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akiy
12-05-2002, 03:54 PM
Hi folks,

I'd rather not open up the can of worms that is the "Does aikido work?" discussion as we've had them ad nauseum here, but thought I'd bring up the following related set of questions instead.

Honestly -- how often do you or others at the dojo bring up hypothetical situations (like getting attacked on an airplane, having your child get attacked) or "alternative" attacks (jabs, fakes, kicks, bear hugs) in a general class setting?

How often do you actually work on such things during a "regular" class (ie without the teacher saying, "OK, now we'll try something a bit different.")

If such training isn't done very often, why not?

I'm not looking for specific answers on how to deal with the specific kinds of questions like those posed parenthetically above but, rather, would rather hear discussion on the issue of whether we, in aikido, discuss these sorts of things very openly and honestly in our dojo or if it's more swept under the rug and hardly really addressed.

Thanks,

-- Jun

MaylandL
12-05-2002, 05:19 PM
...how often do you or others at the dojo bring up hypothetical situations ... in a general class setting?

How often do you actually work on such things during a "regular" class (ie without the teacher saying, "OK, now we'll try something a bit different.")

If such training isn't done very often, why not?

...
Hello Jun

Sensei will sometimes show variations of the techniques during class. Its a way of illustrating the aikido principles and to provide variety in training. We tend to do this type of training about once a week. Its not self defence of "street savvy aikido" but Sensei does it to illustrate certain aikido fundamentals.

OTOH students out of class time will experiment with techniques.

Happy training

Williamross77
12-05-2002, 07:51 PM
This is a good point. I have left much of the class time open to the people i practice with, especially the police officers. IE. " hey sempai, i had trouble using ikkyo last night making an arrest". I would say "show me what you did... oh here was the gap in connection and you can add these things too."

Or just a few ladies in class, focus more on real things like the kubishimi techniques or say they were tripped and on the ground, working on the ground defences BIll SOSA taught instead of just kicks and punches. I think it keeps us interested in the true applications available to the Aikidoka. But answering the questions we have often helps me grow too, given the actual aiki principle is in use and understould in context.

JW
12-05-2002, 07:58 PM
Gee I guess there IS more that could be done in the dojo. I can't remember ever playing with these types of questions in a class.

I suppose the reason for that is that such a situation is so complicated compared to the simple, idealized katas we are familiar with. And that isn't to say complexity should be avoided--just that one has to build up from basics toward more complicated stuff. And, since I've never been to like a yudansha-only class or something, there has never been a good time for such particular situation practice, I guess. I would certainly hope that in the future, when I am more advanced, such things would be practiced.

But, in regular classes I and others have often had to ask, "why the heck would you want to go in THAT direction?" in a technique where multiple directions are possible and uke is not suggesting any particular one of those directions more than another. The answer is often "well what if there is a wall blocking the more obvious direction, or a hole in the ground," etc. This type of training (which is very common, almost every class I suppose) I think leads up to the advanced practice of trying to do aikido in an airplane, etc.

--JW

aikido_fudoshin
12-05-2002, 08:06 PM
This may be off topic, but did anyone see the show "Worst Case Scenario" on TBS? They had some martial artist (forget his name) show practical defense moves in a pub. Worst case scenario: you spill your drink on the guy beside you, it pisses him off, he throws a punch, what do you do? He obviously had some Aikido training since one of his main principles was to flow with the attack. He went on and showed how various objects in the pub could be used to help subdue the attacker. One was redirecting a punch onto the bar top so you could maintain leverage and thus control the attacker easily. I thought it was a pretty good segment of the show.

Edward
12-06-2002, 01:18 AM
The dojo where I train teaches very practical aikido with good emphasis on self defense.

My personal opinion however is that the self defense aspect in martial arts in general and aikido in particular is long outdated.

I think the people studying MA for self defense are pursuing an unrealsitic dream. The purpose for studying aikido in the 21 century should be imho the following:

Exercice and health - self improvement - body-mind coordination - ki developement - increased awareness - for the fun of throwing and being thrown.

If you spend 20-30 years of your life training for the very remote possibility that you should one day be attacked is very paranoid (except if you are a law enforcement officer). I don't think this is what the founder had in mind.

I think the above mentioned benefits of aikido cannot be achieved by very technical realistic training (which takes all of the fun out of aikido)but rather with the kind of flowing and non-stop turning stylised aikido found in the aikikai hombu as well as ki society styles.

I do not mean that training should not be hard and physical, at the countrary. And training only in a flowing way does not mean that we cannot defend ourselves if need be.

