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Hari Soetrisno
10-11-2002, 07:45 PM
Hi ! I am not a martial artist but have always
been fascinated by Aikido. I once saw a demonstration at my college. I like the pacifist attitude of the art. I am aware that
the founder was an accomplished all around martial artist. My question is whether Aikido
has anti-grappling techniques ? Or that they teach the students for worst case scenarios
where you end up on the ground ?

keithedwards
10-11-2002, 10:29 PM
Hello Hari: The dojo where I study spends about one hour a week teaching grappling techniques as part of our Saturday classes for those cases where the confrontation ends on the ground without well established control.

From my scant experience with aikido, I think one of the general ideas behind the art is to direct the attacker to the ground and to control him or her through a pin. I'm very new to aikido (about 1 year), so perhaps someone with more experience can provide a more defining statement.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-11-2002, 11:02 PM
No. Groundfighting is outside the scope of Aikido. If you try to use traditional Aikido pins on people trained in wrestling/grappling/jujutsu, you will find the results disappointing.

To my mind, this is not a big problem, although I like the idea of devoting a little extra session to groundfighting basics for the sake of well-roundedness. (I wish I could get that without having to pay $75 per month to the local dojo that has BJJ classes.)

I think that the whole virute of Aikido has to do with working a fairly narrow, circumscribed set of cirumstances in extraordinary depth. It's not about being a well-rounded, tactically broad ass-kicker, it's a budo. Budo are about cultivating a certain kind of spirit that comes from taking something very specific and plumbing the deepest depths of it - and of oneself. It doesn't matter whether it's archery, swordwork, tea ceremony, or flower arrangement. The main purpose is self-development, not self-defense.

Many think that Aikido is a little different from other budo in that it also incorporates elements of giving and social exploration that one might not find in the others... at least not built into the very fabric of them. By all accounts, O'Sensei had an extraordinarily loving and peaceful attitude toward all people, and tried very hard to incorporate this into Aikido, while preserving the other virtues of budo as well.

We inhereted the art from him and our teachers, and it's up to us where it goes. Personally, I think we should strive to keep a martial edge to Aikido within the parameters of practice, because that's part of what makes it go, but I think that too much what iffery and fretting about street application is of limited value compared to what Aikido really has to offer.

Mel Barker
10-12-2002, 08:10 AM
Hmmm, I don't recall any stories of O'Sensei asking his ukes to please stop after they had taken him to the ground. Maybe they weren't that good a judo.

Oh well. So do other people actually practice swari-wasa? Seems like ground technique to me.

As far as anti-grappling techniques, every thing we do is an anti-grappling technique.

Also, I don't think of Aikido as "pacifist" at all. O'Sensei was a very "active" martial artist. The Aikido practiced in my dojo is very active. Initiating the contact, controlling the engagement.

I think Aiki is a method to defeat an opponent who is willing to attack you. Aikido is the art of using Aiki with compassion.

Others, I'm sure, may disagree.

aiki_what
10-12-2002, 09:00 AM
To Kevin Willbanks,

Well said.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-12-2002, 11:14 AM
Mel,

Since your post is barely relevant to mine, if not deliberately misinterpretave, I don't think it's worth the trouble to respond at length. But don't put false words in my mouth. I did not use the word "pacifist" and it is therefore inappropriate to quote it.

Steven
10-12-2002, 12:04 PM
Mel,

Since your post is barely relevant to mine, if not deliberately misinterpretave, I don't think it's worth the trouble to respond at length. But don't put false words in my mouth. I did not use the word "pacifist" and it is therefore inappropriate to quote it.
Hi Kevin,

I'm not Mel, but I believe he was quoting the original poster who referred to Aikido as "pacifist". Then again, I could be wrong.
Originally posted by Hari Soetrisno:

I like the pacifist attitude of the art.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-12-2002, 12:22 PM
Ahhh.

I see. Oh well. Never mind, then.

Bruce Baker
10-12-2002, 01:38 PM
I still think many of you are too short sighted in understanding the use of Aikido strickly for standing and knee walking?

Come on now, can't you think of other ways to do take balance and power with your feet instead of your hands?

If you are learning the basic principles of Aikido, they you should be able to apply many of your lessons on different levels.

Practicing in BJJ should not inhibit your knowledge or use of what you learn in Aikido, but enhance it ... at least it did for my experience/observation.

The leg is a stronger limb because of its use, but then again there are a whole slew of weakpoints, ways to activate them, and ways to use simular techniques upon legs, although not always found in Aikido, they are none the less there and valid.

Maybe it is irreverant to spend all our time on the arms and upper torso, when there is a number of ways to defend from the ground, and still be within the tenents of your Aikido practice, but it is just the reflection of your expectations in reaching a level of training. Maybe we need to use a little more common sense in our approach to integrating judo, jujitsu, and grappling into Aikido, but that is why I say the lines between the arts blurr the more you get into the arts.

Don_Modesto
10-12-2002, 02:42 PM
1) Budo are about cultivating a certain kind of spirit that comes from taking something very specific and plumbing the deepest depths of it - and of oneself....The main purpose is self-development, not self-defense.

2) Personally, I think we should strive to keep a martial edge to Aikido within the parameters of practice, because that's part of what makes it go, but I think that too much what iffery and fretting about street application is of limited value compared to what Aikido really has to offer.
________________

1) I'm not going to disagree precisely, but I think that self-defense is the touchstone of aikido. We could explore square-dancing in depth and call that self-development, too. Osensei wanted aikido an expression, perhaps "reflection" is the word, of the universe and conflict was the medium. Insofar as we cannot deal with conflict--be it an unlikely overhead strike with the edge of the hand or headlock on your back--it fails, or so I should think. But then I'm confused as to why so many useful techniques were purged from aikido in the first place.

2) "within the parameters of practice" That's he issue. It seems to me that they are set kind of arbitrarily. You also say, "We inhereted the art from him and our teachers, and it's up to us where it goes" so one assumes we would not accept stagnation but demand responsiveness to needs. Many feel a gap with aikido on the ground. Ergo...

FWIW, I thought Mr. Barker's comments pithy and succinct. I disagree with him that SUARI WAZA constitutes pertinent ground technique, but he brings up he interesting question as to what Osensei did when brought to he mat.

