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Avery Jenkins
10-25-2005, 12:46 PM
You know how it is. You see the term mentioned off and on. Never too seriously.But has dojo storming actually taken place in the recent history of Aikido? I want to hear about the Real Deal. I did a quick search of this site, nothing popped up.

Here's your chance--If you've ever taken part in this practice, here's the thread to confess your sins in public. Good for the soul. Even better if it's a good story.

Avery

NixNa
10-25-2005, 01:07 PM
Whats that ? Dojo hopping to issue challenges? If thats what it means, ive yet to hear abt it frm aikido. Got a few stories abt "ninja" students doing that though, its kinda hilarious thinking bt it.

AikiSean!
10-25-2005, 01:51 PM
I do not know if it is true and this is not meant to start a rumor, but did'nt Jason DeLucia go to Segal's dojo to challenge him, initially?

Adam Huss
10-25-2005, 02:11 PM
I think that's called Dojo Yaburi (I believe I read about it in Aikido Shugyo by Shoida Sensei). Anyways, I'm pretty sure it used to happen, but I've haven't seen it. Maybe thats one of the reasons the Friendship Seminars started happening....to improve relations of different organizations.

j0nharris
10-25-2005, 02:32 PM
Got a few stories abt "ninja" students doing....
We had some ninja students do that to us once, I think.... They were at the door, then we heard some weird whooshing noises, and they were gone!
Maybe they were just practicing? ;)

Kevin Leavitt
10-25-2005, 03:38 PM
I have never done it or do I condone such irresponsible actions.

I do however, and have, gone to all my new dojos and "tested" the sensei or head instructors to make damn sure that is the person that can teach me.

It is not quite the same thing as storming, but I don't want to waste my time studying with someone who cannot practice what he/she preaches.

Did it with Saotome sensei (who flattened my face kindly against the wall in Shobukan Dojo). Bob Galeone Sensei, who has a grip and forearms that is out of this world, and even Jimmy Sorrentino :) Hi Jimmy :)

It is not in a "toxic" matter, but in a matter of genuine sincerity and honesty in training realistic, hard, and properly.

Today, as I know more about aikido, it doesn't require someone such as having a Shihan cream me into the whole. Frankly i'd be embarrassed at my level of experience to have this happen today, but back then, I suppose the Shihan new what "personalized Lesson" i needed to learn to have faith and confidence.

Most recently I have gotten involved in mixed martial arts and more "realistic NHB" stuff with the Army. I resisted training with a guy 15 years my younger cause it was hard to admit he knew much more than me. That was until I finally went all out with him and he beat me, not once, not twice, okay...more times than I can count. AND it was not by "his rules" but mine!

So, now I study with him (or did), and his instructors/method.

My point is this. I don't think it a good idea to Dojo bust, but certainly if you are being honest with yourself and are serious about your instruction, then you should insist that your sensei or instructor be the real deal and not some guy hiding behind a hakama, and lots of eastern ettitquette.

It is not always easy to tell and the less experienced you are, the harder it is to really tell. A good teacher should be able to read you, your skill level, and emotional context, and adapt his skills/training to direct you to the best place to study. It may also be that he must say, "this is not the place for you". (I have had that said to me more than once!). That is being honest with not only your students, but yourself.

Frankly a "McDojo" or a Fake is not worth fooling with. Why would you waste your time trying to dojo bust someone like this? what is their to gain by exposing them as a fraud? They will have some excuse for losing, and their students will still continue to see them as a "god" and you as the "bad guy". Sometimes people like to get together simply to blow smoke up each other and to feel good about themselves. That feeling is more important to them than learning martial arts for real, and that is something that dojo busting can never change! They intuitively know that they suck, and frankly like sucking...as long as they feel good about it.

markwalsh
10-25-2005, 11:13 PM
Q: Would an organized campaign of dojo storming help to eliminate the frauds?

To my ears Kevin makes quite a good argument for no, but I'm not all there yet. Any takers on kamis advocate?

happysod
10-26-2005, 04:13 AM
Q: Would an organized campaign of dojo storming help to eliminate the frauds?

A. No! Leaving aside the legal aspects of being done for incitement to violence etc. Who are you going to nominate to do the said dojo storming?

Do we on aikiweb garner a crack team of shodo-thugs and orcs to act as the initial strike force to test martial mettle with a command group of aikikai to test for structure and aikido purity leaving the final harmonizing and purification of the dojo for the ki folk?

Sorry, I think it's a really bad idea - making a dojo pass your own personal tests I think is healthy. As Kevin rightly points out, your tests and viewpoint on what is "correct" will change over time so it's not a black or white issue.

Frankly, the thought of jack-booted hakama johnnies tramping round the dojos of today ensuring things meet their standard just fills me with a need for dark alley and a 4x2 to harmoniously discuss my philosophical displeasure. There's enough little hitlers in ma without this sort of nonsense.

If you do think it's a good idea, imagine that it's your dojo next and someone turns up (probably unannounced) to boldly test you against their standards. Add in to this mix some sort of "seal of authority" from either an organization that you've never heard of/been a part of or even worse something issued by the Barnett Local council's public sports services (and drains) committee and tell me how you'd think you would react?

sorry - rant over, in my defense, the UK is already trying to erode every other freedom I have "for my own good" so the thought of someone impinging on my dojo freedom is rather annoying to say the least.

PeterR
10-26-2005, 04:25 AM
Well I was stormed once. Lectured on what was and was not Aikido by someone clutching "The Art of Peace". You know the little red one. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

happysod
10-26-2005, 04:42 AM
Well I was stormed once. Lectured on what was and was not Aikido by someone clutching "The Art of Peace". Peter, that's not a storm, that's a light shower of ...

batemanb
10-26-2005, 06:19 AM
Q: Would an organized campaign of dojo storming help to eliminate the frauds?

