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Dan Richards
03-22-2013, 07:08 PM
There's a topic over at Reddit in the Aikido subreddit, is Aikido transferable to MMA? (http://www.reddit.com/r/aikido/comments/1at1s4/is_aikido_transferable_to_mma/c90oeo3)

The following video is also included in the topic, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hoeb7sBqRc

I contributed the following rant. My take on another POV. Interested in comments and thoughts:

What people don't realize is that in aikido the "control techniques" such as what appear to be wrist and joint locks, make a up a very small part of the art. What makes up a huge part - say 90% - is atemi.

Wrist locks are an add-on, and not even central to aiki. Aiki can be seen in the initial movement. The opponents center is taken, and the opponent is struck - all in a single movement. And in this way, there is not ever an actual opponent in the mindset of aiki - but merely another player.

Real aiki can be seen in the tai sabaki (body movement). Typically, but not always, an effective application moves off the line at about 10-degrees. In the zone, the oncoming opponent can not deliver any strikes, kicks, or anything else. And they are rendered off-balance, and are totally open to multiple strikes, kicks, body movements by nage.

Sometimes the line is taken by nage as uke is in the process of creating it. As soon as uke commits to a movement, they begin creating a line. Nage senses this, and moves after the line starts to be created, and arrives before the line is finished by uke. Uke starts the line, nage finishes it. That is aiki. You don't have to be fast - just be before.

Another aspect of aiki, is that it doesn't use large muscle groups for movement and power. Aiki uses hips and relaxation to not only generate compressed power outwardly, but also to allow for an incoming compression - to be able to receive strikes to the body.

There's a reason why Steven Seagal has been training top MMA fighters. There are various arts that employ aiki, including some CMA and Indonesian arts. Muhammad Ali met Kali players in Hawaii. Same thing. Music actually employs aiki, as it allows a place for multiple events and energy vibrations to co-exist in space/time harmoniously.

The reason people don't think aikido works, is because most people don't know what real aikido is. And the reason most people don't think they see aiki used in boxing and MMA, is because most people have no idea what to look for. If you know what to look for, you can see aiki applied all over the place at the top levels of competition.

Michael Varin
03-23-2013, 12:13 AM
The reason people don't think aikido works, is because most people don't know what real aikido is. And the reason most people don't think they see aiki used in boxing and MMA, is because most people have no idea what to look for. If you know what to look for, you can see aiki applied all over the place at the top levels of competition.

I absolutely agree.

Anderson Silva uses aiki and outclasses professional fighters... and is getting better at age 38!

As a pointer to seeing it, I would suggest to look for "non-randomness."

JP3
04-06-2013, 09:22 PM
Some of the absolute best striking martial artists in the world are perhaps the most proficient "demonstrators" of the aiki, if you don't mind my creating a word for my own benefit.

Think of Iron Mike Tyson during the prime of his career, and if necessary, go to youtube to bring up some of his early fight videos. Do you ever see Mike moving straight in on a ready opponent, one with lead hand ready to snap the quick jab? No, you don't. Do you ever see Mike walk straight into a punch? No, you see him moving in, and often, right into what seems the very blast of oncoming strikes, but he is actually slipping forwards at the oblique, in perhaps the 10-20 degree approach angle, where we like to do our stuff.

Another great place to see fantastic aiki at work, even if they don't call it that, is Olympic Taekwondo. Go watch some, and watch the angles of the opponents moving in/out, angles and circles, all in the manipulation of mai ai. It's heady stuff. Happens so fast that it's difficult to see if you aren't trying to look at it specifically. Well, that and all the flying feet can be distracting.

Richard Stevens
04-15-2013, 09:59 AM
So "aiki" is just good footwork, timing and distancing now? Why are people flocking to Dan Harden if a Muay Thai, BJJ practitioner like Anderson Silva can utilize "aiki" at a high level in combat sports?

Demetrio Cereijo
04-15-2013, 10:08 AM
So "aiki" is just good footwork, timing and distancing now? Why are people flocking to Dan Harden if a Muay Thai, BJJ practitioner like Anderson Silva can utilize "aiki" at a high level in combat sports?

Because not everybody has what is needed to train like elite combat sports people do.

Cliff Judge
04-15-2013, 04:28 PM
For me, a video showing some Aikido technique being demonstrated by an Aikido teacher, and then something that kinda looks like the same general thing being done in an MMA ring is a better argument for "see, Aikido incorporates some stuff from MMA" than the other way around.

Unless the fighter in the ring actually owns to Aikido training (is that the case?) then you don't have a real link between the two sets of things.

There is nothing technical that is unique to Aikido. The techniques derive from a few jujutsu systems which had them in common with many other Japanese systems, which had them in common with many other non-Japanese systems. The principals are not really unique either. To put it bluntly, if there is something we do that actually works in the ring, the guys who spend 40+ hours a week working with an MMA fighter who has negotiated x% of the cash prize of a fight if they win will likely figure it out and they will probably skip the step of asking someone who wears a hakama.

What makes Aikido unique, I think, is more along the lines of how it is trained and what it gives us in terms of philosophy. What we do on the mat versus what we don't do, what our process is for resolving questions, and just the flavor of the experience. Most of that stuff is utterly out of category for MMA and vice versa.

JP3
04-15-2013, 10:02 PM
Maybe this will help explain my conceptual point. I wasn't trying to say that "aikido" was being demonstrated in MMA, I don't think it is. I do however think that "aiki" is there, and that "aiki" is all over the place in almost any/all high-level martial arts, even if it is not recognized as being so in that art.

Perhaps this is a good way to try to explain what I'm driving at. O-Sensei didn't "invent" aiki in aikido, he "found" it... if that makes sense. It was there, waiting, and he found it, thought it right and good, and built a system of principled reactions to aggressive physical actions which seemed to transcend the merely physical and go into less physical realms.

I am not one for the non-quantifiable, I apologize. However, I absolutely LOVES me some subtlety. There is little as un-subtle as a punch in the face, right? Well, one can block and punch back, or one can move out of the way, then punch back, or one can move and punch at the same time (increasing difficulty according to Bruce in his book, eh...).

But, what about simply moving slightly sideways the instant before the punch is even launched, thus frying the visual perception of the aggressor, and mentally shifting his balance so that his unconscious tells him that he can't throw the punch at all as he'll miss and maybe fall down? Subtle! Definition of Aiki at work, again, in my opinion.

if you are not countering the use of force against you with a force, but using evasion to deal with said aggressive force, is that not aiki? If so, then I stand by my initial examples.

Cliff Judge
04-16-2013, 09:59 AM
Maybe this will help explain my conceptual point. I wasn't trying to say that "aikido" was being demonstrated in MMA, I don't think it is. I do however think that "aiki" is there, and that "aiki" is all over the place in almost any/all high-level martial arts, even if it is not recognized as being so in that art.

Perhaps this is a good way to try to explain what I'm driving at. O-Sensei didn't "invent" aiki in aikido, he "found" it... if that makes sense. It was there, waiting, and he found it, thought it right and good, and built a system of principled reactions to aggressive physical actions which seemed to transcend the merely physical and go into less physical realms.

I am not one for the non-quantifiable, I apologize. However, I absolutely LOVES me some subtlety. There is little as un-subtle as a punch in the face, right? Well, one can block and punch back, or one can move out of the way, then punch back, or one can move and punch at the same time (increasing difficulty according to Bruce in his book, eh...).

But, what about simply moving slightly sideways the instant before the punch is even launched, thus frying the visual perception of the aggressor, and mentally shifting his balance so that his unconscious tells him that he can't throw the punch at all as he'll miss and maybe fall down? Subtle! Definition of Aiki at work, again, in my opinion.

if you are not countering the use of force against you with a force, but using evasion to deal with said aggressive force, is that not aiki? If so, then I stand by my initial examples.

Well I agree with you that aiki is not something Ueshiba invented. My understanding of aiki doesn't really go into the frame you have laid out, though. But that's just me. I do think that if you sit and watch MMA videos you will see fighters using accidental aiki occasionally.

phitruong
04-16-2013, 10:37 AM
you know! every time i do aikido or see an aikido video, i saw MMA everywhere in it. ;)

Richard Stevens
04-16-2013, 06:04 PM
Maybe this will help explain my conceptual point. I wasn't trying to say that "aikido" was being demonstrated in MMA, I don't think it is. I do however think that "aiki" is there, and that "aiki" is all over the place in almost any/all high-level martial arts, even if it is not recognized as being so in that art.

Perhaps this is a good way to try to explain what I'm driving at. O-Sensei didn't "invent" aiki in aikido, he "found" it... if that makes sense. It was there, waiting, and he found it, thought it right and good, and built a system of principled reactions to aggressive physical actions which seemed to transcend the merely physical and go into less physical realms.

I am not one for the non-quantifiable, I apologize. However, I absolutely LOVES me some subtlety. There is little as un-subtle as a punch in the face, right? Well, one can block and punch back, or one can move out of the way, then punch back, or one can move and punch at the same time (increasing difficulty according to Bruce in his book, eh...).

But, what about simply moving slightly sideways the instant before the punch is even launched, thus frying the visual perception of the aggressor, and mentally shifting his balance so that his unconscious tells him that he can't throw the punch at all as he'll miss and maybe fall down? Subtle! Definition of Aiki at work, again, in my opinion.

if you are not countering the use of force against you with a force, but using evasion to deal with said aggressive force, is that not aiki? If so, then I stand by my initial examples.

This highlights my fundamental confusions as the concept seems to be surrounded by ambiguity. Maybe it is misinterpretation on my part, but I have read it implied that "aiki" cannot be cultivated by simply training for years. Specific training methods need to be followed and they require guidance.

If this is true then how can someone who hasn't utilized those training methods or had any sort of guidance have developed "aiki" skills that can be utilized in combat sports?

Or is it simply that there is a baseline level of "aiki" that naturally develops as a result of years of training and the only way to expand those skills is through focused training methods similar to those taught by Dan Harden or Howard Popkin?

It's seems like there are two opposing definitions of aiki. A pedestrian non-opposition of force and something more esoteric.

Michael Varin
04-16-2013, 10:25 PM
So "aiki" is just good footwork, timing and distancing now? Why are people flocking to Dan Harden if a Muay Thai, BJJ practitioner like Anderson Silva can utilize "aiki" at a high level in combat sports?

This is where the conversation breaks down, because no one said that and if you aren't able to grasp that more is being discussed it becomes impossible to move forward.

if a Muay Thai, BJJ practitioner like Anderson Silva can utilize "aiki" at a high level in combat sports?

Wow. Well...

There aren't many out there!

And trust that Anderson is on a level that far surpasses Dan Harden.

Cliff Judge
04-17-2013, 08:48 AM
Maybe it is misinterpretation on my part, but I have read it implied that "aiki" cannot be cultivated by simply training for years. Specific training methods need to be followed and they require guidance.

You read it correctly, but in the grand scheme of things this is really a minority viewpoint.

Mert Gambito
04-17-2013, 11:46 AM
This highlights my fundamental confusions as the concept seems to be surrounded by ambiguity. Maybe it is misinterpretation on my part, but I have read it implied that "aiki" cannot be cultivated by simply training for years. Specific training methods need to be followed and they require guidance.

If this is true then how can someone who hasn't utilized those training methods or had any sort of guidance have developed "aiki" skills that can be utilized in combat sports?

Or is it simply that there is a baseline level of "aiki" that naturally develops as a result of years of training and the only way to expand those skills is through focused training methods similar to those taught by Dan Harden or Howard Popkin?

It's seems like there are two opposing definitions of aiki. A pedestrian non-opposition of force and something more esoteric.
Richard, et al;

The apparent dichotomy won't be resolved. The dichotomy exists even within Daito-ryu, the parent of most gendai aiki-budo. On one hand, Katsayuki Kondo paints aiki as a tactical force multiplier that relies on timing and atemi (source: What Is Aiki?). On the other hand, Yukioshi Sagawa is clear that it is a body skill primarily developed through solo exercises (source: Transparent Power).

One way to reconcile, if not resolve, the dichotomy is to consider timing and atemi as inherently in play, at the moment of touch, by someone adept at aiki as a body skill.

As for Anderson Silva, count me in as a big fan too. However, I'm curious how he would do in a static push test while relaxed in shizentai or on one foot against a fully committed pusher/uke, with the only point of contact between the parties being where the push is occurring. If those assigned the "aiki proficient" tag by those who've trained with them are known to use their aiki to profound effect whether in motion against motion (to Dan Richards' points in the OP) or motion-in-stillness against motion, e.g. Sagawa and Koichi Tohei in the past, Dan Harden and Howard Popkin (vetted as recently as a few days ago here on AikiWeb) in the present -- all proponents of solo exercises / aiki-taiso (as was O-Sensei) -- then you'd expect similar abilities in others assigned the tag. Well, maybe Steven Seagal has Silva doing torifune and circling a jo overhead, and it's just not documented on YouTube.

Or is it simply that there is a baseline level of "aiki" that naturally develops as a result of years of training and the only way to expand those skills is through focused training methods similar to those taught by Dan Harden or Howard Popkin?
This has historically been Dan's take re: training in certain Daito-ryu lineages, e.g. Roppokai; with Howard as an exponent of developing a notable baseline of ability through waza training, and waza serving as a tool too burn in conditioning and skills best honed through solo training. Did Howard weigh in regarding this notion when you met him?

Richard Stevens
04-18-2013, 09:59 AM
Most of Popkin's stuff was over my head, but it was amazing to see what he could do. Honestly, the biggest thing I got out of the seminar was how ineffective my Jujutsu is and how much "internal" work it is going to take to change that. To be honest, I'm not sure I have the desire to put in the required effort. A return to Judo or BJJ may be coming.

Mert Gambito
04-18-2013, 11:52 AM
Most of Popkin's stuff was over my head, but it was amazing to see what he could do. Honestly, the biggest thing I got out of the seminar was how ineffective my Jujutsu is and how much "internal" work it is going to take to change that. To be honest, I'm not sure I have the desire to put in the required effort. A return to Judo or BJJ may be coming.
Yup. Daily work. Over the course of not a couple, but several years, to get to the point it's of practical value even in cooperative waza. But at least you know what the road map is to get there.

This is what maddens those of us who've made the effort to train with Dan, Mike Sigman, Sam Chin, and Aunkai folks when skeptics try to nitpick IP/IS training from an armchair. These IP/IS systems are comprehensive, fully formed methodologies with incredibly detailed protocols for using intent to achieve specific objectives for body conditioning. Someone who's found benefit in having a strength coach or personal fitness trainer would appreciate the level of detail in these IP/IS methods, even though these methods are nothing like conventional strength or fitness training.

So, if "kohai" like Howard and Bill Gleason, so to speak, are making people rethink how well they understand this "aiki" thing, yet they both readily admit they pale in comparison to Dan per se, and Dan is adamant that he personally has a long way to go -- then, well, just know the fence has a gate.

David Orange
04-22-2013, 09:41 AM
This is what maddens those of us who've made the effort to train with Dan, Mike Sigman, Sam Chin, and Aunkai folks when skeptics try to nitpick IP/IS training from an armchair. These IP/IS systems are comprehensive, fully formed methodologies with incredibly detailed protocols for using intent to achieve specific objectives for body conditioning. Someone who's found benefit in having a strength coach or personal fitness trainer would appreciate the level of detail in these IP/IS methods, even though these methods are nothing like conventional strength or fitness training.

I've been convinced that aiki is different from technique.

The technique is jujutsu (as Mochizuki considered aikido to be). There's no surprise that some cognates of these techniques show up throughout every fighting art. Timing and techniques can be extremely effective.

But aiki is not "timing and technique"--even blending, non-resistant technique.

I'm convinced that aiki actually is a body skill independent from movement.

"Aikido technique" is form.

Aiki is formless.

Interesting that, after all Dan Richards' explanations of what aiki, IP and IS are, after meeting Howard, he's thinking of going back to judo.

That is the meaning of "It has to be felt."

JP3
04-22-2013, 08:20 PM
Personally, I can find the lessons best in the judo space than I can find way out there in aikido land. More physical sensation to learn from, I think. Best for this dumb guy.

I do have a question, though ... and not trying to be insulting. What is the benefit of learning how "not to be moved?"

This seems tacky/insulting to say, but "Best way block punch, you no be there." Right? It's always seemed best to me. I know there are certain jutsu branches out there that seem to specialize in "hit me and you can't hurt me" but that smacks of the arms race between armor-piercing vs. armor with armor-piercing always coming out on top.

If they miss, they miss.

OK, back to thread.

hughrbeyer
04-22-2013, 09:49 PM
What is the benefit of learning how "not to be moved?"

This seems tacky/insulting to say, but "Best way block punch, you no be there." Right?

Right. The push tests aren't so you can stand there like a dummy in an attack situation. They demonstrate and develop a quality of connection which you then carry into your technique. Then when you move, you move because you decided to move on your own terms, not because your attacker made you move on theirs.

Chris Li
04-22-2013, 10:12 PM
Personally, I can find the lessons best in the judo space than I can find way out there in aikido land. More physical sensation to learn from, I think. Best for this dumb guy.

I do have a question, though ... and not trying to be insulting. What is the benefit of learning how "not to be moved?"

This seems tacky/insulting to say, but "Best way block punch, you no be there." Right? It's always seemed best to me. I know there are certain jutsu branches out there that seem to specialize in "hit me and you can't hurt me" but that smacks of the arms race between armor-piercing vs. armor with armor-piercing always coming out on top.

If they miss, they miss.

OK, back to thread.

Learning "not to be moved" and "not moving" are two very different things.

The first is about stability, the second is about just standing in the way.

It seems to me that it's a no brainer that you'd want to have as much stability as you can when pushed or pulled in a martial situation. That doesn't mean that you can't move - can't go with a push or pull if you choose to do so - but even then you have to maintain your internal stability, or you're toast.

Is it really that difficult to understand?

Best,

Chris

phitruong
04-22-2013, 10:17 PM
I do have a question, though ... and not trying to be insulting. What is the benefit of learning how "not to be moved?"
.

it's not about not moving. it's about managing force apply to you in static. it's the baby step. next up is to "not be moved" while moving. imagine you try to throw someone and they just move through you and you could not stop them, while they can strike you with so much power, with no wind up, and make bruce lee's one inch punch looked like child play. now, since you mentioned judo, what would you give for the ability to be able to get under anyone without even changing your body position/posture, like squating down below the other person?

it's hard for folks to see the link between IP/IS and the arts that they practice. so most folks said why bother. why would i learn that? why don't i learn to do another hips throw, another uchimata, another koshinage, another shihonage, and so on and so for? why would i learn thing that don't make much sense? it's tedious and boring works. most folks don't have the patient for it.

That's why nowaday, i told folk to not bother with IP/IS. they aren't fit for it.

btw, did i mention, everything about this is a test? like those old time masters, testing to see if the students have the right aptitude to learn the real stuffs or not.

Michael Varin
04-23-2013, 12:54 AM
I've been convinced that aiki is different from technique.

Of course aiki is different from technique.

The technique is jujutsu (as Mochizuki considered aikido to be). There's no surprise that some cognates of these techniques show up throughout every fighting art. Timing and techniques can be extremely effective.

But aiki is not "timing and technique"--even blending, non-resistant technique.

Ju is not technique either.

I'm convinced that aiki actually is a body skill independent from movement.

How would you describe it? What are its qualities? What distinguishes it from other skills?

"Aikido technique" is form.

Aiki is formless.

Agreed. Do you think the formless must always be manifested in form?

Interesting that, after all Dan Richards' explanations of what aiki, IP and IS are, after meeting Howard, he's thinking of going back to judo.

That is the meaning of "It has to be felt."

Unless you know something the rest of of don't, I think you might want to read the thread more carefully. Dan Richards started the thread. Richard Stevens is the guy who is thinking about going back to judo.

Michael Varin
04-23-2013, 01:27 AM
Don't be a smart ass, Chris.

It's comments like this

As for Anderson Silva, count me in as a big fan too. However, I'm curious how he would do in a static push test while relaxed in shizentai or on one foot against a fully committed pusher/uke, with the only point of contact between the parties being where the push is occurring. If those assigned the "aiki proficient" tag by those who've trained with them are known to use their aiki to profound effect whether in motion against motion (to Dan Richards' points in the OP) or motion-in-stillness against motion, e.g. Sagawa and Koichi Tohei in the past, Dan Harden and Howard Popkin (vetted as recently as a few days ago here on AikiWeb) in the present -- all proponents of solo exercises / aiki-taiso (as was O-Sensei) -- then you'd expect similar abilities in others assigned the tag. Well, maybe Steven Seagal has Silva doing torifune and circling a jo overhead, and it's just not documented on YouTube.

that confuse the situation.

Do you think Anderson Silva gives a shit about static push tests? Can you see what level he has achieved? It's rare amongst fighters and martial artists. Period. Do you think he does it simply with technique?

And in a very real sense, yielding is the only strategy that works 100% of the time.

Like John said, "If they miss, they miss."

And no, grandmas can't do it.

Chris Li
04-23-2013, 02:26 AM
Don't be a smart ass, Chris.

I wasn't, in particular, stability should be a no brainer - yielding or not.

There's nothing in the quote you cited that says moving or yielding is a bad idea. Nobody talking about push tests has ever said that moving or yielding is a bad idea. Give up the straw man.

Anderson Silva is great - that doesn't mean that he's automatically good at everything. There are plenty of great fighters around who use no internal methods at all, nothing wrong with that, everybody chooses their own strategies.

Best,

Chris

Michael Varin
04-23-2013, 03:04 AM
I wasn't, in particular, stability should be a no brainer - yielding or not.

