PDA

View Full Version : Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.


Please visit our sponsor:
 



Cromwell
02-27-2017, 04:33 AM
I finally published an article I've been writing now for a couple of months about UFC and Aikido (http://goodaikido.com/ufc_aikido/). It took a couple of months to write because I wanted to honestly express how I feel about the reputation of Aikido in the martial arts world.

Like most of the articles I wrote in the past, some people like it, and some people don't. That's fine with me. That's part of the job, and that is what happens when one voices their thoughts in writing and in public.

I was happy that most of the Aikidoka that was engaged by the article liked and shared it, I guess they agree with me.

With a thick skin, I also read the comments section. Some are valid and some don't even bother reading the article, they just wanted to comment their point of view. That's also fine.

With this article and with this particular subject of UFC and Aikido, I noticed something I believe is worth noting in the comments section. A lot of Aikidokas (if they were practising Aikidoka) don't believe that Aikido will stand a chance as a martial art or even as a self-defence system against violence.

Yes the UFC is arguably and maybe currently one of the toughest places to test a martial artist's skills, that besides the point I am trying to put across. What I noticed are commenters giving three, four, five reasons why Aikido doesn't work as a martial art. Let me say this... you only need one reason for anything not to work, not five.

My concern is this... Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not. I am planning on practicing Aikido (like Osensei did) until I am in my 90s.

grondahl
02-27-2017, 05:25 AM
I think it´s reasonable to understand the limits of your practice. I also think that most of the practitioners that are interested in applications have already either added another martial art to their practice or jumped ship completly.

Btw: I think you need to fact check your article. Ex: sambo was quite common in mma and all basic aikido waza that you will spend 90% of you mat time on is legal in common mma-rules.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-27-2017, 05:36 AM
I think it would be good for aikido people to lose faith in the art and substitute it for knowledge.

Regarding the article... I didn't liked it.

shuckser
02-27-2017, 06:04 AM
Aikido takes ages to learn. By the time you've frustrated yourself with the kata long enough to discover the principles as they might apply to a fight, you're old enough to know better than to step into a ring in the first place.

fatebass21
02-27-2017, 06:13 AM
Understanding the potential weaknesses of something in a particular context or situation is one thing but you both compare aikido to something specific and make generalizations at the same time in your post.

I agree with what Peter states about understanding the limits of your (or any other) practice. That said, its also important not to 'get stuck' and assume that one thing applies to X situation/s.

Are there instances where aikido can be effective as a self-defense system in handling violence? Absolutely
Are there instances where aikido can NOT be effective as a self-defense system in handling violence? Absolutely

No faith lost here...

fatebass21
02-27-2017, 06:14 AM
Aikido takes ages to learn. By the time you've frustrated yourself with the kata long enough to discover the principles as they might apply to a fight, you're old enough to know better than to step into a ring in the first place.

nice

Demetrio Cereijo
02-27-2017, 06:18 AM
BTW,

"The current (2016) Russian National Knife Fighting Champion is a Godan (5th Degree Black Belt) in Iwama Ryu"

So being good at this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpGuXS94mao) validates aikido? Please ellaborate.

leonagastya
02-27-2017, 07:51 AM
Like what the other people in this thread have said. I believe that the Aikidoka are not losing faith in their own martial art but instead understand the weaknesses that come with Aikido. For example, as a beginner I can see that Aikido lacks this form of "real life preparation/training" as in my dojo we rarely try to practice Aikido in a street fight situation. Moreover I can see that a lot of the Aikido moves are very complex and require years to master to be able to perform perfectly and effectively. But this is why many other people take another martial art to supplement their Aikido such as BJJ, Judo, etc. as no martial art is perfect.

GovernorSilver
02-27-2017, 12:59 PM
I agree with most of the points of the article.

I would make some tweaks to the "What is MMA" section. Change the heading to "Why I don't like the term Mixed Martial Arts" or something - that might be a better lead into what you think a real Mixed Martial Artist is.

IMO, fighting and self-defense are two different things. The objective of a "fight" is to overcome an opponent for some kind of prize, whether it's a monetary one, your pride, whatever: you're not defending yourself at all here, you're just an aggressor contending with another aggressor. The objective of self-defense is to avoid a fight as much as possible, and if that fails, get out of it ASAP. This is explained in detail here: http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/AreMASD.htm

sorokod
02-27-2017, 04:20 PM
BTW,

"The current (2016) Russian National Knife Fighting Champion is a Godan (5th Degree Black Belt) in Iwama Ryu"


At least one of the lady medallists is Iwama Ryu yudansha as well.

grondahl
02-28-2017, 01:30 AM
At least one of the lady medallists is Iwama Ryu yudansha as well.

So Iwama aikido breeds a competitive spirit? Or what are the point of these examples?

sorokod
02-28-2017, 04:23 AM
So Iwama aikido breeds a competitive spirit? Or what are the point of these examples?

Best to contact the relevant club with your question.

Demetrio Cereijo
02-28-2017, 05:39 AM
Maybe OP's point is akidoka can't play sports because they train for "the street" except when they play sports because they train for "the street"... or something like that.

MrIggy
02-28-2017, 06:25 PM
Since i have respect for Iwama Aikido i will give a sincere review:

The UFC is an international sport, that is practised in a bloody battleground called the octagon.
The UFC is not a gentleman's sport. It is bloody, brutal, and unforgiving. It is a real blood sport."

The UFC is an organization which organizes television and mass events in the "sport" of MMA (mixed martial arts), as you most likely know. I'm not writing this to be a smart ass but the fact is that the mma d**k riders will eat your soul out with this, so be careful with future articles.

