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akiy
08-29-2002, 11:53 AM
So here's an offshoot thread from the Most Important Aikido Technique (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2427) thread...

What, in your mind and experience, makes a technique an "aikido" technique?

-- Jun

jimvance
08-29-2002, 01:16 PM
What, in your mind and experience, makes a technique an "aikido" technique?One that uses "aiki" as the defining principle.

So maybe the hidden question is "what is Aiki"? Jun, I think that everyone's answers to your question will depend upon how they or their teachers define the principle of Aiki.

Jim Vance

Kent Enfield
08-29-2002, 02:23 PM
I have to agree with Jim. If it uses aiki, it's aikido. If it doesn't it isn't.

I was at a seminar about ten years ago with Saotome s. at which he made this specific point. He said (quoting from memory), "We are not shihonageka; we are not iriminageka; we are aikidoka." He then proceeded to have the entire group practice a flying scissors-leg takedown and using kotegaeshi to make an opening for a front kick to the chest.

JPT
08-29-2002, 07:28 PM
I have to agree with Jim. If it uses aiki, it's aikido. If it doesn't it isn't.
I agree that this is part of what makes a technique an Aikido technique, but the principles of Aiki are not only used by Aikidoka e.g. Aikijutsu where the end results maybe be completely different to a similiar looking Aikido technique.

For me it is more down to the protective spirit of Aikido. I believe that you can take almost any technique from another martial art and providing you apply it with a bit compassion for Uke & self control (In otherwords no permanent damage to the attacker) then you can call it an Aikido Technique regardless of what it looks like.

:triangle: :square: :circle:

SeiserL
08-30-2002, 08:14 AM
What, in your mind and experience, makes a technique an "aikido" technique?
IMHO, blending and taking balance.

Until again,

Lynn

Bruce Baker
08-30-2002, 10:21 AM
Having experienced, although not mastered, other forms of martial arts, I have different feelings for mindsets of each type of training I have experienced.

Karate became the video game of creating injury and pain with strikes, punches, and violent manipulations that saught injury to neutralize opponents.

Many techniques in jujitsu were simular to Aikido, but when the chips were down, throwing your opponent like a sack of potatoes, much like judo, and striking soft points of the body loosened opponents.

Aikido practice, encompassed a different feel, a different mindset, a different rythym.

Many of Aikido's techniques involve catching the flying leaves, blending with energy of a grappler or football lineman so you can either redirect it or get around it. There is a point of physical fitness that allows you to be somewhat quick and mobile, but the strength is not held withinin the body, but directed outward in the mindset sending it across the room.

The techniques remind me of throwing a baseball. Sometimes you catch and throw, sometimes you redirect the energy, sometimes you are in the outfield trying to reach home plate with an impossible throw. In each case, you recieve a force, allow it to lose velocity, or use the moving velocity to rebound into a throw.

In terms of physical encounter, much of Aikido's techniques are learning to be hit by the wave, or ride the wave. You avoid the hard physical contact by learning to "get the hell out of the way." A softer physical contact that is no less overpowering that the stiffer physical contact of other types of martial arts.

I used to call the grappling art, the art of the snake. The striking arts, the art of being hit by a two by four. The throwing arts of either judo or jujitsu, the art of throwing a sack of potatoes, or wresting with a tree log.

Aikido?

The art of riding the wave.

That would also include learning how to make the wave, as well as ride it.

If you have ever wiped out and ridden a wave in the ocean, or been thrown into a river to fight the current and rough water, then the concept of riding the wave does have some meaning. If not ... you will when your ukemi gets good enough to feel where the energy is going instead of trying to anticipate movements.

Kent Enfield
08-30-2002, 03:44 PM
For me it is more down to the protective spirit of Aikido. I believe that you can take almost any technique from another martial art and providing you apply it with a bit compassion for Uke & self control (In otherwords no permanent damage to the attacker) then you can call it an Aikido Technique regardless of what it looks like.I guess I don't buy that protecting the opponent from harm is a necessary or even important part of aikido. No, the goal isn't to cause harm, but if injury happens, so be it. All those lovely, completely harmless techniques in the dojo have very different results when the recipient doesn't know how to receive them.

Even simple and seemingly harmless ikkyo can mess up a shoulder if the person doesn't go with it. I've done it accidentally just goofing around with a friend (the result was just a minor strain with some soreness the next day).

One of the guys in my old dojo got attacked. He did a nice kaiten nage expecting a nice roll. It's easy ukemi after all. Instead, the guy's face slid across the pavement.

No more injury than necessary doesn't mean no injury.

ChristianBoddum
08-30-2002, 04:48 PM
Hi !

In training I'd say to show openings instead of takedowns,in real life - the outcome,

meaning having less of a problem after action,

and not have more people come after you,and if

possible turn a foe into a friend,I have managed once to turn a foe into a friend so

I know it can happen.

yours - Chr.B.

Kevin Leavitt
08-30-2002, 06:08 PM
I don't think Aikido is defined by techniques as much as it is defined by the philosophy of it's founder.

So what makes an aikido technique, aikido is the mindset/spirit in which the technique is performed.

Aikido is a methodology of training that has been imparted down to us from O'Sensei. To me Aikido doesn't have any exclusive techniques, only it's methodology and philsophy. Albeit, we typically center our studies around a core group of techniques. These techniques can be seen in tai chi, karate, aikijutsu, yoga, and even in the WWF!

JPT
08-30-2002, 06:14 PM
All those lovely, completely harmless techniques in the dojo have very different results when the recipient doesn't know how to receive them

Good point which I agree with. Injuries can happen regards of how carefully you apply your techniques.
No, the goal isn't to cause harm, but if injury happens, so be it

I'll rephase that slightly

"The goal is not to cause harm, but if injury happens it will not be intentional (except in situations where there is absolutely no other option)".

However we should strive & train to be good enough that there will always be another option.

:triangle: :square: :circle:

Kent Enfield
08-30-2002, 09:00 PM
No, the goal isn't to cause harm, but if injury happens, so be it.I'll rephase that slightly

"The goal is not to cause harm, but if injury happens it will not be intentional (except in situations where there is absolutely no other option)".Well, I'll rephrase it more than slightly, since I know what I intended to convey, but apparently didn't.

