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Paula Lydon
07-26-2002, 09:14 AM
Hi all! Here I am being blunt and annoying again...;) . As much as I love Aikido, and have trained for some years now, I still ask myself: "Is an attacker going to hold on to me this long while I move through these lovely, flowing movements?". Well, of course not! Even if an attacker grabs you, I don't think it'll be just your wrist or shoulder (I've also trained in Jujitsu) or hang on or take any sort of ukemi.
So why train in fancy when it'll probably be a face plant, shoulder scrunch, trip and crunch knees, etc. The melding of self-defense and movement study is often lumpy for me. How do others deal with this?
Thanks for sharing? :D

justinm
07-26-2002, 09:59 AM
They will probably hold on if it is the safest option....

Justin

MaylandL
07-26-2002, 10:40 AM
Hi all! Here I am being blunt and annoying again...;) . As much as I love Aikido, and have trained for some years now, I still ask myself: "Is an attacker going to hold on to me this long while I move through these lovely, flowing movements?". Well, of course not! ...

So why train in fancy when it'll probably be a face plant, shoulder scrunch, trip and crunch knees, etc. The melding of self-defense and movement study is often lumpy for me. How do others deal with this?
Hello Paula

IMHO There's often aikido exercises and techniques that we practice that, from a self defence perspective are about as useful as "tits on a bull". Excuse the venacular. However, they have a use in allowing the aikidoka to explore and train in the principles and concepts of aikido - for the pure martial art of it as opposed to the application of the technique.

You are quite right Paula, there is a world of difference between training in the dojo and what happens "in the street".

There's all of the effects of the massive adrenalin dump when faced with a potential injury or life/death situation. I don't think that any of that is trained in the dojo under the banner of martial arts.

The training that I've had certainly didnt prepare me when I got jumped. I wont bore you and others with the details but training for self defence applications of martial arts is very different. There's awareness, avoidance and de-escalation strategies, legal rights and implications and a whole other lot of stuff to consider. If you are interested in learning more check these two websites out:

http://www.rmcat.com

http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/

They are extermely informative and from people who have been there, done that, got the T-Shirt and survived.

This is a kind of a pet subject for me at the moment and I'm doing some further research and reading into it. I am wanting to see how aikido can be applied to self defence situations. I know that it has, I'm just interested in knowing how and what changes to the techniques are necessary for it to be an effective and self defence application. I'm kind of at the beginning of my inquiry :)

All the best for your training.

Kat.C
07-26-2002, 10:49 AM
Hi Mayland,

I really hope you'll be willing to share what you find out.

Young-In Park
07-26-2002, 10:50 AM
The melding of self-defense and movement study is often lumpy for me. How do others deal with this?

Attack in a fashion that you think is "realistic." A teacher told me that "the uke is always right."

Just be careful of nages who get excited since they might rip your arm off to "do" the technique.

And don't complain that the nage did the "wrong" technique or if you get bopped in the nose with an atemi because you weren't aware of the prcarious situation you were in.

But then again, I took Hapkido in high school. And my friends and I made the same comments about the realism of grasping attacks. When my brother got into a scuffle, he said he was more surprised when the attacker grabbed him by his shirt - exactly the way we practiced.

Since the attacker didn't see the technique demonstrated a few minutes earlier and didn't know what my brother was going to do, he didn't know how to resist the technique and was surprised when he met Mr. Gokyo...

YoungIn Park

seroteamavi
07-26-2002, 11:16 AM
I've often wonderered about that, too. I recently ready "Aikido Shugyo" by Gozo Shioda, which has just come out in English, and it's been helpful to me in understanding how (and why) techniques do and don't work in a given scenario. I really recommend it!

Erik
07-26-2002, 11:19 AM
Again, culture rears it's ugly head. I remember reading an story which involved Donn Draeger. He was watching a Kendo match and to him and the other American's it was very clear who won. One guy clearly dominated the match. The Japanese, however, saw it completely differently. One guy had good clean form and even though he didn't score many points he won the match because of it. Reading that story explained a lot to me. We tend to see practicality, the Japanese tend to see it as process.

Carl Simard
07-26-2002, 11:22 AM
Many techniques are interesting from a teaching point but are near useless in self defense...

Anyway, if your first concern is self defense, you should take a self defense course, not aikido. Which is quite different... Not that aikido is useless in self defense, it simply that's it's not the first goal... An efficient self defense technique must be easy to learn and remember (i.e. doesn't take years of training), effective, and the result is more important than the form (which is a big difference with MA, where form has usually as much importance, in not more, than the result). For example, putting your fingers in the eyes or ears of your opponent is a good self defense technique (easy to learn, to do, and efficient without years of training). However, it's form doesn't make it an acceptable technique in MA (it's not very "noble")...

Brian H
07-26-2002, 05:58 PM
two observations:

1) many drills we practice as stand allow techniques are really just the beginning of "real" techniques. Irimi tenkan is not a "combat" move, but is a handy way to get out of uke's way and move on. By doing these techniques in isolation, we focus on the simple things that are the really difficult parts of "real" techniques.

