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Wynand van Dyk
02-08-2005, 07:41 AM
Not having competitions is almost a point of pride in some Aikido institutions, what nonsense, how better to curb the growth of an ego than with a good butt-kicking now and then. The flipside to this argument is that Aikido is not competitive - sure, so just take part in the competitions without being competitive, its easy, you cancel the pyro guys who want to install fireworks around the mat for your "entry", you put a sensible pair of pants and shirt on, you give the audience their money back and tell them to go home and you go on and test yourself in honesty and humility against another Aikidoka.

In Aikido, because of the lack of competition in most schools, there is no official "pecking-order" based off of skill, often this manifests as a competition for who can brown-nose sensei the most, who stays the latest and practices the "hardest" etc... The lack of clearly defined skill levels between ranks often comes up in the much maligned passive-aggressive behaviour of Aikidoka. There is no need for this kind of behaviour in a truly "non competitive art"

People often bring up that old chestnut of osensei whereby he declares competition absolutely verboten and taboo. I am utterly and completely convinced that osensei's notion of competition has nothing to do with "sparring" or "randori" and everything todo with the behaviours described in the previous paragraph.

Casey Martinson
02-08-2005, 08:14 AM
One, having watched competative fighting sports from wrestling to boxing to MMA, I don't see that the inevitable butt kicking leads to humility. For those inclined toward humility, it will be there regardless. For those inclined toward over-large egos, getting ones butt kicked probably won't have much of an effect.

Two, what form would aikido competition take? Kata competition? I don't see how sparring could even be possible.

batemanb
02-08-2005, 08:57 AM
Wynand,

Don't let Aikido dogma stop you from going out to prove your the biggest cock in the hen house, if that's what you feel the need to do. Just don't come back whingeing that Aikido doesn't work if you get your arse kicked.

If the Aikido that you practice doesn't do it for you, find something else that floats your boat.If you diagree with the way that Aikido is taught, master it and create your own budo, or go and sign on with any one of hundreds of other real or combat aikido styles that have been spawned by similar thinking people.

There's no point getting upset with it, you have the free choice to go do something about it yourself.

Bryan

rob_liberti
02-08-2005, 09:16 AM
I agree with most of the original post, but not all of the conclusions you jumped to.

If you want to compete I'm all for it. Here is the competition I purpose:

We get as many sets of identical twins as are willing to participate. They have to to have similar ability in martial arts (meaning that if we find that Endo sensei has an identicle twin brother who never trainined aikido in his life, we can use that set of twins only if I get Endo sensei for my team!).

Now, we each get one member of each set of twins to train. I'll train them in a cooperative model and you train them using all of the competition that you want. We can do this for as long as you like.

When you say you are ready, we'll get together. We require that they all wear the same dogis and keep their hair cuts the same so that there is no way to distinguish which one is from which training methodology. We get a third party dojo to attack them all as hard as they like in any basic waza.

Those third party uke-s get to decide which training methodology works best.

The prise:
The loser, agrees to change what they had been "utterly and completely convinced" of what O-sensei's notion competition is.

Rob

akiy
02-08-2005, 09:18 AM
In Aikido, because of the lack of competition in most schools, there is no official "pecking-order" based off of skill, often this manifests as a competition for who can brown-nose sensei the most, who stays the latest and practices the "hardest" etc... The lack of clearly defined skill levels between ranks often comes up in the much maligned passive-aggressive behaviour of Aikidoka. There is no need for this kind of behaviour in a truly "non competitive art"

People often bring up that old chestnut of osensei whereby he declares competition absolutely verboten and taboo. I am utterly and completely convinced that osensei's notion of competition has nothing to do with "sparring" or "randori" and everything todo with the behaviours described in the previous paragraph.
For more information on the founder's thoughts on shiai and "competition," please see Peter Goldsbury's informative post here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10426&postcount=15

-- Jun

rob_liberti
02-08-2005, 09:26 AM
Bryan,

I like what you said too, but I have to say I'm kind of psyched to get to try Jason Delucia's Combat aikido dojo someday soon. I don't know yet, but it sounds like it has real potential and I might really get to learn something(s) valuable there.

Rob

darin
02-08-2005, 11:21 AM
Tomiki and Yoseikan have competitions but I don't think their tournaments are open to all styles.

I haven't heard that much bickering about which style is best but I have heard out of shape instructors boasting they can take on 5 people at once or be able to easily deal with someone who is trained in another art.

pezalinski
02-08-2005, 02:34 PM
Tomiki and Yoseikan have competitions but I don't think their tournaments are open to all styles.

I haven't heard that much bickering about which style is best but I have heard out of shape instructors boasting they can take on 5 people at once or be able to easily deal with someone who is trained in another art.

As someone who has been repeatedly whipped to the mat by some of these "out of shape" instructors, I respectfully decline to denegrate them. Impressive physical fitness (read: "looks like he/she could kick your A**") is not a requirement for practicing the art -- some of the best Aikidoka out there look like your grandmother in a Gi and hakima ;) . They don't have to be able to run a 5 minute mile to deal with you, or jump tall buildings in a single bound, or even to be abe to bench press their own body weight 5 times. They only need to be able to apply the "non-violent" art of Aikido effectively and appropriately to deal with your attacks, until you are too tired to continue or painfully disabled and unable to do so. That doesn't take strength, nor even all that much stamina -- just experience, intelligence, timing, and grace under pressure.

IMHO, If you really want to see competetive "Aikido" and are only impressed by the use of physical domination to determine a pecking order -- look to Gracie-style Jujitsu and the full-contact competitions... A lot of aikido can be found reflected in jujitsu, and competition weeds out the less effective but more flowery techniques to something more brutal and effective... You might even enjoy it, for a while, until you are injured and unable to continue to compete.

paw
02-08-2005, 03:40 PM
Impressive physical fitness (read: "looks like he/she could kick your A**")

Fitness is not an appearance, it is the ability to perform an activity.

some of the best Aikidoka out there look like your grandmother in a Gi and hakima

Respectfully, you would have to define "best" in order to make this statement.

That doesn't take strength, nor even all that much stamina -- just experience, intelligence, timing, and grace under pressure.

Proponents of competition would point out that experience, intelligence, timing and grace under pressure may be forged and developed by competition....particularly grace under pressure.

IMHO, If you really want to see competetive "Aikido" and are only impressed by the use of physical domination to determine a pecking order -- look to Gracie-style Jujitsu and the full-contact competitions...

It has already been mentioned that Tomiki and Yoseikan have aikido competition. There's no need to go "outside" of aikido, per se.

I also take issue with the idea that everyone or even most particpants of bjj or mma competitions do so for a desire to physically dominate someone or determine a pecking order. In my experience, they do it for other reasons.

You might even enjoy it, for a while, until you are injured and unable to continue to compete.

You'd have to be able to prove that competition in bjj or mma is more injurious than aikido. In my personal experience, that is not true. Further, the atheticism and conditioning of competitors allows them to recover far, far faster than the average person.

Competition in bjj or mma, doesn't require a high degree of athleticism, nor is it regulated to the young. However, competitors are often encouraged to improve their athleticism because of the obvious advantages it brings.

Regards,

Paul

rob_liberti
02-08-2005, 03:56 PM
You know I've been thinking about this and the funny thing is that in most cooperative models I've seen, we always incourage the uke to resist just enough to slow the person down but not enough to stop them. So I suppose we have competition controlled by an over-all cooperation. And, I'm certain that most competitive models cooperate when learning new skills for a while until they get to the more free - now test what you've been practicing part. So, I'd say it kind of depends on what you feel the over all focus is. Either side of this to the extreme is probably not the right answer for most...

(But of course I believe in the model I use, that's why I use it.)

Rob

mj
02-08-2005, 04:48 PM
...IMHO, If you really want to see competetive "Aikido"....
I fail to see the need to insult other schools. It is Aikido, not "Aikido".

As someone who has been repeatedly whipped to the mat by some of these "out of shape" instructors, I respectfully decline to denegrate them...
Well of course....no one is suggesting that you would insult your friends. Strangers are obviously a different story. :(

Dominic Toupin
02-08-2005, 07:18 PM
Yoseikan Budo under Hiroo Mochizuki has a unique style of competition incorporating karate, judo and aiki technique

Check :

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6409
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4850
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6378
http://www.yoseikan.asso.fr/
http://www.yoseikan-budo.org/

maikerus
02-08-2005, 07:18 PM
In Aikido, because of the lack of competition in most schools, there is no official "pecking-order" based off of skill, often this manifests as a competition for who can brown-nose sensei the most, who stays the latest and practices the "hardest" etc... The lack of clearly defined skill levels between ranks often comes up in the much maligned passive-aggressive behaviour of Aikidoka. There is no need for this kind of behaviour in a truly "non competitive art".

I've never seen this problem. In all of the dojos I have trained at I could/can easily tell who was better than me and who wasn't as good. If you need a trophy to tell you that you might be missing the whole point.

Seeing who is better day in and day out seems to be a lot better way to "curb the ego" - if that's what you want - than any competition. It also inspires one to become better...every day.

Just a thought...

--Michael

Roy Dean
02-08-2005, 07:49 PM
I think that encouraging select Aikidoka to enter grappling competitions would be a beneficial addition to the traditional training method.

Competition is not for everyone. There are a lot of complex emotions involved: Nervousness, insomnia, adrenaline dumps, mid-fight exhaustion; not to mention to the rigors of preparation and the trials of "Hey, you're fighting next" stagefright. It can be overwhelming for some, and is a true training crucible for "grace under pressure."

The closest thing to competition in most Aikido schools is testing, which triggers many of the same emotions.

I think many of those that shun competition would be surprised at what a positive, transformative experience it can be. Some competition moments of mine have had a "peak experience" flavor to them, not thinking, just feeling, responding and being in rhythm with my opponent. My last loss has inspired me to work harder and fill in the holes in my game that my opponent was able to exploit. Holes I was only vaguely aware of before the competition, but clearly brought into the light afterwards.

Kata has value. Cooperative practice has value. Resistant practice has value. As does competition. I feel that competition should be encouraged for those who seek to test their skills, but firmly kept in check as only a single ASPECT of training.

Yes, I've come across many Aikidokas that I would have paid good money to see enter a BJJ or submission grappling tournament. But their arrogance will be their downfall. If they don't want to ever feel the martial truth of spontaneous attacks with full speed, power, and intent, then they don't have to. It will be a surprise if it ever occurs, and at that moment they will either sink or swim. Competition let's me know I can swim, even when the waves are crashing.

It's experiential. We can talk all day about what competition can or cannot do for people, but until you actually experience it for yourself, it's all abstraction. Those that understand, understand perfectly.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

darin
02-09-2005, 02:18 AM
As someone who has been repeatedly whipped to the mat by some of these "out of shape" instructors, I respectfully decline to denegrate them. Impressive physical fitness (read: "looks like he/she could kick your A**") is not a requirement for practicing the art -- some of the best Aikidoka out there look like your grandmother in a Gi and hakima ;) . They don't have to be able to run a 5 minute mile to deal with you, or jump tall buildings in a single bound, or even to be abe to bench press their own body weight 5 times. They only need to be able to apply the "non-violent" art of Aikido effectively and appropriately to deal with your attacks, until you are too tired to continue or painfully disabled and unable to do so. That doesn't take strength, nor even all that much stamina -- just experience, intelligence, timing, and grace under pressure.

IMHO, If you really want to see competetive "Aikido" and are only impressed by the use of physical domination to determine a pecking order -- look to Gracie-style Jujitsu and the full-contact competitions... A lot of aikido can be found reflected in jujitsu, and competition weeds out the less effective but more flowery techniques to something more brutal and effective... You might even enjoy it, for a while, until you are injured and unable to continue to compete.

I think you totally missed my point.

PeterR
02-09-2005, 02:25 AM
If Uke is far more exhausted than Tori after a series of moves - who is doing all the work?

mj
02-09-2005, 05:02 AM
If Uke is far more exhausted than Tori after a series of moves - who is doing all the work?
This is part of my concern about 'non-competitive' aikido. (Not that I have concerns, I am just taking part in this thread.)

Every martial artist trains technically, works on posture, awareness and so on...but the dramatic drop in ability that comes from stress-based exhaustion opens up our flaws in a few minutes, allowing our trainers to see our real needs in training.

This is not to say that one needs to spar, spar, spar, run, run, run.

One needs to know that when exhausted, our posture, composure, awareness and so on do not succumb to the natural instincts of folding over, dropping to the ground, being weak to the corners, grabbing and so on.

Is this partly what Shioda meant when he said 'paying their dues' ?

Building up from a strong base of composure under pressure not only gives us a strong foundation but it also allows us to more easily see openings in our partners - and allows us to see the natural progression of exhaustion in others which leads to stress and loss of control in their normal lives. And allows us to help them because we have overcome that. :)

TheWonderKid
02-09-2005, 07:12 AM
I was under the impression that we were supposed to blend with situations, to achieve harmony. By fighting, haven't we already failed in Aikido? I suppose it could be argued that fighting and competition are two different things but it's still two opposing forces that should seek harmony.

But as for competition to curb egos, what about the guy that comes out on top? I doubt that'll deflat an ego and probably do the opposite.

As far as raw skill vs those who work hard, I'm of the opinion that those who work hard deserve the rewards they reap. Were I a Sensei, I'm sure I would pay more attention to those who showed up every class and gave it their all rather than the one who showed up when they felt like it because they believed themselves to be good enough not to have to practice as often.

Perhaps my own dojo is coloring my opinion. In our dojo, rank is unimportant. We are tested when our Sensei thinks it's time for us to be tested, we wear no colored belts other than white or a hakema. Our Sensei is currently a 3rd Dan (Sandan?) and I've been told he's declined to test for his 4th on multiple occasions, because rank to him means little. It's more about what one can personally do. When we have seminars guest instructors are often impressed we can adapt to their style with little difficulty (though that's mostly the others since I've only just passed my 6th kyu). No one really cares who's the best, we all help each other's technique whenever we can.

So when it boils down to it, who cares where you'd rank in your dojo, it's a personal development where the only competetion should be against oneself.

Just my two cents, if I'm way off I appreciate criticism and if I've hit close to the mark, I'd like to know as well.

mj
02-09-2005, 08:15 AM
I was under the impression that we were supposed to blend with situations, to achieve harmony.
Yes but we are mainly talking about training methods. At the start of the day Aikido is a martial art...what you have made of it by the end of the day is up to you.

But as for competition to curb egos, what about the guy that comes out on top? I doubt that'll deflat an ego and probably do the opposite...
...So when it boils down to it, who cares where you'd rank in your dojo, it's a personal development where the only competetion should be against oneself.
What ego? Who has ego problems?

If I may add...there does seem to be a problem of implication here. (Not necessarily in your posts, Owen)

It seems to be implied that anyone taking part in 'competition' has ego issues. And by extension it is being implied that people who do not take part in 'competition' do not have any ego issues. :)

Thus the argument has seperated randori/competitive training as part of an organised system to improve your ability in the art and made it about flawed character, desire for trophies, outranking others and indeed a pecking order.

To make it more plain...the arguments (sic) given here against this kind of training are of a personal nature regarding the practitioners, not technical.

Yann Golanski
02-09-2005, 10:45 AM
I do Shodokan... we have randori and kata competitions. I've been doing them for about eight years now. I've never lost one. I always win. From the first one ever till the ones I am going to do tonight: all wins.

You see, competition is teaching me what I need to improve on. It shows me when my techniques are weak and ineffectual. It shows me I have to work a lot more before I am ``good''. That's why I win all the time. It's a learning tool. Nothing more, nothing less.

As to winning tin cups... I can buy those at the corner shop. As for being the hardest melon farmer before 25; I know that everyone listens to reason(TM) -- Yes, It's a Snow Crash reference.

Amir Krause
02-09-2005, 11:36 AM
One can practice Randori as light sparring without competition. Randori as a free game, with both sides initiating on their own does not imply competition.


The same goes for competition and ego - one does not force the other, you can have competitions and have inflated ego, competing only against inferior opponents, or do some other manipulation to inflate your ego (One can hang his ego on one minor success when deciding the competitor was vastly superior). Or you could use the competition as a learning tool, keep fighting against better opponents, loose all the time and keep your ego down.

The same is true for non competitive groups. One can inflate his ego due to his success with a compliant partner, or check his ego and keep feeling frustrated at his poor level, after asking that cooperative partner to give him a harder life and a more realistic feedback (In the last couple of weeks, I am improving one technique using such practice. I don't gloat at success; I just ask to raise the difficulty level to one I can learn from).

A competition can be a test for some techniques, but one can not learn to improve the technique through it. A good uke can help you to do both.


Amir

TheWonderKid
02-09-2005, 11:40 AM
What ego? Who has ego problems?

If I may add...there does seem to be a problem of implication here. (Not necessarily in your posts, Owen)

It seems to be implied that anyone taking part in 'competition' has ego issues. And by extension it is being implied that people who do not take part in 'competition' do not have any ego issues. :)

Well yes, I was continuing on that train of thought that had been introduced eariler in the thread. The original post mentioned how a butt-kicking would curb one's ego. I just wanted to point out that this may not be the case. It could also simply breed resentment.

Aiki LV
02-10-2005, 03:12 PM
Everyone has different reasons for training. For me I don't believe competition in aikido is a positive thing. It changes the whole atmosphere of training. The attitude changes from a "we" centered interaction to a "self-centered" action. It simply comes down to whether you perfer a sport or an art. :triangle: :circle: :square:

bogglefreak20
02-11-2005, 06:49 AM
One of the most important reasons I started training in Ki Aikido was the fact that there are no competitions. Such practice still remains in our dojo and our sensei keeps repeating that we train in order to win over our own faults not to win over someone else. I agree completely knowing also that other schools and other people have different views on the subject in question.

Personaly I do not see the point of Aikido competition. Not because they couldn't be done but because IMO they would miss the point. Those who disagree may of course compete as much as they like or feel the need to.

mj
02-11-2005, 07:14 AM
Everyone is entitled to their own form of practice. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion too.

Aiki LV may feel that my practice is self-centred and selfish, that is up to her. She may decide that because I train differently..it is no longer Aikido but just a sport, that again is up to her.

I can't honestly say that I am comfortable with some of the views expressed here. But there you go...live and let live I say.

And of course Boggle must be correct as well when saying that only Boggle's training allows Boggle to overcome Boggles faults. My training is much too self -centred for that and, in fact, makes me a worse person.

Aiki LV
02-11-2005, 05:30 PM
I can't honestly say that I am comfortable with some of the views expressed here. But there you go...live and let live I say
Why should people's opinions that aren't the same as yours make you uncomfortable? :confused:
I think you might be taking the opinions expressed a little too personally and reading more into it than there is.

Aiki LV may feel that my practice is self-centred and selfish, that is up to her. She may decide that because I train differently..it is no longer Aikido but just a sport, that again is up to her.
Just for the record I never once said that what you were doing wasn't aikido. In fact I aknowledged that it was. The language in my post specifically states For me I don't believe competition in aikido is a positive thing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is opinions are just that OPINIONS.
;)

Chris Birke
02-11-2005, 05:41 PM
"I guess what I'm trying to say is opinions are just that OPINIONS. "

This is a nice sentiment, but it doesn't really reflect reality. Everyone is entitled to speak their own opinion for that is freedom of speech. Not everyones opinion is correct. My opinion may be that 2 plus 2 equals 5, and in that I'd be wrong.

Sorry, but I get annoyed with "lets agree to disagree" as a means of ending discussion.

In other news, best to not address arguments by their creator - instead simply address the argument itself.

As to competition - it's addictive. That's a quality I'm not sure anyone has pointed out.

L. Camejo
02-11-2005, 06:47 PM
Not having competitions is almost a point of pride in some Aikido institutions, what nonsense, how better to curb the growth of an ego than with a good butt-kicking now and then. The flipside to this argument is that Aikido is not competitive - sure, so just take part in the competitions without being competitive, its easy, you cancel the pyro guys who want to install fireworks around the mat for your "entry", you put a sensible pair of pants and shirt on, you give the audience their money back and tell them to go home and you go on and test yourself in honesty and humility against another Aikidoka.

Not a bad idea Wynand, except that the concept of "testing" is taken by many to mean "fighting", "getting an ego trip" or (God forbid) "being aggressive" - things that I hear are very "un-aiki" (whatever that means). As such they prefer the safety of the (often delusional) "assumption" that they are effective at what they do and don't need to test it. To these folks I really hope for their own sakes that they are correct in what they believe. It's part of why they are also met with shock and then severe pain and humiliation when they venture into other practicality-based styles with this attitude. In my world, better to honestly test something to the point of failure so that it can be made better each time. In competition this applies to one's inner fortitude, strength of will, ability to overcome weakness, perseverance, as well as physical challenges. Wasn't it Ueshiba M. who said something about constantly forging the warrior spirit through serious training? It would be nice if we had some of his quotes from earlier on during the hell dojo days and when he had just left Takeda S.

In Aikido, because of the lack of competition in most schools, there is no official "pecking-order" based off of skill, often this manifests as a competition for who can brown-nose sensei the most, who stays the latest and practices the "hardest" etc... The lack of clearly defined skill levels between ranks often comes up in the much maligned passive-aggressive behaviour of Aikidoka. There is no need for this kind of behaviour in a truly "non competitive art"

Yeah I've experienced this sort of passive-aggressive behaviour too and tend to laugh internally every time. I feel sorry for those sorts, well maybe just a little anyway.:) Being competitive is part of the nature of many human beings (more than most will ever admit) and wherever there are human beings there is always some sort of a hierarchy being developed, even if subtly hinted at and not solid enough to pin down. If it does not appear in the technical/skill level area it shows up in the brown nosing, the one who gives the most time, most money, buys the most beer etc. To be honest though Wynand, if Aikido hierarchies were to be defined by skill level in "effective technique" then many current instructors in many styles will be knocked to places in the ladder that their ego may be unable to handle. So as they say - "Let's not go there";).

People often bring up that old chestnut of osensei whereby he declares competition absolutely verboten and taboo. I am utterly and completely convinced that osensei's notion of competition has nothing to do with "sparring" or "randori" and everything todo with the behaviours described in the previous paragraph.

To quote Tomiki K. "Those who understand, understand perfectly." If this sort of objective testing of your abilities is what you truly seek then I'd say make your way quickly to a Shodokan dojo. If you are not getting this experience in your current dojo an idea may be to take up someone with some very good ukemi skills who you trust and the 2 of you agree to go at it with some limitations at first and then opening up a bit as you learn more about each other's abilities. Some good guides to the method can be found in "Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge" (http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=95&sort=7&cat=6&page=1) and "Aikido and Randori". (http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=3&sort=7&cat=5&page=1)

Hope this helps. Happy training.
LC:ai::ki:

Alvin H. Nagasawa
02-11-2005, 08:21 PM
IMPO, Competition in Aikido is between your Sempai & Kohai's. There is always a test of ability and ego in any form of MA. The younger and stronger individuals are always testing there abilitys. If they wish to they should do it after there normal class. But one has to weight the libality for there action. If anyone who has gotten hurt or injured. One will suffer the result of there actions while they are in the dojo. This is the reason why Aikido is a non-competetive martial art form. And is practiced or permitted in most dojo's. I'm sure that the founder must have taken this into consideration when lableing it so.
If one wants to compete with the ultamate individual challange yourself. Train your self to be a better person. Learn compassion, Know how to control your emotion. You are the biggest challange to overcome. Start from this point first, before you go and challange anyone else.

maikerus
02-12-2005, 12:52 AM
Who has been thrown fantastically and gotten up and said "show me how to do that" with a huge grin on their face? I have, many a time.

If I was the one being asked and I knew that I was going to face this person who was asking in competition at some point in the future...I'm not sure I could bring myself to show them something that they could use to defeat me.

There you go. My ego to protect my chances in a competition. So much for letting my cup floweth over and give all I know to you, free of charge because 'tis a wonderful thing we are studying here.

Just a thought...perhaps even a sobering thought...and probably more a reflection on my lack of character than anything else <sigh> ;)

--Michael :cool:

Zato Ichi
02-13-2005, 07:30 PM
As an avowed ShodoThug, I find it really funny that a lot of my fellow thugs get so bent out of shape when someone attacks competition... as Larry quoteed above:

Those who understand, understand perfectly.

Also, think the entire competition thing has been blown out of proportion by the more ignorant: I suspect that a lot of people hear the word competition and get an image of huge, muscle bound jocks with huge egos and tiny brains just itching to get a good, hard clothesline... er... aigamaeate off on the nearest uke.

Okay, in my case that's true, but most shodothugs are more civilized. :D

Randori geiko is not a major part of training at honbu (bear in mind, this is honbu... other dojo may vary). Hell, it's fairly uncommon when we do kakari geiko or hikitake geiko. There is only one randori class a week, and even then, randori geiko is very rare (and then restricted to the upper grades, usually starting around nikkyu).

But, I suppose, to those adamantly against competition, my point is moo.

Like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter.

It's moo.

(Yes, I've been watching Friends reruns, okay? :p)

PeterR
02-13-2005, 07:35 PM
It's moo.

So who's going to get the pun.

Finger ok yet. We had the new Honbu member Joe down for the week-end. You are next - yes?

xuzen
02-13-2005, 11:29 PM
To compete or not to compete, that is the eternal question eh?

Dear fellow practitioners,

The above question will never be fully answered simply because there are just so many of us with varied opinions and reason for doing aikido.

Having said that... you wanna compete? Do Yoseikan or Shodokan.

You wanna do it as a health giving stress reliever? Do Ki Aikido.

