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Chris Birke
11-03-2003, 01:17 PM
I know it is arrogant to say some of what I will say, but I feel I am in part speaking for a coalition. Please, even if you have heard it before, listen to what I have to say - I hope in the end to raise some new questions.

I am proud of Aikido, but sometimes I am embarrassed by it's practices.

I think it is an unrealized aspect of Aikido that holding firm to
anachronistic techniques and not embracing new things is an offense to
the spirit of Aikido.

People say, "what happens if a boxer attacks an Aikidoka?" Why must we
guess at the answer! Why have we not set up hundreds of training
sessions between boxers and Aikidoka in order to improve Aikido?

Why do these questions keep coming up? Because they are not adequately addressed. They are dodged, put off, distanced (ahem, "ma'ai"ed), but the fight is not over. Aikido is not about running away from conflict, it is about nullifying it. This is why we train on tatami, not tracks.


What happens when a boxer attacks a BJJ guy? They clench, go the the
ground, and then the boxer gets submitted. That is the answer! It is a
general question answered by hundreds of iterations in practice and
reality.

Where are these iterations of Aikido? You say it is not the way to be
competitive - this "fight" cannot happen or you abandon Aikido. That
is a foolish misunderstanding of the truth. In order to pacify
violence, you must understand it; study it. This "match" is
cooperation, not a fight. It is a solid means to discovering what
works and what doesn't! It is not the competition you seek
to avoid. Do not let this fore mentioned aversion shield your
insecurity.

Why is there no focus on ground technique? Brazilian Juijitsu has
shown how easy it is to enter a clench and then go to the ground, even
with a larger opponent, then hold them there with very little damage
to either of you. It seems like a perfect technique for present day
Aikido. What more quiet means of physical negation is there besides a choke?

Where are more live training methods? Have these not shown to be more
useful in stressed and resisting applications than countless
premeditated repetitions of faux resistance?

Why is Aikido not exploring every aspect of confrontation. Where is
the research into psychology that might allow you to understand an
aggressor? Where is the study of body language? Criminology,
sociology?

Too many times on this forum I have witnessed utter ignorance of the reality of combat. Bantering of Aikidoka who know only of speculation and old wives tales about how fights actually occur. "When he shoots, step off the line and preform irimi nage, else kick him in the knee or elbow him in the head! No problem!" This ignorance comes from lack of training expirence! Yet these same inexpirienced Aikidoka may have been training for years! This is not the way it should be!

I belive too many have been following a well laid path of Sensei's
footsteps with their eyes to the ground. They study the footprints he
left with such intensity that they do not look to see the way of the path.
Where are they going when those footprints run out. It frightens me to know that so
many people train this blindness.

If, as I do, you believe that the core principles of Aikido stand, do
not be afraid to bolster them with techniques beyond the cannon. It is
arrogance to assume that mastery of wrist locks will save you in any
situation just as it is arrogance to assume you are ever safe. Open
your path and expand the breadth of your knowledge. Learn to grapple,
learn to take down, learn to sprawl, learn to strike, learn about fire
arms, learn about psychology! Breathe!

It should never again be Aikido vs MMA, but instead Aikido AND MMA.

I'm sure you all must agree with parts of this, to some extent... So (with so much like thought) what is being done? Who is out there training this new spirit of old Aikido. What ideas do you have for refinement of this? And... Of course... What things are wrong with thinking this way?

//

If you really want to disagree with me, but don't know where to start, please consider the relationship between these principles: repeitition, nothingness, zen, enlightment, sweeping, blank gaze

//

This rant has a neat bit of a pedigree, but I'll spare you. Sorry to
troll, but know that I do it FOR Aikido, not as an enemy of it. Besides, wIf
you've nothing intelligent to say in response, please keep your wits
about you.

John Boswell
11-03-2003, 01:48 PM
What you seem to be looking for or expecting of Aikido... is simply not Aikido.

What part of "Way of Harmony" do you not understand?

Many times on this site, and others, questions are put forth asking "what happens when an Aikidoka is confronted with (*insert random other MA here*)?" Ah... but then you go on to point out the ignorance of posters and how they don't know what Aikido is!

So... why are you hung up on questions put forward by ignorant non-practioners of Aikido? Who are you to be such an authority and challenge everyone here on Aiki Web and tell them/us that we are too focused on the footsteps and not on the destination???

I'm sorry. I'm honestly not trying to belittle you or put your thoughts down. But I believe you honestly have a limited grasp on what Aikido truly is and what purpose it serves.

Now... there are those out there that cover all and every aspect of martial arts. Perhaps you'd be more interested in studying under their tutilage? Go to http://www.winjutsu.com/source/hatsumi.html and read up on Soke Masaaki Hatsumi. Read the Warrior's Creed and research more about what various other MA's teach and say.

You said, Why is Aikido not exploring every aspect of confrontation. Where is the research into psychology that might allow you to understand anaggressor? Where is the study of body language? Criminology, sociology?
Who says Aikido doesn't teach these things?

You challenge students of Aikido as being narrow-minded and not looking at enough avenues of offense/defense. I challenge you to take a closer/deeper/better look at Aikido.

2 cents

twilliams423
11-03-2003, 01:56 PM
[QUOTE]If you really want to disagree with me, but don't know where to start, please consider the relationship between these principles: repeitition, nothingness, zen, enlightment, sweeping, blank gaze [UNQUOTE]

'fraid you lost me here

Chris Birke
11-03-2003, 01:59 PM
Firstly, this is investigation of Aikido.

If I am not qualified to do it, then who? I answer both by saying we.

To me, Aikido is the way of harmony of spirit and harmony of physicality, with emphasis on revisioning the nature of conflict. Is this wrong?

I believe the spirtual side is very complete, but the method of acheiving and implementing it has room for improvement. I am exploring whether it may be acheived.

I am well aware of ninjitsu, jeet kune do concepts, the tao, cha'an buddhisim (bodhi dharma and kung fu), progressive martial arts, and tradidition. I study them all.

None has quite the same mix of physical and spirtual direction towards harmony that aikido has, however these arts are all completely with their merits. I believe it would be valuable for a synthesis to occur. To shout down anyone who suggests it as ignorant is counter productive. What must be revisioned is that which is static. Defending the establishment ultimately harms it by freezing it as everything around it changes.

I do not proport to be absolute and right, but I do believe I may have understanding beyond what you credit me. What do you think of the idea of a synthesis. Why can Aikido not change and still be Aikido?

John Boswell
11-03-2003, 01:59 PM
PS: On a more personal note, you said the following -
What more quiet means of physical negation is there besides a choke?
Quiet? Yes. Harmonic? Hell no, and I'll tell you why. A choke forces one into submission by taking away from the "uke" life giving air. A choke is the very antithesis of Aikido, imho. A choke hold is exactlly what I personally do not want to do. Otherwise, why am I here? I'll go study BJJ or TKD.

Why do I, as an Aikidoka, not punch, kick, choke, stab or shoot my opponent? Because that is NOT what Aikido is about. Aikido is about blending, joining the energy of another and using that to your advantage. There is no intent to harm, injure or kill.

Seriously, I think this is a fundemental issue here. It's as basic as it gets. Sorry, but you asked and I'm answering. Hope you get something out of what I say.

Chris Birke
11-03-2003, 02:06 PM
John, many of the Aikido techniques can be very dangerous, either to limb or life. What I meant by a choke being harmless is that it can be implemented to a point of completeion without causing any long term physical damage. I have been choked unconscious numerous times and don't feel any worse for wear (although you may disagree ;D). A blood choke can actually be a rather invisible sensation, and very quick. I've woken up to the realisation I was choked having never seen it coming. I was far more afraid of chokes until I became expirenced in both sides of them.

The psychological impact is there, but it is there for any technique that threatens harm. In a social fashion, it is different, but not entirely.

As for not punching and striking, what do you do? I would assume there is some physical manipulation, or are you simply entirely avoidant. Ie, do you run track? If not, perhaps we have a middle ground?

Chris Birke
11-03-2003, 02:11 PM
In an aside, why learn all these horrible conflict oriented things, such as kicking, punching, shooting, wrestling? To understand their energy such that we may avoid it.

If you have no expirence with them, how do you incorporate their existence into your Aikido. Purely through application of theory? Why not practice?

This is just one aspect of what I mean.

Nick P.
11-03-2003, 02:12 PM
To be blunt,

If you want those (many, many) points addressed by your Aikido teacher, then keep looking until you find her/him. I have always maintained that many teacher/student "problems" are due to a poor match. That is to say, some students learn better from particular teachers, and some teachers can't teach certain students. Are they bad teachers? All of them can't be. Are they bad students? Same thing. Why do some students progress in leaps and bounds yet others struggle all with the same teacher?

And then, when you find the "perfect" teacher, you might start to realize that the real learning comes from within.

After all, if you believe without a doubt that (your) Aikido can\must be all the things you mentionned, who cares what anyone else thinks?

I have a hard enough time changing and controlling my own Aikido; how on Earth can I really expect to change someone else's?

Good luck, though.

Victor Ditoro
11-03-2003, 02:18 PM
Chris,

I'm curious about something. Lets say, for the sake of argument, that you knew 100% for sure that your Aikido training would not make you a good fighter...would you still train?

Edit::had wrong name at start :P

Chris Birke
11-03-2003, 02:23 PM
Of course, the idea is not to be a good fighter. The idea is to acheive harmony in the face of conflict.

Why does Aikido relate to fights at all? Because fights relate to peace.

