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ChrisHein
03-23-2014, 11:56 AM
Oftentimes Aikido students want to know things like "how can I use Aikido on a boxer?" Or "why does Aikido have defenses against such strange attacks?" Once you understand where our striking methodology comes from, all of this becomes clear. This is a short video explaining why Aikido has the kinds of strikes it does, and why we chose the type of strike defense that we do.

http://www.aikidostudent.com/ASCv2/?p=270

Enjoy.

Millsy
03-23-2014, 06:59 PM
Chris, thank you for a good discussion on the pedigree of the "standard strikes" we use in aikido. I was particularly happy to see you talk of a tsuki as a thrust.

What would also be interesting is a discussion of whether these strikes actual form a good training foundation to eventually deal with a wide gamut of attacks towards the centre-line and from the side, be they from punches, kicks or weapons. Which I think they do, though others may suggest they are part of an arcane system the bares little relevance to modern combat.

ryback
03-24-2014, 03:32 AM
I agree with Tony, I think that the standard, clear attacks that originate from weapons cuts or thrusts are an efficient way of learning the movement and principles of blending with the attack, whether it is by stepping out of the line of the attack or going right into it and taking control.
I've seen masters that train that way, having no problem dealing with fast boxing like punches or kicks and I have experimented with such attacks myself, I could deflect them no problem, but then my technique was also coming fast and strong, so the thing was if the uke could fall as fast as he could hit me.
So, in conclusion, I think that the OP video shows exactly the origin of our attacks and according to my experience is a very practical and effective way of practice.

Dave Sampson
03-24-2014, 05:10 AM
I remembered from class that these were meant to simulate weapon attacks. When i questioned that in real life nobody would attack like we do i was given a response that made me think.

If you substitute a bottle for the empty hand in shomen-uchi you would have some person trying to crack that bottle over your skull. My brain clicked and said:"Oh, yeah"

Training to disarm some loony with a sword has it uses.

ChrisHein
03-24-2014, 10:55 AM
It's important to understand that classic or "old" doesn't mean obsolete. When discussing blade culture, I would make the argument that the techniques found in classical Japanese martial arts are at the forefront of technological ideas. People still attack each other with handheld weapons. These attacks follow the same patterns that they always have. The techniques found in Aikido are excellent at dealing with handheld weapons situations. It's just the people (us) practicing those techniques that need enlightenment.

Erick Mead
03-24-2014, 11:15 AM
It has been said before and I'll repeat it here: Almost without regard to the nature of the particular problem students find in this art -- if you imagine a blade in your hands, the problem makes immediate sense and nearly solves itself...

jonreading
03-24-2014, 12:04 PM
1. I like the video - I think for clarity they are great and I applaud posting them because it takes a brave soul.
2. I think that while we rely upon stylized attacks and the foundation of our kata, we may need to review how we perform the stylized attacks as a function of "attacking".

Aikido is not the only art that uses stylized attacks for training. It is actually prevalent enough to warrant the attention of Jim Carey in his famous self-defense video. Yet it does concern me that aikido as a whole encounters difficulty converting stylized attacking to more practical application (both as attacker and defender). For example, functional rounded strikes (haymaker, roundhouse, etc.) rarely surpass the 3/9 line, but in aikido we see a variety of hyper extension, bladed body format and double-weighting. Aside from serious risk of injury to the shoulder, this stylized attack is often done [I]to create time and space in which our partner can perform kata. That's from a sword? Not the sword people with whom I am impressed.

It is also something to consider that if our attacking methodology is based upon aikido weapons and aikido weapons have been criticized for being less-than-functional, it stands to reason that our attacking methodology (based upon as less-than-functional knowledge of weapons) would inherit at least some of the flaws pointed out by our weapons-oriented friends.

Personally, I have experienced several occasions of humility when either working out with a weapons person or a good fighter. I think there is some foundational corrections that we need to make as we let weapons people enjoy their expertise and fighting people enjoy their expertise. I think there are aikido people who attack well. I think there are aikido people who do not. I think we can be more precise when critiquing our attacking and give our partners more concrete ability to correct their instruction. And to keep away from doom and gloom, I am not saying that we cannot excel in our fighting, only that we could be more critical in our stylized attacking to improve our ability to function.

Otherwise, one day a sword person walks into your dojo, sees what you are doing and hears "this is based on sword"; depending on the art, he may actually be obligated to kill you. Or at least give you a envelope of black sand. In that case, ninja kill you.

Not really. But maybe.

Erick Mead
03-24-2014, 01:04 PM
... this stylized attack is often done to create time and space in which our partner can perform kata. ... This. Otherwise concur with the overall critique.

I think we can be more precise when critiquing our attacking and give our partners more concrete ability to correct their instruction. ... we could be more critical in our stylized attacking to improve our ability to function.
...
{OR} ninja kill you..... "wiiiiiiith .... a herring ... (nothing like mixing cultural references -- to confuse the ninjas ... or is it the Knights who say NI-(nja) ... I am sure it is in the Kojiki somewhere, everything else is ...

More seriously, I make new students who are having problems practice hitting me in the chest and correct them until it is uncomfortable -- for me. It emphasizes that correct and effective attack is expected -- and also manageable .

I also make them understand that when their partner is responding poorly to the attack, they are also expected respond appropriately to THAT -- not to change distance, or alter trajectory -- but just slow down more and more the closer they get without proper response -- and -- if it comes to that -- then push through the skull or body --glacially --- but never, ever stop, redirect or pause the attack. Distance and trajectory are two critical elements that cannot be altered -- in my view. Another is correct dynamic structure -- but that is a much longer and larger conversation...

Cliff Judge
03-24-2014, 03:09 PM
It is also something to consider that if our attacking methodology is based upon aikido weapons and aikido weapons have been criticized for being less-than-functional, it stands to reason that our attacking methodology (based upon as less-than-functional knowledge of weapons) would inherit at least some of the flaws pointed out by our weapons-oriented friends.

Wait. Our attacks are based on "Aikido weapons?" That's a weird one for me. What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?

Conrad Gus
03-24-2014, 03:58 PM
Aikido is not the only art that uses stylized attacks for training. It is actually prevalent enough to warrant the attention of Jim Carey in his [in]famous self-defense video

Whenever I screw something up on the mat, I bring out my favorite quote from that sketch:

"Like most beginners, you attacked me WRONG!"

:D

Demetrio Cereijo
03-24-2014, 04:05 PM
It is also something to consider that if our attacking methodology is based upon aikido weapons and aikido weapons have been criticized for being less-than-functional, it stands to reason that our attacking methodology (based upon as less-than-functional knowledge of weapons) would inherit at least some of the flaws pointed out by our weapons-oriented friends.
+1

Personally, I have experienced several occasions of humility when either working out with a weapons person or a good fighter.
Add another +1

Demetrio Cereijo
03-24-2014, 04:09 PM
What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?
In how weapons are used by incompetents?

jonreading
03-24-2014, 06:53 PM
Wait. Our attacks are based on "Aikido weapons?" That's a weird one for me. What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?

Well, that's my point. To which, I have two answers.

Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

From what I have seen thus far, I think somewhere along the line we confused Aiki with Kata. We saw seniors with good Aiki and misunderstood what they were doing. The point I am trying to make is to reinvigorate kata with aiki.

To clarify, that is not to say there are not good sword people in aikido; only that good sword work is not representative of aikido in its entirety.

This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training.

I apologize because I am on a mobile phone so my text may seem disjointed.

odudog
03-24-2014, 09:29 PM
Well, that's my point. To which, I have two answers.

Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training..

Aiki weapons is not real sword work. It is based on real sword work though. Osensei took real sword work and then changed it to help emphasize the principals used in aikido. The yokomen shown in the vid would not be done that way when using real sword work. Many of the great instructors went to learn real sword work on the side being iado or kenjutsu. Nishio sensei being an example of this.

