined them? Why or why not? What markers could we observe to provide evidence one way or the other? You can't even enter the conversation, because you've turned the distinctions that matter into mush.

Yeah, we can all join hands and sing kumbaya and declare your definition of aiki to be as good as anybody's. But then the word becomes useless, and the concept the word stands for is lost. This has already happened, almost completely. Which makes it a matter of some urgency to recover the word, the concept, and the skills they represent.

I think that deserves a repost.

Mark

Erick Mead
07-18-2012, 11:54 AM
I don't see these days how you can operate at a high level and not have some notions of what we label as aiki. Even Silva.

However, I think it is accidental most likely with only the best rising to the top and getting lucky, or maybe they have a really good coach that sets the conditions for these things to occur. Can they replicate it to a high degree, can they teach, can the isolate?

How do they ensure that large groups of those that apply the lessons, guidance, and formula achieve the same skills...or is it implicitly learned, or accidental?

If you do learn it...then how valuable is it realitive to other aspects of ability such as speed, strength, athleticism, or technique...how about the concepts of OODA, and experience...you know being able to think five moves ahead? God, I'm a sucker for the OODA plug ....

"Let me explain. -- No. There is too much. -- Let me sum up."
Inigo Montoya.

The problem is this -- the proponents of their practices of IS/IT as the foundation of aiki are all about the "knowledge how (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_by_acquaintance)" -- well and good. This is the "know it when you feel/sense it" or the ubiquitous IHTBF -- and I do not disagree that understanding requires having the sense data to comprehend.

But the proponents of this approach -- in their enthusiasms -- and casting no aspersions whatsoever on their personal recipes or "this has worked for me" modalities of training for that "knowledge how" -- tend to disregard (if not denigrate) the other kind of knowledge -- "knowledge about (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_by_description)" or descriptive knowledge. The failure to BOTH to distinguish, AND to draw relationships between, the equally essential "knowledge how" and the "knowledge about" have caused fruitless, talking-past-one-another disputes in every area of learning you care to name -- including this one -- and which occurs on such a frequent basis that I have simply left all discussion on it for a good long while.

But this discussion is now looking at an important aspect of the problem. Legitimately, those for whom the "just--so stories" of supposed knowledge transmitted through the "plain-vanilla" aikido regimens failed -- whether by reason of a botched attempt to translate from one language and set of cultural assumptions into another -- or because of more accusatory explanations of idiosyncratic ego-satisfying evasions of persons who failed to "get it". -- the result is the same.

There is BOTH an understandable dissatisfaction among those seeking "knowledge how" and an understandable frustration in the apparent lack of comprehensible content in the "authoritative "knowledge about." And there is a failure to see how the two are both different and related.

Kevin, as you know from your military experience, the two are not really separate -- but they are importantly distinct, and too often confused and the cause of much conflict. The training of militaries that teach soldiers who are little more than cannon fodder teach them how to shoot weapons -- but not how to repair or modify them in the field -- The American Way of War holds that one cannot wield a weapon well without understanding its working principles, functional limitations and capacities, and how to disassemble and reassemble it under fire. IOW -- our way combines the "knowledge how" and "knowledge about" -- to a high degree, and at very low levels of authority and practice. The result is the most dominating fighting force on the planet and -- I would maintain -- for this very reason.

And for this reason, knowledge about what aiki IS -- in descriptive, functional, analytic terms -- not just what it can do -- or even just HOW it can be felt, learned and deployed -- cannot be disregarded. With "knowledge about" one can approach any issue to see if "there is aiki" or "there is not aiki" because a set of descriptive, observable qualities are known from which we can discriminate between "aiki" and "not aiki."

More importantly, with "knowledge about" one can adapt what one has learned "how" to do -- to do things one never anticipated in training. This "knowledge about" is absolutely critical to be able to extend the reach of one's "knowledge how" to do things you never did before. Without it, one is simply stuck with what you "know" -- even if that "knowledge how" is encoded in the frame of the body itself -- a point I do not dispute -- but is equally true of gymnasts and bicycle riders, and so is not really that exceptional in terms of the knowledge processes at issue.

