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JasonFDeLucia
02-05-2004, 08:24 PM
Although I agree with many who say that the current trend in competitive venue is usually nothing more than a show case for egotism, narcissism, I'm stronger than you etc.
I think it is important to consider the good that could be done with it. For example to reverse people's thinking to the right. Right now the media glorifies, even rewards those who make them selves ugly by behaving badly. As if this is the only way to sell tickets. In many venues ring girls are paid as much as, if not more than some fighters. This is a disgrace in days of old even in prize fighting the ring cards were displayed by gentlemen in suits, and in sumo it is treated as a religious rite as well as in Thai boxing. It seems "cool" now to denigrate
the art and ceremony as well as the people. So first I would say that exhibition of ceremony and also admonition to aesthetic performance, this can only be done by those who have carried on these values and are willing to take a chance and put it on the line. To do away with the these diseased mentalities by example and attrition. Right now some ones son or daughter watches ''joe thug'' and thinks he's cool, until some budoka puts him in his place and teaches him how to act like a man with respect he will not and kids will not see this type of behavior is weak. If you say as many aikidoka say "I don't think we as aikidoka should get involved in this type of thing" , then you become guilty some how of not making a difference in a place that you easily could. Would you rather see this type of immoral depraved behavior, or find a way to correct it. I have not always been the greatest example, but I see there is something that could be done and a bright side to competition. I think in this day and age Mr. Ueshiba would agree, if it's a choice between glorifying some debase perversion or
setting a better example ,it's no contest.

PeterR
02-05-2004, 08:46 PM
Kenji Tomiki was quoted as saying with regard to competition.

Those that understand - understand perfectly.

The very definition of the word in English refers to a coming togeather of individuals not the perversion often displayed.

I have seen Olympic class swimmers and runners grimace in victory with an ugliness and aggression that has nothing to do with the original ideal. And yet others that, although filled with pride, treat their fellows as one would family. In Japan, among the Shodokan brethren, a competitor who does not hold the latter view is very rare. Most cases I have seen were trained elsewhere - but even here the Shodokan Aikido generally cultivates the positive behaviour.

Ueshiba M. seems to have been more concerned with rivalry rather than shiai. It appears that his main argument against the latter was the former - yet as we see the lack of shiai does not negate the rivalry.

drDalek
02-06-2004, 08:54 AM
I am so dissapointed that we dont have a shodokan / tomiki dojo near where I stay. I have even considered taking up judo or shotokan karate so that I can get the "sparring" out of my system.

The problem is that I want to test my Aikido, the style of judo I had access to did not allow small joint manipulation or atemi and the karate guys may or may not (I never tried) be able to take falls.

In the end I opted to do 2 different styles of Aikido 5 times a week. There is enough overlap in terms of technique that they compliment each other and enough differences to keep it interesting.

Someday I will be able to test myself against a capable partner but until that day I will keep irritating my fellow Aikidoka with our pre-class "rough-housing"

Greg Jennings
02-06-2004, 09:12 AM
I think it's great that there are schools with competition and those without.

Twenty years ago, I loved competition. It molded me in ways that I needed to be molded.

Today, though, I don't want to walk out of my *incredibly* dog-eat-dog, thin-margin, what-have-you-done-for-me-today, it's-all-about-winning, business life and into a hobby that is competitive.

I've already been there; it wasn't good for me.

YMMV and I'd feel great about that,

Atomicpenguin
02-06-2004, 05:26 PM
Jason, I don't understand exactly what it is that you're arguing for. It seems to me that you're proposing that we eliminate perversion in the martial realm by doing the very thing you have defined as being perverse (although I'm not really clear on how exactly you're defining perversion). You brought up, as an example of this perversion, that ring girls are paid as much or more than the fighters themselves. How does pummeling a guy, that the ring girl is only marginally connected to, bring an end to the distinctions in their salaries?

I apologize if it sounds as though I'm being malicious; that is not my intent. I simply would like some clarification on your argument.

Noel
02-06-2004, 07:13 PM
Jason-

My cent-and-a-half is that regardless of the ideals and goals you set out with, you're going to wind up with a certain amount of the thuggish element. As long as there is money to be made by catering to the lowest common denominator in society, someone is gonna try and make a fast buck doing so. You're from Mass, you saw the Superbowl.

At some point, regardless of your ideals and motivations, you will lose control, and then it becomes what it becomes.

I'm just trying to change my little corner of the world by setting the best example I can in public, doing what I can to make the world a better place, and trying to equip my daughter with the skills to make good decisions in her own life. (She's only 3, so yes, as soon as she's old enough, I'm gonna try and get her doing aiki too.)

You have to do what you see is the right thing, though.

-Noel

bogglefreak20
02-07-2004, 11:16 AM
I'm just trying to change my little corner of the world by setting the best example I can in public, doing what I can to make the world a better place, and trying to equip my daughter with the skills to make good decisions in her own life. (She's only 3, so yes, as soon as she's old enough, I'm gonna try and get her doing aiki too.)

You have to do what you see is the right thing, though.
I agree totally! If you feel you can make the world a better place by competing in aikido, then go ahead.

Personally I have more then enough competition in my everyday life just trying to get through college and get myself a decent job where I won't have to compromise my ethical standards - it sounds a stupid criteria but that's me :)

I agree that agression, violence and sexual explicitness sells very well. And I agree that such a state of mind is not the best. But I'm not willing to sacrifice my good will and peace of mind for people who can't appreciate it. Jesus said something about not throwing pearls before swines. I'm not saying people don't deserve to know aikido and it's noble principles at their best - I'm saying that anyone prepared for them will encounter them eventually. With or without our help.

And if I may share with all of you a short story that I find illustrative...

A man was taking a walk along the beach. Soon he encounters a small boy throwing stranded sea stars (you know, those 5-limbed creatures) back into the ocean.

"What are you doing?" asked the man.

"Throwing sea stars in the water. If they stay on the sun too long, they'll die."

"Can't you see how stupid that is - the beach stretches out for miles and there must be thousands of sea stars that are stranded. You can't make any difference!"

The boy thinks for a moment, grabs another star and throws it in the water.

"I made the difference for that one."

Friendly regards to all!

Anders Bjonback
02-07-2004, 03:42 PM
To do away with the these diseased mentalities by example and attrition. Right now some ones son or daughter watches ''joe thug'' and thinks he's cool, until some budoka puts him in his place and teaches him how to act like a man with respect he will not and kids will not see this type of behavior is weak. If you say as many aikidoka say "I don't think we as aikidoka should get involved in this type of thing" , then you become guilty some how of not making a difference in a place that you easily could. Would you rather see this type of immoral depraved behavior, or find a way to correct it. I have not always been the greatest example, but I see there is something that could be done and a bright side to competition. I think in this day and age Mr. Ueshiba would agree, if it's a choice between glorifying some debase perversion or

setting a better example ,it's no contest.
How would an aikidoka make a difference, correct this type of "immoral depraved behavior?" Kick the show-off's ass in? Then what? I don't think the strongest person is necessarily right, and I don't think that's the kind of lesson we want to teach our children. If a budoka beats up "Joe Thug" just to make a point or to "put him in his place," then, in most circumstances, I would think that Mr. Budoka is no better than "Joe Thug."