Carsten Möllering
03-25-2014, 03:58 AM
As far as I understand, aiki ken was created in Iwama, in the 1940s?
As far as I understand, Ueshiba has not been member of any koryű of even studied any ken jutsu systematicelly until then?
(As far as I experience it, aiki ken is "different" from two schools of ken jutsu, I know. In the sense that it is not that "martial" and not that "technically effective".)
As far as I understand, there is shomen uchi and yokomen uchi in daitô ryű allready?
As far as I understand, Takeda integrated his swordwork with the tai jutsu, he had learned?

So as far as I understand neither Takeda nor Ueshiba derived their tai jutsu from their practice of ken (jutsu)?

phitruong
03-25-2014, 07:28 AM
Wait. Our attacks are based on "Aikido weapons?" That's a weird one for me. What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?

based on kitchen utensils usage, mainly chopsticks and spoon, and on occasion when your parents aren't watching, fingers. just look at the movements of aikisage and aikiage and open and close of the body. :)

Erick Mead
03-25-2014, 07:42 AM
As far as I understand, aiki ken was created in Iwama, in the 1940s?
As far as I understand, Ueshiba has not been member of any koryű of even studied any ken jutsu systematicelly until then? Kisshomaru reported that his father studied five years of Gotoha Yagyu Shingan under Nakai Masakatsu, from 1903 until he died in 1908. FWIW.

Carsten Möllering
03-25-2014, 08:31 AM
Kisshomaru reported that his father studied five years of Gotoha Yagyu Shingan under Nakai Masakatsu, from 1903 until he died in 1908. FWIW.

Don't have books here, so just some citations from aikido journal:

"Masakatsu Nakai 中井正勝
Middle school teacher in Sakai, Osaka. Teacher of Yagyu Shingan-ryu Jujutsu with whom Morihei UESHIBA studied ... "

"The technical content of this school is unknown but certainly included jujutsu techniques and the study of various weapons. Records are unclear as to whether Ueshiba’s direct teacher was Masanosuke Tsuboi or Masakatsu NAKAI. "

"Receives Yagyu-ryu Jujutsu certificate ..."

Cliff Judge
03-25-2014, 09:21 AM
As far as I understand, there is shomen uchi and yokomen uchi in daitô ryű allready?

Just to get one thing out of the way, shomenuchi and yokomenuchi in Daito ryu are simulated sword strikes.

Kisshomaru reported that his father studied five years of Gotoha Yagyu Shingan under Nakai Masakatsu, from 1903 until he died in 1908. FWIW.

I think it is fairly well established around here that Ueshiba did Yagyu Shingan ryu once or twice a month for a period of time...five years seems long.

Generally this is minimalized as far as influence on Ueshiba's development, but it is fair to point out that Takeda wandered and taught and it was fairly typical to only visit him once in awhile for a training session.

There are plenty of videos of the Yagyu Shingan ryu that Ueshiba studied, the line exists in Kanagawa prefecture these days and goes by Yagyu Shingan ryu Taijutsu. Their the guys that walk like dinosaurs, windmill their arms around, strike each other from odd angles, and then pick the guy up and drop him on his head. Their weapons seem to involve a lot of study of dynamic tension. Aikijo looks way more like their bo forms than it does any traditional form of jojutsu, also...in my humble opinion....

Erick Mead
03-25-2014, 09:22 AM
Don't have books here, so just some citations from aikido journal:

"Masakatsu Nakai 中井正勝
Middle school teacher in Sakai, Osaka. Teacher of Yagyu Shingan-ryu Jujutsu with whom Morihei UESHIBA studied ... "

"The technical content of this school is unknown but certainly included jujutsu techniques and the study of various weapons. Records are unclear as to whether Ueshiba's direct teacher was Masanosuke Tsuboi or Masakatsu NAKAI. "

"Receives Yagyu-ryu Jujutsu certificate ..." I thought the question was "what influences of sword are present in aikido?" Nakai was reputedly schooled in Shinkage-ryu as well as Yagyu Shingan jujutsu -- and in my study I found that the koryu were never as categorically structured as the gendai arts. Lineages become less of concern after the late 19th century because there was much of both mixing and formal segregation going on.

I think it is fair to see Nakai -- and many others of similar or even less note roughly contemporaneous with Kano -- to be straddling that divide. Kano began the Kodokan before he even received Menkyo in Kito-ryu. Takeda may be viewed as doing the same thing for the aiki aspects of jujutsu leading to Ueshiba's work. Nakai may be viewed in the same general trend and began his own teaching a bare decade after Kano -- though clearly not remotely as influential. Ueshiba was at the latter phase of this process of a new syncretic and synthetic development in these Japanese arts. That categorical segregation between specific weapons work and between differing forms of empty hand work seems no small part of the genesis of gendai arts.

The Founder did acknowledge these studies as being somewhat formational in his tai jutsu -- and which certainly ought to inform our discussion on the topic of the training form for attacks in Aikido. Personally, I don't wonder about the presence of weapons movements in the aikido tai jutsu corpus -- they are now readily apparent to me -- highly applicable -- and easily demonstrable.

I have other --more concrete -- thoughts on the relationship and developments of and from weapons to aiki, but that would be beyond the point of your post.

Erick Mead
03-25-2014, 09:27 AM
based on kitchen utensils usage, mainly chopsticks and spoon, and on occasion when your parents aren't watching, fingers. just look at the movements of aikisage and aikiage and open and close of the body. :)

In the sense that so many wish to be spoon-fed ?? :D

Me, I dig in with whatever tools are at hand -- OR just -- you know -- hands... :p

Cliff Judge
03-25-2014, 09:52 AM
Well, that's my point. To which, I have two answers.

Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

From what I have seen thus far, I think somewhere along the line we confused Aiki with Kata. We saw seniors with good Aiki and misunderstood what they were doing. The point I am trying to make is to reinvigorate kata with aiki.

To clarify, that is not to say there are not good sword people in aikido; only that good sword work is not representative of aikido in its entirety.

This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training.

I apologize because I am on a mobile phone so my text may seem disjointed.

Our empty-hand attacks are based on real sword attacks, not on Aikido weapons....I think that's fair to say, it is not really a chicken or egg problem. :)

Aiki weapons...well just my opinion, Aiki weapons are based on various shallow studies of classical sword arts by Ueshiba and his students. Little pieces taken here and there and not fully understood and used to demonstrate principles. Seems like the times when Aikido shihans really went whole-hog on a classical sword system, they didn't mix it in as much.

Aiki weapons should either be a study of how to use a weapon - but that's a bit cheesy since Aikido is gendai - or a use of weapons to study movement, initiative, kiai, etc - the stuff that is actually not aiki that we should think about every now and then.

Fred Little
03-25-2014, 10:01 AM
Aikijo looks way more like their bo forms than it does any traditional form of jojutsu, also...in my humble opinion....

Indeed, the ASU "pre-set" awase jo exercise -- in particular -- seems like nothing so much as a catalog of basic Yagyu Shingan Ryu movements.

FL

Cliff Judge
03-25-2014, 10:34 AM
Indeed, the ASU "pre-set" awase jo exercise -- in particular -- seems like nothing so much as a catalog of basic Yagyu Shingan Ryu movements.

FL

That drill, and I think most of the basic ASU jo kata, come from somewhere in the Aikikai, I believe. I have spoken to people from outside of the ASU who recognize those.

Erick Mead
03-25-2014, 11:52 AM
Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

From what I have seen thus far, I think somewhere along the line we confused Aiki with Kata. We saw seniors with good Aiki and misunderstood what they were doing. The point I am trying to make is to reinvigorate kata with aiki. Cannot agree more.

This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training.

Here is where I am at --- and I believe in line with the intent of Saotome's principles-based approach, perhaps differing in strict form -- but still consistent with his fundamentally important instruction on precisely how to tie your hakama ... Those who know, need not ask; those who ask, do not know ... :D

Training has a trinity to it.

