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ThomasBaker92
05-14-2013, 12:57 PM
I have read many things on this site and in other places saying that Aikido is "not effective" as a martial art. I have aslso read that it takes a long time to understand it. (that last bit i dont completely understand, is it the movements or the reason behind practicing that takes a while to understan?) im just wondering so any input is welcome:)

Malicat
05-14-2013, 01:35 PM
I have read many things on this site and in other places saying that Aikido is "not effective" as a martial art. I have aslso read that it takes a long time to understand it. (that last bit i dont completely understand, is it the movements or the reason behind practicing that takes a while to understan?) im just wondering so any input is welcome:)

I am very firmly of the belief that Aikido is an effective martial art. However, it works by allowing your attacker's energy to flow past you. In some cases, prior training makes it complicated to 'get' that concept. My former training tells me to block and strike a vulnerable area, not move around the strike and redirect my attacker, for example. In other cases, well, honestly it's so simple, it is difficult to grasp. We were working on a rear neck choke (kube shime) that used the sankyo technique. My partner kept trying to 'grab' the sankyo first, and it took us a few minutes for him to realize that if he stopped trying to force the technique, his natural hand movements will actually put sankyo into the correct position without trying to force through it.

There is a lot of subtlety with Aikido which is what makes it a life long pursuit. But I know many people in my organization who use Aikido as teachers breaking up fights between students, as well as bartenders removing customers who have had too much to drink and are trying to fight.

--Ashley

Demetrio Cereijo
05-14-2013, 01:50 PM
I have read many things on this site and in other places saying that Aikido is "not effective" as a martial art.

There's no smoke without fire.

I have aslso read that it takes a long time to understand it. (that last bit i dont completely understand, is it the movements or the reason behind practicing that takes a while to understan?) im just wondering so any input is welcome:)

As you can see around here, even people who have been practising for years do not agree on what Aikido is about. I think the one who really understood Aikido was its founder.

JLRonin
05-14-2013, 02:07 PM
There is no fire without a spark.
It's a life time in the learning and understanding.
practice without jumping the lagoon.
read about the history of Aikido.
some excellent examples are:
Aikido and the harmony of nature
The Art of Peace
The Encyclopedia of Aikido
many more.
you will gain more knowledge through time and devotion.

Conrad Gus
05-14-2013, 07:12 PM
I tell beginners that the movements feel strange and unnatural for 6 months to a year, but then your body gets used to them a little bit more. That's not "understanding", but there is a distinct shift.

By around shodan, I think most people have a grasp on why aikido will eventually be effective and also have a pretty good grasp on why their own aikido still needs a lot of work. That's not "effective" or "understanding", but there is another shift in there somewhere.

As far as using it effectively, I think it depends on how you train. There are lots of people that will train their whole lives in a certain way and will never be really effective, because that's not really what they are training for (whether they know it or not).

On the other side, Kawahara Sensei (in Canada) apparently told his students that they could expect to be effective by around 3 dan, which is around 15 years or so for most people in the CAF (but it would still depend on the person, etc.) It seems to me like he intended for his students to be able to actually be effective with aikido (most people who trained with him agree that he himself definitely was).

I don't know much about it, but I've heard that the Yoshinkan Senshusei course is only 11 months and most people come out of it pretty kick-ass, but that's yoshinkan for you.

Aikido isn't impossible to understand or to use effectively, but it sure it difficult and time-consuming! If you compare it to something like karate, there is a lot more complexity and subtlety (IMHO) that really must be grasped before a technique will work in real life. A weak karate punch or kick can still be effective, but a poorly-executed aikido technique is worse than useless, hence the long training time to effectiveness.

My own intuition is that the more "magical" your aikido style is, the longer it will take to gain understanding and to be effective (approaching infinity). If you're learning how to break necks, backs, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers you'll be effective pretty fast, but your aikido will always be kind of brutish. If you're learning how to make people fall over with your mind from 30 feet away . . . well good luck with that one. Somewhere in between lies a nice balance that most of us think is realistic and fun for a hobby practitioner. Find your own preference and make sure your teacher and organization are going for the same level.

Whenever I get stuck or frustrated with learning aikido, I ask myself: "Why did I pick such a difficult art?". I always get the same answer: "Because aikido is awesome."

graham christian
05-14-2013, 08:45 PM
How long? A lifetime.

Peace.G.

robin_jet_alt
05-14-2013, 08:45 PM
I tell beginners that the movements feel strange and unnatural for 6 months to a year, but then your body gets used to them a little bit more. That's not "understanding", but there is a distinct shift.

By around shodan, I think most people have a grasp on why aikido will eventually be effective and also have a pretty good grasp on why their own aikido still needs a lot of work. That's not "effective" or "understanding", but there is another shift in there somewhere.

As far as using it effectively, I think it depends on how you train. There are lots of people that will train their whole lives in a certain way and will never be really effective, because that's not really what they are training for (whether they know it or not).

On the other side, Kawahara Sensei (in Canada) apparently told his students that they could expect to be effective by around 3 dan, which is around 15 years or so for most people in the CAF (but it would still depend on the person, etc.) It seems to me like he intended for his students to be able to actually be effective with aikido (most people who trained with him agree that he himself definitely was).

I don't know much about it, but I've heard that the Yoshinkan Senshusei course is only 11 months and most people come out of it pretty kick-ass, but that's yoshinkan for you.

Aikido isn't impossible to understand or to use effectively, but it sure it difficult and time-consuming! If you compare it to something like karate, there is a lot more complexity and subtlety (IMHO) that really must be grasped before a technique will work in real life. A weak karate punch or kick can still be effective, but a poorly-executed aikido technique is worse than useless, hence the long training time to effectiveness.

My own intuition is that the more "magical" your aikido style is, the longer it will take to gain understanding and to be effective (approaching infinity). If you're learning how to break necks, backs, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers you'll be effective pretty fast, but your aikido will always be kind of brutish. If you're learning how to make people fall over with your mind from 30 feet away . . . well good luck with that one. Somewhere in between lies a nice balance that most of us think is realistic and fun for a hobby practitioner. Find your own preference and make sure your teacher and organization are going for the same level.

Whenever I get stuck or frustrated with learning aikido, I ask myself: "Why did I pick such a difficult art?". I always get the same answer: "Because aikido is awesome."

Good answer!

Basia Halliop
05-14-2013, 11:17 PM
One of the reasons those are hard questions to answer is because neither understanding nor effectiveness are all or nothing yes/no things. They're relative things so it depends how well you're talking about understanding, or HOW effective you're talking about being.

SteliosPapadakis
05-15-2013, 12:26 AM
It was effective for me when i was attacked in bear-hug fashion from behind. At that time i was learning Aikido for 6 months.
Many years down the river, today, i cannot tell that i understand what Aikido is or what it is all about.
Yet it is fascinating in proving, lesson after lesson, that what you thought you knew was just misty air.
Someone above wrote that only the founder understood what Aikido was/is. Probably true.
Yet it always comes down to what YOU want it to be. Martial art? Religion? Spiritual purification? Body training? Nothing at all or all in one?
The only thing that can be certain is that it takes time to "master". And even then there is ample room for "improvement".
:)

Aikeway
05-15-2013, 05:28 AM
The techniques of aikido are effective. However, unless you train against a resisting partner regularly once you reach a certain degree of proficiency, real progress will be very slow, even though you may get your different grades. Some techniques work for you very well up until the partner resists. You then have to determine how to make the technique work in a realistic situation when there is resistance. Many of the techniques work better against a resisting opponent when preceded by an atemi.

ThomasBaker92
05-15-2013, 06:54 AM
How would i go about practicing it for a real life situation?

Demetrio Cereijo
05-15-2013, 07:04 AM
How would i go about practicing it for a real life situation?

You mean self defense?

Studying Aikido is not the most efficient way to develop self defense abilities in a short time. You´ll need years of practise for that. If you are looking for self defense you need to go elsewhere.

