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Jordan Steele
06-11-2004, 10:31 PM
Ever since I started practicing Aikido, I became distinctly aware that many Aikidoka's believe Aikido is a "non-violent" art that doesn't require hitting people or damaging people. Well, that really is a great idea but hardly realistic and slightly naive. Lets set one thing straight, Aikido is less viloent that some martial arts, but it is still violent. Even ikkyo is violent...you are in physical contact with another person with the intent for them to be under your control or on the ground...just because it is a less violent solution doesn't mean it isn't violent...agree? Also, atemi was/is/and always will be part of Aikido. O'sensei did use atemi frequently. You can't be a great martial artist without atemi. I'm tired of hearing people think they can just dance with an opponent and never strike them or think it's possible to never strike an opponent. Just get over it. Aikido is not a fairy tale, it is simply another martial system that is just as deadly, if not more so than anything else out there. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

gobzhad
06-11-2004, 10:46 PM
...........if so, can anybody give me a quote or a page from (for example) a Koichi Tohei book in which a punch or a kick is recommended. I would appreciate this SINCERELY.

xuzen
06-12-2004, 03:15 AM
Dear Jordan,

That felt good didn't it, getting that out of your chest. Aikido was a martial art, is still a martial art and will continue to be a martial art, period. If you view aikido as violent; its technique gruesome, barbaric, then do yoga, take up painting or something like that. However, it is through knowing the martial intent of this art that we can control our selfs and civilise it.

Best regards,
Boon.

ruthmc
06-12-2004, 03:41 AM
According to my dictionary: "Violence - physical force used so as to injure or damage".

Therefore I do not agree that Aikido is violent, as the intent is to NOT injure or damage the attacker.

Ruth

Keith_k
06-12-2004, 04:33 AM
My dictionary defines violence as the quality of being violent. "Violent" is defined as involving or using great physical force. Of course we could spend all day debating the exact meaning of violence, but I think it is best to try to imagine if a non-martial artist saw an Aikidoka defending his or her self, whether they would consider the technique violent. Depending on the attack and exact technique used to defend against it, I think for the most part an average observer would consider Aikido to be violent. Aikido descends from violent roots. Aikijujutsu was originally developed to kill and it is hard to divorce Aikido completely from this heritage. I have to agree with Boon, if you are looking for enlightenment but are afraid to hurt people, then study meditation or yoga or anything but a martial art. Martial arts are, at the end of it all, developed used for fighting.

Keith

Zoli Elo
06-12-2004, 06:50 AM
...........if so, can anybody give me a quote or a page from (for example) a Koichi Tohei book in which a punch or a kick is recommended. I would appreciate this SINCERELY.

Easy. Here are a few:

"Atemi should never be omitted when it is essential." Morihiro Saito

"When you thrust forward the edge portion of your Tegatana without bending your arm, the arm will naturally form an arc permitting you 'Ki' power to issue forth." Morihiro Saito

"In a real battle, we must use the power that we have developed in our bodies in the dojo and use it explosively in a instant: we must decide the outcome of the fight at that moment. In that situation atemi becomes very important." Gozo Shioda

Thoses are just a few; I am sure that many more and maybe superior quotes can be found.

DGLinden
06-12-2004, 10:37 AM
The sole and total purpose of iriminage is to break an attacker's neck. If an individual believes otherwise he/she should find something else to do. Aikido is as violent as any other martial art. It gives us an option to greater or lesser degrees when there is an option, but it is a Military Art.

SeiserL
06-12-2004, 10:59 AM
IMHO, Aikido "can" still be violent. Its a martial art. It doesn't have to be violent. Its the intent and application that makes a difference.