A. No! Leaving aside the legal aspects of being done for incitement to violence etc. Who are you going to nominate to do the said dojo storming?

Do we on aikiweb garner a crack team of shodo-thugs and orcs to act as the initial strike force to test martial mettle with a command group of aikikai to test for structure and aikido purity leaving the final harmonizing and purification of the dojo for the ki folk?

Sorry, I think it's a really bad idea - making a dojo pass your own personal tests I think is healthy. As Kevin rightly points out, your tests and viewpoint on what is "correct" will change over time so it's not a black or white issue.

Frankly, the thought of jack-booted hakama johnnies tramping round the dojos of today ensuring things meet their standard just fills me with a need for dark alley and a 4x2 to harmoniously discuss my philosophical displeasure. There's enough little hitlers in ma without this sort of nonsense.

If you do think it's a good idea, imagine that it's your dojo next and someone turns up (probably unannounced) to boldly test you against their standards. Add in to this mix some sort of "seal of authority" from either an organization that you've never heard of/been a part of or even worse something issued by the Barnett Local council's public sports services (and drains) committee and tell me how you'd think you would react?

sorry - rant over, in my defense, the UK is already trying to erode every other freedom I have "for my own good" so the thought of someone impinging on my dojo freedom is rather annoying to say the least.


Hi Ian,

I'm not so sure that dojo yaburi was about Aikido people going around to see if the Aikido was any good at other places. I think it was more people from other arts coming round to prove that Aikido was no good and their art was better, although I may be very wrong on that.

There are a couple of examples documented in Roy Suenaka's book after he set up a club down in Okinawa (if I remember correctly).

rgds

Bryan

happysod
10-26-2005, 07:18 AM
Hi Bryan,

You're probably correct here. However, I thought Mark was referring to the possibility of organized dojo storming with regard to it being almost a seal of approval for a dojo, hence my rant. (sorry if I misread you Mark)

Now the question of testing a dojo or even a martial art for it's effectiveness is an even more thorny problem and includes wider issues such as "why are you training and what do you expect out of it". Some hardy souls can happily claim their learning x purely for self-defense, everything else is just hippie crap piled on top. Me I'm not convinced by this and find their yardstick often quite exclusionary and essentially unachievable so even here I don't find the dojo storming argument a useful measure.

wendyrowe
10-26-2005, 09:00 AM
I do not know if it is true and this is not meant to start a rumor, but did'nt Jason DeLucia go to Segal's dojo to challenge him, initially?
He went to Steven Seagal's dojo to respond to a challenge. This is what he said during his interview on the Combat Aikido DVDs:Originally before I fought Royce Gracie in his dojo, I moved to Los Angeles to answer a challenge that Steven Seagal made in Black Belt magazine. He said that anybody who wanted to fight him could go to his dojo and challenge him and be prepared to fight to the death. So I went with a challenge, and I went every day, morning and night, even through the Los Angeles riots, and I waited and he never came. But you know, that's the kind of crazy thing you do when you're a kid.
To me, answering a challenge is very different than dojo storming.

markwalsh
10-26-2005, 10:47 AM
Ian, thanks for the response.

I wasn't seriously suggesting it, I guess it's just an appealing fantasy on a juvenile level :) I take on board the, "who's to say what's right and wrong" element too, and combat effectiveness/ hombu ryu purity clearly shouldn't be the only criteria. However I wonder if there isn't a healthier, more aiki version of dojo storming?

....

It's my experience that with exposure to different styles, people will gravitate to:

a) Schools more appropriate to them as individuals.
b) Better schools. While accepting that there are many traditions and values here, some places are still just pants.

Re freedoms I couldn't agree more, I guess the crux is informed choice rather than dictation.

Mark

AikiSean!
10-26-2005, 11:20 AM
Absolutely Wendy, it is. Thanks for clearing it up.

Keith R Lee
10-26-2005, 01:30 PM
I haven't heard about it in an Aikido dojo in a long time. Although, the next time I see Adam I think I might just go up and tackle him as a means of saying "hi nice to see you." (osu! adam)

That being said, I know for a fact it goes on in the BJJ/Sambo/Grappling/MMA world for sure. As in: I know, and am friends with, people who have done it. However, I think that's because there is such an emphasis on competition. And none of these people tend to go to Aikido dojos because they are, generally speaking, held in very low regard.

I don't think it's(dojo yuburi) very much in the spirit of Aikido so I see it as no big loss that it doesn't happen. Actually I think most people would be pleased that it doesn't occur much any more in the Aikido world.

Lorien Lowe
10-26-2005, 02:54 PM
Peter, that's not a storm, that's a light shower of ...
LOL, in the middle of a crowded computer lab...

-LK

George S. Ledyard
10-26-2005, 05:06 PM
People think of this as some sort of game of "testing" but in the old days in Japan this was serious business. If someone came into the dojo and beat up the teacher, the students would leave since no one wanted to study with someone who couldn't handle himself.

In other words, ones livlihood and the welfare of his family might ride on the outcome of such an event. So it was serious business and could result in serious injury. For that reason, if someone came into my dojo with this in mind I would ask him to leave and if he didn't would summon law enforcement to compel him. It's not worth the risk of injury and possibly even a law suit just to convince some bozo I know what I am doing.

On the other hand, I don't mind the sincere skeptic... My friends once brought in a karate student (also law enforcement) whose teacher had said "don't mess with that Aikido stuff; it doesn't work". He came in with a healthy "show me" attitude and left wanting to know where he could train. He simply wanted to check out Aikido, not challenge me personally.

