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Blue Buddha
06-21-2014, 01:51 PM
Hello :)

In the last year I started training again in Aikido after a several year break which involved one year of some very relaxed Cheng Hsin sessions. After that I just could not practice Aikido anymore or anything else. I am 4th kuy.
I find Aikido very very limiting (and limited) in comparison to Cheng Hsin but there is no teacher around me and I have no partner to practice. I am keeping on with my Aikido but realise its many many weaknesses.
Many people have written about the issues with Aikido and I believe that in general if one does not have a couple of dans, they are really not effective.

I am interested in learning how to become more effective in a martial art / self development sense by using only Aikido, if this is possible, but also considering the option of learning another system to complement Aikido's "holes".

It is a real pity to see people with a shodan, that have to rely on force (a lot of it) in order to go through with a technique. Anyway I am a bit sad about this degradation of the art, but we have to work with what we have.

I see the following problems :

1) No real sparing, no real feedback. (Foundational problem)
2) No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)
3) The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics) (Foundational problem)

For now, I am focusing on n2, which is the horrible use of atemi in the dojo. It is one of the things that the founder of the art was insisting be done properly. In all of the dojos i've been it is a joke.

Since I am only 4th kuy I am wondering if some more experienced aikidokas can share their experience regarding the training of atemi. Do they train? How? Do they teach it? How? It is not just for fun that people in boxing, twd, karate, kickboxing etc, learn to hit. The "hits" must be practiced. No?

In any case since no one has ever taught me how to do a proper atemi, I decided that I need to train that elsewhere. For this reason I am considering taking additional boxing classes or another striking (hard) martial art.

I know there are always mixed views on this but I am mainly interested in hearing what the aikido purists have to say about that. Especially what they would recommend, if there is something, to do inside the framework of Aikido.

All the best.

Riai Maori
06-21-2014, 02:24 PM
Hello :)

In the last year I started training again in Aikido after a several year break which involved one year of some very relaxed Cheng Hsin sessions. After that I just could not practice Aikido anymore or anything else. I am 4th kuy.
I find Aikido very very limiting (and limited) in comparison to Cheng Hsin but there is no teacher around me and I have no partner to practice. I am keeping on with my Aikido but realise its many many weaknesses.
Many people have written about the issues with Aikido and I believe that in general if one does not have a couple of dans, they are really not effective.

I am interested in learning how to become more effective in a martial art / self development sense by using only Aikido, if this is possible, but also considering the option of learning another system to complement Aikido's "holes".

It is a real pity to see people with a shodan, that have to rely on force (a lot of it) in order to go through with a technique. Anyway I am a bit sad about this degradation of the art, but we have to work with what we have.

I see the following problems :

1) No real sparing, no real feedback. (Foundational problem)
2) No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)
3) The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics) (Foundational problem)

For now, I am focusing on n2, which is the horrible use of atemi in the dojo. It is one of the things that the founder of the art was insisting be done properly. In all of the dojos i've been it is a joke.

Since I am only 4th kuy I am wondering if some more experienced aikidokas can share their experience regarding the training of atemi. Do they train? How? Do they teach it? How? It is not just for fun that people in boxing, twd, karate, kickboxing etc, learn to hit. The "hits" must be practiced. No?

In any case since no one has ever taught me how to do a proper atemi, I decided that I need to train that elsewhere. For this reason I am considering taking additional boxing classes or another striking (hard) martial art.

I know there are always mixed views on this but I am mainly interested in hearing what the aikido purists have to say about that. Especially what they would recommend, if there is something, to do inside the framework of Aikido.

All the best.

Gosh your drawing a long bow for a 4th Kyu.

Blue Buddha
06-21-2014, 04:39 PM
Gosh your drawing a long bow for a 4th Kyu.

If the phrase "4th kuy" was missing from my post, would all the points I mentioned have a bigger validity for you?

sakumeikan
06-21-2014, 07:20 PM
Hello :)

In the last year I started training again in Aikido after a several year break which involved one year of some very relaxed Cheng Hsin sessions. After that I just could not practice Aikido anymore or anything else. I am 4th kuy.
I find Aikido very very limiting (and limited) in comparison to Cheng Hsin but there is no teacher around me and I have no partner to practice. I am keeping on with my Aikido but realise its many many weaknesses.
Many people have written about the issues with Aikido and I believe that in general if one does not have a couple of dans, they are really not effective.

I am interested in learning how to become more effective in a martial art / self development sense by using only Aikido, if this is possible, but also considering the option of learning another system to complement Aikido's "holes".

It is a real pity to see people with a shodan, that have to rely on force (a lot of it) in order to go through with a technique. Anyway I am a bit sad about this degradation of the art, but we have to work with what we have.

I see the following problems :

1) No real sparing, no real feedback. (Foundational problem)
2) No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)
3) The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics) (Foundational problem)

For now, I am focusing on n2, which is the horrible use of atemi in the dojo. It is one of the things that the founder of the art was insisting be done properly. In all of the dojos i've been it is a joke.

Since I am only 4th kuy I am wondering if some more experienced aikidokas can share their experience regarding the training of atemi. Do they train? How? Do they teach it? How? It is not just for fun that people in boxing, twd, karate, kickboxing etc, learn to hit. The "hits" must be practiced. No?

In any case since no one has ever taught me how to do a proper atemi, I decided that I need to train that elsewhere. For this reason I am considering taking additional boxing classes or another striking (hard) martial art.

I know there are always mixed views on this but I am mainly interested in hearing what the aikido purists have to say about that. Especially what they would recommend, if there is something, to do inside the framework of Aikido.

All the best.
Dear Amo,
Atemi in Aikido is not quite like boxing.Atemi is used to assist in neutralising the intent of uke and is an aid to take and control the persons balance .Atemi can of course be used as a pre-emptive strike.
In most aikido waza there is potential to apply atemi .The question one must ask oneself is this, do we want to injure our training partner or anyone else for that matter?I feel that only when you have no option but to hit someone that is when atemi [attack ] becomes mandatory.
It is also possible that the dojos you visit are not versed in atemi?I can say with authority that there are teachers who know how and apply atemi in a powerful manner.My original teacher [sadly demised ]
could break a one inch or more thick board with his finger tips without any of the usual preliminary moves sometimes seen in karate.May I also say that aikido in general is based on cutting motions.There is a difference between a cutting motion and a hitting motion, especially in traing in swordwork[aikiken ]or batto ho. Cheers, Joe

Blue Buddha
06-21-2014, 08:34 PM
Thank you for your reply Joe,

I agree that there are these two different options (neutralising and the pre-emptive strike) and I feel that both have their place in the martial art training. While the decision to use it should be judged accordingly, there is still the need to learn how to apply it correctly. I don't mean injuring the uke, simply learning to throw a good fist or cut.

It is my understanding that several aspects of aikido have atrophied with the years and the proper teaching of atemi is one of them. Even in dojos with teachers who I appreciated a lot, there was never an emphasis on it. If the quality of the atemi is poor, so is the effect of neutralising, and the same goes for the pre-emptive strike. A poor strike could work to neutralise i.e. a skinny attacker but it wouldn't necessary work with a bodybuilder kind of guy who could receive a much harder strike without getting injured.

Even in the fictional fighting environment of the dojo (i.e. no feedback, no sparring), one does not learn how to throw a proper strike in the air. Someone who has never punched anything in his life, would not know where to start.

You are lucky to have this experience with your sensei, but then again I think it is a bit funny to talk about "luck" in regards to people practicing the same martial art. Some things should either be taught or not. It would be perhaps ok, if I knew that on a higher level, after a Shodan people got to learn how to strike, but not earlier. But this is not the case. But as I said I know some arrogant Shodan's who need to use force to do a technique, or make no practical application of basic concepts like taking someone's balance out and reaching for their centre.

To conclude, my interest in boxing lies not only in learning how to strike properly, if needed and in relation to aiki-do, because it trains one to strike, but also because it combines the immediate feedback of your bad decisions-you just get hit by your partner. In a sense it is a much more real interaction, which brings awareness into the game whereas aikido practice is often associated with oblivion.

Boxing would be a patch, if you like, to one aspect of the many holes that I think Aikido has.

Best
Arno

Sojourner
06-21-2014, 09:32 PM
Hi Arno,

You raise some good points and people should not shy away from them. Where I train the dojo trains us dually in Aikido and Atemi-Jujitsu. My suggestion is that you might find the history of the World Budo Kan interesting as the founder came to a similar conclusion that you have and developed Atemi-Jujitsu as a result. We still are trained and graded in Aikido because its considered the foundation of Atemi-Jujitsu.

In terms of Atemi Training that is placed with our Aikido we are trained in Western Boxing and Shotokan / Golden Dragon style Karate for the striking aspects.

I came to Aikido from a background in Krav Maga, Its my feeling that my current training offers me more options that Krav when it comes to taking someone down without hurting that person if that is my wish. I hate and eschew violence, yet recognize that in a self defense situation there are sometimes no other options than hard atemi striking to deal with it, yet as I train in Aikido I do see other options potentially opening up, yet like you say I agree that it takes many years of training to be able to do this effectively.

I guess there is plenty more I could say, yet it could be that our history on our website might get it across better than I ever could. - http://www.worldbudokan.org/

kewms
06-21-2014, 11:18 PM
Find a different dojo or a different art.

At 4th kyu, I think it's safe to say that your understanding of aikido is incomplete, and further practice may change your opinion.

However, it is also quite clear that you don't have much respect for the teachers and senior students who you have encountered in your aikido journey to this point. It's impossible to say whether your opinion is warranted or not, but as long as you feel that way you are wasting your time as well as theirs.

Katherine

JP3
06-22-2014, 12:10 PM
Well, let's see...

Q1: No real sparing, no real feedback.

A1: As I don't know which brand of aikido you're doing, I can't tell you if it's "on the way" or "is not going to happen at all." Someone else will have to enlighten you on that. In our little branch of it (Tomiki out from under the Sensei Karl Geis family/tract, whatever), we do "sparring" just like I used to do it in taekwondo & hapkido, but not like Muay Thai, and very much like judo randori. Controled encounter, rules of engagement, try to keep the speed down (speed causes more training injuries than it justifies IMO), and lots of laughing. Easy to learn in a laughter-filled environment. Note, I didn't say pain-free, just laughter filled. IMO it's good to take things out of kata and try to put them to work on a non-compliant uke, even if they are just gently trying to F-up your technique while trying to put theirs to work on you.

Q2: No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)

A2: Striking is its own practice. Having been boxing trained, I can teach that, if someone wants to learn it, or the striking techniques of taekwondo/hapkido, which are quite effective as many a concrete block and wood board can attest, as well as some few cracked skulls and broken ribs, eh? But, it does take training time, and what I've found is that while an excellent reverse punch or palm heel or knifehand strike is a wonderful tool for your defensive tool kit, so is a very well-honed sense of kuzushi. And, training kuzushi doesn't hurt the practitioner as much as training good strikes, and seems to be just as effective.

Q3: The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics.

A3: That's just about everything, actually. Different styles have differing pedagogy, thus different relative "speeds" of imparting knowledge, as do individual instructors, and even the same instructors on different principles and/or techniques. What I found with my higher-level tkd/hkd training was that, as I advanced in rank, it stopped being about the new combo-strike grip&rip takedown with special effects, but more and more about moving out of the way and dealing with the bad guy from other angles, different positions, etc. Gee.... that's what aikido (ours anyway) starts out with. Down the road, we give them the appropriate strike, if they want to learn something hard, but most opt out and go for a grappling-style thing. I, personally, don't, since I enjoyed my striking time, but they, as is their option on their own path, do.

And finally, on the idea of "Aikido purists..." I don't know what one looks like or sounds like. Almost all of the high level aikido people I know have studied other things as well, and end up in aikido. I think that, rather than the other way, is the baseline.

mathewjgano
06-22-2014, 12:41 PM
In any case since no one has ever taught me how to do a proper atemi, I decided that I need to train that elsewhere. For this reason I am considering taking additional boxing classes or another striking (hard) martial art.

I know there are always mixed views on this but I am mainly interested in hearing what the aikido purists have to say about that. Especially what they would recommend, if there is something, to do inside the framework of Aikido.

All the best.

Like you say, to get good at hitting you need to hit. "Atemi" can be more than hitting hard and well, but that's the aspect it sounds like you're focusing on. Not everyone puts much emphasis on hitting and so where it's not as emphasized as you'd like, you'll have to fill in to the degree you like. Your post reminded me a bit of this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbFU6w7q3dQ
So my advice is that when you're on the mat you do your best to understand and respect the effort of your teachers; beyond that, do as you mentioned and supplement; keep trying to find people who are willing to train off the mat with you more in the way you're looking for. The style of martial art ultimately means very little; we're all individuals with our own abilities and understanding, regardless of whether or not we share the same nomenclature or even lineage. Some schools will have very strong hitters because they work on that; some won't. As students it is up to us to find our way...and it sounds like you're doing that as well as most since you're identifying potential problems and addressing them. Maybe your opinion will change over time like mine did (although to be fair I have never been interested in hitting hard, so our goals are quite different).
Good luck!

PeterR
06-22-2014, 01:41 PM
Not another one.

Patient: Doctor doctor - it hurts when I do this.
Doctor: Well don't do it.

There is no point in doing aikido if it does not fit the vision of what you think it could be. You wont change your teachers and they wont change you.

That said - it looks like a very limited experience of aikido and what it can and can not do.

Blue Buddha
06-22-2014, 05:53 PM
Well, let's see...

Q1: No real sparing, no real feedback.

A1: As I don't know which brand of aikido you're doing, I can't tell you if it's "on the way" or "is not going to happen at all." Someone else will have to enlighten you on that. In our little branch of it (Tomiki out from under the Sensei Karl Geis family/tract, whatever), we do "sparring" just like I used to do it in taekwondo & hapkido, but not like Muay Thai, and very much like judo randori. Controled encounter, rules of engagement, try to keep the speed down (speed causes more training injuries than it justifies IMO), and lots of laughing. Easy to learn in a laughter-filled environment. Note, I didn't say pain-free, just laughter filled. IMO it's good to take things out of kata and try to put them to work on a non-compliant uke, even if they are just gently trying to F-up your technique while trying to put theirs to work on you.

Q2: No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)

A2: Striking is its own practice. Having been boxing trained, I can teach that, if someone wants to learn it, or the striking techniques of taekwondo/hapkido, which are quite effective as many a concrete block and wood board can attest, as well as some few cracked skulls and broken ribs, eh? But, it does take training time, and what I've found is that while an excellent reverse punch or palm heel or knifehand strike is a wonderful tool for your defensive tool kit, so is a very well-honed sense of kuzushi. And, training kuzushi doesn't hurt the practitioner as much as training good strikes, and seems to be just as effective.

Q3: The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics.

A3: That's just about everything, actually. Different styles have differing pedagogy, thus different relative "speeds" of imparting knowledge, as do individual instructors, and even the same instructors on different principles and/or techniques. What I found with my higher-level tkd/hkd training was that, as I advanced in rank, it stopped being about the new combo-strike grip&rip takedown with special effects, but more and more about moving out of the way and dealing with the bad guy from other angles, different positions, etc. Gee.... that's what aikido (ours anyway) starts out with. Down the road, we give them the appropriate strike, if they want to learn something hard, but most opt out and go for a grappling-style thing. I, personally, don't, since I enjoyed my striking time, but they, as is their option on their own path, do.

And finally, on the idea of "Aikido purists..." I don't know what one looks like or sounds like. Almost all of the high level aikido people I know have studied other things as well, and end up in aikido. I think that, rather than the other way, is the baseline.

Thank you all for your replies.

John,

A1. I have trained in 4 different Aikikai dojos in Europe. Only in one of them there was an element of "freeplay" but still the attacks where as most aikido attacks fictionally manufactured- not real. Not in the sense of carrying the intent to hurt, but the ukes already submitting during the attack. I too like the controlled encounters and happy laughing atmosphere. It is just that I think it is more limited than controlled. In a way I prefer to work with a non compliant uke, as it feels more real to me. I don't expect in a self defence situation an attacker to be fully or partly compliant.

A2.The problem, as I see it, is that this practice is not on the horizon at least in my Aikido dojo. I have read/heard numerous people quoting different percentages of what the place of atemi should be (from 70-90%). The founder himself was trained in Jiujitsu and was trained in that quite well and apparently taught that too. But where is it, I don't see it in 4 out of 4 dojos. This is the reason I am talking about degradation of something that apparently used to exist.(the training of atemi).

Kuzushi. Is great. Harmony is great. And I know this has been debated thousands of times, but Kuszushi alone will not be very helpful in a self defence street fight situation. Outside the dojo there is a time when the attacker will have to hit hard. Either on the floor or on the defenders hand/foot.
Although I am only 4th kuy, I have trained with multiple attackers in one of my dojos and I successfully dealt with all of them with various techniques.

When recently my girlfriend and I were attacked by 5 mature - strong men- verbally, but soon the whole thing was escalating too fast, we were lucky to have left the premises before we start fighting. I realised that no matter how many ukes I have thrown to the dojo mat (and even I had to fight just one of these guys) I wouldn't be able to deal with him just by applying Kuzushi.

Blue Buddha
06-22-2014, 06:09 PM
Like you say, to get good at hitting you need to hit. "Atemi" can be more than hitting hard and well, but that's the aspect it sounds like you're focusing on. Not everyone puts much emphasis on hitting and so where it's not as emphasized as you'd like, you'll have to fill in to the degree you like. Your post reminded me a bit of this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbFU6w7q3dQ
So my advice is that when you're on the mat you do your best to understand and respect the effort of your teachers; beyond that, do as you mentioned and supplement; keep trying to find people who are willing to train off the mat with you more in the way you're looking for. The style of martial art ultimately means very little; we're all individuals with our own abilities and understanding, regardless of whether or not we share the same nomenclature or even lineage. Some schools will have very strong hitters because they work on that; some won't. As students it is up to us to find our way...and it sounds like you're doing that as well as most since you're identifying potential problems and addressing them. Maybe your opinion will change over time like mine did (although to be fair I have never been interested in hitting hard, so our goals are quite different).
Good luck!

Mathew, thanks for the nice song. I think you are right :) But please see my answer to John above as why I am focusing at this moment in atemi. I do respect my teachers and fellow aikidokas. I am a very loving and caring guy. But unlike what Katherine suggests, I agree with the saying that says that respect is earned, it is not a given fact. A shodan who does not know basic stuff and forces her way to a 4th kuy aikidoka is simply for laughs. This person should be stripped from their hakama..

Thank you for your advice and encouragement for supplemental training. In fact I am considering trying jujitsu instead of boxing, for its shared similarities with aikido and because of its use of strikes.

By the way I am reading this book, "meditations on violence" which offers a very good insight into our false assumptions regarding dojo training. Still on the first chapters, hoping the rest is as interesting.

To recap, I am not interested in hitting hard per se. If that was the case, it be studying muay thai or similar. I am just under the impression that I am studying a very watered down version of what the founder taught..

JP3
06-22-2014, 06:47 PM
Arno said, "Kuzushi. Is great. Harmony is great. And I know this has been debated thousands of times, but Kuszushi alone will not be very helpful in a self defence street fight situation."

Pardon the quote, but "Grasshopper, you do not yet understand the floor upon which you stand."

But, your questions are great, and I expect that you will, probably sooner than some. I would guess that, since you put Kuzushi in the same phrase above, sort of, as Harmony, you may not have ever laid hands on a trained judoka? or, if so, he/she was just goofing off? one way to say it is... well, hmm, maybe, Kuzushi is the disruption of the other's harmony?

I take people's balance. I disrupt their position. I destroy their posture. I'm not terribly harmonious when I do it. I leave the harmony to the end, before the things break or the opponent lands on his head/neck, and I try to get them gently to the ground (if possible, which can be situation dependent, right?).

