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spinecracker
01-08-2005, 12:24 PM
In the 'Hello' forum, a gentleman mentioned that he is training in 'real' aikido. I checked out the website for the organization, and the founding individual is decribed as a 10th Dan.I'm not making any comments about the gentleman's abilities or qualifications, but does anyone know anything about 'real' aikido, the head instructor or the organization? (I'm pretty sure the stuff my sensei is doing is pretty real, too :D )

The organization's website is at http://www.wcra.co.yu/index_e.html

rob_liberti
01-08-2005, 12:31 PM
Maybe it's just a poor language translation. I think he means His new style of aikido which he feels REALLY works. I don't know. Wasn't O-sensei talking about how he still was working on ikkyo when he died? It seems like some of these self-appointed 10th dans feel they passed him.

Rob

Noel
01-08-2005, 06:27 PM
Neat. The shihan in Chicago is younger than me. Guess I'm washed up at 33.

Don
01-08-2005, 06:50 PM
His certificates say nothing substantiative about his lineage. If his lineage traces back to one of O'Sensei's students let him show it. Without lineage, he may call it aikido, but its fakido. Otherwise it BS as far as aikido goes. It may be good self-defense, but its not aikido.

aikidoc
01-08-2005, 07:53 PM
Here's the site I found. I have run across them before. http://www.uscra.info/

It's worth having your sound on to catch to sword cutting and barking dogs sound effects and the music in the intro.

This is from their website: "Real aikido is first and only Serbian ultimate fighting and self-defense martial arts. Real Aikido is efficient, widely applicable self-defense skill, derived from traditional aikido and jujitsu. The founder of Real Aikido is Grand Master Ljubomir Vracarevic, holder of the black belt, 10th Dan, professor of Real Aikido and Ju-jitsu. Thanks to his long experience acquired and improved by continuous contact with first-class Japanese masters of this skill, master Vracarevic distinguished several thousand techniques, purified them, reformed their elements, introducing in his own knowledge from other fighting skills, creating a new style Real Aikido - extremely efficient and flexible system of defense techniques. Flexibility of Real Aikido is just one of its most important characteristics. Putting together different techniques according to the real situation, maximal efficiency is achieved. Transition from one to another technique is simple, and only knowledge and skill will determine which elements someone will use. These unlimited possibilities of combining, enable multiple applies of Real Aikido."

Since I authored a "related" thread it is probably best I keep my mouth shut on this one. :).
I would say the site speaks for itself. I love the blue gi.

aikidoc
01-08-2005, 08:08 PM
Follow the links:

http://www.wcra.co.yu/
http://www.wcra.co.yu/index_e.html

He gives absolutely no background and the second link shows where the rank comes from.

I wonder what Westbrook and O'Ratti think about them copping some of their pictures.

aikidoc
01-08-2005, 08:20 PM
Check the videos on the American link. It looks like pretty standard aikido stuff although varying styles with one noteable different. Most techniques end with a finishing atemi. So does that make it a new style? Hell, I use atemi all the time. Actually, the aikido is pretty good and aggressive. I guess I just get lost when we go to the 10th dan soke grandmaster stuff. Oh well, it's just me I guess. I'm too much a traditionalist. :crazy:

David Humm
01-09-2005, 01:06 AM
lol.. Grandmaster 10th dan Soke...

it's <cough>Bullshit!</cough> :D

Tommy_S
01-09-2005, 10:14 PM
:rolleyes:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7202
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1207

jonreading
01-10-2005, 12:55 PM
Uhh.... I appreciate the fact that sometimes innovative and fantastic martial artists can define a new martial art, but it does concern me that someone can simply walk up and create a new martial art.

I hope that the founder of the real aikido understands that their website does not support an aikido-defined lineage, certificates from a major aikido association or affiliation, or recognition from Aikido Hombu dojo.

I also hope that this support of legitiamicy has simply been overlooked and does exist, even if not online...

PeterR
01-10-2005, 07:14 PM
I know an Aikikai Yondan that regularily trains with him (his first teacher). Said Yondan moves very well and swears by the guy.

The founder of Real Aikido really was a trainer to some very interesting folks.

Jorx
01-11-2005, 03:22 AM
Well it's an eastern european thing.

This jugoslavian guy has some lineage but i do not remember exactly.

He was said to have really good aikikai-aikido when he was around 6th dan or so and under aikikai. He worked as a bodyguard-leader for some african leaders.

I've seen one of his instructionals. It was total crap imho. And I've worked with real-aikido students in estonia. They tend to be really stiff and "tough". Don't like it.

PeterR
01-11-2005, 03:32 AM
I heard he isn't Dan ranked by any of the main organizations much less 6th Dan. Again the one student I know of his moves pretty well but I don't know who is responsible for that.

Tommy_S
01-11-2005, 04:12 AM
I've heard various stories about this man (i don't now if these were true or not), and one of them was that he trained in Aikikai until he was 2nd dan or so, and after that all other ranks were self-promotions...

Peter Seth
01-11-2005, 07:02 AM
'Real' Aikido MMMM? I Thought Aikido contained some Ai ? Looks a little like a jitsu/contact sort of thing? 'Removed some of the Japanese did he' MMMM? I always thought that the more experienced you became the less effort/contact you required? What is the philosophy associated with aikido? Is it harmony I wonder? 10th dan MMMM? Lots of questions????

philipsmith
01-13-2005, 06:09 AM
I visit Belgrade annually to take a seminar. The "real Aikido" guy are always invited and never attend. I'll try to find out some more when I'm their in March.

nmrmak
05-16-2006, 09:32 PM
Hello Philip, I've been to the seminar you held in Belgrade in April, it was very inspiring :-)

I've heard many different stories about Ljuba as well... It's no surprise he's a 10th dan when he promoted himself to that rank. If I made my own martial art tomorrow, that would make me a 10th dan in that are too, now wouldn't it? I doubt many people acknowledge his degree though.

Kevin Leavitt
05-17-2006, 02:08 PM
No comments on the validity or anything since I don't know the gentleman in questions. There are probably many cultural issues that come into play that we in western europe and the U.S. don't appreciate.

I do find it intriquing "real aikido". Implies what??? there is a "fake aikido"?

nmrmak
05-17-2006, 02:18 PM
No, it's not not "real" in that sense, the meaning of that word should be interpreted as "realistic" or "applicable". He does not imply that traditional aikido is fake, he's just saying that his version is of more use on the street.

Kevin Leavitt
05-17-2006, 03:28 PM
Thanks for clarifying that Nebojsa.

RebeccaM
05-17-2006, 03:51 PM
I'm pretty close to someone who used to train in Belgrade. He told me about this guy a while back and said while he did do some aikido a long time ago he never got very far and he's not taken very seriously. Even though he does, apparently, train Gadhafi's (sp?) bodyguards.

Jory Boling
05-17-2006, 04:24 PM
At least the Chicago dojo is involved in the community and with an organization called "Women Against Rape." (at the time of a video that is on their website)

I wonder how much aikido is in Serbia,in addition to this guy.

Don_Modesto
05-17-2006, 06:55 PM
I've heard many different stories about Ljuba as well... It's no surprise he's a 10th dan when he promoted himself to that rank. If I made my own martial art tomorrow, that would make me a 10th dan in that are too, now wouldn't it?Actually, no. Osensei had no rank in aikido, neither did his son nor his son.

People claiming 10 DAN or going back to the original purpose of the KYU/DAN system, i.e., marketing.

Check out the Tohei interview where he is speed promoted to 9 and 10 in order to compete in the market with judo...

emma.mason15
05-17-2006, 07:45 PM
we had a martial artist down here wo set up a .... for want of a better word "mcDojo". he claims he is a 10th dan in what he does. Unfortunatly for him its wide spread knowledge across the MA community that he was actually stripped of his ranks and exposed as a fraud!
bless ....
they still keep on comming!
:D :D :D

Leon Aman
05-18-2006, 03:03 AM
Well, maybe "Real Aikido" in the title, World Centre of Real Aikido (http://www.wcra.co.yu/index_e.html) , is just a Name of that independent organization founded by a certain Grandmaster Vracarevic, and has nothing to do on his simple personal claim as being the promoter of real aikido.

And/or maybe the word "real" does not imply "real" in a real sense…… I am not really sure. But… one thing I definitely sure, is that aikikai is not a fake aikido.

………And because they are indefendent and Grandmaster Vracarevic 10th Dan - SOKE is the founder, therefore, he is entitled to this rank,,,, or whatever rank he wants to be. big deal.

David Orange
05-18-2006, 11:05 AM
This is from their website: "Real aikido is first and only Serbian ultimate fighting and self-defense martial arts. Real Aikido is efficient, widely applicable self-defense skill, derived from traditional aikido and jujitsu. The founder of Real Aikido is Grand Master Ljubomir Vracarevic, holder of the black belt, 10th Dan, professor of Real Aikido and Ju-jitsu.

His 10th dan is from the American Martial Arts Hall of Fame or some such. Maybe he's a good godan or so. The rest is wishful thinking approved by The American Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

(I have been personally acquainted with two Japanese judans in my life. The first took 65 years of training with THE TOP experts in Japan, including being uchi deshi to Morihei Ueshiba. The second was his student and it took him from about 1950 to about 2002 to reach judan. You may draw your own conclusions.)

