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shadow
12-20-2002, 09:54 PM
I read a lot of threads concerned with the fighting aspects of the art. Wether aikido is effective on the ground, against kicking, against a boxer, against a grappler.... etc. That it is originally a battle field art, whatever. There seems to be a lot of concern with the fighting effectiveness of the art.
Why?
If I wanted to train so that I could defeat an oponent I wouldn't train a 'do' or way, I would train something that is for fighting.
I see aikido as a vehicle, a method for personal or spiritual development of which there are many and aikido just happens to be one of.
When I train I try to keep this in mind, I am aspiring for something great, not to be the greatest warrior but to be a great man and aikido is a way I can learn to understand my body and its relationship to other bodies and universal energy.
Sometimes I get caught up in the fighting aspects but I try to keep away from this. There is no competition in aikido for a reason, and this is that. In my opinion from a young age we are geared towards competition, the whole education scheme emphasises competition between people and I dont think this is the ideal that Morihei Ueshiba intended when developing the art.
I apologise for the long post but I still have some more to say.
I have recently come to the conclusion that morals, ethics and values all exist with the assumption that there is something greater in the world, something to aspire to. So if you live a life in which you hold morals and life valuable then you admit in yourself there is something higher.... so why not strive for it? Why do anything half heartedly? If you dont believe there is something higher, morals should not make any sense to you and as such rules and boundaries dont make any sense.
Back to my original idea, aikido is still a self defense art and as such the martial value is important. But I think it is only of secondary importance and we need to not get caught up in it. When it all comes down to it, the majority of us would get our asses kicked by anyone who has studied a serious fighting art, and if that concerns you then train a fighting art. If not then take a little look at your motivations for training.
The moment I admit to myself that something higher does not exist, then that moment I may as well be dead because nothing will be of importance.

Thank you for the patience any of you had to bother finishing reading my post.

On a closing note, Im not sure if I have read or heard this quote anywhere before but it popped into my head last night.

If you train to defeat an enemy then ultimately the only person who will be defeated is yourself.

tedehara
12-20-2002, 11:49 PM
...I see aikido as a vehicle, a method for personal or spiritual development of which there are many and aikido just happens to be one of.

When I train I try to keep this in mind, I am aspiring for something great, not to be the greatest warrior but to be a great man and aikido is a way I can learn to understand my body and its relationship to other bodies and universal energy.

Sometimes I get caught up in the fighting aspects but I try to keep away from this...:cool: cool

SeiserL
12-21-2002, 10:07 AM
Some people still train to fight the enemy out there instead of the one inside. IMHO, both are important.

Until again,

Lynn

udoka1
12-22-2002, 04:19 AM
"aikido is first and foremost a martial art" i beleive those are the words of o sensei..........

udoka1
12-22-2002, 04:25 AM
if u want to get spiritual do yoga... atleast thats my opinion. i am absolutely in aikido for the martial aspect of it. my dojo is very relaxed and small and my sensei kicks ass. almost all of our training is very much applicable on the streets. we focus alot on that. thats just my opinion on things though, each to thier own i suppose.

erikmenzel
12-22-2002, 05:39 AM
I always wondered why people think spiritual and martial exclude each other.

Edward
12-22-2002, 08:59 AM
When I was a teenager, I was so impressed with karate movies and started kick-boxing under that influence. After one year of training, I found out that I have been taking much more beating at the training than I would ever get if I became a street fighter. I quit.

Now at the age of 34, after many years of training in judo and recently in aikido, I have never had a significant fight in my life so far. Nothing more than some verbal exchange in the worst case.

I believe there are much more important benefits to martial arts than the fighting or self-defence aspects. However, if we neglect the martial aspects in these arts, many of the benefits are lost as well.

That's why I believe that we should avoid the fighting and competitive aspect while keeping the martial ever present.

mike lee
12-22-2002, 11:43 AM
It's all spiritual and it's always spiritual it just depends what level your spirit is at. Some say love is the highest level.

People who say that they train in a martial art, but don't focus on the spiritual aspects are in fact still training based on some kind of spiritual aspect and motivation. It's their spirit that motivates them to train, for example, on what they percieve to be "purely physical techniques." Nevertheless, it was their spirit in the first place that motivated them to train in such a way.

It's been the experience of some older and wiser teachers that if the spirit of the training isn't moved to a higher level, students may abuse their newly learned skills and, for example, end up in trouble with the law.

Therefore, every student, teacher and even dojo (as a collective) has a spirit. But it's up to those people whether it's going to be a base spirit of violence and brutality or a spirit of a higher order.

shadow
12-22-2002, 08:42 PM
my problem isn't with the martial aspect of the art. aikido is a martial arts and it is trained as such. perhaps morehei ueshiba said aikido is first and foremost a martial arts, but he also said many other things such as martial arts is about love or unifying the whole world and so on. that aikido is not a means to defeat or destroy one's oponent but rather a way to embrace the universe.

when i read constant posts about how effective it is against a boxer or a kick or a ground grappler i feel that perhaps this ideal is somehow missed.

but mike you are right, regardless of who trains a martial arts, you are training your spiritual side at the same time (although i hate using those words cos it makes me feel like a 'new age' nut).

but if all you want is a way to beat the common thug on the street, go for it. who am i to say what you can and can't do. but you would probably be better off training an art more geared towards this than aikido.

in the end it doesnt really matter what i say. ive just found some new inspiration for training from watching morehei ueshiba's old video's and reading many martial arts books and i was just hoping to share the inspiration with others. take it or leave it.

opherdonchin
12-22-2002, 10:01 PM
I've said this before but I will say it again (hopefully more briefly this time):

It seems to me that AiKiDo is about learning to change your perspective. For me it works when I manage to take a situation that I would have normally thought of as martial or full of conflict and redefine it for myself as one in which tools of cooperation and understanding would be more effective.

It is a martial art in the sense that it starts with a situation in which I perceive conflict. It transcends martial arts in that it teaches me to see them afresh.

shadow
12-22-2002, 11:08 PM
i guess it's exactly the same for me opher.

situation full of conflict: life

now im still trying to cooperate and understand with it, i guess i got a while to go huh?

mike lee
12-23-2002, 03:24 AM
There's no where to go there's only now. Now is the only time we can act.

I recently found out a good friend of mine was killed in the Bali explosion in October. She was only 24 years old, but she lived life to the fullest. Her name was Eve, and I can't help but think that there's some meaning in that.

It was just another one of those shocks that made me realize that we never know when we will disappear from this planet forever, no matter how young we are.

opherdonchin
12-23-2002, 08:39 AM
I'm sorry to hear about your friend, Mike. News is very different when it touches us directly like that.

Jeff Tibbetts
12-28-2002, 11:40 AM
I think that Damien is onto something here, and I think that many of you judged him too harshly at first. Many of us take our Aikido for different reasons, which is fine, but I think that we have to remember that our differences are what makes the world interesting, and our training diverse. Some of us will strike harder, some of us will take Ukemi better, we are all shaped differently and move differently. Some of us really focus on the Martial and some more on the Spiritual, but either way is a part of the same art. I think that anytime you have extremed on either side you lost some of what makes Aikido great. If you only want a spirital vehicle and nothing else, sit in Zazen and meditate. If you only want to stop physical conflict, study Senshido or some other highly effective MA. The thing I try to strive for is a balance, although I certainly lean more to spirituality, because I don't find myself in purely physical confrontation often (or never, really). I don't deny the martial aspect, part of the reason I started Aikido was for the fact that I didn't want to have to kill someone to stop them attacking me if they tried. Once I started really getting into, though, is when the spiritual growth kicked in. I agree with Erik in the sense that I don't see why the two sides can't be resident in the same person at the same time. It's a paradox and a contrast, but that makes it beautiful, like a good black and white photo, you get bright white and dark black and everything in between. If it's overexposed or burned than the picture may lost some of the beauty, even if it's composed just as well or even if it's a picture of something beautiful...

Thalib
12-28-2002, 05:26 PM
The Katana is brittle yet ductile, rigid yet flexible, curved but straight in its own sense. It has a sharp edge on one side and blunt on the other. Yet all of this charcteristics exists in the blade and makes it a very effective and formidable weapon.

shadow
12-29-2002, 07:19 PM
ive just recently read some articles by the current doshu and chiba sensei. they both say that o'sensei was not interested in the spread of the martial art, it was only through persistance of his son k. ueshiba that his opinion was changed and then o'sensei saw that his vision of world peace could be helped along by the spread of aikido.

with this knowledge in my mind it seems that perhaps we should train with a little more of this idea in mind, that we are training o'senseis path to peace and harmony, rather than his path to martial supremacy (for lack of better words).

johnny rebb
01-15-2003, 03:31 PM
I read a lot of threads concerned with the fighting aspects of the art.
Well spoken my friend.

Sanshouaikikai
05-23-2005, 05:11 PM
I think it's very nice that everyone here for the most part strives to be a better person. However, that's why there's churches and other religious groups and organizations that can help you to become a "better person" and they'e FREE!!!! No charge whatsoever unless your in some cult...but we're not getting into that one, LOL! Like I said in a previous post on another thread....aikido (and most martial arts in general) can HELP to make you become a better person in the sense of discipline, respect, and self control...however, martial arts (including aikido) were invented to defend yourself, family, and country. That was the primary reason. All the "making you a better person" stuff came after it got all systemized and what not. Let's put it this way...I'm not going to pay whatever amount of money that people pay for martial arts classes just to become a better person and spend all that money on supposedly training in the martial arts when I can go to church and learn how to be a better person. Martial arts is about fighting and that's what it should focus on otherwise it'll just be ripping people off.

Ketsan
05-23-2005, 05:48 PM
Martial and spirtual are linked although I think that the individual has to make a concious effort to improve as a person.

Kevin Leavitt
05-24-2005, 05:04 PM
martial arts may not have been invented solely for defending or offending. There is a school of thought that says that the Bodhiharma "invented" a set of exercises resembling yoga to improve the conditioning of the monks at the shaolin temple so they could medidate longer. (over simplification, but the basic idea). according to this "theory" MA developed as an offshoot.

It has been well documented as to the benefits mentally and spiritually of MA training. The Marine Corps and the Army have recently adopted/revamped/placed new emphasis on MA training, not so much to train people to be effective at hand-to-hand, but to improve their warrior spirit.

I think self defense is more of a byproduct. Frankly if this is what you are concerned with, I can think of many more effective ways to defend yourself from knives, guns, to pepper spray. Much easier to learn and much easier to be effective.

Aikido is named aikido for a reason. It is a "DO" or way art. Focus is on developing and refining you as a holistic being. Some might enjoy it for the physical aspects, some for the mental, others for the spiritual. The fact is, that they are all there regardless of what you personally get out of the art.

