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AikiWeb System
01-12-2003, 01:01 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of January 12, 2003:

Is weapons training necessary to understand aikido?

I don't do aikido
I haven't done any aikido weapons training
Yes
No


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=148).

Ta Kung
01-12-2003, 05:16 AM
I voted no. I don't think it's necessary, but then again, (in my style) it's a huge part of Aikido so without it are you stil doing Aikido or just a particular part of Aikido? Isn't Aikido the whole of taijutsu AND bukiwaza? Weapons training might be in there just to help your taijtsu, but I feel there is something more to it, than just that.

It's sort of like beeing able to drive a car superfast and supergood, but not beeing able to go in reverse. You could win every race, but you'd suck at parking when going to the mall... Are you stil a good driver? Would people think you were?

/Patrik

Duarh
01-12-2003, 08:04 AM
The old adage says that there are many paths to the truth, and I am inclined to agree. Therefore, my answer is 'no'. We do practice weapons at our dojo, although you can start as late as 5th kyu, but they are an aid, not the supremely important part of our training.

I might be very badly mistaken since I know next to nothing about the topic, but aren't here schools that don't practice weapons at all? Yoshinkan? And don't the folks in those schools do pretty good aikido now and then? ;)

JO
01-12-2003, 08:13 AM
I answered no, for the same reasons as those above. We train every week with weapons at our dojo. I find that weapons training adds an interesting and useful dimension to the art but is not necessary in understanding it.

As for the old debate on the importance of the weapons training in understanding the taijitsu, I am more comfortable with the empty handed training than with the weapons training and find that my taijitsu helps me improve my weapons training more than the reverse.

Edward
01-12-2003, 08:33 AM
I join my voice to the others who voted no. But weapons training is so much fun, and breaks the monotony of taijutsu.

mike lee
01-12-2003, 11:38 AM
Absolutely yes. Weapons training is an integral part of aikido training. That's why we learn it. Weapons teach us improved hand-feet-center coordination that is actually the first step to truly understanding what aikido is all about.

Defensively, it teaches to adjust our distance and to be able to cover greater distances, ultimately making unarmed waza easier.

There are people who believe that they can "understand aikido" simply by having the art described to them. Of course, we know that they don't have anywhere near a true understanding of the art.

It's also students and teachers who lack sufficient weapons training that like to downplay the importance weapons in one's overall development in the art.

If we begin to negate certain aspects of the art, then we enter onto a slippery slope. Where would such judgments end? Maybe some will say that suwari waza is not needed to understand aikido, so those movements will become neglected. Others may say that koshinage is not important to understanding aikido, so then that technique will no longer be taught.

It's my view that all of the various techniques are needed to gain a true and complete understanding of aikido as O-Sensei intended it to be understood. We bow to O-Sensei before every class because we supposedly study his art. Who are we to say what is needed and what is not?

A solid knowledge of the use of tanto, bokken, and jo is also important if one ever hopes to become a complete teacher.

Duarh
01-12-2003, 12:14 PM
Absolutely yes. Weapons training is an integral part of aikido training. That's why we learn it

An absolutely fallacious argument. . .There are many things that people learn though they don't need them, out of tradition and inertia.
It's also students and teachers who lack sufficient weapons training that like to downplay the importance weapons in one's overall development in the art.

You might also say that there's people who have done a lot of weapons training and may wish to use that as a factor that makes them superior to those who haven't.

I myself like weapons training and wouldn't want to drop it, but I can easily imagine how aikido - as in, art of coordination of mind or body or, more simply put, the ability to control people and throw people to the mat in the way practiced by masters of aikido - could be learned without weapons training if other training methods are substituted to provide the additional skills that weapons training might yield.
A solid knowledge of the use of tanto, bokken, and jo is also important if one ever hopes to become a complete teacher.

Oh, undoubtedly. A complete teacher should be a proficient lecturer on philosophy and modern art as well. The question of the poll does not, as far as i understand, run 'is weapons training necessary for one to become a complete teacher?'.

A person who has learned the principles of aikido through taijutsu would likely be able to apply them rather easily to weaponswork without as much practice as a complete novice would need.

What we learn and do not learn in aikido is our own choice. If we do not wish to learn weaponswork, we should substitute something for it. If we do not want suwari waza, we'll have to do something else to gain the same effects. Those things CAN be done. The real question is - what's the point in messing with a system that works? If people physically DISLIKE suwari waza or weaponswork even after a year or two of practice, there might be one, otherwise. . .

siwilson
01-12-2003, 12:42 PM
Yes!

