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ad_adrian
06-20-2005, 09:00 AM
i have heard a few of you saying that aikido is slowly dying?

i have also heard other famous aikido instructors...saying that a lot of aikido dojo's...are mainly just dancers...they dont go through the hard yard...etc...

for example gozo shioda said "todays aikido is so dimensionless. its hollow, empty on the inside people try to reach the highest levels with out even paying their dues. thats why it seems like so much of a dance these days you have to master the very basics solidly with your body and then proceed to devolp to the higher levels....... now we see nothing but copying or imitiation with out any grasp of the real thing..."

Lyle Bogin
06-20-2005, 09:21 AM
No.

mj
06-20-2005, 09:22 AM
2 points, both generalisations.

1) Aikido as a singular presence in the Martial Arts community:-

I think the constant fragmentation doesn't help at all.

As there is no unifying authority I do worry that the dripdripdrip is slowly (very slowly, it will last longer than my lifetime,) killing Aikido.

Having said that some arts survive merely through the efforts of one family (such as small Kung Fu schools etc). Size isn't everything.

Some publicity would help. To be frank we haven't had any good publicity since Seagal.

2) Aikido as a Martial Art:-

Aikido has a terrible reputation in general as a martial art - that does not help because it puts people off before they even think about signing up so it lowers the grassroots participation.

For me Aikido is not primarily a self defence based art. But most people looking for a martial art will be mainly looking for self defence.

This should be addressed as a presentational difficulty first.

Obviously the first thing Aikido should do to regain some credibility is to add transitional techniques to the ground and some realistic groundwork applications. I only say this in relation to my 2nd point.

giriasis
06-20-2005, 09:34 AM
No, I don't believe aikido is dying. I believe the critcism just comes from people who want to make comparisons so they can raise up their belief in their own system by putting down others.

ad_adrian
06-20-2005, 09:41 AM
as im only new in aikido...i cant say i know...and the dojo i go to...is one of the most respected dojo's in australia...with a high quality teacher....so im not in that crowd...but even some of the story's i have heard of other dojo's around here...of how the sensei was arrogent and didnt care about anything...kind of made me think...im lucky im at the dojo i am at :)
but im not putting anyone down just merely asking a question what you guys think

mj
06-20-2005, 09:41 AM
No, I don't believe aikido is dying. I believe the critcism just comes from people who want to make comparisons so they can raise up their belief in their own system by putting down others.
Well the original criticism quoted came from inside Aikido, Anne.

james c williams
06-20-2005, 09:54 AM
i have also heard other famous aikido instructors...saying that a lot of aikido dojo's...are mainly just dancers...they dont go through the hard yard...etc...

I am going to stick my neck out on this one and say that I agree with those that make such statements. I have been to a few dojos and have seen some strong/borderline brutal Aikido, to dancing Aikido as well as precise and dynamic Aikido. Why is that?

Well for me IMO, the simple reason is everyone is different. Everyone practices for their own reasons and to their own limits. Either way this can help students/teachers push themselves more and more or comfortably stay static in the same place all the time because of comfortability.

The real question should be, what does one say or do with this type of laid back discipline?
There is nobody that states Aikido should be for this person but not for that person.
Whether it be Aikikai, Yoshinkan etc. all state that Aikido is for everyone, and the moment you open the doors to everyone expect to welcome in...well everyone and all sorts of types. Does someone start cherry picking after that? So what happens then? People learn and do as they perceive Aikido (a little like how all of O'Sensei's students did - they are not all the same are they?).

As for me, I question everything I see and do. Is this Aikido good for me? Too soft, too hard? Too much dancing?
Whenever I saw or felt slightly uncomfortable with a specific style of Aikido whether it was because of it being too sadistic or too soft I walked. I walked because even I had my own ideas how Aikido should be for me.
I have been to dojos where weapons training and techniques was done with such brutality and little safety that injury seemed almost inevitable - on the other hand I also participated in dojos that people would simply fall before shite/nage even started waza! Both pretty frustrating if what you are after is a hard, earnest training without the risk of constant injury but at the same time without an uke that is nominated for the Oscars. Such place is most often hard and sometimes impossible to find, why? Well it is the perfect place and perfect places are not a dime a dozen.

Is Aikido dying? I am sure it is. Aikido died when O'Sensei passed away. His students carried their Aikido and passed in onto others and so forth and so on. Will it cease to exist? I don't believe so, Aikido will stand the test of time. Aikido was different in the 30's and different in the 60's and even different in the 90's. It will evolve, the good news is that no Aikido will be the same, like everything else it will continue to evolve.

for example gozo shioda said "todays aikido is so dimensionless. its hollow, empty on the inside people try to reach the highest levels with out even paying their dues. thats why it seems like so much of a dance these days you have to master the very basics solidly with your body and then proceed to devolp to the higher levels....... now we see nothing but copying or imitiation with out any grasp of the real thing..."

Shioda Sensei's comments have a lot of meaning to those that follow his ways, and the ways he followed O'Sensei with. However, Shioda Sensei was one of the many students of O'Sensei - all great and all equally different.

Osu!

