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Krystal Locke
11-12-2012, 08:19 AM
I'd dearly love to get away from some of the recent fruitless meanderings about definitions and power and who has what and ask a question that has been in my mind a while.

Lots of our dojos are finding themselves struggling or topheavy or both. Sure, there is a poor economy, sure, our sensei are aging, as are we. You can hear crickets at the beginners class, not so many young bucks frustrating the crap out of everyone at the seminars, the dojocho is calling for dues a few days after the first of the month instead of a couple months down the line.

Do we need another Steven Seagal?

Movies are huge in poor economies. Despite all the rest of the oddness, Seagal brought a LOT of people in the door and some of them actually stuck.

Anyone want to take on that onus? Or should I call it giri?

phitruong
11-12-2012, 09:30 AM
guys just don't find aikido sexy or badass. wearing skirt and twirling around other sweaty men just not sexy. and most aikido just not badass like ufc or the like. not to mention you can't get a date using aikido as pickup line. i know this because i tried and it's not because i wasn't tall, dark and handsome. all these love and harmony stuffs aren't bad enough.

girls can't see themselves doing aikido, because of all these sweating men keep grabbing them. who would want that? i mean, that's what bars and pubs are for. besides, good girls don't do martial arts, that's what boyfriends are for, and protection is one of boyfriend jobs. of course, girls also don't want boyfriends to do aikido, because it would take time away from spending with said girls while said boyfriends molesting other sweaty men. :D

of course with all the discussion of aiki and in yo ho stuffs on aikiweb aren't helping. :D

St Matt
11-12-2012, 10:33 AM
Yes we need another big Steve (but maybe not quite so big)!

Like you said Krystal we need to see more aikido in the movies such as Bourne or Taken or summat else cool. Or at least some cool aikido clips on the internet away from the dojo and the skirts with speed and atemi's and stuff!

lbb
11-12-2012, 12:07 PM
Well, what function did Steven Seagal fill? People saw what he was doing in the movies, and most of them got the wrong idea about it. Of those, some were attracted to this wrong idea, and came to aikido dojos looking for the wrong thing. Of those, most left pretty quickly (often without starting), some stayed long enough to be a pain in the ass, and a few stayed long enough to get the crap out of their heads and become students worth having.

Question 1: am I wrong about any of that?

Question 2: if I'm right about that, how would a movie martial artist be a better avenue than any other for attracting a large quantity of poor-quality prospects?

Neal Earhart
11-12-2012, 12:17 PM
I think part of it has to do with the rise in popularity of MMA and martial arts schools promoting that they teach "MMA" in their curriculum, drawing prospective students from the 'traditional' arts. MMA is certainly competitive and you can fight 'professionally' for money, both of which can be very appealing to the "young bucks"...

I started Aikido a few months before "Above the Law" came out. I can't recall how many students the dojo I was training at the time picked up as a direct result of the movie/Seagal. But, people did make the association of the art with his movies. When I would say "I practice Aikido", people would say "oh, the stuff Seagal does." Now, when I mention Aikido, I find less people who know what it is or have even ever heard of it.

The other thing, Seagal is a high-ranking Aikidoka and Aikido techniques are used in his films, especially the early ones, however, he does administer 'movie-style martial art' beat-downs of the bad guys using a lot of stuff that I think most of us wouldn't associate directly with Aikido. That being said, there are people who see the Seagal movies and go to an Aikido dojo expecting to learn his choreographed "movie martial arts" and then see traditional Aikido....

ChrisHein
11-12-2012, 02:37 PM
I think Steven Seagal gave a huge boon to Aikido, it was great. I think right now MMA has every young person's attention, and it costs. Young people want to be super active, and don't mind getting tossed around to learn how to be a little bit stronger. In turn these young kids inspire other, and give lots of energy to the Dojo community. Those kid's are doing MMA these days.

When I first started training here there was a large group of 20 somethings, it was the largest group, then 30 somethings, then fourth somethings then some older and younger people. Now my largest group is 30 and 40 somethings with only 2 twenty somethings. It's a HUGE difference. 20 year olds have more free time, and can be in the Dojo more often, they don't mind taking ukemi, and are usually happy and up to something fun. They add a lot to a Dojo. Those guys are all doing MMA now. It is hard.

aiki-jujutsuka
11-12-2012, 02:54 PM
I think particular MA popularity goes in cycles. The thing about MA's is that they become popular for a while because they're new and exciting or mystical to the majority of people and then the aura fades. Take BJJ for example, when Royce Gracie won UFC 1 back in 1993 the majority of people were unfamiliar with newaza style submission grappling and he was able to exploit his opponent's ignorance. BJJ quickly became a phenomenon in the MA world. Fast forward to 2012 and the MMA world is questioning the effectiveness of BJJ to the modern sport. The majority of BJJ blackbelts in the UFC have converted to becoming expert strikers such as Fabrice Verdun. You have guys like Belfort & Anderson Silva who rarely ever use their BJJ inside the Octagon.

I enjoy Seagal's movies, they may only be movie martial arts but at least you can begin to imagine how Aikido techniques may be applied to 'street fights'. Aikido will probably never be as 'popular' as it was back in the 1990s when Seagal was at his peak but it will always attract enough people to survive, just as all well established TMAs will. It's always nice to see Jujutsu/Aikido techniques in action films. Just last week I was watching Batman Begins again for the first time in a while and in the scene where he enters the League of Shadows HQ and has to fight Liam Neeson's character he uses a variety of techniques from different arts. I never caught it before but he peforms a nihonage and Neeson identifies it as Jujutsu as he counters it. I got excited for a split second because I knew exactly which technique Neeson had identified. There's also some Jujutsu techniques in the Bourne Identity. Anyway I'm sure Aikido techniques will find their way into action films in the future but Aikido is no longer new to mainstream audiences so the impact will be less.

Richard Stevens
11-12-2012, 02:58 PM
Is there anyone here who came to Aikido because of Seagal and is still training?