Thanks for an interesting thread.

Greg Jennings
10-12-2002, 03:06 PM
Ahhh.

I see. Oh well. Never mind, then.
Measure twice and cut once.

Best,

Kevin Wilbanks
10-12-2002, 05:36 PM
________________

1) I'm not going to disagree precisely, but I think that self-defense is the touchstone of aikido. We could explore square-dancing in depth and call that self-development, too. Osensei wanted aikido an expression, perhaps "reflection" is the word, of the universe and conflict was the medium. Insofar as we cannot deal with conflict--be it an unlikely overhead strike with the edge of the hand or headlock on your back--it fails, or so I should think. But then I'm confused as to why so many useful techniques were purged from aikido in the first place.

2) "within the parameters of practice" That's he issue. It seems to me that they are set kind of arbitrarily. You also say, "We inhereted the art from him and our teachers, and it's up to us where it goes" so one assumes we would not accept stagnation but demand responsiveness to needs. Many feel a gap with aikido on the ground. Ergo...
Although you meant it facetiously, I think the value of Aikido is indeed more akin to studying the hell out of square dancing than to developing well rounded self-defense. If you've ever studied a ground art, you know that there are at least as many techniques and permutations to explore there as in our standing attack format. So we add that in - now the Aikido curriculum has doubled. Now for any given amount of time spent training, were spending about half as much time on the former curriculum with - I contend - a concomittant reduction in depth of study.

Now, to have a truly well-rounded self defense in contemporary US society, our Aikido plus grappling is still pretty lame because it doesn't include proficiency in the use of firearms... should we add that too? It's one thing to know how to aim and shoot, but what about how to carry, conceal, store, and ready them for efficient use? What about home security - locks, alarm systems, safety procedures... all of this is vital to holistic self defense too. Should we also add this to Aikido?

Or, transfer the analogy to tea ceremony. Learning how to make tea hardly makes one a well-rounded beverage-maker. What about mixed drinks, coffee, english tea-serving techniques? Why not add that in? Come to think of it, what kind of a dining experience is drinking tea anyway? Where's the food? A master of tea ceremony probably can't baste a turkey any better than I can... how lame.

I see adding significant amounts of new techniques or material to Aikido as a good way to dilute and ruin it as a budo. We already know where that road leads - a hodgepodge of 'what works' being decided by each local instructor, usually taking place in an ugly space with little ceremony or formality, everyone wearing t-shirts and sweats, "Welcome To The Jungle" blaring on a boombox, and most of the participants being high-testosterone young men hoping to learn how to kick some serious ass. Not that there's anything wrong with this, but it's a whole different scene and enterprise from Aikido, and plenty of other schools and arts offer this experience.

If you find Aikido stagnant or unresponsive to your needs, I think looking for more techniques and martial effectiveness in a broader range of scenarios reflects having conceptualized progress or the needs which Aikido was designed to serve in an unfortunately narrow way.

I don't see how adding ground techniques will necessarily help in the exploration of human interaction, or of experientially absorbing principles such as leading, joining, listening, following, shugyo, mushin, zanshin, etc... or do anything to make the art more likely to help us to achieve the kind of exceptional grace and spirit exhibited by O'Sensei.

Hagen Seibert
10-13-2002, 10:45 AM
Hi Kevin,

I like your comparison of Aikido and Tea Ceremony. Though I have to point out one difference: Aikido claims to be a (more or less) martial art, and to set you in the ability to deal with aggression in a friendly way. Tea ceremony does not claim to make you a good cook.

If Aikido has gaps in itīs system it fails to fulfill itīs promise. Then itīs square dancing with dogi and hakama. Although I do not propose to start with ground grappling, realistic attacks will do for the beginning.

regards

Kevin Wilbanks
10-13-2002, 12:11 PM
Hi Kevin,

Aikido claims to be a (more or less) martial art, and to set you in the ability to deal with aggression in a friendly way. Tea ceremony does not claim to make you a good cook.

If Aikido has gaps in itīs system it fails to fulfill itīs promise...
I don't think Aikido claims to be a martial art, since it is an abstraction. People make claims. Who claims Aikido is a 'martial art'?

The name itself implies that it is a 'do' form and not a 'jutsu'. Even if it was a 'jutsu' form, that does not mean it needs to cover all fighting ranges and combat/defense scenarios.

As far as Aikido authorities that make claims, everything I've ever read in translation by O'Sensei emphasizes that Aikido is fundamentally different from other martial arts and stresses the philosophical and spiritual purposes of the art, not kicking ass in all fighting ranges.

I think the comment about what would O'Sensei do when taken to ground is irrelevant, as he did not seem to find it necessary to put those situations in Aikido. I suspect that he knew effective ground techniques and would have used them. Similarly, when faced with a host of gun-toting enemies in war, he reportedly grabbed a Mauser, ran into their midst and mowed them all down. Yet, Mauser-waza is not part of Aikido. Coincidence?

Don_Modesto
10-13-2002, 01:35 PM
1)--Although you meant it facetiously, I think the value of Aikido is indeed more akin to studying the hell out of square dancing than to developing well rounded self-defense.

2)--If you've ever studied a ground art, you know that there are at least as many techniques and permutations to explore there as in our standing attack format. So we add that in - now the Aikido curriculum has doubled.

3)--Now, to have a truly well-rounded self defense in contemporary US society, our Aikido plus grappling is still pretty lame because it doesn't include proficiency in the use of firearms...

4)--Or, transfer the analogy to tea ceremony.

5)--I see adding significant amounts of new techniques or material to Aikido as a good way to dilute and ruin it as a budo. We already know where that road leads - a hodgepodge of 'what works' being decided by each local instructor,

6)--If you find Aikido stagnant or unresponsive to your needs, I think looking for more techniques and martial effectiveness in a broader range of scenarios reflects having conceptualized progress or the needs which Aikido was designed to serve in an unfortunately narrow way.

7)--I don't see how adding ground techniques will necessarily help in the exploration of human interaction,

8)--or do anything to make the art more likely to help us to achieve the kind of exceptional grace and spirit exhibited by O'Sensei.
______________

1)--A hard nut to crack, I'll concede. What is the place of utility in all this? Should aikido be different from dance?

