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jfearon
03-05-2001, 09:53 AM
I know very little about Tomiki Aikido since I am a member of the British Aikido Federation. I do know however that Tomiki Aikido has some elements of competition in it.
Does anybody think competition is going against all that Aikido is? Would O Sensei approve of it if he were still about today? All though O Sensei did say that Aikido should evolve, is it right to evolve it into competition. Aikido is a true Budo martial art, and should not involve competition. Competition brings out peoples egos, and selfishness. Is this what we want to see in Aikido.

TheProdigy
03-05-2001, 10:25 AM
Hey, personally I dont really know tomiki aikido that much, but the competition factor isn't necessarily bad. In competition, people tend to make sure their skills are well polished, and they get to experience a true attack by a skilled opponent. In this light, competition can bring out the best self defense a person provide for themselves (not that I personally would join that style... I'm in it for the spiritual aspect myself). As for the egos and selfishness, that's a person's choice... Regardless of what your doing, you don't have to become egotistical or selfish. What you believe will decide whether or not you embrace these traits.

Also, by having competitions, I'm sure it gets some people involved into aikido who wouldn't otherwise consider it. As a result, this person will become exposed to the traditions and ideas within the art and may embrace these ideas losing some bad ones...

Just some thoughts on it though...

-Jase

Nick
03-05-2001, 01:58 PM
man, this subject comes up a lot--

my stance about Tomiki is that we'll all just have to agree to disagree. Personally, I feel that my own self is enough to compete with, so I don't need anyone else to fight with, but I can see valuable aspects for a good shiai shobu... however, if Aikido was considered for an olympic sport, I would still give a hearty heck no... if it was, I think soon we'd start seeing "Cobra Kai Aikikai" etc... "sport" aikido dojos showing everyone their fancy throws and racks of trophies, and I do think that's against aikido's philosophy...

Nick

sceptoor
03-05-2001, 02:13 PM
Well, said Nick, I couldn't agree with you more. ;)

Brian
03-05-2001, 03:05 PM
Being one of the few Tomiki practicioners on this board, I feel obligated to respond, and I shall be very short and concise.

It has been said that "It's not the martial art, it's the martial artist." Just as true is "It's not the competition, it's the competitor."

As to whether or not competition is 'right' in a philisophical sense of some sort is a matter of opinion, and so I will only say this. Competition may hinder your aikido, but it doesn't hinder mine.

mj
03-05-2001, 04:20 PM
:rolleyes: Whatever aiki you do... it is a martial art isn't it. Better to start learning to fight _against_ an ego in the club, O-sensei warned against 'tofu' aikido. Of course it's a personal life choice, but that doesn't matter if someone wants to kick the **** out of you, it may (will) happen. Confident is not competent!
(With Davies help!)

Brian
03-05-2001, 07:25 PM
mj wrote:
Better to start learning to fight _against_ an ego in the club, O-sensei warned against 'tofu' aikido.


Just to sound exasperatingly picky, we shouldn't actually "fight" the ego, we should blend with it and then use it's haughtiness against it in order to quell it without doing ourselves too much mental harm, since O-sensei made aikido an art of peace/love/harmony/etc.
We, in this instance, could be considered uke, since we're blending with the metaphorical attack that our ego does to our character, and we don't want to hurt uke/ourselves, and....

Sorry, just brushing up on my 'Annoying Randori.' Anywho, I'm very aware that an ego shouldn't be cultivated, I just wasn't aware there was an ego to fight against. You'll note that I said "It's not the competition, it's the competitor," after referring to the common "It's not the martial art, it's the martial artist." Everything about the latter saying could be applied to the former. You shouldn't learn a martial art so you can bully other people, or feel like an invincible warrior, but so you can (insert philosophical goal of said martial art here). Likewise, in Tomiki aikido, we don't compete so we can beat other people and get nice neat shiny trophies, but so we can test our skills to a certain extent (emphasis on the certain extent), or so we can see what we need to improve, or (get this) maybe even just to have fun. And there are dozens of other motives, good and bad. But, when I say "It's not the competition, it's the competitor," I say that in support of the good ones.

dainippon99
03-05-2001, 10:15 PM
I myself am in agreeance with brian. Its the martial artist. We all have personal aikido. There is a man i train with that is very combat oriented. Since that is his mindset, his techniques are very efficient. There is another i train with that is only interested in aikido for aikido. so his techniques is much softer and kind. Not better, not worse. Just different. NOw i have to say that if aikido was a olympic sport i would also give a heck no. I digress. My point is, like brian said, its personal man. Aikido is the most personal thing in the world and you cant let anyone give you aikido. you have to steal, build, and mold your own. some people need competition. some, i would agree, could do without it.

jimvance
03-05-2001, 11:37 PM
"What is Tomiki Aikido" and "Is competition contrary to the aims of Aikido" are two very large questions to answer, mainly because they are so misunderstood. I practice Aikido in the Jiyushinkai, which is a derivative of Tomiki Aikido, and I believe that more study of Tomiki Sensei and what he intended would be good for the Aikido community at large. I am not going to go into that, there are a lot of other better resources than me. I want to express my opinion and bring to light something my teacher told me not too long ago.
Competition is necessary. It is a fundamental of human interaction. Most of us equate competition with winning Olympic medals, in other words, sports applications. The sports mentality is slowly killing Kodokan judo and other martial arts that are "sportified". This is understood. But this is not necessarily competition. This is only promoting the value of winning at any cost while keeping the crowds entertained, i.e. sports. Should Aikido become a sport? Never. Should Aikido be competitive? Yes, understanding the definition of competition. My Merriam Websters shows that the word "compete" comes from the Latin and means "to seek together", with the implied meaning that I couldn't find what I am looking for without you helping me go to it.
Under the greater blanket of cooperative learning and growing together, competition at the right stages of development and in the right dosages have been key to some of the personal breakthroughs I have had on the mat. It pushes me into territory that is dark and scary and stretches my understanding beyond the merely academic. I can do aikido really well at home lying on the couch, in my head. This becomes a totally different story bowing in with a sempai during randori. Competition is a feedback tool that we use along our path to examine and realize our true nature, and I feel that without it, Aikido will eventually devolve into empty repetition of form without any true understanding.
A lot of people read what O-Sensei said but forget who he was as a person. He was intensely competitive in some respects. I really think that what O-Sensei meant was that to really use the principle of Aiki, the person using it never competes. They always cooperate (look that one up), and somehow use the attacker against himself. After the Second World War, he could not go back to teaching the same style of Aikido he did while Occupational Troops were watching all aspects of Japanese budo and bujutsu for signs of "military" behavior. Maybe I'm wrong. But how can uke attack you and mean it if he doesn't compete?

Hope this doesn't upset too many people.

Jim Vance

Warriors Code
03-06-2001, 12:12 AM
Hello fellow aikidoka,I have been studying Tomiki style Aikido for the past 8years and have attained the rank of 2nd Dan. I would like to explain a few things about this style,in Tomiki Aikido we have 17 basic kata that can be developed into hundreds of different techniques depending on the attack the techniques just "happen" after alot of practice your mind just responds to the stimulus before you.The reason for this is that we practice alot against a resisting partner and it stands to reason that if you can do techniques against some one that is resisting and knows what you know that it will be alot easier to throw some one in the street.We also do very commited attacks meaning if you don't move then you get hit and it only takes one time to catch one in the gut to learn the true meaning of tenkan. We also do alot of multiple attack drills which further develope your sense of awareness. Tanto randori is practiced to give you a deeper understanding of the techniques not just for sport purposes. In my dojo i also teach my students defenses against all kinds of knife attacks,but the first thing i tell them is that if you face an attacker with a knife then more than likely you will get cut. I tell them if you can get away then run don't be a hero, but if your back is against the wall then do what you have to do.Having used my skills in self defense i can attest to Tomiki Aikidos effectiveness. But the main thing about any martial art is beleiving in it and your self. Because with out belief in your self you cannot accomplish anything. In boxing they call it having heart and thats a true fact,a man with out heart is a lost man. I would like to say to every one that if you are ever involved in an altercation with some one "Do what you have to do but go no further" once the threat has been minimized then go call the cops or what ever but dont stand around doing more damage to the person. The reason i say this is that i was attacked by two guys i separated one guys shoulder and threw the other with Hiki-Taioshi and the guy with the separated shoulder tried to file a suit againt me but it was thrown out because other people testified that they saw them jump me. So keep that in mind,i am not bragging here or anything as i felt rather bad for the guy,but then i realized that i could have been the one going to the hospital so better him than me in this case. I realize that some people here may frown on this but before you pass judgement put your self in that position.