There's nothing in the quote you cited that says moving or yielding is a bad idea. Nobody talking about push tests has ever said that moving or yielding is a bad idea. Give up the straw man.

Anderson Silva is great - that doesn't mean that he's automatically good at everything. There are plenty of great fighters around who use no internal methods at all, nothing wrong with that, everybody chooses their own strategies.

Best,

Chris

Of course!

I'm not sure anyone is disputing anything you just said. I certainly am not.

I think what consistutes "internal" and certainly "aiki" is not well defined and may be up for debate... but maybe not!

No straw man here... I didn't say anyone said anything. I just said it confuses the converstaion. I'm trying to get to the nitty-gritty. And my guess is we all have much more in common than we have different.

But that's just me!

Mary Eastland
04-23-2013, 07:23 AM
My goal is that when this MMA craze passes our aikido will be peaceful and effective as we continue to jouney on our path.

phitruong
04-23-2013, 09:20 AM
My goal is that when this MMA craze passes our aikido will be peaceful and effective as we continue to jouney on our path.

nope. we still have WWE to contend with. like the rock or the undertaker, i'll call myself - phi the aikidude and my costume will be my leather chaps and that's all. personally, i think you guys should pray that MMA craze won't ever pass. :D

lars beyer
04-23-2013, 10:55 AM
nope. we still have WWE to contend with. like the rock or the undertaker, i'll call myself - phi the aikidude and my costume will be my leather chaps and that's all. personally, i think you guys should pray that MMA craze won't ever pass. :D

Now picture that... :eek: :crazy:

Peace:rolleyes:
Lars

jonreading
04-23-2013, 11:53 AM
Somewhat out of order...

I think that sports like mixed martial arts apply a pressure to traditional systems to re-evaluate themselves. I do not think this is a bad thing. I think the success or failure of MMA as a sport is largely irrelevant to traditional systems, as they are apple and oranges. I think aikido has a great opportunity to evaluate themselves and I hope we take advantage of it. I hope our MMA friends take the opportunity to share what they are learning on the mat, after all they are training with an intensity that we rarely experience in our regular training.

Now, some of that "learning" is painful. As part of our evaluative process, we are getting a great look at the floor as our training falls apart in some respects and MMA guys training for 6 months are eating aikido people alive. We are also getting a great look at our presumption that aiki is some mystical force exclusive to aikido. Finally, our confidence is being shaken as we see better [sport] fighters in shorter training periods who are not choosing traditional training. Throw in a rising minority of aikido outlyers who are training through a different paradigm and rising to meet this challenge and aikido has some couch issues.

Aiki is a great tool, learn from where you find it.

Cliff Judge
04-23-2013, 01:10 PM
Somewhat out of order...

I think that sports like mixed martial arts apply a pressure to traditional systems to re-evaluate themselves. I do not think this is a bad thing. I think the success or failure of MMA as a sport is largely irrelevant to traditional systems, as they are apple and oranges. I think aikido has a great opportunity to evaluate themselves and I hope we take advantage of it. I hope our MMA friends take the opportunity to share what they are learning on the mat, after all they are training with an intensity that we rarely experience in our regular training.

Now, some of that "learning" is painful. As part of our evaluative process, we are getting a great look at the floor as our training falls apart in some respects and MMA guys training for 6 months are eating aikido people alive. We are also getting a great look at our presumption that aiki is some mystical force exclusive to aikido. Finally, our confidence is being shaken as we see better [sport] fighters in shorter training periods who are not choosing traditional training. Throw in a rising minority of aikido outlyers who are training through a different paradigm and rising to meet this challenge and aikido has some couch issues.

Aiki is a great tool, learn from where you find it.

I dunno. If MMA puts any pressure on traditional martial arts, it is on practitioners, not on systems.

Most of the usual "MMA vs Aikido" stuff seems to fit here. In what venue are MMA people who have trained for 6 months "eating Aikido people alive?" The ring? Give the Aikido people 6 months of training and see what happens, right? Are the MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn Aikido, either traditional kihon or internal strength principles?

Robert Cowham
04-23-2013, 03:38 PM
I do have a question, though ... and not trying to be insulting. What is the benefit of learning how "not to be moved?"

This seems tacky/insulting to say, but "Best way block punch, you no be there." Right? It's always seemed best to me. I know there are certain jutsu branches out there that seem to specialize in "hit me and you can't hurt me" but that smacks of the arms race between armor-piercing vs. armor with armor-piercing always coming out on top.

I've always quite liked Peter Ralston's approach to this in Cheng Hsin - yielding works with every attack - the "won't be moved" approach tends to find eventually the one person who can move you! That said, when he was training for full contact competition (1978 when he won), he learnt qigongs and iron shirt methods to lessen injury.

jonreading
04-24-2013, 11:43 AM
I dunno. If MMA puts any pressure on traditional martial arts, it is on practitioners, not on systems.

Most of the usual "MMA vs Aikido" stuff seems to fit here. In what venue are MMA people who have trained for 6 months "eating Aikido people alive?" The ring? Give the Aikido people 6 months of training and see what happens, right? Are the MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn Aikido, either traditional kihon or internal strength principles?

I was thinking more along the lines of systems evaluating teaching methodology, developing combat styles, kata and the like. I believe a good example of this was the Gracie style jujutsu introducing effective use of the gi in the ring... I think the personal struggle practitioners experience is real, but in the sense personal skill will always exist as a comparative metric.

The venue to which I was referring was not necessarily even ring fighting, but simple situations like "don't let your partner throw you" or "don't let you partner grab you" or "don't let your partner hit you." I think MMA in particular is more advanced in the "independent movement" theory, mostly because they want to [independently] kick your butt. Aikido stills talks about 4-legged animals and connecting to our partners. MMA is a great resource to illustrate, for example, why we do not want to connect to our partner.

Are MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn aikido? Not to any measureable amount of which I am aware. However, aikido has done a poor job of marketing our skills to the professional fighting circuit. My personal attitude is that if I know a judo player, or a MMA fighter and they are looking for an edge I will help them to the best of my ability. 2 of our judo guys just medaled at US Nationals - I could not be happier and if they ever asked I would be pleased to see how aiki could help them play better judo.

Mert Gambito
04-24-2013, 12:35 PM
It's comments like this
As for Anderson Silva, count me in as a big fan too. However, I'm curious how he would do in a static push test while relaxed in shizentai or on one foot against a fully committed pusher/uke, with the only point of contact between the parties being where the push is occurring. If those assigned the "aiki proficient" tag by those who've trained with them are known to use their aiki to profound effect whether in motion against motion (to Dan Richards' points in the OP) or motion-in-stillness against motion, e.g. Sagawa and Koichi Tohei in the past, Dan Harden and Howard Popkin (vetted as recently as a few days ago here on AikiWeb) in the present -- all proponents of solo exercises / aiki-taiso (as was O-Sensei) -- then you'd expect similar abilities in others assigned the tag. Well, maybe Steven Seagal has Silva doing torifune and circling a jo overhead, and it's just not documented on YouTube.
that confuse the situation.
I think I was successful in differentiating between martial prowess of different stripes.

You can find push tests in aikido, Daito-ryu and Hakkoryu. In addition, the initial contact between nage / tori and uke is, in essence, a push test during waza.

Dan Harden teaches a number of MMA folks. The ones we've met in Hawaii had no prior exposure to anything like aiki-taiso of any flavor, yet they now see the value of push tests and motion-in-stillness solo training. One of them routinely trains at BJ Penn's UFC gym in Honolulu, then goes to a park in Waikiki to work on six directions, spiraling, etc. When I meet him to do push tests, they're more like push and pull tests, with single- and double-legs (i.e. aiki from the back of the knees), pulling for standing fit-ins / judo uchi-komi, etc.

The time is coming when mixed martial artists will bow into Chris Li's Aikido Sangenkai classes. It would've already happened if the MMAist I mentioned above wasn't so busy on the weekends running a business.

Cliff Judge
04-24-2013, 12:46 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of systems evaluating teaching methodology, developing combat styles, kata and the like. I believe a good example of this was the Gracie style jujutsu introducing effective use of the gi in the ring... I think the personal struggle practitioners experience is real, but in the sense personal skill will always exist as a comparative metric.

The venue to which I was referring was not necessarily even ring fighting, but simple situations like "don't let your partner throw you" or "don't let you partner grab you" or "don't let your partner hit you." I think MMA in particular is more advanced in the "independent movement" theory, mostly because they want to [independently] kick your butt. Aikido stills talks about 4-legged animals and connecting to our partners. MMA is a great resource to illustrate, for example, why we do not want to connect to our partner.

Are MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn aikido? Not to any measureable amount of which I am aware. However, aikido has done a poor job of marketing our skills to the professional fighting circuit. My personal attitude is that if I know a judo player, or a MMA fighter and they are looking for an edge I will help them to the best of my ability. 2 of our judo guys just medaled at US Nationals - I could not be happier and if they ever asked I would be pleased to see how aiki could help them play better judo.

Hmmm. So this thread is about aiki as a type of technique, and how you can see it used in MMA sometimes, and you are saying that you'd like it if aiki-as-technique were more or a plug-n-play thing that you could teach to people who could then apply it in an MMA setting better. Possibly MMA is just one example here, for you. Your criticism is that you have to get into the entire Aikido thing to do that.

I feel like this is basically the same conversation people have been having for decades. You step onto the mat and right away, you are given notions such as "nonresistance" and "don't make it a struggle" and "no competition" and "Satsuninto / Katsujinken". Then years later, mysteriously, you start to wonder why Aikido hasn't increased your ability to struggle, resist, fight, or compete.

I dunno...but there is a baby in that bathwater.

Lee Salzman
04-24-2013, 03:19 PM
Hmmm. So this thread is about aiki as a type of technique, and how you can see it used in MMA sometimes, and you are saying that you'd like it if aiki-as-technique were more or a plug-n-play thing that you could teach to people who could then apply it in an MMA setting better. Possibly MMA is just one example here, for you. Your criticism is that you have to get into the entire Aikido thing to do that.

I feel like this is basically the same conversation people have been having for decades. You step onto the mat and right away, you are given notions such as "nonresistance" and "don't make it a struggle" and "no competition" and "Satsuninto / Katsujinken". Then years later, mysteriously, you start to wonder why Aikido hasn't increased your ability to struggle, resist, fight, or compete.

I dunno...but there is a baby in that bathwater.

The funny thing is, you can improve at MMA by non-struggle, non-resistance, non-competition, etc... The fighting part, well, MMA is fighting, I'll give you that - but even then, it takes on a waaay different meaning when you do it with IP and aiki. None of these are in any way contrary to MMA, not do they really require the learning of waza to apply into MMA. It seems like, from my experience, the more I dump the waza, the bathwater if you will, the easier it is for me to find the baby, aiki, and teach it how to fight MMA-style. To abuse the metaphor further, the bathwater is so murky and thick, I don't think anyone could find the baby in it if they tried short of that - I know I could not.

So, yep, if you expect to just do MMA like you always did with aiki, it's not going to happen. No argument there. There's a long slow learning process that will change you, and your fighting from the very core of your being to the outside of your body where people can and will feel it. So long as you're willing to accept that, aiki really is plug-and-play with MMA. :D

Cliff Judge
04-24-2013, 04:20 PM
The funny thing is, you can improve at MMA by non-struggle, non-resistance, non-competition, etc... The fighting part, well, MMA is fighting, I'll give you that - but even then, it takes on a waaay different meaning when you do it with IP and aiki. None of these are in any way contrary to MMA, not do they really require the learning of waza to apply into MMA. It seems like, from my experience, the more I dump the waza, the bathwater if you will, the easier it is for me to find the baby, aiki, and teach it how to fight MMA-style. To abuse the metaphor further, the bathwater is so murky and thick, I don't think anyone could find the baby in it if they tried short of that - I know I could not.

So, yep, if you expect to just do MMA like you always did with aiki, it's not going to happen. No argument there. There's a long slow learning process that will change you, and your fighting from the very core of your being to the outside of your body where people can and will feel it. So long as you're willing to accept that, aiki really is plug-and-play with MMA. :D

What are you referring to when you say waza? Technique, like ikkyo nikkyo sankyo etc?

It seems to me like you are talking about extracting a single facet of aiki, packing it into waza, and then dumping the riai, or purpose of the art. I mean its a budo, you can't just rip the heart of it out and go use it for self-aggrandizement. What the heck is that about?

I am serious about all of these issues having been solved by the 1980s. You IP guys need to rewatch "Star Wars" and the original "Karate Kid." :)

Chris Li
04-24-2013, 04:28 PM
What are you referring to when you say waza? Technique, like ikkyo nikkyo sankyo etc?

It seems to me like you are talking about extracting a single facet of aiki, packing it into waza, and then dumping the riai, or purpose of the art. I mean its a budo, you can't just rip the heart of it out and go use it for self-aggrandizement. What the heck is that about?

I am serious about all of these issues having been solved by the 1980s. You IP guys need to rewatch "Star Wars" and the original "Karate Kid." :)

You've mentioned this kind of thing a couple of times, but so far as I can see nobody's dumping anything. Who's ripping out hearts, and what are you talking about?

I haven't seen much self-aggrandizement, either, or maybe it's just that there's so much of that in the Aikido community anyway that I just didn't notice. :D

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
04-24-2013, 04:40 PM
You've mentioned this kind of thing a couple of times, but so far as I can see nobody's dumping anything. Who's ripping out hearts, and what are you talking about?

I haven't seen much self-aggrandizement, either, or maybe it's just that there's so much of that in the Aikido community anyway that I just didn't notice. :D

Best,

Chris

I think I am having a conversation with Lee and Jon about dumping waza and focusing on IP in order to get more MMA guys interested in going to your dojo to win more prize fights. What parts of this am I hallucinating?

Chris Li
04-24-2013, 04:58 PM
I think I am having a conversation with Lee and Jon about dumping waza and focusing on IP in order to get more MMA guys interested in going to your dojo to win more prize fights. What parts of this am I hallucinating?

Well, you were talking about "dumping the heart of the art", are you saying that those specific waza are the "heart of the art"?

I don't think that either of them (they'll have to answer for themselves) have said anything about trying to get more MMA guys into the dojo to win prize fights, they were talking about applicability, mostly. Of course, a number of people started training with Ueshiba in order to turn themselves into better fighters, so I don't know what would be wrong with that anyway.

FWIW, Sokaku Takeda, Morihei Ueshiba, and most of Ueshiba's students participated in the "MMA" of their times, so I'm really not sure what the problem is.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
04-24-2013, 06:40 PM
FWIW, Sokaku Takeda, Morihei Ueshiba, and most of Ueshiba's students participated in the "MMA" of their times, so I'm really not sure what the problem is.

Which ones were these?

Chris Li
04-24-2013, 06:50 PM
Which ones were these?

The people? Most of the ushideshi cross trained at one time or another, and quite a few of them went out to test it out, ask around (start with Saotome...).

Best,

Chris

jonreading
04-24-2013, 07:59 PM
Hmmm. So this thread is about aiki as a type of technique, and how you can see it used in MMA sometimes, and you are saying that you'd like it if aiki-as-technique were more or a plug-n-play thing that you could teach to people who could then apply it in an MMA setting better. Possibly MMA is just one example here, for you. Your criticism is that you have to get into the entire Aikido thing to do that. ...

I dunno...but there is a baby in that bathwater.

I think MMA is a sport that could benefit from exposure to aiki. I think aikido is a vehicle through which we can share our knowledge of aiki. I think sport fighting is not traditional training and individuals who would benefit from exposure to aiki are not necessarily interested in traditional training. Specifically, I think most of our kata collection is either illegal or impractical in sport fighting. My observation is that many aikido people have difficulty expressing aiki outside of kata, and because of this difficulty we are faced with this "do aikido where we can orchestrate aiki," or nothing at all.

I think the ability to express aiki without kata is indicative of skill. I think the ability to express aiki without connection is indicative of skill. I think asking people to do such a thing is neither outrageous nor unreasonable. What's better, it is real sharing of what I believe to be the heart of aikido - aiki. Not just sharing kata, but actual aiki.

I am not trying to be derogatory of aikido. In fact, I firmly believe we have much to share with the sport fight community, if we want to. I also firmly believe creating a method by which we can share aiki without the box of kata is an important ability.

jonreading
04-24-2013, 08:07 PM
It seems to me like you are talking about extracting a single facet of aiki, packing it into waza, and then dumping the riai, or purpose of the art. I mean its a budo, you can't just rip the heart of it out and go use it for self-aggrandizement. What the heck is that about?


I can appreciate this comment. I am not in support of bastardizing aikido. My argument is these individuals are not prospective students of traditional systems (right now). They have no interest in the budo, yet. They have no interest in practicing aikido, yet. I believe these interactions to foster an appreciation and possible return to aikido when budo does become important to them.

Also, I am not convinced that it was O Sensei who packed aikido with form, function, and philosophy; rather, it seems like the early the senior students of O Sensei did that.

Cliff Judge
04-24-2013, 09:07 PM
I think MMA is a sport that could benefit from exposure to aiki. I think aikido is a vehicle through which we can share our knowledge of aiki. I think sport fighting is not traditional training and individuals who would benefit from exposure to aiki are not necessarily interested in traditional training. Specifically, I think most of our kata collection is either illegal or impractical in sport fighting. My observation is that many aikido people have difficulty expressing aiki outside of kata, and because of this difficulty we are faced with this "do aikido where we can orchestrate aiki," or nothing at all.

I think the ability to express aiki without kata is indicative of skill. I think the ability to express aiki without connection is indicative of skill. I think asking people to do such a thing is neither outrageous nor unreasonable. What's better, it is real sharing of what I believe to be the heart of aikido - aiki. Not just sharing kata, but actual aiki.

I am not trying to be derogatory of aikido. In fact, I firmly believe we have much to share with the sport fight community, if we want to. I also firmly believe creating a method by which we can share aiki without the box of kata is an important ability.

So you are talking about separating the heart of Aikido - aiki - and making a waza out of it that you can train apart from the history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido.

I think that would be a fine thing for a motivated individual to devote him or herself to. I don't think of it as a problem for "the art" as you put it earlier though. In fact I am not sure why you would want to continue to use terms such as aiki if you are going to be rid of all of that stuff.

I am of the opinion that what you come up with will be no easier or faster a path to skill than any traditional form of Aikido, and without the trappings, you might get fewer people interested in it. Maybe these aren't concerns.

I am also strongly of the opinion that it wouldn't be much of a disruptor in the marketplace of MMA technologies. If you are going into a ring where you must grapple or beat your opponent into submission, BJJ and Muay Thai will still be the go-to systems.

But it sure would be something if I were wrong! I dare you! :)

Cliff Judge
04-24-2013, 09:23 PM
Also, I am not convinced that it was O Sensei who packed aikido with form, function, and philosophy; rather, it seems like the early the senior students of O Sensei did that.

I know...but how reasonable is it to disregard how his senior students interpreted and worked with what he taught them? They spent more time training with him than you did!

One of the worst things about the Aiki arts is the idea that they were never taught in good faith.

Takeda was a paranoid individual, and from all of his students comes the notion that "True Aiki must only be shared with a select few special students" because it is "so easy to steal." Whether this is wholly true or to any degree false it is a poisonous notion. :(

Chris Li
04-24-2013, 10:46 PM
I know...but how reasonable is it to disregard how his senior students interpreted and worked with what he taught them? They spent more time training with him than you did!

One of the worst things about the Aiki arts is the idea that they were never taught in good faith.

Takeda was a paranoid individual, and from all of his students comes the notion that "True Aiki must only be shared with a select few special students" because it is "so easy to steal." Whether this is wholly true or to any degree false it is a poisonous notion. :(

If time in were the only measure then the most senior would always have the most correct opinion. But we all know that seniority and experience don't actually match up so cleanly with actual ability and understanding in most cases - or, in most cases outside of Aikido, anyway. :D

After a number of years in (and some of us have a large number!) it's entirely reasonable to evaluate what we've been doing based upon our own experiences. Saotome did no less - a number of his seniors told him that he should stay in Tokyo and study a little bit longer, was that reasonable?

Mochizuki (who had spent a lot more time with Ueshiba) told Tamura that what he was doing wasn't even Aikido - would it have been more reasonable for Tamura to follow Mochizuki then stay with the Aikikai?

I respect all those folks who spent time training with and without Ueshiba - but at some point you have to stand up and form your own opinions.

Takeda as a paranoid certainly can't be ignored. And whether or not Ueshiba taught in good faith or not - it's beyond question that his students had a more than difficult time understanding him, by their own admission. That's not an unimportant consideration.

It's really only poisonous if you go down the path of Ueshiba-as-avatar - if you evaluate him as a man in the company of other men (and women) working on common principles then it all works out.

Best,

Chris

Lee Salzman
04-25-2013, 01:44 AM
So you are talking about separating the heart of Aikido - aiki - and making a waza out of it that you can train apart from the history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido.

I think that would be a fine thing for a motivated individual to devote him or herself to. I don't think of it as a problem for "the art" as you put it earlier though. In fact I am not sure why you would want to continue to use terms such as aiki if you are going to be rid of all of that stuff.

I am of the opinion that what you come up with will be no easier or faster a path to skill than any traditional form of Aikido, and without the trappings, you might get fewer people interested in it. Maybe these aren't concerns.

I am also strongly of the opinion that it wouldn't be much of a disruptor in the marketplace of MMA technologies. If you are going into a ring where you must grapple or beat your opponent into submission, BJJ and Muay Thai will still be the go-to systems.