James

Yann Golanski
06-20-2005, 10:01 AM
Since there is no one pure form of Aikido, it can hardly die...Even Ueshiba changed his Aikido during his life. Aikido got its name 1942 which is after the Hell Dojo years. Aikido is ever changing and never meant the same thing to different people -- hence the different styles. That is a good thing in my not so humble opinion.

Sure some dojo are, teach and create rubbish. But that's true in all martial arts.

As for one unifying authority, dream on. It's never going to happen. It didn't happen during Ueshiba's life and it's not going to happen now.

SeiserL
06-20-2005, 12:58 PM
Mine isn't. It is alive, well, and growing.

DevinHammer
06-20-2005, 01:18 PM
Aikido is EVOLVING, as O'Sensei intended.

Take Musu!

Mashu
06-20-2005, 02:02 PM
Aikido cannot die.

It can be forgotten or disregarded but it cannot die.

Efe Yucemen
06-20-2005, 02:52 PM
putting niceties aside, unless you're in a position to do something about said death of aikido this question is nothing but idle speculation. at the end of the day unless you instruct then the only aikido you're responsible for is your own. just train buddy...

Don_Modesto
06-20-2005, 03:13 PM
Take Musu!

Is that like serotonin or echinacea?

Mary Eastland
06-20-2005, 03:50 PM
Lol...maybe at your dojo. Our our dojo it is alive and well.
mir

Rupert Atkinson
06-20-2005, 07:30 PM
One thing I have become aware of is how most Aikido in Japan is quite similar. Of course, no dojo is exactly the same but overall, it is quite similar. In fact, watching Japanese Shodokan guys do their kata and you might be mistaken for thinking it was an Aikikai club. And given the dynamic way they perform those katas, a good Aikikai club. However, take one step overseas and the differences even within a style can be quite significant, let alone between styles. There is far more 'difference' - some call it flavours - overseas than there is in Japan. At least, that is what I see - although it is not easy to point to specifics. Anyway, in that sense, it does seem to be harder to keep on track outside of Japan. That being said, some Aikido outside of Japan is better (the problem being, everyone will think that it is precisely theirs that is the better). The only poroblem is how to judge it -- everything I see is just my own opinion; everything you see is yours.

CNYMike
06-21-2005, 07:41 AM
i have heard a few of you saying that aikido is slowly dying?

Not as long as it's passed from generation to generation it's not.

tarik
06-21-2005, 12:20 PM
Aikido dies and is reborn in every instant and every moment that we practice.

giriasis
06-21-2005, 01:04 PM
Well the original criticism quoted came from inside Aikido, Anne.

Yes, I know he was, Mark. :rolleyes:

So Gozo Shioda was also saying that his aikido is dance like or that he is only copying or imitating the real thing? Was he really including himself in that statement. He refers to "today's aikido" as to compared to "yesterday's aikido". I inferred that he was including himself in "yesterday's aikido" since he teaches Yoshinkan which is a style of aikido that comes from "yesterday" so to speak.

I have no problem with people being proud of their system. But I do have a problem when people point fingers at others when they are not a part of that system -- Aikikai, Ki Society, etc. I also find it very tacky for an instructor to talk in such a manner.

I will give the statement the benefit of the doubt that it was taken out of context, though.

Mike Sigman
06-21-2005, 01:14 PM
in re Gozo Shioda's "tacky" statement: "Today's aikido is so dimensionless. its hollow, empty on the inside people try to reach the highest levels with out even paying their dues. thats why it seems like so much of a dance these days you have to master the very basics solidly with your body and then proceed to devolp to the higher levels....... now we see nothing but copying or imitiation with out any grasp of the real thing..."

I have no problem with people being proud of their system. But I do have a problem when people point fingers at others when they are not a part of that system -- Aikikai, Ki Society, etc. I also find it very tacky for an instructor to talk in such a manner.

I will give the statement the benefit of the doubt that it was taken out of context, though.

I wonder what the heck Shioda meant by "without any grasp of the real thing" ?

Mike

Steven
06-21-2005, 01:48 PM
Personally I think the statement was taken out of content. I believe this quote was taken from Aikido Shugyo. Odd that a Yoshinkan person would ask this question when a new Yoshinkan dojo is forming in his own country. Australia is a breeding ground for Yoshinkan Aikido schools and practitioners.

.. and for reference, Gozo Shioda is listed as 9th dan in Aikikai. In one of the interviews on Aikido Journal, the Second doshu points this out, though I can't find the link at the moment, so you'll just either have to take my word for it, or not. I don't care either way.

I also believe that Shioda was talking in relative terms and based on how he himself was trained as compared to what he saw going on at the time. I don't believe he was pointing fingers at any one group or another.

But then again, that's pure speculation and only Shioda knows what he really meant.

Adam Alexander
06-21-2005, 02:06 PM
Lord knows, I'm no expert. And although I agree with the previous post, I'm compelled to interpret Shioda's statement.

I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to an Aikidoka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.

That's because he didn't know the music was playing. He didn't know it was time to start dancing.

When I read that book (couple yrs. ago) I percieved him to be referring to Aikidoka, but not Aikido as an art.