"The goal, in a self-defense situation when using "aikido technique", is not to cause injury to my attacker, but to defend myself. However, the results of doing will most likely be injury to my attacker.

I do not think that causing injury when you apply a technique is the result of lack of skill. Causing injury when you don't want to (such as while training) certainly is, but that doesn't mean that just causing injury is. Nor do I think that using an aikido technique to cause injury somehow reduces its "aikidoness".

There's nothing inherently contradictory between the principles of aikido and hurting people, even intentionally. If people disagree with me, which I expect at least some to do, I'd like to know what why they think so.

guest1234
08-30-2002, 10:06 PM
For me, recognizing and touching your partner's/attacker's humanity.

Kat.C
08-31-2002, 09:39 AM
This is really confusing, it seems most people are saying that as long as it is done with the right spirit any technique could be considered an aikido technique. I don't think that my husband and I could get on the mat and start doing Yakasoku kumite,(learned in karate) and call it aikido. Well we could call it that but it wouldn't be, and I don't think my sensei would consider it aikido either. Aren't there actual techniques that Osensei taught his students and that in turn have been taught to their students and so on? (Yes I understand ther are lots of variations of the techniques). If the philosophy behind the movement is the determining factor in what makes something an aikido technique, then does that mean that my karate instuctors could have called their art aikido, as the spirit, the philosophy, is the same? :confused:

Kent Enfield
08-31-2002, 06:03 PM
This is really confusing, it seems most people are saying that as long as it is done with the right spirit any technique could be considered an aikido technique. . . . If the philosophy behind the movement is the determining factor in what makes something an aikido technique, then does that mean that my karate instuctors could have called their art aikido, as the spirit, the philosophy, is the same? :confused:Well, I can only elaborate my own opinion.

What makes a technique aikido isn't whether it is on the syllabus of an aikido dojo or organization, or even whether O-sensei taught it. What makes it aikido is whether it relies on the principle of aiki: blending, no direct force on force, etc. That does not include a moral component. Bad people can use aikido to do bad things for bad reasons and it's still aikido.

So, just because you learned it in a karate dojo and not an aikido one doesn't make it not aikido. There's nothing inherently "un-aikido-like" about punching, kicking, kneeing. As I mentioned upthread, Saotome s. had us practice kicking people in the chest to make that point.

guest1234
09-01-2002, 05:56 AM
I agree with the first part of your answer, Kent, in that you can go from org. to org. and find plenty of differences being taught, all 'handed down from the Founder'.

I disagree that kicks, punches, etc being taught or being used absolve you from a moral factor, and would say that is the difference between what looks like aikido that is being taught in Judo, BJJ, Karate, etc. For instance, the kick or punch done as you described earlier might have been to demonstrate openings that are left if a tech. is not done correctly (kick with kotegaeshi) or as an attack (the first you mentioned)...I have been in a class where Saotome Sensei made us just do punches all night, but his explanation at that time was we punched too ineffectively to practice technique against.

Futher, punches and kicks can be integral parts of a tech., either as atemi or another part, but it is the spririt that it is delivered (and perhaps the timing) that makes it different. Are we pucnhing/kicking to maintain space/move our attacker, or are we punching him or kicking him during the pin (I've seen this taught in aikido dojos, but to me, kicking someone after you've subdued them is not aikido).

I of course can have it all wrong, but it is easiest for me to connect to my pertner, especially those I'm not personally fond of, if I make an active attempt to truely see them, as my fellow human, as a person trying to improve, and if there are problems in our interaction, to look at why he may be acting as he is, and at all times, no matter what is transpiring on the mat, to make sure I protect my uke to the best of my ability.

Aikido-looking techniques, when they've been done to me by people who either by my observation or dojo opinion are a bit antisocial (unable to see humanity in others), feels quite different.

JPT
09-01-2002, 07:22 AM
This is really confusing, it seems most people are saying that as long as it is done with the right spirit any technique could be considered an aikido technique

Hard to believe I know, but it also works the otherway around, Aikido techniques can be considered to be Karate, Arnis, Tai chi techniques etc..

The best example I can think of is Kote Gashi if you take a look in almost any book on another martial art you will find the basic shape/configuration of Kote Gashi. Yes it will be applied differently, but it is still Kote Gashi just another variation.
Bad people can use aikido to do bad things for bad reasons and it's still aikido.

Aiki yes, Aikido No

The word Aikido is commonly describe as meaning "the way of Harmony"

Suppose we have a bad man using "Aikido" to beat up somebody & mug them. Where is the "Way of Harmony" in that ?

:triangle: :square: :circle:

Kent Enfield
09-01-2002, 09:42 PM
I disagree that kicks, punches, etc being taught or being used absolve you from a moral factor, and would say that is the difference between what looks like aikido that is being taught in Judo, BJJ, Karate, etc.Huh? I never related striking to morality. I stated that the technical principle "aiki" is not a moral thing. I also stated that striking was not inherently "un-aiki." Two independent statements.

Why does a technique that uses aiki but is taught under a different name have to be not aikido? Is it not possible for there to be overlap between different martial arts?
For instance, the kick or punch done as you described earlier might have been to demonstrate openings that are left if a tech. is not done correctly (kick with kotegaeshi) or as an attack (the first you mentioned)... [snip]

Futher, punches and kicks can be integral parts of a tech., either as atemi or another part, but it is the spririt that it is delivered (and perhaps the timing) that makes it different. Are we pucnhing/kicking to maintain space/move our attacker, or are we punching him or kicking him during the pinIn my example above the technique was: 1) Uke strikes munetsuki. 2) Nage starts on a regular kotegaeshi, but instead of taking it all the way into a throw, only takes it far enough to immobilize uke and open his chest. 3) Nage kicks him in the sternum or solar plexus. The kick wasn't about maintaing distance or getting uke to move. It was the "goal" of the technique.