To "understand Aikido" you need to have complete understanding. To have complete understanding you must study Aikido completely! Other-wise you will only have a partial understanding.

By the way Toms, Yoshinkan does have weapons practice - Jo, Bokken, Tanto, etc.

Duarh
01-12-2003, 12:47 PM
Oh - thanks for the clarification. It's just that I remember someone saying on these very boards how Yoshinkan had a developed exercise system that made weapons training redundant.

Let me see. . .
It is the way we teach Aikido. A very disciplined and structored system that does not require the use of weapons to teach these principles. (Steven Miranda in thread 'Yoshinkan')

Also

http://yoshinkan-aikido.org/hombu.htm

indicates no weapons training times. I know this doesn't necessarily mean there is no weapons training at the Yoshinkan Hombu, but it's an indication at least that it is not considered important enough to be mentioned separately.

mike lee
01-12-2003, 01:46 PM
To have complete understanding you must study Aikido completely! Other-wise you will only have a partial understanding.

Agreed. I always seek out a teacher that has a broad yet solid understanding of aikido, which means that they would be able to teach weapons.

I would not intentionally seek out a teacher who does not know how to teach a very significant segment of aikido this defies reason and common sense.

siwilson
01-12-2003, 03:09 PM
Hi Toms

There is no hard and fast rule. Some dojos have weapons classes, but I suspect the norm is as with us. I should point out that we come from the Yoshinkan, but not all of our dojo are IYAF.

Our classes are simply "Aikido"! So the class can be any aspect. When I teach a class I plan it around how I see the need. I always feel that weapons is something that a student should follow on their own with the guidance of their teacher. My reason for this is that there is a lot of solo practice required. Once that a student is adept with the sword or Jo, then the value of weapons can be found.

The sword teaches center, hip power, focus, etc... and with a partner adds timing and maai (fighting distance). Jo is different. The solo practice teaches focus, but in Jo Kata the postures move into different forms from our empty handed Aiki. Things like back-stance, etc., but these teach us a flexability in our movement. It is all extra to what we do, but it must all approache from the way we approach all our Aikido. If we "do" Bokken, then "do" Jo, etc., then we limit ourselves, but if it is all AIkido, then we build on everything else and grow.

Tanto teaches distance. In our school we do Jiyu Waza (parallel "randori") with a "real" Tanto. This absolutely teaches distance as it removes any margin for error.

Best wishes

jimvance
01-12-2003, 08:56 PM
I would say "Yes", as Aikido has more in common with weapon wielding skills than it does with purely pugilistic or grappling arts. The concept of "instant victory" for example is not consistent with most striking or grappling disciplines, but definitely exists in the koryu.

The other aspect is that true self defense should prepare one to use weaponry or have weaponry used against them. Tools (weapons)of all sorts can be used that work on similar principals to those taught through the use of bokuto, jo, or tanto.

I think brush painting, history lessons, Japanese language study, and learning to drink beer are also necessary to understanding Aikido too.

Jim Vance

MaylandL
01-13-2003, 02:07 AM
....The sword teaches center, hip power, focus, etc... and with a partner adds timing and maai (fighting distance). Jo is different. ...but these teach us a flexability in our movement. It is all extra to what we do, but it must all approache from the way we approach all our Aikido...
I would agree with Mr Wilson. I would add that at the dojos that I train at (both aikikai) weapons training is incorporated into the overall class. Separate weapons classes are not used because the Senseis believe that movements and principles remain the same regardless of whether weapons are used or not.

The underlying principle that is taught at the dojos that I train at is that the use of Jo and Ken are a training aid to reinforce Maai, Movement, Balance/Posture/Centre, "hip power" and timing (awase and kumitachi timing).

IMHO, the use of ken and jo is not necessary but ken and jo do provide a valuable training tool to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of aikido.

Happy training all :)

Jappzz
01-13-2003, 09:12 AM
I don't know if it only me... but wasn't there this guy called Morihei Ueshiba who... sorta FOUNDED this whole Aikido thing? ... if he said that weapons is like a major thing in his art and stuff shouldn't we kinda try to respect that before we like... reinvent the wheel...

sigh

Jesper Arenskogh

Ta Kung
01-13-2003, 10:25 AM
aren't here schools that don't practice weapons at all? Yoshinkan? And don't the folks in those schools do pretty good aikido now and then?

Ah, but are you sure they don't just do good TAIJUTSU then? After all, Aikido is both Weapons and Taijutsu. Just playing with a thought here. Nothing bad about not practising weapons. Their aikido is as good as any other styles...