You want some practical stuff that even some elite cops are learning as part of their curriculum? Do Yoshinkan. But then if you only know what sort of hellish training they go through to be effective...the price to pay in order to be effective. Even these guys don't compete, and they are sure hell of tough guys and probably they know it too without competing; furthermore their chosen profession may demand such skills.

Having said that...pls bear with me for my opinion.

I come from Yoshinkan background and competition is never part of our syllabus. Let me put it this way... For example in Medical school, students learn the skills of medicine to do a job/vocation. They learn how to perform surgery, how to diagnose a illness or what prescription to give out for a illness. I doubt there is ever any medical competition that says:
"Look here kiddo, we are judging your capability by having you compete with all your classmates on how fast you can stitch this dummy corpse".

You simply learn how to do a specific job (technique), then proceed to be graded by your professor (sensei). Competition may denote play and games which if taken as it is, it is fine, but to equate competition as a measure of effectiveness may be myopic.

I learn a technique, understand its fundamental then its purpose (riai). Then I repeat this learning process again until I am good enough to do it without using my conscious mind. How do I know if I am good and effective? When I grin with delight after throwing and immobilize someone 50 percent heavier, someone 50 percent taller than me in jiyu waza.

Boon.

PeterR
02-13-2005, 11:58 PM
Boon;

Medical practitioners test their technique all the time - screw up and you'll know soon enough.

Competition is not a measure of effectiveness but it is a measure of several aspects of effectiveness. Far closer than none at all. I would not read so much into the riot police course - as I understand it it is an option that a few choose to do. The effectiveness of Aikido in their line of work would not actually come from the Aikido training per se but by being put in situations where it could be used - again testing under pressure. They don't dump a rookie too deeply into the brown stuff. At the moment he stopped but my teacher used to teach the Osaka police and I understand they still train Shodokan derived Aikido techniques. I say the same thing in this case. Curiously you can not buy the Shodokan tantos in Budo shops as it is considered reserved for police training but I digress.

maikerus
02-14-2005, 12:34 AM
I had a conversation about competition in Judo the other day with an Olympic Judo coach and one of the things that he said that was very interesting is that Judo had to evolve because of competition. It turns out that techniques were brought in from other forms of martial arts that could be used in Judo competition, so not only did Judo competitors need to learn these "newly introduced techniques" but also defenses against them had to be created.

It was an interesting conversation.

cheers,

--Michael

deepsoup
02-14-2005, 05:13 AM
Having said that... you wanna compete? Do Yoseikan or Shodokan.
You wanna do it as a health giving stress reliever? Do Ki Aikido.
Unless you wanna compete in a Taigi competition.
(Or relieve your stress with some nice vigorous tanto randori.)
:)

Sean
x

Amir Krause
02-14-2005, 05:21 AM
I had a conversation about competition in Judo the other day with an Olympic Judo coach and one of the things that he said that was very interesting is that Judo had to evolve because of competition. It turns out that techniques were brought in from other forms of martial arts that could be used in Judo competition, so not only did Judo competitors need to learn these "newly introduced techniques" but also defenses against them had to be created.

It was an interesting conversation.

cheers,

--Michael

I have often heard of the opposite thing - many techniques were removed since they proved too dangerous for competition. Most of these techniques are not being trained at all by most Judo practitioners, since the competition takes the focus of this M.A.

A competition can be used as another teaching method that enhances the study of the M.A. and gives the students another opportunity to learn. Yet, such a measure will always be inferior to learning with several Uke who are better then you and correspond their responses to Tori in a manner that forces you to improve. It is the lack of such Uke at mid-high levels that can be replaced by competition, and then, one must be wary of the competition becoming the focus of the M.A. and hiding everything else.


Amir

happysod
02-14-2005, 05:28 AM
Or relieve your stress with some nice vigorous tanto randori now now, while there's no competition per ce, I object to the idea that we're not vigorous in our practice. Ki aikido <> tai chi speed practice, we just take a slightly different approach, lets not degenerate into style bashing please.

rob_liberti
02-14-2005, 08:51 AM
Who has been thrown fantastically and gotten up and said "show me how to do that" with a huge grin on their face? I have, many a time.

If I was the one being asked and I knew that I was going to face this person who was asking in competition at some point in the future...I'm not sure I could bring myself to show them something that they could use to defeat me.

There you go. My ego to protect my chances in a competition.

That was a really great point. This speaks to the extreme idea of the over-all feeling has to be cooperation towards a goal or goals.

The idea of things getting taken out to make the competition more safe is another con of too much competition.

The idea of competition being addictive is new to me. I didn't know that. (I do not yet believe that to be true. Can you convince me?)

I do see a great value in constantly testing yourself and raising the level or practice (the warriror's spirit, etc.). I think the question I have is something like: Are your internal reasons consistent with the philosophy of the art you are practicing? If I do something because I want to win, is that really budo or just sport? However, if I get involved in some budo-like sport with the overall goal of improving my budo, is that a much better goal?

I agree, that there are many people out there who just should never have accepted the high ranks they have given their inability to perform basic techniques on the average uke 3 or 4 ranks lower than them. That is terrible. Promoting based on loyalty instead of merit simply builds large but poor aikido organizations with the bar set a bit low - in my opinion.

Rob

Yann Golanski
02-14-2005, 10:31 AM
It is good to see that a simple word such as "competition" is taken so much out of context. It is even better to see that people who claim to practice an art focusing on harmony refuse to listen to the arguments of others. It is so nice to see Aikido applied to this conversation...

If I may humbly suggest a few things that you may find useful:
1. Read papers and books by Kano-sensei and Tomiki-sensei as to why they added an element of competition to thier art.
2. Read the reasons for randori training in Shodokan Aikido and in Ki Aikido -- there maybe other styles/branches/flavours that use competition, those are the two I know of.
3. Train at a Shodokan dojo and see for yourself what randori and embu look like.

Once you have done at least two of the three above, I feel you will be in a much better possition to criticise Aikido competition. Of course, if you already know the one true way, then I am just a heretic and you can flame me as much as you want.

"Those who understand, understand perfectly" -- Tomiki shihan.

darin
02-14-2005, 10:36 AM
Having said that... you wanna compete? Do Yoseikan or Shodokan.

You wanna do it as a health giving stress reliever? Do Ki Aikido.

You want some practical stuff that even some elite cops are learning as part of their curriculum? Do Yoshinkan. But then if you only know what sort of hellish training they go through to be effective...the price to pay in order to be effective. Even these guys don't compete, and they are sure hell of tough guys and probably they know it too without competing; furthermore their chosen profession may demand such skills. .

I wonder how good that Tokyo Riot course is. Yoshinkan has some nice techniques but would you want to learn from Japanese cops? Have you ever been to Japan? Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

I think Yoshinkan and Aikikai can have competitions for kata or best demonstration like in Shorinji Kempo.

darin
02-14-2005, 10:40 AM
I had a conversation about competition in Judo the other day with an Olympic Judo coach and one of the things that he said that was very interesting is that Judo had to evolve because of competition. It turns out that techniques were brought in from other forms of martial arts that could be used in Judo competition, so not only did Judo competitors need to learn these "newly introduced techniques" but also defenses against them had to be created.

It was an interesting conversation.

cheers,

--Michael

Yeah and judo guys have been winning K-1/Pride matches in Japan. I watched the judo gold medalist Yoshida defeat some BJJ guys pretty easily.

akiy
02-14-2005, 10:47 AM
By the way, Wynand, now that there have been a few dozen replies to your question, what are your thoughts now? Do you have any responses to what people have written so far?

-- Jun

paw
02-14-2005, 11:31 AM
Yeah and judo guys have been winning K-1/Pride matches in Japan. I watched the judo gold medalist Yoshida defeat some BJJ guys pretty easily.

What fight were you watching? Yoshida has a very, very contriversial win against Royce Gracie. Royce beat Yoshida bloody in the rematch. I don't believe Yoshida has fought any other bjj'er, unless you count Vanderlei Silva who also beat Yoshida.


Regards,

Paul

rob_liberti
02-14-2005, 11:34 AM
Yann,

I assume you've done all three of your suggestions. Would you be willing to share your knowledge by explaining the context of competition and adding your opinions of the pros and cons of competition/cooperation? I don't know who you were refering to but I for one don't have time to go do everything to form all of my opinions from frist hand knowledge - SO I JOINED A FORUM - so that other people with different ideas and experiences can share knowledge with me.

I assume you know and apparently you know _perfectly_ so hopefully it should be too much work to explain it a little better...

Rob

Roy Dean
02-14-2005, 11:41 AM
Darin,

Are you sure about Yoshida defeating some BJJ guys pretty easily? His record is still relatively short, with wins over Don Frye, Masaaki Satake, Kiyoshi Tamura, and Mark Hunt. He's lost to Vanderlei Silva, and most recently to Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner in the last Pride. The only BJJ stylist he fought was Royce Gracie, twice: once winning by controversial referee stoppage, the second time to an official draw, although most that viewed the fight agree that Royce dominated, even if he didn't get the tap.

In the last K-1, one of the Judo stylists won by a beautiful armbar, so beautiful, in fact, that I think it may have been a work (thrown fight). Worked fights DO HAPPEN, especially in Japan. Viewers beware.


Sincerely,

Roy Dean

jonreading
02-14-2005, 12:45 PM
My take on competition is:

Competition is a game with rules. It is a great way to physically test your skills and technical knowledge of fighting. The rules ensure fairness and safety. I love competition: I played baseball, football and golf, and I love greco-roman wrestling (sans spandex of course). I enjoy boxing and judo matches where you can see the technical aspects of the sport. But I believe that real aikido does not have a place in competition. Does that mean Aikido can't have competition? No. But it does mean that what you train on the mat cannot appear in competition without risking serious injury. Which leaves us with versions of Aikido that can be applied in competition. Here's why:

1. Rules establish victory definitively within a competition; you cannot define victory in competition subjectively because there will always be defiance from one of the parties. I was watching a UFC match highlights DVD and watched a competition where an arm-bar was applied and locked, but the competitor refused to yield. The arm was subsequently broken just below the elbow (great footage, by the way) and the ref called the match. The losing competitor actually protested the match and wanted to continue fighting - he even denied that his arm was broken.

2. Competition relies on parties to compete against each other. Most everyone will concede that Aikido happens when two forces cooperate to realize the fullfillment of technique; when cooperation is coerced, you still do aikido, but the results are not as pretty. Competition is not cooperation, so the result is brutal technique that invites injury. My instructor used to say, "it doesn't matter what you do, my fist will go here; the question is do you want to do aikido or not?"

Competition is a great way to learn technical apsects of Aikido and to understand what a fight is. There are some aikido systems out there that apply competition, and they have rules to govern them. I do not think there's anything wrong with those systems, as long as they understand competition is simulated combat. There are some systems that do not have competition. There is nothing wrong with that either, as long as they understand that mat training is not combat.

In Aikido, I believe you compete with yourself spiritually to understand dominance and prowess. You learn to recognize superior skill and give it proper consideration without defiance, and you rely on others to do the same. I think that is why many senior aikido people don't think twice about a challenge to their skill; if you aren't good enough to know they are superior, proving it to you isn't to resolve your problem. We learn Aikido by observation, and hopefully you will learn to recognize superiority by observation as well.

To be sure, their are some frauds that exist because it is difficult to prove their inability without competition, but there are also frauds that exist because they have inflated their image with competition. Either way, as long as you know they are frauds, and take steps to protect yourself and your students from those frauds, does it matter where their fraud lies?

Bronson
02-14-2005, 05:21 PM
Quick question for the Shodokan folks. In the Shodokan system can you rise in rank strictly from winning in shiai?

This is something I've wondered about while watching the judo people practice. I'm pretty sure some of them rose in rank strictly due to their performance in shiai. They move up the ladder without having to learn/demonstrate the other aspects of the art, like kata, and their training often focuses on what will work at tournaments.

I think I remember you (the Shodokan folks) saying that in your system these other aspects are still required for advancement, but I wasn't sure...hence the question.

I guess what I'm getting at in my meandering sort of way is that if there is no advancement in status to be gained through shiai the chances of limiting the art to only those aspects that affect shiai would seem to be reduced.

Bronson

mj
02-14-2005, 05:54 PM
http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/shinsa.html
Here is the basic syllabus :)

As you can see, randori forms only appear in at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd dan stages. Even though training in them starts at the low kyu grades (as a method of teaching).

A short explanation of the 3 forms of randori:

kakari - no resistance, uke goes over for just about anything
hikitate - not much resistance but uke will only go down if the technique is reasonably effective
randori - bring it on, uke will feint, deceive, move as fast as possible, avoid, string lots of attacks and so on, and can counter (can be tanto or hand attacks)

however, silly as it seems to mention it..even in the relatively stress free kakari-geiko...uke will attack with pace and power.

I have only a few years experience in Shotokan....others more mature than me will be able to more directly answer your question. :)

mj
02-14-2005, 05:56 PM
oops

I did not address your shiai question.

No...shiai is not a part of the grading syllabus afaik.

Part of the communication breakdown that appears to be happening in parts of this thread is probably to do with the difference between randori and shiai.

Zato Ichi
02-14-2005, 06:25 PM
Quick question for the Shodokan folks. In the Shodokan system can you rise in rank strictly from winning in shiai?

Not directly - but there was one guy who did his nidan after about one year, which is almost unheard of (to be fair, he was really good). Basicly, he was going to be leaving Japan soon after the All Kansai Tournement, and he wanted to test for nidan. Nariyama Shihan basically told him okay - if he won the individual men's tanto randori shiai. Which he did, so he was allowed to test for nidan and passed.

I suppose by performing well in shiai, you might be considered for testing early, but if you can't perform technically, you'll never get graded.

Take a look at the grading syllabus (http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/shinsa.html) to get a better grasp of what's needed for dan grading: tanto randori doesn't appear in the syllabus until nidan, and toshu randori never appears. Unfortunately. :(

Bronson
02-14-2005, 06:27 PM
Thanks, that clears some things up :)

Bronson

PeterR
02-14-2005, 07:35 PM
And I may add that randori is not shiai. It's possible for you to be done every single round and still pass. Your opponnents are higher dan grades and if you are good they just keep coming and coming.

L. Camejo
02-14-2005, 09:14 PM
Competition relies on parties to compete against each other. Most everyone will concede that Aikido happens when two forces cooperate to realize the fullfillment of technique; when cooperation is coerced, you still do aikido, but the results are not as pretty.

Exactly. And which martial art looks exactly the same way it looks during cooperative practice as it does when someone is seriously resisting and fighting back? Not even the Jujutsu styles look as "clean" when the other person does not intend to just let you "do him in" without a fight. So I don't see the point of raising the "it is not pretty" concept. If one wants to look pretty then focus on form, not on objective, resistance based training. This was not the question of the original post. I believe Wynand basically is looking for a forum where he can test whatever he thinks he may know about Aikido in an objective manner where he can truthfully look at his own practice and at himself. His concern is one of effectiveness the way I read it - and in the places I know of where effectiveness is very important there is no one standing there checking your form against the dojo standard. The best form in those cases is the one that lets you survive and escape.;)

The fact is, the majority of "pretty" Aikido is a direct result of the Uke's "pretty" ukemi skills, regardless of what is done by Tori (did someone say "no touch throw?") :crazy: . Case in point - the same technique done on a 100lb Uke who is skilled in ukemi against a 400 lb unskilled in ukemi determined attacker. Regardless of whether you are a 20th Dan Professor Soke Grand Master Poombah, the 2 techs will look different and the latter will probably be a lot less pretty as the heavy guy who does not know ukemi goes crashing into the floor.

To deal with the "pretty Aikido" point and competition - this is why there is kata competition separate from shiai. Though from my experience someone who has poor technical form in our system shows that lack of form very quickly when under pressure of resistance randori as well. So either way one serves to aid the other - the randori tests the soundness of one's technical form (kata), the kata is then developed and forged into an even more effective form as one applies what is learnt and proven through testing in resistance randori.

Competition is not cooperation, so the result is brutal technique that invites injury.

I really cannot agree with the above generalisation. I would like to see the documented proof that Aikido competition results in "brutal technique that invites injury". Even official studies like the one done by Shihan F. Shishida some years ago shows that injuries and deaths in Aikido training comes from the repetitive falls and aspects of kata training and not from any "brutal technique" that comes out of competition. The fact is that applying techniques in a manner to be brutal or deliberately injure shows again one's lack of basic skill and the ease with which one loses composure under pressure. It actually makes things a lot worse for you in competition because it instantly disqualifies you. So it is hard to see in the Aikido context how being brutal comes from competition type training.

Of course if one tries to compare typical Aikido shiai to competition in pretty much any other art they will probably fall far short of the reality, even if there may be similarities. So comparing Aikido comps to BJJ comps for example, is not a smart idea if one is trying to be accurate imho. The opportunities and rewards of being brutal are much more evident in stuff like BJJ comps from what I have seen.

Also, since Aikido randori (and competition) is about reconciliation of opposing forces, then what better force to test one's mettle with than an equally skilled and determinedly opposing one? If one ends up doing forced, brutal technique then basically it means - train harder and smarter, raise the bar for your performance and do better next time.

I do not think there's anything wrong with those systems, as long as they understand competition is simulated combat. There are some systems that do not have competition. There is nothing wrong with that either, as long as they understand that mat training is not combat.

Perfectly correct. However, the structure for resistance randori and competition given by K. Tomiki has been from my experience a great structure from which one can build a great freeform practice system to teach military hand to hand (hey, it's used to teach a few Police precincts in Japan as well from what I've heard). I've been using this structure with some of my military SF students to great benefit. The structure stays the same, we merely build on it, the intent of the training is what changes.

To be sure, their are some frauds that exist because it is difficult to prove their inability without competition, but there are also frauds that exist because they have inflated their image with competition. Either way, as long as you know they are frauds, and take steps to protect yourself and your students from those frauds, does it matter where their fraud lies?

Actually I think if one is around effective technique long enough one will be able to spot it and spot what it is not. I have found a couple Aiki frauds without requiring competition. And it's not like I get around as much as some other folks I know of.:)

Good thread.
Happy training folks.
LC:ai::ki:

darin
02-14-2005, 10:33 PM
Darin,

Are you sure about Yoshida defeating some BJJ guys pretty easily? His record is still relatively short, with wins over Don Frye, Masaaki Satake, Kiyoshi Tamura, and Mark Hunt. He's lost to Vanderlei Silva, and most recently to Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner in the last Pride. The only BJJ stylist he fought was Royce Gracie, twice: once winning by controversial referee stoppage, the second time to an official draw, although most that viewed the fight agree that Royce dominated, even if he didn't get the tap.

In the last K-1, one of the Judo stylists won by a beautiful armbar, so beautiful, in fact, that I think it may have been a work (thrown fight). Worked fights DO HAPPEN, especially in Japan. Viewers beware.


Sincerely,

Roy Dean

Thanks Roy,

I just asumed with all the hype on Japanese TV about Yoshida that he was beating everyone. I stand corrected. I think a few of Bob Sapp's fights were fixed. Especially the one where he lost to Mirocop (don't know correct spelling). How about Sakuraba? He had one win against Royce Gracie then got brutally beaten by Vanderlei Silva. He is still a national hero in Japan.

PeterR
02-14-2005, 10:43 PM
I really cannot agree with the above generalisation. I would like to see the documented proof that Aikido competition results in "brutal technique that invites injury". Even official studies like the one done by Shihan F. Shishida some years ago shows that injuries and deaths in Aikido training comes from the repetitive falls and aspects of kata training and not from any "brutal technique" that comes out of competition.
I would also like to point out that the deaths Shishida Shihan documents occurred under the Aikikai umbrella. It was an exceptional situation so I could be accused of not being fair pointing that out but the irony of a member of that group pointing at Shodokan and calling it brutal is inescapable.

Now for my eyes - perfect timing against a resisting opponent such that waza happens as it should is absolutely beautiful to behold.

maikerus
02-15-2005, 01:12 AM
I wonder how good that Tokyo Riot course is.

It probably depends on what you are looking for.

--Michael

Wynand van Dyk
02-15-2005, 03:01 AM
Clearly my training mindset is completely at odds with the general mindset of those "enlightened" pasifists that post here. Maybe it is my location, afterall South Africa is pretty much a 3rd world craphole, rife with crime and newspapers filled with the kind of human misery that make responsible adults keep large dogs, firearms and lock their security gates and barred windows at night.

Maybe I stress the EFFECTIVITY issue too much but I cannot fathom someone staying their course in a chosen pursuit without a goal to work towards. Maybe your goal is to teach blind kids to help themselves, maybe your goal is personal fulfilment and self discovery, maybe you just want the next rank or to meet up with your dojo friends, whatever the case may be, to ME your concerns are a far and trailing secondary to my concerns.

"Survival of the fittest" has worked for our forefathers and theirs before them, strething thousands of years into the past, the fact that we hole ourselves up in "safe" cities does not remove the genetic conditioning that milions of years of evolution has instilled in us. There HAS to be a pecking order, competition is a SAFE, ORDERED way to establish this order and to anyone who has ever been injured by a partner in the throes of passive aggressive machismo I would wager that organised competition would be far preferable to that kind of abuse.

Throwing up some misinterpreted and misunderstood o-sensei philosophical chestnut about the evils of "competition" smacks of self delusion and excuse making. Until you have stood your ground against someone who is not "holding back", who is of equal skill and determination and who does not have your comfort and best interests at heart how would you ever know if the thing that you have been training for (sometimes for decades) is of ANY value? This kind of statement usually serves as a cue to those that like to jump in with "but it makes me fit and feel better about myself" or "but its a great way to meet girls and establish friendships" or "but it makes the beer taste better" - smart as you might think yourself for saying things like this, it still does not resolve or remove the basic issue:

You are training a MARTIAL ART, you are not going to a social club, you are not in a dance class and you are not at a gym. You are learning techniques that are at best RUMORED to once upon a time have "worked" within the context that you believe you are training for. The masters of old are not infallible and every celebrated act of martial ability that stories are still told of, is another instance where, by the reckoning of those "enlightened" individuals in this community, the masters themselves were going contrary to their own philosophical teachings. I guess that gleefully telling your young students of your times in Mongolia, chopping up bandits with a sword and how you cant just slice all the time because human fat coats a blade and you need a sword polisher at standby is perfectly acceptable as a demonstration of martial ability but testing yourself against another in a supervised competition is on par with selling your grandmother for drug money (philosophically speaking of course)

There is no easy way for me to find out if what I do has worth and without ordered competitions to at least give me some sort of abstract feedback on my progress I am tempted to do ugly things to mean people and very possibly endanger myself and very probably, with a longshot and a lot of luck maybe endanger them. To me, and this is my opinion so you dont have to agree with it or even read it, people who train without this concern for real world applicability are merely going through the motions, pissing on serious martial traditions that we should be grateful for being let in on and are probably better off joining a commune to live out their pasifist, meat free lives away from the rigors and terror of the real world.

I hope I have offended enough people that they might reconsider their stance on some of the topics I have touched upon. If you do find yourself in a rage over what I have written, please dont take the easy way out and dismiss me as a troll, seriously think about it. If you can honestly say that the MARTIAL aspect of Aikido is not something you are interested in then power to you and may you train happily for a long time. If however the MARTIAL aspect holds any value to you, do what is at the core of Aikido's effectivity and dont get angry (resist) but adapt your training and thinking (flow).

happysod
02-15-2005, 03:25 AM
Clearly my training mindset is completely at odds with the general mindset of those "enlightened" pasifists that post here I wouldn't dismiss you as a troll, but I will accuse you of selective reading. My reading of the consensus views espoused in this thread are fairly positive in favour of competition if that's what you wish to follow. I don't believe anyone has said competition is worthless, just often not what they're after themselves.

As for your "survival of the fittest" remark, this is normally applied to a species as a whole rather than individuals, so doesn't really apply. Indeed, if you check the mortality rates of any "civilized frontier" in history, you may well be amazed at which groups were the true survivors (hint - women with children score rather highly).

xuzen
02-15-2005, 03:50 AM
Hi Wynand,

You have selected your path and choice. You want to compete so that you know what you are doing is real Martial art and those non-competition based MA are not. There are plenty for you choose from... Tomiki, Shodokan, Judo, or even better Boxing. So why do you choose non-competitive aikido? Pls answer us that. You wanna be mean m@th@r fu@k@r to stand on your own, choose Krav Magna. Do they have competition? I don't think so.

And yes, you sounded like a troll. I would like to elaborate further on this thread, but then I have to log out, maybe I should continue tomorrow.

Boon.

Wynand van Dyk
02-15-2005, 04:13 AM
I wouldn't dismiss you as a troll, but I will accuse you of selective reading. My reading of the consensus views espoused in this thread are fairly positive in favour of competition if that's what you wish to follow. I don't believe anyone has said competition is worthless, just often not what they're after themselves.

I covered that and acknowledged people who do Aikido for reasons other than mine. I have no problem with these people but I dont want their training goals to dictate what is getting taught. If more people were interested in the martial aspects as opposed to the hokey new-agey "healing" aspects of Tai Chi it might still be a respectable martial art.


As for your "survival of the fittest" remark, this is normally applied to a species as a whole rather than individuals, so doesn't really apply. Indeed, if you check the mortality rates of any "civilized frontier" in history, you may well be amazed at which groups were the true survivors (hint - women with children score rather highly).

You did not understand my use of the phrase. I used it as a lead in to that paragraph, to establish a common point of reference (obviously, in your case, I failed or maybe you attached some personal, emotional meaning to the phrase causing it to stand out for you). In any case, your point on women with children having high survival rates is mostly due to the sociological makeup of the group, whereby these people are given priority in times of crises at the cost of other members of the group, Its hard to imagine that you meant that women with children are better able to hunt and provide food for themselves or that they are better able to defend themselves against predators. However, you cannot argue that definite heirarchies are NOT established in almost every human endeavour. You just have to observe the sandpit at a kindergarten to see what I mean.