I think most people would rather engage in enlightening discussions about Aikido (I think that's great!) but they don't put the same level of interest into the physical part.

IMHO.

tarik
06-21-2005, 03:55 PM
I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to an Aikidoka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.

I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to a karateka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.

That's because he didn't know the music was playing. He didn't know it was time to start dancing.

Bingo. Really it's a problem that is hardly unique to aikido, it's a universal problem that arises any time one attempts to take something to the masses that can only be deeply taught one on one (relatively speaking).

A certain loss of quality control.

I think most people would rather engage in enlightening discussions about Aikido (I think that's great!) but they don't put the same level of interest into the physical part.

IMHO.

Most? Based on what? Here, perhaps? There's always a fringe of people who show up (in places like this) and talk about aikido but never get on the mat. It shows up pretty quickly though.

People who do train consistently, and with similar goals, tend to recognize it in other people, even when they do not agree with details.

Chris Li
06-21-2005, 04:28 PM
.. and for reference, Gozo Shioda is listed as 9th dan in Aikikai. In one of the interviews on Aikido Journal, the Second doshu points this out, though I can't find the link at the moment, so you'll just either have to take my word for it, or not. I don't care either way.

Shioda recounts it in "Aikido Shugyo". He tested for 9th dan in Iwama with Morihei Ueshiba in 1951.

Best,

Chris

Big Dave
06-21-2005, 04:43 PM
From a beginner's point of view, having done aikido now for 18 months, I think that the competing sensei' s and fragmentation of aikido into all of the different styles can cause students to lose interest/faith in aikido. For example, here in Hartford and its suburbs, which is a relatively small urban area, we have 2 ASU Dojo's, 1 USAF dojo, 1 ki society, 1 AAA and three independent dojo's. The process of trying to choose the "right" one can be overwhelming and confusing. It's like trying to choose the right religion - you can only hope that when it counts, you chose correctly.
IMHO, I personally think that Aikdo would benefit immensely if there were a parent organization in the United States.

Secondly, why are there so few children's programs? It wouldn't hurt to have feeder programs that could create lifetime learners. I think that in Japan children's programs are quite common.

Just the random thoughts of a newbie.

tarik
06-21-2005, 05:57 PM
Not bad thoughts.. a few of my own follow...

From a beginner's point of view, having done aikido now for 18 months, I think that the competing sensei' s and fragmentation of aikido into all of the different styles can cause students to lose interest/faith in aikido.

Personally, I think that the multitude of approaches actually appeals to MORE people, rather than less, which may be a part of the 'problem'.

For example, here in Hartford and its suburbs, which is a relatively small urban area, we have 2 ASU Dojo's, 1 USAF dojo, 1 ki society, 1 AAA and three independent dojo's.

Do you realize that the 2 ASU, 1 USAF, 1 AAA are all affiliated with the Aikikai, the organization run by the Founder's grandson?

The process of trying to choose the "right" one can be overwhelming and confusing. It's like trying to choose the right religion - you can only hope that when it counts, you chose correctly.

What are you choosing for? Combat effectiveness? Unlike religion, where you find out when you're dead, if you aren't dead, you can always change your training.

Secondly, why are there so few children's programs? It wouldn't hurt to have feeder programs that could create lifetime learners. I think that in Japan children's programs are quite common.

We have a childrens program with something like 120 members. Our link to Japan suggests to me that while this exists in Japan, it's on a much smaller scale [when not involved in the school system].

Just the random thoughts of a newbie.

Keep thinking aloud, they're good thoughts.

Regards,

Tarik

Michael Neal
06-21-2005, 10:52 PM
I don't think Aikido is dying, it is just reaching a point where it has to change a little to meet the needs of the times.

happysod
06-22-2005, 03:46 AM
it is just reaching a point where it has to change a little to meet the needs of the times I agree and disagree in that I think aikido is always changing, even to the extent that it's inception was a response to the changes in the culture that produced it.

As regards the "better in the old days" theme, my view is that what has changed isn't so much aikido (or any other martial art), but that of the plethora of communication now available on what was a relatively closed shop subject. Even in the relatively limited time that I've been practicing, I can't remember being able to window shop across the martial arts in the way the web allows us to now.

This has good and bad points, complete frauds have a harder time selling their rubbish as gold, but equally people are perhaps too quick to judge without experiencing things first hand and fads in martial arts are becoming just as important as training.

aikido dying, what melodramatic rot!

xuzen
06-22-2005, 04:14 AM
I don't think Aikido is dying, it is just reaching a point where it has to change a little to meet the needs of the times.

How?
More aiki newaza?
Train aiki cage fighters?
Nike sponshorship deal?
Oscar for the best performing aikidoka?
Do away with the Hakama?

Boon. :D :D :D

happysod
06-22-2005, 05:02 AM
Train aiki cage fighters? I humbly nominate the orcs and thugs for this bit, don't worry, we aiki-fruities will do all the hard bits like sponsorship deals and contracts - just think, ring girls and boys in spandex hakama with your dojos logo on their pert little haras!