Don_Modesto
05-18-2006, 11:31 AM
(I have been personally acquainted with two Japanese judans in my life. The first took 65 years of training with THE TOP experts in Japan, including being uchi deshi to Morihei Ueshiba. The second was his student and it took him from about 1950 to about 2002 to reach judan. You may draw your own conclusions.)

Tohei was in his 30's, right?

nmrmak
05-18-2006, 06:56 PM
I am not very familiar with real aikido, but i know for sure that it's a little bit of a mistake in translation calling it "real" aikido. In serbian (the guy who made it and named is a serb), it's called "realni" aikido, and that word means "something that is real/realistic" (Edited to add: perhaps it could be translated as "in reality aikido"?).
I'm sure there are people here who actually train in real aikido, so they can correct me if i'm wrong hereL:
Real aikido is a blend of several martial arts. A big part of the techniques are taken from aikido, and tweaked a little so they can be more applicable in a street fight. The techniques are harder, and aren't as "flowing" as in aikikai. Also, the posture is a little different and tai sabaki isn't as wide as in aikikai. The pins look more painful, definitely. All the moves are quicker and shorter than in aikikai, and the people i've seen do real aikido look stiffer than folks in my dojo (but then again, i've only ever seen 2 or 3 people practicing). Actually, i've watched one of their trainings a long time ago, but all they've done that time were evasion techniques (moving in a group of people, trying not to collide). Seems to me that mr. Vracarevic has taken out the spiritual aspect out of his version of aikido and has tried to make it as straightforward and practical as possible.

Now I'd just like to add that real aikido is different than other styles, and i'm not sure if it's "aikido" at all. Maybe it's just a new martial art that just mentions aikido in it's name and has a few techniques in common with "traditional" aikido. No matter how good/bad you think it is, i've seen it work, and my very close friend used to train it; it saved his life once when he was attacked by a guy with a gun. He was confident enough (imo he was crazy enough too), and the attacker ended on the floor with his trigger finger broken. Turned out the gun was fake, and he just wanted to steal my friend's bicycle.
Still, my friend learned some nasty tricks on his trainings that are very applicable on the street, just like that one. It is a little bit like aikido mixed with the void element in ninjutsu (some of you might know what i'm referring to here).

Excuse my poor English and any spelling mistakes as English isn't my native language.

Kevin Leavitt
05-18-2006, 07:24 PM
Thanks for the explaination.

I think as martial arts evolve and we are getting more into the whole concept of MMA and as that matures, we will see much more crossover like this.

I suspect in about 10 years, I see myself teaching a "blended art" that is based on BJJ, aikido, and muay thai. I don't know what I would call it, as you could say all of it was BJJ, or all of it was a form of aikido. Not sure.

I think it is a good thing when we have people that can synthesize things, distill it, re-interpret and offer it to others. THat is, as long as the underlying principles are correct.

nmrmak
05-19-2006, 02:40 AM
That's a tricky one. I'd prefer to study aikido, BJJ and judo for example, but as separate arts, because that's the only way to grasp the underlaying principles imho. Of course, one could develop a customized art to suit their needs based on those arts, but that wouldn't stop me from training in those arts separately and accepting them as they are, with all thier pros and cons.
It takes a lot of time and dedication to grasp the essence of aikido. Imagine trying to grasp essences of several arts at the same time...

Demetrio Cereijo
05-19-2006, 12:02 PM
Are you talking about these people?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlPBpMPZ3g

nmrmak
05-19-2006, 12:15 PM
Judging by the looks of it, yes. But i don't know any of them in person.

George S. Ledyard
05-19-2006, 12:34 PM
He can make himself whatever rank he wants in his "Real Aikido" but this isn't a rank that anyone serious in the conventional Aikido community will recognize.

His website has all sorts of photos from his Hall of Fame award ceremony. I get info from these guys periodically. If I pay $175 approx. per award, I too can be a Hall of Fame member. In other words, he pays for the award. These guys come into a city, rent space at some ball room not too far from the airport, hold a black tie awards dinner for anyone willing to pay (you should see the list of categories in which you can can get an award - if you want to spend the money).

No one of any integrity at all would participate in this kind of operation. It is strictly for self promoters, insecure about their own legitimacy.

I noticed that Russell McCartney was in one of the photos from the same awards ceremony. Look on E-Budo for info...

David Orange
05-19-2006, 12:56 PM
Tohei was in his 30's, right?

No, I never met Tohei Sensei. I'm speaking of Minoru Mochizuki, who was awarded 10th dan in 1978 or so, by recommendation of IMAF and with the approval of Kisshomaru Ueshiba, at the age of about 73.

The other was Mochizuki Sensei's earliest student, Kyoichi Murai, who was made judan after Mochizuki Sensei's death. Murai sensei was about 90 years old when he made tenth dan.

As for Koichi Tohei, I understood that he was, yes, in his 30s when O Sensei promoted him to judan.

Sorry if I misunderstood your point.

Best wishes.

David

Robert Rumpf
05-19-2006, 01:43 PM
Are you talking about these people?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlPBpMPZ3g

Huh.. looked like a portion of a mediocre shodan test... The uke wasn't bad for an Aikido uke, although it seemed like his aim point on the baton shomen was bad, and I thought all of their pins were pretty horrible.

ChristianBoddum
05-19-2006, 05:31 PM
I checked the site a little,

Ending a technique with atemi is normal in other Budo ,
but in the kind of Aikido I've been taught so far it is a big no-no,
Atemi should come first and be an option to determine the situation.
Ending techniques with atemi is violence or Budo - not Aikido.

Otherwise the level seems OK

Demetrio Cereijo
05-20-2006, 07:10 AM
Ending techniques with atemi is violence or Budo - not Aikido.


Reading that i understand that under your point of view Aikido is not Budo.

Can you ellaborate please?

Raptus
05-20-2006, 08:42 AM
:) Yes, that is one of the Real aikido people. Nebojsa, he's holding a club in Novi Sad, I'll give you a link to visit if you want.

ChristianBoddum
05-20-2006, 09:41 AM
Reading that i understand that under your point of view Aikido is not Budo.

Can you ellaborate please?

Yes -

Aikido is Budo - it is Aiki Budo

I read somewhere Osensei stated that Aikido should
be the martial art that ends the need for traditional Budo -
or something to that effect.

Budo is generally a way to perfect the individual -
Aikido is way to perfect the world.

This is my understanding - I can be grossly wrong :)

Aikido begins at the end of all Budo as I see it.

So any Budo can lead to the door of Aiki - but in order to become
Aiki ,the techniques must change to the principle of Aiki -
as Osensei did them.

Will this do ?

Josh Reyer
05-20-2006, 11:14 AM
Yes -

Aikido is Budo - it is Aiki Budo

I read somewhere Osensei stated that Aikido should
be the martial art that ends the need for traditional Budo -
or something to that effect.

Budo is generally a way to perfect the individual -
Aikido is way to perfect the world.

This is my understanding - I can be grossly wrong :)

Aikido begins at the end of all Budo as I see it.

So any Budo can lead to the door of Aiki - but in order to become
Aiki ,the techniques must change to the principle of Aiki -
as Osensei did them.

Will this do ?

So why did Ueshiba end many techniques with atemi?

Demetrio Cereijo
05-20-2006, 11:34 AM
Thanks for your explanation Mr. Boddum.

I think now i understand, but disagree with, your point of view.

Imho the world is perfect as it is, i don't think in Aikido as a way to "perfect" the world, but as a way to take out the inner-veils that don't allow us to see its perfection.

The Budo in Aikido is needed to help taking out said inner-veils.

And, of course, i can be even more wrong than you :)

ChristianBoddum
05-20-2006, 11:53 AM
So why did Ueshiba end many techniques with atemi?

I don't know that he did !?!

Josh Reyer
05-20-2006, 01:01 PM
I don't know that he did !?!

Check out Budo, his 1938 self-published manual (translated in an English edition by John Stevens; available at Amazon) and/or Morihiro Saito's Takemusu Aikido Special Edition: Budo, Saito's bilingual commentary on the manual (available at Aikido Journal).

Also check out the Morihei Ueshiba & Aikido videos.

ChristianBoddum
05-20-2006, 01:22 PM
Check out Budo, his 1938 self-published manual (translated in an English edition by John Stevens; available at Amazon) and/or Morihiro Saito's Takemusu Aikido Special Edition: Budo, Saito's bilingual commentary on the manual (available at Aikido Journal).

Also check out the Morihei Ueshiba & Aikido videos.

I have watched a lot of videos of Osensei , I have 7 ,that I have watched from time to time since '95, I will watch again,
you always learn something :)

Any video / technique in particular ?

I don't watch the videos as often as I used to ,
also I train in Nishio style,so I try to keep up with
my current senseis and and only watch videos for inspiration,
and not so much for technique.