The problem with Aikido, as a martial art, is that there are hundreds of dojos out there whose teachers couldn't stand even the most polite challenge. I am not talking about someone coming into fight but rather someone "playing by the rules". Someone who grabbed strongly, someone who really tried to strike. Aikido is in danger of becoming an art of nice people doing lovely movement and having no connection whatever with budo.

The purposeful selective interpretation of the Aikido Founder's teachings coupled with the fact that Aikido seems to attract a group of folks who wouldn't be doing any martial arts if they weren't doing Aikido has led to "dumbing down" of the art. O-sensei is used as a sort of mythical Founder figure but there seems to be little attempt to actually understand or immitate his example. This was a man who had a series of challenges over the course of his early career. He didn't care who came through the door, swordsman, sumo practitioner, judo man, he could hold his own. The "it's not about fighting" crowd ignores the fact that it wasn't "about fighting" for the Founder either but he never stopped maintaining that Aikido was budo and he never de-emphasized the martial aspect of training with his own students.

MaryKaye
10-26-2005, 05:49 PM
A very senior regional head instructor, after a couple of drinks, told us about his teacher practicing dojo-storming in Japan--actually to get hold of the other dojo's space for themselves. Since then it's been a standing joke with us--"so, who has a nice mat? Anyone up for it?"

As a fantasy there is something oddly appealing about it. I guess I very seldom encounter problems which can be solved by fighting, and sometimes it seems much simpler than the realistic solutions. All those hours to rebuild our dojo in a new location, when we could just have kicked some ass and taken over someone else's!

It looks a lot less appealing as soon as one imagines the tables being turned--some aggressive young men showing up at a random class, say a junior instructor and some junior students, and shoving us around. This wouldn't prove much, and would tend to discourage participation by the cautious, the non-violent, and the less physically capable, which would be a major loss. And, having sweat and bled to build that dojo floor, I would really hate to lose it.

Now I'm wishing there were some way to do this as a game, rather than an attack. But probably that will just lead to re-inventing tournaments, with all the associated plusses and minuses.

Mary Kaye

wendyrowe
10-26-2005, 07:26 PM
...Now I'm wishing there were some way to do this as a game, rather than an attack...

Mary Kaye
I can't help it, I keep picturing those scenes in The Pink Panther movies where Kato ambushes his boss Detective Clouseau.

I can imagine a game sort of "dojo storming" among dojos where some of the people have gotten to know each other so it could be fun; but I can't imagine anything good coming out of classic Japanese style dojo storming by people wanting to best the stormees. Of course, to get to know each other people should visit each other's dojos in good faith; it's been very nice to see how open people are in the aikido world to mutual dojo visits.

Lorien Lowe
10-26-2005, 07:32 PM
These last two posts combined with the 'fortunate incident (?)' thread made me wonder if we could get together with other local martial arts schools - karate people, jujitsu people, arnis people - say once a year or something, for an exchange of ideas. Sort of like PAWMA except local, and open to both men and women.

-LK

Ryan Bigelow
10-26-2005, 09:45 PM
Mr. Ledyard-

Just wanted to say that you continue to impress me with the quality of your posts. You wouldnt happen to run practices on the weekends?

James Davis
10-27-2005, 12:18 PM
Whats that ? Dojo hopping to issue challenges? If thats what it means, ive yet to hear abt it frm aikido. Got a few stories abt "ninja" students doing that though, its kinda hilarious thinking bt it.
When I was a white belt, brand new to aikido, we had a young man who claimed to hold a nidan in ninjutsu come into our dojo to "train". He set about "correcting" our attacks and techniques and eventually said to the guy teaching that night "I think your aikido sucks.", just loud enough for everyone to hear. Don, the sempai running class that evening was wearing a white belt, but held black belt rankings in other arts; I wasn't worried about whether he could take this kid. ;) The guy that I was paired off with for practice stopped training and said, "What's goin' on?", to which I replied, "Forget that guy. Keep training." This seemed to tick off our "ninja" a little, and he looked again at Sempai Don and said again: "I think you're aikido sucks!" Don said in reply: "Well, you've only been an aikidoka for about twenty minutes, so I don't think you know what you're taking about. It's okay if you leave, and it's also okay if you stay." The "ninja" stormed out red-faced and was never seen again. Our sensei called the phone number that the genius had written on his waiver of liabilty. The "ninja" apologized profusely for what he'd said, and refused Sensei's offer of another lesson. :p

Rupert Atkinson
10-27-2005, 08:27 PM
Kind of a reverse approach, but, when I used to do Judo I would often go to other clubs for extra training. As a low grade I got no hassle but as I got better they saw me as a threat/challenge, even though I wasn't particularly good - and everyone would try their best to best me, which they usually did. I just took it as good training whereas they saw it as an opportunity to test their stuff out on an outsider.

I am pretty sure that if today I were to go into a Judo club wearing my blackbelt they would mostly do their best to trounce me - and so they should, in my opinion, even though I haven't trianed in Judo properly for six years.

Rupert Atkinson
10-27-2005, 08:33 PM
Here in Korea someone told me how when he was younger he learned Taekwondo and, full of youthful vigor as he was, went around other dojos beating up the students and instructors. He said he would walk in, kick the apparatus or TKD sign, and generally cause trouble until the physical stuff started. He did this until he enetered a Thai Boxing gym and got his come-uppance. He is now a Thai Boxing teacher. And that first Thai Boxing gym he entered was then being run by our present Korean Aikido president, Yun Ick-ahm (previously a Korean kickboxing champion but now an Aikido teacher).