1) Aiki-taiso/kokyu undo -- most importantly, though perhaps least understood -- furi-type training (furitama, tekubi furi)

2) Weapons work -- to which I ally kokyu- tanden ho as a bridge to the paired tai jutsu

3) Waza (paired kata, as I see them)

Aiki-taiso and kokyu undo are -- like you note for the loss of perspective in waza/kata -- easy to mistake the form for the substance. But the substance IS there. It lies within the torquing, periodic, shearing and reversing stresses and the spiral and pendular movements that these deploy. This is training the body to move its parts -- AS IF -- they were not under voluntary nervous and muscular control, by substituting core body action (closer to reflexive action) versus voluntary motor limb action.

FWIW -- a very great deal of this is present in sanchin no kata . It relates to certain applied reflexes with which the body responds such stresses and which such stresses also potentiate and can trigger, and which INITIATE these forms of action, without requiring higher voluntary motor signals from the brain. The forms of taijutsu trained in this way are properly the deployed forms of such actions - such that we learn to follow them with our voluntary additions, and not to act in ways that are contrary to them. -- Like surfing ... freedom to move as you choose is real and radical -- but lies in initially strict compliance with the form and power of the wave, and moving always within its boundaries.

Weapons work develops the sensitivity to the things the aiki taiso/kokyu undo trains -- but through an object that is not initially of your body. (The facility of the human body to make what is "not-self" become an extension of our body -- though of a radically different substance and properties -- is a profound and mysterious thing (http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-03-marble-neuroscientists-bodily-illusion.html)). Through weapons training we gain that sense of bodily extension into a non-responsive object. Then we begin to learn how to sense and respond through it in contact with another weapon -- sense training mainly of a vibrational nature, to which the furi-type aiki-taiso are also design to tune. These are felt and responded to with the "non-self" object beginning to mediate both sense and action. The procedural form is not the thing, but the substance and continuity of the connections discovered in these interactions is.

Dynamic shearing actions dominate (e.g. -- suri-age, suri-otoshi kiri-age, kiri-otoshi, etc.) and the vibrational elements within them -- and which come out when overt action seems to cease.

An excellent example is this presentation of kiri otoshi by the late Iwata Norikazu (MJER) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mbE5PAKfAU) -- It is inspiring to seen a 96 year old gentlemen cut like that -- and almost more inspiring to watch him merely hold the weapon unwavering in one hand while he lectures.

One sees three aspects of in-yo -- aiki -- in the tai sabaki he asks us to observe:
1) in-yo funetori sway commencing the cut
2 in-yo hara/sword movement of delivery (hara driving up to ground the energy of the descending cut)
3) in-yo reverberation of the cut coming to rest

The first point is straight forward aiki taiso. The second point is at the root of kokyu tanden ho -- dynamic grounding to enable projection of energy/structure. The third point is seen in furitama and tekubi furi and notably in the cuts of Saito's weapons teaching, in which I am pleased to have received training.

Lastly the waza forms of paired kata then progressively allow testing the extension of these methods, stresses and movements to the also "non-self" and yet reactive body of an attacking person. The ultimate goal being making the person an extension of yourself -- just as the sword becomes -- as O Sensei said:

If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.

Cliff Judge
03-25-2014, 12:48 PM
might be better if you went into it with the notion that you were trying to kill somebody who is also trying to kill you.

ChrisHein
03-25-2014, 03:03 PM
While this is an interesting debate on who did what when where- the point of the video is much simpler.

When people pick something up (sticks knives etc) and try to hurt you with those things, they most often swing them overhand or thrust them into you. Sure there are specific techniques for these, and these specifics do have their place. But the general idea presented in this video is that Aikido has defenses when people try to hit you on the head with something, or thrust something into you.

These attacks are timeless and culture-less, they are simply the gross movements used by man when he is using a weapon on another man.

Cliff Judge
03-25-2014, 03:19 PM
While this is an interesting debate on who did what when where- the point of the video is much simpler.

When people pick something up (sticks knives etc) and try to hurt you with those things, they most often swing them overhand or thrust them into you. Sure there are specific techniques for these, and these specifics do have their place. But the general idea presented in this video is that Aikido has defenses when people try to hit you on the head with something, or thrust something into you.

These attacks are timeless and culture-less, they are simply the gross movements used by man when he is using a weapon on another man.

This is a really good thing about Aikido, but it is not the whole answer to the question you pose in the title of this thread. :)

Demetrio Cereijo
03-25-2014, 05:59 PM
These attacks are timeless and culture-less, they are simply the gross movements used by the untrained man when he is using a weapon on another man.
Fixed.
:)

Cliff Judge
03-25-2014, 06:13 PM
In the interest of another baby step towards improving my manners I should actually say, using my out-loud voice, that I liked the video and find it is a really good way to present these ideas to the public. :)

ChrisHein
03-26-2014, 01:18 AM
Fixed.
:)

Arguably, the Dog Brothers are some of the better trained (non projectile)weapons fighters of our time- Accounting for actual experience in live full contact fighting. Here is a meeting of the pack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKEM5EQxBTs

I see LOTS and LOTS of shomen yokomen and gyaku yokomen being used...

I can understand the importance of specific training techniques. But we often get so obsessed with details the we miss the "forest for the trees".

ChrisHein
03-26-2014, 01:26 AM
In the interest of another baby step towards improving my manners I should actually say, using my out-loud voice, that I liked the video and find it is a really good way to present these ideas to the public. :)

Thanks, and that is really what I'm trying to get across. Understanding the kind of context we are in when discussing the kinds of techniques Aikido uses is very important.

Michael Douglas
03-26-2014, 08:23 AM
Cliff where can we see some of that!
There are plenty of videos of the Yagyu Shingan ryu that Ueshiba studied, the line exists in Kanagawa prefecture these days and goes by Yagyu Shingan ryu Taijutsu. Their the guys that walk like dinosaurs, windmill their arms around, strike each other from odd angles, and then pick the guy up and drop him on his head.....
It sounds epic.

Michael Douglas
03-26-2014, 09:12 AM
Akk, never mind I've seen the vid you are referring to :D

Cliff Judge
03-26-2014, 09:41 AM
Cliff where can we see some of that!

It sounds epic.

Well let me hijack the thread for a minute...I'll see if I can tie it into what we are talking about.

Here's a clip of the main Yagyu Shingan ryu Taijutsu group, (http://youtu.be/E1VdBuZK6og) under Kenji Shimazu Sensei. This is apparently the same line Ueshiba studied with. This is likely Ueshiba's first exposure to classical weapons training. I believe the origins of Aikido weapons are in here. You can kind of see it in their bojutsu and some of their sword work. They have a lot of sword work that appears to be almost more grappling than fencing, which resembles Kashima Shinto ryu (which Kisshomaru trained formally and, for whatever reason, Saito Sensei's Aikiken strongly resembles.)

Now one thing relevant to the thread here - this group doesn't seem to emphasize the classical sword cut shapes we make in the Aiki arts. But Ono ha Itto ryu and Yagyu Shinkage ryu both do; Takeda is well known as an Itto ryu swordsman. Ueshiba had some training in Yagyu Shinkage ryu and obviously realized that it is the sword style closest to the gods.

Here's a good video of the group's jujustu. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzTCQk2KHyQ) You are not expected to see any aiki in this. :) Might be informative to observe the types of attacks . This is training for men wearing armor. You get lots of lapel grabs and such, not so much atemi as an attack (but they have some robust tanto dori stuff, so that should still fit in with the idea that aikido strikes generalize an attack with a weapon). You don't see so much wrist grabbing as though you are going to stop someone from pulling out a sword.

There is another major Yagyu Shingan ryu group, the split occured in the Edo period, and the other group calls their system Yagyu Shingan Ryu Heiho. When they do embu, they wear armor and it looks very rough and not delicate. But they get a little more ritualistic with their empty-hand training, which you can see starting at about 3:00:

Yagyu Shingan ryu Heiho. (http://youtu.be/lE7EDETMTgw)

Then there is this curiosity, a really high-quality video shot by Gudkarma productions last year at an embu in Tokyo. They do Yagyu Shingan ryu....Heijutsu? Something like that? I think the teacher was given a full license under the Heiho system and sort of ... took the interesting body mechanics to another level. And then he also teaches Daiwado, which is a gendai budo that has some kind of relation to Aikido that I can't recall right now.