This is part of the perplexity. Those are such large issues. Why is most training so focused on a small spectrum of the fight, when something that encompasses the fight, and more, is whats important. I'm glad you ask the question.

Victor Ditoro
11-03-2003, 02:50 PM
I can't claim to be an Aikido expert by any means, but I think you would find "Aikido Shugyo" by Gozo Shioda to be an interesting read. In his life, Shioda has definitely used his Aikido in martial situations during wartime. His anecdotes in the book paint a vivid picture of the early pre-war days of Aikido, and of the realities of needing to have a working art when your life is on the line.

He also addresses, more briefly, issues related to training...he points out that we train from grabs but that doesn't mean someone is likely to grab you...we train from slower strikes with full commitment, but it doesn't mean someone is likely to do that. The *point* of training that way is not what it appears to be, the point is to grasp the deeper fundamental meaning, the 'riai'. To understand the ways in which your movment unbalances and affects uke. Once you have grasped that, all attacks are the same. A kick is no different from a tackle or from a punch. At least in Shioda's mind, the purpose of basic technique is to help a person discover these principles that can't be taught directly. It has been said elsewhere, (perhaps a quote of O Sensei, but I can't be sure), that Aikido has only one technique. Once you learn to read, blend, and join with energy and move in a "natural" way, all attacks are the same.

Interestingly, Shioda recounts how O Sensei was able to throw even the fastest jabbing boxers by intercepting the strike at the exact moment of maximum extension.

Kevin Leavitt
11-03-2003, 03:34 PM
Aikido is a philosophy, a way of life, a training methodology, i suppose to some it is a fighting system.

However, "aikido" has never fought "boxing" both are concepts with different rules, paradigms and ideals.

Now aikidoka have fought boxers, but those are people and not an art. How they do against each other depends on many factors, not one of which you could empirical judge with scientific evidence to either prove or disprove the merits of one art or the other.

To think that you can is simply to miss the point of martial study and frankly is somewhat immature in thought.

I think you would find most true aikidoka somewhat embarrassed to say that they go around trying to have the chip knocked off their shoulder by other arts. Really what is the point?

If it is combat effectiveness you are looking for...i suggest you study many arts and pick those things that seem to give you peace of mind. That and hope that you don't get ambushed in an alley one day when you are not looking!! It is impossibly to be prepared for every possibly senario that might come your way.

jxa127
11-03-2003, 03:35 PM
Chris,

Dude, do what you wanna do. :D

It's your body and your journey. Go to it and let us know how you're doing.

Don't get too worked up over what other people think; whether or not their view of "the way things should be" matches yours.

I hope we get to meet and train together. But until then, my concept of aikido really shouldn't matter to you, and visa-versa.

Relax and go train.

Regards,

-Drew

Ted Marr
11-03-2003, 03:47 PM
I must admit, I have some mixed feelings on the topic of this post.

On one hand, I know that advanced students (which is to say people who have been studying for over a decade) of Aikido are capable of dealing with basically any sort of attack, just based on their knowledge of the principles. I've seen it done.

On the other hand, I have this odd hankering deep in the dark recesses of my mind to be training "harder" in some sense, by learning to deal with all sorts of vicious attacks in a number of (potentially) equally vicious ways.

If I'm reading your posts right, Chris, you have a similar sort of duality going on in your head.

I have, for now at least, come to a compromise with myself, one which I hope might help other people. It is called cross-training. Stay in Aikido, but take a couple of classes a week elsewhere and learn some of what they have to teach. I'm guessing that doing this has impeded my progress in Aikido, and I'm certainly sacrificing depth for diversity of experience. But I feel good about it, and more and more, I am coming to appreciate that IN THE LONG RUN it might not be neccessary.

As I see it, asking aikido teachers to diversify their teachings is in some sense trying to (forcibly?) encourage your fellow students to make the same choice I have.

Think of it this way, if you will; if we keep our individual arts "pure" and separate from one another, then everyone is free to sample as much or as little from each as they care to as they construct their own learning. But as we start to mix them up a bit, we actually reduce the amount of variation we have available to draw from as esoteric techniques get left by the wayside.

That, or I might just be totally wrong. I won't know for another decade or two.

Esteban Martinez
11-03-2003, 04:07 PM
There is nothing wrong with learning all those things that you want to learn. But I think you should set a margin of what is Aikido and what is not. All those new traditions that you'd like to incorporate in Aikido are already implemented in Tactical Applications Training (special training for street defense and police officers). Most of this porgrams are Aikido based, but Aikido is not based on this programs.

Train in everything you want and learn anything you want but don't polute any art with things from other art. That's why we are all different because we do different things.

Cheers

mj
11-03-2003, 04:27 PM
Confucius only ever said 2 things.

'The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.'

'It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.'

'Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.'

Anders Bjonback
11-03-2003, 04:50 PM
I don't think that training thousands of spiritual Terminators was what O Sensei had in mind.

On a more serious note, you seem to think that aikido isn't complete in what it already is. I couldn't disagree more.

Chris Birke
11-03-2003, 04:50 PM
All your replies are very helpful, and have helped me to advance my thoughts.

It seems as though Aikido techniques are trained for a variety of reasons all aimed at improving oneself. There are a few different aspects I have identified (they are unified, of course, but for discussions sake let me break them down).

1. Train the body as a means of releasing the mind. To me, the repetition and focus is very much Zen, and this is a valuable aspect.

2. Training martial aspects for their social effect. Ie, being able to defuse an attack as a means of raising harmony. (Here, it is important that the technique be effective.)

3. Training physical aspects for their physical effect, ie, protection of ones physical person such that you are safe and whole. Beyond dealing with attackers, this includes stregnthening the body and will, and teaching the body to move safely in any situation (ie, a fall).

Why are martial aspects trained? If the theory is harmony and nonviolence, why not simply avoid all confrontation - pretend it does not exist - do no technique but dance.

There must be a reason?

I believe that the reasoning behind all this training is part of what defines Aikido, and differentiates it from other martial arts. I, however, am still left wondering "why these techniques?" Are they the most effective spirtually? Martially? Physically?

I believe that when the art was developed, it was, but only for the people of the place, at that time. I am not sure if our condition has not changed, and whether I can be made better to train Aikido differently.

The reason I persist in Aikido should be clear, it is the philosophy I seek, however I wish to enhance my seeking with others of the same mind set.

I have been cross training many different martial arts, but I still feel somewhat alone in this realization about the philosophy. In many ways I have found similarity, but nothing of an exact identity.

I have some loyalty, perhaps too, to Aikido, and thus wish to extend my thoughts here.

Apologies are in order perhaps for the aggressiveness of the origional post, but in a way I feel it was needed in order to properly stir things up.

Your thoughts?

Chris Birke
11-03-2003, 04:53 PM
Esteban,

how can Aikido become "polluted?"

What is and is not Aikido? Is Aikido a philosophy, or a technique, or a specific mix of both? Is it something else entirely to you?

Aristeia
11-03-2003, 05:42 PM
Chris

I certainly understand your frustrations and pretty much agree with your points. One of the problems with Aikido is it is still suffering from a cult of personality. People don't so much ask the question "does this fit with the principles of aikido" (as pretty much all the techniques of BJJ do) as "did O'Sensei do this"

The result is we are practicing an art which has been frozen in time, fossilized almost. Yes Aikido has a philosophical underpinning, and nothing should be added to it which does not match that underpinning. But when there are techniques out there that:

a) match philisophically

b) are effective

c) do not interfere, and in fact flow naturally from aikido technique

and d) solve a martial problem that is not solved in recognised aikido technique

there doesn't seem to be any good reason to exclude them from the art other than "O'sensei didn't use them".

I think we'll see a slow change over the next 10-20 years. I'm running into more and more aikidoka who cross train, particularly with other grappling arts. The organisations however are still run by traditionalists, so you get people playing with stuff after class, or showing how you can transition into groundwork with the caveat "don't do this in a grading in front of sensei". But as time goes by I think we'll see those cross trainers start their own organisations or become more senior in their existing ones. We'll probably end up with two types of aikido, tradtional and modern (or dare I say it, Aikido and Aikido concepts)

Aristeia
11-03-2003, 08:54 PM
What you seem to be looking for or expecting of Aikido... is simply not Aikido.

What part of "Way of Harmony" do you not understand?

Many times on this site, and others, questions are put forth asking "what happens when an Aikidoka is confronted with (*insert random other MA here*)?" Ah... but then you go on to point out the ignorance of posters and how they don't know what Aikido is!

So... why are you hung up on questions put forward by ignorant non-practioners of Aikido? Who are you to be such an authority and challenge everyone here on Aiki Web and tell them/us that we are too focused on the footsteps and not on the destination???

I'm sorry. I'm honestly not trying to belittle you or put your thoughts down. But I believe you honestly have a limited grasp on what Aikido truly is and what purpose it serves.
I'm not sure where to start with this response. What did Chris say that indicated to you he has a limited grasp on Aikido? That he wonders why we don't test it out against other sytlists? Because Ueshiba never did that right. The point I think is that he isn't getting hung up on questions put forward by non practioners of Aikido. Increasingly these questions are being asked from the inside.

What I suspect riles Chris (because it riles me) is that when the questions come (often from beginngers) the answers they recieve are nonesense (eg how to defend against a shoot). Why are they nonesense? Because we don't train with other arts. Because we come up with theories on how aikido can be used to solve a problem but don't test the theory so in many cases it is flawed.