So, you're in an Aikikai school, in which I've no experience, so can't comment. It's just different from my own brand, I think. I train regularly with a guy who is a double 3rd degree in kick-punch (tang soo do and taekwondo) and the guy hits like a truck. We "could" attempt to wail on each other in class, but that much energy flying around is dangerous as all get out in a training environment, so we don't. We go maybe 15% power and 30% speed, and we learn to deal with it correctly, slowly. Speed is there at need. That's my experience after 30 years.

Krystal Locke
06-22-2014, 06:51 PM
If the phrase "4th kuy" was missing from my post, would all the points I mentioned have a bigger validity for you?

No, but perhaps the phrase " I believe that in general if one does not have a couple of dans......."

Oh never mind. I'm not going to do this to myself this time.

If Cheng Hsin is the art you want, go get it. If you dont think aikido has what you want, dont do aikido. Dont waste your time trying to learn something you dont want to learn. Dont waste our time trying to convince us to fix something that doesn't need fixing. At 4th kyu, you can still get out without throwing too much of (y)our good time after bad. Have a great day.

Blue Buddha
06-22-2014, 07:25 PM
Thanks John, what you say makes sense. My point though is that you are going 15% power/ 30% speed and you are limiting yourselves which is a wise thing to do, but aikidokas with no experience/background like you and partner could have this speed /power as their upper limit and not have the extra 85% / 70% if needed. Makes sense?

Krystal, you aren't contributing to this thread, so it seems you are waisting your own time.

Blue Buddha
06-22-2014, 07:26 PM
Like you say, to get good at hitting you need to hit. "Atemi" can be more than hitting hard and well, but that's the aspect it sounds like you're focusing on. Not everyone puts much emphasis on hitting and so where it's not as emphasized as you'd like, you'll have to fill in to the degree you like. Your post reminded me a bit of this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbFU6w7q3dQ
So my advice is that when you're on the mat you do your best to understand and respect the effort of your teachers; beyond that, do as you mentioned and supplement; keep trying to find people who are willing to train off the mat with you more in the way you're looking for. The style of martial art ultimately means very little; we're all individuals with our own abilities and understanding, regardless of whether or not we share the same nomenclature or even lineage. Some schools will have very strong hitters because they work on that; some won't. As students it is up to us to find our way...and it sounds like you're doing that as well as most since you're identifying potential problems and addressing them. Maybe your opinion will change over time like mine did (although to be fair I have never been interested in hitting hard, so our goals are quite different).
Good luck!

Mathew, thanks for the nice song. I think you are right :) But please see my answer to John above as why I am focusing at this moment in atemi. I do respect my teachers and fellow aikidokas. I am a very loving and caring guy. But unlike what Katherine suggests, I agree with the saying that says that respect is earned, it is not a given fact. A shodan who does not know basic stuff and forces her way to a 4th kuy aikidoka is simply for laughs. This person should be stripped from their hakama..

Thank you for your advice and encouragement for supplemental training. In fact I am considering trying jujitsu instead of boxing, for its shared similarities with aikido and because of its use of strikes.

By the way I am reading this book, "meditations on violence" which offers a very good insight into our false assumptions regarding dojo training. Still on the first chapters, hoping the rest is as interesting.

To recap, I am not interested in hitting hard per se. If that was the case, it be studying muay thai or similar. I am just under the impression that I am studying a very watered down version of what the founder taught..

Hilary
06-22-2014, 07:27 PM
You only have a simplistic understanding of the utilization of kazushi. Kazushi in not just the precursor to throwing. Kazushi denies the attacker the structural base from which to mount/continue an attack or generate power, no matter how briefly. If you are unable to capitalize on that with a throw, lock, or atemi then that is a deficit in your abilities and training, not the principle. Kazushi really needs to occur off of strikes not just grabs, “Kazushi it’s not just for breakfast (wrist grabs) anymore”.

As a self-admitted 4th kyu I find it unlikely you have sufficient mastery of any technique to effectively utilize it against anyone with skillful intent. Most training occurs at slow to moderate speed with well-defined attacks because the throw/lock is what is trained, not the defense (those are separate drills and are highly instructor dependent). You need to effect a technique from any attack, any angle, at any speed, under imperfect conditions; that takes muscle memory and a familiarity born of 10,000 plus simple repetitions, before the movement occurs naturally, spontaneously, and under adverse conditions. That is when you get to speed up, noodle, and create, by then you will have hopefully developed the connected body skills to compliment your technique and make your aikido “effective”, not before. This is a long game.

Blue Buddha
06-22-2014, 07:37 PM
Thank you for your answer Hilary, it was very helpful. Could you please elaborate on what you said regarding the defense not being trained?

kewms
06-22-2014, 08:30 PM
But unlike what Katherine suggests, I agree with the saying that says that respect is earned, it is not a given fact.

Oh, I absolutely agree that respect must be earned. And if the people you're training with haven't earned it, you should train somewhere else.

I don't know them, I don't know you. I have no idea whether the individuals you are thinking of are or are not worthy of your respect in any objective sense. But ultimately it doesn't matter. If you don't respect them, you won't learn anything and are wasting your time.

Katherine

kewms
06-22-2014, 08:33 PM
Kuzushi. Is great. Harmony is great. And I know this has been debated thousands of times, but Kuszushi alone will not be very helpful in a self defence street fight situation. ... I realised that no matter how many ukes I have thrown to the dojo mat (and even I had to fight just one of these guys) I wouldn't be able to deal with him just by applying Kuzushi.

"Just" applying kuzushi?

In my experience, gravity hits pretty darn hard, if you let it.

Katherine

Riai Maori
06-22-2014, 09:45 PM
In my experience, gravity hits pretty darn hard, if you let it.

...and if it wasn't for gravity, us men would be pissing in our faces...The earth sucks!:D

Riai Maori
06-22-2014, 09:49 PM
If the phrase "4th kuy" was missing from my post, would all the points I mentioned have a bigger validity for you?

No, because my next question would be what rank do you hold in Aikido and you would of replied 4 Kyu which speaks volumes in itself. "It is wise to be thought a fool than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt";)

Mert Gambito
06-23-2014, 03:59 AM
Given that IP as a component of M. Ueshiba's aiki has been acknowledged by the Aikikai hombu:
within that context, IP produces kuzushi on contact;
the contact is literal, not philosophical or a feint; and
atemi of all flavors are designed to disrupt attacks, and In jujutsu/taijutsu arts, which include aikido, disruption in the form of kuzushi is typically a primary or secondary objective of atemi.


Assuming this was the premise of Ueshiba's statement, that leaves the remaining question as: What comprises the other 1%?

Mary Eastland
06-23-2014, 07:32 AM
"When recently my girlfriend and I were attacked by 5 mature - strong men- verbally, but soon the whole thing was escalating too fast, we were lucky to have left the premises before we start fighting. I realised that no matter how many ukes I have thrown to the dojo mat (and even I had to fight just one of these guys) I wouldn't be able to deal with him just by applying Kuzushi."


Another way to look at this is to call a successful self-defense situation. Self defense is not about fighting or saving face. It is about survival. Congrats for getting out a dangerous situation with your lives and no injuries. Not lucky...aware.

jonreading
06-23-2014, 09:12 AM
1) No real sparing, no real feedback. (Foundational problem)
2) No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)
3) The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics) (Foundational problem)

Since there are already some good points... I will try not to duplicate...

1. I am not sure to what this is referring. Kata is a great feedback system, since it is a controlled environment. There is a long-standing debate of kata v. kumite in education context and I would be hesitant to qualitatively assert that kumite is a superior training methodology. Sport-orientation has pushed "sparring" to the forefront of popular arts, but that doesn't mean its better...
2. Again, I am not sure if this isn't just the experience you've had. Most of our techniques provide for the application of striking. Some dojos choose not to show those strikes and some dojos choose not to teach strikes. Those independent choices are not indicative of the art, I think.
3. No, the system is inside out. You only learn one thing: aiki. The rest of our education is how to create ki, express aiki and creatively use it. Again, this is probably more representative of the dojos in which you have trained.

All three comments are fair criticisms of the individual failings of our training, but I would not pass those failings onto the art.

Aikido class is only so long; I see no reason why you would not continue your striking training outside of class. Just because we don't have time to cover it in class doesn't mean it is not important, only that there is other education which takes precedence. This would also go for physical fitness and individual exercises.

Yes, it is possible that your dojo is not optimizing its aikido training. It is also possible that you are not optimizing your aiki training. The concept of cross-training is not foreign to aikido people and my advice would be to keep the training separate and refrain from conflating arts. Western boxing is different striking than Japanese striking than Chinese striking. Bastardizing aikido with your opinion of "should" is not going to teach you aikido.

Cliff Judge
06-23-2014, 10:30 AM
For now, I am focusing on n2, which is the horrible use of atemi in the dojo. It is one of the things that the founder of the art was insisting be done properly. In all of the dojos i've been it is a joke.


It strikes me that when people complain about atemi in Aikido, they almost never have an explicit criticism.

kewms
06-23-2014, 10:59 AM
"When recently my girlfriend and I were attacked by 5 mature - strong men- verbally, but soon the whole thing was escalating too fast, we were lucky to have left the premises before we start fighting. I realised that no matter how many ukes I have thrown to the dojo mat (and even I had to fight just one of these guys) I wouldn't be able to deal with him just by applying Kuzushi."


Another way to look at this is to call a successful self-defense situation. Self defense is not about fighting or saving face. It is about survival. Congrats for getting out a dangerous situation with your lives and no injuries. Not lucky...aware.

Yep. I would say that (outside of action movies) anyone -- no matter what rank or what art -- who voluntarily takes on 5 simultaneous adult attackers is an idiot. The suggestion that one should be able to do so at 4th kyu -- in any art -- is ludicrous.

And I say this as someone who considers multiple-attacker randori one of the strengths of aikido. That kind of training can certainly improve your odds. But five attackers is too many, and in a real situation the stakes are too high. Avoiding the encounter is always going to be the high-percentage choice.

Katherine

Hilary
06-23-2014, 02:47 PM
When uke stands in hamni and grabs your wrist it is not an attack, you are not defending, it is a connection exercise. Your assignment is to learn how to lock, destabilize, and move meat, bones and gristle. You will do this with meat in all sizes, shapes, colors, densities, flexibilities, intents, and assorted meat connectedness skill levels. Eventually you will learn how to disturb the grey matter which controls that meat, but until you learn to move meat you best concentrate mostly on that.

Other exercises involve moving objects, multiple people walking toward you with their hands out. Your assignment is to avoid, then parry these ships in the night so you learn to see all the ships, avoid collisions and pass them without leaving a wake. Learning to see and move to the negative spaces; intuitively so the conscious mind is free for other things.

We teach you how to walk; you thought you already know how to do that, silly rabbit. You will get lessons, both explicit and implicit, in etiquette, philosophy, ethics, and humanity…with sweat, you will fall down and go boom ad infinitum. You must learn balance, structure and control both mental and physical before we trust you with anything resembling reality. A broken nose is stuffy, a broken elbow is forever.

As always it is fascinating so see how a random beginner can tie up and engage a few collective centuries of martial experience with a simple sentence or two. It speaks to our willingness to teach, share and debate our art(s). It also illuminates certain sensitivities inside, and most likely due, to our big tent. In another time you would be kneeling outside the gate, in the rain, for a few months before we even answered the door and allowed you to sweep the floor. Our collective willingness to share is a benefit of our humanity and modernity but every once and a while … (deep sigh) ahhh the good old days.

Blue Buddha
06-23-2014, 03:57 PM
Given that IP as a component of M. Ueshiba's aiki has been acknowledged by the Aikikai hombu:
within that context, IP produces kuzushi on contact;
the contact is literal, not philosophical or a feint; and
atemi of all flavors are designed to disrupt attacks, and In jujutsu/taijutsu arts, which include aikido, disruption in the form of kuzushi is typically a primary or secondary objective of atemi.


Assuming this was the premise of Ueshiba's statement, that leaves the remaining question as: What comprises the other 1%?

Hi Mert, i read your post http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22255 which I found very interesting. Saying that, it does make me wonder about why people suddenly discovered the intrinsic powers of the art in the label of IP/AS and specific seminars on it. Weren't they supposed to be included in the art from the beginning?

Blue Buddha
06-23-2014, 04:20 PM
[I]
Another way to look at this is to call a successful self-defense situation. Self defense is not about fighting or saving face. It is about survival. Congrats for getting out a dangerous situation with your lives and no injuries. Not lucky...aware.

Hi Mary, thank you, yes I absolutely agree with you. It's just that I was wondering about the very possible next phase, that is if two of the big guys who were showing the fists to my friend, would start hitting.
Talking one's way out of situation like this is the optimal solution, but I am pretty sure that these people (even if it was just one of them) would not stop an attack just because they hit the ground (hard or not).

The main core of my whole post (and just my questioning really, I don't care to prove anything) has to do with the fact that
a) it feels that daito ryu aiki jujitsu, an arguably tried in the streets & battles, effective martial art, when it was watered down for moral/ spiritual/ self-development purposes, lost a some of its practical appliance in a real world senario, rather than demonstrations.
b) while it is an amazing m.a., it really is not an effective self defence martial art, unless one has reached a quite high level of understanding.

best
a.

Mary Eastland
06-23-2014, 04:32 PM
I agree. That is true of most martial arts.

kewms
06-23-2014, 04:36 PM
Talking one's way out of situation like this is the optimal solution, but I am pretty sure that these people (even if it was just one of them) would not stop an attack just because they hit the ground (hard or not).


Arguing about hypothetical scenarios via internet is kind of pointless, but all of your complaints about aikido so far sound more to me like failures of imagination or training on your part, not limits of the art itself.

In particular, you might want to reconsider just how much damage an uncontrolled impact with a hard surface can produce. Shiho nage, for example, has killed people, "just because they hit the ground."

Katherine

Blue Buddha
06-23-2014, 04:42 PM
1) No real sparing, no real feedback. (Foundational problem)
2) No real atemi. (Degraded Aikido)
3) The whole system works from the outside in, not from the inside out.(i.e. one need many years of practice in order to grasp the basics) (Foundational problem)

Since there are already some good points... I will try not to duplicate...

1. I am not sure to what this is referring. Kata is a great feedback system, since it is a controlled environment. There is a long-standing debate of kata v. kumite in education context and I would be hesitant to qualitatively assert that kumite is a superior training methodology. Sport-orientation has pushed "sparring" to the forefront of popular arts, but that doesn't mean its better...
2. Again, I am not sure if this isn't just the experience you've had. Most of our techniques provide for the application of striking. Some dojos choose not to show those strikes and some dojos choose not to teach strikes. Those independent choices are not indicative of the art, I think.
3. No, the system is inside out. You only learn one thing: aiki. The rest of our education is how to create ki, express aiki and creatively use it. Again, this is probably more representative of the dojos in which you have trained.

All three comments are fair criticisms of the individual failings of our training, but I would not pass those failings onto the art.

Aikido class is only so long; I see no reason why you would not continue your striking training outside of class. Just because we don't have time to cover it in class doesn't mean it is not important, only that there is other education which takes precedence. This would also go for physical fitness and individual exercises.

Yes, it is possible that your dojo is not optimizing its aikido training. It is also possible that you are not optimizing your aiki training. The concept of cross-training is not foreign to aikido people and my advice would be to keep the training separate and refrain from conflating arts. Western boxing is different striking than Japanese striking than Chinese striking. Bastardizing aikido with your opinion of "should" is not going to teach you aikido.

This has been very informative. I was not aware about the kata vs kumite debate. I will look more into it. Regarding your points, I agree and disagree.

1. Bad Kata is indeed a problem of dojos and not of the art itself. I haven't been in any japanese dojos but I would think that the quality of the exercise is higher. The criticism with kata, as i see it, is that there can be dojos that train kata in a proper way and dojos that don't. The kumite approach, it seems like it would remove this obstacle.
2. I have read that atemi is very important to aikido. I do not believe it makes any sense not to train it properly, in the boundaries of the art. Sounds wrong. It either is important or not.
3. Perhaps you are right. My comparison is with other internal m.a. like taiji and chen hsin, though, which really focus on the internal workings of the body and relationships (intrinsic strength, IP/IS) from their conception. To my understanding/ reading and from all the people I have discussed with, the techniques slowly teach you the "internal" of the art. Not the other way around.

Regarding mixing aikido with a non compatible art. I agree with you. Do you believe that Jujitsu would make a good complement, or is that also not compatible in your view?

Blue Buddha
06-23-2014, 05:17 PM
It strikes me that when people complain about atemi in Aikido, they almost never have an explicit criticism.

Take an average woman or lightweight man and have them strike a big person and let's see how the atemi influences them. It is one thing to strike and withhold 80% of strength and 80% speed and another thing to have no power to strike with. i.e. reaching almost your max. power at the above said practice level. To me this is ineffective, which means that in one way or another the person in question needs to raise their power. Power does not necessarily mean body mass (although it helps), but it also means correct technique, alignment of the palm/fist, of the hand, of the elbow, of the body, of the knees, of the foot.

In my conversation with aikidokas I hear sometimes one saying that they do not do this technique in the "old school" way, and I am shown a technique were atemi has been removed. And I am wondering: jujutsu was watered down to aikido, aikido was watered down while it was being spread, and now there is some "new" school of thought that decides that it is better to not to use atemi (i am generalising here, but you get my point).

So, here you have it. Is there any chance that the people with high ranks, who are modernising aikido are actually harming it?

Blue Buddha
06-23-2014, 05:33 PM
When uke stands in hamni and grabs your wrist it is not an attack, you are not defending, it is a connection exercise. Your assignment is to learn how to lock, destabilize, and move meat, bones and gristle. You will do this with meat in all sizes, shapes, colors, densities, flexibilities, intents, and assorted meat connectedness skill levels. Eventually you will learn how to disturb the grey matter which controls that meat, but until you learn to move meat you best concentrate mostly on that.

Other exercises involve moving objects, multiple people walking toward you with their hands out. Your assignment is to avoid, then parry these ships in the night so you learn to see all the ships, avoid collisions and pass them without leaving a wake. Learning to see and move to the negative spaces; intuitively so the conscious mind is free for other things.

We teach you how to walk; you thought you already know how to do that, silly rabbit. You will get lessons, both explicit and implicit, in etiquette, philosophy, ethics, and humanity…with sweat, you will fall down and go boom ad infinitum. You must learn balance, structure and control both mental and physical before we trust you with anything resembling reality. A broken nose is stuffy, a broken elbow is forever.

As always it is fascinating so see how a random beginner can tie up and engage a few collective centuries of martial experience with a simple sentence or two. It speaks to our willingness to teach, share and debate our art(s). It also illuminates certain sensitivities inside, and most likely due, to our big tent. In another time you would be kneeling outside the gate, in the rain, for a few months before we even answered the door and allowed you to sweep the floor. Our collective willingness to share is a benefit of our humanity and modernity but every once and a while … (deep sigh) ahhh the good old days.

Many thanks! You sure have a nice way with words. For this kind of promising insight I would consider the gate in the rain... for a couple of hours :)

Cliff Judge
06-23-2014, 08:46 PM
Take an average woman or lightweight man and have them strike a big person and let's see how the atemi influences them. It is one thing to strike and withhold 80% of strength and 80% speed and another thing to have no power to strike with. i.e. reaching almost your max. power at the above said practice level. To me this is ineffective, which means that in one way or another the person in question needs to raise their power. Power does not necessarily mean body mass (although it helps), but it also means correct technique, alignment of the palm/fist, of the hand, of the elbow, of the body, of the knees, of the foot.

In my conversation with aikidokas I hear sometimes one saying that they do not do this technique in the "old school" way, and I am shown a technique were atemi has been removed. And I am wondering: jujutsu was watered down to aikido, aikido was watered down while it was being spread, and now there is some "new" school of thought that decides that it is better to not to use atemi (i am generalising here, but you get my point).