Dennis Hooker
05-15-2013, 07:10 AM
Well let's see. One day I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and bullet proof. Out of the army years of budo and boxing behind me and I discover Aikido. A bright and glorious path lay before me, new sights, new sounds and concepts. Remember this the late 60's early 70's all my parts worked and the Aikido came in a glories intoxicating rush. There were talks of “those” senior sensei, and the ever allusive Japanese phantoms I would later become intimately familiar with them. It was all bright and shinny and then yesterday I heard someone speak of Hooker’ s Senior Sensei that were teaching seminars and instead of bullet proof I now feel like the Velveteen Rabbit but Aikido is still bright and glories and I am still seeking the way just along a newly Illuminate path made for Velveteen Rabbits

OwlMatt
05-15-2013, 07:24 AM
You mean self defense?

Studying Aikido is not the most efficient way to develop self defense abilities in a short time. You´ll need years of practise for that. If you are looking for self defense you need to go elsewhere.

This. Aikido is not realistic combat training and the primary duty of an aikido instructor is not to make students into effective fighters. There are much better ways to learn self-defense than aikido.

PeterR
05-15-2013, 07:30 AM
This. Aikido is not realistic combat training and the primary duty of an aikido instructor is not to make students into effective fighters. There are much better ways to learn self-defense than aikido.
This really depends on how its taught. Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills, and you have a timeline that matches any martial art that does the same. I figure half a year.

Enjoying the art and complexity of Aikido and not worrying too much about [name your demon here] it might take a bit longer.

Dennis Hooker
05-15-2013, 07:38 AM
This really depends on how its taught. Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills, and you have a timeline that matches any martial art that does the same. I figure half a year.

Enjoying the art and complexity of Aikido and not worrying too much about [name your demon here] it might take a bit longer.

From my view point (narrow minded and ancient as it is) one either does Aikido budo or one does Aikidance. I have found over the years Aikido to be extremely effective as a bubo art and if necessary a excellent form of self defiance.

Keith Larman
05-15-2013, 08:35 AM
This really depends on how its taught. Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills, and you have a timeline that matches any martial art that does the same. I figure half a year.

Enjoying the art and complexity of Aikido and not worrying too much about [name your demon here] it might take a bit longer.

Absolutely.

We need a golf-clap emoticon...

Dennis Hooker
05-15-2013, 09:06 AM
Absolutely.

We need a golf-clap emoticon...

A what?? Damn getting old leaves me out of most new sayings. Tryed to google it and now I am more lost than ever.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-15-2013, 09:18 AM
Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills.

Plus training awareness, avoidance, descalation, first aid, legal issues... yes, the usual curriculum in the ordinary Aikido dojo.

ThomasBaker92
05-15-2013, 09:38 AM
I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?

Demetrio Cereijo
05-15-2013, 10:04 AM
Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?

Sparring with competent people is very helpful.

Keith Larman
05-15-2013, 10:22 AM
A what?? Damn getting old leaves me out of most new sayings. Tryed to google it and now I am more lost than ever.

Polite, respectful and relatively quiet clapping as you'd see at a golf match. No hooting and hollering, just quiet clapping signifying respect and approval. And for emoticon, things like these... :) :D ;) :p :cool: :o :( :confused: :eek:

Keith Larman
05-15-2013, 10:24 AM
I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?

Well, for me it is finding others who are like minded who are willing to experiment, spar a bit, grapple a bit, and pressure test what you know so you can make it better. Or better yet find a dojo where that is part of the overall gestalt of the place. Folk get in to aikido for any number or reasons and each dojo has their own balance of various factors. You just need to find one that fits well for what you want to do.

lbb
05-15-2013, 11:26 AM
I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?

This is a bit like saying "I don't want to buy a ladder, I want to buy some trash cans. But if I need to use my trash cans to climb up onto my porch roof, can I do it?" The answer is yes, but it's not the best way to do it, and you might get a little dinged up in the process. So I think you need to ask yourself: do you need to get up on that roof, or don't you? Is it something you actually have to do ("It's leaking, I have to fix it NOW") or an abstract nice-to-have ("Hmm, it would be a good idea to get up on that roof some day, I might have to fix something")? If you don't have at least some idea why you're climbing up on that roof, does it make any sense to do it?

As to sparring with practitioners of other styles, I'd say that that's a good way to expose yourself to a broader range of possible attacks. But the same things that make it beneficial also make it rather risky. If you spar with a karateka, you're both coloring outside the lines: your partner knows nothing about taking ukemi, and as for you? You're about to get a painful lesson in just how foolish the phrase "oh, I'll just catch the kick" is. Training against other styles exposes the holes in your own capabilities, and that's exactly where you can get hurt. I don't think it's a great idea unless both practitioners have at least a solid understanding of their own style, and even then I think it's best to proceed with caution and conversation and mutual understanding.

Aikeway
05-15-2013, 02:40 PM
I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?

Firstly, you need to carefully choose the style of aikido you intend doing. Some do a form of randori against a resisting opponent such as the Tomiki styles e.g Shodokan, whereas other styles believe that any form of "competition" is bad. However, it doesn't end there. You need to try to get an instructor who also has an open mind towards cross-training and training against resisting partners as opposed to an instructor who has an excessively passive outlook. After you have trained perhaps 3 years with co-operative partners and are perhaps up around the brown belt level, then you need to find at least one other partner who has a similar attitude to you and also a similar or higher aikido skill level and who has also cross-trained in other martial arts. These two factors are necessary because he needs to have the high skill level in aikido to be able to take the joint manipulation techniques and do the breakfalls and know when to go with a potentially damaging technique so as not to get injured, as well as having a high skill level in say boxing or karate or judo or BJJ. That way you can practise an aikido response (or develop an aikido response) to attacks that he makes using his other martial art. Finding all these things which I list is very difficult.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-15-2013, 02:51 PM
[name your demon here]


a excellent form of self defiance.

That made me smile, thanks folks.

Rupert Atkinson
05-15-2013, 11:37 PM
It will take longer than forever for most people (myself included no doubt) because few are teaching it with real effectiveness in mind.

PeterR
05-16-2013, 03:07 AM
It will take longer than forever for most people (myself included no doubt) because few are teaching it with real effectiveness in mind.
This is true with another me too included.

The idea that we just need to train for a long time and then one day we will be masters at wrestling demons using techniques we learned in the dojo is just wrong.

You need to focus your training to that need - if that is what your need is.

Does understanding Aikido equate to effectiveness - that is a whole new can of worms. I actually don't think understanding Aikido is all that difficult.

St Matt
05-16-2013, 03:28 AM
I sometimes spar with a friend who is 2nd dan Shotokan Karate, technically he is far superior to me (I'm 3rd kyu) and he always is able to get past me somewhere. However there have been a number of times that I have successfully managed to use my training to 'beat' him. When we do spar my aikido is far from the graceful flowing examples you see on the youtube and I use a lot of atemi to distract and enter (I believe this is how aikido should be anyway) but its the techniques I have been taught that I use and nothing else.

I am not foolish enough to believe that I could beat my friend if it was a real life and death struggle but he is trained in Karate to 2nd dan level and therefore SHOULD be able to handle me. BUT I do believe that I could use aikido in a self defense situation, I just think you have to be prepared to get a little dirty if need be!

Mary Eastland
05-16-2013, 07:08 AM
To understand Aikido is like to understand the solar system. You can understand the outer part of it quickly but the mysteries are infinite.

Malicat
05-16-2013, 10:17 AM
I am not foolish enough to believe that I could beat my friend if it was a real life and death struggle but he is trained in Karate to 2nd dan level and therefore SHOULD be able to handle me. BUT I do believe that I could use aikido in a self defense situation, I just think you have to be prepared to get a little dirty if need be!

It's interesting that you bring this up, because I was just discussing something along the same lines with a friend of mine who has been studying Judo for a long time. He kept insisting that Aikido will not work against a trained Judoka, and then I brought up my counter point. Aikido is not designed to show off fighting skills. Aikido is designed to resolve conflict, at first verbally, and at last physically. Someone who is trained in Judo, or any other martial art, for that matter, will never be my opponent, simply because a trained martial artist is generally not going to come up to someone and pick a fight. It is the untrained people who are more likely to cause the problem. My Judo friend is never going to come up to me and start an actual fight. And what I find most interesting is that the 'beginner' level attacks that we all train with are actually more likely to happen to me as a woman. I have never been in a situation where someone tries to start a fist fight with me. I have, however, been in situations when men have grabbed my wrist or shoulder and tried to force me to go somewhere with them. And those beginner grab attacks are what I am looking to be able to handle in a real life situation.