Walter Martindale
11-12-2012, 03:31 PM
If people ask me "What's Aikido?" I sometimes say it's the martial art that Seagal uses in his early movies, and that he is/was a 7th dan black belt in Aikido before he got into movies. I also say that some people describe it as origami with people.

Does Aikido need someone equivalent to spread the rowing word? Hmm. Kung Fu took an upswing in North America when Carradine was the grasshopper: Kwai-Chang Kaine (sp?) - do we need a TV series where a wandering ex-uchi-deshi saves damsels in distress while thrashing baddies about with aikido techniques? If there were lots of flashbacks to - oh - say - learning to tie his obi, learning to sweep the dojo, learning to bounce off the floor, learning (and struggling with) Ikkyo/Ikkajo or whatever, learning to fold his new hakama, and so on, who knows - it might work, but it probably wouldn't in today's environment because of the lack of gore and machine guns...

aiki-jujutsuka
11-12-2012, 04:04 PM
If people ask me "What's Aikido?" I sometimes say it's the martial art that Seagal uses in his early movies, and that he is/was a 7th dan black belt in Aikido before he got into movies. I also say that some people describe it as origami with people.

Does Aikido need someone equivalent to spread the rowing word? Hmm. Kung Fu took an upswing in North America when Carradine was the grasshopper: Kwai-Chang Kaine (sp?) - do we need a TV series where a wandering ex-uchi-deshi saves damsels in distress while thrashing baddies about with aikido techniques? If there were lots of flashbacks to - oh - say - learning to tie his obi, learning to sweep the dojo, learning to bounce off the floor, learning (and struggling with) Ikkyo/Ikkajo or whatever, learning to fold his new hakama, and so on, who knows - it might work, but it probably wouldn't in today's environment because of the lack of gore and machine guns...

well that programme would certainly appeal to me but then again I love Budo! :D

Seagal does have a TV series now called True Justice set in Seattle. I've seen a few episodes, it has all the hallmarks of a Seagal film with a fairly strong connection to his Asian background as a young man. But I'm not sure Seagal carries the same influence he once did. If he were to appear in the Expendables 3 that would definitely boost his stock again!

Travers Hughes
11-12-2012, 04:31 PM
Well, let see..... I'm, a bit overweight, have a receeding hairline, speak Japanese, and am a bad actor - pick me!
Seriously though, it's all about fashion and what is relevant AT THE TIME. When "Above the Law" etc came out, it was at the tail end of the 80s MA craze - where striking arts ruled (Chuck Norris and JCVD were gods). An alternative came in, and people thought "Wow - this guys has the legitimate power (he lived in Japan for chrissakes - you can become a ninja master by just flying over Japan, don't you know?), coupled with his persona for invincibility - remember in his early movies how he was always immaculately dressed and never got beaten up? Tough guys would try and hit him, and he would evade and do something awesome.
People saw the moral high ground and were attracted by it.
I'd argue that in 2012, the whole emo and antipathy culture rebels against this - they want to make up their own parameters as to what institiues the moral high ground. Couple this with the "I want result now" attitude that has been created by information overload, and people are headed towards combat sports.
Doesn't help that Seagal got caught up in his own myth and became a laughing stock and running kjoke in MA circle, either.
So - does it matter? Why are you doing aikido? Do you care if it has a good reputation with the public / your peers or not? Or, are you worried about the future of aikido? Do you think it is drawing the wrong people? Either way, the most importnat thing we can all do for the future of aikido is practise sincerely and honestly - the rest will follow.
(Aside - watched a couple of Bruce Lee movies last weekend - "The Big Boss" and "Way of the Dragon". the stroiking was terrible - over-committed punches and kcks with no balance. Times change and what was great was no longer relevant. Whatever happened to BETA?
Cheers

James Sawers
11-12-2012, 05:05 PM
Recognizable aikido shown in a movie, heh, what can it hurt? A Seagal type, no. I saw his movies when they first came out and didn't recognize it as aikido (just my ignorance, at the time) and it is not why I started aikido. I was visiting a dojo in Milwaukee once and was changing my shoes when someone walked in and asked the person at the front if this was the martial art that Seagal did. He wanted to learn that. She looked past him at me and rolled her eyes without actually rolling her eyes. The point being that Seagal was not a good reference point for potential students.

danj
11-12-2012, 05:17 PM
The reality is that MA has limited appeal (2-5% of the population )and with more martial arts on offer than ever before aikido has less and less market share (20 or 600 dojo in my home town ). Crunching the numbers a while back (it what i do for a living in some ways) I came to the conclusion that 38 was a reasonable bench mark for an average dojo size in my home town.
Tweaking factors are competitiion (number of other dojos), demographics, advertising, mobility of people etc... here are the numbers and rather weak conclusions for the curous
http://brisbaneaikido.com/2012/10/01/opening-an-aikido-brisbane-dojo/
(http://brisbaneaikido.com/2012/10/01/opening-an-aikido-brisbane-dojo/)

David Orange
11-12-2012, 05:20 PM
Well, what function did Steven Seagal fill? People saw what he was doing in the movies, and most of them got the wrong idea about it. Of those, some were attracted to this wrong idea, and came to aikido dojos looking for the wrong thing. Of those, most left pretty quickly (often without starting), some stayed long enough to be a pain in the ass, and a few stayed long enough to get the crap out of their heads and become students worth having.

Question 1: am I wrong about any of that?

Question 2: if I'm right about that, how would a movie martial artist be a better avenue than any other for attracting a large quantity of poor-quality prospects?

Excellent points, Mary.

But add that when such people get to a dojo, they seldom find any of Seagal's vigor or ability in the class or the teacher. Fortunately, they also don't find the violence and a lot of Seagal's negative bearing, but nice ineptitude is not really better, either.

No, we don't need another Seagal. Maybe we do need a good movie made about some real aikido life, but it would probably be too boring to pay for itself. Unfortunately, movies need violence to sell and that's not what aikido needs.