Jordan Steele
06-12-2004, 11:27 AM
Just to set the record straight, I am not displeased with the fact that Aikido is an extremely martial art nor do I have a problem with the fact that it can hurt people...so I don't think I'll take up yoga anytime soon. I realize that Aikido does the nicest possible thing to an opponent, but throwing somebody on their ass is not peaceful. A few of the joint control techniques are much less violent, but that is their purpose. Throws on the other hand are designed to incapacitate or damage the opponent. It's violent. How could anyone think otherwise.

gobzhad
06-12-2004, 12:55 PM
To: ZOLI ELO

WOW! Many, many thanx for the quotes from the 2 Senseis that I respect very much. PLEASE see if you can get a few more such sayings. I personally train in American Mixed M.A. because the dojo is walking distance from my home and I am "transportation-challenged". You'd be surprised HOW MANY folks in all M.A.'s INCLUDING Aikidokas have told me and insist that Aikido is a punch-less, kick-less, system. Until I get into Aikido physically, I'll continue to study Osensei's and other Great Aiki Masters' biographies, philosophies and ethical systems. Thanx again.

William Westdyke
06-12-2004, 01:30 PM
Ok, I'm with the aikido is violent opinion. I also believe that it develops a persons spiritual side. But, first and foremost it is a martial art. The "softness" was developed so students could try the killing, bone-breaking, and body jarring moves on one another, again and again. O' sensei spent his whole life pursuing martial arts and because of that developed his spiritual side. Don't mistake that for the opposite. He was a notoriously good fighter who used strikes or "atemi" all the time. In my little aikido world I have heard it time and again. "This is what we do in the dojo; this is what we do in a fight for our lives. You shouldn't be fighting in any other situation." The only restraint we should have to use is to protect our fellow aikidoka.

Just my two cents.

Don_Modesto
06-12-2004, 01:54 PM
I do not agree that Aikido is violent, as the intent is to NOT injure or damage the attacker.

Variation on a theme: Self-defense in aikido is the enemy's self. The purpose is to prevent the opponent from soiling his KARMA (Saotome, The Lotus Sutra, McFarlane (below). If you have to break his arm, indeed his neck, to do this, it is still within the aikido ethic:

"Some texts use ethical or karmic dilemmas to illustrate the notion of skillful means and its ethical adaptability. The Ta ch'eng fang pien hui k;583@@ (Skillful means in the Maha- yana) in the Chinese Maharatnakata collection describes how the Buddha, in a previous life, kills a bandit with a spear to save five hundred traders, and to save the man from the consequences of his intended actions (T 310, 11.604~; see CHANG 1983, pp. 456-57). The same text uses the vivid image of concealed sword mastery (used to protect a caravan of traders) as an illustration of the bodhi- sattva's use of skillful means and the "sword of wisdom" (T 310, 11.597b; see CHANG 1983, pp. 435-36).2 The Mahayana Maha- parinirvd?za-satra offers some even more extreme cases. The Buddha in a previous life kills some Brahmins who defame the Dharma, to save them from a worse fate in hell. Earlier, the same stitra approves the principle of taking up arms in defense of the Dharma (T 374, 12.459a460b & 383b-384a; see also DEMIEVILLE 1973, pp. 292-98).

From Mushin, Morals, and Martial Arts- A Discussion of Keenan's YogZicara Critique -
Stewart MCFARLANE, p. 13, http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/jjrs/jjrs.htm)

ruthmc
06-12-2004, 04:23 PM
Ever since I started practicing Aikido, I became distinctly aware that many Aikidoka's believe Aikido is a "non-violent" art that doesn't require hitting people or damaging people. Well, that really is a great idea but hardly realistic and slightly naive.

If you think it's ok to damage me during Aikido training because you think you're doing a "violent" martial art, why the hell would I stick around to train with you?

Just curious.

Ruth

George S. Ledyard
06-12-2004, 04:59 PM
Aikido is a mirror. Whatever you have inside you will be what gets reflected in your Aikido.

Aikido is not violent. Men are violent. Aikido is a method of personal development which should point you to the issues on which you need to be working. Doing Aikido shows you for what you are. If that is violent, then your Aikido will be violent Aikido. But it's you who is violent, not the art.

Tharis
06-12-2004, 05:40 PM
IMHO, as martial arts go, I think Aikido is about as non-violent as it gets. While every technique in Aikido could be applied in a way to inflict long-term injury to uke, it's nage's choice to inflict injury. What makes the technique "aiki" in OSensei's sense is the consideration for uke's well being. Any throw has the potential to cause grievous bodily harm to uke, but the aikidoka has the choice not to. The amount of "violence" applied depends on nage.