2)--Yes. Again the issue of delineating boundaries.

3)--Point taken. See my #2, above.

4)--Chado, hmm, as William Blake put it quintessentially: "To see the world in a grain of sand..."

5)--Evidently Osensei's successors agree, many have jettisoned ken, yari, and bayonet training, not to mention "lost techniques." Emerson shocked the assembled with his address to the divinity school when he suggested that many are complacent to set up the bible and worship that. Do we not similarly betray Osensei's insights and principles by sticking slavishly to canon?

6)--I think we're up against imponderables here with no right answer. It's "You say to-mah-to and I say to-may-to. "Narrow". Hmm. Darwin to a respite from biology and reformulated it by reading economics ("Survival of the fittest" are original with Adam Smith, not Darwin.) Should aikido isolate itself from the outside? Don't think so myself.

7)--The same way that training itself does. Can we apply PRINCIPLES to something besides the pedagogically dummed down stuff we work with now? (a wide attack, e.g., with the hand conveniently open and the palm conveniently up to be twisted more efficiently the a right cross?)

8)--His being decidedly a spirit of eclecticism...

Don_Modesto
10-13-2002, 01:47 PM
1--I don't think Aikido claims to be a martial art, since it is an abstraction. People make claims. Who claims Aikido is a 'martial art'?

2--The name itself implies that it is a 'do' form and not a 'jutsu'. Even if it was a 'jutsu' form, that does not mean it needs to cover all fighting ranges and combat/defense scenarios.

3--As far as Aikido authorities that make claims, everything I've ever read in translation by O'Sensei emphasizes that Aikido is fundamentally different from other martial arts and stresses the philosophical and spiritual purposes of the art, not kicking ass in all fighting ranges.

4--I think the comment about what would O'Sensei do when taken to ground is irrelevant, as he did not seem to find it necessary to put those situations in Aikido. I suspect that he knew effective ground techniques and would have used them.

5--when faced with a host of gun-toting enemies in war, he reportedly grabbed a Mauser, ran into their midst and mowed them all down. Yet, Mauser-waza is not part of Aikido. Coincidence?
___________________

1--Saotome Mitsugi is one I've heard it from personally. Nishio emphasizes it on his tapes. Saito, too, if memory serves.

2--A distinction ridiculed in its sclerotic form by the KORYU. A subtler version that I like speaks to JUTSU being how you conduct yourself in an engagement; DO, how you conduct yourself in society.

3--Tsukahara Bokuden and the Yagyu's laid similar stress upon their arts. The philosophical pretensions of aikido to uniqueness are overblown.

4--Saotome emphasizes that aikido is not twisting wrists, it is the universe. This is evident in his seminars as, unlike many more anal instructors, he countenances students responding to attacks in ways different than he has just demonstrated before all. If the "principles" are tenable, they would be tenable on the ground. If I recall aright (the author says the editorial hasn't been uploaded to his site yet and I read it in a borrowed Aikido Journal two years ago), Stanley Pranin called what the Gracies do "aikido on the ground." Not a bad imprimatur.

5--Great story. What's the source for it?

Thanks for the stimulating exchanges.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-13-2002, 02:13 PM
Actually, I think innovation and additions or subtractions to Aikido could be a good thing, I just question the direction in which they should be made. Putting in grappling, kick-boxing, etc... is going to make Aikido more like JKD or MMA hybrids designed for competing in the Vale Tudo, etc... This kind of thing is currently exploding in popularity, and there is no shortage of schools that offer this. If I wanted that, I would go to one.

I don't think that would be a case of taking the most unique and interesting aspects of Aikido and running with them, in fact, I think it would be quite the opposite.

In my view, an example of an art that represents some of the directions in which interesting Aikido innovations might go is Peter Ralston's Cheng Hsin: http://www.chenghsin.com/chmain.htm

One thing his art has which Aikido lacks is freely interactive/quasi-competitive games. One is sort of like a hybrid between tai chi push-hands and jiyu waza/randori - both players attempt to throw and manipulate one another and can move about freely, yet the prime rule is that each must yield completely to the other, letting the partner apply no pressure greater than that which would crack an egg. It's a fantastic game - it cultivates speed, extremely relaxed movement, dynamic flexibility and ukemi skills, and even in my limited experience with it I started to get radically new ideas/experiences of what it meant to be like the eye of a hurricane - and owning the space around me... as though the opponent put himself out of balance and at disadvantage just by entering it. Interestingly, it was a more energetic and aggressive disposition than I normally feel in Aikido practice, but also more yielding and relaxed.

I am very interested in imaginative innovations like this game, and am no dogmatist. From my perspective, lots of 'what if' and "realism" speculation a la MMA just isn't a very unique or interesting direction. While it would make Aikidoka better fighters, I don't think it would offer any significant improvement over the current curriculum in terms of broadly applicable experiential learning opportunities, or the development of consciousness, awareness, character, etc...

Don_Modesto
10-13-2002, 02:59 PM
One thing his art has which Aikido lacks is freely interactive/quasi-competitive games. One is sort of like a hybrid between tai chi push-hands and jiyu waza/randori
The Tomiki tape offered at aikidojournal.com has some examples of RANDORI types that are very stimulating. One seems similar to your description here. It was a training RANDORI as opposed to a competition type and very handsome to watch.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-13-2002, 03:12 PM
Might not be too similar then - Chen Hsin Tui Shou is usually fairly ugly to watch. It can get very fast, and one can only keep good-looking postures if they're way better than the other, and can easily keep the upper hand... in which case the other person is flopping around like a fish. Most people describe it as looking like monkeys playing/fighting.

Greg Jennings
10-14-2002, 10:53 AM
One thing his art has which Aikido lacks is freely interactive/quasi-competitive games. One is sort of like a hybrid between tai chi push-hands and jiyu waza/randori - both players attempt to throw and manipulate one another and can move about freely, yet the prime rule is that each must yield completely to the other,
This is a reasonable description of our jiyuwaza. Frankly, I thought virtually everyone's was the same as ours.

WRT ground grappling, after our next round of promotions, we're supposed to start designating a half-class every other week to newaza. To get right down to brass tacks, we're doing it because all of the core group enjoy it.