--Ashley

George S. Ledyard
05-16-2013, 10:42 AM
What is it that you wish to understand? How the physical techniques work in the dojo? How to freely apply the techniques you learned in the dojo against opponents who are not operating on the same Aikido paradigm?

Or are you even more ambitious? Perhaps you wish to understand the words ofthe Founder when he talked about the art... He said that Aikido was the a "true Budo" and that Budo was Love. Is that what you wish to udnerstand? If so, you are truly ambitious indeed.

Do you have any idea how a question like yours sounds to people who are serious about this art? It's hard to even know wher to start. There are any number of people on this forum who have spent their entire adut lives pursuing this art (some even started when they were kids). How do you even start to describe what is in the art to someone who has read about it on the internet and perhaps seen some videos on YouTube?

The Founder did not create this art as a fightig form. It's not that he didn;t elive it was a functional martial art; it's just that I do not belive that he felt the world needed anither fighting style. He felt that the world needed a practice that would put an end to fighting. So, in my opinion, when you enter into the world of Aikido worried about how soon you can be functional fighting, it's coming at the art from the wrong perspective right from the start.

From the purely technical standpoint, the basic techniques of Aikido, simply from a physical standpoint take a good ten to fifteen years to be very good at. This is within the Aikido paradigm of the dojo practice, not going out and pitting oneself against trained martial artists from other styles. When I say training hard, I am talking about three times a week minimum. Ihave never seen anyone getto any degree of mastery training less than that. Most of the people I know whom I would consider truly competent spent some period of time when they trained every day, often multuple classes each day.

The uchi deshi of the Founder (apprentice live-in students) spent 6 - 8 hours on the mat every single day for 5 years or more (my own teacher, Saotome Sensei did this for fifteen years). Even with that level of committment there was a wide range of skills that resulted. Many of them were merely technically adept and admitted that they really had little or no understanding of the spiritual / philosophical side of the founder's teachings. Uniformly, they all admitted that they really didn't have more than a fraction of the skills that the founder had. That's with a level of commitment most foreigners will never make.

In my opinion the people who are making the greatest strides towards gaining an understanding of the Aikido of the Founder are engaged in quite a bit of cross training. There are a number of great teachers from arts that use what we would call "aiki" (most notably Daito Ryu, Aikido's parent art and what is now being called Internal Power training) who have developed a methodology for teaching that can shorten the learning curve for those serious about Aikido. But adding another type of trainig to what you are already doing simply increases te level of commitment you need to make.

Then there's the fact that most Aikido really doesn't involve much "aiki". It is simply physical applicationof force against weak lines of an opponent along with a lot of locking. You could train this way for ten years and hae some self defense capability but basically you'd really just be strong. This type of capability Aikido will diminish as you get older because it is merely physical.

To have an Aikido that actually utilizes the principles of "aiki" isn't about technique so much as re-programming your body. It is about learning to bring the various components of your structure into balance and, eventually, learning how to create a stronger structure by using your intent to create oppositional forces in the connective tissue rather than by using muscle tension. Doing this requires a level of relaxation that is difficult to acheive in the dojo setting when you are training with your friends in a non-threatening setting, forget about being able to stay that relaxed on the street in a life and death situation. It can be done but most people will not train enough under the proper conditions to actually get there.

And that's just the physical / technical side. If it is just about the technical side I do not think it is the Aikido of the Founder. I do belive than some leevel of understanding of the principles of "aiki" in ones own body is a prerequisite for understnding the actual words of the Founder. Once again, most of what's commonly put about regarding the spiritual foundations of the art is highly watered down from the founder's original intent. If you do not understand the basis of internal power or the principles of "aiki" in ones own body there is simply no way you can even start to understand what the Founder meant when he talked about the spiritual side of the art, which to him was really the most important reason for creating the art in the first place.

If this sounds like it is really complex, you are right. It is probably one of the most difficult arts to master. It takes a huge commitment It is easily the longest road to any kind of applicable martial skill set of any with which I am familiar. To my mind, that also makes it one ofthe most intersting pursuits one could undertake. Nothing in my life has engaged me like this art. It is so far and away more than about just fighting. I have been training for 37 years and I am just starting to see what is really in this art. I wish I had started sooner and understood better how to structure my training.

Anyway, that's why a question like this just can't be answered in the way you probably wished it to be. It's not the right question but you'd have to have at least part of the answer to actually be askin the right question.

As for people saying Aikido doesn;twork, I wil quote Hirsohi Ikeda Sensei. "It's not that Aikido doesn't work... It's YOUR Aikido that doesn't work." So, there's a lot of bad Aikido out there andthat is what has given the art a bad name martially speaking. That isn;t the art itself but the way it has been taught and practiced. There are a number of folks out there who are more than capable martial artists. You just have to find them if you wish to train.

St Matt
05-16-2013, 11:11 AM
It's interesting that you bring this up, because I was just discussing something along the same lines with a friend of mine who has been studying Judo for a long time. He kept insisting that Aikido will not work against a trained Judoka, and then I brought up my counter point. Aikido is not designed to show off fighting skills. Aikido is designed to resolve conflict, at first verbally, and at last physically. Someone who is trained in Judo, or any other martial art, for that matter, will never be my opponent, simply because a trained martial artist is generally not going to come up to someone and pick a fight. It is the untrained people who are more likely to cause the problem. My Judo friend is never going to come up to me and start an actual fight. And what I find most interesting is that the 'beginner' level attacks that we all train with are actually more likely to happen to me as a woman. I have never been in a situation where someone tries to start a fist fight with me. I have, however, been in situations when men have grabbed my wrist or shoulder and tried to force me to go somewhere with them. And those beginner grab attacks are what I am looking to be able to handle in a real life situation.

--Ashley

I agree that a martial artist should be disciplined enough to not go round starting fights and I also believe that I am very unlikely to be attacked by a trained martial artist. I do believe, however, that aikido can work against any other art if you train for it, ie, realistic attacks and a martial attitude. I have managed to apply a nikio on another friend who trains in MMA and he said he would have never expected a defense like that (as he was getting up ;-)) it took him completely by surprise. So I reckon it is effective, especially on the untrained.

I live in a small village that sees its fair share of pub brawls. I personally havent been in one (yet) but I have observed a few and was surprised at how many times the aggressors grabbed their oponents on the arm, wrists and throats etc. All things we train for, plus the wild haymakers and wanna be boxer jabs.

jonreading
05-16-2013, 12:45 PM
For me, Aikido is budo, first and foremost. That is, largely understanding the role of conflict in my life and how to adapt my lifestyle to address the conflict I experience. So for me, if I can say that I understand these two elements and I have adapted my lifestyle in accordance with my understanding then I would say that I understand aikido in my life. I have not done these things yet.

Secondly, the effective application of technical curriculum is variable depending on many things. I think applying aikido waza within its art is one type of effective. I think applying aikido waza outside of its art is another. "Street effective" is the latter and I think very difficult to accomplish if you are limited to waza. I think if you expand aikido to be a budo, you are not limited in doing what needs to be done. In definition, this comes back to how we define aikido.

phitruong
05-16-2013, 12:54 PM
I agree that a martial artist should be disciplined enough to not go round starting fights and I also believe that I am very unlikely to be attacked by a trained martial artist.

i don't bother with trying to understand aikido. it's not worth my time and effort. as far as effective goes, i have been training my aikido to deal with ninja or ninji (is that a plural for ninja or is it ninny?). there is a group of ninja training around here. i have no idea where. i have problem track them down. but every once in awhile, they would show up at the various seminars around here. it was like..*pop* and they are there. freaky buggers! i figured if i can handle the ninja, i can deal with anybody from any arts, with the exception of grandma. grandma has techniques that "no can't defense". she got this homemade cookies and pies and meatloaf. no arts known to man survived such contact. the only thing you can do is pray that you can make your pants expand a few more inches around the waist and hope that you don't pop your buttons when sitting down and getting up from the table. :)

*btw, if you see them ninja, please let them know that they need to clean the dishes after they ate all the foods. it's just not cool leaving a sink full of dirty dishes like that!*

Aikeway
05-16-2013, 02:27 PM
My view is that a person studying aikido needs to be able to get the physical/technical side of aikido to work for them in realistic self-defence situations. If that can't be done, then all the "higher" philosophical and spiritual attributes of aikido loose their value. If the physical/technical side of aikido is not working in a realistic situation, then the training methods need to be reviewed and revised. I accept that when a woman is attacked she is often grabbed and techniques for this need to be practised. However, when a man is attacked, the attacker often attacks with a barrage of punches...and I think aikido needs to correctly address this scenario more than it does.

lbb
05-16-2013, 03:09 PM
My view is that a person studying aikido needs to be able to get the physical/technical side of aikido to work for them in realistic self-defence situations. If that can't be done, then all the "higher" philosophical and spiritual attributes of aikido loose their value. If the physical/technical side of aikido is not working in a realistic situation, then the training methods need to be reviewed and revised. I accept that when a woman is attacked she is often grabbed and techniques for this need to be practised. However, when a man is attacked, the attacker often attacks with a barrage of punches...and I think aikido needs to correctly address this scenario more than it does.

