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View Full Version : Just another look at aikido and what are the consequences of it?


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observer
08-24-2015, 03:20 AM
Misconceptions about Aikido have history and today it is difficult to go back and consider what someone or someone else wrote, or said. You have to follow your own experience, observations and logic. And these are my comments on this topic.

Directions, from which an attack comes, can be summarized as follows. You should visualize a circle whose center is crossed by 4 simple lines: vertical, horizontal and two diagonals. Together, there are 9 points in common representing directions of possible attacks. In aikido we practice only one attack from one direction and all these attacks, called atemi, have their own names: shomen-uchi, yokomen-uchi, mune-tsuki, katate-tori, kata-tori, and katate-kosa-tori. They are performed on the left and right sides. For other attacks, like hand grips and attacks from behind, aikido is useless.

Aikido includes only 12 techniques. I could list them all, but perhaps it is more important to identify what they all have in common. In fact all the techniques are designed to kill an attacker on the spot by breaking his neck. This qualifies aikido as a Martial Art (Budo), which is the art of killing. However, in order to perform any technique of aikido, it is always necessary to use both hands and not to be caught or struck earlier. Thus, it is important to obtain the skill of avoiding any direct attack. Bluntly speaking, aikidokas have to become untouchables.

Contrary to what we read, aikido techniques have not been borrowed from Daito-ryu nor ju-jitsu. They are unique, and are divided into two types.

The first type stems from an interesting observation. As we know, when people meet each other, they like to show respect with a specific gesture. In western cultures it is shaking hands or hugging; in the East, it is bowing. Just imagine that behind a bowing person there is a 3 year old child who pushes him forward. What is going to happened then? In order to maintain balance, the person will step forward or catch someone or something. Otherwise, when already falling on their face, they will try to protect themselves from head injury with their hands. And what if the demands of these options will not be possible?

Other techniques of Aikido work like a wheel and an axle. In contrast, the fall takes place on the back of the head and the feet stagger up in the air.

When performing aikido techniques we are always able to protect the attacker's fall. We are catching his hand so that the head doesn't reach the ground. This is the way how to do it in training and how to adopt these techniques in self-defense. It is important to notice that executing these techniques doesn't require taking the opponent out of balance. In aikido we have full control and a choice to kill or to spare.

Looking back in history, in 1919, two people met by chance. One of them was Morihei Ueshiba, a dreamer without work, with a family to support and facing the loss of his dying father, the provider in the family. The other person was Onisaburo Deguchi, son in law of the creator of a new religion Omoto, whose life was influenced by an accident in which when he was 26 years old he was beaten by a gang of thugs and left for dead in a rice paddy.

Their encounter resulted in Ueshiba being hired by Onisaburo Deguchi, the co-founder of Omoto-kyo sect, for a specific reason. The purpose of this was to realize his own idea to bring pacifism to the level of an individual. This sounded particularly interesting to Onisaburo Deguchi. Here is why.

This young Omoto religion stood out and quickly found supporters because it offered followers a happy life now, not after death. Therefore through certain transformations, people would live without fear, in a spiritual world and in harmony with nature, where violence would be eliminated completely.

Omoto identified three sources of violence and recommended appropriate solutions. The first source is the multiplicity of religions and the wars caused by it. This can be avoided by treating all religions equally, where "many gods may exist but all are essentially the same and come from one source; therefore it doesn't matter under which name or ritual God is worshiped. All gods, religions, prophets and messengers throughout time came from the same source -- the Supreme God of the Universe". The second source of violence is the lack of mutual understanding, mainly through a multitude of languages. The solution is to communicate in only one language. The choice fell on Esperanto, modern, culturally neutral language, created by Dr. L.L.Zamenhof from Poland. Finally, the third source of violence exists in ourselves, allowing us to use violence in certain situations. In accordance with the idea of pacifism, it is necessary to eliminate such thoughts and become guardians of peace in our own environment.

It is important to understand that the idea of pacifism is a rather general message and skips an important personal aspect. However, a person can not be considered a pacifist, if he is not able to make a choice between using violence or not. If possible, a pacifist always chooses a peaceful solution to a conflict and despite his ability to completely destroy the opponent he makes a choice not to do it. Morihei Ueshiba had an idea how to implement it as an Omoto religion requirement which was the main purpose of his employment in the sect. It turned out to be a blessing in this difficult period of his life.