So, here you have it. Is there any chance that the people with high ranks, who are modernising aikido are actually harming it?

Hmm.

First of all….Aikido's martial roots were arts were striking with the hand or the foot was a very last-ditch, its-probably-pointless kind of thing. If delivering a powerful blow were incorporated into Aikido, that would be modernization.

There was a technical syllabus that Osensei taught at the Asahi Shimbun in the 1930s that was quite "hard" and involved lots of explicit atemi. The Takumakai maintains this. This is considered by many to be the very golden age of brutal, deadly, ass-kicking (proto-)Aikido, though I have my doubts that this was not basically a temporary digression.

It is interesting that you suggest a small person try to hit a large person, because I think most people who begin Aikido training have considered that scenario and find it futile and ridiculous. If not, they take up an art where people spend most of their time learning how to deliver power in a strike. If they are going to hit a larger person, and they can deliver 80% of their strength, what happens when the larger person hits them and delivers 80%? It is still not a great situation to be in.

I think you found the real point when you talked learning how to use the body efficiently to deliver power in a strike. You mention proper technique, and aligning the body in a chain from the ground to the fist. Here is something to think about: it takes practice to teach one's body to naturally form that chain and transfer the power. Aikido movement also requires lots of practice to teach one's body to naturally form these types of "chains" to properly execute Aikido technique.

What if I told you that the physical component - how to train the body to move and transfer power in a certain way - was quite different between turning, blending Aikido movement and an effective, efficient strike? But that this was only the case for a period of ten years or so. And that ultimately there is mental component - one that enters, penetrates, and overcomes - which is common to both types of art?

Mert Gambito
06-24-2014, 01:14 AM
Hi Mert, i read your post http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22255 which I found very interesting.
Amo,

Thanks for taking the time to read that thread. You may also find this thread interesting, in a similar vein: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23196

Saying that, it does make me wonder about why people suddenly discovered the intrinsic powers of the art in the label of IP/AS and specific seminars on it. Weren't they supposed to be included in the art from the beginning?
Again, I think it's interesting that Peter Goldsbury got a straightforward answer from the Aikikai hombu top brass, as related in here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23596 (the topic of which I'm sure will resonate with you, based on the feelings you've expressed in this current thread). In particular:
I have asked Doshu and other Hombu teachers whether Morihei Ueshiba did IP training and the answer was yes, but with the rider that he never taught it: he left this type of training to students who perceived it and wanted to do it. The corollary was (is) that this type of training should be a complement to one's 'kihon' training, but not a substitute for it.

Ergo, we get Gozo Shioda (Daito-ryu Kodokai), Koichi Tohei and Hiroshi Tada (Tempu Nakamura), Tetsutaka Sugawara (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/tetsutaka-sugawara-aikido-taiji/) (Chen-style Taijiquan), to name a few; and a bunch of folks today ranging in rank and prominence following this shugyo tradition and undertaking IT with Dan Harden, Minoru Akuzawa, Mike Sigman, Sam Chin and others, as Peter discusses a bit later in that thread: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=336927&postcount=87. The entire post is worth reading for the purposes of addressing your question, but for convenience, I'll pull this quote as well:

In any case, did Doshu and the other Hombu teachers indicate an acceptance that extant IP training continues via sources outside of the Aikikai (and/or has such a thing as sanctioned IP training expressly designed as a complement to kihon training internal to the Aikikai evolved, even if relatively clandestine and limited to individuals vs. being system wide)?
PAG. I am not sure that acceptance is the right word here. Sufferance might be more appropriate. One of the yudansha who trains with the group I look after in the Netherlands attends the workshops of Dan Harden and Minoru Akuzawa when they come to Europe. His aikido comes from another source, of course, but on one occasion a senior Hombu instructor stopped and asked him, "Why are you so strong?" The question was not meant in a negative sense at all and he was not talking about physical strength. The instructor knew exactly what he was seeing and I believe the older generation of instructors in Japan also know this. But, as you say, this knowledge is clandestine and limited to individuals. These individuals are in the Aikikai, but are dwindling in number.

The more I think about it, if we are to take "99%" at face value, what else could "atemi" mean? There are other words in the arsenal of Japanese martial arts nomenclature that would be a better fit for philosophical and tactical components of one's interpretation of the art that are not a literal form of physical contact that disrupts the uke's/opponent's body/"mi".*

Anyway, if you feel a need to go outside of aikido to develop atemi and/or IP as separate or synonymous aspects of your aikido, history (e.g. Gozo Shioda [Daito-ryu Kodokai], Koichi Tohei and Hiroshi Tada [Tempu Nakamura], Tetsutaka Sugawara (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/tetsutaka-sugawara-aikido-taiji/) [Chen-style Taijiquan]), to name a few prominent exponents during the current and past century) and the current leadership of the Aikikai hombu would at least suffer, if not embrace, such a decision.

For my part, as indicated in the thread you referenced above, I'm enjoying exploring how the various branches and descendant arts of Daito-ryu, as a subset of budo, are common yet different. Within that subset, Ueshiba is not alone in declaring atemi as central to a given art. In Hakkoryu, for example, atemi are literal attacks to meridians and pressure points: some involve leverage of a limb against a tsubo to impart the atemi, while others are hand strikes or kicks; and the "99%" rule could literally apply, since contact with one or meridians during a technique is virtually a given, so that contact is exploited in various ways. So, how to reconcile arts within the Daito-ryu subset that literally deliver strikes to parts of the body with those arts that don't (to keep the comparison clear and concise, regarding aikido we're talking vanilla Aikikai kihon waza here, as mentioned in the "pure" aikido thread, not henka of aikido waza fitting in, for example, a kick or a haymaker, vis-a-vis Hakkoryu or Daito-ryu kihon waza)? IP is the glue that binds in this regard.

* I keep thinking this thread would benefit from Peter, Chris Li or someone else fluent in native interpretations of Japanese martial arts nomenclature to break down the various semantics of "当て身".

lbb
06-24-2014, 07:14 AM
Take an average woman or lightweight man and have them strike a big person and let's see how the atemi influences them.

Do you really think that a small person will have no "influence" on a big person if they strike them? Perhaps that's true if you believe that the mechanics of "striking" involve trying to move someone's entire body mass. I can't say that I ever experienced this approach to "striking" when I studied striking arts. Looking at "striking" another way, I think you will find that if a strike is directed at someone's jaw, their entire body mass will move itself in a most gratifyingly rapid and conclusive manner -- even if the person applying that strike is smaller.

jonreading
06-24-2014, 08:12 AM
This has been very informative. I was not aware about the kata vs kumite debate. I will look more into it. Regarding your points, I agree and disagree.

1. Bad Kata is indeed a problem of dojos and not of the art itself. I haven't been in any japanese dojos but I would think that the quality of the exercise is higher. The criticism with kata, as i see it, is that there can be dojos that train kata in a proper way and dojos that don't. The kumite approach, it seems like it would remove this obstacle.
2. I have read that atemi is very important to aikido. I do not believe it makes any sense not to train it properly, in the boundaries of the art. Sounds wrong. It either is important or not.
3. Perhaps you are right. My comparison is with other internal m.a. like taiji and chen hsin, though, which really focus on the internal workings of the body and relationships (intrinsic strength, IP/IS) from their conception. To my understanding/ reading and from all the people I have discussed with, the techniques slowly teach you the "internal" of the art. Not the other way around.

Regarding mixing aikido with a non compatible art. I agree with you. Do you believe that Jujitsu would make a good complement, or is that also not compatible in your view?

In your original post, you referred to the absence of kumite as a criticism of aikido. The absence of kumite is not an equivalent criticism of the quality of kata you have observed in a dojo. Kumite is a different kind of training, not better, not worse. It will address some failings in kata training and it will create some failings that are addressed by kata training. My point is simply that both have their place in training and the randori training we have is only part of the larger education.

As for your comments about atemi... Aikido is a large tent that is inclusive of many different people with many different perspectives. I happen to believe that aiki is a foundation training. The striking style into which I put my aiki is a secondary training. To Mert's point, aiki is the attack. We happen to practice striking in our dojo for this reason, using pads. But, there are those in aikido who do not - as long as they can express aiki, who is to say they are wrong? The art is aiki do. Don't mistake the jujutsu facade of curriculum for what we are doing. The curriculum is just a common set of movements to give us something into which we can express aiki.

Speaking personally to your points as a whole... Aikido is packaged to be tangible and accessible to a variety of practitioners. While the methodology may work from this aggregate perspective, it leads something to be desired on the individual level. It is an internal art that is not taught as an internal art. Aikiweb has a number of threads on this debate. Holding similar questions from my younger days, my best advice is to look at other dojos. You want to inherit aikido from an individual that has the goods, not an organization processing students.

Personally, I prefer judo and karate to jujutsu. My issue with jujutsu is that the technical instruction is similar enough to our kansetsu waza that it is very easy to never transcend jujutsu in your training. I think if you find a good internal CMA, that is also beneficial if you can deal with the cultural differences. I think it has already been pointed out, but remember you are not the first person to ask these questions. You will not be the first person to find a path to aiki if you scrutinize your training.

Blue Buddha
06-24-2014, 08:57 AM
Hmm.

First of all….Aikido's martial roots were arts were striking with the hand or the foot was a very last-ditch, its-probably-pointless kind of thing. If delivering a powerful blow were incorporated into Aikido, that would be modernization.

There was a technical syllabus that Osensei taught at the Asahi Shimbun in the 1930s that was quite "hard" and involved lots of explicit atemi. The Takumakai maintains this. This is considered by many to be the very golden age of brutal, deadly, ass-kicking (proto-)Aikido, though I have my doubts that this was not basically a temporary digression.

It is my understanding that Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, being the root of Aikido, was using striking techniques and powerful blows as a norm. I don't see any modernization here. As a quick reference : http://www.blackbeltmag.com/daily/traditional-martial-arts-training/aikido/daito-ryu-aikijujutsu-vs-aikido/


It is interesting that you suggest a small person try to hit a large person, because I think most people who begin Aikido training have considered that scenario and find it futile and ridiculous. If not, they take up an art where people spend most of their time learning how to deliver power in a strike. If they are going to hit a larger person, and they can deliver 80% of their strength, what happens when the larger person hits them and delivers 80%? It is still not a great situation to be in.

I believe the opposite to be true. The clubs promote Aikido as a system that is not based on physical strength, therefore less strong people can effectively confront larger people. And I think this is the main, popular (and dangerous) appeal of Aikido. That is, nice people who are not out seeking fights, who are not lifting weights, who are in a far from perfect physical form, who want to learn to protect themselves in a gentle, moral way. Which is fine - if/when it works. I mean ok, even skinny Shaolin monks or skinny muy thai people, can confront large guys, but what training do they have and what strength lies beneath their skinny-ness. Can the same be said about 2-3 year trained lightweight aikidokas?

I am not a proponent of violence, but I am seeking -and questioning - the martial elements of my art, which I do like.

There is a clip on youtube, a jujitsu lightweight fighting a really strong bodybuilder. What I find interesting in it is that the atemis he used, with the intention of disorienting, disrupting the opponent's body/mind, simply work. Of course in his system, he trained to use these strikes.


I think you found the real point when you talked learning how to use the body efficiently to deliver power in a strike. You mention proper technique, and aligning the body in a chain from the ground to the fist. Here is something to think about: it takes practice to teach one's body to naturally form that chain and transfer the power. Aikido movement also requires lots of practice to teach one's body to naturally form these types of "chains" to properly execute Aikido technique.

Again, you say "it takes practice to teach one's body" and I am with you on that. It does take a lot of practice and to me it is a very pleasant journey, to learn to align the body properly for the most effective use (here strikes). But, does it ever start? Not in my experience. Not in the experience of other aikidokas I talk with. This "striking effectiveness" has been consciously left out from Aikido. It started with O Sensei (in a sense) and is further watered down, nowadays, by the majority dojos.
Perhaps you are lucky, but I have yet to find a dojo where atemi is taught in relation to the alignment of the body. To be honest, the only corrections to students regarding atemi is in relation to the Jim Carrey video - that is how to "properly" attack so that the nage can react. Not a word about alignment or effectiveness...


What if I told you that the physical component - how to train the body to move and transfer power in a certain way - was quite different between turning, blending Aikido movement and an effective, efficient strike? But that this was only the case for a period of ten years or so. And that ultimately there is mental component - one that enters, penetrates, and overcomes - which is common to both types of art?

This is a very nice analogy. I believe so too that after 10 years of "proper" training there is an expansion of understanding of the dynamics involved, solutions etc. Definitely. But please notice that I mention "proper". It is more often the case than not, that illusions are being fed in the dojo environment that are difficult to overcome. Unless someone has an enquiring bug, or a proper 10 year training as you described, or worst a failed self defence by applying things that worked in the dojo.

Blue Buddha
06-24-2014, 09:06 AM
Amo,

Thanks for taking the time to read that thread. You may also find this thread interesting, in a similar vein: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23196

Again, I think it's interesting that Peter Goldsbury got a straightforward answer from the Aikikai hombu top brass, as related in here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23596 (the topic of which I'm sure will resonate with you, based on the feelings you've expressed in this current thread). In particular:

Ergo, we get Gozo Shioda (Daito-ryu Kodokai), Koichi Tohei and Hiroshi Tada (Tempu Nakamura), Tetsutaka Sugawara (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/tetsutaka-sugawara-aikido-taiji/) (Chen-style Taijiquan), to name a few; and a bunch of folks today ranging in rank and prominence following this shugyo tradition and undertaking IT with Dan Harden, Minoru Akuzawa, Mike Sigman, Sam Chin and others, as Peter discusses a bit later in that thread: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=336927&postcount=87. The entire post is worth reading for the purposes of addressing your question, but for convenience, I'll pull this quote as well:

The more I think about it, if we are to take "99%" at face value, what else could "atemi" mean? There are other words in the arsenal of Japanese martial arts nomenclature that would be a better fit for philosophical and tactical components of one's interpretation of the art that are not a literal form of physical contact that disrupts the uke's/opponent's body/"mi".*

Anyway, if you feel a need to go outside of aikido to develop atemi and/or IP as separate or synonymous aspects of your aikido, history (e.g. Gozo Shioda [Daito-ryu Kodokai], Koichi Tohei and Hiroshi Tada [Tempu Nakamura], Tetsutaka Sugawara (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/tetsutaka-sugawara-aikido-taiji/) [Chen-style Taijiquan]), to name a few prominent exponents during the current and past century) and the current leadership of the Aikikai hombu would at least suffer, if not embrace, such a decision.

For my part, as indicated in the thread you referenced above, I'm enjoying exploring how the various branches and descendant arts of Daito-ryu, as a subset of budo, are common yet different. Within that subset, Ueshiba is not alone in declaring atemi as central to a given art. In Hakkoryu, for example, atemi are literal attacks to meridians and pressure points: some involve leverage of a limb against a tsubo to impart the atemi, while others are hand strikes or kicks; and the "99%" rule could literally apply, since contact with one or meridians during a technique is virtually a given, so that contact is exploited in various ways. So, how to reconcile arts within the Daito-ryu subset that literally deliver strikes to parts of the body with those arts that don't (to keep the comparison clear and concise, regarding aikido we're talking vanilla Aikikai kihon waza here, as mentioned in the "pure" aikido thread, not henka of aikido waza fitting in, for example, a kick or a haymaker, vis-a-vis Hakkoryu or Daito-ryu kihon waza)? IP is the glue that binds in this regard.

* I keep thinking this thread would benefit from Peter, Chris Li or someone else fluent in native interpretations of Japanese martial arts nomenclature to break down the various semantics of "当て身".

Thank you Mert, this is very informative. I will definitely read the other threads. It is interesting, I have heard from teachers in the past that O sensei was keeping things to himself. It is a pity really to think that an energy based martial art is abstracted by the very core elements that make it powerful. It is of course a good thing that the option to learn IP still exists, although in reality it is not so practical with limited time, limited workshops etc.

Blue Buddha
06-24-2014, 09:18 AM
Do you really think that a small person will have no "influence" on a big person if they strike them? Perhaps that's true if you believe that the mechanics of "striking" involve trying to move someone's entire body mass. I can't say that I ever experienced this approach to "striking" when I studied striking arts. Looking at "striking" another way, I think you will find that if a strike is directed at someone's jaw, their entire body mass will move itself in a most gratifyingly rapid and conclusive manner -- even if the person applying that strike is smaller.

This way of looking is good enough to me. My only objection is that "rapid", "conclusive", "jaw targeting" or ANY other efficient mechanics is not being taught.

Looking at neighbouring threads it seems that besides the efficiency in atemi many are also questioning the defensive techniques in a boxing attack.

lbb
06-24-2014, 09:52 AM
This way of looking is good enough to me. My only objection is that "rapid", "conclusive", "jaw targeting" or ANY other efficient mechanics is not being taught.

I'm not sure that they should be or need to be. If the purpose of the atemi is to distract or unbalance, getting a hand in someone's face is generally sufficient -- it does not have to be "conclusive", as the goal is to create an opening, and once again, being female and/or small is neither here nor there. And if the purpose of the atemi is a knockout, complaining that "rapid" "conclusive" "jaw targeting" knockouts aren't taught in an aikido class is a bit like complaining that plant propagation techniques aren't being taught in a physics class.

kewms
06-24-2014, 11:03 AM
Take an average woman or lightweight man and have them strike a big person and let's see how the atemi influences them. It is one thing to strike and withhold 80% of strength and 80% speed and another thing to have no power to strike with. i.e. reaching almost your max. power at the above said practice level.

As an average-sized woman, in my experience the power of the strike doesn't actually have much to do with its effectiveness as an atemi. Location and intent matter, but power doesn't.

Katherine

Blue Buddha
06-24-2014, 11:44 AM
In your original post, you referred to the absence of kumite as a criticism of aikido. The absence of kumite is not an equivalent criticism of the quality of kata you have observed in a dojo. Kumite is a different kind of training, not better, not worse. It will address some failings in kata training and it will create some failings that are addressed by kata training. My point is simply that both have their place in training and the randori training we have is only part of the larger education.

As for your comments about atemi... Aikido is a large tent that is inclusive of many different people with many different perspectives. I happen to believe that aiki is a foundation training. The striking style into which I put my aiki is a secondary training. To Mert's point, aiki is the attack. We happen to practice striking in our dojo for this reason, using pads. But, there are those in aikido who do not - as long as they can express aiki, who is to say they are wrong? The art is aiki do. Don't mistake the jujutsu facade of curriculum for what we are doing. The curriculum is just a common set of movements to give us something into which we can express aiki.

Speaking personally to your points as a whole... Aikido is packaged to be tangible and accessible to a variety of practitioners. While the methodology may work from this aggregate perspective, it leads something to be desired on the individual level. It is an internal art that is not taught as an internal art. Aikiweb has a number of threads on this debate. Holding similar questions from my younger days, my best advice is to look at other dojos. You want to inherit aikido from an individual that has the goods, not an organization processing students.

Personally, I prefer judo and karate to jujutsu. My issue with jujutsu is that the technical instruction is similar enough to our kansetsu waza that it is very easy to never transcend jujutsu in your training. I think if you find a good internal CMA, that is also bieneficial if you can deal with the cultural differences. I think it has already been pointed out, but remember you are not the first person to ask these questions. You will not be the first person to find a path to aiki if you scrutinize your training.

I think looking at other dojos is a good advice.Also since you don't dissaprove complementary training do you believe wing chun i.e is a better altermative to jujitsu, despite the later sharing movement and techniques?

jonreading
06-24-2014, 12:39 PM
I think looking at other dojos is a good advice.Also since you don't dissaprove complementary training do you believe wing chun i.e is a better altermative to jujitsu, despite the later sharing movement and techniques?

If it's good wing chun, have at it. You should notice significant similarities to aiki training. Just don't conflate the two. In some cases, the Chinese perspective on internal power is going to be a little more clear because they have a robust lexicon for that conversation. The Japanese version of the same training is a little more non-verbal and coaxing, which can make for a longer path.