None of this is unique to the topic here -- but this problem exists here without question.

This descriptive approach exists in the CMA in a very thorough way (pace Mike S.) -- but those ideas suffer the same language and cultural mismatch mapping problems as the ideas of aiki have already shown in our world-- and to tremendous disservice in disputes that have no real point to them, and simply confound knowledge by a failure to distinguish the KINDS of knowledge that are necessary for different aspects of the problem.

I will not belabor here my own efforts on the descriptive side of things -- it invites too-recurrent and undue conflict, likely for the reasons stated. I may be right or wrong on the content but that is irrelevant to the observation of the NEED for what I have attempted on this point.

But the tenor of discussion here plainly illustrates the same perceived need for the "something" you "know" you need -- but cannot quite lay your finger on -- that "pointing finger" is exactly what you need -- the "knowledge about" -- the descriptive framework that you need to tell what aiki IS -- and what aiki IS NOT in an explainable, coherent, and common set of of terms and concepts.

Kevin Leavitt
07-19-2012, 03:34 AM
Hey Erick, welcome back. As always, I had to spend sometime thinking about your post! lol!

I agree mostly with your assessment.

Problem has already been well defined by many. 1. the definition of aiki. in the sense we are talking, it is a purely physical nature. That is developing physical structure to be able to do things. Not the other things in the spiritual or mental realm...which while connected in some fashion, not what we are talking about in this thread. Although you can argue that you cannot do the physical without the mental as all movement begins with thought.

Actually that is a good tranistion into what I want to comment on.

Isolation.

Aiki development involves isolation of conditions and factors in order to ehance/encourage development of "aiki". Much discussion has gone on about the whole myo-fascial development process...don't want to get into the science or discussion of that...it is not important to this conversation right now. So setting that aside. what I am addressing is methodology, perspective and/or observation.

So, as we do in anything, we isolate and control in order to acheive desired results or effects. We also develop "test" in order to gauge how well or not we are doing.

Nothing new...science right?

Problem is that we make a huge jump to integration, synergy, or function...and that is where we go wrong.

The whole "god particle" comes to mind. I see it as the same exact issue.

It exist...no it doesn't...yes it does.

lets develop a way to prove it....They have that HUGE machine in CERN that is doing that right??? again, setting the controls and conditions in a major way to prove that it is real.

So, lets move to Anderson Silva....

So once we agree the God Particle exist and does cool stuff and it is everywhere..we say. "hey check out the youtube of Silva...he demonstrates that he has good use of his God Particle".

I mean so if we all agree after the God Particle experiments are done that it exist...then what...how does this change anything on a daily basis??? what does it do for us driving to work? sure, it may have application, but in our daily functions...what does it change when we drive, fight in the UFC etc.

WTF???? how did we go from the classroom to application over night???

How subjective is the discussion, and how subjective can it be...ever?

IHTBF is frustrating, but I think it is appropriate too..having felt it. You can't see it, but you can feel it (or not...that is the dilemma lol).

For me, here is the dirty little secret in methodology and training.

it boils down to control and conditions.

On one end of the spectrum you have an IS guru...on the other end of the spectrum you have a fighter like Anderson Silva.

The IS Guru trains and teaches in an environment that sets the conditions for him to teach and demonstrate what he does. A good instructor KNOWs exactly how to do this very well. Not disparaging in anyway, but you certainly don't do things that make you look bad. A good instructor can set the conditions and transmit the information/knowledge to students in a way that can be reproduced.

The problem with this is that students make HUGE assumptions many times. Dan has constantly WARNED folks about this BTW...yet I believe few actually listen to him.

So you go to seminars, train at home and begin to understand your body, IS/IP to some X degree...you GET IHTBF and can begin to replicate it.

The problem is, how to you change the conditions or expand them towards the direction of non-compliance or "less control"? How do you integrate this into what you do?

As you change those conditions and remove isolation...other variables as you mention Erick, begin to become important. Things like OODA, speed, strength etc. So now things become relative and we have to assign priorities. My point has been the IS/IP are lesser important than some of thes other things. That is ONE issue.

