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09-18-2002, 01:32 PM
Hi everyone,

So, what was the last (or most significant) belief that you've had in your aikido training that you've changed your mind on?

What brought on this change of mind?

What implications did this change have on your overall aikido training?

-- Jun

Chuck Clark
09-18-2002, 01:44 PM
To paraphrase Miyamoto Musashi:

"The training I do today kills the training I did yesterday."

(I know this isn't exactly what you had in mind Jun.)


Bruce Baker
09-18-2002, 03:26 PM
I was thinking if in someway the direction of my Aikido training perhaps changed for more than a minor reason from what I first thought the training would be, and there was one real awakening moment when I saw some of the hidden tecniques that are right out in the open.

It was after a pressure point seminar for karate.

I was amazed to see how simular the movements in common Aikido practice were to the movements of the pressure point knockouts.

That was the day I found many of the secrets beyond the eye trying to mimic what it has seen.

Jermaine Alley
09-18-2002, 04:09 PM
Hey Bruce,

Who put on that demonstration on pressure point fighting? I am actually looking for any instructors in that style (ryukyu) in the Richmond,Virginia area.

Another question for you...I am from newark, New Jersey, but living now in Richmond, Va...I know of one Aikido School that is in Elizabeth..have you heard anything about that school?
Where is your school located in relation to Newark?


09-18-2002, 06:35 PM
I'd say there have been several over the years although I'm not sure any of these precisely fit your question.

Probably the first major change was the realization that if I was being thrown from 3 feet away it probably had more to do with me than the person throwing me.

Somewhere after that was the idea that Aikido will save the world. Too much in-house staff work still to be done.

Next I'd say tossing out all that ki/new age stuff. I'd argue that some of that stuff actually moved me backwards and at the very least much of it is tremendously misleading.

More recently has been a change in my thoughts in regards to this stuff as a martial art. I spent a lot of time in a place where it was never looked at that way. I don't want to devalue what was done there from a certain perspective because I think it was unique and had value. However, my own taste is to a more physical brand of Aikido and while I can, I'm going to do that kind of Aikido.

Kevin Leavitt
09-18-2002, 07:04 PM
Finally realized that you cannot affect change on uke, you can only change yourself and how you respond to uke's attack.

For years I tried to push and pull uke in attempt to get him/her to do the technique I wanted....now I just let uke attack and let the situation develop and change my posture/position to uke.

Just like in life...the only thing you have control over to change is yourself!

09-18-2002, 10:43 PM
I am a big man (6'4", 215 lbs.) and old (52). So I was never a major fan of Koshi-nage. One day My Sensei (5' Phong Sensei)threw me about 7-8 times in a row. As soon as I could grab him, over I'd go. Didn't have time to think about it. Took the falls fine. Haven't been shy since.

Until again,


Tadhg Bird
09-19-2002, 12:36 AM
The Tuesday before last, my name went up on the promotion list. I'll be going to 1st kyu, still wearing my brown belt, my last promotion before I get a Black Belt. My Shodan is getting very, very close. I had thought that after I got my Shodan, I would branch out into other arts, become a "well rounded martial artist". After a talk with my Sensei ("what a shame it is when an Aikidoist becomes a 'martial artist'"), that is no longer my goal. Now, I want to be the best Aikidoka that I can be. I still want to look at other arts, but now the aim is for a better understanding of Aikido, not an art for its own sake.

I think this focus has energized my Aikido technique. My technique now seems to be sharper, with greater energy and effectivness.

:ai: :ki: :do:

Smooth Roads,

-- Tadhg ^^

mike lee
09-19-2002, 07:16 AM
Aikido is easy. Well, I mean it's not easy -- but it could be. Sometimes it's easy, but then I find it's wrong, or could be better, or there's mountains more to learn. :do:

Oh, I'm so confused. Why did you ask this question? :freaky:

09-19-2002, 10:08 AM
For me, it's been less of a big change of mind but more an evolution of the thought that there's no difference in the roles of nage and uke. It feels to me that the same exact principles underly both roles.

Another change of mind I've had in the last few years (feeling my teacher's version(s) of the technique) is my earlier thought that kaitennage was a pretty worthless technique. Having been flung feet over head by my teacher with my nose skimming the mat, I've changed my mind...