From my perspective, aiki requires ki, ki requires internal power, internal power requires intent. Until you get to the common expressions of aiki (i.e. the jujutsu curriculum), there is flexibility in your training to develop intent, internal power and ki from a variety of sources. Aikido "aiki" is not unique to aikido, but keep it mind it does has its unique flavor among the internal arts.

Check out Chris Li's blog - he spends some time relating aiki training to Chinese concepts in a few of his posts.

Mert Gambito
06-24-2014, 01:05 PM
Thank you Mert, this is very informative. I will definitely read the other threads. It is interesting, I have heard from teachers in the past that O sensei was keeping things to himself. It is a pity really to think that an energy based martial art is abstracted by the very core elements that make it powerful. It is of course a good thing that the option to learn IP still exists, although in reality it is not so practical with limited time, limited workshops etc.
Amo,

The more you search through threads regarding "IP" vis-a-vis "aiki", the more frustrated you'll get, LOL. That search will take you to multiple forums, where you'll read tome after tome of people belly-aching that all of the traditional internal martial arts suffer from the same problem.

If you feel that the price to attain the power is too high to pay, that's OK. Only a few people per generation, even now, with explicit, proven training IT models, really do the work needed to attain it.

To me, it's simple. Now that the Aikikai has verified that IP is inherent to Ueshiba's aiki, and IP can be identified as a byproduct of the modern IT methodologies by those still alive who've trained with Morihei Ueshiba as well as current senior hombu instructors, well -- if you wanna become adept at aikido, you make the efforts to undertake IT shugyo like all the others who're noted for being not just competent, but transcendent.

Cliff Judge
06-24-2014, 03:40 PM
It is my understanding that Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, being the root of Aikido, was using striking techniques and powerful blows as a norm. I don't see any modernization here. As a quick reference : http://www.blackbeltmag.com/daily/traditional-martial-arts-training/aikido/daito-ryu-aikijujutsu-vs-aikido/

The author of that article is not credible.

Blue Buddha
06-24-2014, 03:53 PM
Thank you all for your contribution, it has been very informative and there is a lot of info to digest. :)

kewms
06-24-2014, 05:51 PM
A thought to consider. Judo and boxing have weight classes for a reason.

Out in the real world, you probably don't have to worry much about smaller, weaker people attacking you (unless they have weapons, which is a whole other issue). It's the big guys you need to worry about, and that means that you're always going to be at a disadvantage in terms of physical power. Training can offset that, but only up to a point. Sugar Ray Leonard is never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Muhammad Ali.

So maybe asking about how to get better at hitting is the wrong question. Maybe a more profitable inquiry would be to figure out why so many aikidoka -- some of them very senior and very well respected outside the art -- view hitting as unnecessary. Start from the assumption that they *aren't* all clueless bozos, and see where that takes you.

Katherine

Mert Gambito
06-24-2014, 06:12 PM
It is my understanding that Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, being the root of Aikido, was using striking techniques and powerful blows as a norm. I don't see any modernization here. As a quick reference : http://www.blackbeltmag.com/daily/tr...tsu-vs-aikido/
The author of that article is not credible.
Yeah, I don't care for the article either. For example, I'm trying to make heads and tails out of this: "Daito-ryu aikijujutsu is one such splinter style that has somehow managed to adhere to the traditional teachings of its core style forerunner (daito-ryu) and its predecessor (aiki)."

That said, I agree that in general that Daito-ryu incorporates ample striking (at that, striking is a subset of atemi utilized in Daito-ryu): for example, it's utilized throughout the Hiden Mokuroku techniques, if one requires a canned reference (sample waza: http://youtu.be/bvla9IRwtb8), and the body movements built on spiraling set up ample opportunities for striking in free-form application. As with any art, the efficacy of the strikes depends on the degree to which the atemi-waza is applied and tested with resistance within and outside of the waza.

Mert Gambito
06-25-2014, 12:24 AM
So maybe asking about how to get better at hitting is the wrong question. Maybe a more profitable inquiry would be to figure out why so many aikidoka -- some of them very senior and very well respected outside the art -- view hitting as unnecessary. Start from the assumption that they *aren't* all clueless bozos, and see where that takes you.
Katherine,

You don't have to name names (though that would help for context, if you're so inclined), but is this to say that these senior aikidoka view hitting as never being necessary in any scenario within or outside of the dojo, up to and including self defense? I'm asking for clarification because the OP is putting a premium on atemi for effectiveness outside of the cooperative confines of much of modern aikido.

Setting aside arts and styles, if someone's not willing to at least do something common sense like stomp on someone's foot or poke an eye to help get out of harm's way and see the next sunrise, well, good luck with that.

lbb
06-25-2014, 09:17 AM
A thought to consider. Judo and boxing have weight classes for a reason.

Out in the real world, you probably don't have to worry much about smaller, weaker people attacking you (unless they have weapons, which is a whole other issue). It's the big guys you need to worry about, and that means that you're always going to be at a disadvantage in terms of physical power. Training can offset that, but only up to a point. Sugar Ray Leonard is never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Muhammad Ali.

So maybe asking about how to get better at hitting is the wrong question. Maybe a more profitable inquiry would be to figure out why so many aikidoka -- some of them very senior and very well respected outside the art -- view hitting as unnecessary. Start from the assumption that they *aren't* all clueless bozos, and see where that takes you.

I agree with your observation on who's likely to attack you, but I'm not sure I agree with your conclusion. There are weight classes in judo and boxing because size is a significant advantage over the course of a regulated match. If you must continue to stand up against a boxer who outweighs you (thus, all other things being equal, produces a more powerful punch) and outreaches you (thus, all other things being equal, lands more punches) for the duration of 12 three-minute rounds, the outcome is less in doubt with each successive encounter.

So, I don't think the size advantage of a likely attacker means that "getting better at hitting" is a useless pursuit if you practice aikido. The problem is in how you go about it, and what you hope to gain from it. It is like any other skill: to be effective, you need a good teacher and a lot of practice. It isn't the function of an aikido dojo to provide the instructional and practice time to serve that need -- even if you have senseis or members who have good striking skills (and many dojos do), that would have the effect of robbing the aikido practice.

As for striking being "unnecessary", that's kind of an odd way to put it. Necessary for what? Unless you qualify that, ultimately nothing is "necessary", not even oxygen -- it's just that without it, there are certain consequences. The same is true of striking skills. I have no doubt that many aikidoka view striking as unnecessary, and also no doubt that for at least some of them, it's true -- their aikido is good enough to be the only tool they need if they are attacked. For the rest of us, I think it's wise to consider how to do effective atemi. That does not have to mean learning how to administer a knockout punch, but it does mean going beyond vague and ineffective hand-waving.

Hilary
06-25-2014, 09:17 AM
So Mert what you are really saying is that you would resort to a two fingered eye poke to pull your nyuck nyucks out of the ringer? I call that the Niagra Falls defense…slowly I turn...

PeterR
06-25-2014, 10:26 AM
It is an interesting point being made about weight classes. In boxing training generally you don't really put too much thought into the weight class of your sparring partners and the same is true for judo. In the latter, where I was weight class only started playing a role in grading competitions after nidan. I would think that there is good reason to train with bigger and stronger partners no matter if you goal is competition or self defense.

The other point, I think already mentioned, is that striking evolved differently in Japanese jujutsu. Percussive strikes are somewhat foreign and tend to be delivered during the course of the encounter (i.e.. after connection has been made) rather than an exchange/avoidance of blows. IMHO trying to graft boxing punches onto aikido is self defeating and would cause a degradation in both.

jonreading
06-25-2014, 11:40 AM
I have heard several individuals make the qualified claim that the explicit use of atemi is not required to train aikido, provided uke respected the implied use of atemi. George Ledyard's article on striking still remains one of the best articles on atemi; in it he not only advocates for its presence in aikido, but outlines the uses of atemi in training. Separating the absence of striking knowledge from the abstinence of striking is important, too.

Second, I think there is distinction between [your] ability to receive force and [your] ability to exert force. Striking is an exertion of force. The assumption of predatory response is going to suggest that victim selection is based upon a favorable odds of success. To avoid victimization, we do what we can to tips the odds. Striking is a tactic can can do this, independent of our ability to receive abuse during the attack.

Third, the physical advantages of size and power are important considerations. The separation of weight and power is common not just in combat sports, but athletics in general. Also, there is also separation by experience in combat sports and athletics. So we are not just claiming that you cannot be bigger or stronger, but also more experienced. We sometimes do not give this the proper consideration because a PR point of aikido is the fact that "size does not matter."

Aikido is a creative solution to deal with that fact that God cursed me to be average size, which puts me on the radar for predators. The best I can do is work towards keeping that scale tipped in my favor.

kewms
06-25-2014, 12:12 PM
You don't have to name names (though that would help for context, if you're so inclined), but is this to say that these senior aikidoka view hitting as never being necessary in any scenario within or outside of the dojo, up to and including self defense? I'm asking for clarification because the OP is putting a premium on atemi for effectiveness outside of the cooperative confines of much of modern aikido.

Setting aside arts and styles, if someone's not willing to at least do something common sense like stomp on someone's foot or poke an eye to help get out of harm's way and see the next sunrise, well, good luck with that.

I don't think any of the teachers I have in mind would object to foot stomps or eye pokes. OTOH, I don't think they would devote a lot of dojo time to teaching eye pokes, either.

Which is sort of my point. Aikido is not karate. Even in the most atemi-focused dojos, striking is seen as a way to facilitate the successful application of *aikido* techniques and principles, not as an end in itself. Perhaps the OP's time would be better spent figuring out why that is the case.

In my own experience, having the positioning and alignment that I would need to strike successfully dramatically reduces the chance that I will actually need to use an atemi. So I see the OP's focus on inflicting damage as somewhat missing the point of atemi in the aikido context.

Katherine

kewms
06-25-2014, 12:17 PM
As for striking being "unnecessary", that's kind of an odd way to put it. Necessary for what? Unless you qualify that, ultimately nothing is "necessary", not even oxygen -- it's just that without it, there are certain consequences. The same is true of striking skills. I have no doubt that many aikidoka view striking as unnecessary, and also no doubt that for at least some of them, it's true -- their aikido is good enough to be the only tool they need if they are attacked. For the rest of us, I think it's wise to consider how to do effective atemi. That does not have to mean learning how to administer a knockout punch, but it does mean going beyond vague and ineffective hand-waving.

Absolutely agree. I think my point is that you don't get to a place where striking is unnecessary by focusing on how to break boards (or jaws). What role does atemi play in successful technique? If teacher X takes out (overt) atemi and his technique still works, what's going on?

Katherine

kewms
06-25-2014, 12:20 PM
It is an interesting point being made about weight classes. In boxing training generally you don't really put too much thought into the weight class of your sparring partners and the same is true for judo. In the latter, where I was weight class only started playing a role in grading competitions after nidan. I would think that there is good reason to train with bigger and stronger partners no matter if you goal is competition or self defense.

Oh, I agree. But one of the things you learn by doing that is that strength and (physical) power don't help much if the other person has more of them, and therefore relying on them in a self defense situation is extremely unwise.

Katherine

kewms
06-25-2014, 12:23 PM
I have heard several individuals make the qualified claim that the explicit use of atemi is not required to train aikido, provided uke respected the implied use of atemi. George Ledyard's article on striking still remains one of the best articles on atemi; in it he not only advocates for its presence in aikido, but outlines the uses of atemi in training. Separating the absence of striking knowledge from the abstinence of striking is important, too.

Full disclosure: I currently train at Ledyard Sensei's dojo.

Ob disclaimer: My opinions are my own, and he may or may not agree with them.

Katherine

kewms
06-25-2014, 12:42 PM
Second, I think there is distinction between [your] ability to receive force and [your] ability to exert force. Striking is an exertion of force. The assumption of predatory response is going to suggest that victim selection is based upon a favorable odds of success. To avoid victimization, we do what we can to tips the odds. Striking is a tactic can can do this, independent of our ability to receive abuse during the attack.

Not sure I follow this. If you're in a situation where striking is appropriate, victim selection has already occurred: the attacker is within striking range and has committed some overtly threatening act.

Katherine

Blue Buddha
06-25-2014, 01:01 PM
Katherine,

You don't have to name names (though that would help for context, if you're so inclined), but is this to say that these senior aikidoka view hitting as never being necessary in any scenario within or outside of the dojo, up to and including self defense? I'm asking for clarification because the OP is putting a premium on atemi for effectiveness outside of the cooperative confines of much of modern aikido.

Setting aside arts and styles, if someone's not willing to at least do something common sense like stomp on someone's foot or poke an eye to help get out of harm's way and see the next sunrise, well, good luck with that.

Exactly this, "outside of the cooperative confines of much of modern aikido".

What I find interesting is that even in the internal CMA, the element of striking exists. And it is a really a big misconception (not a criticism addressed to anyone in this thread, just an observation) to assert that not striking is a philosophical/spiritual thing and this seems one of the things that might make many aikidokas (especially beginners) feel in a way "morally superior".

Bringing in the senior aikidokas, I think it avoids the question. In this example we can talk about an "attacker" who is also senior in another fighting system, and to my understanding people who reach a certain level in their MA training become more understanding/wise towards the triviality of a street fight...Senior aikidokas are another breed. Since the post has to do with a self defence situation, it makes little sense to talk about a 10 year long education, just to achieve (only) that skill set.

Regarding "the cooperative confines": It is broadly accepted, that outside the cooperative confines of the JJJ dojos, 2nd belts in BJJ can successfully take down black belts in JJJ. Even Randori is strictly outlined. Personally, I do not have any boxing skills, but I do have a strong sense of balance and used to have a very good awareness (both skills gained from my former Cheng Hsin training). Now, I am pretty sure, if I protect my balance and raise my awareness and start boxing, very few Shodans in my dojo will be able to defend properly. In a recent training in the dojo, with knife attacks, the nage could simply not perform the technique, because I didn't want to give my balance away. And you know what the nage said? I was not "committed" enough.. Apparently, the cooperative confines of Aikido need an uke who has no sense of their body, balance and improvisation abilities. and this is called "committed". In my dictionary, committed means a person who does all they can in their abilities to perform something. And giving my balance away, or leaving my hand/arm hanging forever (instead of pulling back) for nage to grab is not commitment. It is illusion. I know this will come back to the necessity of Kata discussion, but the problem is that even in Randori, neither real commitment nor real atemi is used.

I read recently an account of the fight between Wong Jack Man (Northern Saolin) and Bruce Lee (Wing Chun) The essence I gained from it was the actual moral superiority of Wong who (apparently) could use his system's more offensive techniques, but decided not to do so. And this is a behaviour from someone trained in a hard, physical, external style. (http://www.kungfu.net/brucelee.html)

I think it was Jon who noted in a neighbouring thread that Aikido is an education and its ethos comes from those who teach it. I used to consider the hard arts, without any ethos, but I was wrong. The fact that a more aggressive group of people was/is drown to them does not diminish their quality (I am talking about the eastern MA external and internal).

To me the only valid point that can be made, is in terms of the integration of striking to the mechanics of the Aikido movement. If it degrades the other aspects of the art, it obviously has no place in it. But I cannot express any opinion on that as I am not that advanced.

Sorry for the long post. Rainy day. :)

kewms
06-25-2014, 01:08 PM
Now, I am pretty sure, if I protect my balance and raise my awareness and start boxing, very few Shodans in my dojo will be able to defend properly. In a recent training in the dojo, with knife attacks, the nage could simply not perform the technique, because I didn't want to give my balance away. And you know what the nage said? I was not "committed" enough.. Apparently, the cooperative confines of Aikido need an uke who has no sense of their body, balance and improvisation abilities. and this is called "committed". In my dictionary, committed means a person who does all they can in their abilities to perform something. And giving my balance away, or leaving my hand/arm hanging forever (instead of pulling back) for nage to grab is not commitment. It is illusion. I know this will come back to the necessity of Kata discussion, but the problem is that even in Randori, neither real commitment nor real atemi is used.

And here we come back to the difference between the limitations of your own dojo and the limits of the art itself. Aikido does not require that uke be an idiot. If your dojo does, then you need to be training somewhere else.

(With the caveat, of course, that uke should tune his attack to the level of his partner.)

Katherine

Blue Buddha
06-25-2014, 01:14 PM
So I see the OP's focus on inflicting damage as somewhat missing the point of atemi in the aikido context.
Katherine

My point is precisely what was noted on the post just above yours, "Separating the absence of striking knowledge from the abstinence of striking is important, too."

We don't have to dwell in a fragmental either/or mental place, where it is either ethereal, circular, graceful movements or damage, destruction, incapacitation.

kewms
06-25-2014, 01:14 PM
Since the post has to do with a self defence situation, it makes little sense to talk about a 10 year long education, just to achieve (only) that skill set.

Well, it doesn't make any sense to talk about "self defense situations" as a general class at all, since the number of variables is so huge. Skills that are perfectly adequate to handle a belligerent drunk in a bar might fail completely against an armed assailant in a domestic violence or home invasion scenario.

Katherine

jonreading
06-25-2014, 01:34 PM
Not sure I follow this. If you're in a situation where striking is appropriate, victim selection has already occurred: the attacker is within striking range and has committed some overtly threatening act.

Katherine

Not necessarily. There is the obvious action that I may initiate the strike as a preemptive means of controlling the situation. Also, just because the preventive decision did not come out in your favor doesn't mean you cannot strive to change back those odds to your favor.

If you fail the initial preventative decision (i.e. you are attacked), there still exists a duration of time during the attack when you can deter the attack (i.e. fight back). The duration of time is dependent upon your ability to withstand punishment before you become incapacitated (or the attack ends). This is your "self-defense" time. The focus of your actions has shifted from preventing an attack to deterring the continuation of an attack. It is during this period you have an opportunity to convince the attacker the cost is greater than the benefit (i.e. stop attacking).

kewms
06-25-2014, 02:15 PM
Not necessarily. There is the obvious action that I may initiate the strike as a preemptive means of controlling the situation.

This might be tactically desirable, but puts you on pretty shaky legal ground. If you initiate the strike, it is no longer "self defense."

Katherine

Demetrio Cereijo
06-25-2014, 02:16 PM
Mr. Hist

Step 1: Stop training aikido for the next ten years.

Step 2: Spend these ten years training seriously in judo and boxing; you'll obtain the foundational physical and psychological skills and attributes required.

Step 3: Go back to aikido.

And that's all you need.

Janet Rosen
06-25-2014, 02:25 PM
In my own experience, having the positioning and alignment that I would need to strike successfully dramatically reduces the chance that I will actually need to use an atemi.

That's how I feel. At each moment, is my position and structure optimal relative to my partner? If I *could* attack well, then yes. If my *partner* could attack well, then no.

Hilary
06-25-2014, 02:25 PM
Ok this has really turned into everybody defining boundaries for what they think Aikido is and is not. What’s in the club or not, and under what circumstances, and do they have their passports? Can you say Balkanization. We have so much hair splitting going on I find this thread in dire need of some serious conditioner; Fructis anyone?

In our little corner of the tent we think if you maintain one point, if you put no power at the point of contact, if you remain loose, relaxed and follow the principles, it is aikido no matter if you are engaging in randori, drinking a cup of tea or wrangling a toddler. Aikido is a state of body, mind, and being, not a collection of techniques that may or may not include the forbidden dance.

Yes most basic atemi is utilized to control rather than damage uke, but a knee to face half way through kaiten nage really refreshes my day; why the limitations. As to atemi I always liked this guy and he smiles the whole way through. I bet he serves cake at the end of class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut2ttM10Wik

lbb
06-25-2014, 03:31 PM
Oh, I agree. But one of the things you learn by doing that is that strength and (physical) power don't help much if the other person has more of them, and therefore relying on them in a self defense situation is extremely unwise.