The other issue deals with IHTBF.

The fact that Aiki deals with INTERNAL aspects such as myo-fascial networks and controls...much of what is changed cannot be seen...it simply has to be felt. A guy like Dan may be able to see it, but for most of us...probably not...and even if we could....what does that really mean? Doesn't mean we can do it, nor might it be that important in the "whole" of the situation like in a UFC fight.

Anyway, I have thoughts on this...and some of them are not coming out very clearly and I am starting to ramble some. There are many issues I have and many pyschological assumptions/perspectives that come into play with Teachers and Students.

stuff like....

1. teachers/seminar gurus have to make money or set conditions in order to convey and transmit what they have to convey effectively. There is not a thing wrong with that..it is just how the process works. That is a factor. An honest one will tell you the limitations and caveats. I see a guy like Dan doing this all the time...sigh, the student can't or won't get it.

2. Students. have made an emotional commitement to want to be successful in whatever they choose to invest their time in. If you've bought into the IS/IP as being the holy grail...then of course you will begin to see it everywhere and begin to filter all your information based on that. Marc Abrams or another psychologist can comment better on this...what is it Dissonance theory???? and THUS will tend to filter out stuff that appears to be contrary to what they want to hear...like Dan saying, his caveats.

The combination of #1 and #2 can lead to a type of pyschosis (right?). Where we have folks selectively applying stuff, pulling up youtube videos, over-emphasing priorities, putting emotions and hopes in areas that and outsider would simply scratch his head on.

For me, the real issue is "what do you want?" that is...what is your endstate/goal. I think for many in budo this is not well defined...especially in Aikido. We really have no clue why we do what we do.

Guys like Dan Harden, I respect. A specialist with a broad background. Dan I think understands what his endstates are and he is focused.

However, for many, I think we'd like to think about oursevles as being 80 years old and like O'sensei. We want to be like him, yet we don't fully grasp what it takes to get there, nor do we fully understand the conditions that allowed O'sensei to be O'sensei.

We have hope..we look for secrets and shortcuts. hence the issue I outlined with #1 and #2 above and the impending psychosis that develops. We look to associate and attach labels to things...look for hidden meanings. for example, like the relationship between Silva and Segal...BTW, what is that relationship really? Sensei, friendship, or convienent marketing??? who knows for sure???

Silva I am sure knows what he wants martially as well. I don't think he really cares if he is using IP/IT if he is or isn't....he does whatever he does and uses whatever seems to work for him.

Anyway, enough rambling about the sickness!

MM
07-19-2012, 11:16 AM
It's funny that I can have conversations now with hundreds of aikido people on "knowledge how" and "knowledge about" aiki with no problems.

In fact, I recently had a great discussion with someone in aikido (who has never been to any seminar by Dan) about Ikeda and what he is doing internally. There was discussion of "knowledge how" and "knowledge about" without any issues.

Come to think of it ... it's really ironically funny that whenever there are issues regarding conversations of "knowledge how" and "knowledge about", it's usually with people who really haven't had good training experiences with aiki. (Note: Being an uke to a Japanese shihan and walking away wondering how said shihan did something is not a good training experience with aiki.)

So you go to seminars, train at home and begin to understand your body, IS/IP to some X degree...you GET IHTBF and can begin to replicate it.

The problem is, how to you change the conditions or expand them towards the direction of non-compliance or "less control"? How do you integrate this into what you do?

As you change those conditions and remove isolation...other variables as you mention Erick, begin to become important. Things like OODA, speed, strength etc. So now things become relative and we have to assign priorities. My point has been the IS/IP are lesser important than some of thes other things. That is ONE issue.

I may be misunderstanding your point ... but IP/aiki really is THE important thing. It is why Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, etc all talked about it. They didn't equate techniques with it, didn't equate fighting with it, didn't equate jujutsu with it, etc. While those other things are important and are things that people can learn, it was IP/aiki that was the well-spring. It was why Ueshiba said, "We would do it this way with aiki" -- because aiki changed how the body functioned, whether in a compliant or non-compliant world.