But it sure would be something if I were wrong! I dare you! :)

For better or worse, the heart of Aikido - aiki - is a set of skills that is independent of history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido. If you have one without the other, is it Aikido? I don't think so, even myself, you need both, to have the art that, as the legacy of Morihei Ueshiba, his son, others like Tohei, Shioda, etc., is known as Aikido. Aiki without the wrapping is just aiki, aikido without aiki is just martial dance class. Aiki is the glue that holds all the wrapping together, gives it life and purpose. I can show up to the dojo, wear my gi and hakama, bow nicely, say all the right things, know all the right history, pay respects to all the right people, move my arms to and fro like such and such, but if there is no aiki in it, what am I doing? Just jujitsu with philosophical trappings.

And, eh, neither I nor, I believe, Jon (apologize for putting words in your mouth, Jon ;)), or, hell, even the people we are learning from *cough*, are claiming to be inventing or innovating or coming up with anything as pertains to aiki. Aiki, the skill set, is old hat. It's just being shown to us, and it was shown to others before, and others before even that. It's just taken many of us forever to find it and learn it in or after our Aikido careers.

Why use the term aiki? Because that is what it is! It is a distinct thing I had never encountered before in palpable form - that is to say, it can be isolated and trained without going so far as using anything that can be construed as recognizable techniques be it throws or locks or atemi. It was conveniently labeled aiki in that form I encountered it - so hence, aiki is aiki. No preexisting name for it within the totality of my experience would do it justice, so, it is aiki!

Aiki as a distinct skill set is not only a potential disruptor for MMA, it is a potential shot in the arm for Aikido. Not aiki as applied in Aikido, but aiki as a distinct teachable entity, so that we can pull it out and verify, when doing Aikido, where is our aiki? How good at it are we? Are we really using it well to best effect to achieve all the trappings that the art of Aikido demands?

MMA sport careers last the blink of an eye, there's a certain age when you have to get in and get out by, be in good fighting condition, etc. and, so, yeah, I don't see MMA guys achieving high levels of skill with aiki, let alone Aikido, in the span of that time. It doesn't mean they still can't get some short term benefits from it, but it is a long road. But after that, when they're just in it to do MMA as budo? The sky is the limit.

As far as things like BJJ or Muay Thai? Aiki does not replace these any more than it replaces Aikido as a way of application. I do BJJ, judo, boxing, some Aikido still, getting into stick work, etc. and aiki does not replace any of these for teaching me how to not get the crap beat out of me, but it gives me a profound new way of interpreting them, however. Aiki will not make you into a fighter, it will just make you a better fighter.

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2013, 11:24 AM
I dunno. If MMA puts any pressure on traditional martial arts, it is on practitioners, not on systems.

Most of the usual "MMA vs Aikido" stuff seems to fit here. In what venue are MMA people who have trained for 6 months "eating Aikido people alive?" The ring? Give the Aikido people 6 months of training and see what happens, right? Are the MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn Aikido, either traditional kihon or internal strength principles?

Agree, but I think it is putting pressue on the institutions.

Long story and I have to run, but my whole reason for getting involved in the MMA movement was exactly that, geting my ass handed to me by someone that had been training only for a few months. It broke me down and had me made, but I looked at it to figure out what I was not understanding about the paradigm shift I was facing. In the end, I reached a deeper understanding about martial arts, dynamic movement, and the spectrum of conflict and what fits were in the greater scheme of things. I am a better martial artist for not sticking my head into the sand.

In the end, Aikido still had a place in my training, albeit not the same as it did before. however it is just as valuable once I figured out what was wrong with my methods of training.

jonreading
04-25-2013, 11:50 AM
So you are talking about separating the heart of Aikido - aiki - and making a waza out of it that you can train apart from the history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido.

I think that would be a fine thing for a motivated individual to devote him or herself to. I don't think of it as a problem for "the art" as you put it earlier though. In fact I am not sure why you would want to continue to use terms such as aiki if you are going to be rid of all of that stuff.

I am of the opinion that what you come up with will be no easier or faster a path to skill than any traditional form of Aikido, and without the trappings, you might get fewer people interested in it. Maybe these aren't concerns.

I am also strongly of the opinion that it wouldn't be much of a disruptor in the marketplace of MMA technologies. If you are going into a ring where you must grapple or beat your opponent into submission, BJJ and Muay Thai will still be the go-to systems.

But it sure would be something if I were wrong! I dare you! :)

Well, I don't know about "separating" the art. What I am thinking about is looking at the parentage and drawing from the larger education of aiki, rather than the child art of aikido. Much in the same fashion as algebra, while a distinct form of math, still relies of the foundation of a mathematical education. In this sense Lee's comments are accurate - aiki is old stuff; we are not "inventing" anything. More likely, we are re-discovering an education process. There could very well be a reason the processes dissappeared - they may not be better than the aiki-do process.

I think this is a problem for the aikido community because I think there is a practicing segment of the community that is not practicing aikido with aiki. Drawing upon that larger education will therefore be impossible. I think this was part of the problem the early shihan encountered - the task of educating new students in aiki without the significant training background from which many of the early shihan came.

I think MMA is developing very fast. Most fighters share experience in the same arts - kickboxing, wrestling, ju jutsu, etc. They are branching into other arts to see what can be useful. Karate and judo are [relatively] new comers to the sport. One trick can win a fight... sometimes a big fight. If it works, they will come...

Cliff Judge
04-25-2013, 12:58 PM
For better or worse, the heart of Aikido - aiki - is a set of skills that is independent of history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido. If you have one without the other, is it Aikido? I don't think so, even myself, you need both, to have the art that, as the legacy of Morihei Ueshiba, his son, others like Tohei, Shioda, etc., is known as Aikido. Aiki without the wrapping is just aiki, aikido without aiki is just martial dance class. Aiki is the glue that holds all the wrapping together, gives it life and purpose. I can show up to the dojo, wear my gi and hakama, bow nicely, say all the right things, know all the right history, pay respects to all the right people, move my arms to and fro like such and such, but if there is no aiki in it, what am I doing? Just jujitsu with philosophical trappings.

And, eh, neither I nor, I believe, Jon (apologize for putting words in your mouth, Jon ;)), or, hell, even the people we are learning from *cough*, are claiming to be inventing or innovating or coming up with anything as pertains to aiki. Aiki, the skill set, is old hat. It's just being shown to us, and it was shown to others before, and others before even that. It's just taken many of us forever to find it and learn it in or after our Aikido careers.

Why use the term aiki? Because that is what it is! It is a distinct thing I had never encountered before in palpable form - that is to say, it can be isolated and trained without going so far as using anything that can be construed as recognizable techniques be it throws or locks or atemi. It was conveniently labeled aiki in that form I encountered it - so hence, aiki is aiki. No preexisting name for it within the totality of my experience would do it justice, so, it is aiki!

Aiki as a distinct skill set is not only a potential disruptor for MMA, it is a potential shot in the arm for Aikido. Not aiki as applied in Aikido, but aiki as a distinct teachable entity, so that we can pull it out and verify, when doing Aikido, where is our aiki? How good at it are we? Are we really using it well to best effect to achieve all the trappings that the art of Aikido demands?

MMA sport careers last the blink of an eye, there's a certain age when you have to get in and get out by, be in good fighting condition, etc. and, so, yeah, I don't see MMA guys achieving high levels of skill with aiki, let alone Aikido, in the span of that time. It doesn't mean they still can't get some short term benefits from it, but it is a long road. But after that, when they're just in it to do MMA as budo? The sky is the limit.

As far as things like BJJ or Muay Thai? Aiki does not replace these any more than it replaces Aikido as a way of application. I do BJJ, judo, boxing, some Aikido still, getting into stick work, etc. and aiki does not replace any of these for teaching me how to not get the crap beat out of me, but it gives me a profound new way of interpreting them, however. Aiki will not make you into a fighter, it will just make you a better fighter.

Let me make two or three points here.

First, I think its a bad idea to look at aiki as a skill set. This thread is an interesting place to talk about this, because back on the first page there is a video of aiki happening in an MMA fight. But it was accidental. The fighters wound up in a certain position, and one of them was in a flow state and realized what the situation was and just let the aiki happen. There is no skill on evidence here, it was not a technique he had prepared, it was a spontaneous technique. Aiki manifested itself, and he allowed it to happen.

The lightbulb that should go off here is that it isn't about acquiring more skill in setting this up, it should be about learning how to freely enter the flow state where this can happen, if it is in the cards to do so. I think if you are of the mind that this is a skill, or a technique, or even "power" or "strength" then you are just erecting more obstacles for yourself from ever figuring it out. (I am certainly not saying I have!)

I think aiki is the ultimate flow state basically - your mind is in harmony with the rotation of the universe, so without moving you find yourself at the exact point where forces meet and resolve. When I ask myself what kind of martial art would be good for learning how to get into this state as required, I think a system that emphasized creativity and improvisation of movement, and allowed both partners to do unexpected things to the other while minimizing the chances for injury would be a good place to start. Allowing both partners to work without any particular goal would also be highly important - and that is why competition is right out for me. This is exactly what I strive for in my Aikido training and it is what I think my teacher is trying to tell me.

Second, I think the more you focus on making aiki follow your mind as opposed to your mind following aiki, you can develop some skills and techniques, but these are things that belong in a bag of tricks to use once in awhile or in concert with other, more consistent things, such as leverage, physical strength, timing, awareness, etc. Aiki may be an old concept but it doesn't show up much in martial arts developed by people who fought professionally. It comes to us from a time when the "samurai" were a quickly-fading, legendary part of the past, when there was social foment and people had leisure to focus on impressive tricks. The Chinese arts that focus on similar skills were leisure or religious activities. So I think it is a fine thing to build a martial practice around in this day and age, but what I am hearing from Kevin, who is a professional warrior, is that it served him best to look into other elements of combat and not focus entirely on aiki.

Third, Lee, I find it really funny that you want to lose the budo aspects of Aikido and try to work on a concept you call aiki, but then one of the reasons you think this is a good thing is so you can offer your de-budoed "aiki...do" to retired and late-career MMA guys...as a budo.

Or maybe it is better to say you want to offer your MMA buds something that is not a traditional budo, its a bud.....o. :D

Cliff Judge
04-25-2013, 01:18 PM
Well, I don't know about "separating" the art. What I am thinking about is looking at the parentage and drawing from the larger education of aiki, rather than the child art of aikido. Much in the same fashion as algebra, while a distinct form of math, still relies of the foundation of a mathematical education. In this sense Lee's comments are accurate - aiki is old stuff; we are not "inventing" anything. More likely, we are re-discovering an education process. There could very well be a reason the processes dissappeared - they may not be better than the aiki-do process.

I think this is a problem for the aikido community because I think there is a practicing segment of the community that is not practicing aikido with aiki. Drawing upon that larger education will therefore be impossible. I think this was part of the problem the early shihan encountered - the task of educating new students in aiki without the significant training background from which many of the early shihan came.

I think MMA is developing very fast. Most fighters share experience in the same arts - kickboxing, wrestling, ju jutsu, etc. They are branching into other arts to see what can be useful. Karate and judo are [relatively] new comers to the sport. One trick can win a fight... sometimes a big fight. If it works, they will come...

I really think it would be better if you guys developed a new vocabulary and really did just say "Hey we've studied some deep martial arts and we're putting together a way to work on these things in the modern world." What you are doing is new. I think sometime in the next ten years you will realize that anchoring yourself to Aikido is holding you back.

To the extent that aiki is nothing new, you could look at it as a single tool in a larger toolbox, or you could look at it as a high-level teaching that should sit atop a rather large pyramid. as in many of the koryu jujutsu systems. In the older jujutsu systems, it is an inner secret, but not necessarily the organizing principle of the system. Aikido's problem is that aiki IS the organizing principle of the system, BUT ITS ALSO THE INNER SECRET. Which is presented directly and openly, but most people completely miss, because they have nothing at the bottom of their skills pyramid. (hmmm maybe that was why Osensei reputedly only took students who were already advanced in other arts).

So Aikido as developed by Kisshomaru etc fills in the mass of the pyramid with ukemi training, softened jujutsu technique, bits and pieces, oh and a spiritual center about getting through life resolving opposing forces non-destructively. It seems like the new IP movement tries to make aiki the bottom of the pyramid itself.

I am not going to pretend that this isn't a fascinating idea. I think hanging onto the bits of Aikido and Daito ryu framing is going to hamper your work. There is certainly this dynamic where anytime you boost what you are doing, you seem to be putting down what Aikido people are doing, which I don't think is your intention, at least not most of you. :)

Chris Li
04-25-2013, 01:36 PM
I really think it would be better if you guys developed a new vocabulary and really did just say "Hey we've studied some deep martial arts and we're putting together a way to work on these things in the modern world." What you are doing is new. I think sometime in the next ten years you will realize that anchoring yourself to Aikido is holding you back.

Well, we've been putting out a lot of information showing that it isn't new, that what's your support to show that it is?

As far as I'm concerned, I am doing Aikido, and nothing but.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
04-25-2013, 02:11 PM
Well, we've been putting out a lot of information showing that it isn't new, that what's your support to show that it is?

Well you haven't done much as far as laying out exactly what your training is. I haven't seen the exercises and such explicitly described. There's no youtube videos.

I have seen bits and pieces hinting at what you do, but it still seems to be a new method. Different than Aikido, more similar to Chinese arts than Aikido's antecedents.

It is really cool to read your translations - you really have a knack for finding things that match what you're thinking, whether its one of Osensei's dokas, or something from one of Sagawa's students. Sometimes you provide a little bit of supporting information from some other source too. You've got this great thing going on - its very unique!


As far as I'm concerned, I am doing Aikido, and nothing but.


Like, in your life? That's great, man. It is my core calling also. But I practice other arts too - I put myself into them 100% when it is training time, and then I don't worry about redefining Aikido around the other arts' techniques, philosophies and parameters. I change a little and get a little better everytime I train, and it expresses itself no matter where I am or what I am doing.

allowedcloud
04-25-2013, 02:20 PM
Well you haven't done much as far as laying out exactly what your training is. I haven't seen the exercises and such explicitly described. There's no youtube videos.

I have seen bits and pieces hinting at what you do, but it still seems to be a new method. Different than Aikido, more similar to Chinese arts than Aikido's antecedents.

It is really cool to read your translations - you really have a knack for finding things that match what you're thinking, whether its one of Osensei's dokas, or something from one of Sagawa's students. Sometimes you provide a little bit of supporting information from some other source too. You've got this great thing going on - its very unique!

Like, in your life? That's great, man. It is my core calling also. But I practice other arts too - I put myself into them 100% when it is training time, and then I don't worry about redefining Aikido around the other arts' techniques, philosophies and parameters. I change a little and get a little better everytime I train, and it expresses itself no matter where I am or what I am doing.

Cliff,

I highly suggest you attend one of Bill Gleason's seminars...as soon as you can. He is now teaching IP/aiki from the ground up. Go and feel and do, then you will understand the history (and it's quite an old history), training methodology, and exercises, and perhaps even how it fits into Aikido. At the very least, I highly doubt you'll be able to tell Bill that what he's doing..isn't Aikido.

Chris Li
04-25-2013, 02:23 PM
Well you haven't done much as far as laying out exactly what your training is. I haven't seen the exercises and such explicitly described. There's no youtube videos.

I have seen bits and pieces hinting at what you do, but it still seems to be a new method. Different than Aikido, more similar to Chinese arts than Aikido's antecedents.

Well, it's out there, for those who go through the trouble. "It's not on YouTube" and "seems to be" isn't much of a justification for your assertion that it's new. I know that there are senior instructors in your own organization who would tell you the same thing.

Like, in your life? That's great, man. It is my core calling also. But I practice other arts too - I put myself into them 100% when it is training time, and then I don't worry about redefining Aikido around the other arts' techniques, philosophies and parameters. I change a little and get a little better everytime I train, and it expresses itself no matter where I am or what I am doing.

No redifining Aikido going on around here - around here we leave that to the modern Aikido guys. :D

Best,

Chris

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2013, 02:56 PM
To jump into the conversation.

For me, once I "found" BJJ and MMA and realized my failures/inadequacies in Aikido. I had to re-evaluate the relative value of my training. It really tore me apart and at first had me looking to abandon aikido all together as a lost cause as I felt like it had really let me done.

However, once I got through the chaos and confusion stage and then started to understand the structure, particularly of BJJ I began to have a better appreciation for the structure, the body and it's relationship to another. I found that I progressed faster than others in BJJ, apparently this came from my training in Aikido. So not a total loss or waste of time!

Upon critical observation over time, I realized that as a basic waza, Aikido, IMO had some inefficiencies. As Jon stated above, the early practitioners of aikido had training of many years and varied experiences before studying aikido. BJJ and MMA provided a proving ground that allowed me to expand my experiences and rapidly gain experience in ways that the relatively rigid/static/controlled experiences I had in aikido would not. BJJ's waza in particular offered a good structure to understand some fundamentals that I simply could not grasp in Aikido.

So, what was left in aikido that made it worthwhile. For me it was the aiki. So, I reached the conclusion that the only reason the methodology was of value over other forms of waza was about the transmission of aiki.

that being the case, I wanted to find the most efficient way possible to learn aiki. Unfortunately, I think that much of what we actually study is a combination of some aiki and some waza that actually does not lend itself well to either aiki or just good darn solid jiu jitsu. thus it becomes an inefficient delivery process for both.

I personally think there is something to be said for having a solid base or foundation in a good combative jiu jitsu system such as Kano Judo or what its closest lineage is now known as BJJ. It gives you a good foundation to build on. After you have that, I think that a very distilled aiki practice with methods designed to teach aiki is appropriate.

Is it different from aikido or is it a dilution of the practice to focus strictly on aiki development and not waza? I think not. I think that if you come to the table with a sound foundation in waza, you don't need to teach this side by side with aiki. You simply do waza as an applied practice of aiki, and spend you aiki practice on simply developing aiki.

I don't think there is anything wrong with that and frankly is really what it is all about. Anything else is simply a waza of some sort and YMMV depending on what you are trying to do with it.

Cliff Judge
04-25-2013, 03:01 PM
Well, we've been putting out a lot of information showing that it isn't new, that what's your support to show that it is?

Well, it's out there, for those who go through the trouble. "It's not on YouTube" and "seems to be" isn't much of a justification for your assertion that it's new.

So you've been putting a lot of information out there, but I have to go through trouble to get it, but the burden is somehow on me to show otherwise... :confused:

Chris Li
04-25-2013, 03:09 PM
So you've been putting a lot of information out there, but I have to go through trouble to get it, but the burden is somehow on me to show otherwise... :confused:

You made the assertion, that what we are doing is new and different. All I'm saying is, support your own assertion.

"Seems like" and "it's not on YouTube" are not, IMO, supporting arguments.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
04-25-2013, 03:31 PM
You made the assertion, that what we are doing is new and different. All I'm saying is, support your own assertion.

"Seems like" and "it's not on YouTube" are not, IMO, supporting arguments.

Best,

Chris

If it wasn't new and different why does one have to go to so much trouble to find it?

Chris Li
04-25-2013, 03:37 PM
If it wasn't new and different why does one have to go to so much trouble to find it?

Being "hard to find" doesn't equal new - and the arguments have been laid out in great detail here and in other places over the years. How about some positive supporting arguments for your assertion?

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
04-25-2013, 04:05 PM
You made the assertion, that what we are doing is new and different. All I'm saying is, support your own assertion.

"Seems like" and "it's not on YouTube" are not, IMO, supporting arguments.

Best,

Chris

Well I cannot, because I don't actually know what you do, because there is all of this secret stuff that you all can't talk about. Which doesn't stop you from talking about how it has fundamentally changed your practice and challenged the way you understand aiki.

Anyway I have gotten way too close to breaking the rules of conduct here and this conversation is well past any hope of being productive. Bon appetit. :p

Chris Li
04-25-2013, 04:33 PM
Well I cannot, because I don't actually know what you do, because there is all of this secret stuff that you all can't talk about. Which doesn't stop you from talking about how it has fundamentally changed your practice and challenged the way you understand aiki.

Anyway I have gotten way too close to breaking the rules of conduct here and this conversation is well past any hope of being productive. Bon appetit. :p

There's really not much that I can't talk about (nothing, really, except things that don't touch on the core issues) - and Dan has posted some very detailed explanations over the years. He's not the only one, of course.

We have at least three workshops with Dan a year, and he and other folks hold workshops all over the world.

The time is past, IMO, when "inaccessibility" is a viable excuse - and a senior ASU instructor said that very thing here on AikiWeb just a short time ago.

FWIW...

Chris

hughrbeyer
04-25-2013, 10:31 PM
"Inaccessible" == Have to go to a godforsakenfrozenisland in the north and abandon your wife and children for four months and devote 100% of your time to a paranoid old man who has to be cajoled into teaching you.

"Spoiled rotten" == Have to travel some few miles and pay a few dollars to attend a seminar where the same stuff is handed out to whoever shows up. And that's too much trouble.

Cady Goldfield
04-26-2013, 09:54 AM
"Inaccessible" == Have to go to a godforsakenfrozenisland in the north and abandon your wife and children for four months and devote 100% of your time to a paranoid old man who has to be cajoled into teaching you.

"Spoiled rotten" == Have to travel some few miles and pay a few dollars to attend a seminar where the same stuff is handed out to whoever shows up. And that's too much trouble.

+1, LOL, "Like," etc.