I have to respectfully disagree with this argument. I don't think you can legitimately make a pragmatist argument without getting down to specifics yourself. You can't generalize "self-defense" - not even "self-defense for women" vs. "self-defense for men" -- and call it a "realistic self-defense situation", there's nothing realistic about that at all. Who's the attacker, what's their skill level, why are they attacking you, what other resources do you have to defend yourself? If you can't be specific about the self-defense situation, it's not reasonable to complain about lack of a specific practical response.

Aikeway
05-16-2013, 04:18 PM
I have to respectfully disagree with this argument. I don't think you can legitimately make a pragmatist argument without getting down to specifics yourself. You can't generalize "self-defense" - not even "self-defense for women" vs. "self-defense for men" -- and call it a "realistic self-defense situation", there's nothing realistic about that at all. Who's the attacker, what's their skill level, why are they attacking you, what other resources do you have to defend yourself? If you can't be specific about the self-defense situation, it's not reasonable to complain about lack of a specific practical response.

Let's say some hot-headed young strong man has done six months of boxercise or kickboxing and hasn't learnt that there is always someone better than himself and his coach hasn't taught him not to pick fights in the street. He's had a couple of drinks and it's night time. He finds some excuse to start throwing punches at your head. He doesn't rush in allowing you to use tai-sabaki to evade his rush and he isn't stupid enough to grab your arm if you were to offer it (which of course you don't). However, he has enough skill to do a barrage of reasonably effective punches and maybe a kick as well without being substantially off balance and being skillful enough to recover those punches should they not make contact. Aikido doesn't adequately train for that scenario and this is partly because this sort of scenario (a semi-skilled kickboxer or boxer) was not common in feudal Japan, so suitable responses were not developed. However, this scenario is now common and so aikido needs to adapt/evolve and adequately address this type of scenario.

phitruong
05-16-2013, 04:24 PM
Let's say some hot-headed young strong man has done six months of boxercise or kickboxing and hasn't learnt that there is always someone better than himself and his coach hasn't taught him not to pick fights in the street. He's had a couple of drinks and it's night time. He finds some excuse to start throwing punches at your head. .

what if that young man is your brother, son, nephew, grandson, ...etc? how much damage do you wish to inflict? or be inflicted upon?

Mary Eastland
05-16-2013, 04:31 PM
Let's say some hot-headed young strong man has done six months of boxercise or kickboxing and hasn't learnt that there is always someone better than himself and his coach hasn't taught him not to pick fights in the street. He's had a couple of drinks and it's night time. He finds some excuse to start throwing punches at your head. He doesn't rush in allowing you to use tai-sabaki to evade his rush and he isn't stupid enough to grab your arm if you were to offer it (which of course you don't). However, he has enough skill to do a barrage of reasonably effective punches and maybe a kick as well without being substantially off balance and being skillful enough to recover those punches should they not make contact. Aikido doesn't adequately train for that scenario and this is partly because this sort of scenario (a semi-skilled kickboxer or boxer) was not common in feudal Japan, so suitable responses were not developed. However, this scenario is now common and so aikido needs to adapt/evolve and adequately address this type of scenario.

Respectfully, Daniel...this has never happened to me. So it may be common for you...but not so much for me or for that matter, for Ron....who has also never been randomly attacked by a strong, young man on the street.

NekVTAikido
05-16-2013, 08:49 PM
Let's say some hot-headed young strong man has done six months of boxercise or kickboxing and hasn't learnt that there is always someone better than himself and his coach hasn't taught him not to pick fights in the street. He's had a couple of drinks and it's night time. He finds some excuse to start throwing punches at your head. He doesn't rush in allowing you to use tai-sabaki to evade his rush and he isn't stupid enough to grab your arm if you were to offer it (which of course you don't). However, he has enough skill to do a barrage of reasonably effective punches and maybe a kick as well without being substantially off balance and being skillful enough to recover those punches should they not make contact. Aikido doesn't adequately train for that scenario and this is partly because this sort of scenario (a semi-skilled kickboxer or boxer) was not common in feudal Japan, so suitable responses were not developed. However, this scenario is now common and so aikido needs to adapt/evolve and adequately address this type of scenario.

Respectfully, Daniel...this has never happened to me. So it may be common for you...but not so much for me or for that matter, for Ron....who has also never been randomly attacked by a strong, young man on the street.

Hasn't happened to me either...but I'm 47 and lately I don't find myself in too many situations in company of young hotheads with alcohol. BUT...I'm going to the BJJ gym nearby lately (Aikido is hour drive, so that's for weekends). I've brought this up with the guys there - what's the point of realistic training, who's really going to have to defend themselves? Turns out - their lives are different than mine, and for some of them, it's a real issue. Bullies are out there....and even if there aren't *really* all that many, the perception of them being out there is a motivator for people to start Martial Arts training. For myself - I wish the commonly-taught styles of Aikido had more some more immediate and tangible things to offer these guys - then maybe I'd have more people to train Aikido with closer to home. Frankly, the way Aikido is taught in a lot of places, (and what anyone can find on YouTube) doesn't bring in these guys in as beginners. You might say these BJJ guys might not be the beginners we want...but I don't buy it. The dedication these guys are putting into BJJ is nothing to sneeze at.

lbb
05-16-2013, 10:08 PM
Let's say some hot-headed young strong man has done six months of boxercise or kickboxing and hasn't learnt that there is always someone better than himself and his coach hasn't taught him not to pick fights in the street. He's had a couple of drinks and it's night time. He finds some excuse to start throwing punches at your head.

So, is this something you encounter frequently? Or even once in a while? Maybe so, in which case it's a good basis for "self defense". If it's only something you speculate might happen some day...then maybe not. There are only so many hours in the day, and I've only got time to deal with threats that reasonably be expected to manifest.

Aikeway
05-17-2013, 12:17 AM
So, is this something you encounter frequently? Or even once in a while? Maybe so, in which case it's a good basis for "self defense". If it's only something you speculate might happen some day...then maybe not. There are only so many hours in the day, and I've only got time to deal with threats that reasonably be expected to manifest.

You asked to be specific about a self-defence situation, so I gave you a specific example. I also previously said that women are more likely to be grabbed and men more likely to be punched in the head. Males being punched in the head at night by another who has had a few drinks is a common occurrence, and obviously it is not something that happens to me regularly.

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2013, 10:10 AM
Frankly, the way Aikido is taught in a lot of places, (and what anyone can find on YouTube) doesn't bring in these guys in as beginners. You might say these BJJ guys might not be the beginners we want...but I don't buy it. The dedication these guys are putting into BJJ is nothing to sneeze at.

This is a huge problem for Aikido. Guys like these used to be the bulk of your new beginners uin the old days. That would have been true for all the martial arts, not just Aikido. Now young men want to "fight" and they expect quick results.They don;t wantto spend decades gettingto the "goodies". They don;t even know what the goodies are and if you try to tell them they just pooh pooh it.

MMA skills can be acquired in a relatively short time and you can start "fighting" very quickly after you begin. Not only Aikido but almost all of the traditional martial arts, including the koryu, ar suffering in terms of enrollment. This has implications for the future of these arts in terms of where the next generation of teachers will come from.