This job lasted six years and culminated with an event in 1925, and was recorded in history as an 'enlightenment', or the birth of Aikido. This announcement was made almost immediately after an unusual confrontation in the Ueshiba's dojo. That day Morihei Ueshiba was visited by an anonymous naval officer who practiced kendo. We can assume that there was a difference of opinions in terms of their skills. After being challenged, Ueshiba faced an opponent carrying a wooden sword, with his bare hands.

At the express request of Ueshiba the duel began, however not once was he touched by a wooden sword. The officer, discouraged by his ineffective attacks, finally surrendered. As a result Ueshiba became convinced that remaining untouchable is possible, and fully justified the existence of the new martial art.

As someone said: Only the people that have the power to hurt are living in peace consciously. The others simply have no choice.

Hilary
08-24-2015, 10:48 AM
I am sure others will here find different issues to quibble with, fasten your seatbelt. We take a broader view of what Aikido is. If you move from one point, extend ki (pick your interpretation and move on), don’t put your power at the point of contact, then you are doing aikido whether you are tossing street thugs or lifting a cup of tea. Fudotai and fudoshin are a state of being.

We perform/show kicks, elbows, knees, head-butts, atemi using the shoulder and other parts of the body, and leg displacements, both statically and dynamically. Please don’t try to limit our aikido; nobody puts baby in the corner. And two hands…really…sayu nage anyone? I have been working for years to develop the ability to throw and lock from forearm contact alone. When the rubber meets the road it sometimes happens too fast to find a handhold; forearms are great neutral pivot points.

Becoming untouchable is a laudable and useful goal, the quote “nobody ever lost a fight by not being hit” applies. I am 6’1” and 200lbs (or so), so while I am fast and mobile for my size, I will not be able to avoid contact with a smaller, faster, skilled attacker, sometimes the parry will ghost past them, sometimes it is kuzushi and corkscrew their ass around me as if I were the rock of Gibraltar; whichever is appropriate for the moment.

You touch on some very good and salient points, I guess what I am really saying is don’t limit yourself in how you think about the art. If you do you will never make it to no mind and spontaneous adaptability. I have always thought the pacifist bit to spot on, thanks for bringing that up, people unfamiliar with the concept need to think about that a bit.

Janet Rosen
08-24-2015, 10:53 AM
In aikido we practice only one attack from one direction and all these attacks, called atemi, have their own names: shomen-uchi, yokomen-uchi, mune-tsuki, katate-tori, kata-tori, and katate-kosa-tori. They are performed on the left and right sides. For other attacks, like hand grips and attacks from behind, aikido is useless.

The many people I know, including my teachers as well as law enforcement folks, who have used aikido quite nicely in the real world when attacked with grips or strong attacks from behind, would be very surprised to find out they were not doing aikido or that their ability to take down a person without hurting them was "useless."
You appear to be boxing yourself into a semantic argument for no real reason.

PeterR
08-24-2015, 12:30 PM
Wow just wow.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-24-2015, 12:42 PM
Misconceptions about Aikido have history and today it is difficult to go back and consider what someone or someone else wrote, or said. You have to follow your own experience, observations and logic. And these are my comments on this topic.

...

Great compilation of misconceptions. Good job.

kewms
08-24-2015, 02:03 PM
A: Aikido doesn't study, and is useless against, attacks from behind.

B: But my dojo studies attacks from behind all the time.

A: You aren't doing real aikido.

See also No True Scotsman fallacy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Katherine

Hilary
08-24-2015, 02:13 PM
Katherine SEN SEN NO SEN?

Janet Rosen
08-24-2015, 06:11 PM
Katherine SEN SEN NO SEN?

In this case perhaps sen sen no sense, to go into bilingual pun mode....

Hilary
08-24-2015, 06:29 PM
Well if they say really stinks, maybe sensei Sen Sen will fix it.

Sojourner
08-24-2015, 07:19 PM
An interesting post Maciej, you seem to have somewhat of a different perspective on Aikido to many, but your points are interesting to consider, for me I like your focus on the relationship between Oomoto and the founding of Aikido which is something that often tends to be glossed over in the study of the history and the evolution of Aikido.