Frankly I think it is more of a rip off if all you get out of it is some rudimentary fighting skills.

Sanshouaikikai
05-24-2005, 11:08 PM
I guess you're right with the origin stuff...however...people these days come from different religious backgrounds or no religious backgrounds at all...hence...I really don't think they care about being spiritual or paying money to be a better person when they can do it elsewhere by other means free of charge, you know what I mean? I think that now a days...if it's not for the physical it's for the mental and vice versa. I'm not saying that there are NO people in it for the spirituality...there are many...but...who would want to pay to take a martial arts class where they teach how to fight...and you go there and they're meditating and saying all these weird philosophical junk and no fighting?

Bronson
05-25-2005, 02:47 AM
who would want to pay to take a martial arts class where they teach how to fight...and you go there and they're meditating and saying all these weird philosophical junk and no fighting?

I wouldn't, but I don't take martial arts to learn how to fight.

Bronson

Beau
05-25-2005, 09:06 AM
It appears to me that the mental fortitude and spiritual insite gained from aikido training comes as a result and side effect of training towards the goal of being proficient in budo. As has been said a million times, "Aikido is first and foremost budo". If someone wants to treat aikido techniques like a moving meditation to seek enlightenment or what have you, that is fine, but I'll never be convinced that it is aikido.
If a person takes up kyudo, their goal is to become the most accurate archer that they can possibly be. The tenacity and intensity of training that it takes to reach this goal is what forces the practitioner to grow and examine themself.
Sure there are easier ways to defend yourself in modern society. Buy a gun, a rabid pitbull, whatever...
But...there are also easier ways to hear music than to learn to play it yourself.

JMHO,
Beau

jonreading
05-25-2005, 12:53 PM
Many of the history books on Samurai devlopment lean towards the change from "jitsu" to "do" as a turning point in the countries internal fighting. Lots of "do" arts began once the warriors found they needed something to do to pass time because they weren't fighting anymore (I am not referring to the removal of the samurai class, a la Last Samurai, but an earlier period). "Do" was a way to integrate the martial spirit into other activities, including self-improvement.

To me, Aikido is a codified fighting system. Because we no longer fight, "jitsu" is not [necessarily] needed, so "do" becomes appropriate. Even though some aikido people do not train for combat, the martial spirit of "jitsu" must be present to understand why and how techniques work.

Those that train in aikido but do not understand the fighting concepts behind the techniques are not learning aikido, they are learning how to mimic a movement. If you paint-by-numbers DaVinci's Mona Lisa, does that make you an artist? No. Why? Because you do not comprehend the elements necessary to painting a portrait.

Everyone has the right to practice aikido. People train for different reasons. But, when aikido people remove the martial spirit from their training because they feel that aikido is not a martial art, you lose purpose.

O'Sensei said alot of things about aikido. He spoke about love, harmony and peace and the purpose of aikido, but he never in all of his life said anything that would hint that aikido was not a solid martial art. I know that aikido is not only a valid fighting sytem, but a good fighting system that is capable of producing skilled fighters. I contend that a solid aikidoka can hold his/her own against almost any serious fighter. So why do many aikido people instantly concede that they are not capable of defending themselves against "serious martial artists" or "real fighting situations"?

It took Damien 4 paragraphs to concede this point. How long does it take you?

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2005, 01:08 PM
Hey Jon! Certainly enjoyed training with you a couple of weeks back! Thanks!

I agree with all that you have said. Looking back through the various post and reading yours a thought came to mind.

I do not doubt the ability of the effectiveness if aikido. It certainly is the main art I identify with and feel I have learned the most with to become a somewhat effective "fighter" if you must.

I think where some get in trouble is when you start looking at it strictly from a self defense standpoint. Approaching Aikido always looking for how effective it makes you in a self defense paradigm will cause a great deal of frustration.

I can think of many things that are much more effective if this is your primary concern, and frankly I believe aikido is probably not the best use of your time if you live in fear of being mugged, assaulted, or beat up and simply want to learn how to defend yourself against such things.

I think what many do is try to apply simple logic to this and say: "well it must not be a real system or complete system if this is the judgement".

I would say, yes, those elements (self defense) are in there, and yes it is an effective system that will give you much more than simply defending yourself, aikido will give you options, many more than you have from simple self defense.

To me, there is a big difference between self defense and conflict resolution. There is also alot of ground in between. For me, Aikido allows for the development and growth of not only your physical skills necessary to be effective, but also the mental and spiritual aspect that must accompany that.

It is a wide system that can be many things.

If your focus is more pinpoint, that is, for self defense, or to be a competition MMA fighter, or to gain flexibility....there are other ways that may focus on these aspects that are better suited than aikido, but aikido should not be judged by this focus.

L. Camejo
05-25-2005, 01:35 PM
So why do many aikido people instantly concede that they are not capable of defending themselves against "serious martial artists" or "real fighting situations"?

It took Damien 4 paragraphs to concede this point. How long does it take you?
We will never surrender!

Nevaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!! evileyes

<<<<<Draws Katana and Leaps into the melee of Aiki-fruities>>>>>
:D :eek:

LC:ai::ki: :hypno:
Shodothugz4eva :cool:

Randathamane
05-26-2005, 11:12 AM
....that they are not capable of defending themselves against "serious martial artists" or "real fighting situations"?

Defending yourself is not all that hard- all you need to know is what attack is coming and what you are going to do about it...

"serious martial artists" do exactly the same- they cannot throw with no contact, nor can the punch at thin air. if they attack, move out the way or enter in (or parry reposte as the case may be). i would be confident against another "serious martial artist" that i could take them down given time.... Ultimately they are going to have to grab me to throw me (BEEEEEP- Wrong answer!!!!) or attempt to strike me......

Kicks on the other hand will have most aikidoka stumped.....


:ai: :ki: :do:

happysod
05-26-2005, 11:34 AM
<<<<<Draws Katana and Leaps into the melee of Aiki-fruities>>>>> just noticed this one, aikiweb needs some asbos methinks (three or four names spring to mind). Now put the toy down or mummy'll get cross...

Frankly I think it is more of a rip off if all you get out of it is some rudimentary fighting skills worth repeating (for example, there's the beer afterwards, stimulating conversation about injuries and wonderful sexy hakama...)

jonreading
05-27-2005, 11:11 AM
I don't think my concern lies with individuals that choose to use aikido for other purposes. I think my concerns lies with individuals that choose to use aikido for other purposes, but do not clearly acknowledge they made a choice.

Kevin brought up a great point that he made a decision to practice aikido for other reasons. I think that many newer students may not realize that aikido has "other reasons" to train. I tread very carefully to present aikido in many different ways; I try to leave the decision up to the student to choose why they want to train.

This is maybe why I get worked up when I hear comments that criticize a reason to practice aikido. I firmly belive there is an order to learning aikido that decreases confusion, but I also support exposing students to all types of aikido. This is a silly thing to say, but I notice more dojo are creating an atmosphere of right/wrong, and they are exposing students to less aikido outside of the dojo.

Kevin Leavitt
05-28-2005, 03:07 PM
Very good points Jon. I never really thought about the concept of "reducing confusion", but your right, the way we traditionally study does eliminate the "static".

I think when you go down that avenue of saying "right/wrong" you have failed and are in the process of building the confusion that you are attempting to eliminate.

One thing I have always liked about aikido, at least in most ASU places I have been and studied is that the techniques/practice is designed to demonstrate principles, but most instructors will also show you the application or bunkai of all the options that can go with it.

michael_rath
12-16-2006, 09:16 PM
Aikido was the first martial art I ever trained. Yes, I said first. I have since that time and during that time explored adding to my aikido background with a few forms of karate (shito-ryu, shotokan, and kenpo), as well as JFJKD, and krav maga. There are others, but it's was in the search of looking for a more effective way to fight. If you're concerned about if aikido can deliver in an attack against other martial artists or just a brutal attack by any one with training or none my answer is cross train.
Even before I began my study of the other martial arts I used aikido just fine in my confrontation. I was able to use aikido many times, yes even against trained opponents. I wanted more, however, that was why I began to cross train. I didn't have spiritual pursuits and if you don't want them you won't get them.

I've grown up since then and I've had some hard lessons to learn that martial arts is more then just learning to kick the crap out of some one. Aikido brought me back to that point of yes we can use our fighting skills to beat and break others, but it really is a pursuit of self-discipline and self-control. Yes, churches and religions can help, but again only if you want it to. Martial arts just like spiritual walk is a commitment that you must take with regards of the things you may do to help or even harm someone. Don't take advantage of just your fighting, but the whole art or :do: (way). Or you'll eventually be disappointed and leave looking for the next person to teach you how to kick butt. There's some really good "reality" systems if that's all you want.

Michael

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2006, 06:08 AM
wow, old thread. It is interesting to see what was written a year ago, my own comments especially. It is always interesting to me to see how time, new ideas, perceptions, and pardigms affect things!

Anyway, even reality based systems miss the make and leave much to be desired. We simply cannot always choose the time, place, conditions of the fight we may be involved in. We may succeed physically in a fight, but commit somethings we regret, we may fail physically in a fight, but with the right frame of mind, and having your life and self in order may result in a victory, if not public, then internal (privately).

Arts such as aikido are not so much about the physical aspects, but the training the whole of the individual to make you prepared to engage in a fight mentally, physically, and spritually...it is about the whole, no about the pittance of skills you learn.

My profession is training soldiers to be prepared to fight. We spend a great deal of time, money and effort on training. I have computers, the latest equipment, and training aids to accomplish this, we have chaplains, doctors, and family support groups, and all kinds of other things to provide for a fit, trained and stable warrior.

Much goes into training someone to be prepared to fight!

SeiserL
12-17-2006, 08:11 AM
My profession is training soldiers to be prepared to fight. We spend a great deal of time, money and effort on training. I have computers, the latest equipment, and training aids to accomplish this, we have chaplains, doctors, and family support groups, and all kinds of other things to provide for a fit, trained and stable warrior.

My deepest respect, compliments, and appreciation for what you do to help preparing people for watching over us for and for the collateral damage it does to the people that love and support them. (From someone who spent his time on guard.)

Very few people can comprehend what goes into training a warrior/soldier, the least of which IMHO is physical.

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2006, 08:43 AM
Thanks Lynn, it ain't a sacrifice, it is what I chose to do, and get paid very well to do it.

As far as collateral damage and all that goes...here is an interesting perspective....

A few years back, I realized that I was not really into the whole killing thing and struggled for a long time about if I had a philosophical, spiritual, and ethical conflict.

