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Peter Boylan
04-28-2014, 02:02 PM
I've been thinking a lot about how martial arts change over time. I was specifically looking at the ways classical budo and judo change and adapt to various pressures. I wrote this blog post about it.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/04/change-in-classical-and-modern-martial.html

I'm wondering how you see Aikido having changed and adapted to various pressures, especially the pressure people have put on it to expand, over the decades.

lbb
04-28-2014, 02:27 PM
"The reasons for doing the kata a particular way become vividly clear in a bright black and blue manner if you try to change things." -- love it! Great as always!

tarik
04-28-2014, 04:14 PM
I've been thinking a lot about how martial arts change over time. I was specifically looking at the ways classical budo and judo change and adapt to various pressures. I wrote this blog post about it.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/04/change-in-classical-and-modern-martial.html


Well written, Peter.


I'm wondering how you see Aikido having changed and adapted to various pressures, especially the pressure people have put on it to expand, over the decades.

Aikido, IME, has clearly changed the center of it's world to a more philosophical (peace seeking, healing, etc) approach and allows technique to be changed and pressured by that philosophy rather than having that philosophy be informed by the body work. It varies widely, of course, but that is my overall experience with "standard" aikido, such as it is.

Tarik

kewms
04-28-2014, 05:31 PM
I think it's difficult to generalize about "aikido," because the range of styles is too vast.

Maybe the only generalization that can be made is that the drive to expand aikido has created a big tent, beneath which many approaches are welcome. The lack of competition means that plenty of martially questionable habits can survive, but it also gives practitioners room to explore.

Katherine

jonreading
04-29-2014, 10:50 AM
To combine Tarik and Katherine's comments, I see this question as one of economics:

If we want to increase consumption, we have to decrease barriers to consumption. One of those barriers is socio-political perspective. One of those barriers is ability. I would also throw in cost to round out my top three. We also need to define our metric of success. Quality? Effectiveness? participation? Spiritual transformation? My biggest observation about the expansion of aikido is that I do not believe the art has a success metric. Oneness with the universe is not easily quantified.

Compare that to Judo, which is one of the most played sports in the world. Sure, Judo has a philosophy, but Kano positioned judo as a sport and it has thrived. Largely, Judo has been able to expand without making concessions to the extent we see in Aikido. Taking a larger perspective, I don't think it unfair to claim that many of the popular arts made concessions to gain market and persevere. In being critical of aikido, I would argue that we probably over-conceded to gain our share and are now in a correction phase as we try to clarify our philosophy, justify our effectiveness and solicit the athletes and martials artists necessary to drive the quality of the art.

Keeping on my econ hat, I would advocate that we are not a koryu, we are not a combat system, we are not a sport and we are not a religion. Aiki had a niche - he could put aiki into traditional arts, he could put aiki into fighting systems, he could put aiki into sport, and he could put aiki into [his] religion. O Sensei was attractive to a wide spectrum of practitioners because he could put aiki into a variety of applications.

In closing, say what you want about the Paul Mitchell people, but you can also watch them on ESPN 12. Check out those compromising Judo people next Olympics. Maybe we need acrylic weapons...

kewms
04-29-2014, 11:52 AM
I think plenty of judo people would disagree with you about the compromises that judo has made.

I agree, though, that aikido lacks a success metric. Just look at the threads here, and how often it turns out that people disagree because they are pursuing fundamentally different goals.

Which goes back to my original point. Aikido is a very big tent. At one extreme you have people who are so allergic to any kind of conflict that you wonder why they are studying a martial art at all. At the other, you have people who will tear your arm off and beat you with it. Both extremes call what they do "aikido," and scoff at the other extreme. Very few generalizations will apply to both extremes.

Katherine

lbb
04-29-2014, 12:21 PM
Aikido is a very big tent. At one extreme you have people who are so allergic to any kind of conflict that you wonder why they are studying a martial art at all.