However, for many, I think we'd like to think about oursevles as being 80 years old and like O'sensei. We want to be like him, yet we don't fully grasp what it takes to get there, nor do we fully understand the conditions that allowed O'sensei to be O'sensei.

Perhaps for many, they don't grasp those things... but, for many, now training IP/aiki, they do. And that is an important point to consider ...

Regarding the topic at hand of aiki in MMA by pointing out specific people ... shall we also turn our attention to specific *aikido* teachers who may/may not have aiki? After all, if we decide to open the MMA door publicly, why not aikido?

Tim Fong
07-20-2012, 01:58 AM
I may be misunderstanding your point ... but IP/aiki really is THE important thing. It is why Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, etc all talked about it. They didn't equate techniques with it, didn't equate fighting with it, didn't equate jujutsu with it, etc. While those other things are important and are things that people can learn, it was IP/aiki that was the well-spring. It was why Ueshiba said, "We would do it this way with aiki" -- because aiki changed how the body functioned, whether in a compliant or non-compliant world.

Perhaps for many, they don't grasp those things... but, for many, now training IP/aiki, they do. And that is an important point to consider ...



IP/aiki provides an edge but it is not by any means complete on its own. Training for fighting requires other attributes as well, such as cardiovascular conditioning as well as raw strength. Both of those feed into and support the combative mindset, since without proper conditioning you gas out. As Vince Lombardi said, fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Layered on that is strategy for particular engagement parameters. As Kevin Leavitt said, it's about controls and parameters.

Let's take a look at this from a sport fighting point of view: judo is different from muay thai, which is different from sanda. To be really good at one, you have to optimize your training program. Even things that seem similar, like muay thai and sanda actually have different rules and therefore different strategies for victory. Last year I witnessed a match between two heavyweights under sanda rules. One of the fighters had fought on a K1 undercard. He lost. Different rules (parameters), and he fought a guy with a lot of experience in that ruleset. The fighters weren't allowed to throw knees, and it looked like his inside/clinch strategy was dependent on that. I should add that I have personally lost a match because of failure to adapt to a particular ruleset, and lulling myself into a false sense of confidence by improperly structuring my training.

Saying that IP/IT is THE important thing misses out on the fact that there are a lot of things that go into making a successful fighter. A person could have all the IS/IP they want and still get knocked out by a straight right hand if they don't know how to move their head or cover appropriately.

Maybe you say that sports isn't your thing and that you're training for the street or "real combat" whatever that is. Well still, the question is parameters. Training with impact, bladed or firearms? What are your goals?

Another thing to remember is that we know a lot more about certain types of physical training today, versus Ueshiba's time. Things like high intensity cardio and periodized strength training were not too well understood then. When Draeger brought modern weight training techniques to Japan, it revolutionized judo, as one of his weight training students said after he won a major competition.

As far as high intensity interval training, Tabata's work didn't rise to prominence until the 1990s. That stuff counts. I watched a couple of videos of Jigen Ryu and to me, it looks like they accidentally stumbled onto high intensity interval training with weapons. Looks silly right? Simplistic? Simplistic is good when it comes to training big groups of people.

I would bet that the reason they were feared is because they were in good shape to keep hitting hard even after exertion.

Look at MMA-- there are people with incredible levels of conditioning, and it's not just about "working hard" because everyone is working hard. It's about working smart-- eating the right diet, having the right periodized training, the right mix of skills etc.

My personal experience is that internal training can give an edge, but only in the context of 1) understanding the engagement parameters and 2) having the full suite of proper athletic conditioning in addition to IS/IP.

MM
07-20-2012, 07:32 AM
IP/aiki provides an edge but it is not by any means complete on its own. Training for fighting requires other attributes as well, such as cardiovascular conditioning as well as raw strength. Both of those feed into and support the combative mindset, since without proper conditioning you gas out. As Vince Lombardi said, fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Layered on that is strategy for particular engagement parameters. As Kevin Leavitt said, it's about controls and parameters.