Yann Golanski
06-22-2005, 05:19 AM
I humbly nominate the orcs and thugs for this bit, don't worry, we aiki-fruities will do all the hard bits like sponsorship deals and contracts - just think, ring girls and boys in spandex hakama with your dojos logo on their pert little haras!

I think that if Aikido Shiai had ponpon girls/boys no one would mind about "competions" at all.... </humour>

Kevin Leavitt
06-22-2005, 10:07 AM
Michael,

I correspond with you enough to understand your position on Aikido and the changes it needs. However, you say "it needs to change to meet the times".

What has changed since mid 1950's that would require aikido to change?

I think aikido as an art would evolve based on personalities, and perspectives of individuals. I think the underlying prinicples though to be somewhat timeless, and therefore require no change based on society or "times".

to me, "times" would refer to things like "marketing" , "popularity"...reason i would not change aikido for.

Other thing would be philosophical perspective. I would contend that very little has evolved in the underpinnings of philosophy that would change it.

The MMA perspective certainly has changed the paradigm of many people with repect to MA and TMA as a whole. That is a good thing. A wonderful movement which I fully embrace. However I stop short of saying aikido should change because of this movement.

Interested to hear your perspective.

Robert Rumpf
06-22-2005, 11:16 AM
Considering that I've seen virtually no effort put into recruitment, advertising, or retention in any dojo I've ever been at, I'm surprised that Aikido still has as many practitioners as it does have. The closest thing I've ever seen to a recruitment drive is when dojo's give demonstrations and hand out flyers. That is fairly uncommon, where I've been.

So, if Aikido is dying off in terms of practitioners, there are certainly no shortage of steps that could be taken to fix the problem in terms of providing access and letting people be aware that it exists. Pricing could also be examined, instead of having a fixed arbitrary monthly fee as it tends to be.

There are also a thousand other things that students and instructors could do to help retain beginners that step on the mat, if they were really interested. That interest is usually not there in the general sense.. which is in my opinion part of that cultural baggage that Aikido carries with it. This type of beginner-friendly culture comes from the top in any given dojo.

But maybe I've just been lucky in terms of the places I've lived and trained and Aikido is dying elsewhere. My current dojo has no problem getting new members - the doors are open in the summer, and so pedestrians on the sidewalk often look in and stop by. Some even come back to train.

I think that when a particular dojo is dying off, the management of the dojo needs to think about what they want and how to get to that place. Unfortunately being a good martial artist or even a good martial arts teacher doesn't necessitate being a good manager.

Rob

james c williams
06-22-2005, 11:36 AM
I believe (please correct me if mistaken) the original poster is referring to aikido dying in a way other than popularity and amount of participants.

Aikido isn't Sony Enterprises that needs vast advertisements etc. It needs people that will follow and at that follow it in the most earnest fashion possible.

James

Robert Rumpf
06-22-2005, 12:10 PM
I believe (please correct me if mistaken) the original poster is referring to aikido dying in a way other than popularity and amount of participants.

Yeah, you're right. Sorry. :) Still, I stand by my irrelevent point.

Also, the more practitioners that exist, the more sources there are to draw from when trying to distill what you consider to be the pure version (which is actually YOUR version) of the art.

I don't think I've ever heard of old-timers in any field or any endeavor standing up and saying that the kids now have much more spirit and verve and liveliness and are doing a much better job than they had when they were younger. If these old-timers see this as being a problem, with their authority and influence they are unfortunately the only ones able to try to correct it. I wish them luck. Its often most difficult to undo your own mistakes.

If it is instead an uncorrectable fall in quality that is not due to them and Aikido is in decline as a function of civilization, mankind, and the quality of humanity being in decline... well... better luck next civilization. :) I personally think we are on an upswing.

I always find it to be really ironic but also extremely revealing when a teacher complains about the quality and lack of their students' knowledge or about their students actions. Or even the actions and quality of their student's students.... etc. Who else did they get this knowledge from, if not the teacher (be it directly or indirectly)?

I realize that people do sometimes learn bad behavior elsewhere, but teachers can have a very strong influence on their students even if it is a bad habit from outside. Very often you see the same Aikido from the same people who have studied with the same instructor forever, and then that someone finally makes the same mistakes at the wrong time and someone else gets hurt or a shodan test is a fiasco, and everyone is so surprised.

Looking at this post, I'm not sure if I even addressed the thread better, but what can you do. Its a rainy day and I don't feel like working.

Rob

Michael Neal
06-22-2005, 10:58 PM
Kevin,

I don't think Aikido should change to compete in MMA. What I mean is that things like MMA have shown some of the weaknesses of many martial arts, including my favorite art of Judo. Not that people should adjust their training to prepare for cage fighting but just to expand the training methodology some in order to deal with some realities that are often overlooked. One example, doing more Aikido randori with the attempt to balance technique development and application of those techniques in an uncomfortable situation. Some Aikidoka do that now but many do not on a regular basis and others do none at all.

While the spirituality aspect of Aikido is really not my cup of tea, I think it would only enhance the spiritual aspects of Aikido to make the training more effective martially. Balance is the key in my opinion, too much focus on spirituality is not good, but neither is too much randori or competition, or too much cooperative practice, or too much weapons training etc...