I am interested to know if you ever blog your Aikido thoughts on Wordpress or similar? I would be happy to re-blog what you wrote as I think it would create an interesting discussion.

I will pick up on your thoughts here that for “hand grips and attacks from behind, Aikido is useless”. I saw an interesting video recently and maybe you have seen it too(?) via the MMA facebook site, where a young Aikidoka enters a contest against an older chap well experienced in the Russian Martial Art of Systema and gets quickly defeated three times in a row. He is however congratulated for having the willingness to get up and give it a go against this Russian chap. The few points that I would make here is that there are no shortage of Aikido techniques in Systema and as a result the chap that trains in Systema is not even remotely going to offer a limb or their own force to you. In the video he took him down with a crushing bear hug and some type of Greco-Roman styled lock, in another the crushing power of the bear hug was enough on its own. There are ways to escape a bear hug of course, usually with Krav Maga styled techniques. Attempting to use your opponents own strength against them in that type of instance may be an interesting contest which I suspect you probably would not win without repeated and specific training for that purpose.

It is also interesting that people put O’Sensei up on some type of pedestal like people have done in the past with Bruce Lee with the belief that he clearly won every encounter that he took on. No one becomes a master and founder of any martial art in my opinion without the experience of losing. There is a record of a time when O’Sensei used his Aikido techniques on a chap that was a Japanese Sumo Wrestler, In O’Sensei’s words he is reported to have said something like “he was a sturdy stout man”. Initially O’Sensei was beaten by this guy, nothing he did worked and he struggled. O’Sensei then worked to focus on his Ki techniques to resolve the situation. I suspect that if a number of people that fancy themselves as being in the ball park of the skill level of O’Sensei and took on a fully trained and qualified Sumo Wrestler or a top level Systema instructor I think there would be a good chance that they too might suffer the same inglorious fate. - http://aikidosphere.com/os-e-failure

mathewjgano
08-24-2015, 08:59 PM
I'll give a try with my own look...
Misconceptions about Aikido have history and today it is difficult to go back and consider what someone or someone else wrote, or said. You have to follow your own experience, observations and logic. And these are my comments on this topic.
Misconceptions abound partly because people often consider only their own perspective. Owning the fact of our own ignorance and incomplete comprehension, regardless of whether we are or are not an expert, is the first step in addressing misconceptions.

For other attacks, like hand grips and attacks from behind, aikido is useless.
I disagree. Aikido has infinite techniques and can be applied to any situation with proper diligence and attitude/awareness, as far as I can tell.
...it is always necessary to use both hands and not to be caught or struck earlier. Thus, it is important to obtain the skill of avoiding any direct attack. Bluntly speaking, aikidokas have to become untouchables.
It is important to avoid being touched by all weapons, whether we are being directly or indirectly attacked by them. They can certainly lead to death in difficult situations. However, it is not always necessary to use two hands to perform technique. Obviously we have a limited number of limbs, but hypothetically, just about any surface can affect control for the purpose of self defense.
It is important to understand that the idea of pacifism is a rather general message and skips an important personal aspect. However, a person can not be considered a pacifist, if he is not able to make a choice between using violence or not.
I basically agree, but that depends on the messenger too though, doesn't it? We don't all mean the same thing when we use the same words. There is our intention and there is our reality. Here's to all of us matching our intentions with reality/nature in the name of peace and love for all.
Thank you for taking the time to articulate your thinking and share it here. I hope you will sincerely and deeply consider the thinking of others here. There is a lot of experience present.
Take care,
Matt

observer
08-25-2015, 03:36 AM
To all of you, my friendly respondents. Use my text or part of it as you wish. I do not reserve any copyrights. I also found interesting that some of you quoted my provocative sentence 'For other attacks, like hand grips and attacks from behind, aikido is useless.'. I put it deliberately in the text to trigger a discussion because of widespread misunderstanding.