-- Jun

09-19-2002, 10:20 AM
This is a really tough question. I guess to be fair I'd have to rule out the stuff where my opinion is constantly evolving (what is ikkyo actually? do I learn more from working with beginners or more advanced students? Is teaching helpful to my training?) and try to think of something where I had a clear opinion.

I distinctly remember thinking that kokyu-dosa (or what do you call it? kokyu tandem ho? The kneeling exercise that so often serves as desert at the end of a nice class) was useless and stupid, but that changed a long time ago. It was hard for me to see the point of the rules or lack of rules and I never knew how much to resist or how much to let it happen. When that attitude of mine changed, and I suddenly started to see it more as an opportunity to explore in whichever direction I liked, a lot of things in my AiKiDo changed with it.

More recently, I've done a couple of flip flops on the role of a 'martial' approach to AiKiDo. Originally, it was anathema to me. I thought that thinking of AiKiDo as a martial art, or focusing on its martial aspects led inevitably to hard, unpleasant aikido that did not show caring for uke. That changed when I started training in Baltimore, where, I feel, they blend a martial awareness with a softness of approach in a way that I find quite inspiring. However, recently, I've been flipping back. It seems to me like the martial stuff is easy to learn later and is a natural addition to a good solid base in gentle caring AiKiDo. Going the other way seems like a real challenge for most people, and often gets missed. I'm pretty sure, though, that in another few years I will flop back again.

Dennis Hooker
09-19-2002, 10:21 AM
Aikido hurts more the older you get. Parts brake faster and take longer to heal. Or they just ware out and need to be replaced. You get older and slower but treachery fills the gaps between youth and speed. But the one thing that comes through load and clear is that you canít ever stop. You stop you die. Itís an addiction. One that was once identified as positive not now your not sure. But you still canít quit! You have got to find Ikkyo and each time I get on the mat itís with that challenge. More than 30 years and Iím still looking foreword to each new class so I can try and find Ikkyo. Itís an addiction.

Dennis Hooker


09-19-2002, 10:24 AM
Jun -

I used to think the same thing about Kaitennage. Then one day, my brother tried to tackle me around my waist (classic, two-leg takedown style). I stepped to the side, executed a nice tenkan movement while trapping his arm and then tossed him with kaitennage into the washing machine. It happened rather quickly and I was in awe at how well the technique actually worked. I'm a believer now!!

09-19-2002, 11:23 AM
...my earlier thought that kaitennage was a pretty worthless technique. Having been flung feet over head by my teacher with my nose skimming the mat, I've changed my mind...-- Jun
Is this Ikeda?

Does he still do that nasty version where he cranks your arm so far over your back that you spin in place with no forward momentum to do a roll?

Aikido's KAITEN NAGE is ambitious. Judo has the same thing, but they add a foot sweep. You see it in sumo all the time.

(Saotome did an interesting version at a Shindai seminar two years ago. Instead of projecting, the hand on UKE's head slides around his/her neck. Your leg on the same side drives between UKE's and you do SUTEMI rolling on top of UKE for a choke. This can be abbreviated to the choke sans fall. Just lock onto the DOGI when reaching around UKE's throat and drop his/her neck onto your knee while levering the arm back toward you.)

09-19-2002, 11:30 AM
Dennis, I always enjoy your posts!
1) Aikido hurts more the older you get. Parts brake faster

2) ...treachery fills the gaps between youth and speed.

3) But the one thing that comes through load and clear is that you canít ever stop. You stop you die. Itís an addiction. One that was once identified as positive
1) Brake hell! They don't even get up to speed anymore.

2) Poetry! You knew this would be quoted when you wrote it(albeit without attributi...Oh, alright--stolen!)

3) Yes. This board as a support group for those who've tested aikido-positive.

09-19-2002, 11:44 AM
1) What was the last (or most significant) belief that you've had in your aikido training that you've changed your mind on?

2) What brought on this change of mind?

3) What implications did this change have on your overall aikido training?

-- Jun
1) Static training. I visited Iwama many years ago and was frankly bored with the training. I lived 5 minutes walking from the Yoshinkan but couldn't bring myself to do that similar style of static training after visiting three times to get myself psyched for it.