I think that competition, for some people, can be a constructive thing. One of my friends does Soo Bahk Do, and he takes his art through a contemplative point of view, improving himself, etc, and engages in competitions. But the point of training in aikido isn't to score points, is it? Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right? Or at least, one is training to win within the rules of the game. Kind of like the difference between kenjutsu and kendo. At least, that's the way I understand it.

L. Camejo
02-07-2004, 06:23 PM
But the point of training in aikido isn't to score points, is it? Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right?
Hey all,

The above post sort of caught my eye.

I agree that training in Aikido is not about scoring points, but in the case of Shodokan competition the rules are designed so that the more effective your technique the more points you get. Folks are also penalised for attempting to force techniques without applying correct tai sabaki, kuzushi and kake. Poor attacking form on the part of Tanto is also indirectly penalised. So in my book the 2 go hand in hand, sloppy technique = no points.

This is part of why the predominant concept of shiai in Shodokan tends to be one of "meeting and testing" one's Aikido instead of "doing whatever it takes to win and be glorious", as the latter option often does not end up in success. This does not mean that there are those who do not take the latter view, it's just that they are not very prevalent imo.

Of course in other forms of competiton this may not be the case, as may be seen in touch point Kendo and Karate tournaments where a strike that would have no effect in reality is awarded points just for making contact.

Just thought I'd share.

Onegaishimasu.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
02-08-2004, 09:21 AM
I appreciate the arguement of setting a better example. I believe that in practicing aikido in the manner I do, I help in some small way to set that better example. I hope that people can watch a class, or a demo, and see the best ideals of budo at work.

I'm also glad to see competitors in the ring set that example in their own way. I've seen it in boxing, wrestling, MMA, gymnastics...in sport and in martial art. I don't believe that to set that example, I must take my budo to the competitive ring. There are budo and martial arts that do that already. What I do is different...not better, not worse. From what I've read of Ueshiba, I don't think he would disagree.

Ron

JasonFDeLucia
02-08-2004, 06:58 PM
Jason, I don't understand exactly what it is that you're arguing for. It seems to me that you're proposing that we eliminate perversion in the martial realm by doing the very thing you have defined as being perverse (although I'm not really clear on how exactly you're defining perversion). You brought up, as an example of this perversion, that ring girls are paid as much or more than the fighters themselves. How does pummeling a guy, that the ring girl is only marginally connected to, bring an end to the distinctions in their salaries?

I apologize if it sounds as though I'm being malicious; that is not my intent. I simply would like some clarification on your argument.
David,arguing is not what I'm doing I'm expressing in relation that there are some who have expressed dismay towards mma for these reasons ,and I agree. I should have made the post under a relative thread, but I couldn't remember where it was.

With regard to ring girls ,I don't think they should be there at all it cheapens the seriousness of the goings on. Fighters train long and hard, and it is an insult to say that the fans should have this to look at, as if the event isn't enough.

It seems as though many think that the nature of competition is perverse well, yes and no in my opinion for example ueshiba, takeda, kano....all were competitors. Under their times and for their reasons(sometimes money) but in today's society the lines are much less clear largely due to better living through modern chemistry. Steroids, cocaine etc do more to enhance the negative aspects of the situation. Competition could be elegant and dignified with proper structure of rules and regulations example we could do away with striking on the ground submission is far more dignified and beautiful to watch.

PeterR
02-08-2004, 08:02 PM
Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right?
This time Larry beat me to the punch. Score at the moment is ..... must not compete.

The above is a very narrow view of competition and quite wrong. It's all about improving your technique. Points are transitory.

Even if we use running for an example where there is a set track and finishing line, the majority of people in the race pretty much know they are not going to win. However, they know that even in that cirucumstance their training and hence their running will be that much better. Maybe in the future they will win or not, but for the vast majority that do a sport it is not what keeps them training.

Michael Neal
02-09-2004, 08:19 AM
I think many people are afraid of competition for a variety of reasons. Some people's ego can not take losing, others are lacking in athletic ability, etc.

A small majority I think dislike competition due to their principles but many others use this as an excuse or dishonest explanation.

Ron Tisdale
02-09-2004, 08:58 AM
And many of us like competition just fine...but choose not to participate. Not because it is vile or filthy, simply because its not our bag. Is there something wrong with that? I like to WATCH a good wrestling match, or a boxing match. I no longer wish to step up to that sort of competition (there was a time when I did). Does that make me a slacker?

I compete with myself every day. I find that much more difficult, personally.

Ron

Talon
02-09-2004, 10:47 AM
I can relate to what Mr. Delucia is trying to say. I too hate to see some of the spectacles that you see in the mma events. I hate it when the typical "street thug" with big muscles and no evident technique wins a match and acts like a complete moron or animal and the crowd cheers. I never understood why someone that has just beat up another person has to act like a moron. To me if the person won the fight and made it seem like nothing to him and acted cool and collective would be way more impressive.

I also hate the some of the idiotic statements that some of the comentators make. My favorite was " MMA competitons have done more for martial arts in the last ten years than the various matrail arts disciplines have done in the last thousand" this is not a direct quote but a paraphrase of what this person said. He of course said that implying that the mma competitions have shown us what works and what doesn't and how now people know the truth.

I hate when people say "AIKIDO doesnt work, because if it did someone would be using it in MMA competiotions". I can see Mr. Delucia's point in saying that most people today are drawn to this type of nonesence and should be shown the truth.

I love the aruments that people make how true to reality and street effectiveness MMA competitons are and how they keep on stressing how you really need to know ground techniques to survive on the street since alot of the MMA competitons are spent and won on the ground. I then say, make their ring out of sharp, preferated concrete like a parking lot or street and we'll see how much time they spend on the ground then. Also we then would see how many consecutive falls they would take and go on in the competition.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I can see what Mr. Delucia is trying to say but if sex and violence sells than the public will always be drawn to this type of behaviour and spectacle and I'm not sure that we AIKIDOKA can do much about it. If O'Sensi was around I doubt that he would wnat to participate in these events.

Paul Nowicki

paw
02-09-2004, 01:42 PM
If O'Sensi was around I doubt that he would wnat to participate in these events.

O Sensei and several of his deshi did participate in challenge matches from time to time. While the students may have been scolded, it was never a big enough offense to get them expelled from Hombu as best I know.

Regards,

Paul

Talon
02-09-2004, 02:08 PM
I know O'Sensei accepted challenges but I'm not sure if he would be drawn to the type of MMA events of today. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see him kick some buttocks of some of the cocky musclebound gorrilas that participate in these events.

Anyway, I can't beleive how many typos I had in my previous post. I'll need to proof read my posts more carefully.

Don_Modesto
02-09-2004, 02:56 PM
Anders Bjonback wrote: Regardless of whether or not someone is an asshole about it, training for competition is about scoring points rather than having truly effective technique, right?
The above is a very narrow view of competition and quite wrong. It's all about improving your technique. Points are transitory.
Peter, would you agree that yours is the ideal and the real is more in the nature of what Mr. Bjonback wrote?