Sam
03-06-2001, 04:57 AM
Although this topic has been done to death, I think that any competition topic is going to attract us Tomiki practitioners.

Why do I like competition?

Life is competetive and always has been. It will always be part of everyday life - at work, in sport, even driving a car. I train to improve my life therefore I must train to understand the nature of competition.
I want my aikido to be effective. I want to be sure it will work - I don't want to be afraid of people and I don't want to doubt myself. Therefore I must test my aikido and develop the areas where it is lacking.

I want my kata to be technically correct. It is years until my next grading so by doing competetive embu I have an incentive to polish and work on my kata.

I want to be athletic and I want to work toward a goal. I want to have pressure put upon me so that I learn to perform under pressure.

I want to lose. If I lose I have been taught something. If I lose to a particular technique - I learn that technique. I learn little by winning.

Real life is serious. I cannot play at life - I want to learn to play again. In randori I find the spirit of play - to strive for a goal only in a positive and open way.

You will notice the use of tense. These are my thoughts and my goals. Everyone is different, and this is what I desire from my training.
I write only to express how competition for me is right.
A lot of traditional aikidoka are fond of saying 'I have enough problems competing against myself' - If I have expressed myself properly you will notice that this is what I am doing.....

Jim23
03-06-2001, 09:31 PM
Competition in aikido? Hmmmm. I was told that it was a no no, yet some do it and agree with it.

Do whatever works for you. Personally, I see nothing wrong with it, if that's what you want. BTW, Tomiki isn't really competition - but it's close.

Jim23

darin
03-06-2001, 09:57 PM
jfearon wrote:
I know very little about Tomiki Aikido since I am a member of the British Aikido Federation. I do know however that Tomiki Aikido has some elements of competition in it.
Does anybody think competition is going against all that Aikido is? Would O Sensei approve of it if he were still about today? All though O Sensei did say that Aikido should evolve, is it right to evolve it into competition. Aikido is a true Budo martial art, and should not involve competition. Competition brings out peoples egos, and selfishness. Is this what we want to see in Aikido.

There is nothing wrong with competition. Its a great way for people to test their techniques.

Ego, capitalism and greed is what society is based on. You can't escape it. Everyone wants to be better than the next guy. Nobody wants to be last.

People will be egotistical no matter what they are doing. I have met many aikido instructors who have very big egos basically because they hide behind easy techniques and ukes with good ukemi. Its very easy to get over confident.

Generally people who do competition have more respect for other practitioners. Their ego is just their way of encouraging themselves and psyching out the competition.

Personally I think aikido should have more competition. Its done good things for almost all martial arts.

paul spawforth
03-10-2001, 09:07 AM
I study Tomiki Aikido and have only been to one competition but i thought it was great!!! competition in aikido differs from competition in all other martial arts... there are no big egos, there is no "i'm gonna smash him into the mat" it is more of a "come and test your skill" competition rather than a "come and beat everyone up competition" it is lighthearted and friendly and not taken to seriously, everyone has fun and usually learns something from what is generally a good day!

Jim23
03-10-2001, 10:37 AM
jimvance wrote:

A lot of people read what O-Sensei said but forget who he was as a person. He was intensely competitive in some respects. I really think that what O-Sensei meant was that to really use the principle of Aiki, the person using it never competes. They always cooperate (look that one up), and somehow use the attacker against himself. After the Second World War, he could not go back to teaching the same style of Aikido he did while Occupational Troops were watching all aspects of Japanese budo and bujutsu for signs of "military" behavior.

Jim Vance

Jim,

You're starting to make too much sense to me.

Regarding O'Sensi, is that really the reason that he eliminated competition (besides his conversion)?

Are you guys (Tomiki aikidoka) disliked by other styles? This seems to be one of the few threads whehe you aren't "attacked" for saying that you agree with randori.

Jim23

Brian
03-10-2001, 02:08 PM
Jim23 wrote:
Are you guys (Tomiki aikidoka) disliked by other styles?
Jim23 [/B]

I have yet to actually meet someone, in person, who practices a style other than Tomiki (I live in a town with approx. 20,000 occupants, surrounded by others of about the same size). However, here on aikiweb, on e-budo, and from the aikido journal forums, from the remarks I have read from other stylists regarding this issue, I would have to say that they fit one of three categories.

In the first, they don't care that we compete. Whether they think "To each his own," or "Whatever floats your boat," or that our style is just as valid as theirs, they let us do our thing while they do theirs.

In the second category, competition is looked down upon, and the other stylist dislikes the fact that other people of this art compete, but believe that this is in no way mars our character or our skill as a martial artist. The fact that we compete is not accepted, but grudgingly tolerated, since we practice aikido too.

In the third and final category, we are almost viewed as heretics, or just plain stupid. These individuals are either very hard core traditionalists, see O'Sensei's word as law, or view aikido as a quasi-religion, and the founder it's prophet. They rationalize, simply, that since the founder said there shouldn't be any competition, that there shouldn't be any competion, period. End of story. Anyone doing differently is in the wrong.

To summarize, I would have to say that some people dislike the fact that we compete to different degrees, while others simply don't care.

But, hey. To each his own. The fact that they disagree with me isn't hindering my ability to train, and since this is a matter of opinion, theirs is just as valid as mine.

Jim23
03-11-2001, 10:24 AM
I've always felt that (at least a little) "sparring" was a good thing for all (Sincere) martial artists.

I've read a lot about Tenji Tomiki, his background, etc, however, I haven't seen any Tomiki-style sparring - I read somewhere that it isn't really "true" sparring. Is there a web site where I can see what it's like?

Just curious to see which techniques are included/excluded and what it generally looks like.

BTW, at the risk of offending (more) people here, I have to say that you guys seem WAY more tolerant and less defensive than the majority here. Makes you think about the "competing with myself only is better" approach.

Jim23

Erik
03-11-2001, 12:22 PM
Jim23 wrote:
BTW, at the risk of offending (more) people here, I have to say that you guys seem WAY more tolerant and less defensive than the majority here. Makes you think about the "competing with myself only is better" approach.

Jim23

I had a conversation with someone recently who argued for bringing competition into aikido. His idea was that it would allow a clearer line of practice. In other words, we could turn the competition off, instead of just competing behind the scenes. I thought it was an interesting idea, this is competition and this isn't competiton. Sure would clean some things up.

Brian
03-11-2001, 01:56 PM
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any site with video of randori, but I can explain a tad in-depth.

Jim23 wrote:
I read somewhere that it isn't really "true" sparring. Is there a web site where I can see what it's like?
Just curious to see which techniques are included/excluded and what it generally looks like.
Jim23

You're absolutely right. I haven't heard of any forms besides tanto-randori, and saw a tiny bit at a seminar once. Basically, one participant gets a tanto, the other doesn't. The "uke" tries to stab "nage," scoring points for each hit. However, the attack must directly stab the torso- no slashing, and glancing blows are disregarded. "Nage," meanwhile, attempts to perform techniques while trying not to get stabbed, and is awarded points for breaking balance, and more for an actual throw. However, techniques that have a very high potential for causing injury are not allowed. After three minutes, uke and nage switch off, and whoever has more points wins.

There are too many limitations for tanto-randori to be considered "true" sparring. As my sensei told me, "Tanto randori is a game; it has rules."

dainippon99
03-11-2001, 03:41 PM
tanto randori is not combat. its not meant to prepare you for a knife fight. its purpose is to hone your reactions, reflexes, and technique, and taisabaki.
so if you mean fighting by "true sparring", then you are correct.

dainippon99
03-11-2001, 03:44 PM
for seeing the techniques, go to the JAA/USA website and look under animated techniques. These techniques are the junanahon no kata and are the only 17 allowed in competition. the site was not allowing me to get on to it, but it might work for others.