I think it's really just a fact that aikido is not a product to be sold and therefore not a business to attempt as a livelihood. And I say this having operated my own dojo in the past--the first Yoseikan Budo dojo in North America. It went out of business decades ago and, though I later taught at the Yoseikan Hombu in Japan, I quit charging money for my lessons over ten years ago.

To my knowledge, most successful aikido teachers have a pretty lucrative day job and they train wholeheartedly. Most common teachers don't train very wholeheartedly and don't give a good example of aikido even if it is their only job.

David

Krystal Locke
11-12-2012, 06:16 PM
Well, what function did Steven Seagal fill? People saw what he was doing in the movies, and most of them got the wrong idea about it. Of those, some were attracted to this wrong idea, and came to aikido dojos looking for the wrong thing. Of those, most left pretty quickly (often without starting), some stayed long enough to be a pain in the ass, and a few stayed long enough to get the crap out of their heads and become students worth having.

Question 1: am I wrong about any of that?

Question 2: if I'm right about that, how would a movie martial artist be a better avenue than any other for attracting a large quantity of poor-quality prospects?

Nope, you're not wrong about any of that. Getting people in the door is indeed my point. A few will stick and be good students. That's worth it, imo. One percent of someone is better than one percent of nobody.

And, if we are to have room for the folks who dont want the martial, destructive side of aikido, shouldn't we also have room for the folks who do? Seagal's aikido was pretty damn good, not all that far from mainstream, and he got a lot of folk to at least look at a dojo....

What if someone wrote a movie that portrayed aikido a bit differently now that folks have had a bit of an intro to it? Something like the first Karate Kid movie, which was pretty awesome.

gregstec
11-12-2012, 06:21 PM
The reality is that MA has limited appeal (2-5% of the population )and with more martial arts on offer than ever before aikido has less and less market share (20 or 600 dojo in my home town ). Crunching the numbers a while back (it what i do for a living in some ways) I came to the conclusion that 38 was a reasonable bench mark for an average dojo size in my home town.
Tweaking factors are competitiion (number of other dojos), demographics, advertising, mobility of people etc... here are the numbers and rather weak conclusions for the curous
http://brisbaneaikido.com/2012/10/01/opening-an-aikido-brisbane-dojo/
(http://brisbaneaikido.com/2012/10/01/opening-an-aikido-brisbane-dojo/)

So, where were you when I was have a discussion with Lee Price about the number of Aikido practitioners in the world :)

Greg

Rob Watson
11-12-2012, 06:42 PM
Is there anyone here who came to Aikido because of Seagal and is still training?

Slowly raises hand .... maybe sort of ... yes. Mostly I started 'cause my baby brother did first but Seagal was going pretty strong - we all went to see the movies as a dojo group. Still at it (might be one of Marys 'crap in head' types tho).

machine guns...

Wait, we are not supposed to use machine guns? I'm taking my stuff and going home then.

That guy in Burn Notice says he's from NY Aikikai (I think) and might have done some aikido moves once or twice and some episode. I might have been distracted ...

Mark Mueller
11-12-2012, 07:54 PM
Oh great Krystal! You just opened the door for a bunch of middle-aged overweight guys to grow one of those ratty, skinny ponytails...... ;-)

Rupert Atkinson
11-12-2012, 10:35 PM
Put an MMA sign next to your aiki sign and the people will roll in. Maybe you could call it - Make Mine Aiki or something :)

Just a daft thought -wouldn't be surprised if it worked either ...

Afterthought - When in the UK one of our dojo sayings was, "Come an 'av a go if you think you're soft enough!"

JJF
11-13-2012, 04:00 AM
This is tough.. one of my most persistent students started aikido because he was a seagal fan in his young days. I am happy about having him in the dojo, but it is hard for me to otherwise recognise the impact of Seagal as a positive thing for Aikido.

Maybe all publicity is good publicity - and getting people into the dojo is a nice thing, but since our dojo is not a business I would rather have two or three good honest students that have a decent grasp on what Aikido is than two dozens Seagal-wanna-be's. They may pay the rent, but they will also absorb my time and effort to little effect. Thereby reducing the quality of teachings for the other students with a long time perspective.

Since christmas is getting sort of closer I will utter this wish: I don't wish for a new seagal, but i do wish that some person with good aikido will gain a lot of positive media attention for a while and thereby bring Aikido back in the minds of those who would really love practicing it as a Budo. I have no idear who it should be... a politician without scandals or bribes in the past, an actor without too many broken marriages and drug abuse stories, a business man who hasen't crushed too many small companies (or countries) on his/her way up.. a scientist doing research that cannot be applied in a destructive manner... yes It's a lot to wish for.. .

JJ

Lyle Laizure
11-13-2012, 04:57 AM
Is there anyone here who came to Aikido because of Seagal and is still training?

Ok so I saw Hard to Kill and thought it was pretty cool. Then came across a flyer in the community center where I was training Tae Kwon Do. Stopped in to observe a class, was put on the mat the first day, went to the hospital a coupld of days later and am still training today. Does that count?

Lyle Laizure
11-13-2012, 05:02 AM
Aikido is a complex art. Having a "front man" to draw a crowd is nice and it will certainly get the word out. What I find though, as many others I am sure, is that once people find out what kind of work is required what people are left are very few. I don't think this is any different than before or what will be. Having that "front man" just speeds up the process of getting those that "think" they want to train into the dojo.

aiki-jujutsuka
11-13-2012, 05:13 AM
what Aikido needs is a good Samurai film. Look at Ridley Scot's love affair with antiquity and the middle ages - films about arcane forms of warfare are very popular. Historical dramas have become very popular as a way of making social observations. People like drawing lessons about the present from the past. Take the success of the Last Samurai with Tom Cruise, it's one of my favourite films despite the anachronisms. If someone like Ridley Scot or another big name director made a film about Feudal Japan with a healthy dose of battle scenes and Aikido/Jujutsu techniques in certain scenes, it would spark peoples interest in all things martial arts again. It's a more subtle way of promoting the art as it would be looking at it from an authentic historical viewpoint. But people would be drawn to that part of our history that has been lost and with the right sort of message or tone it will encourage people to rediscover that element of our humanity.