Well, yeah, but striking doesn't rely on strength and physical power -- not if you're doing it right. Ref. the point I made earlier: you don't have to be very strong or hit someone very hard, if you hit them in the right place.

Sojourner
06-25-2014, 07:50 PM
But one of the things you learn by doing that is that strength and (physical) power don't help much if the other person has more of them, and therefore relying on them in a self defense situation is extremely unwise.

Katherine

Hi Katherine,

The point that I would like to make is that whilst it’s fair to say that atemi striking is effective with strong physical power, that is not true in all cases. Atemi points are the weakest points in the body and injuring them does not in all cases need a great deal of force. In Atemi Jujitsu we are trained to strike at the side of the kneecap with a Muay Thai styled kick which needs very little force to take someone’s kneecap off. Ribs are often easily broken with the correct style of punch where the knuckles pass between the ribs and enter the rib cage. Throat striking is another effective use of Atemi.

Whilst it’s not Aikido I am aware of a young female who used her Hapkido training (Hapkido like Aikido being from the family tree of Daito Ryu Jujitsu) to defend herself against a rape situation in a local park. She with not a great deal of strength applied a finger lock that broke the assailants fingers, hand, wrist and dislocated the shoulder. She was in tears afterwards, not because someone had tried to assault her, but because of the physical damage that she had done to this person. Granted fingerlocks are not strikes, but they are a good example of atemi used in the correct way for self defence purposes.

Mert Gambito
06-26-2014, 05:18 AM
Arno,

I'll propose the following to you, as my final, final corollary here.

Granted, the aiki greats who learned from Sokaku Takeda were typically versed in multiple budo and/or bujutsu: they were in general well-rounded martial artists. Yet, once they attained high-level efficacy with Daito-ryu IP/aiki, that was all she wrote. Those body skills within their respective flavors of the art had everything inherently needed for goshin-jutsu, and techniques were spontaneously "born", to cite Ueshiba, as necessary to readily dispatch any challenger/uke, regardless of that other person's skill set. Yeah, it sounds like hyperbole, but once you've met people who are living proof that it's not -- well, the choice is yours.

Yet, you suggested this might be too much time and effort earlier. Heck, isn't it a lot easier to train in one thing (the way of aiki), than too many arts simultaneously?

Blue Buddha
06-26-2014, 07:25 AM
Thank you all fot your input. I have more than enough material to think about. In the long run if I could choose only one art (that i had access too), Aikido would be it and it most likely will be. I am hoping that with time, its shortcomings (in relation to my needs) will start to fade away. I might wait a couple of years to become shodan, and see if this changes my perspective on things.

Cliff Judge
06-26-2014, 09:48 AM
Yeah, I don't care for the article either. For example, I'm trying to make heads and tails out of this: "Daito-ryu aikijujutsu is one such splinter style that has somehow managed to adhere to the traditional teachings of its core style forerunner (daito-ryu) and its predecessor (aiki)."

That said, I agree that in general that Daito-ryu incorporates ample striking (at that, striking is a subset of atemi utilized in Daito-ryu): for example, it's utilized throughout the Hiden Mokuroku techniques, if one requires a canned reference (sample waza: http://youtu.be/bvla9IRwtb8), and the body movements built on spiraling set up ample opportunities for striking in free-form application. As with any art, the efficacy of the strikes depends on the degree to which the atemi-waza is applied and tested with resistance within and outside of the waza.

I think it is pertinent to note that the mechanics of deliving power in these strikes - just speaking at an external, muscles-and-skeleton level here - are different than the mechanics of deliving a punch the way one is taught in a puglisitic style.

The point being, teaching the body to hit is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Good Aikido training should teach you how to move into relationships with your partner where you could deliver an effective atemi if you needed to.

lbb
06-26-2014, 10:22 AM
In the long run if I could choose only one art (that i had access too), Aikido would be it and it most likely will be.

In practical terms, as appealing as the idea of studying multiple arts is, one art is all that most of us have time to study seriously.

I am hoping that with time, its shortcomings (in relation to my needs) will start to fade away. I might wait a couple of years to become shodan, and see if this changes my perspective on things.

Whether or not you've become shodan in a couple of years, you probably want to wait a few more years before casting your perspective in stone.

kewms
06-26-2014, 11:06 AM
The point that I would like to make is that whilst it's fair to say that atemi striking is effective with strong physical power, that is not true in all cases. Atemi points are the weakest points in the body and injuring them does not in all cases need a great deal of force. In Atemi Jujitsu we are trained to strike at the side of the kneecap with a Muay Thai styled kick which needs very little force to take someone's kneecap off. Ribs are often easily broken with the correct style of punch where the knuckles pass between the ribs and enter the rib cage. Throat striking is another effective use of Atemi.

Absolutely agree. IIRC, I was responding to the OP's observation that atemi from smaller people is likely to be ineffective due to lack of power, and therefore the solution is to become more powerful. My point being that there are physical limitations to the amount of power a smaller person can develop, so maybe focusing on power (rather than, for instance, precise targeting) is a red herring.

Katherine

kewms
06-26-2014, 11:10 AM
The point being, teaching the body to hit is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Good Aikido training should teach you how to move into relationships with your partner where you could deliver an effective atemi if you needed to.

Yes, exactly.

Katherine

PeterR
06-26-2014, 11:34 AM
Just to toss in a gambit here but I don't think that is true about Takeda's students generally or at least it was more true of many of Ueshiba's. I've always been amazed at how mundane some of the backgrounds were.

Arno,

I'll propose the following to you, as my final, final corollary here.

Granted, the aiki greats who learned from Sokaku Takeda were typically versed in multiple budo and/or bujutsu: they were in general well-rounded martial artists. Yet, once they attained high-level efficacy with Daito-ryu IP/aiki, that was all she wrote. Those body skills within their respective flavors of the art had everything inherently needed for goshin-jutsu, and techniques were spontaneously "born", to cite Ueshiba, as necessary to readily dispatch any challenger/uke, regardless of that other person's skill set. Yeah, it sounds like hyperbole, but once you've met people who are living proof that it's not -- well, the choice is yours.

Yet, you suggested this might be too much time and effort earlier. Heck, isn't it a lot easier to train in one thing (the way of aiki), than too many arts simultaneously?

Mert Gambito
06-26-2014, 12:53 PM
Just to toss in a gambit here but I don't think that is true about Takeda's students generally or at least it was more true of many of Ueshiba's. I've always been amazed at how mundane some of the backgrounds were.

Peter,

Absolutely, not at all. As with training modalities in any human endeavor, people's results fall along a bell curve, and it is the effort and tenacity, or lack thereof, that is the main factor in shaping it.

phitruong
06-27-2014, 09:56 AM
was going to stay out of this conversation, since if you mention that aikido folks can't atemi out of a paper bag would cause them to go rabid, which they are. :)

the martial arts folks, some non-martial arts too, that i encountered look at atemi as some thing to do to the other buggers. however, the thought that if you are in range to atemi the other buggers, you are also in range of the other buggers to atemi you. often this came as a shock. i kinda like the systema folks approach. they just accept that you are going to get hit and hit alot, so learn to deal with it. so they tend to hit each other a lot, often out of the blue. i got hit by many arts before, but the lightest and the most painful came from systema folks. their atemi design to cause major discomfort and disrupt your structure at the same time. two for one approach which i find working well with aikido. then add some internal stuffs on top, whoo hoo you have a good time. but you can't hang around with those systema buggers too long; otherwise, you ended up wearing camo underwear and start to speak with a russian accent. you can't trust them russian other than their fermented potato. :D

Hilary
06-27-2014, 10:16 AM
Damn it, it's po-tah-to you ignorant lout.

Mert Gambito
06-27-2014, 12:10 PM
I think it is pertinent to note that the mechanics of deliving power in these strikes - just speaking at an external, muscles-and-skeleton level here - are different than the mechanics of deliving a punch the way one is taught in a puglisitic style.
Cliff,

Good point.

JP3
06-29-2014, 10:51 AM
1st, Rory Miller's book is a good read, and it is equally applicable to pretty much any martial arts program/school dojo. However, that level of "thought on violence" is not equally applicable across the population. Certain types of people want to train in a way that creates an ability to deal with that level of conflict, some just do not want to pay the training price for it, and that is their choice. Mine, too, as I get older, having been there and done that and now taking a more tactical thought approach - attempt to solve the problem by developing skills in advance to deal with it, rather than just training like a world-class MMA fighter all the time. Did that for a bit, and my bod was literally wearing out, felt like.

I am chuckling a bit at Krystal's comment.... not going to do it to herself again... Ha! Look at it this way. Arno is a novitiate, and if we've been there and done that and asked the same basic question ... perhaps expressed differently but basically the same "sort" of question back when we really didn't know what was up, we can save him some time and frustration by pointing out the "flaw" in his perception, which really isn't. It's more of a shift in perception that may be needed, or maybe a simpler shift in training location.

I'd imagine that if he (you, Arno) ais (are) wanting to get some striking (real striking) then go to a striking art/school for a bit and mess around with it for a couple months or a couple decades. If, however, that's not it, and you want to just get atemi (the aikido sort, which can be, but definitely does not Have to be a full-tilt boogie karate punch, shoto, etc.) then perhaps you need to shift aikido schools, or even styles. Perhaps see if you can find a Yoshinkan school near to where you are, as their "flavor" to me (outsider) seems more ... abrupt and sharp, than your typical aikikai school's approach.

Regardless, just keep looking for what you want, and don't feel bad about not finding it where you are. It happens. But... it's not the school's "fault" that they don't have what You want.

hughrbeyer
06-30-2014, 10:24 AM
...In a recent training in the dojo, with knife attacks, the nage could simply not perform the technique, because I didn't want to give my balance away. And you know what the nage said? I was not "committed" enough.. Apparently, the cooperative confines of Aikido need an uke who has no sense of their body, balance and improvisation abilities. and this is called "committed". In my dictionary, committed means a person who does all they can in their abilities to perform something. And giving my balance away, or leaving my hand/arm hanging forever (instead of pulling back) for nage to grab is not commitment. It is illusion. I know this will come back to the necessity of Kata discussion, but the problem is that even in Randori, neither real commitment nor real atemi is used.

Pulling this post out of the middle of the thread because I feel like talking about it, your problem here is that you are a jerk. Not intentionally, perhaps, but you created a situation where neither you nor your training partner learned anything. Bully for you. Taking your description at face value, you went in with enough of a center that nage couldn't unbalance you, and that's how you left it. Nage entered without the chops to unbalance you and that's how he/she left it. And a good time was not had by all.

So, yeah, kata means you have to work with the situation and the abilities of your training partner. If they can't unbalance you, give up enough so they can unbalance you by doing the right thing (whatever you were training). As they get better, give up less. Same with leaving your arm hanging out there--leave it out long enough for them to work through whatever they need to. As they get better, you should move more and more to real time. This is something you and your training partner can and should negotiate in the moment: "Slow that down, and don't go so easy on me. I'm not really getting the kuzushi." "Speed that up. Let's see if I can handle it if you rechamber the strike the way a boxer would."

It is true that some people and some dojos don't push themselves. They are happy with slow recovery and foolish strikes that throw the attacker off balance. It's also true that some Aikido sucks. (Sturgeon's Law applies.) If nage is depending on you to throw yourself off balance, and your dojo doesn't teach any way to create kuzushi... go somewhere else.

Hilary
06-30-2014, 11:53 AM
Hugh, you said a mouthful. I had been tempted to weigh in on that comment but went the why bother route. I find it so hard to believe that beginners are not constantly reminded that uke trains nage and that being dick serves no one (and annoys the pig).

It spoke volumes to me the one time I have stepped on the mat at you dojo, with what seemed at the time 25 yudansha and 1 kyu, that nobody was dick. No one dived, several people, helpfully and courteously pointed out openings in technique that improved the situation, and everybody adjusted their ukemi to nage’s level of capability. That is how it should be done.

Senseis who don’t calibrate their students are shirking their responsibilities and reduce the effectiveness of everyone’s time on the mat. All of us walk in the door with ego, it is sensei’s job to redirect that ego in useful directions. You can’t get good without ego, but a determined sense of purpose is very different from “just see if you can move me…tee hee” (unless resistance is the specific exercise).

RonRagusa
06-30-2014, 12:03 PM
So, yeah, kata means you have to work with the situation and the abilities of your training partner. If they can't unbalance you, give up enough so they can unbalance you by doing the right thing (whatever you were training). As they get better, give up less. Same with leaving your arm hanging out there--leave it out long enough for them to work through whatever they need to. As they get better, you should move more and more to real time. This is something you and your training partner can and should negotiate in the moment: "Slow that down, and don't go so easy on me. I'm not really getting the kuzushi." "Speed that up. Let's see if I can handle it if you rechamber the strike the way a boxer would."

Excellent rendering of what Maruyama sensei referred to as logical resistance. Thanks.

kewms
06-30-2014, 12:58 PM
In the OP's defense, I think he was talking about a situation where an ostensibly senior student was unable to throw him. And apparently it was not clearly explained why he needed to adjust his ukemi to the situation.

Without having been there, I don't want to speculate on what actually happened. But the case of a relative beginner in aikido with extensive experience in other arts can be tricky for instructors and senior students alike.

"Basic technique" *doesn't* actually work that well, and isn't really intended to be a practical self-defense tool. Its role is to teach the shape of aikido, the movement patterns, the body sensitivity. In a real situation, things are likely to be a lot smaller and more direct. Uncorking "real technique" on an aikido beginner with limited ukemi skills is kind of rude, though. Moreover, different dojos have different attitudes toward "improvisation." Some expect students to do exactly what the instructor demonstrated, but that might not actually be the appropriate response to the particular attack delivered by uke.

And all of this can be especially confusing to someone from another art, who not unreasonably expects senior students to have some degree of ability to handle challenging attacks.

So yes, I agree that the OP's attack was probably not appropriate to the situation, but I think the dojo bears some of the responsibility if the results reflected poorly on the art as a whole.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
06-30-2014, 03:31 PM
Not adding anything, just noting from my perspective Hugh's and Katherine's posts of today nailed it.

jonreading
06-30-2014, 03:37 PM
I have now written and deleted 3 responses...

I can remember the time when "commitment" was the term used to describe the ridiculous nature in which uke "attacked." It probably more accurately reflected the form of hospitalization for that person than anything to do with me. The term was and is poorly conveyed in most dojos and probably no two posts here would strike the same chord, either. Throw that on the pyre with relax and resist...

Generally, I believe yudansha have an obligation to direct mudansha in the minor issues of training, sometimes that is the [subtle] demonstration that what the mudansha is doing is not conducive to the desired result. I would argue two points to this responsibility:
1. There exists in greater number occasions when yudansha do not know what they are doing and their direction is in-congruent to the instruction.
2. There exists in greater number occasions when mudansha have a technical knowledge that exceeds the yudansha with whom they are training.

Sometimes, the proper response is to drop your partner on her butt, then explain that while her obstinate attitude is not a problem in application, it is making the current exercise more difficult. I can empathize with the OP because I think he is hoping/expecting seniors to have this ability. Is it an ego thing? Maybe. But, don't we constantly spout on about "feeling the attack" and "going with the flow?" Baseball games are won with pitching, but guess what makes the highlight reels? Home runs. I am not sure we aren't conflating two issues here, the first being a general frustration that aikido is not withstanding the scrutiny of OP (under his terms), the second being whether the OP can find alternative instruction that draws aikido back into line with his expectations of performance while correcting some of his mis-expectations.

I can appreciate a simple suspicion based on the absence of proof. We've had that conversation before - stealing the ethos established by O Sensei does not a shihan make.

If I had a nickel for every time someone came into the dojo and her expectation of what is aikido aligned with what is our expectation of aikido... I might have a nickel.

lbb
06-30-2014, 04:02 PM
Sometimes, the proper response is to drop your partner on her butt, then explain that while her obstinate attitude is not a problem in application, it is making the current exercise more difficult. I can empathize with the OP because I think he is hoping/expecting seniors to have this ability.

To do it without hurting him? I dunno. This is something that I don't have. Uke attacks and then does exactly the worst thing possible, makes him/herself vulnerable, and doesn't even know it -- no, I don't have the ability to make the technique effective (the technique that we're supposed to be doing, not something else) and not hurt my partner. Maybe some day.

Riai Maori
06-30-2014, 04:41 PM
I might wait a couple of years to become shodan, and see if this changes my perspective on things.

"Last famous words" or "Famous last words" :D

kewms
06-30-2014, 08:13 PM
To do it without hurting him? I dunno. This is something that I don't have. Uke attacks and then does exactly the worst thing possible, makes him/herself vulnerable, and doesn't even know it -- no, I don't have the ability to make the technique effective (the technique that we're supposed to be doing, not something else) and not hurt my partner. Maybe some day.

Yeah. Given a choice between personally looking bad and injuring my partner, I'm willing to look bad every single time. And if that leaves my partner thinking "aikido doesn't work," well, I guess I'll just have to take that risk.

Katherine

jonreading
07-01-2014, 09:30 AM
Yeah. Given a choice between personally looking bad and injuring my partner, I'm willing to look bad every single time. And if that leaves my partner thinking "aikido doesn't work," well, I guess I'll just have to take that risk.

Katherine
First, I contend the logic that anything I said indicates the action leads to injury. Second, I content the logic the my partner would be embarrassed by a demonstration of waza. Third, I think we need to qualify your claim and take ownership of it, "My aikido doesn't work." The rules of leadership still apply - If you are advocating that you would intend to injure your partner, or embarrass them, then that is not the role of yudansha that I envision. I do not think that either you or Mary envision that leadership role, but I don't think the constraints you place on the possible reactions from a mudansha who experiences oyo waza are complete.

I think there is nothing wrong with saying, "Man, I am not that good. You either need to find someone better with whom to contend, or back it down so we can succeed." But then that puts us back at one of my caveats - yudansha are having difficulty with mudansha.

I think the entire logic stream here is off. If my partner is poorly attacking, it should be easier to express aiki. Unless I cannot express aiki and I am trying to "jujutsu" my partner... Ultimately, I think this is where this conversation is going. That we are frustrated with those who can resist our jujutsu - this is a different conversation and one to which I was implying in my baseball analogy. It is the aiki that makes our stuff work, but the outside world wants to see the jujutsu through which we express aiki.

From my personal perspective, the last couple of years have knocked me down a couple of pegs. I have had the pleasure of working out with some great individuals that opened my eyes to how much there is that I do not know about aiki and how much there is that I did not see in aikido. I have become more comfortable with "I'm not that good."

lbb
07-01-2014, 09:47 AM
First, I contend the logic that anything I said indicates the action leads to injury.

You didn't say it. I said it. Reread above.

Second, I content the logic the my partner would be embarrassed by a demonstration of waza.

Katherine didn't say that. YOU said it. Just now.

Third, I think we need to qualify your claim and take ownership of it, "My aikido doesn't work."

I think she did just that.

Your post is timestamped 10:33 am today, but either you are posting from a very different timezone, you got very little sleep last night, or you seriously woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I don't think you understand at all what either of us said.

kewms
07-01-2014, 11:36 AM
I think the entire logic stream here is off. If my partner is poorly attacking, it should be easier to express aiki. Unless I cannot express aiki and I am trying to "jujutsu" my partner... Ultimately, I think this is where this conversation is going. That we are frustrated with those who can resist our jujutsu - this is a different conversation and one to which I was implying in my baseball analogy. It is the aiki that makes our stuff work, but the outside world wants to see the jujutsu through which we express aiki.

I think we need to clarify what we mean by "poorly attacking." Certainly it is extremely easy to deal with a typical beginner attack. It is much more difficult to deal with an attack from an experienced martial artist from another style. In fact, it might well be impossible to execute a specific version of a specific technique that the person has seen coming and can anticipate. (ie, to be successful in a typical class situation)

Which is exactly why those individuals represent a challenging teaching situation, see my post up above. Even if I'm comfortable with the idea that "I'm not that good," saying so doesn't exactly inspire confidence in a new student unless I can clearly articulate how basic technique and kata practice fit into the development of "real," effective aikido.