And practicing this technique immediately followed statements by Saotome s. to the effect that aikido is not limited to a list of techniques: whatever you do following the principles of aiki is aikido. This technique still relied on blending and taking balance just like you'd expect with ikkyo or kotegaeshi. It just ended with a strike rather than a throw, lock, or pin.
The word Aikido is commonly describe as meaning "the way of Harmony"

Suppose we have a bad man using "Aikido" to beat up somebody & mug them. Where is the "Way of Harmony" in that ?Well, I think that that common description is incorrect. Aiki doesn't mean harmony, not in a "we all get along" sense. If by harmony you mean being in synch or coordinated with, I guess you could translate aiki as harmony. So, yes that bad person can beat up someone and take their lunch money using aiki and hence be doing aikido.

(As a tangent, I do believe that O-sensei thought that by practicing aiki in a technical sense, one would begin to practice its moral analog. However, I do not think that one must practice that analog, or even agree with someone else on what it is, to be doing aikido.)

You seem to agree that aiki is technical principle, not a moral one ("Aiki yes, Aikido No"). What then differentiates a technique that uses aiki and looks like aikido but isn't aikido from one that that uses aiki, looks like aikido, and is?

guest1234
09-02-2002, 07:44 AM
"(As a tangent, I do believe that O-sensei thought that by practicing aiki in a technical sense, one would begin

to practice its moral analog. However, I do not think

that one must practice that analog, or even agree with

someone else on what it is, to be doing aikido.)"

:confused: so are you saying you believe O Sensei had as a goal of Aikido the development of this moral viewpoint, that we would eventually reach this moral practice of his art, but that goal is not actually part of Aikido?

I have no issues with those who see this just as a physical form of exercise/self defense/whatever, as long as they have no issues with what I get out of it. But they usually deny the moral aspect as ever being in the design. You seem to be saying it was meant by O Sensei to be there, but it's not really a vital part.

As for the kicking uke in the middle of kotegashi, it sounds like it was demonstrated do do the kick rather than finish the kotegaeshi throw you already had? But not to show uke his vulnerability and the reason to take the fall, but rather immobilizing uke with the wrist lock so you could kick him in the chest? So you give up the certain technique in order to stand on one foot and kick an immobilized uke in the chest? Not sure I see the point in it, but I don't see the point in those who demo kicking uke after you've pinned him, either.

erikmenzel
09-02-2002, 09:24 AM
What, in your mind and experience, makes a technique an "aikido" technique?
Nothing. :eek:

In my mind there does not exist such a thing as "an aikido technique". Of course anyone can argue that we use and train techniques in aikido, however aikido is not defined by the sum of the techniques practised, the techniques practised are not exclusively used in aikido and even the way techniques are practised or performed is not unique for aikido.

Maybe the need to try to answer this question is born from a deeper need to go and label things in the world. Unfortunately labeling does not lead to understanding and acceptance. Why would I want to claim that I am doing a specific aikido technique when doing for instance ude osae but a ju jitsu guy/girl doing ude osae isnt?

Even the claim that certain idea or principle is what makes a technique aikido does not make a lot of sense because a lot of the ideas like aiki or love and respect are as fundamental to other martial arts as well. I have seen a judoka display a fair understanding of aiki yet I am a 100% certain this girl was not doing aikido.

I often find that people tend to use the words aiki, aikido and aikido technique in a manner as if they are claiming to have a higher understanding of men, the world and the universe because the are followers of the only right religion and therefor have special insight. This can even been seen in the willingness some people show to claim that some other martial artist can be doing aikido without knowing it themselves. (Nobody in his right mind would claim that I was doing gymnastics if I slipped over a banana peel and made a perfect salto.) This to me sounds like the "we have the only true religion and someone who is doing something we cant debunk must be following our religion without knowing it"-reasoning. A kind of reasoning I personaly find very scary due to its use in history.

Maybe the question "what makes a technique an aikido technique?" represents the failure for some people to answer the more difficult questions like:

"What is aikido?"

"What defines me?"

"What am I doing?"

"Should we agree?"

Understandably these questions can be quite scary and for most people are so uncomfortable with realizing their own insignificance they rather ignore it anyway.

I hope this was pleasantly discomforting.

(Slipping on asbestus flameproof suit)

Kent Enfield
09-02-2002, 05:45 PM
:confused: so are you saying you believe O Sensei had as a goal of Aikido the development of this moral viewpoint, that we would eventually reach this moral practice of his art, but that goal is not actually part of Aikido?Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying. I also do not think that practicing aikido inevitably leads to moral development, just that it is intended as a tool for that development. The potential moral development comes from the practicing of something difficult (in this case, learning to fight effectively), not from the techniques of the art itself. Heck, even kendo and judo claim to intended as instruments of moral development, but do not make the claim that you have to be a good person or using the techniques for a good purpose to be doing kendo or judo. They just claim that you ought to. I believe it to be the same with aikido.

Aikido in and of itself is amoral. It was developed so that practice of it could be used as a tool for moral development.As for the kicking uke in the middle of kotegashi, it sounds like it was demonstrated do do the kick rather than finish the kotegaeshi throw you already had? But not to show uke his vulnerability and the reason to take the fall, but rather immobilizing uke with the wrist lock so you could kick him in the chest? So you give up the certain technique in order to stand on one foot and kick an immobilized uke in the chest? It wasn't so much a stop one technique, start another type thing. You just used a kote-gaeshi motion to open the chest in order to deliver the kick. If you're opposed to being on one foot, you really would have disliked the technique that came next: a flying scissors takedown in which nage was completely airborn. I'd also that point out that kotegaeshi is no more "certain" than maegeri.

The point was not to get stuck in a "this technique is aikido; that one is not" mindset. Or it could have been just for Saotome s.'s amusement, having seen what happens when a bunch of aikidoka try to practice the technique.
I don't see the point in those who demo kicking uke after you've pinned him, either.I've never done that or seen it done, but I'd guess it's so that uke doesn't get up right away. ;)

jimvance
09-03-2002, 12:49 PM
That kanji "DO" sure does some wonderful things, doesn't it? If it was absent in the original question, we would have an almost entirely different thread (one I thought would revolve around the principle of Aiki). Instead the question really becomes "are techniques really aikido?" or something like that. The Tao Te Ching says according to one translation "The Ways that can be walked are not the eternal Way; the names that can be named are not the eternal Name." (Victor Mair trans.) Could it be that what we practice is not "aikido" at all, but merely a pattern that reveals a greater ideal. As far as practical application (real life stuff, whether it be protecting your life, or diffusing verbal conflict), that is not "aikido" at all, merely the human facade of that higher ideal.