Just my opinion, I think Aikido is evolving as we speak, many people are crosstraining and bringing that to their Aikido experience. On the other hand that is in direct conflict with those who see Aikido as more of a spiritual thing and who are not as concerned with the martial aspects. I guess what I am trying to say is Aikido in general is struggling with which direction to head in.

Just take a look at how many diffferent Aikido organizations and styles there are. To me this kind of thing coupled with my previous points was unsettling to me as an Aikidoka.

While in arts like BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai and some others there may be some disagreement here and there but you pretty much know what you are getting. The only real variable usually is the quality of instruction.

Amassus
06-22-2005, 11:34 PM
Is Aikido dying?

Not as far as I can see.

Just train people.

Kevin Leavitt
06-23-2005, 12:27 AM
Thanks for your comments Michael.

I understand your perspective. As a DO art, I don't think things like MMA have shown the weaknesses of aikido, just maybe some other applications of the art to more SU oriented aspects. I submit that aikido does just as it was designed to do, demonstrate the philosophical principles the founder intended it to focus on. I think there is too much to understand and to be uncovered from what O'Sensei was trying to convey to even begin to say that it needs to be changed. Just trying to explore what he was communicating is a lifetime I believe.

Its like trying to understand Van Gogh by revising his paintings or something. You cannot understand the art the man was creating by changing it, you must interpret Van Gogh's art through your own experiences.

I think what is changing for many is the paradigm of what martial arts can be. MMA and UFC put a focus back on the SU arts. Gave a great deal of legitmacy in some cases, invalidated many things as well. The internet has also played a huge role as well.

I think what we are seeing is a return to the SU forms of the DO arts in many cases. I submit that the weaknesses in Judo and Aikido are not weaknesses, just that you and many (including myself) may not want to concentrate on the WAY as created by the founders Kano and Ueshiba.

Many are "rediscovering" the underpinnings upon what these arts were founded on. In addition we are adding things taken from other sources, and re-interpreting the arts based on our modern paradigms and social structure.

It is an exciting time to be involved in the MA worlds.


I look at the "changes" not so much as needing to apply to aikido, but applying the principles of aikido to other situations. The changes become "offshoots" or "versions" of aikido. I think those are good things.

I'd say the core of aikido should stay the same. At the same time, we should encourage innovation, and variation. It keeps us honest with oursevles and our art!

I know in many ways we are saying the same things. Certainly in many respects have the same endstate in mind. However, I believe, where we differ in perspective, and how we choose to label it can make all the difference in the world!

ad_adrian
06-23-2005, 06:03 AM
I believe (please correct me if mistaken) the original poster is referring to aikido dying in a way other than popularity and amount of participants.

James

yes james you are completely right...i thikn the popularity is more then it was definatly way back it has nothing to do with it


on another note i think its great that its traditional thats what i like the fact that its related to an ancient martial art. i like the fact its not changed to a new age thing

Michael Neal
06-23-2005, 08:23 AM
I'd say the core of aikido should stay the same. At the same time, we should encourage innovation, and variation. It keeps us honest with oursevles and our art!

Right, that is pretty much what I was trying to say.

CNYMike
06-26-2005, 04:20 PM
Lord knows, I'm no expert. And although I agree with the previous post, I'm compelled to interpret Shioda's statement.

I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to an Aikidoka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.


Which proves .... what?

I whacked my Kali teacher in the face a couple of weeks ago. I second-guessed him and thought he wanted me to demonstrate a counter to what he was doing and I stuck my fist out when he wasn't ready for it.

A few years ago, I also accidentally hit Guro Kevin Seman in the family jewels with a stick -- I was trying to show off with a disarm and it pinwheeled You Know Where. I felt very bad about, but later he said, "Don't worry about it -- just remember this stuff is dangerous and be careful."

Now, anyone who thinks this means Guro Kevin doesn't know who to dance is welcome to jump in the ring with him. Most people who have, including my current instructor, speak of the experience with an "I'm alive" timber in their voices.

So you walk up to an Aikidoka and whack him in the gut when he (or she) doesn't expect it. So what?

CNYMike
06-26-2005, 04:40 PM
..... many people are crosstraining and bringing that to their Aikido experience. On the other hand that is in direct conflict with those who see Aikido as more of a spiritual thing and who are not as concerned with the martial aspects. I guess what I am trying to say is Aikido in general is struggling with which direction to head in.


Well, my purpose in crosstraining is to learn the arts I'm training in, not bring stuff from one art into another. So the things I'm doing in Karate, Kali, and Serak for the most part stay there when I do Aikido. So in this repsect, Aikido's spirituality wouldn't be a problem because I'm NOT trying to combine things when I cross-train. If anything, I'm trying to learn to compartmentalize them and keep them separate.

Obviously, at the muscle memory level, things get shmoosed toegether; that can't be helped. But my take on crosstraining is that the whole point of going to a class in art X is to learn art X, and arts Y and Z stay as far out of it as you can keep them.


Just take a look at how many diffferent Aikido organizations and styles there are. To me this kind of thing coupled with my previous points was unsettling to me as an Aikidoka.