Katherine

jonreading
07-01-2014, 12:18 PM
You didn't say it. I said it. Reread above.

Katherine didn't say that. YOU said it. Just now.

I think she did just that.

Your post is timestamped 10:33 am today, but either you are posting from a very different timezone, you got very little sleep last night, or you seriously woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I don't think you understand at all what either of us said.

I am confused.

You posted the following claim:
... no, I don't have the ability to make the technique effective (the technique that we're supposed to be doing, not something else) and not hurt my partner.

I am contending the general logic that implies aikido people cannot demonstrate aiki without risking injury to our partners. Rather, I advocate that it is possible to demonstrate aiki without injuring our partners, either within the context of the exercise or not.

Katherine posted the following comment:
Given a choice between personally looking bad and injuring my partner, I'm willing to look bad every single time.

I am contending the general logic that implies that [unsuccessful] application of waza is somehow a reflection that is embarrassing. I advocate that most people understand that failure is simply part of a larger process.

I am not contesting your personal experiences, but I am challenging the leaps in argumentation and their implications. These are the questions that float through my head when I read the latest posts...

Through your post, is one to infer, that while you could not demonstrate aiki without injuring your partner... you could demonstrate aiki? Is injury just collateral? Are you making a contingent claim that if injuring your partner is OK, then you could demonstrate aiki?

Through Katherine's posts, is one to infer that training aiki results in either success that causes injury, or failure which causes embarrassment? Why would I be embarrassed if I have difficulty working with someone?

I don't think any of these inferences are true. My post was to challenge the limited options implied in these posts. Most of the world is not going to have experience as an aikido uke. If we are to impress others, it is going to start by expressing aiki as a demonstration for people who have never trained in aikido. Maybe the don't grab right, maybe they don't fall right. But, you gotta start somewhere and if our somewhere is either going to hurt our spectators or not work, we have a problem.

Aikido is a big tent. To my last comment, I think we need to keep our eyes on our own papers. Spend less time showing "aikido" and more time showing our personal aikido. Maybe it stacks up, maybe it doesn't.

jonreading
07-01-2014, 12:37 PM
I think we need to clarify what we mean by "poorly attacking." Certainly it is extremely easy to deal with a typical beginner attack. It is much more difficult to deal with an attack from an experienced martial artist from another style. In fact, it might well be impossible to execute a specific version of a specific technique that the person has seen coming and can anticipate. (ie, to be successful in a typical class situation)

Which is exactly why those individuals represent a challenging teaching situation, see my post up above. Even if I'm comfortable with the idea that "I'm not that good," saying so doesn't exactly inspire confidence in a new student unless I can clearly articulate how basic technique and kata practice fit into the development of "real," effective aikido.

Katherine

I deal with a range of visitors so I will go with poorly attacking as legitimately poor body management choices, not stylistic differences. For the record, I still include myself as making the occasional poor body management decision. Its just when I make a poor choice, sensei dumps my on my head and says, "what would you do that?" And yes, as the technical skill is higher in our partners, the more difficult that interaction becomes. You're felt the heavy ham that is George sensei's fist - he doesn't need anything else and that is sufficiently challenging to do anything.

Most of the better martial artists that come my way are exceedingly polite and genuine. They are skilled and BS'ing them just gets a grin and a smile. Most of them also know that you don't get things 100% of the time. Our Hagannah guy is leaving to work for MIT in the fall (George met him last year at our seminar). He was a real treat and someone with whom I would never cross hands. Ever. But, man he was fun and insightful and a great person. The thought of BS'ing him with the "I can't show you aikido because I would have to kill you," stuff would have been embarrassing. Nor was he upset when our aikido had little effect on him. "It's all BS, it's just the system that gives you the advantage," he would say.

I get my feathers ruffled because I don't believe that we need to explain what we do. If we do it right, those with sense know. I fwe need to explain what we're doing, we can improve the way we do things.

kewms
07-01-2014, 12:37 PM
I am contending the general logic that implies that [unsuccessful] application of waza is somehow a reflection that is embarrassing. I advocate that most people understand that failure is simply part of a larger process.

I am not contesting your personal experiences, but I am challenging the leaps in argumentation and their implications. These are the questions that float through my head when I read the latest posts...

Through your post, is one to infer, that while you could not demonstrate aiki without injuring your partner... you could demonstrate aiki? Is injury just collateral? Are you making a contingent claim that if injuring your partner is OK, then you could demonstrate aiki?

Through Katherine's posts, is one to infer that training aiki results in either success that causes injury, or failure which causes embarrassment? Why would I be embarrassed if I have difficulty working with someone?


The whole thread started with the experiences of a person who was unimpressed with aikido because the person he was working with failed to handle his attack successfully. So yes, that particular individual did "look bad," the OP did NOT understand this as part of the learning process, and the effect was that aikido as a whole was viewed negatively. Which I think we can all agree was not a desirable outcome. Whether the OP's response was reasonable is another issue, and is what this particular subthread is about.

As for my own comments, I think you are the one who is missing the logical thread.

IF I have to choose between looking bad and injuring my partner, THEN I will choose to look bad.

I did not say that those are the only choices, and in fact in most cases yes of course there are other options. Rather I was discussing a hypothetical (IF!) case where, say, my partner was doing something that put him in danger.

IF the path of a throw puts my partner in the path of the person next to me, THEN I may need to abort the throw. IF this causes my partner to think my technique is ineffective, THEN I am okay with that. IF my partner's lack of ukemi skills puts his shoulder at risk, THEN I may have to use a less effective takedown. IF this creates an opening for my partner to reverse my technique, THEN I am okay with that. Do you see how this works?

Katherine

lbb
07-01-2014, 01:12 PM
I
I am contending the general logic that implies aikido people cannot demonstrate aiki without risking injury to our partners. Rather, I advocate that it is possible to demonstrate aiki without injuring our partners, either within the context of the exercise or not.

Oh, I see, so your comment was simply a non sequitur and has nothing to do with my comment. Got it. Carry on!

By the way, whose "general logic" IS that? The "general logic" of the mouse in your pocket? Because I sure didn't say it.


I am not contesting your personal experiences, but I am challenging the leaps in argumentation and their implications.

Honestly, I really don't see where anyone is doing any leaping but you. But, if I follow where I think you're trying to go, then we might agree...and we might not. It depends on what you mean by "demonstrating aiki". Demonstrating to whom? To a n00b who just walked through the door? That n00b is the blind man touching the elephant, only if he's coming from another style, he may unfortunately be burdened with style-specific blinders. You can "demonstrate" all you want, but it's like the philosophical question about the tree falling in the forest: if style-specific blinders prevent this n00b from seeing your demonstration, how is that effective?

jonreading
07-01-2014, 03:51 PM
Oh, I see, so your comment was simply a non sequitur and has nothing to do with my comment. Got it. Carry on!

By the way, whose "general logic" IS that? The "general logic" of the mouse in your pocket? Because I sure didn't say it.

Honestly, I really don't see where anyone is doing any leaping but you. But, if I follow where I think you're trying to go, then we might agree...and we might not. It depends on what you mean by "demonstrating aiki". Demonstrating to whom? To a n00b who just walked through the door? That n00b is the blind man touching the elephant, only if he's coming from another style, he may unfortunately be burdened with style-specific blinders. You can "demonstrate" all you want, but it's like the philosophical question about the tree falling in the forest: if style-specific blinders prevent this n00b from seeing your demonstration, how is that effective?

Look, twice now you've taken a swipe at demeaning my comments. Neither my sleeping habits nor the possessions of my pockets are affecting what I say. Except maybe my Wockett.

You made a implicit comment that excuses you inability to do aikido because of something your partner did. You have now created a illustration that implies a new student cannot possibly understand the wonders of aiki. If I am a newbie, and I am doing things wrong and I cannot possibly understand the wonders of aiki, why would I possibly train aikido? Hopefully, I don't have all that baggage from another art because that'll really screw me up...

I don't care if the sun in our eyes, a dog that ate our homework or we're touching an elephant's... or any of a number of excuses for why we cannot show somebody what it is that we do. The unspoken statement here that I am trying not to verbalize is that we are covering for our own inadequacies when we make excuses for why our stuff doesn't work. After all, aren't our waza supposed to be demonstrations of aiki? Aren't these the techniques that we line up when we want to show someone what is aikido?

I am saddened that someone could not show aiki to a new student. I am saddened that we sit around and "hrumf" about all the different reasons that a new student was screwing things up. I am saddened by the excuses and the next times and the whatifs that all will be our next show of aikido...
I see lots of fingers pointed in other directions about why we cannot do aikido. And we wonder why someone from outside is skeptical about if our stuff works.

kewms
07-01-2014, 05:44 PM
I think it is safe to say that there is a fair amount of disagreement among experienced aikidoka about what "demonstrating aiki" even means. And there are plenty of recognized "demonstrations of aiki" that don't have clear applications in practical self defense. At the other extreme, there are also plenty of recognized "demonstrations of aiki" that are extremely damaging to the recipient of the demonstration.

So I'm not sure that arguing about "ability to demonstrate aiki" (or not) is actually all that responsive to the OP's original questions.

Could I personally "show aiki" (as I understand it) to a new student? Sure.

Could I apply exactly the technique specified by my instructor regardless of how that new student chooses to attack? Probably not.

If not, how should the student interpret my failure? Aikido is useless? I'm incompetent? Those seem to be the OP's responses to the situation he encountered. Or was he presenting an attack that fell outside of the paradigm being examined in that particular exercise? I think this question has a variety of answers, and it's impossible to say which applies without more information than has been offered in this thread.

Katherine

jonreading
07-02-2014, 09:33 AM
I think there is considerable disagreement about what is a demonstration of aiki. And I have been using that term somewhat nebulously myself to simply represent when we show someone "what it is that we do". I think that runs us into trouble when we mistake was it is that we do, for what we think we can do, with what we pretend we do.

I think you have laid out to some degree what all of us are face, the reality that we are not perfect. I think the frustration from the OP was not that he expects us to be perfect, but that he held his yudansha to an expectation that was not consistent with their ability. Maybe his expectation was unreal, maybe the yudansha's ability was sub-average. I would like to think prospective students are setting a high bar for us, but this issue seems to be a regular occurrence with new students.

When we meet these gaps of expectation, I think part of what we say needs to be considerate of the unspoken questions it will raise. I think there is nothing wrong with challenging unreal expectations, but I think it is also important to control how we let somehow interpret a "failure." It happens. A series of failures? Well, that is a little different.

For me, aiki happens before and during (and after) technique. It is a foreign concept to me that I cannot practice aiki with anyone; I believe I can practice aiki with everyone. Even if there is a risk of injury I only need to stop prior to the technique - I would have still needed to express aiki as part of my training. It has happened that someone can give me energy that I cannot overcome, but that works to my advantage because that means she knows what I am doing. Only on the rarest occasion will you get someone who is a phenomenon who is unaware of what they are doing as to not appreciate what you are doing.

PeterR
07-02-2014, 10:05 AM
I think there is considerable disagreement about what is a demonstration of aiki.
And being a coward at heart I wouldn't even try to argue or demonstrate what I think it is. Just isn't worth the hassle. I figure that if we practice together without one trying to impose their view on the other there will be a convergence. Or a separation of the ways.

I do believe however that aiki can be demonstrated with no risk of injury.

hughrbeyer
07-02-2014, 11:30 AM
I don't know that we need to get into a contentious discussion of aiki to address the basic question here. Take it out of aikido for a moment: if we all were boxers, and some noob showed up all arrogant and convinced our stuff didn't work, how would we show them it does? We'd thow them punches until they admitted they couldn't block or avoid them. And they'd get whacked (not full strength maybe, but still) in the process.

Trouble is, we don't do that in most aikido dojos. If we actually get through and hit the other guy we break off and apologize. That closes off one major route to showing that our stuff does (or doesn't) work--we're not supposed to whack the guy with our awesome atemi or dump them on their ass in a throw they don't have the skills yet to handle. I'm reminded of a story told about one teacher I know... he was working with another senior person and told them they were open. They said no. He demonstrated they were by punching them. He got a reputation for being a little brutal. I don't think the other person's reputation took a hit. In what other "martial" art would such a story play out that way?

lbb
07-02-2014, 11:36 AM
You made a implicit comment that excuses you inability to do aikido because of something your partner did.

No, I didn't.

You have now created a illustration that implies a new student cannot possibly understand the wonders of aiki.

No, I didn't.

Jon, why are you so bent on misconstruing what I said? You aren't the one who gets to say what I mean. You aren't a mindreader. If you have questions about what I mean, ASK. Don't tell.

I am saddened that someone could not show aiki to a new student. I am saddened that we sit around and "hrumf" about all the different reasons that a new student was screwing things up. I am saddened by the excuses and the next times and the whatifs that all will be our next show of aikido...

And I am saddened by the poor state of discourse that leads to you talking about things that "we" do instead of addressing what individuals actually say. "We", collectively, do nothing, say nothing, believe nothing. You are pummeling a strawman.

kewms
07-02-2014, 12:11 PM
I don't know that we need to get into a contentious discussion of aiki to address the basic question here. Take it out of aikido for a moment: if we all were boxers, and some noob showed up all arrogant and convinced our stuff didn't work, how would we show them it does? We'd thow them punches until they admitted they couldn't block or avoid them. And they'd get whacked (not full strength maybe, but still) in the process.

In some ways, the complexity of aikido works against us. In boxing, success is very clear: either you got hit, or you didn't.

In aikido, well... Maybe I caused you to take the same fall that the teacher's demonstration uke did. But maybe you disengaged and moved away instead. Or maybe you fell down, but in a less graceful way. Or maybe your joints are more flexible and so the lock being demonstrated didn't work as demonstrated. Or maybe your joints are less flexible and so you yelped in pain when I tried.

Did my aikido work?

From the point of view of a self-defense situation, yes. I successfully neutralized the threat that you posed. Neither of us got hurt.

But all of the possible scenarios except the first one are unconvincing in one way or another. Especially to a new student who probably has unrealistic ideas about "real" martial arts anyway.

Katherine

jonreading
07-02-2014, 02:03 PM
I don't know that we need to get into a contentious discussion of aiki to address the basic question here. Take it out of aikido for a moment: if we all were boxers, and some noob showed up all arrogant and convinced our stuff didn't work, how would we show them it does? We'd thow them punches until they admitted they couldn't block or avoid them. And they'd get whacked (not full strength maybe, but still) in the process.

Trouble is, we don't do that in most aikido dojos. If we actually get through and hit the other guy we break off and apologize. That closes off one major route to showing that our stuff does (or doesn't) work--we're not supposed to whack the guy with our awesome atemi or dump them on their ass in a throw they don't have the skills yet to handle. I'm reminded of a story told about one teacher I know... he was working with another senior person and told them they were open. They said no. He demonstrated they were by punching them. He got a reputation for being a little brutal. I don't think the other person's reputation took a hit. In what other "martial" art would such a story play out that way?

Very few. Usually, experience indicates an advantage in these types of encounters. I do not think you are moving beyond common sense to hold such an expectation. To Katherine's point, there are aspects of aikido that run against this commonly-held notion and that works to our disadvantage. Referring again to the big tent, aikido is not consolidated around a metric of success. The combination of both contradicting "common sense" and managing expectations of an unclear metric of success is challenging with a willing prospect, let alone a skeptical one.

But, there is a price to pay. One thing I think Aikido has difficulty with is this "everyone's valid" perspective orientation. In boxing, there is a price for education - you are punched. Alot. If you really think you have a good defense, there is a little skin in the game to prove it. Aikido tolerates a level of scrutiny and abuse that does not exists in many of our sister arts because there is no price to pay for taking a poor position. When our participants take up these abusive positions, we should say, "Hey man, play the game. Show some respect to me for helping show you what we do. I am laying out what needs to happen to show you aikido. Either play by the rules or stop wasting my time."

Previously, I made a comment about my perspective when someone decides to abuse what we are doing - put them on their bottom. Obviously, we are not really talking about injuring someone. What I mean is that sometimes the price of education should be a value. The people we care about (serious martial artists that would contribute to our practice) all play their games by rules; why do we give them a pass when they violate our rules? A judo player walks up and grabs you by the collar. Whoa, time out - stop cross-training your judo into my aikido. Meekly grab my hand and wait for me to do something - this is aikido training. I am kidding, but my point is that it is fair to challenge people to play by our rules.

This goes especially true for practitioners from another art. You have a prospective student that is committed to training and has a working knowledge of something. You think telling sport champ karate player to ease up on the blinding strikes is going offend her while you're practicing aikido? It shouldn't - and later (when you're both better at aikido) what kind of an awesome training partner is that person gonna make?

Blue Buddha
07-02-2014, 03:03 PM
What a chaos! :eek:



1. There exists in greater number occasions when yudansha do not know what they are doing and their direction is in-congruent to the instruction.
2. There exists in greater number occasions when mudansha have a technical knowledge that exceeds the yudansha with whom they are training.


I think this is a very accurate description of the whole problem and it definitely understands the essence of this post. l would only add : 3. When "yudansha do not know what they are doing", it very often implies that they cannot work with aiki in general or at least in the specific technique.

Yeah. Given a choice between personally looking bad and injuring my partner, I'm willing to look bad every single time.

Katherine

I agree with Jon. It is not an either/or situation. They way you put it sound like for it (aiki) to work it must generate injury.

I deal with a range of visitors so I will go with poorly attacking as legitimately poor body management choices, not stylistic differences. For the record, I still include myself as making the occasional poor body management decision.


I consciously do not make poor body management choices. I expect from a yudansha to be able to demonstrate the technique (at least) decently.

The whole thread started with the experiences of a person who was unimpressed with aikido because the person he was working with failed to handle his attack successfully.

That is incorrect.

a) I never said or implied that I am unimpressed with Aikido.
b) There are many factors why I believe that Aikido education has many problems. A view that is shared by many people - even very advanced ones. (Since there is a tendency to demean my arguments just because of my rank, without knowing anything else about me..).


So yes, that particular individual did "look bad," the OP did NOT understand this as part of the learning process, and the effect was that aikido as a whole was viewed negatively.


There is no need to speak on my behalf regarding what I do or do not understand. My low rank in Aikido does not automatically mean that I hold a low rank in intelligence..
The learning process is that the yudansha should be able to demonstrate things for mudansha. The other away around could happen (why the hell shouldn't we be open to learn anything from anyone) but this is not a requirement from mudansha (to teach yudansha).

...You have now created a illustration that implies a new student cannot possibly understand the wonders of aiki. If I am a newbie, and I am doing things wrong and I cannot possibly understand the wonders of aiki, why would I possibly train aikido? Hopefully, I don't have all that baggage from another art because that'll really screw me up...

I don't care if the sun in our eyes, a dog that ate our homework or we're touching an elephant's... or any of a number of excuses for why we cannot show somebody what it is that we do. The unspoken statement here that I am trying not to verbalize is that we are covering for our own inadequacies when we make excuses for why our stuff doesn't work. After all, aren't our waza supposed to be demonstrations of aiki? Aren't these the techniques that we line up when we want to show someone what is aikido?

I am saddened that someone could not show aiki to a new student. I am saddened that we sit around and "hrumf" about all the different reasons that a new student was screwing things up. I am saddened by the excuses and the next times and the whatifs that all will be our next show of aikido...
I see lots of fingers pointed in other directions about why we cannot do aikido. And we wonder why someone from outside is skeptical about if our stuff works.

This is exactly my viewpoint. ;)


...
If not, how should the student interpret my failure? Aikido is useless? I'm incompetent? Those seem to be the OP's responses to the situation he encountered. Or was he presenting an attack that fell outside of the paradigm being examined in that particular exercise? I think this question has a variety of answers, and it's impossible to say which applies without more information than has been offered in this thread.