Keith R Lee
10-27-2005, 09:27 PM
Here in Korea someone told me how when he was younger he learned Taekwondo and, full of youthful vigor as he was, went around other dojos beating up the students and instructors. He said he would walk in, kick the apparatus or TKD sign, and generally cause trouble until the physical stuff started. He did this until he enetered a Thai Boxing gym and got his come-uppance. He is now a Thai Boxing teacher. And that first Thai Boxing gym he entered was then being run by our present Korean Aikido president, Yun Ick-ahm (previously a Korean kickboxing champion but now an Aikido teacher).

Ha ha. That's awesome, great story. I could definitley see that happening to someone back in the day before Thai boxing got big.

Dazzler
10-28-2005, 07:29 AM
Here in Korea someone told me how when he was younger he learned Taekwondo and, full of youthful vigor as he was, went around other dojos beating up the students and instructors. He said he would walk in, kick the apparatus or TKD sign, and generally cause trouble until the physical stuff started. He did this until he enetered a Thai Boxing gym and got his come-uppance. He is now a Thai Boxing teacher. And that first Thai Boxing gym he entered was then being run by our present Korean Aikido president, Yun Ick-ahm (previously a Korean kickboxing champion but now an Aikido teacher).

Its true then...If you look for trouble you'll always find it!

Kevin Leavitt
10-28-2005, 02:53 PM
What are the "rules" for dojo storming?

I mean a guy comes into your dojo with the intent on proving that his skills or art is "superior". How do you prove that, and to what extent, and in the end what has been accomplished?

If you study aikido, it is the harmony way of peace...so within the context of that, what does "winning" or "successful" storming really look like?

In the storming he is able to prove he is more effective at resolving conflict with minimal force???? How ridiculous!

If his intent is to prove that he is a superior figher....where do you draw the line? what are the rules of engagement. Do you stay within the confines of your paradigm established by your art, and he in his?

That is ridiculous too since the "rules" and criteria for success in each one of the ARTIFICIAL systems are different! Comparing them as to who is more successful would be hard!

Do you judge based on who recieved more injuries? who bled the most? or who lived or walked away?

What if I am the one being stormed and I decide to pick up a gun and shoot him or an escrima stick and render him unconscious, did I win? or did he? Those might have been my rules for success!

Reminds me...there was a riot in the U.S. about a week ago over a KKK rally. Who won that one? The KKK that staged the rally (who most consider "Losers"), or did the guys that rioted in protest? I believe the KKK feel they won since they caused the reaction they wanted. I think the rioters feel they won because they showed the world that they are strong and will not sit by and watch such demonstrations take place in their community!

So, to me, I really don't understand what dojo storming accomplishes. There really is no clear "winner" since the rules are not spelled out, or if they are, the would be restrictive in nature and the one who is able to strategize his game plan to exploit the "rules" the best would "win" the bout. Doesn't mean he is a better martial artist, or more effective overall....just more effective at winning that particular venue with those established rules!

Kevin Leavitt
10-28-2005, 03:07 PM
one other thing....

To me this all goes back to the basic question....

why are you studying martial arts?

Once you define this, you are able to more clearly define the boundaries of your future success.

I think many people believe (or are deluded) into thinking that the study of empty hand martial arts is primarily for self defense and fighting prowness.

Sure there are skills to be learned to aid in this area. But if this is yor primary concern, then Budo (which really most MA fall under), is a tremendous waste of time.

The self defense paradigm defines "success" as walking away with minimal injury to self. It does not regard the other persons (opponents) success critera or endstate. it is simply self preservation.

Now you can couple this with an principle/value/ or ethic of "minimal damage to the other person", but now you have left the simple realm of self defense and are not in the realm of compassion.

What does this have to do with dojo storming? alot I believe....since if you are going to storm, then you need to define how you measure success and what you consider to be effective as a martial artist.

I could measure success from the self defense paradigm as simply my ability to walk away from a fight with minimal injury to self. That would allow me to use anything and everything at my disposal to accomplish that goal...to include weapon based violent action to kill or seriously incapacitate the person.

Now, if I did that to someone I stormed, or who stormed me you might say..."that was not successful, he pulled out a gun and shot him!" He didn't use empty hand martial arts, and the force was way too excessive!".

You just fogged the waters by injecting ethics into the equations!

So now you establish a criteria that says...the storming must include ethics and require "minimal force necessary to resolve the conflict!".

See the problem?

I could do this by simply calling the police and having the atagonist removed from my dojo.

Then I lose cause I am a "chicken" and didn't "prove" myself! But I was successful based on the ethical criteria!

Can't win! See why I think storming is a futile proposition and is based on flawed logic.

I really think people need to ask hard of themselves "WHY I AM STUDYING MARTIAL ARTS".

It is not about the fighting skills IMHO!

People that storm (or want to) really do not understand martial arts and have not learned the lessons of the importance of martial arts and the relationship that fighting skills play in society and how they contribute to our development as human beings. I view these individuals as failures in learning the important lessons in what MA is all about!

(edited, added last paragraph).

roosvelt
10-28-2005, 03:35 PM
What are the "rules" for dojo storming?

If you study aikido, it is the harmony way of peace...so within the context of that, what does "winning" or "successful" storming really look like?

In the storming he is able to prove he is more effective at resolving conflict with minimal force???? How ridiculous!

What if I am the one being stormed and I decide to pick up a gun and shoot him or an escrima stick and render him unconscious, did I win? or did he? Those might have been my rules for success!

rules!

The students and potential future students make the rule for themselves on their own.