Interesting video of a newer branch of YSR and Daiwado. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-yivNPqVio)

These groups are some of the only koryu that really maintain an abstracted body training to the level that it is something they do outside of their paired kata and consider it something worth demonstrating to the public.

jonreading
03-26-2014, 11:47 AM
While somewhat beating a dead horse...

If Aikido (empty-hand) is based on "real sword attacks" and not "aikido weapons," then are we claiming that aikido empty-hand is not based on "aikido weapons" (since they are different)? If "real sword attacks" differ from "aikido sword attacks," then are we also claiming that aikido sword is not based on "real sword attacks"?

I am willing to concede that "real" does not equal "formal" and there is some room for practical variation. But, I continue to struggle with what appears to be a ethos-based claim upon some pre-existing foundation for our weapons. When pressed, the claim seems to be very circumstantial and our actual movement discredits any claim to a functional weapons system foundation. My inner dialogue often sounds something like this:
Me: We use weapons in aikido.
Observer: Really? That's great. I do some sword stuff. Can you demonstrate your sword moves?
Me: [look like idiot]
Observer: Hmmm. That's nice movement, but we don't cut that way. You'd get killed if you cut that way.
Me: Well, our weapons are really for teaching us empty-hand movement, which is based on sword strikes.
Observer: Really? We'd never move that way either. There's too much movement and it's unbalanced. Not to mention no power.
Me: Oh. Our attacks are generally considered to be for multiple attacker environments and someone has a weapon. We move alot to stay in control of multiple attackers.
Observer: I don't know about that. My sword style was based on a battle-field environment and we still would not move that way. But, thank you for showing me aikido.

Seriously, I have had that conversation. I do not practice another weapons art. Aikido is it for me and I love it. But, I see so much value in aiki weapons that I want to keep it part of my practice.

Secondly, I am not sure if our ethos is so low such that we need only claim , "we defend like this because a monkey with a Jim Beam bottle is gonna swing it at you like that." (no offense to the monkey for my implication it would drink Jim Beam #JDman4LFE). I like the point in the video that the attacks are stylized to support a general tactic of attack. But then the claim need not be specific to the swung object. Why not call upon a yokomenuchi similar to the unorthodox swing of Ty Cobb? The general arc of the bat and hand posture would be similar (Ty Cobb was known to spread his grip 1 hands breadth apart to have more control over his swing). Why do we call upon the majestic image of the sword?

In part, I am asking these questions because I do not feel comfortable with my stance on weapons, empty-hand, and the roll practicality plays in our weapons work. I know good sword people in aikido who impress and inspire me... and have some exposure to sword outside aikido. I want to get to a level of aiki weapons in which I am comfortable demonstrating aiki with a weapon but free to let weapons people see what I am doing makes sense, even if it is not practical. Right now, I am not convinced I am doing that...

If I am to learn to move as if I was holding a sword, it would stand to reason that I should learn how to hold a sword, correctly. If aikido sword is not the real sword work that gives me that knowledge, then how can we make it so?

Cliff Judge
03-26-2014, 12:36 PM
While somewhat beating a dead horse...

If Aikido (empty-hand) is based on "real sword attacks" and not "aikido weapons," then are we claiming that aikido empty-hand is not based on "aikido weapons" (since they are different)? If "real sword attacks" differ from "aikido sword attacks," then are we also claiming that aikido sword is not based on "real sword attacks"?

My point was that there is no chicken and egg problem here. First came sword, then came Aikido, then came Aikido weapons forms. I wasn't talking about attacks, i was talking about systems. The attacks are the attacks....Aikido attacks with weapons can be said to have tons of problems from another art's perspective but all the weapons arts are like that.


I am willing to concede that "real" does not equal "formal" and there is some room for practical variation. But, I continue to struggle with what appears to be a ethos-based claim upon some pre-existing foundation for our weapons. When pressed, the claim seems to be very circumstantial and our actual movement discredits any claim to a functional weapons system foundation. My inner dialogue often sounds something like this:
Me: We use weapons in aikido.
Observer: Really? That's great. I do some sword stuff. Can you demonstrate your sword moves?
Me: [look like idiot]
Observer: Hmmm. That's nice movement, but we don't cut that way. You'd get killed if you cut that way.
Me: Well, our weapons are really for teaching us empty-hand movement, which is based on sword strikes.
Observer: Really? We'd never move that way either. There's too much movement and it's unbalanced. Not to mention no power.
Me: Oh. Our attacks are generally considered to be for multiple attacker environments and someone has a weapon. We move alot to stay in control of multiple attackers.


Again, this conversation could play itself out between two practitioners of any two different sword arts. But they'd both be less self-effacing than an Aikido person.


Observer: I don't know about that. My sword style was based on a battle-field environment and we still would not move that way. But, thank you for showing me aikido.


(he's probably wrong).


Seriously, I have had that conversation. I do not practice another weapons art. Aikido is it for me and I love it. But, I see so much value in aiki weapons that I want to keep it part of my practice.

Secondly, I am not sure if our ethos is so low such that we need only claim , "we defend like this because a monkey with a Jim Beam bottle is gonna swing it at you like that." (no offense to the monkey for my implication it would drink Jim Beam #JDman4LFE). I like the point in the video that the attacks are stylized to support a general tactic of attack. But then the claim need not be specific to the swung object. Why not call upon a yokomenuchi similar to the unorthodox swing of Ty Cobb? The general arc of the bat and hand posture would be similar (Ty Cobb was known to spread his grip 1 hands breadth apart to have more control over his swing). Why do we call upon the majestic image of the sword?

Well, I get people throwing all kinds of differently-shaped yokomens and shomens at me all the time in my Aikido training. You get some variation.

As far as the sword...originally, in Daito ryu, sword attacks were simulated for very specific reasons. (Entering, building up to tachi dori, meeting yo with in, stuff like that). We have this nice thing going on in Aikido where we took a bit of the old and abstracted it and turned it into a more general framework. I think you should just embrace that, JD bottle and all!


In part, I am asking these questions because I do not feel comfortable with my stance on weapons, empty-hand, and the roll practicality plays in our weapons work. I know good sword people in aikido who impress and inspire me... and have some exposure to sword outside aikido. I want to get to a level of aiki weapons in which I am comfortable demonstrating aiki with a weapon but free to let weapons people see what I am doing makes sense, even if it is not practical. Right now, I am not convinced I am doing that...

If I am to learn to move as if I was holding a sword, it would stand to reason that I should learn how to hold a sword, correctly. If aikido sword is not the real sword work that gives me that knowledge, then how can we make it so?

One of the problems as I see it is you really need to put away your concerns about aiki when you are working with weapons. Most of the action in a classical kumitachi kata takes place before the training partners are close enough to cut each other. You can feel free to broaden your definition of aiki to include all of those things (kiai, rhythm, timing, distance, targeting, blah, blah, blah) but you need to study them. And I am not sure how to do that without finding a good teacher of a classical sword art, and there aren't many of those around.

When you say you have interacted with people who are really good with weapons, what is it that impresses you? Maybe it is something other than aiki...and maybe start a new thread on that, we've taken this one so far off course I can see P-3s in the sky thinking we are 777 wreckage.

Erick Mead
03-26-2014, 06:51 PM
Again, this conversation could play itself out between two practitioners of any two different sword arts. But they'd both be less self-effacing than an Aikido person. HEY!!! We're not less self-effacing than they are!!!!! :eek:

I think you should just embrace that, JD bottle and all!

NOW we're talking self-effacement we can all embrace !!

Derek
03-27-2014, 08:21 AM
Well this is a can of worms!

Suffice to say that when we practice, especially with more beginner students, we slow down the attacks and may not have the commitment that is "martial." We (royal we here) should then ramp up the attacks (empty hand or weapon) to a more martial level as our proficiency improves. This is where many aikidoka fall short, and why IMHO we garner the kind of criticisms that ruffle our feathers that aikido is not practical, martial or effective.