Andy Kazama
04-26-2013, 12:51 PM
Well, Chris, according to John Driscoll's analysis, you are probably doing Daito-Ryu 82% of the time :) I don't have much to add here except to say I think Cliff is correct in that I do prefer to view "aiki" as the base of the pyramid. As we touch the surface of this stuff, some of us are finding that the particular waza becomes almost an after-thought -- and in some cases, one is scrambling to actually use the specific waza that is being shown because uke is already toast. I think this is where it becomes highly useful to MMA. The finish could look like Daito-Ryu, OR it could be a crushing elbow to the temple.

As for finding this stuff on youtube, I haven't found it difficult in the least (except for maybe videos of DH, that guy's like bigfoot). There are plenty of clips of O'Sensei out there and plenty of his uchi deshi (ex. Yamaguchi, Sunadomari, etc) giving easy to follow examples of what good movement looks like on the outside. Obviously, you are not going to be able to view what they are doing on the inside on a video. That's what seminars are foreven if they are located in the most remote island on the planet -- which also happens to be a paradise on earth- and not just because of the plate lunches :)

Lastly, everything I have encountered in the training has been 100% congruent with my aikido practice, and I have not heard anyone who has actually trained this stuff who has said differently (this includes 6th dans). In contrast, the little bit I have done, and it is a little, has moved my "waza suck-o-meter" from enormous suckage to just under huge suckage. Aiki works, and not just on compliant ukes, and this is why I think it is beneficial to both traditional budo and MMA practitioners.

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 07:15 AM
I really, really, really dislike it when people find aiki-like elements in MMA and then say, "See? REAL aikido is all over the place in MMA! People who say aikido doesn't work in MMA just don't know what REAL aikido is!"

This is a misuse of the word aikido. Aiki is a way of doing things; aikido is a specific martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba which makes extensive use of aiki movement and whose techniques consist primarily of throws and locks.

Most people who claim to see aikido everywhere actually mean that they see aiki everywhere. Aikido is what we do in the dojo; the reason the stuff MMAers do doesn't look like what we do in the dojo is that it isn't aikido, according to any meaningful definition of the word.

Cliff Judge
05-01-2013, 08:25 AM
Aiki is a way of doing things;

I would actually disagree with even this point. it is more a thing that happens; to the extent that you can do it or use it or apply it, that reduces to a matter of you being in the right place at the right time (possibly with the right structure or alignment).

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 08:31 AM
I would actually disagree with even this point. it is more a thing that happens; to the extent that you can do it or use it or apply it, that reduces to a matter of you being in the right place at the right time (possibly with the right structure or alignment).
I'm not sure I'm with you on that, but that's not really my point.

My point is that there is a very big difference between aiki and aikido. Just because you see aiki in something doesn't mean there is aikido there. To say that MMA fighters (most of whom have never trained aikido) are doing aikido makes about as much sense as to say that every musician who improvises is playing jazz. Sure, improvisation is a foundational, unifiying concept of jazz, but that doesn't mean jazz has a monopoly.

Lee Salzman
05-01-2013, 08:34 AM
I would actually disagree with even this point. it is more a thing that happens; to the extent that you can do it or use it or apply it, that reduces to a matter of you being in the right place at the right time (possibly with the right structure or alignment).

Could it also be that aiki is a phenomenon that is so complex to implement, that it merely appears to be something you are powerless to control, a form of magic where your main job is to just let it happen, if an explicit process of instruction on how to do it hasn't taken place and a lot of work hasn't gone into mastering it? What if there is never a wrong place or wrong time, you're just always expressing aiki that you have trained into the mind/body?

Putting aside the trope, or perhaps invoking it, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, aiki does not have to be magic. Aiki does not have to be something that just happens, you are always working on making it happen, by use of the mind's intent. If it doesn't happen, that means we simply sucked at doing it.

Cliff Judge
05-01-2013, 08:51 AM
I'm not sure I'm with you on that, but that's not really my point.

My point is that there is a very big difference between aiki and aikido. Just because you see aiki in something doesn't mean there is aikido there. To say that MMA fighters (most of whom have never trained aikido) are doing aikido makes about as much sense as to say that every musician who improvises is playing jazz. Sure, improvisation is a foundational, unifiying concept of jazz, but that doesn't mean jazz has a monopoly.

I am with you on this.

From my perspective, aiki is a universal principle. Forces meet and merge every day. Therefore, if you watch enough MMA fights, eventually you will see aiki happen. It doesn't mean that either of the fighters studied it or meant to apply it.

Cliff Judge
05-01-2013, 09:04 AM
Could it also be that aiki is a phenomenon that is so complex to implement, that it merely appears to be something you are powerless to control, a form of magic where your main job is to just let it happen, if an explicit process of instruction on how to do it hasn't taken place and a lot of work hasn't gone into mastering it? What if there is never a wrong place or wrong time, you're just always expressing aiki that you have trained into the mind/body?

Putting aside the trope, or perhaps invoking it, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, aiki does not have to be magic. Aiki does not have to be something that just happens, you are always working on making it happen, by use of the mind's intent. If it doesn't happen, that means we simply sucked at doing it.

As we are people of the 21st century typing these things on computers, doesn't it strike you as even mildly ironic that you think that an intellectual, technological, explicit approach is the true path to the wisdom of the ancients? :D

Lee Salzman
05-01-2013, 09:13 AM
As we are people of the 21st century typing these things on computers, doesn't it strike you as even mildly ironic that you think that an intellectual, technological, explicit approach is the true path to the wisdom of the ancients? :D

I guess it depends which ancients you have in mind...


Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Chris Li
05-01-2013, 11:53 AM
I really, really, really dislike it when people find aiki-like elements in MMA and then say, "See? REAL aikido is all over the place in MMA! People who say aikido doesn't work in MMA just don't know what REAL aikido is!"

This is a misuse of the word aikido. Aiki is a way of doing things; aikido is a specific martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba which makes extensive use of aiki movement and whose techniques consist primarily of throws and locks.

Most people who claim to see aikido everywhere actually mean that they see aiki everywhere. Aikido is what we do in the dojo; the reason the stuff MMAers do doesn't look like what we do in the dojo is that it isn't aikido, according to any meaningful definition of the word.

There's that dance that Morihei Ueshiba promoted to 10th Dan (without any in class experience), so I don't know that it holds that you have to be in a formal Aikido class in order to be doing Aikido, at least according to the Founder.

It's interesting that Ueshiba presented a number of definitions for Aikido, none of which mentioned the technical curriculum of throws and locks.

Best,

Chris

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 12:34 PM
There's that dance that Morihei Ueshiba promoted to 10th Dan (without any in class experience), so I don't know that it holds that you have to be in a formal Aikido class in order to be doing Aikido, at least according to the Founder.

It's interesting that Ueshiba presented a number of definitions for Aikido, none of which mentioned the technical curriculum of throws and locks.

Best,

Chris

The technical curriculum of throws and locks is the only way to arrive at a definition of aikido that has any practical meaning at all, no matter what O Sensei says.

Cliff Judge
05-01-2013, 12:49 PM
The technical curriculum of throws and locks is the only way to arrive at a definition of aikido that has any practical meaning at all, no matter what O Sensei says.

There should be a drinking game for the responses you are going to get for this.

Chris Li
05-01-2013, 02:12 PM
The technical curriculum of throws and locks is the only way to arrive at a definition of aikido that has any practical meaning at all, no matter what O Sensei says.

What he did, at least in the case of the dancer. Anyway, never mind the old man, he's dead anyway... :D

Of course the technical curriculum can be quite different in many cases - of Tohei, Shioda, Mochizuki, Tomiki, Nishio, Yamaguchi, Saito, Watanabe, Abe, et al - who is and isn't doing Aikido?

Some of would definitely say (or have said) that what you're doing isn't Aikido - of course, you might say the same thing...;)

Best,

Chris

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 02:45 PM
What he did, at least in the case of the dancer. Anyway, never mind the old man, he's dead anyway... :D
It is pretty well documented that O Sensei threw dan ranks around like they were hot potatoes. I think this had a lot more to do with his feelings about rank than with his definition of aikido.

Of course the technical curriculum can be quite different in many cases - of Tohei, Shioda, Mochizuki, Tomiki, Nishio, Yamaguchi, Saito, Watanabe, Abe, et al - who is and isn't doing Aikido?

Some of would definitely say (or have said) that what you're doing isn't Aikido - of course, you might say the same thing...;)

Best,

Chris
All the technical curricula you mentioned above have irimi, tenkan, ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, kotegaeshi, koshinage, etc. I have trained with students of the Saotome, Nishio, Yamada, Chiba, Tohei, Homma, Tomiki, and Hombu curricula, and they all used nearly identical terminology for essentially the same set of techniques. We might not all agree on what is good aikido, but virtually all of us do seem to agree, according to a technique-based definition, on what is aikido and what is not.

So if that definition is insufficient, (1) what's wrong with it, and (2) what is your alternative definition?

Chris Li
05-01-2013, 03:02 PM
It is pretty well documented that O Sensei threw dan ranks around like they were hot potatoes. I think this had a lot more to do with his feelings about rank than with his definition of aikido.

Fair enough, but not conclusive - and it ignores most of what he actually said when defining things.

All the technical curricula you mentioned above have irimi, tenkan, ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, kotegaeshi, koshinage, etc. I have trained with students of the Saotome, Nishio, Yamada, Chiba, Tohei, Homma, Tomiki, and Hombu curricula, and they all used nearly identical terminology for essentially the same set of techniques. We might not all agree on what is good aikido, but virtually all of us do seem to agree, according to a technique-based definition, on what is aikido and what is not.

So if that definition is insufficient, (1) what's wrong with it, and (2) what is your alternative definition?

As I said, some of them would state categorically that what you are doing isn't Aikido. Moriteru Ueshiba has stated categorically that what some of them are doing isn't Aikido. So it's hardly that simple, despite similar sounding names.

Ueshiba himself stated that Aikido was a principle based art - so did Takeda. It follows that anyone following those principles (leaving aside for the moment the question of whether or not any particular MMA guy is doing so) can be said to be doing Aikido.

"Aiki-do" = "The Way of Aiki" = anybody practicing the principle of Aiki could be said to be doing "Aikido". "Aikido" itself, as a term, isn't exclusive to Ueshiba's art anyway, so it can get a little tricky.

Of course, this could open up a can of worms too...:D

I wrote some of this up last year in this blog post (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-02-19/aikido-tm-can-it-really-be-trademarked).

Best,

Chris

Andy Kazama
05-01-2013, 03:17 PM
Mathew, I think you've asked a very tricky question! Besides the wide inter-dojo variability within aikido styles, all the techniques you've mentioned (ex. ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, kotegaishi, koshinage, etc.) are also seen in Daito-ryu. When you have an 82% overlap in terms of physical techniques with another martial art, it seems like it would be difficult to "define" aikido according to physical overlap. I am definitely NOT saying that you are wrong, but I can see how others might see it differently. In my personal opinion, I think it comes down to a focus on developing "aiki" whatever the heck that is:D The specific techniques and solo exercises are just tools to facilitate the expression of aiki. Thus, maybe it is possible to see high level karateka, judo and sumo players, and maybe even a dancer(?) expressing masterful levels of aiki.

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 03:44 PM
Fair enough, but not conclusive - and it ignores most of what he actually said when defining things.
For the purposes of the present conversation, I am ignoring anything that does not lead to a practical, functional definition of the word aikido. O Sensei was making up aikido as he went; he had the luxury of defining it as he saw fit. I have no such luxury; I need a word with a specific definition I can use.

As I said, some of them would state categorically that what you are doing isn't Aikido. Moriteru Ueshiba has stated categorically that what some of them are doing isn't Aikido. So it's hardly that simple, despite similar sounding names.
In my experience it has been exactly that simple. It is the practical way all martial arts are defined. The fact that the old masters squabbled over whose aikido was the real aikido doesn't change the use of the word in practice.

Ueshiba himself stated that Aikido was a principle based art - so did Takeda. It follows that anyone following those principles (leaving aside for the moment the question of whether or not any particular MMA guy is doing so) can be said to be doing Aikido.
No, it does not follow. The fact that aikido is founded on certain principles does not necessarily mean that all things utilizing those principles are aikido.

"Aiki-do" = "The Way of Aiki" = anybody practicing the principle of Aiki could be said to be doing "Aikido".
According to this logic, anyone who is doing anything with empty hands (clapping, swimming, sign language) can be said to be doing karate. And everything done with a sword is kendo. And everything done gently is judo.

If anything aiki is aikido, (a) there is no reason to have the word aikido at all, since we already have the word aiki, and (b) we need a new name for the martial art we do in the dojo so that we can distinguish it from an aiki way of making pancakes.
"Aikido" itself, as a term, isn't exclusive to Ueshiba's art anyway, so it can get a little tricky.
Who used the term before O Sensei?

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 03:50 PM
Mathew, I think you've asked a very tricky question! Besides the wide inter-dojo variability within aikido styles, all the techniques you've mentioned (ex. ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, kotegaishi, koshinage, etc.) are also seen in Daito-ryu. When you have an 82% overlap in terms of physical techniques with another martial art, it seems like it would be difficult to "define" aikido according to physical overlap. I am definitely NOT saying that you are wrong, but I can see how others might see it differently. In my personal opinion, I think it comes down to a focus on developing "aiki" whatever the heck that is:D The specific techniques and solo exercises are just tools to facilitate the expression of aiki. Thus, maybe it is possible to see high level karateka, judo and sumo players, and maybe even a dancer(?) expressing masterful levels of aiki.

Aiki, yes. Aikido, no. Chris' definition would have us giving the name aikido to that karateka's karate, that judoka's judo, that wrestler's sumo, and that dancer's dance. And then what do you call what we do?

chillzATL
05-01-2013, 04:01 PM
Aiki, yes. Aikido, no. Chris' definition would have us giving the name aikido to that karateka's karate, that judoka's judo, that wrestler's sumo, and that dancer's dance.

that would suggest that ai-ki-do is more the doing of the techniques and the performing of the various things we associate with the art than it is the strength of the principles behind them. Or is it not? It is the other way around or somewhere in between?

Chris Li
05-01-2013, 04:43 PM
For the purposes of the present conversation, I am ignoring anything that does not lead to a practical, functional definition of the word aikido. O Sensei was making up aikido as he went; he had the luxury of defining it as he saw fit. I have no such luxury; I need a word with a specific definition I can use.

O Sensei didn't make a lot of it up - most he got from Daito-ryu. As Andy said, if you go by technique, then strictly speaking, we should be calling this Daito-ryu.


In my experience it has been exactly that simple. It is the practical way all martial arts are defined. The fact that the old masters squabbled over whose aikido was the real aikido doesn't change the use of the word in practice.

It does because they define (for many people) what the word is. Moriteru Ueshiba, for example has some little bit of influence over how hundreds of thousands of folks define Aikido. And he's not all that old.


No, it does not follow. The fact that aikido is founded on certain principles does not necessarily mean that all things utilizing those principles are aikido.

Why not? If certain princlples govern, for example, a cookie, then anything made that way will be a cookie. I think what you're talking about goes more to branding, and there might be more of an argument there.


According to this logic, anyone who is doing anything with empty hands (clapping, swimming, sign language) can be said to be doing karate. And everything done with a sword is kendo. And everything done gently is judo.

Well, I think that's a little extreme gently=Judo is not quite the same as Aiki=Aikido.


If anything aiki is aikido, (a) there is no reason to have the word aikido at all, since we already have the word aiki, and (b) we need a new name for the martial art we do in the dojo so that we can distinguish it from an aiki way of making pancakes.

Adding "do" doesn't really make it that different, except for branding purposes. Westerners tend to get hung up on the "do" ending, but it really doesn't mean that much in Japanese.

Actually, the exact same kanji for "Aikido" can be used for esoteric Taoist sexual practices. It's not unique.


Who used the term before O Sensei?

He didn't invent it, he wasn't the first to use it, it was a generic category term for a number of arts that couldn't fit under other categories invented by a committee of the Dai Nippon Butokukai. There are at least three other groups from pre-war that I am aware of that also used the name and even continue to use the name.

Anyway, if you're defining Aikido by technique, shouldn't any MMA guy who uses an Aikido technique be doing Aikido according to that standard? I'm not sure where you're going here...

Best,

Chris

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 08:47 PM
O Sensei didn't make a lot of it up - most he got from Daito-ryu. As Andy said, if you go by technique, then strictly speaking, we should be calling this Daito-ryu.
Even if we take what Andy said as literally as possible, there's still an 18% difference. That's almost one fifth. That's certainly enough to furnish definitions for two different words.

It does because they define (for many people) what the word is. Moriteru Ueshiba, for example has some little bit of influence over how hundreds of thousands of folks define Aikido. And he's not all that old.
Let me draw an analogy to another martial art. I used to train taekwondo. There are two major taekwondo camps in the world: the ITF and the Kukkiwon/WTF. The ITF insist that they are the only real taekwondo, and so do the Kukkiwon/WTF. But according to any conversationally functional definition of the word, they're both taekwondo. You can pick one side or the other as "good" taekwondo or "proper" taekwondo, but there's no way to define taekwondo in any way that one is and the other is not, unless your definition of taekwondo is, "Whatever this very influential guy says taekwondo is," which, of course, is not a definition with any practical use.

It's the same with our art. Doshu or anyone else can say that whatever organization isn't doing aikido, but any useful, functional definition of the word aikido is fulfilled by all the curricula we named above.

Why not? If certain princlples govern, for example, a cookie, then anything made that way will be a cookie. I think what you're talking about goes more to branding, and there might be more of an argument there.
I'm not talking about branding; I'm talking about simple logic. If you start with the assumption that A is based on B, it does not necessarily follow that all things which include B are A.

Well, I think that's a little extreme gently=Judo is not quite the same as Aiki=Aikido.
It is no more extreme than the linguistic argument you just made. If all things aiki are aikido, then all things empty handed are karatedo, all things gentle/yielding are judo, and all things involving swords are kendo. My point is that the name aikido, like the names of all Japanese martial arts, means something more specific than the sum of its etymological parts.

Adding "do" doesn't really make it that different, except for branding purposes. Westerners tend to get hung up on the "do" ending, but it really doesn't mean that much in Japanese.
It makes a very big difference in this case. Aiki is a principle of movement whereas aikido is the name O Sensei chose for his martial art. As I said above, the name of a Japanese martial art means something much more specific than the sum of its etymological parts.

Actually, the exact same kanji for "Aikido" can be used for esoteric Taoist sexual practices. It's not unique.
The exact same kanji are also used for the name of the Korean martial art hapkido. I'm not just talking about kanji, though. I'm talking about a spoken word.

He didn't invent it, he wasn't the first to use it, it was a generic category term for a number of arts that couldn't fit under other categories invented by a committee of the Dai Nippon Butokukai. There are at least three other groups from pre-war that I am aware of that also used the name and even continue to use the name.
Interesting. I'll have to look this up.

Anyway, if you're defining Aikido by technique, shouldn't any MMA guy who uses an Aikido technique be doing Aikido according to that standard? I'm not sure where you're going here...
No, because aikido is more than just one technique. It is a whole set of principles and techniques, and any functional definition of the word aikido must encompass enough of those principles and techniques that it can't simply be used as a name for any martial art. Let's use your cookie analogy: does everything with a single chocolate chip in it become a chocolate chip cookie?

A word's power to convey an idea is not in what it means, but in what it does not mean. The more things a word can mean, the less use it has. Your definition of aikido makes the word completely linguistically useless, because it can mean anything.

According to your definition of aikido, the sentence "I did aikido this morning," could mean that you trained in a dojo, it could mean you boxed in a ring, it could mean you danced, it could mean you mowed your lawn, it could mean you made waffles, anything. And so your sentence communicates nothing. The sentence means exactly as much as the sentence, "I hargashmalled this morning." You have effectively stripped the word aikido of any meaning at all.

Chris Li
05-01-2013, 08:59 PM
It's the same with our art. Doshu or anyone else can say that whatever organization isn't doing aikido, but any useful, functional definition of the word aikido is fulfilled by all the curricula we named above.

Defined by who?

You're saying that Moriteru's definition doesn't matter (I don't necessarily disagree) but that somehow there is a definition from....?

You're saying that Aikido ought to be defined technically, is that correct? I'm saying that Ueshiba never intended to define it that narrowly. If he made it (as you said at one point), ought not what he said be important in evaluating the criteria?


According to your definition of aikido, the sentence "I did aikido this morning," could mean that you trained in a dojo, it could mean you boxed in a ring, it could mean you danced, it could mean you mowed your lawn, it could mean you made waffles, anything. And so your sentence communicates nothing. The sentence means exactly as much as the sentence, "I hargashmalled this morning." You have effectively stripped the word aikido of any meaning at all.

I don't have time to answer the whole thing (and I'm certainly not going to start arguing percentages), but I will say that the above is only true if your definition of "Aiki" covers all those things, mine doesn't.

But my hunch is that we'd define Aiki differently anyway...

Best,

Chris

phitruong
05-01-2013, 09:19 PM
i have always thought that aikido is the way of cross-dressing men practicing esoteric Taoist sexual practice. i meant, there is no other martial arts that talked so much about love, connection, entering, and harmonizing. how would you feel rolling around with those MMA guys wearing next to nothing, pulling guards and talking about love and entering?

just curious, what do folks defined as MMA? would practicing kungfu and underwater basket weaving considered as MMA? or perhaps BJJ and pole dancing? or maybe aikido and hip-hops?

OwlMatt
05-01-2013, 09:22 PM
Defined by who?

You're saying that Moriteru's definition doesn't matter (I don't necessarily disagree) but that somehow there is a definition from....?