Wynand van Dyk
02-15-2005, 04:23 AM
Hi Wynand,

You have selected your path and choice. You want to compete so that you know what you are doing is real Martial art and those non-competition based MA are not. There are plenty for you choose from... Tomiki, Shodokan, Judo, or even better Boxing. So why do you choose non-competitive aikido? Pls answer us that. You wanna be mean m@th@r fu@k@r to stand on your own, choose Krav Magna. Do they have competition? I don't think so.

And yes, you sounded like a troll. I would like to elaborate further on this thread, but then I have to log out, maybe I should continue tomorrow.

Boon.

You are just blatantly putting words in my mouth, I never dismissed any other martial art as not being "THE TRUE WAY". As for why I chose Aikido - I actually do kind of believe in the art, the teaching method is outdated and the unwillingness of people to change the teaching method (not the art) because of some imagined philosophical reason or to keep the status quo and maintain the traditions is to say the least frustrating and irritating.

Krav Maga is a highly overated (but still pretty useful and neato) "self-defense" class. The fact that people take the supposed "martial arts" of military intitutions seriously shows their complete lack of understanding of the kind of work these groups do. Let me give you a hint there friend, it involves flash grenades and sub machine guns, not some fancy footwork and kiais. Most of the time, the "hand to hand" stuff is tacked on as an afterthought.

Yann Golanski
02-15-2005, 04:25 AM
Wow... This thread is a map between spark and powder keg . *grins evilly*

Rob Liberti:
Would you be willing to share your knowledge by explaining the context of competition and adding your opinions of the pros and cons of competition/cooperation?

I've already done this several times before and once in this very thread.

However, here it is again. A teacher can teach the basics of his/her art. It is up to the student to take those basics and make them his own. For example, a student learning how to draw manga character must first learn how to draw circles, squares and all other basics of drawing. A teacher can teach him how to do this. What the teacher cannot do, is teach the student how to make those basics his.

In other words, a teacher can only show the way, it is up to the student to follow it.

Aikido is the same thing. Nariyama-shihan cannot teach me how to do randori. He can teach me the basics of kata. It is my task to make those kata mine. This is why I do randori. It is teaching me to make Aikido mine. It is forging my Aikido. Hence whenever I "compete" in Aikido, I am always winning. Best of all, my Uke is winning too. We are both winning in harmony. This is why what we do is called Aikido.

Now, could the same thing be achieved without "competition"? ... This is a meaningless question. It's down to semantics of what you understand by competition. Not even a dictionary definition will help. It's a matter of preferences and view point. Hence this is why I suggest that you visit other Dojo from different styles. See for yourself with eyes unclouded -- A great prise to however can tell where the quotes come from.

Does that help?

happysod
02-15-2005, 05:07 AM
I have no problem with these people but I dont want their training goals to dictate what is getting taught So change dojos if your current one is infected with these godless miscreants.

obviously, in your case, I failed or maybe you attached some personal, emotional meaning to the phrase causing it to stand out for you). No, I merely pointed out you were using a rather outdated, discipline-specific term incorrectly. Pedantic perhaps, but I assure you of no nefarious emotions involved.

All I am actually reading across several of your posts is that you have a problem with your current training and your solution is for some sort of martial jihad within aikido. Good luck with that...

(Yann - I'm really really trying not to throw the first torch)

rob_liberti
02-15-2005, 09:29 AM
I've already done this several times before and once in this very thread.

Yes, after you explained your views, you then suggested that other people who don't have your experiences go get them to add further context and ended your post eluding to the idea that you knew perfectly. So my point was that it would make more sense for YOU to add the further context, and maybe just site your sources. When I weigh the amout of information you were able to add based on your experience, compared the the amount of effort I would have had to expend to follow your advice and get that experience for myself, I'm glad I simply just asked you to explain your viewpoint further.

Now, could the same thing be achieved without "competition"? ... This is a meaningless question. It's down to semantics of what you understand by competition.


The question has meaning to me and I'd imagine it does to others. I agree with most of the stated problems with how people are practicing the cooperative model, and the competitive models. Given all of my experiences, I say overall cooperation is better. You seems to say otherwise. Of course semantics influences how either of those ideas are meant/interpreted, but the entire point of the forum is to discuss ideas like this. Therefore, I claim that question is meaningful.

I don't really know exactly what goes on in competition aikido - but I'm getting a better sense of it by reading this thread. To get even a better understanding, I'm going to go out on a limb and explain my prejudices further and encourage the competitive model supporters to explain theirs to me.

My opinion is that I am strong enough with most of my basic waza that I can force them on many, many people. If my goal to win becomes 'make the technique work', then I'm bound to stay at my current level and just basically get stronger and stronger and maybe improve my timing a bit. But my goal of martial improvement requires me to let go of some of the things I've used in the past to be successful in getting the uke to the ground and try to be more and more effective *eventually* by having a lot more discipline about how I move my body with the uke.

There was a great story where Endo sensei (who was like 6th dan at the time) had injured his arm and was talking to Yamaguchi sensei about it. Yamaguchi sensei's opinion was something to the effect of 'break your other arm if you ever want to really do aikido'. Endo sensei took that message to heart, so the story goes. He competely stopped using his arm strength (directly) and was getting reversed in his classes by yondans. Eventually he made some significant progress and really made a level jump in ability. He is one of the more amazing shihan alive right now. He got there through the overall model of cooperation - where there was some degree of competition (I'd imagine that he was trying to live up to what he percieved that Yamaguchi sensei would respect, and more specifically he was trying to figure out how to get his technique to work against yondans who were resisting him in his class). If the overall model was competition, then I don't know that he would have been able to completely drop his arm strength to make that break-through.

My opinion is that the folks competing can get pretty good - probably just about as good as Endo sensei got before making that break-through. It is a respectable level - but not the highest level - or the level of depth (which is what the aiki of aikido means). I might even be willing to believe that many of those folks who are competing might just get to that respectable level of competancy more quickly than those who are not competing and good for them. But, my goal is to breakthrough and get to that level of being effective with my arm strength completely dropped. I don't see what the driving forrce in the competitive model would be to get people to break-through. Any thoughts here? This doesn't mean I see the other way as invalid, just not what I am trying to achieve.

The bottom line for me is that both Endo sensei and my teacher set a very good example for me to follow to my goal. Doing this furthers my other goal of walking the path of michi (it is aiki DO, not aiki - jutsu). I have no problem with you (Yann or anyone else really) following someone elses example. The difference is that I'm not saying, hinting, suggesting, or even eluding to the ideas that other ways from my own way are invalid and that I understand anything perfectly.

Rob

batemanb
02-15-2005, 09:42 AM
The bottom line for me is that both Endo sensei and my teacher set a very good example for me to follow to my goal.

Hi Rob,

My sensei in Japan was also a student of Yamaguchi sensei, and now of Endo sensei. It's a path I work hard at to follow, I agree with your sentiments :) .

rgds

Bryan

paw
02-15-2005, 10:13 AM
My opinion is that the folks competing can get pretty good - probably just about as good as Endo sensei got before making that break-through. It is a respectable level - but not the highest level - or the level of depth (which is what the aiki of aikido means). I might even be willing to believe that many of those folks who are competing might just get to that respectable level of competancy more quickly than those who are not competing and good for them. But, my goal is to breakthrough and get to that level of being effective with my arm strength completely dropped. I don't see what the driving forrce in the competitive model would be to get people to break-through. Any thoughts here?

Why would a competitor have a different mindset or attitude towards reaching the next level that you have? Unless I'm mistaken, nobody is getting rich from aikido competitions.

Regards,

Paul

Ron Tisdale
02-15-2005, 10:23 AM
Both Rob and Paul have really good posts here...I think in a lot of ways that is why Yann is saying get out and see what is called 'competion' for yourselves...

Ron

phil farmer
02-15-2005, 10:24 AM
I have read this thread with much interest as Yoseikan has gone through much of this discussion in recent years. There is much confusion about competition and its role in martial arts.

In about 1930 or so, a fine judo player and martial arts genius left Ueshiba's dojo for two reasons, one being health and the other because he disagreed with O Sensei about the direction he saw aikijutsu (at the time) going. This fellow was Minoru Mochizuki. Master Mochizuki, until his death in May of 2003, was the last living student of Kano, Ueshiba, and Funikoshi, just to name a few. He believed that aiki was losing its martial focus and he began the Yoseikan. And, Mochizuki was a fierce competitor. If you read Pranin's book about the Aikido Masters you will find his story about Mochizuki winning twice in one day in judo and missing his meeting with Kano. So, Mochizuki was a competitor all his life and he was very focused on effective aiki techniques. He is the only student who ever openly disagreed with Ueshiba and the only student Ueshiba never had to demonstrate a technique with. Mochizuki could simply watch it and then do it and, unlike Ueshiba, he could also explain it. Ueshiba often took Mochizuki with him because Master Minoru could instantly explain what O Sensei was demonstrating.

Because of the above, I take a bit of issue with Rob. Mochizuki was a great competitor and a master of aiki. The testimony to the latter claim is many fold, but let me give just a couple. In the 1950's Mochizuki went to Europe to teach and added aiki with O Sensei's permission. When he returned, he pointed out that there were many situations where aiki alone was not enough to defeat an opponent. Yes, that is correct, Mochizuki demonstrated all over Europe and it was an "all comers" situation. Western boxers, French kickboxing, etc. He took them all on and he became the father of Judo in Europe and is much honored, because of his fierce competitive spirit. So, I take issue with Rob, a competitor can "break through" to higher levels based on skill, experience,and learning what works. The other claim for Mochizuki as Master is this, when the International Martial Arts Federation wanted to award Minoru Sensei a 10th Dan in aikido, he only accepted it with the permission of the Ueshiba family. I think that qualifies him as master.

If you study Mochizuki's teachers you will find that they believed that competition was the only way to test skills in relatively realistic fashion. I say relative because killing or injuring uke tends to reduce the number of students available to work out with, so you have to have some rules, for safety. But, competition is key to developing the martial spirit. Oh yes, those teachers: Kano Sensei and Mifune Sensei. See especially the re-release of Mifune's Canon of Judo for a good explanation of the role of competition.

This is why Hiroo Mochizuki, Minoru's son, has developed Yoseikan Budo with a competitive section. He was also uchi deshi with Ueshiba and honors O Sensei's work. But, he had these same disagreement with O Sensei as his father, you must have an aiki that is effective in self-defense while at the same time providing a "do" to follow for a lifetime. Yoseikan requires no one to compete but makes safe competition available to all ages. In Yoseikan, competition does not affect your rank in any way (I think this has hurt Judo). Sorry for the diatribe but I have seen these arguments (oh sorry, discussions) so often fall into who is best and what is real.

I agree with the folks here who post and say, "follow the path that is right for you". I don't like tae kwon do (don't start on me, I am making a point) but I have studied it a little, hold a few minor belts in it, and see the value of a system of competition that can teach values to students and skills. Guess what? I don't do tae kwon do, but I have good friends and excellent students who hold significant rank in it and, as a Teacher of martial arts I have learned that every person is my teacher. I think competition just steepens the learning curve. Anyway, I am sure of one thing, O Sensei and his master teachers through the years would be upset with all of us who put down other styles and experiences. For all of us who practice aiki, we share a path and it is wide enough for all.

Phil Farmer

Mads Gabrielsen
02-15-2005, 10:51 AM
This is something I've wondered about while watching the judo people practice. I'm pretty sure some of them rose in rank strictly due to their performance in shiai. They move up the ladder without having to learn/demonstrate the other aspects of the art, like kata, and their training often focuses on what will work at tournaments.

IBronson

Well, this differs from country to country, but being able to perform judo against a resisting opponent counts for something in most federations. In Scotland the kyu grades are pretty much competition wins only, although you do need to show your technical knowledge as well. For dan grades techniques and kata is required.
In Norway techniques are required for every rank (and kata for dan) as well as competition experience, although not necessarily wins.

However, most higher ranking judoka will have no difficulty explaining and demonstrating any technique from the Gokyu no waza (Catalogue of Judo throws), even if they only use 5 or 6 in shiai.

Mads

Chris Birke
02-15-2005, 11:57 AM
"My opinion is that I am strong enough with most of my basic waza that I can force them on many, many people. If my goal to win becomes 'make the technique work', then I'm bound to stay at my current level and just basically get stronger and stronger and maybe improve my timing a bit. But my goal of martial improvement requires me to let go of some of the things I've used in the past to be successful in getting the uke to the ground and try to be more and more effective *eventually* by having a lot more discipline about how I move my body with the uke. "

Competition is not about using all your stregnth. It's about doing your best Aikido. Surely you do not believe that Aikido does not work on an opponent who is simply stronger than you? Why do you believe that your muscling technique will work on an opponent who is far more skilled?

This slipperly slope is addressed by competition. You can learn what stregnth can and can't do - and you will learn when and when not to apply it.

If your goal is to make the technique work, you will quickly learn that muscle is only part of the solution. This step is very low on the ladder too. If everyone you practice with is cowed by muscle, perhaps you need new training partners.

And to me, this improvement of technique is only a part of the "competition" (a word I'm beginning to feel is subjective enough to subvert to any viewpoint) - the true value is the deeper understanding of my body, the bodies of others, and motion.

Limiting yourself to cooperative practice is like exploring a jungle by never leaving the trail. You will never know it intimately like that.

rob_liberti
02-15-2005, 12:46 PM
Okay, well that's pretty much the point of "going out on a limb and expressing my prejudicies" to get others to open up an discuss theirs.

Paul - You say no one is getting rich from aikido competitions. I assume the intended point was that money from winning would be the only reason for someone to never be willing to sacrifice effecacy for a period to develop well past the musciling anything stages. I disagree that money is the only reason. You also asked the fair question of why would a competitor have a different mindset/goal than I have. I'd say 'ego' is a more reasonable thing to consider as a answer to both issues you brought up. I'd imagine that's why someone claimed competing it addictive (which I can see as a function of ego, but nothing more.) I also asked for thoughts about what I might be missing from my observation and resulting opinions about competition-orientated practice (it was the last line of my post that you quoted).

Ron, thanks. While agree that Yann might have intended the meaning you suggest, I think I summed up the message he send out in a fair way.

Phil, correct me if I am misunderstanding but didn't you cite two people who trained with Osensei in an overall non-competitive way as masters who went on to train people in a competitive way? There might be merit to your post but I don't see it yet. If they produced someone wonderful exclusively from their overall training methodology, then please cite that person - and maybe how many people of that caliber have been produced from that system. Lastly, I'm not saying the competitive model is invalid. I'm saying I have not seen evidence of anyone who has taken that route as far as those people who have trained in an overall cooperative model.

Chris, I'm sorry I communicated poorly. I agree with mostly everything you said. I intended my message to be that my ability to do technique results in my basic waza being fairly strong. I'm not terribly strong sans technique. I do know that I cheat with using my arm strength here and there and I know because I work out with VERY strong sempai who shut me down - in a collaborative manner - when they catch me cheating. I don't feel that my over-all cooperative training/learning model is limited as their is quite a bit of testing things out in an honest and helpful way built in. I've mained that position since the start of this thead. I don't know if the people who use competition as the overall model for their training/learning are able to test things out nearly as thoroughly as I test out what I am doing. I just figured since I _can_ explain what I do, someone who trains differently should be able to explain what they do - without requiring me to have to go get the information myself as first hand knowledge. I suppose I don't feel that cooperation and collaboration is as limited as competition. I don't think it is unreasonable for me to be confused. I followed that link that Jun provided for us on this thread to the post from Peter Goldsbury about this and it seems that even Osensei felt that if Tomiki sensei called what he was doing aikido that it would _confuse_ people. Please feel free to shed as much light as you can and are willing.

Rob

Ron Tisdale
02-15-2005, 01:24 PM
Hi Rob,

I don't know if the people who use competition as the overall model for their training/learning are able to test things out nearly as thoroughly as I test out what I am doing.

a) I'm not sure that either shodokan or yoseikan 'use competition as the overall model for their training...' several people have stated that it is part of their training, and that not everyone participates in it.

b) Given (a), I don't see how they would be unable to 'test things out nearly as thoroughly as I test out what I am doing.' In fact, they would be able to test things out through kata and cooperative training, and then suppliment that with competition.

Now, don't get me wrong...I myself am frankly not interested in competition for a whole bunch of reasons, none of which should affect anyone else one wit...but I think I see a logical fallacy here (in other words, I try to follow your model, but just don't have a problem with others choosing a different one).

I think your point about who have the competitive models produced is an interesting one...but I also have to wonder how people like you and I would be exposed to such folk. How would I hear of (much less get on the mat with) Nariyama Sensei if it wasn't for aikiweb, or if I didn't go to a shodokan venue? There could be a whole bunch of absolutely supercalifragilistic guys and gals out there that I just don't get exposed to...could be ki society, yoseikan, tree-huggers, whatever. :)

Best,
Ron

Chris Birke
02-15-2005, 01:37 PM
Well that was just a misunderstanding then. Know too, that I think "exclusively competitive" or otherwise is stupid. You need a mix of all training elements, and to use them when best.

That said, I do think that (although not impossible) it is much EASIER to convey some information through uncooperative practice than through cooperative.

The idea that their is either cooperative or competitive training goes on with my reservations due to the limitations of training. All cooperative training has an element of competition, and all competitive training has an element of cooperation. You can't get caught and shut down, otherwise. By varying the balance of these things (to both extremes) you can cover more expirence than by simply sticking to the same balance at all times. (I think you agree.)

I'll go on the record as saying that Osensei's word isn't law. He is very confusing - Tomiki is a good sensei, yet Osensei would not have him call what he does Aikido. Aikido is the universe!

As far as I can tell Osensei enjoyed confusing people.

When you say "overall competitive training" do you mean people who never train without resistance?

When I hear "cooperative training model" I get an image of people who never train with resistance.

Ron Tisdale
02-15-2005, 02:19 PM
When I hear "cooperative training model" I get an image of people who never train with resistance.

Yeah, well, we ALL know THAT doesn't happen...look at all the threads about 'bad' uke, the guy who resisted my technique at a seminar, the guy that hip threw me when I was shite...etc. Not to mention the fact that us 'cooperative' guys get all twisted when our stuff don't work.... :)
RT

paw
02-15-2005, 02:23 PM
Paul - You say no one is getting rich from aikido competitions. I assume the intended point was that money from winning would be the only reason for someone to never be willing to sacrifice effecacy for a period to develop well past the musciling anything stages. I disagree that money is the only reason. You also asked the fair question of why would a competitor have a different mindset/goal than I have. I'd say 'ego' is a more reasonable thing to consider as a answer to both issues you brought up. I'd imagine that's why someone claimed competing it addictive (which I can see as a function of ego, but nothing more.) I also asked for thoughts about what I might be missing from my observation and resulting opinions about competition-orientated practice (it was the last line of my post that you quoted).

Rob,

In a nutshell, I'm not sure why someone who competes would have a different motivation to become better as an aikidoist than anyone else. There might be some people who compete for the sake of their ego, but as far as I know I haven't met anyone like that (I have met people who don't compete for the sake of their ego....for whatever that's worth).

I don't know what "competition-orientated practice" is. The folks that compete just drive someplace on a Saturday, pay the appropriate fee, sign the appropriate forms and have at it. They don't train (or act) any differently from people who didn't compete, in my experience. I'd be willing to bet that anyone watching a class couldn't pick out the non-competitors from the competitors with any degree of accuracy better than chance.

At least that's how it is in bjj, and I gather from this thread, that aikido is the same. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong)

Regards,

Paul

rob_liberti
02-15-2005, 03:17 PM
No doubt that we all do all sorts of things for the sake of ego. I just happen to train aikido to curb that as much as possible. I have no problem with any of these ideas (I think I'm 100% on the same page with Chris now) - except that if the overall training methodology is not competition, then I think it is a poor choice of possible descriptive words to use as the name for that category of aikido. If it is truly just a component of a methodology which is overall collaborative (just to a slightly different degree from what I do) then call it 'honest and helpful aikido' or if appropriate call it "aikido with trophies" or something. Do I know perfectly yet?!

Paul and Ron, the question I have is that: if competing is very important in a system, is it the case that it might be so important that people are unwilling to give up some of the big advantages from their previous training (like highly developed arm and wrist strength) for a significant amount of time to make a break-through about how to blend and move the body with kokyu strength exclusively? I don't know of many people who have made such a break-through. That's what I want, so I found a system that has produced those results several times. If there is another methodology that has produced such individuals, I'd love to know about them because maybe I can learn some alternatives for my own training and development.
If you can point me that them and/or help me out with some insight towards this end then well I think I can start to "know perfectly", otherwise, I think that those claiming to "know perfectly" might want to reinvestigate what it is they know so perfectly...

Rob

Bronson
02-15-2005, 04:06 PM
Rob you seem to be stuck on the quote from Tomiki Sensei that Yann posted ("Those who understand, understand perfectly"). What is it about that quote that's got you so riled? I for one really like it, especially when it's put in context of the situation that prompted Tomiki Sensei to say it. Perhaps one of the Shodokan folks could relate it again (I won't because I'm afraid I'll remember it wrong and screw it up ;) )

Bronson

rob_liberti
02-15-2005, 04:19 PM
It seemed like verbal chest beating and had me annoyed. My points are valid even if I know imperfectly. But, point taken. I'll quit picking on their useage of his phrase and try to focus on constructive discussion. (Which I believe started with a post about how terrible training without competition is!)

I have 2 other points:
1) I don't like that calling Osensei's words "that old chestnut" somehow invalidates the meaning. I also believe in that old chestnut about not being able to turn lead into gold. While I don't think Osensei knew everything, I'd pretty much consider him an expert on aikido.

2) About egos: I agree with Paul that certainly some people avoid competitions because of ego. However, I claim that most of the competitors only seem to have mastered their egos with the folks who consistently beat or tie them. How are those egos when they deal with someone they consistently beat?

Rob (off to class)

mj
02-15-2005, 05:02 PM
Shodocan'ts? :D

Mark (just back from class)

Michael Neal
02-15-2005, 05:07 PM
Rob,

I don't know what "competition-orientated practice" is. The folks that compete just drive someplace on a Saturday, pay the appropriate fee, sign the appropriate forms and have at it. They don't train (or act) any differently from people who didn't compete, in my experience. I'd be willing to bet that anyone watching a class couldn't pick out the non-competitors from the competitors with any degree of accuracy better than chance.

At least that's how it is in bjj, and I gather from this thread, that aikido is the same. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong)

Regards,

Paul

That has been my experience as well. However, every once in a while you will meet elite level competitiors who do have some arrogance about them. But in all honesty I met alot more arrogant people in non-competitive Aikido than Judo or BJJ.

Randori and competition tends to weed people out that have fragile egos. Non-competitive martial artists can easily fall into the trap of overestimating their skills since they are rarely tested in a full out sparring situation.

Aiki LV
02-15-2005, 05:45 PM
Non-competitive martial artists can easily fall into the trap of overestimating their skills since they are rarely tested in a full out sparring situation.
I'm not trying to be facetious, so please don't think my question is
insincere. Do you consider sparring a real full out test of one's skill? Just curious, I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.

Zato Ichi
02-15-2005, 06:10 PM
What is it about that quote that's got you so riled? I for one really like it, especially when it's put in context of the situation that prompted Tomiki Sensei to say it. Perhaps one of the Shodokan folks could relate it again (I won't because I'm afraid I'll remember it wrong and screw it up ;) )

Directly from the Shodokan home page:

On 25th November 1972 the 2nd Japan Budo Festival was held in the Japan Budokan. This was an event surely worth a special mention. From the world of aikido, Kisshomaru Ueshiba (2nd head of Aikikai), Gozo Shioda (head of Yoshinkan) and Kenji Tomiki (head of the Japan Aikido Association) were present. It was the first time in history that they had met in the same building. However, the event didn't take its intended course. In Tomiki Shihan's teaching while we were practising randori, all of a sudden we heard the announcement "What is going on now, Aikikai do not acknowledge" repeated several times.

Also, one of the festival committee members, while having invited us there, at the same time denied that the content was aikido. The atmosphere was such that the younger university students who were watching almost surged forward from their seats.

However, Tomiki Sensei didn't mind at all and continued to teach. Anyway, I didn't calm down and as soon as we finished I asked him about this.

Shihan's reply was simply, "The people who understand, understand prefectly. So you don't need to worry." I recall that I thought that was either his presence of mind or his concentration on what he was doing. Twenty years have passed since then and that was the first and last time these three people from the world of aikido had met in the same building. It is said that the spirit of aikido is harmony so I was very disappointed by this.
Mr. Liberti is obviously one of the people who does not understand.

mj
02-15-2005, 07:16 PM
I'm not trying to be facetious, so please don't think my question is
insincere. Do you consider sparring a real full out test of one's skill? Just curious, I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.

Well Mindy...as a noob here you are more indebted to answer first...

What do you consider to be a 'real full out' test of "one's skill" ?

(and sincerity value will be noted :) )

L. Camejo
02-15-2005, 08:02 PM
Personally, I think the entire concept of "cooperative model" versus "competitive model" a bit of a moot point that actually holds no substance. Things are never that black or white. There is no such model on either side as far as I've experienced - at some point during cooperative training one evolves to the point where the technical integrity of what one is doing is "tested" in some way or form so that one can locate flaws and improve. Same way with those who practice with "competitive" methods it does not mean that this is the only mode of practice, otherwise no one will be able to learn anything as a beginner, where cooperation is necessary.