I think the inevitable rules prostitute competition. I saw a guy luck into a half-point in a judo tournament once and then spend the rest of the match weaseling away from further engagement and get away with it. Some win. Some training. All that mattered to him was the trophy. I think this is more the norm of competition in the real world and why many folk hold it in low regard. I personally like "competition" in the Rehse mode, but count myself in a minority.

paw
02-09-2004, 02:59 PM
I can't beleive how many typos I had in my previous post. I'll need to proof read my posts more carefully.

There's a "check spelling" button that is now available. (Thanks Jun!)
I know O'Sensei accepted challenges but I'm not sure if he would be drawn to the type of MMA events of today.

Not knowing O Sensei I'm not sure what his feelings would have been. In contrast, Kenji Tomiki did have a personal relationship with O Sensei and there is shiai in Shodokan aikido.

Regards,

Paul

PeterR
02-09-2004, 06:58 PM
Not knowing O Sensei I'm not sure what his feelings would have been. In contrast, Kenji Tomiki did have a personal relationship with O Sensei and there is shiai in Shodokan aikido.
Hi Paul;

I'm not sure Tomiki would be drawn to the MMA per se - although what the situation would have been when he was young, fit and dangerous I can't say. I base this on the fact that he developed Aikido randori/shiai as a way of developing Aikido techniques and used in parallel Judo randori/shiai as a means of improving Judo technique. He did the big three, kendo was in there too, but tended to keep the practice of each separate.

At higher levels the practice of all three merge more dramatically, at the basic level they start the same. He saw shiai specifically as a training method not a goal in itself. However, as a young Judo man he probably went after the trophies too.

PeterR
02-09-2004, 07:42 PM
Peter, would you agree that yours is the ideal and the real is more in the nature of what Mr. Bjonback wrote?

I think the inevitable rules prostitute competition. I saw a guy luck into a half-point in a judo tournament once and then spend the rest of the match weaseling away from further engagement and get away with it. Some win. Some training. All that mattered to him was the trophy. I think this is more the norm of competition in the real world and why many folk hold it in low regard. I personally like "competition" in the Rehse mode, but count myself in a minority.
I will disagree with the minority statement.

Of course when you enter a competition you enter with the goal of doing as best you can. You might not win but improving your standing from the last time is goal enough. And of course, in a competition of any sort, you use anything and everything to give you an advantage. In sports that is why there are rules - it keeps things safe AND keep things moving. In a real fight (the ultimate competition) there are less rules. There are always rules just not always clear.

However, shiai does not occur every time. If it did there would be no value to the shiny trophies. What does occur is randori which depending on the person can be training for just technique or shiai. A few of the university students I know are hungry for the shiai wins but even among these they know that if they are going to reach the top they are going to have to perform real techniques under shiai conditions. They don't train for sandbagging which in itself is quite a risky strategy. The randori training is full on but they experiment get tossed and experiment some more. This is where the full value of shiai (competition) occurs although shiai provides lessons in its own right. The ring is only a focal point.

The majority of strong competitors understand this. Olympic level athletes did not get where they are by training to sandbag (although it is a tactic they might use). If you are any good a trophy at the local level looses its shine pretty quick (transitory), so does state, so does national. To move up this ladder your technique must improve.

And Don - an example does not make the majority.

Roy Dean
02-09-2004, 08:03 PM
"I love the aruments that people make how true to reality and street effectiveness MMA competitons are and how they keep on stressing how you really need to know ground techniques to survive on the street since alot of the MMA competitons are spent and won on the ground. I then say, make their ring out of sharp, preferated concrete like a parking lot or street and we'll see how much time they spend on the ground then. Also we then would see how many consecutive falls they would take and go on in the competition."

You might be interested in the video "Worlds Wildest Streetfights." Very educational. Almost all of the fights are the same. Fast and wild swinging. Often the left hand grabs whatever the opponent is wearing and the right hand keeps swinging. The clinch happens spontaneously, with fists still flying and the fight goes to the ground. No takedowns. It just happens in the chaos. Sometimes the people get up off the ground and go back to swinging, but the opportunities for someone to finish the fight on the ground are WIDE and GAPING. And, if someone is skilled or familiar with achieving positional dominance on the ground, the concrete is their friend, as the skilled ground fighter will very likely be on top and their opponent is the one suffering the consequences of "sharp, preferated concrete."



But back to the topic at hand: Competition.

Competition is a mixed bag. I've competed. I've won. I've lost. I beaten opponents in 15 seconds, and had grueling matches where both of us felt like we were dying.

Competition can be beautiful, respectful, enlightening, inspirational, and egoless. On the other hand, it can be rude, disrespectful, humiliating, egoic and unjust. What's unsettling about competition is that it often brings out the best and worst in people.

I recently witnessed one of my good friends and teammates choked unconscious in a competition by a muscled head and arm guillotine. His opponent screamed as he applied the technique with all his might, and screamed again when he stood up and the officials were resuscitating my friend. About 4 out of 50 people clapped. Everyone else was silent.

It was bad- essentially the worst display of etiquette and martial technique I've seen in years, and I couldn't help but get emotional over the outcome. The victor was at a low skill level (less than 1 year training) while my friend is highly skilled (7 years + grappling experience). One this day, surprise, strength and aggressiveness beat skill and technique. I'm also certain that the victor was on steroids. That level of aggressiveness is not natural, and having fought people on steroids before in a competitive environment, I can tell you that it is simply not fair. It's like fighting two people. But that's life. And life is not fair.

Which makes the respectful victories, especially against pumped up adversaries, all the more sweet. In competition, I've been slammed, slapped, kicked in the crotch, taken more than a few forearms to the jaw, and generally been treated in a disrespectful manner by a handful of participants. But, this gives the budoka a rare opportunity to either fight back dirty (force on force), or take a higher road and blend with their opponent's aggression.

Once you submit a opponent cleanly, with technique and timing, after they've taken every opportunity to rough you up and make the match as miserable as possible, something happens to THEM when you shake their hand give them a hug and a smile. You dissolve their animosity, and set their ego at ease.

And others notice as well. I've had people cheer for me precisely because I suffered from dirty tactics and tapped the offending opponent anyway, without holding a grudge. That kind of attitude inspires others to take a respectful path in competition, just as I have been inspired by my favorite competitors.

In that moment, the competitor feels, and the audience sees, what real budo is all about. Budo is Love. Budo is for the protection of all living creatures, not for egoic indulgence and holding the submission extra long so that guy that dared step on the mat with YOU feels just how powerful YOU are. Budo is doing exactly what is necessary for the benefit of all parties involved. Then letting that moment go.

I choose to compete only occassionally. Some like to compete all the time, some are fine without it altogether. Some have motivations to compete, some have motivations to not compete, and I have full respect for both viewpoints.

Competition can be ugly. Competition can be inspiring. Success in not guaranteed, which makes the quiet, respectful acceptance of victory mean so much, both to the victor and the vanquished.

In short, competition is our opportunity to demonstrate the compassionate philosophy of Aikido in a noble and meaningful way.