Aikido isn't violent, people are violent. The goal of Aikido is to correct the violence in people. Otherwise it'd just be another form of jiu-jutsu

Yours in ukemi,

Thomas

Zoli Elo
06-12-2004, 05:40 PM
If you think it's ok to damage me during Aikido training because you think you're doing a "violent" martial art, why the hell would I stick around to train with you?

Just curious.

Ruth

I am not Jordan but my thoughts on the matter I believe coincide with his.

Depending on your actions in the dojo or in any facets of life, others will react in a fairly certain manner. If you attempted to inflict damage on me, it would without a doubt be acceptable for me to return at least an equal level of force. Likewise, kindness would be rewarded with kindness.

As most people prefer to not sustain injuries above a personally defined point, they find other individuals to interact with that have a similar personally defined point. That is the reason why some dojo are "harder" or "softer" then others and why one prefers to train with particular individuals within one's dojo - they are a better match.

Zoli Elo


Here is another quote (How to perform applied irimi nage):

"When the opponent attacks cutting downward from the front, put your right foot a step forward to his left front from an oblique stance, and strike his rib with your right fist. It is necessary, of course, to dodge his attacking line and enter to his left side. Then step out your left foot to his rear, moving your left arm over his arms. Then cut his body downward to his rear with your left handblade hooked at his chin or face. Simultaneously grasp his back collar with your right hand. Movements are same for other side only opposite." Kisshomaru Uyeshiba

Noel
06-12-2004, 08:58 PM
I gotta agree with Thomas. Aikido allows you to control the level of violence in an encounter. What this level is depends solely on the circumstances, IMO. You could break someone's neck, but you allow them to take a backfall, as an example. In any event, the minimum amount of violence necessary to resolve the situation ought to be used.

As was mentioned above, there is always yoga if you don't like the idea of violence (or ikebana, for that matter.)

My cent-and-a-half,
-Noel

Joe Hansson
06-12-2004, 10:16 PM
...........if so, can anybody give me a quote or a page from (for example) a Koichi Tohei book in which a punch or a kick is recommended. I would appreciate this SINCERELY.

I can't remember the explicit punch or kick recommendation, but I've seen Tohei sensei use atemi as a part of his techniques in demonstration videos. However, in his book "AIKIDO - The Co-ordination of Mind and Body for Self-Defense" (1966), Tohei sensei writes the following on page 79-80.

"In daily practice, you must learn first to move your body correctly. After you comprehend these movements, in a showdown in real life, if you have a stick, you must make use of it; if you have a sword, you should be able to use it. Anything that comes to hand can be used as a weapon, using its strong points. This is AIKIDO."

and

"...in a real rough-and-tumble battle, though your opponents attack you in any way they choose, you can not complain about but must meet any attack. No holds are barred. You can understand then why there are several thousand kinds of arts in AIKIDO."

p00kiethebear
06-13-2004, 12:22 AM
The sole and total purpose of iriminage is to break an attacker's neck.

That's funny, the purpose behind my technique seems to change frequently depending on what i'm doing.

There is a version of irimi nage that breaks the neck. I've seen another version that's supposed to be a stab to the chest with a tanto. Another one where you grab their hair or their gi and pull them down. Another one that's a cut up into the face with a katana. Another that's a whack on the nose with a jo.

Though we may generalize a motion with words like iriminage and shihonage, when a technique is done DIFFERENTLY it becomes a DIFFERENT TECHNIQUE.

Your shihonage may bring their arm off to an attackers side and break it. Mine brings the arm behind the back and pulls them to the ground. Though we both call it "shihonage", the technique and intent and purpose behind it is different. Do not be so quick to say that x technique has a sole purpose. The purpose may not even be to defend yourself or to even bring an attacker down. (what if my technique's purpose is to give uke a good back stretch? :D )

PeterPhilippson
06-13-2004, 06:43 AM
If you think it's ok to damage me during Aikido training because you think you're doing a "violent" martial art, why the hell would I stick around to train with you?

Just curious.

Ruth

I won't damage you if:
You can take the ukemi OR
I hold back AND
We are on a mat rather than a hard street.