ChristianBoddum
05-20-2006, 01:36 PM
OK maybe I should be clearer,

Applying atemi to a pinned opponent - is violent to me
In iaido you have Todome - which means finishing off your opponent
(instead of having him bleed to death - Todome is being "merciful")
This should never be nescssesary if we take control at first.

In Aiki toho iai - technique nr. 14 is Todome - and there definitly
is the finishing off in the end, BUT, I think this is rooted in
the earlier iaido from which it came,it has never been fully explained
to me yet !

In Aiki toho iai - the aim of using the sword is to control your opponent,not kill him,
if I kill my opponent then it may still be Budo - but not Aikido.
He can not learn from his mistakes if he is dead !

To attack is wrong - to be attacked is wrong too !

Raptus
05-21-2006, 06:49 AM
Actually, the atemi at the end of the technique is not an attack, it is simply to emphasize that you have full control of your opponent. Nothing more, nothing less :)

ChristianBoddum
05-21-2006, 07:47 AM
OK !

That is also what I see from Osensei , like you control your uke with your sword.

- Zanshin.

Then I have no problem with it !

George S. Ledyard
05-21-2006, 12:44 PM
Actually, the atemi at the end of the technique is not an attack, it is simply to emphasize that you have full control of your opponent. Nothing more, nothing less :)

Guys, this simply isn't the case. Aikido was never an "empty hand" art... its antecedents were arts utilized for combat by the samurai. The samurai had very little use for an "empty hand" art. Their entire world revolved around weapons.

All of the techniques and movements we use in Aikido assume. at a fundamental level, that both parties are armed. This is the source of all this ridiculous discussion about MMA/ BJJ vs Aikido and the belief that Aikido doesn't work...

The techniques of Aikido are primarily concerned with a) weapons retention b) close quarters encounters when you are surprised and can't access your long weapon and c) the rare occasion when one is disarmed and is facing the armed opponent (and even then the techniques would allow you to access the opponent's weapon)

This is why there is so little "submission" technique in Aikido. Many of the pinning techniques were not designed to force an opponent to "tap out" but rather to put him in a position in which you had time to access your back-up weapon (or his own weapon) and finish him. Many of the the throws were simply designed to unbalance and drop an opponent so that you could draw your sword and cut him, not submit him as in sport jiu jutsu.

This is why O-Sensei, and the folks that trained with him before the War, tend to do that strike at the end of technique. It is the symbolic finishing blow. In real combat it would be a weapon, just as most of our strikes are stylized weapons techniques.

Rather than see what is clearly a strike and then try to square that with some simplistic view of O-Sensei's views on peace and harmony, which in the West are based on a very simplistic presentation of his ideas (largely put together by Arikawa, Osawa, and the Nidai Doshu for post war Western consumption), why don't we try to see what is really there and reassess what we thought we knew about how O-Sensei thought about these ideas.

I have a very hard time with the folks who water down what we are doing to fit their own pre-conceptions. It's a strike. It's a strike done after the control is applied. It's there in many films of the Founder and it's there in the styles of Aikido which were started by people who had done their training primarily with him (as opposed to the post-war students who trained with a variety of teachers as well as the Founder). Why not rethink your own ideas rather than ignore what is clearly there.

This is very much like the folks that decide to call their bokken a "stick" because they think the sword is violent. I know teachers of the art who do that. Well, it's a sword. It may be a "practice" sword but it is still meant to be a sword. If you start thinking of it as a "stick" you lose almost all the benefit of practicing with the weapon. It's a sword and it is a weapon.... now how do you square that with O-Sensei's spiritual and philosophical views?

With the release of the Da Vinci code new interest is being kindled in what original Christianity may have been like. It's a fact that what the earliest Christians believed and practiced was far more varied than what we inherited.

If one looks at what has happened to the Founder's spiritual and martial system in just a few years since his death in 1969, with writings, videos, and access to direct students who are still teaching, it's easy to see that what came down to us as orthodox Christianity may have had little to do with what Christ actually taught or his followers actually did when they studied with him.

I think that O-Sensei should be the "source" for what we strive to understand in our practice. I think that it is ridiculous to look at what he did and retool it to fit some idea we "want" to believe in. That's just some kind of watered down, feel good, spirituality. Look at what he wrote. Look at what he did. Study other arts that relate to give your training context. Then try to understand what he meant by it all. But to ignore what is right there in front of you to fit preconceptions which are themselves based on the 30 or 35 pages of writings handed down to us from the Founder (most of which were highly edited by others to present a certain point of view) just widens the gap between what we are doing and what the Founder taught.

I think that Aikido is an "endangered species" as Patrick Auge Sensei stated about the teachings he received from Mochizuki Sensei. We need to take advantage of the fact that there are teachers still alive who trained directly with the Founder. We need to understand as much as we can about the Founder's ideas and how he trained and what he chose to teach. Most of the Aikido being done today has little to do with what the Founder himself presented. But we will not do anything but accelerate the "drift" from what he originally created if we engage in wishful thinking Aikido. This is crucially important! In just a very few years there will be no more people who trained directly with the Founder. I shudder to think what is going to happen to the art when that happens.

Kevin Leavitt
05-21-2006, 01:50 PM
George,

Seeing as we no longer carry swords or have the same societal issues that the samurai had, might it be hard for us in modern society to relate or concieve of the things that O'sensei was trying to convey. Also, most of us are probably learning 3rd or 4th Generation away from O'Sensei these days...so how might that impact interpretation or conception as well.

Also, might it need to evolve to be re-interpreted into something that our society today might find more useful or be able to relate to?

I see very little distinction between the basis of aikido and BJJ, what I find intriguing is that BJJ to many, is a breath of fresh air as it presents many skills that are somewhat useful to a modern society.

The downside of BJJ I believe is that the way it is practiced by most is that it technique/submission focused, not so much on the philosophical aspect, or mental, spiritual aspects. Many feel that these things will come as the art matures and practicioners age etc.

Might many of the techniques of aikido be threatened to be extinct or become dead as they become interpreted more and more incorrectly, or modified to fit a model that best suits our society today?

Could it be that aikido might be relegated to the same category as Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA), if we only practiced it as a historically correct art, and did not re-interpret it?

I don't necessarily think these things...but thoughts that came to mind as I read your post, which btw, I mostly agree with!

ChristianBoddum
05-21-2006, 05:54 PM
George ,

I don't think we disagree , but in the almost 11 years of training i Nishio style Aikido,
I have been taught to have atemi present in all aspects of a technique,and the Way it was taught by Nishio sensei probably was done in a more subtle way,I can only guess.
Nishio sensei made a distinction between OYO - application / real situation
to training in the dojo .
If there is too much focus on showing control vs. having control , training introduces fear,
or the climate in the dojo becomes to anxious - for lack of a better word.

Second - Osensei didn't leave us perfect Aikido, we must constantly try to reinvent to the best of our ability.I know that Nishio sensei changed and changed by constant analysis ,and now that he is no longer here ,unfortunately, we must find new ways again, from what we have understood and not understood.

Takemusu Aiki - isn't that what we are aiming for,
I know I train in Aikido ,but also that I am not doing Aikido yet.
I am very much the grasshopper still !

Mato-san
05-23-2006, 10:37 AM
'Only' Tohei Sensei 10th dan, is this a myth, am I wrong? Also the validation as I heard or read is that he was ambushed by the founder himself in an almighty attack of the JO to be considered worthy of the highest rank awarded in Aikido. I may be wrong but please '10th dan'? Am I wrong?

dps
05-23-2006, 11:19 AM
George regarding your post #48,

I agree with you 100%. What you said is so important to the understanding of Aikido. When I explained what you said to my 10 year old daughter who practices Aikido with me and my 16 year old son, she said, "It is like building something without reading the directions."

nmrmak
05-23-2006, 12:51 PM
Would it cause so much stirring if he named the art "Serbaido" or something like that, and not realni aikido?

dps
05-24-2006, 12:44 AM
The foundation of Aikido is based on O'Sensei's martial arts training, O'
Sensei's religious/spiritual/philosophical beliefs and O'Sensei's real life experience. We cannot relive O'Sensei's life. But you can understand his life and beliefs by reading and studying. This will help you with your practice to know what his Aikido is and be the foundation for your Aikido.

George S. Ledyard
05-24-2006, 09:55 AM
Would it cause so much stirring if he named the art "Serbaido" or something like that, and not realni aikido?
Why would that help? It would be just another guy with mid-level skills starting his own style because he wanted to bill himself as having high level skill.

This is THE most common ploy to avoid actually working ones way up some sort of legitimate promotional ladder. Just start your own style, make yourself a Grandmaster, Super Soke, 10 Dan and go to town. Convince your students that they are getting something they are not. It actually works quite well as most beginners can't tell what high level skill actually is anyway.

Mato-san
05-24-2006, 10:10 AM
Would you agree George if you seen some innovation in the style? Yes most beginners will see nothing but cool stuff! Point taken. How would you feel if Sensei had broken away from a huge organization and showed a huge amount of innovation in his application ,eg: Waza that he cannot even put a name to because it is so fresh. Or even if the Sensei refuses to put a name or label on his art, due to the respect of its roots, where does that put this Sensei? Not being assertive just fishing for opinion. And also at what level can a student recognise innovation?

nmrmak
05-24-2006, 01:28 PM
I just think the aikido population wouldn't be so negative towards "real aikido" if it didn't bear the name of aikido in itself. We would regard it just as an another style. I'm saying this because it's not very common to see friendship between people who do "traditional" and "real" aikido (in serbia, that's all people know about aikido; there's real and traditional to them).
My point is that we shouldn't really be obsessed with the question of real aikido. There may be very good real aikido students in the martial sense, just as there are good boxers or good aikidokas.

