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p00kiethebear
10-30-2003, 01:17 PM
I remember hearing this one awhile ago. But i still love it.

"If a man corners you in a dark ally and says he's going to rob you, and you make a funny face and you both start laughing and he walks away. Is that still aikido?"

I already know my answer to this but im curious to know what the rest of the community thinks = D

Nick Simpson
10-30-2003, 01:32 PM
I would say yes. It reminds me of that old story about a high level aikidoka in japan who was waiting for his chance to beat up a drunk on a train to practice his skills. Until some guy talked to the drunk and difused the situation peacefully and the aikidoka realised that this was true aikido.

A similar thing happened to me last friday night, Id been training and then a few of us went to a night club. Afterwards I was walking to a taxi rank with one of the new students and we were in a tunnel under the main road and some drunk guy fell down the stairs as we approached them. He fell about 5 foot so I was kind of concerned, so I rushed over and asked him if he was ok. He acted aggressively and went to hit me before I explained that I was merely concerned for him. So he apologised and shook my hand and gave me a hug, which in hindsight was a really stupid thing to let him do as he could have bit me or whatever. But I thought that that was a perfect example of the spirit of aikido.

DCP
10-30-2003, 01:43 PM
I heard a funny story once- don't know if it's fact or fiction:

A thug attempted to car-jack an aikidoka while the aikidoka was in the driver's seat. The aikidoka "extended ki" into the power window button, trapped the thug's arm and drug the thug a bit until he finally worked his way free from the moving vehicle.

I think this is still aikido (and hysterically funny).

Brehan Crawford
10-30-2003, 01:53 PM
Aikido to me is stopping a fight altogether by using as little force as possible. Using zero force (I.E., preventing the fight from even starting), is the best Aikido I can even think of.

Esteban Martinez
10-30-2003, 03:58 PM
I would say NO. If someone comes to rob you Aikido would be to cooperate with the robber and give him what he wants to avoid getting hurt or hurt someone. Making a funny face to a robber seems stupid. Aikido as a martial art teaches you to be wise and aware not goofy and stupid in a situation like this.

Aikido has grown so much that people seem to think that anything we do is Aikido. Aikido needs to be preserved as it was found; a non-violence martial art.

Jim Myers
10-30-2003, 04:40 PM
I was told the object is to kill the fight, not the fighter.

dion
10-30-2003, 05:10 PM
I would say yes, if that in fact is what actually happens but I think chances are it would just make the would be robber very angry and what have would of been just a robbery might turn into something worse.

I myself have walked away from situations that could have easily become violent and I thought of it as being the "aikido way" to deal with it.

sanosuke
10-30-2003, 09:34 PM
"If a man corners you in a dark ally and says he's going to rob you, and you make a funny face and you both start laughing and he walks away. Is that still aikido?"
a very good aikido indeed, seriously! in fact i'm training to reach that level.

Wil Branca
10-31-2003, 05:21 PM
"If a man corners you in a dark ally and says he's going to rob you, and you make a funny face and you both start laughing and he walks away. Is that still aikido?"
"Probably" would be my answer.

You could also try saying, "Sorry, I don't smoke."

:circle:

DaveO
11-01-2003, 08:59 AM
I'm going to get yelled at for this.... ;)

No - most emphatically no. I've been reading these stories and proverbs from the day I first started; the one thing that really strikes me is the unstated arrogance of aikidoka - anything good is aiki, anything bad isn't. Any non-violent resolution is aikido, anything violent - or percieved as potentially violent - isn't aikido.

What a load of bull-puckey. You could just as easily say the same for any martial art or nonviolent activity.

Aikido is a martial art, period. It's a system of techniques and movements designed to resolve conflict in a nonviolent fashion. It's based on the extension of energy, destabilization, redirection and joint manipulation. Granted; the learning of this system is a lifelong quest that can transform the individual - it is in my case - it is a 'do' after all.

But - "you make a funny face and you both start laughing and he walks away" is aikido? Puh-leaze. I haven't encountered 'funny face waza' in my aikido training yet; don't really think I'm likely to.

Ignoring for a moment the incredibly unrealistic aspect of the question (a guy threatens robbery, and you pull a wah-wah face? Get real); the situation could at best be considered a successful - if somewhat freakish - resolution of conflict.

Sorry; I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but this has always been a bit of a sore point. "Is this aikido?" people ask. My answer: "Can you train for it? Can you teach it on the mat? Does it have a foundation in hitori-waza or kumi-waza?" That is how I determine if something is or is not aikido.