I read, talked to a number of people, and thought alot about it.

A couple of books by the Dali Lama, etc really where a big help in helping me reconcile things.

We don't always get to choose the time and place and things we do. We do, however, have a choice over how we respond and react to things.

I hope that by being a good leader, setting a good example, and providing the best training I can to soldiers that when they are faced with the tough choices that they make, that they are able to make the right ones.

Too me, this is the real issue in why we study martial arts to broaden our understanding and ability to influence the thing that comes between stimulus and response....choice.


thanks again for the nice comments.

Erick Mead
12-17-2006, 07:43 PM
My deepest respect, compliments, and appreciation for what you do to help preparing people for watching over us for and for the collateral damage it does to the people that love and support them. (From someone who spent his time on guard.)

Very few people can comprehend what goes into training a warrior/soldier, the least of which IMHO is physical. Brought to mind a favorite Churchill quote:

"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

- Winston Churchill

DonMagee
12-17-2006, 10:15 PM
I always hear there is no competition in aikido. But I think there is. First there are styles that have competitions. But that is not my point. Life is a competition. Everything you do is a competition. Why do you want to be a better person? Is striving to be a better person not competition? Why do we have a desire to mate and have children? Is this not a competition to insure our genes live on? Life is competition, every single act, every thing we do is to insure our survival, a competition against everything else that is not us.

Embrace competition, understand yourself, your goals, dreams, desires, and most importantly your motives. I train do many things in my life for many reasons. I train judo, which is a do and a 'way of life', aikido which is a way of life, and I used to train in TKD, which is again, yet another way of life. Each one with it's own motives and competitions for its own time in my life. I also train in BJJ, a sport designed to break limbs and choke people till they are unconscious. At no point do I worry myself about if I'm learning to fight, at no point do I stress myself out over the messages and spirit of the style. Instead I understand my goals, desires, dreams, and motives, and I do my best to meet those. Then I try to have as much fun as possible.

As for learning to fight, this is a martial art, it has martial techniques, there is nothing wrong with learning how to actually use them. I think it should be an important focus of the art. If it was not important, why would the creator of the art left in martial techniques? Train for whatever reasons you want, but understand you are training a martial art, and if what you are learning is not martial, then you can not claim you are training a martial art any longer. However, you can still claim you are living a way of life.

SeiserL
12-18-2006, 08:19 AM
Life is a competition. Everything you do is a competition. Why do you want to be a better person? Is striving to be a better person not competition? Why do we have a desire to mate and have children? Is this not a competition to insure our genes live on? Life is competition, every single act, every thing we do is to insure our survival, a competition against everything else that is not us.
IMHO, life is not competition. (Okay, it normally is, but normal isn't natural or healthy.) Competition is usually based on an adversarial win/lose proposition. Win/lose in the long run, is lose/lose.

Therefore, it is only a win/win proposition that provides the basis of cooperation, not competition.

The division "not us" provides difference and distance. Enter and blend, become one, seek similarities, points of contact, and woprk together instead of against each other for the survival of not just the fittest, but all of us. I truly believe that this was a part of O'Sensei message, gift, and wishes.

Fighting is only a last resort measure that provides only an temporary postponement of retaliation.

Mark Freeman
12-18-2006, 09:06 AM
I always hear there is no competition in aikido. But I think there is. First there are styles that have competitions. But that is not my point. Life is a competition. Everything you do is a competition. Why do you want to be a better person? Is striving to be a better person not competition? Why do we have a desire to mate and have children? Is this not a competition to insure our genes live on? Life is competition, every single act, every thing we do is to insure our survival, a competition against everything else that is not us.

Wow Don, everything you do is a competition? :freaky:

living, laughing, working, eating, drinking, loving, talking, shopping, walking, surfing, sleeping, aikido ....all these things I can accomplish without the thought of competing, why would I want to 'win' and create a possibility that I could lose?

Boy the thought of competing in everything I do makes me exhausted just thinking about it

I do however like to play competative games, they have set rules, and a predetermined end point. I have yet to see a rule book that was written for life. ;)

regards,

Mark

Jorge Garcia
12-18-2006, 09:09 AM
I always hear there is no competition in aikido. But I think there is....Embrace competition, understand yourself, your goals, dreams, desires, and most importantly your motives. I train do many things in my life for many reasons. ... At no point do I worry myself about if I'm learning to fight, at no point do I stress myself out over the messages and spirit of the style. Instead I understand my goals, desires, dreams, and motives, and I do my best to meet those....

Your perspective Don, is very self focused. You aren't looking for anything. You seem to come to all the arts knowing what you want. That's you. Some people are looking for something outside of themselves. These are the ones who come to Aikido and rather than tell Aikido what it shall be, they ask Aikido what it is. It is to these that what it was created for matters. To these, the Founders opinion matters, it's history matters and its traditions matter.

The world has plenty of "Cobra Kai Dojos" around with the "Strike hard, strike first, no mercy sir! " attitude. Finding that is no problem for whoever needs it. A person can make Aikido that if they want but then according to Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, they are no longer practicing Aikido. (I refer you to the entire chapter on the Internationalization of Aikido in the book, The Spirit of Aikido, particularly pages 116-117, the third through the seventh paragraphs).

As I have said before, Aikido is a Japanese budo and was created to be that. It has a martial component which is the use of martial art techniques that reflect Aiki and it is the forging of mind and body through the use of these techniques by which we submit the ego to the discipline and practice of the art. Its hoped outcome is ki-mind-body coordination which leads to it's other philosophical implications.

I believe that the by-product self defense training Aikido supplies is enough for the average person and it is certainly more than most people receive in a lifetime so there is no loss there. Those concerned with ultimate effectiveness and fighting should look elsewhere and let the art be what it is.
Best wishes,

DonMagee
12-18-2006, 09:32 AM
Your perspective Don, is very self focused. You aren't looking for anything. You seem to come to all the arts knowing what you want. That's you. Some people are looking for something outside of themselves. These are the ones who come to Aikido and rather than tell Aikido what it shall be, they ask Aikido what it is. It is to these that what it was created for matters. To these, the Founders opinion matters, it's history matters and its traditions matter.

Ahh but I do ask aikido what it is, and I listen. But then I look at my own goals, desires, beliefs, etc, and ask "How does this fit into me?", rather that "How can I change myself to meet this image?" Do I change, sure, everything in life causes change.

I still argue that everything in life is competition. Do you want a good job? Well you have to compete. Do you want a good girl? You are going to have to compete. Do you want your children to be successful in life? This is again yet another competition. In fact, attempting to preach the virtues of aikido is a competition with the messages of other ways. The competition may be less obvious to those who wish not to compete. But to compete is to strive to succeed. It is not about wining or losing, those are bi products of competition. To compete is to succeed. This may mean killing your foe on the battlefield, or finding a good job, having kids, living in a good area, electing the officials that meet your viewpoints, getting your message across on a board, doging that co-worker who wants you to work overtime, having the sports car, being in good shape, etc.

Why does a kid want a sports car? It makes him cool. What is cool? It is a competition. Why do you want to be a better person? There has to be a reason, But whatever that reason is, it assumes there are lessor people, thus competition.

Even in aikido there is competition. It might not be obvious, but it is there. Sure, you do not get in a ring and fight. But you have the my ego is less then your ego. Or the I'm too deadly, or the I get to wear a hakama because I have put in more time. There is competition with other arts (BJJ is not for the street, we are a battlefield art). There is most defiantly tons of competition in aikido. It's just not in a ring.

The problem is not the competition, the problem is that people are afraid of facing loss. Loss can be a great powerful thing. Never be afraid to lose.

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2006, 09:43 AM
Why do you want to be a better person? There has to be a reason, But whatever that reason is, it assumes there are lessor people, thus competition.

Uh, no...it assumes there is a lesser me. ;)

Best,
Ron (looking for the better me...if I ever find it, I'll let ya'll know...)

Jorge Garcia
12-18-2006, 09:58 AM
Ahh but I do ask aikido what it is, and I listen. But then I look at my own goals, desires, beliefs, etc, and ask "How does this fit into me?", rather that "How can I change myself to meet this image?" Do I change, sure, everything in life causes change.

I still argue that everything in life is competition. Do you want a good job? Well you have to compete. Do you want a good girl? You are going to have to compete. Do you want your children to be successful in life? This is again yet another competition. In fact, attempting to preach the virtues of aikido is a competition with the messages of other ways. The competition may be less obvious to those who wish not to compete. But to compete is to strive to succeed. It is not about wining or losing, those are bi products of competition. To compete is to succeed. This may mean killing your foe on the battlefield, or finding a good job, having kids, living in a good area, electing the officials that meet your viewpoints, getting your message across on a board, doging that co-worker who wants you to work overtime, having the sports car, being in good shape, etc.

Why does a kid want a sports car? It makes him cool. What is cool? It is a competition. Why do you want to be a better person? There has to be a reason, But whatever that reason is, it assumes there are lessor people, thus competition.

Even in aikido there is competition. It might not be obvious, but it is there. Sure, you do not get in a ring and fight. But you have the my ego is less then your ego. Or the I'm too deadly, or the I get to wear a hakama because I have put in more time. There is competition with other arts (BJJ is not for the street, we are a battlefield art). There is most defiantly tons of competition in aikido. It's just not in a ring.

The problem is not the competition, the problem is that people are afraid of facing loss. Loss can be a great powerful thing. Never be afraid to lose.


I think I can see what you are saying but I still think it is somewhat one dimensional. There is another level at which you can see life but it is on another level because it doesn't view itself as "me against the world" for every task and station. I will admit that looking at this from an higher perspective involves a philosophical perspective but a person has to be seeking that to find it. Reduced to raw survivalism, life can be a competition but that's why great people are those who have dropped that and sacrificed for others instead. They could have lived while others died but they chose to die so others could live. That is another level you didn't address. Think of all those instances we all know of where that has happened. It is in the vein of that sacrificial way of thinking that the baseline philosophy of Aikido lays. It may be an ideal but that's why it is a high calling and not one reached by all nor easily attained. It is a lifetime practice.
Jorge

DonMagee
12-18-2006, 10:25 AM
Uh, no...it assumes there is a lesser me. ;)

Best,
Ron (looking for the better me...if I ever find it, I'll let ya'll know...)

Competition with one's self?