By trying to live our lives according to that higher ideal, having it pressed into our mind via our conscious intent, we interrupt the ideal of aikido. At some point we have all come into contact with persons, teachers of this art, who personify this ideal without thinking about it as much as we do. Sometimes we think they don't think about it at all, that they live it, that they are enlightened. Maybe so.

In other words, can a "DO" translate into a thing, techniques, and still remain a "DO"? Or are techniques like shadows on a wall, a visual pattern of things that hint at some higher ideal, some source that we can feel, but lack the resources to actually perceive? Perhaps through training we can walk the path without trying, without distinction and separation. Perhaps we will never overcome the human condition, and we will just have to be happy with who we are and what we have.

Jim Vance

JimAde
09-03-2002, 01:52 PM
That kanji "DO" sure does some wonderful things, doesn't it?

<...snipped...>

In other words, can a "DO" translate into a thing, techniques, and still remain a "DO"? Or are techniques like shadows on a wall, a visual pattern of things that hint at some higher ideal, some source that we can feel, but lack the resources to actually perceive? Perhaps through training we can walk the path without trying, without distinction and separation. Perhaps we will never overcome the human condition, and we will just have to be happy with who we are and what we have.

Jim Vance
Great post, Jim. I think this sums up the discussion nicely. To me, the use of blending and redirection makes a technique "aiki". However, I think that in order to be practicing Aiki-DO, the intent to genuinely improve yourself (and, yes, to "get along" as much as possible with others) must be present. Without that, you aren't following a way, but simply practicing technique.

Jeremy H
09-03-2002, 11:38 PM
Newbie question here... feel free to tell me if I'm simply being foolish.

The "do" in Aikido means "way of" correct? Could the translaction of "way" also be attributed to "path"? i.e. Aikido is a path of harmony with spirit and the energy that spirit contains within itself? From what I've heard so far of O Sensei's synthesis of Aikido from other martial arts practices and his spiritual beliefs it would be consistent to interpret Aikido in this light.

I know that times have changed since O Sensei's days... modernity has given us more complexity to handle and most of us don't have enough time to pay attention to spirituality (if we acknowledge the need for it at all). But that which calls to me in Aikido is the fact that it does indeed appear to be a path where the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects of the martial art are all necessary to truly fulfill the ideals set out by O Sensei.

Call me a flake if you will - but this is what I think distinguishes a true aikidoka from just another thug who has learnt physical patterns that can be used to cause injury to others.

This to me is the difference between technique and art. Any schmuck can connect the dots and colour inside the lines. It's an artist who expresses the deeper meaning of the subject by daring to colour outside them.

Ultimately, is the original question posed here important? Or is it the approach to the practise of the technique; the attunement of your senses to perception of your Ki and that of your Uke; the harmonious relationship between mind and body; and the journey towards true harmony that is important? Can you divorce Aikido from the Aikidoka? Should you?

*shrugs*

I await clarification from those wiser and more experienced than myself.

Harmony to all

Jeremy

Kevin Leavitt
09-04-2002, 08:35 PM
One of my favorite quotes

"all know the way, few walk it" Boddiharma

Like several people have said...you can master the techniques and the skills, it can look like aikido, but if you are not on the path, the "DO", or the way, then you are practicing aikido, even if you are right next to someone in an "bonafide" aikido dojo, with a "bonafide" instructor.

mike lee
09-05-2002, 05:23 AM
Boddiharma also said that only a tacit understanding is sufficient. By this I think that he meant when we try to over-analyze something that is as inherently deep and mystical as "zen" or "Tao," we immediately get into trouble because by its very nature, it is not completely understandable.

Words themselves are part of the illusion that we are trying to overcome.

Our intellectual attempts at understanding the Tao are just the first phase of learning. If we could actually understand it, there would be no more mystery. But, in reality such an intellectual understanding is impossible.

The ancients realized that we could gradually gain a deeper, true understanding of Tao by shutting off our internal dialogue through meditation or other esoteric practices that allow us to return to the level of "direct experience," that is, experiencing phenomenon without verbal coloration.

Therefore, IMHO, if an aikido instructor simply has a tacit understanding of Tao, I believe that this is sufficient for him to teach the "art," and not simply the "technique" or waza.

In the end we find out that we are the Way, and that our journey through life is the teacher. But only the humble can fully gain from its lessons.

opherdonchin
09-05-2002, 09:17 AM
I'm certainly in the "AiKi is a feeling" and "AiKiDo is about how you see people and the world" camp.

One of my teachers used to say, "AiKiDo doesn't work if you aren't smiling." Another teacher often said, "it will only work if you are really willing to care about and like your uke."

These teachers, not surprisingly, focused on teaching techniques that really only worked when I had good will in my heart. More than that, the deeper the affection and warmth that I felt, the more effective the technique became, so that I learned to notice the difference between 'surface' harmony and deeper harmonies.

I know that there are ways of teaching AiKiDo that don't require this focusing on techniques driven by the strength of ones hips and the power of ones center. I believe that this, more technically minded, AiKiDo is an important part of the art. However, without the experience of techniques driven primarily by compassion, I would not have believed that they really work, and that was, for me, an important insight.

Ray Kissane
09-05-2002, 10:55 AM
This is a good question because it shows how many different ideas are out there in regards to the "why and what" people consider they are doing.

When looking at karate they will block and counter strike. Jujutsu will use blocks and parry into technique. In Daito Ryu, aiki is basically defined as breaking the uke’s balance as soon as contact is made. Most Daito Ryu people think that aikido people take too long to break balance. In aikido we use blending and the leading of uke’s energy into a technique as aiki. So I would say that aikido is “not stopping the energy of the attack but letting the energy of the attack turn into technique”.

By not stopping the energy of an attack and then taking the balance of uke we are doing aikido. The completion of technique could be a throw or strike but the lead up to the completion is aikido. As has been pointed out other styles have similar techniques but they do not move and break balance the way aikido people do.

Just my thoughts.

Kevin Leavitt
09-05-2002, 09:03 PM
Great post Mike.