Suppose some one strom your dojo. If you beat the stormer into submission, some students think you know your stuff and learn from you, some may think you're a brute man, and go to other dojo.

If you fight the stomer and get beaten badly but continue fighting, some students may want to learn from you because of your budo, while some may think you're useless and leave.

If you call the police, some student may think you're a wise man, while other may think you're a coward and leave.

"Aikido is the harmony way of peace"

I think Aikido is the harmony way of MAKING peace. If there is no confilcts, what's the need of Aikido? I may think it's a real test of your Aikido.

Do you think anyone would storm a ballet school? a tai chi class? A yoga workout? No.

Afterall, Aikido is a Martial art. A head instructor is supposed to be a martial expert. If a instructor thinks that he teaches a type of 2 person dance, he may just well tell the miss-informed stormer. The students who want to learn pretty dance may stay, while other who want to learn martial art may leave.

I don't think dojo storming is a good thing. War is a bad thing too. But war happens all the time. Even as we speaking. One has to learn how to deal with it.

aikigirl10
10-28-2005, 04:10 PM
I think Aikido is the harmony way of MAKING peace. If there is no confilcts, what's the need of Aikido? I may think it's a real test of your Aikido.


You shouldnt make a conflict and then solve it. There are plenty of conflicts out there everyday without us making our own.

I think dojo storming is stupid, from what i've read about it on this thread. Aikido is traditionally not competetive and it should be kept that way. If you want to compete with another practitioner or teacher then you should take a style of aikido that practices competition, or just another competetive style period.

I love to compete but to me.. competition or calling someone out just shouldnt be a part of aikido.

Kevin Leavitt
10-28-2005, 04:40 PM
What defines someone as a martial expert? How do you know that they are?

How do you define aikido as "effective"? or what is "martially effective"? How do you test it? How do you know when it "works" or is "good"?

When is aikido dancing and when is it martial? What is the criteria?

Are you equating war to dojo storming? I don't understand the point of the analogy if so.

I'd say an aikido instructor is an expert at the teaching methodology of aikido...not a "martial expert", as such he teaches budo using the methodology of aikido to do so.

If the students make the rules...then what if they are incogruent to the dojo's rules, etthics, or values? In most places they are asked to leave, or voluntarily move on to other things. Doesn't require storming.

BJJ defines "effectiveness" quite well. They have an fairly established set of criteria for "gameness" and rolling in which someone can judge martial effectiveness...again, based on the agreed upon criteria. So I would submit, the yes, you can effectively "dojo storm" in BJJ and I do it all the time when I go to a BJJ dojo and train. I can measure myself against the instructor and other students quite easily. Again, within the criteria they establish.

I think aikido is a whole other matter as it is purely budo in methodology and practice. Yoshinkan guys seem to have a good measure to test there effectiveness.

However, if you are successful in BJJ or yoshinkan aikido, you may not still be a great "martially". It would again depend on your definition of that.

On the criteria of being martially effective, i probably come out on the scale fairly high, as I am a Combat ready, airborne ranger, expert marksmen, physically fit, combatives instructor, ready to go to war kinda guy. That is my criteria for being "martially successful".

Yet sadly, I am a brown belt for many years in aikido, and a blue bet in BJJ. I can easily defeat all my instructors in battle or conflict. Saotome Sensei, Jimmy Sorentino...The Gracies...all of them! No problem! Based on MY Criteria of "martial effectiveness I would consider most of them a failures as none of them have the skills that I do.

Yet I consider that they all are more skilled than I, and I have much to learn from them in the pursuits of my empty hand martial studies.

What does this have to do with being a so-called "martial expert" have to do with budo, aikido, BJJ or any other empty hand martial art?

NOTHING. It is all a romantic fantasy designed to appeal to your ego and distract you from the real reasons to study martial arts for most people.

"Martial effectiveness" is a very interesting subject to me (as you can tell I get emotional about it!)

To me martial effectiveness requires that I can fire my weapon, clear it, load it, and fire it again under combat stress. It requires me to enter a building at night with full combat load after a 12 mile road march with my NVGs on, trip on the crap on the floor, go down, and get jumped by an enemy and be able to roll with him, maintain my cool, and hold him until my buddy can but stroke him. It requires me to be able to calm down a irrate man at a check point using my interpersonal skills to resolve conflict and to keep things from escalating. It requires me to train my soldiers to always be prepared and alert. These are things I practice and prepare for regularly.

For police offficers it might be something different.

for civilians it might be other things too. Rape Prevention, Mugging prevention, conflict resolution....many scenarios.

So pick one...define the criteria, and choose the training methodology that best allows you to prepare for that, AND PLEASE test it against others that don't come from your paradigm or school. (Not storming, but cooperative training!).

I don't think that ANY of those scenarios has much to do with dojo storming, or that it would accomplish or prove anything.

It is simply a romantic notion full of clutter, ego and emotion.

Thanks for the discussion. Not trying to be a pain in the ass...but we all (me included!) make assumptions about what "martial effectiveness" is, yet we never really define it or fully develop the criteria, and it is the KEY to just about all the discussions (arguments) that we have here on aikiweb.

I wish I had all the answers, but I don't! Just lots of questions! :)

wendyrowe
10-28-2005, 06:43 PM
To me martial effectiveness requires that I can fire my weapon, clear it, load it, and fire it again under combat stress. It requires me to enter a building at night with full combat load after a 12 mile road march with my NVGs on, trip on the crap on the floor, go down, and get jumped by an enemy and be able to roll with him, maintain my cool, and hold him until my buddy can but stroke him. It requires me to be able to calm down a irrate man at a check point using my interpersonal skills to resolve conflict and to keep things from escalating. It requires me to train my soldiers to always be prepared and alert. These are things I practice and prepare for regularly.