/Patrik

Ron Tisdale
01-13-2003, 10:26 AM
As far as weapons in yoshinkan...it really seems to depend on the instructor, like in most aikido schools. There are instructors who teach extensive weapons curriculum (Utada S., Kimeda S., Kushida S. [ex-yoshinkan]), and those who don't focus on it much. The Hombu dojo does do some weapons work (1st, 2nd and 3rd jo kata, united basic movements with boken, a variation of the kendo ten basic paired kata) at shodan and above, but almost none below shodan from what I understand.

But then you also have to contrast that with the fact that at one time the headmaster of Yagyu Shinkage ryu (Omori ha) used to give classes at the Yoshinkan Hombu dojo...I believe all of the instructors above and some others used to train in those classes. So it really is a mixed bag.

I personally like aiki-ken and aiki-jo, as well as the tanto practise. I'm not sure "weapons" practise is a proper way to refer to it in most cases though. Buki waza in Aikido is usually taught differently, and looks different from classical weapons training.

Ron Tisdale

MHolmes
01-14-2003, 06:03 AM
Aikido comes from the sword. If you want to truly understand your waza, you really need to understand the nature of the sword. Everything is one in aikido. Thinking of it as pieces that may be pasted together and learned or not learned will never lead to understanding. Regards.

Duarh
01-14-2003, 07:22 AM
Ah, but are you sure they don't just do good TAIJUTSU then? After all, Aikido is both Weapons and Taijutsu. Just playing with a thought here. Nothing bad about not practising weapons. Their aikido is as good as any other styles...

/Patrik
That depends primarily on your definition of aikido (aikido the historical art vs. aikido the set of general principles)

mike lee
01-14-2003, 10:34 AM
That depends primarily on your definition of aikido (aikido the historical art vs. aikido the set of general principles)

Why?

Hanna B
01-14-2003, 10:58 AM
wasn't there this guy called Morihei Ueshiba who... sorta FOUNDED this whole Aikido thing? ... if he said that weapons is like a major thing in his art and stuff shouldn't we kinda try to respect that before we like... reinvent the wheel...

sighWell, did he actually say that? May I ask where?

Just wondering.

Brad Smith
01-14-2003, 11:13 AM
Aikido is weapons training.

JMCavazos
01-14-2003, 01:29 PM
I think that you can learn aikido techniques without weapons. I think that to learn more about aikido, learn how to use a weapon : the extension, the body movement, etc... and it will help your aikido immensely.

Duarh
01-15-2003, 12:25 AM
Why?
Because of what the person said in the original posting - that, by not learning weapons, you would only be learning taijutsu, not aikido. If you define aikido as an art that includes weapons, OF COURSE you need to study weapons to become good at aikido (duh). If you define it as an art that consists of general movement/control/etc principles, weapons training might not be absolutely necessary.

:) I DO think weapons training is very beneficial - I just think you can learn aikido under the latter definition without it.

Bronson
01-15-2003, 02:52 AM
Maybe some will say that suwari waza is not needed to understand aikido, so those movements will become neglected. Others may say that koshinage is not important to understanding aikido, so then that technique will no longer be taught.

Hey Mike, I didn't know you were familiar with seidokan...that kinda sounds like us :D

Bronson

DGLinden
01-15-2003, 12:06 PM
I see weapons as an individual art form that we integrate into the training of aikido, not as a part of aikido. To me Aikido will always be done empty handed. I've already read all the other comments and agree with some sentiments, and others I think are merely juvenile and misinformed.

O'Sensei did in fact begin this art and did in fact use weapons. Saotome Sensei has developed many wonderful kumi tachi that he integrates into his art. I myself have written and taught the Shoshin Kumijo katas for years, yet I still think of them as extra to the art. So to the question asked, I say no. But without weapons we would be poorer indeed. Aikido is principle and not everyone's choice of physical manifestation will agree with everyone else. The principles do not require weapons.

siwilson
01-15-2003, 01:23 PM
I see weapons as an individual art form that we integrate into the training of aikido, not as a part of aikido.

I think this is a bit of a shame. When you see something as different, you approach it differently. When you see it as part of the whole, you approach it in the same way.

If you train empty hand Nage Waza as "Aikido", but then train Ken as "Ken", and Jo as "Jo", you are only as good as you can do each seperate way.

If you train empty hand Nage Waza as "Aikido", but then train Ken as "Aikido", and Jo as "Aikido", you can be so much more, because everything builds upon everything else.