Aikido is a Martial Art. It promotes itself as such and has the structure and expectations of a Martial Art. Yes there are other reasons people practice but I'm a firm believer that the other benefits are most pronounced when the practice is martial. Otherwise why aren't we doing Ikebana. What is it about continuing it's evolution as a martial art that necessarily conflicts with it's philosophical underpinnings as a way of harmony? We constantly hear people talk about conflict resolution outside of the mat, at work, whereever as being "aikido". If Aikido principles can make non physical interactions a manifestation of the art, why cannot other techniques equally be a manifestation of the art by virtue or utilising those same principles?

aikidoc
11-03-2003, 09:19 PM
Chris:

Perhaps you are looking in the wrong places. Maybe aikido techniques or the potential for exist in the other arts responses to various attacks, i.e., BJJ vs. boxer. Perhaps the answer might be in looking at the other arts responses (ground work) etc. and see what can be done using aikido principles.

Just my humble thoughts.

Aristeia
11-03-2003, 09:39 PM
Hi John

I know you were responding to Chris but I have a couple of thoughts about your answer.

1) If the response from other arts are effective and can be characterises as aiki, is there any reason why they should not be incorporated into Aikido training?

2) Ask how to deal with a boxer in Aikido class (or on an aikido board) and you'll get a range of answers. Doesn't it make sense to test if those answers work?

Nafis Zahir
11-03-2003, 10:25 PM
Chris, I'll try to make this simple. BJJ artist do well against boxers because they do BJJ and nothing else. I've seen them take on lots of styles and everytime, they just do what they do. I answered this question on the other post. Don't try to figure out how to deal with a boxer or any other style. Just do pure Aikido. Now when it comes to your own personal self defense on the street, you can always learn another stlye, mix it with aikido, but having studied kung fu for 7 years prior to aikido, I can tell you that it's not necessary. The only thing I see missing in aikido is good, strong, honest attacks. How long have you studied aikido? I've been doing akido for 8 years and I am just starting to understand CLEARLY some of the basics I learned to get to shodan. I am just now seeing things I never saw before. Thru training and not always thru explanation, I'm starting to realize how certain apllications work and how to adjust them according to the attack, strenght of the attacker and so forth. Keep training and all you questions will be answered!

John Boswell
11-03-2003, 11:30 PM
Home > General > The Founder's Teachings

by Morihei Ueshiba

The following are some of the founder's teachings concerning the essence of aikido.

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

Aikido is a manifestation of a way to reorder the world of humanity as though everyone were of one family. Its purpose is to build a paradise right here on earth.

Aikido is nothing but an expression of the spirit of Love for all living things.

It is important not to be concerned with thoughts of victory and defeat. Rather, you should let the ki of your thoughts and feelings blend with the Universal.

Aikido is not an art to fight with enemies and defeat them. It is a way to lead all human beings to live in harmony with each other as though everyone were one family. The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, "I am the universe."

If anyone tries to fight me, it means that s/he is going to break harmony with the universe, because I am the universe. At the instant when s/he conceives the desire to fight with me, s/he is defeated.

Nonresistance is one of the principles of aikido. Because there is no resistance, you have won before even starting. People whose minds are evil or who enjoy fighting are defeated without a fight.

The secret of aikido is to cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things.

I do not think badly of others when they treat me unkindly. Rather, I feel gratitude towards them for giving me the opportunity to train myself to handle adversity.

You should realize what the universe is and what you are yourself. To know yourself is to know the universe.
As I said before, I'll say again: Something very basic is not being realized here.

If we read what O'Sensei has said above, in particular: "Aikido is a manifestation of a way to reorder the world of humanity as though everyone were of one family. Its purpose is to build a paradise right here on earth," then we should see something more clearly.

Aikido has to be done, through training... as it was taught, because it was the method in which the founder saw to make the whole world realize how to bring order and peace here on earth.

If you do not DO Aikido, then you can not learn it. You can not read it. You can not study it from a distance. You can discuss it until you are blue in the face... but you will never fully Understand until you DO it.

Aikido is just that simple. The "do" or :do: part of Aikido is "the Way." It is a doingness. You can't have it or be it... you have to do it. (Anyone else see how ironic it is that the english term "do" and :do: are spelt the same? Funny. )

Anyhow, to the original author of this thread, I wish you well in your journey toward what you seek. I sincerly hope you put more of your heart and time into Aikido, several styles at least, until you feel absolutly sure you have exhausted it in your search for the 'harmony' you seek.

I honestly think Aikido encompasses all that is needed in order to accomplish what any martial art is out to achieve. Anyone that feels short sheeted needs to just keep going, in my humble opinion of course.

Domo arigato! :D

Aristeia
11-03-2003, 11:41 PM
Chris, I'll try to make this simple. BJJ artist do well against boxers because they do BJJ and nothing else. I've seen them take on lots of styles and everytime, they just do what they do. I answered this question on the other post. Don't try to figure out how to deal with a boxer or any other style. Just do pure Aikido. Now when it comes to your own personal self defense on the street, you can always learn another stlye, mix it with aikido, but having studied kung fu for 7 years prior to aikido, I can tell you that it's not necessary. The only thing I see missing in aikido is good, strong, honest attacks. How long have you studied aikido? I've been doing akido for 8 years and I am just starting to understand CLEARLY some of the basics I learned to get to shodan. I am just now seeing things I never saw before. Thru training and not always thru explanation, I'm starting to realize how certain apllications work and how to adjust them according to the attack, strenght of the attacker and so forth. Keep training and all you questions will be answered!
Actually no. BJJ guys do well against boxers because it is easier to make boxers fight in their range than vice versa.

After a year of training in Aikido you don't have a very good response to a shoot. After 10 years training you still won't have a very good response to a shoot unless you've cross trained. Will you have a better response to a boxer? Perhaps but maybe not significantly so. Or if you do much of it will be improvised. You may have an idea on how to approach a boxer but you'll second guess yourself because you've never tested it.

The point is that pure aikido as it is taught in the maqjority of dojos will not prepare you adequately to handle certain types of attackers. That being the case why would training in it any longer help? And given that there are aiki solutions to those situations, why not incorporate them.

The reason BJJers just "do what they do" against all comers is because they are used to training against resisting opponents. When it's time to get it on for real it's pretty much business as usual. For most aikidoka it's a significant step up.

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 12:15 AM
As I said before, I'll say again: Something very basic is not being realized here.

If we read what O'Sensei has said above, in particular: "Aikido is a manifestation of a way to reorder the world of humanity as though everyone were of one family. Its purpose is to build a paradise right here on earth," then we should see something more clearly.

Aikido has to be done, through training... as it was taught, because it was the method in which the founder saw to make the whole world realize how to bring order and peace here on earth.

If you do not DO Aikido, then you can not learn it. You can not read it. You can not study it from a distance. You can discuss it until you are blue in the face... but you will never fully Understand until you DO it.

Aikido is just that simple. The "do" or :do: part of Aikido is "the Way." It is a doingness. You can't have it or be it... you have to do it. (Anyone else see how ironic it is that the english term "do" and :do: are spelt the same? Funny. )

Anyhow, to the original author of this thread, I wish you well in your journey toward what you seek. I sincerly hope you put more of your heart and time into Aikido, several styles at least, until you feel absolutly sure you have exhausted it in your search for the 'harmony' you seek.

I honestly think Aikido encompasses all that is needed in order to accomplish what any martial art is out to achieve. Anyone that feels short sheeted needs to just keep going, in my humble opinion of course.

Domo arigato! :D
I wholeheartadly agree that Aikido (or any art) cannot be understood without being done. I'm not sure what the relevence is in this context. The issues raised in the original post are frequently raised from within the Aikido community. Sometimes by people that have been training a long time. Again, the suggestion that people simply keep training to find the solutions that appear to be lacking sounds like blind faith.

Don't get me wrong, I love Aikido, I think I will always train aikido. I think it can be a devestating self defence system. But it has some gaps. I think those gaps could easily be filled by changing the training methods and adding some other aiki like techniques. If you really want to succeed at everything a martial art sets out to acheive I think that is necessary.

paw
11-04-2003, 06:58 AM
The reason BJJers just "do what they do" against all comers is because they are used to training against resisting opponents. When it's time to get it on for real it's pretty much business as usual. For most aikidoka it's a significant step up.

Correct!
1) If the response from other arts are effective and can be characterises as aiki, is there any reason why they should not be incorporated into Aikido training?
A great question that looks unanswered. Anyone feel up to posting a response?

Regards,

Paul

Ron Tisdale
11-04-2003, 10:27 AM
This is a common theme that reaccurs on this and many other boards. My question is, why don't people who have these questions just get together with like minded students and practice this?

I know that a Yoshinkan instructor, Mits Yamashita, had similar questions as regards boxing and BJJ. He sought out instruction in these areas, and gained proficiency through his efforts. Other students and instructors have done the same.

What exactly is stopping these students from doing this? People who train in BJJ often seek out instruction in boxing and/or MT to fill in their skills at other ranges for MMA competition...they don't whine about BJJ not training sufficiently for those ranges...they go seek out competant instruction.

Just my opinion. Take it (and aikido) for what it is worth...

Ron

paw
11-04-2003, 10:42 AM
Ron,

This is speculation on my part based on my experiences, so for FWIW....
What exactly is stopping these students from doing this?

Nothing and everything.

Nothing insofar as it seems to be ok and acceptable to gain instruction in other arts and disciplines from others. Everything insofar as it doesn't seem to be acceptable to bring those responses back on the aikido mat, particularly using other training methodologies.