Perhaps because they know that they don't get conflict, and they want to understand it better. Perhaps because, while they have no interest in conflict, they want some options if it comes looking for them. There are many possibilities that make perfect sense -- I don't think interest in martial arts implies a particular attitude towards conflict one way or another.

jonreading
04-29-2014, 02:30 PM
I think plenty of judo people would disagree with you about the compromises that judo has made.

I agree, though, that aikido lacks a success metric. Just look at the threads here, and how often it turns out that people disagree because they are pursuing fundamentally different goals.

Which goes back to my original point. Aikido is a very big tent. At one extreme you have people who are so allergic to any kind of conflict that you wonder why they are studying a martial art at all. At the other, you have people who will tear your arm off and beat you with it. Both extremes call what they do "aikido," and scoff at the other extreme. Very few generalizations will apply to both extremes.

Katherine

Oh, I agree; but, I am not arguing whether judo picked a good metric of success or the prudence of corresponding decisions to achieve that metric. I am simply saying that judo picked a metric of success and based on that metric you could argue they are successful.

I think this speaks exactly to your point. Put more bluntly, I think aikido's concessions to a wide spectrum of consumers is what over-taxed the art. Everyone is not always right.

Edgecrusher
05-01-2014, 11:28 AM
It changes with each generation improving upon the teachings being handed down generation to generation. It is natural progression and should be welcomed. It is quite interesting considering the many schools of Aikido available to a more gloabal audience. Kotehineri and Aigamaeate are not done the same throughout those schools.

JP3
05-04-2014, 12:53 PM
Not really a change, but an adaptation, is to work on kata with starting positions of tori from seiza... but not in the kneeling seiza, but seated in a traditional western-style chair. I have a student with a total knee replacement, and seiza is impossible at this time for that student, and he may never get the necessary range of motion back. So, we put him and his partner in folding chairs, and we went to work.

Turns out that the principles used in explaining and learning said kata techniques apply in all positions of the body (people are nodding) which to me, made it extremely easy to point out the fact that those "principles" are defined by how the body works, not the starting position, if that makes sense.

Other changes, though not really, are the moderan adaptations of disarm techniques for handguns, I would guess. I don't do them myself, never had a good teacher on that topic, but I'm sure they are out there.

kewms
05-06-2014, 01:20 AM
Not really a change, but an adaptation, is to work on kata with starting positions of tori from seiza... but not in the kneeling seiza, but seated in a traditional western-style chair. I have a student with a total knee replacement, and seiza is impossible at this time for that student, and he may never get the necessary range of motion back. So, we put him and his partner in folding chairs, and we went to work.

You might be interested in the movie "Aiki," which is about a wheelchair-bound student of Daito Ryu:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332563/

Katherine

Sojourner
05-06-2014, 06:45 AM
I am not so sure that Martial Arts change as such, but they seem to move focus on different areas from time to time. Many Martial Arts Masters will tell you that there are always more moves and skill sets for even the most experienced graded members of their art. Hapkido I was told draws on over 20 000 different techniques.

The biggest shake up we have seen in modern martial arts was a man named Tank Abbott, an overweight street fighter who had no martial arts training at all and walked into MMA competitions and walked through a number of well trained martial artists with a flurry of punches, slams and vocal disrespect. - He liked to state that "Martial Arts are s**t". This lasted until he met up with a Russian Sambo practitioner Oleg Taktarov who utilized toughness and technique to overcome him. Once he had been beaten other smaller and less physically strong martial artists also began to beat him by using strategies and techniques taken from their own systems. Whilst many people may not have liked what happened I believe it was the wake up call that many marital arts systems needed. Especially considering the claims that they liked to make re what their system would do training wise for people that joined them.

Yet its fair to say that the MMA challenge is not something Aikidoka can ignore either. If an experienced MMA person was to attack an Aikidoka it would be my expectation that our martial art should offer enough technique and strategy to repel that attack. There is no shame in discovering that certain Aikido techniques do not work against people that are far physically stronger than you and can easily break the holds you are attempting to put on them. The challenge is to train in what does actually work. Its all in the AIkido Syllabus, its a case of experiencing it and learning from it.

lbb
05-06-2014, 08:06 AM
Yet its fair to say that the MMA challenge is not something Aikidoka can ignore either.

