View Full Version : Article: Ultimate Martial Art? by George S. Ledyard
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03-31-2005, 01:57 PM
Discuss the article, "Ultimate Martial Art?" by George S. Ledyard here.
Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2005_03.html
03-31-2005, 03:11 PM
Excellent! Should be put into prominent position on the wall..
As always a nice article.
One brief clarification, if you will
One does not see the types of striking techniques which exist in combat oriented martial arts targeting vital points. The use of these would produce serious injury and these competitors all know that if they utilize any techniques of that sort, these techniques will in turn be used against them. The same is true of joint oriented techniques as found in traditional jiu jutsu which are designed to destroy the joints, connective tissues and even limbs of an opponent.
What joint oriented techniques are you referring to? Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a single aikido joint technique that would not be allowed in the UFC (granted different organizations have different rules and all.....)
03-31-2005, 03:40 PM
Excellent! Should be put into prominent position on the wall..
03-31-2005, 06:09 PM
04-02-2005, 12:49 AM
A gem of an article. Mr. GS Ledyard, it is an enlightening and humbling read.
04-02-2005, 12:32 PM
I beleive in the UFC, small joint manipulation is not allowed. So I think wristlocks are out.
I think Ledyard Sensei may have been refering to the actual intentional breaking of elbows, shoulders, and wrists when he was refering to joint locks and manipulations. Again, in the realm of life/death combat, I would have wanted to maim you or take you out. So, if I caught you in a hiji lock, I would break your elbow and then attempt to kill you or move on to the next adversary. In the UFC, while they may employ all the locks aikido has, their intention is not to rip a guy's arm out. The opponents fully expect each other to tap out in an untenable situation. That is vastly differnt that real combat.
04-02-2005, 06:04 PM
I met Chuck Lid dell recently. His wife was very nice to me, although Chuck was a little tense at first. "He's getting ready for a fight, don't mind him," she whispered. His daughter was absolutely precious. She gets one whole room to scatter toys and clothes. After a while I talked to Chuck about work ( I was installing a new phone jack ) and he was pleasant. I think he was glad to be thinking about something else. The best part, I got to tell him how much I enjoy his reality show on Spike TV.
I don't know why I expected anything different. Even his wife said all the Ultimate Fighters she's met are pretty dull and normal. Paraphrasing her, "I don't know where they got all the nuts on Chuck's show."
04-02-2005, 10:54 PM
What joint oriented techniques are you referring to? Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a single aikido joint technique that would not be allowed in the UFC...
knee sweeps? I don't know the UFC rules, so I don't know if that would be allowed or not.
04-02-2005, 10:56 PM
Or that really scarry thing where you tenkan behind the person, take their chin in on hand and the back of their head with the other, and gently guide them down backwards while keeping just enough pressure on to not break their neck. I don't know if it has a name.
04-03-2005, 04:31 AM
One does not see the types of striking techniques which exist in combat oriented martial arts targeting vital points. The use of these would produce serious injury and these competitors all know that if they utilize any techniques of that sort, these techniques will in turn be used against them. The same is true of joint oriented techniques as found in traditional jiu jutsu which are designed to destroy the joints, connective tissues and even limbs of an opponent.What joint oriented techniques are you referring to? Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a single aikido joint technique that would not be allowed in the UFC (granted different organizations have different rules and all.....)
I read George's quote as saying that the UFC fighters don't really want to use the dangerous strikes / locks, because using them would mean having them used against themselves as well. So a "silent agreement" or "gentleman's agreement" not to use that stuff and to keep the fights reasonably civil might be in effect.
I met Chuck Lid dell recently. His wife was very nice to me, although Chuck was a little tense at first....Paraphrasing her, "I don't know where they got all the nuts on Chuck's show."
I didn't know Chuck Liddell was married and had a daughter! Very cool. Everything I've heard about him has been very positive. He seems like such an easy going guy.
Re: the TUF show, Liddell's wife is right on. I stopped watching after the first episode, and I'm a UFC fan. The behavior of some of the fighters was just horrible. I can't believe that's the image that the owners of the UFC really want to portray to the general public.
As for limiting the types of strikes allowed, here are the 'Fouls' taken from 'http://www.ufc.tv/learnUFC/rulesUfc.asp':
Butting with the head.
Eye gouging of any kind.
Groin attacks of any kind.
Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent.
Small joint manipulation.
Striking to the spine or the back of the head.
Striking downward using the point of the elbow.
Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea.
Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh.
Grabbing the clavicle.
Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.
Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent.
Stomping a grounded opponent.
