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Casey Martinson
01-18-2005, 08:57 AM
Hello all,
I've been reading this forum for a few weeks now, and I'll make my introduction here. After waiting many years, I've been training in Aikido for going on three weeks. I absolutely love it.

One thing I really appreciate about this forum is the level of respect and intelligence demonstrated in the posts. A few days ago, I was reading a thread regarding counter techniques to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This sparked my interest in learning more about BJJ as well. I studied a little bit of grappling as a karate student in high school, back when the UFC was brand new. I know it can be a tremendously valuable skill for self defense, although hopefully, aikido will allow me to avoid the need for such skills.

Anyway, long story short, I went to jiu-jitsu.net for more info, and found the forum pages to be very disappointing. The posts are full of ego, crude language, and aggressive attitudes.

My impression was that UFC has had the effect of swelling BJJ schools with immature guys (very few "chicks") who want to be able to beat the crap out of all comers. Do any readers here have recent experience training in BJJ? Am I wrong? I'd like to someday look into learning BJJ but if I have to put up with the "ultimate fighter complex", forget it.

Also, has anyone spent much time developing aikido against grappling attacks? I've long though that the serious martial artist wouldn't have to be concerned about such training, because most people who start fights are not skilled fighters. But perhaps the UFC effect is changing that equation. Any thoughts?

Once again, kudos to all the members of aikiweb for taking the high road. I look forward to your posts.

Casey Martinson

SeiserL
01-18-2005, 09:42 AM
I don't know that we have taken the high road because that implies a lot of ego and judgement. But then again, there is a lot of that too. I think different temperments find different martial arts to study that match it.

Look at Suwari-waza to handle grappling situations. Have not done much BJJ training, but one of the Machado brothers will be at the Aiki Expo.

paw
01-18-2005, 09:48 AM
Anyway, long story short, I went to jiu-jitsu.net for more info, and found the forum pages to be very disappointing. The posts are full of ego, crude language, and aggressive attitudes.

My impression was that UFC has had the effect of swelling BJJ schools with immature guys (very few "chicks") who want to be able to beat the crap out of all comers. Do any readers here have recent experience training in BJJ? Am I wrong? I'd like to someday look into learning BJJ but if I have to put up with the "ultimate fighter complex", forget it.

Different bulletin boards have different vibes. I've not been to jiu-jitsu.net, but I wouldn't call the specialized bjj boards at mma.tv "full of ego, crude language or aggressive attitudes", although folks are a lot more loose than here.

You can also check out Roy Harris' message board. Roy Dean, one of Mr. Harris students, posts here from time to time and give you more insight.


As to training in bjj, I've been doing so for the past 5 years. I've not encountered the "ultimate fighter complex" from anywhere I've trained, and I've trained with people who have and do compete in mixed martial art competitions on a regular basis. Like aikido, it's worthwhile to take the time to find an instructor and school that you feel comfortable with.

Roy Dean, being located in more of a bjj mecca, may have a different perspective. In my neck of the woods, I see far more bjj schools that are focused on the sportive aspects (gi and no gi competitions) after some basic self-defense is covered.

There certainly are bjj schools that focus on mma, but they tend to do so after their students have a basic understanding of self-defense and are more seasoned (high blue belt or purple belt).

Oh, one last comment. There are women in bjj, but on average, there tend to be more women in aikido, at least in my area. I've been told by some of women that tried bjj for a while before leaving, that the close contact of grappling as well as weight/strength differences are initially hard to get used to. However, like aikido, weight/strength differences can and are overcome by skill and technique, provided you put the time in training.


Hope this helps,

Paul

Dazzler
01-18-2005, 10:08 AM
Hi Lynn

Before any of our non aikidoka readers mauls this...I think you need a lot more that suwari waza to combat grappling techniques.

I first grappled in a formal club environment at I time when I was nidan in aikido.

I was shocked to find that standard aikido was really of no use at all.

Against untrained novice grapplers I could more than hold my own thanks to my familiarity with aiki body work and lots of grappling as a schoolkid but was no match for the highly skilled seniors.

Casey - don't fall into the trap that so many others are in by assuming that BJJ or any of the other grappling arts are superior or inferior to aikido for self defence.

Grappling is a specialist skill just as aikido is.

Both need some adaptation to be used as self defence or offensively.

The best grapplers I worked with had no more and no less ego than the best aikido guys I've worked with....but due to it favouring young testosterone afflicted men I can see how it would have a higher percentage of macho men than a subtler art form.

Lynn - apologies for contradicting you in this way, have read a lot of your posts and agree with much of what you say.

Respectfully

D

Casey Martinson
01-18-2005, 10:57 AM
Thanks for the posts.

1) Regarding the "high road," I'm new here so I haven't seen it all yet, but I still think this forum is unique in its civility and thoughtfulness--not that there aren't real arguments.

2) I am not starting another "aikido vs. other art" thread here. I just wanted to poll those with BJJ experience regarding the general attitude of dojos they've trained in, visited, etc. (i.e., Is there a UFC complex or not?) Thanks for speaking to that particular point.

My second question was, do any of you give more time to defending against grapplers now that UFC has perhaps begun to attract more hot-heads to BJJ. If you haven't seen it, there is even now a reality TV show about a bunch of guys living together and training for the UFC. I think UFC is coming into pop culture the way pro wrestling has in the last five years or so; I don't see how that could not encourage a lot more misguided angry males to dojos, where they'll learn just enough to be dangerous.

As for my "very few 'chicks'" comment, I meant that women were not well represented in that forum--"chicks" being the common term used there.


with respect,
Casey

paw
01-18-2005, 12:26 PM
I think UFC is coming into pop culture the way pro wrestling has in the last five years or so; I don't see how that could not encourage a lot more misguided angry males to dojos, where they'll learn just enough to be dangerous.

I'd be interested in other people's perspectives, but in my experience, "misguided angry males" don't stick around in bjj academies or mma training facilities. Because you have to spar every class, you quickly learn that there are people who are bigger, stronger, faster and more technically proficient (and if that's not true, you learn that performance varies from day to day. The partner you "dominate" today is the one that "dominates" you tomorrow). The "misguided angry male's" ego can't handle getting beaten, and they leave.

As far as the UFC becoming a part of pop culture, I don't see that happening. (Quick, who's the current UFC heavyweight champion? Light Heavyweight champion? When's the next UFC?) MMA is still a fringe sport, albeit a growing one. But MMA has a very, very long way to go before it has the $$$$ and impact of professional wrestling.

Regards,

Paul

Colbs
01-18-2005, 05:06 PM
I'll also have to disagree with Lynn, although I haven't been doing Aikido that long, and definitely don't have much in the way of skill or experience, I've always understood Suwari Waza to be about teaching you to move with the hips - it's impossible to move about on your knees unless the movement comes from the hips.

You will never face a grappler on your knees. You will be on your back.

Casey, the best way to learn to handle grapplers is to take some classes and learn how to incorporate the principles you've learned from both your Aikido and BJJ. I wouldn't suggest it until you've got a very firm basis in aikido though, it's more than enough of a challenge. I won't be doing any cross-training myself until I'm well on the way to Nidan (in about 123918093821 more years).

BJJ and Aikido really shouldn't "clash" in any other way than culturally (depending on the person). BJJ is designed for a very different range in very different situations to Aikido and should fit quite well (IMO).

A lot of Aikidoka will tell you that you don't need any grappling beacause you'll never end up on the ground, and perhaps that's mostly true - unless you stuff up, and that's quite likely. The BJJ people will tell you that 6 months will enable you to beat just anyone who hasn't trained grappling on the ground - that means you can pick up the principles pretty quickly, enough to give you an idea anyway (the chances of you getting attacked by a trained martial-artist are statistically small). Given the short amount of time required to get a 'grounding' I'm surprised at how few senior Aikidoka have done any training in it.

SeiserL
01-18-2005, 11:12 PM
I think you need a lot more that suwari waza to combat grappling techniques...apologies for contradicting you in this way,

No problem, no contradiction, only a clarification.