Alec Corper
12-18-2006, 10:40 AM
It might be useful if people could clarify some of the terms we use to see if we are on the same page. I read people using the word "spiritual" as if it also means moral, ethical, or character improving. Perhaps part of the problem stems from the very differing ideas within Japanese thought and language from the western ideas that surround religion and spirituality (2 different things) and flavour our culture. The notion of shugyo, which, poorly translated, means purification, calls up some pretty strange ideas within western concepts of religion, but in Japan it can refer to almost any practice which reduces the ego's constant involvement and interference.
Likewise there are reasons why some Samurai ( not so many as the romantic view would suggest) took up the practice of Zen, and why terms like mushin and fudoshin found their way into the vocabulary of the bushi. Certain mind states can assist in both combat and the avoidance of combat, and therefore the development of such states is as beneficial for the civilian as for the soldier. Is the development of these forms of consciousness a spiritual practice or a mental discipline? If we are to have successful dialogues we need to understand each other, our selves, and the context we are in. This is good advice for the warrior as well as the philosopher. I hope that doesn't come across too preachy, but it seems to me that we talk often about the same ideas without reaching much real clarity. Maybe it is the choice between "10,000 cuts mindlessly or 1000 with attention"?

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2006, 10:41 AM
Perhaps. I always liked looking at really good wood carvers or sculpters in clay work. Chip away, chip away, reveal what was already there...

I really don't know the answer. Still working to find the right questions...it may all come down to different methodologies to reach the same place. The particulars for someone else don't really seem to matter...they just add a different perspective to use from time to time.

Best,
Ron

Jorge Garcia
12-18-2006, 12:22 PM
It might be useful if people could clarify some of the terms we use to see if we are on the same page. I read people using the word "spiritual" as if it also means moral, ethical, or character improving. Perhaps part of the problem stems from the very differing ideas within Japanese thought and language from the western ideas that surround religion and spirituality (2 different things) and flavour our culture. The notion of shugyo, which, poorly translated, means purification, calls up some pretty strange ideas within western concepts of religion, but in Japan it can refer to almost any practice which reduces the ego's constant involvement and interference.
Likewise there are reasons why some Samurai ( not so many as the romantic view would suggest) took up the practice of Zen, and why terms like mushin and fudoshin found their way into the vocabulary of the bushi. Certain mind states can assist in both combat and the avoidance of combat, and therefore the development of such states is as beneficial for the civilian as for the soldier. Is the development of these forms of consciousness a spiritual practice or a mental discipline? If we are to have successful dialogues we need to understand each other, our selves, and the context we are in. This is good advice for the warrior as well as the philosopher. I hope that doesn't come across too preachy, but it seems to me that we talk often about the same ideas without reaching much real clarity. Maybe it is the choice between "10,000 cuts mindlessly or 1000 with attention"?

Alec,
You are actually now into a huge area. You have addressed the issue of distance (transcendence) and nearness (Immanence) in the epistemology of human learning and relations. In a nutshell, it is that we are separate ontological beings and we have different beginning points and we have "learned" and accepted different truths on our separate paths. We come to a forum assuming commonalities when in fact we are diverse and separate and we don't realize how far apart we are. Every sentence we type can create a world of obstacles and the truth is that with so many of us on a thread reading and typing, it is probably mathematically impossible for us to come to a common understanding. Even when we think we understand each other, we don't and even worse, we can't. We can touch common points and accidentally stumble into common points but in every word, if the myriads of people misperceive or understand differently, we are all set of into a whirlwind of unsolvable distance in understanding.

On an aside, this is the reason we have politics and the political system of discourse. It is an adversarial system which assumes and takes advantage of the misunderstanding of the masses and sets the meaning through propaganda to it's own advantage. That's pretty evil, isn't it? It says the opponent believes something and quotes him when that may not be the case at all and thus poisons the water of public opinion.

Back to the point, does that means this forum process is a waste of time? It could mean that. That's why the wise poster will only post once in a while looking for an opportunity to bring clarity to the discussion rather than to argue a point or an agenda.
Best wishes,
Jorge

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2006, 12:48 PM
Nice post Jorge...I may have just learned something!

Thanks,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
12-18-2006, 01:15 PM
Good post all (Jorge), Words, semantics, and frames of reference are all very important. We must all remember to seek to understand before being understood. I think this is one of the main points that we learn in aikido, to listen to the energy of others and respond appropriately.

I find competition one of those interesting points. Competition is always it seems, looked at with disdain by members of aikido dojos. In BJJ competition is a big part of the training.

In reality I find not much difference between the two styles functionally except that aikido people tend to wear their "holiness" on their shoulder sometimes, and BJJ people sometimes like to wear the fact that they are somewhat irreverent and tough on theirs.

In reality, in order for people to grow in both arts, they have to train in a cooperative spirit and strive for win/win in practice. If it were really about competition, then we would always try to win and all cost and no concern for your partners, who in true competition, must lose in order for us to win. You wouldn't have many partners or a dojo would be disfunctional.

To me it is all like going to church, just cause you go doesn't make you more spiritual or better than someone who choses to pursue their religous practices in a different manner than going every sunday.

We do have competition in aikido in some since of the definition. We have test and belts and we judge our actions/effectiveness against each other. A form of measurement upon which we use to critique ourselves and our development.

In BJJ we have competition for much the same way. It can be healthy if approached in the right manner.

In some ways I think that BJJ has the right approach to competition. I cannot win a match against someone if I am out of shape and don't practice. Competition serves to keep me honest.

In aikido, it does not work for me...(I am an infantryman you know!). I can slack off, train half assed, hide behind the ritual and hakama, and coast along out of shape and not really growing. I can come in and feel good about myself and delude myself about what I am doing. I may not get promoted, nor will I get the respect of my dojo peers, or instructors...

Conversely in aikido, if my practice becomes all about me...well then I sufffer too.

I think aikido in some ways does require a different sort of individual, one who is willing to enforce discipline within him/herself, and to be honest...you know...internally motivated.

This though, does not make competition a bad thing....just a different model for training.

That said, you can also slack and do the same things in BJJ as well...no difference.

I really think it is more about the semantics of the word competition than anything else.

statisticool
12-18-2006, 04:32 PM
Train for whatever reasons you want, but understand you are training a martial art, and if what you are learning is not martial, then you can not claim you are training a martial art any longer.


Competition is healthy.

Prostituting and trading martial arts for fame, glory, money, trophies, advertisements, selling violent role models to youth is not.

Unfortunately, the latter is what extreme competition in martial arts tends to lead to. It becomes entertainment and cheap viral videos more than a way of life and self defense to only be used in cases of extreme emergency and last resort.

xuzen
12-18-2006, 11:21 PM
Speaking about fighting...

My experience with Judo randori has taught and provided feedback to my body how to deal with physical altercation i.e., how to remain calm and compose and formulate winning strategues while my opponent is actively fighting back. I treasure such feedbacks. They are wonderful learning opportunities. Actually very zen like if I may add.

Boon.

Alec Corper
12-19-2006, 04:19 AM
In BJJ we have competition for much the same way. It can be healthy if approached in the right manner.

Kevin, in a certain sense I agree with you, it can keep you honest and sane, if you are deluded enough to think that you are a great fighter, or the best out there, then losing a few competitions is a good sanity check, BUT, you are a professional soldier, and I respect that, I have a few in my dojo, they tend to be far less competitive in practice, since they understand that the ultimate result of the competitive urge is mankind is often war and death. "Those who love peace prepare for war" This does not mean preparing the mind for battle but preparing the body, whilst freeing the mind to look for the best alternatives. I can't help but feel that there are too many armchair warriors out there who seem to have missed the essential point of Budo, how not to fight unless absolutely necessary, and then to win absolutely. Aikido adds the ethical imperative to win absolutely with minimum destructiveness, and thereby reduce the spiral of violence that begins in our competitive urges for territory, wealth, whatever we want that another has (including intangibles such as reputation or fame).
At a certain point, no matter how hard you train your fighting ability will diminish, so what's the point? Surely the inner dimension of Budo is what unites us, where the outer aspects may do exactly the opposite if we forget the meaning of our practice. Polishing your technique, even when your body is failing, when you cant really "win" anything anymore, that builds something invincible. That is where we can "win" without someone else having to lose.

DonMagee
12-19-2006, 06:53 AM
At a certain point, no matter how hard you train your fighting ability will diminish, so what's the point? Surely the inner dimension of Budo is what unites us, where the outer aspects may do exactly the opposite if we forget the meaning of our practice. Polishing your technique, even when your body is failing, when you cant really "win" anything anymore, that builds something invincible. That is where we can "win" without someone else having to lose.

This is an important point, fear of obsolescence and frailty seems common with lots of people in martial arts. At some point I am sure I will no longer be able to compete, but does that mean I can no longer spar? I know 60 year old men who still spar. They still test their techniques against resisting opponents. I know 40 and 50 year old men who still compete. They have their own divisions. I refuse to worry about what will happen when I am too old to beat younger stronger opponents. Why? Because I already beat faster, younger, stronger opponents. Should a time come where I can no longer train due to age or injury, I will sit back and reflect on my life and training and try to pass on what I know to the next generation.

People talk about being able to do aikido for your entire life as if it is unique to aikido. I can not think of any martial art that can not be trained for your entire life. It's not unique. It's like when I was told aikido helps a smaller man defend against a larger man. Every single martial art claims that as well.

I still hold to my belief that aikido has just as much competition as bjj, boxing, etc. It is just placed in different area's, denied, and masked. The difference between bjj and aikido is that bjj is about becoming an effective fighter. Aikido is not. This is where the fighting comes in. To be good at fighting, you have to fight (spar) a lot.

Its really starting to get funny to me to see so many aikidoka cling to the fact that they are a martial art that really works for self defense, and then talk about how it doesn't' matter if it works because they are training for a higher purpose. They are torn between their deep down desires to be Steven Segal and being able to defeat all attackers even at age 90, and the realistic portrait of what they really are and what they are learning. Of course in many cases that would be a dance of moving meditation, with movements that resemble martial techniques. Of course there are acceptions to every generalization. But this is my overall view of the majority of aikidoka I've been exposed to online.

If your goal is indeed using aikido techniques in a fight. I would submit that you owe it to yourself to test that you are actually learning to do so. To do otherwise is to spin your wheels with blind faith.

Alec Corper
12-19-2006, 07:13 AM
Been there, done that. You miss the point Don. I'm no longer interested in whether I can beat someone in a competition, some I could, ,some I couldn't. I've been in MA for 30 years, hard style and soft style. It's all the same, what are you in it for?
Furthermore it is a shame to form an opinion of "the majority of aikidoka you've been exposed to online" we don't do virtual aikido, we just flap our gums when we are in the mood. No disrespect intended, your opinions are fine, but they mean as much to me as mine do to you.