Now that I think about it, I think that is what Boddiharma meant by "all know the way, few walk it".

we can get these forums and talk, talk, talk, demostrating our explicit knowledge based on concepts and theories that we have learned conceptually or read somewhere.

Can't everyone who has studied aikido for at least a year conceptually understand how to do the perfect iriminage?

It is one thing to understand iriminage, another do be able translate it into action.

Along those lines...is it really necessary to be able to do a perfect iriminage to have tacit knowledge of aikido?

No, I think that the techniques you learn are never really mastered, they only help you "walk on the path"

This should not be taken as a cop out to not try and always do a better job or refine your technique, because if you do not try to seek improvement, you cease to walk the path, even if you are practicing in the dojo every single day!

JPT
09-07-2002, 03:04 PM
"Do" means way or path, & thus implies that the core principles are to be used in all areas when dealing with situations & other people in our day to day life. Therefore Aiki or harmony must be also interpreted in the light of the mental & spiritual aspects of life.

If you take this bad man situation & examine the different aspects then yes on a physical level he could use Aiki to attack & steal the lunch money. However on a mental & spiritual level there is no Aiki (harmony) in his actions. His thoughts about "attacking somebody" or his spirit of "stealing from another" can be not be considered to be in "being in synch/coordination" with his fellow man, rather it is to be in some kind of conflict or disharmony. Therefore (in my eyes) he is not following the Way/Path of Aiki & thus is not doing Aikido

Further to this O'Sensei also translated Aiki to mean something like "universal love", Ai means love, Ki meaning universal energy etc.... This adds a wider dimension to the meaning of "Aiki" reinforcing the harmony aspect & changing it into a more harmonious/peaceful/loving/caring way..
What then differentiates a technique that uses aiki and looks like aikido but isn't aikido from one that that uses aiki, looks like aikido, and is?

This is a great question Kent & took me a while to refine the answers. I apologies in advance for the confusing way that the statements are written.

To simplify things I have used the following definitions.

"Philosophical Aiki" meaning the mental & spiritual elements, (ethics, morals, thinking, intentions etc...)

"Physical Aiki" meaning body synch/co-ordination elements, (timing, blending, leading etc...)

If the technique is done based on both Philosophical & Physical Aiki providing the end results of the technique fall within ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it is Aikido. If the results of the technique fall outside the ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it cannot be considered to be Aikido.

If it technique is based purely on Physical Aiki, providing the results of the technique fall within the ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it can be classified as being the same as Aikido & thus could be called Aikido (After all Aikido is only a name). If the results of the technique fall outside the ideals of the Philosophical Aiki then it cannot be considered to be Aikido.

Now to further expand this to include the other options which are covered by the original post question....

If the technique is done based on the Philosophical Aiki but not based on Physical Aiki. Providing that results fall within the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it can be classed as being the same as Aikido & thus could be called Aikido. If the results fall outside the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then this cannot be considered to be Aikido.

Finally if the technique is not based on either the Philosophical or Physical Aiki & the results of the technique fall outside the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it cannot be classed as Aikido. However if the result of the technique somehow falls within the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it can be classed as being the same as Aikido and thus could be called Aikido.

To conclude it is the end result that really matters, if this falls within the ideals of Philosophical Aiki then it can either be called Aikido or classed as being the same as Aikido & thus could be called Aikido.

Ultimately though whether the technique is Aikido or not will depend on the individual interpretation of the Philosophical side of Aiki.

:triangle: :square: :circle:

opherdonchin
09-07-2002, 03:45 PM
I think part of what I learned in AiKiDo is that, because the body expresses the mind, then physically techniques feel different when they are done with philosophical aiki. Simply, they work better. Softness, if it does not come from within, does not feel like the same softness to the uke, and does not (at least for me) bring about the same powerful technique that I can achieve when my phsyical and philosophical aiki are working together.

Hanna B
09-10-2002, 09:54 AM
This is really confusing, it seems most people are saying that as long as it is done with the right spirit any technique could be considered an aikido technique. I don't think that my husband and I could get on the mat and start doing Yakasoku kumite,(learned in karate) and call it aikido. Well we could call it that but it wouldn't be, and I don't think my sensei would consider it aikido either. Aren't there actual techniques that Osensei taught his students and that in turn have been taught to their students and so on? (Yes I understand ther are lots of variations of the techniques).Although it seems like we are the minority here, I have to agree with Kathryn. Or rather, I can not choose between two possible answers.

1) A technique is an aikido technique if it is taught in an aikido dojo while not considered as something borrowed from another art.

2) An aikido technique is a technique learned from O-sensei through disciples of his disciples, etc. (Kathryn's version)

We can try and describe what aikido techniques are like, compared with something else. But that's a different matter.

We can also discuss what aikido is. That, in my mind, is also a separate topic.

Best regards

Hanna

Bruce Baker
09-22-2002, 07:37 AM
I think we are wandering into the philosophical and spiritual arenas again instead of the original question?

The word Aikido aside, and the root of techniques aside ... what then qualifies the technique to be based under the unbrella of Aikido?

Could it be that all the hand to hand training is but a variant of bokken and jo training? Not just any training, but the Japanese style of using jo and bokken.

Nearly every single variant of what we take into Aikido is from the Japanese style of martial arts, but is redefined in its application of the Aikido practitioner's use of that variant.

If we are talking about using our hand, the jo, or the bokken ... aren't these also striking, slicing, poking, pushing, and redirecting weapons also? How gentle is that!

Or, is it Aikido because of the smooth connecting flow that allows for fast hard practice without serious injury? (although there are reports of broken bones and such from ukes who have not paid attention during demonstrations?)

No. It is not the fact that we can not introduce stikes, punches or kicks into practice, but it is the means to use them within the parameters of Aikido's foundations without breaking those foundations or falling from them.

Sometimes I think that the slips during practice, along with the recoverys, are the best lessons to adapting to include alternative methods of distraction.

If you take the time to see where you are during your practice, and if your uke can actually strike or kick you, it will enlighten both of you to correcting sloppy, or lackadaisical practice. There is a means of Aikido practice that includes pain, limited locks that will cause pain, and the spacial relation which allows for the fluid motion of Aikido techniques.

Indeed, there is much more to Aikido than the basic pillars we teach in the kyu ranks, but then without foundation ... how could we build such a large and intricate house from our Aikido practice?