Jim23
03-11-2001, 06:47 PM
dainippon99 wrote:
for seeing the techniques, go to the JAA/USA website and look under animated techniques. These techniques are the junanahon no kata and are the only 17 allowed in competition. the site was not allowing me to get on to it, but it might work for others.

Do you have a web site address for the JAA/USA?

Jim23

dainippon99
03-11-2001, 10:03 PM
http://www.tomiki.org/tomiki/

that should work, my friend.

Sam
03-12-2001, 06:10 AM
Jim23 wrote:
I've always felt that (at least a little) "sparring" was a good thing for all (Sincere) martial artists.

I've read a lot about Tenji Tomiki, his background, etc, however, I haven't seen any Tomiki-style sparring - I read somewhere that it isn't really "true" sparring. Is there a web site where I can see what it's like?

Just curious to see which techniques are included/excluded and what it generally looks like.


Jim23


Jim23 - I can supply you with short videos on several aspects of tomiki aikido - inc. randori-no-kata and tanto randori in mpeg format. Mail me - I don't know your address.....

Jappzz
03-12-2001, 07:00 AM
Hi!

BuDO as opposed to jutsu or bugei arts is called budo for it's spiritual content. The essence of budo is that the initial attacker should always be defeated. Budo was NOT created so that macho bullies could try their ego's against eachother. I detest this americanized tomiki bull and i can only hope that some day people will stop defining budo as something anywhere near a sport. I have full respect though for people doing bugei arts as a part of the japanese cultural heritage but then they don't define their arts as budo either.
Feel free to shower me whith blunt comments if you like, but my oppinion stays where it is. Life is no contest.

Jasper

Sam
03-12-2001, 08:09 AM
Jappzz wrote:
Hi!

BuDO as opposed to jutsu or bugei arts is called budo for it's spiritual content. The essence of budo is that the initial attacker should always be defeated. Budo was NOT created so that macho bullies could try their ego's against eachother. I detest this americanized tomiki bull and i can only hope that some day people will stop defining budo as something anywhere near a sport. I have full respect though for people doing bugei arts as a part of the japanese cultural heritage but then they don't define their arts as budo either.
Feel free to shower me whith blunt comments if you like, but my oppinion stays where it is. Life is no contest.

Jasper




I don't really see the point of this post - if you have already made your mind up why bother joining in - I think everyone else is here to discuss things with an open mind and not rant.

I do not understand where you are comming from with the phrase
'americanised tomiki bull'. Not only is it disrespectful to Professor Tomiki and to a lot of people here but also is untrue.

Tomiki aikido is Japanese, thrives in Japan and has a worldwide network of affiliated dojos all practising tomiki aikido in exactly the same way so you cannot say it is americanised.

If you do not like a style then say so but try not to be so offensive.

How is your spiritual developement by the way.........?

dainippon99
03-12-2001, 02:10 PM
Jappz,

Kendo is considered budo. It has competition. Im not trying to liken shodokan to kendo, but their aims are the same. Spiritual/physical advancement. We pursue it in our own way. As for your comment "americanised tomiki bull", i can assure you it is not. shodokan is pure japanese. And, on a sidenote, i once got good edvice from a poster on this site (ubaldo)---"No need to be diselegant."

Brian
03-12-2001, 03:02 PM
Jappzz wrote:
I detest this americanized tomiki bull...

Truly, anyone who is confident that they have the authority to take an established style of a martial art and disregard it as bull must be a great master indeed. Please, tell me where you live, so that I might train under you and share in your incredible wisdom.

Erik
03-12-2001, 04:20 PM
Jappzz wrote:
I detest this americanized tomiki bull and i can only hope that some day people will stop defining budo as something anywhere near a sport.

Sigh!

I recognize that America will eventually lead to the downfall of the free world. Our moral standards are corrupt, we live in sin and we've given the world Britney Spears (but we did not give the world the Pet Shop Boys or Ricky Martin). However, there are at least 2 things, as related to the MA community, that we are not guilty of to the best of my knowledge.

1. We did not create Tomiki Aikido.
2. We did not create the rank system.

We can thank our Japanese friends for both of these innovations.

This was for the sake of those of you not trolling and I paid a terrible price for this. I visited the web sites of all of those mentioned above. Horrible. OK, I'd been to the Britney Spears site before but only once. :)

[Edited by Erik on March 12, 2001 at 05:17pm]

Chris P.
03-12-2001, 04:59 PM
Jappzz wrote:
Feel free to shower me whith blunt comments if you like, but my oppinion stays where it is. Life is no contest.


I think many members of the animal kingdom might violently disagree. It is "no contest" for those on top, whether they find themselves there by virtue of training, inheritance, or sheer luck.

Nick
03-12-2001, 05:07 PM
Tomiki-sensei was American? Wow, learn something new everyday... as for the subject... I can see that he is firm in his beliefs, and I actually do agree with the content (not the wording). When something gets bigger, arguments will occur as politics and differing opinions get in the way. If this were not so, there would be no Tomiki-kai, no Ki no Kenkyukai, nothing, we'd all still be part of the Aikikai. So of course if Tomiki aikido itself gets too big, there will be problems as the tournaments turn into trophy fests, with a bunch of... well, jerks parading their kata and yelling nice and loud, to applause as they finish. Having attended many karate tournaments run by good budoka, you could find a lot of spirit and determination that is found only on the competition floor, however you also find a lot of ego and inflated heads as they show it off like a double jointed wrist to appease their friends and earn the respect of those who know no better, and spend all the training time doing tournament stuff so that they can have shiny external trophies... it's really a mixed bag, some incredibly good aspects and some bad-- but those who want to compete will, though I think defeating myself is worth more than a medal or trophy... but for those who wish to have competition, I say do it with the spirit of Aiki and try to remember what Aikido's all about.

Peace,

Nick

Jim23
03-12-2001, 09:06 PM
Nick wrote:
So of course if Tomiki aikido itself gets too big, there will be problems as the tournaments turn into trophy fests, with a bunch of... well, jerks parading their kata and yelling nice and loud, to applause as they finish. Having attended many karate tournaments run by good budoka, you could find a lot of spirit and determination that is found only on the competition floor, however you also find a lot of ego and inflated heads


There will be inflated egos whether there is competition or not.

I know that there is sparring practice in Tomiki aikido, but is this really competition, as in tournaments? Or is it more like a competitive game to improve each person's skill?

But back to competition for a minute, is it really all that bad (and I don't mean the extreme levels that people will probably picture)? You can't get through the day without being exposed to some form of competition. In fact, some people even lose the will to live without it (retirement). And look at the competition even here in this forum. ;)

Jim23

Sam
03-13-2001, 02:56 AM
Nick wrote:
Tomiki-sensei was American? Wow, learn something new everyday...

Although Prof. Tomiki spent a great deal of time in the U.S. he was born in Japan and spent most of his life there
teaching physical education and budo in university. I don't think he became and american unless I am very much mistaken.

Jappzz
03-13-2001, 04:52 AM
Sigh!

Naturally i don't mean that tomiki sensei was american. I'm just saying that these "tournament heretics" :-) have more in common with macho americans than with serious budo practitioners of any nationality. I understand that most people on this forum are american but my experience of americans in general is hardly that they try to embrace foreign cultures but rather pervert it into something that fits better into a society of shallowness and comecialism. Figures that i'm going to get som really hairy answers but i still don't think that american influence on martial arts has brought much positive results though there are several highly skilled practicioners in the US.

Feel free to comment

Jasper

Sam
03-13-2001, 05:54 AM
I hope I am not making a mistake by taking what you have said literally, but in your mind -
1. Tomiki style is 'bull'.
2. The entire U.S. is shallow and commercial.
3. We are all 'tournament heretics.'

I would like to ask you why you have formed these opinions. I would probably attach more credibility to your sweeping statement if for example you said ' I went to a competition and......'

In your original post you said that Budo was about spiritual developement, and that to me means among other things the development of a tolerant mind. How can you point out the value of such a quality and in the same post be so intolerant?

I personally do not think that I have the right to judge a particular style or to judge an entire peoples.

Why do you?

Jappzz
03-13-2001, 07:16 AM
Double sigh!