In other words, the answer to Michael's question:

If the response from other arts are effective and can be characterises as aiki, is there any reason why they should not be incorporated into Aikido training?

tends to be "no" more often than not.

I realize that I'm generalizing and there certainly are exceptions, but on a whole.... KiAi Golf = good, low single leg = bad...or at least, that's what I've experience. YMMV.

Regards,

Paul

Nafis Zahir
11-04-2003, 10:57 AM
I disagree. Aikido does prepare you for any attack. You need not improvise. The technique may vary depending on the persons response and exactly how is balance is taken. 9 times out of 10, your aikido technique won't develope the way it does in the dojo and you probably won't even finish the technique before the person is devestated. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for studying other fighting methods, learning their strenghts and weakness, and being better able to understand how to defend against them, but that is an individual matter in itself and should be kept seperate from the true art of aikido. The place for that is outside the dojo or a special class set up just for that. But keep it seperate. Anyone?

happysod
11-04-2003, 11:11 AM
Paul, can you expand on the "responses back on the aikido mat, particularly using other training methodologies." I can't understand how the techniques in themselves can be anathema to any aikido dojo, but I can see "training methods" being a bone of contention - can you give an example of what you mean.

As regards the "purity" of aikido techniques, surely we're still talking about a young martial art, based on the various [insert founder name here] experiences. As long as the technique follows what you consider aikido principles to be, why is it not aikido ? And why not improv in aikido - seems to be a bit of an arbitrary limit, go on, tell me you never do improv in randori.

aikidoc
11-04-2003, 11:16 AM
Michael:

1) If the response from other arts are effective and can be characterises as aiki, is there any reason why they should not be incorporated into Aikido training?

2) Ask how to deal with a boxer in Aikido class (or on an aikido board) and you'll get a range of answers. Doesn't it make sense to test if those answers work?

1. Aikido techniques are unlimited if you read the literature. IMHO what makes them aikido techniques is based on: intent, application and the following of aiki principles (whatever you view them to be). I used to study tai chi and kali while taking aikido. I found myself wanting to look at each technique (even the sticks) with respect to how I could make the movement more aikido like and in the case of the stick use them to apply aikido techniques (nikkyo with a stick is wicked).

2. Now to the test. I feel there is an inherent problem in testing aikido principles against a boxer or any other martial art-and it may somewhat fly in the face of aikido philosophy. The problem being is to test effectiveness one has to make it a "real" combat or attack situation. Boxers are a challenge since they are intent on scoring points or knocking one out-they generally do not engage in life or death combat and their attacks are for scoring points. As a result the pop in and out throwing punches and then retreat. The BJJ people will take a punch and if not knocked out or down they grab you and slam you to the ground and lock out in a submission hold-they are very effective at it but are not infallible. They did good until others started figuring out how to counter them now they have more of a challenge. Again, ultimate fighting challenges are not real combat-there is no issue of life or death or real assault in winning a match-more ego or satisfaction from beating someone up until they submit.

So, my question is what purpose does such a test serve? I don't have an answer but is this the only way we can test aikido? Perhaps it is not a relevant point. I don't study aikido to beat people up and hope I never have to test its combat effectiveness. Although I had one student who tested iriminage on a mugger on pavement and was locked out with a pin-he begged for the police to come and get him.

I know these issues come up regularly but in O'Sensei's desire for aikido to become a vehicle for world harmony I find the comparisons with other arts to be less than productive or useful for my personal pursuits.

Putting the art to such a test may serve little and lower aikido to the level of arts more intent on destruction. Putting two equally skilled combatants against each other to see who's art is the best is to me "testosterone strutting". That's why I felt the Black Belt magazine (I believe) verbal war between Wall and others against Seagal were silly at best.

Just my thoughts.

Qatana
11-04-2003, 11:59 AM
why does it have to be practiced on the Aikido mat? Why not develop a system using the techniques and aiki principles you find useful, give it a new name and open up a school?

Robert Bodine
11-04-2003, 12:04 PM
Chris,
This is a silly discussion. Anyone who has trained for 15 or 20 years knows that there is no limitation to the kinds of attacks and defensive technique that can be called Aikido. It is all about intent.

I recently had a chance to review an advance copy of Daniel Linden's Book 'On Mastering Aikido' and he addresses this topic ad nauseum. While there is much in his book that I don't agree with, his opinions concerning what is and isn't Aikido and how an aikidoka deals with every sort of attack are exactly right. I know that in his dojo he teaches boxing technique as well as aikido response to it.

I suggest you look outside your obviously limited exposure for answers to these interesting questions. As for your comment about a boxer being taken down by someone who has trained in BCC, don't bring that to the local boxing gym. If a real boxer ever hits you, you won't be going anywhere.

paw
11-04-2003, 12:31 PM
Ian,
Paul, can you expand on the "responses back on the aikido mat, particularly using other training methodologies." I can't understand how the techniques in themselves can be anathema to any aikido dojo, but I can see "training methods" being a bone of contention - can you give an example of what you mean.

I think Nafis last post is a perfect example.

I have also personally witnessed a number of times an individual was told "not judo/wrestling/boxing/whatever, use aikido" during a rank exam, when previously the examiner's last instructions were "any attack, any response".

By other training methods, I have in mind more scientific, athletic-based training methods. I think past discussions about warm ups, strength training, cardio vascular endurance and so on on this forum have made it clear that a good portion of aikidoists actively discourage such methods, despite a large body of research demonstrating clear benefits. And don't even get me started on dynamic methods such as "sparring".

Does that make things more clear?

Robert,
I recently had a chance to review an advance copy of Daniel Linden's Book 'On Mastering Aikido'

Would it be ok with you and Mr. Linden to post a review? I'm sure a number of us here on the forum would be very interested in knowing more details. Oh, and congrats to Mr. Linden on the book!

Regards,

Paul

Ron Tisdale
11-04-2003, 12:52 PM
Hi Paul,

Perhaps I haven't been clear...

What I am saying is that if people want to try these sorts of things (defense against wrestling shots, boxing jabs, etc.) and their current aikido dojo 'command structure' doesn't allow it, why not just form your own study group, and practice these things there?

And why would I use wrestling, judo or any other art when performing as shite/nage/tori in an AIKIDO dan test??? I can see how any attack might go...but since it is an **aikido** test, why would I use anything else as shite?

Why must aikido incorporate techniques from other arts? One of the lessons from MMA is that if you want to learn a particular range of fighting, you go to the art that specializes in that range. Simple.

For what aikido does well, go to aikido for that. For what something else does well, go to something else for that. Simple.

I really fail to see what all the fuss is about. I do think that people are slowly starting to look at some of the physical training methods you've described. There will always be holdouts though. Again, most of those things can be done on your own, without bringing any conflict in to your dojo. So the question is really one of taking responsibility for ourselves.

Ron (when wrestling, they didn't let me hit people, when doing shotokan, they didn't let me shoot in on them, oh well)

Kevin Leavitt
11-04-2003, 01:03 PM
As soon as you emphatically say what is aikido or what isn't aikido you are going to be wrong. you really cannot answer this question because aikido is really more a philosophy that has been put into motion with a bunch of martial techniques to demonstrate it's principles.

To look at it from a logical point of view, if aikido is all encompassing of the universe as O'Sensei proposed, then all is aikido and aikido is also nothing, or the void.

You will frustrate yourself to no end trying to bracket aikido into a tight little western box that can be defined as Ki Aikido, or ASU Aikido, or BJJ or TKD...it just is pointless!

There is a REASON for your frustration, and a REASON for your dissatisfication. It is YOUR REASON...it belongs to YOU the individual. You cannot put your OWN discord and imbalance off on an Art or philosophy!

Take ownership of your problem and go out into the world to embrace it and find the answer. It may not lie in aikido.

I think too many of us come to aikido with great expectation that we will start feeling at one with the universe and a bright shining light will descend upon us and make us the ultimate martial artist and we will see clearly for the first time every punch, kick, throw etc. (I really hope that happens to me someday!!)

I have NEVER been told to use "Aikido" as a technique in my dojos...only to follow the principles. I think as long as you apply the principles and demonstrate that you are getting it, then you are free to do as you wish. However, it is tricky cause if you do that, then you are probably doing aikido technique.

Welcome to the mind's turmoil of studying an internal martial system! It will have you questioning yourself, others, and the art CONSTANTLY!

The good news is I believe this is all perfectlly normal behavior and is healthy and a real part of what aikido is all about.

It is not until you throw away all your beliefs, convictions, and preconception, and start learning, and then finally one day start thinking for yourself that you are on the path to mastery.

paw
11-04-2003, 01:33 PM
Ron,
Perhaps I haven't been clear...

I think you've been crystal clear, I evidently have not been (so what else is new....)
What I am saying is that if people want to try these sorts of things (defense against wrestling shots, boxing jabs, etc.) and their current aikido dojo 'command structure' doesn't allow it, why not just form your own study group, and practice these things there?

I understand that, and I agree.
And why would I use wrestling, judo or any other art when performing as shite/nage/tori in an AIKIDO dan test??? I can see how any attack might go...but since it is an **aikido** test, why would I use anything else as shite?

I understand your point, and again, I agree. On an aikido test an individual should perform aikido. During a basketball game, someone should conform to basketball rules.

But my question is: what is aikido?