If I am practicing with a Dan grade, say, and they do not go with the throw or the nikkyo say, something will break. If they do not move out of the way of an atemi, it will make solid contact. If I am practicing with a beginner, I hold back in a way that would make the defense ineffective against a Dan grade or a street attacker.

Part of the learning is both how to protect yourself from the aikido, and how to judge what is possible for a uke.

Best wishes,

ruthmc
06-13-2004, 10:33 AM
If I am practicing with a Dan grade, say, and they do not go with the throw or the nikkyo say, something will break. If they do not move out of the way of an atemi, it will make solid contact.

And if the dan grade is an older person (over 70)? A young person whose joints are still forming (under 25)? A pregnant woman? Having an off day? Recovering from an injury or an illness? Temporarily distacted by something happening elsewhere on the mat? Tripping over their hakama by accident? .....

I believe that Aikido can be practised safely with anybody yet still remain "street effective" - after all, we're learning the principles of body movement for defence, not just a set of techniques - and in "the street" the adrenaline kick will provide me with the necessary additional force should I require it.

OTOH I don't see anything wrong with a good old honest serious attack and defence, if both parties are willing and able to do so. If nothing else it gives you a good workout :) But I don't subscribe to the attitude that this is the only valid form of training...

Ruth

Hanna B
06-13-2004, 11:57 AM
You can't be a great martial artist without atemi. I'm tired of hearing people think they can just dance with an opponent and never strike them or think it's possible to never strike an opponent.

If you are superior enough, I think this is quite possible. Is this not what osensei did in the famous kendo duel with the navy officer? If you can learn this without striking, if you can choose not to use violence if you have actually never learned to use it - that is another question entirely.


Just get over it. Aikido is not a fairy tale, it is simply another martial system that is just as deadly, if not more so than anything else out there. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
I have to respectfully disagree. Aikido is a gendai budo in which most of the deadliness has been taken out of the system. Aikido is not what the samurai used; it is developed from samurai technique, but many things have been changed for safety, for protection of uke etc. If you think striking is a good tool for your purposed, then you can choose another type of Japanese jujutsu or jujutsu-derived system where they strike more frequently to make technique easier, and make life a whole lot easier for yourself.

To me, using a minimum of violence is kind of the difinition of aikido - in the ideal case, no violence at all or in a way so that uke does not feel violated. Ideal cases seldom happens, though.

Qatana
06-13-2004, 12:18 PM
I really do not understand why people are saying yoge instead of aikido. Yoga is an individual practice created to allow the body to sit for long periods of time in meditation. Aikido is a partnered art created to end or eliminate conflict with the least amount of physical damage.
No amount of yoga practice is going to teach anybody how to relate to other people with the idea of conflict resolution as the intended outcome.
That said, there are partnered yoga forms that will contribute to your aikido in terms of maai & blending...

Don_Modesto
06-13-2004, 12:37 PM
If you are superior enough, I think this is quite possible. Is this not what osensei did in the famous kendo duel with the navy officer? If you can learn this without striking, if you can choose not to use violence if you have actually never learned to use it - that is another question entirely.

Perhaps some of you have seen the Tohei video put up on Aikido Journal a couple weeks ago. I was recently at the home of the fellow who filmed that and we watched another film he'd made of Saotome Mitsugi doing a 3-4 person RANDORI in the 70's. It was very martial with many strikes from Saotome. One of the UKE's, now a teacher in St. Pete, told me that he was knocked out in that demo.

Daryl, the film-maker, remarked that Saotome had evolved and recalled a 3 person he demonstrated after a DAN test in Orlando a year or two ago. In that RANDORI, Saotome had "walked through the angry crowd". He was cool and composed and seemingly just strolled casually through all the attackers with little effort and no ATEMI. The assembled were stunned at the honesty and effortlessness of it. Something to aspire to.

Jordan Steele
06-13-2004, 12:54 PM
Maybe I worded myself incorrectly previously. In no way does my stance on the fact that Aikido is violent reflect my personality. I train vigorously, but not violently and I don't like to train with people who train violently and wrecklessly. I am merely trying to say (not convince) that Aikido is still violent. Also, it is my understanding that O'sensei presented Aikido to the public as peaceful and gentle art, but during uchideshi training, he literally beat the junk out of the students. There is a big difference between what O'sensei wanted Aikido to be and what it actually was/is. Also, I understand Aikido can appear to be peaceful and soft in the dojo, but there isn't one untrained person I know that would take a forward roll from a kokyunage or something. Most people would face plant themselves or land on their shoulder...something painful. That's violent regardless of nages mental state at the time. Once again this is only my observation and has nothing to do with how I train or my general disposition.