You're saying that Aikido ought to be defined technically, is that correct? I'm saying that Ueshiba never intended to define it that narrowly. If he made it (as you said at one point), ought not what he said be important in evaluating the criteria?
Certainly, but if our criteria don't lead us to a word with a clear definition, then they fail, no matter whose criteria they are, even O Sensei's. I don't think O Sensei was particularly interested in clearly defining his art, and as I said above, he had the luxury of not having to. As long as O Sensei lived, the word aikido needed only to mean "Morihei Ueshiba's martial art".

O Sensei's definitions of the art simply do not suffice on a linguistic level in the absence of O Sensei himself. They do not coalesce into a single definition of a single word that can be used practically.

I don't have time to answer the whole thing (and I'm certainly not going to start arguing percentages), but I will say that the above is only true if your definition of "Aiki" covers all those things, mine doesn't.

But my hunch is that we'd define Aiki differently anyway...

Best,

Chris
Your opening post makes it clear that your definition of aiki is at least broad enough to cover what MMA fighters do, and discussion with you has lead me to believe that you also think it can cover dancing. Rather than arguing the definition of aiki (something that would take forever and likely go nowhere), let's say the definition ends there.

In that case, your definition of aikido is anything that is done according to the principles of aiki, which you seem to be saying can include any number of martial arts (including even competitive MMA) and dancing. So the sentence, "I did aikido this morning," now means that you did one of many martial arts or danced. Still not a particularly useful sentence.

Chris Li
05-01-2013, 09:23 PM
The exact same kanji are also used for the name of the Korean martial art hapkido. I'm not just talking about kanji, though. I'm talking about a spoken word.


Just a note...

The kanji are the spoken word, however they're pronounced. Different kanji, different word. Same kanji, same word.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
05-01-2013, 10:38 PM
Certainly, but if our criteria don't lead us to a word with a clear definition, then they fail, no matter whose criteria they are, even O Sensei's. I don't think O Sensei was particularly interested in clearly defining his art, and as I said above, he had the luxury of not having to. As long as O Sensei lived, the word aikido needed only to mean "Morihei Ueshiba's martial art".

O Sensei's definitions of the art simply do not suffice on a linguistic level in the absence of O Sensei himself. They do not coalesce into a single definition of a single word that can be used practically.

Sure they do - he was difficult to understand, that's all, especially without the proper context. Not only did he give some very clear definitions, but he repeated them ad nauseum. Read through "Take Musu Aiki" and one of the first things that hits you is the continued hammering on repeated themes.


Your opening post makes it clear that your definition of aiki is at least broad enough to cover what MMA fighters do, and discussion with you has lead me to believe that you also think it can cover dancing. Rather than arguing the definition of aiki (something that would take forever and likely go nowhere), let's say the definition ends there.

In that case, your definition of aikido is anything that is done according to the principles of aiki, which you seem to be saying can include any number of martial arts (including even competitive MMA) and dancing. So the sentence, "I did aikido this morning," now means that you did one of many martial arts or danced. Still not a particularly useful sentence.

Not at all, just because a dancer may have Aiki doesn't mean that all dancers have Aiki, or that all dancing is Aiki. Same for martial arts.

Best,

Chris

Mary Eastland
05-02-2013, 07:15 AM
Co-ordination of mind and of body is what it is...you either know how to get it or you don't. It doesn't matter what you call it.

The study of aikido to me is a practice that encompasses co-ordination of mind and body with some principles. It is a life study.

I am sure there are as many definitions to both aiki and aikido as there are serious practitioners.

OwlMatt
05-02-2013, 08:25 AM
Sure they do - he was difficult to understand, that's all, especially without the proper context. Not only did he give some very clear definitions, but he repeated them ad nauseum. Read through "Take Musu Aiki" and one of the first things that hits you is the continued hammering on repeated themes.
If O Sensei gave such clear definitions of aikido, then why do you need such a broad definition as "anything aiki"?
Not at all, just because a dancer may have Aiki doesn't mean that all dancers have Aiki, or that all dancing is Aiki. Same for martial arts.
But you maintain aiki can be present in dancing and in many martial arts, and that the definition of aikido is anything done with aiki. Therefore, according to your definition, the sentence, "I practice aikido," is a very unclear sentence--we don't really know what activity the speaker is talking about.

Co-ordination of mind and of body is what it is...you either know how to get it or you don't. It doesn't matter what you call it.

The study of aikido to me is a practice that encompasses co-ordination of mind and body with some principles. It is a life study.
Many things incorporate the coordination of mind and body. Surely they're not all aikido.

I am sure there are as many definitions to both aiki and aikido as there are serious practitioners.
The martial art we practice in the dojo needs a name, and in order for a name to be useful it must distinguish the object it names from other objects. We don't all have to have the same definition of aikido, but we do all need definitions that distinguish our art from other arts and other activities, otherwise our definitions are linguistically useless.

Going back to the original post, Dan says that he sees aikido "all over the place in MMA". Surely, Dan doesn't mean that he sees MMA fighters doing iriminages and nikkyos; he means that he sees certain physical principles at work in MMA. The problem with Dan's statement is that it stretches the definition of aikido to encompass anything in which can be found certain principles of physics--principles which have never been exclusive to our martial art. In so doing, Dan has created a definition of aikido which does not distinguish our art from others; it is no longer a name for just our martial art and therefore our martial art needs a new name. It is the same with Chris' definition.

As Mary says, there are many different definitions of aikido; it would be foolish for us all to try and settle on one. But that doesn't mean we can't discard some definitions which are useless. Any definition which does not distinguish our martial art from others is useless. Dan's does not, and Chris's does not, therefore they are useless.

OwlMatt
05-02-2013, 08:34 AM
Just a note...

The kanji are the spoken word, however they're pronounced. Different kanji, different word. Same kanji, same word.

Best,

Chris

On the contrary, we are talking about three different words in three different languages that mean three very different things. The fact that they are spelled the same does not make them the same word. You might as well say that lead (verb) and lead (noun) are the same word because they look the same on the page.

Andy Kazama
05-02-2013, 09:12 AM
I am usually not a big fan of debates that center around semantics, however, I see this as very relevant to my own personal training as I shift my focus from learning techniques to using them as a means to develop aiki. The point being that I appreciate the opportunity to discuss some of the different viewpoints here. I think most of us agree that the daito-ryu waza characteristic of aikido dojos around the world is an acceptable "practical" definition of aikido. However, my own aikido training has shifted drastically to where I am now practicing MORE AIKIdo (developing aiki) doing random things like walking, opening doors, riding elevators (when I am alone so as not to appear crazy), driving, etc than I did my first two years in a dojo practicing waza. This is why I personally think you could be making pancakes and call it aikido training. It is about intent, not the external expression.

Mathew, I am curious whether or not you consider solo exercises to be aikido? Maybe, you consider it analogous to weight training in sports, where the body conditioning is separate from the actual sport? If so, I think we are at an impasse, which is fine with me. My opinion, is that aikido is different than a sport since is not only about doing things/techniques to opponents, but also about what you are doing inside your own body. Aiki in me before aiki between thee and me, to borrow a phrase from he who must not be named. When I've gotten my hands on people who express aiki in their bodies, it seems as though the techniques become very much secondary, mainly because I was toast on contact. Again, this is why I could easily see an MMA person developing an aiki engine and fitting it in with some vicious leg kicks. I'm talking about the kind that don't leave bruises on the point of contact, but go all the way through to the inner thigh. The kind that make your wife say, "and why is this cool?":eek:

Chris Li
05-02-2013, 10:13 AM
If O Sensei gave such clear definitions of aikido, then why do you need such a broad definition as "anything aiki"?

But you maintain aiki can be present in dancing and in many martial arts, and that the definition of aikido is anything done with aiki. Therefore, according to your definition, the sentence, "I practice aikido," is a very unclear sentence--we don't really know what activity the speaker is talking about.

It's only unclear if your definition of Aiki is unclear, as I said before, and that's my last comment on that, I think.

IAny definition which does not distinguish our martial art from others is useless. Dan's does not, and Chris's does not, therefore they are useless.

I really don't think that you understand my definition, as I mentioned above.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
05-02-2013, 10:16 AM
On the contrary, we are talking about three different words in three different languages that mean three very different things. The fact that they are spelled the same does not make them the same word. You might as well say that lead (verb) and lead (noun) are the same word because they look the same on the page.

It's quite a bit more than spelling, although the intent does vary. Anyway, without even going there it's clear historically that "Aikido" was not a word invented by Ueshiba, or even unique to him, even in Japan, which was my point.

Best,

Chris

OwlMatt
05-02-2013, 10:59 AM
I really don't think that you understand my definition, as I mentioned above.
I only know what you have told me. You have told me that anything done with aiki can be properly called aikido. If I accept that statement as true, it logically follows (since aiki is not exclusive to our particular martial art), that many different martial arts and activities could be accurately and properly called aikido, at least some of the time. And if that is the case, then the term aikido cannot function as the name for our particular martial art.

Even if I don't understand you at all, even if I don't understand aikido at all, that's still how language works.

Chris Li
05-02-2013, 11:20 AM
I only know what you have told me. You have told me that anything done with aiki can be properly called aikido. If I accept that statement as true, it logically follows (since aiki is not exclusive to our particular martial art), that many different martial arts and activities could be accurately and properly called aikido, at least some of the time. And if that is the case, then the term aikido cannot function as the name for our particular martial art.

Even if I don't understand you at all, even if I don't understand aikido at all, that's still how language works.

As I've said from the beginning, I think that your definition is much too narrow. You're defining it along the lines of what you're doing in your particular dojo - which is fine, but other dojo still calling themselves "Aikido" are doing completely different things, right down to the technical curriculum.

I could say that I practice "dance", or even "jazz dance", and everybody understands my language quite well, but in practice that covers a huge range of activities. That's how language works.

Anyway, that's pretty much all that I have to say about that. :)

Best,

Chris

OwlMatt
05-02-2013, 11:39 AM
You're defining it along the lines of what you're doing in your particular dojo - which is fine, but other dojo still calling themselves "Aikido" are doing completely different things, right down to the technical curriculum.
I am doing no such thing, and I made that abundantly clear yesterday:
All the technical curricula you mentioned above have irimi, tenkan, ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, kotegaeshi, koshinage, etc. I have trained with students of the Saotome, Nishio, Yamada, Chiba, Tohei, Homma, Shodokan, Shingu, and Hombu curricula, and they all used nearly identical terminology for essentially the same set of techniques. We might not all agree on what is good aikido, but virtually all of us do seem to agree, according to a technique-based definition, on what is aikido and what is not.
It's the same with our art. Doshu or anyone else can say that whatever organization isn't doing aikido, but any useful, functional definition of the word aikido is fulfilled by all the curricula we named above
That is clearly not a definition derived from the one particular curriculum at one particular aikido club.

If you do not wish to continue this conversation, that's fine. If you do, please refrain from further straw man tactics.

Chris Li
05-02-2013, 11:52 AM
I am doing no such thing, and I made that abundantly clear yesterday:

That is clearly not a definition derived from the one particular curriculum at one particular aikido club.

If you do not wish to continue this conversation, that's fine. If you do, please refrain from further straw man tactics.

That "virtually all of us do seem to agree" is false on the face of it - otherwise you wouldn't have had to post complaining that many people are "misusing" the word "Aikido".

I posted some very pertinent examples (Mochizuki and Ueshiba, both Moriteru and Morihei) that specifically do not agree on that basis.

That's hardly a straw man.

Best,

Chris

jonreading
05-02-2013, 12:04 PM
1. In terms of linguistics, I think that "aiki" is possessive of many activities. Activities may not necessarily be possessive of aiki. Specifically, Aiki-do claims that as an activity it is inclusive of aiki. A person with aiki may express that aiki in a variety of activities. In asserting this claim, even here on Aikiweb we regularly post about the expression of verbal aikido or interpersonal aikido. It is therefore possible to say, "I did aikido this morning" and refer to a non-aikido activity possessed of aiki, such as avoiding a conflict with the ol' ball and chain. The fact the language did not explicitly say "verbal" aikido is more an illustration of poor communication.
2. If the curriculum of aikido defines "aiki" then we have two issues:
First, Probably Ueshiba Sensei would've been doing something like Daito ryu Ueshiba Ha or some such offshoot of the parent curriculum (Daito Ryu) as adopted by a single practitioner. Second, a mixed martial artist who is practicing the technical curriculum of aikido would be practicing aikido; or, practicing Ueshiba ha Daito ryu as mentioned before.

Going back to the original post, Dan says that he sees aikido "all over the place in MMA". Surely, Dan doesn't mean that he sees MMA fighters doing iriminages and nikkyos; he means that he sees certain physical principles at work in MMA. The problem with Dan's statement is that it stretches the definition of aikido to encompass anything in which can be found certain principles ...
Yes. From a principle-based perspective, Aikido shares with many other fighting and body conditioning systems the same core principles we define as "aiki". O Sensei was unselfish of sharing "aiki" and mentioned in several different occassions where he opined that a practictioner he observed was doing aiki. Remember, aikido was neither the only name for what O Sensei taught, nor was it the name O Sensei chose.

I understand aikido has a pressure to define itself and establish itself within the fighting systems. I also understand we are trying to do this with a relatively young curriculum, of which the majority is derived from its parent art. I also understand that a great number of our practitioners are unable to express with clarity and consistency what is aiki. I am not convinced we wish to express our art as a collusion of waza that breaks down when applied within other fighting systems. Rather, I prefer to see it as an expression of aiki, which may be included in the practice of many activities.

OwlMatt
05-02-2013, 12:07 PM
That "virtually all of us do seem to agree" is false on the face of it - otherwise you wouldn't have had to post complaining that many people are "misusing" the word "Aikido".
On the contrary, there can be no claim of misuse without a general consensus on what is proper use. And before you claim that no such consensus exists, think about the way you answered the last time someone who heard you do aikido asked, "What's that?" I bet you talked about a Japanese martial art with throws and locks and not aiki principles.

The definition I'm advocating is the definition we all already use when pressed.

I posted some very pertinent examples (Mochizuki and Ueshiba, both Moriteru and Morihei) that specifically do not agree on that basis.
And I have explained why their disagreement is irrelevant to the formulation of a conversationally functional definition.

That's hardly a straw man.
You invented a position for me and then refuted it, regardless of the fact that it was not actually my position. That is the very definition of straw man. I have not, at any point in this thread, advocated a definition of aikido based on the curriculum at my particular club. For you to claim that I am doing so is, to be frank, an outright lie.

And now I think I'll leave this thread before I start being a real jerk. But I might revisit this subject on my blog.

Chris Li
05-02-2013, 01:07 PM
On the contrary, there can be no claim of misuse without a general consensus on what is proper use. And before you claim that no such consensus exists, think about the way you answered the last time someone who heard you do aikido asked, "What's that?" I bet you talked about a Japanese martial art with throws and locks and not aiki principles.

The definition I'm advocating is the definition we all already use when pressed.

Well, you'd certainly be wrong there.


You invented a position for me and then refuted it, regardless of the fact that it was not actually my position. That is the very definition of straw man. I have not, at any point in this thread, advocated a definition of aikido based on the curriculum at my particular club. For you to claim that I am doing so is, to be frank, an outright lie.

And now I think I'll leave this thread before I start being a real jerk. But I might revisit this subject on my blog.

I apologize, I ought to have said something like "based upon your particular experience", in the sense that other people's experiences produce different definitions.

Let's not get too excited here, you cited a purely technical standard of definition:

The technical curriculum of throws and locks is the only way to arrive at a definition of aikido that has any practical meaning at all, no matter what O Sensei says.

And that is what I was talking about. If it's a straw man, then you put it there. But I agree, and I've already tried to step back from the conversation a couple of times already, it's not going anywhere useful.

Best,

Chris

mathewjgano
05-02-2013, 03:06 PM
My point is that there is a very big difference between aiki and aikido. Just because you see aiki in something doesn't mean there is aikido there. To say that MMA fighters (most of whom have never trained aikido) are doing aikido makes about as much sense as to say that every musician who improvises is playing jazz. Sure, improvisation is a foundational, unifiying concept of jazz, but that doesn't mean jazz has a monopoly.

It's just a metaphor for the similarities; furthermore, what you call aiki, others might not call aiki. So the question to my mind isn't whether we can pinpoint a truly objective definition (good luck), but whether we can understand the semantics intended...which is always a process, particularly the closer we try to look at something. My current definition of Aikido (i.e. Ueshiba Aikido) is the study deriving from Ueshiba Morihei's lineage of teaching. It would leave a lot of room for interpretation if we were going to base it on the representative behaviors available, which, depending on your school of thought regarding "aiki" itself, may or may not actually include aiki.
That all said, I love how often Aikido is derided for its "grab my wrist" mode of engagement (because apparently no one ever grabs your wrist in a "real" fight), but I've seen plenty of wrist/forearm engagements in the handful of MMA matches I've seen...of course I have yet to see (or to recognize, at least) a viable connection to center through that grab/suppression. "Aikido is all over the place" because we all share the same human form and pretty much every martial art will overlap based on that.
My mid-stream-tossed wooden nickle...:D
Take care,
Matt

RonRagusa
05-02-2013, 05:06 PM
I only know what you have told me. You have told me that anything done with aiki can be properly called aikido. If I accept that statement as true, it logically follows (since aiki is not exclusive to our particular martial art), that many different martial arts and activities could be accurately and properly called aikido, at least some of the time. And if that is the case, then the term aikido cannot function as the name for our particular martial art.

Mary is the "apple" of my eye, I have an Adam's "apple", I work on "Apple" computers. Do any of these uses of the word apple prevent it from functioning as the name of the fruit? Aikido is a Way, a process of discovery. A Way that is delineated by a set of principles that have come down to us through O Sensei via his own process of discovery.

The word Aikido in that broader sense can be associated with almost any activity if the activity is performed in accordance with Aikido principles. While we wouldn't call basket weaving done with mind/body coordination Aikido, mainly due to the conventional notion that Aikido is a martial art, we would not be unjustified in doing so. Many words do not have precise, mathematical-like definitions. In fact, many words are their own opposites. When it comes to word usage you have to consider the contextual framework that the word is used in.

Perhaps as you continue your training you will come to see Aikido in a richer context that allows for a broader definition of the word while not preventing it from functioning as the name of the art we practice.

Ron

Lee Salzman
05-03-2013, 02:03 AM
1. In terms of linguistics, I think that "aiki" is possessive of many activities. Activities may not necessarily be possessive of aiki. Specifically, Aiki-do claims that as an activity it is inclusive of aiki. A person with aiki may express that aiki in a variety of activities. In asserting this claim, even here on Aikiweb we regularly post about the expression of verbal aikido or interpersonal aikido. It is therefore possible to say, "I did aikido this morning" and refer to a non-aikido activity possessed of aiki, such as avoiding a conflict with the ol' ball and chain. The fact the language did not explicitly say "verbal" aikido is more an illustration of poor communication.
2. If the curriculum of aikido defines "aiki" then we have two issues:
First, Probably Ueshiba Sensei would've been doing something like Daito ryu Ueshiba Ha or some such offshoot of the parent curriculum (Daito Ryu) as adopted by a single practitioner. Second, a mixed martial artist who is practicing the technical curriculum of aikido would be practicing aikido; or, practicing Ueshiba ha Daito ryu as mentioned before.

Yes. From a principle-based perspective, Aikido shares with many other fighting and body conditioning systems the same core principles we define as "aiki". O Sensei was unselfish of sharing "aiki" and mentioned in several different occassions where he opined that a practictioner he observed was doing aiki. Remember, aikido was neither the only name for what O Sensei taught, nor was it the name O Sensei chose.

I understand aikido has a pressure to define itself and establish itself within the fighting systems. I also understand we are trying to do this with a relatively young curriculum, of which the majority is derived from its parent art. I also understand that a great number of our practitioners are unable to express with clarity and consistency what is aiki. I am not convinced we wish to express our art as a collusion of waza that breaks down when applied within other fighting systems. Rather, I prefer to see it as an expression of aiki, which may be included in the practice of many activities.

This is almost a mirror of the debate over whether the USA's Constitution is a living document or a strict, inalterable code. And sadly, I don't think that there will be a scholarly winner on that debate any time soon, but due to mission creep the Constitution ends up a living document anyway.

It is quite possible that Morihei Ueshiba really did mean aikido, the thing, not the name, as he practiced it, was Daito Ryu-inspired aiki focused through the lens of his spiritual beliefs and Daito Ryu-derived waza. But several generations later, when aikido has grown to encompass a lot more than that strict interpretation of what he was doing, and at its root codified, morphed, and expanded by many others than merely him (and as far as historical evidence says, he wasn't really involved in codifying it anyway), can we put the genie back in the bottle and say aikido is just that anymore, just what Morihei Ueshiba was doing?

As a practitioner and student of aiki (but not necessarily aikido, as I see it) as a technical skill set, I do not dare to claim that by doing so I am doing aikido by that. If I say I do aikido, it is only that I have actually practiced in aikido dojos with a credible lineage to Morihei Ueshiba, and that's even side-stepping the debate about whether those dojos are recognized by the Hombu dojo. As you note, aiki is not unique to aikido either, so it is not a necessary and sufficient condition to really say you're doing aikido just on that count alone. Trying to reestablish aikido as merely the study of aiki is a losing battle, whether or not it ever was.

On that note, it is somewhat laughable to think of aikido waza being applied in any sort of freestyle sparring. 5 minutes of experimentation will yield predictable results in this regard for just about anyone. But aiki? That stuff is dangerous in the hands of an experienced fighter. Whether or not the experienced fighter will be able to learn aiki is debatable. Aiki is in that sense ethically/spiritually neutral - it has no care of how you apply it. Want to beat someone to death with it? For good or evil, go ahead, it will let you! But aikido, such as it is, certainly has a philosophy behind when and how you apply it that is at odds with that and gives it a reason to exist beyond merely the study of aiki.