If it's a specific collection of techniques, then it's only a matter of time until it's koryu, an unchanging static art that doesn't have responses for any situation --- and probably can't be taken off the mat.

If aikido isn't a specific collection of techniques, then why couldn't a response that conforms to aikido principles be an aikido technique?

Does that make sense?

Regards,

Paul

Chris Birke
11-04-2003, 01:44 PM
Paul,

I must completly disagree. Of course I've been to the local boxing gym. I study all aspects of mma. They know how to fight. All boxers who I've shown "BCC" (heh) to are excited and want to learn more. Boxing is totally ineffective once you've gotten to the clench. No boxer in my weight class has ever stopped me. I doubt one ever will. It's not because they are bad boxers, it's just damn near impossible to score such a perfect shot (gloves off, or on). The ignorance you express here is part of my point. 20 Years and you still think a boxer ends his fights in the first punch? Hah! You CANNOT stop a shoot with punches.

MMA, however, is not trained for the same reasons as Aikido. Aikido is not about learning how to win. It's about studying the nature of conflict, physical and non. Sadly, to me, people seem very limited in their physical understanding of this. I can hardly communicate many of the important things that DO relate to Aikido while studying other arts. You will never understand them unless you do them. (ironic, that I say that, no?)

As for forming my own group to train with... sadly most Aikido people are not versed in anything but Aikido. I train with over 50 people on a regular basis among the different arts. None of the other Aikido people I know cross train beyond another traditional style.

I have seen so much ignorance of physicality in Aikido just as I have seen ignorance of spirit in MMA. Physicality is a gateway to spirit, but only if trained with the right mindset.

I wish more did crosstrain, so I could have someone else to discuss the Aiki aspects of all physical conflict with. Too often it is they, not I, who are caught in the logistics of conflict. The artless art. The way of no way. This is aikido! Not irimi nage.

There is a REASON aikido trains physically beyond it's martial effectiveness. Why does it train only what it does, and why only in the way it does? No one has answered this to me.

Michael Neal
11-04-2003, 02:18 PM
Chris I agree with you for the most part

paw
11-04-2003, 02:20 PM
Chris,
Paul,

I think you want to address your post to someone else, most likely Robert. If you honestly, truly want a response from me, let me know and I'll comment.

Baring that, the two of you can continue your discussion.

Regards,

Paul

Ron Tisdale
11-04-2003, 02:22 PM
As for forming my own group to train with... sadly most Aikido people are not versed in anything but Aikido. I train with over 50 people on a regular basis among the different arts. None of the other Aikido people I know cross train beyond another traditional style.
Wow! I'm sorry to hear that. I guess I'm just lucky in having people exposed to judo, BJJ, Shotokan, wrestling, etc. I was actually beginning to think it was fairly common.

Well, why not start your own group anyway? Teach the others what they need to learn to afford you better training? That's what some of my partners do with me (the eternal klutz that I am).

Ron

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 02:24 PM
I disagree. Aikido does prepare you for any attack. You need not improvise. The technique may vary depending on the persons response and exactly how is balance is taken. 9 times out of 10, your aikido technique won't develope the way it does in the dojo and you probably won't even finish the technique before the person is devestated.
You know it's funny that response looks word for word like something I may have written five years ago. And then I started watching some other arts in more detail. And then dabbling. And then I realised that why this may be true in many cases, there are plenty of attacks and strategies that aikido simply doesn't deal with very well. Which isn't to say that it couldn't if it incorporated the appropriate techniques, it just doesn't.

Again I have a couple of questions

1) what would you reccommend as an Aikido response to a wrestlers shoot?

2) Have you experimented with this?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for studying other fighting methods, learning their strenghts and weakness, and being better able to understand how to defend against them, but that is an individual matter in itself and should be kept seperate from the true art of aikido. The place for that is outside the dojo or a special class set up just for that. But keep it seperate. Anyone?
Why? If the response is Aiki, why should it not be incorporated into aikido?

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 02:28 PM
Michael:

1. Aikido techniques are unlimited if you read the literature. IMHO what makes them aikido techniques is based on: intent, application and the following of aiki principles (whatever you view them to be). I used to study tai chi and kali while taking aikido. I found myself wanting to look at each technique (even the sticks) with respect to how I could make the movement more aikido like and in the case of the stick use them to apply aikido techniques (nikkyo with a stick is wicked).
Ok so we're starting to come to some agreement. You've made specific mention of taking aikido techniques and principals and fitting them into other arts. Any reason why it shouldn't go both ways?

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 02:37 PM
Michael:

2. Now to the test. I feel there is an inherent problem in testing aikido principles against a boxer or any other martial art-and it may somewhat fly in the face of aikido philosophy. The problem being is to test effectiveness one has to make it a "real" combat or attack situation. Boxers are a challenge since they are intent on scoring points or knocking one out-they generally do not engage in life or death combat and their attacks are for scoring points. As a result the pop in and out throwing punches and then retreat. The BJJ people will take a punch and if not knocked out or down they grab you and slam you to the ground and lock out in a submission hold-they are very effective at it but are not infallible. They did good until others started figuring out how to counter them now they have more of a challenge. Again, ultimate fighting challenges are not real combat-there is no issue of life or death or real assault in winning a match-more ego or satisfaction from beating someone up until they submit.
I agree it's tricky. It's hard to forge an effective martial art without some form of resistance randori. And it's hard to get aikido to work in a sparring situation. Because for all the chest beating, people don't fight like they spar. I have almost never seen in real life or video footage a fight where people used sparring strategies (feeling out the opponent, building combinations etc etc). A fight has emotional content and is more likely to deliver the type of attacks Aikido needs to work.

But here's the problem. You get people in Aikido saying "I would do this against a jab" or "kaiten nage against a shoot". But they never test it. I'm not talking about signing up for the UFC or local MMA event, I'm talking about getting someone compotent to try the attack, and be motivated to see it through (i.e. don't fall because just because we've gotten to the throwing stage of the technique) and see what happens.

I think I've posted before about an experience working with someone who was looking for a follow up from a wing chun parry. On seeing the technique I thought it would be a good set up for irimi nage. On doing it I realised ikkyo was the obvious choice. Trying your technique against a resisting opponent is the only way to discover if you're doing aikido and not aikidance.
So, my question is what purpose does such a test serve? I don't have an answer but is this the only way we can test aikido? Perhaps it is not a relevant point. I don't study aikido to beat people up and hope I never have to test its combat effectiveness. Although I had one student who tested iriminage on a mugger on pavement and was locked out with a pin-he begged for the police to come and get him.
Sure, and noone's saying Aikido can't be effective. Just that it could be more so, and more complete given a shift in the training paradigm.
I know these issues come up regularly but in O'Sensei's desire for aikido to become a vehicle for world harmony I find the comparisons with other arts to be less than productive or useful for my personal pursuits.

Putting the art to such a test may serve little and lower aikido to the level of arts more intent on destruction. Putting two equally skilled combatants against each other to see who's art is the best is to me "testosterone strutting".
It depends on the spirit in which it's done. If it's "hey lets see how this works, and if not what adjustments need to be made". That's one thing, if it's "my sensei could beat up your sensei" that's another.

Ron Tisdale
11-04-2003, 02:41 PM
But my question is: what is aikido?

If it's a specific collection of techniques, then it's only a matter of time until it's koryu, an unchanging static art that doesn't have responses for any situation --- and probably can't be taken off the mat.
I would disagree that koryu can't be taken off of the mat...especially if the exponant has any reasonable base in gendai arts. From my limited experience. Aikido maybe static in some ways (outer forms) but I think it is far from static in its principles.
If aikido isn't a specific collection of techniques, then why couldn't a response that conforms to aikido principles be an aikido technique?
Perhaps it could be...but you would have to find an instructor willing to go that route, or start instructing in that method yourself. I guess I'm happy with the principles taught through the current set of techniques, and I don't mind trying to apply those principles in other arts, well, *in* those other arts. That model works well for the other examples mentioned above...why change the rules just for aikido?

Ron

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 03:08 PM
why does it have to be practiced on the Aikido mat? Why not develop a system using the techniques and aiki principles you find useful, give it a new name and open up a school?
A couple of people have made this point or something like it. While I have been instructing regularly in Aikido I certainly do not feel ready to cut myself off from the support structure of the art and the organisation. In fact why would I want to do something as drastic as start a new martial art. Does Aikido need to be frozen in time or can it evolve, if not why not?

paw
11-04-2003, 03:10 PM
Ron,
why change the rules just for aikido?

I thought aikido didn't have rules, it's budo, right? :D

Seriously, though, did I express myself well enough that you can see where I'm coming from? (Probably the same line of thought as Michael Fooks and Kevin, if I understand them)

Regards,

Paul

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 03:12 PM
Perhaps it could be...but you would have to find an instructor willing to go that route, or start instructing in that method yourself. I guess I'm happy with the principles taught through the current set of techniques, and I don't mind trying to apply those principles in other arts, well, *in* those other arts. That model works well for the other examples mentioned above...why change the rules just for aikido?