Katherine

Not true. I know exactly why the specific technique mentioned did not work for the yudansha. It has nothing to do with Aikido in general and it has nothing to do with me.

It IS true thought that I have the opinion that different educational tools would most probably eliminate the above mentioned problems that have to do with non-existent aiki, techniques not working and yudansha being in lower level that mudansha.

I don't want to change Aikido (or ever considered that silly idea) but I do have the ability to access its educational workflow and also to be very aware that its teaching is very far from its original source (o sensei's aikido). There are open minded individuals - who are also open minded in their everyday life (i.e. evolving, DO, the way - you know...) who can bring back to life, or at least point out very clearly the core elements of this work, but in my understanding these are few. And I am not talking about techniques, I am talking about the essence.

I think there is considerable disagreement about what is a demonstration of aiki. And I have been using that term somewhat nebulously myself to simply represent when we show someone "what it is that we do". I think that runs us into trouble when we mistake was it is that we do, for what we think we can do, with what we pretend we do.

I think you have laid out to some degree what all of us are face, the reality that we are not perfect. I think the frustration from the OP was not that he expects us to be perfect, but that he held his yudansha to an expectation that was not consistent with their ability. Maybe his expectation was unreal, maybe the yudansha's ability was sub-average. I would like to think prospective students are setting a high bar for us, but this issue seems to be a regular occurrence with new students.

When we meet these gaps of expectation, I think part of what we say needs to be considerate of the unspoken questions it will raise. I think there is nothing wrong with challenging unreal expectations, but I think it is also important to control how we let somehow interpret a "failure." It happens. A series of failures? Well, that is a little different.

For me, aiki happens before and during (and after) technique. It is a foreign concept to me that I cannot practice aiki with anyone; I believe I can practice aiki with everyone. Even if there is a risk of injury I only need to stop prior to the technique - I would have still needed to express aiki as part of my training. It has happened that someone can give me energy that I cannot overcome, but that works to my advantage because that means she knows what I am doing. Only on the rarest occasion will you get someone who is a phenomenon who is unaware of what they are doing as to not appreciate what you are doing.

Exactly.

I know my post has raised many questions, not so easily answered, but I am surprised how quickly people are getting defensive and ready to put some issues "under the carpet", avoiding them like they do not exist. Did you ever believe that you found the perfect martial art in aikido? Am I, and people like me, ruining an illusion for you? I want to believe that is not the case.

First things first:

1. I claimed that for self defence issues, Aikido is problematic. Obviously this is an over generalisation BUT if you consider that the average (muay thai, kung fu, krav maga, boxing, kick boxing, etc) person, can learn in 6 months to a year EFFECTIVE self defence, then you can see what my point is.
Again, let's not speak about the "masters" etc. It is a common knowledge that Aikido is one of the most difficult martial arts to learn properly - that is effectively.
Do I like it - yes. Do I believe it can help me defend myself after 1 year of training?
Yes - if we are talking about a totally drunk person coming at me,
Possibly - if the attacker is inexperienced and not bigger than me,
No - if the guy is bigger than me,
No - if the guy is experienced in other martial arts, especially the "hard" ones.

So there goes that.

2. Regarding the educational tools, well I am not going to go much into that, but I think there are more effective ways to apply and test what has been transmitted. I have experience from other systems and it works (the educational method). I know that there are differences between dojos, but the general practice is more or less the same. I do not like that. I think it is extremely slow, I think it does not make for a good reality check, I think it creates problems in understanding even the most basic - and core - elements of aikido, like the aiki (what is it, when is it, who has it, who doesn't, etc). And I am not talking about a conceptual understanding. I am talking about knowledge. A thorough understanding of these concepts experientially. And yes, I would like to see that available to people from day 1.

3. Regarding the atemi. This is probably where I didn't express myself very well, although some understood very well the essence of what I wanted to say. Which brings us back to point number 1.
Yes if I am 3,4,5 dan and above I guess the atemi takes a different meaning than when I am trying to defend myself at 4th kuy level. And yes, with the same amount of practice and dedication in another hard system, I would be much more effective. Do I want to kick bags and partners all day? No. Do I believe in the "DO" of Aikido? Well, conceptually/ philosophically -yes, but you can see so much pretentiousness in some dojos that makes you wonder who is exactly seriously thinking of it and applying it in their everyday life. But that is for another thread...

It is much better to keep an open mind and see the negatives as such and deal with them, everyone in their own way. Denying them does not help neither ourselves nor aikido in general.

Peace :)

kewms
07-02-2014, 03:29 PM
Not true. I know exactly why the specific technique mentioned did not work for the yudansha. It has nothing to do with Aikido in general and it has nothing to do with me.

We weren't there. We don't have video. There is no objective record. We know what you perceived, but not what the yudansha or an uninvolved observer would say.

Katherine

kewms
07-02-2014, 03:37 PM
1. I claimed that for self defence issues, Aikido is problematic. Obviously this is an over generalisation BUT if you consider that the average (muay thai, kung fu, krav maga, boxing, kick boxing, etc) person, can learn in 6 months to a year EFFECTIVE self defence, then you can see what my point is.

I'm not sure this claim is as obviously true as you seem to think.

The only specific situation you've described in this thread involved five attackers. I don't think *any* empty hand art will allow you to fend off five attackers after six months of training. I am highly skeptical of the notion that *any* empty hand art will protect you against a single armed attacker after six months of training. So maybe you should explain what you have in mind when you're talking about "effective self defense."

Katherine

Phil Van Treese
07-02-2014, 03:38 PM
I don't know where a 4th kyu can examine aikido and make so many assessments about what's weak, what's strong etc. For all the "weaknesses" in aikido, it definitely served me well in Viet Nam and that's part of the reason I am still here, it served me well in Tampa at a few ATMs, it has helped me stay in reasonably good shape etc, etc. If you don't like, or respect, aikido you can always play video games and get real good.

PeterR
07-02-2014, 03:44 PM
I'm not sure this claim is as obviously true as you seem to think.

The only specific situation you've described in this thread involved five attackers. I don't think *any* empty hand art will allow you to fend off five attackers after six months of training. I am highly skeptical of the notion that *any* empty hand art will protect you against a single armed attacker after six months of training. So maybe you should explain what you have in mind when you're talking about "effective self defense."

Katherine

I must say that his statement had me questioning ALL his martial arts experience. Certainly in all the examples he listed ... well perhaps it is easier to believe that you are effective (which may be half the battle).

Blue Buddha
07-02-2014, 03:45 PM
We weren't there. We don't have video. There is no objective record. We know what you perceived, but not what the yudansha or an uninvolved observer would say.

Katherine

Since this is no court...I expect that you can trust me when I say that I know. If you have followed carefully the thread you'll see I have no problem accepting it when I do not know or when unsure. So trust or not. Your choice.

I'm not sure this claim is as obviously true as you seem to think.

The only specific situation you've described in this thread involved five attackers. I don't think *any* empty hand art will allow you to fend off five attackers after six months of training. I am highly skeptical of the notion that *any* empty hand art will protect you against a single armed attacker after six months of training. So maybe you should explain what you have in mind when you're talking about "effective self defense."

Katherine

My wrong. This was indeed quite exceptional... Regarding this, I don't understand what PeterR suggests, but I guess if he has any questions it is not very difficult to address them to me...

Regarding my point on the list, I mean a one to one situation.

I don't know where a 4th kyu can examine aikido and make so many assessments about what's weak, what's strong etc. For all the "weaknesses" in aikido, it definitely served me well in Viet Nam and that's part of the reason I am still here, it served me well in Tampa at a few ATMs, it has helped me stay in reasonably good shape etc, etc. If you don't like, or respect, aikido you can always play video games and get real good.

... no comment..

kewms
07-02-2014, 03:59 PM
My wrong. This was indeed quite exceptional... Regarding my point, I mean a one to one situation.

One on one, against a larger attacker with experience in another martial art? After six months?

Sorry, not happening. Too ridiculous a claim to even be worth arguing. I hope you are never unfortunate enough to have to test this in practice.

Think about it. After studying krav maga for six months, would you expect to be able to handle someone with two years experience? If so, then what was he wasting his time on for the last year and a half?

Katherine

Mary Eastland
07-02-2014, 04:19 PM
A person can be very good at defending themselves without any martial arts training. Are you talking about fighting or self defense here?

The conversation would be less confusing with that clarification.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-02-2014, 04:26 PM
I know my post has raised many questions, not so easily answered, but I am surprised how quickly people are getting defensive and ready to put some issues "under the carpet", avoiding them like they do not exist.

Well, you should not be surprised. Aikido is a japanese martial art.

Blue Buddha
07-02-2014, 04:34 PM
One on one, against a larger attacker with experience in another martial art? After six months?

Sorry, not happening. Too ridiculous a claim to even be worth arguing. I hope you are never unfortunate enough to have to test this in practice.

Think about it. After studying krav maga for six months, would you expect to be able to handle someone with two years experience? If so, then what was he wasting his time on for the last year and a half?

Katherine

I think you are trying to split hairs here by being too scrupulous. If it is not 6 months, it is a year -a year and half. It is a general claim - not mine - that aikido is an art that takes much much longer to master than any other.

And yes, I believe that someone trained in muay thai, etc for a year can be more effective in self defence compared to an aikidoka who trained for the same period.

A person can be very good at defending themselves without any martial arts training. Are you talking about fighting or self defense here?

The conversation would be less confusing with that clarification.

I am talking about fighting for self defense.

Well, you should not be surprised. Aikido is a japanese martial art.

:D

JP3
07-02-2014, 07:59 PM
OK. For me, I can say that reading the above (yes, all 5 pages of it), and putting a bit of redneck in it, I have absolutely no doubt at all, simply basing it on the level of the cerebration involved (like that word, eh? Cerebration, that's right y'all, a couple of advanced degrees over here and stuff), that I have no doubt that, John, Katherine and Mary can put a serious... the technical term is "Whomp" on someone, should they have a "need" to do so.

But, let's define "need," to define that. Or not, as I'm certain everyone knows the difference between want and need.

That being said, it takes a very, very skilled uke to not taken any remedial action in preparation for a technique they know is coming, e.g. the regular class situation. We've got a saying, "Anyone can defeat a technique they know is coming."

So, we also have another saying, "Nothing ever works. You just keep going until both of you are surprised."

So, on John's quote, which I absolutely loved, "Sometimes, the proper response is to drop your partner on her butt, then explain that while her obstinate attitude is not a problem in application, it is making the current exercise more difficult."

See, John's really nice, and he's all cerebral and stuff. I'm more down home, and would say, "You can do that again if you want, but you aren't learning what you're supposed to be learning while you're down there. If you want, after class, I'll show you how you ended up down there."

I've posted before about the best athelete in my school, a tang soo do black belt, I think she's a 2nd degree in TSD, she was in it 12 years of steady training, so that'd be about right I think, or maybe a bit behind. Anyway, she's the one who "challenges" the "what" we are doing on an almost dily basis, wanting to know "if it works" etc. So, I just shrug and show her. She predictably attempts to block or defeat the technique "on the board" right then, which she does, and because she really doesn't know how what she's done ruined her posture, or gave up her balance, or put her in a vulnerable position, or sometimes all of the above, it devolves to me to show her or point it out to her, usually involving a grunt on her part as she's compressed into the mat, or stretched out in a lock, dumped on her butt, or whatever. It's just the nature of the thing. Beginner's question. They don't understand , and that's OK. Remember, "Question Everything." It's not a bad place to learn from and it's not to be feared.

kewms
07-02-2014, 11:05 PM
I think you are trying to split hairs here by being too scrupulous. If it is not 6 months, it is a year -a year and half. It is a general claim - not mine - that aikido is an art that takes much much longer to master than any other.

And yes, I believe that someone trained in muay thai, etc for a year can be more effective in self defence compared to an aikidoka who trained for the same period.


"Mastery" is not the same thing as "effective for self defense."

You made the specific claim that other arts are effective for self defense in six months to a year. But I just don't see any art meeting your proposed criteria in that time. So I'm trying to understand what sort of situation you are visualizing.

Katherine

kewms
07-03-2014, 02:30 AM
I think this goes back to my observation up-thread, that the range of situations that can be included in "practical self defense" is enormous. It is extremely difficult to make meaningful generalizations.

Moreover, the kinds of situations that people tend to imagine don't necessarily have much resemblance to the kinds of situations that actually occur in practice.

A short list of confounding factors might include:

* Single or multiple attackers? Or a general melee, like a movie-style bar fight?

* Known to the victim or not?

* Armed or not? (And with what weapons?)

* Experienced fighter(s) (with or without formal training) or not?

* Attacker(s) sober, intoxicated, or under influence of other drugs? What about the victim?

* Motivated by money? Personal animus? Potential rapist? Desire to beat people up?

* Public place with witnesses and help nearby, or not?

Aikido handles some of these factors very well, some not so well. The same is true of other arts.

Further complicating matters, many people are not aware of the legal differences between "fighting" and "self defense." If you think you are "defending yourself" but the law thinks you are "fighting," your chances of ending up in jail are quite high. This matters because many tactics that are completely normal in combat sports are likely to fall outside the legal boundaries of self defense.

Katherine

Blue Buddha
07-03-2014, 07:33 AM
So, on John's quote, which I absolutely loved, "Sometimes, the proper response is to drop your partner on her butt, then explain that while her obstinate attitude is not a problem in application, it is making the current exercise more difficult."


I actually don't exactly agree with the above, as it implies that the uke is on purpose trying to make it difficult for the nage to execute the technique. To me, it is important that the nage (if in position to do so) or sensei show at some point to uke that there is always an appropriate response to any attack (quantitative & qualitative) but it is equally (if not more) important to understand and question why the uke performs this way. The easy way is to say (or write on a thread) that he is a jerk and stop thinking about it. But there might be some more noble reasons why uke behaves like that.

"Mastery" is not the same thing as "effective for self defense."

You made the specific claim that other arts are effective for self defense in six months to a year. But I just don't see any art meeting your proposed criteria in that time. So I'm trying to understand what sort of situation you are visualizing.

Katherine

I am not trying to convince, just to put forward some thoughts from my experience and from others. The factors are so many, that we could be adding ad infinitum different factors to create a realistic scenario.

But the truth is that aikidokas for a very long time train static techniques, which as we discussed earlier are not techniques after all. Their main reason being there is for developing the sensitivity, understanding , etc. Besides not being flowing, they are even non-realistic attacks (Ok, in the long term this educational method is fruitful, but in the *long* term).

So, for the purposes of our conversation, in the above mentioned way, both uke and nage train unrealistically, as opposed to a realistic attack, which hard arts like boxing, muay thai, tkd, etc teach)

Now, to me, besides having heard about this complaint from many people, this is common sense:

You have two students that train for a year. The first one, during this time spars a lot (besides learning new applicable techniques- that are not just sensitivity exercises to be refined later), gets real attacks with real intention, and knows that if he can't realistically avoid the attacks will get hit. In short, this person uses applicable self defecse techniques to real attacks. In fact, for one year he fights. Not to mention that he trains physically and develops muscle.

The second student, trains some artificial techniques (as it was mentioned earlier in this thread, these are just a base for understanding concepts, developing sensitivity, etc, so they need to be refined later with flowing/ dynamic techniques), artificial attacks (no-one ever will attack like that. We all agree on that. I know it is for training but nevertheless, that is the input/experience the body receives), in an artificial way (non fighting, static, no immediate feedback, if he doesn't like the attack he demands ala Jim Carrey to have it made different). Not to mention that he is mostly a non- muscle, non- large, non aggressive person.

Now, if I could choose one of the two to protect me, the choice would be obvious. Don't you think?

Demetrio Cereijo
07-03-2014, 10:00 AM
Arno, it seems to me you are interested in aikido practitioners being effective in violent environments. I think that's wrong for that would increase the number of people who could kick your butt in case of need.

I, however, think that the lesser the number of people able to kick my butt the safer I am. Consider it.

Blue Buddha
07-03-2014, 11:00 AM
Arno, it seems to me you are interested in aikido practitioners being effective in violent environments. I think that's wrong for that would increase the number of people who could kick your butt in case of need.

I, however, think that the lesser the number of people able to kick my butt the safer I am. Consider it.

I am not sure I understand what you are trying to say.

If you think I am looking for trouble, then no, this is not the case. I am trying to avoid trouble.

Demetrio Cereijo
07-03-2014, 11:35 AM
Avoiding trouble is very sensible but, if trouble arises, it is better for you that your opponent(s) are weak and poorly trained.

Let aikido people follow flawed training methods. They are happy training that way and you will be safer if an akidoka tries to attack you.

There are enough dangerous people around, no need to add more.

kewms
07-03-2014, 11:43 AM
The second student, trains some artificial techniques (as it was mentioned earlier in this thread, these are just a base for understanding concepts, developing sensitivity, etc, so they need to be refined later with flowing/ dynamic techniques), artificial attacks (no-one ever will attack like that. We all agree on that. I know it is for training but nevertheless, that is the input/experience the body receives), in an artificial way (non fighting, static, no immediate feedback, if he doesn't like the attack he demands ala Jim Carrey to have it made different). Not to mention that he is mostly a non- muscle, non- large, non aggressive person.

Now, if I could choose one of the two to protect me, the choice would be obvious. Don't you think?

First, protect you from what?

Second, this is not a universally accurate description of beginner training in aikido.

Third, remember that uke is learning aikido, too, and one of the things they *should* be learning is how to attack effectively.

Katherine

lbb
07-03-2014, 11:49 AM
I actually don't exactly agree with the above, as it implies that the uke is on purpose trying to make it difficult for the nage to execute the technique. To me, it is important that the nage (if in position to do so) or sensei show at some point to uke that there is always an appropriate response to any attack (quantitative & qualitative) but it is equally (if not more) important to understand and question why the uke performs this way. The easy way is to say (or write on a thread) that he is a jerk and stop thinking about it. But there might be some more noble reasons why uke behaves like that.

So toss out the word "jerk" if it seems too judgmental to you (an understandable reaction, obviously). I found it interesting that in context, the person who first used it (I thought) made it clear that he was using "being a jerk" in a somewhat different sense than one would usually use it. I think I understood what he meant, but if you can't see it (again understandable), then set the term aside. Likewise "obstinate attitude", if that strikes you as too judgy. I think it's just being used as shorthand, though. I think everyone who's trying to explain this to you understands quite well that this is not just a case of uke intentionally being difficult out of sheer meanness or stubbornness or (insert character flaw of choice here). Sometimes uke is hopelessly uncoordinated and so unknowingly does something that puts him/herself in a really bad position. Sometimes uke has a "bright idea" that really isn't so smart at all, resulting in (again) a really bad position. Sometimes uke is inflexible or out of shape and can't move in ways that are required to receive the technique safely. Whatever. But the important thing is that in all cases, uke is doing something that impedes his/her own learning.

I came to aikido with experience in other martial arts. At first, much of what I saw made no sense to me. Many things were counterintuitive to me. But they also didn't contradict what I'd learned before. They were different, sure -- but looking back on my prior training, I couldn't point to anything that said, "Doing so-and-so (what I was learning in aikido) is pointless and stupid and will get you killed." So while I did examine what I was learning from a perspective of prior training, I didn't try to make it fit into that mold. If I'd been in a karate dojo, what I was learning would have been considered some pretty peculiar karate -- but I wasn't in a karate dojo. So, I didn't try to judge it by karate standards.

There's an inherent difficulty in a beginner trying to evaluate the quality and validity of what they're learning, whether it be aikido or physics. If you refuse to take anything on faith, even to keep an open mind to the possibility that what your teacher says is valid, and you insist on proof before you will accept it, you've created a dilemma for yourself. You demand an explanation before you are willing to accept the teaching, but you lack the experience and knowledge to understand the explanation -- and without accepting the teaching, you won't get it. You have to be able to accept at least the possibility that what you're told as so, and to practice accordingly, before you can gain an understanding of why this is so.