The rise of the UFC has rendered and painted many traditional martial arts such as kungfu, capoeira, krav-maga, sambo, and Aikido as second rate martial arts. The rise of UFC also disregarded all the weapons arts such as kendo, jodo, and arnis as pointless and not practical.

True for: Aikido (besides the fact that certain techniques used frequently in mma can be seen in Aikido like ude garami aka double wrist lock aka kimura), Capoeira (besides some of the spectacular kick knockouts in mma matches) and Kung fu (Wing Chung, Wu Shu). Bagua, Tai Chi and other internal arts they don't even consider martial arts, rather health systems.

They have "respect" for Systema and Krav Maga as "eclectic systems" for individuals who don't have time to put in the effort to train in the "real martial arts", but nevertheless they consider them as the ones mentioned earlier. In short, Krav Maga==hit to the groin, Systema==Russian Aikido.

Sambo (Combat Sambo), however, is considered a real martial art because off the way it's practiced. Basically a cross-sport between Judo and wrestling, with more emphasis on the wrestling part with leg locks. Not to mention the famous Sambo exponents who won the most "prestigious" mma organizations, Fedor Emelianenko (PRIDE), Oleg Taktarov (UFC 6) and the more current serious aspirant for a UFC title Khabib Nurmagomedov. There is even a trend in the MMA organizations in America of moving in fighters with backgrounds in Sambo and Combat Sambo.

For Kendo and Jodo the overall opinion is "they are ok if you wan't to play samurai". Arnis had much respect as a martial art, because of training groups like the Dog Brothers, but lost much of it when they started doing these types of competitions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRHhC4w7Nw0 .
Most Aikidokas are pacifists and don’t want to be in the UFC. Believe it or not, most people that do Aikido, don’t like fighting and don’t like thuggery. We avoid unnecessary violence, especially the ego fights and the drunken fights. Yes we train for self-defence and we spend decades perfecting our martial art Aikido, however, we really are not thugs. Almost all of us are pacifists.

That's the problem. I am not saying we should go out and compete in bloody competitions such as UFC or Vale Tudo but at least in the dojo there should be free sparing and cross sparring/training, not to mention more strength and endurance exercises. Just remember the beginnings of O'Sensei and mostly the words of his son: "My father was not a pacifist.". Even pacifists have to use force to keep the attackers at bay. Off course if you can avoid the confrontation in the first place that would be the best solution but if you can't...

Did you know that Aikido has no rules (that’s why we don’t have competition) and we use a lot of small joint techniques? We practice in a controlled manner to avoid injuries and learn in the most effective way. We practise wrist locks, finger locks, neck twists, wrist twists, lock and throw techniques (E.G. Shiho + Koshi Nage) and atemi (shots to glands and pressure points – this includes an atemi to the balls). If you want to know how does an Aikido small joint wrist lock feels like, just ask for a nikyo at your nearest good Aikido dojo.

Shodokan Aikido has competitions, there are benefits from these events whether we like them or not, just like there are side effects. The main issue with Aikido practice is that it's too much controlled aka prearranged and with that type of training it's impossible for most people to get the most effective practice because they never use the training they get to the most effective way. I understand the side effects of the fully realistic training methods but if we are going to practice in a martial art then sometimes the training has to get real but most of all a lot smarter then in the current practice, regardless of style. As for the rules and whatnot. There are enough dangerous, far more dangerous things done in MMA matches and different types of MMA organizations, not to mention the physical and mental preparation of MMA athletes, that render the good old excuse "i am to dangerous for sports fighting" devious, to say the least.

Besides the peaceful Aikidokas around the world that practices the art, Aikido is used daily by police, riot squads, the military, SAS, Marines, and Special Units. Aikido is used on the streets. Aikido is used on the battlefield. The martial Aikido is not really for competition (except for Tomiki style, because it is heavily influenced by judo). This ‘no-competition’ concept is one of the unique things about Aikido that people don’t get, there is no sport-type competition.

And how come in most situations, all of the people from those types of units, police, marines etc. can use Aikido to stop a person without causing severe bodily harm while the average Aikidoka, who actually trains full time in Aikido not just as another side skill, can't? Full respect to the exceptions.

If Aikido was used severely, the fight will be over quickly with broken joints and bones. (This is not good for the UFC for the sake of ratings). Because of the possible devastating effects, we have a peaceful philosophy as a guideline when to use the martial art of Aikido.

Bones get broken, joints get dismantled, severe knockouts happen all the time in MMA organizations like the UFC. The whole point isn't that it happens, it's how to get it to happen. Regarding the video of the Chinese SWAT team, how many Aikidoka you know would have the nerve to pull off something like that and more importantly, how many do you know that CAN pull if of, out of the thousands (millions from various styles) you know practicing Aikido? That's the most important thing of all in training, to get to the point were you can use your skill fully aware of the consequence but knowing that there isn't a better alternative in that moment and situation. It's called instinct, experience is also a term that might be used but not in the sense i am writing here, which comes from adequate training that most Aikido people simply don't get.

I can understand softer and easier approach for beginners in Aikido, based on my own personal experience, but the feeling of seeing a 1st kyu (brown belt) going at a technique with the same tepidity as a 5th of 4th kyu is just appalling.

My fourth answer won’t really make sense to the UFC guys because it is outside what they think are ‘real martial arts’ – the octagon. The Aikidoka is trained with weapons (ken, jo, tanto, and shuriken), loves using weapons, and will use a weapon if confronted with violence, especially if they are defending their friends, family, and love ones.

Again, smarter training is required, especially with the tanto and jo. Shuriken?

Most people that asked the question aren’t even martial artists. Almost all that asked are couch potato UFC fans who only watch tv and has never stepped on the ring nor the mat. Having said all of this, we don’t really care if the UFC nor the MMA world gives us the blessing and anoints us with the title of a ‘real martial art’. We really don’t give a shit. We will just keep on training.