I hope others take up this opportunity. The experience can be invaluable.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

paw
02-09-2004, 08:07 PM
Peter,

My post was reactionary and overly brief. We (those of us posting on this thread and participating in this forum) never knew O Sensei. Speculating about O Sensei's likes, dislikes and preferences quickly becomes murky.

As far as I know, O Sensei didn't participate in MMA. He did accept challenge matches and some of his students did as well. Kenji Tomiki didn't participate in MMA per se as you pointed out, but did develop randori and shiai for aikido.

If Pride was around then, would either man lace up gloves and step into the ring? Would they send students to Pride? Maybe not. But challenge matches, randori and shiai aren't that far from testing one's self in MMA, at least as I see it, but I could be wrong and I freely admit it.

Regards,

Paul

JasonFDeLucia
02-09-2004, 08:20 PM
"I love the aruments that people make how true to reality and street effectiveness MMA competitons are and how they keep on stressing how you really need to know ground techniques to survive on the street since alot of the MMA competitons are spent and won on the ground. I then say, make their ring out of sharp, preferated concrete like a parking lot or street and we'll see how much time they spend on the ground then. Also we then would see how many consecutive falls they would take and go on in the competition."

You might be interested in the video "Worlds Wildest Streetfights." Very educational. Almost all of the fights are the same. Fast and wild swinging. Often the left hand grabs whatever the opponent is wearing and the right hand keeps swinging. The clinch happens spontaneously, with fists still flying and the fight goes to the ground. No takedowns. It just happens in the chaos. Sometimes the people get up off the ground and go back to swinging, but the opportunities for someone to finish the fight on the ground are WIDE and GAPING. And, if someone is skilled or familiar with achieving positional dominance on the ground, the concrete is their friend, as the skilled ground fighter will very likely be on top and their opponent is the one suffering the consequences of "sharp, preferated concrete."



But back to the topic at hand: Competition.

Competition is a mixed bag. I've competed. I've won. I've lost. I beaten opponents in 15 seconds, and had grueling matches where both of us felt like we were dying.

Competition can be beautiful, respectful, enlightening, inspirational, and egoless. On the other hand, it can be rude, disrespectful, humiliating, egoic and unjust. What's unsettling about competition is that it often brings out the best and worst in people.

I recently witnessed one of my good friends and teammates choked unconscious in a competition by a muscled head and arm guillotine. His opponent screamed as he applied the technique with all his might, and screamed again when he stood up and the officials were resuscitating my friend. About 4 out of 50 people clapped. Everyone else was silent.

It was bad- essentially the worst display of etiquette and martial technique I've seen in years, and I couldn't help but get emotional over the outcome. The victor was at a low skill level (less than 1 year training) while my friend is highly skilled (7 years + grappling experience). One this day, surprise, strength and aggressiveness beat skill and technique. I'm also certain that the victor was on steroids. That level of aggressiveness is not natural, and having fought people on steroids before in a competitive environment, I can tell you that it is simply not fair. It's like fighting two people. But that's life. And life is not fair.

Which makes the respectful victories, especially against pumped up adversaries, all the more sweet. In competition, I've been slammed, slapped, kicked in the crotch, taken more than a few forearms to the jaw, and generally been treated in a disrespectful manner by a handful of participants. But, this gives the budoka a rare opportunity to either fight back dirty (force on force), or take a higher road and blend with their opponent's aggression.

Once you submit a opponent cleanly, with technique and timing, after they've taken every opportunity to rough you up and make the match as miserable as possible, something happens to THEM when you shake their hand give them a hug and a smile. You dissolve their animosity, and set their ego at ease.

And others notice as well. I've had people cheer for me precisely because I suffered from dirty tactics and tapped the offending opponent anyway, without holding a grudge. That kind of attitude inspires others to take a respectful path in competition, just as I have been inspired by my favorite competitors.

In that moment, the competitor feels, and the audience sees, what real budo is all about. Budo is Love. Budo is for the protection of all living creatures, not for egoic indulgence and holding the submission extra long so that guy that dared step on the mat with YOU feels just how powerful YOU are. Budo is doing exactly what is necessary for the benefit of all parties involved. Then letting that moment go.

I choose to compete only occassionally. Some like to compete all the time, some are fine without it altogether. Some have motivations to compete, some have motivations to not compete, and I have full respect for both viewpoints.

Competition can be ugly. Competition can be inspiring. Success in not guaranteed, which makes the quiet, respectful acceptance of victory mean so much, both to the victor and the vanquished.

In short, competition is our opportunity to demonstrate the compassionate philosophy of Aikido in a noble and meaningful way.

I hope others take up this opportunity. The experience can be invaluable.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean
T feel as though you're pulling the thoughts from my mind .no joke .thank you

PeterR
02-09-2004, 08:24 PM
Paul - don't worry. I was just musing on whether Tomiki would have competed or sent his students to compete in MMA events. A younger Tomiki just might of.

Roy - great post.

Ron - good point. The big secret is that the last time I competed was at my Judo Shodan shinsa. I don't do near enough randori and basically am not interested in shiai. I've done it, see the value, but I prefer concentrating on kata. Trying to increase my randori time though.

willy_lee
02-09-2004, 09:22 PM
Roy -- that was one of the best posts I've ever seen on this board. Very well written -- just excellent.

I would love to compete some day -- as another avenue to learning. Probably in a Seniors division, or maybe a Retirees division, the way it's going ;)

=wl

Jesse Lee
02-09-2004, 10:29 PM
Roy, just curious what the format was when you competed. Grappling, karate, MMA...?

I cross-train in BJJ and pretty regularly get tapped to compete. I never have, I suppose b/c (1) I am down with M. Ueshiba's edict to forego competition in that it can work against the idea of blending and converting the opponent's heart, and (2) with all the pressure I put on myself everywhere else in life I sorta want to avoid piling more on in the form of martial competition.

But now we have Roy's hypereloquent post. Here he is talking about something that M. Ueshiba did not countenance, namely, converting the enemy/opponent's heart through the very act of competition.

Not that I perceive a duty to convert angry and aggressive people out there, but I am sure I would win or lose with class and sans "egoistic indulgence."

Now I am thinking even more seriously of doing the next BJJ tournament. I dunno.

Dammit Roy!

Talon
02-10-2004, 10:29 AM
You might be interested in the video "Worlds Wildest Streetfights." Very educational. Almost all of the fights are the same. Fast and wild swinging. Often the left hand grabs whatever the opponent is wearing and the right hand keeps swinging. The clinch happens spontaneously, with fists still flying and the fight goes to the ground. No takedowns. It just happens in the chaos. Sometimes the people get up off the ground and go back to swinging, but the opportunities for someone to finish the fight on the ground are WIDE and GAPING. And, if someone is skilled or familiar with achieving positional dominance on the ground, the concrete is their friend, as the skilled ground fighter will very likely be on top and their opponent is the one suffering the consequences of "sharp, preferated concrete."
Roy

I agree with you that fights do end up on the ground sometimes. What I was trying to get across is that the ring is quite different than the street. Royce Gracie spent most of his time on his ass at the time of his MMA competition years. He was almost always on the bottom. He won numerous competitions spending most of his time on his back. He wouldnít be that well off if he was doing this on concrete. Furthermore, on the street, typically the person thatís fighting you has friends cheering him on. You go to the ground, they get to play football or soccer with your head and torso. I'm not trying to discredit or put down ground fighting techniques. I think that they are important and worthwhile learning. But the way I see it is in a street situation you typically want to get up and mobile as soon as you can. Throwing the other person to the ground with some velocity is another matter. One good fall on concrete and its game over for most people. This is something else you donít see in the MMA competitions but then again the ring isnít concrete.