FWIW, I find harmonizing energies to be even more critical in newaza than in tachiwaza.

Best Regards,

Kevin Wilbanks
10-14-2002, 11:14 AM
"This is a reasonable description of our jiyuwaza. Frankly, I thought virtually everyone's was the same as ours."

I would be really surprised if this were true. Tui Shou only looks Aikido-like every once in a while. There is no grabbing, because grabbing is too much pressure - the rule is almost no pressure. I don't mean yeilding like Aikido ukemi, I mean absolute yielding - as though their hands were red-hot iron. Throwing is like juggling hot toast. It is very difficult to pull off anything that looks like an Aikido technique... when you do it's almost an accident.

In all the jiyu waza that I've seen, it's still Aikido, with an attempt made to do defined techniques, and all kinds of grasping and pressure is allowed. Usually, there is an uke and a nage too, with reversals being optional.

Bruce Baker
10-14-2002, 01:01 PM
Response to Post #10

Pithy and Succint? Haven't heard those words in a dog's age, I must be gettin' old, but I still love a good laugh.

All right, you have fallen and you can't get up, what now? Give up and die?

Or ... do we think of another way in which we can use the principles we practice in Aikido?

You are already down on the ground, go for it!

But you don't know the angle direction in which to weaken the legs, or is your courage and open mind now paralyzed with fear?

Maybe we should have a few Aikido classes where your hands are tied and you have to use your legs and body to stand up, affect techniques, and defend yourself?

I don't see any other suggestions that are applicable ... other than go to another style and study grappling?

Isn't Aikido about causing change with the tenents of its practice? If O'Sensei had shown ground techniques using the legs, would that make it more valid to train?

This is what I mean about us, you and me, being responsible for the direction that Aikido goes, and if it will thrive or stagnate?

Maybe I am pithy and succinct, but at least I am trying to get out of the same old rhetoric, and get Aikido into the 21st century. Most of the hard work to get Aikido to the world is done, the rest should not be as hard to learn?

Oh, well. I guess we need to have a class, or some kind of video presentation area where we can try to use visual aids to help our written words.

Until then, pithy will have to do.

(Please don't use that word again, my side is starting to split from laughing. NO offense, but it does smack of "Jeeves, my slippers!")

Greg Jennings
10-14-2002, 02:50 PM
"This is a reasonable description of our jiyuwaza. Frankly, I thought virtually everyone's was the same as ours."

I would be really surprised if this were true. Tui Shou only looks Aikido-like every once in a while. There is no grabbing, because grabbing is too much pressure - the rule is almost no pressure. I don't mean yeilding like Aikido ukemi, I mean absolute yielding - as though their hands were red-hot iron. Throwing is like juggling hot toast. It is very difficult to pull off anything that looks like an Aikido technique... when you do it's almost an accident.

In all the jiyu waza that I've seen, it's still Aikido, with an attempt made to do defined techniques, and all kinds of grasping and pressure is allowed. Usually, there is an uke and a nage too, with reversals being optional.
Hmmm. I could have said that better. I meant that a person reading your _description_ could take it out of context to be our jiyuwaza.

Our jiyuwaza and all the jiyuwaza I've been involved with (admittedly a small sample) starts with an assigned uke/nage, but after the initial engagement, the roles are completely fluid. We tend to move at about half-speed or less and are extremely yielding. Both uke and nage are deeply concentrating on kimusubi and the interactions tend to be creative rather than canonical.

Reversals are the name of the game, but we limit them to when someone gives an opening. It's difficult to even begin learning, but less do well.

Then again, we have several strange things that we do, so I have no reason to expect that our jiyuwaza would be any different.

Best Regards,

Don_Modesto
10-14-2002, 03:52 PM
Response to Post #10

Pithy and Succint? Haven't heard those words in a dog's age, I must be gettin' old, but I still love a good laugh.
So do we. Thank you for your post.

The terms "pithy" and "succinct" were directed to Mr. Barker, not Mr. Baker.

davoravo
10-14-2002, 08:35 PM
One set of the "lost techniques" are the finger and thumb locks. Would these be an effective way of fighting on the ground? I suspect that they would open you up to an arm bar from a real BJJ practicioner.

Erik
10-14-2002, 10:48 PM
2) "within the parameters of practice" That's he issue. It seems to me that they are set kind of arbitrarily. You also say, "We inhereted the art from him and our teachers, and it's up to us where it goes" so one assumes we would not accept stagnation but demand responsiveness to needs. Many feel a gap with aikido on the ground. Ergo...
Something I've been wondering recently is what if Ueshiba had come along 70 years later. Assuming he still had all the spiritual stuff going on, would his technical repetoire have been more inclusive of things like grappling and kicking? Assuming he was open to other arts, and seemingly he was, I wonder where he would have taken it.

Mel Barker
10-15-2002, 09:26 AM
Something I've been wondering recently is what if Ueshiba had come along 70 years later. ...would his technical repetoire have been more inclusive of things like grappling and kicking?
Erik, the following is excerpted from http://judoinfo.com/whatis.htm (Highlights are mine)
Judo comes to us from the fighting system of feudal Japan. Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, Judo is a refinement of the ancient martial art of Jujutsu.

Judo...involves considerable grappling on the ground utilizing specialized pins, control holds, arm locks, and Judo choking techniques.
Now, I have never taken karate, but I do believe they train to kick, and I believe it to predate O'Sensei as well.

So, if O'Sensei primarily taught students that were Yondan and Sandan in Judo and Karate, I am under the impression that he allowed for such things, and found them wanting for his martial art.

G DiPierro
10-15-2002, 10:15 AM
Erik, the following is excerpted from http://judoinfo.com/whatis.htm (Highlights are mine)

Judo comes to us from the fighting system of feudal Japan. Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, Judo is a refinement of the ancient martial art of Jujutsu.