Convince your students that they are getting something they are not.
What exactly are they not getting? They do learn what their sensei shows them, don't they? It's not like their sensei tells them "i will teach you aikido". No, he tells them "i'll teach you the first serbian martial art derived from aikido that works in a street fight". And if they are consistent and devoted enough, that's just what they get.

Robert Rumpf
05-24-2006, 01:53 PM
No, he tells them "i'll teach you the first serbian martial art derived from aikido that works in a street fight".

Does Aikido not work in street fights?

What makes the martial art Serbian? Is there anything that is novel in his brand of the art that doesn't exist in mainstream Aikido? Is there some locally descended Serbian martial arts style that it incorporates, or something like that, or is this martial artist doing something unique and truly new and labeling that new content as Serbian?

When you say "the first serbian martial art derived from aikido" what does that mean? I'm not sure I saw any derivation or deviation from norms at all in the footage that I saw in that video. It seemed pretty much like vanilla Aikido. I realize that one video is not a fair judge of things... but that's all I have.

I'd say that the statement "the first serbian martial art derived from aikido" implies the inclusion of new local content, or that (more likely) the instructor is rehashing what he learned elsewhere and using the new name and designation as an attempt at branding and marketing by playing off of local nationalist attitudes.

By the way, in case he is teaching BJJ or some other stuff as well and that's what makes it "unique"...

In my personal opinion, including some other common art into your curriculum and saying that the resultant total art is "new" and not naming the components separately is kind of cheating. I can't count how many times I've seen Aikido teachers say "here's this jujitsu technique, in case you're curious" (same with Judo, Karate, whatever..). That doesn't mean they should go out and start their own style...

Well... maybe it would mean that if they were interested in creating their own franchise.

I think a problem that can happen with breaking away from a mainline organization is that you separate yourself and your students from that infrastructure of that organization by declaring what you do to be different and unrelated. That can be a lot of burden on all concerned... It leaves the "head" of this new style with a lot of responsibility, as he is the basis for what all "real aikido" should look like. It leaves the students with a single point of failure that they base their studies around.

Rob

dps
05-24-2006, 02:10 PM
If the founder of 'Real Aikido' had spent a large part of his life studying and practicing martial arts, have a proven lineage and can demonstrate the viability of his art, then maybe his 'Real Aikido' would be taken more seriously.

nmrmak
05-24-2006, 02:12 PM
He is using it as a sort of a trade mark. for example, in my dojo, we call techniques and all the other stuff by their japanese names (shomenuchi, kotegaeshi and so on), while in real aikido they use everyday terms such as thrust or punch instead of tsuki and so on. They don't have seiza, nor do they have weapon training (except for knife i think or maybe some short staff that could be used as a bat). The techniques are rougher in my opinion, and more painful. Some are derived from BJJ it seems. There is no local content to the best of my knowledge. There are techniques i've never seen done in aikikai aikido (it's not like i train long enough to claim i've seen it all anyway). The techniques are often done in a more painful way that in aikikai style (shihonage is a good example, they tend to keep uke's hand far from his shoulder. dangerous but effective)
Does Aikido not work in street fights?
Luckily, i wouldn't know, i guess it does. But isn't the idea of aikido not to get into a conflict at all? Real aikido doesn't have any such philosophy as far as i know.

I just feel the need to say that i do not train in nor am i trying to "defend" real aikido. I'm just trying to share the information i have. Please excuse me if i am wrong somewhere because some of the information i have about real aikido is hear-say.

Robert Rumpf
05-24-2006, 02:24 PM
He is using it as a sort of a trade mark. for example, in my dojo, we call techniques and all the other stuff by their japanese names (shomenuchi, kotegaeshi and so on), while in real aikido they use everyday terms such as thrust or punch instead of tsuki and so on. They don't have seiza, nor do they have weapon training (except for knife i think or maybe some short staff that could be used as a bat). The techniques are rougher in my opinion, and more painful. Some are derived from BJJ it seems. There is no local content to the best of my knowledge. There are techniques i've never seen done in aikikai aikido (it's not like i train long enough to claim i've seen it all anyway). The techniques are often done in a more painful way that in aikikai style (shihonage is a good example, they tend to keep uke's hand far from his shoulder. dangerous but effective)

Luckily, i wouldn't know, i guess it does. But isn't the idea of aikido not to get into a conflict at all? Real aikido doesn't have any such philosophy as far as i know.

I just feel the need to say that i do not train in nor am i trying to "defend" real aikido. I'm just trying to share the information i have. Please excuse me if i am wrong somewhere because some of the information i have about real aikido is hear-say.

Yeah... ok.. Thanks for the info, and I hope I wasn't rude. Its nice to get more detailed information about this stuff, in case it ever comes up in conversation.

Rob

nmrmak
05-24-2006, 02:26 PM
No offence taken, and i didn't want to sound rude either.

Kevin Leavitt
05-24-2006, 02:32 PM
George Ledyard wrote:

Convince your students that they are getting something they are not. It actually works quite well as most beginners can't tell what high level skill actually is anyway.

Completely understand where you are coming from, but with an art such as aikido, how do you "judge" skill level anyway.

We can get into the whole "effectiveness" argument, and the whole "street fight" thing...which becomes pointless as we would be here all day figuring out the parameters of such a fight and never agree.

This is what is so confusing to beginners. How do you tell what is "high level" or what is "effective"?

I think time, and the number of people, and the reputation of the people that acknowledge your style is what ultimately determines the acceptability or legitamacy of an art.

Don't really care if someone is a 3rd Dan, or a 10th Dan. Frankly there are "mudansha" BJJ guys i'd rather study with than most 3rd Dans and below in aikido, as they really have a better grasp of martial concepts....and that is from generally accepted aikido orgs!

So, I think it is hard to tell or judge someone's ability to teach or what not. I agree, if anyone is referring to themselves as a 10th Dan or Grandmaster...I am immediately skeptical, as there are only so many people that really can claim that degree of proficiency!

In BJJ out of the thousands there is like one or two right? In aikikai aikido...how many out of the thousands???

so, someone that has a few students or small following that has just recently created a "art" and is calling himself a 10th Dan, probably is not really at that level as "most" in the TMA world would accept.

So, how do you judge "high level" in an art that is basically a "DO" and has no real quantitative methods for measuring "effectivenss" or "skill". It makes it kinda interesting!

Robert Rumpf
05-24-2006, 04:45 PM
Completely understand where you are coming from, but with an art such as aikido, how do you "judge" skill level anyway.

So, how do you judge "high level" in an art that is basically a "DO" and has no real quantitative methods for measuring "effectivenss" or "skill". It makes it kinda interesting!

How do you "'judge' skill level" in tea ceremony, calligraphy, driving a car, or writing a novel? Does every value judgment in life come down to a quantitative evaluation?

That's the beauty of artificial systems such as sports or economies: they're very easy to evaluate quantitatively.

Rob

Raptus
05-24-2006, 05:10 PM
It takes quite a bit of nerve to start your own art, don't you agree? :))

As far as of the name 'real aikido', it is true that it means 'aikido in real situation', and not what it sounds like in English.. Bad choice of words, indeed.
While I am at it. Aikido is not unreal. 'Real aikido' can also be unreal. The only thing that will decide about it, is the practitioner. Both can be as real as it gets, or as unreal as ballet, it's the user who makes the difference. Now, master Vracarevic has introduced some of his own principles, and some of the ju-jutsu as an integral part of the techniques and everything. I believe he would encounter just as much judgement if he continued using the name 'aikido', as it wouldn't be the same anymore. This way, it's a style, and not a different martial art, as it isn't. It is, however, quite easy to distinguish aikido and 'real aikido' when seen performed.

Aikido teaches thousands of techniques, not ALL of them are usable, you will agree. Real aikido is a subset of techniques, modified to suite the purpose, which are supposed to be usable on the street, in a real fight. Immobilisations are stronger, and special attention has been paid so that all the immobilisations are effective, and so that the opponent cannot escape. This ensures the effectiveness (thus the comment about the finishing atemi, I gave earlier), and full control afterwards, not necessarily causing injury, death or so. Just plain submission. There are no punches and kicks (as is often thought), just atemi to relax the opponent, and give you the time and space necessary to perform a technique.

Robert: I am not interested in technicality about names, and stuff, it irritates me. What I care about is the art itself. I can assure you that Real aikido is not 'vanilla' as you've called it. It varies from display to display, and from a master to a master. Even at the same club, under a same master, students, although taught the same way, will develop their own styles, suited to their constitution, personalities etc. Some will work harder, some softer. I've seen several clips of high rank dans in Aikikai (famous ones), which when compared, could be interpreted as different arts, without a second thought! You might have had the luck to see one such clip :) Stay open-minded :)
As for the students of Real aikido, they are free to create their own techniques, use their own abilities, make use of whatever they see and learn. It's a self-defense martial art, everything is allowed.