Ron
Here's part of the problem as I see it. Aikido is a martial art. Many people get into it at least in part, to be able to defend themselves. Many people who have studied it for a period of time feel that they could use it to defend themselves. Nothing is said to disavow people of this belief and indeed it is encouraged. That being the case, if there are gaps in the techniques and training which effect this martial ability, and if those gaps could be filled without sacrificing the philosophical underpinnings, but they aren't, aren't we being in some sense negligent?

jxa127
11-04-2003, 03:22 PM
Hi all,

Since my initial plea to live and let live was met with stony silence, let me offer the following:

I think that at least some of those looking to reform aikido are falling prey to the "bigger, newer, and better" syndrome described by Dave Lowry in this article: The Classical Japanese Martial Arts in the West: Problems in Transmission (http://www.koryu.com/library/dlowry4.html). Mr. Lowry says:
In the case of those martial arts in this country, if we trace their presence here back far enough, we can see that the problem has been that there just weren't all that many hills, green or otherwise, around. In the Fifties, judo was utterly exotic. Outside of some Japanese-American enclaves, it was little known and less practiced and taught. And even in such ethnic communities, karate was so rare that when it was publicly demonstrated in Hawaii in 1927, the event occasioned an article in a Honolulu newspaper.

Within a decade, that changed. In the Sixties, karate became commonplace. By the latter half of that decade most cities had several dojo or "studios" or YMCAs that were offering instruction in the art. In the Seventies, the green meadows available for grazing in the martial arts became even more numerous and varied. Kung-fu was added as were several other combative arts from various parts of Asia. Most of them were more attractive (because they were "newer" and more exotic, primarily) alternatives to karate and judo that had become, by then, pedestrian.
Maybe aikido has become too pedestrian compared to mixed martial arts (MMA) for some. These people admire aikido, and somehow wish to retain its techniques (and maybe its philosophies) while at the same time stretching it to fit into the sport-fighting mentality. They want to do away with the "anachronistic," traditional training regimen and replace it with more sparring, non-traditional attacks, and cross-training/defense against other arts.

The desire to constantly evaluate one's own training and look for ways to improve is a good one. It is also natural to look at ways of changing or being different. I found an essay on the Internet called "The Kendo Reader" by Noma Hiroshi. It addresses this process of evaluation and improvement:
In Zen Buddhism, there is the teaching of Shu, Ha, Ri. If we take for example the game of chess, Shu - to obey or adhere corresponds to the first stage of practice when one studies and adheres to the basic moves that have been set down by others. When a certain amount of progress has been made through ones own efforts and ability one begins to break away from this mould, and this is the stage of Ha, to break. If further progress is made with the training then eventually a natural breaking free from the conscious attempt to be different will occur, and finally without being aware of it one will part entirely from all such intentions and establish ones own individual path, though remaining within the bounds of the original principles and rules. This last stage is known as Ri, to separate. In the beginning however on must not fail to be obedient to the instructions given by the sensei.
I think this is a cycle that can repeat several times in the course of one's training. Maybe those who are seeking to "reform" aikido are in the "Ha" stage of the cycle. Maybe that's not at all what's happening and there will be no "Ri" to follow the break(s) that may occur from the influence of MMA on aikido. Still, the codification of the concept of wanting to break from the traditional training practices is as old as the training itself. More recently, Kisshomaru Ueshiba addressed the common concerns about aikido (non-realistic attacks, lack of sparring, lack of competition, etc.) in The Spirit of Aikido (first published in 1984). Yet the same questions and concerns keep popping up.

Noma Hiroshi wrote his Kendo Reader sometime before his very untimely death in (at the age of 29) in 1939. His experience with Kendo training has many similarities to my experience with aikido training due to the shared cultural background of the arts. The so-called antiquated training practices are, at least, have help preserve the Japanese heritage of the art. A little bit of research shows that heritage to be big enough to accommodate doubts, questions, frustration, and innovation. It would be a shame to disregard that heritage in an effort to find something newer and better.

By all means, explore the effectiveness of your training, make adjustments if you think they're needed, but don't jettison the traditional training methods in the process.

Regards,

-Drew

Ron Tisdale
11-04-2003, 03:33 PM
Again I have a couple of questions

1) what would you reccommend as an Aikido response to a wrestlers shoot?
Something based in aikido principles that has a similar effect as a sprawl. In the case of yoshinkan aikido, you have the 45 degree pivot. The front knee bends with the hips shifting forward and down, the back foot moves offline to change the angle of your application of power. At the same time you use some method of controling the head and upper body of the shooter (wizard or cross-face works well). Now you have

Maintained your posture

worked to compromise your opponants posture.

You may have to do variations of this movement several times, as wrestlers often just switch knees and keep changing angles and coming forward. Forward focus, kamae, low center, all of these things help to make this work against a shot.
2) Have you experimented with this?
Yes, with district champion level wrestlers and others.

That said, someone practicing a shot as their high percentage take down against resisting opponants is going to walk through most aikidoka even like myself, who, knowing this method, don't practice it often enough against resistance from highly trained atheletes.

Can I stop a sloppy shot with it? You betcha. Can I stop your average joe who decides to give it a try? You betcha.

Can I stop Tito Ortiz? You betcha I'm a gonna end up on the floor.

Ron

Ron

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 03:38 PM
Hi all,

Maybe aikido has become too pedestrian compared to mixed martial arts (MMA) for some. These people admire aikido, and somehow wish to retain its techniques (and maybe its philosophies) while at the same time stretching it to fit into the sport-fighting mentality. They want to do away with the "anachronistic," traditional training regimen and replace it with more sparring, non-traditional attacks, and cross-training/defense against other arts.
Just to be clear, I'm not necesarily advocating a sport fighting mentality. You can add techniques and you can test your theories without necessarily having to step into a ring or cage or put a trophy on the line. Cooperative training where uke is helping nage to learn is great and I wouldn't want to lose it, but sometimes the best way to help nage learn is to not let them throw you.

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 03:43 PM
Something based in aikido principles that has a similar effect as a sprawl. In the case of yoshinkan aikido, you have the 45 degree pivot. The front knee bends with the hips shifting forward and down, the back foot moves offline to change the angle of your application of power. At the same time you use some method of controling the head and upper body of the shooter (wizard or cross-face works well). Now you have

Maintained your posture

worked to compromise your opponants posture.

You may have to do variations of this movement several times, as wrestlers often just switch knees and keep changing angles and coming forward. Forward focus, kamae, low center, all of these things help to make this work against a shot.
You see personally I think I would characterise a sprawl as an aiki technique which adheres to aiki principles. You're just moving off the line in a different dimension. I accept that your offering could work however and in fact may have the additional benefit of being outside of the shooters experience. Like alot of Aikido it may not work twice once they're expecting it, but in a street rather than a sport environment you only need it to work the once.
Yes, with district champion level wrestlers and others.

That said, someone practicing a shot as their high percentage take down against resisting opponants is going to walk through most aikidoka even like myself, who, knowing this method, don't practice it often enough against resistance from highly trained atheletes.

Can I stop a sloppy shot with it? You betcha. Can I stop your average joe who decides to give it a try? You betcha.

Can I stop Tito Ortiz? You betcha I'm a gonna end up on the floor.
As would we all (barring Randy) :-)

Ron Tisdale
11-04-2003, 03:45 PM
That being the case, if there are gaps in the techniques and training which effect this martial ability, and if those gaps could be filled without sacrificing the philosophical underpinnings, but they aren't, aren't we being in some sense negligent?
Not from the personal experiences I've seen...most of the people who needed to use their aikido didn't have to use it against roided up professional atheletes bent on taking them to the ground. Or even quality boxers. For the kinds of situations generally faced, aikido seems to work fine. And I don't recall any of my teachers saying that it would work in the MMA environment. Those aren't the fellas I'm worried about.
Cooperative training where uke is helping nage to learn is great and I wouldn't want to lose it, but sometimes the best way to help nage learn is to not let them throw you.
But don't we all do that at certain times already past a certain level?

I think I kinda get what you're saying Paul, but I can't claim to have any more of an answer than I've already given. Sorry...but at least you got to take that shot about rules...:)

Ron

Kevin Leavitt
11-04-2003, 03:49 PM
I think there are several pertinent questions to ask....

1. What is your perspective of a martial art?

2. What is aikido to YOU?

3. What do most senior teachers hold aikido to be? and what do they purport the goals or endstate of aikido to be?

I think once you establish a perspective on these points...we may have something to discuss.

A few people seem to think aikido should be a complete fighting system that allows for senarios such as shoots and sprawls.

The experiences I have had with aikido don't really care about that kind of thing...it is situational based training. While it is good to explore these things...and I encourage it, and do so myself, I don't really think aikido can be critized for ignoring them since most teachers never hold aikido to be anything remotely resembling an external system to make you combat effectiveness.

I think the answer of why Aikido does not deal with these things is that it tends to be a internal or principal based system that uses techniques to teach certain principles. Once you master them, you can pretty much deal with anything....but it is a long slow road.

It is hard to demostrate the principles dealing with takedowns and ground fighting.

Drew, many good points!

I too have found myself dealing with these vary questions. I think it only natural for people to ask them and to explore them. It wasn't till just in past couple of years that I began to really understand why aikido does things the way it does....same with Tai Chi.

As to answer the question how to you deal with a wrestlers shoot???

Hard question to answer really. One part of me says from an aikido principle standpoint...why the hell do you care?

From a tactical stand point, move the hell out of the way, back up, avoid it.

If it is a real fight, which if you are hold that aikido is a martial art then there are no rules really. Then you 1. avoid it. 2. Minimize your damage to your opponent while protecting yourself. 3. if that doesn't work, you move out of the way, kick him in the face, groin and then run.

Martial arts is not about having a sexy ikkyo, it is about being effective.

If you are working with in the constrains of wrestling "rules" i have to ask you why the hell are you trying to "play" aikido..it will never work in the confines of a "sport".