But now that the DR-aiki is making its way back to the masses, aikido, the modern organism, has a lot of thought and reflection to carry out as to whether that particular innovation should again be a part of the core identity of aikido - because it certainly is a fantastic tool to work with for enhancing the study of aikido - or whether aikido shall just remain an amorphous panacea ideology and/or a set of fantastical low-probability jujitsu overlaid with rolling gymnastics.

Cliff Judge
05-03-2013, 10:34 AM
I don't think Ueshiba thought of aiki as an ethically or morally neutral thing at all. This is one of the ways I think you guys are cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido by framing aiki as a technical object. You are closing a lot of doors.

I also think you are misapplying the term aiki. A year back people were speaking mostly of internal power and then it became IP/Aiki and now you just say aiki. Aiki is a term that was not applied to particularly important aspects of martial arts before the sensational, travelling medicine show days of the late Meiji / Taisho / Showa periods. Other Japanese systems had their own ideas about internal power, as inner teachings. If it was considered to be such a game-changer, you would imagine the game would have been changed when people relied on these skills to survive and do their job.

And as a sidebar....I'm finding it curious how loudly the "Aikido waza are 87% correlated with Daito ryu kata" idea, promulgated by John Driscoll, is being thumped in this and a couple other recent threads. Most of the waza in Aikido - even some of the Daito ryu kata that are not commonly practiced in Aikido, for example Obi Otoshi - are common old jujutsu techniques.

I think you could argue that the simple fact that Aikido is a non-competitive gendai budo descended from jujutsu, and is an environment in which is preserved old jujutsu techniques that are too dangerous for competition, is a better reason for its continued transmission than some poorly-defined skill that is apparently completely separate from the technical syllabus.

For me it really does make the most sense that Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki.

Lee Salzman
05-03-2013, 10:50 AM
I don't think Ueshiba thought of aiki as an ethically or morally neutral thing at all. This is one of the ways I think you guys are cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido by framing aiki as a technical object. You are closing a lot of doors.


I see it as opening doors. If there are no ethical boundaries placed upon it, we are more free to do what we want with it. At the same time it makes the ethical choice aspect all the more important: we have the power to destroy, but we choose not to. Why would an art stress ethics at all if to even apply it precluded unethical outcomes?


I also think you are misapplying the term aiki. A year back people were speaking mostly of internal power and then it became IP/Aiki and now you just say aiki. Aiki is a term that was not applied to particularly important aspects of martial arts before the sensational, travelling medicine show days of the late Meiji / Taisho / Showa periods. Other Japanese systems had their own ideas about internal power, as inner teachings. If it was considered to be such a game-changer, you would imagine the game would have been changed when people relied on these skills to survive and do their job.


Internal power and aiki are separate but related things, not to be confused. Internal power is the basis on which later aiki skills can be developed, but you're not going to develop aiki skills without sufficient internal power. IP is the fulcrum, so it just kind of goes without saying that when someone talks about aiki they are talking about IP, and a specific sort that is necessary to the later development of aiki. IP by itself does not automatically confer ability with aiki. I think if you look back on what people were saying, there is no contradiction here.

Chris Li
05-03-2013, 10:55 AM
I don't think Ueshiba thought of aiki as an ethically or morally neutral thing at all. This is one of the ways I think you guys are cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido by framing aiki as a technical object. You are closing a lot of doors.

I also think you are misapplying the term aiki. A year back people were speaking mostly of internal power and then it became IP/Aiki and now you just say aiki. Aiki is a term that was not applied to particularly important aspects of martial arts before the sensational, travelling medicine show days of the late Meiji / Taisho / Showa periods. Other Japanese systems had their own ideas about internal power, as inner teachings. If it was considered to be such a game-changer, you would imagine the game would have been changed when people relied on these skills to survive and do their job.

And as a sidebar....I'm finding it curious how loudly the "Aikido waza are 87% correlated with Daito ryu kata" idea, promulgated by John Driscoll, is being thumped in this and a couple other recent threads. Most of the waza in Aikido - even some of the Daito ryu kata that are not commonly practiced in Aikido, for example Obi Otoshi - are common old jujutsu techniques.

I think you could argue that the simple fact that Aikido is a non-competitive gendai budo descended from jujutsu, and is an environment in which is preserved old jujutsu techniques that are too dangerous for competition, is a better reason for its continued transmission than some poorly-defined skill that is apparently completely separate from the technical syllabus.

For me it really does make the most sense that Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki.

IP/Aiki just didn't show up much in the context of this particular thread, there hasn't been any real change in terms that I've seen.

There are plenty of discussions on a technical level on AikiWeb that don't get accused of "cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido" or "closing a lot of doors". Does discussing the mechanics of kote-gaeshi mean that we're throwing away any spiritual dimension of Aikido?

Discussion of Aiki as a technical method has nothing to do cutting anything off from anything. In fact, I would argue that Ueshiba found his way to the spiritual side of Aiki that he quoted so often through the technical method, that in fact he said that very thing, and that this was (according to him) "the only way that he knew" to get there. The two are tied together intimately. So much so that I could well argue that it is conventional modern Aikido has cut itself off from the very methods that Morihei Ueshiba himself employed.

For that matter, there are plenty of Aikido folks (and even styles) that place little or no emphasis on the spiritual side at all, why aren't those folks criticized for that on Aikiweb?

You're right about "common old jujutsu techniques", of course, and that's really my point about the difficulty of defining Aikido by a particular technical curriculum. I don't know about none competitive anymore, there are at least two major styles that have competition, and some minor ones.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
05-03-2013, 12:02 PM
Discussion of Aiki as a technical method has nothing to do cutting anything off from anything. In fact, I would argue that Ueshiba found his way to the spiritual side of Aiki that he quoted so often through the technical method, that in fact he said that very thing, and that this was (according to him) "the only way that he knew" to get there. The two are tied together intimately. So much so that I could well argue that it is conventional modern Aikido has cut itself off from the very methods that Morihei Ueshiba himself employed.

Right, what technical method is this again? Haha just kidding.


You're right about "common old jujutsu techniques", of course, and that's really my point about the difficulty of defining Aikido by a particular technical curriculum. I don't know about none competitive anymore, there are at least two major styles that have competition, and some minor ones.


Yeah and their technical curricula have changed to suit the fact that they practice competitively. Which shows that the technical curriculum that you learn from a teacher of Aikido is what characterizes Aikido. if somebody teaches you something technical, and says it is Aikido, there needs to be something that clearly demonstrates that this technical think was transmitted by Ueshiba for it to be Aikido. (If the teacher makes no claim of it being Aikido but you like it and find it useful training that fits in with your Aikido practice that's a different story.) :)

Cliff Judge
05-03-2013, 12:10 PM
I see it as opening doors. If there are no ethical boundaries placed upon it, we are more free to do what we want with it. At the same time it makes the ethical choice aspect all the more important: we have the power to destroy, but we choose not to. Why would an art stress ethics at all if to even apply it precluded unethical outcomes?

I am saying that the whole process of you bringing aiki down to a level where it can exist in terms of "what you want to do with it" limits your potential. This more boils down to taking the washer/dryer combo over Door Number Two which is fine. Seems to me that this has been established as a lesser path hundreds of years ago...just my take on it. Your outline certainly has understandable appeal.


Internal power and aiki are separate but related things, not to be confused. Internal power is the basis on which later aiki skills can be developed, but you're not going to develop aiki skills without sufficient internal power. IP is the fulcrum, so it just kind of goes without saying that when someone talks about aiki they are talking about IP, and a specific sort that is necessary to the later development of aiki. IP by itself does not automatically confer ability with aiki. I think if you look back on what people were saying, there is no contradiction here.

So you are saying that you develop IP in order to - eventually, somewhere down the line - develop aiki? So are you saying you have already attained such a level of skill with IP that you can being to apply / use / make aiki? Otherwise your viewpoint is predictive, right? You are speaking from a viewpoint you expect to have once you have attained future, expected understanding?

i.e. Aiki will be a disruptive force in MMA based on how you imagine you will understand it when you have attained the level where you actually can understand it?

Lee Salzman
05-03-2013, 12:35 PM
I am saying that the whole process of you bringing aiki down to a level where it can exist in terms of "what you want to do with it" limits your potential. This more boils down to taking the washer/dryer combo over Door Number Two which is fine. Seems to me that this has been established as a lesser path hundreds of years ago...just my take on it. Your outline certainly has understandable appeal.


The most I can say is I was never presented with the choice of washer/dryer or Door Number Two within aikido. I was shown how to do plenty of aikido waza and plenty of hand-wringing as to how somehow 40 years from now I would figure out what aiki was, training from the outside in, it would just happen without me realizing it. Oh, that's just the 20 year throw, or that's just the 30 year pin! Aikido might be better to name techniques by the number of decades people commonly assign to their learning process.

I looked at my own progress, that of my sempais, and that of my senseis, and what I was seeing just was doing nothing to reassure me that it was a path which followed to completion would yield any insight into what aiki was. About the only coherent answer to the question boiled down to - see such and such shihan, isn't he amazing? Oh, everyone had hypotheses about what's going on, but as unique and bountiful as snowflakes. And when I started going out just testing the results of my labor? The results were certainly not pretty. I had learned a catalogue of things to do under various situations, but funnily enough, in even the most menial of martial encounters that did not fit within the mold of aikido if X then Y practice, I was pretty hosed. Even if I had the setup for X, the Y never came to be - but hey, it worked in the dojo!

Then I was shown, explicitly, aiki, just not from within aikido, training from the inside out, that put things in a far more logical order - first develop aiki, then apply it to waza if so inclined - not the reverse. So, huzzah, it's something I can both rationally understand and train in focused manner, so that, maybe before I die, I will be able to competently apply it!

And even if Morihei Ueshiba was a outlier genius in his development of aiki, wouldn't it be somewhat absurd to make us all rediscover it if on our own, which, the theory goes, requires unusual genius in the first place, if there was an explicit method by which to learn it? Where is the concise methodology for teaching beyond if uke does X, nage does Y, that explains the core of what students are trying to learn from the beginning? I never got to see it, if it existed.

So if the choice is washer/dryer combo and Door Number Two, somehow I ended up with gold and jewels and I'm not regretting it.


So you are saying that you develop IP in order to - eventually, somewhere down the line - develop aiki? So are you saying you have already attained such a level of skill with IP that you can being to apply / use / make aiki? Otherwise your viewpoint is predictive, right? You are speaking from a viewpoint you expect to have once you have attained future, expected understanding?


You can develop IP and aiki concurrently, no need to be an expert at IP to work on aiki, but the failures related to lack of IP skill become very pronounced the more you try to do aiki. Like all things, the better you become at it, the better the results you get, but you do not have to be a master of it to get useful results from it. Just like I don't have to be a world-class chef to not burn my food on the stove.

Cliff Judge
05-03-2013, 01:07 PM
Huh. Thanks for clarifying that.

Chris Li
05-03-2013, 01:25 PM
Yeah and their technical curricula have changed to suit the fact that they practice competitively. Which shows that the technical curriculum that you learn from a teacher of Aikido is what characterizes Aikido. if somebody teaches you something technical, and says it is Aikido, there needs to be something that clearly demonstrates that this technical think was transmitted by Ueshiba for it to be Aikido. (If the teacher makes no claim of it being Aikido but you like it and find it useful training that fits in with your Aikido practice that's a different story.) :)

Everybody has changed their curriculum, for various reasons, and they all (including Kenji Tomiki) claim a technical transmission from Ueshiba, competition or not. What you do with Saotome is not quite the same as what you would have done in Iwama with Ueshiba - there's nothing wrong with that, of course.

I think that "transmitted from Ueshiba" is probably a better argument than the purely technical one for classifying something as "Aikido", but it still has plenty of problems. For one, the word "Aikido" itself isn't the exclusive property of the Ueshiba family, nor was it invented by them. For another, as I noted before, there are plenty of people with links to Ueshiba that are practicing what many other people don't consider to be "Aikido".

Why not just say that person A is doing this thing and person B is also doing the same thing and leave it at that without branding or trying to claim an exclusive brand? If you want a brand for your organization there already is one, the Aikikai, which is properly trademarked and of which both you and Saotome are members.

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
05-03-2013, 01:41 PM
Why not just say that person A is doing this thing and person B is also doing the same thing and leave it at that without branding or trying to claim an exclusive brand?

I would so prefer that to the general bent of this forum for the last year.

The problems really start when person A is doing this thing and person B claims they are not only doing the same thing, but that it is really much better and more exclusive than what person A is doing. But they cannot clearly define what B is, because that is proprietary and really it is person A's fault for not going to the seminars where they can find out what B is. And why would person A question the lineage from whence person B is learning what they are doing? Really person B is just trying to help fix the broken deficiencies in what person A is doing. Person A should be thankful. And in the meantime, person B would totally kick person A's ass in a fight because what person B is doing is so much more effective. Though person A does have one point, that maybe what they are doing is more "spiritual," if you are into all that.

Chris Li
05-03-2013, 01:56 PM
I would so prefer that to the general bent of this forum for the last year.

The problems really start when person A is doing this thing and person B claims they are not only doing the same thing, but that it is really much better and more exclusive than what person A is doing. But they cannot clearly define what B is, because that is proprietary and really it is person A's fault for not going to the seminars where they can find out what B is. And why would person A question the lineage from whence person B is learning what they are doing? Really person B is just trying to help fix the broken deficiencies in what person A is doing. Person A should be thankful. And in the meantime, person B would totally kick person A's ass in a fight because what person B is doing is so much more effective. Though person A does have one point, that maybe what they are doing is more "spiritual," if you are into all that.

Person B has posted some very definitive explanations on Aikiweb, more than once, with no excuses about being "propietary" - person B has gone to some lengths, on Aikiweb, to state specifically that what they are doing is not proprietary, but is and has been done by many people and in many traditions.

But, like any other physical/mental practice, there is a limit to how effective such descriptions are without some common context, that's all.

And person A hasn't shown anywhere at all that they are "more spiritual" - I'm not even sure how you would show that.

Best,

Chris

Andy Kazama
05-03-2013, 04:08 PM
Well, for one, I think it is not terribly productive to revisit the glory days of the Person B show Speaking personally, the discussions here on aikiweb involving Person B got Person Me to go out and explore some of the flesh and blood people behind these posts, and I think my aikido has greatly benefited from these encounters. The current discussion seems to have evolved to be about whether aikido is best defined by technical waza, OR by its focus on exploring/developing/expressing the nature of aiki. I completely agree with Cliff's statement that "Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu [via his background in daito-ryu] to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki". My first addition would be to go on to say that it seems reasonable that one would be able to take that aiki principle and use it in a variety of circumstances (ex. intellectually, verbally, and other physical endeavors such as MMA). And secondly, that if aikido is about experiencing aiki, then solo exercises that help you develop internal harmony/aiki are a critical aspect of aikido practice. The reason I brought up the 82% (not 87%) is because Aikido has historically tried to distance itself from other arts including its parent art, daito-ryu -- and I think that if we want to define the art, focusing on the waza is not the way to do it. It's like focusing on the difference between shotokan and taekwondo by focusing on a basic front kick. That's not a useful differentiator in my opinion. You gotta go with the butterfly kick (which I have been told is "the most beautiful move in all of martial arts")

allowedcloud
05-06-2013, 10:19 AM
Person B has posted some very definitive explanations on Aikiweb, more than once, with no excuses about being "propietary" - person B has gone to some lengths, on Aikiweb, to state specifically that what they are doing is not proprietary, but is and has been done by many people and in many traditions.

But, like any other physical/mental practice, there is a limit to how effective such descriptions are without some common context, that's all.

And person A hasn't shown anywhere at all that they are "more spiritual" - I'm not even sure how you would show that.

Best,

Chris

Ha ha...this cracks me up. Are we now not even allowed to say Dan's name here now?

Has he become the Voldemort of the aikido community? He may have been cast out, but speaketh his name and his presence returns, potentially corrupting new users who decide to use the search function to find the Dark Lord.

OwlMatt
05-06-2013, 10:24 AM
Mary is the "apple" of my eye, I have an Adam's "apple", I work on "Apple" computers. Do any of these uses of the word apple prevent it from functioning as the name of the fruit? Aikido is a Way, a process of discovery. A Way that is delineated by a set of principles that have come down to us through O Sensei via his own process of discovery.

The word Aikido in that broader sense can be associated with almost any activity if the activity is performed in accordance with Aikido principles. While we wouldn't call basket weaving done with mind/body coordination Aikido, mainly due to the conventional notion that Aikido is a martial art, we would not be unjustified in doing so. Many words do not have precise, mathematical-like definitions. In fact, many words are their own opposites. When it comes to word usage you have to consider the contextual framework that the word is used in.

Perhaps as you continue your training you will come to see Aikido in a richer context that allows for a broader definition of the word while not preventing it from functioning as the name of the art we practice.

Ron

Ron, your "apple" example is about metaphor, which is not what I'm talking about. Everybody knows that an apple is a fruit and that an "Adam's apple" is a fanciful name for something that is not an apple and has virtually nothing in common with an apple. When the person who started this thread says he sees aikido in MMA fights, he's not being fanciful; he means it. What I'd like to know is, under what definition of the word aikido can it be true that we see aikido in MMA, and how could such a definition function as a definitive name for the martial art practiced by the followers of Ueshiba, Saito, Nishio, Saotome, Homma, Tomiki, Shioda, etc?

OwlMatt
05-06-2013, 10:57 AM
Well, for one, I think it is not terribly productive to revisit the glory days of the Person B show Speaking personally, the discussions here on aikiweb involving Person B got Person Me to go out and explore some of the flesh and blood people behind these posts, and I think my aikido has greatly benefited from these encounters. The current discussion seems to have evolved to be about whether aikido is best defined by technical waza, OR by its focus on exploring/developing/expressing the nature of aiki. I completely agree with Cliff's statement that "Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu [via his background in daito-ryu] to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki". My first addition would be to go on to say that it seems reasonable that one would be able to take that aiki principle and use it in a variety of circumstances (ex. intellectually, verbally, and other physical endeavors such as MMA). And secondly, that if aikido is about experiencing aiki, then solo exercises that help you develop internal harmony/aiki are a critical aspect of aikido practice. The reason I brought up the 82% (not 87%) is because Aikido has historically tried to distance itself from other arts including its parent art, daito-ryu -- and I think that if we want to define the art, focusing on the waza is not the way to do it.
Then what is the way to do it?

I would agree that, since aikido is ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art, trying to define it technically seems on the surface to be a bit narrow. I would also agree that Ueshiba himself never defined aikido so narrowly.

But for the purposes of language, both those things are secondary concerns. Our primary concerns are (a) having a word that can function as the name for our martial art, and (b) keeping the definition of that word specific enough that it can be used functionally.

If we are not going to define aikido according to technique and lineage, then how are we going to define it?

jonreading
05-06-2013, 01:37 PM
Then what is the way to do it?

I would agree that, since aikido is ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art, trying to define it technically seems on the surface to be a bit narrow. I would also agree that Ueshiba himself never defined aikido so narrowly.

But for the purposes of language, both those things are secondary concerns. Our primary concerns are (a) having a word that can function as the name for our martial art, and (b) keeping the definition of that word specific enough that it can be used functionally.

If we are not going to define aikido according to technique and lineage, then how are we going to define it?

I think you have kinda answered your question. For me, I am working on defining my aikido by functionaling expressing... aiki. Aiki is the "something greater than" component of our curriculum. Bill Gleason said in an interview that he felt most aikido people were not practicing aiki. While controversial at the time, we now hear this from other people and we now have other people than can demonstrate Gleason Sensei's point.

Andy Kazama
05-06-2013, 01:44 PM
Mathew,
Thank you for the reply, and nice to see that we have managed to drag you back into the discussion. I think I now see what you are getting at, and I apologize for being dense. Unlike Chris, I am definitely NOT a linguist. If you agree that aikido is "ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art", then I believe we are on roughly the same page. I think that where we differ is that I am fine with Aikido being defined using a broad definition that encompasses the general principle of aiki whereas you are looking for a very tight physical description of aikido. I hope this is accurate? For me, this seems like a never-ending semantic battle, where you say, "OK, aikido is defined as the techniques ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, etc" and then someone comes along and asks you to define ikkyo, which has many many variations -- most of which are designed to forestall the attack. In my opinion, this path also leads to a non-functional unwieldy definition.

Defining the art is waaay above my paygrade, as I am just seeing the tip of the iceberg. If I am alive in 50 years, I suspect I will have a much better definition. For now, I will keep it fairly broad in scope. I see aikido as the focus on "aiki", and that includes intra-personal aiki (i.e. inner harmony both physically and spiritually) as well as inter-personal aiki (i.e. creating connection between two or more people either physically, intellectually, or spiritually). In terms of a functional definition, I guess I just don't understand what you are looking for in terms of "functionality". Are you just trying to distinguish it from another martial art? Are you trying to use it to describe the physical movements to someone who isn't familiar with jujitsu? I asked you this earlier, but do you consider the solo exercises as "aikido" in your functional definition?

RonRagusa
05-06-2013, 10:11 PM
Ron, your "apple" example is about metaphor, which is not what I'm talking about. Everybody knows that an apple is a fruit and that an "Adam's apple" is a fanciful name for something that is not an apple and has virtually nothing in common with an apple. When the person who started this thread says he sees aikido in MMA fights, he's not being fanciful; he means it. What I'd like to know is, under what definition of the word aikido can it be true that we see aikido in MMA, and how could such a definition function as a definitive name for the martial art practiced by the followers of Ueshiba, Saito, Nishio, Saotome, Homma, Tomiki, Shioda, etc?