At some point, all aikidoka need to re-evaluate the attack strategies and examine their attacks critically. We need to make sure we are, at some point, attack in a martial way so we can evaluate the effectiveness of our technique. I will frequently, as nage, not move out of the way, not do a technique and just stand there and receive the attack to make sure my uke is paying attention and putting effort into the attack.

We can be critical of "aikido attacks" but must also be critical of ourselves to say that we have not just become complacent.

Cliff Judge
03-27-2014, 10:04 AM
It is definitely a good idea to develop more powerful Aikido attacks - more focus, more power, more intent - you could even call it kiai, really - but that's not the same thing as the issue where people from other arts call Aikido ineffective or unreal.

Mr. Hein's video is good for disabusing the notion that we will finally get the chips off our shoulders if we just do things with "more power." Our attacks have a contextual basis in our training, we use them to study our technique, and we study our technique and see where that leads us.

The boxer isn't criticizing the lack of power in our attacks, she just doesn't understand why one guy is standing there in hanmi, waiting, and the other guy steps in with a straight full-power punch and that's all he's going to do. Boxers don't hit you with a lot of power until they feel like you are both positioned such that you will have to take that power. There is a lot of movement and testing and feinting to get there, which Mr Hein points out is not part of the heritage of Aikido.

The knife fighter, on the other hand, would probably criticize the power in your attacks, because a sharp knife is best used with the bare minimum amount of power to cut, and that's not much, unless there is a particular kind of armor involved.

incidentally each of those fighters might have criticisms of how the other trains, because for their context it isn't beneficial.

Michael Douglas
04-02-2014, 02:03 PM
Well let me hijack the thread for a minute...
Thanks for the juicy links Cliff.

I just read back a page, this is a great quote ;
Otherwise, one day a sword person walks into your dojo, sees what you are doing and hears "this is based on sword"; depending on the art, he may actually be obligated to kill you. Or at least give you a envelope of black sand. In that case, ninja kill you.

Not really. But maybe.

ryback
04-03-2014, 02:10 AM
It is definitely a good idea to develop more powerful Aikido attacks - more focus, more power, more intent - you could even call it kiai, really - but that's not the same thing as the issue where people from other arts call Aikido ineffective or unreal.

Mr. Hein's video is good for disabusing the notion that we will finally get the chips off our shoulders if we just do things with "more power." Our attacks have a contextual basis in our training, we use them to study our technique, and we study our technique and see where that leads us.

The boxer isn't criticizing the lack of power in our attacks, she just doesn't understand why one guy is standing there in hanmi, waiting, and the other guy steps in with a straight full-power punch and that's all he's going to do. Boxers don't hit you with a lot of power until they feel like you are both positioned such that you will have to take that power. There is a lot of movement and testing and feinting to get there, which Mr Hein points out is not part of the heritage of Aikido.

The knife fighter, on the other hand, would probably criticize the power in your attacks, because a sharp knife is best used with the bare minimum amount of power to cut, and that's not much, unless there is a particular kind of armor involved.

incidentally each of those fighters might have criticisms of how the other trains, because for their context it isn't beneficial.

Well, it's obvious that a boxer may use quick, non committed jabs and an attacker with a knife will probably use fast small moves instead of a full step from a distance.
But, imagine that you have a beginner in the dojo and all of a sudden you just jab him fast. And you repeat that in every attack.
Not only he is gonna get badly...bruised but also, and that's the worst, he will never learn anything. You can't start teaching a six year old how to write by asking him to write an essay on the greatest authors of english literature on his first day at school.
But after a level when he has learned the basics the attacks must become, gradually more and more demanding and this is the way we train, we use the basics and also we use attacks like a close fast jab with the front hand with no step at all.
I know the majority of the dojos neglect that and give a wrong impression, but that does not reflect the true effectiveness of aikido as a martial art, only their own, personal level of effectiveness...

Cliff Judge
04-03-2014, 08:18 AM
Well, it's obvious that a boxer may use quick, non committed jabs and an attacker with a knife will probably use fast small moves instead of a full step from a distance.
But, imagine that you have a beginner in the dojo and all of a sudden you just jab him fast. And you repeat that in every attack.
Not only he is gonna get badly...bruised but also, and that's the worst, he will never learn anything. You can't start teaching a six year old how to write by asking him to write an essay on the greatest authors of english literature on his first day at school.
But after a level when he has learned the basics the attacks must become, gradually more and more demanding and this is the way we train, we use the basics and also we use attacks like a close fast jab with the front hand with no step at all.
I know the majority of the dojos neglect that and give a wrong impression, but that does not reflect the true effectiveness of aikido as a martial art, only their own, personal level of effectiveness...

See the thing is, if you want to try to figure out how to "make your Aikido work against" proper boxing techniques, you need to learn how to box properly. Right? Or else you won't be giving good combinations of jabs, crosses, uppers, hooks, what have you. You'll wind up with a new set of attacks that still don't look to an actual boxer like real attacks.

In order to begin to figure out how to apply the principals of Aikido on this new field, you need to learn the principals of pugilism yourself.

So how much of your Aikido training time should you spend doing that? That's always my question when people start talking about the attacks as though they are singular physical events as performed by a robot on an assembly line. We've all got a finite amount of time to train, even if we're full-time students. How much Aikido training time do you spend practicing in a different martial context (or non-martial context, as the solo training people do) in order to develop some level of understanding of that context, so you can then begin to figure out how Aikido is supposed to work over there?

For boxing that's going to be heavy bag and speed bag work, hitting striking pads with a trainer, various types of conditioning, and lots and lots of sparring. For knife fighting that is going to require hours and hours of learning techniques (often similar to Aikido fwiw) and running through continuous flow drills. So how much time is left for Aikido, and what happens when you realize you like boxing or escrima better? :)

I tend to think that the most reasonable answer to these questions involves taking some generalized, standard attack vectors and sticking with those. Get new students familiar with them and then build intensity...I am not sure increasing complexity or sophistication of the attacks is worth the effort.

AsimHanif
04-03-2014, 08:52 AM
The issue I have with a lot of these 'theories' is most aikido people are not used to getting hit and keeping their composure under pressure. The most important part is what sparring offers you. You can do all the pad work, bag drills, etc but I've seen too many freeze (boxers, grapplers included) when it's go time, even if they've done some sparring in the gym. Change to environment coupled with knowing that your opponent is just as skilled or more so than you and a persons emotions can get the best of them.
As long as people think aikido is fighting system I think they're going to be disappointed when faced with a serious situation.

lbb
04-03-2014, 09:54 AM
As long as people think aikido is fighting system I think they're going to be disappointed when faced with a serious situation.

And as long as people seek out "serious situations", they're going to be in trouble no matter what they studied.

"Fergus spake these words and he said, This shall be my creed, whereby shall I live my life, as it were a shining example of Virtue and Excellence, well worthy to be enshrined in Heaven as a model for all who are wise to follow. My creed shall into three parts, like Gaul, be divided. Firstly, I shall constrain myself to Mind My Own Business. Secondly, I shall endeavour at all times and in all places to Keep My Nose Clean by the most expedient possible means. Thirdly, and finally, I shall always exercise the utmost care to Keep My Hands To Myself."

AsimHanif
04-03-2014, 10:27 AM
I said 'when faced' not 'seek out'. I certainly don't advocate looking for trouble. Unfortunately sometimes good people happen across bad situations. Also in my dojo I have several students who are in law enforcement so applying aikido principles to dynamic physical situations is of interest to them. This may not be the case with everyone of course.
The OP was in regards to aikido's response to strikes (or origin), not about how to avoid confrontation- which I am all for btw.

jonreading
04-03-2014, 12:09 PM
See the thing is, if you want to try to figure out how to "make your Aikido work against" proper boxing techniques, you need to learn how to box properly. Right? Or else you won't be giving good combinations of jabs, crosses, uppers, hooks, what have you. You'll wind up with a new set of attacks that still don't look to an actual boxer like real attacks.

In order to begin to figure out how to apply the principals of Aikido on this new field, you need to learn the principals of pugilism yourself.