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 04:10 PM
Not from the personal experiences I've seen...most of the people who needed to use their aikido didn't have to use it against roided up professional atheletes bent on taking them to the ground. Or even quality boxers. For the kinds of situations generally faced, aikido seems to work fine. And I don't recall any of my teachers saying that it would work in the MMA environment. Those aren't the fellas I'm worried about.
Let me be clear here. I am NOT advocating an MMA environment as such, cage fighting or turning aikido into a professional fighting sport. And I realise I've dwelled a bit excessively on the shoot/sprawl which may not be that applicable in a street situation. So let me restate my point. Given that when things go askew the first place you generally end up is on the ground (surely we've all experienced this in randori?), shouldn't we offer some aiki solutions to that? Even if it is just sweeps and positional transitions to allow people to regain their feet.

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 04:15 PM
If it is a real fight, which if you are hold that aikido is a martial art then there are no rules really. Then you 1. avoid it. 2. Minimize your damage to your opponent while protecting yourself. 3. if that doesn't work, you move out of the way, kick him in the face, groin and then run.

Martial arts is not about having a sexy ikkyo, it is about being effective.

If you are working with in the constrains of wrestling "rules" i have to ask you why the hell are you trying to "play" aikido..it will never work in the confines of a "sport".
You see this is part of the problem. I read this post and it looks to me like you have a theory on how to deal with a shoot (in this instance), and a belief that the only thing that would stop people using the tactics you suggest are a ruleset that doesn't exist on the street. The problem being that it's not so much the ruleset that would stop a "kick him in the face" response as the fact that it simply does not work (barring a freak accident of timing).

Nafis Zahir
11-04-2003, 05:14 PM
You know it's funny that response looks word for word like something I may have written five years ago. And then I started watching some other arts in more detail. And then dabbling. And then I realised that why this may be true in many cases, there are plenty of attacks and strategies that aikido simply doesn't deal with very well. Which isn't to say that it couldn't if it incorporated the appropriate techniques, it just doesn't.

Again I have a couple of questions

1) what would you reccommend as an Aikido response to a wrestlers shoot?

2) Have you experimented with this?

Why? If the response is Aiki, why should it not be incorporated into aikido?
Michael,

The answer is suriwaza! Besides, like I said, it's cool to experiment, but keep it seperate from the pure art itself. You may not be able to knee walk on concrete, but you can certainly control the person on even ground.

Nafis Zahir
11-04-2003, 05:18 PM
Hey everyone! I have an idea. I studied Kung Fu for 7 years and have been doing Aikido for 8 years. I have my own personal mixes of the 2 styles for my own slef defense (if I ever need it - I do live & work in Philadelphia!) Why don't we all get together and have a discussion and practice some of these theories on the mat! Sound interesting? We can invite boxers, BJJ's, aikidoist, Karate, Kung Fu and wrestlers/street fighters. Anyone?

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 07:36 PM
Michael,

The answer is suriwaza! Besides, like I said, it's cool to experiment, but keep it seperate from the pure art itself. You may not be able to knee walk on concrete, but you can certainly control the person on even ground.
Let me just make sure I've got this right. You're facing an aggressor who begins to shoot in on you. You drop from your standing stance into your knees and perform some sort of suwari waza?

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 07:48 PM
Hey everyone! I have an idea. I studied Kung Fu for 7 years and have been doing Aikido for 8 years. I have my own personal mixes of the 2 styles for my own slef defense (if I ever need it - I do live & work in Philadelphia!) Why don't we all get together and have a discussion and practice some of these theories on the mat! Sound interesting? We can invite boxers, BJJ's, aikidoist, Karate, Kung Fu and wrestlers/street fighters. Anyone?


I think this is a fantastic idea and should be strongly encouraged. Unfortunately Philidelphia is a little out of my way.

Chris Birke
11-04-2003, 08:49 PM
I totally agree with Nafis' idea. Sadly, I too am a little far from philly, but it's just what I think is needed to really further this discussion with some concrete examples. Even with the question "is doing this Aikido" still unanswered, I believe this is an excellent expirment.

Micheal, you rock. I am quite fufilled that everyone is talking about this, people from all over the world. It's really rather amazing.

People who totally disagree with me, thank you too! All the comments I've gotten here have obiviously been written with some thought. Let's remember that everyone's intent here is to better themselves and Aikido.

About the shoot... Some of you guys so need to roll. It breaks my heart ;D. It's not gonna kill you or taint your Aikido if you try, and I believe it would be eye opening as to why I am wondering so. Suwari Waza would not work. It would just make it easier for the shooter. I could show you why, but I can't really explain it. Kicking and punching doesn't work (which makes it totally unneeded violence). Sprawl and crossface does work. It causes no harm to the shooter, and may be the grappling equivalent of blending. Why would you rather try to kick than sprawl, because a sprawl has been tainted in its wrestling use and is therefore impure? What's the deal?

Please keep this discussion going, it's very enlightening for me. Also, I've been training Aikido every day in two different styles (both traditional, though one slightly more relaxed). I try to do exactly as the Sensei says and ask none of these questions in class. That would be disruptive in my opinion. Asking you guys seems less disrespectful than asking my Sensei, although I do persue it sometimes off the mat. Thanks so much for letting me think out loud here =D.

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 08:54 PM
Micheal, you rock.
Heh, thanks, but those unfortunate enough to have heard me mangle a note on the saxophone would beg to differ....

paw
11-04-2003, 09:01 PM
As would we all (barring Randy)

This just in.... Randy Couture is still the man!

We now return you to your regulary scheduled aikido thread....

Ron,
I think I kinda get what you're saying Paul, but I can't claim to have any more of an answer than I've already given. Sorry...but at least you got to take that shot about rules...

That's cool. I know you're very happy with your dojo and I appreciate your candor.

Regards,

Paul

Aristeia
11-04-2003, 09:29 PM
This is a common theme that reaccurs on this and many other boards. My question is, why don't people who have these questions just get together with like minded students and practice this?

I know that a Yoshinkan instructor, Mits Yamashita, had similar questions as regards boxing and BJJ. He sought out instruction in these areas, and gained proficiency through his efforts. Other students and instructors have done the same.

What exactly is stopping these students from doing this? People who train in BJJ often seek out instruction in boxing and/or MT to fill in their skills at other ranges for MMA competition...they don't whine about BJJ not training sufficiently for those ranges...they go seek out competant instruction.

Just my opinion. Take it (and aikido) for what it is worth...

Ron
Was just rereading the thread and thought this was worth responding to. The difference here is that BJJers will bring boxing an MT back into their gym and train it there. Most BJJ schools also offer striking and Vale Tudo classes. How many people here have rolled with someone after an aikido class and got diapproving looks from other dojo members....

jxa127
11-04-2003, 09:41 PM
Just to be clear, I'm not necesarily advocating a sport fighting mentality. You can add techniques and you can test your theories without necessarily having to step into a ring or cage or put a trophy on the line.
Well, my post was more of a response to the original post, but I agree with your point.
Cooperative training where uke is helping nage to learn is great and I wouldn't want to lose it, but sometimes the best way to help nage learn is to not let them throw you.
Absolutely, we do that all the time at my dojo. :)

Regards,

-Drew

Chris Birke
11-04-2003, 10:06 PM
One direction I would like to further in this discussion is the spiritual aspect. In so much as practicing Aikido is akin to meditation. A physical act whose spiritual counterpart is just as important.

How does this (albeit breifly described) spiritual aspect relate to technique that is not widely taught in Aikido? Does it exist outside Aikido? Where, and where not?

//

My feelings are that indeed it does. In places where the body is asked to do novel and amazing things. In places where stregnth and energy is raised in magnitude through technique. In places where nonviolence is stressed.

To me it is a shame that these other places where Aikido exists are not being shared.

creinig
11-05-2003, 07:20 AM
About the shoot... Some of you guys so need to roll. It breaks my heart ;D. It's not gonna kill you or taint your Aikido if you try, and I believe it would be eye opening as to why I am wondering so. Suwari Waza would not work. It would just make it easier for the shooter. I could show you why, but I can't really explain it. Kicking and punching doesn't work (which makes it totally unneeded violence). Sprawl and crossface does work. It causes no harm to the shooter, and may be the grappling equivalent of blending. Why would you rather try to kick than sprawl, because a sprawl has been tainted in its wrestling use and is therefore impure? What's the deal?
Disclaimer: I just have 2 years of Aikido training under my belt and no other MA experience. And I only "know" the sprawl from this page I just looked up: http://bjj.org/techniques/cesar/take1/ .

My problem with that maneuver (as well as with most of the "wrestling" stuff) is that I want to have reasonably good chances not only against a single attacker, but also against his buddies, some of which even might have weapons. Locking forces with someone isn't very practical in such a situation.

I don't know how I'd defend against a shoot, so I can't really add any insight here. But I do know that cuddling with an opponent is one of the things I certainly do not want to do in a fight, so I'm focusing my training to avoid such situations for now.

happysod
11-05-2003, 07:42 AM
<rant on>

Off-topic question on this one, why do people insist on calling a halt to threads on aikiweb, either in the interests of "live & let live" or "it's been done before" or even "this is a silly discussion"? - thanks for that one by the way, a well reasoned, mature response, must note it for future reference.

Christians last post is a classic example of what I found in a previous incarnation of this thread - the "what the hell are you talking about". A rehash of old views etc. can be just as useful as a brand new topic, if a thread gets boring, it normally dies a death anyway.