David, master Vracarevic, the Founder of Real aikido, did study and practice martial arts for a long time, as it is said in his biography. I really don't see a reason to fake any of the information there, but it is left to you to believe, of course :)

It is not easy to point out differences like this, some of the changes are small, but important, and some of the basic principles are different. Of course, techniques you can see in Real aikido do exist in Aikido (damn names! :)), of course, are similar, and recognizable, but are often shown as several variations of the same. Pick out the most effective one, disregard others, if possible, modify for even more effectiveness, and you get Real aikido :)

Hm, of course, a master would probably have different explanations and different views. This is 'my humble' point of view. I'll invite you to visit
http://www.realaikido.org/tehnike_realnog_aikidoa.htm

this webpage, there are a few more techniques, done at presentations by one of our best masters. Most of these aren't in our syllabus, and look alot like aikikai :)

If you have any questions, I will be glad to try answering them, as far as my knowledge goes. I am not a master yet :)

After all this said, people can still choose between the two Aikikai organizations right here, at the same place, so it's left to their own will and affinities.

Mark Freeman
05-24-2006, 05:40 PM
Great post Milos,

regards

Mark

dps
05-24-2006, 05:56 PM
From Wikipedia,

" In the late sixties, when Europe first started training of aikido, Ljubomir Vracarevic was one of the first students. In 1971 he obtained a black belt, 1st Dan.

During his first training in Japan in 1978 he stayed in the Aikikai Honbu dojo, with master Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the son of the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba. Taking into consideration the knowledge and prestige of Japan masters, Ljubomir was aspiring towards his style based on construction, mentality and tradition. His work in the military and police force during the seventies inspired him to start perfecting the practical aspect of aikido. This would allow him to increase the use of effective techniques in real situations.

During his second stay in Tokyo in 1993 at the famous Yoshinkan (the school of master Gozo Shioda 10. Dan), his way of thinking was confirmed. Even though he was working in his own style, by the end of his stay he received great honor. He got to meet great Shioda, who rarely received visitors, because of his age. Shioda honored him with a diploma that he personally signed."
_

Who was his sensei when he received his 1st dan? Was there a 2nd Dan? Did he receive rank when he was at Aikikia Honbu? Did he receive rank when he was at Yoshinkan Dojo?

From
Wikipedia,

"It must be emphasized that Real Aikido is not recognized by any other Aikido federation or organization. Because Real Aikido doesn't have the main principles of Aikido, some critics say that he had very little knowledge of what Aikido really is when he created this style."
_

Regarding the second sentence of the above quote, if it does not have the main principles of Aikido is he just using the name to market his martial art?

Raptus
05-24-2006, 06:25 PM
Good questions :) Never occured to me, though...
I believe master Vracarevic was a student of master Shimizu, but I am not certain, I will try to find out.

Not all of the principles are excluded. Movements are similar, immobilisations too, blending, using opponents own force to defeat him etc. I don't think market was the goal, it didn't go very well that way :)

George S. Ledyard
05-25-2006, 02:32 AM
Regarding the second sentence of the above quote, if it does not have the main principles of Aikido is he just using the name to market his martial art?
I would point out that, if it was about marketing, he'd have done a damn sight better to call it something that had some commercial potential...

Robert Rumpf
05-25-2006, 10:10 AM
Real aikido is not 'vanilla' as you've called it.

Maybe, or maybe not.. but the video (which is what I was commenting on) was. Were those students, or was one of them Vracarevic-sensei ? I was merely pointing out that the video didn't show anything that I haven't seen before in other Aikido contexts.

You point out very well how styles vary widely among Aikidoka, almost to the point of being different arts. That's a very important idea - and I'd love to see the innovations that Vracarevic-sensei has brought to the table. Are there any videos of Vracarevic-sensei out there?

What is also noticeable is that often people disagree about Aikido and still call themselves Aikidoka, and still coexist in organizations together... or at least until they get annoyed with each other and start their own styles. There seems to be less of that in the US these days, as the main organizations are fairly well established and seemingly flexible about doctrine.

I look forward to seeing more "Real Aikido" in the future.

Besides... vanilla, while common, is still a great flavor.

Rob

Robert Rumpf
05-25-2006, 10:13 AM
I would point out that, if it was about marketing, he'd have done a damn sight better to call it something that had some commercial potential...

I think there's definitely a market out there for BAJ (Brazilian Aikijutu).

:cool:

Anyone know any Brazilians? :D

Seriously.. It'll be really interesting to see what the "in" martial art is in ten years.

George S. Ledyard
05-25-2006, 12:40 PM
It takes quite a bit of nerve to start your own art, don't you agree? :))
David, master Vracarevic, the Founder of Real aikido, did study and practice martial arts for a long time, as it is said in his biography. I really don't see a reason to fake any of the information there, but it is left to you to believe, of course :)

a) I don't think it takes much nerve at all to start ones own martial art, judging by the myriad folks who have been moved to do so. Just do a search on martial arts... the majority that come up when you look at the schools all over the place are arts in which ait is impossible to trace any lineage at all... In other words, somebody just made them up. In the vast majority of the cases with which I am familiar, a person of medium rank felt that his true talents were under appreciated by the legitimate teachers with whom he was associated and he creates his own style. These styles are very often a hodge-podge of the many style in which this person trained. The problem is that the person who has jumped all over the boards training may have black belts in all sorts of things but hasn't gotten to a deep level in any of them. Inevitably this person is a Grandmaster, Master, Soke, 10th Dan, maybe all of the above.

b) it's not a matter of "faking" a resume... There are whole organizations devoted to assisting you, in return for money, in building the most outrageous resume you could wish for. The World Sokeship Council is made up of a bunch of bogus Sokes who will certify you as a Soke.

Check out:
Hall of Fame Order Form (http://www.mararts.org/2006InductionForm.pdf)

You feel you don't have the rank you deserve? Go To:
Get your rank here! (http://www.mararts.org/ihoftc/ranktesting.shtml)

Real Aikido is associated with these guys. It's not "fake", it's painfully real. But no serious martial artists I know of would take these guys seriously.

This is a huge problem in our whole culture, not just in martial arts. It has turned out that a number of government officials and corporate executives have padded their resumes with degrees granted by diploma mills which are totally non-accredited.

The issue in these martial arts diploma mills is that, the top guy might actually have some legitimate rank in an art. "O-Sensei" Phil Porter was a real Judo guy, although of spotty personal reputation. He starts this organization and grants rank in anything and everything. I know of an Aikido "8th Dan" who got rank this way from a bunch of folks who included NO Aikido practitioners. It's all smoke and mirrors.

People who rely on this type of thing raise questions of personal integrity. It doesn't matter what kind of "bad ass" fighter you are.

Dennis Hooker
05-25-2006, 01:00 PM
In a resent Black Belt Magazine Dave Lowry did a real good article on just this topic.

Raptus
05-25-2006, 01:13 PM
No, master Vracarevic is not on that clip, but one of his masters, and I believe, his own students.
There are videos of his, syllabus and other presentations, and seminars recorded.
The exact reason for separating is not known to me, I can only assume that some of his modifications, and exclusions wouldn't have been accepted just like that.
Oh yeah, vanilla is my favorite flavor :) but I enjoy strawberry around it :)

George, I have to agree with you. I realize that Hall of Fame (and such mentioned) are a way to elbow your way up... Sadly, there is not much I can do about it, and I find it far more useful to concentrate on learning and practicing.

nmrmak
05-25-2006, 01:13 PM
I'm not really informed in this area, but didn't O'Sensei make aikido as a compilation of other arts, such as aikijutsu, judo and the like (including weapons arts)?

George S. Ledyard
05-25-2006, 02:28 PM
I'm not really informed in this area, but didn't O'Sensei make aikido as a compilation of other arts, such as aikijutsu, judo and the like (including weapons arts)?

Yes, of course he did. But he had studied arts which had traceable lineage. He had attained a very high degree of skill and had certification from Takeda Sensei in Daito Ryu. The additions and changes he made were supported by a very deep and strong foundation. When he needed to make changes from Daito Ryu it was, of course, necessary to change the name of what he was doing because it wasn't Daito Ryu any longer, that was a legitimate creation of something new. That is the way that we got most of our martial arts.

But the people I am talking about are the folks that didn't go the distance before they took off.

There is a teacher in my area who is an 8th Dan in Aikido from one of these non-Aikido organizations. Yes, he has trained and taught for many years. But the last recorded rank he had from anyone qualified to give rank in Aikido was Shodan from Honbu Dojo back in the sixties.

There was a gentleman at the Expo who had a Sixth Dan from an organization like this that, just a few years before, had left Hooker Sensei when he wasn't passed on his Nidan Test.

There is another instructor with whom I am familiar who is now a Soke and 8th Dan and Founder and who knows what else whose last Aikido rank from an accredited organization was 4th Dan.