IMHO, suwari-waza is the closest thing in Aikido to grappling or ground techniques. Have you seen anything else that even remotely addresses the issue? I never said it was effective in combating grappling technqiues, just that its a place to look.

I agree that every art has its advantages in context, and the ground is not a place most Aikido people go.

Lan Powers
01-18-2005, 11:48 PM
quote> (the chances of you getting attacked by a trained martial-artist are statistically small). <

That is weird to me....it seems everybody I know is a Martial Artist of some sort, has done some, or is a former boxer...etc.
Lots more seem to be trained some way or other, than ever before.
Just funny
Lan

eyrie
01-18-2005, 11:48 PM
How about this food for thought:

1. It is undignified for a samurai to be wrestling in the dirt - therefore....
2. If you do end up on the ground, the first thing you would try to do is get up on your knees - preferably in the mount position - from where you have control

Colbs
01-19-2005, 12:16 AM
Lan,

It all depends on the circles you move in, whilst the martial arts is becoming far more popular, so it's becoming more and more likely, that still doesn't make it statistically so. Most violent crimes are committed by a family member/relative.

Ignatius,

Much, much easier said than done, you try getting to your knees after someone's hit you with a double-leg takedown and is positioning for a mount - your best option is probably to go for a guard and then try and get a sankyo/nikkyo.

If you can get to your knees, you can get to your feet, no grappler worth their salt will let you get back up once you're on the ground, disengaging from them is nearly impossible because they maintain very, very close contact.

eyrie
01-19-2005, 03:54 AM
...
Ignatius,

Much, much easier said than done, you try getting to your knees after someone's hit you with a double-leg takedown and is positioning for a mount - your best option is probably to go for a guard and then try and get a sankyo/nikkyo.

If you can get to your knees, you can get to your feet, no grappler worth their salt will let you get back up once you're on the ground, disengaging from them is nearly impossible because they maintain very, very close contact.

Absolutely! IF you can get to your knees... and that's a BIG IF, especially if they have a weight advantage. Unfortunately, in a dojo/training scenario it's not "nice" to pinch or poke a nice exposed pressure point to get them off you in a hurry! ;)

Dazzler
01-19-2005, 05:04 AM
No problem, no contradiction, only a clarification.

IMHO, suwari-waza is the closest thing in Aikido to grappling or ground techniques. Have you seen anything else that even remotely addresses the issue?.

Not in aikido. We've had a bit of a grapple as a warm up but thats about it.

wendyrowe
01-19-2005, 06:12 AM
My Aikido Sensei Jason DeLucia is also a UFC and Pancrase fighter, and firmly believes we should train in groundwork not just standing Aikido. We train in Aikido and Pancrase Hybrid JuJitsu, so we learn lots of BJJ techniques and do lots of suwariwaza. Whenever possible, Sensei works and has us aim to work from suwari instead of working BJJ techniques, keeping more upright. He's got some training clips on aikidog.com that will give you something of an idea.

Our dojo has serious students in it, not hot-headed kids. As for women doing groundwork, I've been training with Sensei for about a year and a half and have been grappling all along. I think it's a very important skill, and would hate to think of what might happen if I ever got attacked and didn't know how to handle myself on the ground. Besides the assorted-sized guys in class (all bigger than me so it's quite a challenge), one of my current partners is a policewoman who knows she lacks groundwork and wants to fill in that gap to keep safe.

Here's a clip showing Sensei getting out of a common BJJ position:
http://venus.secureguards.com/~aikidog-/aikicenter/modules.php?name=AikiClips&op=show&pid=91

Pardon the camera work at the start of this one; it was hard for the cameraman to get into position so it moves around at first. It settles down so you can really see what's happening. Sensei is using suwariwaza in a situation police asked about because it's so common:
http://venus.secureguards.com/~aikidog-/aikicenter/modules.php?name=AikiClips&op=show&pid=115

Casey Martinson
01-19-2005, 10:46 AM
wendy, thanks for those clips. more to the point though, it seems there is a near consensus that aikido is not the best tool for ground fighting. so i would assume the best way to defend against a grappling attacker is to stay off the ground to begin with. a grappler has to take you down first in order to gain the advantage, right? so it seems the aikido defense against grappling should be intercepting whatever takedown technique is being attempted and controlling the conflict from there. i don't know much at all about BJJ takedowns (or judo or wrestling takedowns), but it seems like the aikido repetoire is full of techniques to deal with an opponent making a grab for your wrist/sleeve/lapel etc. (legs?) has anybody trained against grappling from a stand point of preventing the takedown?

casey

wendyrowe
01-19-2005, 11:18 AM
Casey,

The first line of defense is always trying to remain upright, you're exactly right about that. Pretty much any technique can be used, whichever best counters your opponent's move. The simplest thing is just moving out of the way before he can grab you -- say, tsugiashi and irimi or irimi tenkan to keep you out of the way and put you in a position to do irimi nage or whatever other technique you want. You need to practice counters so you can flow into a new technique when he blocks out the ones you're trying; and you need to practice counters to grabs so you'll be able to turn his moves against him. You have to watch out for single- and double-leg takedown attempts, too; and there are surely some judoka out there who'll try to grab you around the waist and suplex you, so maintaining ma ai to keep from being grabbed securely is a great idea if you can manage it. And you need to practice getting loose and back up on your feet before he can mount you or pull you into his guard or otherwise maintain an advantage when he manages to take you down. One on one randori attacking with a wide variety of techniques is a good way to practice this sort of thing.

But if you're trying to end a real fight, at some point you're going to have to secure your opponent since otherwise he'll keep fighting unless he's unconscious -- so to do that, you're going to have to take HIM to the ground (with koshinage or shihonage or kote gaeshi, e.g.) and will probably hold him in a joint lock while you're in suwari.

You asked a great question, though: what techniques do you aikidoka use against someone trying to take you down? I'm looking forward to hearing from those of you who train that way.

paw
01-19-2005, 12:15 PM
so i would assume the best way to defend against a grappling attacker is to stay off the ground to begin with. a grappler has to take you down first in order to gain the advantage, right?

That's considerably easier said than done.

In mma competitions, Olympic-level wrestlers have been taken down by people far less skilled in takedowns and takedown defense. The less "rules" an environment has, the more possibilities there are to set up a specific attack, and the more the defender has to defend.

This may be knit-picking, but in my mind "grappling" does not mean "groundwork". There are some exceptional wrestlers, judoka, bjj'ers, sombist, etc....who can and have ended fights by throwing. Yes, their opponent was taken to the ground, but only to use the ground as an immovable object to slam someone with.

Personally, I think Wendy hits it on the head when she says you need to practice getting loose and back up on your feet .

Regards,

Paul

Casey Martinson
01-19-2005, 01:53 PM
"That's considerably easier said than done."

Isn't that true of Aikido in general?

"The less "rules" an environment has, the more possibilities there are to set up a specific attack, and the more the defender has to defend."

Again, this seems to apply to any real life self defense situation.

"This may be knit-picking, but in my mind "grappling" does not mean "groundwork". There are some exceptional wrestlers, judoka, bjj'ers, sombist, etc....who can and have ended fights by throwing. "

Whether they're doing a takedown/throw to get you on the ground or simply to bodyslam you into unconsciousness, I think what I said still applies: the best defense is to avoid their takedown/throw attempt--which i assume would involve some kind of grab for your body--and use that attack as your point of blending. I didn't mean to imply that grappling wasn't effective off the ground. But off the ground, aikido and grappling are perhaps on a more even playing field. In fact, in principle, it seems to me that aikido has the advantage.