<rant off>

Chris B re spiritual aspects: I think nearly every sport/art has it's own feeling of "something extra" and tries to describe it in various ways ("in the zone" for example). Aikdo has a tendency to tread the "spiritual path" when describing this, but my personal take is just that it feels great when you get it right (for a change) as you see your technique do just what is needed when it was needed. I don't think aikido has any particularly special releationship with this feeling, it's just that we're told to look for it (and possibly expect it?) in our practice.

paw
11-05-2003, 08:21 AM
Christian Reiniger,
My problem with that maneuver (as well as with most of the "wrestling" stuff) is that I want to have reasonably good chances not only against a single attacker, but also against his buddies, some of which even might have weapons.

Get to a wrestling club and start training. A sprawl will give you the ability to stop a shot and quickly regain your footing.
But I do know that cuddling with an opponent is one of the things I certainly do not want to do in a fight, so I'm focusing my training to avoid such situations for now.

LOL! Wrestlers don't "cuddle". Wrestling is one of the most physically demanding Olympic sports, period. Get to a wrestling club and start training...you'll find out very quickly.

Regards,

Paul

Michael Neal
11-05-2003, 08:29 AM
The answer is suriwaza! Besides, like I said, it's cool to experiment, but keep it seperate from the pure art itself. You may not be able to knee walk on concrete, but you can certainly control the person on even ground.
Suwariwaza will not work against anyone with a little grappling experience, a previous poster was correct that it would actually help your opponent.

bob_stra
11-05-2003, 10:44 AM
Chris

That was an excellent post. Good question.

My 2 rubles

There's a thing called Aikido. There's a thing called Chris Birke.

The thing called Chris Birke subsumes the thing called aikido.

So Chris Birke can, will and should do as he pleases and not feel guilty about it for a damn moment.

The rest of your question is in the "lead a horse to water" catagory.

One final point - MMA may not be allowed in aikido, but aikido sure as hell is allowed in MMA. Try it ;-)

Ron Tisdale
11-05-2003, 02:35 PM
This has been a good conversation guys, thanks! I probably have some other things I could say, but I'm so busy these days at work, I don't have the time. We may have petered out a bit anyway...

Ron

Aristeia
11-05-2003, 04:54 PM
Disclaimer: I just have 2 years of Aikido training under my belt and no other MA experience. And I only "know" the sprawl from this page I just looked up: http://bjj.org/techniques/cesar/take1/ .

My problem with that maneuver (as well as with most of the "wrestling" stuff) is that I want to have reasonably good chances not only against a single attacker, but also against his buddies, some of which even might have weapons. Locking forces with someone isn't very practical in such a situation.

I don't know how I'd defend against a shoot, so I can't really add any insight here. But I do know that cuddling with an opponent is one of the things I certainly do not want to do in a fight, so I'm focusing my training to avoid such situations for now.
Ah yes grasshopper, head-in-sand technique, if do properly, no can defence. In the situation you've just outlined, if you don't have a sprawl then congratulations, you re now facing multiple armed attackers while on your back with one of them astride you.

Aristeia
11-05-2003, 04:55 PM
This has been a good conversation guys, thanks! I probably have some other things I could say, but I'm so busy these days at work, I don't have the time. We may have petered out a bit anyway...

Ron
Let's meet back here in 10 years and have the same conversation. Will be interesting to see how we, and our art has changed.

creinig
11-06-2003, 04:31 AM
Ah yes grasshopper, head-in-sand technique, if do properly, no can defence. In the situation you've just outlined, if you don't have a sprawl then congratulations, you re now facing multiple armed attackers while on your back with one of them astride you.
Ok, I should have kept my mouth shut. Sorry. I know that text was unqualified and stupid to post.

I guess it was tiredness combined with my frustration about my inability to get even a basic grasp on why the shoot and sprawl techniques are that effective. *sigh*. I guess I'll have to experience them to see the light. I know, that should be obvious. But I still have the idea that theoretical research should at least come up with *something* :(

Well, back to the mat...

kensparrow
11-06-2003, 12:51 PM
I believe that the reasoning behind all this training is part of what defines Aikido, and differentiates it from other martial arts. I, however, am still left wondering "why these techniques?" Are they the most effective spirtually? Martially? Physically?
My personal belief (and I haven't been doing this very long) is that the techniques are like primary colors. When you start out you paint with just one color at a time but as time goes on you realize that you can mix them together and make any color you want. Ikkyo shows you one thing and nikkyo another but there is a whole continuum in between.
I believe that when the art was developed, it was, but only for the people of the place, at that time. I am not sure if our condition has not changed, and whether I can be made better to train Aikido differently.
I'm sorry but this just sounds so arrogant. Have you really explored Aikido so thoroughly that you can say for certain that the things you are looking for aren't there already?

Aristeia
11-06-2003, 02:26 PM
Ok, I should have kept my mouth shut. Sorry. I know that text was unqualified and stupid to post.

I guess it was tiredness combined with my frustration about my inability to get even a basic grasp on why the shoot and sprawl techniques are that effective. *sigh*. I guess I'll have to experience them to see the light. I know, that should be obvious. But I still have the idea that theoretical research should at least come up with *something* :(

Well, back to the mat...
Hi Christian

Sorry if that came off sounding snippy, but the "multiple armed attackers on a surface covered in broken glass" objection is a bit of a chestnut in these types of debates. They come up over and over again despite the fact that no-one can offer a better solution. Which is where the theoretical approach runs into trouble. Nothing wrong with thinking about a solution to a martial problem, but it should then be tested. Chris' point is that in Aikido we do alot of theorising and not enough testing.

Chris Birke
11-06-2003, 03:46 PM
Ken,

To continue your metaphor my question is does Aikido define the whole spectrum. Are there no colors outside of Aikido?

I personally believe there are things outside of Aikido, and am asking whether or not they qualify as colors.

Yes, I know it is arrogant to question. I believe I already apologised for that. I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that I am certain of any of this, I'm not. This is part of my exploration of Aikido.

I do like your colors metaphor =D.

Michael Neal
11-07-2003, 07:39 AM
There is nothing wrong with questioning things, you should not have to be a mindless robot.

Ted Marr
11-07-2003, 12:31 PM
Just because metaphors are way too fun to mix, match, and stretch to their breaking points....

So let's say that techniques are like colors. Personally I would prefer vectors in n-space, but since I'm don't expect all Aikido people to be geeks, so I'm going to do both. So, if techniques are colors, and we're asking if there are any colors that aren't in the aikido paintbox, here's my thoughts... (or, are there any vectors orthogonal to the space spanned by current aikido vectors?)

I would say that the aikido techniques can, with sufficient mixing, cover the entire spectrum. However, there are some colors that it just isn't as good at as others. Let's say that we have only a little itty bit of red paint given to us for every allocation of paint. So, most of our paintings are generally in the green area. If we need to, we can do some nice purples and oranges, but we run out of that paint pretty quick. But really, if you've got a lot of paint to spread around, it doesn't matter that much, you can paint whatever the hell you want to.

Aikido techniques span n-space. However, it takes linear combinations of a lot of different vectors to do it, since most of the ones we are given lie pretty close to one hyperplane in n-1 space. Most of us are working with the ability to add and multiply only a few vectors, although the Shihan probably are able to manipulate a whole matrix.

Aikido doesn't do much groundfighting, it doesn't do really close-in grappling, and it doesn't usually do really quick, snappy attacks. If you're really bloody good, you can probably deal with that, but it takes a long time to get there.

For those of us with limited palattes, it might help to go borrow a little bit of red paint from someone else until we can make our own.

Add a vector or two that's pretty close to orthogonal to what you've got

Cross train. It could help in the short run, even if it isn't neccessary in the long run.

That being said, I train in Aikido because I think it has a color in it's palette that almost nobody else has, and dammit, I'm really starting to like green.

We've got a cool vector.

Zuki
11-08-2003, 08:34 AM
Hello Everyone!

I must admit that then point was a fair one, but I still believe the answer is in training a lot and being open minded with all the aspects of aikido.

I got interested in aikido after doing judo for some time, I started aikikai, but then moved to shodokan (a.k.a tomiki). I must admit that the training is virtually the same in many aspects, but what I found was an excellent tool of self improvement was Randori.

In randori (as well as in the "official" competitions) the aim is not trying to win at all cost , but try top improve your aikido to the point that you do not have to ask yourself "who will win the fight between a boxer and an aikidoka", because there is no question...! If and when you face yourself against somebody who happens to be a boxer (or anyone), your aikido will take care of you...

We regularly have aikido meetings...i.e. a week end of aikido from all the different aspects: aikikai, ki, shodokan... and is always an incredible event... everybody takes on board so much!

The spirit is what counts...

Nafis Zahir
11-09-2003, 12:41 PM
Thank You! Someone finally understands! As you stated, "Your Aikido will take care of you!" I also love the fact that you get together with other styles. There's always something to learn from other styles. It also helps you to keep an open mind. In case you didn't hear, Saito Sensei has split from the aikikai. Another bad blow to the Aiki Community.

sanosuke
11-09-2003, 09:04 PM
regarding our relationship with other arts/styles, i'll just quote what Joe Thambu sensei said,"don't look for differences, look for similarities. Differences only makes you away from each other, while similarities makes you close and exchange each other."

this also goes to all Iwama students, although you already breakaway my feeling towards you guys never changed, as we are similar as aikido students (although i'm pretty sad you breakaway from aikikai). I wish you good luck in Iwama's future endeavour.