I'm just stating that i find it sad that budo is being distorted into something i belive it is not. And as for me condemning americans in any way that is just my personal oppinion and if anyone feels offended i'm sorry. I have yet to understand how americanizing budo would be positive to martial arts. I do not consider myself being intolerant but i have seen to many examples of american turning culture into something shallow.

Jasper

Steve Speicher
03-13-2001, 08:57 AM
Triple sigh... and a half!

From an objective viewpoint, I would say that in general America (meaning the USA) tends to commercialize everything and anything it can. The higher goal (at least the one that is endorsed) is to make money, as much as possible, and as quick as possible, through whatever means. And it is okay to sacrifice morals, ethics, and beliefs to achieve this end.

However, many Americans, probably even MOST Americans, do not agree with this, and would rather dedicate their lives to other more noble pursuits.

I say the above to show I understand why you've developed your opinion, and that it does have a valid basis. However, to then go and make sweeping generalizations about every American is not only disrepectful, but shows a very underdeveloped spirit. Nationalism has no place in aikido, as O Sensei envisioned aikido as a way to unify humanity, not strengthen its boundaries and divisions.

So yes, I do take offense to your statements. However, I will try to keep an open mind, and treat you with the respect you've denied me, because I am an American..... oh well

Peace,

Jappzz wrote:
Double sigh!

I'm just stating that i find it sad that budo is being distorted into something i belive it is not. And as for me condemning americans in any way that is just my personal oppinion and if anyone feels offended i'm sorry. I have yet to understand how americanizing budo would be positive to martial arts. I do not consider myself being intolerant but i have seen to many examples of american turning culture into something shallow.

Jasper

Greg Jennings
03-13-2001, 09:08 AM
Jappzz wrote:
Double sigh!

I'm just stating that i find it sad that budo is being distorted into something i belive it is not. And as for me condemning americans in any way that is just my personal oppinion and if anyone feels offended i'm sorry. I have yet to understand how americanizing budo would be positive to martial arts. I do not consider myself being intolerant but i have seen to many examples of american turning culture into something shallow.

Jasper

What you're really saying, without realizing it, is that you're a bigot.

Being in my situation and living where I do, I get a lot of experience in recognizing subtle bigotry. Your's isn't even subtle.

Maybe you should attend one of my sensitivity courses.


[Edited by Greg Jennings on March 13, 2001 at 09:13am]

Sam
03-13-2001, 09:25 AM
Jappzz wrote:
Double sigh!

I'm just stating that i find it sad that budo is being distorted into something i belive it is not.



I am not American so I am not offended by the comments about American comercialism and such and such.
However what I find offensive is the idea that everyone is practising this 'perverted' aikido except you. My instructor was taught by shihan at the hombu and I am going for six months training under shihan. I am sure people around the world including America are doing the same thing - in this way something cannot be (insert nationality)-ised.

I don't really understand if you are knocking tomiki aikido or the U.S. If it is the former I cannot accept your opinion because frankly you do not know enough about it.

Have you every heard of the expression 'with ability comes humility?'

Jim23
03-13-2001, 11:01 AM
I'm new to aikido (not new to the martial arts) and I feel that I have a fairly open mind and am fairly objective - I have absolutely no reason to be otherwise.

I really don't understand why so many people are against Tomiki "sparring". I looked at a few video clips of Tomiki aikido and I don't know what the problem is (no lectures budo and not competing with yourself please). It's not really sparring - it's training. Sure, points are given if your partner gets through to you, but so what?

While reading Matt's thread on "warrior spirit" (excellent topic Matt!) I kept thinking of Tomiki aikido - really testing yourself and your partners, with mutual respect.

I've said many times that I don't agree with "tournaments". This is just testing aikido's effectiveness - the parts that can be tested, that is - which is better than nothing.

Jim23

Magma
03-13-2001, 12:31 PM
darin wrote:

Personally I think aikido should have more competition. Its done good things for almost all martial arts.

How wholeheartedly can I disagree with this statement...? Wholeheartedly. If cotton-candy dojos and egos the size of texas, sensei's looking to turn a buck with black-belt contracts, and the core of an art sacrificed because it doesn't fit into the acceptable (safe) techniques of a tournament are all good things, then I guess I'd agree with you.

I'm not saying that tomiki aikido suffers from these things, but that broadly these problems have crept into the martial arts world and owe a great deal of their existence to competition.

My stand on competition in aikido is that it is counter-intuitive. I don't seek to win in my aikido, I seek to harmonize and resolve a situation. So if I am asked to show my skills against an opponent, I can show aikido. If I am asked to show them against an opponent who is honestly trying to hit me and take me down, fine, I can show aikido. If I am in either of these situations and I am being given points based on my performance, I'm no longer showing aikido. I'm showing how well I can play the tournament game.

Besides, everything positive that I have heard about the tomiki style competition I can get simply by asking any of my sempai (and several kohai) of mine to be more realistic in their attack; to really try to hit me as they might outside of the basic front punch, shomen strike, or yoko. Calling something competition does not make it any more 'real' - at least, not by definition. Making something real results in making that thing real. I have read this entire thread, and though I feel that the everyone seems to be training (in competition or not) very sincerely, I see two contrasting arguments made in defense of Tomiki aikido:
1) That it makes the attack more realistic.
2) That it is not realistic because: "There are too many limitations for tanto-randori to be considered 'true' sparring. As my sensei told me, 'Tanto randori is a game; it has rules.'"

Honestly, no sarcasm, can someone clear that up for me?

Hmmm, maybe the question shouldn't be about competition, but why those positive things being discussed and credited to competition (committed attack, technique tested in realistic circumstance, technique applied against an unwilling target, etc.) aren't present in our regular training?

Greg Jennings
03-13-2001, 12:51 PM
Jim23 wrote:
I'm new to aikido (not new to the martial arts) and I feel that I have a fairly open mind and am fairly objective - I have absolutely no reason to be otherwise.

I really don't understand why so many people are against Tomiki "sparring". I looked at a few video clips of Tomiki aikido and I don't know what the problem is (no lectures budo and not competing with yourself please). It's not really sparring - it's training. Sure, points are given if your partner gets through to you, but so what?

While reading Matt's thread on "warrior spirit" (excellent topic Matt!) I kept thinking of Tomiki aikido - really testing yourself and your partners, with mutual respect.

I've said many times that I don't agree with "tournaments". This is just testing aikido's effectiveness - the parts that can be tested, that is - which is better than nothing.

Jim23

My take is that a lot of people are saying that they believe that they wouldn't like competition. That's OK. Where it goes wrong is when they make the leap that it's wrong for everyone or wrong for Aikido (which in this context is the same thign).

I, personally, don' t want to take part in anything where a winner and, de facto, a loser are declared. But that's just me.

I think having options for both people that want competition as part of their Budo and peole that do not is a great thing, not a bad one.

For example, I am, by nature and situation, a hyper-competitive person. I'm as aggressive and cranky as a hungry grizzly bear with a tooth ache. You've heard of the "type A personality"? I'm a AAA.

I'm trying very, very hard to mellow out. Cooperative training is working for me right now. I might be able to handle the Tomiki/Jiyushinkai form of competition in the future. Just not now. Trust me, it would be a bad thing.

OTOH, I know a lot of folks that do very well with competitive Budo: Kendo, Judo, Karatedo, etc.

Jim23, I need to understand better what you mean by "sparring". Most dojo that I've visited (10 or so) practice jiyuwaza and randori where the parts of nage and uke are fluid and frequently transpose. But there are no judges, no scoring and no winner or loser; just training. Also it's not "all out". The level of effort into applying the technique and resisting/reversing the technique is scaled to suit one's partner.

FWIW, YMMV,

Chris P.
03-13-2001, 01:21 PM
Magma wrote:

My stand on competition in aikido is that it is counter-intuitive. I don't seek to win in my aikido, I seek to harmonize and resolve a situation. So if I am asked to show my skills against an opponent, I can show aikido. If I am asked to show them against an opponent who is honestly trying to hit me and take me down, fine, I can show aikido. If I am in either of these situations and I am being given points based on my performance, I'm no longer showing aikido. I'm showing how well I can play the tournament game.