For police offficers it might be something different.

for civilians it might be other things too. Rape Prevention, Mugging prevention, conflict resolution....many scenarios.
Not that I'm saying it's a good thing to storm dojos or that Aikido is the best self defense training, but I can say that for us civilians (and for the police I know, who are supposed to adhere to "Appropriate Use of Force" policies), whatever self-defense techniques we know had better have something other than shooting people. Shooting people would definitely stop them, but given that in the US most assaults are unarmed (as we've seen in the government statistics), shooting someone who is attacking empty handed would be an inappropriate use of force and that would get the defender in trouble.

So what's appropriate for Kevin in a military situation definitely doesn't apply to us civilians, even those in law enforcement.

As for what's "martially effective," I don't know how I'd propose doing it but I would like people who say their stuff is martially effective to test it against people they don't usually work with, giving real attacks (really trying to punch in the solar plexus, for instance, and following up one technique with another instead of waiting politely to be stopped after the first technique).

Everyone doesn't need to teach a martially effective form; but anyone who says their form is martially effective should take themselves out of their comfort zone to test it out once in a while to be sure they're right.

Kevin Leavitt
10-29-2005, 12:46 AM
Wendy,

Totally agree with you. I was worried that I wasn't being clear. I have concepts and ideas, but sometimes it is hard for me to get them out in a clear way that gets across the salient points.

You are emphasizing what I was trying to convey. Yes, what is martially effective for military and civilians is different. That is my point. EVERYONE, regardless of their professional status, has a different idea or criteria of what is martially effective.

Because of that, it really makes quantifying the success of a dojo storming difficult and pointless once you start really understanding your own personal goals of why you study martial arts.

Agree also on the force continum/spectrum. In the cryptic post I wrote in #28, that was my point. How do you decide in a dojo storming where to stop on that continium that is a sliding scale to determine a successful storming if two people have different views on "martially effectiveness" and two different ethical bases?

Absolutely! You should get out of your comfort zone and test it. I am advocating that in post #32. What is important though is that you really "know yourself" and develop a good criteria for what you consider as success. It is more difficult than you think.

Why, because we all have a personal idea of what our paradigm tells us is successful, and if it does not line up with reality and we don't know it...well then we are deluding ourselves.

I thought I was a really good and decent martial artist a few years back and could handle myself, that was until I moved to my new assignment and started mixing it up with a few "professionals" that showed me the light on why I was looking at things wrong.

That is wrong for ME. Not you or anyone else!

You can be successful and a good aikidoka, BJJer, shotokan guy, UFC MMA fighter, within the established rules and paradigm established within the boundaries of the values, goals, ethics, and rules of those martial arts/methodologies.

however, when you start using the words "martially effective", you open up a whole can of worms that no two people can really agree upon 100%, nor can they agree on the "sliding scale" of how you apply ethics through minimal/maximal use of force.

It really becomes personal in nature. I think this is where the internalization of your style or martial arts takes place, when you make it your own.

Sorry this is so hard to write about!

Wendy,

I guess my point is, much like yours,

1. That it is good to test yourself and your martial effectiveness. You must understand your own personal criteria of how you measure your success. It is against yourself and no one else. They may serve as uke, training aids, whatever you want to call them.

2. When you are doing that, it is just that YOURSELF. You are not testing them, they have their own success criteria for measuring themselves. IT is possible that they are testing themselves at the same time you are.

3. Therefore, dojo storming or dojo arashi, is simply an illusion that is a waste of time and clouds the real thing that is going on...not proving the others instructors value or worth, but it becomes a personal batttle of your ego and a test of your personal skills...which is selfish in nature.

To me if someone goes into anothers dojo to storm with the intent to discredit, then they are only showing their lack of understanding of not only martial arts, but are severly failing as a martial artist because they don't really understand why we study martial arts! They are an amateur.

wendyrowe
10-30-2005, 11:39 AM
Thanks, Kevin. I like the way this discussion is causing us to be more precise in our writing and thinking.

The Takafumi Takeno interview on Aikido Journal http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=661
explains how to test for martial effectiveness in your own dojo:
At my dojo I set aside time for people to test the effectiveness of their techniques, as well as their limitations and resistance as the recipient of techniques. During such practice I tell the students not to move if their balance is not being broken, not to take falls if a lock is not well applied, and not to submit unless a technique is being done effectively.

Of course, people in the same dojo are more likely to share some of the same expectations, so that makes it easier to evaluate one's own martial effectiveness. But his description would be a good basis for an alternative to "dojo storming" that would be done by invitation to help people at both schools.

Kevin Leavitt
10-30-2005, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the link Wendy. Not sure if I needed to be a subscriber to get to exactly what you are talking about as you can't read the full article if you are not a subscriber. However, I did find it to be relevant for sure!

I especially like this:

"The teacher, however, needs to modify the training method according to the type of training sought by each student. The martial feeling of aikido will diminish if everyone has to practice in the same way, while on the other hand, general practitioners may not accept training in which the martial aspects are over-emphasized. Teachers have to respond to these various aims and offer what they have accordingly. Of course, this requires a broad knowledge on the part of the teacher.

People inclined to the martial aspects of aikido obviously should adopt a more martial approach. Naturally, professionals need to pursue this kind of training. Of course, favoring that sort of training exclusively may lead to the loss of the original nature of aiki, so it's a sensitive issue."