This practice demeans the efforts of those who have spent the time and effort supporting their teachers and organizations, who have moved up the ranks "the old fashioned way". What does the 8th Dan of a teacher like Amos Parker Sensei (Yoshinkan) mean when someone in his style who is far junior, jumps ship and shows up later as an 8th Dan with beau coup credentials, all awarded by people who simply gave themselves the authority to make these awards?

I would rather find a teacher who says he is a 4th Dan, whose teacher I recognize as legit, whose association is accredited in some recognizable way, than associate myself with some guy with titles galore, whose great skill is in self promotion. The REAL people don't need to do that.

You hear folks whine about how rank is "just political". But you have to read between the lines when you hear stuff like that. When you hear about someone who leaves because "it's all just political" you are often (not always) looking at someone whose own ego couldn't put up with the other egos in the organization i.e. the peers, seniors, and even his teacher. Just look at the article this month by Goldsbury Sensei if you want to see an account of egos gone amuck.

There are certainly situations in which someone had to leave a teacher or an organization for perfectly legitimate reasons. But the correct response to that is to find another teacher and organization to associate with. Then get back to working your way up the ladder. When you hear that someone say that he can't find anyone that he wishes to associate with, well, what does that say about this person's social skills? A huge number of organizations and arts exist merely because the guy(s) who started them couldn't get along with anyone else.

There is a thread about "loyalty to ones teacher". What does that mean? Do you think that it means that you stay only as long as he affirms your self esteem? Do you jump ship just because he turns out to have human foibles just like the rest of us? I can tell you that the folks who have stuck with and supported their styles, organizations, and teachers through thick and thin have had to work at it. They've paid their dues. These other guys, who couldn't check their egos enough to go the distance, do not have my respect and I don't place any value on the ranks and titles they have essentially purchased.

I want to be clear here that I am not talking about the many people I know who felt compelled to leave teachers for perfectly understandable reasons such as people like Ellis Amdur Sensei have discussed at length in his books and essays. But those people have usually either stepped out of the system altogether (your 4th Dan with 35 or 40 years of experience) or they went their own way and were later recognized by someone whose credentials were generally recognized, as the case of Mary Heiny Sensei getting Sixth Dan which was engineered by Saotome Sensei even though she is not his student and isn't in his organization. They were secure enough in what they were doing that they didn't feel the need to join a bogus organization and inflate their credentials. Their experience and talent speaks for itself. In many of these cases, their accomplishments do get recognized with rank many years later by the folks in the mainstream. Those ranks are perhaps the most valuable of all because they were a recognition of actual contribution to Aikido.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2006, 02:30 PM
Yes he did. apparently a few people thought what he created was worthwile. That is what makes a martial art legitimate for the most part.

That and effectiveness...however you judge that. which then goes back to the first sentence...people find it worthwile.

end of disscussion really. it is as simple as that.

DonMagee
05-25-2006, 02:58 PM
This is why I dont even ask rank when I meet people. I dont care what their rank is. I will train with them, they will either impress me or not impress me. My aikido instructor is independant and I dont belive he holds offical rank with aikiki or any 'major' org. His rank was given to him by his instructor. It doesn't matter to me, all that matters he is teaching me things i find value in. I dont care if he's a 5th kyu or a 10th dan or if you call it yoga, aikido, or mauy thai.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2006, 03:19 PM
George,

How do you measure "deep understanding" and how do you know if someone is really up to snuff in aikido. It seems so hard to be judgemental when it is hard to measure.

Or is it simply "you know it when you see it"?

Lineage seems to be the judge for the most part, but there seems like there should be more out there than that.

One thing that has always concerned me in aikido is parochialism and group think. If lineage is the only and main measure that there is alot of room for interpretation and erosion.

lineage if it is maintained with a high degree of quality I suppose would be a good standard that is if proper transmission of knowledge is occuring.

I do, however, tend to agree with your observations.

I do think that there are other ways to measure legitimacy and effectiveness. However, most people are not really in a position to accurately separate the guys that are only slightly better than them...and those with a "deep understanding". Therefore, there is plenty of room for what quantifies a 10th Dan....that is most unfortunate!

That is why I have my own criteria for judging someone's abilities to teach. Yes, lineage is a part of it...but I also look at other things as well.

Ron Tisdale
05-25-2006, 03:23 PM
YOu really think anyone looks at lineage to the exclussion of all else? I would personally find that hard to believe...

Best,
Ron

6th Kyu For Life
05-25-2006, 03:45 PM
Has anyone considered that the word "Real" may mean something different in Serbian than it does in English? It may not, but I for one would like to know. Anyone speak Serbian?

Peace,
Tom Newhall

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2006, 04:02 PM
I don't know Ron. I mean how do you quantify "effectiveness" in aikido? it is difficult isn't it?

I mean it has to be more than "feels right", and more than "you know it when you see it".

I think lineage plays an important role when you are talking Aikido as it tends to be esoteric.

I studied martial arts for years only to discover that "you know it when you see it" and "feels right"...was not "right" at all when I got into some fully resistive training scenarios with the Army.

Not saying that this is how you should measure effectiveness in aikido, as there is more to aikido in the transmission than tactical application.

So how do you measure it if not by lineage?

dps
05-25-2006, 04:24 PM
Lineage tells you where the knowledge came from, rank tells you how far that person progressed in acquiring that knowledge. You would not want a person to do surgery on you if they only had one year of medical school and learned the rest from pay per view tv or video tapes.
Just because you are an independent school does not mean what you are teaching is not effective or valid. But at least be honest with your students, let them what you know and where you learned it. A teacher that will not be honest about rank and lineage has something to hide.

Mark Uttech
05-25-2006, 04:25 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with George. I have met people with 'inflated ranks'. But something that is true and real will always be recognizable by folks doing the practice.

Kevin Leavitt
05-25-2006, 04:46 PM
Mark, but what do you mean by "true" "real" and recognizable. What criteria do you use to judge?

dps
05-25-2006, 05:42 PM
What criteria do you use to judge?

Proof of lineage and rank would be a good place to start.

George S. Ledyard
05-26-2006, 12:48 AM
Or is it simply "you know it when you see it"?


People who have it, can recognize it. It's true that egos get involved and folks have a stake in their own styles or systems... but that's one of the things that makes someone like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei really special; pretty much everyone who met them seemed to agree that they were "special".

Mark Uttech
05-26-2006, 07:24 AM
There is one kind of test that I've heard of: Shomenuchi Ikkyo.

Steven
05-26-2006, 09:59 AM
During his second stay in Tokyo in 1993 at the famous Yoshinkan (the school of master Gozo Shioda 10. Dan), his way of thinking was confirmed. Even though he was working in his own style, by the end of his stay he received great honor. He got to meet great Shioda, who rarely received visitors, because of his age. Shioda honored him with a diploma that he personally signed."
_

Who was his sensei when he received his 1st dan? Was there a 2nd Dan? Did he receive rank when he was at Aikikia Honbu? Did he receive rank when he was at Yoshinkan Dojo?

A couple of years ago, I spoke to someone at the Yoshinkan honbu dojo that had direct knowledge of this alleged training at the Yoshinkan. It was relayed to me that the person in question attended a one day clinic, with many others, and at the end, he, as well as everyone else, received a participation certificate.

He did not receive any kind of ranking in Yoshinkan Aikido and all he got was a certificate showing he participated in a clinic, that was signed by Gozo Shioda. As did everyone else who attended.

The above is what I was told by someone who was there and in a position of authority who would know the truth. Make of it what you want.

Ron Tisdale
05-26-2006, 10:10 AM
It is often funny how someone relates something on a web page, and then you hear the story from someone else that was there.

I always worry when I write reviews of seminars that someone who was there will post "????? where the heck where you??? I was there, and I didn't see that at all!!!!"

Oh Well...

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
05-26-2006, 02:20 PM
George Ledyard wrote:


People who have it, can recognize it. It's true that egos get involved and folks have a stake in their own styles or systems... but that's one of the things that makes someone like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei really special; pretty much everyone who met them seemed to agree that they were "special".

Thanks George for the additional information. I think this is what is key to judging.

George S. Ledyard
05-26-2006, 02:33 PM
It is often funny how someone relates something on a web page, and then you hear the story from someone else that was there.

I always worry when I write reviews of seminars that someone who was there will post "????? where the heck where you??? I was there, and I didn't see that at all!!!!"

Oh Well...

Best,
Ron
Hi Ron,
In the end it's always best just to be straight, be ourselves and let what we know and can do to speak for itself. You can never really get into trouble that way.

I just had a wonderful e-mail from David Lynch in New Zealand who described one of those moments which all teachers of Aikido have when no one shoes for class and you do "Why did I spend all these years learning and teaching something which no one cares about?" In his case this thought was immediately followed by the appearance of an old man who looked just like O-sensei, who just dropped in and played some amazing music on his cello in the dojo. I think it was really O-Sensei coming back to give him encouragement...