If your partner really tries to hit you, and they succeed, you are most certainly a loser in that exchange; you lose your health. They want to hurt you, you don't want them to hurt you: this is the competition. To claim otherwise is a useless piece of sophistry. You should not try to claim the moral high ground of martial arts, you are throwing stones from a glass house.

Jim23
03-13-2001, 01:27 PM
Greg Jennings wrote:

Jim23, I need to understand better what you mean by "sparring". Most dojo that I've visited (10 or so) practice jiyuwaza and randori where the parts of nage and uke are fluid and frequently transpose. But there are no judges, no scoring and no winner or loser; just training. Also it's not "all out". The level of effort into applying the technique and resisting/reversing the technique is scaled to suit one's partner.

Greg,

I'm not the best person to answer questions on Tomiki aikido.

The Tomiki "sparring" that I saw was very much like you mention, except that there was someone keeping "score". Not everyone's cup of tea, maybe, but not so bad either.

The "competition" that I saw was someone attacking (lunging) with a knife (trying to "score") and someone defedning (then switching roles). Probably no different than done in most dojos, except for the "points" awarded if you "scored" or defended well. It's still co-operative training in my view.

If someone gets upset by "losing" by a score of, say, 1-2 points, they have a problem that even aikido can't fix - just don't drive in front of them after leaving the dojo.

Jim23

Magma
03-13-2001, 01:43 PM
Chris P. wrote:
Magma wrote:

My stand on competition in aikido is that it is counter-intuitive. I don't seek to win in my aikido, I seek to harmonize and resolve a situation. So if I am asked to show my skills against an opponent, I can show aikido. If I am asked to show them against an opponent who is honestly trying to hit me and take me down, fine, I can show aikido. If I am in either of these situations and I am being given points based on my performance, I'm no longer showing aikido. I'm showing how well I can play the tournament game.


If your partner really tries to hit you, and they succeed, you are most certainly a loser in that exchange; you lose your health. They want to hurt you, you don't want them to hurt you: this is the competition. To claim otherwise is a useless piece of sophistry. You should not try to claim the moral high ground of martial arts, you are throwing stones from a glass house.

Chris, I am not saying that competition is not competitive. I am saying that in competition, *competition* (or "winning") becomes the highlight (or at least, it *can*). Not aikido.

Now, if I understand you correctly, your are saying that even in standard training with a committed uke, there is a "winner" and a "loser" since the uke either connects or is foiled by the nage. And since there is a winner and a loser anyway, it is a competition of sorts. Am I restating your point correctly? If so, let me say that if these things are present in my normal training (both the positive benefits of training with a committed partner and the negatives of having a winner and a loser), then what do I gain through competition. Why risk letting the competition become the focus rather than the training or the aikido?

In fact, someone could even make the argument that competition is competition *because* it is the focus. And that's the last thing I want from my training. Others may disagree, but I have yet to hear a benefit of competition training that I cannot gain from non-competitive training.

Brian
03-13-2001, 02:07 PM
Magma wrote:


... I see two contrasting arguments made in defense of Tomiki aikido:
1) That it makes the attack more realistic.
2) That it is not realistic because: "There are too many limitations for tanto-randori to be considered 'true' sparring. As my sensei told me, 'Tanto randori is a game; it has rules.'"

Honestly, no sarcasm, can someone clear that up for me?

[/B]

I wouldn't say that the attack itself is made more realistic because it is made in competition. I am positive that anyone, of any style of any martial art, can make an attack that is just as committed with or without competition involved if they want to.

I also would not say that competition is not realistic at all because of the rules; rather, I would say that it is not realistic if one is shooting for complete realism. In any martial art competition, there are rules, and whether they are for convenience, safety, or some other reason, they will still limit how real it can be. To give an extreme example- Don't kill your opponent. Although it may seem a rather obvious rule to abide by, this may not apply in a more 'realistic' situation.

I would have to say that randori does not necessarily make the attack more realistic, but the situation. To make use of an analogy, let's take a look at basketball practice (And yes, I realize that Aikido is not a sport, and that there are incredible differences between basketball and aikido, but I just want to make this better understood).

Player #1 is handed the ball. He is instructed by his coach to shoot while Player #2 attempts to prevent him from doing so. The coach says, "Go." Player #2 begins to flail his arms in the air, but Player #1 manages to shoot the ball. Both players then stop, and prepare to do the same thing again. Afterwards, they may move on to another drill designed to improve a different skill involved in basketball.

Then, there is the basketball game. Rather than simply stopping after a single shot is, well, shot, the game continues. Whether the shot is made or missed, all participants continue to play for an allotted amount of time, and do not stop until that time runs out.

The basketball players in the above analogy spent their practice honing their various basketball skills, and then used all or many of them in the basketball game. How well they performed in the game may show how good thier skills truly are (And yes, I do realize this may or may not show how good a player they are based upon many other factors involved.)

The same is true with randori. In class, we train our various aikido skills (Although, not specifically for a game, but for that hypothetical situation in life where we may need them.) We participate in various drills or excercises or just practice particular techniques over and over again, in the hope of improving our skill. Then, some of us participate in randori so that we can test those skills to a certain extent. It helps us know what needs improving, which is much better to discover after being stabbed with a rubber knife than with a real one.

When I said randori is not true sparring, I meant it if you believed sparring was something of a Free For All event, where any technique of any kind, no matter how hazardous to someone else's health may be used. I also wanted to point out the specific requirements for a 'valid' stab. Basically, I meant to convey that, because of rules, it is not 'real,' but the situation may have been brought to a higher degree of realism than when two people take turns performing techniques (And, no, I am not saying that not participating in randori will prevent you from ever being truly ready to use your aikido skills).

To summarize my summarizations, randori is just another learning tool.

Steve Speicher
03-13-2001, 02:37 PM
I'm a little confused on what randori is exactly.

We practice randori in my dojo periodically, but it is just a multiple attacker situation, nothing to do with competition or scoring (not that there's anything wrong with that).

So I thought that was what randori entailed, one person defending from multiple attackers.

As randori is presented here though, it seems to be a type of competition, like that of Tomiki style.

So where is my limited knowledge of the Japanese language leading me wrong??

To better put it, does randori have multiple definitions??

akiy
03-13-2001, 02:53 PM
Steve Speicher wrote:
To better put it, does randori have multiple definitions??
Yes, as does the term "jiyuwaza."

Some dojo consider "jiyuwaza" to be one uke and one nage with uke doing any attack and nage responding in any way. Other dojo consider it to be the same number of people but with uke attacking in one certain way.

Some dojo consider "randori" to be the multiple-attackers scenarior which, in most Aikikai dojo I've visited, have uke attacking with ryokatadori and nage responding with the "pass-through" kind of kokyunage. Others use randori in the same manner but with uke attacking in any way.

Other dojo I have been to consider randori to have one uke and one nage with uke attacking in any way while nage does any technique (a la the first definition of jiyuwaza up above).

Other dojo take randori to be like that of judo's randori wherein the attacks and responses are freestyle and where the "roles" of uke and nage freely switch back and forth according to who holds the initative (sente).

I may have missed some, but at least these are some of the "definitions" of randori that I've encountered so far...

-- Jun

Magma
03-13-2001, 03:12 PM
I think that everyone speaks from experience, so a Tomiki person may define randori as it has been used in this thread, while you and I may define it as we practice it: one on many.

Hmm, Brian, I understand what you are saying, but like Nottingham's cousin (from the Kevin Costner Robin Hood) who pondered, "But why a spoon, cousin?",
I'm left asking... "why have points?"

If learning really is the goal, learning will happen. Points only serve to enforce who won and who died.

willy_lee
03-13-2001, 06:57 PM
*plonk*

=willy

PeterR
03-14-2001, 08:16 AM
Thanks for the heads up on this Jun however it looks like other Tomiki stylists have covered the base fairly well. As you know (and the probable reason for the notice) I spent four years doing Shodokan Aikido in Japan, three at Honbu, and continue to teach and train in the style along with forays into Aikikai.

I would like to emphasize a few points.