Thanx!

Dave

Kalle Koskinen
11-04-2003, 10:35 AM
Dave,

I agree. If I had the skill to write good and fluent english, then I would have written something similar. This thread is a good example of those what I call "aikido-hippies".

Aikido can be used for not to kill or seriously hurt an opponent, but it isn't aikido if you avoid all fights with just extending you ki. There is no mystic power of peace that will prevent all the bad things if you master the art completely.

When I'm on the mat, I try to train so that my technique would work in a real situation (although it's a pretty damn hard thing to do). Making funny faces by extending my cosmic ki is just plain stupid if someone is facing a criminal. It is a common sense to try and avoid violence, but what if that situation someday would be real? Then those would be in trouble who had trained only the spiritual side of aikido. There's no love and laughter when someone tries to rob you.

Sorry about the off-topic.

Nick P.
11-04-2003, 12:54 PM
Nathan,

Yes, I would call it Aikido. If the result is no more conflict....

Dave and Kalle,

If I make you laugh just before I nikkyo you into next week, is it still atemi? Better yet, ask your wrist (and ego) if that was "really Aikido".

Can it not be both at the same time?

Kevin Leavitt
11-04-2003, 01:15 PM
Dave,

Totally understand where you are coming from.

These days I am inclined to agree with the YES it is aikido answer.

But caveat it with the ability to back up the stupid face with something else if it does not work.

I think you point out that anyone could make that face and "get lucky" and that would not necessarily be aikido.

I think it is very possibly for someone to practice aiki and never even have studied it.

That is the philosophy and principles of aiki. Not the external techniques that you refer to.

It really is hard to define what is aiki and what is not. As you point out that all that is good is aiki and all that bad is not aiki. I think that if you take O'Sensei's teachining literally then ALL is aikido the universe is Aiki...so that would be incompass all that is good or bad. How do you label something aiki and something not aiki?

enough philosophy.

I have found myself in many situations since studying aikido and martial arts in general that I have avoided with a calm smile or even doing something stupid or off cuff to avoid escalating confrontation. When I was young, strong, stupid, and martially ineffective, I got into more conflict (fights) because of it.

I now know I have what it takes to back myself up, the mentality, the tools, and the skill...so yea, I'd be more likely to use a funny face if the situation warranted.

But while I consider myself aikidoka...whether I used a face or kicked his ass, or used a nikkyo is not aiki or is aiki...it is simply what I did to neutralize the situation.

What makes it aiki is knowing that I did the right thing in the end to minimize the violence of the situation. I think this is what defines it as aiki or not!!!

ranZ
11-05-2003, 10:58 AM
it may not be aikido, but it sounds like something O-sensei would do.

Quote of a story of Rube Goldberg meeting O-sensei ( from http://www.geocities.com/tedehara/cks/zenf.html )

----------------

Rube was visiting Japan and wanted to see the "Real Thing" - not travel books, and preferably Human. I couldn't take him myself, but I sent him to the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.

Rube wore a porky-pie hat like a 1930's Hollywood-movie police reporter, and he spent his waking hours with an immense cigar protruding from his maw like a naval cannon. His translator was his Hearst papers Tokyo rep. (Rube was then the editorial cartoonist for Hearst.). Rube entered the rickety dojo building and stepped up onto the elevated floor platform - with his shoes on, of course.

It happened to be one of those rare days when O-Sensei was there. When he heard the shoe ruckus, he came out of the back room to see what was going on. His eyes met Rube's - who was not all that much taller. O-Sensei's eyebrows rose, his eyes lit up, his straggly beard vibrated. "Haw!" he hawed and, as students rushed to get Rube's shoes off, O-Sensei grabbed his fuddled-faced guest by the arm and urged him into the matted dojo.

Few of the students had ever seen O-sensei do more than walk into the dojo and stare at them. A few of the older ones had seen him in action, and some of the teachers had worked out with him. Now they saw him lead this small, human, steam-puffing locomotive onto the mats, push him onto the elevated tokonoma alcove, and set him down in the sacred area in front of the ink painting of his talismanic dragon.

O-Sense snapped orders. Students went into shock and ran about taking dummy weapons off the walls - wooden naginata-spears, swords, rifles. They were all about to be awarded the honor of their lives: to do actual battle with O-Sensei himself. To be thrown by the old man was like getting the Congressional Medal of Honor - and living to tell one's grandchildren.