So how much of your Aikido training time should you spend doing that? That's always my question when people start talking about the attacks as though they are singular physical events as performed by a robot on an assembly line. We've all got a finite amount of time to train, even if we're full-time students. How much Aikido training time do you spend practicing in a different martial context (or non-martial context, as the solo training people do) in order to develop some level of understanding of that context, so you can then begin to figure out how Aikido is supposed to work over there?

For boxing that's going to be heavy bag and speed bag work, hitting striking pads with a trainer, various types of conditioning, and lots and lots of sparring. For knife fighting that is going to require hours and hours of learning techniques (often similar to Aikido fwiw) and running through continuous flow drills. So how much time is left for Aikido, and what happens when you realize you like boxing or escrima better? :)

I tend to think that the most reasonable answer to these questions involves taking some generalized, standard attack vectors and sticking with those. Get new students familiar with them and then build intensity...I am not sure increasing complexity or sophistication of the attacks is worth the effort.

I think this is where I start to get confused. Using the same logic, should we not be able to change arts... So the claim would then be, "You need to learn aikido to make your boxing work against aikido people." I am not sure this is a bi-directional declaration, which implies (to me) that we are still missing a step in our educational process that precludes us from learning how to deal with attacks beyond aikido-style attacks. Is a point of concession in aikido that we excuse our inability to deal with a boxer-style strike, as opposed to an aikido-style strike? Is a boxer-style strike so dissimilar to an aikido-style strike that is renders our waza ineffective?

Thoughts again rise up of Jim Carey... "Like most beginners, you attacked me wrong."

I completely get style attacks for our kata. As a learning tool, I understand we need everyone to know their role and work within defined movement. I am still unresolved as to why our stylized attacks are so dissimilar from our sister arts as to cause issue for us. This is both from the standpoint of our empty-hand attacks and our weapons attacks.

Honestly, I do not have a problem if the answer is because I do not train enough. To Cliff's point, a lot of this conversation is answered by training more. But to at least reach a point where the judo player says, "That's not a bad throw. If you trained more you'd probably be pretty good." Or from the boxer, "You kept up a good guard and have some great combos, if you trained more you'd be a pretty good boxer." After all, shouldn't we be able to say to a judo player, "you've got some good throws. If you softened up a bit and used more aiki, you'd be a good aikido person." There should be some elementary education that affords us the appreciation from our sister arts to look at aiki and not the shell of movement that is an "attack".

We practice aiki and should be demonstrably better at illustrating aiki than other sister arts. That is the focus of our training and we should allow the other arts the expertise in what they do better. My continued observation for this thread is that we need to be critical in assessing our level of ability for what we do. Are we? If we sacrifice the practical martial arts education for focused education in aiki, are we satisfied in our ability to express aiki? If I can express aiki, shouldn't I be able to put that power in my hand? or my sword? Isn't that what gives me the respect and appreciation of my sister arts? Not that I can box, but that I can put power in my hands? Not that I can throw, but that I can put unmovable stability in my posture? Not that I can duel, but I can put aiki in the tip of my sword?

lbb
04-03-2014, 12:17 PM
I said 'when faced' not 'seek out'. I certainly don't advocate looking for trouble. Unfortunately sometimes good people happen across bad situations.

They do, but I'm not sure how we train for them. I think effective self-defense is based on realistic scenarios, which is to say, scenarios that might reasonably be expected to affect you. If you're a LEO, your realistic scenarios are different than if you're a middle-class non-LEO non-military individual, living and working in a reasonably sedate area of town. Your realistic scenarios are different if you're a woman than if you're a man. And one problem is that not many people want to look at the realistic scenarios, because of what it says about their situation. Women are more likely to be attacked by their partners or dates, and children are more likely to be attacked by trusted adults or authority figures, than either one is to be attacked by the stereotypical stranger. People don't want to confront that. So we keep on seeing the same "street-lethal" training for people who are unlikely to ever be attacked on the "street". We train for the "bad situations" we might "happen across", as you say, and to ignore the likely threats. Does this make sense?

AsimHanif
04-03-2014, 12:45 PM
I definitely agree Mary. We need to train for likely threats and most people don't actually fight or engage like a trained boxer or fighter. The main value that I personally see in working with trained fighters is learning to deal with your emotions.
But again I look at my aikido training as I do my running, kettlebells, etc...It's another component of my overall self defense conditioning, not a self defense in itself. I feel aikido has made me a more efficient fighter. At the same time boxing/grappling has given me a lens to view my aikido.

lbb
04-03-2014, 04:54 PM
But again I look at my aikido training as I do my running, kettlebells, etc...It's another component of my overall self defense conditioning, not a self defense in itself.

I like this distinction...and by coincidence, I had just decided to add both running and kettlebells to my conditioning :D Not sure where to start with either, but I gotta start somewhere, right?

ryback
04-04-2014, 12:41 AM
See the thing is, if you want to try to figure out how to "make your Aikido work against" proper boxing techniques, you need to learn how to box properly. Right? Or else you won't be giving good combinations of jabs, crosses, uppers, hooks, what have you. You'll wind up with a new set of attacks that still don't look to an actual boxer like real attacks.

In order to begin to figure out how to apply the principals of Aikido on this new field, you need to learn the principals of pugilism yourself.

So how much of your Aikido training time should you spend doing that? That's always my question when people start talking about the attacks as though they are singular physical events as performed by a robot on an assembly line. We've all got a finite amount of time to train, even if we're full-time students. How much Aikido training time do you spend practicing in a different martial context (or non-martial context, as the solo training people do) in order to develop some level of understanding of that context, so you can then begin to figure out how Aikido is supposed to work over there?

For boxing that's going to be heavy bag and speed bag work, hitting striking pads with a trainer, various types of conditioning, and lots and lots of sparring. For knife fighting that is going to require hours and hours of learning techniques (often similar to Aikido fwiw) and running through continuous flow drills. So how much time is left for Aikido, and what happens when you realize you like boxing or escrima better? :)

I tend to think that the most reasonable answer to these questions involves taking some generalized, standard attack vectors and sticking with those. Get new students familiar with them and then build intensity...I am not sure increasing complexity or sophistication of the attacks is worth the effort.
I agree, I didn't mean to train like a boxer, or a karateka, simply to make the attacks a little more challenging.
In my opinion the only way to make aikido work is to make its principles be one with your own nature and in order to do that you just have to practice aikido.
I am very much against cross training...

Michael Varin
04-04-2014, 01:30 AM
I think this is where I start to get confused.

I couldn't have said it better.

You really do seem to be confused.

Context matters. In a sense, it's everything. This is an interesting topic, but it isn't all that complex.

Using the same logic, should we not be able to change arts... So the claim would then be, "You need to learn aikido to make your boxing work against aikido people."

I would hope to God that the boxer took some time to learn about the context of weapons, because I suppose I'd probably crush his skull with my bokken and he'd never really have any clue about the distance and timing, so he'd have to resort to pure luck and aggression.

I am not sure this is a bi-directional declaration, which implies (to me) that we are still missing a step in our educational process that precludes us from learning how to deal with attacks beyond aikido-style attacks. Is a point of concession in aikido that we excuse our inability to deal with a boxer-style strike, as opposed to an aikido-style strike? Is a boxer-style strike so dissimilar to an aikido-style strike that is renders our waza ineffective?

No. It renders much of our waza unnecessary! And things that are unnecessary are inherently superfluous. And things that are superfluous are inherently inefficient. If you disrespect aikido's ukemi and atemi waza, you will certainly struggle greatly against boxers.

Honestly, I do not have a problem if the answer is because I do not train enough. To Cliff's point, a lot of this conversation is answered by training more. But to at least reach a point where the judo player says, "That's not a bad throw. If you trained more you'd probably be pretty good." Or from the boxer, "You kept up a good guard and have some great combos, if you trained more you'd be a pretty good boxer." After all, shouldn't we be able to say to a judo player, "you've got some good throws. If you softened up a bit and used more aiki, you'd be a good aikido person." There should be some elementary education that affords us the appreciation from our sister arts to look at aiki and not the shell of movement that is an "attack".