The term competition when used with Aikido often explains one single and small aspect of the training method that Tomiki K. created. Some forget that he was one of the earlier instructors at the Aikikai Hombu where cooperative practice is the norm. I doubt he would just dump what he learnt as an instructor there and try to reinvent the wheel just for the sake of creating "competitive" Aikido.

Also, like some others, I fail to see why one believes that a person who engages in competition is somewhat stunted in one's development as a Budoka. I find the concept totally ridiculous actually. If one approaches one's training with the mindset of doing Budo (a mindset I admit many Aikidoka do not have toward their training) then one attempts to explore the totality of the art in it's depth and breadth. I just don't see what special elements exist in the single act of competing that naturally causes this "lack of development" that Rob is indicating. Egotism and egocentricism is in no way the domain of the competitor alone. In fact from my experience it is the competitor who is often in more check of his/her ego from being constantly reminded that there are many out there who are as if not more skilled at what one does. Like some others, I have found the stunting effects of the ego to be a lot more widespread among non competitors who live in a false sense of reality of what they are actually capable of. As I said before, this is often seen when many non competitive Aikidoists try to go train at Judo and BJJ clubs where there is a lot of competition training and try to cop a "holier than thou" attitude in the other style's dojo (another product of the falsely embellished ego).

I admire Wynand's desire to test himself and get some sort of objective measure of his ability. There are many ways to do this, competition is one of the safer methods. Knowing one's ability tends to take on an air of increased importance when one lives in a society where personal ability to defend oneself is a high priority. It sounds like he loves the Aikido that he is practising but frustrated by the lack of an objective measure within that training method. The only other thing I can recommend to him is to try and make it to one of the regional or international tournaments and take part in the individual tanto and toshu shiai and try to learn as much as possible from the experience. Another idea may be to join an MMA club and do a lot of heavy sparring while using one's Aikido to see how it works. Personally, I can understand and empathise with where he is coming from.

Just my thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

maikerus
02-15-2005, 09:27 PM
Until you have stood your ground against someone who is not "holding back", who is of equal skill and determination and who does not have your comfort and best interests at heart how would you ever know if the thing that you have been training for (sometimes for decades) is of ANY value?

This is a fairly interesting discussion the merits of competition, but I wonder if the above quote is about competition. My understanding is that there are rules in competition...even unwritten ones as in ultimate fighting...so that practitioners can come out and fight again another day.

The above quote, seems to me, to be valid insofar as "testing your Aikido". Go to an area where you are sure to be attacked and then test your aikido. or yourself.

I think competition is a place where you get better at competition. It also might help improve your Aikido, but it certainly isn't the only way. I also really don't think its about no holds barred fighting.

The various styles that put different emphasis on different aspects of training make an interesting combination of focuses and teaching/learning/training methods. My own style does not have a competition where two are fighting each other. The competition that does exist is kata competition and jiyuwaza competition where the purest in form wins. Sort of like pairs figure skating. My style focuses on balance, timing, body mechanics and the form of the technique. "With form comes power" or "Power comes from form" or thoughts like that justify the training (and seem to have proven themselves in some results I have seen).

Isn't there a story out there about Ueshiba Sensei not wanting to demonstrate Aikido to the Emporer because to be true to the Emporer and to Aikido his uke would have to die at the beginning of the 40 minute demo? Aren't there also stories about top teachers going out and challenging people in the street to see how good they were? These stories aren't about competition...but they are about testing oneself.

Anyway...I don't know very much about competition in Aikido. But I think I'll consider it another training method after reading this thread.

cheers,

--Michael

Michael Neal
02-15-2005, 10:10 PM
I'm not trying to be facetious, so please don't think my question is
insincere. Do you consider sparring a real full out test of one's skill? Just curious, I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.

Well no, a full out test would be defending against a real attacker. However, absent that sparring is the next best thing. I certainly think it is a better test than cooperative practice.

Don't get me wrong though, I do think that semi-cooperative and kata practice as found in Aikido is useful and can develop practical skills. In fact too much randori practice without cooperative practice can be harmful to your skill development. I am just a firm believer in the importance of frequent and rigorous randori to learn how to apply techniques on fully non cooperative people.

If you can apply a technique on someone who knows your moves and how to counter them, and who is trying to throw you as well, then you can be pretty confident that the technique will work on someone outside the dojo.

In Aikido however, I never had that same level of confidence because the training methods sometimes leave doubts to the effectiveness of techniques.

Yann Golanski
02-16-2005, 04:00 AM
Peter, thanks for posting the quote from Nariyama shihan. I was about to do it myself.

As for Rob Liberti, I am not interested in convincing you that competition is a good thing. I am not here to convince anyone it is a good thing. I've explained why I am doing it. I've pointed to sources which explain why some great martial artists have included competition in their system. I've suggested that anyone interested enough take the time to learn about it. Whether you decide to either read what I have written or read why competition was included into teaching systems or try it for yourself is of no concern to me.

BTW, "see with eyes unclouded" is from Mononoke Hime (http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0119698/?fr=c2l0ZT11a3xteD0yMHxzZz0xfGxtPTIwMHx0dD1vbnxmYj11fHBuPTB8cT1tb25vbm9rZSBoaW1l fGh0bWw9MXxubT1vbg__;fc=1;ft=1) (Princess Mononoke) by Hayao Miyazaki. Well worth seeing whatever your opinions on competition. No one wins ten kote gaeshi for both sides.

<joke class="silly" id="don't take this seriously">
Jun, do you think you could set up a new pool: Describe competition in Aikido:
1- An aberration in the face of the kami.
2- A quick way to boost you finances and ego by defeating worthless opponents.
3- Something I am prejudiced against but know nothing off.
4- Something I do not practice but I have taken the time to learn about it.
5- A useful tool to test safely and improve ones Aikido.
6- I don't do understand what the fuss is all about.
7- I don't do Aikido.
</joke>

Just in case you don't understand XML: The above was a joke!

Peter Goldsbury
02-16-2005, 08:45 AM
This is an interesting thread. A few thoughts.

1. In his published discourses Morihei Ueshiba talks much about transcending the options of winning and losing. He often talks about aikido as ascetic training and of being in a situation of 'masakatsu agatsu katsu hayabi': 'real' winning\and in the instant. He compares this with the reverse side of the coin: that of 'arasou-kokoro': the spirit of disputing, fighting, competing. I believe that his vocabulary here is coloured very much by Omoto-kyo, with its beliefs in a new heaven on earth, permeated by love.

2. Morihei Ueshiba is very clear on the crucial importance of aikido as 'shugyou': ascetic training. He came from a part of Japan where 'kaihougyou': 100-day or 1000-day marathon running in the mountains, done by Buddhist monks, was a central part of shugyou. It is certain that he regarded aikido training as part of this tradition.

3. Morihei Ueshiba clearly expected aikido to 'work'. In the few places where he talks about techique, for example, when dealing with attacks from behind (in Budo Renshuu and Budo), he insists that the discernment of the attacker's whereabouts and intentions can come only from intensive and constant training. This is sometimes watered down in translation, but I think he really believed that training would yield a 6th sense.

4. Morihei Ueshiba had his own tried and tested training methods, which he regarded as appropriate for himself, but he did not expect his disciples to follow these in their entirety. I think he expected his disciples to do shugyou, and relate their shugyou to the rhythm of nature as a whole, but to work out appropriate methods for themselves.

5. I think the issue for M Mochizuki and K Tomiki\and also for K Ueshiba, in their own respective ways, was how to translate these lofty ideas into a methodology that would be authentic, that is, be (1) true to the Founder's aims, (2) have no internal contradictions\i.e., would work as a martial art, but (3) would be something that anyone could learn, especially in postwar Japan and also abroad.

6. I think the fact of history should not be underestimated. All of us are accumulations of events that make up our life histories. Martial arts are abstractions of real people with such life histories and there is always a creative tension between the martial art, understood as a complex of abstracted techniques, and the real people doing these techniques in particular situations, be it in a dojo, in the street, or on the top deck of a Boeing 747 during a hijacking.

7. I think a corollary of this is that any particular martial art, or variant, has to come to terms with the fact that it is essentially artificial\it never replicates the real world 100% every time, if at all. So I think that the issue is not whether competitive aikido 'works' more than non-competitive aikido, but whether either in their postwar form embody the Founder's Omoto-kyo inspired vision of a heaven on earth.

8. Competition has been around at least since the ancient Olympics and has embodied all the virtures and vices that come with winning and losing. Thus, talk of the 'Olympic Family' is just as much an ideal now as it was in ancient Athens. On the other hand, millions of people all over the world do competitive sports and are thereby enobled in various ways, just as much as the (fewer) millions who do martial arts. I do not think it is profitable to attempt 'objective' comparisons between sports and non-sports, according to whether one or the other more successfully achieves aims that enable practitioners to flourish as human beings.

Best regards to all,

rob_liberti
02-16-2005, 08:46 AM
Larry and many others, your posts are excellent. I'm sure your training method produces excellent some results. I'd honestly love to understand them better.

R. Haruo Hori, I'm not claiming that _I_ understand anything perfectly. You didn't go on to elaborate on that passage, please do if you are willing.

All, my first post on this thread started with: "I agree with most of the original post, but not all of the conclusions you jumped to. If you want to compete I'm all for it." I agree that there are major ego problems with humans - and that smart people with bigger ego problems will set themselves up to be in a situation where they are as unchallenged as possible. I'm with you on that very valid point. That would certainly on the "pro" side for training with competition. But as Larry said in post 85 (and I said as a matter of fact in post 10) it is a moot point because cooperative model training people also test each other out as well. So if we agree that both extremes are bad, then it is merely a push.

I explained that I didn't know what "competition aikido" was, and so I'd explain my prejudices, AND that I'm okay with having people explain theirs to me so I can get more insight to it. What I have learned so far is that:

1) Apparently, that is a terrible term to describe what is really done. If I have a blue car and you put a small red dot on it, I would never call it a red car. If someone is saying that the overall atmosphere of "competititve aikido" is cooperation and collaboration then okay, but can't you see why someone might be confused by that?!

2) I'm told that folks from competition aikido have run into more ego problems from without compared to within their model. <rant> The point is somewhat dimished by Yann posting 3 times in a single short post that he wins every competition (post#20) , and following it up with several smug posts eluding to superior knowledge that has not been demonstrated. </rant>

2a - Do the people who lose all of the competitions feel they are being as respected as the people who win all of the time? Maybe you should ask them.

2b - Do competitors hold back help from their classmates in order to win?

2c - Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again? Is there another way? Who are these people from that model have broken through? Would they be willing to explain how they got there using this model.

Rob

Amir Krause
02-16-2005, 09:13 AM
I believe when checking if competition is good for your Aikido practice, you should analyze this question in a very simple manner. Look at the benefits of competition, check the draw backs, and then compare this to other learning methods and see if they can replace the competition.


The main benefit people claim to have from competition (as I read in this entire thread) is a non-compliant practice, or perhaps it would be better to phrase this as having an actively resisting Uke with motivation to resist.
Another point in favor of competition is the competitor must face such resisting situations, and would be less likely to delude himself as for the efficiency of his techniques.
The main draw back, I have seen so far, is the tendency of competition to limit the practice due to safety issues. I would add to this that if the competition becomes the focus of practice, the whole M.A. can change (look at Judo: lots of techniques were removed, and in many area the only practitioners are competitors, other people look for other M.A. and some teachers will only teach those who are gifted and may become champions).

Non compliant practice, and learning to overcome resistance, can also be taught in a non competitive way. By a very good Uke who raises the level of difficulty to give Tori a challenge.
The advantage of this latter way, over competition is this Uke would set the level according to Tori level. Further, The same exact situation can be recreated again and again. The disadvantage is that one can not be sure Uke did all he could to resist the technique (but then again in a competition, one can only be sure Uke did not succeed this time).
Avoiding delusion is a more difficult issue. Some people will never have that delusion anyway. Others may hold it even after they loose in competition (the other is much more advanced, the judge was mistaken ). A proper atmosphere in the dojo and a teacher that keeps Kata practice intensity such that the success ratio in techniques is realistic (never 100%) could reduce the delusion without any competition.

Personally, I came to the realization I can find replacements for competition. As a matter of fact, I found it is more difficult to diminish my own competitive nature and try to practice Randori in order to improve my movement & softness, rather then concentrate on techniques.
But this is only my own personal feeling, anyone who wishes, can compete.



Amir

L. Camejo
02-16-2005, 09:33 AM
Great post above Rob.
1) Apparently, that is a terrible term to describe what is really done. If I have a blue car and you put a small red dot on it, I would never call it a red car. If someone is saying that the overall atmosphere of "competititve aikido" is cooperation and collaboration then okay, but can't you see why someone might be confused by that?!
Totally agree Rob. There was a time even I disliked the words "competitive Aikido" since somewhere inside it appeared as if it did not make sense. But then, after reading the books that Tomiki and some of his direct students had written I decided to re-think my definition of competition to a great extent and Aikido to a lesser extent. My personal view is that the word "competition" does not fully convey the image of what goes in on this training method. I think this is why Yann says to try it out, since only by experience can one get a total definition. It's sort of like saying Aikido is the Way of Harmony for someone who has little knowledge of the martial arts. We know what it is because we do it, not so easy to explain to others in a word.
2) I'm told that folks from competition aikido have run into more ego problems from without compared to within their model. <rant> The point is somewhat dimished by Yann posting 3 times in a single short post that he wins every competition (post#20) , and following it up with several smug posts eluding to superior knowledge that has not been demonstrated. </rant>
The whole approach to competition is a personal thing for every player and there will be those who see winning and competition as a means to an ego trip. This however, was not the way it was intended by Tomiki as far as I understand it. To borrow from Yann's concept - if one approaches competition correctly one does win every time, even when one "loses" the match. This is because knowledge is power and everytime you compete and you learn something that you did not know before, you have won. It does not matter who has the trophy if one approaches it as a way of learning.
2a - Do the people who lose all of the competitions feel they are being as respected as the people who win all of the time? Maybe you should ask them.
This one may require a poll. But again, it may not matter so much what others think of you whether you win or lose. In Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge it says that even in an international tournament, the feelings after one wins or loses a match are very personal and private. One hardly (if ever) sees the taunting, jeering and beating of chests that often appears when some types win and others lose. The whole affair is often taken in a very internal way by those involved in the match. Of course there are exceptions.

2b - Do competitors hold back help from their classmates in order to win?
Good question. I believe there are those who may do this, but again it is up to the individual to hone his skills to the degree that the effects of any such holding back does not adversely affect his performance. Football teams don't share game plays and tactics with each other before the match, but the rules are designed that even though some things are hidden, the playing field is kept more or less level. If your defense is good enough, then no offense can penetrate it and vice versa.

Another thing is that if holding back is going on and you are good enough to force your partner to reveal what he did not want to, it becomes a learning experience for you both. In all cases a personal drive towards peak performance helps the situation.

2c - Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again? Is there another way? Who are these people from that model have broken through? Would they be willing to explain how they got there using this model.
Why is dropping arm strength so important to you? The elements of effective technique are indentifiable. If losing arm strength in some way aids in the development of one's Aikido (either by physical or other effectiveness) then I believe that it is beneficial to practice it. This dropping of arm strength phenomena is also practiced in Shodokan when we do kata mainly, so I don't see the need to abort normal training to explore this. It is all contained in the same place.

I for one have trained in (and still do sometimes) Ki Aikido, Aikikai, Tai Chi Chuan, Wing Chun, Jujutsu and Judo to learn things (steal principles) to make my own Aikido better. Hell I've even gone into Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shiatsu and Qi Gong to explore theories and concepts I've found while doing Aikido. This applies to competition as well as everything else. And yes I have learnt things in other Aikido schools that have made my Aikido more effective, since I believe that the different schools tend to focus on different things in different intensities. The lessons I have learnt however did not require any extended leave from training in Shodokan, all it called for was an empty cup when training in the other style and a willingness to learn and absorb from the second you enter the other Dojo.

LC:ai::ki:

Zato Ichi
02-16-2005, 10:49 AM
R. Haruo Hori, I'm not claiming that _I_ understand anything perfectly. You didn't go on to elaborate on that passage, please do if you are willing.

<sigh> I don't think I can add anything else to what Larry and Yann have already said, so I'll just do a quick recap: competition is a tool to improve your aikido. You learn what your strong and weak points are. If you approach it as a contest - your opponent a mere roadblock on your way to the gold - then you're missing the point IMHO. Your competition is yourself.

Good lord, that was the cheesiest thing I've written in a long time :)

At this point, I'm sure some of my fellow Thugs will call me a heretic, but I need to say it.

I hate shiai.

I think shiai is pointless and encourages players to, well, play a game. People think about how to score points, not execute proper techniques (Olympic judo, anyone?). The flow of the match is interrupted by the judges, the mind boggling rules. I'll side with the non-believers on this one. That form of competition I can do without.

Randori geiko (full resistance sparring) OTOH is an absolutely a brilliant way to learn what works for you and what doesn't. Whenever I do randori geiko and my opponent gets a good technique on me, I always come up smiling. There is a spontaneity to randori geiko that no other form of training can simulate.

Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again?
I don't know. I guess you'd have to find that person ask them. :rolleyes:

rob_liberti
02-16-2005, 11:18 AM
Those were some really good posts!

The only thing I have to comment on really is the question: why is dropping my arm strength so important to me? I guess it really comes down to what your image of aikido is and what you are trying to achieve. My opinion is that until you can drop your arm strength and be effective, what you are doing is barely scratching the surface level. I have been told that the term "aiki" was borrowed from a sword school that Osensei knew about to refer to the okuden level (or level of depth). For me that is the only direction I can go to continue growing in aikido. If someone has no interest to get there then I think they should call what they do shodendo, or chudendo. (Or maybe replace do with jutsu.)

I am interested in what the intermediate goals (like of 3rd and 4th dans) in competition aikido are towards getting to the next level?

Rob

Mike Sigman
02-16-2005, 12:14 PM
Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again?Hi Rob:

I'm trying to think of an easy way to say this, but essentially the point I want to make is that "not using muscular strength" is not the same thing as "using no muscles". For instance, if you are going to push a large white refrigerator on a hard floor (i.e,., it'll slide OK and takes some force but not too much), you can put your hands on the side of the refrigerator and push it by just pushing your middle forward (i.e., when the middle goes forward the hands are 'attached' to it and they never lag behind the forward movement of the middle). That sort of push is different from you standing near the refrigerator, making a 'tower' of your body, and pushing the refrigerator with your arms and shoulders working off the 'tower'.

The latter way of doing it takes more arm and shoulder muscle, but the first way requires that the torso, shoulder, and arms become 'transmitters' of the middle's movement, which in turn derives from the solid ground. If you total the amount of muscles involved in the two ways of pushing the refrigerator, the way using the middle uses more muscles, but with less effort per muscle. In other words, the idea is not that you quit using strength, you use it spread out over more of the body... i.e., it's a different way of using strength (it's more complex than my description; I'm simplifying), not a loss of strength.

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
02-16-2005, 12:49 PM
Fair enough, I agree.

There was also mention of things that were dropped to make competition safe. Does anyone know what was dropped?

Rob

Bronson
02-16-2005, 12:54 PM
I think shiai is pointless and encourages players to, well, play a game. People think about how to score points, not execute proper techniques (Olympic judo, anyone?). The flow of the match is interrupted by the judges, the mind boggling rules. I'll side with the non-believers on this one. That form of competition I can do without.

Randori geiko (full resistance sparring) OTOH is an absolutely a brilliant way to learn what works for you and what doesn't. Whenever I do randori geiko and my opponent gets a good technique on me, I always come up smiling. There is a spontaneity to randori geiko that no other form of training can simulate.

I think this difference is where a lot of us who practice in a primarily cooperative setting get confused (not me of course because I understand perfectly ;) )

I think that most people eventually get to the point where they are testing their technique by having someone resist it to some degree...you guys just seem to take that to a different level than most of us. In our dojo we don't really do full resistence (everything we can to shut down the technique) but if nage doesn't blend with the energy given we don't move, or reverse it, or let them know that we could have punched/kicked them somewhere. As the skill level of both people rise the amount of incorrect technique uke will let slide becomes less and hopefully the amount of incorrect technique nage attempts becomes less.

It seems like this is very often an argument of semantics.

Bronson

mj
02-16-2005, 01:34 PM
... In our dojo we don't really do full resistence (everything we can to shut down the technique) but if nage doesn't blend with the energy given we don't move, or reverse it, or let them know that we could have punched/kicked them somewhere....
Bronson
One of the first thing 'uke' learns to do in randori is to move away from you when you are about to use waza :eek:

It's one thing to find a space to apply technique on a fully resistant partner...but when the bugger just keeps running away every time he thinks you are going to do something....makes you wonder whether he or I has a better grasp of Aikido principles....attacking an empty space :p

billybob
02-16-2005, 02:57 PM
Wynand said "Not having competitions is almost a point of pride in some Aikido institutions, what nonsense, how better to curb the growth of an ego than with a good butt-kicking now and then."

It's a good point, and has sparked a lot of good discussion.

I miss the hell out of judo randori - we translated as 'free play'.
you picked your partner based on how vigorous you wanted to train, bowed out if it got too rough, or got put in your place if you took too much risk.

Twenty years ago i countered a high ranking aikidoka and dumped him on his butt. He kicked me in the face for my trouble and reminded me aikido is a martial art. I was just trying to show him a flaw in his technique - maybe i shouldn't have tried to soften his fall - that's why i was open to the kick.

Training good. Injuries Bad

Billybob

MaryKaye
02-16-2005, 05:06 PM
2c - Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again? Is there another way?

Rob

I can't speak for competitive aikido, but I participated for decades in the high end of competitive chess (including getting to hang out at a US Championship one year, which was a fascinating experience). In chess, the answer to "Are you willing to ruin your game for a long time, maybe a year or more, in order to improve?" is "yes" for almost all serious high-end practicioners; otherwise they would never have gotten to the high end. Eventually you hit a wall; you may be winning at your local level but for all but a literal handful of people, there is a level above that where you won't be able to win.

I wasn't a top player but I went through at least three such episodes in my chess career; it usually took me 6-8 months to recover from having learned something radically new.

I would expect competitive aikido to work the same way; if you muscle your techniques there is a limit to how far you can improve, and a serious competitor will eventually discover this. My school doesn't do randori competition but we do taigi (kata) competition and it's clearly true there. For one thing, the only way to make a sloppy fast taigi better is to abandon all the small tricks that are allowing you to do it fast, and the immediate result is that you stop being able to do it fast, with detrimental results on your score. Eventually you learn how to do it fast with no tricks, but the intermediate stage is a pain.

Mary Kaye

Chris Birke
02-16-2005, 05:21 PM
"Twenty years ago i countered a high ranking aikidoka and dumped him on his butt. He kicked me in the face for my trouble and reminded me aikido is a martial art. I was just trying to show him a flaw in his technique - maybe i shouldn't have tried to soften his fall - that's why i was open to the kick."

I think this is a bullshit situation which shows a major flaw "cooperative" training.

Mike Sigman
02-16-2005, 05:48 PM
I think this is a bullshit situation which shows a major flaw "cooperative" training.

At the level most westerners practice, you're probably right that the cooperative practice doesn't garner much useable self-defense or competition skills. However, different dojo's have different approaches and some of them turn out some pretty competitive individuals.

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that if substantive (instead of superficial) Ki skills were taught and more scenarios practiced that explored Uke's balance, more Aikidoka would have fairly useable skills. The Ki and Kokyu give a undeniable edge in a confrontation. Even with the smaller mass and frame size of a lot of women, using kokyu correctly can give a demonstrable edge over larger men. If you can't move someone and they can move you, there is a problem.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Steven Gubkin
02-16-2005, 09:06 PM
People do not have to compete with a competitive attitude. If both you and your opponent are each trying to win, but value the training and not who ends up winning, then you have the best of both worlds. You get realistic training without violating the essential philosophy of Aikido.

Also to those people who don't think that self-defense is a big part of Aikido (the kind of people who make arguments like "you shouldn't be in a real fight anyway"), are completely missing the point of Aikido in my opinion. The Philosophy of Aikido is contained in the physical practice of Aikido. It is based on applying the same principles on learns in a fight (blend with attackers, harmonizing rather than meeting force head on, ... etc), and applying these concepts outside a fight. The problem is, if you do not train realistic fights, then the philosophy you base on these farcical fights will not be based in reality. If Uke and Nage always "cooperate" then they will assume this is how the real world works. They will end up thinking that everything is peace and harmony when it isn't.I guess what I am trying to say is that Aikido is about creating harmony out of chaos. Too many schools are not providing any chaos to be harmonized. Its harmonized from the beginning. :ai: :ki: :do:

Michael Neal
02-16-2005, 09:38 PM
I hate shiai.

I think shiai is pointless and encourages players to, well, play a game. People think about how to score points, not execute proper techniques (Olympic judo, anyone?). The flow of the match is interrupted by the judges, the mind boggling rules. I'll side with the non-believers on this one. That form of competition I can do without.

Randori geiko (full resistance sparring) OTOH is an absolutely a brilliant way to learn what works for you and what doesn't. Whenever I do randori geiko and my opponent gets a good technique on me, I always come up smiling. There is a spontaneity to randori geiko that no other form of training can simulate.

Shiai is not pointless but it is not for everyone. If you do not get too focused on manipulating the rules to win, the experience is the closest to real fighting you can get.

Doing full randori regularly without participating in shiai should be enough to test your skills, However, it is clear in my experience that Judoka who do not participate in shiai tend to be lazy in their randori practice and also do much less of it. This is because there is less motivation to become good at it.