I am the first to say that i am not concerned with idiots on youtube, and therefore with UFC couch potato fans. The problem is when that same damn couch potato fan can take on a "trained" Aikidoka. That's were the problem is. The couch potato fan should be ALWAYS dismantled by any Aikidoka, even those who don't aspire to be the next Ueshiba, Shirata, Shioda or whom ever of the legends. They should still be obliged by their training to take that couch potato fan out of any perspective of being a threat of any kind. That's the approach that is missing from today's Aikido.

Oh and by the way, Mix Martial Arts is not new, Osensei Ueshiba was technically an MMA practitioner because he has mastered many different types of martial arts, and he fused all them into Aikido. The ancient samurai warriors learned many martial arts to survive a battle. Also, a lot of Aikido practitioners came from karate, judo, and boxing. Most good Aikidoka that I know, practices more than two martial arts. The current (2016) Russian National Knife Fighting Champion is a Godan (5th Degree Black Belt) in Iwama Ryu.

And with whom do you think O'Sensei would train today? Aikido people or MMA people and why?

Ps. I listened to that ten minute part of the Lenny Sly interview, when he said O'Sensei had a tenth degree black belt in Daito ryu is when i decided not to listen to the rest. I wish him all the best but he didn't address the serious issues of Aikido anymore then anybody else does these days. Just the good old populist approach.

rugwithlegs
02-28-2017, 06:46 PM
When I went to the blog site, I actually saw no comments?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_martial_arts_rules
I read this on banned techniques, and it sounds like a lot of what we do is not allowed. Kaitenage is a strike to the back of the head as is iriminage, iriminage does make contact with the throat, and iriminage and shihinage are documented as being associated with skull and neck injuries described as pile-drivers. We pin the uke face down most of the time and stay upright again so we can strike the back of the head. There is so much more that MMA has rules against than our using wrist locks.

Losing faith? No. Losing interest in the same lines being repeated since the 90s, yes. I am tired of the MMA marketing game.

Demetrio Cereijo
03-01-2017, 01:47 AM
Shuriken? .
Yes, it's not uncommon in the Iwama style.

Demetrio Cereijo
03-01-2017, 01:53 AM
I read this on banned techniques, and it sounds like a lot of what we do is not allowed. .

Aikido techniques are legal in Vale Tudo.

MrIggy
03-01-2017, 09:44 AM
Yes, it's not uncommon in the Iwama style.

Interesting.

grondahl
03-01-2017, 11:59 AM
Interesting.

Saito Morihiro were a long time practitioner of Negishi ryu shuriken-jutsu.

Peter Goldsbury
03-01-2017, 04:17 PM
Saito Morihiro were a long time practitioner of Negishi ryu shuriken-jutsu.

I know of one other aikido exponent who used to practice this art. He was Chiba Shihan's father-in-law (M Sekiya) and when he came here, we practiced in my old house using a dart board. When Morihiro Saito visited London, many things went wrong, but one thing that went right was the shuriken practice in the evening, again with a dart board. M Sekiya was there and their style was completely different.

jurasketu
03-01-2017, 06:07 PM
There is so much more that MMA has rules against than our using wrist locks.

Yes. Exactly...

And APPARENTLY you aren't allowed to use a knife or other object to harm the opponent. :)

The matches take place on a mat with a soft ring so that participates don't take serious damage from being slammed or dragged across a hard or rough surface.

Try doing Aikido in a kitchen. It gets messy.

Ultimately, MMA is a sporting match for entertainment. The rules help protect the athletes from serious injuries (even though they still suffer injuries).

I think people (including many Aikidoka) tend to think of "technique" as Aikido. Technique is mostly standard jujitsu. Aikido is the moving around bit... Blending with energy or something another...

MrIggy
03-01-2017, 07:57 PM
Saito Morihiro were a long time practitioner of Negishi ryu shuriken-jutsu.

Interesting, thanks for the info.

phitruong
03-02-2017, 09:03 AM
i wondered if you can substitute glock-jutsu or smith&wesson-jutsu for shuriken-jutsu to complement your aikido. i am always curious of the vents on both side of the hakama. would it slow down the quick draw? :)

oh ya! about losing faith. i don't have any faith in any martial arts to begin with, so there is nothing to lose. marital art is a different story though, even if you begin with nothing, you could still losing alot. :D

Currawong
03-04-2017, 09:38 PM
i wondered if you can substitute glock-jutsu or smith&wesson-jutsu for shuriken-jutsu to complement your aikido. i am always curious of the vents on both side of the hakama. would it slow down the quick draw? :)

oh ya! about losing faith. i don't have any faith in any martial arts to begin with, so there is nothing to lose. marital art is a different story though, even if you begin with nothing, you could still losing alot. :D

It's funny you should bring this up. I think the problem is that it comes down to what we are practicing for and the kind of person we might encounter in a real fight not being like we are. The following article came up in my FB feed, probably via Bernie Lau, which I think parallels the problems we face, but for police firearms training:

http://handguncombatives.blogspot.jp/2015/02/they-dont-think-like-you-do.html

Do you truly understand the individual you may fight? Violence is part of our society whether you want it or not. Bad guys will bring it to you… do you understand how they think? Many armed citizens and cops like to think they do…maybe they have even attended a lecture on the subject…but in reality they don't. I have attended lectures on this subject taught by "professionals" who have never spent time with a felon, merely studies literature on the subject and became an "expert". It's like the students who attended a bunch of shooting schools and then becomes an instructor, they understand how to shoot but they don't know shit about fighting! In both cases, you end up with the wrong information to prepare with.

Gonzalo
03-08-2017, 05:20 AM
Aikidoka loosing faith?? Are they really walking the "do"?