Why not?

If an experienced MMA person was to attack an Aikidoka it would be my expectation that our martial art should offer enough technique and strategy to repel that attack.

Why would they do that?

Cliff Judge
05-06-2014, 09:00 AM
I am not so sure that Martial Arts change as such, but they seem to move focus on different areas from time to time. Many Martial Arts Masters will tell you that there are always more moves and skill sets for even the most experienced graded members of their art. Hapkido I was told draws on over 20 000 different techniques.

The biggest shake up we have seen in modern martial arts was a man named Tank Abbott, an overweight street fighter who had no martial arts training at all and walked into MMA competitions and walked through a number of well trained martial artists with a flurry of punches, slams and vocal disrespect. - He liked to state that "Martial Arts are s**t". This lasted until he met up with a Russian Sambo practitioner Oleg Taktarov who utilized toughness and technique to overcome him. Once he had been beaten other smaller and less physically strong martial artists also began to beat him by using strategies and techniques taken from their own systems. Whilst many people may not have liked what happened I believe it was the wake up call that many marital arts systems needed. Especially considering the claims that they liked to make re what their system would do training wise for people that joined them.

Yet its fair to say that the MMA challenge is not something Aikidoka can ignore either. If an experienced MMA person was to attack an Aikidoka it would be my expectation that our martial art should offer enough technique and strategy to repel that attack. There is no shame in discovering that certain Aikido techniques do not work against people that are far physically stronger than you and can easily break the holds you are attempting to put on them. The challenge is to train in what does actually work. Its all in the AIkido Syllabus, its a case of experiencing it and learning from it.

I can't tell if this is what you intended, Ben, but you seem to be making a pretty strong case that the techniques of a martial art ultimately don't matter, what is important is having an indomitable will to win / succeed / survive / etc. Almost as though the formal structure of a martial art is meant to teach you that, and the techniques are basically effluvium....

Sojourner
05-06-2014, 07:48 PM
Why not?

Why would they do that?

To save their own life or to prevent themselves from being bashed? Should an experienced female Aikidoka consent to being raped rather than use Aikido to defend herself or her children? The point being that Aikido is purposed for repelling the attack of another person irrespective of what training that person has. O'Sensei as an elderly man is recorded as easilly overcoming younger much stronger opponents highly trained in Martial Arts.

Sojourner
05-06-2014, 08:00 PM
I can't tell if this is what you intended, Ben, but you seem to be making a pretty strong case that the techniques of a martial art ultimately don't matter, what is important is having an indomitable will to win / succeed / survive / etc. Almost as though the formal structure of a martial art is meant to teach you that, and the techniques are basically effluvium....

I guess I disagree on technique but perhaps agree on the importance of survial as the second point.

Take a 1970's Bruce Lee video or similar era martial arts movie, - plot, Dojo A sets up in an area, Dojo's B and C dont want them there and challenge them. Dojo A eventually wins proving the legitimacy of their martial art and recieves recognition and is permitted to stay there. - Whilst this is a movie plot its openly factual in the evolution of martial arts and is an example of MMA. That very situation occured on a regular basis and if you could not win / succeed / survive etc the local authorities would close you down.

Bear in mind that I am talking about Martial Arts philiosopy here in general. I am not saying that the Aikido groups share that philosophy as such, but will point out that O'Sensei did on occassions beat high ranking Martial Artists, some of which became Aikioka - Abbe Sensei as one example on the train in Japan.

Techniques is a scenario where I believe that most Martial Art systems have more than enough techniques to handle any given situation. Yet do not teach all of them because they physically cannot communicate all of them. People teach what they know well and form a core group of techniques and add to them as they go from their own syllabus. The study of ancient Kata in Kung Fu and similar arts is helping people to rediscover these techniques or that it what is being suggested anyway.

lbb
05-06-2014, 09:22 PM
To save their own life or to prevent themselves from being bashed?

I see. So, in your experience, are MMA practitioners frequently assaulting aikido practitioners? That's not happening in these parts, but YMMV.