"you need to practice getting loose and back up on your feet ."

if i can't avoid being thrown, what's the point of getting back up on my feet? i'll just get thrown again. if can't avoid the throw, i'd just as soon get thrown only one time--thus limiting damage from repeated impacts--and try my luck on the ground.

it seems there are two paths in defense against grappling. the only aikido path i see is "avoid the throw/takedown/grapple attempt, blend with the attempt, and bring your opponent under control."
the other path is to train in ground fighting.

i don't practice aikido because i think it will provide a quick and easy path to self defense; i practice because i believe in its ideals and principles. and i think that executed properly, those ideals and principles can be very effective. if we're looking for self defense that is as easily done as said, why not just carry a concealed weapon? there's nothing as easy as pulling a trigger. would O'Sensei have advised his students to train in grappling because it is "easier said than done" to avoid the throw or takedown of a trained grappler? my rank amateur guess is that he would not. so what are the options given to us by aikido?

paw
01-19-2005, 03:22 PM
"That's considerably easier said than done."

Isn't that true of Aikido in general?

That's for you to determine over the course of your training. The point is it may be unwise to presume anyone can develop their abilities to the point that they cannot be taken to the ground .


Whether they're doing a takedown/throw to get you on the ground or simply to bodyslam you into unconsciousness, I think what I said still applies: the best defense is to avoid their takedown/throw attempt--which i assume would involve some kind of grab for your body--and use that attack as your point of blending. I didn't mean to imply that grappling wasn't effective off the ground. But off the ground, aikido and grappling are perhaps on a more even playing field. In fact, in principle, it seems to me that aikido has the advantage.

Again, I urge you to consider that it is unlikely someone can develop their abilities to the point where they cannot be taken to ground by throw, tackle, takedown or happenstance.

As to if aikido has the advantage in principle, that is something you will have to discover on your own.


if i can't avoid being thrown, what's the point of getting back up on my feet?

That is where your compentancies are. You would want to engage someone where you are strong, don't you? If you don't know how to groundfight and are facing someone who does, you won't fare well.

i don't practice aikido because i think it will provide a quick and easy path to self defense; i practice because i believe in its ideals and principles.

Then why worry about groundwork or bjj attacks? Just train aikido.

if we're looking for self defense that is as easily done as said, why not just carry a concealed weapon? there's nothing as easy as pulling a trigger.

Concealed carry of firearms isn't legal in all places. Also, this solution, carrying a firearm, isn't an appropriate response for all threats. Finally, "pulling a trigger" isn't easy. Most rounds fired in real world gunfights...miss. Shooting a firearm, like aikido, is a skill that must be acquired by training.


Regards,

Paul

happysod
01-19-2005, 03:44 PM
it seems there are two paths in defense against grappling. the only aikido path i see is "avoid the throw/take down/grapple attempt, blend with the attempt, and bring your opponent under control." the other path is to train in ground fighting

I'd have to take issue here, ground-fighting is just (just he laughs wryly after now having been briefly introduced to them) a different set of techniques. I see no reason you cannot apply the principles of aikido within the framework of ground fighting. Bringing your opponent under control is surely the main point of the ground work (certainly of what I've seen) and atemi has long been a big part of aikido - OK , you may want to omit the ground and pound part...

Sorry, with Paul on the dubious nature of "I'll never be taken to ground" - but my main hope is I'm better at stay-up/keep away than they are at take-down.

Casey Martinson
01-19-2005, 06:16 PM
i must not be communicating my point very well. let me try again.

if one is only interested in self defense, without concern for any ethical considerations, there are surely many easier paths to becoming attack resistant than aikido. yes, shooting a gun requires some training to be consistently effective. but if you watch the news, it's obvious there are a lot of people killing and maiming their fellow humans everyday with firearms, and they probably have little or no training. i would guess that a hundred hours of handgun training would render me physically more than capable of killing, maiming, or otherwise dissuading an attacker, even one skilled in BJJ or some other art.

on the other hand, to ward off an attack using aikido, i may need to spend thousands of hours training. however, because i care about resolving conflicts without bringing death or serious injury to my opponent, i'm willing to put in the time. it's not that i don't care about self defense. i am very interested in defending myself, but i want to do it with as little violence as possible. you must understand, i'm not being naive here, just idealistic, and i think there's a considerable difference between the two. after all, aikido is nothing if not idealistic.

so although i respect your opinions, what i'm seeing is this:

Me: How can aikido be used to prevent a take-down/throw?

You guys: You'll probably get taken to the ground, so better be prepared to deal with it.

If you get thrown down, try to get up.

It's unrealistic to think you can be totally effective at avoiding the throw/grapple.

While all those answers may or may not be true, they don't address my question. It's okay if you don't know how to defend against being thrown/grappled, but I don't think that makes it a waste of time to learn and practice such strategies. If you have any input regarding an aikido defense against the throw/takedown, let's hear it. If you're just going to go on about how hard it is, there is no need; I heard you the first time.

With love and respect,
Casey

Casey Martinson
01-19-2005, 06:22 PM
actually, i my original question was, do any of you train against takedowns/throws in light of the growing popularity of styles that emphasize those techniques. so far, i think most of you have answered "no." (the answer, "yes, i crosstrain in groundfighting/grappling" does not count. i'm looking for "yes, we practice aikido defense against takedown/throwing attempts." anybody out there who can say yes?

Casey Martinson
01-19-2005, 06:30 PM
one more thing

" I see no reason you cannot apply the principles of aikido within the framework of ground fighting. Bringing your opponent under control is surely the main point of the ground work (certainly of what I've seen) and atemi has long been a big part of aikido"

not that you can't use aikido principles in ground fighting, but certainly it seems much more difficult in that your movement is much more limited and your opponents movements are much smaller. bringing your opponent under control may be the main point of ground work, but that doesn't make it aikido. from what i've seen of BJJ/wrestling/etc., the techniques require some amount of muscling. in other words, you're opposing force with force. am i wrong to say that opposing force with force is antithetical to aikido? as for atemi, my impression is that it's main purpose is to distract or redirect or somehow off-balance your opponent.

Colbs
01-19-2005, 06:51 PM
Here's some random rambling on the topic:

You'll find most groundfighters don't use force against force, it just looks like it because of the extream close range they are engaged at, as they can't move far, they must make very small redirections of force, rather than the larger ones we're used to. If you're looking for direct application of aikido principle, go for a sankyo or nikkyo lock (wrist, ankle, whatever).

Against a good shot (takedown) the only thing that has proved effective to gain you position is the sprawl, against a crappy tackle, you may be able to get some tenkan and throw. But a tackle IS NOT a takedown, takedowns are not launched until they've closed into striking range and they're done quickly, and usually set up so as to take you by surprise.

As for the I want an "Aikido defense" - I'm sure I remember reading the founder saying that he practised aikido, therefore anything he did was aikido (or words to that effect). Striking (atemi) is not contrary to aikido, neither (IMO) is grappling, nor anything else.

If you want to know how to deliver strong atemi, you need to train with good strikers, if you want to know how to grapple well, you need to train with good grapplers. Aikido is a set of principles and philosophies, but often parts are glossed over, and assumed. I'm sure the founder assumed that all his main students knew how to punch (most came to him from other arts first), and at the time groundfighting wasn't the current fad, so it was probably not very emphasised. After all, the ground is the LAST place you want to be in any conflict (except in a ring, where there are no perhaps-not-quite-so innocent bystanders).

Crosstraining can only enhance your Aikido, it will teach you about weaknesses you have, and no-doubt re-emphasise just how useful it is as an art.