Walter Martindale
11-13-2012, 06:01 AM
what Aikido needs is a good Samurai film. Look at Ridley Scot's love affair with antiquity and the middle ages - films about arcane forms of warfare are very popular. Historical dramas have become very popular as a way of making social observations. People like drawing lessons about the present from the past. Take the success of the Last Samurai with Tom Cruise, it's one of my favourite films despite the anachronisms. If someone like Ridley Scot or another big name director made a film about Feudal Japan with a healthy dose of battle scenes and Aikido/Jujutsu techniques in certain scenes, it would spark peoples interest in all things martial arts again. It's a more subtle way of promoting the art as it would be looking at it from an authentic historical viewpoint. But people would be drawn to that part of our history that has been lost and with the right sort of message or tone it will encourage people to rediscover that element of our humanity.

The Challenge - about 1982. Scott Glenn is a washed-up boxer sent on a mission to return a katana to a Japanese family that is fighting over the ownership of said chunk o steel. You see some aiki techniques, a cheesy movie, and Seagal is the martial arts coordinator/consultant for the eiga...

lbb
11-13-2012, 07:12 AM
Nope, you're not wrong about any of that. Getting people in the door is indeed my point. A few will stick and be good students. That's worth it, imo. One percent of someone is better than one percent of nobody.

And if, along with that one percent, you get a larger quantity of obnoxious buttmunches who degrade the experience for everyone else? Is it still a net win?

Richard Stevens
11-13-2012, 08:02 AM
what Aikido needs is a good Samurai film. Look at Ridley Scot's love affair with antiquity and the middle ages - films about arcane forms of warfare are very popular. Historical dramas have become very popular as a way of making social observations. People like drawing lessons about the present from the past. Take the success of the Last Samurai with Tom Cruise, it's one of my favourite films despite the anachronisms. If someone like Ridley Scot or another big name director made a film about Feudal Japan with a healthy dose of battle scenes and Aikido/Jujutsu techniques in certain scenes, it would spark peoples interest in all things martial arts again. It's a more subtle way of promoting the art as it would be looking at it from an authentic historical viewpoint. But people would be drawn to that part of our history that has been lost and with the right sort of message or tone it will encourage people to rediscover that element of our humanity.

The Last Samurai was well done (disregarding the plethora of historical/technical inaccuracies) and I'm guessing Iaido/Kenjutsu schools didn't see a big influx of new interest. Honesty, I highly doubt that any well done film that features Aikido or any other traditional Japanese art in a significant way is going to spur an influx of new interest.

All you are going to see in big budget Hollywood movies that aren't period pieces are fight scenes that use the ever so popular Krav Maga/Silat/Kali/MMA fusion. The Chinese film industry can put out some great movies (Ip Man, Shaolin) and Indonesia recently had the Raid Redemption, but I'm doubting Japan is going to put out anything at that sort of level that is heavily features Aikido or Jujutsu.

In terms of big budget Hollywood films that feature traditional Japanese arts I'm guessing 47 Ronin is going to be the closest you are going to get for a long time. Who knows how those fight scenes are going to turn out? If Sanada wasn't one of the leads I'd be very worried.

JJF
11-13-2012, 08:05 AM
My first sensei taught Aikido for more than 30 years. He was against advertising since it only brought more 'casual memebers' through the door. He used to say that 'If they really want to train with us - then they will find us'. It's against my nature NOT to advertise a bit, but I see his point. Eventually those who are likely to enjoy aikido will probably find out about it and find a dojo.

Being visible and being 'loud' is two different things.. and I believe the types of movies Mr. Seagal makes are quite loud.

philipsmith
11-13-2012, 09:37 AM
I'm interested and somewhat appalled (but not suprised) at the amount of snobbery displayed in this thread.

Comments such advertising only brings casual members and I'd rather have 2 or three honest members than lower the standard deny the reality of having to run a dojo.
we all have to pay rent, energy bills etc. if the dojo is to survive and maybe these casual members will help to do that.

One further point is that the more people who are exposed to Aikido the more honest members we will have. Some of the best (in all senses) Aikidoka I know started as casual members who liked a bit of a rumble.

Lets not get too precious about what we do for the vast majority of people it's just a hobby not a lifestyle choice. very few individuals want to commit to serious life-long training - but IMHO that's fine.

Krystal Locke
11-13-2012, 10:59 AM
And if, along with that one percent, you get a larger quantity of obnoxious buttmunches who degrade the experience for everyone else? Is it still a net win?

In the current (ANY) climate, anyone in the door is good for my dojo and is totally welcome. We have maybe 15 regulars, none show up for the same class, about a third are mudansha 4th kyu and better, all the rest are yudansha and most of them sandan and up. We can deal with an obnoxious buttmunch were one to show up. Nobody who wants to try a class is an obnoxious buttmunch. Some aren't a good match, but that becomes clear to all pretty quickly, and they are free to train anywhere they'd like.

But we also apparently intimidate the hell out of noobs that are somehow more legitimate. No kids have come up from the kids classes and stayed in the adult class for more than a couple months. The ones who try and quit say that they are intimidated because there are no new people in the class but them. There are two people in the beginner's class, I hope they stick, I hope they transition, I hope I am doing right by training with them in their class, but I am one of those awful, intimidating black belts.

Topheavy dojos seem to have a hard time getting new people to land. I dont know why we developed such a mudansha gap, I was off the mat for a decade. The upper rank folks are a wide variety of personalities, reasons for training, body types, genders, sexualities. We dont have much of a racial mix, but neither does our area.

If only one percent sticks, it seems to be in my best interest to start sorting. That sort of sorting is never a waste of my time and resources. I need something to sort, even if it is a less than perfect pool of new folks.