Spearmen advanced in ranks - in twos and threes and then fours - then charged. Swordsmen screamed kiais and attacked, squads of riflemen feigned bayonet sallies. Then they picked themselves up and attacked again, from all directions. There was bedlam, bodies flying all over. And in the center of the vortex was O-Sensei, arms whirling like a juggler, slipping aside, ducking, spinning. No witness recalls how long it went on. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped. Exhausted warriors splayed over the mats, panting in ecstasy of having gone it with the grandmaster.

Calm and unruffled, O-Sensei, smiled at Rube. Rube waddled out of the alcove, his cigar smoke steaming like dragon spoor. The two old fools met eye to eye. Rube laughed and tugged O-Sensei's whispy white beard. O-Sensei reached up with one hand and raised Rube's hat. With his other hand, he pulled the immense stogie out of Rube's mouth, bopped him on the head with it, jammed it back into his mouth, and laughed. Rube guffawed. They both laughed like the ancient fools. Then both turned and left.

Not a word had been uttered.

DaveO
11-05-2003, 11:24 AM
Hi Kevin! Good to hear from you again.

I like your post; but I have to point out:

The question wasn't 'Is it aiki?' It was 'Is it aikido?'

One is a philosophy, the other is a martial art that encompasses the philosophy.

I know; it's titchy but it's not semantics IMO. I think that one must keep the division clearly defined in one's training - the philosophy vs. the martial art. Practice aiki all the time; but when on the mat, practice aikido.

One of the reasons this bugs me a bit: I ran into an instructor at a seminar one time who went to great lengths to explain how an aiki viewpoint defeats all; overwhelms any resistance, etc. (He wasn't the seminar instructor - he was one of the yudansha attending.) The guy did great showing all sorts of wonderful ki exercises; until he instructed one of us to attack him. To everyone's surprise (except myself; the other two soldiers and four cops at the seminar); he couldn't defend against any but the simplest pre-programmed attacks. Conclusion: Guy had great aiki; but his aikido sucked rocks.

If that's what he's studying it for; fine, great. But up until that moment; he believed his aiki was enough to protect him. Problem was; he'd never seen a realistic attack before - just the routine pre-programmed shomenichis, yokomenuchis and wrist grabs.

So that is - in part - why I maintain my answer. The scenario in the original question may be aiki - though I still think that's stretching the point - but it definitely isn't aikido.

Cheers! :)

Dave

kensparrow
11-05-2003, 12:55 PM
I would say NO. If someone comes to rob you Aikido would be to cooperate with the robber and give him what he wants to avoid getting hurt or hurt someone. Making a funny face to a robber seems stupid. Aikido as a martial art teaches you to be wise and aware not goofy and stupid in a situation like this.

Aikido has grown so much that people seem to think that anything we do is Aikido. Aikido needs to be preserved as it was found; a non-violence martial art.
I have to disagree with you on that. I don't think Aikido is about giving in to avoid hurting anyone. When you're on the mat and someone grabs your wrist, you don't just let them pull you, you take control and redirect their energy.

I don't think I would try it in that situation, but I don't think the laughing thing is all that different from a kiai, a strike, or anything else that helps you unbalance your opponent and take control.

If what we do follows the priciples of Aikido then it is Aikido. It would be pretty sad if Aikido was nothing more than a fixed set of techniques for knocking someone down.

Kalle Koskinen
11-05-2003, 02:12 PM
Dave and Kalle,

If I make you laugh just before I nikkyo you into next week, is it still atemi? Better yet, ask your wrist (and ego) if that was "really Aikido".

Can it not be both at the same time?
Yes, that can be effective. I think most of us have laughed on the mat when someone had done something funny and it works as an atemi. But to use funny faces in a real situation...

Too bad that I canīt write my thoughts clearly enough. But I have met many aikidoka, that think with this ultra-soft and spiritual mind and those have annoyed me. Maybe I could explain myself in Finnish, but this time I have to let it go.

But I still think it's not aikido. It would be luck.

Janet Rosen
11-05-2003, 02:52 PM
I don't think Aikido is about giving in to avoid hurting anyone. When you're on the mat and someone grabs your wrist, you don't just let them pull you, you take control and redirect their energy.

I don't think I would try it in that situation, but I don't think the laughing thing is all that different from a kiai, a strike, or anything else that helps you unbalance your opponent and take control.
Well, you have pretty much summed up what I was going to say!

Total surrender to violence, while it may at times be prudent, is not aikido.

Taking somebody's balance mentally in order to defuse a situation and restore harmony, comes a lot closer. And, yes, making somebody laugh, or making somebody back away in disgust by peeing your pants, is just another form of atemi IMHO.