Maybe I am not making sense, but this is how I really feel about it.

Erik
12-06-2002, 01:58 AM
Honestly -- how often do you or others at the dojo bring up hypothetical situations (like getting attacked on an airplane, having your child get attacked)
Interestingly, during a recent 3rd kyu test the candidate had to deal with a hypothetical case of an old man chasing someone with a baseball bat. The old guy turned out to be quite stubborn too. :)
or "alternative" attacks (jabs, fakes, kicks, bear hugs) in a general class setting?
All of the above a few times but it's pretty rare in any kind of structured class that I've been in. Kicks are obscenely rare in my experience.
If such training isn't done very often, why not?
I think it isn't, therefore it isn't.
whether we, in aikido, discuss these sorts of things very openly and honestly in our dojo or if it's more swept under the rug and hardly really addressed.
This is a very tough question. I don't think it's swept under the rug, exactly, but it's sure not taught or practiced regularly either. I think it gets discussed, at least a little bit but as a general rule it doesn't go much further than that.

happysod
12-06-2002, 03:15 AM
Generally, it depends on the grades involved as the more realistic attacks, especially kicks, involve a higher standard of "non-hurty" mat falling (can't really dignify them with the term ukemi). This is (hopefully) reflected in the various techniques for grading.

Having said that, we do try to work in some more realistic situations about once a week for everyone. Also, if any student has a what-if or this happended to me... we'll try and address it in the class, naturally with varying degress of success.

I feel I've been lucky in that none of the dojos I've been to have ever considered any type of attack as "out of bounds" in normal practice.

paw
12-06-2002, 05:02 AM
Honestly -- how often do you or others at the dojo bring up hypothetical situations (like getting attacked on an airplane, having your child get attacked) or "alternative" attacks (jabs, fakes, kicks, bear hugs) in a general class setting?

If you are talking about application of the technique in other situations, that came up from time to time (ie, "in the dojo we finish with this pin, however, if you were with your child/spouse/friend/whatever you may want to use this pin because....").

If you are talking about a simulation where people role play different scenarios, never.

Paula Lydon
12-06-2002, 06:20 PM
~~Well, Jun, this will be sort of redundant for you since you know BAK, but unless I've missed something we NEVER discuss such things (or much else), or play with such things. That's why I do the things I do before or after class. Now there are some senior students who will touch upon these alternate topics when they teach, but they don't teach regularily.

~~Perhaps the thinking is that if you really focus on understanding movement, timing, positioning, then all scenerios become brainplay because ultimately--if you act appropriately--the when, where, how many and with what don't matter. :)

DaveO
12-06-2002, 08:02 PM
We just recently had a seminar at my Dojo, held by Ed Keith from Boston. Great guy; superb teacher. He had us doing something that we liked so much, we're adding it to our curriculum: He'd say to us "OK, pair off; the attack is an uppercut. Find a defence to effectively counter it," and away we'd go. Once we'd worked at it a while, he brought each pair out to demonstrate what they'd come up with, and we'd discuss the pros and cons of each found technique. Then, we'd change pairs and try another attack. It was a great change from the usual routine; really got us thinking about the defensive aspects. To use the example above; the uppercut, the variations among the 12 pairs was amazing - from kokyunages to a few things I'd never seen, to the rather nifty kote-oroshi I came up with. It emphasized the fact that the individual technique, while important, is less important than maintaining the principles - keep one-point, keep weight underside, relax completely, extend ki.

Anyway, we liked it a lot and are introducing the training technique into our own curriculum.

Cheers!

opherdonchin
12-06-2002, 09:52 PM
A number of times I've been in seidokan seminars where 'situational' aikido has been stressed. I think that in the 'home dojo' in LA there are some people who are really interested in thinking about these sorts of things.

One thing I remember clearly from a seminar (but I forget the instructor) was looking at interventionist situations where you come upon one person assaulting another and want to think about how to apply principles and techniques so you can interven effectively. In another seminar I went to we did gun take-aways. It seemed sort of silly to me, but they guy I was working with could get my wooden gun away from me quite convincingly. In any case, I think this is becoming a very standard part of their 'curriculum.'

Erik
12-07-2002, 12:21 AM
Dave, thanks for sharing. I like that spin on teaching. Now I'm mad that I didn't think of that specific approach.

Williamross77
12-07-2002, 12:33 AM
About the lack of kick defences,it makes up a full 25-45% of the yonkyu and above curiculum in our system. it seams Tessier Sensei has quite alot of them too.

