View Full Version : Total Aikido
11-20-2002, 07:33 AM
Having read some threads recently on questions regarding the "Martiality" of Aikido / it's training methods and its effectiveness, or the Spiritual / ki / character development aspects of Aikido training and a host of other things regarding what Aikido can and cannot give to a practitioner, I was wondering.
Does any one train Aikido as Budo in a modern sense? To me, Aikido as Budo training should encompass most if not all of the main argument areas of Aikido that we always hear about.
The method would be martially effective (if M. Ueshiba's stuff didn't work I doubt most of his students would have stayed), but it would also entail the Philosophical/Spiritual elements of training the whole person (I remember reading about the not so obvious principles of ki etc. being learnt thru the medium of physical technique).
Even competitions (shiai) in Aikido may be seen as the "modern battlefield" where one can test their techniques learnt in kata and training against a skilled opponent (who knows every technique you know) in a relatively safe arena, with the focus being on self development, learning from the dynamics of competitive engagement, whether they win or lose.
I guess what I'm saying is that if our Aikido is approached as Budo (or a similar fashion) the training would encompass many of the aspects that the original form that M. Ueshiba (and some of his early students) had exemplifed.
The resultant individual would be one who had no question of his/her martial ability (at all) while still being close to and appreciating most if not all of the deeper, spiritual / psychological aspects of their training. A living example of BU and DO or AIKI and DO coexisting in harmony.
What do you think?
11-20-2002, 08:13 AM
Alright there Larry. Absolutely agree with you there. I read a good article by an Aikido Sensei saying talking about an Aikidoka having Martial fire in his belly and the look of harmony in his eyes. I feel a Martial Artist should work towards this in his training. You made a good point regarding Ki being developed through physical training. Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, the first Aikido Sensei in Britain never really talked about Ki believing the key to cultivating it was through hard training of the mind body and spirit. The trouble with what you propose is that not everybody wants that. The choice boils down I think to whether you want to train "Old School" or "New School". I could of course be wrong but that's what I believe. Depends what you want out of training I suppose.
All the best
11-20-2002, 08:30 AM
I choose my current dojo exactly because it displays the mix of 'whole being' philosphy and martial effectiveness.
The teacher is trying, with a certain amount of success, to live in as a harmonious way as possible, and to pass this on to his students. He sincerly belives in aikido as 'the art of peace'.
On the other hand, as an Israeli soldier who's used aikido both as a guard and on the battlefield, both physical techniques and as a way of being (most recently in Jenin), he has no doubt about the effectiveness of his aikido.
I have about 60 pounds and 18 inches over him, not much of it fat, and he's happy to train with me at any level I wish, from 'dancing' ki no nagare movements all the way to fast, resistive, secondary attacks. I've also had the honour of testing my aikido in several real-life (tm) situations, and have no doubts about its effectiveness (and better still, a good idea about the limits of its effectiveness).
The question should not be "What about training like this?" but "Why would anyone want to train in a different way to begin with?"
Anecdote: A friend of mine, who lived in Manchester, studies a Silat form. His teacher came over from Malaysia(?) to stay with him. While his teacher was there, my friend expressed doubts about the effectiveness of his training. The teacher's reply was something like:
"These doubts can severly damage the way you train - its important to put them from your mind. Luckily for you, you live in a big city. One night, get up, leave your wife and children, and go to the places in the city where you can practice for real. After a few times, you will learn that your art works, better than you thought. Then you can return to practicing and not worrying about what 'works' and what doesn't. Without this, you will always fear that you are not training properly".
11-20-2002, 09:20 AM
I agree with you. The description you gave is right out of our "handbook" in the Jiyushinkai.
"After a few times, you will learn that your art works, better than you thought.".
I'd agree whole heartedly - we get so used to the techniques that its very easy for us to get bogged down in what works and what doesn't. Many many things are very effective if you train to do them quickly and instinctively. I think the truth for most untrained people in self-defence situations is that they freeze up or try to think of what to do. The pure reaction of moving off centre line is a life saver.
For me Aikido has to be a Budo. If it is JUST a self-defence there are a couple of moves you could learn to take someone out very quickly (though quite risky for them) which we would be better spending all our time training on (one of which is similar to irimi-nage). If it is JUST a philosophy of movement, then why do we attach techniques to it?
We train to protect ourselves with a certain ethic attached, and that takes lots of repeated training to be effective. As a benefit we also learn commitment, develop responses we wish to exhibit in the future, and get a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in society/universe - thats got to be Budo. Maybe some people only want some of it - but to me there are better ways to get the individual bits, but no better way to get the whole.
11-20-2002, 07:23 PM
Chuck, always interested in Jiyushinkai, being a Tomiki inspired system similar to Shodokan. Hope to experience it sometime.(Never read the handbook though).
Going back to what Jason said, people will take from the art what they are looking for and the Budo idea may not even occur to them sometimes.
The problem is, many times these are the same people who inform others that Aikido (generalised) is lacking in martial effectiveness for a variety of reasons, when in fact they have simply chosen not to entertain that element of the training for themselves. It is interesting the kind of respect one gets from seasoned practitioners of other arts who have researched and understand the power of Aikido budo training.
Then there are others who can only see technique and don't (or can't ) realise that there are deeper aspects to the training that will enable a refinement of techniques above and beyond anything they have ever seen, making them even more practical when applied.
I agree with Tim, wondering why people would want to train any other way than Budo. But then I remember that training in Budo pretty much demands a degree of dedication, experience and theoretical knowledge (study) about the art that can take one into research of other styles of Aikido, other martial systems, even gaining an appreciation for military tactic, strategy and planning.
It's so interesting how I am able to apply the same techniques, kuzushi and tactic I use in tanto randori to dealing with resistant clients in my home business. Almost like the modern application of the Book of Five Rings by many businessmen.
If our Aikido offers such breadth and depth to our training, should we not strive to understand its true nature instead of simply dismissing some elements of it? And even if our training does lack depth in our own dojo, should we not strive to understand the nature of the DO from other sources? That is of course, if we are looking for these things in the art.
I guess it is interesting to see that while there are those that are keeping the "wholeness" of Aikido in their training, there are many more who decide to focus on certain elements alone, and then wonder why those elements they are focussing on lacks depth and dimension.
Still pondering on your thoughts, keep them coming.
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