Judo...involves considerable grappling on the ground utilizing specialized pins, control holds, arm locks, and Judo choking techniques.Judo was synthesized from the techniques of many koryu jiujustu schools, though apparantly not Daito Ryu. I think that the JJ schools from which judo's newaza orignates were designed or adapted for unarmed combat. The best example of these would probably be so-called "farmer's arts," those designed for the lower classes who were prohibited from carrying serious weaponry during the Edo period. Daito Ryu, the source for Aikido, is an art designed primarily for the bushi, who were usually armed. Because of this, there is a large ma-ai and an emphasis on wrist control techniques, both of which make most of the techniques effective against an armed attacker. Groundfighting was usually never an issue. I don't know if it would be considered unseemly for a bushi to engage in such, but generally for these people some sort of weapon, even a tanto or dagger, would be in play during any confrontation. I doubt that either party would want to be flailing around on the ground in such a situation. It would be much better to remain standing and attempt to control the weapon well enough to decisively end the fight.Now, I have never taken karate, but I do believe they train to kick, and I believe it to predate O'Sensei as well.Karate was developed on Okinawa from Chinese kung-fu. I believe that this happened because swords were not legal on the island, and hence kicking and punching were primary weapons. Bushi never trained in kicking because their conflicts normally involved weapons and, during the Sengoku Jidai, they also often involved armor. Kicking and punching don't make much sense in this context.

However, modern Aikido is now primarily an unarmed art, so it is reasonable that kicks could be incorperated. Some people occasionally do so, but I beleive that I read somewhere that the second Doshu disapproved of this for some reason probably relating to historical disdain for geriwaza among bushi. I can't find the source right now, though.
So, if O'Sensei primarily taught students that were Yondan and Sandan in Judo and Karate, I am under the impression that he allowed for such things, and found them wanting for his martial art.As far as kicking goes, the common wisdom is that an attacker on one foot is less dangerous than one of two feet, so kick defenses should be a simple adaptation. As for newaza, I see the Aikido response as simply maintaining a large enough ma-ai to prevent a confrontation from going to the ground. In judo, competitors hold each other's lapels and manuever for a take-down. In Aikido, one would normally have started doing a technique as soon as, or even before, the attacker reaches out to grab.

Erik
10-15-2002, 10:54 AM
Erik, the following is excerpted from http://judoinfo.com/whatis.htm (Highlights are mine)

Now, I have never taken karate, but I do believe they train to kick, and I believe it to predate O'Sensei as well.

So, if O'Sensei primarily taught students that were Yondan and Sandan in Judo and Karate, I am under the impression that he allowed for such things, and found them wanting for his martial art.
I should have chosen my words more carefully. I didn't mean to imply that we would be kicking or grappling, rather, that the art may have been more directly inclusive of technical responses to such things had it been created today rather than in the past. I understand that those things existed in Japan during this time but I believe the MA community is much more diverse today than it was then.

For instance, I live in a relatively small area all things considered made up of roughly 5 cities and approximately 200,000 people spread over anywhere from 20 to 40 miles. In that small area I can find Jiu Jitsu (several styles), Aikido (8 dojos), Kung Fu (probably several styles), Judo, Tai Chi, Kendo, Karate (many styles), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, probably dozens of Tae Kwon Do schools and dozens more I don't know about. I can watch MMA, boxing, wrestling, TKD, Judo, Karate and more on tv in both a competitive format and for entertainment. Then there is the internet.

Maybe Aikido would have been the same if it were created today but I can't help but think it would be different given all the information and diversity available today.

Don_Modesto
10-15-2002, 01:34 PM
Something I've been wondering recently is what if Ueshiba had come along 70 years later.
Or during Sengoku...would we all be doing YUMI?

Mel Barker
10-15-2002, 02:04 PM
I can find Jiu Jitsu (several styles), Aikido (8 dojos), Kung Fu (probably several styles), Judo, Tai Chi, Kendo, Karate (many styles), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, probably dozens of Tae Kwon Do schools and dozens more I don't know about.
Erik, I understand what your are saying. I was worried about this for some time myself.

Each of the martial arts you described may seem very different, but they all do one or more of the four following types of attacks: strike, throw, grapple, or use weapons which will either be blunt or edged. If they make funny arm movements, or turn flips on their way to do one of these attacks doesn't much matter.

Now, Aikido is about controlling maai. Proper control of maai is how to deal with each attack. Aiki happens when maai collapes. That's what we train. Granted, I've met many dan grades that don't do a very good job of this. It reminds me of a quote I've seen on some board attributed to Ikeda Sensei when asked if Aikido works. He said, "Mine does, does yours?"

So the best way to deal with these attacks is to become proficient at delivering them. Many people that havent' trained against kicks worry about them. Heck, I'm terrified when I have to attack with kicks, cause I know it's going to be a difficult fall. ;)

Well, how do we train against each of these attacks? Strikes? seems obvious enough, we do it every time we work out. I consider kicks to be funny stikes where uke falls twice as hard. Weapons? again, seems obvious enough. Throws? well any response that is applicable to ryokatatori seems applicable, and of course the other grabbing attacks.

Grappling? well you've been thrown. Best to practice to not get thrown. But if you are, I have found that nikkyo and sankyo work wonders on the ground. Ikkyo can be done. You have to move your hips, just like tachiwasa. The way to do this on the ground is by doing a wrestlers bridge. I often practice taking our warm up kokyu ho back streches into a bridge.

Mel

http://aikido.nowright.com

Erik
10-15-2002, 02:07 PM
Or during Sengoku...would we all be doing YUMI?
Ya think? :)

Brian
10-15-2002, 03:31 PM
It's nice to just say "Don't go to the ground. Keep ma-ai. Etc etc." This is very wise. In fact, my former judo instructor was very insistent that, outside the dojo, you don't go to the ground. "Sure, with your grappling skills, you can take care of the guy on top of you. But you can't do anything about his buddies that are about to stomp on your face."

The problem is, you don't intentionally go to the ground. If you're an aikido practicioner, and you end up on the ground, chances are you got there against your will. Saying "don't go to the ground" doesn't help the poor sap that finds himself on the ground.

The real life application of matwork is being able to get back on your feet as fast as you can. The ground game is a whole different beast, and if you're not familiar with it, getting back on your feet is going to prove very, very difficult.

Rather than simply speculating about the issue, which, in the end, is pretty useless (although I always find speculation quite fun), I urge those that haven't to get themselves into a judo/jujitsu/wrestling class a time or two and see what it's like, and then make a judgement.