Look at it like this ... if you were walking down the street, and doing things, say like the the fantasy scene in a movie where the actors are talking, laughing, playing, acting like a kid as they continue in stride, that would be akin to adding something into your Aikido techniques that is practical.

If you are stopping to become repositioned, getting your bearings to do the next movement, that would be very un-aikido like, interrupting the flow of movement, stopping the energy.

I have gone on too long. Think about energy, motion, and where we get our practice from in relation to what works and what does not.

Dirk Hanss
07-15-2005, 03:18 AM
Sorry for reopening this very old thread.

I have just an idea of a simple answer with very little explanation.

Aikido rule #1: "There are no rules"
I.e. Reply 1: if you survive, it is Aikido

The others I cannot argue on simple rules, but you'll understand

reply 2: If the opponent survives it is great Aikido

reply 3: If you can sit afterwards together and have some softdrink, beer, wine, sake, talk about what has happened, and why nobody has been hurt, well then go out and find O'sensei. You have to teach him.

One negative reply:
If you attack someone or hurt or kill him willingly, it is NOT Aikido, whatever technique you applied.

I am sure you could read all this out of the other posts. Mine sounded so simple. Now tell me, if I am right.


Dirk

CNYMike
07-17-2005, 06:45 PM
So here's an offshoot thread from the Most Important Aikido Technique (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2427) thread...

What, in your mind and experience, makes a technique an "aikido" technique?

-- Jun

If it's one of the technques defined as an Aikido technique by O Sensei and passed down through his students and students' stundents to you, then it's an Aikido techique.

eyrie
07-17-2005, 07:49 PM
If it's one of the technques defined as an Aikido technique by O Sensei and passed down through his students and students' stundents to you, then it's an Aikido techique.

Hi Mike,

And that would be which one of the many tens of thousands of techniques? Or the ones that are most commonly practiced? ;)

CNYMike
07-18-2005, 09:07 AM
^^ All of them.

DustinAcuff
07-18-2005, 07:08 PM
"The secret of Aikido is not in how you move your feet, it is how you move your mind. I'm not teaching you martial techniques. I'm teaching you nonviolence."
- Morihei Ueshiba

Kevin Leavitt
07-20-2005, 12:37 PM
Good point dustin. Techniques do not make aikido. It is the spirit, philosophy, compassion, and attitude that we learn through the practice of budo that makes aikido, aikido...not any technique, exercise, or kata.

Focusing on technique will make for a very frustrating experience in aikido since they methodoloy is designed to teach you "the way" (DO).

It is not about being "martially effective"...whatever that means!!!

Erick Mead
08-02-2005, 10:39 AM
What helps me to identify an aikido technique is a consideration of suki or openings. Mugamae or no-stance is related to this.

If I am calm and aware, I am not focused on anything in particular, I am able perceive any attack within my awareness as it occurs.

If I once begin to focus on a desired defense, instead of simply responding to the attack in the manner it is given, that concentration creates its inevitable complement, a blind spot. Through this blind spot or suki, an attack may be made more effectively. Everyone who has had sempai tap him or her in the chest in the middle of the attempted ikkyo, knows what I am talking about.

The desire for a particular outcome or technique thus creates its own suki, by interfering with the processes of awareness. Responding without particular intention and applying technique naturally as the opponent's attack dictates does not create this opportunity for my opponent.

Similarly, if I concentrate on attacking, I disturb my awareness. Atemi are best employed naturally as they may or may not be presented as a technique progresses. If you determine in advance to attack you concentrate and create the same blind spot. If I concentrate energy to attack, that concentration lessens my general awareness elsewhere, again producing a suki for my opponent. The defender exploits this opening. Aikido fully exploits this basic principle and the opportunities it presents with irimi-tenkan.

If I sense an intention to attack, I default to an initiatory ikkyo (who does not?) and likewise try respond naturally to the intention perceived.

If I was wrong and misperceived an innocent gesture, I end up waving a slightly embarassed "hello" (perhaps a BIT too close for social comfort) or stroking my hair back like some fifties teen idol. (which I look nothing like). If I was right, the attacker responds to ikkyo with his slightly preempted attack (now defending) and technique proceeds, ... wherever.

While I strive yet to meet this ideal in all circumstances, this to me is what distinguishes techniques applied in aikido: removing the openings created by desire to attack an opponent, or the desire for a particular defense to an attack on me.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Ron Tisdale
08-02-2005, 11:58 AM
Similarly, if I concentrate on attacking, I disturb my awareness. Atemi are best employed naturally as they may or may not be presented as a technique progresses. If you determine in advance to attack you concentrate and create the same blind spot. If I concentrate energy to attack, that concentration lessens my general awareness elsewhere, again producing a suki for my opponent. The defender exploits this opening. What stops this supposed attack from being a fient? In other words, I present this apparent opening merely to draw my opponant out?

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
08-02-2005, 04:35 PM
A feint is an attack that stops just short of its presumed target. A feint becomes a real attack simply by entering. QED.

More seriously:

If maai is correct, and I was in range to be struck, the difference between a feint and a real attack is usually not significant, especially if I do not not become wedded to the following paradigm:

"Cool! I get to do the kaitennage to the shomenuchi ... oops, its a maegiri. OUCH"

I have practiced something similar to this where a shomenuchi is a preparatory attack to a roundhouse to the ribs on the other side. I found that an initial ikkyo turns into a really nifty irimi koshinage right there.

Combinations are excellent practice.

Also, if I am not minded to attack in the first place, it is harder to draw me out, and if I am calmly aware instead focused, I am more mindful of maai and less likely to preceive a feint as a true threat.

"Drawing out" is an attempt to create suki, I might add.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Amassus
08-02-2005, 08:32 PM
After reading this thread I have this to add for the original question...

Aikido techniques in and of themselves are not new or unique to Aikido. The human body only moves in certain ways. Joint locks only work certain ways, no matter what the martial art. So at the physical level, aikido techniques are not different to any others.
I have to agree with anyone else on this thread that said techniques become 'Aikido' when the intent to use them is based on aikido philosophy.
Aikido rule #1: "There are no rules"
I.e. Reply 1: if you survive, it is Aikido

The others I cannot argue on simple rules, but you'll understand

reply 2: If the opponent survives it is great Aikido

reply 3: If you can sit afterwards together and have some softdrink, beer, wine, sake, talk about what has happened, and why nobody has been hurt, well then go out and find O'sensei. You have to teach him.