Excerpted from:

Interview with Takafumi Takeno (02)
by Stanley Pranin
Aikido Journal #100 (1994)

I think this is dead on with what I am talking about as well. Understanding WHY you are studying and the expectations about what you want to get out of it. As Takeno Sensei points out, you must be careful because there exist a fine line.

Another note on Dojo Storming. I think some out there have began to use this term as a "good thing" meaning to go to another dojo in a non-hostile manner with the intention of sharing information/skills and breaking down the paradigms...all in the name of becoming a better martial artist.

In the MMA world they call these "throw downs" where guys will get together, establish parameters and rules, and then roll and decide who has what and to test their knowledge and skills against a "non-believer".

I believe in these training methodologies, but they are a far cry to dojo storming of old.

BUT, in the "throw downs" you still have to be cognizant that the established rules you agree to abide by may not favor your particular style or strategy. That does not necessarily invalidate your skills, just need to make sure you understand yourself and fighting really well to keep things in check and in perspective.

Also, aikido, as it is budo as practiced by most as a methodology, usually does not fare to well in these "throwdowns", as the rules tend to favor the muay thai and ground grappling genre. Something all well rounded martial artist should probably be comfortable with...BUT it does not invalidate aikido by any stretch of the imagination, as it becomes apples and oranges when you compare fighting strategies (MMA) with Budo (Aikido).

To caveat...MMA can have budo aspects and you can get some of the same benefits, but it is not the intent of MMA (the study of budo).

I am personally struggling with trying to explain to my students right now (and myself!) the importance of budo and how it differs from "fighting prowness/skill", and how it is the same.

Inevitiably you end up on conversations such as "how does it differ from dancing" and "aikido doesn't work in a real fight", and "hakama's are pointless and are tactically not sound", and "it is so deadly I can't show you for real".

These questions typically come from people that are being honest and sincere in their quest for knowledge, but are applying logic and attempting to measure success by quantifiable criteria.

I really believe that Budo is much more complicated than that.

Gotta run!

Good conversation! :)

PeterR
10-30-2005, 06:41 PM
Of course we could all take on the Tomiki model.

Rupert Atkinson
10-30-2005, 11:07 PM
Wendy Quoted:
The interview quoting Takafumi Takeno on Aikido Journal wrote:
At my dojo I set aside time for people to test the effectiveness of their techniques, as well as their limitations and resistance as the recipient of techniques. During such practice I tell the students not to move if their balance is not being broken, not to take falls if a lock is not well applied, and not to submit unless a technique is being done effectively.


Sounds sensible and I have heard it many times. But, why say don't move until your balance is broken? This implies, and creates the idea, to go along with the throw after the beginning moment. Why not just say DON'T MOVE! Surely, a better test :)

wendyrowe
10-31-2005, 05:38 AM
Sounds sensible and I have heard it many times. But, why say don't move until your balance is broken? This implies, and creates the idea, to go along with the throw after the beginning moment. Why not just say DON'T MOVE! Surely, a better test :)
I assumed he meant "don't fall for your uke if you don't need to," which would also imply that it's OK to try to recover your balance rather than just waiting politely to be taken down.

I'd been assuming he was talking in Japanese and it was translated, so if that's the case we'd have to ask Stan if we wanted to know the exact wording -- but that still wouldn't tell us precisely what he meant when he said it.

Your post makes me wonder whether he also might have meant that it's OK to take ukemi when you first feel your balance is broken, since at least in some cases by the time you are certain you're going down it's too late to fall well and you might get hurt.

happysod
10-31-2005, 06:21 AM
Your post makes me wonder whether he also might have meant that it's OK to take ukemi when you first feel your balance is broken, since at least in some cases by the time you are certain you're going down it's too late to fall well and you might get hurt. Certainly that's how we've been looking at ukemi - for us ukemi is primarily a source of defense for the uke and should be used when other options are poor, but if you can stand up rather than falling over, why not? Here of course I'm assuming that resistence has been for in the technique.

Kevin Leavitt
10-31-2005, 10:16 AM
I think practiced properly, as has been said so many times by many on aikiweb, ukemi is not at all about falling over, but about maintaining your ability to recover at all times as quickly as possible. You should never, ever do anything that is not tactically sound as uke!

The only thing you have done as uke is cooperate and given nage the initial advantage to start his technique, which is his, not yours! He only knows what you are going to present, the rest is up to him. Your job is to simply be honest. Both with him and yourself.

To me, resistant or uncooperative training, as proposed by Wendy and the article she quoted changes the whole dynamic. It causes nage to work in increasingly smaller "gaps" with untelegraphed attacks, feints and change ups.

I think it is good to train this way, buuutttt! Many aikidoka, especially inexperienced ones will not know how to deal with this dynamic.

For one, uke may simply do the "grab and plant" rooting themselves strongly in one place. Lets say nage was going to do irimi nage, well he isn't now. He is probably going to kick, punch, or headbutt to get uke moving again. then, maybe uke pulls once moving, well nage is going with him and may ride uke to the ground into a mount possibly, then spin around and stand up. At least this is what an experienced person would do.

An outsider may say "hey that's not aikido...that's MMA!" Your not "doing aikido!"

Thus drawing the conclusion that aikido doesn't work! All the while you understand that you are staying within the sphere, dynamics, and principles of aikido!

On the other hand during the grab and plant an inexperienced aikidoka (nage) may continue to try and do the irimi nage to the point of trying to "will" uke into the correct ukemi. An outsider would say..."see that aikido stuff doesn't work...i'd go for double underarm hooks and clinch you to the ground!

Man ya can't win!


I really believe that it is important to explore this area, but realize that it must be kept in perspective and aikido is not so much about winning, or dealing with uncooperative partners and testing it against the skeptical, but developing yourself and understanding the relationship of yourself and how you respond to conflict and the rest of the world. If you keep this in mind, I think it is good to do this!