PeterR
02-16-2005, 11:11 PM
Michael;

The last time I saw Rob Hori in Shiai he busted his middle finger (I remember well since I was the one who dragged him to the doctor). He still went in for the next round.

I prefer randori over shia for the same reason Rob does and I don't think you can accuse him of being lazy about it - me maybe (I would also scream like a little girl if someone busted my finger and demand an ambulance). However, point taken if you like shiai you will do more randori. For some shiai preparation is a required stimulus.

deepsoup
02-17-2005, 06:34 AM
Hi Rob.
My take on a couple of your questions:
2b - Do competitors hold back help from their classmates in order to win?

Most of the techniques that are successful in shiai are very simple anyway. What is difficult is 'owning' the technique, and developing the timing to the point that you can apply it to a skilled opponent who has no intention of playing along. I think its very unlikely that someone can be shown some 'trick' and immediately make it useful in shiai, because the necessary timing can only come from practice, practice and more practice.
When a person practices a technique, they are inevitably sharing it with their classmates. (Whether they want to share it or not, they're making it available for their classmates to 'steal' the technique.)

To put it another way: If an individual is capable of conceiving of some technique and developing it to the point that it is effective in competitive randori without a lot of practice, and the active collaboration of their peers - I think that individual has probably reached a level where there aren't any more lessons to be learned from competition anyway.

2c - Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again?
I can think of a few very strong individuals who are definitely not willing to soften up in order to learn better aikido. At an international event in Leeds a year or two ago, this led to some extremely unattractive shiai. Ultimately they're just denying themselves the opportunity to learn new stuff - there will always be people who want to show off what they can do more than they want to learn what they can't. I'm sure we've all met them from time to time, regardless of our styles, or our different dojo cultures.

In the framework of a formal competition, the rules are designed to encourage 'aiki' rather than brute force. Under a good referee, brute force is unlikely to be a winning strategy in any case.

You also asked:There was also mention of things that were dropped to make competition safe. Does anyone know what was dropped?

The problem with some techniques in shiai is that people tend to resist, and in the heat of the moment they're not always rational about resisting even when its dangerous for them to do so.

The most obvious one is nikkyo. People resisting a strong nikkyo tended to get their wrist broken before they realised resisting was a bad idea, so its no longer allowed at all in shiai.
Mae otoshi is allowed only up to the point of kuzushi - beyond a certain point there's a danger that a person resisting the technique will damage their elbow.

Some other techniques need to be done in a certain way, for example shihonage is perfectly safe as long as 'uke's' arm is close to their body (ie: their elbow is pointing up, their hand ideally is right in between their shoulder blades). The kind of shihonage where the arm is open (the kind that calls for a big, scary ukemi) is too dangerous to elbows and shoulders.

Of course we still practice the techniques that aren't allowed in shiai, we just don't do them in shiai. The same is true for people who practice the martial art of judo, if not for those who practice the olympic sport of judo, if you see what I mean.

Sean
x

Amir Krause
02-17-2005, 07:05 AM
Of course we still practice the techniques that aren't allowed in shiai, we just don't do them in shiai.

Don't you find keeping both types of practice disturb you in shiai. If I understand correctly, this is the process that happened in Judo. The competitors came to understand that they will perform better in competition, if they limit their knowledge only to "competition permissible" techniques.


Amir

Michael Neal
02-17-2005, 07:50 AM
Michael;

The last time I saw Rob Hori in Shiai he busted his middle finger (I remember well since I was the one who dragged him to the doctor). He still went in for the next round.

I prefer randori over shia for the same reason Rob does and I don't think you can accuse him of being lazy about it - me maybe (I would also scream like a little girl if someone busted my finger and demand an ambulance). However, point taken if you like shiai you will do more randori. For some shiai preparation is a required stimulus.

I think you misunderstood me, I was not calling him lazy, I have no idea how he practices, I was just noting my observations of my Judo class between competitors and non-competitors.

Don't you find keeping both types of practice disturb you in shiai. If I understand correctly, this is the process that happened in Judo. The competitors came to understand that they will perform better in competition, if they limit their knowledge only to "competition permissible" techniques.

True, but "competition permissible" techniques are more than adequate for self-defense. In fact my entire point is that "competition permissible" techniques are more effective than more dangerous techniques simple due to the fact that they can be trained harder and more realistically.

Competition techniques in Judo include very forceful throws, dislocation techniques, and chokes, any of which are perfectly capable on their own or used in combination to disabling an attacker. Especially since these techniques are constantly practiced on fully resisting people.

"Sport" judo really is not as watered down as some people think.

Judo has Kata that inludes many of the same techniques as Aikido, these techniques are useful to learn but since they are practiced in a much more controlled manner I am positive I would be less prepared to use them in a real life encounter, even if I practiced them daily.

happysod
02-17-2005, 08:04 AM
True, but "competition permissible" techniques are more than adequate for self-defense from what I know of the differences, agree with you here
In fact my entire point is that "competition permissible" techniques are more effective than more dangerous techniques simple due to the fact that they can be trained harder and more realistically. While I understand your reasoning, I can't fully agree here. Harking back to the judo example, my understanding was that Kano had already removed those techniques which he deemed too hard to practice. However, later generations removed yet more until the grumble about judo's street(tm) effectiveness reared their head and less favoured techniques were "rediscovered".

I think there is an argument for keeping the entire breadth of techniques, just some may need more training at lower speeds before they're introduced into your randori. In my own ki-style, we had effectively lost sumio-toshi for a while - thankfully it's back (via a strange route I admit) following it's masterful demonstration by a sensei from another style.

Michael Neal
02-17-2005, 08:19 AM
Ian, I am all for keeping the entire breadth of techniques too. However these so called "lost" techniques are really few in number and do not really take much away from the effectiveness of Judo if not practiced.

"Sport" judo is quite effective on its own without them, for competition and self defense.

I think people should actually be more concerned with how watered down Aikido has become, do you think Aikido is practiced as hard today as was in the beginning? I think Judo and Aikido have taken two opposite roads, Judo has removed some more dangerous techniques in order to practice very hard. Aikido in general has removed training harder in order to practice more dangerous techniques.

It is my opinion that training less dangerous techniques harder is more effective than training more dangereous techniques cooperatively.

Ron Tisdale
02-17-2005, 10:07 AM
The only quible I would have is in associating 'harder' with competitive. I might agree that the non-competitive nature of today's aikido practice could have an affect on self-defense application. But I also believe that there are many dojo that train very hard indeed. As to whether it is common to train as the early students did...well...no, I honestly don't think that exact opportunity exists today. That kind of training was based very strongly in the uchideshi idea and an earlier japanese sub-culture...a strong core of students who literally lived, ate, and slept in the dojo, with the founder. Even scrubbing his back at night.

Cooperative training in that environment (extremely strong bonds and a high level of trust) is probably as close to the level of competive training we see in judo as you can get. That said, there are contemporary uchideshi programs and intense training programs that simulate (as best as modern times can) that type of environment. Some examples might be the core of students who practiced during extended stays in Iwama, the yoshinkan senshusei program, Chida Sensei's uchideshi program, and I'm sure, many others as well. I have no idea of the actual numbers of aikido students who participate in such programs though.

One other factor to consider...I know of some students who train exceptionally hard even outside of the types of programs mentioned above. The benchmark of that kind of keiko seems to be the level of trust between training partners...and the presense of that trust usually requires a very strong commitment to the dojo and instructor. A level of committment that not all students are willing to make in this day and age.

Best
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 11:58 AM
I can think of a few very strong individuals who are definitely not willing to soften up in order to learn better aikido. At an international event in Leeds a year or two ago, this led to some extremely unattractive shiai. Ultimately they're just denying themselves the opportunity to learn new stuff - there will always be people who want to show off what they can do more than they want to learn what they can't.I've worked with some experienced practitioners who, even when it's definitively shown how "soft" works and how powerful it is, cannot change. "Soft" will never work by just softening up and being less tense; it involves some radical changes in the way people move...so it's not just "being willing to soften up", IMO, it's more "being willing to stop what you're doing and radically change your body movement."The problem with some techniques in shiai is that people tend to resist, and in the heat of the moment they're not always rational about resisting even when its dangerous for them to do so.

The most obvious one is nikkyo. People resisting a strong nikkyo tended to get their wrist broken before they realised resisting was a bad idea, so its no longer allowed at all in shiai.While some of the nikkyo variants can be applied in combat or competition (nikkyo is a joint attack at a certain angle, not a specific application), the standard cross-hand nikkyo is usually pretty hard to apply to a wary opponent. That being said, nikkyo is ineffective against someone with good ki powers, so instead of disallowing nikkyo, I would suggest that it should be the minimum ante. ;)

My 2 Cents.

Mike

rob_liberti
02-17-2005, 12:30 PM
I know we are seriously digressing here, but FWIW, I don't see nikyo as a joint "lock" at a certain angle at all anymore. I if I had to describe it in that pattern, it might be more acurately a joint pull-apart at a certain angle. I think I can do it to a grizly bear - even if he has a black sash in Taichi.

Rob

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 01:03 PM
I know we are seriously digressing here, but FWIW, I don't see nikyo as a joint "lock" at a certain angle at all anymore. I if I had to describe it in that pattern, it might be more acurately a joint pull-apart at a certain angle. I think I can do it to a grizly bear - even if he has a black sash in Taichi.

Well, I don't know if talking about techniques is a digression, really, because I think there is some confusion about what "Aikido Techniques" are in some of the previous posts. For instance, some dojo's practice and use atemi as part of what they consider bona fide Aikido; some dojo's completely abjure the use of atemi, considering it coarse and crude. ;) Some people use body checks as part of their Aikido and some people have never heard of doing such a thing. So when there's a discussion about Aikido for competition, I sort of get lost because I realize that various people have assorted ideas of what "bona fide Aikido" really is.

I'll be happy to let you apply nikkyo any time, Rob, and I don't have a black sash in anything. ;) I'm quite serious about what I said... someone with good ki and kokyu skills doesn't need muscle to withstand the application of your standard nikkyo. Of course, while this demonstration is fairly easy to do, I've gotten tired of standing around waiting while people hop around trying diffenent angles in their desperation to hurt me... I now give them plenty of time to apply and then I tend to respond to how off-balance they put themselves in their efforts. :cool:

FWIW

Mike

L. Camejo
02-17-2005, 01:06 PM
That being said, nikkyo is ineffective against someone with good ki powers

Ki powers?

Last time I checked, the fundamentals of sound technique included proper tai sabaki, kuzushi and then kake. Your ki powers become irrelevant when your balance (physical and otherwise) is properly destroyed imho. For one skilled in these things it does not matter what ki power you have if it is not applied in a manner to deter someone who knows exactly how to render that ability useless. Joint locks or as Rob says - joint pull-aparts only work in uncooperative situations when an ample amount of distraction/disruption is applied. This means atemi or kuzushi. Else one puts oneself in position for a beautiful pounding/counter lock/throw by someone who is not planning on cooperating.

Returning to Wynand's initial post. This is why we need some form of uncooperative practice to understand true effectiveness - there are ways of finding out what works and what does not under pressure (and of modifying stuff that doesn't work so it works), but we need to see these things by really testing them with someone who can give sound feedback regarding what is actually going on when a technique is being applied, not someone who is so accustomed complying that he/she would not know effective technique until it literally hit them.

I have trained in schools of Aikido that have been "noted" for their "effective self defence" techniques and again I see some delusion as to what works under resistance. There are some very powerful and dangerous techniques being practiced, but the cooperative method of training does not reveal weaknesses that may appear as a result of trying to use too much fine motor skills to get the technique, transitions that would give a resisting attacker an easy opportunity for a counter, or merely the time that is being taken and the energy wasted to get into some of the positions to get off some of these more powerful techniques.

Assumption can be dangerous. I tend to agree with Michael Neal in this regard when he says - It is my opinion that training less dangerous techniques harder is more effective than training more dangereous techniques cooperatively.

When met with someone who knows as much as you know and who seriously plans to be your antagonist, this is where the wheat and the chaff is separated. This is where one is forced to raise one's level of training to meet with this new level of practice, where the way of harmony truly shines as a way that reconciles energy even in the midst of opposition, by utilising the force of the opposition itself. We can talk about it, but doing it reveals a lot more imho.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Roy Dean
02-17-2005, 01:24 PM
L. Camejo = A fine purveyor of TRUTH...

Excellent posts in this thread.

Roy Dean

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 01:45 PM
Ki powers?Sure. The same kind that O-Sensei, Tohei, and others demonstrate as basic to their Aikido.Last time I checked, the fundamentals of sound technique included proper tai sabaki, kuzushi and then kake. Your ki powers become irrelevant when your balance (physical and otherwise) is properly destroyed imho. For one skilled in these things it does not matter what ki power you have if it is not applied in a manner to deter someone who knows exactly how to render that ability useless. Joint locks or as Rob says - joint pull-aparts only work in uncooperative situations when an ample amount of distraction/disruption is applied. This means atemi or kuzushi. Else one puts oneself in position for a beautiful pounding/counter lock/throw by someone who is not planning on cooperating.I don't particularly disagree with you about the application and completion of good Aikido techniques, but I didn't try to complicate what I was talking about... to make a point, I was simply talking about someone taking my proffered wrist and applying nikkyo to it. If you want to introduce footwork and balance-taking to the demonstration, it's a different matter from the simple demonstration I was talking about.... and you seem to be overlooking the possibility that the person doing the tai sabaki, attempted kuzushi, etc., might get knocked on his butt while attempting it, if we want to consider all the possibilities. But you're right in mentioning the difference between a demonstration and what a full-blown technique should involve. :straightfReturning to Wynand's initial post. This is why we need some form of uncooperative practice to understand true effectiveness - there are ways of finding out what works and what does not under pressure (and of modifying stuff that doesn't work so it works), but we need to see these things by really testing them with someone who can give sound feedback regarding what is actually going on when a technique is being applied, not someone who is so accustomed complying that he/she would not know effective technique until it literally hit them.I absolutely agree with you. What my point is that no matter how bully and competitive someone makes their Aikido, understanding and being able to use "Ki power" is an integral part of real Aikido. I've been in a number of dojo's where great physical skill with techniques, balance, etc., were in use, but which I didn't think much of in terms of reflecting the Aikido O-Sensei was trying to teach. O-Sensei, Tohei, and many others didn't use and demonstrate ki-powers as an interesting hobby akin to amateur magic... they considered it an important part of Aikido, I think.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Michael Neal
02-17-2005, 01:49 PM
The only quible I would have is in associating 'harder' with competitive. I might agree that the non-competitive nature of today's aikido practice could have an affect on self-defense application. But I also believe that there are many dojo that train very hard indeed

Ron, I don't doubt that there are many Aikidoka that practice very hard, what I meant was the training methods of Judo are harder, as in more full contact and all out sparring. I realize there are exceptions like Shodokan that includes frequent full randori. From what I have seen most Aikido does not do randori at all or if they do it is infrequent and consists of "light to no resistance exercise of body placement, avoidance and technique."

But again I also think too much randori can be detrimental as well, there was a long period of time where we were doing full randori for an hour and a half each class 3 times a week and I noticed my skills digress. There needs to be balance in the training.

mj
02-17-2005, 01:54 PM
... If you want to introduce footwork and balance-taking to the demonstration, it's a different matter from the simple demonstration I was talking about.... and you seem to be overlooking the possibility that the person doing the tai sabaki, attempted kuzushi, etc., might get knocked on his butt while attempting it...
Yeah, that's what we are talking about. As a training method. See?

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 02:07 PM
Yeah, that's what we are talking about. As a training method. See?I thought we were talking about nikkyo not being used in a competition because it was too dangerous; hence my observation. If someone wants to mix it up and see if they can apply nikkyo to me using their movement and balance-taking, I'd be interested to see it.... it might be good training, indeed. :eek:

Mike

Ron Tisdale
02-17-2005, 02:16 PM
it might be good training, indeed

It would certainly be fun to watch... :)

RT

L. Camejo
02-17-2005, 02:31 PM
Sure. The same kind that O-Sensei, Tohei, and others demonstrate as basic to their Aikido.I don't particularly disagree with you about the application and completion of good Aikido techniques, but I didn't try to complicate what I was talking about... to make a point, I was simply talking about someone taking my proffered wrist and applying nikkyo to it. If you want to introduce footwork and balance-taking to the demonstration, it's a different matter from the simple demonstration I was talking about.... and you seem to be overlooking the possibility that the person doing the tai sabaki, attempted kuzushi, etc., might get knocked on his butt while attempting it, if we want to consider all the possibilities. But you're right in mentioning the difference between a demonstration and what a full-blown technique should involve.

And this is exactly my point Mike. When one refers to Aikido technique whether it be kata, demonstration, grading, randori, competition, on the street or in a warzone - one should continuously be referring to something that is martially effective in some form or fashion and not just a bunch of movements that only look effective when someone else is allowing them to look effective and there is in fact no real martial substance. Too often we talk about parlour tricks in Aikido and want to pass them off as legitimate technique. Obviously if you stick your hand out and say "twist my wrist" I would be a fool to try and twist it and expect to succeed if I profess to be doing Aikido. Aikido is not about twisting wrists. What you are describing is playing around.

This is the same sort of mindset that causes delusion and arrogance as regards what constitutes effective training and technique i.e. "If I stick out my wrist and he can't get on a lock obviously his Aikido is a bunch of <insert negative adjective here> and my ki is strong" which is why I love the beginners who simply clock you one instead of trying to grab one's wrist.:) Was it Ueshiba M. who said "On occasion the voice of peace resounds like thunder, jolting human beings out of their stupor"? That thunder is the fist of the beginner cleaning your clock. :D That voice is also heard when you hear the echo off the mat after being thrown by kaeshiwaza in randori or in shiai. It is the voice of truth - the truth that we need to train better and harder if we want to get good at being effective.

As far as getting knocked over in the midst of applying kuzushi, this shows how much you really don't understand some of the principles of effective technique that were applied by the same Ueshiba M. and his students since time immemorial. Metsuke, tai sabaki, kuzushi - are all real world manifestations of the same "ki power" you seem to want to mystify. Done properly one does not lose balance, but takes the attacker's balance in the midst of his movement (physical or otherwise). But unless one practices this sort of thing one cannot be expected to understand its applications. It's like a sniper trying to explain the finer aspects of bullet trajectory to someone who is accustomed to playing with a super soaker. :freaky:

I absolutely agree with you. What my point is that no matter how bully and competitive someone makes their Aikido, understanding and being able to use "Ki power" is an integral part of real Aikido. I've been in a number of dojo's where great physical skill with techniques, balance, etc., were in use, but which I didn't think much of in terms of reflecting the Aikido O-Sensei was trying to teach. O-Sensei, Tohei, and many others didn't use and demonstrate ki-powers as an interesting hobby akin to amateur magic... they considered it an important part of Aikido, I think.

Personally I love Tohei's idea of Ki - If I want to move a can with my Ki I take my hand and move it - the ki in my body moves my arm that moves the can. This story is propagated online somewhere when Tohei was speaking with one of his students. For those who want to make Ki other than something very natural and real in the universe, so be it. As far as the Aikido Ueshiba M. was trying to teach I must ask you - which one? Which Ueshiba M.? The one who cried when Takeda S. applied a wrist lock on him? The one who opened up his own school teaching Daito Ryu / Ueshibaryu Aikijujutsu/Aikibudo? The person who added much more fluid movements to his technique as he grew older? Which one? What he taught always progressed, always changed, but I often think that some are trying to emulate him at the end of the path when he himself had the discipline to walk it first before arriving at the place where some are trying to emulate.

The simple thing is, even though one does not engage in parlour tricks or do specific "ki exercises" to build and understand ki, it does not mean that it is not evident in their technique. We are all trying to walk the path, some do it in different ways, that is cool. But when we get down to specifics like objectively effective technique etc. then we reach a place where certain methods have been tried and proven to be better than others. I am not so sure that competition may be the best way to develop ki sensitivity, but then again I may be wrong.

Roy: Thanks for the comment. Though there was this niggling thought in the back of my brain that thought you were being sarcastic.:) Either way no worries. :D

Happy training folks.
LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 02:58 PM
And this is exactly my point Mike. When one refers to Aikido technique whether it be kata, demonstration, grading, randori, competition, on the street or in a warzone - one should continuously be referring to something that is martially effective in some form or fashion and not just a bunch of movements that only look effective when someone else is allowing them to look effective and there is in fact no real martial substance. Too often we talk about parlour tricks in Aikido and want to pass them off as legitimate technique. Obviously if you stick your hand out and say "twist my wrist" I would be a fool to try and twist it and expect to succeed if I profess to be doing Aikido. Aikido is not about twisting wrists. What you are describing is playing around.

This is the same sort of mindset that causes delusion and arrogance as regards what constitutes effective training and technique i.e. "If I stick out my wrist and he can't get on a lock obviously his Aikido is a bunch of <insert negative adjective here> and my ki is strong" which is why I love the beginners who simply clock you one instead of trying to grab one's wrist.:) Hmmmm. What I see here is that we're talking past each other. I understand what you're saying about the application of techniques and, as I said, I'm not gainsaying that at all. What I'm saying is that there are essentially 2 things about Aikido techniques that need to be taken into account in this discussion about competition: ( 1.) correct understanding and application of technique; (2.) the use of real kokyu power, or "ki power", whatever you want to call it. My comment is that "ki power" is a real factor with substantial effect on the outcome of the application of Aikido techniques and that has a place in the discussion about competition and what is allowed, practiced, etc. What seems to be clear is that you don't understand what I'm talking about, so we're in a situation where talking further might be a waste of time.As far as getting knocked over in the midst of applying kuzushi, this shows how much you really don't understand some of the principles of effective technique that were applied by the same Ueshiba M. and his students since time immemorial. Metsuke, tai sabaki, kuzushi - are all real world manifestations of the same "ki power" you seem to want to mystify. As I said, we appear to be talking past each other. [snip comments appearing to place me in the amateur category of martial arts.] Personally I love Tohei's idea of Ki - If I want to move a can with my Ki I take my hand and move it - the ki in my body moves my arm that moves the can. Well, then you're missing the point of what Ki actually is. My suggestion is simply that you might find it interesting. Granted, I understand that you've been less than impressed by a lot of the superficial stuff being passed off as Ki, and so have a lot of us. But there's quite obviously a lot about Ki that you don't understand. Keep your mind open.... it's a part of Aikido. ;)

Mike

L. Camejo
02-17-2005, 03:03 PM
Keep your mind open.... it's a part of Aikido. ;)

It always is - haven't even scratched the surface yet.;)

Just remember there are other words to describe things in Aikido than the word "ki". It has been a much maligned word and is very subject to interpretation. These are the things I have been describing all along.

Also, the concept of effectively applying technique embodies the "ki" concept as you put it. They are in fact inseparable and a great aspect of effective competitive training. It's just not the phraseology or terminology we choose to use since like many names and words in Aikido it does not always give one a clear definition of what one is referring to.

A far as missing the point about Ki - the example I used were the words of Koichi Tohei, not my own. So I guess you better teach him what ki is in your infinite wisdom.;)

LC:ai::ki:

mj
02-17-2005, 03:57 PM
... Well, then you're missing the point of what Ki actually is. My suggestion is simply that you might find it interesting. Granted, I understand that you've been less than impressed by a lot of the superficial stuff being passed off as Ki, and so have a lot of us. But there's quite obviously a lot about Ki that you don't understand. Keep your mind open.... it's a part of Aikido. ;)

Mike
It seems to me, looking over your posts, that you are generally here to promote Ki Aikido as superior to the form of training being discussed in this thread. Surley that should have its own thread.

No-one, it has been repeatedly written, is trying to say that randori is a superior form of training. Only that it has its place. Is the problem that we all see Aikido so personally?

Alfonso
02-17-2005, 04:10 PM
I thought that K Tohei lifted the can with his whole body, not just hand..

FWIW, I think what Mr. Sigman is saying is that there's a component to Aikido that is not necessary to be able to do what one could recognize as "Aikido technique". This component deals with the internal arrangement of a person in relation to the ground and with the way that musculature is used in that arrangement.

I think Mr. Sigman is saying that sparring won't be benefitial in developing this?

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 04:16 PM
It seems to me, looking over your posts, that you are generally here to promote Ki Aikido as superior to the form of training being discussed in this thread. Surley that should have its own thread.I haven't said a word about Ki Aikido, so as far as me trying to promote it, you're well off base. I probably visited Ki Aikido dojos 6-8 times in my whole career and I wasn't particularly impressed, good or bad, as far as Aikido goes. What I was discussing was the use of Ki and kokyu in relation to "realistic" fighting and competition. It makes a substantive contribution to the equation. The people who have actual Ki skills know that; the people who don't have Ki skills think I'm making a rhetorical claim of some sort.No-one, it has been repeatedly written, is trying to say that randori is a superior form of training. Only that it has its place. Is the problem that we all see Aikido so personally?I totally agree with the idea of actual competition, whether randorii or otherwise. If you don't practice fighting or something close to it, you don't learn how to fight. Period. However, if you don't know how to develop and use the substantive skills of Ki and Kokyu, you are (1.) throwing away one of the advantages of Aikido and (2.) you're not doing Aikido in the way that O-Sensei demonstrated. You're doing something else... a physical copy of Aikido that leaves out the core strength, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 04:25 PM
I thought that K Tohei lifted the can with his whole body, not just hand..
Exactly. Primarily he lifted it with his butt, assuming he was sitting in a chair. ;)FWIW, I think what Mr. Sigman is saying is that there's a component to Aikido that is not necessary to be able to do what one could recognize as "Aikido technique". This component deals with the internal arrangement of a person in relation to the ground and with the way that musculature is used in that arrangement.