I havenít seen the video you referred to, I have seen numerous others though and I agree that most fights are very chaotic. However, you will agree with me that most if not all of these street fights do not depict martial artists with some throwing or striking technique. Most of the people on these fight tapes are street thugs that keep wildly swinging and grabbing their targets in order to actually land a punch. In any event, I will have to check out the tape you suggested.

Michael Neal
02-10-2004, 10:34 AM
And many of us like competition just fine...but choose not to participate. Not because it is vile or filthy, simply because its not our bag. Is there something wrong with that? I like to WATCH a good wrestling match, or a boxing match. I no longer wish to step up to that sort of competition (there was a time when I did). Does that make me a slacker?

I compete with myself every day. I find that much more difficult, personally.

Ron
No it does not make you a slacker, I was just making an observation I have found to be true about alot of people, not all people.

I was speaking more about those who take some kind of big moral stand against competition, I think many of these people simply fear it.

Competition is not for everyone, but randori is not competition and many fear this the same as competition. If you do not do any randori I would say that person is a "slacker" because their martial abililty is only practicial in their imagination.

Roy Dean
02-10-2004, 12:34 PM
Paul,

I agree that a concrete octagon, or even a dress code of workman's boots, jeans, and a denim jacket would significantly change the dynamics of MMA competitions. And the UFC is not the best indicator of what actually works in the street. What happens in the UFC is two world class martial athletes intertwining strategy and skill, in an environment where outside variables are minimized. The strategies you have to apply in a high level competition like that are markedly different than what works for the guys in wife beaters scrapping on the corner in front of a handy cam.

But the street is surprising- there are no hard and fast rules. In the aforementioned video, most of the fights are one on one, and if members of the crowd attempt to jump in, either it turns into a full blown gang fight (very quickly) or the person wanting to lend assistance gets beaten down. But anything can happen in those situations, and often does.

I agree that you don't want to be on the ground in a streetfight if you can help it, but hey, life is unscripted and if you do find yourself there, it would benefit a person GREATLY to know what to do in that range of combat. Also, if your grappling knowledge is well rounded and you've practiced throws or takedowns, it's unlikely that you'll even be taken to the ground. If you've trained against skilled opponents at variable levels of resistance, the average tough guy on the street is little challenge to defend against.

As for a throw ending a fight- it certainly can and has happened. On the other hand, I have seen people get suplexed on concrete and pop right back up. Adrenaline can be very powerful. Again, it's chaos! Anything can happen! Like you said, disengagement should be the ultimate goal. Do what you must, then get out of there...

Jesse: I compete in BJJ (gi) and Submission wrestling (no gi) competitions. No MMA for me. I respect MMA fighters greatly, but that's a hard road that can take a serious toll on your body. Most don't realize how severe the training is, not to mention the fight itself!

Very cool that you're training BJJ and Aikido. Both arts are complimentary to each other. The sensitivity gained in Aikido is unparalleled and pays heavy dividends once you start applying it in BJJ.

If you're inspired to do a BJJ tournament, then go for it! The experience in invaluable- there are a lot of unexpected feelings that come up in anticipation of the competition, and I think it's important to go through that process.

If I may offer one piece of advice, hard earned, it would be this: Train for the competition seriously, with full focus, and think of the match itself as a celebration for all of your hard training. I doesn't matter if you win or lose- you are as good as you are, and you're that much better than you were for the training you've undergone. If you can be in that moment, and let your ego go, you'll do great. Don't think. Trust that your body knows what to do. I've found that I do my best when I think the least!

Perhaps Mr. DeLucia has some more advice on prepping for competition, as he has PLENTY of experience.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

Ron Tisdale
02-10-2004, 01:30 PM
Competition is not for everyone, but randori is not competition and many fear this the same as competition. If you do not do any randori I would say that person is a "slacker" because their martial abililty is only practicial in their imagination.
Well, there are levels of randori, some of which are very competitive. Some might say even dangerous.

I know someone who just got her black belt after MANY years training in aikido. She must be over 65...it wouldn't surprise me if she was over 70...she does *not* do randori. But be carefull when you do shite / uke training with her...she doesn't pull her punches or her technique. Is she a slacker?

RT

Michael Neal
02-10-2004, 01:50 PM
Well, there are levels of randori, some of which are very competitive. Some might say even dangerous.
Almost anything can be done to excess and go too far, this does not prove randori is dangerous or too competitive.
know someone who just got her black belt after MANY years training in aikido. She must be over 65...it wouldn't surprise me if she was over 70...she does *not* do randori. But be carefull when you do shite / uke training with her...she doesn't pull her punches or her technique. Is she a slacker?
Slacker is word you chose to inject into this topic I never used that word in my original post. Someone can work very hard at doing uchikomi and cooperative practice and not be a "slacker" but they will most certainly be less able to handle someone attacking them who is not cooperating. At the age of 65 or 70, sure randori and competition certainly are not wise options but if you are physically able you should try to do the most realistic training possible, this may include randori, shiai, or both.

My original point was that I think many people use some kind of moral highground against competition as an excuse not to train as hard as they could. I think I am right. And as I said, this certainly does not apply to every situation maybe only some situations.

Michael Neal
02-10-2004, 02:11 PM
Royce Gracie spent most of his time on his ass at the time of his MMA competition years. He was almost always on the bottom. He won numerous competitions spending most of his time on his back. He wouldnít be that well off if he was doing this on concrete
Well in the following video Royce spends very little time on his back, all of the techniques he uses here would be able to be used on concrete. You are not really going to notice the concrete too much due to adreneline unless you are getting slammed on it, you might feel it later though.

http://www.mywebdimension.com/videos/royce.mpeg

Jim Sorrentino
02-10-2004, 02:22 PM
Greetings All,

It's useful to consider how other disciplines have handled the question of competition as a training tool for combat. The following is from a letter from Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite, to Michael Harries, another senior firearms instructor. It is quite applicable here.

"Back in the Dark Ages, when we began practical pistol competition, we did not know what we were up against. How should we have known, with no precedent to teach us?

As you and I have both discovered, the problems in putting the art together may not be insurmountable, but they are dreadfully daunting.

A. Well-conducted competition is the only path to excellence in the combat arts. This concept is beyond the military, the police or any public program. The question is not whether a certain number of people can be brought up to a certain level, but just how high that level can be placed. This can only be determined by individual competition.

B. Competition, however, brings out the worst in people, who, in general, do not seek excellence, but rather recognition. Excellence and recognition can only be brought into coincidence by an authoritarian program conducted by a person or persons in whom the principles of the exercise are exemplified.

These two discoveries conflict with each other, as we found out right away, and our efforts failed, both nationally and internationally."