That's nothing compared to the number of FMA styles there are; every family in every little village has their own take on it.


While in arts like BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai and some others there may be some disagreement here and there but you pretty much know what you are getting. The only real variable usually is the quality of instruction.

I don't know about Judo, but WRT BJJ and Thai Boxing, you have to remember they're relatively new to the North American martial arts scene. I'm pretty certain there wasn't any Thai Boxing in my area prior to 15 years ago, yet even at that time there was a bunch of karate schools and a couple of Aikido dojos. So they haven't had time to fracture and politicize as others have. Give 'em another 30 years and see what happens.

Adam Alexander
06-26-2005, 05:54 PM
Which proves .... what?

So you walk up to an Aikidoka and whack him in the gut when he (or she) doesn't expect it. So what?

That they don't have the physical essence of the art...atleast that's my opinion.

My perspective is that Aikido's filled with a lot more talk than action...a lot more intellectual examination of technique without corresponding practice.

I'm not claiming to be great by any mean (the thought makes me chuckle), but I train hard. I train everday (nearly). I do lots of reps. When I was recently in a situation that called on my skills--totally unexpectedly (which "being ready" is a laughable concept to me)--I reacted in such a way as to eliminate an attack.

Very recently, I witnessed I high ranking Aikidoka find himself in the same position. He failed the "real world" test.

I wouldn't say that he's "not good." But, I think it reflects what Shioda was saying.

Just my opinion--but, it's the same opinion I have of any "expert" who gets whacked in the same way.

Adam Alexander
06-26-2005, 06:01 PM
Most? Based on what? Here, perhaps? There's always a fringe of people who show up (in places like this) and talk about aikido but never get on the mat. It shows up pretty quickly though.

I've visited five styles of Aikido. All were the same. I've been to a dozen different schools (within those styles) all were the same.

In fact, I've visited Karate schools and Judo schools. They seemed less inclined to having conversations on the mat...but I thought their method of training left something to be desired.

Average people=average training.

CNYMike
06-26-2005, 08:59 PM
That they don't have the physical essence of the art...atleast that's my opinion.

My perspective is that Aikido's filled with a lot more talk than action...a lot more intellectual examination of technique without corresponding practice.


I'm not sure what that means. "Intellectual examination" to me means "talking about it" without doing it, and in both the dojos I've been in (including the one I'm in) we do the techniques, not sit around and talk about them.

However, because of the other things I'm doing, I only do Aikido once a week. Someone who takes the opportunities to go to all the practices available around here can do it up to six times a week during the summer, seven during the academic year.

That's a lot of Aikido.


..... When I was recently in a situation that called on my skills--totally unexpectedly (which "being ready" is a laughable concept to me)--I reacted in such a way as to eliminate an attack.

Very recently, I witnessed I high ranking Aikidoka find himself in the same position. He failed the "real world" test.

I wouldn't say that he's "not good." But, I think it reflects what Shioda was saying .....

Maybe. Maybe not. What if he'd trained every day and did as many reps as you? Then what?

dan guthrie
06-26-2005, 09:46 PM
Are there any reliable numbers? A census of all martial arts? I have a video tape that says there were 300K Aikidoka about 10 years ago. That number seems small to me.

I would imagine there were huge gains in all martial arts when Bruce Lee was popular. If those numbers decreased when he died would that mean the Jeet Kune Do was dying?

CNYMike
06-27-2005, 10:54 AM
Are there any reliable numbers? A census of all martial arts? I have a video tape that says there were 300K Aikidoka about 10 years ago. That number seems small to me.


The figure I've cited for Aikido is from Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu's BEST AIKIDO 2 book, where he mentions the estimate of 1.5 million Aikidoka workd wide. I don't know what the figure was for 10 years ago, but 300K to 1.5 million would be a pretty big jump.


I would imagine there were huge gains in all martial arts when Bruce Lee was popular. If those numbers decreased when he died would that mean the Jeet Kune Do was dying?

I think just the opposite has happened; Jun Fan JKD seems to be spreading, although because it's 'younger' than Aikido, it might not have spread as far.

Adam Alexander
06-27-2005, 02:46 PM
I'm not sure what that means. "Intellectual examination" to me means "talking about it" without doing it, and in both the dojos I've been in (including the one I'm in) we do the techniques, not sit around and talk about them.

I don't know how this became about how you train.

Maybe. Maybe not. What if he'd trained every day and did as many reps as you? Then what?

That's the point. If he trained enough--just as if anyone trains enough--it's reflex...by the time you've realized what's happened, you've already reacted...and then you're standing there looking at your hands like they just shot magic because it's so shocking.

On that score, I think Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" represents it pretty well when they're soliciting the service of samurai and testing them by whacking them as they walk through the door.

Anyone who gets whacked by an "unexpected" attack may still be an excellent teacher, but I wouldn't consider them an excellent practitioner--I believe that's what Shioda meant.

CNYMike
06-27-2005, 09:46 PM
I don't know how this became about how you train.

You tell me; I was replying to what you said in an earlier post.