I think Mr. Sigman is saying that sparring won't be benefitial in developing this?Pretty much what I was trying to say. The problem is that most people only get to see fairly rudimentary versions of what Ki is (I've been disappointed by the level in most Ki Aikido dojos, BTW), so they get the idea that Ki is a more or less negligible contribution to anything, particularly competition or fighting...or they have no idea what it really is, period. O-Sensei, Tohei, and others, weren't showing ki tricks because it helped pass the time. They were trying to make a point. The sad thing is that though they were making a point, they were also not going out of their way to tell people how to develop the actual skills and they cloaked the skills in mysticism. :straightf

FWIW

Mike

mj
02-17-2005, 04:32 PM
Yeah, like I said...that would be a new thread.

Aiki LV
02-17-2005, 08:09 PM
Mark- I suppose the only true way to test your physical skill would be to get mugged or pick a fight with someone. I wouldn't engage in either, but some people I know have. From what they have told me aikido works, but it isn't pretty.
Sorry to cut it short, but time to go train.

L. Camejo
02-17-2005, 09:13 PM
I wonder where some get the idea that some of the finer Ki applications are not used in competition. Especially if they have never trained using the method.

As far as knowledge of ki goes I personally look to the Chinese internal arts for advanced instruction, not the Japanese ones. Just my personal preference, I think they've been at it longer.;)

As far as the concept of Ki or kokyu in competitive practice goes, it is practiced under the Shodokan system and used for the application of all technique. We however practice it as toitsuryoku (focus of power) and kokyuryoku (power of breathing), and is part of the basics at the beginning of every class. It is designed to generate powerful technique without having to use excesses of upper body muscle power but by tapping into the power generated by the total integrated self.

As far as competition and ki goes, I think it actually does train aspects of sensitivity to movement and other signals (ki sensitivity?) that are precursors to an impending attack. It is often the method we instinctively use to apply techniques using sen and sensen no sen timing. We don't think of it so much as ki training however, it is just another aspect to get one better at perceiving and dealing with the attacker and the peculiarities of his attack.

From what I have seen it has been continually proven in competition that when one tries to muscle a technique or apply it without using "the internal arrangement of a person in relation to the ground and with the way that musculature is used in that arrangement" the technique often fails very easily. So contrary to what some may think (of course without having tried the method) deeper elements of ki training are used and useful in competition training and again competition serves to show your weak areas in this regard also.

The simple fact is - there is nothing found in cooperative Aikido that is not found in competitive Aikido in some way form or fashion. It's all there, they are all Aikido, just different takes on the same concepts.

LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 09:55 PM
I wonder where some get the idea that some of the finer Ki applications are not used in competition. Especially if they have never trained using the method.

As far as knowledge of ki goes I personally look to the Chinese internal arts for advanced instruction, not the Japanese ones. Just my personal preference, I think they've been at it longer.

Well, can you explain to us how you develop kokyu with the Aiki-Taiso and how you use it in perhaps shihonage? Can you explain why fa-jin is not used in Aikido? Can you explain to us how Misogi breathing builds qi/ki? I'd be interested in hearing some explanations from an advanced practitioner, frankly. I was unaware that these sorts of advanced practices were in Shodokan although I've watched quite a few, so I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

PeterR
02-17-2005, 10:16 PM
Well, can you explain to us how you develop kokyu with the Aiki-Taiso and how you use it in perhaps shihonage? Can you explain why fa-jin is not used in Aikido? Can you explain to us how Misogi breathing builds qi/ki? I'd be interested in hearing some explanations from an advanced practitioner, frankly. I was unaware that these sorts of advanced practices were in Shodokan although I've watched quite a few, so I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.
All that means is you don't know what you are looking for at least with respect to Shodokan practice.

And cut the sarcastic tone. Larry's explanation was very clear and its not up to him to describe your groups approach to the problem.

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 10:29 PM
All that means is you don't know what you are looking for at least with respect to Shodokan practice.

And cut the sarcastic tone. Larry's explanation was very clear and its not up to him to describe your groups approach to the problem.It's impossible to go from posts where Larry clearly indicates that what he considers Ki and Kokyu to be different from the cast-in-stone definitions of Ki and Kokyu to suddenly claiming that he uses them correctly. He obviously needs to clarify. While a lot of people have their own private interpretations of Ki and kokyu, it's actually fairly fixed in what they really mean; it does not "fluctuate" among "groups". If he's saying there was some mistake in perceiving what he really knows, it's very easy to clarify, IMO, and I'm asking him to do so. Please notice that I didn't react to the inferences that if I don't do Shodokan I can't understand the real stuff.

I won't go into the tone issues, but suggest that you re-read some of his earlier replies to me. :straightf I.e., let's keep the discussion on issues as narrowly as we can an try to avoid making any reference to someone personally... it's always the best way to discuss things, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

PeterR
02-17-2005, 11:02 PM
The thing is it does fluctuate and quite widely.

Where Tomiki discusses toitsuryoku (focus of power), kokyuryoku (power of breathing/timing), idoryoku (power of movement), muscle power and the more mystical ki another group might lump all of those into one and call it Ki. Variations abound and for sure the definitions are not cast in stone.

The "for those that understand, understand perfectly" quote that was not Larry but Tomiki himself and the context is clearly described. It does not mean that those who do not practice randori the Tomiki way have no understanding of Aikido but that those who sincerely make an attempt to understand the randori method will have a very clear understanding. There is nothing hidden or mysterious about it. He was basically telling the young Nariyama Shihan not to worry about those that don't want to even try. Perhaps Larry was becoming frustrated by dogmatic walls being put up inhibiting free discussion - you'll have to ask him.

I know of several Aikikai dojos that use Tomiki's randori method not to mention those that use a textbook produced by Shodokan Shihan for their highschool students. They don't see conflict between their Aikido and Tomiki's methods.

Hardware
02-17-2005, 11:23 PM
I was under the impression that we were supposed to blend with situations, to achieve harmony. By fighting, haven't we already failed in Aikido? I suppose it could be argued that fighting and competition are two different things but it's still two opposing forces that should seek harmony.

But as for competition to curb egos, what about the guy that comes out on top? I doubt that'll deflat an ego and probably do the opposite.

As far as raw skill vs those who work hard, I'm of the opinion that those who work hard deserve the rewards they reap. Were I a Sensei, I'm sure I would pay more attention to those who showed up every class and gave it their all rather than the one who showed up when they felt like it because they believed themselves to be good enough not to have to practice as often.

Perhaps my own dojo is coloring my opinion. In our dojo, rank is unimportant. We are tested when our Sensei thinks it's time for us to be tested, we wear no colored belts other than white or a hakema. Our Sensei is currently a 3rd Dan (Sandan?) and I've been told he's declined to test for his 4th on multiple occasions, because rank to him means little. It's more about what one can personally do. When we have seminars guest instructors are often impressed we can adapt to their style with little difficulty (though that's mostly the others since I've only just passed my 6th kyu). No one really cares who's the best, we all help each other's technique whenever we can.

So when it boils down to it, who cares where you'd rank in your dojo, it's a personal development where the only competetion should be against oneself.

Just my two cents, if I'm way off I appreciate criticism and if I've hit close to the mark, I'd like to know as well.

This Newfie wrote what I would have said on this topic.

Newfie's is some smart, B'ye.

PeterR
02-17-2005, 11:36 PM
This Newfie wrote what I would have said on this topic.

Newfie's is some smart, B'ye.
Hate to rain on your parade but guess who else is from the Rock. :D

Mike Sigman
02-17-2005, 11:43 PM
The thing is it does fluctuate and quite widely.

Where Tomiki discusses toitsuryoku (focus of power), kokyuryoku (power of breathing/timing), idoryoku (power of movement), muscle power and the more mystical ki another group might lump all of those into one and call it Ki. Variations abound and for sure the definitions are not cast in stone.

The "for those that understand, understand perfectly" quote that was not Larry but Tomiki himself...[snip for brevity]Let me recapitulate for a moment. The comment arose about not using nikkyo in competition because it can be dangerous. I made the comment, without any extraneous details, that nikkyo can be easily blocked by ki. It can be. I know a number of people that can do so. I can do so and have done it many times. It's done by exactly the same physical principles that Tohei uses for his Ki tests and that O-Sensei used for letting people push on his head, head-push his stomach, the jo-trick, etc. Anyone that understands how real Ki and Kokyu work know immediately what I'm talking about and how it's done and that it can be effective in a number of real situations, including competition and fighting.

Larry's misconstruction and dismissal of what I was talking about immediately showed he didn't understand what I was saying. How those things are done is fairly simple and not something that can be confused... not only in Japan, but in China, across a wide spectrum of martial artists. What I took issue with was the coverup that contained oblique personal digs... there's no call for it in a civilized discussion.

As for all the other terms that people arbitrarily assign to "Ki", let me note that in a Ki-paradigm (which is quite different from the western-science paradigm), everything is technically "Ki"... but the specifics can trip you up in a conversation with someone who is actually familiar with Ki, what it means and where it came from. I.e., those that really understand would have understood my initial comments perfectly and we wouldn't be having this conversation, nor would I be listening to inferences that I'm an amateur when I'm simply discussing factual issues... "factual" not to be confused with "dogma".

So, back to where we were when I indicated to Larry that we're talking past each other, Peter. I feel that your response is somewhat allied to the same thing. Just understand that I am not selling Ki Aikido, Aikikai or anything else... I was talking about Ki/kokyu as it's understood by experienced practitioners. And I've got 45 years of martial experience. :cool: Let's move on. Let me say once again that I absolutely agree that no one really learns how to fight or compete without practicing in real fights or competitions, so I agree with the major thesis.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Hardware
02-18-2005, 12:03 AM
Hate to rain on your parade but guess who else is from the Rock. :D

You too?

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 12:11 AM
Where Tomiki discusses toitsuryoku (focus of power), kokyuryoku (power of breathing/timing), idoryoku (power of movement), muscle power and the more mystical ki another group might lump all of those into one and call it Ki.Incidentally, Peter, I'm not positive, but I think you may be missing a subtlety of what kokyu means functionally. I mean kokyu in a sense that incorporates the innate power of the body as it would be used in those things as well as in a number of other things like calligraphy. Try this:
http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/shun-q/INTERVIEW-E.html

'You once remarked that "the essence of calligraphy lies in kokyu. (lit. breath)." Is this the same sort of kokyu we find in aikido?'

"The very same."

For instance, some calligraphers feel that their innate power becomes so strong over time that people cannot pull the brush from their hand. This is somewhat different than the literal "breath/timing" you're referring to. If you extrapolate a substantive "innate strength" like that present if someone can't pull the brush from your hand, the idea of "kokyu" takes a different shade of meaning and it indeed becomes something that may have effect in competitions, etc.. A similar problem has evolved in discussions about Chinese martial arts where the term "energy" has been used to translate "jin"... it's literally correct, but it's misleading functionally and misses the point in many actual cases.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

L. Camejo
02-18-2005, 12:28 AM
Ok.

The comment arose about not using nikkyo in competition because it can be dangerous. I made the comment, without any extraneous details, that nikkyo can be easily blocked by ki. It can be. I know a number of people that can do so. I can do so and have done it many times. It's done by exactly the same physical principles that Tohei uses for his Ki tests and that O-Sensei used for letting people push on his head, head-push his stomach, the jo-trick, etc. Anyone that understands how real Ki and Kokyu work know immediately what I'm talking about and how it's done and that it can be effective in a number of real situations, including competition and fighting.

Exactly. And anyone who understands how uncooperative randori or shiai works will inform anyone that the sort of conditions where these "ki tests" may work do not exist in the competitive/uncooperative environment where constant movement and reaction to an attack (not an extension of the hand mind you) simply does not create a situation where the "grab my wrist let me show you my ki" scenario will develop. The idea of competition/resistance randori is that someone is constantly attacking, not standing up in a nice firm posture and sticking their hand out for someone to grab it and get thrown. I believe the folks referred to above can stop any wrist lock if they are allowed to just stand there and extend (hell my yellow belts can do it), but the fact is that this comfort and hence the situation is simply not allowed in competitive practice. Movement is created if there is none.

Larry's misconstruction and dismissal of what I was talking about immediately showed he didn't understand what I was saying. How those things are done is fairly simple and not something that can be confused... not only in Japan, but in China, across a wide spectrum of martial artists. What I took issue with was the coverup that contained oblique personal digs... there's no call for it in a civilized discussion.

Mike if you see personal digs, please indicate them. I am sorry if you feel somewhat dug by me and I can assure you that the intent to dig was never part of my discussion strategy. I sometimes forget that not all folks on discussion boards have the requisite "thick skin" that is necessary for this medium of communication. Again, apologies if I have dug you or have made you felt dug in any manner whatsoever.

As for all the other terms that people arbitrarily assign to "Ki", let me note that in a Ki-paradigm (which is quite different from the western-science paradigm), everything is technically "Ki"... but the specifics can trip you up in a conversation with someone who is actually familiar with Ki, what it means and where it came from. I.e., those that really understand would have understood my initial comments perfectly and we wouldn't be having this conversation, nor would I be listening to inferences that I'm an amateur when I'm simply discussing factual issues... "factual" not to be confused with "dogma".
Yet you fail to give us examples and definitions of these "facts" that are not to be confused as dogma. Some of us are not so smart to read between the ki lines, so it may be best to define what you believe these stone cast concepts to be, so we can all learn.

I was talking about Ki/kokyu as it's understood by experienced practitioners.
I am very sorry that I do not understand the understanding of experienced practitioners. Maybe the concepts given to me by a former head coach of the Beijing Wushu Team who is now a Qigong master were incorrect. I will ask him again when I see him. It is also quite possible that the JAA Shihan I recently trained under had no idea what toitsuryoku, koykuryoku and idoryoku were really about. So I guess he should let you edit the book he wrote that the Aikikai folks are using as the textbook for their high school students. We are all human and we all make mistakes sometimes.

Oh wait a sec. I do remember an application of that nikkyo stopping ki extension thingy that those higher ups do - it happens when we relax and extend tegatana to shut down any joint lock that is not supported by proper body movement and kuzushi during uncooperative randori. But this is done while moving, not standing still. Of course this can be done by my yellow belts also, so I guess it must not be "ki" after all.

So when there's a discussion about Aikido for competition, I sort of get lost because I realize that various people have assorted ideas of what "bona fide Aikido" really is.
I think this is the crux of the matter. Could not have said it better myself. ;)

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Yann Golanski
02-18-2005, 03:15 AM
Well, there is a superior form of Aikido... It's the style you are currently learning under the sensei who is currently teaching you. Otherwise, what are you doing there? Find another dojo!!!

Yes, not a serious post.

happysod
02-18-2005, 03:59 AM
A couple of quick observations (but as they're from a decadent ki-aikido person, please feel free to ignore)

1. Ki "tricks" in competition etc. I've yet to read a convincing argument that anything can be achieved by ki alone (whatever your personal definition of ki actually is), even the best practitioners needed a good solid grounding in the more physical aspects of their arts. Ignoring the physical aspects of your art is just a good way to get a deserved thumping

2. Ki tests in ki-aikido - these are not meant to supplant normal vigorous training, they're meant as an aid to show how you're meant to feel and behave under controlled levels of stress. I've never heard it said that practitioners of other forms of aikido do not use or develop ki [insert personal theory on this here] - it's just a training method we use.

3. Competition in aikido - I'm with Ron here in that while I don't denigrate competition or find it abhorrent and against aikido principles, I also don't think it's the only way to introduce training with intent and non-cooperation. Whether it's the best attempt at mimicking a "real world" situation, I'm in two minds on, but I can see its attractions.

4. Knowing exactly what ki is and recognising it - I wish there was a handy booklet out there for this one as I have to say that those who "know" haven't really been that convincing so far, I could do with some documented examples and (ideally) a list of practitioners so I can understand what they mean.

Yours happily bumbling along and enjoying the thread

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 08:06 AM
Exactly. And anyone who understands how uncooperative randori or shiai works will inform anyone that the sort of conditions where these "ki tests" may work do not exist in the competitive/uncooperative environment where constant movement and reaction to an attack (not an extension of the hand mind you) simply does not create a situation where the "grab my wrist let me show you my ki" scenario will develop. The idea of competition/resistance randori is that someone is constantly attacking, not standing up in a nice firm posture and sticking their hand out for someone to grab it and get thrown. I believe the folks referred to above can stop any wrist lock if they are allowed to just stand there and extend (hell my yellow belts can do it), but the fact is that this comfort and hence the situation is simply not allowed in competitive practice. Movement is created if there is none.This may be part of the problem, Larry. You apparently envision me as practicing in some la-de-da situation where I don't really understand sparring or competitive practice when in reality most of the practice in my life has been pretty rugged and I've used my skills often in actual scenarios as a bouncer and security guard; not to mention martial competitions. I.e., you're assuming something wrong and being patronizing, to boot.Mike if you see personal digs, please indicate them. I am sorry if you feel somewhat dug by me and I can assure you that the intent to dig was never part of my discussion strategy. I sometimes forget that not all folks on discussion boards have the requisite "thick skin" that is necessary for this medium of communication. Again, apologies if I have dug you or have made you felt dug in any manner whatsoever.;) Even making personal comments to me when you're trying to justify how you're not making personal remarks? Just drop any personal references, Larry, and discuss the issues without implying your superior understanding of competition or combat.Yet you fail to give us examples and definitions of these "facts" that are not to be confused as dogma. Some of us are not so smart to read between the ki lines, so it may be best to define what you believe these stone cast concepts to be, so we can all learn.There's no reading between the lines, Larry, but there is a straightforward although complex relationship between the body and how it uses power in Ki and Kokyu. Either you know it or you don't. If you know it, you would have understood me immediately when I mentioned the nikkyo trick and you could explain how it's done right here. For me to start writing from basics would take too much time; if you're sure you have an advanced understanding of Ki and Kokyu, tell me how they would be used to halt nikkyo.I am very sorry that I do not understand the understanding of experienced practitioners. Maybe the concepts given to me by a former head coach of the Beijing Wushu Team who is now a Qigong master were incorrect. I will ask him again when I see him.Larry, this is called an "appeal to authority" in a discussion and it's used to backhandedly insult someone. I've done Chinese traditional martial arts (i.e., "traditional wushu") for 23 years, on top of my Japanese martial arts. I don't know who this unnamed coach is, maybe Wu Bin, but the coach of a contemporary wushu team is not considered a necessarily a deep reservoir of traditional knowledge. How long did you study with him?It is also quite possible that the JAA Shihan I recently trained under had no idea what toitsuryoku, koykuryoku and idoryoku were really about. So I guess he should let you edit the book he wrote that the Aikikai folks are using as the textbook for their high school students. We are all human and we all make mistakes sometimes.Maybe so. Is there a reason why you keep devolving to personalities, people you know, and implying that your knowledge is superior? Just explain how the nikkyo trick, to show it, and let's move on.Oh wait a sec. I do remember an application of that nikkyo stopping ki extension thingy that those higher ups do - it happens when we relax and extend tegatana to shut down any joint lock that is not supported by proper body movement and kuzushi during uncooperative randori. But this is done while moving, not standing still. Of course this can be done by my yellow belts also, so I guess it must not be "ki" after all.Sounds interesting. But let's just stick with the simple example I mentioned and have you explain how something as simple as I described is done. I can do these things moving (the nikkyo thing is just a minor example) and yes there can be a number of additional factors like moving or me taking your center as we touch, etc., so let's just stick with the basic example and have you explain it, since you're indicating that you do understand these things.I think this is the crux of the matter. Could not have said it better myself. ;)Well bear in mind I was talking about all the various uninformed discussions about Ki by people who really don't understand it. Let's just drop all this wasted discussion about personalities and who we know, Larry. Tell me what forces are involved and how they stop the nikkyo application. Then let's move on.

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
02-18-2005, 08:19 AM
I don't know that Mike's definitions are *absolutely* correct, but since I don't have better ones, and my personal experience supports much of what he says I'm okay with using them for now.

I think Larry made the point I wanted to make about how to deal with people resisting nikyo. If there is no movement then create it. If you "block" my morotetori nikyo by extending your arm away from your body well then you might find yourself dealing with an elbow to the... chest (if I'm being nice). So within the bounds of 'the person takes ukemi and orients their body position in the safest way', I'll nikyo you and I don't care if you had steal rods surgicly impanted to support your wrists becuase my nikyo takes your balance primarily. If you have very strong wrists, you'll probably go start moving to the ground, smile, and say something like 'Well okay, but that's not how most people do nikyo' or some other excuse. But it is IMHO how some really good aikido shihan do it, and I've been pretty carefully trying to copy them. The funny thing is that I achieve it in pretty much the way Mike desribes. I move my whole body together and my arms create the function out of that movement more like a whip (I can't think of a better example). Larry's point is valid here, because the point of the technique part is that you get yourself into position to do it such that it happens before the person can set up their resistance properly. I'd say that is the very definition of technique. I spend a lot of time hunting down people who can move more like Mike is suggesting because they have some resistance set up pretty much all of the time, so it really challenges my technique (and I want to learn how to copy their really cool ukemi).

With katadori nikyo, it's a bit more interesting. I've had some very explicit instructions about how I need to orient my body to do that crushing nikyo. I still hate that one and I can block it by using my other hand - which make the person have to back up or turn - which I claim is the way it should always be done in the first place. Again, if Mike wants to grab my shoulder in a static and relaxed position then I'd go with "no attack, no aikido" - as in what the hell am I suppsoed to be blending with? But as long as he's willing to walk to go get my shoulder and I can lead that reaching and walking to set up a simple version of my nikyo, I'll take his balance or anyone elses. You are by very definition breaking balance to continue walking - and I can use that in nikyo technique period.

I also agree with Mike that you guys have been talking past each other. I see things in the following way:
1) good technique beats out strength every time
2) good movement from center combined with good technique beats out just technique every time

#1 can be a farily external thing. I'd call it great social coordination and adequate self coordination.
#2 is great self coordination combined with great social coordination.

To get to that higher level, I see no other way but to sacrifice a lot of the tricks you had been using to make up for your lack of internal self coordination (-- analogous to the chess example described earlier on this thread). One example, in particular is giving up excessive arm strength - and by that I do NOT mean EXTREME arm strength, just suprisingly less strength focused in the arm than most of the 2nd and 3rd dans are using (pretty much by definition of those levels).

When you give these tricks up, that you used to use, to get better you are suddenly WAY less effective while you're building towards something much more reliable and better. My question has been, do competing people do this? I've since learned that they apporach this kind of thing through kata practice, and I'd love to hear more about that. Is there a video I can watch? Or an individual you recommend that I go watch sometime?

Rob

Ron Tisdale
02-18-2005, 08:41 AM
Thanks Rob for bringing the discussion back on point.

Larry, I can pretty much 'vouch' for Mike's experience...he's been around a long time, and done quite a bit. While his discussion style can sometimes be a bit frustrating, I've just about always found it worthwhile to have the discussion...and believe me when I say I'm not trying to be patronizing to either party.

let me see if I'm getting where the hang up might be. Mike is suggesting a particular way of moving and staying connected to the ground during that movement...and that you probably don't learn that while *doing* competitive randori. He is not saying that you can't *use* it in competitve randori...just that it is difficult to learn and engrain the movement while under that kind of stress.

Larry is stressing the chaos of competitive training...and perhaps questioning that the kind of internal alignments and movement Mike is describing can be maintained while under that kind of pressure. While I am pretty darn sure Mike knows what is meant by competitive training, I'm not sure that Larry is aware of what Mikes ideas of internal are. I think if you read Mike's posts carefully in the Breath thread, it becomes a little clearer.

Personally, I did some push hands last night with some folks who seem to have a pretty good grasp of at least some of the internal principles...I could not do what they do under pressure...I could barely do it without preasure. That does not mean that they can't...I;ve already seen one of them do it when his back was against a garage door with a former judoka and jujutsu practisioner pushing him. I think the resulting push resulted in about 8 feet of air time. :)

Learning a lot these days...
Ron

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 08:47 AM
A couple of quick observations (but as they're from a decadent ki-aikido person, please feel free to ignore)

1. Ki "tricks" in competition etc. I've yet to read a convincing argument that anything can be achieved by ki alone (whatever your personal definition of ki actually is), even the best practitioners needed a good solid grounding in the more physical aspects of their arts. Ignoring the physical aspects of your art is just a good way to get a deserved thumping

2. Ki tests in ki-aikido - these are not meant to supplant normal vigorous training, they're meant as an aid to show how you're meant to feel and behave under controlled levels of stress. I've never heard it said that practitioners of other forms of aikido do not use or develop ki [insert personal theory on this here] - it's just a training method we use.I'll be in Harrogate in Yorkshire in April for about a week if you'd like to see more than the printed words, Ian. More than happy to meet up with you and chat.

The original idea in the Ki exercises and tests of Ki Aikido is for the practitioner to build up substantive ki. I.e., it's practice. If you don't practice and/or don't know how to do these things, you don't build up real Ki or Kokyu powers. And sure, I'm aware that most people, if they claim they use Ki, are arbitrarily assigning the term to various normal functions.... hence you hear a lot of "we use Ki, too", when they don't really know what they're talking about.