Aristeia
01-19-2005, 08:22 PM
Ok, I'm coming in a bit late but let me respond first to the original question. I can completely understand where the original poster is coming from. Aikiweb is a good example of an aikido board, polite, disciplined, respectful. Many MMA/BJJ dominated sites on the web have more than their fair share of arrogant boors doing alot of posturing. But my experience in the real world is quite diferent. Almost without exception, everyone I've met on the BJJ mat has been polite, helpful and eager to train and share while exhibiting respect. In fact if I'm being honest, I see more people with run away ego's in Aikido than I do in BJJ. Maybe something to do with the lack of competition so they never get called on it? Who knows. So yes, although I share your experience of the various groups on the internet, it is not reflected in real life.
As for incorporating grappling defences in Aikido? Hmmmm. I've been cross training for a little while. I do some of it in my garage with my Aikido students. Every now and again I come under some pressure to incorporate some of that into my aikido classes. Sometimes I will, maybe a single technique over several months worth of classes (e.g. arm drag to get you out of trouble, knee ride when uke doesn't roll on to their stomach from ikkyo). but at the end of the day I'm not sure it's up to me to do this. As long as we're being honest with people as to where the strategic gaps in our art are, they are free to go and fill those gaps as they wish, just as I have. They'll get much more benefit from going to a judo or bjj class than from me trying to incorporate those things into an aikido class. I've exposed them to some of it, everyone knows I do it and I think it's worthwhile, my work is done. It's up to them to take the next step.

wendyrowe
01-19-2005, 08:58 PM
... i'm looking for "yes, we practice aikido defense against takedown/throwing attempts." anybody out there who can say yes?
Yes, we practice aikido defense against takedown/throwing attempts. That's why I was able to give you example techniques in my first post here:
Pretty much any technique can be used, whichever best counters your opponent's move. The simplest thing is just moving out of the way before he can grab you -- say, tsugiashi and irimi or irimi tenkan to keep you out of the way and put you in a position to do irimi nage or whatever other technique you want. You need to practice counters so you can flow into a new technique when he blocks out the ones you're trying; and you need to practice counters to grabs so you'll be able to turn his moves against him. You have to watch out for single- and double-leg takedown attempts, too; and there are surely some judoka out there who'll try to grab you around the waist and suplex you, so maintaining ma ai to keep from being grabbed securely is a great idea if you can manage it...One on one randori attacking with a wide variety of techniques is a good way to practice this sort of thing.

and that's what we do. Not always, since we don't always want to practice techniques against takedown attempts and since sometimes we spend the class on groundwork.

I don't quite understand what you're driving at -- is it that you think Aikido should be able to protect you from going down so you're looking for a list of techniques to use? Or are you checking to see whether anyone uses aikido techniques against BJJ because you think it won't work?
not that you can't use aikido principles in ground fighting, but certainly it seems much more difficult in that your movement is much more limited and your opponents movements are much smaller.
Your movements are only much more limited if you have a narrow view of what's "allowed" in Aikido. All the same techniques you can do standing work on the ground, and you can do all sorts of variations applying the same Aikido principles. It doesn't feel limited/limiting when I do it. My guess is that after you've trained longer it won't feel limited to you, either.

Also, if I'm working from the ground, I'm more likely to be doing "small circle Aikido" than "big circle Aikido" -- that way, my movements will be smaller and faster, but still quite effective. There are still times when big movements might be useful (say, if I happen into the perfect setup for iriminage from suwari); but if I'm going against a grappler, I have to be very conscious of where I'm letting my arms hang out so he doesn't grab one and armbar me.
I've long though that the serious martial artist wouldn't have to be concerned about such training, because most people who start fights are not skilled fighters. But perhaps the UFC effect is changing that equation. Any thoughts?
The police I train with are interested in groundwork because they are finding that more suspects know BJJ thanks to its growing popularity.

Casey Martinson
01-19-2005, 10:21 PM
wendy, thanks for another valuable post, and i apologize for not acknowledging your "yes" answer earlier; surely that's what it was. And thanks for your additional comments re: small circle/big circle, aikido from the ground, etc. I'll keep those things in mind as I continue training.

"I don't quite understand what you're driving at -- is it that you think Aikido should be able to protect you from going down so you're looking for a list of techniques to use? Or are you checking to see whether anyone uses aikido techniques against BJJ because you think it won't work?"

The former, but I wasn't looking for a list of techniques. I was just trying to take an unscientific survey of readers: do you train against grappling techniques or not? I think, in theory, aikido should be able to protect against a take down. I'm not saying I expect aikido to save you from going down ever. But I'm saying it should give you a chance, and the more you train for it, the better your chance.

"The police I train with are interested in groundwork because they are finding that more suspects know BJJ thanks to its growing popularity."

that seems to confirm what I was suggesting. i'm sure that on balance most everybody training in BJJ dojos is a serious student, not a hot-head or a would-be criminal. but that doesn't address the non-serious student who enrolls for a month or two before dropping out, perhaps learning just enough to pose a threat without learning the appropriate humility and responsibility that goes with. and according to somebody on another thread, BJJ is being used as a platform for unarmed combat training in our own military. if that's true, there is one more avenue for a lot of people to become at least somewhat skilled in grappling without regard to moral character. and i'm not impuning the character of soldiers, only saying that soldiers or former soldiers don't seem less likely to become violent than the average citizen. and even if a person is well behaved in the dojo, that's no guaruntee they'll keep their cool in an argument or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

happysod
01-20-2005, 03:10 AM
non-serious student who enrolls for a month or two before dropping out, perhaps learning just enough to pose a threat without learning the appropriate humility and responsibility that goes with I think you're over-exaggerating the "threat" of bjj - sorry, but if any martial art created that level of competency within but a month or so of normal training I would say a new paradigm has been achieved. BJJ is essentially judo with a different emphasis and some extra bits not normally now found within judo, if you change your sentence to refer to say judo, would you be as willing to be worried about the said non-serious student?

wendyrowe
01-20-2005, 06:33 AM
... if you change your sentence to refer to say judo, would you be as willing to be worried about the said non-serious student?
My guess is that since BJJ is getting to be popular thanks to UFC exposure, it's more likely that people will have friends who know it so they'll pick it up from them. It's not that so many people are breaking down the doors of BJJ dojos to train for a month or two, just that there are more opportunities for BJJ techniques to spread along with the usual wrestling/sparring/whatever that HS boys always do (come on, admit it! I've got a brother so I know). Judo's not as "sexy" since it hasn't crossed over from the martial arts world to the general public. Granted, the UFC/MMA audience isn't all that big, but I'll bet it's lots bigger than the traditional martial arts audience.

As for the earlier comments about Ueshiba not handing down techniques against grappling: I'll bet you anything that if someone bowled Ueshiba over, Ueshiba knew how to handle himself on the ground. People have been wrestling since there were people; an excellent martialist like Ueshiba who had crosstrained extensively before founding Aikido surely wouldn't have neglected learning to protect himself however possible.

paw
01-20-2005, 07:23 AM
so although i respect your opinions, what i'm seeing is this:

Me: How can aikido be used to prevent a take-down/throw?

You guys: You'll probably get taken to the ground, so better be prepared to deal with it.

If you get thrown down, try to get up.

It's unrealistic to think you can be totally effective at avoiding the throw/grapple.



Casey,

You've misunderstood my point.

If you are concerned with self-defense, it behooves you to presume that you will end up on the ground. Therefore, it would be advantageous to learn how to get back to your feet.

How much time you devote to learning to get back to your feet is up to you, and depends how quickly you learn. But as the dog brothers have discovered, if you're in enough physical confrontations, grappling and groundwork happen.



Wendy,

Granted, the UFC/MMA audience isn't all that big, but I'll bet it's lots bigger than the traditional martial arts audience.

I don't think the mma audience is bigger than the tma audience. Judo is the second or third or popular sport worldwide, I think...certainly in the top ten.


Regards,

Paul

Dazzler
01-20-2005, 08:59 AM
Ok...I'll stick my neck out a bit today just to see who come to call.

For me this whole discussion goes back to the definition of aikido.

Is it the martial way of aiki?

Is it a martial art in exactly the same way at other tma?

Is it using the Tao , ying & yang , positive and negative to achieve ki through the body?

Once you have a definition of what you are trying to do you then you can determine your methodology for achieving this.

For instance if you view aikido as a fighting system then you should be training for all potential areas of fighting.

If you see it more for exploring ki then training for that is sufficient.

Whats so interesting about aikido is that it isn't straightforward, and there are so many levels of practice.

I think its down to the various groups to clarify what they are doing and why and not make claims that are unfounded.

Tell you what...heres my stab at this for National aikido Federation (UK).

We use aikido to develop irimi and atemi. Enter and strike. Our emphasis is more on irimi since our atemi practice is pretty limited in core classes.