Is the "do"of Aikido going to an mma ring and prove to be the strongest, and bloodiest mother.....r of all times?

Thank God it is not!! So, i don't understand that loosing faith thing!,..

SeiserL
03-08-2017, 07:35 AM
Just to stir the pot and be a bit politically-incorrect, I don't really see many people practicing Aikido as a true/realistic martial/fighting-art.
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?
With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?

Demetrio Cereijo
03-08-2017, 08:29 AM
Just to stir the pot and be a bit politically-incorrect, I don't really see many people practicing Aikido as a true/realistic martial/fighting-art.
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?
With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?

Well, maybe Aikido is not a martial art but other thing, could be Aikido is a technology of the self and the "martial" elements are not really relevant.

RonRagusa
03-08-2017, 11:17 AM
Well, maybe Aikido is not a martial art but other thing, could be Aikido is a technology of the self and the "martial" elements are not really relevant.

Or maybe it's all there for the taking and it's up to the practitioner to find what's self-relevant and pursue that path. Different strokes and all that...

Ron

Demetrio Cereijo
03-08-2017, 11:47 AM
Or maybe it's all there for the taking and it's up to the practitioner to find what's self-relevant and pursue that path. Different strokes and all that...

Ron

As long as he/she is being honest about that, there will be no problem.

RonRagusa
03-08-2017, 12:09 PM
As long as he/she is being honest about that, there will be no problem.

The honesty of one's training becomes evident when one examines the results. If one wishes to practice aikido as a martial/fighting art then after a period of time one should be able to demonstrate the efficacy of aikido as a martial/fighting art. OTOH if aikido "is a technology of the self" (interesting thought BTW) then after a period of time one should notice fundamental physical and mental changes taking place that are attributable to that training.

In either event, it's not a matter of faith in the art of aikido. Being an art, aikido is mutable. It's shaped by those who practice it, in whatever form.

Ron

GovernorSilver
03-09-2017, 07:58 PM
Just to stir the pot and be a bit politically-incorrect, I don't really see many people practicing Aikido as a true/realistic martial/fighting-art.
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?
With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?

Your experience in Aikido dwarfs mine by far, so I'm looking forward to your answers to your own questions. :cool:

erikmenzel
03-10-2017, 05:30 AM
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?


I for one practice. I practice to practice. The goal of my training is to be, to be what I am now. I am teaching myself to stay in the now, to not dwell on the past and to not dream about the future.

This kind of training is hard. For me because letting go and accepting what is coming toward you without fear or anticipation is hard. For my partners because I ask exactly the same from them.

I am doing it because it is enjoyable, because I sense myself growing and feel this growth transition into the rest of my life. I am doing it because I believe it will turn me into a person who can have positive effect on his surroundings. Courtesy is the beginning, the middle and the end of everything.

All I do just is, the rest is just unneeded clutter.

Erik doesn't matter

(BTW if I read this myself it sound fairly vague, but for me it is not. It is clear, hard but clear.)

SeiserL
03-10-2017, 01:53 PM
Your experience in Aikido dwarfs mine by far, so I'm looking forward to your answers to your own questions. :cool:
I train with the intent to apply Aikido as an effective/efficient martial art ...
I train because Aikido is an interesting study in human structure/alignment/balance and connection/movement ...
To each there own ...
I tend to go to the far end of the bell-shaped curve of normal distribution ...
the mat is less crowded there ... LOL

GovernorSilver
03-10-2017, 10:26 PM
I train with the intent to apply Aikido as an effective/efficient martial art ...
I train because Aikido is an interesting study in human structure/alignment/balance and connection/movement ...
To each there own ...
I tend to go to the far end of the bell-shaped curve of normal distribution ...
the mat is less crowded there ... LOL

Thank you sir!

My answers:

What is the intent that fuels our practice?
I intend to apply whatever corrections are given to me by my sempai/sensei and keep trying to understand what they're saying. There's nothing wrong with their English, it's just I don't always make the connection between what they say and what they do with the movement. I usually have to repeat the movement a hundred times before I start getting it - I'd be SOL if I were trying to study with Ueshiba, if he really did teach by showing a movement once - and only once! - then getting mad when students asked him to repeat it.

I am convinced this dojo is committed to teaching Aikido as an art of self-defense. I wasn't sure after the first couple of classes, but after training with certain top students of the dojo founder, I've bought into their party line, as it were. it's not any stirring speech/prose that sold me; it's the day-to-day, week-to-week interaction with these individuals, the way they carry themselves, how they describe applicable scenarios to the waza being practiced, etc.... all the little things that add up.

Why are we doing it?
I initially started studying a completely different martial arts that happened to use the space of an Aikido dojo. I was told I could avoid paying a per-class mat fee by joining the Aikido dojo. So I did, and started showing up to Aikido classes, because I was paying for them anyway. I enjoyed them enough that I kept coming back.

I like the emphasis on efficient movement. I also like the emphasis on active ukemi: Uke trying not to give free openings to nage, protecting himself/herself from sloppy nage, looking for counters... similar to what Ellis Amdur teaches in his "Ukemi From the Ground Up" DVD.

With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?

I have friends who can't even tell the difference between Aikido and "karate", so I'd be at a loss to explain to them why Aikido is/isn't really a martial art.

I haven't seen anyone in any Aikido dojo kick like a capoeira mestre, or throw knee/elbow strikes like a good Muay Thai fighter. OTOH, I regularly practice with people coming at me with wooden swords and sticks/poles - I figure that counts for something. :D

ColinC
03-21-2017, 12:13 PM
Some great conversation and food for thought here.
I don't know about losing faith, but a crisis of faith every now and then is not only necessary, it's required if one is to continue learning! Blind allegiance to anything is a sad excuse for being an adult, I feel. We have to question, investigate, go deeper, and, yes, even look at our faith in anything in life. To do otherwise is to completely undermine our true potential.