Rik Ellis, a British MMA fighter and son of AikiWeb poster Henry Ellis, posted on his blog: "For me, my Aikido is in my mind and my body." If you watch any of Rik's video clips you won't see Aikido expressed in the form that you are used to, yet he would probably tell you that he takes his Aikido into the cage with him, and uses it. Aikido isn't form, it's not techniques. The form and techniques are expressions of the Art of Aikido not the Art itself. What binds the many expressions of Aikido together are the principles.

From the Art of Peace: "The techniques of the Way of Peace change constantly, every encounter is unique, and the appropriate response should emerge naturally. Today's techniques will be different tomorrow.Do not get caught up with the form and appearance of a challenge. The Art of Peace has no form - it is the study of the spirit."

So if you would like to know,

...under what definition of the word aikido can it be true that we see aikido in MMA, and how could such a definition function as a definitive name for the martial art practiced by the followers of Ueshiba, Saito, Nishio, Saotome, Homma, Tomiki, Shioda, etc?

why not simply let O Sensei provide it for you? Aikido "is the study of the spirit."

Ron

OwlMatt
05-07-2013, 01:26 PM
Rik Ellis, a British MMA fighter and son of AikiWeb poster Henry Ellis, posted on his blog: "For me, my Aikido is in my mind and my body." If you watch any of Rik's video clips you won't see Aikido expressed in the form that you are used to, yet he would probably tell you that he takes his Aikido into the cage with him, and uses it. Aikido isn't form, it's not techniques. The form and techniques are expressions of the Art of Aikido not the Art itself. What binds the many expressions of Aikido together are the principles.

From the Art of Peace: "The techniques of the Way of Peace change constantly, every encounter is unique, and the appropriate response should emerge naturally. Today's techniques will be different tomorrow.Do not get caught up with the form and appearance of a challenge. The Art of Peace has no form - it is the study of the spirit."

So if you would like to know,

why not simply let O Sensei provide it for you? Aikido "is the study of the spirit."

Ron

"The study of the spirit" is not a functional definition. If you tell a friend you have aikido tomorrow, and someone asks, "What's that?" you're not going to tell them it's the study of the spirit, because that could mean anything and he's going to have no idea what you're talking about. The word aikido has to mean something more specific than that, or else it has no meaning at all.

OwlMatt
05-07-2013, 01:36 PM
Mathew,
Thank you for the reply, and nice to see that we have managed to drag you back into the discussion. I think I now see what you are getting at, and I apologize for being dense. Unlike Chris, I am definitely NOT a linguist. If you agree that aikido is "ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art", then I believe we are on roughly the same page. I think that where we differ is that I am fine with Aikido being defined using a broad definition that encompasses the general principle of aiki whereas you are looking for a very tight physical description of aikido. I hope this is accurate? For me, this seems like a never-ending semantic battle, where you say, "OK, aikido is defined as the techniques ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, etc…" and then someone comes along and asks you to define ikkyo, which has many many variations -- most of which are designed to forestall the attack. In my opinion, this path also leads to a non-functional unwieldy definition.

Defining the art is waaay above my paygrade, as I am just seeing the tip of the iceberg. If I am alive in 50 years, I suspect I will have a much better definition. For now, I will keep it fairly broad in scope. I see aikido as the focus on "aiki", and that includes intra-personal aiki (i.e. inner harmony both physically and spiritually) as well as inter-personal aiki (i.e. creating connection between two or more people either physically, intellectually, or spiritually). In terms of a functional definition, I guess I just don't understand what you are looking for in terms of "functionality". Are you just trying to distinguish it from another martial art? Are you trying to use it to describe the physical movements to someone who isn't familiar with jujitsu? I asked you this earlier, but do you consider the solo exercises as "aikido" in your functional definition?
I think that, when we use the word aikido, we need to be talking about O Sensei's martial art, not the principles of O Sensei's martial art. Since none of those principles are exclusive to O Sensei's martial art, including them in the definition of the word aikido prevents aikido from functioning as the name for O Sensei's martial art. And in that case, the martial art needs another name.

I, for one, think it makes a lot more sense to say "aiki" when we mean aiki, and to say "aikido" only when we are referring to Morihei Ueshiba's martial art which expresses the principle of aiki through a technical curriculum based on Takeda's Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu.

RonRagusa
05-07-2013, 01:43 PM
"The study of the spirit" is not a functional definition. If you tell a friend you have aikido tomorrow, and someone asks, "What's that?" you're not going to tell them it's the study of the spirit, because that could mean anything and he's going to have no idea what you're talking about. The word aikido has to mean something more specific than that, or else it has no meaning at all.

Matt, you're looking for a one size fits all meaning for a process that individualizes it's meaning for each practitioner. The meaning of Aikido grows and changes with time. At the point you are at in your practice it sounds like you need Aikido to be defined in absolute terms that you can rely on to be invariant; to provide a firm footing upon which you can build your knowledge.

I think that this is very common among Aikido students. I know that it was for me. Anyway, find what works for you and run with it. The expanded meaning of Aikido reveals itself over time according to the needs of the student.

Ron

OwlMatt
05-07-2013, 02:27 PM
Matt, you're looking for a one size fits all meaning for a process that individualizes it's meaning for each practitioner. The meaning of Aikido grows and changes with time. At the point you are at in your practice it sounds like you need Aikido to be defined in absolute terms that you can rely on to be invariant; to provide a firm footing upon which you can build your knowledge.

I think that this is very common among Aikido students. I know that it was for me. Anyway, find what works for you and run with it. The expanded meaning of Aikido reveals itself over time according to the needs of the student.

Ron

What works for me is not enough. I need to be able to say it to someone else and be reasonably sure that they have an idea of what I'm talking about. Otherwise it's just a meaningless string of syllables.

Let me make an analogy here to another word with a highly disputed definition. C.S. Lewis got a lot of flack from some readers over his use of the word Christian. They thought it was very presumptuous of him to think he could decide what a Christian really is, and believed that Christianity was something much bigger than just acceptance of a set of doctrines. He replied thus:
People ask: 'Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?' or 'May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?' Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every available quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it.
...
Now if once we allow people to start spiritualizing and refining, or as they might say ‘deepening,' the sense of the word Christian, it will... speedily become a useless word. In the first place, Christians themselves will never be able to apply it to anyone. It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense. And obviously a word which we can never apply is not going to be a very useful word.
You are right that I am inexperienced, and that I have no authority to tell anyone what the true meaning of aikido is in the deepest sense. But I'm merely talking about the word here. If everyone used the word the way you suggest, the word would cease to mean anything at all.

graham christian
05-07-2013, 03:30 PM
As you can imagine I have no problem telling people Aikido I do is a spiritual discipline. I never have people saying they don't know what I mean so in my experience they know exactly what I mean and many even say they are not ready for that.

So in my experience it communicates fine and thus transmits the right reality for what I do and those who want it are not disappointed.

So me saying that Aikido itself is a spiritual practice is one thing and me saying to another who asks personally I also say that same thing, but that's me. What anyone else should do as far as I see it when talking to someone enquiring is just be honest and tell them what it is to you.

That doesn't equal others are wrong, it just equals being honest and respecting that others are being honest from their views too. Thus there should be no argument.

Now I'm outa here, back to the spiritual thread;)

Peace.G.

RonRagusa
05-07-2013, 03:56 PM
If everyone used the word the way you suggest, the word would cease to mean anything at all.

That's the whole point. The word has no meaning unrelated to the context in which it's used. For example, saying Aikido is a martial art drops it into the same cookie jar containing all other martial arts; rendering that definition devoid of any meaningful specificity. On the other hand, if you try to provide enough specifics to differentiate Aikido from all the other martial arts in the cookie jar your definition of Aikido will approach book length; rendering that definition equally useless since to explain Aikido to someone without prior knowledge of the subject you'd have to read the whole book.

When you say the word apple it means one thing to you but may mean something different to me. Sure, we both agree that an apple is a fruit that grows on a tree. But what color is the apple you conjure up: red, green, yellow? Is it tart, sweet or sour? Is it crispy or soft and mushy? We can arrive at a common mental image of an apple by continued communication refining our mental pictures until they coincide.

Not everyone is going to use the word Aikido in the way I suggest. And that too is the point. If you want to talk to your friend who knows nothing about Aikido you're going to have to use more than the word in order to have a meaningful conversation.

Ron

OwlMatt
05-07-2013, 07:03 PM
That's the whole point. The word has no meaning unrelated to the context in which it's used. For example, saying Aikido is a martial art drops it into the same cookie jar containing all other martial arts; rendering that definition devoid of any meaningful specificity.
I'm not following you. How does defining aikido as a martial art make it less specific?

On the other hand, if you try to provide enough specifics to differentiate Aikido from all the other martial arts in the cookie jar your definition of Aikido will approach book length; rendering that definition equally useless since to explain Aikido to someone without prior knowledge of the subject you'd have to read the whole book.
I disagree. If I had to put my definition of aikido into words, it would be something like this: "The martial art, founded by Morihei Ueshiba, that expresses the principle of aiki through a jujutsu-based technical curriculum derived primarily from Sokaku Takeda's Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu." I'd say that differentiates it quite nicely from other martial arts, and could be explained to the martial arts layman according to the aforementioned technical curriculum.

When you say the word apple it means one thing to you but may mean something different to me. Sure, we both agree that an apple is a fruit that grows on a tree. But what color is the apple you conjure up: red, green, yellow? Is it tart, sweet or sour? Is it crispy or soft and mushy? We can arrive at a common mental image of an apple by continued communication refining our mental pictures until they coincide.
An apple is defined biologically, not experientially. Something either is or is not biologically an apple regardless of how many people find that it fits their experience-based descriptions of an apple. This is my problem with your whole point: you seem to think that description and definition are the same thing.

Not everyone is going to use the word Aikido in the way I suggest. And that too is the point. If you want to talk to your friend who knows nothing about Aikido you're going to have to use more than the word in order to have a meaningful conversation.
Of course I am. That would be the case with any word the listener hasn't heard before.

But if someone asks you what aikido is and you answer that it is a formless study of the spirit, what have you communicated? They know as little about what you do as they did before they asked. You have communicated nothing, and therefore have effectively said nothing.

On the other hand, if they ask me what aikido is, I'll tell them that it's a Japanese martial art that explores principles of physics and spirituality primarily through grappling and throwing techniques. That person will at least have a general idea of what I do.

OwlMatt
05-07-2013, 08:01 PM
Let me draw another analogy.

Falling is an activity that serves as an expression of gravity. If we decide one day to define falling according to gravity rather than to the specific activity, then falling becomes a very general word which can mean many different things. As such, falling no longer specificies the thing we do when nothing is holding us up. That activity, therefore needs a new name.

Aikido is an activity that serves as an expression of certain principles. If we decide to define aikido according to the principles rather than to the specific activity, the word aikido becomes a very general word which can mean many different things. As such, aikido no longer specifically names the martial we practice in the dojo. That activity, therefore needs a new name.

RonRagusa
05-07-2013, 10:03 PM
If I had to put my definition of aikido into words, it would be something like this: "The martial art, founded by Morihei Ueshiba, that expresses the principle of aiki through a jujutsu-based technical curriculum derived primarily from Sokaku Takeda's Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu."

and

On the other hand, if they ask me what aikido is, I'll tell them that it's a Japanese martial art that explores principles of physics and spirituality primarily through grappling and throwing techniques.

Without a whole lot of effort you yourself have managed to come up with two definitions of Aikido and you are just one of a couple of million people who study.

But if someone asks you what aikido is and you answer that it is a formless study of the spirit, what have you communicated?

Well, that's Ueshiba's rather terse definition. I'm sure that if you dig into his writings in any great detail you'll find that idea covered more deeply.

This is my problem with your whole point: you seem to think that description and definition are the same thing.

A few synonyms for define: describe, outline, explain, state, term, delineate, delimit.
And definition: description, meaning, classification, explanation, characterization, demarcation, delineation.

Ron

OwlMatt
05-07-2013, 10:36 PM
and

Without a whole lot of effort you yourself have managed to come up with two definitions of Aikido and you are just one of a couple of million people who study.
On the contrary, those are not two different definitions. They are one definition stated twice. The second time the definition is re-worded for the benefit of someone who has no martial arts background. But they both refer to exactly the same activity. Your definition, stated twice, could refer to two entirely different things, even if you worded it exactly the same way, which is why your definition doesn't work.
Well, that's Ueshiba's rather terse definition. I'm sure that if you dig into his writings in any great detail you'll find that idea covered more deeply.
I am aware that it was Ueshiba's definition. That doesn't mean that it is a definition that is useful in any practical way.
A few synonyms for define: describe, outline, explain, state, term, delineate, delimit.
And definition: description, meaning, classification, explanation, characterization, demarcation, delineation.
Great, but they're still not the same thing.

RonRagusa
05-08-2013, 07:34 AM
Great, but they're still not the same thing.

You can discuss that with Merriam-Webster 'cause:

"synonym noun \ˈsi-nə-ˌnim\

Definition of SYNONYM

1: one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses"

Time for me to go.

Ron

OwlMatt
05-08-2013, 09:56 AM
A definition and a description are not the same thing, Ron. I wish there were a nice way to say this, but you're just wrong. Something that is defined one way can be described many ways.

Let's use your apple example. An apple is the fruit of the Malus domestica, or apple tree. Different people can describe an apple different ways (red, green, tart, sweet, crispy, etc.) according to how they experience it, but none of those descriptions change--or indeed impact in any way--the definition of apple. No matter what the description, the definition remains the same: an apple, by definition, is the fruit of the Malus domestica tree.

Your argument is that something which can be described many ways cannot have a single definition, because every description serves as a new definition, and that is demonstrably false.

Now back to OP. Say we define aikido as a martial art originating with Morihei Ueshiba, whose technical curriculum is derived primarily from Sokaku Takeda's Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu and which is intended to explore and express the physical and spiritual principle of aiki. By giving aikido such a definition, we create word that (a) means something specific in conversation, (b) functions as a name for our particular martial art, (c) acknowledges that our art is about something bigger and more important than a particular set of techniques, and (d) makes no judgement about which individual style is the "true" art. It does everything we need it to do, and no one else in this thread has provided a definition that accomplishes that (except maybe Cliff and Andy, whose definitions are very similar to mine). What such a definition does not do is allow us to say that we see aikido "all over the place in MMA". It would be far more correct and far less obfuscatory to say that we see the principles of aikido or the lessons of aikido "all over the place in MMA".

jonreading
05-08-2013, 12:01 PM
Let me draw another analogy.

Falling is an activity that serves as an expression of gravity. If we decide one day to define falling according to gravity rather than to the specific activity, then falling becomes a very general word which can mean many different things. As such, falling no longer specificies the thing we do when nothing is holding us up. That activity, therefore needs a new name.

For example, I can fall in love or fall out of line. In both actions, the verb fall is not an expression of gravity, but rather an expression of transition from one state to another. So specifically, are you claiming that the commonly accepted phrase "falling in love" should not be used because the verb "falling" [incorrectly] does not act as an expression of gravity? And in a case where a conflict of defintion has displaced a word, that word should be redefined?

You have spent a lot of effort in trying to define aikido. I don't think you are necessarily saying anything wrong, but what several posters have been trying to say is that in defining aikido, you have to include the common context and usage in your clausal statement. The outcome of all the number of posts you have made has resulted in:
What such a definition does not do is allow us to say that we see aikido "all over the place in MMA". It would be far more correct and far less obfuscatory to say that we see the principles of aikido or the lessons of aikido "all over the place in MMA".
One word- "principles" of aikido. Or is it "lessons" of aikido. A lesson and a principle are not the same thing.

I am not sure getting so over-defined is contributory to a discussion about whether MMA fighters may apply [principes of] aikido in their fights. I think most of us here accepted the implication that we are not literally talking about aikido waza. I also think most of us here accepted the loose claim of possession that aikido is inclusive of aiki. I also think that most of us here are not claiming aiki is exclusive to aikido.

What I am claiming is that yes, you can see aiki in fights.

OwlMatt
05-08-2013, 01:24 PM
For example, I can fall in love or fall out of line. In both actions, the verb fall is not an expression of gravity, but rather an expression of transition from one state to another. So specifically, are you claiming that the commonly accepted phrase "falling in love" should not be used because the verb "falling" [incorrectly] does not act as an expression of gravity? And in a case where a conflict of defintion has displaced a word, that word should be redefined?
You're talking about metaphor; I addressed this earlier in the thread. "Falling in love" is a fanciful figure of speech that compares an emotional feeling to literal falling. It works precisely because the person who hears it knows that it does not literally refer to falling.

What is happening here is not the same thing. When OP says he sees aikido in MMA, he is not being fanciful. He means it literally, or else he is communicating badly. Either way, he is misusing the word.
One word- "principles" of aikido. Or is it "lessons" of aikido. A lesson and a principle are not the same thing.
That is correct. I am not saying they are the same thing. It is up to OP to decide what he means; I am presenting possibilities of what he might mean.
I am not sure getting so over-defined is contributory to a discussion about whether MMA fighters may apply [principes of] aikido in their fights.
Principles of aikido and aikido itself are not the same thing. If OP meant principles of aikido, he should have said "principles of aikido".
I think most of us here accepted the implication that we are not literally talking about aikido waza.
Then we should be using a word other than aikido.
I also think most of us here accepted the loose claim of possession that aikido is inclusive of aiki.
Can you rephrase this? I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
I also think that most of us here are not claiming aiki is exclusive to aikido.
To refer to all things aiki by the name aikido is to make that claim.
What I am claiming is that yes, you can see aiki in fights.
And I do not dispute that. But OP did not say aiki; he said aikido. My point is--and has been from the beginning--that OP is misusing the word aikido, not that aiki cannot be found in MMA fights.

chillzATL
05-08-2013, 01:42 PM
I went to the driving range today. I most certainly employed several key aiki principles while practicing. These same principles are directly responsible for my ability to make consistent, good contact with the ball. Something I was not previously able to do. If aiki-do is an art of principles and I was intently focused on maintaining some of those principles, was I not doing aiki-do? Was I not at least doing as much aiki-do as someone who is doing techniques that are devoid of most of those principles?

OwlMatt
05-08-2013, 03:59 PM
I went to the driving range today. I most certainly employed several key aiki principles while practicing. These same principles are directly responsible for my ability to make consistent, good contact with the ball. Something I was not previously able to do. If aiki-do is an art of principles and I was intently focused on maintaining some of those principles, was I not doing aiki-do? Was I not at least doing as much aiki-do as someone who is doing techniques that are devoid of most of those principles?
No, you were not doing aikido. You were doing golf. You might have been employing some of the principles of aikido, but you were not doing aikido.

Mary Eastland
05-08-2013, 07:04 PM
No, you were not doing aikido. You were doing golf. You might have been employing some of the principles of aikido, but you were not doing aikido.

Some of us have been doing Aikido for decades.

Have you ever considered that you don't even know what you don't know?

Aikido touches every thing I do. You can say it doesn't but it will still be part of every single thing I do.

OwlMatt
05-08-2013, 09:20 PM
Some of us have been doing Aikido for decades.

Have you ever considered that you don't even know what you don't know?

Aikido touches every thing I do. You can say it doesn't but it will still be part of every single thing I do.
I agree wholeheartedly. Aikido ideally does touch everything we do. But that doesn't mean that everything we do can be called aikido.

mathewjgano
05-09-2013, 01:02 AM
No, you were not doing aikido. You were doing golf. You might have been employing some of the principles of aikido, but you were not doing aikido.

Knowing a couple golfers, I'm not sure going to the driving range is doing golf. You might be employing some of the same behaviors of golf, but that is not doing golf. :p:D

chillzATL
05-09-2013, 08:23 AM
No, you were not doing aikido. You were doing golf. You might have been employing some of the principles of aikido, but you were not doing aikido.

but if I go to the dojo, put on a gi and do techniques that express none of the principles of aiki, I am doing aikido?

OwlMatt
05-09-2013, 08:46 AM
but if I go to the dojo, put on a gi and do techniques that express none of the principles of aiki, I am doing aikido?
I would say that you are doing aikido badly.

Cliff Judge
05-09-2013, 09:16 AM
but if I go to the dojo, put on a gi and do techniques that express none of the principles of aiki, I am doing aikido?

Are you talking about someone trying to express the principles of aiki in their technique but failing?

I find I am with Matt on this...to satisfy me that a martial art is Aikido, I need to see people get onto the mat in gi and hakama, face a picture of the old man, clap twice, etc. And train predominantly on throws and joint locks etc. For the ultimate goal of turning conflict into harmony.

In Japanese, the term "aikido" can be used more loosely and descriptively based on context but in English we tend to think of words like aikido, kendo, judo, etc to be definitive terms that relate to a particular martial art.