One negative reply:
If you attack someone or hurt or kill him willingly, it is NOT Aikido, whatever technique you applied.


IMO this nails it.

Ron Tisdale
08-03-2005, 09:41 AM
Nice posts Erik,

Thanks,
Ron

Lyle Bogin
08-03-2005, 12:24 PM
I think aikido is unique simply because of it's basic curriculum.

What I read in this thread is that many aikidoists are also "martial artists" in general.

bratzo_barrena
08-03-2005, 01:54 PM
I just want to share a few thoughts here. I'll try to explain it in what I see as the three dimensions on the practice of aikido.
In a physical dimension, which means the way the body works as a structure, aikido is based on physical principles that are universal because they apply to everyone. Thus, aikido techniques are designed to learn and hopefully master those principles to achieve control over an opponent(s).
In a mental level, aikido aims for a sharp and focused mind, which will allow your brain to receive the information from your senses (eyes, ears, etc.), Analise this information and respond in a efficient and immediate fashion to a attack/conflict. This respond obviously is not a conscious respond, but a immediate response through muscle memory obtained through lots of techniques practice.
In a spiritual level, and here I don't mean spirit is this ghostly being that goes to heaven or hell, (I'm atheist so I don't see spirit that way), in aikido aikido, as I see it anyway, spirit is the attitude with which you confront a situation, so aikido aims for a calm, steady spirit which will allow your brain and body respond properly. Now a calm spirit implies not having a violent attitude and also implies not having an "I-love-every-body", "life-is-beautiful" attitude. Just being calm with not bad or god feelings towards the situation.
Having said ALL THIS (sorry), I think one can consider AIKIDO everything that uses the physical principles, done with a focused mind and a calm spirit–quite hard to achieve though– even if to the eyes it looks like an standard aikido technique or not.
Now about hurting or not others, as I said before one should have no intention to harm, nor to be delicate with the attacker(s).
Now we have to be aware of who's receiving this aikido "technique". If he/she is a aikidoka or skillful person, he she might blend and not be hurt (by the way, in an aikido dojo not only nage harmonizes, also uke should harmonize with nage's techniques to avoid injury, ukemi, remember?). But if the attacker is not skillful enough to blend with this aikido "technique" he/she IS going to get seriously hurt or worst.
So for all those who see aikido as the I-Love-everybody, hippie-love art, being hurt in aikido is not only responsibility of who does the technique also who receives it.
Haven't you hurt stories of O'sensei sending his uke's to the hospital from an aikido demonstration? what, O'sensei wasn't doing aikido or the ukes weren't paying attention or weren't skillful enough and got hurt?
Sorry for my English.

Charles Hill
08-03-2005, 02:19 PM
Haven't you hurt stories of O'sensei sending his uke's to the hospital from an aikido demonstration? what, O'sensei wasn't doing aikido or the ukes weren't paying attention or weren't skillful enough and got hurt?.

Hi Bratzo,

The one story that exists of O'Sensei hurting someone during a demonstration was before WW2, when the art was called Aiki-budo or Daito Ryu. One of the ukes wasn't paying attention. O'Sensei was quite ill and the uke let his guard down and got hurt when O'Sensei threw him with the normal amount of power. The other uke, Gozo Shioda had to take ukemi for the rest of the demo. O'Sensei said that he wasn't doing true Aikido until near the end of his life. At that point his technique had become gentle in comparison. Terry Dobson in his book, "It's A Lot Like Dancing," writes that the Founder was "way beyond pile-driver technique" in his old age.

I have heard that the Founder said that an Aikido technique is one that is true, good, and beautiful. Now I just have to figure out what the heck that means.:)

Charles Hill

bratzo_barrena
08-03-2005, 02:27 PM
Hi Charles Hill
your point being?
bratzo

bratzo_barrena
08-03-2005, 03:05 PM
Hi Charles Hill
by the way, I know what story you're refering to, but I didn't refer to that one.
O'sensei (and other sensei for that matter) hurt uke's in demonstrations and classes after aikido was formally borned (1942). not willingly, but because uke's weren't able to take ukemi, which is exactly my point
Bratzo

ikkitosennomusha
08-13-2005, 11:11 AM
Having not read the other replis, I would say that what makes a technique an aikido technique is outlined as follows (these can help you identify the characteristics of what makes aikido what it is):

-the ideology behing the technique, e.g., the philosophical reasoning behind the reason of why aikidoka performs a technique a certain way.

-The technique being of a joint lock/pin, or a throw

-body movement such as tenkan while performing a technique

-all the priciples of aiki that you learn while training are recognizable.

I need to give this more thought as this is a quick response.

Rupert Atkinson
08-14-2005, 09:07 PM
Lots of other arts use the same techniques as found in Aikido. And some Aikidoka, myself included, incorporate certain 'other' stuff into their repotoire. In my opinion it is not the techniques that make Aikido, rather, it is the way you train.

ikkitosennomusha
08-14-2005, 10:37 PM
The way you train is the result of your technique e.g., you react in accordance with the way you have trained so, I would not, in my humble opinion sum up aikido simply as the way you train if you say that other arts use techniques that are in-part similar or even them same.

What makes aikido what it is, is a culmination of many things. I can find Aiki in just about anything. For example, orenaite in someone picking up an object in front of them or pushing a lawn mower, etc.. The thing is that although I recognize aiki in someone, they are not aware of the concept in which they are somewhat applying.

Since I have trained aiki, when I recognize a concept, to me it is aiki; to someone else it could be peanut butter and jelly. Different arts percieve things differntly but as an aikidoka, I see all things aiki and that is all I need be concerned with.

Rupert Atkinson
08-15-2005, 11:57 PM
The way you train is the result of your technique e.g., you react in accordance with the way you have trained so, I would not, in my humble opinion sum up aikido simply as the way you train if you say that other arts use techniques that are in-part similar or even them same.