It's not that these arts will disappear, but the huge growth they went through back in the seventies and eighties has ended. There will be a small number of highly skilled teachers keeping these arts alive but with such a small pool of really serious students, you are highly likely to see a real fall off in the quality of the instruction at many dojos. In other words the "dumbing dwon' of the arts will accelerate, despite the fact that there is now more access to high level instruction than ever before. When I look around I ask myself how many of the people I see running dojos today have one or more students who will be as good as they are (or better). The answer, in my experience, is very few. The teachers hae not been able to pass on their skills. Whether this is because they didn't teach very well or that they didn;t have any students who were willingto train as they did back in the day is open to question.

The only thing that is going to save Aikido as an art that maintains itself as a form of real Budo and has anything at all to do with what the founder created and hoped Aikido would be is for there to be a huge shrinking in the number of dojos and the number of folks training. if we had a quarter the number of dojos, run by really qualified teachers, and the folks that were serious about training could collect at these dojos, you might stop the slip of quality and even reverse it. The koryu don;t have quite the same probelm because they never allowed their arts to spread in the first place. There are only a handful of people teaching koryu and a very small number of students under them. In the cases with which I am familiar these teachers do have a student or students to pass their arts off to.

But I am seriously concerened about the future of our art. In most ofthe dojos at which I teach, the average age is rising steadily. These folks simply can't train the way they might have back in their 20's. This fact forces te dojo to tone down the training and makes it even less likely that we attract those young folks who really want to train like maniacs. I have talked about this to some senior Japanese teachers and they see the same thing. One in particular simply agreed with me that Aikido as a martial art was dying. He seemed unconcerened about it, as if he saw no point in fighting a ternd that was inevitable. He had his own training and had pointed the way to the students out there. Whether they follwed along or not was not his problem. I still care but I do not see a solution in sight.

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2013, 10:33 AM
My view is that a person studying aikido needs to be able to get the physical/technical side of aikido to work for them in realistic self-defence situations. If that can't be done, then all the "higher" philosophical and spiritual attributes of aikido loose their value. If the physical/technical side of aikido is not working in a realistic situation, then the training methods need to be reviewed and revised. I accept that when a woman is attacked she is often grabbed and techniques for this need to be practised. However, when a man is attacked, the attacker often attacks with a barrage of punches...and I think aikido needs to correctly address this scenario more than it does.

This debate has been going on for hundreds of years inthe Japanese martial arts. Traditionally martial arts in Japan have been kata based systems. This has been true for many hundreds of years. Periodically there have been people who came along and maintained that "sparring" was the only way to really hone your skills learned via the kata.

There was one true story recounted in an Aikido Journal article (unfortuately I do not remember which issue) of two students in a koryu system who started traiing at the same time and were both motivated and talented students. After a certain period of years, one of them became disillusioned and left the school in favor of another style in which they sparred with shinai, which his previous school did not.

Many years later he had gotten his teaching license and was traveling around engaging in matches to further hone his skills. He went back to his old school and challenged his former classmate. When they stood before each other, he said he experienced a feeling of being frozen in place, unable to attack. His opponents presence was too strong and he presented no suki (openings). He was simply outclassed.

Focusing on street application too soon in ones trainig virtually guarentees that you wil lnot get to a high level in the art. Winning fights can be done with good physical strength and a few tricks and some solid basic technique. I guarentee that if you focus on fighting too son in your training you will imprint a tremendous amount of physical and metal tension that will prevent you from understanding "aiki" at all.

I am not saying that the way Aikido is taught everywhere is very good or that if you train most places you will get to a high level by simply following their programs. Most of the Aikido out there isn't very high level either. But, ifyou can find a place where the training is what it should be, the form of the trainig is more liekly to get you to a higher level of skills than you would ever encounter by worrying about non-traditional attacks, free application of technique, etc too early inyour training.

Frankly, if you are that worried about the self defense side of things, I'd recommend going and training with someone like Peyton Quinn who uses the armored instructors to do what is called scenario training or force on force training. One weekend wit him and you'd be covered for 90% of any self defense situations you might encounter. Then go back to your Aikido and look at how the form the training takes can isolate various principles for you to work on in a way that free sparring or matches never would.

George S. Ledyard
05-17-2013, 10:54 AM
So, is this something you encounter frequently? Or even once in a while? Maybe so, in which case it's a good basis for "self defense". If it's only something you speculate might happen some day...then maybe not. There are only so many hours in the day, and I've only got time to deal with threats that reasonably be expected to manifest.

Hi Mary,
It's interesting to see what so-called "threats" people choose to focus on. 911 caused the whole country to go to war, change our concepts of individual rights and privacy, kill many tens of thousands of people and have far more of our own casualties than the original terrorist incident itself. We are far more at risk getting in our own cars every day than we have ever been from terrorist incidents.

People spend vast amounts of time and effort, spend huge sums of money, preparing for violent incidnets that may never happen. This while their environment is polluted, their diets are poisonous, our health deteriorates and medical costs soar. We are far more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than from some hypothetical violent attack (unles we are young and black and live in the ghetto... then death by violence is one of the main health risks).

Tens of thousands of people die every year in auto accidents yet you don't see people attending defensive driving classes three times a week at night in their spare time to prepare for that instant when another driver causes an accident.

The vast majority of male Aikido students wil never in their lives apply a technique in self defense. Given the ridiculous rate of violence against women in our society, it is far more likely that a female require a technique for self defense and that would be against her domestic partner, not some street thug.

Aikido is an amazing art. I hate to see it become an extension of "pub crawling'. It's not that martial effectiveness shouldn't be there. But it isn;t the point. Self defense capability is a by product of proper training and when it becomes the prime focus, it loses the depth and breadth that makes it such a deep study.

jonreading
05-17-2013, 11:34 AM
But I am seriously concerened about the future of our art. In most ofthe dojos at which I teach, the average age is rising steadily. These folks simply can't train the way they might have back in their 20's. This fact forces te dojo to tone down the training and makes it even less likely that we attract those young folks who really want to train like maniacs. I have talked about this to some senior Japanese teachers and they see the same thing. One in particular simply agreed with me that Aikido as a martial art was dying. He seemed unconcerened about it, as if he saw no point in fighting a ternd that was inevitable. He had his own training and had pointed the way to the students out there. Whether they follwed along or not was not his problem. I still care but I do not see a solution in sight.

I was joking with one of my judo buddies and I said, "so what do you do with a old judoka? Do you take him to an open pasture with trees on the horizon..." He conceded it was hard for the older, injured judoka to continue training, especially with the younger stronger players. He then said, "if aikido got their s%$t together, we would train that. At the risk of derailing the thread, I think this is an important point. There are many good fighting systems that are natural feeders into aikido training. It is interesting that we spend a great deal of effort marginalizing the other arts. The 20-something MMA fighter could potentially be a 40-something aikido person if we do not alienate him... bringing fighting skill, energy, and the desire to embrace a new art.

phitruong
05-17-2013, 12:23 PM
I was joking with one of my judo buddies and I said, "so what do you do with a old judoka? Do you take him to an open pasture with trees on the horizon..." He conceded it was hard for the older, injured judoka to continue training, especially with the younger stronger players. He then said, "if aikido got their s%$t together, we would train that. At the risk of derailing the thread, I think this is an important point. There are many good fighting systems that are natural feeders into aikido training. It is interesting that we spend a great deal of effort marginalizing the other arts. The 20-something MMA fighter could potentially be a 40-something aikido person if we do not alienate him... bringing fighting skill, energy, and the desire to embrace a new art.

mediocre minds think alike. i was thinking the same thing. maybe we should market aikido as the retirement pasture for MMA folks. that's what happened to me. i spent years learning how to beat up other buggers. you can hear the begging for mercy only for so long. it gets old after awhile. so it was old for me and tired of it. so now i take up aikido and realized that i actually enjoy wearing the skirt. however, i draw the line at shaving the legs or BJJ wax. :D

lars beyer
05-17-2013, 02:14 PM
a splitsecond..