We've all seen it. Of course some Aikidoka walk away, but that's fine. I hit some limits myself and looked outside for some cross training - it's helpful, but doesn't negate what "works" with Aikido. A good foundation of striking and some ground work, areas where modern Aikido can be lacking IMO, is a good idea for one to be adept at self-defense.

I think the core of the question is "does Aikido work"? As my Sensei says, that depends... Sure it works, but does your Aikido work? Maybe, maybe not. In other words it's not the art or technique, it's the person.

I think we also need to define what we're even talking about here. Perhaps there are more, but, grossly defined, I see Martial arts falling into three categories (of course there are no fine lines, and shades of gray between the three):
-Sport/competition
-Show/ demonstration
-Self-defense

If you want sport, then best to study something else. A lot of Aikido has become show, and, if that's your thing, then great for you… But I worry that those who train for show think their art is also for self-defense, and I think that is where a lot of the flack comes from. All those youtube videos of how to disarm this or that attacker, done in a show method and teaching showy poor-principle techniques with ridiculously complaint ukes… It makes me cringe. It makes me cringe even more when I'm honest and I see the way I've trained sometimes in those videos! Honesty is imperative here, most importantly for senior ranks and instructors.

Personally I am interested in real self-defense, which Aikido is excellent for. But I do feel there are some holes, especially for someone like myself who did not come through another martial art. So I do some cross-training for striking and a bit of ground work. Some controlled sparring is also helpful -- call it 2-way jiyu waza if you will. In this situation, with other well-trained martial artists, then some things work very well (standard kokyo nage from the outside, controlling uke's head), and some work only with a very specific and proper setup and execution (udio sai wrist controls), which can be difficult to do against another person who is relaxed and can follow the ebb and flow of a physical confrontation.

The core principles of Aikido work all day long and in nearly every situation; the issue is most techniques are not executed with all the principles firing, which makes for poor and or "it doesn't work" technique. In those cases, we need to be able to stay relaxed and flow around -- henka waza in other words. I think the problem is that is a very senior level concept that isn't really touched until senior dan ranks. Therefore, even, say someone who's 10 years in and earned Nidan, might not be very adept at flow when facing another well-trained opponent.

That said, I trust that other well-trained martial artists are not going to be the ones off mugging and jumping people, so I'm not at all concerned with the whole Aikido vs this-that-or-another art -- it's an ego-based argument and only academic.

I think that's also a big issue -- the ego-based arguments and puffing up of chests as to who is king of the martial arts hill…. I'd rather be busy training than banging out insults and counterpoints on the keyboard. If you're feeling offended that someone ‘dissed Aikido. If you are in person, invite them to train with you -- you very well will learn something. If you are on your computer or mobile devise, turn it off and go train. But you have to train honestly and take into consideration the valid and accurate critiques. If your feelings are hurt by what someone says or thinks, it's not your martial art that's the problem, it is you that is the problem!

In Gassho

ColinC
03-21-2017, 12:34 PM
Too late to edit and add this:

And if you're losing faith or questioning faith in your art, that's an awesome place to be! Don't shy away from it, explore, practice, and work out your issues. We all have more to learn. If you must walk away, then be honest and don't walk away not knowing how to do it properly. Again, to quote my Sensei - you cannot say you don't like something if you do not know how to do it.

MattMiddleton
03-22-2017, 08:45 AM
Nope, haven't lost faith (or interest) in Aikido. MMA practitioners are focused on fighting within a system of rules, for the sole purpose of competition. Nothing inherently wrong with that, just not my jam. They don't use Aikido, that's their business.

I practice Aikido for a variety of reasons, and self-defence is just one of those reasons. In the last few years, I started taking the perspective that, to be useful in that respect, Aikido may not be the most efficient route to that goal, but that it ultimately will lead there. I think there are benefits to this slower progression - besides teaching patience and humility, it forces long-time students to consider the hows and whys of what they do.

For example, recently I've come to some very small realizations about why having Uke's wrist in certain positions is more effective than others; it's taken 8 years of (occasionally sporadic) practice to put all the pieces together, and maybe I'm just slow, but I'd like to think that the reason I've figured this out is because I've spent countless hours bending wrists (mine and others), and trying to understand what is happening.

lbb
03-22-2017, 09:11 AM
Every time this subject comes up, we have people speaking in absolute terms about relative situations. Why do people always want to discuss what's a "realistic fighting art" while never saying "realistic with regard to what"? Who are you fighting and why? And why do people refuse to answer that question? That renders the entire discussion pointless to me.

john2054
05-14-2017, 11:36 AM
Every time this subject comes up, we have people speaking in absolute terms about relative situations. Why do people always want to discuss what's a "realistic fighting art" while never saying "realistic with regard to what"? Who are you fighting and why? And why do people refuse to answer that question? That renders the entire discussion pointless to me.