Let's take a look at this from a sport fighting point of view: judo is different from muay thai, which is different from sanda. To be really good at one, you have to optimize your training program. Even things that seem similar, like muay thai and sanda actually have different rules and therefore different strategies for victory. Last year I witnessed a match between two heavyweights under sanda rules. One of the fighters had fought on a K1 undercard. He lost. Different rules (parameters), and he fought a guy with a lot of experience in that ruleset. The fighters weren't allowed to throw knees, and it looked like his inside/clinch strategy was dependent on that. I should add that I have personally lost a match because of failure to adapt to a particular ruleset, and lulling myself into a false sense of confidence by improperly structuring my training.

Saying that IP/IT is THE important thing misses out on the fact that there are a lot of things that go into making a successful fighter. A person could have all the IS/IP they want and still get knocked out by a straight right hand if they don't know how to move their head or cover appropriately.



If you reread my post, you'll note that I state " While those other things are important and are things that people can learn". Perhaps I should have put in bold " While those other things are important and are things that people can learn"? I really didn't know how to make that any clearer. :)

As for "THE". What was it that made Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, etc all stand out from the rest of the other jujutsu guys? All the rest of the fighters? Boxers? Wrestlers? Etc? What was THE single thing that made them stand so far out from everyone else?

I had already stated that training in other things was important. If you wanted to be a judoka, you trained in judo. If you wanted to be a boxer, you trained for boxing. etc. But why was it that all these experienced martial artists with many years of training, pretty much all stated that Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, etc were very different and doing something completely alien to them? Something that they either could not negate or had an extremely hard time doing so?

If training in judo, jujutusu, kenjutsu, sumo, boxing, fighting, etc were "THE" important thing, why didn't everyone who had 40 years training experience think Takeda, etc were all doing something that they understood and could do? Why couldn't they handle Takeda, etc?

That's not saying IP/aiki is the be all/end all to everything. We were comparing what was important regarding training and assigning priorities to training. In that regard, aiki is still THE important thing to train.

Kevin Leavitt
07-20-2012, 07:52 AM
Mark Murray wrote:

I may be misunderstanding your point ... but IP/aiki really is THE important thing. It is why Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, etc all talked about it. They didn't equate techniques with it, didn't equate fighting with it, didn't equate jujutsu with it, etc. While those other things are important and are things that people can learn, it was IP/aiki that was the well-spring. It was why Ueshiba said, "We would do it this way with aiki" -- because aiki changed how the body functioned, whether in a compliant or non-compliant world.



it might be THE point for you and it might have been THE point for Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Horikawa, etc. I don't know all these guys, but from what knowledge I have...I think they were specialist in their own right and decided to focus on a particular slice of the whole. Impressive and Powerful.

This takes nothing away from them, but everything I saw of (at least O'Sensei) were videos and demonstrations in which he had a high degree of control over the conditions. Not saying that he was not competent....just that in terms of his focus, he was not exactly putting himself out there like Yamashita, Maeda, Carl Gotch either.

So..yeah...agree....Aiki is a separate and distinct focus and is NOT jiu jitsu necessarily. However, where I'd draw the line is in application or priority. About integrating it back into the things that make it a martial art.

You guys know more about this than I do....are their examples out there of these guys or their senior students doing the stuff that was being done by guys like Yamashita, Maeda, or even that dirty american catch wrestler Carl Gotch? It would be interesting to explore. especially since Kano's protege's were so close and Kano and Ueshiba were contemporaries. I wonder if they had similar discussions as Ueshiba went one direction and Kano went another.

Aikibu
07-24-2012, 08:28 PM
Back after a little journey....I saw the Silva Sonnen fight and Steven Seagal was the first man to congratulate Silva when he stepped out of the octogon. I don't want to read into this too much... but during the fight I definitely agree with Mr Varin that something "Aiki" was going on there. You could feel it all through the contest and there was a marked difference from their first fight. At the very least there were some basic Aikido principles in play....

Now I'll let you guys get back to your regularly scheduled endless discussion about "Aiki". I am personally not going to comment on it anymore...I'll just keeping looking for ways to experience it and learn how to use it.

I sure hope James Williams comes on here one of these days and share his views on Aiki because that guy is five steps on the path past almost anyone else I've encountered so far. :)

William Hazen