(Maybe)

NekVTAikido
05-17-2013, 03:04 PM
Hi Mary,
It's interesting to see what so-called "threats" people choose to focus on.

environment is polluted, their diets are poisonous, our health deteriorates and medical costs soar. We are far more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than from some hypothetical violent attack

Tens of thousands of people die every year in auto accidents yet you don't see people attending defensive driving classes three times a week at night in their spare time


Frankly - though I couldn't have admitted at the time - a big reason for me to start any Martial Art was the "threat" to my pride of the feeling of being unable to take care of myself in a scrap. I know the real threats that MA could help me with even in those days are negligible, but I had the muscle memory of being in 3rd grade and backing down from the older kids who were terrorizing the scene on playground/schoolbus etc. I've talked to enough others who feel the same way, whether or not they're comfortable sharing it a group, that I think this is big part of what gets many of us involved. Then like many of us here, we find lots more reasons to stay . Today, the benefit I get goes far beyond whatever fighting skill that I might have...but I wouldn't have gotten here if I hadn't believed that it was possible to get the fighting skills I wished for in 3rd grade.

It's not logical, it's emotional. Logic comes in later to justify - Aikido fit with my personal philosophy, I could tell myself all along that I was there for more than the fighting...but I wouldn't have had the dedication that kept me coming back through all the plateaus on the learning curve if fighting ability wasn't part of the promise.

Conrad Gus
05-17-2013, 03:52 PM
Hi Mary,
It's interesting to see what so-called "threats" people choose to focus on. 911 caused the whole country to go to war, change our concepts of individual rights and privacy, kill many tens of thousands of people and have far more of our own casualties than the original terrorist incident itself. We are far more at risk getting in our own cars every day than we have ever been from terrorist incidents.

People spend vast amounts of time and effort, spend huge sums of money, preparing for violent incidnets that may never happen. This while their environment is polluted, their diets are poisonous, our health deteriorates and medical costs soar. We are far more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than from some hypothetical violent attack (unles we are young and black and live in the ghetto... then death by violence is one of the main health risks).

Tens of thousands of people die every year in auto accidents yet you don't see people attending defensive driving classes three times a week at night in their spare time to prepare for that instant when another driver causes an accident.

The vast majority of male Aikido students wil never in their lives apply a technique in self defense. Given the ridiculous rate of violence against women in our society, it is far more likely that a female require a technique for self defense and that would be against her domestic partner, not some street thug.

Aikido is an amazing art. I hate to see it become an extension of "pub crawling'. It's not that martial effectiveness shouldn't be there. But it isn;t the point. Self defense capability is a by product of proper training and when it becomes the prime focus, it loses the depth and breadth that makes it such a deep study.

Very well put. I have been trying to articulate this for years.

Robert Cowham
05-17-2013, 05:10 PM
I was joking with one of my judo buddies and I said, "so what do you do with a old judoka? Do you take him to an open pasture with trees on the horizon..." He conceded it was hard for the older, injured judoka to continue training, especially with the younger stronger players. He then said, "if aikido got their s%$t together, we would train that.
When I was in Holland in the late 80's I studied with a guy who had done Aikido for 10 years and was san dan - he had previously spent 15 years in judo - he was pretty competent!

Another friend of mine said once "Ah yes, Aikido - old man's judo!"

More recently I had a chap come along for a few classes who has done judo for quite a few years and I think is nidan. He did say that just a few classes had influenced how he did his judo. Unfortunately for our dojo he wasn't able to stay - his kids love the judo, and he doesn't have enough time for anything else.

Robert Cowham
05-17-2013, 05:20 PM
Hi Mary,
It's interesting to see what so-called "threats" people choose to focus on. 911 caused the whole country to go to war, change our concepts of individual rights and privacy, kill many tens of thousands of people and have far more of our own casualties than the original terrorist incident itself. We are far more at risk getting in our own cars every day than we have ever been from terrorist incidents.

People spend vast amounts of time and effort, spend huge sums of money, preparing for violent incidnets that may never happen. This while their environment is polluted, their diets are poisonous, our health deteriorates and medical costs soar. We are far more likely to die from cancer or heart disease than from some hypothetical violent attack (unles we are young and black and live in the ghetto... then death by violence is one of the main health risks).

I am sure it's been quoted on the forum before:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/science/jared-diamonds-guide-to-reducing-lifes-risks.html?_r=0

This calculation illustrates the biggest single lesson that I've learned from 50 years of field work on the island of New Guinea: the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.

For a UK centric view on recent Boston events (and at the risk of igniting flames):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/21/boston-marathon-bombs-us-gun-law

But by letting one fugitive terrorist shut down a major American city, Boston not only bowed to outsize and irrational fears, but sent a dangerous message to every would-be terrorist -- if you want to wreak havoc in the United States, intimidate its population and disrupt public order, here's your instruction booklet.

Putting aside the economic and psychological cost, the lockdown also prevented an early capture of the alleged bomber, who was discovered after Bostonians were given the all clear and a Watertown man wandered into his backyard for a cigarette and found a bleeding terrorist on his boat.

I visited Boston 2 weeks ago for my aunt's 90th birthday and had a great time. I remember when she came to London to visit us during the time of the IRA bombs, and all her friends said how brave she was to risk going to such a dangerous place - life goes on...

Rob Watson
05-17-2013, 06:47 PM
Train like your life really depends on it and you'll be fine. The art don't matter as much as your mindset.

Rupert Atkinson
05-18-2013, 12:16 AM
The 20-something MMA fighter could potentially be a 40-something aikido person if we do not alienate him... bringing fighting skill, energy, and the desire to embrace a new art.

This has been happening all along, but it may happen more in the future. Good point.

lbb
05-19-2013, 08:38 AM
I am sure it's been quoted on the forum before:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/29/science/jared-diamonds-guide-to-reducing-lifes-risks.html?_r=0

For a UK centric view on recent Boston events (and at the risk of igniting flames):

"But by letting one fugitive terrorist shut down a major American city, Boston not only bowed to outsize and irrational fears, but sent a dangerous message to every would-be terrorist -- if you want to wreak havoc in the United States, intimidate its population and disrupt public order, here's your instruction booklet."


From a Boston-centric view: crap. Complete, total and utter crap. That's all the response that this drivel deserves.

And, in fact, this is very much on topic. The stories we tell ourselves (and others) about what's going on, what others are thinking, what their attitudes and motivations are, are the fodder of the false reality on which we base decisions about what threatens us and how to deal with it. And we see, in this case as in the large majority of "but what if some drunk guy starts grabbing my wife" scenarios, the will to believe that things are a certain way, in order to confirm our biases, far exceeds the rational impulse to not (for example) render titanically stupid judgments about what an entire city full of people were thinking and feeling.

Robert Cowham
05-20-2013, 06:14 AM
And, in fact, this is very much on topic. The stories we tell ourselves (and others) about what's going on, what others are thinking, what their attitudes and motivations are, are the fodder of the false reality on which we base decisions about what threatens us and how to deal with it. And we see, in this case as in the large majority of "but what if some drunk guy starts grabbing my wife" scenarios, the will to believe that things are a certain way, in order to confirm our biases, far exceeds the rational impulse to not (for example) render titanically stupid judgments about what an entire city full of people were thinking and feeling.
I understand your viewpoint - though I think the article was responding more the the authorities method of response than of ordinary citizens. A couple of my aunt's friends who live fairly close to Waterstown said how it strengthened a sense of community in some way.

Perhaps this should be a new thread - but what is the best way to respond to terrorist attacks? What is the best way to respond to threats? Or indeed what are just good ways? How can you react sensibly to minimise threats while also not giving terrorists potential benefits, including publicity, disruption and inconvenience to the general population?

On a related note regarding airport security:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2009/12/30/the_israelification_of_airports_high_security_little_bother.html

"I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is 'Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, 'What would you do?' And he said, 'Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, 'Oh. My. God.'
"Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, 'Two days.'"
A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.
First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.
Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.
"This is a very small simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said.

I've been affected by Heathrow closures due to bomb threats myself.

More on topic:

I basically don't encounter physical threats or situations in my life. What I do encounter on a very regular basis is challenges to my personal integrity or ethics or morals - often as throw away remarks made by someone. Finding a consistent way to respond to those, and not just letting them slide is not easy and takes continual effort, thought and review, and I fail often. I do believe there is something about challenging myself physically in Aikido and related arts that benefits me mentally. It's worth being pushed outside one's comfort zone sometimes. For me, training (solo) with a live blade challenges me and forces focus - and that brings benefits, as does paired training in kenjutsu.