Thankyou Mary! x

Erik Calderon
05-19-2017, 02:12 PM
I still love Aikido! And plan on doing it for a very long time.

nikyu62
05-22-2017, 03:50 PM
As a useful budo, Aikido requires no faith when practiced as such; the usefulness is apparent. What requires faith is the precept that practice of Aikido results in practitioners who live up to the lofty spiritual principles espoused by the Founder. Given the divisions that exist among ranking practitioners, that precept is in question.

senshincenter
05-29-2017, 07:11 PM
Aikido practitioners should make up their mind on what they want Aikido to be and do. In doing that, from a martial perspective, I think Aikido should not feel pressed to address the dueling discourse that currently dominates our self-defense commercial market. Philosophically, I think Aikidoka should stick to their arena of dealing with assaultive behavior and mentalities because there is a deeper and more useful truth in that than in trying to figure out how to apply Aikido to dueling environments. Even commercially, I think Aikidoka should again stick to this position. There is no way, in my opinion, that Aikido can address the combative assumptions of the dueling culture without either doing so poorly or without degenerating the art into something it is not, or something in the end that is incapable of addressing assaultive behavior and/or combat environments. Today, popular Aikido is primarily populated by two groups: one group that further insulates itself from the larger martial purpose, and one group that feels pressed to identify Aikido with and in terms of the MMA discourse. The first group is slowing losing its numbers, like any group that stays away from others, and the second group is losing their art. I would propose a third option be found and practiced, one that acknowledges that the problem is not that the art is traditional but that we are not traditional enough in our understanding of the art.

observer
05-30-2017, 03:56 AM
When reading what others write about aikido, it amazes me that politically correctness dominated our aikido society for many years before it came to public life. Europe is practically defenseless, the US has reduced its military capabilities by half, and in the end it all comes down to putting endless fences to the sky. That's because there is this third option in our mind, my Santa Barbara friend David wrote about.

Aikido is a skill like any other. Should be served when needed. Just like a foreign language. The rules that define aikido are very simple, and it is probably worthy to talk about them again.

Attacks are not important in Aikido. Essential are the directions from which they come and there are nine of them. They are fields of a 3x3 square. Since none of the attacks is intended to reach the target, it does not matter what attack it is. Whether by hand, by foot, or by spear, knife or sword. We react to these attacks with only six techniques, performed on both sides. Every direction of an attack has always the same reaction (technique). This reaction ends physical confrontation in two ways. The attacker is dead or alive with the knowledge that his life has been spared.

Such an attack response is not a fight. Fighting is the clash of strength, mass, skill, experience and speed. In aikido, only speed is counted. I'm talking about the speed of response to attack and technique's execution. These two skills can be mastered independently of each other and coordinated within a few months to a degree that allows them to step out of the oppression of a non-martial arts striker.

As you can see from the discussion these simple rules do not exist in our aikido society anymore. It means that Morihei Ueshiba's life achievement is degraded. Is it not worthy to think about it before it's too late?

Demetrio Cereijo
05-30-2017, 06:43 AM
I would propose a third option be found and practiced, one that acknowledges that the problem is not that the art is traditional but that we are not traditional enough in our understanding of the art.

Hi David,

What do you mean by traditional.

senshincenter
05-30-2017, 11:32 AM
Hi Demetrio,

To be clear, I do not mean "traditionalistic." "Tradition" for me, and in particular to this topic here, I find a stark contrast between the following:

Traditional Understanding: Martial viability and spiritual maturity were not contrasting in nature but were rather co-dependent.
Modern Understanding: Spiritual maturity stands in contrast to martial viability and/or independent to martial viability.

Traditional Understanding: The term "combat effectiveness" related to non-rule-governed weapon armed fighting.
Modern Understanding: The term "combat effectiveness" related to rule-governed weaponless duels.

Traditional Understanding: "Training" means daily training (4-6 hours a day?).
Modern Understanding: "Training" means two to five hours per week training.

Traditional Understanding: Physical strength supplemented technique.
Modern Understanding: Physical strength stands in contrast or opposition to technique.

Traditional Understanding: Training was concept oriented.
Modern Understanding: Training is technique oriented.

Traditional Understanding: Live application was a problem of mind development and the training oriented itself toward mind cultivation and spontaneity.
Modern Understanding: Live application is a problem of simplification and the training is oriented toward reducing and simplifying technique architectures.

Traditional Understanding: The tactical elements of the art were understood to work to make each element martial viable (e.g. ne-waza and the threat of ne-waza set up nage waza; nage waza and the threat of nage waza set up katame waza and atemi waza; empty-handed elements support and are supported by weapons; etc.)
Modern Understanding: The art is contained entirely within Aikido Kihon Waza (empty hand) and there is no tactical co-dependence between multiple elements.

Can we start here? I could go on if necessary but I think this allows the discussion to continue. Let me know.

Thanks,
Dave

earnest aikidoka
06-06-2017, 10:41 AM
Aikidoka does not want to get punched, so he trains without punching, and gets punched.

The majority of Aikidoka are not losing faith, they just do not want to confront the reality of what Aikido is.

Aikido is a combat form, it is meant for fighting. It is a method of doing efficient violence to stop a person doing violence to them. Harmonizing with uke is not a feel-good concept, it is a fight stopping principle. But most instructors have no concept of violence, so they teach an aikido that has no concept of violent effectiveness.

The majority of aikidoka are not losing faith, they are losing the guts to actually fight.

MrIggy
06-07-2017, 07:06 AM
Aikidoka does not want to get punched, so he trains without punching, and gets punched.

The majority of Aikidoka are not losing faith, they just do not want to confront the reality of what Aikido is.

Aikido is a combat form, it is meant for fighting. It is a method of doing efficient violence to stop a person doing violence to them. Harmonizing with uke is not a feel-good concept, it is a fight stopping principle. But most instructors have no concept of violence, so they teach an aikido that has no concept of violent effectiveness.

The majority of aikidoka are not losing faith, they are losing the guts to actually fight.

I wouldn't use the term violence though. We are supposed to learn martial skill in other to stop violence, off course this means that in practice we have to get violent, or at least intensive, in other to learn how to confront it but the ideal is in fact do develop martial skill, which includes a tranquil mind, so that we don't have to be violent rather more skilled then our opponents in order to stop them from hurting us but also not to go over the line when stopping them. For example, some guy jumps me, I thrust him in the face with my elbow, he looses a couple of teeth, and drop him to the ground and subdue him. Someone would say that I was violent but in reality if I wanted to be violent I could have pummeled on him while he was down until not even his own mother could recognize him. There are off course situations, the life and death ones, that unfortunately call for the line to be crossed sometimes. However, even in those situations it's not supposed to be about violence from our point of view rather about the martial ability to render the violent person or persons incapable of violence at any cost. That way there is a clear distinction about what violence is and isn't in the Aikido context.