As for aikido on the ground... I know people before have stated that after much practice in aikido and a ground art, they've found that the principles are the same, but as far as what an aikido practicioner acually practices and it's application on the mat... from my experience, if an arm is there, that slapping a wrist lock on someone is very effective. It's an illeigal technique in judo for a reason. Of course, if the guy knows you do aikido, the opportunity probably won't present itself.

Don_Modesto
10-16-2002, 09:18 AM
It's nice to just say "Don't go to the ground. Keep ma-ai. Etc etc." This is very wise....The problem is, you don't intentionally go to the ground.
That needed saying as simply as you said it. Thank you.

Brian
10-16-2002, 12:19 PM
Thank you.
Obliged. :bows:

wanderingwriath
10-16-2002, 12:36 PM
In response to Post #25:

Those same finger and thumb manuevers would also be very handy to get out of a lot of arm bars and similar holds.:)

MattRice
10-16-2002, 01:40 PM
As far as kicking goes, the common wisdom is that an attacker on one foot is less dangerous than one of two feet, so kick defenses should be a simple adaptation.
True, unless the other foot is upside your head!

I agree that kick defenses SHOULD be a simple adaptation. I look at it like this: there are two types of attacks direct and indirect, whether it be a punch or kick. A hook punch is indirect, as is yokomenuchi, as is a roundhouse kick. A jab or a front kick or shomenuchi are all direct attacks. I think the principles apply the same across the board.

MattRice
10-16-2002, 01:42 PM
I think the principles apply the same across the board.
but really I don't know jack!

paw
10-16-2002, 02:35 PM
James,
Those same finger and thumb manuevers would also be very handy to get out of a lot of arm bars and similar holds.

Maybe.....

If you're being controlled on the ground you won't be in a position to use small joint manipulation. It's the same as standing techniques. Finger/thumb locks might get you out of nikkyo, but I wouldn't count on it. In my experience, "foul tactics" (small joint locks/breaks, eye gouges, biting, pinching, etc...) are too often used as a substitute to solid training in basic technique.

Regards,

Paul

Avery Jenkins
10-16-2002, 02:59 PM
Of course! Where do you think the "do" in do-si-do comes from??

Avery
________________

We could explore square-dancing in depth and call that self-development, too.

Erik
10-16-2002, 03:30 PM
Found this on Google Groups courtesy of Meik Skoss:

Aikido (particularly the Ueshiba-style, which I've done for more than 34 years, and the Shioda, Tomiki, or Tohei styles, which I've seen a *lot*) doesn't have anything that can *honestly* be called grappling or weapons. By grappling, I mean training that systematicically teaches you how to muckle onto someone, throw him down hard enough to incapacitate him, proper training methods notwithstanding, and/or make him submit to a pin, joint lock, or choke (or strangulation, if you want to be technical). Grappling doesn't fit into any current aikido paradigm that I have seen. Atemiwaza are studied most thoroughly in Shioda-style, a bit in Ueshiba-style, almost not at all (in a realistic manner) in either the Tomiki or Tohei styles.

The full post can be found here:

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=fa.iaido+Meik+Skoss+Ueshiba&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=fa.b3lpfsv.1l5otaa%40ifi.uio.no&rnum=8

bob_stra
10-18-2002, 03:51 AM
I don't see how adding ground techniques will necessarily help in the exploration of human interaction, or of experientially absorbing principles such as leading, joining, listening, following, shugyo, mushin, zanshin, etc... or do anything to make the art more likely to help us to achieve the kind of exceptional grace and spirit exhibited by O'Sensei.
I agree with everything except this last little bit ;-)

Infact. Moshe Feldenkrais wrote an entire book on just how ground techs of judo could be used for these purposes. Book is called Higher Judo - Groundwork. Ask me nicely and I may post a few snippits ;-)

Kevin Wilbanks
10-18-2002, 08:14 AM
So we should add all the techniques of Judo and the Feldenkrais method to Aikido, too?

bob_stra
10-18-2002, 09:48 AM
So we should add all the techniques of Judo and the Feldenkrais method to Aikido, too?
Hey, now there's an idea... ;)

Seriously tho, you misunderstand.

I was merely disagreeing with the idea that ground techniques CANNOT help us learn abt human interaction, blending etc and offer the above said book as a reference

opherdonchin
10-18-2002, 10:34 AM
Ask me nicely and I may post a few snippits ;-)please pretty please pretty pretty please :)

Kevin Wilbanks
10-18-2002, 12:28 PM
Hey, now there's an idea... ;)

Seriously tho, you misunderstand.

I was merely disagreeing with the idea that ground techniques CANNOT help us learn abt human interaction, blending etc and offer the above said book as a reference
Actually, you are misrepresenting my argument. I never argued that ground techniques cannot help us learn about the listed things. I argued that adding them to Aikido won't make Aikido any better at helping us learn those things. To reiterate once again, I am contending that adding a bunch more of anything to Aikido will make it worse by making it a more shallow diffused discipline as opposed to a focussed and deep one.

bob_stra
10-18-2002, 04:02 PM
Actually, you are misrepresenting my argument.
Seems par for the course on this board ;)

>I never argued that ground >techniques cannot help us learn >about the listed things.

Ok, my bad.

>I argued that adding them to >Aikido won't make Aikido any >better at helping us learn those >things.

Could argue against that, but... meh.

(To those curious, go a googling for schema theory of movement / generalized motor programs)

> To reiterate once again, I am >contending that adding a bunch >more of anything to Aikido will >make it worse by making it a more >shallow diffused discipline

I'm not disagreeing here. Question - what's your feeling on aikido Vs aiki-jitsu re: diffused discipline?

Chuck.Gordon
10-19-2002, 01:37 PM
I don't think Aikido claims to be a martial art, since it is an abstraction. People make claims. Who claims Aikido is a 'martial art'?
People like K. Ueshiba (not to mention his dad and son), others more contemporary include M. Saotome, R. Shirata, K. Tomiki, G. Simcox, C. Clark, K. Tohei, etc etc etc.