The only problem I have with the Ki Aikido schools that I've visited is that generally the Ki skills were pretty low. It's like Tohei et al were correct in the idea that this is the important keystone of Aikido, but they didn't want to show too much.Competition in aikido - I'm with Ron here in that while I don't denigrate competition or find it abhorrent and against aikido principles, I also don't think it's the only way to introduce training with intent and non-cooperation. Whether it's the best attempt at mimicking a "real world" situation, I'm in two minds on, but I can see its attractions.I've got a lot of experience in this, so I'll mention my opinion. If you don't spend time building up your Ki, kokyu, etc., and re-training your body radically, you'll never get any real Ki. Maybe a few odd bits here and there, but nothing more.Knowing exactly what ki is and recognising it - I wish there was a handy booklet out there for this one as I have to say that those who "know" haven't really been that convincing so far, I could do with some documented examples and (ideally) a list of practitioners so I can understand what they mean.Most of it really needs to be shown. This isn't the right thread for a Ki discussion; if you'll formulate and articulate your questions on another thread, I'll try to lay out what I know and hopefully others will join in. ;)

Regards,

Mike

L. Camejo
02-18-2005, 08:53 AM
Actually Rob's last post has pretty much summed up what I was trying to say all along, as well as the past talking that is apparently occuring. So forget whatever I said above Mike, listen to him, he puts it much simpler than I could.

Just for reference Mike, the ex Wushu instructor I was referring to is Li Jun Feng.

My question has been, do competing people do this? /QUOTE]

In a word, Yes.

[QUOTE]I've since learned that they apporach this kind of thing through kata practice, and I'd love to hear more about that. Is there a video I can watch?Or an individual you recommend that I go watch sometime?

Yep it's done in kata practice and during the practice of basics at the beginning of every class. A good book that shows it is Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge which has been mentioned before in this thread somewhere. Videos are something I would not know about too much, I rarely use them. As far as individuals go an idea may be to check the www.tomiki.org site and see what Shodokan dojos are in your area. Ideally I'd say take a look at any footgae of T. Nariyama, F.Shishida or S. Tanaka Shihans. Maybe there are others who may have some resources in that regard.

I'm not sure that Larry is aware of what Mikes ideas of internal are. I think if you read Mike's posts carefully in the Breath thread, it becomes a little clearer.

I think Ron does have a point here. But since Mike never actually defined any of his premises it's a bit hard to judge, hence the talking past each other. He may assume that what he knows of ki is standard knowledge for everyone when it in fact may not be. His "cast in stone" remark is attestment to this, the examples of Ki/Chi/Prana I have found in the various eastern arts and religions indicate similar principles but very diverse means of approaching and explaining the concepts. As I indicated before, give us a definition and we can find some common ground.

Train hard, train smart.
LC:ai::ki:

happysod
02-18-2005, 09:00 AM
I'll be in Harrogate in Yorkshire in April for about a week if you'd like to see more than the printed words, Ian. More than happy to meet up with you and chat Yorkshire in April, hope you pack a heavy jumper... May be tricky as I'm supposed to be organising a course then, but I'll PM you closer to the time and hopefully try and meet up - sounds fun.

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 09:04 AM
I don't know that Mike's definitions are *absolutely* correct, but since I don't have better ones, and my personal experience supports much of what he says I'm okay with using them for now.

I think Larry made the point I wanted to make about how to deal with people resisting nikyo. If there is no movement then create it. If you "block" my morotetori nikyo by extending your arm away from your body well then you might find yourself dealing with an elbow to the... chest (if I'm being nice). So within the bounds of 'the person takes ukemi and orients their body position in the safest way', I'll nikyo you and I don't care if you had steal rods surgicly impanted to support your wrists becuase my nikyo takes your balance primarily. If you have very strong wrists, you'll probably go start moving to the ground, smile, and say something like 'Well okay, but that's not how most people do nikyo' or some other excuse. But it is IMHO how some really good aikido shihan do it, and I've been pretty carefully trying to copy them. The funny thing is that I achieve it in pretty much the way Mike desribes. [snipsky]

Well, again, my comment was in line with the idea that nikkyo was outlawed and I don't think it's anymore dangerous than most pins and locks. I realize exactly what everyone is saying about using these things in competition... I've done a lot of competition... but I'm trying to restrict my comment to the simple proffered nikkyo (without extending the arm; easy to overcome that or to break the elbow, BTW). Generally, the best nikkyo someone is going to get in competition is going to be along those lines. Insofar as the things someone might do to me in competition, let's just leave that with the thought that there are things I might do to some amateur if they try to overstep themselves.... but it's pointless to talk about those things, in my experience. :cool:

One thing that's worth considering is how this trick is done and what it implies about the person trying to apply the nikkyo. I.e., I encourage everyone to think.

Regards,

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 09:23 AM
Just for reference Mike, the ex Wushu instructor I was referring to is Li Jun Feng.I know who he is and even have a movie he starred in. The qigongs he teaches are not martial qigongs. He is a nice person from all accounts, but he mainly taught contemporary wushu, not traditional wushu.But since Mike never actually defined any of his premises it's a bit hard to judge, hence the talking past each other. He may assume that what he knows of ki is standard knowledge for everyone when it in fact may not be. His "cast in stone" remark is attestment to this, the examples of Ki/Chi/Prana I have found in the various eastern arts and religions indicate similar principles but very diverse means of approaching and explaining the concepts.Ki/Chi/Prana indeed have similar principles... in fact the basic principles are the same. The same basic principles that allow a beginning ki-aikidoka to first learn to stand against a push are the same principles that O-Sensei did his jo trick with or that I use to release power to break bones. I.e., it's all the same thing. Even the "unconditional love" stuff that Li Jun Heng teaches is related to the same basic priniciples, but there are circles within circles and there are many people who are only involved with the superficial aspects and not what goes on inside. Regardless, if someone really understands Ki, kokyu, and the rest, all of these things are obvious and related. My point was and is that there is a functional component to these practices that shouldn't be dismissed when the topic of competition arises. If these were negligible practices, so many oriental martial arts wouldn't have them, right?

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
02-18-2005, 09:25 AM
My problem with blocking nikkyo is that even if I can ground the other person's power, if they break my balance suddenly, or are powerful enough in a variety of ways, if my block breaks, all of that power does go into the wrist. Which is a major owie! Mike, does your method account for someone who is able to manipulate the control through the block?

Ron

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 09:25 AM
Yorkshire in April, hope you pack a heavy jumper... May be tricky as I'm supposed to be organising a course then, but I'll PM you closer to the time and hopefully try and meet up - sounds fun.Great.

All the Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 09:34 AM
My problem with blocking nikkyo is that even if I can ground the other person's power, if they break my balance suddenly, or are powerful enough in a variety of ways, if my block breaks, all of that power does go into the wrist. Which is a major owie! Mike, does your method account for someone who is able to manipulate the control through the block?Yes. ;) But since I haven't felt exactly what you're doing, Ron, I'm reluctant to tell you what to do. If you're doing something different (high probability of that), then my telling you what I do won't do you a lot of good. The essential point, if you understand Ki and kokyu is that when someone "has" you, you also have them. The one with mental control of jin or kokyu has the upper hand.

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
02-18-2005, 09:41 AM
My beliefs - which I consistently test out as much as possible are that:
1) If you are attacking then you are open.
2) If I maintain my freedom of movement and you try to resist technique born out of that freedom then you are more open and I might just exploit that as well - but you should be taking somewhat standard ukemi in aikido class.
3) If I go to exploit that and if I over commit and you can take advantage of that I'll immediate take ukemi regardless of whether we are in aikido class or not - because I believe that's the best thing for me to do.
4) If I can encourage you to over commit your reversal, maybe I can reverse what you are doing, or maybe I just need to get out of there...

Mike, I've seen your tapes, and my experiences agree with most of your words. I believe that you can do many things from the static position. I have no experience with you being able to do things well while moving - but I'm more than willing to go find out. You are very generous with your knowledge and I will go meet you someday if you'll have me. (I have a few more pressing commitments going on right now, but I'm still farily young so there is plently of time on my end.)

I understand that you are talking about being able to block the 'simple preffered nikkyo' - really I do. Pretty much we all can BY DESIGN! I am even positive that you can block someone who has a little bit more experience who might be able to force their surface level nonsense on a yellow belt or a shodan or many nidans - me too. I kind of feel like I can probably block a hydyrolic machine set up to put pressure on me in the initial way that most folks learn these techniques! (As I'm not a limp wristed flower lover either.)

What I'm trying to get to is that I think you fail to grasp the methology that Osensei gave us. These techniques were brilliantly designed to NOT WORK with surface level understanding. They don't work well with excellent surface level understanding (which I certainly have) against someone with depth to their understanding in how to deal with that kind of thing (- which I know is what you are saying). My point about this, however, is that this doesn't mean nikyo is bad or that aikido fails, it means that nikyo needs to be practiced in such a way that you can do it with the depth of understanding to pin a grisley bear. So you should say that you can block the surface level nikyo if you are going to make the claim. Otherwise, come try to block Gleason sensei's nikyo and survive or Nishida san's nikyo with me when I visit Japan next time, etc...

I don't mean to keep beating a dead horse here but it seems like I need to say this again. The name "aiki" was chosen - because it was used for okuden (or level of DEPTH).

The only examples of people who I know of that are way beyond me, had to give up quite a bit of effecacy for quite a long amount of time to break through. I want to break through and I'm looking for as much insight into how to do this in a shorter amount of time (the whole train smarter thing!).

Larry and Ron, I really appreciate your posts here. I am learning a lot from you and I don't really mean to be putting you guys on the defensive about your methodology.

It does not logically follow (to me so far!) that people who are competing can really be doing this (droping arm strength, etc.) at all because by the very nature of that process is 'chosing to not win to improve' which is the definition of cooperative practice. That in a nutshell is my hangup about competing. Maybe it's terminology. The whole kata practice to make the break through is facinating. I have only one good friend I know who did tomiki to any degree of proficiency (sandan level) and he left that organization to find folks to work out with in our cooperative model. I'll ask him next chance I get to see him. If there is any home video of the kata practice, or of the individuals mentioned, I'd gladly pay the shipping and buy the tape. (Since I can't travel as much as I used to right now.)

Rob

Yann Golanski
02-18-2005, 10:08 AM
Mike Sigman,

Harrogate is about an hour drive's from York. If you want, feel free to come and train with us.

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 10:24 AM
I understand that you are talking about being able to block the 'simple preffered nikkyo' - really I do. Pretty much we all can BY DESIGN! I am even positive that you can block someone who has a little bit more experience who might be able to force their surface level nonsense on a yellow belt or a shodan or many nidans - me too. I kind of feel like I can probably block a hydyrolic machine set up to put pressure on me in the initial way that most folks learn these techniques! (As I'm not a limp wristed flower lover either.)

What I'm trying to get to is that I think you fail to grasp the methology that Osensei gave us. These techniques were brilliantly designed to NOT WORK with surface level understanding. They don't work well with excellent surface level understanding (which I certainly have) against someone with depth to their understanding in how to deal with that kind of thing (- which I know is what you are saying).Let me just note for the record, Rob, that if I attempt to apply nikkyo to someone and they attempt to block me, I'm going to immediately change techniques and assert more control over their body... unless they're skillful, in which case I'll probably disengage and re-engage almost immediately. I.e., I know quite well what you're saying. However, instead of glossing over the thing I'm telling you about and telling me how you might beat it, why not consider the ramifications of what this kind of power imply? I.e., I laugh sometimes at how many Aikido people simply shrug off the demonstrations of Ki by O-Sensei and Tohei because they don't seem to grasp that these sorts of powers can be used changeably and innovatively in the middle of Aikido, whether practice or competition.I want to break through and I'm looking for as much insight into how to do this in a shorter amount of time (the whole train smarter thing!). It does not logically follow (to me so far!) that people who are competing can really be doing this at all because by the very nature of that process is 'chosing to not win to improve' which is the definition of cooperative practice. That in a nutshell is my hangup about competing.I said it before and I'll say it again, perhaps a little differently. To gain Ki powers you have to practice a lot and practice correctly over a period of time. You don't just decide that you're "using your hara" and you're doing it... in most cases you're just imagining something. It takes work and thinking. It takes doing all those Aiki-Taiso, Taisabaki, Fune-kogi-undo, Kokyu-ho-doso, etc., and doing them slowly and well (after you know how) to imbue this form of movement into your system. While you're trying to learn to move like this, you need to try to make it part of the way you're moving in all your daily life. Everything. If you try to learn to move this way, but at the same time you continue to practice moving with major muscles and normal strength, like everyone does in "competition", you'll never get there (sure some of them develop some rudimentary Ki, but that's all). I.e..... you're right. Stick with the cooperative practice. However, the problem I see with cooperative practice in most Aikido dojo's is that no one really knows how to develop and train these forms of strengths, so they wind up being a bunch of guys/girls that wear black skirts and do role-playing games for 20 years without ever really being good in a fight. The disconnect is the Ki strength, IMO. Practice until you have good technique AND good Ki skills. Don't make technique a way of life and don't make "competition" a way of life. And for god's sake, don't make "pretending I'm Japanese" a way of life. :rolleyes:

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 10:33 AM
Harrogate is about an hour drive's from York. If you want, feel free to come and train with us.Thank you. I try never to drive anywhere in England... my reflexes might get me killed. ;) I'm going to be working with some Xingyi, Bagua, and Taiji (and maybe some Aikido types) people in the Harrogate area on the weekends of April 9-10 and 16-17, so I'm not exactly sure what my free time is going to be like. If the chance arises, I'll take up your kind offer.

Kind Regards,

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
02-18-2005, 10:46 AM
My intention wasn't to gloss over anything, in fact I thought I was supporting your views more than anything else. However, in your desire to get to what you wanted to talk about you made the claim that you can block nikyo, and I'd prefer if you either prove that against all nikyos or simply, in the future change your claim to be that you can block the surface level nikyo.

I understand that there is a slow way to break through - I think it sounds an aweful lot like taichi - which I'm fine with. I think it can be done in aikido class, but I agree that sempai who help show the way are highly desireable. I have a shortage of them in my location, so any ancillary exercises, drills, or katas would be very helpful. I guess it seems to me that since I know the surface level social coordination so well, I am able to set up classes to help get people there in a linear, incremental (iterative maybe?) way. It seems like someone who knows the self coordination side should have been able to set up classes to help get people there in a linear, incremental (iterative maybe?) way. I assumed that is was Tohei (and Moriama sp?) sensei's tried to do. I think that since they didn't continue to do the basic waza (to my knowledge) it didn't transfer very well to those students without any background in basic waza - this is just from my very limited experience with Ki society in my area. I keep hoping that someone comes up with a list of principles I can follow about this area to help keep me on track (and spin my wheels less). So far I haven't seen many beyond 'relax, extend ki, weight underside, keep center' or whatever they are. Training to eventually grasp the meaning of these ideas is one (very long) way. It seems like someone who has already done this work and who is also very articulate might be able to express these ideas in an even more helpful way and speed the procress along. That's always my hope.

Rob

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 11:06 AM
My intention wasn't to gloss over anything, in fact I thought I was supporting your views more than anything else. However, in your desire to get to what you wanted to talk about you made the claim that you can block nikyo, and I'd prefer if you either prove that against all nikyos or simply, in the future change your claim to be that you can block the surface level nikyo.Well, I can do more than just block the application of nikkyo, Rob. In many cases I can block the attempt of nage to do anything, period... but not necessarily always. So I'd rather stick to the simple example I was using and not overanalyze it.

I understand that there is a slow way to break through - I think it sounds an aweful lot like taichi - which I'm fine with. I think it can be done in aikido class, but I agree that sempai who help show the way are highly desireable. I have a shortage of them in my location, so any ancillary exercises, drills, or katas would be very helpful. I guess it seems to me that since I know the surface level social coordination so well, I am able to set up classes to help get people there in a linear, incremental (iterative maybe?) way. It seems like someone who knows the self coordination side should have been able to set up classes to help get people there in a linear, incremental (iterative maybe?) way. I assumed that is was Tohei (and Moriama sp?) sensei's tried to do. I think that since they didn't continue to do the basic waza (to my knowledge) it didn't transfer very well to those students without any background in basic waza - this is just from my very limited experience with Ki society in my area. I keep hoping that someone comes up with a list of principles I can follow about this area to help keep me on track (and spin my wheels less). So far I haven't seen many beyond 'relax, extend ki, weight underside, keep center' or whatever they are. Training to eventually grasp the meaning of these ideas is one (very long) way. It seems like someone who has already done this work and who is also very articulate might be able to express these ideas in an even more helpful way and speed the procress along. Well, you can always come down to Durango some weekend and I'll show you what I think is the big picture and the what's and how's of practice. You're smart enough to work out the rest over time.

I think I'll move your last paragraph above and start a new thread in order to not distract the competition thread.

FWIW

Mike

L. Camejo
02-18-2005, 06:24 PM
Hi Rob,

Larry and Ron, I really appreciate your posts here. I am learning a lot from you and I don't really mean to be putting you guys on the defensive about your methodology.

It's cool Rob. Everyone walks the path that best suits them as a human being.

It does not logically follow (to me so far!) that people who are competing can really be doing this (droping arm strength, etc.) at all because by the very nature of that process is 'chosing to not win to improve' which is the definition of cooperative practice. That in a nutshell is my hangup about competing. Maybe it's terminology.

The reason it does not logically follow Rob is that like many others you may not be privy to the cooperative practices our group may particularly utilise to develop the things you and Mike have been going on about. You probably have already done your own style's version of the same exercises many times however, and our style is not about "only competing", many of the cooperative practices (which makes up the majority of training) we use are found in cooperative Aikido schools as well. They all came from the same place.

By allowing you two to speak more on this thread and on the new thread you created you have convinced me that we are in fact speaking of exactly the same principles of energy and conscious movement. The only thing is that we approach it from different perspectives and that the language is different. As you so rightly said - terminology. The development and practice of these inner factors are not done in competitive training, but in cooperative training in our system. Competitive trainnig merely reveals how much we have yet to learn in how to apply it well under pressure, much like everything else in our Aikido. Kata forms randori, randori forms kata. As you and Mike indicate this utilisation of energy (and the requisite understanding of it) is critical to effective technique in all arts like Aikido, Tai Chi etc. that utilises conscious mind/body coordinated movement along certain patterns that are most efficient.

You guys have some good points. It's just that it takes a while to understand the delivery when folks are speaking in parables and in indirect lines. But that is cool, your new thread helped with explanations of your premises.:)

Please understand, in the end of it all, competitive practice in Aikido the way we do it is ultimately cooperative practice, since it is about improving oneself with the help of an honest antagonist (Devil's advocate if you will) and not about who wins or who loses.

Happy training folks. Wynand I hope you got something out of all of this.:)
LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
02-18-2005, 10:53 PM
The reason it does not logically follow Rob is that like many others you may not be privy to the cooperative practices our group may particularly utilise to develop the things you and Mike have been going on about. You probably have already done your own style's version of the same exercises many times however, and our style is not about "only competing", many of the cooperative practices (which makes up the majority of training) we use are found in cooperative Aikido schools as well. They all came from the same place.Larry, instead of telling everyone how they don't understand the depths of Shodokan, why don't you display a little knowledge that shows us what you know on the "how to" thread about functional Ki? This stuff about different terminology is nice, but as you implied, those that really understand should understand perfectly. This isn't mystic ritual... if you have something to contribute, contribute. Telling everyone they don't understand your depths is not good form. Surely "real Aikido" is beyond this?

Mike Sigman

mj
02-19-2005, 04:27 AM
Does AikiWeb have a new owner then?

Mike although Ron has spoken up for you, and Ron's word is good imo, I have to say the way you are addressing people leaves a great deal to be desired.

Your functional Ki thread is inhabited by yourself and one other person, I'm sure if anyone wants to join in there they won't be too scared to give an opinion. This site has a plethora of practitioners of all levels and all schools. You'll just have to get along.

Peace.

L. Camejo
02-19-2005, 07:26 AM
Telling everyone they don't understand your depths is not good form.

Honestly I don't get where Mike is getting this. If anyone else is seeing where he is getting this, please let me know. Really.

All I have said is that many people may not have trained in the Shodokan system (i.e. experienced the totality of it), hence may not know what is done in areas where cooperative practices are utilised. Often folks have a lot of assumptions about Shodokan training methods, competition, it's methods of randori etc. and they are many times incorrect because of those assumptions. In fact they often hope and expect to find things that make them feel superior in some form - it goes well with the "they don't do "real" Aikido" position and helps them sleep better at night I guess. So for some, we are condemned from the very beginning. If this is how it is, fine. I am merely trying to show similarities that bind instead of differences that divide. But I guess people will always see what they want to see in the end.

I made no indications regarding which method is deeper than which etc. or that I (or we) possess some hidden knowledge or something or that I am a master of anything. In fact I have made indications that we are all pretty much following the same path but from different perspectives and that we do the same things, just in different ways with different degrees of emphasis. In fact I agree with exactly what Mike was saying, now that it had been properly explained in another thread (even though I humbly asked him to explain his position clearly in this one). But again I guess you see what you want to see and respond to what you want to respond to.

Generally I refrain from speaking on Ki topics on any forum, simply because there are many people out there who truly believe they know what they are talking about and believe it to be "cast in stone immovable, infallible truths" in the way their Sifu or Sensei or Guru or whoever taught them. From my research into these things I have found that this is simply not the case, there may be some things cast in stone (at least so far), but they are not as many as some may think imho. As understanding evolves so do definitions and expressions of that which is defined. So I don't even try to get into these conversations since the playing field is so very unbalanced and incongruent (as we can see with the pass talking that occurred here on a very simple subject). The only reason I got caught this time is because the thread was initially about competition in Aikido, which is something we do a lot and we do apply the inner aspects that some call "Ki". But after your obvious inability to understand simple language, I would not bother to try to discuss something as oft misconstrued as Ki applications with you Mike. I am sorry, but you honestly give me no reason to share thoughts on anything with you. On a final note I'd say listen to what Mark says above.

As I said folks, if I have appeared overly judgemental, getting on a high horse about things, talking down to folks as if they don't know etc. I hope you let me know either by PM or on this thread. Though I think the thread has already gone astray, so maybe PM is best.

Wynand: Competiton or resistance training is to apply what you learn in kata and cooperative practice imho. It applies to everything one learns in Aikido, from the most subtle to the most obvious. Resistance training and competition allows you to express these things in a more "real life" manner than cooperative training can because of the antagonist/resistance factor testing what you know all the way. If you think it's a good way for you to find out if your Aikido works, then I say go for it, but remember to keep a modicum of safety in whatever you decide. It's a constant learning process for all of us and when you learn something new no one loses, everyone wins.:)

Onegaishimasu.
LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
02-19-2005, 09:27 AM
Does AikiWeb have a new owner then?

Mike although Ron has spoken up for you, and Ron's word is good imo, I have to say the way you are addressing people leaves a great deal to be desired.

Your functional Ki thread is inhabited by yourself and one other person, I'm sure if anyone wants to join in there they won't be too scared to give an opinion. This site has a plethora of practitioners of all levels and all schools. You'll just have to get along.

Peace.More personal remarks, Mark? What it looks like is that several Shodokan guys like to drag every conversation, either through innuendo or direct comments, like yours, into the personal level. And while I can appreciate the pride in the competitive nature of Shodokan, I don't think an aggressive pack mentality is necessarily the way to conduct a discussion on a web-board. If you have some things to say on the issues, why not address them instead of attempting to smear someone? If you don't have anything to say about the thread topic, the general rule in most discussions is to pass. If I say something you disagree with on the topic, challenge it, certainly. Ball's in your court.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

mj
02-19-2005, 10:40 AM
More personal remarks, Mark? What it looks like is that several Shodokan guys like to drag every conversation, either through innuendo or direct comments, like yours, into the personal level. And while I can appreciate the pride in the competitive nature of Shodokan, I don't think an aggressive pack mentality is necessarily the way to conduct a discussion on a web-board. If you have some things to say on the issues, why not address them instead of attempting to smear someone? If you don't have anything to say about the thread topic, the general rule in most discussions is to pass. If I say something you disagree with on the topic, challenge it, certainly. Ball's in your court.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
You're on a different planet mate.

pack mentality? personal remarks? comeptitive nature of Shodokan? smearing you? I end my post with 'peace' and all you can do is keep trying to wind people up with your......misplaced attitude.

Here...have your ball back...go find someone else to 'play' with. I've got more productive ways of spending my net time. :rolleyes:

Roy Dean
02-19-2005, 11:15 AM
Wow. Easy there Mike. I know that you feel secure in your position, but please understand that we all feel secure in our positions and perspectives, and a little verbal blending will go a long way here. Many have tried blending with you already, even if you don't see it...

So...do you think that functional ki skills would make a difference in an open format grappling competition (i.e. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rules, where almost all locks are allowed, including wrist locks)?

The ability to withstand a specific lock, nikyo or otherwise, is definitely of martial value, but how much value is it in relation to your opponents ability to change attacks spontaneously? Can you withstand all joint locks and chokes through Ki? Others have claimed this (even in the UFC, although I doubt they had perfect understanding) and lost their fights. We've all heard of Tohei's marvelous demonstrations where he threw several high ranking Judoka that attacked him, and murmers of Ki swept through the audience, but I've also heard of at least one demonstration where things did not go as he expected them to. Nothing against Tohei, just trying to be realistic.

I understand that Ki development cannot take place unless a practitioner slows down, and becomes sensitive to relaxed movement and total body integration. But that tempo should by counterbalanced, IMHO, by sparring, and occasional competitions, to test how their new integrated way of moving from center stacks up against people that could care less about Ki and are superb martial athletes.

I'm a rank amateur when it comes to internal energy, I'll readily admit. I've had a few interesting ki and kundalini experiences, but nothing I can claim to have had control over. I recognize that you are an expert in this field, and an experienced competitor, so I look forward to reading your response to my questions.

What are the martial benefits of this training? How would an internal master fare against one of today's top competitors, say Vanderlai Silva or Randy Couture, or any of the fighters in Pride or the UFC? And since martial athletes enter competitions at the height of their physical, mental, and energetic powers, isn't Ki already factored into the competition equation?