Mary Eastland
06-07-2017, 10:31 AM
Aikidoka does not want to get punched, so he trains without punching, and gets punched.

The majority of Aikidoka are not losing faith, they just do not want to confront the reality of what Aikido is.

Aikido is a combat form, it is meant for fighting. It is a method of doing efficient violence to stop a person doing violence to them. Harmonizing with uke is not a feel-good concept, it is a fight stopping principle. But most instructors have no concept of violence, so they teach an aikido that has no concept of violent effectiveness.

The majority of aikidoka are not losing faith, they are losing the guts to actually fight.

What to say to this??? Men and women who want to fight should train in a fighting art. Aikido is not about fighting...why the big dilemma?...Find an art that addresses your needs.

Aikido does address violence...from another perspective which includes cultivating a peaceful feeling and focusing on what you actually can change...for example: yourself. Aikido is a revolutionary concept....

senshincenter
06-07-2017, 09:31 PM
What to say to this??? Men and women who want to fight should train in a fighting art. Aikido is not about fighting...why the big dilemma?...Find an art that addresses your needs.

Aikido does address violence...from another perspective which includes cultivating a peaceful feeling and focusing on what you actually can change...for example: yourself. Aikido is a revolutionary concept....

Good response. I have my point of view, but I certainly don't try to make it everyone's point of view. Why does everyone's Aikido have to be the same? Or better, why do some people have to have everyone's Aikido be the same? Or even better, why do some people have to believe that "same" is good or even possible?

Personally, meaning "my perspective," while I have my take on Aikido, because it makes sense for me, in my take, in my Aikido, in that Aikido, it makes no sense this effort to "save Aikido" that so floods the Net now and drives people and their understanding of the art to denounce someone's else. It's such a fiction, this single Aikido that is supposed to be saved! Even this idea, "Their poor students, I have to save them!" that you hear as the ultimate justification, the reason hat allows cruelty, aggressiveness, self-righteousness, etc. - what a joke such a thought this is in my Aikido. In my Aikido, like in the Usual Suspects, when we are told that the greatest trick the Devil ever played was to convince the world he did not exist, the greatest trick the Aikikai and all the other federations ever played on the world was convincing Aikidoka that an "Aikido" exists.

bothhandsclapping
06-08-2017, 08:59 AM
All good discussion. But we should never lose sight of one question ... why study any art? That it would be very hard indeed to separate the choice to practice Aikido from any Aikidoka's ideal of someone who is also practicing it or has practiced it in the past (as in a teacher or the founder).

For example, Leonard Cohen studied Zen with Joshu Sasaki. He once made a comment that I found very interesting. When asked about how he got interested in Zen, he said something to the effect ... "If I met Sasaki and he was teaching physics, I would have become a physics student."

PeterR
06-08-2017, 09:31 AM
For example, Leonard Cohen studied Zen with Joshu Sasaki. He once made a comment that I found very interesting. When asked about how he got interested in Zen, he said something to the effect ... "If I met Sasaki and he was teaching physics, I would have become a physics student."

Good story and at least from my perspective very relevant. I think those that keep on with this have maintained faith with their direct teachers rather than something more distant such as Ueshiba M.. If we do loose faith in our art the fault tends to be much closer to home.

Its clear to me that what I study is what I am being taught and I believe it is what I am looking for. Convoluted I know but I also take it on faith that it is Aikido.

senshincenter
06-08-2017, 11:15 AM
. "If I met Sasaki and he was teaching physics, I would have become a physics student."

I also love this quote. I understood it to say something very akin to what I found within my own life. The great teachers that have come to have huge impacts were such not because of what they taught but because of who they were. Underlying that fact, and underlying what I believe Cohen was getting at besides it's the teacher that counts, is the position that like Aikido, there's not just one Zen. Perhaps more than that, he'd add, and their shouldn't be.

bothhandsclapping
06-08-2017, 03:30 PM
not because of what they taught but because of who they were.

Yes, yes, but even more precisely - "because of the potential they represented". In Aikido, Tohei became a kind of hero when people realized ... "Hey, I could do that."

sorokod
06-09-2017, 01:15 AM
The great teachers that have come to have huge impacts were such not because of what they taught but because of who they were.

Don't really see why the "what" should be superseded by "who". Is it really the case that a great teacher of Aikido achieves his or her greatness by the sheer power of personality with little regard to their technical abilities?

Such setup sounds like cult to me.

senshincenter
06-09-2017, 08:56 AM
Modern Man's problem is not victimization through cultic abuse. It is finding and having the humility and courage to get out of his or her own way so as to be mentorable.

Mary Eastland
06-09-2017, 09:38 AM
Modern Man's problem is not victimization through cultic abuse. It is finding and having the humility and courage to get out of his or her own way so as to be mentorable.

This...without giving away our individuality or power. It is about the art not the teacher in that aspect. We can learn about the way without becoming a worshiper of the teacher.

bothhandsclapping
06-09-2017, 12:27 PM
Don't really see why the "what" should be superseded by "who". Is it really the case that a great teacher of Aikido achieves his or her greatness by the sheer power of personality with little regard to their technical abilities?

Such setup sounds like cult to me.