While attempting to achieve this we use aikido techniques to develop the martial bases of aikido...position, timing, distance, relationship, blending, posture, correct breathing and so on.

This is the physical side.

Spiritually hopefully we work towards a greater understanding of humanity and its problems in working together as uke / tori and continually swapping roles to view life from someone elses side.

I'll leave the spirituality stuff there since this is mainly based around the practical.

While I feel our practice is martial and is effective for self defence I dont really see it as being anywhere near as effective as say boxing, grappling or a mixture of the 2.

We are what we are and we enjoy it.

For the most this is enough for our members. Where there is more interest in a specific area...boxing , grappling, nunchakas...whatever...then we go and train with a specialist.

Doesn't make our aiki bad hopefully.

Looking at boxing/striking arts,....its highly effective. For me the most instantly useful form. But only when allayed with a brain. Punching everything that disagrees with you ...no matter how good you are will earn you glass in the face or something like that eventually.

While no one can dispute the prowess of strikers..how many do you see over 30 ..over 40? That are cutting it in a matched environment...maybe George Foreman. Not a lot considering how may boxing clubs there are in the world.

Not so many. They have a limited shelf life unlike aikido which can be practiced to some level at any age.

Look at grappling. Many fights end up here and some skills have been proven time and time again to be invaluable when the fights end up here.

But dont confuse sport with real life. For 'street' this surely has to be last resort...who wants to blend with the dog shit, broken glass etc while some guys mate kick the life out of you for arm barring their life long buddy.

So grappling has to be a last resort outside of the controlled ring environment. You may be the best choker in the business but every time you get close you risk you face being bitten off. Hardly a good reward when the guy taps out!

As Paul points out ...you need to get back on your feet.

I guess where I'm going with this is that everyone is different, everyone has different lifestyles and lives in different environments.

Those that strike should be respected for the field they have chosen. They shouldn't think they are superior but nothing wrong with a little pride.

Likewise the grapplers...to grapple competitively is really hard, but don't think its the be all and end all because the Gracies made such a name for BJJ in UFC.

Even those that are into MMA...without doubt the most effective in its sphere. ....Or octagon. Once outside the ring you arent invincible.

Sure....most of whats practiced in MMA will blow away general aikido techniques.

But what happend if you pick up a blade...or a machete? do you want to grapple with that?

I've not even mentioned the phillipino arts...

I guess the point of my little rant is that its horses for courses.

Nothing is perfect but theres good and bad in all and you don't have to train to fight because you practice a martial art.

Its ok not to fight sometimes!! And it generally leads to a smoother ride for all..

D

rob_liberti
01-20-2005, 09:15 AM
Paul, I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but I kind of get the feeling that your stance on this is that there are no shortcuts (and I don't entirely agree with that).

Casey, I think I am on the same page with you. I'm looking to short cut the learning curve a bit by piggybacking off of someone else's experiences with this. I don't want to have to be the inventor of drills against common takedown set-ups. I'd like it very much if someone else who has thought about it for a while and worked through many issues with skilled attackers could come up with some principles they could explain to me and show me some of the drills the've come up with to lay a better foundation for working on this. I think Wendy Rowe's dojo is the most promising towards that end. I would like to have said "Come see me, and I'll help you out" but I'm not ready. I need to make time to work out with people who are very good at setting up their takedowns, and are good at switching from one to another. I don't have that much time right now - but slowly but surely I'll work through my own aiki answers to more sophisticated attacks (like combinations and takedowns).

For now, the only principle I can offer is that you have to be really good at maintaining your distance. And I think, for that level of attack, unless your movement is absolutely perfect all of the time I'd say you might need to re-think/review your ideas about atemi (that's just my opinion).

Rob

paw
01-20-2005, 10:16 AM
I'm looking to short cut the learning curve a bit by piggybacking off of someone else's experiences with this. I don't want to have to be the inventor of drills against common takedown set-ups.

I think then, that Mits Yamashita is the guy you want to see. Some of his students post on this board from time to time.

Regards,

Paul

Casey Martinson
01-20-2005, 12:43 PM
Paul, just want to say thanks for your continued input. Even though I feel we may be a little bit at odds over some points, your questions/comments have certainly helped focus the discussion for me.
I totally agree that being able to get up from a throw/takedown is important, but let's simplify this for the sake of argument. If I have x amount of time to train, and my training is going to be primarily in aikido, to me it makes more sense to train in avoiding the throw than in getting up. If you can't avoid throws, what difference does it make how many times you can get up? Once you get up again, your opponent will try again to throw you--and probably succeed if most of your training has been to just get up. Obviously, there is a need for getting up and for avoiding the throw. But I think the latter is slightly more important. I could be wrong.

And I think Wendy's comments on the growth in popularity of MMA/BJJ are probably right. Yes, right now, the audience for UFC is not that big. But like I said, there's a reality show focusing on the UFC that's airing right now (Spike TV, the men's network). Maybe nothing will come of it. But I'm willing to bet that this show alone will create a huge boost in the UFC audience. A few years ago, only guys with an interest in carpentry watched home improvement shows. Then along came Trading Spaces on TLC, and now we have probably half a dozen spin off "decorating shows." Same thing with blind date shows, and makeover shows. Of course, if I may generalize for a moment, those programs mostly target a female demographic. But I see no reason why a UFC show can't really put MMA on the map with the young male demographic. Up till now I believe, UFC has been mainly showing to a small pay-per-view audience of guys. This show is the first time I know of that MMA has been brought to a bigger audience. It could just be the spark that ignites a fire of interest.

Also, as wendy pointed out, there is bound to be some spreading of grappling knowledge outside the context of dojos. And there will be guys who train for a month or two. And there is the army training avenue I mentioned. I'm not suggesting that limited training will make somebody a formidable grappler, but I do think limited training, or even just watching UFC, will make an aggressor more likely to go for a takedown or throw. Think of a bar fight that's about to break out. Till recently, the aggressive drunk guy would probably attack you with a strike first. The usual aikido training seems to cover that situation pretty well. But as pop culture brings UFC/MMA to a wider audience, the aggressive drunk guy may increasingly go for a takedown first. Even if he is doing it badly or just imitating what he's seen on tv, the focus of his attack will be different. A little preparation could mean the difference between being caught by a clumsy takedown and deftly countering.

Finally, with regard to O'Sensei, I'm sure he probably did know how to defend himself on the ground. But from the accounts I've read, getting him on the ground would be an amazing feat for just about anybody. Certainly, I've read accounts of expert wrestlers and grapplers challenging O'Sensei's senior aikido students and being soundly defeated. That kind of skill may be beyond what most of us are capable of now, but I think it is something to aspire to.

Casey

paw
01-20-2005, 01:43 PM
If you can't avoid throws, what difference does it make how many times you can get up? Once you get up again, your opponent will try again to throw you--and probably succeed if most of your training has been to just get up.

Of course, it's up to you, but I've found groundwork much easier to learn than throwing or throw prevention.


And I think Wendy's comments on the growth in popularity of MMA/BJJ are probably right. Yes, right now, the audience for UFC is not that big. But like I said, there's a reality show focusing on the UFC that's airing right now (Spike TV, the men's network).

The show did a 1.4 rating share. That's not particularly big audience. As a mma fan, I certainly hopes the sport grows, but I have my doubts. Time will tell....


But as pop culture brings UFC/MMA to a wider audience, the aggressive drunk guy may increasingly go for a takedown first. Even if he is doing it badly or just imitating what he's seen on tv, the focus of his attack will be different. A little preparation could mean the difference between being caught by a clumsy takedown and deftly countering.

Depends on where you live and all. For example, if you lived in my neck of the woods, folkstyle wrestling is pretty popular, so any takedown attempt is likely to be a double leg or single leg. The common prevention would be to sprawl. Someone can learn to sprawl in ten minutes, but that won't stop someone who's a high-school wrestler from taking you down. Their skill at takedowns would far exceed your ability to counter. For example, I've personally seen an average high school wrestlers easily take down a bigger, stronger nidan at will.

I guess the question is, what attack do you want to prevent, and how skilled is the attacker? And of course, how much time do you want to spent developing that level of skill?