Aikido is budo and thus MUST have a martial component. AT least within the scope of the Japanese budo ...
The name itself implies that it is a 'do' form and not a 'jutsu'. Even if it was a 'jutsu' form, that does not mean it needs to cover all fighting ranges and combat/defense scenarios.
Correct. It must cover what it professes to cover. It is not today (but perhaps once was) truly a 'sogo budo' in that it sought to touch all bases.

However, the perceived (and much misunderstood) dichotomy between jutsu and do is false and misleading. Folks want to put far more into that than actually exists ...

Aiki-DO includes jutsu and do. So does Ju-DO, Ken-DO and Cha-DO. And (for instance) Takeuchi Ryu Jujutsu includea a significant DO component, as does Kashima Shinryu ken-JUTSU, Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu ken-JUTSU and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iai-JUTSU.

Ther'es not much difference except this: What you do techincally is JUTSU, what you do WITH that in your life, THAT is DO.
As far as Aikido authorities that make claims, everything I've ever read in translation by O'Sensei emphasizes that Aikido is fundamentally different from other
Mostly in translations by one individual (who's well-meaning but largely narrowly-focused translations are much overrated. Read Larry Bieri's translation of "Budo Training in Aikido" for another perspective (one far more accurate, in my estimation).
I think the comment about what would O'Sensei do when taken to ground is irrelevant, as he
As he had studied a handful of jujutsu systems, some of which included newaza, I also suspect he made a good accounting of himself on the mat from time to time.
have used them. Similarly, when faced with a host of gun-toting enemies in war, he reportedly grabbed a Mauser, ran into their midst and mowed them all down.
Eh? Source? As far as I know, he never entered combat (unless you consider the advennture in Manchuria with Onisaburo as combat ...)

Chuck

Chuck.Gordon
10-19-2002, 02:04 PM
Judo was synthesized from the techniques of many koryu jiujustu schools, though apparantly not Daito Ryu.
Kodokan Judo's Goshinjutsu no Kata was built by K. Tomiki, a student of M. Ueshiba and holder of a menkyo in Daito Ryu.
I think that the JJ schools from which judo's newaza orignates were designed or adapted for unarmed combat. The best example of these would probably be so-called "farmer's arts,"
Nope. There WERE no 'farmer' arts. This is a myth. Most farmers in any medieval society were too busy staying alive, paying taxes and keeping the foxes out of the henhouse to have the luxury to train in martial arts.

As Japan developed a 'middle class' during times of relative peace, some commoners did have the chance to study budo, but throughout Japanese history, by and large, the budo were clearly arts belonging to the warrior and ruling class. This includes most systems of koryu jujutsu.
Daito Ryu, the source for Aikido, is an art designed primarily for the bushi,
[QUOTE="Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro)"]This is really questionable, historically. Best research available indeicate a great deal of, um, inconsistency with many DR claims about lineage. However, it IS known that Kano did come from 'samurai' stock, whilst Ueshiba was from common blood. His father was a merchant, IIRC.

Especially after the War, Ueshiba was leaning more toward the idea that Aikido was for everyone ...
[QUOTE="Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro)"]Because of this, there is a large ma-ai and an emphasis on wrist control techniques, both of which make most of the techniques
ALL of the Japanese budo have great emphasis on maai ... and many of the jujutsu systems (of which aikido is one) focus on the wrist first ... for that matter, so does escrima, which is very much a commoner's art ...
Groundfighting was usually never an issue.
Most systems of jujutsu had, at one time or another, some form of newaza. Having the luxury to dispense with groundwork is a recent thing.

Most systems of jujutsu originated as auxiliary arts to weapons systems. What happens when your weapon is broken, lost, rendered ineffective? You grapple. What happens when you grapple in the mud and blood?

You go to ground.
I don't know if it would be considered unseemly for a bushi to engage in such,
It was considered unseemly for a bushi to throw away his life, it was considered unseemly for a bushi to fail in his duty.

It was considered (somtimes -- remember that we're speaking of a broad-ranging culture and a period of severla hundred years ...) 'distasteful' to grapple with a commoner, however, and the preferred method in some eras and some palces was simply to cut them down. Another bushi, on the other hand, could be grappled, pinned, captured and then killed or ransomed quite happily.
but generally for these people some sort of weapon, even a tanto or dagger,
Most commoners were armed as well, they were simply (during SOME eras of history) forbidden from wearing long swords. Merchants routinely wore wakizashi and commoners wore and used knives of all kinds.

In many cases, the samurai were farmers who got drafted and found a calling in arms and made their fame and fortune through being the baddest muthas on the block.

Japanese history is long, diverse and never as simple as it would appear on the surface. In fact, the precursor to the shogunate was held by a commoner who'd raised himself to high status on the battlefield.
would be in play during any confrontation. I doubt that either party would want to be flailing around on the ground in such a
In war, and this is where most of the budo were born, you do what you must. Period.
Karate was developed on Okinawa from Chinese kung-fu. I believe that this happened because swords were not legal on the island,
Disinformation. Myth, maybe. Very romantic, but only partly, at best, true. History does not support the armed Samurai vs unarmed commoner theory. However, Yes, Okinawan arts owe much to the influence of Chinese emigrants, merchants and missionaries.

It was, however, the upper class Okinawans studying these arts, not the peasants.

The ones who invited the Satsuma into the Ryukyu islands ...
Bushi never trained in kicking because their conflicts normally involved weapons and, during the Sengoku Jidai, they also often involved armor. Kicking and punching don't make much sense in this context.
One word: Kempo. It's a sub-division of Japanese jujutsu. There are four or five active systems of 'koryu' kempo that punch and kick quite freely. Even some of the old, well known systems such as Kashima Shinryu and Araki Ryu have subsets of kempo within their curricula.
However, modern Aikido is now primarily an unarmed art,
SOME modern aikido is mostly unarmed. However, the found often aid the root sof aikido lie in the sword. Many styles of aikido and many dojo train routinely in sword and staff and not just the misogi either ...

Abbe, Nishio, Shirata ... more recently Chiba, Saotome, Homma, et alia.

Then even MORE recently and close ot home, there's dennis Hooker, Chuck Clark, Julian Frost, Stefan Stenudd and others.
As far as kicking goes, the common wisdom is that an attacker on one foot is less dangerous than one of two feet,
Absolutely!
so kick defenses should be a simple adaptation.
Adaptation, yes, not simple. Especially for uke.