Megan L'H
06-13-2004, 02:12 PM
Do yourselves a favor: get a dictionary and look up the definitions of 'violent'; then debate.
Cheers!
L'H.

dan guthrie
06-13-2004, 04:45 PM
On the other hand, is violence always bad? I don't think so, or I'd be a pacifist. If a child is running into traffic and the safest way to stop him/her is to grab them violently (tackle or a quick grab for a trailing sleeve), is that bad? If someone is robbing you and you can avoid violence by giving them your money, is that always good?
I think there's good violence and bad violence. I think one of the virtues of Aikido is that it gives us the option of diverting bad violence. Most other martial arts respond to violence with more violence.

shihonage
06-13-2004, 05:46 PM
The violence level you have to apply in your self-defense is MOSTLY up to the attacker.

kironin
06-13-2004, 11:09 PM
Aikido is a mirror. Whatever you have inside you will be what gets reflected in your Aikido.

Aikido is not violent. Men are violent. Aikido is a method of personal development which should point you to the issues on which you need to be working. Doing Aikido shows you for what you are. If that is violent, then your Aikido will be violent Aikido. But it's you who is violent, not the art.


I was about to reply to some of the astoundingly bad statements in this thread and then I read this. Truer words have never been spoken.
I could add nothing more except to say I wished I had wrote it.

excellent,
Craig

paladin
06-13-2004, 11:14 PM
I'm a newbie when it comes to the art of aikido, but please here me out before you pounce on me for my lack of knowledge. I'm speaking from what I know and have seen in my life.

I understand what Jordan is talking about and maybe I can help him get his point across. I recently got into this same discussion with my sister and mother over whether or not I should take up this art.

Aikido is violent but not in the respect that most people think of when it comes to violence.

One definition of violence is Moving or acting with physical strength; urged or impelled with force; excited by strong feeling or passion; forcible; vehement; impetuous; fierce; furious; severe;

Now you can apply that definition to just about anything. From Karate to boxing to playing American football or rugby.
You see in these instances the goal is to knock your opponent down or out using maxim force. I can especially relate to that as I have played football for a number of years and have had the mantra to be agile, mobile and hostile, drilled into my head. We were taught to hit through your opponent. Make them think twice before catching the ball. That's violence.

However another definition of violence is: Produced or effected by force

And I think it's this definition that best fits aikido. When a confrontation reaches to the point of physical contact, the goal of an aikidoist is not to knock out the opponent using MAXIMUM force but to resolve the encounter using MINIMUM
force. Yes, physical contact will be made, which makes it violent ,however, it's done in Self-defense meaning there is no unnecessary force used. That's why Aikido is a true martial art of self defense.

My sister who is a non-aggressive person in the world is taking a self defense course. There she's taught how to escape from attackers. One technique she was taught was to take her keys and use them as claws to get away from an attacker. Is that violent, yes. But it's in self-defense. She's not taught that after she claws her attacker she should stomp this guy in to the ground. She's taught to run and get help. And that's what self to defense is all about...doing what needs to be done to get out of the situation, not to beat someone's head in so that you have some sort of rep, so no one bothers you.

After seeing an Aikido class I do believe that the physical aspect of Aikido is self defense...trying to control yourself and the situation to the best of your ability so that in the end minimal damage is done to you and your opponent.

Will it always work out that way? It most certainly will not. But hopefully none of us here will be forced to find out.

Just my 2 cents

Largo
06-14-2004, 01:41 AM
I would say that Aikido is violent. I would also point out that there are levels of violence. We do a martial art (or, at least, I do evileyes ) Ikkyo and nikkyo can be violent. But the effects vary based on how far we carry the technique. I can use a nikkyo to project someone away from me, pin them onto the ground till help arrives/ they calm down, or follow up the pin with something like a stomp to the back of the neck for a lethal finish. All of this is contained in our art.