.... Anyone who gets whacked by an "unexpected" attack may still be an excellent teacher, but I wouldn't consider them an excellent practitioner--I believe that's what Shioda meant.

Assuming that's a standard anyone can realistically meet in any art.

Adam Alexander
06-28-2005, 02:30 PM
You tell me; I was replying to what you said in an earlier post.

Well, suffice to say...if you get whacked "unexpectedly" you need to train harder.

IMO:)

maikerus
06-28-2005, 07:36 PM
Well, suffice to say...if you get whacked "unexpectedly" you need to train harder.

IMO:)

True...however I have heard that there was one All Japan Yoshinkan Demonstration where Shioda G. got whacked in the head by one of his uchideshi who misunderstood a signal as Shioda G. went to say something to the crowd.

So...yes everyone needs to keep training. And sometimes you screw up.

FWIW,

--Michael

CNYMike
06-29-2005, 11:25 AM
Well, suffice to say...if you get whacked "unexpectedly" you need to train harder.

IMO:)

Suffice it to say, I have been training for twenty years in many arts, and my teachers have been training hard in all the things they do. And they still get caught by surprise.

Suffice it to say that if you're standard of excellence is you never get caught by surprise, then by your definition, no one in any art meets your standard. Which has no other value than making you feel good about yourself .... until you get caught by surprise.

jonreading
06-29-2005, 11:54 AM
I have noticed that many pre-war aikido shihan tend to express disappointment in the lack of competence is perfomring aikido combat. Shioda Sensei made more vocal comments about this aspect of training, but he wasn't the only one. All of the early aikidoka were competent (in some cases, extremely competent) martial artists.

I do think that many aikido people lack the competence to defend themselves from physical assault. If the mark of a good martial artist is physical fighting skills, then that is cause for concern. Is that the mark of a good aikido person though? If the number of good aikido people is declining, them I would argue that aikido is having difficulty. But is difficulty the same as dying?

I do think that fighting competence is important to a thriving martial art. I do think that the standards of competency are slipping to make way for social aikido (aikido that is not fighting-oriented). Is that bad? I don't know.

Adam Alexander
06-29-2005, 02:58 PM
Suffice it to say, I have been training for twenty years in many arts, and my teachers have been training hard in all the things they do. And they still get caught by surprise.

Suffice it to say that if you're standard of excellence is you never get caught by surprise, then by your definition, no one in any art meets your standard. Which has no other value than making you feel good about yourself .... until you get caught by surprise.

Hmmm, Kohei, Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere and Shioda seem to agree with me.

Whatever.

Adam Alexander
06-29-2005, 07:47 PM
whoops, Tohei:)

CNYMike
06-30-2005, 02:26 AM
Hmmm, Kohei, Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere and Shioda seem to agree with me.


I never read that book (although the title rings a bell). But my expreiences with my Kali instructors suggests the "unable to surprie" pinacle is something few, if anybody, can reach. Nor do I go for the idea that whatever else a martial artist has achieved, if they are caught off guard once, they fall short of the mark. Just MHO. As you say, "Whatever."

CarlRylander
06-30-2005, 05:19 AM
Is Aikido dying?

I sincereley hope not! I'm thinking of taking it up in the next year!

I understand what you mean about the 'dance-like' moves though.
I don't know an awful lot about the practical side, yet, but I think Aikido should be practical and realistic, using Aikido as a real means of self defence, but should stay true to the philosophy of minimum harm to your opponent and less senseless violence.

Adam Alexander
06-30-2005, 03:07 PM
I never read that book (although the title rings a bell). But my expreiences with my Kali instructors suggests the "unable to surprie" pinacle is something few, if anybody, can reach. Nor do I go for the idea that whatever else a martial artist has achieved, if they are caught off guard once, they fall short of the mark. Just MHO. As you say, "Whatever."

As I understand it, it's a pretty well known test. The instructor whacks you in the chest to check your progress. If you're surprised, you've failed.

Mike Sigman
06-30-2005, 03:16 PM
I never read that book (although the title rings a bell). But my expreiences with my Kali instructors suggests the "unable to surprise" pinacle is something few, if anybody, can reach. It's pretty easy to do if you're paranoid, though. ;) One of my best instructors (from mainland China) stressed that you should get in the habit of knowing where everyone is automatically and always being aware of where their off-balance directions are. It's a different mindset entirely.

FWIW

Mike

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'm schizophrenic
and so am I.

Adam Alexander
06-30-2005, 03:43 PM
It's pretty easy to do if you're paranoid, though. ;) One of my best instructors (from mainland China) stressed that you should get in the habit of knowing where everyone is automatically and always being aware of where their off-balance directions are.

Yeah right, I wish all it took was being paranoid...I'd probably pass the test next time I get it:)

I like the advice he gave you. However, I don't think it would help for that test...he's saying "be aware," however, the whack comes when you're not aware. I think it's more of a subliminal test...seeing how deeply the technique is imbedded.