Ian Upstone
10-31-2005, 11:55 AM
Superb post, Kevin.

roosvelt
11-03-2005, 03:57 PM
How do you define aikido as "effective"? or what is "martially effective"? How do you test it? How do you know when it "works" or is "good"?



-----------------Spoiler, the following is gross, graphic, offensive to some, please don't read if you don't want -----------------------------

You sond like Clinton on a stand to define what is sex? How do you define "sex"? Not. Is dry hump "sex"? Is dry hump with liquid "sex"? Not. Is dry hump to liquid on her dress "sex"? Not, Is dry hum to liquid on her skin "sex"?

Just be honest. Don't impose your paragram on others. ;)

wendyrowe
11-03-2005, 04:11 PM
...Just be honest. Don't impose your paragram on others. ;)
Man, Roosvelt, for someone who says "Don't impose your paragram [paradigm?] on others," you sure do seem to be certain about what Aikido is about. How long have you been studying, and is Aikido your first martial art?

James Davis
11-03-2005, 04:55 PM
-----------------Spoiler, the following is gross, graphic, offensive to some, please don't read if you don't want -----------------------------

You sond like Clinton on a stand to define what is sex? How do you define "sex"? Not. Is dry hump "sex"? Is dry hump with liquid "sex"? Not. Is dry hump to liquid on her dress "sex"? Not, Is dry hum to liquid on her skin "sex"?

Just be honest. Don't impose your paragram on others. ;)

Actually, wasn't Slick Willy trying to define the word "is"? :confused:

Kevin Leavitt
11-03-2005, 05:08 PM
Roosevelt,

How do you define martial effectiveness?

Your analogy I don't think is quite applicable to this situation. Could you please elaborate on how it applies, maybe I simply don't understand.

The issue that Clinton was dealing with was a "litmus" test of ethics from this standpoint. Either he did or he didn't.

The concept of Martial Effectiveness is somewhat more complicated than "sex". It is more of a sliding scale and more conceptual and subjective than what your analogy presents.

Also, how am I imposing my paradigm on others? I thought I was simply offering a viewpoint on the subject, which is the whole point of having a thread to discuss. If I have done that in anyway, please show me where so I can rectify it....it certainly is not my intent!

ian
11-04-2005, 10:04 AM
Gozo Shioda tested his aikido, as did Ueshiba. We all want to see how well it works. I think dojo storming is cool - just that most of us don't have the balls to do it. It's not like you're going into a primary school and beating up kids - you are going into an arena surrounded by people who won't protect you, and challanging someone who is regarded as a good martial artist. I think, good on them.

Dazzler
11-04-2005, 10:39 AM
Hello....what century is this?

I think these days its a joke.

People build a dojo, they do the best they can for their students.

I've never ever heard anyone say they are the best in the world ...yet people think its ok for anyone to just come in and beat up on them.

I've no doubt that someone like mike tyson could come in one night, kick my butt, then walk out again.

Who would that benefit? me? my students? even the stormer?

Nope....no one...it would simply prop up the ego of the saddo doing it.

f someone wants a dojo that badly they can start their own and build it up through hard work and long term commitment to the students.

Now that would be cool.

D

Ulises Garcia
11-04-2005, 05:36 PM
Gozo Shioda tested his aikido, as did Ueshiba. We all want to see how well it works. I think dojo storming is cool - just that most of us don't have the balls to do it. It's not like you're going into a primary school and beating up kids - you are going into an arena surrounded by people who won't protect you, and challanging someone who is regarded as a good martial artist. I think, good on them.

I definitely second that. Let's forget about "storming". What if a sincere and polite challenge is made in your dojo, being strictly the martial skills and honor involved? No guns, no knives (hey, remove the cursing too). Because Aikido is THE Way of Harmony, taking a polite challenge is out of the question? I keep hearing stories about O-Sensei taking on different martial artists (and prevailing), but I'm yet to hear one that said that he didn't take the challenge. There was even a story I read here some time ago which stated that at one time, O-Sensei took on a challenger, and to the eyes of the challenger, Ueshiba had disappeared. O-Sensei was moving in complete sync with the challenger, so he became "invisible". It seems to me that Ueshiba did show the efficiency of Aikido to non-believers and succeeded. Perhaps he didn't go out issuing challenges, but he took them when offered (politely and honorably, I believe). Post-war, pre-war. What has changed in Aikido that somehow taking a sincere challenge is out of the question? When did Aikido stop being martial?

These are all honest questions. I'm ignorant, but I'm willing to stop being one if somebody sheds some light.

-U- (Looking for enlightment) :confused:

mj
11-04-2005, 07:56 PM
Reminds me...there was a riot in the U.S. about a week ago over a KKK rally. Who won that one? The KKK that staged the rally (who most consider "Losers"), or did the guys that rioted in protest? I believe the KKK feel they won since they caused the reaction they wanted. I think the rioters feel they won because they showed the world that they are strong and will not sit by and watch such demonstrations take place in their community!

So, to me, I really don't understand what dojo storming accomplishes...
Equating the testing of martial prowess to the KKK is not (whether from the side of the campaigner or the protestor) the sign of an aiki-like mind. I don't equate anyone to the KKK unless they are linked to it.

Dojo yaburi was part of the evolution of martial arts, it still is. How do you think good clubs grow? Why do you think people trained with O Sensei? Why do you think people trained with Kano and Gishin? They thought they could kick their arses and they couldn't. The opposite side of the dojo yaburi coin - good teachers prosper ... martial darwinism.