You have to stop viewing this discussion from the perspective of a one-on-one empty handed format. Baseline for traditional aikido training is to imagine you have multiple opponents and they are armed. A boxer literally never concerns himself with this.

As Morihiro Saito said, "In aikido a contest means a fight with a real sword." And Minoru Mochizuki, "Aikido is a fight with real swords."

We could say, "Hey, Judoka. Great turtle. If you only trained harder you wouldn't have had the shit kicked out of you by the other five guys." Or, "Hey, boxer. You've got a great guard and great combos! If you would've only trained harder the length of my jo might not have prevented you from landing punches and you wouldn't have broken your arms when you tried to block my jo strikes." These are equivalent statements to those that you made.

We practice aiki and should be demonstrably better at illustrating aiki than other sister arts. That is the focus of our training and we should allow the other arts the expertise in what they do better. My continued observation for this thread is that we need to be critical in assessing our level of ability for what we do. Are we? If we sacrifice the practical martial arts education for focused education in aiki, are we satisfied in our ability to express aiki? If I can express aiki, shouldn't I be able to put that power in my hand? or my sword? Isn't that what gives me the respect and appreciation of my sister arts? Not that I can box, but that I can put power in my hands? Not that I can throw, but that I can put unmovable stability in my posture? Not that I can duel, but I can put aiki in the tip of my sword?

Your mention of "sister arts" is curious. Is kyudo a sister art? What is the focus of judo? Ju or throwing?

Can aiki be implemented in a variety of contexts and arts? Of course it can! But aikido has a technical and strategic basis that it is not antiquated nor useless, and I believe that was the OP's point.

As my final point, I'd like to say that your conception of aiki is obviously very different than mine. Excuse my French, but why do I give a shit if I can put "aiki" in the tip of my sword? Swords are amongst the most unforgiving handheld weapons man ever created. One rarely gets more than two brief instances of contact before one or both of the combatants are mortally wounded. The first contact almost always wins. And that contact is more likely to be sword on flesh than sword on sword. Real skill with the sword must be a skill precedes physical contact. It must. If your conception of aiki doesn't account for this, then I very seriously doubt it is in accord with Morihei Ueshiba's conception of aiki.

P.S. All of the foregoing assumes that the aikidoist has the mettle of the average boxer, judoka, mmaist, etc., which, of course, in most cases they do not. But that's a topic for another thread!

AsimHanif
04-04-2014, 07:45 AM
Jon Reading wrote:
Using the same logic, should we not be able to change arts... So the claim would then be, "You need to learn aikido to make your boxing work against aikido people."

Not if the boxing model is 'better' than the aikido model (weapons aside).

phitruong
04-04-2014, 07:50 AM
As Morihiro Saito said, "In aikido a contest means a fight with a real sword." And Minoru Mochizuki, "Aikido is a fight with real swords."


didn't one of aikido great old timer said that we should stop demo sword take away techniques because there are real swordmen in the audience and we would be a laughing stock. or something in that effect? sort of implied that we don't know the hell we are talking about when we are dealing with sword?

jonreading
04-04-2014, 09:33 AM
I get the differences. Boxers don't use weapons. Judo players don't use weapons. But, I am not pointing out differences I am pointing out commonalities. Statements of commonality are not the same as statements of difference. I do not envision a meeting of the minds pulling out a weapon and attacking someone without experience managing weapons; there isn't much in common there. A boxer punches. Aikido people punch. Why is it that we cannot have a conversation about why a boxer punch affects an aikido person, but an aikido punch does not affect a boxer? [Continue the same analogies from my previous post].

It sounds like when we start that conversation, the answer is, "Our attacks are based on sword." Fine, So our attacks are based on sword and the [fill in the blank] cannot comprehend our tactical work. We have moved the argument from the commonalty of empty-hand to the difference of weapon/empty-hand. Which really doesn't answer the question, it just frames the context of why we attack in a fashion that is ineffective against a boxer. But, shouldn't that attack be effective against another sword art? Sword people should appreciate what we're doing, right? Now we are back to the commonality of sword-based tactical work. So how do we fair against sword people? Not well; aikido is not a sword style. But we just said it is based on sword... But not real sword stuff - educational stuff to teach us how to use aiki... Which we don't care about putting into our sword stuff.

We are creating a circular logic by changing the argument from commonalities to differences. I am confused because we are all about weapons right up until we meet somebody who is all about weapons. Then we start looking at the floor and shuffling our feet and excusing what we do.

We can all celebrate our differences and I am not trying to set up an argument of differences. I use the term "sister" to include those arts that share commonalities from which we can learn. I say that because in my training I have access to great judo and jujutsu and I want to learn from the commonalities we have, not isolate myself by the differences in our training. Why would a judo guy work with me if I threatened to hit him with a weapon as part of my training? Shouldn't I be able to dazzle him with aiki?

To Michael's point, my concept of aiki is different. I have exposure to great martial artists who are great people from whom I want to learn. I am trying to learn how to express aiki and demonstrate that expression in a common fashion and give back to those relationships. It does not seem difficult to be able to say, "well, we hit a little differently, but this is what it feels like to get hit with aiki." Or, "you have good sword work, here is how we use the sword to help develop aiki."

And to be clear, I am not necessarily being down on aikido. The simple fact is many martial arts see our uke waza as a serious problem if we are talking about practical application. I happen to agree that in general terms our uke waza is not adequate training for practical use. I also understand that if our focus is aiki, practical fighting skill is not necessarily required.

And to answer my own question, I think it is very difficult to put aiki into my hands, let along study a methodology of delivering a punch. I have no illusions that what I am working on is difficult with a high rate of failure. But that is a difference response than what I am hearing...

Cliff Judge
04-04-2014, 09:59 AM
Cady Goldfield made a post over on e-budo ... I am onmy phone now and pasting links is too tricky ... referring to some stuff about Sagawa that was translated and showed up on a tai chi blog. What stuck me was one passage about Sagawa dealing with karateka and another involving sword.

The karateka guys were allegedly amazed because they could not hit the man.

The sword story involved Sagawa not being struck, but cutting the attackers wrist. (Interesting caveat here in that he is said to have thrown the guy with his sword, but that is simply martial sugar IMO...and he seems to agree with me in that passage)

IMO, Jon, you arent talking about these types of things when you refer to Aiki. I don't mean to criticize your efforts by any means but you won't get to the point where you have anything to say to an unimpressed boxer or swordsman until you figure out how to develop these kinds of skills. This has nothing to do with power or being immovable IMO...but I may be wrong about that.

You can hit a boxer with a fist powered by Aiki and I am sure he'll be okay with it, he has taken lots of powerful hits in his time and understands that boxing is about exchanging lots of hits. The swordsman will simply cut you, or not, whether you have Aiki or not.

I will see if I can find the link later.

AsimHanif
04-04-2014, 11:01 AM
I think aikido people will begin to be able to deal with boxers when we start to retract our thrusts and throw punches in combinations (even if they're not great punches).
Aikido people will begin to be able to deal with grapplers when we learn to apply aiki from the ground position.
It will probably be ugly at first but we have to be willing to fail.

JW
04-04-2014, 11:45 AM
If I am reading it right, I don't think Jon's point (at its core, similar to Asim's) is that hard to swallow:

No matter what the origins of our attacks, they shouldn't be a joke to people who study attacking, even if their context is different, as in boxing or technical sword arts. (And Michael, even if you are confident in your personal sword usage skill, I am thinking of the population as a whole here, which is addressed by the story Phi referenced.)

Cliff's idea in post 43 is quite reasonable, and the response as I see it is that if we have solid BASICS in things like punching-- if our punching can match the essence of a simple, good punch even from foreign points of view like boxing-- then we don't need years of study in striking arts. We just need the basics. In other words the first steps in Cliff's hypothetical progression are fine, if they start with solid basics.

That's the happy medium between ineptitude and the extreme painted in post 43.

And Cliff-

IMO, Jon, you arent talking about these types of things when you refer to Aiki. ... This has nothing to do with power or being immovable IMO...but I may be wrong about that.