If your practice extends to other areas of your life, that is great, but it is a more personal thing whether you think of it as aikido. Likewise if you cross-train in another art that enriches your understanding of the principles of Aikido.

phitruong
05-09-2013, 10:40 AM
was going to stay out of this but the dark side is too strong and it pulled me in.

most folks don't care about what you know or your explanation of aikido or martial arts, until you shown them that you care about them and their thoughts and activities. so my conversation with folks depend on who they are and what they know. i would categorize my approach depending on the audience. sort of adapt to the situation instead of forcing the situation to fit my needs. isn't that one of the aikido principles? so my categorization,

Folks who do activities but know nothing about martial arts
{
- talk to them about their activities
- ask questions about their activities
- shown interest in their activities
- if they ask what you do, just mention that you do martial arts. don't even mention the name aikido. and steer the conversation back to their activities or discuss other subjects, any other subjects other than martial arts: for example, why pole dancing is a fitness craze?
}

Folks who practice some sort of martial arts that's not aikido
{
- same treatment as the folks who don't and know nothing about martial arts
- but talk about their martial arts practice instead
- asking questions about their practice, but stay away from saying things like "<insert name martial arts> sucks!" or "we do it this way in aikido" or "aikido does it better". because they might smile and be all polite, but thinking "who the f**k care of what you think". or they just knock your light out. either case, it's bad manner at party.
- try to keep the conversation away from aikido
- again care about what they do
}

Folks who really curious about aikido
{
- could be the same folks above where they kept asking about aikido
- remember this quote "tell me and i forget. show me and i remember. involve me and i understand"
- you ask them if they have comfortable exercise clothes other the one they use for pole dancing. and whether they available during one of the practice time of your dojo. ask them to come and "involve" them so understanding can show up and party.
}

Folks who already practices aikido
{
- no explanation or definition is necessary or in some case, could never satisfy with any explanation or definition
- actually, one should stay away from other aikido folks lest you create high gravitational field like black holes. and we all know what black hole does, which is opposite of asshole.
}

Folks who practices MMA
{
- pick fight with them just for fun and entertainment. don't forget to have your buddy video it and post on youtube for fun and entertainment. look for quick exit before challenge them.
- ask them how do they keep from getting an erection when pulling guards or in mount position? and don't forget to look for quick exit before asking such question.
- ask them if they train with steven seagal. if they say "no", then tell them that they don't know MMA at all. don't forget to look for quick exit before asking such question.
}

personally, i think we should ditch the name aikido and go with "phido", the way of phi. and for easy 10 payments of $9.99 (gazillion euros for you folks over there somewhere) i will give the concise definition of phido.

chillzATL
05-09-2013, 10:41 AM
I would say that you are doing aikido badly.

Then what are the principles of aiki that separate doing aikido well and doing it badly? What are you looking for? How would you tell if someone was doing strong, effective technique, but doing it without any of those principles? Could you tell?

phitruong
05-09-2013, 10:56 AM
How would you tell if someone was doing strong, effective technique, but doing it without any of those principles? Could you tell?

when they use the Schwartz. everyone knows that! :D

OwlMatt
05-09-2013, 11:33 AM
Then what are the principles of aiki that separate doing aikido well and doing it badly? What are you looking for? How would you tell if someone was doing strong, effective technique, but doing it without any of those principles? Could you tell?
That's a completely separate issue, one I'm not sure I'm qualified to get into.

What I am proposing is that we need to define the word aikido in such a way that it is clear which activities are and are not aikido. MMA is not aikido. Golf is not aikido. Dancing is not aikido. Having a conversation is not aikido. These are all activities which can be informed by our practice of aikido and which can express the principles we find in aikido, but they are not Ueshiba's Daito-based martial art, therefore it is incorrect to call them by the name aikido.

What is good and bad aikido, which aikido best expresses the principles of aikido, I'll let the shihans argue about that.

mathewjgano
05-09-2013, 11:41 AM
I find I am with Matt on this...to satisfy me that a martial art is Aikido, I need to see people get onto the mat in gi and hakama, face a picture of the old man, clap twice, etc. And train predominantly on throws and joint locks etc. For the ultimate goal of turning conflict into harmony.

In Japanese, the term "aikido" can be used more loosely and descriptively based on context but in English we tend to think of words like aikido, kendo, judo, etc to be definitive terms that relate to a particular martial art.


The bold bit is the crux of the current issue here isn't it; whether or not it's ok to use the word "aikido" descriptively to indicate similarity or whether it ought remain a discrete (and per my limited reading of this conversation, a more or less incomplete) definition? If it's ok to do so in Japanese, why not English? Simply because of localized conventions? What about when some of those Japanese conventions find themselves transplanted in an English-speaking area? Might there not be some acceptible cross-over?
After rereading the OP I think it's clear Dan's not saying that literally "the" complete practice of Aikido (whatever that might be) is everywhere in MMA. He's saying some essential aspects of Aikido are used by many high level MMA players and insofar as this is true, "Aikido" can be seen in MMA. It seems clear to me the OP is using Aikido as a descriptive term to relate similar aspects of different training systems and practices.

OwlMatt
05-09-2013, 01:33 PM
The bold bit is the crux of the current issue here isn't it; whether or not it's ok to use the word "aikido" descriptively to indicate similarity or whether it ought remain a discrete (and per my limited reading of this conversation, a more or less incomplete) definition? If it's ok to do so in Japanese, why not English? Simply because of localized conventions? What about when some of those Japanese conventions find themselves transplanted in an English-speaking area? Might there not be some acceptible cross-over?
After rereading the OP I think it's clear Dan's not saying that literally "the" complete practice of Aikido (whatever that might be) is everywhere in MMA. He's saying some essential aspects of Aikido are used by many high level MMA players and insofar as this is true, "Aikido" can be seen in MMA. It seems clear to me the OP is using Aikido as a descriptive term to relate similar aspects of different training systems and practices.
But that's not how language works. Ron and I have been using an "apple" analogy, so I'll stick with it.

I can say something is an apple and literally mean it--that is, that it is the fruit of a Malus domestica tree; I can say that something is an apple and mean it metaphorically, as in "the Big Apple", or "the apple of my eye"--in which case the figurative comparison works precisely because the person listening knows what I am talking about is not actually an apple; but I cannot say that a strawberry bush is full of apples and mean that it is full of red, curvy fruits with stems at the stop. That's not metaphor, it's just improper use of the word apple. It would be accurate to say that the strawberry bush is full of things that in many ways are like apples, but not to call them apples.

Likewise:
I can say something is aikido and literally mean it--that is, that it is Ueshiba's Daito-based martial art; I can say something is aikido and mean it metaphorically, as in the oft-used phrase "verbal aikido"--in which case the figurative comparison works precisely because the person listening knows that what I am talking about is not actually aikido; but I cannot say that an MMA match is full of aikido and mean that it is full of things that are in many ways like aikido. It is a misuse of the word.

I'll give OP the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is just making a semantic error, not the much more egregious error others are making in this thread of calling anything aikido in which they find the principles of aikido. But it's still a semantic error that needs to be corrected, since the word in question is aikido itself.

Chris Li
05-09-2013, 01:55 PM
I'll give OP the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is just making a semantic error, not the much more egregious error others are making in this thread of calling anything aikido in which they find the principles of aikido. But it's still a semantic error that needs to be corrected, since the word in question is aikido itself.

It's a semantic error only according to your definition. According to other's definitions that may not be the case - in fact, according to other definitions calling what you do in the dojo with the funny clothes on may well be a semantic error.

And no, linguistically a word doesn't have to be that tightly defined to have meaning or to be usable (take "love" for example, which is enourmously vague and variable) - it just means that further qualifiers would be necessary to clarify what you're talking about. Thus, for example, Stan Pranin talks about "modern" Aikido.

Best,

Chris

graham christian
05-09-2013, 02:30 PM
Definition of Aikido. Mmmmm. Which one. I wonder if anyone could answer the following:

1) Descriptive definition.

2) Literal Definition.

3) Technical Definition.

4) Mental Definition.

5) Spiritual Definition.

6) Founder's Definition(s)

7) Hombu's Definition.

8) IP folks Definition.

9) Each past Shihan's Definition.

10) Kotodama Definition.

++++++++

Mmmmm. Have fun.

Peace.G.

Tore Eriksson
05-09-2013, 06:24 PM
In Japanese, the term "aikido" can be used more loosely and descriptively based on context but in English we tend to think of words like aikido, kendo, judo, etc to be definitive terms that relate to a particular martial art.

I try to stay away from discussions over semantics, but I have to point out that the word aikido has exactly the same connotations in Japanese as in English, loosely "that martial art without competition that uses a lot of wrist locks". Although the Japanese write words with kanji, and kanji have their intrinsict meaning, ordinary japanese don't analyze the semantics of a word by breaking it up into its kanji components - that is an exercise mostly limited to linguists and foreigners.

OwlMatt
05-09-2013, 08:17 PM
It's a semantic error only according to your definition.
It's a semantic error according any definition that allows the word aikido to serve as the name for a particular martial art.

According to other's definitions that may not be the case - in fact, according to other definitions calling what you do in the dojo with the funny clothes on may well be a semantic error
Then their definitions are wrong. Morihei Ueshiba created a martial art whose technical basis was Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu and called it aikido. One might argue that what I'm doing is not true to the founder's vision of aikido, or that it does not properly express aiki, and therefore does not qualify as true aikido, and I could not disprove that. But that doesn't make me calling my martial art aikido a semantic error. It's only a semantic error if aikido is not the name of a particular martial art.

And no, linguistically a word doesn't have to be that tightly defined to have meaning or to be usable (take "love" for example, which is enourmously vague and variable) - it just means that further qualifiers would be necessary to clarify what you're talking about.
A word that functions as the name for a particular martial art must be that tightly defined, yes.

Thus, for example, Stan Pranin talks about "modern" Aikido.
Which is a subset of a particular martial art.

RonRagusa
05-10-2013, 01:19 PM
Definition of Aikido. Mmmmm. Which one. I wonder if anyone could answer the following:

1) Descriptive definition.

2) Literal Definition.

3) Technical Definition.

4) Mental Definition.

5) Spiritual Definition.

6) Founder's Definition(s)

7) Hombu's Definition.

8) IP folks Definition.

9) Each past Shihan's Definition.

10) Kotodama Definition.

++++++++

Mmmmm. Have fun.

Peace.G.

Nice post Graham. It really emphasizes how limiting definitions are by their nature. An Aikido defined by its techniques flies in the face of O Sensei's words regarding the nature of technique: "The techniques of the Way of Peace change constantly..." and "Today's techniques will be different tomorrow."

Pure Aikido has no form and therefore cannot be defined using any particular form as the basis for a definition.

Ron

Chris Li
05-10-2013, 01:28 PM
A word that functions as the name for a particular martial art must be that tightly defined, yes.



As I thought when I stepped away from the conversation in the first place, it's going nowhere, never mind.

Best,

Chris

OwlMatt
05-10-2013, 02:39 PM
Okay, Chris, let me put it to you this way.

I have supplied in this thread already what I consider to be a working definition of the word aikido. And I defined working as (a) meaning something in conversation, (b) functioning as the name for a particular martial art, (c) acknowledging a basis on principles broader than martial art, and (d) making no judgments about the validity of a particular style.

Clearly, you are dissatisfied with my definition. So what would be a better one?

Chris Li
05-10-2013, 02:50 PM
Okay, Chris, let me put it to you this way.

I have supplied in this thread already what I consider to be a working definition of the word aikido. And I defined working as (a) meaning something in conversation, (b) functioning as the name for a particular martial art, (c) acknowledging a basis on principles broader than martial art, and (d) making no judgments about the validity of a particular style.

Clearly, you are dissatisfied with my definition. So what would be a better one?

Already posted earlier. We're repeating the conversation from earlier on the thread, what's your point?

Best,

Chris

OwlMatt
05-10-2013, 03:06 PM
Pure Aikido has no form and therefore cannot be defined using any particular form as the basis for a definition.

What is "pure" aikido? Clearly it is not what we do in the dojo, because what we do in the dojo obviously has form. And if what we do in the dojo isn't really aikido, then what should we call it?

RonRagusa
05-10-2013, 04:23 PM
What is "pure" aikido? Clearly it is not what we do in the dojo, because what we do in the dojo obviously has form. And if what we do in the dojo isn't really aikido, then what should we call it?

"The Art of Peace has no form - it is the study of the spirit." - Morihei Ueshiba

Ron

Chris Li
05-10-2013, 04:38 PM
"The Art of Peace has no form - it is the study of the spirit." - Morihei Ueshiba

Ron

合気道は形はない。形はなく、すべて魂の学びである。

Just a couple of thought, he didn't really say "Art of Peace", he said "Aikido", John was being a littlle poetic here. Also, the word "spirit" here isn't that simple, it gets into some deep areas that don't make sense unless they are in context with a number of other things he talked about, and might not be quite what most people would expect on a simple reading. I'll get into that at some point.

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
05-10-2013, 05:12 PM
合気道は形はない。形はなく、すべて魂の学びである。

Just a couple of thought, he didn't really say "Art of Peace", he said "Aikido", John was being a littlle poetic here.

No problem with substituting Aikido for Art of Peace.

Also, the word "spirit" here isn't that simple, it gets into some deep areas that don't make sense unless they are in context with a number of other things he talked about, and might not be quite what most people would expect on a simple reading.

I understand Chris. When I refer to spirit in relation to Aikido it's within a very personal and specific context that dovetails nicely with my idea that Aikido is, at its core, an art that contains no inherent forms. The forms I practice on the mat, when performed in accordance with the principles I was taught, are doorways or windows that enable me to experience Aikido in the realm of a martial art. But hey, that's me. I'm sure Aikido works its way on others differently, in harmony with their own needs.

Ron

graham christian
05-10-2013, 05:31 PM
How about Aikido is a dynamic art where you do nothing to or against an opponent and thus practice the way of true self restoration. The art of winning over self.

Now that I don't see in any place in mma.

Peace.G.

Chris Li
05-10-2013, 05:35 PM
No problem with substituting Aikido for Art of Peace.


It depends - it's not exactly wrong, but you get a lot of people who don't know any better taking literal meaning out of a metaphorical (poetic) translation. Also, there's the issue of why a translation would add a metaphorical layer there that didn't exist in the original in the first place. There are times when Ueshiba said "the art of peace", or something similar - this isn't one of them.

It just makes it harder to get back to the original, IMO. I'd have no complaint if there were other translations for folks to compare it to, and everybody was aware that it is a poetic, interpretive, translation, but that's usually not the case.

There's a little more about this in this article (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-04-01/aikido-without-peace-or-harmony).

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
05-10-2013, 06:49 PM
There's a little more about this in this article (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-04-01/aikido-without-peace-or-harmony).

From your referenced article: "The character 合 is a cover fitting over a hole or an opening and actually means "combine", "match" or "fit together" (as in a lid fitting on a container)."

When I began training, Aikido was translated as the "Way to union with Ki."

What caught my eye was this quote:

"Morihiro Saito:

In Iwama, O-Sensei explored Aikido by worshipping the Budo Guardian Spirits and praying every morning and evening. And so Takemusu Aikido was created. He said the former aikido was not the "true" aikido. It may not be incorrect aikido, but this is what O-Sensei said. In Takemusu Aikido, bit by bit, new techniques appear spontaneously. This never stops, it is infinite like a spring. This is Takemusu." (italics added).

To me this means that Aikido is a process that ultimately works its way outward. I spend time internalizing the teachings, practicing the forms, the Ki exercises and such. At some point however, the process gets reversed and I begin to create Aikido instead of absorb and regurgitate it. And once I can create Aikido I can create it anywhere regardless of the nature of the activity.

Ron

Chris Li
05-10-2013, 07:02 PM
From your referenced article: "The character 合 is a cover fitting over a hole or an opening and actually means "combine", "match" or "fit together" (as in a lid fitting on a container)."

When I began training, Aikido was translated as the "Way to union with Ki."

That's true, but it can be difficult to accurately translate a compound word through breaking down its component parts. "Martial arts", for example, has only a slight relation to Roman dieties.


What caught my eye was this quote:

"Morihiro Saito:

In Iwama, O-Sensei explored Aikido by worshipping the Budo Guardian Spirits and praying every morning and evening. And so Takemusu Aikido was created. He said the former aikido was not the "true" aikido. It may not be incorrect aikido, but this is what O-Sensei said. In Takemusu Aikido, bit by bit, new techniques appear spontaneously. This never stops, it is infinite like a spring. This is Takemusu." (italics added).

To me this means that Aikido is a process that ultimately works its way outward. I spend time internalizing the teachings, practicing the forms, the Ki exercises and such. At some point however, the process gets reversed and I begin to create Aikido instead of absorb and regurgitate it. And once I can create Aikido I can create it anywhere regardless of the nature of the activity.

Ron

I would say that the creative effect is the result, or effect, of Takemusu rather than Takemusu itself, which is an important distinction.

Best,

Chris

RonRagusa
05-11-2013, 07:30 AM
What is "pure" aikido? Clearly it is not what we do in the dojo, because what we do in the dojo obviously has form. And if what we do in the dojo isn't really aikido, then what should we call it?

I'll let O Sensei address that in this quote, from page 36 of John Stevens' expanded edition of the Art of Peace:

"Regarding technique Morihei made this telling remark: In reality, Aikido has no forms, no set patterns. It is like an invisible wave of energy. However, such a phenomenon is too difficult for human beings to grasp, so we use provisional forms to explain it and put it into practice. Any movement, in fact can become Aikido technique [emphasis added], so in ultimate terms, there are no mistakes. My advice to you: Learn and forget! Learn and forget! Make the techniques part of your being.

He [Morihei] further stated: You cannot imitate what I do. Each technique is a once-and-for-all experience. My techniques emerge freely, spewing forth like a fountain. Rather than try to copy what I do listen to what I say. That is where the essence of techniques lies. Someday you will understand."

Ron

OwlMatt
05-11-2013, 08:24 AM
That doesn't answer my question. You have stated that "true aikido has no form". But the martial art we train in the dojo clearly has form: it has techniques, it has stances, it has traditions, etc. Therefore, according to your words, the martial art we train in the dojo is not true aikido. So what shall we call it?

RonRagusa
05-11-2013, 08:43 AM
That doesn't answer my question. You have stated that "true aikido has no form". But the martial art we train in the dojo clearly has form: it has techniques, it has stances, it has traditions, etc. Therefore, according to your words, the martial art we train in the dojo is not true aikido. So what shall we call it?

Quote me correctly, I stated "pure Aikido has no form.", not true Aikido.

I'll give this one more shot.

"In reality, Aikido has no forms, no set patterns. It is like an invisible wave of energy." - M.Ueshiba

That's pure Aikido. If that answer doesn't satisfy you then call it whatever you like Matt.

Ron

Carl Thompson
05-11-2013, 09:08 AM
That doesn't answer my question. You have stated that "true aikido has no form". But the martial art we train in the dojo clearly has form: it has techniques, it has stances, it has traditions, etc. Therefore, according to your words, the martial art we train in the dojo is not true aikido. So what shall we call it?

Forms can vary in irritating ways...

http://dailyfailcenter.com/48144

OwlMatt
05-11-2013, 04:35 PM
Quote me correctly, I stated "pure Aikido has no form.", not true Aikido.

I'll give this one more shot.

"In reality, Aikido has no forms, no set patterns. It is like an invisible wave of energy." - M.Ueshiba

That's pure Aikido. If that answer doesn't satisfy you then call it whatever you like Matt.

Ron

Okay, so pure aikido has no forms or set patterns. The martial art we practice in the dojo does have forms and set patterns, therefore it is not pure aikido. Fair?

OwlMatt
05-11-2013, 04:49 PM
My previous post will be my last on the subject. I'd like to apologize to everyone for dragging this thread so far off track.

I think the point I'm trying to make is a valid one, but in trying to make it I've completely hijacked the thread, and we haven't addressed OP's real point in a week now.

I'm going to bring the question of how we use the word aikido in my blog, which means there will be a thread on the External Blog Posts board. Anyone who wants to can continue the discussion there when it goes up.

graham christian
05-11-2013, 04:57 PM
I don't really see the argument here anyway. "Young Grasshopper's" definition is fine and correct from one viewpoint.

Words have many definitions from different perspectives. His is quite physical and technical so from that viewpoint it is quite good and would relate in conversation to those looking for such.

Plus may I add 'Aikido is the art of peace' is yet another valid definition.

Peace.G.

JP3
05-11-2013, 06:18 PM
It's a semantic error only according to your definition. According to other's definitions that may not be the case - in fact, according to other definitions calling what you do in the dojo with the funny clothes on may well be a semantic error.

And no, linguistically a word doesn't have to be that tightly defined to have meaning or to be usable (take "love" for example, which is enourmously vague and variable) - it just means that further qualifiers would be necessary to clarify what you're talking about. Thus, for example, Stan Pranin talks about "modern" Aikido.

Best,

Chris

Huh. Chris, I would like to buy you a beer, assuming that you enjoy beer, at my friend Byron's place, the Honolulu Tavern. I think that was very well put.

I have a question. Why is it that people take the words themselves so seriously, yet miss the meaning and/or thoughts/concepts which the words are meant to convey so lightly?

Illustration: "I swing and try to punch Chris in the face" (I would not, not a good business decision, I don't think).

OR ...

"I, using my advanced sense of maai and feeling the cosmic shift of psychological pressures conjoining into the precise adjunction of physical prescence and mental intent, do ask my sympathetic nervous system to cause a negative impulse to be fired down the spinal column, enervating the additive musculature of my starboard side non-gravity defying appendage to fling itself - while clenching itself into self-defensive and composed statis - into the space occupied by the maxillofacial arch of Chris' body structure in a feeble attempt to render his consciousness insensate.

Please pardon my straight speech, but life is too short. I get the feeling that many folks enjoy the masturbatory sensation of using multisyllabic phraseology in an attempt to stroke their own egos on here, yet if on the mat, they may have a problem placing one foot in front of the other.

The above is a very gross generalization, but I think it apt. I apologize in advance, Jun.

Chris Li
05-11-2013, 07:21 PM
Huh. Chris, I would like to buy you a beer, assuming that you enjoy beer, at my friend Byron's place, the Honolulu Tavern. I think that was very well put.

Mmmm beer....

I'll be sure to take you up on that if you make it out here! :)

Best,

Chris