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

Mike Sigman
02-19-2005, 12:12 PM
Wow. Easy there Mike. I know that you feel secure in your position, but please understand that we all feel secure in our positions and perspectives, and a little verbal blending will go a long way here. Many have tried blending with you already, even if you don't see it... Is it necessary to go off on these personal tangents to discuss martial arts, do you think? ;) So...do you think that functional ki skills would make a difference in an open format grappling competition (i.e. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rules, where almost all locks are allowed, including wrist locks)? Yes, I think it would make a tremendous difference, but I think that you're misconstruing my comment about one technique, which I only used for a narrow-spectrum example. The full spectrum of internal strength is apparently (I've studied these things for a lot of years, but bear in mind this is an opinion and not an attempt to mock anyone's quasi-religious beliefs) outside of what Aikido ever did or is expected to do. I.e., when you ask the question, you're thinking of what you know and when I answer it, I'm thinking of what I know.

Let me give a couple of examples. In Chen-style Taiji, the last great master (before the Chinese government locked down most martial arts in order to prevent uprisings, etc.) had an altercation with a bandit and using his staff (not a spear), he punched a hole through the bandit's chest and out his back with a sudden release of internal power. In another instance, a Chen-stylist spun and knocked a charging bull over with a shoulder strike. There are many instances of great power being used. Personally, and I don't think I'm all that bad, TBH, I couldn't apply even kotegaeshi on the current Chen leader... he can somehow just relax and let his wrist flop and neutralize my attempts. Those are just informational anecdotes. From those anecdotes, the things that should be of interest are not in relation to joint locks (although that is considered the forte' of Chen style), but how tremendous the power is they can generate. When you look at most MMA fights, you realize that if punches, etc., worked the way they did in the movies, the hits to a shooter would end the fight. They don't... no one of the MMA fighters can hit that hard. Someone who really does Chen-style, Bajiquan (like the high-level bodyguards the government uses), etc., can end fights without even getting to that point. It would be fun to see. Just take my answer as a "yes". What I'm suggesting is that accomplished Chinese martial artists who train as hard or harder than MMA fighters shouldn't be written off by any means.Good point... there's several things about Ki, in fact, I think of it as 3 things. I mentioned some of those things to do with the most obviously applicable to Aikido, but I haven't mentioned the other 2 where anyone would understand what they really involve. The thing Ryan Parker tried to use in his UFC match was something to do with one of the other parts and that's another story.[QUOTE] We've all heard of Tohei's marvelous demonstrations where he threw several high ranking Judoka that attacked him, and murmers of Ki swept through the audience, but I've also heard of at least one demonstration where things did not go as he expected them to. Nothing against Tohei, just trying to be realistic.Then there is hope for you. Being realistic is important and I admire you for it. Seriously. Stay that way. There is a saying to the effect that technique without internal power is no good; internal power without good technique is no good. Internal power does not make you invincible.I understand that Ki development cannot take place unless a practitioner slows down, and becomes sensitive to relaxed movement and total body integration. But that tempo should by counterbalanced, IMHO, by sparring, and occasional competitions, to test how their new integrated way of moving from center stacks up against people that could care less about Ki and are superb martial athletes.

[snip]
What are the martial benefits of this training? How would an internal master fare against one of today's top competitors, say Vanderlai Silva or Randy Couture, or any of the fighters in Pride or the UFC? And since martial athletes enter competitions at the height of their physical, mental, and energetic powers, isn't Ki already factored into the competition equation? In answer to your first question, I think sparring and fighting is necessary practice, but only AFTER your internal movement, etc., is ingrained. If you try to do it too soon, you never really get internal power because you'll move counter-productively. In answer to your last part, I think someone doing a shoot on a person who can generate enormous power could get hurt badly. But, until we see it, we don't know, do we? ;)

Roy Dean
02-19-2005, 12:34 PM
Mike,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I look foward to the day when an internal stylist DOES take out a top ranked fighter, on camera, for all the world to see.

Internal stylist > Vanderlai Silva = 6 figure paycheck

One would think this would be tempting to the masters: Instant wealth and fame for utilizing their skill. Until then, we'll just have to imagine!

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

rob_liberti
02-19-2005, 05:31 PM
Sorry that this turned so weirdly ugly (is that a term?!).

Roy - Top athletes tend to natually have quite a bit of things going for them like being squarely over their center without having to go learn how to do that like the rest of us. I would imagine the cream rises to the top paradigm, as in professional baskestball, will always have some Michael Jordan types - but that doesn't mean the coaching of the NBA really produces that (or everyone would be like Michael Jordan which is just not the case...). I think the same can be said for some of these MMA tournaments. Those people who just have a fantastic innate ability to move much more like we've been discussing here win and win a lot more than the other folks. So Roy, I'm not certain that your point really dismisses Mike Sigman's claims. This is not a personal attack, I've just heard this kind of reasoning before and I've never agreed with the idea that 'if it hasn't won the UFC is can't be real or valuable' - and although you don't come out and state that, it's close enough.

Personally, if I were more like Michael Jordan in terms of athletic ability, I wouldn't be spending my time trying to figure out ways to get like that, I'd probably be one of those annoying shihan that keeps showing us stuff, saying how simple it is, and kind of picking on all of those present who can't just copy me. (You've all been there, admit it!).

Since I'm not naturally gifted like that, I want to work towards continuing to develop myself. Any help towards that end is always considered very valuable to me at least...

Rob

Chris Birke
02-20-2005, 02:51 AM
"Roy - Top athletes tend to natually have quite a bit of things going for them like being squarely over their center without having to go learn how to do that like the rest of us. I would imagine the cream rises to the top paradigm, as in professional baskestball, will always have some Michael Jordan types - but that doesn't mean the coaching of the NBA really produces that (or everyone would be like Michael Jordan which is just not the case...)."

I think this sounds very true. However, does not the same apply to people like Osensei? I have specifically heard that "naturals" are the worst sort of teachers (as it is difficult to express what came to them without any logical (muchless linguistic) process). Are most masters naturals?

At the same time, I find it highly unlikely that the sort of martial artist Mike describes would entirely avoid the UFC (or Pride) or even any sort of widely known challenge match situation.

If all you have to do in order to spread the wisdom and truth that comes with understanding ki is to beat a willing opponent around for a little bit, why not? You're likely to get paid top notch for it too. Hell, you needn't even beat him, just display some of this remarkable prowess.

Why hasn't such a person stepped forward?

Religious(or related) beliefs prevent them from using ki/advanced skills/art except in dire need (or perhaps as a bodyguard)?

The techniques are too deadly for the ring?

These people are actually not as good as they claim?

Mike Sigman
02-20-2005, 12:43 PM
At the same time, I find it highly unlikely that the sort of martial artist Mike describes would entirely avoid the UFC (or Pride) or even any sort of widely known challenge match situation.

If all you have to do in order to spread the wisdom and truth that comes with understanding ki is to beat a willing opponent around for a little bit, why not? You're likely to get paid top notch for it too. Hell, you needn't even beat him, just display some of this remarkable prowess.

Why hasn't such a person stepped forward?

Religious(or related) beliefs prevent them from using ki/advanced skills/art except in dire need (or perhaps as a bodyguard)?

The techniques are too deadly for the ring?

These people are actually not as good as they claim?Insofar as China goes, it hasn't been open all that long to the West. We have enough problems getting good instructors of various Chinese martial arts to western countries, as of yet. Weirdly enough, really good instructors from China are in high demand in Japan, where they're paid a lot more money than they can make in the US, often.

Secondly, there's a stigma to fighting for a purse among good Chinese martial artists.... IF they've ever heard of the UFC and the like. Those of us who watch those kinds of martial arts often forget that the percentage of people who are aware of MMA is still not all that high. Not to mention that "submission fighting" is a specialized endeavor that is probably puzzling to some of the practitioners of Chinese martial arts. For instance, really good Eagle Claw people specialize in strengthening and toughening their hands, in addition to learning a repertoire of other aspects.... their forte is in ripping flesh off people who get too close. This is one of the reasons why grappling is certainly important to the Chinese, but it's not considered the end-all of end-alls. Basically, my stance is "it's still early yet", so maybe we'll see down the road what happens. I suspect that shoot-fighting and submission skills will be the hot trend for a while and then something else will happen.

Just for grins, here's a too-gushy account of a 60-year-old Baji expert taking on a European hotshot in a friendly match:
http://crane.50megs.com/index6ze.htm

FWIW

Mike

Chris Birke
02-20-2005, 02:14 PM
The story does not fill me with confidence.

rob_liberti
02-20-2005, 11:26 PM
Chris.

When I read your reply to my last post, all I could think of was: if you feel Osensei was just a natural and a bad teacher, and presuming that you are not a natural yourself, then why would you bother training aikido at all? I'm now guessing you don't train aikido...

As far as I'm concerned, the term Osensei ("great teacher") speaks for itself. He produced quite a few excellent students. I'm not convinced that he produced many great teachers. However, the people he trained had certain aspects of martial arts directly transmitted to them by a master - and some of them in turn, have been able to transmit aspects of what they got to their students and so on. Since most people - now a days - cannot spend 8 hours or more per day on training like many of the original students of Osensei, we are now forced to try to train smarter if we want to continue the art given our time contraints. That's the only reason why I would spend my free time sharing information on a forum about aikido.

While I agree that Osensei must have had quite a few natual gifts, it is pretty well known that he spent a great deal of time practicing fanatically - and that he specifically focused on hours of micro-movements. I simply believe that it is possible for me to get some additional insight on how to train smarter from people who know about any of the ki/kokyu drills Osensei focused on, or from Chinese MA stylists, or from principles learned from MMA folks, or from the folks that do 'aikido with competition', etc.

As far as masters showing up in MMA tournaments, I'd love to see it too. Maybe you can clear something up for me. I was told that no one 5th degree blackbelt or higher was allowed in the UFC because they were considered masters. Is that true? If so, then we have an obvious answer to your question. If not, then all we can do is speculate things like maybe people who train to the point they have really mastered some internal power have to by the nature of their training eliminated any need to participate in such a competition. Maybe to defend their distance, they'd have to kill the attacker - and they are just not too interested in doing that for sport... And maybe, as you suggest, there simply are no people who have anything worth while that don't compete in MMA. I don't honestly know. But, I've trained with people on both sides of the fence, and based on my experience, it seems reasonable to me to extrapolate that some of these people do exist and have existed in history and that with hard, dedicated, and *smart* training I can be like them. Hopefully, I'll also be able to do it and stay true to the michi aspect of aiki"do".

Rob

Chris Birke
02-21-2005, 02:17 AM
Actually, you're incorrect in assuming I don't train Aikido. You also misunderstood my reasons for pointing out the claim that naturals make the worst teachers. Sometimes I am not entirely direct in my communications, so I'll try to be clearer.

I'll quote some things and try to explain what I was thinking:

"Roy - Top athletes tend to natually have quite a bit of things going for them like being squarely over their center without having to go learn how to do that like the rest of us. I would imagine the cream rises to the top paradigm, as in professional baskestball, will always have some Michael Jordan types - but that doesn't mean the coaching of the NBA really produces that (or everyone would be like Michael Jordan which is just not the case...)."

By this I assume you mean : although those in the ufc may display great talent, does not mean we should attempt to emulate them. What works for them may not be what works for us. Nor should we assume their training methods are valuable, they are naturals after all.

In response, I said:

"I think this sounds very true. However, does not the same apply to people like Osensei? I have specifically heard that "naturals" are the worst sort of teachers (as it is difficult to express what came to them without any logical (muchless linguistic) process). Are most masters naturals?"

This is a question I left unanswered because I feel the answer is rhetorical. However, I will explore it.

Yes, most masters are naturals. And yes, it is to them that we often look for our training. Perhaps we wish to become naturals ourselves. It's inconvienient that "training to become a natural" is so near a paradox, but it's what we live with. It is illogical to dismiss training like a ufc fighter on the grounds that they are naturals for to follow that logic we must disavow training like Osensi.

"I was told that no one 5th degree blackbelt or higher was allowed in the UFC because they were considered masters. Is that true?" No, this is a myth today, if it ever was true. Belts do not make good fighters. We are always playing catch up trying to assign the best belts to the best people. Never will the belt preceed.

The thing you have to remember about the UFC is not to buy into the mythos. Especially the earliest ones, they were pretty naive and were launching off new ignorant ideas as quickly as they dispelled the old. The more down to earth you see it, the closer you are to the truth. And the truth (in so far as I have seen) is nothing astounding, except in the very fact that it's all so completely sensible. I think often the same may be true for most martial arts, but people don't like to be that close to the ground.

PeterR
02-21-2005, 03:28 AM
What changed between then and now are the quality and type of the students that entered and stayed in Aikido not the different teaching abilities of Ueshiba M. or his top students.

Generally speaking Aikido now is much more inclusive than arts where serious mixing it up is required. It is possible to train for years and really not prove anything. It is even possible to sit back and justify it with reasonable sounding philosophical underpinnings. This is not a bad thing but you really can not compare the situation where shiai experience was the norm for entry and those who had it set the tone. You also don't hear too much about the people who did not continue the training for very long. Frankly speaking Ueshiba M. trained far more people than the dozen or so names you see on S. Pranin's chart.

By all accounts Ueshiba M. was a horrible teacher but he was inspirational especially in his prime. The top students from that time were inspirational in their own right - you could say that more than technique rubbed off. What many of these same students did (including Ueshiba K.) was codify a teaching methodology and I suspect if you really look closely, all things being equal, were more successful as teachers.

By the way sensei is an honorific as is O'sensei - does not necessarily have any direct correlation with teaching ability.

Zato Ichi
02-21-2005, 04:18 AM
By the way sensei is an honorific as is O'sensei - does not necessarily have any direct correlation with teaching ability.

Also, the kanji used for the "o" in osensei does not mean great.

翁 - okina - venerable old man
翁先生 - osensei - venerable teacher.

Just FYI.

rob_liberti
02-21-2005, 06:51 AM
Okay fair enough, but are we forgetting the focus of the naturalness / greatness?

I claim that Michael Jordan and the winners of the UFC concentrate their greatness on winning and do that very well. I also claim that Osensei concentrated his greatness on teaching / transmitting and did that very well.

Of course, any great teacher also needs great students to teach. To be a better student (and I suppose, eventually to be a better teacher), here I am looking for additional insight. What are you guys here for if not the same thing?

Rob

Peter Goldsbury
02-21-2005, 08:18 AM
Also, the kanji used for the "o" in osensei does not mean great.

- okina - venerable old man
搶@- osensei - venerable teacher.

Just FYI.

Hello,

A minor point and unconnected with the topic of the thread, but do you have any sources for the above readings. In the biography, Aikido Kaiso Ueshiba Morihei-den uCJcAŐ"`v, written by his son, Aŋgˊ, the character for O Sensei is 搶 and my computer dictionary translates the kana input in this way. Do you have any other sources that are different?

Best regards,

deepsoup
02-21-2005, 11:21 AM
Well, again, my comment was in line with the idea that nikkyo was outlawed and I don't think it's anymore dangerous than most pins and locks.
If you don't mind my joining in the frenzied Shodokan pack attack for a moment (I'm so aggressive I can hardly resist)... :)

The whole discussion about ki, whether and how you can render nikkyo harmless, etc., is really a side issue to its being removed from shiai. To paraphrase that old chestnut "aikido works, your aikido may not", while you may be able to block nikkyo many shiai competitors have found themselves unable to.

Fairly inexperienced people can take part in shiai, its available to those of about 4-5th kyu upwards generally. And for everyone taking part its a stressful, chaotic business, thats kind of the point. Nikkyo was allowed initially, it was only when it became clear that significant numbers of injuries were resulting from the use of that technique that it was taken out, and, as I understand it, the randori no kata was changed accordingly. (Even though we're all thugs, we don't want anyone to get hurt in our dojos.)

Undoubtedly some (or many) of the people taking part in shiai lack your skills. (Perhaps only temporarily, adrenalin is known to degrade an individual's motor skills, as is lactic acid. I usually finish a session of competitive randori, let alone shiai, feeling as if I'm awash with both.)

Since it was allowed initially, I imagine that Prof. Tomiki probably didn't consider it more dangerous than other techniques from a theoretical viewpoint either. But when empirical evidence contradicts a theory, its the theory that has to change, that in a nutshell is the scientific method.

Sean
x

Mike Sigman
02-21-2005, 11:54 AM
...The whole discussion about ki, whether and how you can render nikkyo harmless, etc., is really a side issue to its being removed from shiai. To paraphrase that old chestnut "aikido works, your aikido may not", while you may be able to block nikkyo many shiai competitors have found themselves unable to.

Fairly inexperienced people can take part in shiai, its available to those of about 4-5th kyu upwards generally. And for everyone taking part its a stressful, chaotic business, thats kind of the point. [snipsky]
Hi Sean:

Well, I'm not sure you added any new factors. A lot of people do Taiji and enter tournaments for forms competition and what they call "Taiji sparring", etc., and they've never had to bother spending any time with this Qi stuff... and they've even won some medals. What does that tell us? Does it tell us that Qi is not really needed in Taiji or does it tell us the level is so low that those kinds of practitioners don't even notice that it's missing? I.e., we could read your comments in a couple of ways, couldn't we?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

PeterR
02-21-2005, 06:59 PM
Taiiji is enbu not shiai.

There is a world of difference.

By the way Sean the Kotemawashi grip is allowed just not the wrist crank. Just like you are not supposed to bring your weight down on the elbow for wakagatamae in randori. The shift to nasty is so easy.

Mike Sigman
02-21-2005, 08:00 PM
Taiiji is enbu not shiai.

There is a world of difference.I'm not sure that I see what the "world of difference" is. Real Taiji is one of the most legendary martial arts in the world; the power is enormous. I.e., Taiji is not "enbu" (why don't you just use English?), i.e., real Taiji is not just a public demonstration. There are a lot of people who do something they call Taiji, which tends to be a slow-motion choreography/role-playing... that is a demonstration art which has little to do with the real parent art and the power that is a natural component of the parent art. A lot of Aikido is the same way. A lot of karate is the same way. And so on.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

PeterR
02-21-2005, 08:09 PM
Ah I thought you were refering to the Enbu demonstrations that Ki Society does.

I use Japanese terms because that's what I know. The vast majority of my training is here - why would I use English for technical terms. You of course use Ki and Kokyu - why is that?

Mike Sigman
02-21-2005, 08:27 PM
Ah I thought you were refering to the Enbu demonstrations that Ki Society does. What? You said "Taiji is enbu"... nothing about the Ki Society.

I use Japanese terms because that's what I know. The vast majority of my training is here - why would I use English for technical terms. You of course use Ki and Kokyu - why is that? I think everyone reading the list knows what Ki and Kokyu are. "Enbu" is not a term most people encounter, although some people like to use it as a synonym with "kata" (another word most people know). Since this is an English-speaking list, it makes more sense to bear in mind what the majority of people speak, IMO.

FWIW

Mike

rob_liberti
02-21-2005, 08:29 PM
Mehdi's students don't compete in the Pride or UFC either. I haven't figured out how to quote other threads, but the "BJJ vs Aikido" post #73 supports my thoughts on the idea about 'if it's not in the UFC or Pride it must not be real'.

This doesn't mean that I don't respect the UFC/Pride competitors or their training methods, it just means that I don't think that they or their training methods are the 'end all be all' of martial arts. Thinking that the winners of these competitions support the idea that their training is the best for all students is basically reasoning by affirmation of consequences - which is simply invalid logic.

I'm starting to get the idea that more people are participating in the forums to validate their beliefs rather than to share and learn. Michi should be about complete re-thought rather than just rearranging prejudices without any real thought.

Rob

stuartjvnorton
02-21-2005, 08:53 PM
What? You said "Taiji is enbu"... nothing about the Ki Society.


This _is_ an Aikido forum though, right? :rolleyes:
Most people here probably figured which "Taiji" was being talked about, even the ki-ignorant YoshiOrcs such as myself.

wendyrowe
02-21-2005, 09:40 PM
I've really been enjoying the technical aspect of this discussion.
There are some good points of view and it's interesting to hear different people's takes on the issues.

As for Japanese vs English terminology, I have no problem with Peter Rehse's use of the Japanese. There are a lot of cases where it's hard to pick the right English words to match the concepts -- there are so many shades of meaning and/or so much baggage in the words we pick that I do better when I learn the Japanese name for a move and know that's it.

Mike Sigman
02-21-2005, 09:51 PM
As for Japanese vs English terminology, I have no problem with Peter Rehse's use of the Japanese. I don't either. I used to speak it rather well. However, if Peter wants to say "Taiji is for show, not competition", he might as well be clear about it. He's not going to hurt my feelings, by any means. Japanese names of movements and technical terms are, of course, a different subject entirely, for those that missed the interplay. :rolleyes:

Mike

Charles Hill
02-21-2005, 11:39 PM
Hi,

I may be wrong but I believe Mike is refering to Tai Chi Chuan and Peter is refering to Taigi, the "enbu" competitions in Ki society.

Charles

mj
02-22-2005, 03:44 AM
Hi,

I may be wrong but I believe Mike is refering to Tai Chi Chuan and Peter is refering to Taigi, the "enbu" competitions in Ki society.

Charles
It's probably fairer to say that he is just being deliberately argumentative, Charles.

As to the difference between embu and shia (or even randori) there is indeed a world of difference. That does not mean that they are necessarily seperate though.

deepsoup
02-22-2005, 04:51 AM
By the way Sean the Kotemawashi grip is allowed just not the wrist crank. Just like you are not supposed to bring your weight down on the elbow for wakagatamae in randori. The shift to nasty is so easy.

Perhaps I was using the term 'nikkyo' incorrectly? I was thinking specifically of the 'wrist crank' rather than anything else.

Of course you're right about the 'kotemawashi grip' being allowed, after all we practice it all the time in our most basic drills for randori (by which I mean the kansetsu waza kihon no tsukuri and the hiji mochi no kuzushi).

Now that you mention it, I just realised that I do indeed apply wakigatame, as in the 'old' hiji mochi no kuzushi - the gyakute dori joudan kuzushi, where the initial tegatana was fingers downwards - with a very distinct 'kote mawashi' grip. Could that be considered nikkyo? I must admit it had never occured to me that it could, since there's no intention of applying a wrist lock, its just a mechanism for turning uke's elbow upwards in preparation for the waki gatame. (Good grief that seems long winded, I hope it makes sense.)

On reflection I probably shouldn't have said 'nikkyo' in the first place, I was trying to be helpful and 'translate' it into Aikikai terminology in my reply to what I thought was a genuine enquiry. Apologies if I caused any misunderstanding.

Sean
x

PeterR
02-22-2005, 05:07 AM
Apologies if I caused any misunderstanding.
Not to worry - I understood perfectly. :p

As you know Shodokan only has four grips.

happysod
02-22-2005, 06:00 AM
As you know Shodokan only has four grips. chafing, painful, excruciating and please god let go? Runs off quickly...

mj
02-22-2005, 06:30 AM
chafing, painful, excruciating and please god let go? Runs off quickly...

ear-dori, butt clinch, hair-pull and nipple twist. Of course you can use combinations.

Mike Sigman
02-22-2005, 07:35 AM
Hi,

I may be wrong but I believe Mike is refering to Tai Chi Chuan and Peter is refering to Taigi, the "enbu" competitions in Ki society.


Ah.... that might explain it indeed. The subject I was talking about was Taijiquan and I spelled it Taiji, not "Taigi". Thanks.

Mike

wendyrowe
02-22-2005, 08:15 AM
As you know Shodokan only has four grips.
chafing, painful, excruciating and please god let go? ...
Hey, we use the same techniques!

L. Camejo
02-26-2005, 01:29 PM
Hey folks,

Just found this article on Aikidojournal - http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=557. It has some interesting (though myopic imho) views on competition in Aikido and it's aspects as a Martial Art etc.

I thought it may add another perspective to the discussion.

What are your thoughts?
LC:ai::ki:

Michael Neal
02-26-2005, 09:58 PM
Yea, I too found it narrow minded. The argument is the same tired old "Aikido is too dangerous for competition" stuff. The main flaw in this argument is that it does not explain the original question "Why did my Aikido not work against the Judoka or grappler?"

jss
02-28-2005, 06:28 PM
When I hear the "Aikido is too dangerous for competition"-argument, I always hear the following discussion in my head:

though guy from karate, judo, boxing, ...:
"Aikido is for weaklings, you don't have competition!"
aikidoka:
"No no no. Aikido is sooo dangerous, that we can't have any competitions. If we did, people would get killed. So we are way thougher than you!"

Mike Sigman
02-28-2005, 06:35 PM
When I hear the "Aikido is too dangerous for competition"-argument, I always hear the following discussion in my head:

though guy from karate, judo, boxing, ...:
"Aikido is for weaklings, you don't have competition!"
aikidoka:
"No no no. Aikido is sooo dangerous, that we can't have any competitions. If we did, people would get killed. So we are way tougher than you!"That reminds me of some of the Qi demonstraters in Chinese martial arts who seem to only want to demonstrate on their students because if they used it on someone who hasn't been "properly trained" it might kill them. What you do is bring your goldfish in its bowl and tell them, "it's OK, go ahead and kill my goldfish with your qi." So far all the offered goldfish have remained alive. ;)

FWIW

Mike

barry.clemons
08-20-2008, 07:16 AM
I think the concept of there being a 'winner' and 'loser' is what Aikido attempts to alter by eliminating competition.

salim
08-20-2008, 10:51 AM
Competition is healthy if it's done in an cooperative, respectful manner. American Aikido as some people have coined the phrase, may benefit from a structured environment that fosters healthy competition. Tomiki Aikido is already doing this.