This is not to say that you have to accept anything you're told. You can always try to teach yourself, by experience and primary research. That's a pretty inefficient method, to say the least, as you often won't get much of anywhere. There are some things you really need a teacher for. You can also use your own judgment of character as to whether your teacher is a person of integrity or not. There is no formula, it's a matter of painful experience, but if you know how to spot a con, a manipulator, someone who is lying to him/herself or others...well, you know 'em when you see 'em. I've got a pretty good bullshit meter -- I trust it, and it has been a long time since it proved me wrong. So when I came to my aikido dojo, I was able to judge that the senseis and the students were people of integrity, sensible people, not deluded and not interested in deluding others. The practice made no sense to me at all. But because I felt that the teachers were trustworthy, I was able to maintain an open mind, to do things that made no sense to me, over and over again, and get the data points so that now they start to make sense, I can understand the explanations or explain them to myself. Without the data points, though, the theory would mean nothing to me. And without the open-minded practice, I'd never have gotten the data points. If I'd insisted on proof before practice, I'd never have gotten anywhere.

Blue Buddha
07-03-2014, 12:25 PM
Avoiding trouble is very sensible but, if trouble arises, it is better for you that your opponent(s) are weak and poorly trained.

Let aikido people follow flawed training methods. They are happy training that way and you will be safer if an akidoka tries to attack you.

There are enough dangerous people around, no need to add more.

Sorry but I don't feel good about feeding other people's illusions. From your ID it seems you have a big experience with various martial arts. There are people who don't have this determination, time, money, craze, or whatever, and what to learn self defence (and along whatever comes with it) in just one system. Are they fools? Should they be left in ignorance just because you, or me, would feel safer with less experienced m. artists in the streets? Who is to decide? This is admitedly exactly the philosophy that changed the martial arts field in post war Japan.

lbb
07-03-2014, 12:49 PM
There are people who don't have this determination, time, money, craze, or whatever, and what to learn self defence (and along whatever comes with it) in just one system.

Those people probably should not be studying a martial art at all. They should find a set of techniques and strategies (almost certainly not all from "just one system") that will enhance their safety from whatever it is that threatens them. But until you can say what that threat is, you're in no position to be either proposing or dismissing any solution. It's like walking into a hardware store and saying, "I want the best tool in the store!"

jvon
07-03-2014, 01:02 PM
Ukemi is quite difficult to practice. Practicing the role of uke allows us the time to study openings in our own attacks, and teaches us ways of safely defending those openings. It is the responsibility of uke to recognize openings for atemi and to respond to those openings. Sensitive ukemi, wherein we follow the movement of our training partner, develops the sensitivity required to change directions appropriately and when indicated, which makes henka waza (transitioning techniques) and kaeshi waza (reversing techniques) possible during later stages of practice. Sensitive ukemi is the means by which we may "steal" the techniques of our teachers and senior students.
Most of the time, sempai will slow way down when training with new, or inexperienced training partners. The techniques are action-response katas, and both roles have delineated actions. Fast practice, or practice that transitions from one technique to another (henka waza), etc. requires, for safety, that both practitioners be fluent in both roles of a wide range of techniques. Slow movement can amplify mistakes, however, which may be tempting to attempt to resist.
Many beginners (and even some experienced practitioners) have a tendency to resist a technique by either tensing up against it, or disconnecting and changing the direction of their ukemi. There are techniques (henka waza) for dealing with such systems of resistance, but those are reserved for explicit demonstration and practice. Most instructors would like the students to practice just what has been demonstrated, at a level of intensity that is appropriate for the less experienced of each partnership.
Many instructors expect to be the only instructor on the mat. If your sempai aren't explaining things, it could be that such behavior is not tolerated in your dojo. It's not necessarily the case everywhere, but it is definitely the case some places.
You really should keep practicing. The most practical aspect of aikido really is ukemi. With experience, you will develop the sensitivity required to sense changes in direction by an obstinate attacker, and adjust your application of technique appropriately. The far more likely scenario to being attacked, though (unless you are in some kind of high-risk occupation or social situation), is that you will, at some point, fall down. Falls become tremendously more dangerous as we age, but, with practice, we can improve how we fall.

Blue Buddha
07-03-2014, 01:38 PM
Those people probably should not be studying a martial art at all.

So, you propose that they either enrol in 10 different martial art classes or they don't do anything at all. Sorry, but we have a life outside the dojo, we are not samurais...

kewms
07-03-2014, 02:25 PM
You really should keep practicing. The most practical aspect of aikido really is ukemi. With experience, you will develop the sensitivity required to sense changes in direction by an obstinate attacker, and adjust your application of technique appropriately. The far more likely scenario to being attacked, though (unless you are in some kind of high-risk occupation or social situation), is that you will, at some point, fall down. Falls become tremendously more dangerous as we age, but, with practice, we can improve how we fall.

Yup. I've personally experienced maybe 5-7 "real world" aikido situations. Two of those involved verbally backing off intoxicated people. (No physical response needed.) The rest were falls and potential falls. Almost all the real world situations that friends of mine have experienced were falls, too, both cases where aikidoka friends could have been injured and weren't, and cases where non-training friends might have been able to avoid injury and didn't.

Katherine

lbb
07-03-2014, 02:34 PM
So, you propose that they either enrol in 10 different martial art classes or they don't do anything at all. Sorry, but we have a life outside the dojo, we are not samurais...

Arno, you've clearly got an axe to grind, so I'm not sure why I'm bothering, but here goes. What you just did is a combination of a strawman argument (misrepresenting the position of the other side in order to make it an easy target to destroy with great drama, rolling of eyes and clutching of pearls..."Sorry, but we have a life outside the dojo...") and a false dichotomy. You've constructed the absurd position that the choices for self-defense are 1)taking ten different martial arts classes or 2)doing nothing, and then attributed that position to me. This is intellectually dishonest, and quite laughably so.

You say you want a solution, yet you refuse to define the problem. How can you expect useful answers if that's the approach you take? Do you walk into a hardware store and say, "I want the best tool in the store", refuse to answer when they ask you want you want to use it for, and then yell, "So you propose that I either buy every tool in the store, or not buy any tool at all!"? "Self-defense" is the same. Who or what are you defending against? Why are they attacking you? Where are they attacking you? Do they have any skills, weapons, other resources? Is this a movie-fantasy attack in the stereotypical dark alley, or is it something more realistic, like an attack by a spouse or partner? Et bloody cetera.

No one can help you if you refuse to frame the problem in terms that have some relation to the real world. If you'd rather just move the goalposts every time someone tries to give you an answer, so you can have the satisfaction of ridiculing their response, then I wish you every bit of the rancid, bitter enjoyment that kind of game brings. Meanwhile I'll be over here investing in circus pony futures.

kewms
07-03-2014, 02:36 PM
Meanwhile I'll be over here investing in circus pony futures.

I would imagine ukemi skills would be pretty useful if caught in a circus pony stampede... :D

Katherine

bkedelen
07-03-2014, 03:09 PM
Please stop feeding the troll.

Hilary
07-03-2014, 04:21 PM
Really good advice Ben. On the other hand he has been really effective, you have to admire that on some level.

Riai Maori
07-03-2014, 04:58 PM
Please stop feeding the troll.

YES! Please STOP feeding the TROLL. Come train with me friend and lets walk your talk, being a 3rd Kyu, puts us on the same playing level. You do not have a clue about me, but when you wake up, all your questions will be answered!:cool:

Blue Buddha
07-04-2014, 03:21 PM
There are people who don't have this determination, time, money, craze, or whatever, and what to learn self defence (and along whatever comes with it) in just one system. Are they fools? Should they be left in ignorance just because you, or me, would feel safer with less experienced m. artists in the streets? Who is to decide?

Those people probably should not be studying a martial art at all.

Well, there is no much space for misunderstanding here. It's not a bad thing to admit when you are wrong.

So toss out the word "jerk" if it seems too judgmental to you (an understandable reaction, obviously). I found it interesting that in context, the person who first used it (I thought) made it clear that he was using "being a jerk" in a somewhat different sense than one would usually use it. I think I understood what he meant, but if you can't see it (again understandable), then set the term aside. Likewise "obstinate attitude", if that strikes you as too judgy. I think it's just being used as shorthand, though.

English is not my first language, so there is always a language barrier that needs to be overcome. Still when I am arguing I am careful not to use words like stupid, jerk etc.


I think everyone who's trying to explain this to you understands quite well that this is not just a case of uke intentionally being difficult out of sheer meanness or stubbornness or (insert character flaw of choice here). Sometimes uke is hopelessly uncoordinated and so unknowingly does something that puts him/herself in a really bad position. Sometimes uke has a "bright idea" that really isn't so smart at all, resulting in (again) a really bad position. Sometimes uke is inflexible or out of shape and can't move in ways that are required to receive the technique safely. Whatever. But the important thing is that in all cases, uke is doing something that impedes his/her own learning.


It has quite successfully pointed out by other members of this forum that it is not always the uke who impedes the training. What I am trying to add, is my view regarding the other reasons, as *I* see them, why the training methodology is not optimal. You don't need to agree with me on that, but that is how I see it.


You demand an explanation before you are willing to accept the teaching, but you lack the experience and knowledge to understand the explanation -- and without accepting the teaching, you won't get it. You have to be able to accept at least the possibility that what you're told as so, and to practice accordingly, before you can gain an understanding of why this is so.

I don't demand anything. I opened a discussion on something that is troubling me and many others like me. I am very open to other ideas, possibilities and viewpoints and as I respect theirs I demand that they respect mine..

Arno, you've clearly got an axe to grind,

Its a pity you feel this way. I have only been honest and respectful of others, in contrast to what I am receiving as replies, just because I insist in my opinion.


What you just did is a combination of a strawman argument (misrepresenting the position of the other side in order to make it an easy target to destroy with great drama, rolling of eyes and clutching of pearls..."Sorry, but we have a life outside the dojo...") and a false dichotomy. You've constructed the absurd position that the choices for self-defense are 1)taking ten different martial arts classes or 2)doing nothing, and then attributed that position to me. This is intellectually dishonest, and quite laughably so.

Please, read again our quotes above, side to side. What am I misrepresenting exactly?
"Laughably dishonest" - Again, this level of communication does not suit me.


You say you want a solution, yet you refuse to define the problem. How can you expect useful answers if that's the approach you take? Do you walk into a hardware store and say, "I want the best tool in the store", refuse to answer when they ask you want you want to use it for, and then yell, "So you propose that I either buy every tool in the store, or not buy any tool at all!"? "Self-defense" is the same. Who or what are you defending against? Why are they attacking you? Where are they attacking you? Do they have any skills, weapons, other resources? Is this a movie-fantasy attack in the stereotypical dark alley, or is it something more realistic, like an attack by a spouse or partner? Et bloody cetera.

No one can help you if you refuse to frame the problem in terms that have some relation to the real world. If you'd rather just move the goalposts every time someone tries to give you an answer, so you can have the satisfaction of ridiculing their response, then I wish you every bit of the rancid, bitter enjoyment that kind of game brings. Meanwhile I'll be over here investing in circus pony futures.

I think I gave enough framing with examples regarding this hypothetical situation, but still there is no reply. Again, it is funny how you feel that I am looking for help. This is incorrect. I started a discussion expressing some viewpoints and some very helpful individuals shared some invaluable knowledge to me that gave me food for thought.

Then the conversation went on, and as it is often the case with conversations, I put forth some new observations and viewpoints. And finally, because there are apparently too many fanboys in this forum, I am being called a troll. Is there any sticky that said "thou shall not speak critically about aspects of aikido you don't like"?

What can I say. Focusing only on you, you have attacked me with various adjectives in your last posts when there is no need for that at all. Especially your last paragraph is beyond my imagination and I guess it enters the field of psychology. I just wanted a friendly, fruitful dialogue and to an extend that is what happened.

If someone thinks they can contribute further with they response, they are welcome to do so. If this is something you are not interested in, there are many other things on the internet you can have fun with. I don't have the time or will to answer to offensive comments.

JP3
07-04-2014, 04:50 PM
Please stop feeding the troll.

I do think that you may be right. We may be driving our own blood pressure up for no reason other than to amuse... someone.

hughrbeyer
07-04-2014, 07:45 PM
So, on John's quote, which I absolutely loved, "Sometimes, the proper response is to drop your partner on her butt, then explain that while her obstinate attitude is not a problem in application, it is making the current exercise more difficult."

I actually don't exactly agree with the above, as it implies that the uke is on purpose trying to make it difficult for the nage to execute the technique. To me, it is important that the nage (if in position to do so) or sensei show at some point to uke that there is always an appropriate response to any attack (quantitative & qualitative) but it is equally (if not more) important to understand and question why the uke performs this way. The easy way is to say (or write on a thread) that he is a jerk and stop thinking about it. But there might be some more noble reasons why uke behaves like that.

The thing you need to understand, as a less experienced student, is that when you act this way as uke people will think you are being a jerk. That's because there are a non-trivial number of people who let their ego get away with them and behave like this intentionally. So if you keep it up, you will get a reputation for being a jerk. Your choice whether you want that or not.

Most Aikido practice is basically kata. Predefined attack, predefined response. What you're saying comes down to that you don't like kata training. Your privilege, and you do have good company in that, but if you don't learn why kata training is useful, you're going to be frustrated a lot on the Aikido mat. Consider that essentially all koryu teach their arts through kata training. These are arts that were developed to keep people alive on the battlefield--yet most of the teaching is through staged interactions. Why do you think that is?

My teacher says, "If you train chaos, you learn chaos." Until you've burned in the right movement patterns, all you'll get from free sparring is chaos. Think about that.

As for whether nage has the responsibility for helping you through this, he/she does and did. Nage's only other real option at this point was to show how your uncommitted attack left you open to a different technique. That could easily result in you either being hit, or having to take a fall you're not ready for. We try not to do that in most Aikido dojos.

Sure, it's nice for the instructor to show you all the different variations in how a technique can evolve depending on what uke does--the basic 17 kata of Tomiki Aikido is structured just this way--but you can't depend on that every time.

On the subject of trolls, meh. Maybe, maybe not. I'm in it for the discussion.

kewms
07-05-2014, 12:10 AM
The thing you need to understand, as a less experienced student, is that when you act this way as uke people will think you are being a jerk. That's because there are a non-trivial number of people who let their ego get away with them and behave like this intentionally. So if you keep it up, you will get a reputation for being a jerk. Your choice whether you want that or not.

To elaborate a little, what tends to happen is that people try practicing with you a couple of times, decide that you're not any fun to train with, and start avoiding you.

The more senior people might dump you on the floor a few times and try to explain how what you are doing is inappropriate for what's being taught, but they might not. They're human too. They've seen many many students come through the door, train for a while, and vanish without a trace. Life is too short to get overly invested in any single beginner. Especially one who seems to be halfway out the door already because he isn't finding what he's looking for.

We don't ask people to kneel by the gate in the rain any more, and that's probably a good thing. But it will always be true that you get out of the art what you put into it. If you are perceived -- accurately or not -- as not approaching aikido practice with an open mind, then people probably won't expend much effort to try to help you.

Now, whether the level of challenge you present will be perceived in this way *will* depend on the skill level of the person and the dojo culture. There are some dojos where I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be happy for much the same reasons that you describe, and some where I fit right in. But it doesn't really matter, because they're not going to change. You can accommodate yourself to the way they train, or you can find a different dojo.

Katherine

jonreading
07-07-2014, 08:57 AM
OK. For me, I can say that reading the above (yes, all 5 pages of it), and putting a bit of redneck in it, I have absolutely no doubt at all, simply basing it on the level of the cerebration involved (like that word, eh? Cerebration, that's right y'all, a couple of advanced degrees over here and stuff), that I have no doubt that, John, Katherine and Mary can put a serious... the technical term is "Whomp" on someone, should they have a "need" to do so.

But, let's define "need," to define that. Or not, as I'm certain everyone knows the difference between want and need.

That being said, it takes a very, very skilled uke to not taken any remedial action in preparation for a technique they know is coming, e.g. the regular class situation. We've got a saying, "Anyone can defeat a technique they know is coming."

So, we also have another saying, "Nothing ever works. You just keep going until both of you are surprised."

So, on John's quote, which I absolutely loved, "Sometimes, the proper response is to drop your partner on her butt, then explain that while her obstinate attitude is not a problem in application, it is making the current exercise more difficult."

See, John's really nice, and he's all cerebral and stuff. I'm more down home, and would say, "You can do that again if you want, but you aren't learning what you're supposed to be learning while you're down there. If you want, after class, I'll show you how you ended up down there."

I've posted before about the best athelete in my school, a tang soo do black belt, I think she's a 2nd degree in TSD, she was in it 12 years of steady training, so that'd be about right I think, or maybe a bit behind. Anyway, she's the one who "challenges" the "what" we are doing on an almost dily basis, wanting to know "if it works" etc. So, I just shrug and show her. She predictably attempts to block or defeat the technique "on the board" right then, which she does, and because she really doesn't know how what she's done ruined her posture, or gave up her balance, or put her in a vulnerable position, or sometimes all of the above, it devolves to me to show her or point it out to her, usually involving a grunt on her part as she's compressed into the mat, or stretched out in a lock, dumped on her butt, or whatever. It's just the nature of the thing. Beginner's question. They don't understand , and that's OK. Remember, "Question Everything." It's not a bad place to learn from and it's not to be feared.

I used to use terms that implied a deliberation component of a partner's response to confound technique. But, I realized it was over-broad to generalize that my partner was consciously trying to stop the technique. In fact, most of the time, my partner was unaware of the consequences of her action. I got out of the "jerk" mode and into "obstinate" mode. I reserved "jerk" for the clear occasions of deviation intended to confound technique. It lowered my blood pressure and provided a better perspective with which to discuss uke waza. To your point, that is another great way to smile and say, "are you sure that's the pony on which you wanna ride for this race?"

Ultimately, the definition of roles is necessary to learning aiki. It's a science experiment - you don't go changing variables when you are trying to replicate results. Kata provides this structure and its purpose is different that kumite. To Hugh's point, eventually, you have to provide framework to get the serious learning. Randori exercise is a very difficult environment in which to remain consistent. Generally, you are supposed to improve your partner's aikido. Everyone who touches you should be better when they step off the mat. We begin and end each class with the pleasantries of asking for help and thanking our partners for helping us. Introspectively, if you wince when someone asks for help because you will not help them you need to re-think your perspective; or, you wince when someone thanks you for helping them because it is a hollow formality you need to re-think how you interact with your partner. I know people who have trained for years and never grasped this concept - why are we busting someone's chops that is new to aikido for likewise not being appropriately exposed? There's a reason why uke is often reserved for the senior partner...

As for the issue of self-defense... We promote a curriculum that is going to even the odds. Our primary PR is designed around the notion that just because someone is bigger, better, faster or stronger does not mean that have an advantage. If that is our claim, it is not unreasonable to infer a strong foundation for self-defense purposes. I think this is again a gap in the expectation of the prospective student and the ability in the dojo. There are individuals who practice aikido with a narrow gap between aikido and application-based fighting. There are people who cannot punch their way out of a paper bag. Large tent and all that.

Good aikido has foundation that can be applied to defend yourself. Some dojos provide a curriculum to build on that foundation. But not all dojos. There are other curriculum that are better tailored to specific application-oriented fighting and self-defense. Again, this is a not a 6-week program and I think we are talking about mis-managed expectations creating frustration.

I am more supportive of the "question everything." Somethings require less scrutiny, but some things require closer inspection, too. I think Katherine is 100% correct - you will get out what you put in. There is a huge difference between paradox and poor training. Aikido has enough of both. We come to aikido seeing something that we want to change. The dojo provides us the opportunity and the education to make that change.