Anyway, the fact that we have spent our lives working so hard on something which the vast majority of folks don't know or care about, and even the folks who also study it may not have any real appreciation for what one does... This creates a pressure to try to over-sell oneself. It's not that any of these guys makes much money... They'd probably make quite a bit more just doing a regular job and not have the headaches.

t's the desire for recognition for the efforts you've made. I mean, I have students who have more students than I do... One really has to work to maintain the detachment from all that. EVERYONE wants to feel appreciated for what they have done. Some folks feel compelled to hold up a flag, so to speak, and say "Notice me! I am here."

The problem is that the folks who do it by inflating their honors and titles, starting their own styles because they don't get recognized in the styles they've studied, can't interact with the rest of the community. They end up needing to isolate themselves and their students because their exaggerated presentation can't be backed up with knowledge and skill.

All of us who have spent decades developing our arts have the feeling that we have something to offer the other folks out there who are also on the Path. But the way to do it is put oneself out there and let the folks who encounter you decide. If what you have is valuable, others who appreciate quality will find you. Did you ever notice that, on the forums, the folks who really seem to know what's what all know each other? You don't need to bullshit people to be recognized. You just need to let folks know what you do and the people of quality will find you and you will find them. It's actually quite magical...

Trying to "beat the system" by exaggerated claims and false titles... Well, that only fools the folks that can be fooled. The folks that really know aren't fooled and think less of you. It just makes it that much harder to be taken seriously by anyone who really is serious. It's like Dillman. He started out by legitimately pointing out that there was quite a bit of meridian content in the Okinawan Karate forms that most of the practitioners were not aware of. He ends up as someone that no one who has real integrity takes seriously. No one I know has been successfully knocked out by these guys with the one-touch knock out. Now they are doing no-touch knock outs. Some good focus and a strong kiai on a partner who has been conditioned properly and no problem, I could do the same thing to those same partners. My own students however just move their faces out of the way.

Look at someone like Rod Sakarnoski. The actual principles involved in taking hits without getting injured are quite interesting and worth study by anyone in any art. But the guy is a person of no personal integrity. He couldn't just let his skills peak for themselves. Now he has the dubious distinction of having an entire thread devoted to him on E-Budo. That would be fine if, like Don Angier or Saito Sensei it was because of his tremendous skill but instead it's in the Bad Budo section. What a distinction! A life time of work and no one in the respectable world of martial arts would have anything to do with you. Even association with someone like this will tarnish your reputation! Quite an achievement, I must say.

Live your life and pursue your art in a way that doesn't require excuses. That's the only way to go. If the guy can beat your technique by lifting his toes, fix the technique.

DudSan
05-31-2006, 03:11 PM
Friends: I am optimistic about the possibility of new martial arts to arise. Why not? Judo and AIkido arised at some precise moment, and History goes on.

And maybe what they practice is very effective. Why not? What I don´t like is when they become so high ranked (10th Dan???? How old are they?) and when they believe themselves to have THE THING in their art, and every other system is comdemned to hell. This is Bullshido for sure.

Respectful regards
DudSan

JAMJTX
06-02-2006, 12:41 PM
emphasis added:
"There are no 'styles' of Aikido. It is like cheese cake. You can cut it in wedges or squares or just dig in with your fork but it is still cheese cake!

Aikido was originally developed by one man, O Sensei. Many students who trained under O Sensei decided to spread their knowledge of Aikido by opening their own dojos. Due, among other things, to the dynamic nature of Aikido, different students of O Sensei interpreted his Aikido in different ways. Thus different styles of Aikido were born."

JAMJTX
06-02-2006, 12:47 PM
"He did not receive any kind of ranking in Yoshinkan Aikido and all he got was a certificate showing he participated in a clinic, that was signed by Gozo Shioda. As did everyone else who attended."

This is a good reason to stop this practice.
There is a widespread problem with people passing these "souvenier" certificates as "rank" and "title" awards.

I have several of these, and although I can not read the Japanese, I essentially know what it says. I know someone who has the same certificates as mine, that basically says I was there that day and took that class, and they tell thier students it's a 10th Dan certificate. In this case, the teacher was only a 7th, so how he promoted this person to 10th, I'll never know.

Mark Uttech
06-04-2006, 01:20 PM
Lucky for the rest of us, the seminar certificate thing never really took off in this country...

Mateja_Bg
09-13-2006, 01:34 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRBC84CV5Xs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Liak3sZ8iE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ6sw-KwUQs

I'am practitioner of Real Aikido, I'm traning for 9 years 1kyu. My sensei is Bratislav Stajic 8.dan, he is on the third video, in the second there is 3 masters and one of them is Soke Vracarevic

aikidoc
09-13-2006, 03:51 PM
Soke is not a title traditionally used in Aikido. Who awarded him soke and his dan ranks?

James Davis
09-13-2006, 04:40 PM
Soke is not a title traditionally used in Aikido. Who awarded him soke and his dan ranks?
John, try searching for "Real Aikido". It's something slightly different.

aikidoc
09-13-2006, 04:52 PM
I know, I've been to their site. I did it when checking out the proliferation of 10th dan sokes cropping up under the "aikido" umbrella. If it is something different, why is it called Aikido? It's too bad the name was not trademarked or copyrighted.

Mike Sigman
09-13-2006, 04:58 PM
People who have it, can recognize it. It's true that egos get involved and folks have a stake in their own styles or systems... but that's one of the things that makes someone like O-Sensei or Takeda Sensei really special; pretty much everyone who met them seemed to agree that they were "special".I dunno... the older I get, the less I believe anything that I haven't seen and felt myself. Over the years, a number of "godlike figures" I always held up as 'more than human' have turned out to be more like "pretty good" than "godlike". What happens is that most of the good press for someone is put out by the adherents of a certain style. Given enough time and experience in the martial arts, a bigger and more enlightening picture usually develops.

The way I finally resolved it in my head was to realize that if any particular style/art was truly the undisputed cat's-meow, everyone else would have quit their own practice and the style/art in question would be dominant, if not the only game in town. Since that has never happened, either everyone else was dumb or there's more to the pro's and con's than we're getting through the press. And to stop the obvious gambit, all the styles have philosophies attached. ;)

Mike Sigman

Mateja_Bg
09-14-2006, 05:20 PM
Soke is not a title traditionally used in Aikido. Who awarded him soke and his dan ranks?

I believe Hall of fame awarded him Soke title

Alfonso
09-14-2006, 05:58 PM
please see post
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=142511&postcount=72

Roman Kremianski
09-15-2006, 06:49 AM
Good on him for "keepin' it real".

Esaemann
09-15-2006, 01:41 PM
Mike wrote -
<<The way I finally resolved it in my head was to realize that if any particular style/art was truly the undisputed cat's-meow, everyone else would have quit their own practice and the style/art in question would be dominant, if not the only game in town. Since that has never happened, either everyone else was dumb or there's more to the pro's and con's than we're getting through the press.>>

If being able to defend myself or beat somebody up were my main concern (maybe years ago), I wouldn't be practicing any martial art. I'd rely solely on 1911. Close to 100 years of history and very widely copied and popular. But unfortunately for my wallet and time (and probably some other ukes/nages), I love aikido.

Mike Sigman
09-15-2006, 02:52 PM
Mike wrote -
<<The way I finally resolved it in my head was to realize that if any particular style/art was truly the undisputed cat's-meow, everyone else would have quit their own practice and the style/art in question would be dominant, if not the only game in town. Since that has never happened, either everyone else was dumb or there's more to the pro's and con's than we're getting through the press.>>

If being able to defend myself or beat somebody up were my main concern (maybe years ago), I wouldn't be practicing any martial art. I'd rely solely on 1911. Close to 100 years of history and very widely copied and popular. But unfortunately for my wallet and time (and probably some other ukes/nages), I love aikido.Well, I was trying to make it clear that I wasn't just referring to martial effectiveness. There is also, in almost all other arts, health, strength, philosophy, etc., and even in all those I think you'll find similarities that make it difficult to say that any one way is "best". It's what you make of it..... not which legends or legendary people inspired you through <<probably incomplete>> hearsay and reading. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Esaemann
09-15-2006, 03:16 PM
Mike,
Yes ... not disagreeing with you. Certainly not questioning your comment. Only poking at those who feel they have the ultimate martial art for defense/offense purposes.

Mike Hamer
09-20-2006, 09:23 AM
Real Aikido huh? Guess I better stop practicing my fake style of the art.

Ivan Sekularac
09-20-2006, 09:43 PM
Real Aikido huh? Guess I better stop practicing my fake style of the art.
As someone who knows the man in question (Ljubomir Vracarevic) I can clear few things... I never trained with him but I did met him and watched him teach... also a very good friend of mine, who holds the rank of Nidan in real Aikido, trained with him for over 15 years so he knows him even better...

Vracarevic was introduced to Aikido by Hiroshi Tada, I am not sure when, but my guess is mid 70'... before that he trained Judo and was a black belt... he also trained Aikido in Yoshinkan Honbu Dojo and was very influenced by Yoshinkan style...

He got 4th or 5th Dan by, either, Aikikai or Yoshinkan (not sure here) but the ones after are self appointed... he got 10th Dan by some 'bogus' martial arts & body guard association from the USA...

Now, that said he is really, really good... his technique is excellent and he is also very good instructor and although discipline is somewhat loose, on the mat he keeps it all very strict but fair... he likes to see people 'going at it' but he would never let someone be a bully...