In my opinion, the practice and teaching methods of aikido recognize this conflict, and seek to produce proficiency and excellence in the practitioner by choosing a third path which transcends either solo kata or competition against another, by directing the competitive urge into a contest with oneself. The proficient aikidoka must excel in the role of uke as well as nage. This goes directly against the desire to win that sparring inevitably inculcates (see Discovery B above).

My Uechi-ryu karatedo teacher, Bob Galeone, put it this way:

"Sparring is to combat as masturbation is to f*cking."

He worked part-time as a bouncer (or as he put it, a demographic engineer), and later, as part of the security detail of a former high government official. He knew whereof he spoke.

Jim Sorrentino

Michael Neal
02-10-2004, 03:45 PM
I understand your perspective Jim and I understand the dilemma of injecting competition into Aikido. This is a very difficult balance to say the least. But while it is true competition can bring out ugliness so can regular Aikido practice.

The same negatives are present in some Aikidoka it just manifests itself in different ways. In fact I found far much less ego and competition in Judo and BJJ than in Aikido, I was very suprised by this.

So eliminating A to avoid B does not necesarly work. Then that leaves you without the benefits of A while still dealing with its drawbacks.

I think in Aikido it is very difficult to inject pure competition because the techniques are not suitable for that due to the dangers invloved. Even after a year of Judo I would still rather be on the receiving end of a big Judo throw with nage landing full force on top of me than taking one of those damned flying breakfalls from shihonage.

But I think the "competitive" angle can be achieved through Aikido randori that is practiced on a more regular basis and varied between one-on-one to multiple attackers. If it were up to me every Aikido class would have up to 15-30 or more minutes of some kind of randori like in Judo. This would move mountains as far as the ability of Aikidoka to gain the benefits of competition while not actually competing. The secrets of arts like BJJ, Judo etc are not the competitions but how they train in the dojo, specifically the randori that follows the teaching of techniques.

However I am not a Sensei so I just speaking from my limited experience and observations.

Ron Tisdale
02-10-2004, 03:46 PM
Jim, that was a very good post. I think that approach taken very seriously can produce a fine aikidoka under any circumstances.

Ron (which is not to say that a little competition wouldn't hurt)

Michael Neal
02-10-2004, 04:04 PM
Maybe it is just that Aikido is not the most suitable MA for me and I can hardly expect it to change on my account. It is funny though that even after 6 months of stopping Aikido I am still here in Aikiweb talking about it, hmmm.

JasonFDeLucia
02-10-2004, 07:04 PM
Paul,

I agree that a concrete octagon, or even a dress code of workman's boots, jeans, and a denim jacket would significantly change the dynamics of MMA competitions. And the UFC is not the best indicator of what actually works in the street. What happens in the UFC is two world class martial athletes intertwining strategy and skill, in an environment where outside variables are minimized. The strategies you have to apply in a high level competition like that are markedly different than what works for the guys in wife beaters scrapping on the corner in front of a handy cam.

But the street is surprising- there are no hard and fast rules. In the aforementioned video, most of the fights are one on one, and if members of the crowd attempt to jump in, either it turns into a full blown gang fight (very quickly) or the person wanting to lend assistance gets beaten down. But anything can happen in those situations, and often does.

I agree that you don't want to be on the ground in a streetfight if you can help it, but hey, life is unscripted and if you do find yourself there, it would benefit a person GREATLY to know what to do in that range of combat. Also, if your grappling knowledge is well rounded and you've practiced throws or takedowns, it's unlikely that you'll even be taken to the ground. If you've trained against skilled opponents at variable levels of resistance, the average tough guy on the street is little challenge to defend against.

As for a throw ending a fight- it certainly can and has happened. On the other hand, I have seen people get suplexed on concrete and pop right back up. Adrenaline can be very powerful. Again, it's chaos! Anything can happen! Like you said, disengagement should be the ultimate goal. Do what you must, then get out of there...

Jesse: I compete in BJJ (gi) and Submission wrestling (no gi) competitions. No MMA for me. I respect MMA fighters greatly, but that's a hard road that can take a serious toll on your body. Most don't realize how severe the training is, not to mention the fight itself!

Very cool that you're training BJJ and Aikido. Both arts are complimentary to each other. The sensitivity gained in Aikido is unparalleled and pays heavy dividends once you start applying it in BJJ.

If you're inspired to do a BJJ tournament, then go for it! The experience in invaluable- there are a lot of unexpected feelings that come up in anticipation of the competition, and I think it's important to go through that process.

If I may offer one piece of advice, hard earned, it would be this: Train for the competition seriously, with full focus, and think of the match itself as a celebration for all of your hard training. I doesn't matter if you win or lose- you are as good as you are, and you're that much better than you were for the training you've undergone. If you can be in that moment, and let your ego go, you'll do great. Don't think. Trust that your body knows what to do. I've found that I do my best when I think the least!

Perhaps Mr. DeLucia has some more advice on prepping for competition, as he has PLENTY of experience.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean
In preparation for a true aiki competition you would first establish rules conducive to a traditional technical forum. Incentive for good behavior as it were. For example to say that judgment cases of matches should be awarded biggest for throws not double leg take downs. In fact no points for tackles below the waist. And since we are all friends we will not be having this competition on the pavement. who 's gonna rent the hall?

Budd
02-11-2004, 09:56 AM
I'm uncertain of whether injecting competition into aikido is the way to go. I've never been involved with competitive aikido, although I would love to train in Shodokan (Tomiki) aikido at some point.

I tend to agree with Michael Neal's statement of resistance-based randori being a necessary component of training. I still work out with an informal grappling group where we drill techniques from different forms of wrestling, jujutsu and judo. As we learn new techniques, I try to loosely follow the progressive resistance model that Matt Thornton espouses. Then we have randori where two people will go at it with about 50% - 75% intention (although newbies tend to go all-out, it just makes them gas out and tap faster).

Some of the positives that have developed from this group (as all are also aikido practitioners) that I have noticed are that folks tend to learn to relax faster (muscling grappling techniques isn't as effective as leverage and positional dominance) AND improve their basic conditioning. They also get some basic familiarity of the clinch and ground environment, which is in my opinion and excellent form of training henka waza for aikido (ie. your aikido technique is blown and the attacker clinches or takes you down, you've got something to work from or a way to escape).

Anyhow, just a few thoughts to throw out on the table.

Michael Neal
02-11-2004, 12:38 PM
The competition could even be who can last the longest in multiple attacker randori or who can perform the most Aikido techniques against an attacker throwing random attacks at them. It does not necassarily have to be Aikido vs Aikido randori. For practical purposes who on the street is really going to attack you using Aikido? The randori should be based on defending against attacks that you would encounter.