I've always like Diane Skoss's article:

http://www.koryu.com/library/dskoss4.html

lbb
05-20-2013, 08:20 AM
I understand your viewpoint - though I think the article was responding more the the authorities method of response than of ordinary citizens. A couple of my aunt's friends who live fairly close to Waterstown said how it strengthened a sense of community in some way.

I think there's probably widespread misunderstanding elsewhere about exactly what the authorities' response was (as evidenced by use of the term "lockdown").

Perhaps this should be a new thread - but what is the best way to respond to terrorist attacks? What is the best way to respond to threats? Or indeed what are just good ways? How can you react sensibly to minimise threats while also not giving terrorists potential benefits, including publicity, disruption and inconvenience to the general population?

...which brings us right back to "Is aikido good for self-defense?" Self-defense against WHAT? What kind of "terrorist attack"?

I'm not sure that not benefiting terrorists should be the primary goal; in fact, I'm reasonably sure it shouldn't be. Empathy means having a sense for what other people are feeling, and that's good, but it's a mistake to believe you know how they're feeling, what they're thinking, what their motives are, and thus that you also know what they will do. Maybe the most helpful kind of empathy consists simply in knowing that other people do feel, that they may feel the same as you would in similar circumstances, or they may feel differently. On a purely personal level, or on a broader level (dealing with "terrorists"), it seems best to focus on taking care of yourself and engaging honestly with those who will engage with you. After the Boston bombing, there were of course those in the media who said that soft targets like a public crowd will always be a relatively easy target. But I don't think we're going to see any shying away from public gatherings here. For that matter, I could point you at half a dozen locations within a few blocks of my office, and give you the time of day on every single workday when you'd have a crowd as big as the crowd at the Marathon finish line - just in the course of normal daily activities.

So again, I keep coming back to the same point: "imagining the bad guy" is a fun game to play for some, but as soon as you start with the premise of, "So, there are these bad guys, and they want to GET ME", you're already off telling your story. You've already veered away from the truth. And while you're fighting the bogeyman, the real problem is sneaking up behind you (if it's not already inside your own head).

Robert Cowham
05-20-2013, 11:35 AM
So again, I keep coming back to the same point: "imagining the bad guy" is a fun game to play for some, but as soon as you start with the premise of, "So, there are these bad guys, and they want to GET ME", you're already off telling your story. You've already veered away from the truth. And while you're fighting the bogeyman, the real problem is sneaking up behind you (if it's not already inside your own head).
I think there is value in considering potential risks ahead of time and determining possible responses. Considering such risks includes a measure of their likelihood of happening. Thus the reference to Jared Diamond's article (and book).

If your point is that this can be exagerated and lead to creating alternative realities according to your own psychological tendencies, then sure I agree - but it's still a useful exercise.

On a related note, I was interested to see this about the value of reading and thinking about issues before encountering them.

http://strifeblog.org/2013/05/07/with-rifle-and-bibliography-general-mattis-on-professional-reading/

The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s
experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a
better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of
incompetence are so final for young men.
:
Ultimately, a real understanding of history means that we face NOTHING new under the sun.
For all the “4th Generation of War” intellectuals running around today saying that the nature of
war has fundamentally changed, the tactics are wholly new, etc, I must respectfully say… “Not
really”: Alex the Great would not be in the least bit perplexed by the enemy that we face right
now in Iraq, and our leaders going into this fight do their troops a disservice by not studying
(studying, vice just reading) the men who have gone before us.

Not just applicable to those in the military.

jonreading
05-20-2013, 11:56 AM
Since we are back at effective self-defense...

While I agree that the risk of being targeted for battery and/or assault is not particularly high for mostof us, I do not think that we are acting irresponsibley in our preparation. I personally believe that we are constantly bombarded with acts of bullyism in our daily life. We won't call them that because only kids are bullied, but we are. That guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway? What about the skeezy guy that just steppped in front of you while waiting to check out. The cat call from across the street? The inexcusibly high phone bill... the DMV...

Everyday we experience some form of intimidation. Sometimes we do something, sometimes we don't. We are presented with these judgment calls. Ultimately you either capitulate to the intimidation or you do not. I am not sure judging another's decisions gets anywhere... This is why the life skill of a budo is so important over the physical skill of kata. We need kata, but we can do so much with budo.

When I teach self-defense, I often use the analogy of a fear of spiders and the dangers of a spider bite. While we are very low risk to die from a spider bite (or be seriously injured), the condition of Arachnophobia will cause indivudals to go to extreme measures to insure they are not in contact with spiders. In a previous post there was mention that often self-defense measures are not taken out of the real danger of occurance, but rather a sense of empowerment over a fear. This is a driving motivation in the purchase of insurance - that the liklihood of a thing happening is so great that we should prepare for it.

KEM
05-20-2013, 01:08 PM
From my view point (narrow minded and ancient as it is) one either does Aikido budo or one does Aikidance. I have found over the years Aikido to be extremely effective as a bubo art and if necessary a excellent form of self defiance.

Well said. "Getting out of the way" is a high expression of Budo. :ki: Calm in the face of aggression is Budo. When it gets 'dirty' being able to apply strong, effective techniques is essential. The basic techniques law enforcement uses in FL were developed from Aikido and standardized for all state law enforcement officers as early as the late 1970's-1983 (maybe earlier but that is what I recall). I was recently told that 'Aikido can't be used for self defense, that isn't what O Sensei intended it to be about...when you teach aikido for self defense you are really teaching jiujitsu and that is the way OSensei did things before the war, not how Aikido is today." I deeply disagree with that statement...but it is an attitude some teach. Don't let that kind of thinking spoil your confidence. Honest, regular Aikido training under experienced Sensei's and their sempai will give you skills for self defense. Can someone be effective at Aikido defense if they have never been in the military or law enforcement? Sure. I have a bias towards those backgrounds; they bring a pragmatic experience base and Budo to the application of Aikido.
I've read that Scientific American (don't know the exact ref) called Aikido the most effective, complex and obsessive-compulsive of the martial arts. I think there is truth in that!http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/images/smilies/ki.gif

sakumeikan
05-20-2013, 05:36 PM
This. Aikido is not realistic combat training and the primary duty of an aikido instructor is not to make students into effective fighters. There are much better ways to learn self-defense than aikido.

Dear Matthew,
If aikido is not a realistic combat art why call it Martial? The primary duty of an instructor is to teach aikido .This does not mean the instructor has to do aikido in a manner akin to Fred and Ginger doing a waltz. I dont know about you but I come from a ryu where I was subjected to hard training.No flouncing around doing twirly stuff.
I found my early training in Aikido harder than Judo.By the way I was no slouch at that game either.As far as Aikido being complicated and hard to understand, I think this is nonsense.Dead simple , first neutralise the attack, get into a position where the attacker cannot hit you, then do the guy with whatever is at hand.Simple. No need for fancy stuff, who would try shiho nage for example in a real?situation?? Hope you are well, Cheers, Joe.

graham christian
05-20-2013, 06:09 PM
Or you could do a nice twirl, sit them down and have a cup of tea. Mmmm, iriminage is much like a waltz come to think of it.

By the way you lot could have at least beaten Arsenal for us;)

Peace.G.

sakumeikan
05-20-2013, 06:17 PM
Or you could do a nice twirl, sit them down and have a cup of tea. Mmmm, iriminage is much like a waltz come to think of it.

By the way you lot could have at least beaten Arsenal for us;)

Peace.G.

Graham,
I am a Scot not a Geordie.Hate to say this I doubt if N.U.F.C could beat an egg.Keep on dancing,you might get selected for Brucies show.Maybe Flavia would twirl you around the floor? Oh what joy!! Joe.

graham christian
05-20-2013, 06:40 PM
Graham,
I am a Scot not a Geordie.Hate to say this I doubt if N.U.F.C could beat an egg.Keep on dancing,you might get selected for Brucies show.Maybe Flavia would twirl you around the floor? Oh what joy!! Joe.

Oh a scot eh? Best not mention footie then. Maybe that's what makes it take so long for some to learn because they can't see the dance. A deadly dance. ;)

Peace.G.

lbb
05-21-2013, 08:39 AM
Since we are back at effective self-defense...