Best wishes

leuwit
01-15-2003, 02:39 PM
I have read several of the replies to this very interesting question. Many of them suggest a deal of intimacy with trainings and philosophies which I appreciate a great deal. One thing that sticks out for me is the idea that one training is for everyone. A one size fits all answer. I Love and respect my weapons training. I have been introduced to many of my own inner roadblocks through experience with bokken and jyo. It has been said that "true victory is self victory". I love weapons training, long hours dancing in a dimly lit room, only the sound of breathing, counts, and hakama as I skim the tatami. I have found many things there, some I have embraced, some I have revoked, some I don't know what to do with. But it is all me. Another may find that there is nothing of value. Who am I to say how another should (or should not) train? Domination and dictatorship were never among the principals of Aikido in my school. Still, I make this suggestion. In the weapons training, one may find there are demons and gods. I love it, hard as it may be. Next week I begin Kokoro Shugyo, and this practice brings me life. Katsujinken, and Satsujinto are the words my instructor used to describe intention of sword use. Do we bring the world together or cut it apart? It cannot be brought together if I say my way is the only way, or hold rigidly to anothers ideals.

AikiRooster
01-16-2003, 12:39 AM
:ai: :ki: :do:

In my humble opinion, I think weapons training enhances your overall training and understanding behind the principles and philosophy of the Aiki way. However, I don't think it is necessary per se. I think that if you have the training along with a qualified Instructor available to you, I think your cheating yourself of details that you might miss out on if you didn't take part in the weapons curriculum. Again, I wouldn't say it's a necessary ingredient to understanding Aiki. Although, if you compare it to a dictionary for example, would like to have a Webster's that is 150 pages or a Webster's that 1,500 pages?

mike lee
01-16-2003, 03:59 AM
Domination and dictatorship were never among the principals of Aikido in my school.

What about loyalty to O-Sensei and HIS art?

Edward
01-16-2003, 04:18 AM
I have the impression that many instructors have never had any formal training in Buki Waza. That's why eventhough these instructors would have liked to teach weapons, they are unable to do it because of this reason.

I have also visited a few dojos where the instructors learned weapons only from videos. I had to really control myself not to laugh because what they were doing looked more like kung fu movies (no disrespect) than aikido.

mike lee
01-16-2003, 06:29 AM
I have also visited a few dojos where the instructors learned weapons only from videos. I had to really control myself not to laugh because what they were doing looked more like kung fu movies (no disrespect) than aikido.
In the end, everyone has to take responsibility for their own training. My first teacher in the US was poorly qualified and trained and he new it. I had far more MA experience when I started taking his class, and students often asked me if I was better than the teacher.

I took responsibility for my situation and my training by frequently visiting higher-ranking teachers at every opportunity. Although I never blamed my teacher for his lack of knowledge and skill, it was clear that he was not highly motivated. He just wanted to practice the same basic things, over and over again. Nevertheless, I was happy to have a place to practice on a regular basis, and I never held his attitude against him. I maintained an attitude of respect and loyalty and never entered into discussions with other students regarding "who is better."

I was always a highly motivated martial artist. Many other students and teachers in aikido are not.

If one truly wants to improve and gain a complete understanding of aikido, one must sometimes improvise, adapt and overcome.

leuwit
01-16-2003, 01:05 PM
Mike,

You ask "What about loyalty to O'sensei and his art?"

I never trained with o'Sensei, And what I know of the art, that this practice is something other than a practice of domination, is that it has a rich and complex history dating back thousands of years. O'sensei honored them also. Should we stop at him? O'sensei was a great teacher, and one who lived close enough to our time of life to have a powerful impact- Indeed, his wisdom and creativity revisioned the "art of war" into the "art of peace". Frankly, I am still amazed at Sun Tzu and the amount of pacifist energy he conjured in his highly militarized times. What O'Sensei has done is in many ways beyond my vision: he passed from our side of the veil a year before I was born, and even his most senior ranked students admit that they do not capture the complete teachings- many were left on the sidelines by his mysticism, and could only mimic the movements. And they are beyond me.

The old Irish adage "one must teach the boy to dance before giving him a sword" suits me, I work within and press my limits where I am able: I gratefully (and sometimetimes begrudgingly) accept a good teacher. The sword is a good teacher with whom I have a good thing. My loyalty to O'sensei and his art is to seek to embody "True Victory is Self Victory". I find this to some small degree in weapons. It is for me. I answered yes to the question regarding weapons being necessary. I answer for me. What fulfills your training? What practice do you make that allows you to say, "I have changed, I am able to move with something today that I conflicted with yesterday"? I Find this in Jyo, Bokken, Ki aikido Taigi, Suwari Waza, Kokyuho, and many other arts. If I do not find that (I did not find that in trombone practice, for instance)then I do not make it a part of my regular practice. Other's experience is theirs. REQUIREING others do things will not likely engender a love in them for the practice. A good teacher helps a student want a practice, so that the student does it for themself, not for the satisfaction of rules. Watch "Red Beard" with Tashiro Mifune, directed by Akira Kurosawa.