2)When you do any technique that requires Uke to hang on either move so they do not have to hang on or imagine why the would. Someone caught by surprise will (Young-in's example), drunks will, and they will if their life depends on it (many classic aikido attacks are based on uke's attempt to disarm a sword armed Nage- but still are very valid in the age of guns-n-knives -- try katate dori shiho nage while nage "holds" a handgun/knife)

If someone was trying to pry your child from your arms, wouldn't you want to do a really good Irimi tenkan and move on.

akiy
07-26-2002, 06:25 PM
For me, at least, I take the often prolonged, "loopy" techniques (like some versions of, say, kokyunage where you turn in tenkan, enter under your partner's arm, perform another tenkan, and then finally do kokyunage) as a way to practice things other than "get the person down." These principles might include things like connection, maai, flow, zanshin, and so on.

I think there's, of course, a difference between these kinds of exercises and something that's meant to be done "effectively." When I take ukemi from my teacher, it's often very fast, sudden, and over before I can hardly blink. However, the "stuff" that makes what he does work is, I believe, contained within the long and loopy movements that we sometimes go through; it's sometimes difficult to find them, but that's part of the fun -- the form may change (in shape, speed, and timing) from the elongated to the contracted and vice versa, but the principles are still present at both extremes and all in between.

As far as the questions of where uke grabs and why they'd keep holding on, I like what Justin said above -- that sometimes, it's the "safest" thing to do for uke at the time. There's also the notion that if uke's balance is taken and his center taken, there's nothing that he can do to let go for that split second -- kind of like grasping for straws in the first instance (trying to regain balance) and having superglue on his palm in the second (uke's hand is "wedged," per se, onto your wrist/shoulder/wherever).

Just some of my thoughts before I head on over to the dojo for tonight...

-- Jun

Kevin Wilbanks
07-26-2002, 08:38 PM
I don't see why everyone is so worried about 'will it work?' issues. Do people really survey all their martial arts and self defense choices and choose Aikido because they are afraid of being attacked or because they want to go out and kick some ass? Aikido is a beautiful and fascinating martial ART. As an art, practicing it is its own reward. There are all kinds of things to learn about movement, bodies, human interaction, philosophy, and learning itself. To say 'why bother with this, it probably won't help me win a street fight' seems to me to indicate a very impovrished view of the value of the art.

If you want to fight, learn boxing, knee kicks, BJJ, and carry weapons - train so hard you get hurt a lot. Aikido is a whole different area of study - its limitations in terms of self-defense are actually essential to its strengths as an overall study and practice.

K.

akiy
07-26-2002, 09:44 PM
I don't see why everyone is so worried about 'will it work?' issues.
For me, at least, that's the crux of why I study the art -- to make aikido "work."

As my teacher sometimes says, "Aikido works. Your aikido doesn't work. Please don't confuse the two."

I didn't take aikido primarily for its self defense purposed; I probably had enough skill in that to take care of myself in most circumstances before I ever stepped into the art. I'm sure Paula did, too.

But, without the questioning process of how to make something in aikido that's seemlingly "non-functional" into something that does "work," I think we're missing the martial/budo aspect of the art.

My thoughts...

-- Jun

Kevin Wilbanks
07-26-2002, 10:52 PM
Obviously I disagree. Aikido 'works' in that it develops posture, grace, beautiful movement, opportunities for various kinds of personal growth. For these things it can work very well indeed.

However, I see the kind of 'works' you are referring to as a very peripheral issue. Unless you go out and test the techniques in real combat (or some kind of free sparring situation that is very close to it), it is merely an exercise in fantasy, speculation, and hypothetical head games. Likewise, if you don't engage in competitive or self-defensive fighting, effectiveness isn't very applicable to your life anyway. I think indulging in much of this kind of worry is a waste of energy, and a good way to bog down and miss the aspects of Aikido I find most valuable.

K.

akiy
07-26-2002, 11:21 PM
Hi Kevin, everyone else,
Obviously I disagree. Aikido 'works' in that it develops posture, grace, beautiful movement, opportunities for various kinds of personal growth. For these things it can work very well indeed.
I agree with you here, of course. But, then, what differentiates aikido from dance?

(Not to put dance down in any way; a lot of serious dancers put in more hours of training a day than a lot of us get in a week -- some with injuries such as fractured ankles that would make most aikido people sit out from training for months...)
However, I see the kind of 'works' you are referring to as a very peripheral issue. Unless you go out and test the techniques in real combat regularly enough to judge effectiveness by experience, it is merely an exercise in fantasy, speculation, and hypothetical head games. I think it's a waste of energy, and a good way to bog down and miss the aspects of Aikido I find most valuable.
I don't seek to dominate nor "destroy" my partner in aikido moreso than you probably do in your training. However, unless there's the underlying question of, basically, "how can I control my partner by using the principles of aikido (some of which you mentioned above, others including kuzushi, using center, and so on)" outlining my practice, I believe I might as well be doing something other than budo.

How, then, do I judge effectiveness? I hope I get honest feedback from people with martial experience both in aikido and out during my aikido training. How effective is out "on the street"? I don't know. So, maybe it is just a kind of fantisization -- but I think that's difficult to say without knowing how I practice.

Yes -- I do the kind of "exercises" that Paula mentions that seem trivial at best when seen in a martial light. They develop exactly the kind of things that you mention: good posture, grace, and so on. But, they also develop martial effectiveness as well.

Once again: I am not taking aikido for self defense. In fact, we're both probably in it for the same kind of things -- self awareness, self development, and so on. However, to me at least, those sort of things in aikido come through the physical training in endeavoring to make the art physically effective. So, in a paradoxical manner, although physical effectiveness is not the goal in my training, it's the path that I'm trying to take in order to receive the rewards of self awareness and such.