Jorge Garcia
12-19-2006, 07:56 AM
Its really starting to get funny to me to see so many aikidoka cling to the fact that they are a martial art that really works for self defense, and then talk about how it doesn't' matter if it works because they are training for a higher purpose. They are torn between their deep down desires to be Steven Segal and being able to defeat all attackers even at age 90, and the realistic portrait of what they really are and what they are learning. Of course in many cases that would be a dance of moving meditation, with movements that resemble martial techniques. Of course there are acceptions to every generalization. But this is my overall view of the majority of aikidoka I've been exposed to online.


When will this ever end? I am going to take another 4 weeks off from Aikiweb. When I come back, I hope that our local Aikido police aren't still charging and arresting people for the same crime.

Jorge

DonMagee
12-19-2006, 09:56 AM
When will this ever end? I am going to take another 4 weeks off from Aikiweb. When I come back, I hope that our local Aikido police aren't still charging and arresting people for the same crime.

Jorge


I'll tell ya what, if I get some free time this weekend. I will go collect quotes that I feel support my point from various forums, and show you a collection of quotes that supports my argument. There is even one in this very thread.


ow not to fight unless absolutely necessary, and then to win absolutely. Aikido adds the ethical imperative to win absolutely with minimum destructiveness, and thereby reduce the spiral of violence


Wining absolutely may mean wining a physical confrontation. This makes my point that people talk about being hard core and able to defeat any attacker, yet then argue they do not train for that.

I can problem find even more explicit quotes that are even more in favor of my position (this quote is obscure and could be taken a different way I'm sure).

Maybe the aikido police come after the community because the community keeps spewing the same crap. Its not a invalid argument if the argument is still true. If you brought up fighting on the ground was a bad idea, I would agree with you, rather then say "Why do all you bjj police keep picking on me!". Why? Because it's true.

A big part of my point is that life is competition. You might not like it, you might not even want to believe it. You might want to believe you are above it. But sadly, it is true. If there was not conflict in aikido (and thus competition) there wouldn't be so much politics and drama. Each org is competing to make it's own place in the world and secure it's student base. It's hypocritical to say there is no competition in aikido and to look down on competition and dismiss it. I simply see a large fear of losing. People who are afraid to set their ego aside and risk that they just might not be the invincible warrior they wish to be, and learn a thing or two about conflict and resistance.

I've spent a lot of time on aikiweb convinced there is something I am missing from my training. I've tried to seek it out with conversation about training methods and theory's. Each time however, I simply because more convinced that my viewpoint is the correct one. So many people in aikido seem to make excuses to why they can't do things, rather then explore and understand them. When pressed for reasons why they can not perform their art against someone trying to stop them, they will say things like:

"Aikido was designed to deal with ancient battlefields" - This is an attempt to show how superior it is to other martial arts, because it can deal with swords, but fists are somehow outside of this realm, so they can't deal with a sparing match.

"Aikido is designed for multiple opponents, we can not deal with a sparing match, because we do not try to win, simply to escape." - I am good enough to take on 5 guys at once and walk away undamaged, yet I can not handle a single person in a friendly sparing match.

"Techniques in aikido are too dangerous to spar. I train for self defense. I would main/kill/etc" - I have no self control or technique, thus I am forced to rely on eye pokes, fish hooks, and biting. Further more, I have no concept as to the philosophy of aikido. I believe it's all about killing people. I wish I was Segal.

"O Sensei banned competition" - I do not understand the difference between competition and sparing. Or maybe I do and I'm just afraid of not being invincible.

"Aikido is not about fighting, however, what we train will protect you on the street." - I know what I am learning will not work against someone who wants to hurt me, but I have to tell myself something because I can not accept I am training in a religion, not a martial art.

Again, these are generalizations. Not every aikidoka is like this. I know a few who cross train, are ok with sparing, and a few that would beat me down. Although I have to wonder if they could beat me down even without aikido.

I'm sorry if I'm offensive. But it is important to remember I'm not just some BJJer trolling to make myself feel better. I actually enjoy aikido. I train on saturdays, and sometimes during the week. The difference however is I actually take these techniques I drill in kata, and I try to use them on the mat against resistant attackers. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work. But I don't think I'll become invincible, and I most defiantly do not think I have ever lost anything. Being beat in a sparing match is not losing, its learning.

I look real good in kata. I look real good in non resistant drills. But that has no bearing on if I can actually perform my art. That shows up in the sparing, and I don't look real good there.

I guess all I'm saying is far too many people talk about how aikido is not ment for fighting, then in the same breath talk about how good it is for fighting. You can't have it both ways. You are either naturally good at fighting, you spar and you become better at fighting, or you suck at fighting.

happysod
12-19-2006, 12:25 PM
... I would submit that you owe it to yourself to test that you are actually learning to do so. He's right you know, just last night I beat myself up in the mirror and it was a very important discovery.

Sorry Don, couldn't resist. Totally understand your frustration with the replies you're receiving, but I also understand the reason behind the rather schizo nature of the replies - it's because the answer changes all the bloody time (notice smug ducking of question in the usual passive -aggressive manner).

If you asked me at any single point in my training what I expect out of my aikido, it would change. Initially, yes it was all about the martial and the "ooh, doesn't it hurt a lot when you do that", skipped quickly through the "aikido is a means to the next nirvana" (too much a sceptic for this one) and happily floundering in the "will I ever get this damn thing right" stage. The only common threads are fun and (wait for it), yes competition.

I agree with you, there is competition in aikido, whether external (shodo-thugs etc al) or internal (this time I'm going to get the timing right), certainly there was and still is for me.

However, not everyone follows this route and for some there is no competition as they are truely searching to work with what is there and the outcome is almost superfluous. That's the bit I'd like to get to, but already know I'll not reach it as I'm an impatient little sod and like outcomes where I can feel good about myself.

So, to go through your last missive:
resistance: agree, it's needed at some point in your training
sparring: yep, don't do enough of it as I'm a born again coward, but certainly see nothing wrong with it

Just this last bit I have a bit of bother with...you spar and you become better at fighting, or you suck at fighting. I think you'll become better at fighting quicker if you spar, but I'm not of the "all kata is useless" school of thought and bad sparring can be detrimental.

Anyway, rambled enough, I'll shuffle back to my den and promise not to bother aikiweb for a while again.

Kevin Leavitt
12-19-2006, 12:45 PM
Interesting points, thanks for the comments Alec.

I really think again the word competition is a manner of semantics. I would tend not to use the phrase that life is competition in the sense that Don does, because to me it means a win/lose relationship with life.

To me to would be very sad view life as a competition and end the end I lose.

Alec discusses the fact that we age and our skills diminish. I am reminded of that daily!

Don brings up the fact that in BJJ their are age groups etc...so that recognizes all that etc.

Being in the military, combat arms in general, I am constantly reminded that I am aging. 41 years old is getting up there to be able to do what a 20 year old Infantrymen can do!

I have been lucky, I am realtively healthy other than arthritis and degenerative disc disease that has yet to cause me any major problems. I do watch my peers struggle as we have to admit slowly that we can no longer do the 50 or 60 miles a week that we used to. I can no longer to all the push ups I used to due to rotator issues. I have to slow down and take it easier and train smarter than I used to.

That said, I still am able to do much of what I could 20 years ago. I am the leader of our combatives program, I have 20 year olds that can smoke me, but they still consider me a leader. Why, because I am out there everyday, using my rank, influence, and still setting the example instead of making excuses. I am there for them to train with, I help them, and guide them....I am a leader.

I tend to view life not so much as competition, but in the life is suffering model of buddhism. We can eliminate that suffering through education, knowledge and general awareness. Budo in general has helped me, and hopefully will help me age gracefully.

It is quite possible that I will not be able to do Martial Arts when I am 80 years old like I do today. Someone in a wheel chair might not be able to do martial arts exactly the way we all train in the norm. All that is irrelevant though as to me, it is all about happiness and acheiving it in some way.

I think that O'Sensei understood this. he was also fortunate enough to maintain his health enough to train up until his death.

For me, it is important to be able to understand how to fight along a broad spectrum of rules etc. That is why I study NHB, BJJ, and Aikido. I feel fortunate enough to have the time, health and physical ability to be able to do this.

However, coveting this stuff to the point that we deem it the most important thing in life is not unlike lusting after a supermodel, an expensive car, or any other possession. In the end the supermodel ages, the car rust, or we run out of the ability to support both of them...and must "let go".

I think whatever martial practice you do....we must keep this in mind. As we age, we will change and we have to evolve. Our practice certainly won't be what it is today. The important part is to enjoy the relationships, celebrate the small victories both private and public that we have, and simply enjoy the journey.

Oh well...enough rambling for the day!

CNYMike
12-19-2006, 06:45 PM
In reality I find not much difference between the two styles functionally except that aikido people tend to wear their "holiness" on their shoulder sometimes, and BJJ people sometimes like to wear the fact that they are somewhat irreverent and tough on theirs.

In reality, in order for people to grow in both arts, they have to train in a cooperative spirit and strive for win/win in practice. If it were really about competition, then we would always try to win and all cost and no concern for your partners, who in true competition, must lose in order for us to win. You wouldn't have many partners or a dojo would be disfunctional.

A couple of years ago, my Kali instructor got us started on what he calls "practice sparring," the idea being to learn how to spar at a lower intensity so that you can have presence of mind when you go full out and be aware of what you're doing while you're doing it. He said he borrowed this idea from Thai Boxers, and that grapplers also roll "for position." He wanted us (he had the whole class doing it at once) star just with punches at 25% intensity, and predicted that no one would be able to put their ego and pride aside and do it without trying to win.

We started doing it, and I thought I was doing what he wanted. Then he called at me from across the room: "You're trying to win, sir!"

"I am?" I asked, surprised.

"Yes, you are."

The moral of the story is that yes, you can spar without "competing" -- trying to win at all costs -- and still get somewhere. But it is hard to learn how to do that; I thought I had it in the bag and didn't!

Jorge Garcia
12-19-2006, 11:55 PM
I'll tell ya what, if I get some free time this weekend. I will go collect quotes that I feel support my point from various forums, and show you a collection of quotes that supports my argument. There is even one in this very thread.



Wining absolutely may mean wining a physical confrontation. This makes my point that people talk about being hard core and able to defeat any attacker, yet then argue they do not train for that.

I can problem find even more explicit quotes that are even more in favor of my position (this quote is obscure and could be taken a different way I'm sure).

Maybe the aikido police come after the community because the community keeps spewing the same crap. Its not a invalid argument if the argument is still true. If you brought up fighting on the ground was a bad idea, I would agree with you, rather then say "Why do all you bjj police keep picking on me!". Why? Because it's true.

A big part of my point is that life is competition. You might not like it, you might not even want to believe it. You might want to believe you are above it. But sadly, it is true. If there was not conflict in aikido (and thus competition) there wouldn't be so much politics and drama. Each org is competing to make it's own place in the world and secure it's student base. It's hypocritical to say there is no competition in aikido and to look down on competition and dismiss it. I simply see a large fear of losing. People who are afraid to set their ego aside and risk that they just might not be the invincible warrior they wish to be, and learn a thing or two about conflict and resistance.

I've spent a lot of time on aikiweb convinced there is something I am missing from my training. I've tried to seek it out with conversation about training methods and theory's. Each time however, I simply because more convinced that my viewpoint is the correct one. So many people in aikido seem to make excuses to why they can't do things, rather then explore and understand them. When pressed for reasons why they can not perform their art against someone trying to stop them, they will say things like:

"Aikido was designed to deal with ancient battlefields" - This is an attempt to show how superior it is to other martial arts, because it can deal with swords, but fists are somehow outside of this realm, so they can't deal with a sparing match.

"Aikido is designed for multiple opponents, we can not deal with a sparing match, because we do not try to win, simply to escape." - I am good enough to take on 5 guys at once and walk away undamaged, yet I can not handle a single person in a friendly sparing match.

"Techniques in aikido are too dangerous to spar. I train for self defense. I would main/kill/etc" - I have no self control or technique, thus I am forced to rely on eye pokes, fish hooks, and biting. Further more, I have no concept as to the philosophy of aikido. I believe it's all about killing people. I wish I was Segal.

"O Sensei banned competition" - I do not understand the difference between competition and sparing. Or maybe I do and I'm just afraid of not being invincible.

"Aikido is not about fighting, however, what we train will protect you on the street." - I know what I am learning will not work against someone who wants to hurt me, but I have to tell myself something because I can not accept I am training in a religion, not a martial art.

Again, these are generalizations. Not every aikidoka is like this. I know a few who cross train, are ok with sparing, and a few that would beat me down. Although I have to wonder if they could beat me down even without aikido.

I'm sorry if I'm offensive. But it is important to remember I'm not just some BJJer trolling to make myself feel better. I actually enjoy aikido. I train on saturdays, and sometimes during the week. The difference however is I actually take these techniques I drill in kata, and I try to use them on the mat against resistant attackers. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't work. But I don't think I'll become invincible, and I most defiantly do not think I have ever lost anything. Being beat in a sparing match is not losing, its learning.

I look real good in kata. I look real good in non resistant drills. But that has no bearing on if I can actually perform my art. That shows up in the sparing, and I don't look real good there.

I guess all I'm saying is far too many people talk about how aikido is not ment for fighting, then in the same breath talk about how good it is for fighting. You can't have it both ways. You are either naturally good at fighting, you spar and you become better at fighting, or you suck at fighting.

But why do you even care Don? Isn't life too short to make it your mission to straighten out the Aikido community? The BJJ group has enough problems that you could spend the rest of your life straightening them out. We appreciate your help over here but don't you think it's a waste of your time? I know your arguments haven't done anything to my position. You could be using your time so much more productively.
Jorge

SeiserL
12-20-2006, 07:34 AM
A couple of years ago, my Kali instructor got us started on what he calls "practice sparring," the idea being to learn how to spar at a lower intensity so that you can have presence of mind when you go full out and be aware of what you're doing while you're doing it.
Greetings from a fellow rattan-burner.

Yes, when I studied with the late Ted Lucaylucay we did the light sparring and then increased the speed/intensity with the rhythm of the drums.

I would agree/support that it is a good idea. We did some in Tenshinkai to train entering and blending, any attack and any defense (jiyu-waza) against multiple uke (randori). A great practice drill.

DonMagee
12-20-2006, 09:58 AM
But why do you even care Don? Isn't life too short to make it your mission to straighten out the Aikido community? The BJJ group has enough problems that you could spend the rest of your life straightening them out. We appreciate your help over here but don't you think it's a waste of your time? I know your arguments haven't done anything to my position. You could be using your time so much more productively.
Jorge

I don't care about changing the minds of existing aikidoka. I do care about preventing people who are interested in getting into the martial arts from reading bullcrap. My goal is to not change anyone, I've said that a million times. People who want to be mystical and untouchable will find a way. I want to prevent misinformation from being spread as fact.

Plus, I'm trying to waste time at work.

I have the same arguments with bjj guys, TKD guys, etc. I do not tolerate misinformation. If a bjj guy said the guard was the best place to be on the street, I would call him an idiot.

I simply this fear of losing is unhealthy, this belief you can become untouchable is also unhealthy. Do martial arts for health, or fitness, or zen, or religion or whatever. But when people claim you can become martially effective without sparing, or try to claim sparing is competition, or try to claim competition is bad. I'm going to call them out on it.

I would hope that if I am wrong that someone will call me out on it. Not to change my mind (although it has happened!), but rather to prevent me from spreading misinformation to people looking to get into martial arts.

I do not believe my views are uneducated either. I have trained in TKD, krav maga, a quick stint of a few weeks in hopkido, aikido, judo, bjj, boxing, and even done mma sparing. I've competed in judo and bjj. With ongoing training in aikido, bjj, judo, and sometimes boxing. With a focus on MMA and bjj competition.

I like the movements of aikido, I see benefit to them. I just see the training methods as inefficient and outdated. I do not see the training methods teaching you how to apply these techniques in situation outside the compliance of the dojo.

Do I care if you suddenly all started MMA sparing tomarrow? Not really at all. What I care about is that new kid, looking to get into martial arts, finding this forum, reading he can become some kind of invincible image he has in his head, getting sucked into believing it and if really unlucky, finding out the hard way he isn't invincible. Maybe he will read what I'm saying, and it will make sense, and he will train for other reasons then being able to fight, or he will find a school with training methods that really do teach you to fight.

At the very least I want that kid to question everything, and make sure nobody is bull craping him on anything. If he questions and tests the techniques with resistance, he can avoid 90% of the bullshido out there in the world. It doesn't matter if it's ATA TKD, No touch knock out Ki masters, or too deadly to fight ninjas.

But Jorge, why do you care so much as to read my posts and attempt to reason with me?

Mark Freeman
12-20-2006, 10:08 AM
I want to prevent misinformation from being spread as fact.


On the internet? boy you've got a fair competition on your hands there Don! ;)

regardsm

mark

Ron Tisdale
12-20-2006, 10:15 AM
Actually, I both agree and disagree with Don. I think his "mission" is a good one...but I think he also misses some points about the budo mindset. But this area can be so personal...there is no need for me to convert him or for him to convert me. Different strokes covers it for me.

I mean, come on...to some extent he is right...life is a competition. For shelter, for resources, for food. Our technology often allows us to insulate ourselves from that reality. I guess as long as we are aware of it, that's ok. And the politics in aikido are often all about competition. How many paying students can you get in the door.

But I do believe that certain aspects of aikido go beyond that. But you have to work for it...just like anything else. And just because the waza works today, in the dojo, with a compliant partner, does not mean it will work on the way home. So no, I do not believe aikido will ever (no matter how good I get) will make me invinsible to an attacker. And neither will anything else.

But on the other hand, I will always say that aikido does have self-defense applications. Your choice whether you taylor your training regimen around those applications or not.

So I guess we just keep training...each in his or her own way.

Best,
Ron

DonMagee
12-20-2006, 12:00 PM
Actually, I both agree and disagree with Don. I think his "mission" is a good one...but I think he also misses some points about the budo mindset. But this area can be so personal...there is no need for me to convert him or for him to convert me. Different strokes covers it for me.

I mean, come on...to some extent he is right...life is a competition. For shelter, for resources, for food. Our technology often allows us to insulate ourselves from that reality. I guess as long as we are aware of it, that's ok. And the politics in aikido are often all about competition. How many paying students can you get in the door.

But I do believe that certain aspects of aikido go beyond that. But you have to work for it...just like anything else. And just because the waza works today, in the dojo, with a compliant partner, does not mean it will work on the way home. So no, I do not believe aikido will ever (no matter how good I get) will make me invinsible to an attacker. And neither will anything else.

But on the other hand, I will always say that aikido does have self-defense applications. Your choice whether you taylor your training regimen around those applications or not.

So I guess we just keep training...each in his or her own way.

Best,
Ron

You basically touched on all the things I'm talking about. It seems to me you have exaimined your training and understand why you do what you do.

That's really all I ask that people don't spread misinformation, and that they are realistic about what their training is giving them, and why they train.

Jorge Garcia
12-20-2006, 12:31 PM
But Jorge, why do you care so much as to read my posts and attempt to reason with me?

I don't care to read your posts. That's why I might respond to you from time to time. It's in the hope you might see the futility of your goal and give that up and maybe those kinds of posts will disappear. I'm hoping to help that same newbie to realize that your argument is really short sided. I don't think you'll ever accomplish anything you just said except for the wasting time at work. If you keep up at this, you'll become an expert at that! :D

I wish I could hope that you could be changed but I'm too smart to rationally expect that. Sounds to me like it will be quite a few years before we get a new perspective from you. Don, you're not God but that's a God size goal you have. The perceptions about martial arts that people have are astronomical in number but in this day and age of computer animation, movies, and technology, I only believe that they will get worse. People believe that some martial artists can float in the air and run on top of trees just like people a generation ago believed that baby could be raised by apes and learn to swing through trees! I have two dojos and every time someone walks through the door wanting to join, I am looking at one giant misperception. It would be absolutely futile of me to sit each one down and give them a quiz to see what they falsely believe and then try to disabuse them of their belief. I might as well go over to every kindergarten in town and start telling all the kids there is no Santa Claus.
What I do Don is try not to lie to people myself. I try to represent the art of Aikido as I understand the Founder and his son to have represented it to be. I try to study and learn so I can be honest when folks ask. My students can tell you that at the end of every class, I take two minutes to tell them what Aikido is, and what self defense is and what reality is. They will also tell you that I give them books on Japanese budo. I lead them in a book club and I do everything in my power to help them know that we aren't invincible and that there's no magic here. I pair up the women in our dojo with men and I tell the men to hold them hard so they can't move. I explain that is what it is really like when a strong man grabs you and a woman better understand that. I explain that our training is cooperative and doesn't teach fighting skills but uses martial techniques to train us to be better people through the struggle of being in the art.
None of that Don was because of your posts. That all came from me and if the tide of perception ever changes, it will be because people are looking for the truth and not because someone was trying to tell it to them. You might as well try to move the sands of the sea one at a time.
Like I said, you could be using your time much more productively. Wasted time will only be a tragedy in the end. People have to walk their own path and find their own truth in their own time and place.