A skilled cellist holds the instrument softly, yet with firmness, able to play feirce and gentle in the movement of a single breath. Is this not aikido? The Spirit that moves it, not the choreography, makes it in harmony with the energy of the universe. Choreography is the basest form of our art, necessary, but in the end, throw it away ( I am still clinging to it, but I have seen...) Watch videos of O'sensei as he is attacked on all sides by the Senior students of his dojo. He is Old, and often appears to fall, rather than doing a technique. Yet he is untouched, and the eight shihan are unknowing of his whereabouts. Weapons? Aikido?

an old man having a stumble at a fortunate moment? I can't say. Its a film. A short, poor quality one at that. In aikido I seek to expose myself, and more and more aikido is walking, or riding my bicycle, or doing my work, as well as being on the mat. Follow your love, and inner expeditionaries. I suggest Do not cling too tightly to ideals. They lie outside of us, and are often placed there by others expectations, and not our own truths. More powerful than the sword, the intention that holds it. The sword is vehicle for polishing the soul and spirit. A good one for me. I focus that intention through the sword, and the pen. Bunbu Ichi, they say, Pen and Sword in Accord.

repects,

Deston

mike lee
01-16-2003, 01:28 PM
And what I know of the art, that this practice is something other than a practice of domination, is that it has a rich and complex history dating back thousands of years.

I'm not really sure what you're talking about in reference to "domination." The way you're using the word, it almost appears that you're talking about some kind of S&M! In any case, O-Sensei was quite clear about this, saying that one should avoid fighting, but if an aikidoist must fight, he should fight to win! I consider this to be good advise, but if you consider this to be domination, then so be it.

The art of aikido was established in 1949. It does not date back thousands of years, although some of the arts do, such as Shaolin Kung Fu.

leuwit
01-16-2003, 02:12 PM
I am very sorry if you are confused about the subtle distinction of conversation regarding weapons in marital arts (S&M) and Martial arts, (harmonies, ordomination and oppression.) I practice Aikido and weapons to clarify my spirit, I do not presume to teach. My weapons practice, weather the sen of a sword or the line of thought, are about distinguising between a potentially fruitful conflict, where a growth may arise, from arguements of petty battles which are interested in small ends and views, and not the shared benefit of life for all, including the agressor. I Do not confuse victory with domination. I Choose victory.

As for the begining of aikido, little trees (shaolin) existed long before being called such. That O'sensei named the art in 1949 is not enough to convince me that the spirit of this art we share is less than timeless and universal. To give all the power to one moment in time and to place the burden of our quest on the memory and shoulders of one man, who was a shinto practitioner and saw gods and demons and teachers and harmony in all the unverse, seems to me to deny the experience he had- that our art and our teacher is ultimately the universe. If people want to say becoming like Ueshiba Morihei is the ends our Aikido training, that is their business, and have at it. I Honor the moon, and respect the finger that points at it, and believe there is a distinction.

mike lee
01-16-2003, 02:24 PM
I practice Aikido and weapons to clarify my spirit, I do not presume to teach.
I practice aikido and weapons first and foremost for self-defense, that is, to be able if need be, to defend myself, my family, my friends, my country and even this messed up world.

I also train hard to ensure that my aikido is martially effective, since it is a martiall art. I also work hard to make sure I am a complete and competent teacher so that my students' aikido will also be martially effective and complete.

This being accomplished, I train to destroy the demons within.

leuwit
01-16-2003, 02:48 PM
Good! Good! we agree, I believe! My instructor used to say, (forgive me, I can't recall the japanese) "its just pretty if you can't take it to the bank". We have taken up so much of this board (I have enjoyed the conversation)I must acknowledge we have, for the last half dozen posts, dominated a very interesting conversation. It is nice that you have such a devoted purpose in training. I am sure we will converse more. now let us see what others have to say on weapons training? May your training be fruitful!

peter martin-browning
06-30-2005, 01:38 PM
What I noticed in the very beginning of my training is that doing the weapons work accelerated my cognitive understanding of the shape my body should be making, and gave me a feel of the shapes my body and limbs should make to help to best channel the ki, making my movements more powerful.
The value of weapons training is something you can verify by reference to your own experience.

At your service


Peter Martin-Browning

mj
06-30-2005, 02:10 PM
Well, did he actually say that? May I ask where?

Just wondering.
OSensei said 'aiki wa ken no michi' Aiki is the way of the sword