Don_Modesto
06-14-2004, 12:46 PM
If it's not violent, then how can we practice harmony?

If both of you are "practicing harmony" that's not aikido, it's choreography...

stuartjvnorton
06-14-2004, 07:14 PM
Aikido can be as violent as anything else.
It does however give you more options than some other art that only teaches punching or kicking.

And Jordan, just listening to the Aiki-fruities singing kumbiyah (sp?), etc is just as misleading as the combat-[insert flavour of the month UFC darling MA here] junkies.
Most people are somewhere in the middle.

happysod
06-15-2004, 03:23 AM
One technique she was taught was to take her keys and use them as claws to get away from an attacker - Do they really still teach this rubbish?? NO!! - she's more likely to break her own fingers than have any effect on her attacker - if you're going to use a weapon, get a proper one and learn how to use it.

On the subject of violence, as an aikifruity I have to say (as in previous threads) that good intentions in your heart does not equal non-violent. It is your actions (and their results) that determine whether it's violent or not and this determination is to be made by a third party/society not you. Aikido is a martial art, therefore it is violent. You are attempting to minimise that violence, but it's still violent.

Why do I suggest a third party for the definition? Let's take some ridiculous extremes. Most sociopaths don't consider what they do to be wrong as you don't really exist. A zealot (of any stripe) killing in the name of their religion is not wrong, it's defending the faith. Killing someone can improve their karma at risk to yourself (paraphrased from this site). If these nuts are not allowed to be adequate judges of their own actions, what gives the "love in my heart" while I break something bunch the right to judge themselves...

villrg0a
06-15-2004, 07:03 AM
The sole and total purpose of iriminage is to break an attacker's neck. If an individual believes otherwise he/she should find something else to do. Aikido is as violent as any other martial art. It gives us an option to greater or lesser degrees when there is an option, but it is a Military Art.

Hi Daniel

You are right the purpose is to break, but you still have the choice to just throw him backwards, or literally drop him on that very same spot.

Peace

Taliesin
06-15-2004, 07:33 AM
In order to answer the question "Is Aikido Violent?" It is essential to be clear what you mean by violent. For myself Violence means "an emotionally driven and undisciplined application of force against a given target." This is my own definition of violence derived from the fact that it is consistent with the 4 emotional elements of violence (arousal, weapon, target, trigger) It is also consistent with the mental element requirement for GBH in the UK . given that definition the answer is definitely no

David_francis
06-15-2004, 07:42 AM
Aikido itself is not violent it is just an art. Its up to the person using the aikido to decide the level of voilence used. If they want to hurt the attacker or just move out of the way. Well thats what I think.

happysod
06-15-2004, 07:54 AM
For myself Violence means "an emotionally driven and undisciplined application of force against a given target." - so if someone can remain calm while killing/torturing another, they are not committing violence, just a rather extreme form of argument? This definition would also indicate most of the actions of armed forces during a conflict are actually non-violent as they are anything but undisciplined. As for this definition accurately determining the mental part of a GBH definition, as you're background is law I believe it must fit. However, I was always under the impression that the type and nature of the injury caused determined the type of sentence imposed (leaving out plea bargaining). Is this the case or not.

Its up to the person using the aikido to decide the level of violence used. wouldn't it be nice if we all had this level of skill? You are not the only participant, so how can you assume that you can dictate anything?

David_francis
06-15-2004, 08:04 AM
You have the choice to walk away, or in extreme cases defend yourself. I know a few people from my dojo who have stopped a fight just by doing tenkan. But you do have power over your skills, is that not what we have learnt to do? I agree that you arent the only participant, but you are in control of the situation.

paladin
06-15-2004, 11:10 PM
Not adding fuel to the fire but just go google.com and type the words "non-violent martial art" and see what comes up. Some food for thought.

Do they really still teach this rubbish?? NO!! - she's more likely to break her own fingers than have any effect on her attacker - if you're going to use a weapon, get a proper one and learn how to use it.

Yeah she learned alot of stuff that doesn't seem to work to well. Honestly in my opinion the best thing they taught her was to be as loud as possible and run away as fast as you can and get help.