"Americanized Tomiki Bullshit"
I must say that this reflects a profound ignorance not only of Aikido history but budo in general. Stanley Pranin of Aikido Journal has written a good summary of Kenji Tomiki http://www.aikidojournal.com/articles/ajArticles/MU_KenjiTomiki.asp althouth there are some points I would add.

Lets just say that after 30 years with Ueshiba Kenji Tomiki introduced competition into Aikido. The push for this was a successful attempt to reintroduce Aikido into the university system. Much Budo and especially Aikido was looked upon with suspicion considering it's links with the military and convicted war criinals (Tojo studied Aikido). There was no complete break with Ueshiba over this although the latter had strong misgivings. For example, Tomiki taught at Aikikai Honbu for several more years, was present at Tohei's ninth dan party and I have a tape were the current head of the style is demonstrating at an Aikikai function in 1989. Tomiki's introduction of his system to Kansai Universities was only possible through the support of Aikikai's Kobyashi Shihan and in fact the latter provided further training to Tomiki's chosen successor.

The whole idea of competition and tanto randori is to fill a void left by only practicing kata. It is not knife fighting - the tanto stike's purpose is to provide a strong linear attack. It is also not combat. It is one of many training tools whose lessons are applied to all your Aikido.

One of the most constant arguments against competition is the winning over everything mindset. This also demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of what competition is all about. If the latter reason was all there was too it why enter a competition you know you will loose. We see competition as providing a forum for testing technique and yourself under stress. It is a real eye opener and contrary to some assertations - an ego destroyer. I have seen some ripe egos within non-compeditive organizations mainly because their illusions are never challenged.

Part of the mental struggle is to recognize and contain the negative aspects of competition. Last summer I attended the US Nationals in Virginia and I am very glad to say that our American cousins understand this very well. Good fun, good training, well I was about to say good beer but that would be pushing it.

Sam
03-14-2001, 08:27 AM
Great post Peter! That seems to have cleared everything up, and I am left with nothing to say.

It is nice to hear from somebody else who is shodokan.
Do you plan to be at mishima stadium in Osaka in October?

Sam Benson
Sheffield Kyogikan, UK

PeterR
03-14-2001, 09:18 AM
Thanks Sam;

Unless everything falls through I will spend three months this summer at Honbu. It's been two years since I left Japan so besides the Virginia seminar and a could of get togeathers my only training is with the small club I started. They are all fit, young, tough and eager to learn but it is only now that I am getting a feeling of real personal training with them. I need to go back to the source and be shoved around by my betters.

Osaka will be big. I am obligated to try and make that also. This is the 100th aniverseary of Tomiki's birth for those that don't know and to the Japanese it is very very important. I guarantee it will be difficult to learn much but it wont be boring. It is a perfect way to introduce yourself to Japan - low season and the weather is still nice. Take a few extra days. Have you ever been to Japan? I am a fool with last names - you are not the Sam I know?

Sam
03-14-2001, 09:39 AM
That's great news, Peter.

I am leaving for three months intensive training at the Hombu also. I set off at the end of July, so hopefully I will see you there.

It is the first time for me at the Hombu, but I have met Shihan before on several occasions, so I know what to look forward to. Also my instructor is a student of shihan so hopefully I will be able to fit in without causing any problems. Any advice on this front?

At the moment I am training all I can to be ready - my feet are in absolute tatters.
Hopefully when I get to Japan I will also be able to join in with some of the university students training for randori - apparently they are the ones to keep up with?

I am also terrible with names, but if you were in Brisbane for the last worlds I probably will recognise you from then.

Anyway, good luck with the training - I look forward to seeing you in the summer!

Magma
03-14-2001, 10:03 AM
If the goal of any endeavor is something other than winnnig, than it is not competition. So if the goal of Tomiki competition is not winning, it's not competition. If it's not competition, why have points?

Again, I say that if the goal is learning to apply technique against committed uke who may or may not resist (according the rules)... what special benefit do I get from points?

I think at any one time a person can be ready to learn or ready to compete. And after they've lost, and everyone says "learn from this," you know what wisdom they can take from that loss? That they should be ready to learn more and ready to compete less.

PeterR
03-14-2001, 10:23 AM
Tim - don't get me wrong.

You get out there you want to do well - it feels good, it's fun. However in the process you learn to control your own adrenalin, your own fear and find out what works and what doesn't.

Randori (even full resistance) against a dojo mate is not the same - in competion it in some ways is facing the unknown. Trust me on this facing a guy you don't know that outweighs you be a hundred pounds takes balls.

Sam - email me privately - getting accomodation in Osaka is tough I may be able to hook you up with someone. I am bringing my wife and daughter so I am out of the loop. Also if you have any questions.

You mentioned tanto randori mpegs. Do you have a link for them. If you want we can ask Jun to put them up on his site or I could put them on mine.

Erik
03-14-2001, 11:08 AM
Magma wrote:
Again, I say that if the goal is learning to apply technique against committed uke who may or may not resist (according the rules)... what special benefit do I get from points?


Just a thought from a non-Tomiki person. One of the things I've thought about is how to measure progress in a concrete way. Obviously, everyone gets better over time, but it's always just sort of a vague "they fell!" It's pretty intangible even when you do get a belt. Maybe one benefit of keeping score is that it can act as a measure of progress to see improvement. I could see issues with this, but it seems like at least one beneficial aspect.

PeterR
03-14-2001, 11:31 AM
Hi Erik;

There are some articles written by Tomiki to be found at JAA(USA) site and Shodokan Honbu both of which can be linked from my Dojo home page (see below).

He outlines his reasons pretty clearly but one of his points (excuse the pun) is that by placing your training (this includes both Embu and Randori (tanto and toshu)) in the context of a greater whole you avoid fragmentation. It becomes clear where the quality lies. I am not sure how successful that's been since we too have our fragments but I do believe the competions have helped and over the past few years several splinters have returned to the fold.

I know that only indirectly answers your point but yes competion provides a basis of quality control. Remember it's not just randori.

Just to expamnd slightly on why points. In the old days shiai basically meant to the death. This is not a training option for me thank you. Even during the days surrounding the formation of the Kodokan there were matches between Jujitsu schools and the practice of just going out onto the street to pick fights with the biggest bruiser. Both of these latter options were brutal but generated superbly trained individuals. In the absence of staying alive or in the latter case last man standing contests - points offer a reasonably safe alternative. A short term goal so to speak. Putting something on the table, life, your arm, moving up the rung, adds something to the equation that would not normally be there. Points is infinately more safer than life.

Brian
03-14-2001, 11:31 AM
Magma wrote:
... what special benefit do I get from points?


Suppose a shodan and a fifth kyu decide to engage in some tanto randori. Both belong to the same organization, and have so both have had to meet the same time/technique requirements before earning their respective ranks, respectively. Also, neither has had any martial arts background prior to beginning aikido. Now imagine that the fifth kyu scored dozens of points, while the shodan earned little to none. The special benefit is that the shodan has learned that he should probably put some extra effort into improving what he already knows.

Magma
03-14-2001, 12:18 PM
Peter and Brian:
Thank you for your honest answers and your openess. I am enjoying this discussion very much. And Erik, too.

Now back to the discussion at hand:
Brian wrote:
Magma wrote:
... what special benefit do I get from points?

The special benefit is that the shodan has learned that he should probably put some extra effort into improving what he already knows.

But, to be very specific, this is not a realm of learning where "points" hold the sole purchase. The shodan could have reached this same conclusion from sincere training, couldn't he have?

And Peter, I agree that points do give a stop before "to-the-death," but to what extent does this thug-in-the-street history represent what we are trying to do in aikido? We don't go out between schools and pick fights. I hope that wasn't what you were saying that competition accomplishes...? In addition, how can a competition with banned techniques prepare you better? I think an open mind in the face of escalating violence is of utmost importance, and I can see how focused training on competition style moves may begin to train ruts into the aikidoka's mind. For instance your reaction becomes "this is how my body is going to react because this is what it has always done" instead of "this is how my body is going to react because though I had a multitude of options, this was the best." Do you as competition-participants find this happening?