Krystal Locke
11-13-2012, 11:31 AM
I'm interested and somewhat appalled (but not suprised) at the amount of snobbery displayed in this thread.

Comments such advertising only brings casual members and I'd rather have 2 or three honest members than lower the standard deny the reality of having to run a dojo.
we all have to pay rent, energy bills etc. if the dojo is to survive and maybe these casual members will help to do that.

One further point is that the more people who are exposed to Aikido the more honest members we will have. Some of the best (in all senses) Aikidoka I know started as casual members who liked a bit of a rumble.

Lets not get too precious about what we do for the vast majority of people it's just a hobby not a lifestyle choice. very few individuals want to commit to serious life-long training - but IMHO that's fine.

It isn't even about making the rent for me. My dojo is sofa king topheavy, we're not getting any younger, I am afraid the dojo will just kind of retire and class will be us sitting by the pool talking about how we used to do aikido before everything hurt. The lack of influx of new people is really damning, in my mind.

Sure, Seagal wasn't a "perfect" face for the art, but he was a willing face for the art. Movies do a LOT for martial arts. I didn't start aikido because of Hard to Kill, but I have had a lifelong interest in martial arts in general because of Hard to Kill, Out for Justice, Game of Death, Chinese Connection, Armor of God, Super Cop, Heroic Trio (!!!), Wing Chun, Karate Kid, even Big Trouble in Little China.

Martial arts movies are the finger pointing to the moon, and I am certain that just about everybody who is enjoying those movies is wise enough to understand that and just go check out a dojo or two.

Besides, if I bug my friends about checking out class any more than I do, I'm likely to have to use my aikido to defend myself from them.

Chonin
11-15-2012, 05:33 PM
To the American public, I think the general perception is Seagal and Aikido is all about throwing bad guys through plate glass windows of liquor stores. That was the price paid to fill those theater seats. Mind you, I respect the man, I respect the rank and I can't imagine the sweat equity paid. I just dont think I'll ever see the Jo staffs on the wall be replaced with plastic Colt 1911's to drill tactical hallway sweeps.To me that's standard Seagal.

What I believe would work is an indie movie about Ueshiba. That would do to Aikido what IP Man and IP Man 2did for Wing Chung a few years back. That was a great film. It showed great humanity and perseverance

On the flip side, I watched Geitotsu Aikido Gobi(The Power of Aikido). Great trailer, disapointing film.

aiki-jujutsuka
11-16-2012, 06:00 AM
[QUOTE=Charles Edwards;319200]To the American public, I think the general perception is Seagal and Aikido is all about throwing bad guys through plate glass windows of liquor stores. QUOTE]

How about people taking ukemi as they're thrown through plate glass windows of liquor stores, wouldn't that make it real Aikido? :p

Edgecrusher
11-16-2012, 08:00 AM
Great PR never hurts, I personally do not believe we need "another" Steven Seagal. Does it need to be in the form of cheesy action movies where the stunts and "wire" fight scenes are choreographed. It is a double edge sword and we would become what MMA is to martial arts, played out.

BEleanor
11-17-2012, 03:17 PM
Tai chi is a very "successful" martial art; possibly the most successful. I doubt "Pushing Hands" (great movie) had a lot to do with it, though. I think it is crossing over to appeal to people who aren't interested in martial prowess as much as spiritual growth or good health is what does it.

However, maybe you could try something like this:

http://wudang.chinadaily.com.cn/2012-09/24/content_15779087.htm

At Iwama perhaps?
This has me pretty depressed this week.

B

Mary Eastland
11-17-2012, 04:17 PM
First, I really want to know what a butt munch is...I love the sound of it but what is it?

I think we need a Sara Seagal....there seems to be a trend of strong women in TV shows...how about a Temperance froms Bones like character in a movie or Zeva Davide from NCIS as an aikidoist? Or maybe Lucy Liu could train in Aikido on Elementary...so many possibilities.

Tom Verhoeven
11-17-2012, 09:23 PM
First, I really want to know what a butt munch is...I love the sound of it but what is it?

I think we need a Sara Seagal....there seems to be a trend of strong women in TV shows...how about a Temperance froms Bones like character in a movie or Zeva Davide from NCIS as an aikidoist? Or maybe Lucy Liu could train in Aikido on Elementary...so many possibilities.



Or someone like Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) in Star Trek the next generation. She had a program running on the hollow-deck called Aikido 1.

Tom

Krystal Locke
11-18-2012, 12:55 AM
First, I really want to know what a butt munch is...I love the sound of it but what is it?

I think we need a Sara Seagal....there seems to be a trend of strong women in TV shows...how about a Temperance froms Bones like character in a movie or Zeva Davide from NCIS as an aikidoist? Or maybe Lucy Liu could train in Aikido on Elementary...so many possibilities.

I'd be totally into a media character who was female and an aikidoka.I think aikido training would make a tasty side plot for a badass spy chick or sum'pin. A wise sensei who plays like he or she doesn't know our girl is a secret agent, but tailors lessons to the mission. We could get deliciously aiki-stereotypical.

Buttmunch is a fairly mild epithet, originally directed against gay men ("buttmunching faggot"....). It does have a certain euphony, but I struggle to get past the original homophobia imbedded in the term. I really like the term asshat right now, for the inevitable image it gives me. And the xkcd thing of moving the hyphen when "-ass" is used as an intensifier. "That's a fine-ass car, bro!" xkcd rocks a lot.

Michael Varin
11-18-2012, 02:28 AM
Is there anyone here who came to Aikido because of Seagal and is still training?

Yes. Me.

ryback
11-19-2012, 05:34 AM
As an answer to the original topic,in my opinion we need as many Seagals as we can get,not on the screen but on the mat instead!I did not begin my training because of him but he has always been a great inspiration to me and he still is.So i think that what aikido is lacking these days is not an on-screen persona to attract students but on-the-mat masters with high level to teach and demonstrate the practical application of aikido in the same way Seagal sensei has done on-screen and on the mats as well.But to be honest,personally...i don't want any new Steven Seagal.I just want the old one back!!!

lbb
11-19-2012, 09:45 AM
First, I really want to know what a butt munch is...I love the sound of it but what is it?