Now I find myself slowing UKE down to feel the technique better and wanting to go slowly. I feel I gain more from beginner classes than faster advanced classes. I'm delighted training Daito ryu kata.

2) I think it is a desire for finesse and foundation. But I grow (even more) cynical in my middle-age and I think a lot of our explanations are like those spontaneous full-blown scenarios in a dream of falling out of a tree or off a building which our minds construct in the time it takes to fall from the bed to the floor. So maybe my 'wanting' to slow down is the convenient layering of excuse for having already slowed down (dammit!)

3) I orient toward simplicity, attend beginner classes enthusiastically, seek step-by-step style training.

Excellent question.

09-19-2002, 12:25 PM
I had so much mind-changes yet, it's difficult to choose one. I'll choose some:

1) one of my teachears said: in aikido and japanese budo we never go back (if you don't take it litteraly it's very cool).

2) tori and uke as one principle (like jun wrote)

3) going slow, and try to make tecniques end a little slower than the begin. Trying to don't upset you partner with a wrong attitude.

Sorry, my english is limited.


09-19-2002, 05:42 PM
In the short time I've been taking Aikido, it's changed my whole understanding of the concept of fighting. I've always prided myself on my ability to go completely snakes when required while retaining a clear head. I'm starting to learn that while this is a good thing; it's far better to remain completely calm in the scrum. It's a fascinating process, throwing out just about everything I've learned in the past 18 years and rewriting the rest to fit Aikido. :)


Roy Dean
09-19-2002, 07:24 PM
Good question! And many excellent responses...

I used to think that having a thorough understanding of the philosphy of Aikido plus technical knowledge would make me an enlightened, formidable warrior.

I now believe that SKILL is where it's at, as opposed to KNOWLEDGE. All things must be done through the body- there are no shortcuts- no matter how well you understand the theory of an art.

I also thought that Aikido was somehow superior (both ethically and in effectiveness) to other arts. This is a dangerous position to hold... many arts are equally sophisticated as Aikido (if not more!)- it just depends on how deeply you delve...


09-24-2002, 12:57 PM
Great thoughts, everyone!

Anyone else?

-- Jun

09-24-2002, 10:24 PM
To paraphrase Miyamoto Musashi:

"The training I do today kills the training I did yesterday."

I think I would have to agree with Mr Chuck Clark.

Everytime I step on to the mat, my beliefs and the way that I think about how techniques work is challenged. I don't mean this in a negative way. For me its important not get into a rut in order to progress and improve. That's why I train with two dfferent senseis and visit other dojos when I can.

For me it was the realisation that I needed to find fresh perspectives on the practice of aikido having been in a serious rut about 4 or 5 years ago. It's important for me to continue to have the "eyes and heart of a beginner" irrespective of the number of years in aikido that I think was my most enjoyable lesson.

Its confusing and frustrating at times but it sure is fun figuring it out.

Happy training all :)

09-25-2002, 09:30 AM
It's been a year since I started my aikido training, so naturally I have a long way to go until I even begin to get closer to the depth of understanding that I see in many posts here. Nevertheless, a couple of things come to mind.

- The belief that I didn't have what it takes to practice aikido (will, strength, determination - you name it). This was gone after first several classes. Implication - can't imagine myself quitting any time soon.

- Recently I caught myself thinking proudly that I was beginning to "get" some of the basic techniques. Well, a couple of weeks ago I got lucky - all other students had to leave early, and I had a half-hour personal lesson with one of my senseis. By the end of that half-hour I felt like it was my first time on the mat. This was very helpful - now every time sensei says on a technique I just did "good, but let's go one level up...", there's less feeling of frustration :)

Kevin Wilbanks
09-25-2002, 09:32 AM
That's interesting about kaiten-nage. I actually find that to be one of the most common, spontaneous and effective techniques in free practice and play. I have spent some time practicing a semi-competitive free-play game from a different art called 'pressure - no pressure'. It's like Tai Chi push hands, except that you can move your feet as much as you want, and you can attempt to effect the other person by touching them anywhere. The only rule is that you have to yield to whatever the opponent is trying to do to you so completely that no pressure builds up - no more than would break an eggshell. Both try their best to knock the other person down. It's great fun, great for ukemi and... kaitennage comes up all the time.