Best wishes,
Jorge

DonMagee
12-20-2006, 01:32 PM
I don't care to read your posts. That's why I might respond to you from time to time. It's in the hope you might see the futility of your goal and give that up and maybe those kinds of posts will disappear. I'm hoping to help that same newbie to realize that your argument is really short sided. I don't think you'll ever accomplish anything you just said except for the wasting time at work. If you keep up at this, you'll become an expert at that! :D

I wish I could hope that you could be changed but I'm too smart to rationally expect that. Sounds to me like it will be quite a few years before we get a new perspective from you. Don, you're not God but that's a God size goal you have. The perceptions about martial arts that people have are astronomical in number but in this day and age of computer animation, movies, and technology, I only believe that they will get worse. People believe that some martial artists can float in the air and run on top of trees just like people a generation ago believed that baby could be raised by apes and learn to swing through trees! I have two dojos and every time someone walks through the door wanting to join, I am looking at one giant misperception. It would be absolutely futile of me to sit each one down and give them a quiz to see what they falsely believe and then try to disabuse them of their belief. I might as well go over to every kindergarten in town and start telling all the kids there is no Santa Claus.
What I do Don is try not to lie to people myself. I try to represent the art of Aikido as I understand the Founder and his son to have represented it to be. I try to study and learn so I can be honest when folks ask. My students can tell you that at the end of every class, I take two minutes to tell them what Aikido is, and what self defense is and what reality is. They will also tell you that I give them books on Japanese budo. I lead them in a book club and I do everything in my power to help them know that we aren't invincible and that there's no magic here. I pair up the women in our dojo with men and I tell the men to hold them hard so they can't move. I explain that is what it is really like when a strong man grabs you and a woman better understand that. I explain that our training is cooperative and doesn't teach fighting skills but uses martial techniques to train us to be better people through the struggle of being in the art.
None of that Don was because of your posts. That all came from me and if the tide of perception ever changes, it will be because people are looking for the truth and not because someone was trying to tell it to them. You might as well try to move the sands of the sea one at a time.
Like I said, you could be using your time much more productively. Wasted time will only be a tragedy in the end. People have to walk their own path and find their own truth in their own time and place.

Best wishes,
Jorge

So what you are saying is posting on the internet is a waste of time. Because talking about what we all agree on is a waste of time, even more so then arguing the merits of what we do not agree on. At least by talking about what we do not agree on we can better understand why we believe what we believe. Talking about what we all already agree on is just a back patting, look how awesome we are conversation. It does nothing.

I do not tell people what to believe. I tell people what I believe. I want them to test it and find out if it is true or not.

Will my opinions change? I hope so. As I test and learn I should grow and change to deal wtih this new info. But I think the core of my beliefs, will always stay the same.

My argument is simple. Test your theories, question any beliefs, understand why you believe what you do, be skeptical, and seek truth.

As for perceptions, if we never try to change them, people will always have them. I'm sick of people telling me martial arts are money scams, or hearing stories about people getting sucked into marital cults. I'm sick of youtube video's with ninja ki masters who knock out students across rooms, then get knocked out by MMA amature fighters. "I could of stopped him and saved a horrible butt kicking, but I didn't want to hurt him.".

So sure, I could go find a huge like minded forum of people and we could all have conversations like this:

(imagine a cartman voice)
Poster 1) "Isn't aliveness awesome? I can't believe how great it's made my training, and how much I've learned."
Poster 2) "yea, look at all those losers that don't train with aliveness, we are so much better you guys."
Poster 3) "I know arn't we all great? I think we are awesome!"
Poster 1) "Man, we are so cool, aliveness is the best thing ever!"

Or, we could have productive conversations that explore our ideas and allow us to understand and take a look back at our beliefs. I look back at my posts in the past on bullshido about ki and aikido, and I can't believe I said and believed the things I believed. It was blind faith. However, I am not embarrassed by them. It was part of my learning process, and part of me discovering and understanding my beliefs. Ultimately it lead to a revision of my beliefs though testing, skepticism, questioning, and logic.

Had I not had those conversations, and instead found a like minded forum where I could talk all day about how ki will make me invincible like O sensei and how I would be a great fighter by perfecting my kata. I would still be under the illusion that I was getting what I wanted out of marital arts. I would have a false understanding of what I was actually doing, and I would one day teach the same falsehoods to my students. Instead the people at bullshido made logical arguments, called me a lot of bad names, and dared me to question and test what I was being asked to accept with blind faith. I did, I found answered that caused me to completely change my viewpoint, and realize that I could get what I wanted from martial arts. But I currently was not getting what I wanted. That is not to discredit aikido. The fault was purely mine, because I took what any man with a black belt around his waist said as the truth. I now know they simply have their beliefs, and it is my job to question those beliefs to fully understand them and see if they are something that I believe to be true. Not based on my preconceived notions or images of what martial arts is or should be, but by testing their notions, asking them to explain themselves, challenging their beliefs with my own, and finally seeing if they actually hold any water.

I walk on to any mat with the expectation of learning something valuable. I post on forums with the same expectation.

Jorge Garcia
12-20-2006, 02:09 PM
Like I said, you have your way. It's your path and we don't have a reasonable expectation of a major new shift in your thinking. Of course, I wasn't aiming at that but rather trying to get you to rethink using this forum as a sounding board for your beliefs (which have developed to the present point). That in itself is a problem because we always think we are right and if you prove to be wrong again, then a lot of this time will have been wasted. That's because you don't know what you don't know.
Is talking on a forum like this a waste of time? I think that depends on what the purpose is and what personal rules you are following. I try not to make it a waste of time for myself by posting when I think someone can be helped. In this case, I am posting for others reading rather than for you since you are already set in your current ideas and most probably won't change by anything I say but only through your own experimentation. It takes a really wise person to recognize real truth when he or she sees it and crusaders with an agenda that is preset usually aren't in that group.
You're a good guy and seem to have good intentions so I am willing to grant that you can't cause too much harm. I am glad to see though,that some of the others are moderating their tone somewhat recently. That was unexpected and I think really good for this forum.
We'll talk again someday soon I'm sure.
Jorge

DonMagee
12-20-2006, 02:31 PM
I'm curious as to my intentions and agenda? What do you feel they are?

Do you not use this forum as a sounding board for you own personal beliefs? I mean, you have to give an opinion, I would think everyone does this, it's impossible to tell anyone anything without an opinion unless you are quoting undisputed facts (is there such a thing in martial arts?)

I think what you are really saying is that my opinion doesn't match the generalized ideology of aikido, therefor I should not be giving it.

I'm also curious as to what harm I could cause? I guess I could waste some bandwidth, but generally I don't butt into conversations that are not about combat effectiveness. And if your stances are truly right, I won't convince you to change or make you doubt your own training. At best I will solidify your own beliefs by examining mine.

I would state any intelligent, non-flame argument, should only help you understand your own viewpoint better.

Anyways, I'm off topic enough, so I will try to answer only things related to this post rather then my personal viewpoints on what is good for the forum and why I post. If you would like to discuss it further, I'd be happy to in another post or via email.

Jorge Garcia
12-20-2006, 03:13 PM
Don,
Concerning what you wrote,

This is an agenda, " ...conversations that are... about combat effectiveness."

This would not be running with an agenda -" to give an opinion"

I'm also curious as to what harm I could cause? - Having the unintended effect of putting Aikido as a budo in a status of lesser importance than combat effectiveness. Placing an unnecessary value in the minds of the newbie of so called combat effectiveness (which I believe is a myth except for a warrior that has killed many people using the same methods he trained with.)

"I think what you are really saying is that my opinion doesn't match the generalized ideology of aikido, therefor I should not be giving it." - Your opinion is fine and can be given. I just don't like your opinion.

"I would state any intelligent, non-flame argument, should only help you understand your own viewpoint better". - I'm on my own path as well and think for myself.

I'm out of this one now too.

Best wishes,
Jorge

Kevin Leavitt
12-21-2006, 08:53 AM
Don Magee wrote:

Or, we could have productive conversations that explore our ideas and allow us to understand and take a look back at our beliefs. I look back at my posts in the past on bullshido about ki and aikido, and I can't believe I said and believed the things I believed. It was blind faith. However, I am not embarrassed by them. It was part of my learning process, and part of me discovering and understanding my beliefs. Ultimately it lead to a revision of my beliefs though testing, skepticism, questioning, and logic.


I too, have had this same experience over the years of posting here and on the original aiki listserv. Today I try and post things not so much about my opinions on how the world should work, but based on what my own experiences have been with certain things.

If I have found something to have not work for me, then I will say, "I have never been able to use nikkyo in a real fight". That is much different than saying that "AIkido does not work in a real fight, or nikkyo will not work for real".

I have also found that saying..."Gee, I was wrong" a good thing when someone points out my inconsistency or erroneous post. (Not implying that Don has said anything wrong...just relaying my experiences as he made me think about all this).

I also agree with your points concerning the Cartman dialogue above.

Kevin Leavitt
12-21-2006, 09:09 AM
Don wrote:

have the same arguments with bjj guys, TKD guys, etc. I do not tolerate misinformation. If a bjj guy said the guard was the best place to be on the street, I would call him an idiot.

I simply this fear of losing is unhealthy, this belief you can become untouchable is also unhealthy. Do martial arts for health, or fitness, or zen, or religion or whatever. But when people claim you can become martially effective without sparing, or try to claim sparing is competition, or try to claim competition is bad. I'm going to call them out on it

I too agree with these comments, and would do the same, as my experiences have also proven this to be the case. I got my ass handed to me from my current training partner at which time I had 15 years of martial arts experience and he had 3 months at the Army Combatives school.

He knows no japanese words (although now he knows kesa gatame as it is his preferred position in side control!), and I had to teach him how to tie his obi.

This was two years ago...and today we are equal in skill and ability in fighting. The difference is I can talk ad nausem about KI and kokyu and blending energy, and can even do tons of kata...he can't do any of that and would look like an idiot in an aikido dojo trying to do aikido.

but he can go toe to toe with me and our students on the mat in empty hand grappling.

What is the realitive value of all this?????

Nothing as he could careless about aikido, and aikido could care less about him.

the two issues are unrelated, unless you decide to bring aikido in to the issue of his world, then it becomes an issue and he would look at you with an honest and open mind, and say "show me how this works and why?"

If you demonstrated it to his satisfaction then cool...he would learn it, if not, then he'd politely tell you "sorry I ain't buying it".

Doesn't mean aikido doesn't work, or that he has debunked anything. You simply failed to demonstrate the practical application of your scenario.