Mike Sigman
06-30-2005, 04:39 PM
However, I don't think it would help for that test...he's saying "be aware," however, the whack comes when you're not aware. Yeah.... doesn't this sound an awful lot like Inspector Clouseau and his Japanese houseboy hiding in the refrigerator, behind doors, etc.? ;)

Mike

Janet Rosen
06-30-2005, 05:53 PM
I don't know the origin of this, so this may be apocryphal, but I've been told that OSensei once told somebody that he still lose his balance/center; its just that he regained it so fast it didn't matter. Makes sense to me.

CNYMike
06-30-2005, 10:32 PM
As I understand it, it's a pretty well known test. The instructor whacks you in the chest to check your progress. If you're surprised, you've failed.

I never heard of it before today, nor have any of the Aikido teachers I've had ever done anything like that to "check my progress." Where did you hear of this?

Adam Alexander
07-01-2005, 01:08 PM
I never heard of it before today, nor have any of the Aikido teachers I've had ever done anything like that to "check my progress." Where did you hear of this?

I had it done to me once...I failed:)

I read about it in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, in something by Tohei, I'm pretty certain I read about it in something by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and I'm also pretty certain I read it in one Shioda's books.

You might find that being dedicated to Aikido would yield more info.

Adam Alexander
07-01-2005, 01:09 PM
Yeah.... doesn't this sound an awful lot like Inspector Clouseau and his Japanese houseboy hiding in the refrigerator, behind doors, etc.? ;)

Mike

LOL. That's hilarious.

CNYMike
07-02-2005, 12:19 PM
I had it done to me once...I failed:)

I read about it in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, in something by Tohei, I'm pretty certain I read about it in something by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and I'm also pretty certain I read it in one Shioda's books.


It might be something higher level, then, because I'm with the newer people and nothing like that has happened so far.


You might find that being dedicated to Aikido would yield more info.

Now who's getting personal?

I've been doing martial arts for twenty years, which is also how long I've been doing Japanese karate -- mainly shito-ryu, although from 1991 to 1994 I was at school in Maine so I studied Shotokan from a teacher who also had a belt in TKD and knew some Chinese forms. I first did Kali in 1997 and have been studying it continuously since 1998. I started Tai Chi with my mother in 2000, and I'm still at it even though she passed away two years ago. I first did Seidokan Aikido from 1986 to 1988, and retained an interest in Aikido after quitting, finally getting back into it last year, and I have no intention of quitting it. I've also been exposed to Western Fencing and Boxing.

If that's not "dedicated" to you, fine, I guess I must be a slacker. But I look at the time I am putting in at what I'm doing and don't see that at all.

Adam Alexander
07-02-2005, 01:46 PM
Now who's getting personal?


Wasn't intended to be personal, just realistic. Why would you expect to know so much more than another when you're really not into the art of that other?

markwalsh
07-02-2005, 02:40 PM
What isn't developing is dying.

Certain parts of the aikido community are growing (not necessarily in size) - the rest are dying.

Ketsan
07-02-2005, 03:15 PM
I never read that book (although the title rings a bell). But my expreiences with my Kali instructors suggests the "unable to surprie" pinacle is something few, if anybody, can reach. Nor do I go for the idea that whatever else a martial artist has achieved, if they are caught off guard once, they fall short of the mark. Just MHO. As you say, "Whatever."

I don't think it's something that comes with dojo training either or at least extreamly rarely with dojo training. It's the kind of thing that has as much to do with your personality and envoironment as your training in my opinion.

CNYMike
07-03-2005, 01:58 PM
Wasn't intended to be personal, just realistic. Why would you expect to know so much more than another when you're really not into the art of that other?

:confused: Ok, in the first place, I don't claim to know more about Aikido than anyone else. I've only been back for a year, and in spite of having kept the Aiki-taiso wrist stretches in my personal workout, I'm back at zero because my current sensei does things differently from my last one, who was (and is?) in Seidokan. LaCoste Inosanto Kali (and the digressions and asides Guro Kevin Seaman and Guro Andy Astle) tend to make during their classes have given me "the big picture" of martial arts techniques and I see where Aikido slots into that, but as to Aikido itself, I'm new at it and admit it.

In the second place, I am somewhat offended by your claim that I am "really not into" it. If the only way for you to consider someone "really into" Aikido is that they don't do anything else, fine, think that, but IMHO, I would not have got back into it at all if at some level I hadn't been "into" it. You don't have a positive opinion of crosstraining, fine, but don't you tell me what I am or am not into. I will tell you what I am or am not into. :mad: As it is, Aikido is the only art I got into after I'd read about without an external factor adding a push (at least initially, in 1986).

In the third place, I do not know how much I will learn about Aikido over the long haul, but I am in it for the long haul. It may be only once a week while I do other classes on the other nights, but I have no intentionn of quitting anytime soon. I may be in it for 25 more years or 25 more days, but I plan to stay with it. What will I get out of it? I don't know. But I doubt I won't get anything out of it; that's impossible.

Adam Alexander
07-03-2005, 04:03 PM
In the second place, I am somewhat offended by your claim that I am "really not into" it. If the only way for you to consider someone "really into" Aikido is that they don't do anything else, fine, think that, but IMHO, I would not have got back into it at all if at some level I hadn't been "into" it.

Then it's settled. We have different opinions of what being seriously into an art is.