Hmm. This thread has got me thinking that i want to get with one of our black belts, give him a glove (at least for starters) and have him try to hit me. Really try to hit me. If I'm not back tomorrow you'll know I had an over-inflated belief in what I was capable of.:D

Erik
03-14-2001, 02:03 PM
Magma wrote:
But, to be very specific, this is not a realm of learning where "points" hold the sole purchase. The shodan could have reached this same conclusion from sincere training, couldn't he have?


I would say yes, but I've really struggled with this one. A lot of our training takes on a very consistent pattern. We do the same things with the same people over and over. We establish agreements that can stay the same for years unless disturbed somehow. The sempai/kohai etiquette can also get in the way along with our own issues as well. I was unfortunate (or fortunate) to wind up the senior person in the first dojo I trained at 2 years in. The thing I really learned from that experience is that sensei and sempai, for that matter, make fewer mistakes than kohai do. I remember teaching as a brown belt and everyone would tell me how great a class it was. As a brown belt? Not a chance. People fell most of the time too. Again, I don't think so.

I think competition might encourage the beginner, who would normally be afraid of offending their seniors, to attack with a bit more gusto. It can also encourage different ways of looking at things and increase creative responses. I think competition could also spur evolution of a sort.

On the other end, a question for the Tomiki folks comes to mind. Competition (like life in this specific context) tends to favor youth, strength, speed and athleticism. We talk a lot in Aikido about this not being the case, and skill with experience does count, but all things being equal these variables win out in physical competition. How do you address the fact that someone older, slower or whatever will have a significant disadvantage against someone younger?

PeterR
03-14-2001, 03:14 PM
Good question Erik et al.. and trust me (says the devil) I don't mind answering. A sincere question, even if you don't agree with the answer, beats the hell out of - well you know what I mean.

First of all skill levels being equal, strength and speed do come into play but there are many ways of resisting an attack besides force. In Virginia last summer (US Nationals) the winner of the Men's Tanto Randori and the Free Style Embu (kata) was Michael McCavish from Honbu Dojo. This is not a coincidence since the two are very closely linked. The best in one are usually very good in the other. Michael by the way is pushing (maybe past) 40 yet he consistently beats the young-uns. The reason is control and experience - weapons he uses real well.

At Honbu far less than 10% of the time is taken up doing randori training exercises. In fact randori itself is usually done after class by those interested. The bulk of the training is kata and basic exercises.

Finally the question of ingrained response. This is something that you must avoid under all training regimes. For those in non-Tomiki dojos examine your training practice and try to determine where this occurs - you will not have to look far. It is part of the over-all mental training to constantly examine yourself for weakness and programmed responses. A knowledge of what randori is and what it is not is intimate to this process.

There are lessons learnt from randori (both training and shiai) that are applicable to the performance of kata and to the application of aikido and conversly lessons learnt during kata performance that are applied to randori. Nothing works in isolation. If however you were to ask me where I obtained most of my self defence skills it is through the Koryu Goshin no Kata (Old style self defence) which contain some absolutely brutal techniques. The level of understanding of the kata (I like to think I manage OK) was indeed made possible through randori practice.

Karl Kuhn
03-14-2001, 03:24 PM
Interesting thread here!

In my experience the criticisms of Shodokan Aikido and it's Randori Shiai/Competition break down into two camps: one that says there is no such thing allowed and another that says that it is not real enough. It's good to see some middle ground here.

In regards to the point system, it is important that it is understood that points are awarded to good waza, good offensive strikes (if we're talking Tanto Randori, which, well we are now) and points are taken away for not getting out of the way properly or playing within the agreed upon rules. There are degrees of success in the waza and are awarded points accordingly. What this means is that the randori is not an all out sloppy brawl, but that each movement in the course of the match is judged and the total of those desicions is an indication of how well you availed yourself of the principles of Aikido. I say indication because while the judgement of the ref is final it may be different than your impression or that of your opponents. It is also not any sort of ultimate decision about your Aikido, just evidence of strengths and weaknesses that day.

I guess what I am saying is that points do more than make it something other than a death match. They re-enforce the rules of the engagement and the lesson of AIkido in very specific ways.

Concerning the age issue, the current (and I should say long standing) US Men's Tanto Randori Champion is over 50. That being said age is often an issue with some folks. But youth, strength and agility won't win it for you without great Aikido skills.

Hope this helps,

Karl



[Edited by Karl Kuhn on March 14, 2001 at 03:29pm]

Maputosimon
03-21-2001, 04:25 PM
Nice to see Tomiki being talked about. I study under John Waite (7th Dan Tomiki), and have done many styles. Purely personal opinion follows...
I would put it to you that there is competition in Ikebana and o-cha - translation: japanese flower arranging and tea-ceremony!!!!!! Who ever said that competition in Bushido needed to involve proactive violence? When I used to study Shotokan and Tae Kwon Do, both known for their dramatic image, I was judged and competed across teams on the accuracy of technique, and slow Kata, almost to the point of it being tai chi. As stated in one of my previous posts about others being attacked, all we normally need is a little movement in any direction by Uke to be able to execute a technique. Obviously, we could deal with very little, or no movement by Uke if we concentrate on the weak line and perfecting the basic techniques, and thus have competition very near to traditional thinking. A final point - a lot of traditional Aikido techniques involve a huge amount of (circular) movement - this facilitates easy competition....or i've just spent 5 minutes typing tosh???

jimvance
03-22-2001, 12:18 AM
Magma wrote:
But, to be very specific, this is not a realm of learning where "points" hold the sole purchase. The shodan could have reached this same conclusion from sincere training, couldn't he have?

And Peter, I agree that points do give a stop before "to-the-death," but to what extent does this thug-in-the-street history represent what we are trying to do in aikido? We don't go out between schools and pick fights. I hope that wasn't what you were saying that competition accomplishes...? In addition, how can a competition with banned techniques prepare you better? I think an open mind in the face of escalating violence is of utmost importance, and I can see how focused training on competition style moves may begin to train ruts into the aikidoka's mind.

Hmm. This thread has got me thinking that i want to get with one of our black belts, give him a glove (at least for starters) and have him try to hit me. Really try to hit me. If I'm not back tomorrow you'll know I had an over-inflated belief in what I was capable of.:D

All apples are fruit, but not all fruit is apples. Sport is a form of competition, but not all competitions are sports. I think that "point" systems push the definitions of what people may be practicing into the sports parameters. That is just my opinion and if that is what you want to do, then by all means do it to the best of your ability. I do not like the generalizations made by non-competitive practitioners to lump competitive styles into the sports/points category. Competition does not have to mean a winner and a loser; I think it does mean "my way" and "your way". Do you flip a coin to see who goes first? Do you time yourself while driving somewhere? If you don't get your way, does that make you a loser? I think that is the biggest misunderstanding in this whole thread. When real connection is made by two or more participants whether in Budo or Tea Ceremony, those participants become one unit. The real test is to maintain that connection despite the competitive attitude. So really "my way" and "your way" becomes something neither of the participants has control of, a third "together way". There is a Zen koan that begins "When a flint strikes a stone, there is a spark." Without understanding the dynamic relationship between KATA (Order: Non-competitive) and RANDORI (Chaos: Competitive) that koan isn't understood. The function of competition isn't just to compete; it is the living flowers sheltered within the vase of prearranged form.
And as far as having someone "really trying to hit you", they should be doing that all the time. Speed and strength are variables that are added as confidence and proficiency increase both in uke and tori. This is not something extra added to competitive practice. While in a freely competitive relationship, the potential and opportunity for different things to occur is the only change. Nothing is banned outside of biting and eye-gouging and out-of-control behavior. I found that in the three and a half years of practice within "non-competitive" Aikido there was plenty of competition going on, all under the banner of "kata".
This is how "competition" is explained to me by my teachers. Competition is the gift given to you by your partner, a problem you have to solve. You are doing the same for them. The one who solves the riddle best remains standing. How you work together and maintain connection while in an adversarial relationship is more important than who gets thrown.

Nuff said.

Jim Vance

Matt Banks
03-22-2001, 03:48 AM
I feel if people concentrate on competion practice too much during training, there aikido will suffer in some way. This is because inveitable form suffers during competion, and there are many tecniques which are prohibited during the competion.Thus if these tecniques are not allowed, then people who pracitce competion training in normal classes lose a section of the art. If you want to test your skills in aikido, do a jiuwaza type randori, with multiple attacks and weapons etc. Let uke use any attack, this will test your skills. We practice this alot in training.