Janet Rosen
11-05-2003, 02:58 PM
Yes, that can be effective. I think most of us have laughed on the mat when someone had done something funny and it works as an atemi. But to use funny faces in a real situation... (snip) But I still think it's not aikido. It would be luck.
Kalle, I am a small woman who, yrs before she ever bowed into a mat (decades actually...) went all over NY as a teenager day and night, and then as a community activist in San Francisco in the early/mid 70s walked a nighttime street patrol in a bad neighborhood armed only with a whistle.

Reading a situation and being able to quickly select a response saved me many times, and yes, sometimes it was "disarming" in a psychological sense the other person by making them laugh, asking them a question, etc. Sometimes it was looking invisible and sometimes is was direct eye contact and an implacable presence.

Luck or the ability to simply choose an appropriate response? Maybe a measure of both, but I think the latter is a big part of what we train for on the mat....

Nick Simpson
11-05-2003, 03:30 PM
I agree with the points on mental unbalancing and stuff. Hell, If I was a mugger, in a dark alley at night about to rob some poor unsuspecting chump and they smiled/laughed/pulled a face at me then I would be very unsettled. That person either knows something I dont, is very sure of how to handle themselves in a violent conflict or is simply not scared of me. Thats a pretty dangerous person in my opinion, therefore they would have destroyed my confidence and confused me, its a form of mental atemi in my opinion. The mugger might attack any way, its very likely they would, but they wouldnt be so sure anymore and that gives the "face puller" an advantage.

It's very book of five rings'ish, Musashi talks somewhere in it about attacking your opponents spirt first or something, cut that down and then cutting the person down is easy, in my humble opinion.

Janet Rosen
11-05-2003, 05:06 PM
I guess the related point I meant to make and didn't explicitly is that there are those totally out to get whoever, and there are those who are opportunists out for an easy mark. The latter are, in my experience, pretty easy to unsettle. Its reading the difference between the 2 that is tricky, but its not impossible.

Atomicpenguin
11-05-2003, 11:07 PM
Aikido is a martial art, period. It's a system of techniques and movements designed to resolve conflict in a nonviolent fashion. It's based on the extension of energy, destabilization, redirection and joint manipulation. Granted; the learning of this system is a lifelong quest that can transform the individual - it is in my case - it is a 'do' after all.

But - "you make a funny face and you both start laughing and he walks away" is aikido? Puh-leaze. I haven't encountered 'funny face waza' in my aikido training yet; don't really think I'm likely to.
Afraid I don't think that I entirely agree. For quite some time I've thought of the techniques in and of themselves on either a strictly physical level or on a more philosophical do-based level to be largely irrelevant. I tend to think of the techniques as tools that teach me the underlying principles at play in aikido rather than the final objective of the paradigm. If it is simply a realistic combat model, then I think it lacks a few things. Who in their right mind expects someone to attack with a nice yokomenuchi or properly grab your outstretched hand? Despite this, we practice and from that practice ingrain and cultivate a series of principles that can be used to harmoniously resolve conflict, or at least that's the ideal. The stated situation seems to me somewhat preposterous but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Part of what we do is develop a feel for the situation. If it calls for something bizarre like that and that harmoniously resolves the conflict and it was guided by aiki PRINCIPLES then I think it very much can be called aikido. I am reminded of an account in Twigger's, Angry White Pyjamas, when he and another aikidoka are confronted with a gang in a bar and the other aikidoka says to the gang leader upon seeing some type of reggae attire (a shirt or something) something to the effect of "You like reggae. I like reggae too. Reggae is about peace." In the next scene they're drinking and laughing together. I thought, and still do: What an idiotic resolution! But is was a resolution, a harmonious, aiki-principle-based resolution. So my answer is yes, I believe that if such a situation played out that way then it would be aikido.

Kevin Leavitt
11-06-2003, 01:31 AM
Dave Organ:

IMHO, any instructor that preaches that he/she knows and can judge what is aiki or aikido will immediately be wrong!

I COMPLETELY understand the distinction you make between philosophy and a martial art. I think it is very important to keep this in mind when training.

I think the wonderful thing about aikido is it seems to walk that fine line between philosophy/spiritual (internal) versus physical/martial (external). I think we spend our whole lives trying to reconcile that if we are true to ourselves.

It is pompous and wrong to sit in judgement over a situation and judge it aiki or not aiki when we ourselves were not involved.

While it certainly makes for good discussion on aikiweb and should be explored....you will never have the answer to the question....that is for the individual to decide.