There are many alternate meanings. Perhaps the one that best sums it up as "someone who would bite another human being on the butt out of the overriding desire to be a pain in the ass."

St Matt
11-19-2012, 10:48 AM
As an answer to the original topic,in my opinion we need as many Seagals as we can get,not on the screen but on the mat instead!I did not begin my training because of him but he has always been a great inspiration to me and he still is.So i think that what aikido is lacking these days is not an on-screen persona to attract students but on-the-mat masters with high level to teach and demonstrate the practical application of aikido in the same way Seagal sensei has done on-screen and on the mats as well.But to be honest,personally...i don't want any new Steven Seagal.I just want the old one back!!!

Agreed!

Neal Earhart
11-19-2012, 12:47 PM
Well....if a new Seagal is ever found...I hope he or she has better hair...;)

odudog
11-19-2012, 06:03 PM
The Last Samurai was well done (disregarding the plethora of historical/technical inaccuracies)...

Please indulge my curiosity of the inaccuracies that claim were present.

miso
11-19-2012, 06:53 PM
Most arts have the problem of influx. I'm not sure there's an answer for aikido, my own experiences have been quite alienating although I still like it. (That's a positive comment)

The life-blood of any art is surely the young coming up through the ranks but there doesn't seem to be much to attract a young person to aikido. Shodokan has randori, young people love randori.

torres.aikido
11-28-2012, 12:50 PM
I think Seagal is a little strange and it may have brought a lot of knucklehead type students but at least they came ans were exposed to this great art. He did help make Aikido a little more popular and as someone who would like to help spread Aikido ... that is a good thing. S in that sense another Steven Seagal may not be a bad thing.

Richard Stevens
11-28-2012, 02:36 PM
Please indulge my curiosity of the inaccuracies that claim were present.

I'm guessing you're joking? If not, try Google. There are plenty.

Mert Gambito
11-28-2012, 03:33 PM
Well, this thread has mentioned Seagal, MMA and Anderson Silva.

Did any aikidoka reading this see even a modest uptick in interest when videos of Silva training with Seagal went viral a few years ago?

Given that MMA is the in thing, and Silva is one of the most successful and high-profile fighters, if he ever expressly credits aikido for a winning tactic or technique, or for being integral to his training regimen, that would most likely bring in the younger lookie-loo's. In the meantime, Silva does continue to associate and train with Seagal, but it's Seagal who's doing the talk and taking the credit for what he's doing for Silva, and the young bucks ain't buying into it just yet.

Richard Stevens
11-29-2012, 07:38 AM
Well, this thread has mentioned Seagal, MMA and Anderson Silva.

Did any aikidoka reading this see even a modest uptick in interest when videos of Silva training with Seagal went viral a few years ago?

Given that MMA is the in thing, and Silva is one of the most successful and high-profile fighters, if he ever expressly credits aikido for a winning tactic or technique, or for being integral to his training regimen, that would most likely bring in the younger lookie-loo's. In the meantime, Silva does continue to associate and train with Seagal, but it's Seagal who's doing the talk and taking the credit for what he's doing for Silva, and the young bucks ain't buying into it just yet.

There is a vast spectrum of opinions related to Seagal within the MMA "fan" community. If you did a search on Seagal on the Underground forum you'd see everything from "Seagal is full of $%^&" to "he is an Aikido grandmaster and could get in the ring and kill any of these fighters with his deadly stuff".

There is an interesting thread about wristlocks in MMA that was recently started where the Seagal training with Silva video was mentioned. I've watched it a couple of times, but I thought it seemed more like Silva humoring Seagal for PR purposes (and his future B movie career) more than actually viewing him as a coach.

BAP
11-29-2012, 11:02 AM
When I was first deciding on which martial art to get into and researched aikido the fact that it was the same art Steven Seagal practiced was relevant. His practical application of the art in general was impressive, not just the jazzed up movie moves. I still enjoy his earlier movies. I would say Mr. Seagal's overall impact on aikido has been much more positive than negative.

The other actor which did some version aikido on a consistent basis was Jeffrey Donovan on Burn Notice the first season or two of the series. Last couple of seasons there really hasn't been much you could point to as being aikido. I read somewhere he's became more involved in the BJJ side of things, the last few years.

Mert Gambito
11-29-2012, 12:19 PM
. . . it seemed more like Silva humoring Seagal for PR purposes (and his future B movie career) more than actually viewing him as a coach.

Agreed. Look for Anderson Silva to do tai-no-henko in one of Seagal's B movies.

Mert

tanthalas
11-29-2012, 03:46 PM
The Last Samurai was well done (disregarding the plethora of historical/technical inaccuracies) and I'm guessing Iaido/Kenjutsu schools didn't see a big influx of new interest. Honesty, I highly doubt that any well done film that features Aikido or any other traditional Japanese art in a significant way is going to spur an influx of new interest.

All you are going to see in big budget Hollywood movies that aren't period pieces are fight scenes that use the ever so popular Krav Maga/Silat/Kali/MMA fusion. The Chinese film industry can put out some great movies (Ip Man, Shaolin) and Indonesia recently had the Raid Redemption, but I'm doubting Japan is going to put out anything at that sort of level that is heavily features Aikido or Jujutsu.

In terms of big budget Hollywood films that feature traditional Japanese arts I'm guessing 47 Ronin is going to be the closest you are going to get for a long time. Who knows how those fight scenes are going to turn out? If Sanada wasn't one of the leads I'd be very worried.

I know a handful of folks who started doing Wing Chun because of Ip Man. (or as a friend of mine calls it, IP Man)

There was a fairly recent Chinese TV serial from Hong Kong called The Master of Tai Chi which undoubtedly drew a bunch of prospective students to the art as well (hell, half of the show's website was a marketing campaign for Tai Chi).