Good topic. It's making me think...

-- Jun

Kevin Wilbanks
07-27-2002, 12:25 AM
But, then, what differentiates aikido from dance?
I guess that depends upon what kind of dancing and how and why the dancers are doing it. The differences may not be so great.
However, unless there's the underlying question of, basically, "how can I control my partner by using the principles of aikido (some of which you mentioned above, others including kuzushi, using center, and so on)" outlining my practice, I believe I might as well be doing something other than budo.
I can't go along with much of the thinking in this bit. That kind of all-or-nothing, black/white hyperbole seems overly simplistic.

First, I don't think that we can control our partners, or control anything in our lives on a fundamental level. Control is a fantasy. I would characterize my most successful and satisfying responses to Aikido attacks on the mat more as derailments, diffusions, or redirections. It is not a matter of my imposing control on uke, or making them do what I want, but opening up to letting something happen that is different from uke's plan (to hit me). In order for this to happen in an 'effective' way, I have to turn off the controlling part of my brain and simply respond - I cannot make something specific happen in accordance with a plan.

Second, I actually find ukemi more rewarding than throwing. It's more viscerally satisfying, and I get a purer experience of just interacting and a better chance of adhering to principles such as joining, following, etc... with less interference from consciousness. I would be perfectly happy to show up to class and just take ukemi for an hour and a half, most days.

Certainly questions of openings, weaknesses, opportunities for reversals, etc... have their place, but it sounds odd to me to say that this is the element that ultimately makes Aikido more worth my time than volleyball or needlepoint. If that's your bag, that's your business, I guess. I have found that my motivations for practicing Aikido have changed radically and even frequently over the few years I have trained, so I am reluctant to say anything so absolute about the worth and nature of my practice.

For me, Aikido is about studying human relationship experientially. The many ways in which it is not 'realistic' are precisely the limitations and fixed variables that allow us to explore particular variables and principles more deeply. To me, boiling it down to the 'will it work?' attitude is an extremely self-limiting approach... in essence, missing the point.
So, maybe it is just a kind of fantisization -- but I think that's difficult to say without knowing how I practice.
Unless you experience serial injury, including an occaisonal fairly serious one... unless you practice under conditions of high adrenaline/emotional stress, and include some kind of wide-open sparring with serious protective gear in your training, it's a fair bet that your speculations are largely fantasies. I am interested in this sort of thing, although I'm not sure how seriously, which is why I started taking Jeet Kune Do.

Afterword: I have no experience with this man's training system or his gear, but the suits shown here seem like an interesting innovation that might allow for all-out trial-and-error training. This could be a reasonable way to explore what 'really works' without getting too seriously hurt:

http://www.tonyblauer.com/highgear/index.html

K.

akiy
07-27-2002, 01:02 AM
Hi Kevin, everyone else,
I can't go along with much of the thinking in this bit. That kind of all-or-nothing, black/white hyperbole seems overly simplistic.
Interesting. I didn't think I was coloring things in black and white. I tend to see and think much in greytones, but I guess that could just be me.

I guess it just boils down to, to me, aikido is a budo. (Would that be the black/white part?) To take the martial out of it would make it into something more like contact improv. There's a lot to be learned from such, of course; it's just not my venue of self reflection at this time.
First, I don't think that we can control our partners, or control anything in our lives on a fundamental level.
Maybe "control" wasn't the right word, then? Affect? Take the initiative? Lead into a different route than they initially conceived? Help create an alternative solution through creative conflict resolution?

I'm OK with any of those, frankly.
Second, I actually find ukemi more rewarding than throwing.
As do I. I've said it more than once that the most important part in aikido practice to me is ukemi. I get a lot out of delving into ukemi; that's why I started up an ukemi class, I guess.

(As an aside, what I'm working on currently is seeing how there's no difference between uke and nage in the principles being used...)
Certainly questions of openings, weaknesses, opportunities for reversals, etc... have their place, but it sounds odd to me to say that this is the element that ultimately makes Aikido more worth my time than volleyball or needlepoint.
I don't think I ever said such a thing. I'm probably one of the first ones to say that aikido is not for everyone. If, say, running, writing, gardening, or pushing a boulder up a mountain gives you the satisfaction and venue for self reflection and awareness, then more power to you.

What I did say, however, is that for me, taking the element of refining my ability to apply the principles of aikido in a martial manner away from the art takes it away from the realm of budo and, therefore, changes the definition of aikido (for me). Never did I say that the martial element makes it worth more my time than other pursuits; if such implications were made, I didn't mean it.
If that's your bag, that's your business, I guess. I have found that my motivations for practicing Aikido have changed radically and even frequently over the few years I have trained, so I am reluctant to say anything so absolute about the worth and nature of my practice.
I agree here. That's why I always try to moderate everything that I write with phrases such as, "to me."
For me, Aikido is about studying human relationship experientially.
As it is for me as well.
To me, boiling it down to the 'will it work?' attitude is an extremely self-limiting approach... in essence, missing the point.
Please note that I did not say that the "will it work?" question is the only question that is in my mind as I train. If it were, I probably wouldn't have bothered to, say, build this entire site...
Unless you experience serial injury, including an occaisonal fairly serious one...
Although the chances of my getting injured are high at times due to my taking ukemi for my teacher frequently, I'm lucky in the my ukemi has saved my skin more than a few times!

I have, though, gone through badly sprained ankles, a seriously hyperextended and jammed elbow due to bad ukemi on my part (which kept me off the mat for three months), and one concussion amongst other things. Nothing too serious, I guess.

Any how, I personally don't believe that injuries are a necessary part of cultivating effective martial ability, but that's another subject...
I am interested in this sort of thing, although I'm not sure how seriously, which is why I started taking Jeet Kune Do.
I have been meaning to try wing chun some day along with escrima, but I've been too busy training in aikido...

I don't know. Maybe I'm painting myself as a picture of someone who wants to jump into the octagon to take on all comers, no holds barred? I hope not! People who train with me will probably say (hopefully) that I'm not rough, nor do I seek to "dominate and destroy" (as I wrote before). Some would probably characterize my training as, "What the heck is that person doing?" But, to me at least, I'm still working on those principles that makes aikido martially effective...

As far as "all out" stuff goes, I believe some people in these forums have mentioned RMCAT (http://www.rmcat.com/). I believe Brian Vickery who sometimes comes along here just took the workshop. Sounds like the stuff that you mentioned above.

I seem to be taking over this thread in my discussion with Kevin. Anyone else have any thoughts?

-- Jun

Brian H
07-27-2002, 01:37 AM
I don't spend alot of time wondering if my truck will work, but I do expect to get to work on time.

jk
07-27-2002, 04:46 AM
Naw Jun, you and Kevin just go right ahead...you guys are making some of us think.

As for realistic, full-bore training where you get to bite ears off and gouge body cavities, I'm still waiting for Sony to come out with the ruggedized AIBO uke, complete with nose that lights up when you hit a pressure point... :)

Regards,

mike lee
07-27-2002, 05:46 AM
Women have a very legitimate reason to be concerned that their training is effective. Just try putting yourself in their shoes.

My suggestion is if anyone feels that they have a need for something that works NOW, TODAY, IMMEDIATELY, take a good self-defense course that teaches a few basic no-nonsense techniques, such as three or four basic judo throws, basic blocks, kicks and punches, and strikes to vital areas such as the groin, along with eye gouges and pops to the ears.

If anyone feels that they are in immediate danger on a daily basis (or even occasionally), especially a woman, they should learn a simple, practical means to defend themselves as soon as possible. The point is to survive -- to strike and flee if need be.

Aikido practice is a long-term proposition. But it can enhance any basic self-defense technique and help to keep you sharp.

Basic self-defense courses, although practical, are not a very enjoyable thing to do for the long-term. They are usually not taught as an art. They often lack the traditional trappings of an art, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

It's an advantage because they are usually simple, practical and effective. It's a disadvantage because they are shallow.

Aikido training teaches us to use our center to move another person's center. This kind of training is a long-term proposition -- but for me, it's worth it. It's a life-long journey. :do:

Each individual has to decide what their needs are, and then try to meet those needs. :)

Kevin Wilbanks
07-27-2002, 08:33 AM
Although the chances of my getting injured are high at times due to my taking ukemi for my teacher frequently, I'm lucky in the my ukemi has saved my skin more than a few times!

I have, though, gone through badly sprained ankles, a seriously hyperextended and jammed elbow due to bad ukemi on my part (which kept me off the mat for three months), and one concussion amongst other things. Nothing too serious, I guess.

Any how, I personally don't believe that injuries are a necessary part of cultivating effective martial ability, but that's another subject...
I wasn't speaking so much in terms of ukemi errors as in the attacks. If you always evade them, it's a fantasy practice. If they are realish attacks, not evading them is going to mean damage - especially since I have yet to see Aikido practiced in full protective gear.
I have been meaning to try wing chun some day along with escrima, but I've been too busy training in aikido...
Although JKD can incorporate elements of Wing Chun, and is compatible with(and often taught along with) Kali/Escrima, it isn't synonymous with either. There are two arts: Jun Fan JKD and JKD Concepts. The first centers around techniques developed by Bruce Lee, the second is more wide open. Both are guided by Lee's principles of form as no form, the cultivation of one's own unique means of self-expression, and other practical principles like the use of the simplest, most direct attack, the use of attack as defense, the absence of most classical formalities and fanciness. In many ways, it seems to me the opposite of a classical art like Aikido.

Some schools do a lot of standing around and speculating, but I found one run by the head instructor for a large police force and an NHB fighter. The kind of training (and students) I see there only deepens my impression that people who wax on about the 'effectiveness' of Aikido are deluding themselves. Too many variables are removed - in both attack and defense. General Aikidoka fitness and conditioning levels are way too low, and there is no free-sparring.

Aikido could be very useful against drunks, where you clearly have the upper-hand, or in situations where the competence and lethality of the attacker isn't all that much of a threat. However, if someone trained in real boxing (not fakey TKD forms), grappling, or weapons use attacks you, if you have only studied Aikido, the outlook is grim.

Carl Simard
07-27-2002, 09:28 AM
Just to make a comparison, do you think it make sense to tell that MA (not only aikido) are to self-defense what painting is to photography ?

If you do painting (by the way, it's also usually refered as an art), you don't pass your time asking "Do my painting really represent reality ?" or "This particular technique is useless to represent reality". Usually, your fisrt goal isn't to make a perfect representation of reality. You will not tell yourself "Why do I study painting all these years if I can't make a correct representation of reality ?"... If you start painting to make accurate reproduction, you simply choose the wrong thing, even if a very talented painter with years of training can come close to a photographic quality... A painter paiting with only "exact reproduction" in his head is missing all what painting can give...

On the other hand, you can get a 10$ disposable camera, take shots in minute and will get a more accurate reproduction of reality and be more useful at that than years of painting study. It will not be artistic at all, but il will do the job... Somewhat like self defense: the goal isn't to make it look good, stay in balance, keep your center and do a nice fluid movement. The goal is to end the fight the fastest way possible, no matter how you do it...

Just my 2 cents...

Carl Simard
07-27-2002, 09:39 AM
Aikido could be very useful against drunks, where you clearly have the upper-hand, or in situations where the competence and lethality of the attacker isn't all that much of a threat. However, if someone trained in real boxing (not fakey TKD forms), grappling, or weapons use attacks you, if you have only studied Aikido, the outlook is grim.
I agree with you. I will even add that if someone is physically attacking you, it certainly knows how to fight. If he wasn't, he will not attack you in fist place... And the attack will be completely different than what you may see in any dojos. It will not be the perfect shomen or yokomen... It will probably be an attack as you never as seen one before and may be quite surprised since you train many years to perfect your techniques against very specific attack. So this technique can only be, at best, imperfect in self defense situation...

It just remember me that, some weeks ago, we trained in a field, with shoes. This small change in setting make a big difference in techniques. Techniques that were working quite well in the dojo needed a big adjustement. Simply because your feet don't move like the were in the dojo. Doing a tenkan in bare foot on a slippery surface is one thing, doing it with shoes on a rugous one is another thing... The problem is that, in self defense, you don't have the chance to make these adjustements...

erikmenzel
07-27-2002, 10:11 AM
Just to make a comparison, do you think it make sense to tell that MA (not only aikido) are to self-defense what painting is to photography ?

If you do painting (by the way, it's also usually refered as an art), you don't pass your time asking "Do my painting really represent reality ?" or "This particular technique is useless to represent reality". Usually, your fisrt goal isn't to make a perfect representation of reality. You will not tell yourself "Why do I study painting all these years if I can't make a correct representation of reality ?"... If you start painting to make accurate reproduction, you simply choose the wrong thing, even if a very talented painter with years of training can come close to a photographic quality... A painter paiting with only "exact reproduction" in his head is missing all what painting can give...

On the other hand, you can get a 10$ disposable camera, take shots in minute and will get a more accurate reproduction of reality and be more useful at that than years of painting study. It will not be artistic at all, but il will do the job... Somewhat like self defense: the goal isn't to make it look good, stay in balance, keep your center and do a nice fluid movement. The goal is to end the fight the fastest way possible, no matter how you do it...
Just a couple of comments:

1) Photography is often refered to as being an art as well.

2) Photography only gives the illusion of reproducing reality. Look in any family album an just count the fights, arguments and divorces you find in there. Pretty realistic isnt it. Just because it snaps a frame in time, it does not mean that the photograph is an accurate representation of reality. Already in making the photograph numeral choices of the photographer are introduced (Choices like frame, movement etc. Just photographing f.i. a smiling face whithout the reason to smile distorts the reality of the picture. Did one smile just for the picture or because one saw a loved one or because one saw a clown) making the the photography equaly subjective as a painting.

3) Just claiming that a quick, easy and lousy snapshot with a $10 camera is more usefull at representing reality seems a case of overconfidence in modern technology and part of the "getting things for free" mentality. Even for photographs to be useful and showing exactly that what you want to show one needs experience and lots and lots of practise!

4) The post-modernistic approach to reality is contrairy to your claim exactly what some people strive for in aikido. Post-modernistic view to reality is that the artist by its work creates reality, exactly what aikido is doing as well, creating reality and therefor from that respect also creating the possibilities that follow, including self defense.

5) The goal of self defense is to live another day preferably unharmed, not to end the fight as quickly as possible. Killing yourself by doing something stupid might end a fight quicker than staying alive, but is not considered good self defense.

Carl Simard
07-27-2002, 10:37 AM
For point 1 to 4, I agree with you. My point by comparing the two was only to tell that, for most people, if you want a picture of something, it's usually faster and easier to take a snapshot than to try to paint the scene (or take an artistic photo)...

As for point 5, I think the two conditions are important and closely related. Yes, your goal is to live. But to attain this goal, the shorter you put an end to a dangerous situation, the better your chance of going through unharmed... You may stop the first attack, but if you don't stop the fight, your attacker will simply attack you asecond time with a more powerful or vicious attack and so on... Sooner or later one of his attack will overwhelm you... So, I think to best way to go through alive and unharmed is to neutralise the agression in the fastest, most efficient way you can (whatever it may means, running, fighting, getting other people to help, etc.)... The more time you take, the more time you let your agressor to do something nasty to you...

SeiserL
07-27-2002, 10:47 AM
I have been meaning to try wing chun some day along with escrima, but I've been too busy training in aikido...
Jun,

I was trained by the late Ted Lucaylcuay in JKD and Kali (escrima). It was great training. In many ways, they get off the line, enter, and blend too. The difference is they are "bashing" all the time while their doing it. Its a great way to unbalance someone. Often flow nicely into Aikido waza too. Guess I am not much into mutually exclusivity.

IMHO, I agree that few people in the streets are going to attack like we do in Aikido. Some of the Aikido waza has direct application. Others teach the principles and teach us how to move. Hanging on and being a good uke teaches blending too and can be a great way to defensively "roll with the punches".

But, if I were just looking for street defense I'd study something by far easier. But then again, it wouldn't have all the other stuff I love about Aikido.

The Dog Brothers (full contact stick fighters) say; "Higher consciousness through harder contact."

Until again,

Lynn

jimvance
07-27-2002, 12:16 PM
However, I see the kind of 'works' you are referring to as a very peripheral issue. Unless you go out and test the techniques in real combat (or some kind of free sparring situation that is very close to it), it is merely an exercise in fantasy, speculation, and hypothetical head games.I think the crux of the issue is not whether Aikido will destroy someone more effectively than any other method, but rather, that the metaphysical underpinnings differ radically from typical fighting arts. We do live in a causal universe, so success can only be determined by feedback. The feedback should not be "will this work?", but rather "will it work using these criteria?" Kata training (the classical Japanese educational model) never sought to create techniques for combat. It existed to encourage strategy, pattern recognition, proper movement and posture, so that the exponent would have an advantage in a life and death situation.

Interest in combative realism is a valid argument IF the precepts of Aiki are followed. If that question is allowed to devolve to a purely mechanical level, then aiki is lost. Swinging the philosophical pendulum the other way, towards a non-combative attitude also destroys the integrity of aiki principle. This is the razor's edge.

We are talking about a radical shift in fighting mentality, not a new version of an old idea. Aikido is a better combination of mind and muscle than anything else that exists out there, in my opinion. Everything else is valid in its own way, but I think Aikido is just a little notch up on the evolutionary ladder. We get to be part of a new species in a sense. Trying to pull it back down into more familiar territory ("art", "sport", "war") will kill it.

Don't forget that speculation and fantasy discovered the New World, built airplanes, put a man on the moon, and allowed you to read this message.

Jim Vance

Kevin Wilbanks
07-27-2002, 12:23 PM
We did some stuff in JKD class today that was Aikido-like. But, as you say, there were many strikes - the joint locks were there to set up the strikes. If I were to continue with JKD indefinitely, I could see my Aikido training blending in with all the other types of techniques.

Some aspects of my Aikido are already useful - others are not. For instance, I have built in the habit of keeping my elbows down, even when I would practice punching on bags. In a boxing context, this leaves the head too open, so now I'm having to protect it by raising the shoulder during punches and elbows, which is totally unfamiliar. In some ways, it's refreshing to start something new and allow myself to be a clueless yutz again. When I started Aikido, I got a lot out of that, but as time went by, it became increasingly difficult to assume beginner's mind.

***

Just to clarify what I was saying earlier, I don't think issues of effectiveness are irrelevant to Aikido at all, but 'effectiveness' has to be judged in terms of what works in an Aikido training context - this can be directly experimented with, and so experiential knowledge can be gained. However, expanding judgements of effectiveness to broader contexts takes one out of the realm of knowledge and into pure speculation and wishful thinking. Witness how on another thread someone with fairly minimal Aikido experience was talking about going out and using tanto-tori techniques to teach a knife-weilding mugger a lesson...

K.

jimvance
07-27-2002, 12:41 PM
However, expanding judgements of effectiveness to broader contexts takes one out of the realm of knowledge and into pure speculation and wishful thinking. Witness how on another thread someone with fairly minimal Aikido experience was talking about going out and using tanto-tori techniques to teach a knife-weilding mugger a lesson...Yikes. :freaky:

That is why we have dojo. They are, as one of my teachers calls them, "dilemma rich" enough for me not to go looking for muggers.

We still have a long ways to go when it comes to education and Aikido. Perhaps one day the descendant form(s) of Aikido will be standard human etiquette, like language and codes of social conduct. Perhaps it will be instrumental in expanding human consciousness enough to end war, and as a species, become more compassionate and aware of our place in the universe.

I like to look at the big picture every now and then. That is also why we have dojo, to see in the "lab" a fleeting glimpse of what could be.

Jim Vance

mike lee
07-27-2002, 12:55 PM
Perhaps it will be instrumental in expanding human consciousness ...

I believe it already has, though many people are unaware of it. But it seems any kind of utopia is still a very long way off. People as a whole only seem to make real progress when it becomes a matter of survival. When they begin to realize that survival depends on spiritual growth leading to enlightened beings, the world may begin to change for the better. But as it stands now, it seems that greed has the upper hand.

Bruce Baker
07-27-2002, 04:37 PM
I wish my little Italian grandmother was alive so she smack you idiots up side you heads and say, " Whatsa matta with you!"

Aikido works, if you understand where it comes from, how it has been changed to allow practice in its present form, and the openings it has for blending into almost all martial arts.

You must the guys who watch Tai-chi and think it is a pretty dance?

Wake up and smell the pressure points, striking applications, and various adaptations from thousands of years of fighting arts.

You Aikido doesn't work in the street because you have been ASLEEP in class. Get your brain in gear and see the practice as practice, and openings for its true application.

These are the demons of safe practice verses application verses your own control over ego and animalistic behavior to destroy, fight, or tear things down. Finding the harmony that cuts through this destructive behavior should be your crucible in forging the heart of Aikido.

How violent do you want to train to show off how BAD you are?

That is not the way of Aikido.

We learn how to use our intelligence to be benevolent, our spirit to give us strength, and our Aikido to protect ourselves and others.

If you want to be the baddest dude in town there are any number of explosive devices that will destroy you and whatever enemy you percieve ... almost counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and atom bombs.

The fact is ... we train in aikido for our own spiritual security, our own physical safety, and because it creates so many more openings for other martial arts without creating the injurys found in other martial arts ... when practiced properly.

How fast you perform techniques is a matter of safety, but it is also a matter of opening your eyes to infinite possibilities for introducing openings for more serious techniques that could kill or maim your attacker, or training partner.

So don't go crying because you haven't put the time in to find out what the hell you are doing in Aikido.

Get your ass in gear. Find the reason why your practice is not violent, but provides opening for injury or death. It will make you appreciate the Art of Aikido that gives you a safe practice but contains street applications for martial arts.

I agree with "Aikido works, your Aikido doesn't."

So ....

Find out why .... make it work.

I ain't gonna tell you how to make it work, cause you wouldn't have started this stupid thread if you still didn't want to fight and show how bad your are.

Just don't be surprised if some little old man / woman knocks you on your ass doing those flowing Aikido moves that don't work on the street for you cause you didn't take the time to find their applications with a better frame of mind than to prove how skilled a fighter you are on the street.

Yeah, emotional control comes from having the proper benevolent spirit, too.

That is the true strength of Aikido.

wanderingwriath
07-27-2002, 05:19 PM
Well said Bruce. Perfect practice makes perfect Budo. Don't just train the harmony like you mean it, train the SKILLS like you mean it.

Kevin Wilbanks
07-27-2002, 06:04 PM
No offense, Bruce, but you sound awfully hostile and hotheaded for someone filled with high levels of Aiki harmony.

Of course there are plenty of opportunities to see openings for strikes and other ways to cause more damage in Aikido. There are many miles between seeing and intellectualizing something and being able to do it. Likewise, I have all kinds of ideas about how to deal with a vicious, angry person with kick boxing skills that comes at me with about 14 powerful strikes in the same span of time as one practice thrust on the mat. So what? Imagining and doing are completely different things. In my experience with other kinds of training and practice, in a crisis situation, the imagining/planning part of the brain drops out of the picture, and you respond with what you have done and experienced... in this case that would be what? Standing there and daydreaming about how to take advantage of openings?

You sound so certain: exactly how many times have you used your Aikido in street fights? And, since you have insinuated that all the others in the thread that disagree with you 'don't know what the hell they're doing', exactly how many decades have you been training Aikido?

mike lee
07-28-2002, 04:24 AM
I wish I could take a video tape of an average university-club dojo in Japan and show it on this forum. It's truly amazing the level of proficiency that they can achieve in only four years.

The atmosphere is joyous. The pace is fast and furious. The energy-level is high. The talking is minimal. There's very little standing around -- thinking, or wondering, with the exception of the brand new students. The emphasis is on watching and copying the movement, and making it reflexive -- not trying to understand it intellectually.

Everybody just wears a white belt (no colors), but you can readily see if it's their first, second, or third year of training. And the shodan are great! I know they could use aikido in the street, because they really know how to move their ass -- they really just react; they just do it! :ai: :ki: :do:

P.S. I suggest new students put themselves on a four-year plan with the goal of achieving a high level of proficiency in all basic techniques. Keep the dialogue to a minimum, keep the action to a maximum, keep your eyes open and your mouth shut. In four-years time, you will be a very well-conditioned fighter with a bright and optimistic spirit. This is the magic of aikido. ;)

Kevin Leavitt
07-28-2002, 02:56 PM
AikiDO: the DO means way....just like Budo means war or martial way. Jutsu mean basically practical application or technique. i.e Aikijutsu or Bujutsu.

I know these are all semantics, but you have to look at the philosophical underpinnings of the martial arts to understand WHY you are studying them.

Are you studying as a way of life (long path) or as a pratical application?

As a long time warrior in the military having taught military doctrine and martial tactics (both hand to hand and modern weapons) there really is a difference between doctrine and tactics. We teach both in the military. Doctrine (Do) makes up your framework to base your tactics (Jutsu) on.

Yes it is possible to learn a few basic tactics in 6 months effectively. However, how can you predict what your potential opponent will use against you? 6 months of effective "techniques" will not give you the experience you need to be successful in all potential and infinite situations.

the "DO" , way, or doctrine will give you the basis to adapt your skills to the situation.

Unfortunately, you can spend your whole life studying the "DO" and never master it all. Or is that fortunately!!!

If you want a quick warm and fuzzy I would go to the various schools and academies that will make you combat effective in a few years. There are more of them out there than there are schools concentrating on the true "DO". (Many of them are actually very good too!)

But remember, the road to true and ultimate success is a long one.

I don't recommend any internal system such as aikido, tai chi, etc to those that want to be "combat effective" in the short term.

Gregory King
07-28-2002, 09:00 PM
I would have thought that any martial art is only as good as the exponent of the art, there is no shortage of poorly trained people and no end to the number of ways you may be defeated, enjoy training, enjoy life and try not to concentrate on the arts effectivness until you need it.

Peace

Greg

MaylandL
07-28-2002, 10:59 PM
...

I really hope you'll be willing to share what you find out.

Hello Kathryn

I've only started and have got some videos and material from Mr Peyton Quinn. I'm trying to get a hold of some material from Mr Marc MacYoung. As you can see I'm in the very early stages.

I'll need to do some reading before I can start to experiment and sort out the stuff. Its likely to be quite a wait.