I understand your reasoning but I think the method of postural management that is called "standing on ame no ukihashi" in fact brings about solid stability just as much as it does quick movement that lacks "anticipatory postural adjustments" etc. (It's about becoming internally unified, which affects ability to move as much as ability to not move.) Just want to put that thought into this thread to explicitly voice the other point of view - not to get into a discussion about it in this thread, but just so that they are both on the page.

Chris Li
04-04-2014, 11:52 AM
Cady Goldfield made a post over on e-budo ... I am onmy phone now and pasting links is too tricky ... referring to some stuff about Sagawa that was translated and showed up on a tai chi blog.

That's Scott Meredith's blog (http://cattanga.typepad.com/tabby_cat_gamespace/) - he recently had an interesting encounter with Dan Harden (http://cattanga.typepad.com/tabby_cat_gamespace/2014/03/aiki-master.html).

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
04-04-2014, 12:27 PM
And Cliff-

I understand your reasoning but I think the method of postural management that is called "standing on ame no ukihashi" in fact brings about solid stability just as much as it does quick movement that lacks "anticipatory postural adjustments" etc. (It's about becoming internally unified, which affects ability to move as much as ability to not move.) Just want to put that thought into this thread to explicitly voice the other point of view - not to get into a discussion about it in this thread, but just so that they are both on the page.

Well said. Thanks for pointing this out.

allowedcloud
04-04-2014, 01:37 PM
The aikido techniques done in paired practice have zero use in and of themselves outside of the dojo. They are not street fighting or self defense techniques. Their purpose is for training on applying aiki in a paired practice setting (training aiki itself is a whole separate thing). It teaches you to move freely, in opposition with yourself, while standing on the floating bridge of heaven. The ultimate goal, and the martial implications of all this, is to attain what O-sensei called "Takemusu Aiki' - where when you move, technique happen spontaneously. Because when you move aiki is present at every point on your body, with no one able to stop you. They are defeated on contact.

This is the Way of Aiki. The way of freedom.

Hilary
04-04-2014, 03:53 PM
First for the record I think Chris’s video is an excellent explanation of why the classical strikes are the way they are. I strongly disagree with the notion that these are the only attacks we should train to, but that is a different matter (I am not saying that Chris implied this). The discussion tendrils of this tread have diverged into many interesting directions…the large tent strikes again!

Prior to my becoming an Aikidoka I had a nidan in kicking and punching and viewed Aikido attacks as unrealistic and contrived. But the beauty and simplicity of the locks and throws were so compelling I had to learn the art (it helped that sensei was world class). In fairly short order it became obvious (and this is the point I think other martial artists and armchair ninjas don’t get) the objective of much of our training is the perfection of the class of lock or throw; less focus is placed on intercepting a “realistic” attack. Yes we practice leading, movement, ranging, parrying, slipping, blending and a host of other skills, but the bulk of time on the mat is spent working the core materials with different body types and angles of attack. Perfecting the core body mechanics.

Other than the mental aspect and some speed considerations hitting a big guy is not much different from hitting a small guy (effects vary widely but the technique used to deliver that strike are not substantially different), whereas as we all know throwing a 6’ 4” 250 pounder is different from throwing a 5’ 1” 150 lb person, geometry and mass distribution matters. Locking a weight lifter is different from locking up a yoga aficionado. Learning to feel those differences and adjust accordingly in real time takes a lot more repetition and constant maintenance.

When I started on the mat it was explained to me that we train techniques in the uke/nage paradigm rather than sparring because of safety (a broken nose heals quickly a broken elbow is forever); I know this is not the only reason. We train slowly, if you can’t do it at the speed of mud the only reason it vaguely works at full speed is luck and momentum. This plus idealized attack in kata format allows us the freedom to perfect and maintain the technique.

Unless you want to stay wholly within classical mode or an aikido variant niche (perfectly valid) you do need to train to deal with boxers, mma, and other martial flavors dejour. If no one has ever thrown a rising hook or an elbow in your direction you will be hard pressed to recognize it in time. You don’t have to spar, but your ukes need to mix it up a bit. Aikido techniques work just fine with these attacks, you just have to see the attack for what it is. This is why I have always said if you don’t cross train at least go hold some focus mitts for strikers. You will see full speed, full power strikes in the plane of contact with getting bloody.

While we typically only see the three classic attacks, I do wonder why that is. I used to get razzed about throwing double strike atemi’s (solar plexus and throat - after spreading uke’s hands) until I found a picture of O-Sensei using that exact strike (one of the large ”found” old photosets). So does this mean they were never trained or just not seen during demos and omitted by those that actually formalized the pedagogy? I also pose the question, how many train to take the technique off the second, third, or forth attack? I’ve wandered a bit Chris but everyone else jumped off the bridge so…

HL1978
04-04-2014, 03:55 PM
As my final point, I'd like to say that your conception of aiki is obviously very different than mine. Excuse my French, but why do I give a shit if I can put "aiki" in the tip of my sword? Swords are amongst the most unforgiving handheld weapons man ever created. One rarely gets more than two brief instances of contact before one or both of the combatants are mortally wounded. The first contact almost always wins. And that contact is more likely to be sword on flesh than sword on sword. Real skill with the sword must be a skill precedes physical contact. It must. If your conception of aiki doesn't account for this, then I very seriously doubt it is in accord with Morihei Ueshiba's conception of aiki.


Well if you want to go the waza route with swords: extraordinarily effective kiri-otoshi or suri-age. If you are executing other waza, the ability to off balance and create openings by returning the opponents input energy back into them would seem to be inline with conventional aikido thought.

No different from "aiki" (IP) in any other context.

Jeremy Hulley
04-04-2014, 06:17 PM
I imagine it is really useful if you create kuzushi in your opponent instantly when he contacts your blade.

Gerardo Torres
04-04-2014, 06:39 PM
I imagine it is really useful if you create kuzushi in your opponent instantly when he contacts your blade.+1

Yeah I was thinking the exact same thing. An unusual skill, but when you cross swords with somebody who has it, you know right away... you're done for. :)

Cliff Judge
04-04-2014, 07:54 PM
I imagine it is really useful if you create kuzushi in your opponent instantly when he contacts your blade.

It is useful if he is dead when he contacts your blade. If that doesn't happen, you've screwed up, and the best you can hope for is that he kills you cleanly. :)

Cliff Judge
04-04-2014, 08:02 PM
The aikido techniques done in paired practice have zero use in and of themselves outside of the dojo. They are not street fighting or self defense techniques. Their purpose is for training on applying aiki in a paired practice setting (training aiki itself is a whole separate thing). It teaches you to move freely, in opposition with yourself, while standing on the floating bridge of heaven. The ultimate goal, and the martial implications of all this, is to attain what O-sensei called "Takemusu Aiki' - where when you move, technique happen spontaneously. Because when you move aiki is present at every point on your body, with no one able to stop you. They are defeated on contact.

This is the Way of Aiki. The way of freedom.

It is not really true that the techniques have zero use. Aikido has a lot of technical idioms that you can find all over the place in other martial arts, including systems that were developed for real use. It is just that, as you say, in Aikido we practice the techniques to learn to express aiki. IMO the generalization of attack patterns helps us learn to express Takemusu aiki, by giving us an earlier exit from static kata practice.

The other thing I would point out is that you could take the time you spend sidebarring aiki training and train something like boxing or whatever...

JP3
06-22-2014, 07:05 PM
Easy way to make people understand falls right out of the above discussion.... when a student asks such a question, go put a rubber tanto or training knife in their hand, tell them to attack again with the knife now, and watch the light go on above their head. And... their training partner's as well.

Here's a neat-O way to get people concentration to go up during training I frankly stumbled into when I gave the wrong direction in class (never happens, right? Sure...). Have the uke hold the blade in their off hand, and don't even ask them to attack with it, but make sure that their partner (nage/tori) Does see it and knows it is there. Intensity and concentration, focus increases spontaneously and dramatically. Have to be careful people don't hurt one another...