I believe you are misreading the intent of introducing the qualities of the teacher. Think of it this way ... you want to study a martial art in a small town, preferably Aikido. There are two schools - MMA and Aikido. One of the teachers (it's not important which) is a pillar of the community, the other is a total sleazebag. Where do you study?

sorokod
06-09-2017, 01:11 PM
I believe you are misreading the intent of introducing the qualities of the teacher. Think of it this way ... you want to study a martial art in a small town, preferably Aikido. There are two schools - MMA and Aikido. One of the teachers (it's not important which) is a pillar of the community, the other is a total sleazebag. Where do you study?

I'd train with the one who can deliver the goods. Can you imagine choosing a teacher who is a wonderful human being, but has no clue about martial arts?

PeterR
06-09-2017, 01:55 PM
I'd train with the one who can deliver the goods. Can you imagine choosing a teacher who is a wonderful human being, but has no clue about martial arts?

I may not need perfection in the human being but if I knew enough to make a judgement I would still steer clear of the sleaze bag. I can be pretty certain the truly sleazy would not be that good in imparting whatever skill he had. Not to mention not wanting to stew in the swamp.

sorokod
06-09-2017, 02:42 PM
I may not need perfection in the human being but if I knew enough to make a judgement I would still steer clear of the sleaze bag. I can be pretty certain the truly sleazy would not be that good in imparting whatever skill he had. Not to mention not wanting to stew in the swamp.

In a way it is a matter of degrees. I would not want to train for example with a raging psychopath and if this qualifies as "sleaze bag" we are on the same page. On the other hand Aikido the activity for me is not there to provide a nurturing social environment. If it does, that is fantastic but that is still just a bonus.

To put it anther way, do you think all Aikido giants were warm, compassionate, humble, non bigoted, non homophobic, loyal to their spouses, non drinking, not injuring their students, not supporting political extremists people, on or off the mat throughout their entire lives?

And if some of them were, does this diminish the martial art of Aikido? And if your teacher, or your teacher's teacher would take a moral stand and choose not to practice under such a person would you be doing Aikido today?

bothhandsclapping
06-09-2017, 03:44 PM
In a way it is a matter of degrees. I would not want to train for example with a raging psychopath and if this qualifies as "sleaze bag" we are on the same page.

OK, what about an instructor who hits on all the female students?
What about an instructor who intentionally throws female students harder than her male counterparts (of similar rank)?
What about an instructor who turns the other way as senior students take advantage of beginning students? (Unnecessarily painful nikyo, throws that are well beyond a beginning student's ukemi skills, etc.)

There is a whole spectrum of sleazebag long before raging psychopath. And so a potential student must naturally wonder - irrespective of the instructor's skill - will this be an inevitable part of the 'goods' that are being delivered? How could you not wonder?

sorokod
06-09-2017, 11:04 PM
OK, what about an instructor who hits on all the female students?
What about an instructor who intentionally throws female students harder than her male counterparts (of similar rank)?
What about an instructor who turns the other way as senior students take advantage of beginning students? (Unnecessarily painful nikyo, throws that are well beyond a beginning student's ukemi skills, etc.)

There is a whole spectrum of sleazebag long before raging psychopath. And so a potential student must naturally wonder - irrespective of the instructor's skill - will this be an inevitable part of the 'goods' that are being delivered? How could you not wonder?

Your question reminds me of a certain ritual Peter and friends have in "Family Guy". As to the inevitability and spectrum, have you applied your test to your own lineage, all the way up to, say, Sokaku Takeda ?

PeterR
06-10-2017, 04:34 AM
In a way it is a matter of degrees. I would not want to train for example with a raging psychopath and if this qualifies as "sleaze bag" we are on the same page. On the other hand Aikido the activity for me is not there to provide a nurturing social environment. If it does, that is fantastic but that is still just a bonus.

To put it anther way, do you think all Aikido giants were warm, compassionate, humble, non bigoted, non homophobic, loyal to their spouses, non drinking, not injuring their students, not supporting political extremists people, on or off the mat throughout their entire lives?

And if some of them were, does this diminish the martial art of Aikido? And if your teacher, or your teacher's teacher would take a moral stand and choose not to practice under such a person would you be doing Aikido today?

I did say truly sleazy implying a level of extremity. Lack of moral perfection (what ever that is) makes some one interesting and it could be argued leads to their skill. Sheep make lousy teachers.

sorokod
06-10-2017, 10:11 AM
I did say truly sleazy implying a level of extremity. Lack of moral perfection (what ever that is) makes some one interesting and it could be argued leads to their skill. Sheep make lousy teachers.

I look at this a bit differently. Teachers are humans with all human faults and weaknesses. Most of them are between the extremes of "sleez bags " and "saints" (otherwise they wouldn't be extremes).

As I see it, a student has the responsebility to make the learning happen regardless of the teacher , a bit like mining for gold - there are no guarantees that the process is effortless or indeed pleasant. The important thing that the gold is there.

bothhandsclapping
06-10-2017, 11:09 AM
I look at this a bit differently. Teachers are humans with all human faults and weaknesses. Most of them are between the extremes of "sleez bags " and "saints" (otherwise they wouldn't be extremes).

As I see it, a student has the responsebility to make the learning happen regardless of the teacher , a bit like mining for gold - there are no guarantees that the process is effortless or indeed pleasant. The important thing that the gold is there.

Well said and I believe we might have made our way back to the original subject of this thread. Rather than a loss of faith in Aikido, might it really be that there is no longer a complete agreement of what the true gold is in Aikido training.

BTW: My two main Aikido teachers were Wade Ishimoto (http://www.midweek.com/wade-ishimoto/) and Shizuo Imaizumi (http://shinbudokai.org/instructor/) - a unique combination of original source Aikido (Imaizumi taught at the Hombu dojo in the 60's and 70's and continues to teach today) and real world application (Ishimoto was the 'martial arts guy' in the failed hostage rescue attempt in the desert of Iran in 1980.) :)