He would not beat you up, or humilate you, or call you bullshido in anyway, frankly he doesn't have time for that, he'd simply dismiss it, and start working on something else.

I like this attitude.

I have also worked with him on various aikido exercises to show him the value of doing them, we do kokyu nage, kokyu tanden ho, and a few other exercises now when training to work on the energy, breath, and connection things that are important to mastering this stuff.

Luc X Saroufim
12-21-2006, 03:06 PM
i'd like to make a few points, one in which involves Don's argument of competition:

i can't believe no one has supported this yet. don't you guys remember the predator-prey model?

what would happen if the wolf loved the sheep? well, first of all, the wolves would starve to death.

without the wolf, the sheep overpopulate. now there's not enough food to go around, and the sheep........also starve to death!

so if the wolf loved its enemy, it would cease to exist as a species. and then the sheep die anyway.

or, the wolf can continue to eat the sheep, the "strong" sheep survive, and both species live on.

and i don't think it's ironic at all that O' Sensei, whose goal was to spread peace all over the world, started off as a ruthless warrior. it takes evil to know and combat evil.

my second point is regarding the schizophrenic answers when questioning Aikido's effectiveness as a combat art.

how come we never get such elaborate, shade-of-grey responses when questioning other arts? does anyone ever question the effectiveness of Tai Chi, another "spiritual" martial art?

i haven't been training very long, but i am starting to notice a trend in people's answers: Aikido is not as effective in combat as most other martial arts.

i don't care, because i see Aikido as a lifetime commitment for me: i very much love it. so i figure, one day i will become profficient enough to imagine using it in certain situations, and that's good enough for me. i'm no fighter anyway. the mental and spiritual enhancement is just a plus.

but i see it as my duty to give real-world advice on what Aikido is, and what it isn't. just because I love Aikido, doesn't mean everyone will.

Kevin Leavitt
12-21-2006, 04:04 PM
Aikido is not the answer to everything in life. Nor is it the answer to all things considered martially effective. It is good at what it was designed to do, meet the founders goals.

What we as practictioner do is try and make it be what we want it to be, instead of the other way around.

I don't agree necessarily (or maybe I am not completely understanding) your wolf/sheep analogy.

Yes there is a balance in life that must be maintained. I understand that, but I don't think that necessarily applies to all things, especially when you consider peace and violence.

Without war there would be an imbalance as well. We would have a higher population because less people would die. Also same with looking for cures for cancer and aids etc. Why bother doing it since it serves the good to keep the population down?

It is one thing to be an animal and kill for food within the food chain and natural order of life. Another to comitt acts of violence against someone or something when you don't it becomes unecessary to do so.

I do not doubt that a big part of O'sensei's growth was due in part to the fact that he experienced violence and evil. However, I don't think it is a pre-requsite for everyone to have to experience these things to reach the same evolvement.

Buddha basically said this as well concerning the practice of buddhism. It is not important for one to be an asetic and meditate for years to acheive enlightment.

Another example is learning to kill with a weapon. I do not have to be shot or shoot someone to understand how to do this, or to know that it will kill me or the person I shoot. I can practice with it and learn to become proficient through modeling.

Martial arts I believe works the same way. We can model and practice skills that allow use to approximate the conditions, experiencing them in a safe and healthy way to better understand the dynamics of the mind, body, spirit link.

The predator/prey model is a win/win model when it is applied to natural order or selection. It is a win/lose model, I believe when applied toward human beings and human society.

It is still possible to love your enemy and kill him at the same time. It can be done in a manner that is compassionate and in which a frame of mind is in place that allows one to heal.

There are several meditations in which buddhist will kill and animal, but do so in a compassionate manner thanking him the animal for giving his life for nourishment.

The big core issue is when we kill without mindfulness, and in a manner that is detached.

I could be very wrong here, and correct me if I am......

I think a big part of the issue with aikido and that you don't see it so much in tai chi and other spiritual type MAs is that aikido directly considers the impact of reconciling conflict within you and with your relationship to the world a little more directly.

Tai Chi I think tends to be more focused on the internal aspects of you and works more from the inside out, you consider only yourself at first, then the world.

I think aikido gets confusing sometimes for people because it is so "in your face" in practice and we project that practice into a physical reality that really is not there.

Or something like that...I am not a tai chi expert or practicioner so I may be wrong.

Luc X Saroufim
12-22-2006, 10:14 AM
even when not talking about the waza, many martial arts and Aikido have many similarities indeed: kokyo power, projecting through the hara, loving yourself and your enemy, mimmicking nature, similarities to yoga. Aikido is not the only art that ends in "do."

still, i have never seen any art come close to getting bashed as much as Aikido does. i think it stems from the fact that it is very hard to defend yourself without using strikes, and without using muscle. it is a long term commitment indeed. i'm up for it, but the ones that aren't end up bashing the art.

on top of that, Aikido can get extremely complicated. blocking a punch is straightforward, but gliding your hand down his arm while spinning around him takes years of refinement, and it's arguably not as effective in the real world. which do you think most people prefer in a self defense situation?

back to the competition argument: in my opinion, if you're not competing against yourself and others, then do everyone a favour and leave the dojo.

i see it as my duty to make sure i can be on par with others so that i can be a good uke for them. a bad uke doesn't teach the nage anything, and the nage never improves.

i went through a two hour class with one very non-compliant uke and it's a class i don't care to remember. if it was with a knowledgeable uke, it would have probably been the best class of my life.

competition keeps us motivated and helps us improve. competition is win/win, as long as you're willing to get off your butt.

Jorge Garcia
12-22-2006, 11:56 AM
back to the competition argument: in my opinion, if you're not competing against yourself and others, then do everyone a favor and leave the dojo.

Gladly! O' Sensei, myself and all who believe what he taught will leave immediately. What are you going to call your new art?

Jorge

Kevin Leavitt
12-22-2006, 12:30 PM
Luc Wrote:

still, i have never seen any art come close to getting bashed as much as Aikido does. i think it stems from the fact that it is very hard to defend yourself without using strikes, and without using muscle. it is a long term commitment indeed. i'm up for it, but the ones that aren't end up bashing the art.


Aikido does not have strikes??? The whole basis of the dynamic is the intent and ability to use atemi. The skill come in play of being able to control the use or non-use of atemi in theory. The best aikidoka I know have a very, very strong and foreboding posture.

I also think many bash the art because the newbs out there go out and try to do things that they simply do not understand. Kinda like spending an hour on a crash course on Quantum physics and then trying to apply what you learned to your buddies...probably won't be successful at winning friends and influencing people.

I think a big part of the issue is that aikido is a training methodology and not necessarily designed to be applied literally.

Luc X Saroufim
12-22-2006, 01:15 PM
Gladly! O' Sensei, myself and all who believe what he taught will leave immediately. What are you going to call your new art?

Jorge

Compete-o :D

Aikido does not have strikes??? The whole basis of the dynamic is the intent and ability to use atemi. The skill come in play of being able to control the use or non-use of atemi in theory. The best aikidoka I know have a very, very strong and foreboding posture.


i guess this proves that i'm still trying to apply the techniques literally. that is, i've never been told to punch or kick someone in order to defend myself, therefore i assume there are no strikes.

Jorge Garcia
12-22-2006, 01:19 PM
Compete-o :D



i guess this proves that i'm still trying to apply the techniques literally. that is, i've never been told to punch or kick someone in order to defend myself, therefore i assume there are no strikes.


It sounds very appropriate! Please do!

Jorge Garcia
12-22-2006, 01:32 PM
I think a big part of the issue is that aikido is a training methodology and not necessarily designed to be applied literally.

Kevin. Now I think you hit the nail right on the head! Aikido is a training methodology using certain principles that train the body in a certain way. My teacher is a principle based teacher and all his Aikido is that way. He has developed special training exercises with weapons and without that mimic the techniques but demonstrate the principle. When I first saw him do randori in 1998, I was really puzzled because he didn't do any techniques or anything that resembled Aikido. He entered and would throw five punches, two kicks and move on. He would show a technique and at the final demo of the technique, he would just do an entry and strike the side or the head and say, "That's the same thing". Last year, he did a demo, that we taped and if you look at it and aren't told the art, I don't think it could be identified necessarily as Aikido., I asked him why he didn't do techniques in the demo. He responded, "Because Aikido has no form". I asked, then what is the waza we practice in class? He said, "That's for you to figure out!"
best,
Jorge

Kevin Leavitt
12-22-2006, 01:50 PM
Yes, I agree, I think the strength of aikido is that the methodology is designed to teach principles. Really kinda like martial theory if you may.

Because of this, it leaves much open to interpretation and exploration of the principles.

I think it will take a lifetime of study to explore the principles.

Sort of like going to grad school and getting a degree in economics and then applying what you learned literally and then wondering why your business is in the red when by all accounts based on theory you should be making money!

Jorge Garcia
12-22-2006, 01:59 PM
Yes, I agree, I think the strength of aikido is that the methodology is designed to teach principles. Really kinda like martial theory if you may.

Because of this, it leaves much open to interpretation and exploration of the principles.

I think it will take a lifetime of study to explore the principles.

Sort of like going to grad school and getting a degree in economics and then applying what you learned literally and then wondering why your business is in the red when by all accounts based on theory you should be making money!

In that respect, I understand how the principles can be transposed into other martial arts and even BJJ! I have no problem with that.The philosophy of the art though is what makes it Aikido to me but the physical principles can be found in other arts although maybe not 100 percent the same way used as in Aikido.

Jorge

Kevin Leavitt
12-22-2006, 02:05 PM
Jorge wrote:

In that respect, I understand how the principles can be transposed into other martial arts and even BJJ! I have no problem with that.The philosophy of the art though is what makes it Aikido to me but the physical principles can be found in other arts although maybe not 100 percent the same way used as in Aikido.


I agree.

The key I think is much along the lines of what Don says, just don't be deluded in to thinking you know something that you don't. It is quite possible to be very skilled and proficient in aikido, perform, and teach it competently, understand the principles, philosophy, and still not be able to apply it in reality (whatever that may be).

I draw a parallel to the MBA professor that can lecture all day long about economic theory and can outline ad nausem how to make a million dollars, yet ask him to actually go do it, and he simply cannot do it for real.

No problem with it, as long as we don't delude ourselves in thinking that we are something that we are not!

The world needs good teachers.

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-22-2006, 07:31 PM
Kevin, that's eloquently put. Everytime I think of how poorly I perform (in a situation where I expected better) I remember that it works both way. There are those practitioners that are brilliant and yet make poor teachers (and that's just dividing into two segments). We can always find something that we are good at and work at it, accepting that we are not good at a host of other things while doing our best to improve those areas.