I've found it just as easily when someone is giving me a hard time wrestling against my technique. The reason is, if things start to really break down, my first response is to go for their head. As soon as you start poking or groping at someone's head, they move it to the side or forward... then your other arm slips between their arm and back, and voila!

Of course, this wouldn't work if they just stood there rigidly, but standing there rigidly has some drawbacks of it's own.

Bruce Baker
09-30-2002, 08:19 AM
To answer post #4.

My experience was at Mark Kline's in Piscataway where Leon Jay, Remy Presis, and George Dillman were doing a seminar.

You can either check out a variety of books that Dillman has, or find other dojos on his site and see where seminars are being held.

There are also Dim mak styles that go into pressure points. Even if you don't choose to study or use these little gems of martial arts, it is very interesting to know we have the opportunity to use them in Aikido beyond the present use of pain submission in our techniques of today.

As more Aikido teachers get the urge to expand their knowledge, you will see this alternative study creep into some Aikido dojos for the advanced students.

For a Primer, I do suggest you review self defense techniques of Wally Jay Jujitsu. His simple applications of pain are the primer I took before Aikido, and have helped me to find points of submission much quicker than teachers are able to explain.

If you use nothing else than pain submission and Aikido, these lessons should be enough to get you through most situations.

10-01-2002, 03:27 PM
Having just started aikido here in Moscow, one major thing springs to mind -

I have realised that I have the grace and agility of a three legged donkey on a whiskey habit. The arms and legs I previously thought were mine to control seem to have gained a certain independence.


I look forward to other revelations as I continue my studies.

Other than that I'm having a ball. In fact I never anticipated quite how much I would enjoy it, which I suppose is another change of mind.


Gregory King
10-04-2002, 12:23 AM
When I first started Aikido I thought that if I listened attentively to everything that was said, trained hard and concentrated that I would become proficient at the art. I used to think about it all the time. My breakthrough was when I stopped thinking and started doing, less thought more flow.



10-04-2002, 09:05 AM
Every place I've trained and even when I first started training at Shindai, I thought my training was just for me, my personal use only, and I was only interested in how I could benefit from it.

This concept changed the longer I trained at Shindai. While reviewing tapes of class, the sheer magnitude of sharing and giving and trust hit me all at once. I then realized that while I was training and learning, others were in turn, also learning from me.

To this day I avoid teaching as much as possible except for some "one on one" stuff when I'm trying to work on certain things. But overall, I more freely share my experiences and find myself helping other students more and more.....


10-04-2002, 09:28 AM
1. what was the last (or most significant) belief that you've had in your aikido training that you've changed your mind on?

A. My body does not automatically do what I envision it doing. Now I know that muscle memory is very important.

B. Self-Defense and Martial Arts are not as linked as I once thought.

C. Violence is not always bad as I was led to believe.

1. What brought on this change of mind?

A. Two years of struggling with basic foot work, I've gotten it "right" once.

B. Thinking about the age old question of "does Aikido work" led me to crime statistics, which further led me to the belief that ukemi practice is going to "defend me" (i.e. keep me from getting hurt) more redily than any technique.

C. The joy I feel as I'm thrown through the air, or the connection I have when someone allows me to throw them, are unlike any other feelings I've had before. These feelings come from a noticably violent behavior (throwing someone is violent in my opinion).

3.What implications did this change have on your overall aikido training?

A. I no longer get frustrated with doing things over and over and over again. I try to concentrate more when doing things slowly, and free my mind (relax) more when doing them fast.

B. From the Aikido side, I try to concentrate on ukemi as much as possible. I want more than anything to be great at taking falls. Also, I'm less hung up on the question "will this work on martial artist x?" I think it is a valid question, but a more problematic question for me is "can I take proper ukemi after being hit by a ford? What about a buick?"

C. I get this sneaking suspision that those high school wrestlers I never understood, were on to something. Maybe the ju-jitsu guys aren't as primitive and brutal as I once thought. And I always always always thank the person I've been practicing with, because they allow me to continue to train.