I'd take the time to track down Mits Yamashita and ask his advice. He's a skilled aikido instructor and bjj'er.

Regards,

Paul

Kevin Leavitt
01-20-2005, 02:13 PM
I study both Aikido and BJJ. It is not a simple answer IMHO to define "aikido" against "BJJ". Aikido, IMHO, tend to be a prinicple based art to teach universal principles of mechanics, balance, energy etc. So being universal in nature I would say that it works. That said, it is easy to fall prey to the paradigm/context in which you are working.

I work with a proficient BJJ who is a MMA champion competitor in Europe. If I play his "game" I usually lose and find it frustrating to try and use anything that resembles what i practice in the dojo. When we grapple we try for submission and dominance...one on one.

If we practice from a multiple opponent and weapons "unknown" senario or life or death senario things change dramatically. Instead of meeting him with a clinch I will back off and try and resolve conflict by not engaging and "buying time" by moving to the door to escape or keeping distance. This can be accomplished by irimi tenkan etc. I find if I can force him to go off balance by reaching etc, then I can use "aikido" if you must label tactics.

That said, he will not usually do that as am experience martial artist (reach off balance) and our matches become a game of posturing for about 10 to 15 minutes where we avoid each other waiting for someone to make a mistake. Also, we threaten with severe atemi and kicks etc. So it really changes the dynamic.

It is all well and good to practice ground fighting skills and there is much merit in it. But I seriously get concerned about developing a paradigm that supports defaulting to clinch, guard, mount, submit.

I do find that maintaining good posture and moving your hips and feet to be 100% transferrable.

I have only been doing BJJ for a short time, but find that I can hold my own with my traditional karate/aikido background against most BJJers at the blue belt level. So I would say that Aikido is effective and applicable as a principle based art. Where I am weak is getting the submission holds since I am not versed in them. Principles are same, mechanics/tactics different.

Casey Martinson
01-20-2005, 02:35 PM
I hadn't heard the rating info on that show; interesting. I believe it's only had a couple episodes; it may get bigger. did you just look that up or have you been following the show?

"For example, I've personally seen an average high school wrestlers easily take down a bigger, stronger nidan at will."

to me, that still seems an indication of the problem that standard aikido practice doesn't focus on preventing those takedowns. i don't see why the proper training couldn't remedy that deficiency. i don't know much about wrestling/grappling arts--i'm sure you'll correct me if i'm wrong--but it seems that whether you're striking or making an attempt to grapple/takedown, you still have to extend yourelf forward; still have to reach for your opponent. if a wrestler is reaching for the aikidoka, what--aside from inexperience with the mode of attack--prevents the aikidoka from seizing the movement and applying aikido just as if the attack had been a striking one? what i think i'm getting from you is that you think a high school wrestler's takedown technique is damn near indefensible unless one is trained in wrestling and ready to apply wrestling tactics. am i reading you correctly?

casey

paw
01-21-2005, 08:18 AM
did you just look that up or have you been following the show?

It was reported on another forum. So it might need a grain of salt.


what i think i'm getting from you is that you think a high school wrestler's takedown technique is damn near indefensible unless one is trained in wrestling and ready to apply wrestling tactics. am i reading you correctly?

No. I was trying to make a comment about relative skill levels, and I'll try and be more clear. An aikidoist might know the defense to a wrestling takedown, but the wrestler will still get the takedown because the wrestler is better at setting up, shooting and finishing the takedown.

Some of this might be due to the wrestler training takedown longer (as measure in mat time) than the aikidoist trains defenses. It might be due to experience, as the wrestler may have more experience outside of training (competition, meets, etc...) than the aikidoist.

I would imagine a good part is likely to be that the aikidoist may not have anyone as skilled as the wrestler in takedowns to train with. While I don't think an aikidoist has to wrestle or has to adopt wrestling techniques to successfully defend against wrestling attacks, I strongly suspect that an aikidoist needs training partners that are capable of very good attacks.


Regards,

Paul

Casey Martinson
01-21-2005, 10:15 AM
Paul, thanks for clarifying. I belive then, that we are coming into greater agreement as we come to the bottom of it.

1) aikido is perfectly capable of defending against grappling/wrestling takedowns
2) the reason an advanced aikidoka might fail in his or her defense is a lack of experience with the form of attack
3) proper training could fix that

and aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts. not to say that folks haven't crosstrained in grappling to fill the gap, but that is a slightly different training, right?

rob_liberti
01-21-2005, 10:47 AM
Well, I wouldn't say 'I haven't done much training to counter takedown attempts.' I just feel that I have a lot longer way to go before I feel I can offer any practicle advice beyond the obvious. I tried to shoot a really great aikido sempai while I was visiting him in Japan last September. The problem was that I'm just not good enough at setting up the shoot to really steal what I want from him. I plan to visit Wendy's dojo someday soon and see what I can learn from that experience. This kind of networking is the main reason why I like the aikiweb. Thankyou Jun.

Rob

Dazzler
01-21-2005, 11:33 AM
Paul, thanks for clarifying. I belive then, that we are coming into greater agreement as we come to the bottom of it.

1) aikido is perfectly capable of defending against grappling/wrestling takedowns
2) the reason an advanced aikidoka might fail in his or her defense is a lack of experience with the form of attack
3) proper training could fix that

and aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts. not to say that folks haven't crosstrained in grappling to fill the gap, but that is a slightly different training, right?

apart from saying specific training instead of proper I'd agree entirely.

D

paw
01-21-2005, 12:31 PM
aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts.

I thought I mentioned Mits Yamashita. He would be the guy to talk to about this, as he's an aikido shihan and skilled bjj'er.

Regards,

Paul

SeiserL
01-21-2005, 12:46 PM
I must admit to the humor and the irony that on a thread called "Taking the higher road" we have mostly discussed take-downs, grappling, and ground work. LOL

Aristeia
01-21-2005, 01:39 PM
Paul, thanks for clarifying. I belive then, that we are coming into greater agreement as we come to the bottom of it.

1) aikido is perfectly capable of defending against grappling/wrestling takedowns
2) the reason an advanced aikidoka might fail in his or her defense is a lack of experience with the form of attack
3) proper training could fix that

and aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts. not to say that folks haven't crosstrained in grappling to fill the gap, but that is a slightly different training, right?

Well cross training is the start. If you try training aikido responses to a shot without cross training then you'll likely be dealing with a poor shot and the results of your experiment will be skewed.
And those that have cross trained quickly see that a grapplers defence of a shot is close to the only thing that makes sense and so won't spend alot of time bothering with anything else.
Why is it important that we have a specifically and uniquely Aikido response to an attack like this? Why re invent the wheel? I mean if you like we can look at it in broad terms. what's the Aiki response to an attack? Get your own body off the line of the attack and take control of uke's body and posture right? Sounds like a sprawl to me in many regards. The sprawl is far and away the highest % defence against a shot. Why bother with anything else that will be much lower % just to say that this response is "ours". Or perhaps I've missed what your purpose is?

Robert Cheshire
01-21-2005, 01:50 PM
Yoseikan of Minoru and Hiroo Mochizuki fame trains for defense against take downs. In fact, one of our two person kata's has uke going for a double leg take down and nage avoiding and throwing.

We also incorproate several types of randori that addressed this issue. From reversals to what you do if they take you down and they are still standing or even if they go to the ground with you.

These type of paired exercises (especially with different body types) help you to develop your own body awareness as well as that of the attacker. That plays a large role in how you protect against a take down. Another thing that we train to do is be able to do all of our throws and/or strikes from any angle or position.

I don't really know FL geography that well, but, we have two schools there (I don't know if one would be close for you to visit). One is at Stetson University in De Land which has the United States Technical Director for Yoseikan as the head instructor. The other is in Pensacola and is taught by one of our nidan's that spent a few years training in Japan and studied with Minoru Mochizuki while there.