Kicking to the kidney with the heel.
Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck.
Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area.
Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent.
Spitting at an opponent.
Engaging in an unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent.
Holding the ropes or the fence.
Using abusive language in the ring or fenced area.
Attacking an opponent on or during the break.
Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.
Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the period of unarmed combat.
Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee.
Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury.
Interference by the corner.
Throwing in the towel during competition. "
There's been plenty of arguments that these are for the 'Safety of the fighters' versus 'Most of these things are hard to pull off in a real fight'. I'm not interested in that aspect. While I tend to agree with Mr. Ledyard about there being no 'Ultimate Art', I do think that training methodology plays a very important part. What's great about training under MMA rules (each show has a slightly different set, UFC, Pride, King of Cage, etc.) is that you get an opportunity to shiai unarmed with the three main taijutsu ranges (standup = including arms-length grappling, clinch and ground). I also think that the all-out contact-based training found inherently in some grappling (e.g. BJJ, Sambo, judo) and striking arts (e.g. Kyokushin, MT) provides a great learning tool for practicing techniques on someone that doesn’t want you to do them and is actively trying to do something back to you.
Where the problem lies on this side of the fence, in my opinion, can be a lack of paired kata training. When I say kata-style, I mean paired practice where the form and intent of the techniques can be transmitted by the instructor to the student. I know from experience that the better judo and aikido schools have this as part of the their practice. My MMA friends that I occasionally roll and bang with roll their eyes when I insist that such training is important (of course, the better MMA schools have this style of training when the Instructor/Senior student shows the junior the proper technical applications and mindset -- allowing the junior to practice on the senior with varying levels of resistance – it’s just not often named, recognized and or codified as ‘kata’). I don’t think aikido is necessarily exempt from this problem, either, it’s just more likely, in my opinion, to be a symptom where the emphasis on learning is solely placed on randori and shiai.
With all of that said (yes, I know I can be long-winded), I think that many detractors of mainstream aikido (yes, even those on other aikido discussion boards that ‘accidentally’ create their own styles of aikido) may have a point when they emphasize understanding ranges of engagement that are specialized in other arts. But I can’t help think it’s in part due to arrogance and ignorance (I was walking this path more a year ago, so I’m using myself as an example) to try to fix aikido as a whole “ad nausem”, rather than offering learning lab options that work into existing aikido practice. I also tend to think that if you’re learning aikido as a system, it’s not because you’re looking to be the next ‘Ultimate Fighter’, at least I’m not. Those that want their budo training to incorporate more specifically the ground, clinch and striking ranges will either train at aikido schools (yes, they do exist) that address such things in randori or shiai with rolling or more freely allowing standup striking (besides tsuki, yokomen or shomen) – or they’ll crosstrain (hopefully, once they’ve developed a strong base, first, in aikido or otherwise) with other groups.
Either way, I agree that there’s no ultimate art. For me, there’s just persons, places and systems where I enjoy training in curricula that’s of lasting interest and benefits me in many ways, tangible and otherwise. As a practitioner of aikido, I train with the intent to be able to deal with conflict and hopefully have options that go beyond (without necessarily placing me above) the basic “fight or flight” primal instincts.
05-28-2005, 02:56 PM
Aikido has quite few skill sets which would be relevant to the modern warrior; more than most jiu jutsu styles, mixed martial arts or kick boxing no matter how good the training might be.
This would be the only place I would not necessarily agree with Mr Ledyard. Studying Aikido for the past 9 years, I too agree that it is a very complete and comprehensive system grounded in years of tried and true principles.
However, in trying to convey this to Army troops, it has not been proven to be the most effective methodology of conveying critical martial skills to young troops that have little time or patience for training. In theory...yes. In reality...no.
I really don't want ot get into a nitpicking of this, because, as he so eloquently pointed out, that it is pointless to discuss which art is better..yadayada. Also, I completely agree with his statements concerning the facts concerning what the average person would face and there are better reasons to study than self defense and actual application of martial skills.
But, I do think he is slightly over critical of these other systems, and, at least for the U.S. Army, a mixture of BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, and MMA seems to be working when put together in a comprehensive and intelligent way to train soldiers quickly to gain some competence in basic martial skills.
At the same time, from my experiences, they are also gaining the same psychological benefits of discipline, confidence, and esprit de corps that come from just about any internal traditional martial art system such as aikido.
This does not mean that aikido is not effective, nor irrelevant, it is very effective and relevant, and the principles apply, even to soldiers in the Army. It is simply that the training methodology or model does not seem to be the best way to train the average soldier.
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