Maybe the attacker should wear those MMA padded grappling gloves and both wear mouthguard for protection. This would allow the stikes to go a little bit harder than in regular Aikido practice but still keeping it within reason and control, it should not be a boxing match.

jimvance
02-11-2004, 02:08 PM
Competition works. Even within kata renshu there is the element of competition, its intent if not its execution. I train in a system where competition is mandatory, as it "balances" our kata practice (don't read too much into that). What I find really difficult about doing randori is keeping the combative reality in sharp focus and not rushing to get into "game mode" by beating someone in a predetermined victory pattern (i.e. "I have to throw them, choke them, do XYZ technique to them"). At the point of contact and thereafter, am I in control of my partner (and can I apply lethal force if necessary) or are they in control? That to me is the real point of competition: piercing the veil of prearrangement and acceptable limits and actually achieving a "suprise", a victory that requires no point, no outside identification.

Jim Vance

willy_lee
02-11-2004, 04:27 PM
Some of the positives that have developed from this group (as all are also aikido practitioners) that I have noticed are that folks tend to learn to relax faster (muscling grappling techniques isn't as effective as leverage and positional dominance) AND improve their basic

conditioning.
Also, nothing teaches you to relax and breathe under pressure like being on the bottom on the ground having your breath squeezed out of you. ;) I love newaza, it's so cool.

Just started doing some judo at a local club. Fun! One thing I noticed right away; practicing aikido I tend to practice a throw as what we do *when* the kuzushi happens; more like the uchikomi practice I do at judo. In judo randori, especially for a beginner like me, that "when" becomes very much an "if" :)

Next time I go to aikido class I'm going to be much more aware of maai and kuzushi.

=wl

Ron Tisdale
02-17-2004, 03:21 PM
This has become a really great thread!

RT

JasonFDeLucia
02-17-2004, 08:46 PM
Might I add that if a properly governed aikido competition were to be formed(give me a minute)the trend of people sneaking to the top by virtue of power drugs and power as a rule, would be cut down. In fact the advantage mainly would be in the hands of aikido practitioners solely, next would be greco wrestlers, but no style as such would be structure friendly like aikido or some derivative. You can't learn it in six months to pump out aikidoka burger king style. In a sense only the truly deserving would be on top. Even with all the aikido out there, the percentage of qualified participants would be small but there is a way to form the conclusion. Support for a better representation of what a true mixed martial ''ART '' event should look like.

happysod
02-18-2004, 05:22 AM
people sneaking to the top by virtue of power drugs and power as a rule, would be cut down just leaving the aikido mix of speed & cocaine?

While I find your use of aikido in mma competitions both refreshing and having my support and respect (from a long way away, I am also a born-again coward) I do have to disagree on your rather rosy assessment of aikido practitioners. There's the same number of unsavory arrogant characters in aikido as anywhere else (other forums claim aikido rules in arrogance in fact, hastily checks mirror) so while the outward bravado may be diminished, I'm sure they could happily muster a more muted "my hare's bigger than yours" which would be just as annoying.
You can't learn it in six months to pump out aikidoka burger king style Not too certain about this one, surely randori would, by it's nature, limit the range of applicable techniques so I could see this happening if a dojo practiced diligently solely on a limited range.

Yann Golanski
02-18-2004, 05:49 AM
Jason, Ian,

There already is an aspect of competion in Aikido out there. I'm sure that many Tomiki and Shodokan clubs could provide you with a set of rules under which competion is practiced. http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/kyogi1.html is probably a good place to start.

I have even heard of Ki Aikido doing some competion but have no link to clubs and/or events. I strongly suspect that Aikikai has some "rules" for randori as well.

Before re-inventing the wheel, you may as well have a look at what is already here. You may not agree with it, but at least you know what's already out there.

PeterR
02-18-2004, 06:55 PM
just leaving the aikido mix of speed & cocaine?

While I find your use of aikido in mma competitions both refreshing and having my support and respect (from a long way away, I am also a born-again coward) I do have to disagree on your rather rosy assessment of aikido practitioners. There's the same number of unsavory arrogant characters in aikido as anywhere else (other forums claim aikido rules in arrogance in fact, hastily checks mirror) so while the outward bravado may be diminished, I'm sure they could happily muster a more muted "my hare's bigger than yours" which would be just as annoying.

Not too certain about this one, surely randori would, by it's nature, limit the range of applicable techniques so I could see this happening if a dojo practiced diligently solely on a limited range.
As Yann said its already out there.

Randori and by extenstion shiai is a real humbler - on average there is less arrogance displayed in Shodokan dojos (I've trained across styles) then places where it is not put on the line. Delusion is the breeder of arrogance.

In Shodokan Aikido there is a limitation of techniqes allowed in randori but very few of those you will see during normal Aikido practice. The only clear example I can think of is kote mawashi - which is near impossible to apply in a dynamic situation. You might catch an untrained individual once but never a second time.

In Embu there is theoretically no limitation of technique beyond although sometimes particular events revolve around particular techniques.

wendyrowe
02-18-2004, 07:51 PM
"Delusion is the breeder of arrogance."

What a wonderful quote, Peter! I promise to attribute it to you when I use it -- I'm sure it's going to come in handy.

We do a lot of randori in class, and I agree completely that it definitely puts one in ones place. But it's still great!

Assuming I ever get good enough to feel like I'm getting off most of the techniques in randori (I haven't even been doing aikido for a year yet), I'd be interested in competing. It's already terrific practice to work with different people in class; but someday I'd like to try out my aikido against people who trained in other dojos to see if my knowledge is broad enough to let me adapt my techniques to work on people I've never practiced with.

When you practice with someone, you train each other to do things certain ways (even if you don't mean to) -- so competition or randori with "foreign" aikidoka would be more of a reality check than just rotating between partners in the dojo.

Qatana
02-18-2004, 09:17 PM
"someday I'd like to try out my aikido against people who trained in other dojos to see if my knowledge is broad enough to let me adapt my techniques to work on people I've never practiced with."

But why is it necessary to compete? Go to seminars. Go dojo-hopping. Its all there.

Jamie Stokes
02-19-2004, 12:28 AM
Hello and warm greetings all,

most contests, regardless of the event ( i restrict my time line to the past one hundred years) usually involves a binary zero sum combination.

+ 1 (someone wins) added to - 1 (someone loses) = zero.

extend this thought to promotions, pay rises, sports, board games, and it usually works out for someone to win the "other" must lose.

As for principled competition, if it is used so that you the individual use to contrast where you are competent and where you need to polish yourself (technique, thought patterns, whatever) then all for it.

The hard part, we humans are so mixed up, random, unique, the same, logical, emotional etc.

So one person uses the experience to seek inwards, try to grow, while another may draw from the same event the need to win by all means, fair or foul.

The really tricky part, and this has been the fiddly bit, is applying noble, principled ideas to something as peculiar as humans.

Warmest regards,

Jamie

happysod
02-19-2004, 03:25 AM
Yann, Peter, I'm well aware of the competition forums that already exist in aikido and didn't believe I was suggesting this wasn't the case. What I was disagreeing with was what I saw as the over-optimistic ideal that more aikido people entering a mma-style tourney would elevate the moral level of the event.

Peter, I was unclear on reading your post whether you agreed with me over randori limiting the spread of techniques generally used or not. While I agree that all are theoretically possible, I do find some more suited to dealing with the initial "clash", others only come into their own if and when the situation has become more 50-50 in posture/dominance terms of the two amicably contesting friends.