Wendy - as a side note, you mentioned big and small circles. Hiroo Mochizuki tells of when he and Saito (I think that's the spelling of who I'm thinking of) were students of O Sensei he would give them private lessons and state that the big circles were the basics to get an understanding of the movements and techniques, but, the true technique (and power) came from the small circles. That is - use the same hip and body movements, but, compact it into a tighter (small) circle.

Kevin Leavitt
01-21-2005, 04:59 PM
In a "perfect world" with "Perfect Technique" takedowns don't work if you maintain a balanced posture and move the way most of us are taught in aikido. The guy or gal will grab you legs, but will fail to take you down because he/she cannot get a "fulcrum" point.

The problem arises with a skilled grappler because, from my experiences, you either "bend" or "react" push/pull and start playing his game. It really is difficult to not do this, at least for me.

In my aikido training, we tend to focus on isolating techniques and performing movements within a very defined set of conditions to ensure that principles and good habits are being reinforced. Most MMA or BJJ guys train with many more variables and will move very quickly. This training methodoogy is very effective sense it focuses on "no nonsense" tactics that will work on, say 70 to 80% of the population, which is fine if you want to be effective.

When that "70%" solution is thrown at a somewhat typical "aikidoka" with all the other parameters and variables that we are not conditioned to, it creates confusion, which is opportunity and it becomes hard for us to deal with. Circles get smaller, and things get much tighter. It is hard to move and work the sphere of the aiki dynamic that we so love.

Doesn't mean that aikido does not work. The challenge is to figure out how reopen and create the space that you need to move your center and find the opportunity to control the way we are use to.

It is not easy that is for sure! I find that most BJJer or MMA guys do train to be "combat or fight effective". Most aikido dojos tend to focus on ultimately perfecting center balance or acheiving 100% effectiveness in the mastery of principles of dynamic movement. That alone is a big gap in paradigms that tend to make them seem somewhat at odds with each other. i think it boils down to a internal/external thing. Nothing wrong with either one, in my opinion it is good to train in both ways to acheive mastery.

Casey Martinson
01-21-2005, 08:42 PM
Paul: "I thought I mentioned Mits Yamashita. He would be the guy to talk to about this, as he's an aikido shihan and skilled bjj'er."

Yes, I saw your original mention. But he has not posted to this particular threat. Will still consider that good advice however.

Lynn: "I must admit to the humor and the irony that on a thread called "Taking the higher road" we have mostly discussed take-downs, grappling, and ground work. LOL"

That has definitely been in my mind as well. Perhaps the "high road" could be seen as a metaphor for the road of staying on one's feet. Interesting that it worked out that way though; not at all what I intended in writing that title.

Michael: "Well cross training is the start. If you try training aikido responses to a shot without cross training then you'll likely be dealing with a poor shot and the results of your experiment will be skewed."

Good point. Or if you want to save time you could find a skilled grappler to train with. Perhaps you don't need to be skilled in takedowns yourself to develop skill in defending against them, as long as you hone that skill against somebody who does know their takedowns.

Michael: "Why is it important that we have a specifically and uniquely Aikido response to an attack like this?"

From what I have seen, the sprawl involves sort of shooting your legs behind you while you secure a hold on your opponent's shoulders or head or gi or whatever? Is that correct? If it is, then it seems like your center of gravity is way out over your supporting limbs (your legs). Is it not fundamental to aikido to stay centered and grounded? That has been my impression so far. If my line of reasoning isn't totally half baked then, once you're in the sprawl, would it not be difficult to regain a grounded posture? You may escape the takedown, but then you have entered into a grappling contenst where the odds are not in your favor. One thing that seems very practical about the aikido immobilizations I've seen and practiced is that they leave you (standing or kneeling) in a good position to escape or defend against other attackers. Submission holds that win grappling fights seem to often leave you entangled with the opponent? In a real life scenario, once you've got your opponent in an arm bar with your legs across his neck, then what? Break his arm? That doesn't seem quite aiki. And defending against a second attack from that kind of position would seem pretty challenging also.

Robert, thanks for the tip.

Kevin, your thoughts seem logical to me. No doubt, MMA/BJJ training has got to be geared toward combat effectiveness--at least against one unarmed opponent. I think the overall effectiveness potential of aikido is probably greater than that of MMA/BJJ. In principle, aikido should be undefeatable because it does not "fight"; it calls on the power of the universe to restore natural order. In practice, that is obviously an idealistic path that may take decades to realize. MMA/BJJ has a much quicker learning curve, so for the first couple decades, it may offer a more realistic path of self defense. Ultimately however, I can't imagine a UFC champ continuing to refine his art of combat as old age begins to take its toll. If the stories of O'Sensei are even half true, I'll wager he could hold his own against the best UFC has to offer, even at the age of 80. That's pretty incredible. Will the MMA champs be able to defend their titles at 80? Probably not.

Kevin Leavitt
01-22-2005, 02:28 AM
Casey: Agree with most of your thoughts, but caution you against trying to fit everything into neat boxes and generalizations.

I would not say that Aikido has a greater effective potential over MMA/BJJ. I think "potential" and "effectiveness" are realitive terms that depend on the person, path, and perspective. It really is about what works for you. I do think though that Aikido is geared a little better at teaching basic principles that give you a good base for mastery of principle of dynamic movement. That does not mean you will be a good fighter, just understand prinicples.

I think you could equate it to a PhD that has taught an MBA program for his whole life without ever really being in business. He certainly will understand economic theories, and business models, but may not really be able to be a successful businessman. Doesn't mean he is not successful or has not acheived mastery...just that outside of his academic realm he is not effective.

On the other hand you can have a non high school graduate that makes millions and has mastered a business tand is very effective an successful. He may not be able to demonstrate theory or economic models, but he does know how to make money.

Both are masters and successes within their own realms.

Be careful about using the term "Aikido Principles" (I do it too!). The principles are universal in nature, aikido is a methodology that allows you to learn them. AIkido does not have the market on any prinicples. They exist in all arts of dynamic of movement, be it AIkido, MMA/BJJ, yoga, pilates etc.

Would agree that the path to mastery in aikido is a long one...how long depends on your goals and endstate. When you say "quicker learning curve" I think that depends on your goal and endstate. If your endstate is to grapple and submit one person..then yes, BJJ is probably a better methodology than aikido, does not mean you cannot achieve the same endstate by studying BJJ. Vice, if your endstate is perfect balance, blending, harmony etc...then AIkido may be quicker...it really depends on your personal goals.

I think the problem is not that there is anything wrong or good/bad about a training methodology...just that most people are confused about who they are and what they want out of their studies. I know I go back and forth between goals all the time which is why I study both aikido and BJJ. THis confusion causes internal conflict within me and is why I go back and forth all the time between BJJ and Aikido. I think this is where inner reflection, meditation etc come in to play to help you keep your mind in tune with your goals and focuses.

I would also be careful about generalizing too much about the fact that you would do well the first couple of decades studying BJJ being good, but not ultimately able to refine his art as old age begins. People evolve and change. Helio Grace is still a BJJ guy in his 80's I am sure he still trains and his perspective and goals have evolved over the years. There are many paths to mastery as well as many endstates.

Everyone seems to have this vision of what the ultimate martial artist in his 80s who has achieved "oneness" with the universe and is virtually enlightened and a demi god that can catch bullets. We all have this imaginary vision, but no one I have ever met or talked to can really define it in a quantifiable way or say "that is what it looks like". Sure, we have role models and they are different for everyone. I would love to look and move like Helio Gracie when I am in my 80's or any number of Shihan I have met over the years. You know, they all really look the same and preach the same message regardless of what they have studied. So I don't think it matters. How you define success is a internal matter between you and your mind.

Another thought. Think of the thousands of people that don't look like O'Sensei or the active Shihan in his 80s. Out of the thousands....only one or two achieve that level. It is a rare thing. I guess my point is there is no sure fire way to train to guarantee that you will be the "ultimate 80 year old warrior". No art has the corner on the market. It would be nice to say that if you went to 5 classes a week and did everything that sensei told you to do that you would be like him in 40 years...it simple fact is it is not that easy and what worked for him may not work for you! We are all wired differently.