In the meantime, I'm continuing with training :)


...
Yes it is possible to learn a few basic tactics in 6 months effectively. However, how can you predict what your potential opponent will use against you? 6 months of effective "techniques" will not give you the experience you need to be successful in all potential and infinite situations.
...


Hello Mr Leavitt

I would most wholeheartedly agree. My understanding of your comment (please correct me if I have misinterpreted) dojo training may provide a person with some techniques in some situations but there are so many variables in a potential or actual life threatening situation that there are inherent limitations in dojo training. I guess unless a person has been in those situations and has used techniques, changed them to suit the circumstances and/or dealt with the stress of the situation, you will never know for sure. I guess actual combat experience is one of the key things - the veteran soldier vs a recruit straight out of boot camp.


...

There are many miles between seeing and intellectualizing something and being able to do it.

...

Imagining and doing are completely different things. In my experience with other kinds of training and practice, in a crisis situation, the imagining/planning part of the brain drops out of the picture, and you respond with what you have done and experienced...
...



Hello Mr Willbanks

I would agree. If you've never been in a situation of needing to defend yourself, you may not have experienced the impact of a massive jolt of adrenalin to the body or how you would react or not react.

I'm not saying that aikido in not martially, street, defensively effective (or whatever term you might wish to make) but I think as intelligent and questioning practitioners, we need to understand the strengths and limitations of our training and to keep an open mind on what other training is required to make what we do martially effective (assuming that this is something an individual practitioner wishes to achieve).

All the best for training.

Kevin Leavitt
07-29-2002, 05:50 AM
Mr. Long,

Yes, that is basically what I am saying. Keeping that in perspective has helped me in my training long term.

That being said though, you should still try and expose yourself to as many situations, and experiences (in the dojo!) as possible.

My one criticism of my Aikido when you consider it a martial art is that it does not adequately prepare you emotionally to deal with extreme stress that a "bar fight" or a "mugging" might bring forth. I think after years of habitual training of refining your character etc it will help your ego avoid those situations. It may also help you form habits that would decrease that stress....but I believe this is the one area of weakness. (and every art has at least one weakness!)

I personally reccomend people to work with "hard style" practicioners (karate, jujustsu etc.) if they are really interested in learning how to deal with the emotional stress "inside the cauldron" of a real situation. It is not for everyone though.

The one warning I offer is that tactically you will learn somethings that counter correct technique. You also could personally develop some affects that will potentially undo some of your training. (typically tensing up, grabbing, breaking posture etc.) But you can also over come all that.

Point is I guess is that expose yourself to many things. That is the only way to gain true insight and experience. It is also fun to experiment!

Ghost Fox
07-29-2002, 09:13 AM
Just a couple of comments:

3) Just claiming that a quick, easy and lousy snapshot with a $10 camera is more usefull at representing reality seems a case of overconfidence in modern technology and part of the "getting things for free" mentality. Even for photographs to be useful and showing exactly that what you want to show one needs experience and lots and lots of practise!
Question: Is this modern "getting things for free" mentalitly what drives people the effectiveness of Aikido?

Most self-defense programs are streamlined versions of martial arts. The lack the philisophical and beauty found in most martial arts. You take some wazas and drill them into somebodies head until they can do them by rote. You teach them to put on a aggresive and negative mentality in order to survive.

Most martial arts take decades to truly learn. I don't think Master Ueshiba was a great martial artist from the get go. It took years of extensive practice to become a "master". Not all of the aspects we learn in aikido are directly applicable to self-defence. Then again when you go to college, not every class you take is directly releated to your major. The intent is to make you a well rounded individual. Not just a doctor, lawer, etc...

Peace and Blessings,

:circle: :square: :triangle:

erikmenzel
07-29-2002, 09:54 AM
Question: Is this modern "getting things for free" mentalitly what drives people the effectiveness of Aikido?
I think a lot of the people staying with aikido are the ones that are willing and capable of letting go of the "gettig things for free" mentality.

As for effectiveness, I think that it is ok to look for it as long as it does not ruin your normal training and progress.

I sometimes fear training with absolute beginners that are completely focussed on effectivity. They simply lack the skill to see in what danger they are in and confuse the efforts their partner makes to NOT hurt them or to NOT let them hurt themselves with ineefective aikido and being safe all the time.

bcole23
07-29-2002, 11:40 AM
I was just reading over this and a couple of thoughts occured to me.

When I was a kid, I lived in the 'bad' part of town. I also had 3 siblings and we fought all the time. The experiences I had as a kid and young adult, many people in aikido have never had. There's a certain ingrained ability that you acquire from being thrashed constantly. They say if you want to find the best fighters, look in the poorest areas.

Now from this perspective of actually being able to fight, I've uke'd seriously for a few people where the intent was not to let the aikidoka do technique, but to give an honest "attack". This doesn't mean just one attack with honest intent, but a total attack with quite honest intent.

Some of the aikidoists have no clue what to do. However, when faced with the persons who can actually 'do' aikido, it's so very eye opening how effective it really is. It's like trying to fight a wall, the wall doesn't get angry or try to hurt you, but the more you attack it the more you realize you're not going to win and it really hurts.

All that ties into my second thought. O sensei fought and scraped and participated in many different arts before developing his own. Nowdays, people just try to gain enlightenment without experiencing life. So when they find something lacking, they say that it's not effective blah blah blah and say to go do all those things that o sensei did before finding his way. I think that these experiences are all an essential part of the whole. I think we all could expand our field of vision to include the world that is and not just the world that ought to be.