So maybe the American market doesn't have the attention span or interest for a good "realistic" Aikido film, but there are probably lots of opportunities elsewhere.

miso
11-30-2012, 04:02 PM
I know a handful of folks who started doing Wing Chun because of Ip Man. (or as a friend of mine calls it, IP Man)...
That's probably because it's a very cool movie.

tanthalas
11-30-2012, 06:16 PM
That's probably because it's a very cool movie.

FWIW I found the Chinese propaganda to be way overboard and dramatized for my taste, but yeah, the fight sequences were cool. Much closer to the stuff I grew up watching and not the slow-motion, artsy crouching tiger snoozing dragon bullcrap these days. (apologies to fans of said movie; it's just my opinion after all!)

camt
12-08-2012, 01:30 PM
I think Aikido definitely loses prospective students to the martial arts that are deemed successful because of the UFC. Aikido hasn't been proven effective in the eyes of the public. However, its interesting to notice that Steven Seagal has made a pretty big presence working with some of UFCs top fighters (Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida). Unfortunately, he has that self-aggrandizing attitude that make him seem a joke to many in the sport.

I personally find him entertaining and obviously respect his aikido ability. Despite everything, I'm glad he's made a friend of Silva and train together. Whatever some may say in the UFC, Anderson obviously finds some value in having Seagal around.

For those who haven't seen this training clip with Seagal/Silva, have a look:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1jIlljXq2Y

Krystal Locke
12-08-2012, 04:49 PM
What do you think would happen if Seagal returns to his roots, drops some of the odd stuff, and starts training in and teaching aikido again? I'd kinda like to see that, but I think he'd struggle to regain legitimacy as an aikido teacher.

Chris Li
12-08-2012, 06:52 PM
What do you think would happen if Seagal returns to his roots, drops some of the odd stuff, and starts training in and teaching aikido again? I'd kinda like to see that, but I think he'd struggle to regain legitimacy as an aikido teacher.

Well, he doesn't train any less than a lot of 7th dans I see wandering around, and they don't seem to have legitimacy problems - he'd probably be fine. :)

Best,

Chris

Krystal Locke
12-08-2012, 07:23 PM
Well, he doesn't train any less than a lot of 7th dans I see wandering around, and they don't seem to have legitimacy problems - he'd probably be fine. :)

Best,

Chris

Fair enough. From what I've seen of the films on youtube, he did have some pretty fine skills in the day. Very direct and strong, probably wouldn't be too popular with some of the folk. The little bit of stuff I've seen of him with Anderson Silva looks like he's not lost too much in the way of timing and technique, although he has concealed it under a few layers of cheeseburger, not to mention the odd stuff. I can't complain there either, I am trying to work off a decade of not being on the mat myself, and the ukemi is slow coming back.

Lots of folk rest on their laurels. I dont blame them, 7th dan is no small acheivement. Doesn't seem to be the case in my dojo in general, but there are a few folk who have reached middling dan ranks who have just kinda shuffled themselves off into stagnancy and irrelevancy. Hope I dont do that. Who am I kidding, me getting to a middling dan rank, right.........

Chris Li
12-08-2012, 07:34 PM
Fair enough. From what I've seen of the films on youtube, he did have some pretty fine skills in the day. Very direct and strong, probably wouldn't be too popular with some of the folk. The little bit of stuff I've seen of him with Anderson Silva looks like he's not lost too much in the way of timing and technique, although he has concealed it under a few layers of cheeseburger, not to mention the odd stuff. I can't complain there either, I am trying to work off a decade of not being on the mat myself, and the ukemi is slow coming back.

Lots of folk rest on their laurels. I dont blame them, 7th dan is no small acheivement. Doesn't seem to be the case in my dojo in general, but there are a few folk who have reached middling dan ranks who have just kinda shuffled themselves off into stagnancy and irrelevancy. Hope I dont do that. Who am I kidding, me getting to a middling dan rank, right.........

Mmmm....cheeseburgers.... :D

Best,

Chris

camt
12-08-2012, 08:34 PM
I'd dearly love to get away from some of the recent fruitless meanderings about definitions and power and who has what and ask a question that has been in my mind a while.

Lots of our dojos are finding themselves struggling or topheavy or both. Sure, there is a poor economy, sure, our sensei are aging, as are we. You can hear crickets at the beginners class, not so many young bucks frustrating the crap out of everyone at the seminars, the dojocho is calling for dues a few days after the first of the month instead of a couple months down the line.

Do we need another Steven Seagal?

Movies are huge in poor economies. Despite all the rest of the oddness, Seagal brought a LOT of people in the door and some of them actually stuck.

Anyone want to take on that onus? Or should I call it giri?

To get a LOT of people interested in aikido, all you need is someone who can pull off a distinct aikido technique in the UFC. One kotegaeshi, nikyo, sankyo or whatever and you would hear Joe Rogan screaming AIKIDO!

Judo is still relatively rare in the UFC but guys/gals like Karo Parisyan and Ronda Rousey have made it work . I predict aikido will make an appearance one of these days. Just waiting for the "chosen" one...

TheAikidoka
12-13-2012, 12:30 PM
I came to Aikido, directly because of Steven Seagal, I did a little research, then went and found a dojo, stayed ten years under the same teacher.
I had never heard of Aikido until I first watched Nico (in the US - Above The Law). So yeah maybe we do need another big star to give Aikido another boost.

Or maybe we just need better teachers from Japan, that have the same qualities in a technical sense and the big personality types that were around before I was born like Saito Sensei, Tohei Sensei, Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu, Tamura Sensei e.t.c

It would be nice to see some direct influence on the popularisation of Aikido from the top and not just individual organisations, dojo`s and sensei`s putting on a show. It needs a deliberate show of strength, enthusiasm and dare I say ambition to bring Aikido to the fore, as the number one non-competitive, self defensive martial art of Japan.