In my opinion, the power of the new art created by Morihei Ueshiba, comes from the possibility of becoming untouchable. This explains the Master's reply to Admiral Takeshita. Takeshita's contacts with the Imperial family led to a demonstration at the Imperial Palace Sainenkan dojo in 1941. Ueshiba first resisted the invitation stating that he didn't want to demonstrate "false" techniques before such an illustrious audience. By this he meant that if he performed "real" techniques his partner would be killed! It also explains why we do not have any competition in aikido. For the same reason. If someone is hit or gripped, at front or behind, a fight begins. Of course, a person 6'1" tall, and with 300 pounds weight, has a better chance of survival than others. So, aikido has been designed to avoid any kind of fight and to end any confrontation after the first direct attack by the death of an opponent.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-25-2015, 07:46 AM
Takeshita's contacts with the Imperial family led to a demonstration at the Imperial Palace Sainenkan dojo in 1941. Ueshiba first resisted the invitation stating that he didn't want to demonstrate "false" techniques before such an illustrious audience. By this he meant that if he performed "real" techniques his partner would be killed!

Well, Ueshiba's uke at that demo was killed anyway... Not by Ueshiba but by a grunt in a streetfight. Maybe he was taught "false" techniques too.

Cliff Judge
08-25-2015, 11:51 AM
Takeshita's contacts with the Imperial family led to a demonstration at the Imperial Palace Sainenkan dojo in 1941. Ueshiba first resisted the invitation stating that he didn't want to demonstrate "false" techniques before such an illustrious audience. By this he meant that if he performed "real" techniques his partner would be killed!

That don't make no sense. Any number of martial systems of the day had worked out how to safely train and demonstrate deadly techniques. Like, ALL of them, really, including Daito ryu. Ueshiba saying he might have to kill someone to show the "true techniques" sounds more like he was at a point of low faith in what he was doing. Perhaps he had grown weary of the fact that people flocked to see him throw believers around (you need to doubt a lot of the stories about him though).

He changed up the name for the embu at the Palace - cannot remember what it was - and this tells me that he really felt he needed to dress it up for the Emperor, that it was not worthy.

So to your comment, if you are trying to figure out what the real innovation or core nature of Aikido is, that's the wrong time period to be looking at. He didn't even know what he was calling it then, and didn't have much faith in it.

observer
08-25-2015, 12:05 PM
Maybe he was taught "false" techniques too.
I do not appreciate such sarcasm. I never mentioned that Morihei Ueshiba taught anybodies his new art. There are no sources about it. But we know, that he many times criticized what is taught in his dojo by a chief instructor Koichi Tohei and others. BTW the concept of becoming untouchable is missed in aikido for decades. Who knows, why? I do not.

observer
08-25-2015, 12:20 PM
He didn't even know what he was calling it then, and didn't have much faith in it.
Does it matter? His innovation makes sense. Don't you see it? His contemporary authorities such as Jigoro Kano and admiral Takeshita respected it as ideal Budo..

mathewjgano
08-25-2015, 12:26 PM
I also found interesting that some of you quoted my provocative sentence 'For other attacks, like hand grips and attacks from behind, aikido is useless.'. I put it deliberately in the text to trigger a discussion because of widespread misunderstanding.


I find it interesting you seem to only have included it as a provocative statement. Are you suggesting you don't hold this view? How would you address the points raised directly?

Bear in mind that there are consequences of speaking provocatively, too.
Take care.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-25-2015, 12:45 PM
I do not appreciate such sarcasm..
Well, I could be blunt, for instance:

You are utterly wrong about Aikido and your OP is a poorly elaborated attempt at trolling.

Better now?

rugwithlegs
08-25-2015, 03:41 PM
Shorter to touch on what I might agree with...

I've been playing with short weapons practices that have Nage try to get off the line well. I have seen Shioda do this, and the final section of Koryu no Kata Roku does have some of this, are these are the movements I remember practicing the most. Empty hand movements and more involved weapons partner practices do seem to focus on keeping a connection, and solo practices don't give much impetus to get off the line for me. Freestyle is often done to the point of a throw, rather than avoiding contact or disengaging early. I think this practice is valid.

I would stop short of saying any other approach is wrong.

Keith Larman
08-26-2015, 08:37 AM
Wow just wow.

Concise, to the point, and probably the best answer to the OP is ^ this.

ChrisHein
08-26-2015, 05:42 PM
Wow just wow.:)