While I agree that the risk of being targeted for battery and/or assault is not particularly high for mostof us, I do not think that we are acting irresponsibley in our preparation. I personally believe that we are constantly bombarded with acts of bullyism in our daily life. We won't call them that because only kids are bullied, but we are. That guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway? What about the skeezy guy that just steppped in front of you while waiting to check out. The cat call from across the street? The inexcusibly high phone bill... the DMV...

Everyday we experience some form of intimidation. Sometimes we do something, sometimes we don't. We are presented with these judgment calls. Ultimately you either capitulate to the intimidation or you do not. I am not sure judging another's decisions gets anywhere... This is why the life skill of a budo is so important over the physical skill of kata. We need kata, but we can do so much with budo.

But (and I realize I'm not saying this very well) what makes it "intimidation"? That tango takes two, and sometimes there's a choice about whether you want to dance. The guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway is playing a game that he wants to play; it's called "I show you who's boss of this road", and he believes he can win at it. Maybe he's wrong; maybe you and your car can win. Maybe you choose not to play, but instead just shrug and let him have the lane. Can someone beat you at a game you're not playing?

I realize that the choice to not play doesn't always exist. On the other hand, you know that saying about when your only tool is a hammer, every problem has to be a nail. When someone asks "is aikido good for self-defense?" we know what they're asking - if we're not being disingenuous, we know that they mean as a physical response to a physical attack, not using ki to redirect the bad energy at the DMV. So we enter into that discussion, but in so doing, we need to remind ourselves that this is a tiny slice of self-defense. If you want to defend yourself, you'll use many more tools than just the physical responses of aikido - and that, to be honest, those are probably the last tools you should ever use.

When I teach self-defense, I often use the analogy of a fear of spiders and the dangers of a spider bite. While we are very low risk to die from a spider bite (or be seriously injured), the condition of Arachnophobia will cause indivudals to go to extreme measures to insure they are not in contact with spiders. In a previous post there was mention that often self-defense measures are not taken out of the real danger of occurance, but rather a sense of empowerment over a fear. This is a driving motivation in the purchase of insurance - that the liklihood of a thing happening is so great that we should prepare for it.

Sure. But, while I can see how self-defense measures can lead to a sense of empowerment, when taken past a certain point, the measures themselves have a deleterious effect on a person's quality of life. You mention arachnophobia - as it happens, I have a very good friend who has a completely outsized freakout factor with insects of all kinds. This leads to behaviors such as drenching herself with deet, throwing out everything in her pantry and spending days bleaching every surface if she ever sees a grain moth, not wanting to visit my house which is out in the country and surrounded by gardens where I encourage some types of beneficial insects, etc. I keep my mouth firmly shut on the topic, but I see another choice: to attempt to address the fear itself, rather than to try to eliminate everything that provokes it from one's life.

There's a quote from Pema Chodron that I think is really relevant here, where she's talking about Shantideva's teachings about how we respond to the difficulties of life in the most counterproductive way. You can watch it on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA:

"This lousy world, this lousy people, this lousy government, this lousy everything. Lousy weather, lousy blah blah blah blah. Pissed off, you know, it's too hot in here, it's too cold, I don't like the smell and, the person is too tall in front, and -- too fat next to me, and they're wearing perfume and I'm allergic, and just -- unnnh!"

So he says, the analogy is that you're barefooted, it's like being barefooted and walking across blazing-hot sand or across cut glass. Or in a field with thorns. And your feet are bare, and you say, this is just, you know, it's really hurting, it's terrible, it's too sharp, it's too painful, it's too hot. Do I have a great idea! I am just going to cover the whole, everywhere I go, I'm going to cover it with leather. And then it won't hurt my feet anymore. That's like saying, "I'm going to get rid of her and get rid of him and get the temperature right, and I'm going to ban perfume in the world and, you know, there will be no, nothing that bothers me anywhere. There -- I am going to get rid of everything, including mosquitoes, that bothers me, anywhere in the world, and then I will be a very happy, content person."

We're laughing, but it's what we all do. That is how we do approach things. We think, if we could just get rid of them or cover it with leather, then our pain would go away. Well, sure, because, you know, then it wouldn't be cutting our feet anymore -- I mean, it's just logical, isn't it? But it doesn't make any sense, really. So he said, "but if you simply wrap the leather around your feet" -- in other words, shoes -- then you could walk across the boiling sand and the cut glass and the thorns, and it wouldn't bother you. So the analogy is, if you work with your mind, instead of trying to change everything on the outside, that's how your temper will cool down.

It's not to say that the problems on the outside aren't real. Generally they are (although this quote is a great example of how we tend to magnify them). But our ability to control these outside problems is limited. So, the choices are, as I see it: 1)Respond to the "provocations" of life's daily problems as if to an aggressive, conscious threat or attack on your self (which indeed they may very well not be...the guy who cut you off may be distracted or may have just seen his exit; the insect is simply trying to live), 2)Try to "cover the world with leather", by eliminating all the insects and bad drivers and people standing in line in front of you at the DMV (which of course you can't do), or 3)Respond to threats that really are threats, and "wear shoes" when dealing with the stuff that's just life being life.

jonreading
05-21-2013, 12:01 PM
But (and I realize I'm not saying this very well) what makes it "intimidation"? That tango takes two, and sometimes there's a choice about whether you want to dance. The guy that eyed you and then cut you off on the highway is playing a game that he wants to play; it's called "I show you who's boss of this road", and he believes he can win at it. Maybe he's wrong; maybe you and your car can win. Maybe you choose not to play, but instead just shrug and let him have the lane. Can someone beat you at a game you're not playing?

I realize that the choice to not play doesn't always exist. On the other hand, you know that saying about when your only tool is a hammer, every problem has to be a nail. When someone asks "is aikido good for self-defense?" we know what they're asking - if we're not being disingenuous, we know that they mean as a physical response to a physical attack, not using ki to redirect the bad energy at the DMV. So we enter into that discussion, but in so doing, we need to remind ourselves that this is a tiny slice of self-defense. If you want to defend yourself, you'll use many more tools than just the physical responses of aikido - and that, to be honest, those are probably the last tools you should ever use.

Sure. But, while I can see how self-defense measures can lead to a sense of empowerment, when taken past a certain point, the measures themselves have a deleterious effect on a person's quality of life. You mention arachnophobia - as it happens, I have a very good friend who has a completely outsized freakout factor with insects of all kinds. This leads to behaviors such as drenching herself with deet, throwing out everything in her pantry and spending days bleaching every surface if she ever sees a grain moth, not wanting to visit my house which is out in the country and surrounded by gardens where I encourage some types of beneficial insects, etc. I keep my mouth firmly shut on the topic, but I see another choice: to attempt to address the fear itself, rather than to try to eliminate everything that provokes it from one's life.

There's a quote from Pema Chodron that I think is really relevant here, where she's talking about Shantideva's teachings about how we respond to the difficulties of life in the most counterproductive way. You can watch it on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA:

It's not to say that the problems on the outside aren't real. Generally they are (although this quote is a great example of how we tend to magnify them). But our ability to control these outside problems is limited. So, the choices are, as I see it: 1)Respond to the "provocations" of life's daily problems as if to an aggressive, conscious threat or attack on your self (which indeed they may very well not be...the guy who cut you off may be distracted or may have just seen his exit; the insect is simply trying to live), 2)Try to "cover the world with leather", by eliminating all the insects and bad drivers and people standing in line in front of you at the DMV (which of course you can't do), or 3)Respond to threats that really are threats, and "wear shoes" when dealing with the stuff that's just life being life.

For me, intimidation is simply the prioritization of needs and actions. That's the rub - it is not a game. Allowing yourself to be intimidated is simply means that you are allowing another to satifsy her needs and actions before yours. For example, the driver that you just allowed into you lane has already shown poor driving habits. Is it a wise decision to allow a poor driver to be in front of your vehicle?

When I teach self-defense, physical reponses are actually fairly low on the list. I cover many more options the precede physical contact. Again, this is why I think aikido as a budo is superior than aikido as kata. I also make a point to specifiy what is being asked. As stupid as it seems, I receive far more inquiries about self-defense from indivudals who are not capable of physical response... asking about learning physical response.

While I understand your words, I think your numerical sequence in somewhat biased against option 1. It seems like you really are advocating a path of moderation, illustrating an extreme fear response (phobia) and an extreme hostile response... I am not sure either is a normal state of activity.