In Budo

Andy B

Walter Martindale
12-13-2012, 01:53 PM
As well the shihan need to be able to communicate to the culture to which they're teaching. That means learning the language well enough to express all those arcane movement/IP or whatever concepts in the local language.
Something is ALWAYS lost in translation. That may be why Seagal could teach in the USA - he spoke both languages.

aiki-jujutsuka
12-17-2012, 12:42 PM
To get a LOT of people interested in aikido, all you need is someone who can pull off a distinct aikido technique in the UFC. One kotegaeshi, nikyo, sankyo or whatever and you would hear Joe Rogan screaming AIKIDO!

Judo is still relatively rare in the UFC but guys/gals like Karo Parisyan and Ronda Rousey have made it work . I predict aikido will make an appearance one of these days. Just waiting for the "chosen" one...

The problem though is that small joint locks are illegal in MMA rules - so no wrist locks or finger locks. The taping of the wrist/hand inside the gloves also makes it extremely difficult to apply. I can see something like a variation of iriminage being used but it might be mistaken for Judo.

Even if Aikido were used in the UFC, it won't create a renaissance in Aikido because of Aikido's philosophy. MMA fans just wouldn't have the patience to practice it without hard sparring. Similarly there is very little obvious Aikido techniques that can be amalgamated into an MMA gym. Alot of people go straight into MMA without coming from a traditional martial art or single discipline background.

Judo is far easier to amalgamate into MMA because MMA has a strong grappling base in collegiate wrestling. Judo is effectively an alternative to wrestling.

I would love to see Seagal go back to his roots; out of interest which Seagal film do people think is best for Aikido?

Richard Stevens
12-18-2012, 09:06 AM
The problem though is that small joint locks are illegal in MMA rules - so no wrist locks or finger locks. The taping of the wrist/hand inside the gloves also makes it extremely difficult to apply. I can see something like a variation of iriminage being used but it might be mistaken for Judo.

Even if Aikido were used in the UFC, it won't create a renaissance in Aikido because of Aikido's philosophy. MMA fans just wouldn't have the patience to practice it without hard sparring. Similarly there is very little obvious Aikido techniques that can be amalgamated into an MMA gym. Alot of people go straight into MMA without coming from a traditional martial art or single discipline background.

Judo is far easier to amalgamate into MMA because MMA has a strong grappling base in collegiate wrestling. Judo is effectively an alternative to wrestling.

I would love to see Seagal go back to his roots; out of interest which Seagal film do people think is best for Aikido?

Actually wrist locks are legal, but few fighters have developed the ability to actually use them in competition while wearing those gloves and covered in sweat. If I recall correctly the closest I've seen to an Aikido "locking" technique in an MMA fight was via Shinya Aoki around the 2 minute mark in the following clip:

http://youtu.be/Q_718dOW09k

I know Henry Ellis's son is a very good Aikidoka and competes in MMA in the UK and has incorporated things so that may be the best source for opinions on the subject.

Finger locks may be legal as well. I know that you have to grab a minimum of three finger to peel a grab off, so maybe it's permitted to apply a lock to those fingers as well.

I seriously doubt we're ever going to see the introduction of non-sport martial arts into the MMA curriculum. A fighter simply doesn't have the time to train Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu and then add an art with a hefty learning curve to that.

You of course have guys from TMA backgrounds like Lyoto Machida and his family's version of Shotokan Karate. But he competed in tournaments so adapting it for MMA wasn't as complicated.

Also, you have to keep in mind that the person in the ring is competing against another highly trained fighter. Applying an Aikido/Jujutsu technique on a non-athlete is one thing, but trying it against an athlete that knows how to fight is something entirely different. Visit a BJJ school and train for an afternoon if you get the chance. It's a very enlightening experience.

Kevin Leavitt
12-18-2012, 04:56 PM
MMA like UFC has evolved over time and as with anything, you begin to realize efficiencies in strategies that are successful based on the parameters of the fight.

There are many folks in MMA with Aikido backgrounds, but you won't see them using stylistically what many would like to see in a fight because of the realized efficiencies.

Occasionally you will see some deviations and revolutions in fighting such as Machida. However, as time progresses and fighters learn more, these will become less and less. Go back and watch the early UFCs and how the fighters evolved and changed strategies based on rules and the fighting enviorns.

Heck, I don't even like to watch it much anymore since it has gotten so close in strategies and competitiveness. Although, one of my past training partners and fellow Army Ranger, Colton Smith won the Ultimate Fighter this week so I was excited to see that!

You don't see wrist locks in UFC cause they simply don't work in most cases. Most guys have figured out how to negate them, or there are things that you should do to win the fight that are easier and less risky to your strategy to do.

It would be the ultimate in stupidity to go into the ring with a strategy based around a style of martial art such as aikido and attempt to restrict yourself to only those things you are accustomed to in your dojo. They tried that in the first few UFCs and look at the results. Folks figured it out pretty quickly. There is a reason the call it MMA.

If Aikido methodology worked they way most are accustomed to training for UFC, then we'd already be seeing it used wholesale in MMA. Money is too good to not see it if it was of value. So no, it is not a matter of time before we see a large scale revolution in adoption of an aikido fight strategy in MMA IMO.

Kevin Leavitt
12-18-2012, 05:01 PM
Ewen wrote:

Judo is far easier to amalgamate into MMA because MMA has a strong grappling base in collegiate wrestling. Judo is effectively an alternative to wrestling.


Nitpicking, but I think there is a flaw in your logic. you see wrestling and grappling in MMA because it has proven to be a useful base in winning MMA. Judo is a form of grappling so therefore, it is easy to adapt those skill sets. It is not because MMA has a strong base in collegiate grappling. it is the inverse. wrestling did not inform or constrain MMA, it is simply that the rules of MMA are conducive to grapplers in general.

Nitpicking I know, and you probably actually meant to say what I said above. Sorry if so.

BJohnston
12-29-2012, 10:41 AM
For anyone who hasn't seen the Voice vs Steven Seagal interview...

http://www.mmatko.com/the-voice-versus-steven-seagal-video-complete-show/

B