Matt Banks

Matt Banks
03-22-2001, 03:50 AM
I also know of tomiki aikido dojo's who know longer have competion in their training, because they dont agree with it. But if tomiki aiki guys feel that competion helps them, and makes them stronger as a person, then let them do it. Who are we to disagree?




Matt Banks

Sam
03-22-2001, 04:53 AM
I'd like to make a different point about traditional aikido rather than tomiki aikido as I seem to spend a lot of time defending it from critisism I would like to be critical myself for a change.
I have gone to quite a few aikikai and yoshinkan training courses and I have no problem with the technical quality of the techniques, however I have found that the students of those styles have very strengthy and aggressive technique.
In tomiki aikido students learn not to use strength because in randori it hinders your performance to such an extent that often it only takes a few rounds of light shiai before that persons outlook is completely changed.
How without randori is it possible to achieve this end?
I also have found that a main difference between tomiki and traditional styles is that students of tomiki style are interested in techniques so as to improve their randori as well as embu. I found traditional style practise to be so obsessed with the martial connotations of each stand alone technique that sometimes the feel of that technique is lost in the 'if you make a mistake I will take advantage of it' mindset. Also the freedom to 'trust the technique' is lost if your uke takes this attitude.
I cannot help but think that if they had randori training there would be an outlet for this and the contsant need to prove oneself and dominate each other would disappear. Then training would probably be much more productive and pleasant.

Please do not take offense as what I have said, as it only relates to my personal experiences and is not a critisism of the quality of traditional aikido, only the learning system.
Instead of taking the view point of ' how can aikido include competition' I wonder if it can survive without it?

Magma
03-22-2001, 07:31 AM
Jim Vance,
You build a mountain in your effort to explain a shadow.

I agree with your initial postulate that points tend to move the training into the realm of sport, but then you abandon that, saying that competition is in everyday life and also in our kata training.

I say that if you call something like tomiki style tanto randori a "competition," with full knowledge of *all* of the connotations that word carries, you deserve every "misunderstanding" that that word generates. But are people really misunderstanding? I submit no, but must make one point first.

You say that in any encounter, there may exist some competition, using the example of if you time your drive from point A to point B and fail to meet your goal, "are you a loser?" Your use of the word "loser" here is obsequious and inflammatory, causing every person of any self-esteem at all quickly to reply, "No, not me! I'm no loser!" But people are not running to agree with you in that statement, they are running away from the connotation "loser" has in our culture. Complete honesty would have called for a comparison such as this: if there is competition in my drive-time, then there must be something I am competing against, otherwise there is no challenge and no reward. (One of my instructor's describes a fight the same way - it's not a fight until both people say it's a fight; until then it's just a pick-on). So what was I competing against in my drive? Most basically, time. If I get there ahead of schedule, I win. If I don't, time wins. In that contest, I am the loser; I am not "a" loser, with the connotation you casually employ.

So, back to my question, do people really misunderstand? I don't think so. We are aware that competition can be friendly and that there is competition in every day activities (with so many people pointing it out on this thread, how could it be otherwise?). However, we are also aware that as soon as points are awarded, the focus shifts *onto* the competition. And in an activity such as tanto randori (the tomiki definition), that shift in focus, along with the points, turn it into sport rather than art... rather than budo.

But just so that we're all clear, I don't care if someone wishes to train that way, I just want them to be honest that what they are doing is sport. My questions don't come from a loathing of competition in aikido, but from a desire to learn what benefits people get from it that I don't get from my normal training. I'm looking for something that will make me want to include the tomiki style tanto randori (or other similar competition events) in my daily/monthly training.

Jim23
03-22-2001, 11:19 AM
Magma wrote:

But just so that we're all clear, I don't care if someone wishes to train that way, I just want them to be honest that what they are doing is sport. My questions don't come from a loathing of competition in aikido, but from a desire to learn what benefits people get from it that I don't get from my normal training. I'm looking for something that will make me want to include the tomiki style tanto randori (or other similar competition events) in my daily/monthly training.

This is quite the paragraph!

It's both an insult and a complement.

On the one hand you say that_it's your WAY or the highWAY_(the Tomiki people are not being "honest" about their aikido being a "sport"), and on the other that you're honestly trying to understand the benefits of Tomiki training, so as to incorporate aspects into your own training.

Bottom line is: no one is willing to bend - too much time invested in their own aikido.

Jim23

[Edited by Jim23 on March 22, 2001 at 11:48am]

PeterR
03-22-2001, 11:41 AM
OK I'll be honest - a part of Tomiki Aikido is sportive but unlike pregnency (you can't be a little bit pregnent) I can not see how this destroys Tomiki's place as a martial art.

As has been said ad nauseum. Randori supplements kata training. Adding an extra levle of intensity to the training during competition provides further lessons. Which lessons or how it supplements? Well there were several posts in this thread which were very clear.

If your entire training revolved around winning tournaments you would no longer be doing Shodokan Aikido. I can not think of one dojo that works like this.

jimvance
03-22-2001, 11:08 PM
Magma wrote:
Jim Vance,
You build a mountain in your effort to explain a shadow.That is a great quote. I would have to agree with you. It's my style. Let me say that after reading your post, I saw a couple areas I did not make clear and I would have to agree with you. My intent was not to single you out by the way. I thought you had supplied one of the more intelligent questions in regards to competition in this very LONG thread.



I agree with your initial postulate that points tend to move the training into the realm of sport, but then you abandon that, saying that competition is in everyday life and also in our kata training.You are right, but I don't think I abandoned anything. I just don't think it right to think "sport" every time the word "competition" is used. How can uke give a committed attack without being competitive? And this does not mean that the whole practice is competitive. It is one little controlled version that exists under a greater blanket of cooperation.



..."are you a loser?" Your use of the word "loser" here is obsequious and inflammatory, causing every person of any self-esteem at all quickly to reply, "No, not me! I'm no loser!" But people are not running to agree with you in that statement, they are running away from the connotation "loser" has in our culture. ...In that contest, I am the loser; I am not "a" loser, with the connotation you casually employ.I confer and profusely apologize.



So, back to my question, do people really misunderstand? If we are talking about the word "compete" compared to the word "sport", I think so. That was the point I was trying to make. Competition is a process we are doing together to lift each other up (look up the latin roots), not just something where one person is being rewarded over another. Competition is like playing jazz, where soloists are trying to play different pieces that encourage the entire band, but that only they can do. They do not play their parts at the expense of the rhythm or connection to the rest of the band members. It is essentially the freedom to do whatever you would like and test yourself or express yourself. Sport is only one little part of competition, but we always refer to it when discussing anything remotely physical.


However, we are also aware that as soon as points are awarded, the focus shifts *onto* the competition. And in an activity such as tanto randori (the tomiki definition), that shift in focus, along with the points, turn it into sport rather than art... rather than budo.

But just so that we're all clear, I don't care if someone wishes to train that way, I just want them to be honest that what they are doing is sport.I couldn't agree more. We don't use points in our randori, and I think anyone who does is participating in a sport. Why keep score?


My questions don't come from a loathing of competition in aikido, but from a desire to learn what benefits people get from it that I don't get from my normal training. I'm looking for something that will make me want to include the tomiki style tanto randori (or other similar competition events) in my daily/monthly training. I think this is why I used your previous post; I could sense this attitude of curiousity and intelligence. (I am not just blowing sunshine up your ass, I just believe in giving credit where it is due.) As far as adding a competitive aspect to your regular training, I would not unless it was under the direction of a skillful teacher who has experience teaching non-sport, competitive training. Having someone come after you full force does not competition make. I had a very intense, slow randori session with my teacher tonight. Boy was it fun and frustrating. (Thank you Sensei.) You should come and train with us sometime. If you want more info, just email me off the forum. Hope this clears any confusion and emotion.

Jim Vance

Magma
03-23-2001, 06:54 AM
Jim -
Very nice and well-appreciated post, I understand you better now.

<<tip of hat>>

If you're ever in the West Michigan area, let me know. I'd love to train with you.