Bronson
12-09-2002, 04:22 AM
One thing I remember clearly from a seminar (but I forget the instructor) was looking at interventionist situations where you come upon one person assaulting another and want to think about how to apply principles and techniques so you can interven effectively.

Was it Mark Crapo? He's the sensei I study with and we do this on a semi-regular basis. We will also adapt the techniques to be done from a chair or sitting cross legged or on the ground. On my last test he had me doing techniques while holding something like a baby would be held.

Hey Dave,

This reminds me a little (but just a little)of a game I'll have the students play sometimes. I've gone through and typed up all of our basic attacks, techniques, and modifiers (irimi, tenkan, etc). I then throw all the techniques into one hat, the attacks into another and the modifiers into a third. Then the students break into groups of three and each picks from one of the hats. Then their group goes off and tries to figure out how to do the combination of attack, modifer & technique they just drew. After a while I bring them up in front and they teach it to the whole class and we all practice it for a bit then we move on to the next group.

Bronson

DaveO
12-09-2002, 08:22 AM
Hey Dave,

This reminds me a little (but just a little)of a game I'll have the students play sometimes. I've gone through and typed up all of our basic attacks, techniques, and modifiers (irimi, tenkan, etc). I then throw all the techniques into one hat, the attacks into another and the modifiers into a third. Then the students break into groups of three and each picks from one of the hats. Then their group goes off and tries to figure out how to do the combination of attack, modifer & technique they just drew. After a while I bring them up in front and they teach it to the whole class and we all practice it for a bit then we move on to the next group.

Bronson
Bronson:

Sounds like a neat idea, I like it! I've forwarded a description of the technique to my Sensei, we'll try it this Sunday.

Cheers!

Dave

opherdonchin
12-09-2002, 05:47 PM
Was it Mark Crapo? He's the sensei I study with and we do this on a semi-regular basis.I think it was Larry Wadahara.

Bronson
12-09-2002, 10:03 PM
I think it was Larry Wadahara.
Did he laugh a lot :p If so that was probably him.

Bronson

DGLinden
01-03-2003, 01:44 PM
This a regular part of class for our Dojo. As I understand that we are bound to 'protect and defend all living things' per O'Sensei, I often ask students to 'protect' someone from a gang or attack. If a student has children, I will say "these three men are kidnapping your little girl - Using Aiki priciples, save her..."

Since we do train very hard with knife and other assault technique it is always interesting to see how the students gets the 'bad guys' to attack him and utilize our basic defense as attack. Generally this is a lot of fun and it is also highly motivational if a man can't 'protect' his wife or child. Not to mention intructive.

I recently had one of my past students return for a weekend of 'brushing up and motivation'.

As he is a SEAL Team Platoon Leader it does not require a lot of imagination for him to establish training scenarios. This was not long after the attack on the Trade Center so I imagine that he took what we practiced very seriously. Another student, an El Al air marshall, works through these things regularly.

Jun, a great question and idea for a thread.

MikeE
01-03-2003, 03:40 PM
Many times in class I will foster a class where "what ifs" are addressed. It turns to be a class of henka waza and oyo henka.

In our schools we diligently practice the application of basic principles and waza in a more "realistic" situation.

Many times what happens is that just regular waza with the right mind set works just fine.

DCP
01-03-2003, 08:27 PM
Back in college, my sensei used to have us practice techniques in incredibly small areas from time to time. There was also an instance when he cut the lights (which made executing technigues rather interesting!).

He was always open to student questions and if he didn't know something, he was a "let's figure it out together" kind of teacher. IMHO, he is a fine example of teacher.

Paula Lydon
01-04-2003, 03:16 PM
Hi Jun,

~~This has been one of my frustrations with Aikido, as my previous MA dojo routinely had scenerio practice, even starting uke out in a disadvantaged position i.e.: you're pinned to the ground, caught off guard from a rear angle, been hit and dazed, pinned up against a wall. We also had 'surprise' street class once or twice a month where we had to train in whatever we wore to class (got to wear you tried to always wear loose clothing).

~~I found a lot of value in this training and miss it because I've never yet come across it in Aikido. Granted, I've only trained in a number of dojos so have no idea if someone out there is doing exactly what I described. Overall, though, I've noticed that general Aikidoka are regimented and if you do something (even slowly and well controled of course) 'different' they either quit or freak out on you or try to kill you, all semblance of training and control under pressure out the window. As with all things, not all Aikidoka do this, escpecially the upper dans or those who have trained for many years, and so perhaps this training exhibits itself in Aikido as well just after much more time (?)

~~Let's play with it sometime...:)