Aikido principle fits very well into newaza. It's still allabout centering, flowing, blending, moving with rather than against, etc. The BEST judo has more in common with aikido than you'd think ...

Chuck

G DiPierro
10-19-2002, 02:08 PM
Mostly in translations by one individual (who's well-meaning but largely narrowly-focused translations are much overrated. Read Larry Bieri's translation of "Budo Training in Aikido" for another perspective (one far more accurate, in my estimation).I assume you are talking about John Stevens. FWIW, Kanai S. gave a lecture at summer camp this year in which I understood him to be saying that Aikido is fundamentally different from other budo. The lecture was given in Japanese with English translation by one his newer students, so it was somewhat difficult to follow. Nevertheless, I think he was pretty clear on that point.

I tried to explain my understanding of this issue to Larry not to long ago, but I don't think it was very clear. If you are interested, I will try again here. I haven't seen Larry's translation of Budo Renshu, so I don't know anything about the argument he presents there.

G DiPierro
10-19-2002, 02:31 PM
Kodokan Judo's Goshinjutsu no Kata was built by K. Tomiki, a student of M. Ueshiba and holder of a menkyo in Daito Ryu.That doesn't mean that he acutally included techniques from DR. You will have to provide evidence that the techniques are actually derived from DR if you want to disprove my statement.
Nope. There WERE no 'farmer' arts.Hence the term "so-called."
ALL of the Japanese budo have great emphasis on maai ... and many of the jujutsu systems (of which aikido is one) focus on the wrist first ... for that matter, so does escrima, which is very much a commoner's art ...I didn't say focus on ma-ai. I said focus on large ma-ai. Please read my posts more carefully. Judo has a much smaller ma-ai than Aikido.Most systems of jujutsu had, at one time or another, some form of newaza. Having the luxury to dispense with groundwork is a recent thing.I presented one theory on why this could be the case in DR. Do you have another?In war, and this is where most of the budo were born, you do what you must. Period.Some arts were born in war. DR, along with arts created or overhauled during the Edo Period, were not. Most of the extant budo practiced today was not.Disinformation. Myth, maybe. Very romantic, but only partly, at best, true. History does not support the armed Samurai vs unarmed commoner theory.Which theory would that be? Certainly not one that I mentioned.

Chuck, you seem intent on proving that you know everything about budo that anyone else who talks about Japanese history is wrong and inferior to you. If you really know as much as you act like you do, then why don't you add some productive comments to the conversation instead of just bashing everything that anybody else says as flawed and incorrect. You misread large portions of my post, ignored my qualifying statements and took much of what I wrote as unqualified when it was never intended that way, and you spent a lot of time shooting down positions that I never took. It's really no fun having a conversation with someone that picks apart everything I say and trys to find some way in which it could possibly be construed as incorrect. If you have a better theory than what someone presents, then by all means explain it, but just attacking people's posts without offering any alternative view really isn't very useful.

davoravo
10-19-2002, 09:16 PM
I'd like to offer an alternative. I have a theory which I have not yet dared to air. But if you will indulge me ...

We know that several sword schools had a small amount of jujutsu-like techniques in them. Several times I have read that samurai also played at Sumo fitness or for fun. If you look at the "traditional" techniques of sumo it is quite obvious that the many techniques that we would now consider as Judo or aikido/jujutsu techniques are contained.

http://www.sumo.or.jp/eng/museum/basic/kimarite/kimarite.html

At the Meiji restoration we have the end of the Bushi swaggering around with daisho and the sudden appearance of many jujutsu schools. It seems very logical to me that applying the principals of now obsolete sword techniques to the sumo one had been doing for fun would create the basis of Daito-Ryu technique.

As for "farmers" tehniques, these too could easily come from sumo. There are also the periods at the start and end of the Edo period where large numbers of people move between the samurai and common classes (in both directions).

Don't forget that kendo was started by a middle class non-samurai so there is no reason to think that Koryu were limited to only the samurai class (although I agree the poor would have been too busy).

Ground fighting is against the rules in sumo so this portion of any derived art would be lacking until a school developed it (eg kosen judo).

just a theory (disclaimer - I know no Japanese history)

PS I was taught there are no kicks in aikido cause it's hard to do in a hakama.

opherdonchin
10-20-2002, 05:21 PM
The BEST judo has more in common with aikido than you'd think ...I've heard it said fairly often in these forums that AiKiDo is not very different from other martial arts. I'm not as knowledgeable as a lot of other people posting here, but my reaction reminds me of the famous Ikeda comment: my AiKiDo is different in philosophy and approach from other martial arts. Is yours?

I mean, it is always possible to focus on the similarities between two things or to focus on the differences. Either focus will emphasize some aspects of the situation and miss others. However, people who insist that there is nothing really new or different philosophically in AiKiDo must be running some risk of overlooking what is there because of their conviciton, no?

bob_stra
10-21-2002, 06:37 AM
[QUOTE="Opher Donchin (opherdonchin)" However, people who insist that there is nothing really new or different philosophically in AiKiDo must be running some risk of overlooking what is there because of their conviciton, no? /[QUOTE]


I agree with that. And yet...

http://www.aikidojournal.com/new/video/videoclip.asp?id=MV03&clip=REN02.mov&details=Koichi%20Tohei%20confronts%20skeptical%20American%20journalist

This mpeg looks an awful lot like judo to me.

(dons asbestos, flame proof suit ;)

opherdonchin
10-21-2002, 10:08 AM
The mpeg is awesome. It's nice to see an Uke on a video who doesn't look like they're turbo-powered cart wheels.

So, sometimes AiKiDo looks like judo and other times it looks like hand waving magic and sometimes it looks like dancing. That doesn't mean that actually IS any of those things or that it doesn't have anything to teach us beyond what is in each of those things.

I thought about this some more and it occurred to me that there are two ways to say 'AiKiDo is just like other japanese martial arts.' One would be the people who had hoped to find more there but were dissappointed. The other would be the people who are satisfied with what the other martial arts offer and do not want to be told there might be a reason to look further.

I also thought about the 'many paths up the mountain' idea. Just because all paths eventually get to the same place does not mean that all of the paths are the same.