I wouldn't wager that O'Sensei could "hold his own". personally I have no way of knowing if he could or couldn't. My guess would be the opposite that he would lose since he would be constrained to play by their rules. They train in a way that exploits those rules. Would not mean that O'Sensei wasa "failure", just not good a BJJ or MMA fighting. (Return to the PhD/no H.S grad analogy.) Vice, a UFC fighter would probably not do well in O'Sensei's environment.

On another note. Aikido as you probably know it today is not something you want to be doing in your 80's. How many 80 year olds do you see doing aikido anyway???? Most Shihan in there 60's if you pay attention to them are not taking ukemi and getting tossed around much are they? Why is that? Aikido is very hard on your body. I go back to my point about evolving. Yes, Aikido has room for you to evolve and in principle if you acheive mastery you do not really need to take ukemi anymore since in a perfect senario you could redirect and resolve any attack with little effort, but that is theory and principle. MMA and BJJ allow for this too.

What I like about MMA philosophy is that "anything goes" there is no definitions defining the context of what MMA is. It is what you want it to be and it will be different for every person. Most MMA guys that stay with this over 40 or 50 years you will find will evolve from ballistic hardcore ground fighitng to soft internal stuff and it is all MMA. Again, you are correct, most MMA/BJJ guys today will not be doing it in there 80's anyway. Also, true for Aikidoka though!

What you will find with an MMA guy is that they have a very good BS barometer. They are very open minded to aikido I have found, but they take away from it what works for them in the context of their personal goals. If you go in and show them some things and you cannot demonstrate how it will help them, they will dismiss it. It is no relection on how effective/ineffective aikido is, just didn't work for them.

Yea a MMA champ won't be able to defend his title in his 80s. O'Sensei probably could not have defended a title for a competition in his 80's either. You know a butterfly starts out as a caterpiller. They are the same animal, but as they evolve they lose and develop things that they could not do in the other state. Doesn't mean they are not the same animal, just that they evolved. I think this applies to Martial artist as well.

I think the "chip on the shoulder" that many Aikidoist have with MMA/BJJ guys is that you have seen an explosion in last 10 years of people taking up MMA/BJJ. Lots of young guys and wannabes come in study for a while and leave. It tends to annoy our egos as martial artist for some reason. Who are these brash dudes who dare to come in, kick ass for a while, lose interest and move on. Many talk a lot of trash, don't understand (or care to) our so-called "refinement" and almost look at distain with all the ritualistic "pseudo" japanese "respect". We tend to look at them as barbarians. It is a different culture than what we are used to so we tend to look down on it etc.

You know, the japanese did the same thing to the west many years ago. You must be careful!

You see the same thing happening in yoga. "Purist" yoga people adopt the same attitude to the healthclub "McStudios" that pop up and "certify" instructors overnight!

Good topic and good discussion. I would think hard as you are doing about this stuff and be very careful to not to generalize too much it will get you into trouble trying to put labels on things!!! Just keep it in perspective and train!

Casey Martinson
01-22-2005, 11:46 AM
Kevin, appreciate your thoughtful comments.
I still think O'Sensei could evade and throw a UFC champ with Jedi-like powers : ) but that's just my opinion. We'll never know.
I agree it is not ideal to make generalizations, but it is probably unavoidable in these discussions, espcially for me, as a beginner to aikido and a virtual alien to UFC style competition. In a way, language itself is a generalization. As they say, "the map is not the territory." I think as long as we keep that in mind when we're reading the map, these discussions still serve their purpose. And hopefully all our conceptual ponderings will integrate somehow with the experiential reality we face in the dojo to give us greater understanding of both map and territory.
I think I've looked at this particular map long enough. Thanks everybody for the discussion. And now to the training.

JasonFDeLucia
01-23-2005, 05:53 PM
Hello all,
I've been reading this forum for a few weeks now, and I'll make my introduction here. After waiting many years, I've been training in Aikido for going on three weeks. I absolutely love it.

One thing I really appreciate about this forum is the level of respect and intelligence demonstrated in the posts. A few days ago, I was reading a thread regarding counter techniques to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This sparked my interest in learning more about BJJ as well. I studied a little bit of grappling as a karate student in high school, back when the UFC was brand new. I know it can be a tremendously valuable skill for self defense, although hopefully, aikido will allow me to avoid the need for such skills.

Anyway, long story short, I went to jiu-jitsu.net for more info, and found the forum pages to be very disappointing. The posts are full of ego, crude language, and aggressive attitudes.

My impression was that UFC has had the effect of swelling BJJ schools with immature guys (very few "chicks") who want to be able to beat the crap out of all comers. Do any readers here have recent experience training in BJJ? Am I wrong? I'd like to someday look into learning BJJ but if I have to put up with the "ultimate fighter complex", forget it.

Also, has anyone spent much time developing aikido against grappling attacks? I've long though that the serious martial artist wouldn't have to be concerned about such training, because most people who start fights are not skilled fighters. But perhaps the UFC effect is changing that equation. Any thoughts?

Once again, kudos to all the members of aikiweb for taking the high road. I look forward to your posts.

Casey Martinson
what many bjj stylists have not understood is that aikido is the most recent evolution and highest evolution of jujitsu from that era .the reason you don't see it in nhb is because the average person good eneough to use it is in his mid forties and up.it takes that long to assimilate ,unless you have an unusual amount of time on your hands with full technical support ,8 to ten hours a day for five solid years would bring you to the threshold ,but over time methods of assimilation have improved also.once people guarded the secrets more closely but now many see that revealing the secrets is the only way to set a good example and give people something to shoot for .rather than the six month training camps that teach someone how to drag a match to a drawn conclusion with lots of steroids and bad attitude so they feel tough and cool.all jujitsu is the same until it becomes an aiki jujitsu ,kinda like all atom bombs are the same till they become a hydrogen bomb.
to the end that concerns you effective basic remedies to double leg take downs and the like start with the sprawl as a bread and butter move ,and after some time you should e able to enter passed most cases .of the five pillar theory in akido you may adress a double leg takedown with any of the five pillars .should you be flattened out on the mat remember that traditional judo -jujitsu should be included as a takemusu eneough to take you back to the traditional form if you haven't allready ended it

Aristeia
01-23-2005, 07:42 PM
Michael: "Why is it important that we have a specifically and uniquely Aikido response to an attack like this?"

From what I have seen, the sprawl involves sort of shooting your legs behind you while you secure a hold on your opponent's shoulders or head or gi or whatever? Is that correct?

Yeah that's more or less it.


If it is, then it seems like your center of gravity is way out over your supporting limbs (your legs). Is it not fundamental to aikido to stay centered and grounded?

I would suggest it's fundamental to Aikido to stay conscious so a sprawl vs a double leg is a good start. :)
Seriously though, centered and grounded could mean different things to different people. By which I mean, just because your're not standing there with a straight back and head up doesn't necessarily mean you are not centered. IMHO it's about keeping control of your center and taking control of there's. Which a sprawl acheives. I see nothing un aiki in it.

That has been my impression so far. If my line of reasoning isn't totally half baked then, once you're in the sprawl, would it not be difficult to regain a grounded posture? You may escape the takedown, but then you have entered into a grappling contenst where the odds are not in your favor. One thing that seems very practical about the aikido immobilizations I've seen and practiced is that they leave you (standing or kneeling) in a good position to escape or defend against other attackers.

Well you don't have to go from sprawl to grapple. You can regain your feet again pretty quickly if that's your desire. The sprawl can be very transitory and need not overly impinge your ability to deal with others who are on their way. On the other hand it's been shown time and again that if you don't know the sprawl. the most likely result is you flat on your back, perhaps unconscious, if not mounted and on your way to unconsciousness. Which much more seriously impinges your ability to escape or defend against other attackers.

In other words, it would be great to choose a defence to a shot that leaves you on your feet in strong stance with your would be attacker pinned on the ground and under control I have simply seen no evidence that such a defence exists in Aikido or elsewhere.