What makes aikido what it is, is a culmination of many things. I can find Aiki in just about anything. For example, orenaite in someone picking up an object in front of them or pushing a lawn mower, etc..

But you have just said exactly what I think. It's the way you do it that counts - and if the way you mow the lawn follows aiki principles, then it is indeed a reflection of aiki. It is not the techniques that count, but the way you train.

xuzen
08-18-2005, 03:48 AM
Hello all,

Aikido technique is basically jujutsu technique that utilizes aiki principle. Aiki principle is not fighting with the opponent but by simple being not there to fight with him; what is not there, he cannot target; what he cannot target he cannot harm, what he cannot harm, he cannot create animosity towards, an absence of animosity is amicability. if we take amicability further we might just create harmony.

So aikido technique is unique because it allows the user to create harmony even with his opponent.

My point of view in a nutshell anyway.

Your fellow aiki enthusiast,
Boon.

Erick Mead
08-18-2005, 09:03 AM
Aikido?

The art of riding the wave.

That would also include learning how to make the wave, as well as ride it.

If you have ever wiped out and ridden a wave in the ocean, or been thrown into a river to fight the current and rough water, then the concept of riding the wave does have some meaning. If not ... you will when your ukemi gets good enough to feel where the energy is going instead of trying to anticipate movements.

Thank you Bruce.
This is excellent imagery to work with in aikido practice.
I think for reasons you will see below, that I have been doing this implicitly for quite some time now, although I had not connected them. Analogy and metaphor are wonderful tools.

This prompted me to remember something that I wrote a number of years back as an exercise in the priniciple that all activities in life can teach great truths. This can be done for almost any activity no matter how mundane. Those who are aware of the teaching of Chado, the significance of tea ceremony and its relationship to martial arts will understand what I am getting at.

The activity I was doing at the time was surfing, which relates to the excellent observation Bruce has made. Rather than surfer psychobabble ("be the wave, man"), I decided that each practical thing learnt in good surfing could likely teach a lesson about almost anything else you could imagine, and put the things I had learned in a simple list .

I think the list can be taken with Bruce's imagery to good effect in training and in thinking about how to practice and teach aikido. If you find it helpful, you may use it with due credit.

So without further ado:

"Surfing is Life"

1. You do not create the waves.

2. You are not in control of the waves.

3. You can only control your relationship to the wave.

4. You can only surf one wave at a time.

5. You can't surf every wave.

6. Waves cannot be resisted without getting hurt.

7. A wave will not wait for you to get ready.

8. There are only four ways out of the break: over it, under it, around it, or with it.

9. Sometimes, no matter what, you just get caught inside the break.

10. If you are caught inside, every breath you get is a gift.

11. Every wave has something to teach you, whether you ride it or not.

12. To ride far, let the wave lead.

13. The best ride is the one you are not expecting.

14. All waves are the same shape.

15. Each wave is unique.

16. Waves won't keep.

17. Waves cannot be predicted.

18. Favorable wave conditions can be anticipated.

19. Waves, even small ones, are more powerful than you are.

20. Some waves can't be surfed by anyone.

21. Many waves can't be surfed by you.

22. The next ride is always different from the last one.

23. Waves have sets and lulls.

24. Sometimes it's totally flat; and sometimes you get no lulls between sets.

25. Company is nice in a lull, but ultimately it's just you and the wave.

26. A wave is not a place for crowds; that's what beaches are for.

27. People who like crowds tend to stay on the beach.

28. Sharks like waves too.

29. Sharks can surf without stopping to eat or sleep.

30. You have to stop surfing to eat and sleep.

31. You are smarter than a shark.

32. Wind shapes the wave, at its beginning and at its break.

33. The shore shapes the wave, but in the end it's the waves that shape the shore.

34. Every wave ends up on the beach.

35. When this wave ends, the only choices are the next wave or the beach.

36. If you want the next wave, you have to let go of the one you're on.

37. The best wave is the next one.



Cordially,
Erick Mead
©

Mike Haftel
11-02-2005, 12:28 PM
I think the very nature of this discussion is invalid.

There is no such thing as an "aikido technique." All martial arts are stylistic interpretations of the same principles. Afterall, a principle is true in every case no matter how it is applied, otherwise it isn't a principle. It's like argueing over truth. What is true is always true, otherwise it isn't true. Somewhat circular, I know. But it makes sense.

The principles which make aikido "techniques" work are the same which make karate, kung fu, jujutsu, wushu, hung gar, tai chi, (insert art here) work. It's all the same. Just applied differently.

What is down, is down. What is heavy is heavy, relaxation is relaxation, blending is blending, I could go on and on about this.

The emphasis should be put on how and why technique works, not on the technique itself.

Kevin Leavitt
11-02-2005, 02:01 PM
I agree 110% Mike! I believe that aikido is simply a methodology.

One of the things we do is form an attachment to aikido and attempt to "box" it up as a separate and distinct "object" that we can possess as a very special group of people.

How self limiting that concept is! It prevents us from experiencing much more than is out there.

Not to sound to Zen or Buddhist on this, but the attachment to aikido style or technique is one of the biggest sources of delusion that we have as budoka.

I just finished writing a few things on the principles of budo on my new blog: www.budowarrior.blogspot.com If anyone is interested.

I think as Aikidoka we need to understand, first WHY we are studying aikido. It may be for the wrong reasons, or different reasons all together than why we started.

I boil it down to just this. Aikido is a methodology for studying budo. Budo is based on the underlying principle of happiness or peace. In order to have that we must learn to resolve conflict within ourselves.

I think when most of us come to the martial arts, we come for various reasons least of which is to be at peace or happiness. I think intuitively we know this at some level, if no other reason that we simply like the way we feel when doing it.

However, if we don't explicitly know this we get distracted and confused. We focus on the external things such as the techniques we attach or associate with aikido.

We get into discussions like "aikido doesn't work in a real fight".

So, the question of "what makes and aikido technique an aikido technique" really becomes a Koan.

Aikido is a concept or methodology based on the universal principles of harmony and peace. All is aikido, yet aikido possesses nothing as a concept. So, when you label an aikido technique as such, it becomes a falacy since aikido cannot possess anything.

Applied as a concept of conflict resolution we can recognize aikido in many forms, applied as a technique, we can see nothing.