He did a lot to grow Aikido in Serbia, he, through his Government connections, opened dozens and dozens of Dojos in elementary schools in Serbia... I can safely say that more people know of Aikido in Serbia that anybody would expect...

He had a colorful past and he was self defense instructor for Russian, Libyan, Serbian and few other Police Forces and Special Units... there were also some stories about him and some shady people but that's nor here nor there... he is in a way a Balkan version of Steven Seagal...

The style is hard, very similar to Yoshinkan and has no spiritual side to it... don't look for spiritual guidance, natural balance or Chi in Real Aikido... they practice very hard and tough and they do lot of self defense and protection from knife and gun attacks...

In some sense it is not unlike Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where they took original Japanese art and adapted it to the place and people where they teach it...

Note about the name: Proper translation should be ‘Realistic' meaning the one you would use in the realistic situation for self defense... street attack or something like that...

Ron Tisdale
09-21-2006, 11:23 AM
Hmm, what involvement (if any) did he have during the war there (Balkan war)?

Is he the gentleman who took a certificate given to everyone who attended an open seminar and tried to turn it into a "shihan" certification from the yoshinkan?

Best,
Ron

Guilty Spark
09-21-2006, 02:05 PM
Hmm, what involvement (if any) did he have during the war there (Balkan war)?

Not a lot of peace and love floating around there.

I find the whole "realistic" mantra is just a catch phrase.
Like slapping the word on makes i more effective.
The real Aikido.

Reminds me of all the wacky knives for sale in soldier of fortuine magazine, Special forces knife!
Ohh it must be awesome :)

Steven
09-21-2006, 02:15 PM
Hmm, what involvement (if any) did he have during the war there (Balkan war)?

Is he the gentleman who took a certificate given to everyone who attended an open seminar and tried to turn it into a "shihan" certification from the yoshinkan?

Best,
Ron

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=142607&postcount=89

Ron Tisdale
09-21-2006, 02:17 PM
Ah Thanks Steven! Not looking good....

Best,
Ron

Ivan Sekularac
09-21-2006, 04:06 PM
Hmm, what involvement (if any) did he have during the war there (Balkan war)?

As far as I know he had no involvement in the war... I could be wrong off course but to best of my knowledge (and few people that I asked) he was not involved... that said there might be some people who trained at his Dojo who were involved...

Is he the gentleman who took a certificate given to everyone who attended an open seminar and tried to turn it into a "shihan" certification from the yoshinkan?

I never saw any of his certificates so I cannot be sure but, I think that, you might be right on that one...

Stanley Archacki
09-21-2006, 04:15 PM
This is why O-Sensei, and the folks that trained with him before the War, tend to do that strike at the end of technique. It is the symbolic finishing blow. In real combat it would be a weapon, just as most of our strikes are stylized weapons techniques.

Rather than see what is clearly a strike and then try to square that with some simplistic view of O-Sensei's views on peace and harmony, which in the West are based on a very simplistic presentation of his ideas (largely put together by Arikawa, Osawa, and the Nidai Doshu for post war Western consumption), why don't we try to see what is really there and reassess what we thought we knew about how O-Sensei thought about these ideas.

I have a very hard time with the folks who water down what we are doing to fit their own pre-conceptions. It's a strike. It's a strike done after the control is applied. It's there in many films of the Founder and it's there in the styles of Aikido which were started by people who had done their training primarily with him (as opposed to the post-war students who trained with a variety of teachers as well as the Founder). Why not rethink your own ideas rather than ignore what is clearly there.

This is very much like the folks that decide to call their bokken a "stick" because they think the sword is violent. I know teachers of the art who do that. Well, it's a sword. It may be a "practice" sword but it is still meant to be a sword. If you start thinking of it as a "stick" you lose almost all the benefit of practicing with the weapon. It's a sword and it is a weapon.... now how do you square that with O-Sensei's spiritual and philosophical views?



George,
Thank you very much for this explanation. If you would, could you please elaborate more on this? Specifically, what was "watered down" by Akiwari, Osawa and Nidai Doshu? Was this after O Sensei's death? I don't know much about O Sensei, Omoto Kyo, or the Japanese conotations of what we translate as "harmony". I need to learn more about this. I do know that the way many American and Western Aikidoka discuss "harmony" and "love" as it relates to Aikido make it a wierd hybrid of Kantian and Christian concepts. I do know that, canonical stories of O Sensei wearing out the Japanese officer in the duel notwithstanding, there are very few practitioners who can respond to a life-threatening attack without hurting the attacker or allowing themselves to be hurt. And I do not believe that Aikido, as it was established by O Sensei, poses a moral or philosophical obligation towards innefective (suicidal) self-defense until one can reach this level. Simply put, you hit someone in a pin because otherwise he will get up and attack you again while your dealing with his friend coming around the corner.

We can't have it both ways. We can't defend the very real martial aspects of Aikido against critics who scoff at it's efficacy, and then imply a categorical prohibition in Aikido against any action which might harm "uke". The "aiki-bunny" stereotype is just that- a blanket statement that perpetuates gross inaccuracies. Yet most stereotypes come from somewhere.

Finally, I haven't trained with Serbs. I do know that Serbian Americans seem to be well represented in Chicago martial arts. I have trained with several Poles, and I think that those who imply that there is some cultural differences between Eastern Europe and Western Europe and America. The Poles I have trained with have all had a very sceptical, anti-traditional and macho attitude toward the martial arts. I notice ( and again, I'm not saying in all or even most cases. See what I just wrote above about stereotypes) that Eastern Europeans (and many Americans) do not look for immersion into the culture of a martial art, but instead "cherry-pick" what they in their view is "street effective". This attitude leads people to say that thier art is "realistic", implying that others aren't.

Before anyone gets too offended, look at my surname and try to guess my cultural heritage ;)

Esaemann
09-22-2006, 07:53 AM
Stanley quoted George:
<<I have a very hard time with the folks who water down what we are doing to fit their own pre-conceptions. It's a strike. It's a strike done after the control is applied. It's there in many films of the Founder and it's there in the styles of Aikido which were started by people who had done their training primarily with him (as opposed to the post-war students who trained with a variety of teachers as well as the Founder). Why not rethink your own ideas rather than ignore what is clearly there.>>

Not sure if this is what's meant by water down. At some point its not important to me (arguments about what someone is doing - ask them directly if it matters) what the Founder (or insert high ranking person) intended to do with a technique. At the beginning/learning stage, it helps to know the intent. But once one can relax and the technique comes without thinking (no technique), I believe he should make it his own (no) technique. Wouldn't the great philosopher/martial artist Bruce Lee agree? "Be water my friend"
Could just be my Western attitude, though. Or daoist. Boy this is a confusing world.

Russell Davis
03-19-2009, 04:23 PM
You lot sound like a bunch of prep school snobs, whether a guy has a pink and green polkadot belt, of 99th dan, or whether he is directly related to this or that is IRRELEVENT.
If he does have somthing positive to contribute, whether to your taste or not, then seek him out and experience it first hand, then and only then, will you have an informed opinion worth listening to!

If the little big man were around today, I would like to think that he would appreciate any positive efforts to enhance the training and study of Aikido. I also think that he wore all white, so as not to distract students and ego maniacs from the real message.

Ewan Wilson
03-25-2009, 07:31 PM
Here's the site I found. I have run across them before. http://www.uscra.info/

It's worth having your sound on to catch to sword cutting and barking dogs sound effects and the music in the intro.

This is from their website: "Real aikido is first and only Serbian ultimate fighting and self-defense martial arts. Real Aikido is efficient, widely applicable self-defense skill, derived from traditional aikido and jujitsu. The founder of Real Aikido is Grand Master Ljubomir Vracarevic, holder of the black belt, 10th Dan, professor of Real Aikido and Ju-jitsu. Thanks to his long experience acquired and improved by continuous contact with first-class Japanese masters of this skill, master Vracarevic distinguished several thousand techniques, purified them, reformed their elements, introducing in his own knowledge from other fighting skills, creating a new style Real Aikido - extremely efficient and flexible system of defense techniques. Flexibility of Real Aikido is just one of its most important characteristics. Putting together different techniques according to the real situation, maximal efficiency is achieved. Transition from one to another technique is simple, and only knowledge and skill will determine which elements someone will use. These unlimited possibilities of combining, enable multiple applies of Real Aikido."

Since I authored a "related" thread it is probably best I keep my mouth shut on this one. :).
I would say the site speaks for itself. I love the blue gi.

I found this amusing.

http://www.uscra.info/video/R.AikidoPOD.MPG

especially just after a class where nothing went right and I struggled with 80% of my techniques, 10 days before grading.

lbb
03-26-2009, 08:49 AM
You lot sound like a bunch of prep school snobs, whether a guy has a pink and green polkadot belt, of 99th dan, or whether he is directly related to this or that is IRRELEVENT.

Did you know that you were responding to a 3 year old thread?

ramenboy
03-26-2009, 11:40 AM
Did you know that you were responding to a 3 year old thread?

hahahahaha i was just gonna say that.
:D :p