Incidentally, one thing I do find quite amusing is that for years Tomiki were derided by more traditional groups for having competition yet now I see a shift to most ma accepting competition as a better bench-mark for competence. I wonder whether this will change yet again in the future.

PeterR
02-19-2004, 04:11 AM
Yann, Peter, I'm well aware of the competition forums that already exist in aikido and didn't believe I was suggesting this wasn't the case. What I was disagreeing with was what I saw as the over-optimistic ideal that more aikido people entering a mma-style tourney would elevate the moral level of the event.
Not sure but I think I was just being reactionary and not addressing your comment per se. Too many years with arrogance and competition being uttered in the same breath and just recently an Ian (no relation I'm sure) called Tomiki's work an abomination. Anyhow - I agree. If you could find enough morally superior Aikidoists (good luck), that were good enough that they could take on all comers (they exist), you would still be fighting the tide in a particular MMA event where show is more important than substance. Note I said particular because I don't equate MMA in general with the antics we see in popular TV.
Peter, I was unclear on reading your post whether you agreed with me over randori limiting the spread of techniques generally used or not. While I agree that all are theoretically possible, I do find some more suited to dealing with the initial "clash", others only come into their own if and when the situation has become more 50-50 in posture/dominance terms of the two amicably contesting friends.
That's a particularly complicated way of saying technique used depends on circumstance. All Aikido techniques are not created equal and yes some are more suited to the initial "clash" than others. I was referring to the rules of competition excluding certain techniques and limiting others for safety's sake.
Incidentally, one thing I do find quite amusing is that for years Tomiki were derided by more traditional groups for having competition yet now I see a shift to most ma accepting competition as a better bench-mark for competence. I wonder whether this will change yet again in the future.
Kendo was first started 300 odd years ago for the same reason - that's pretty traditional. The argument has been going on even longer than that.

Cheers

Michael Neal
02-19-2004, 08:42 AM
I just don't see this corruption of the soul so to speak during any Judo competition I have been a part of. There were a couple of people out of maybe a hundred that may have been a bit arrogant, there were alot more arrogant types in a typical Aikido class from my experience.

After even some intense Judo matches we shake hands and congratulate each other on a good fight.

L. Camejo
02-19-2004, 01:32 PM
I just don't see this corruption of the soul so to speak during any Judo competition I have been a part of. There were a couple of people out of maybe a hundred that may have been a bit arrogant, there were alot more arrogant types in a typical Aikido class from my experience.
Of course this again comes down to one's personal experience. In my very limited exposure to national level Judo matches, the vast majority ended in shaking of hands, but a few ended in hospitalisation for the person at the wrong end of a sacrifice technique and 6 months off training. So it all depends on who you are exposed to imho. I don't think there is any categorisation that is immune to expressions of human desperation when under pressure.

As far as the idea of going to seminars or dojo hopping to get an idea of one's capabilities, this is not always a truly objective benchmark, unless the resistance/uncooperative elements of training are emphasised. Otherwise all one is doing is practicing cooperatively in different surroundings, which is still fun, but does not give one a personal benchmark from which to judge the efficacy of his/her technique.

I can say this from experience, as I am often met by looks of total confusion as techniques fail when we do a little "Shodokan style randori" in other systems I train with. The initial sense of confusion is either followed by the arrogant, high horse approach or the humble, re-evaluation of one's technique. Which reaction I get depends on the individual I am training with at the time and not much else. Personally I don't see principled competition being a cure all for these elements of the human condition, as even in principled competition one can find unprincipled human motives and actions.

Just my thoughts.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Michael Neal
02-20-2004, 07:28 AM
Just because some people were hospitalized does not mean that there was some sort of maliciousness going on, injuries happen in Judo competition or any other sport for that matter.
I can say this from experience, as I am often met by looks of total confusion as techniques fail when we do a little "Shodokan style randori" in other systems I train with. The initial sense of confusion is either followed by the arrogant, high horse approach or the humble, re-evaluation of one's technique. Which reaction I get depends on the individual I am training with at the time and not much else. Personally I don't see principled competition being a cure all for these elements of the human condition, as even in principled competition one can find unprincipled human motives and actions.
No one here has really made the case that it is the competition that brings out unprincipled human motives. You mention here that you witnessed this arrogance during regular class time when trying to inject a little randori, it seems the arrogance in these situations is from the non competitors.

I have experienced the same thing in Aikido classes from people who had no problem doing some randori like practice before I started taking Judo. They had no problems with it when they had the advantage over me due to my lack of Aikido experience. Then they started complaining.

There is really no evidence here that it is the competition that brings out bad character, this exists regardless. So the whole Aikido theory about avoiding competition because it brings out bad character is really kind of bunk.

paw
02-20-2004, 08:17 AM
As far as the idea of going to seminars or dojo hopping to get an idea of one's capabilities, this is not always a truly objective benchmark, unless the resistance/uncooperative elements of training are emphasised. Otherwise all one is doing is practicing cooperatively in different surroundings, which is still fun, but does not give one a personal benchmark from which to judge the efficacy of his/her technique.

100% absolutely true. Well said!

Regards,

Paul

L. Camejo
02-20-2004, 09:16 AM
Just because some people were hospitalized does not mean that there was some sort of maliciousness going on, injuries happen in Judo competition or any other sport for that matter.

It is true that injuries happen in all sports. As far as hospitalisation and maliciousness goes I was referring to particular incidents that I personally witnessed, and in those incidents the desire to "win at whatever cost" over mutual respect WAS the reason for the application of dangerous technique in a despoerate attempot to win. As you rightly said, this does not mean that folks may not be hospitalised for other reasons.
No one here has really made the case that it is the competition that brings out unprincipled human motives. You mention here that you witnessed this arrogance during regular class time when trying to inject a little randori, it seems the arrogance in these situations is from the non competitors.

Again you are correct. The arrogance did come from the non-competitors. What I am getting at is that it is not so much hte "competition" that brings out unprincipled behaviour, it is the reality of being under extreme pressure (of which competition is only one manifestation), that causes people to do whatever is necessary to "win", instead of first keeping to the tenets of mutual preservation. We see it all the time when we have a terrible morning, an even worse day at work/school and then get into a road rage incident on the drive home. It's a matter of pressure and how we deal with it and in some cases competition provides enough pressure to cause some folks to abandon their loftier ideals.

However, just as the body strengthens and becomes more agile through the "pressure" of exercise, I believe that the mind strengthens in a similar fashion through various pressures as well. In the case of Aikido competition, the pressures of competition training or competition itself allows one to strengthen both technique and mindset, as this training makes one more prepared to handle the internal and external pressures inherent within the competition itself. It's sort of like knowing your enemy.:) As one gets more accustomed to the pressure, its effects on the person are less noticeable.
I have experienced the same thing in Aikido classes from people who had no problem doing some randori like practice before I started taking Judo. They had no problems with it when they had the advantage over me due to my lack of Aikido experience. Then they started complaining.
Have been there as well.:)
There is really no evidence here that it is the competition that brings out bad character, this exists regardless. So the whole Aikido theory about avoiding competition because it brings out bad character is really kind of bunk.
I couldn't agree more.

L.C.:ai::ki: