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Michael Varin
01-29-2006, 05:59 PM
While reading the forum recently, I saw someone state that aikido suffers from a "lack of focus on functional self defense," and that regarding aikido "it takes so long before one can be very functional from a practical standpoint."

I'm curious. Is aikido useful in self-defense situations? Why or why not? What are good self-defense arts? What aspects of a martial art make it useful or not for self-defense? What are the factors that decrease the time required to be functional from a practical standpoint? Is self-defense even important?

I'm not looking for one right answer, so please, offer opinions freely.

Michael

Edwin Neal
01-29-2006, 06:29 PM
Great questions, but thats alot of ground to cover! generally speaking your statements in the first part are correct... as self defense is not usually the primary focus of most, but not all, aikidoka; however, it can be as functional as any other art from a self defense stand point.

it is useful in self defense because of the basic strategy of aikido ie evade the initial attack, while simultaneously moving to a superior tactical position from which you apply a technique to basically throw or pin/submit/choke your attacker...

many arts are good for self defense, but self defense is more that physically fighting a great website that someone (thank you whoever you were!) is here
http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/

to become "functional" in aikido or any activity takes training with that goal in mind... relatively speaking with a little serious sincere practice the basic physical moves of aikido can be aquired in a few months to a year depending upon you and your instructor...

self defense IS important especially IMHO with regards to aikido... how can you feel safe ie in harmony with the universe if you cannot protect yourself from physical attack... further how can you achieve the broader goal goal of protecting not only yourself but your attacker from the spiritual, physical, and even legal ramifications of his attack if you cannot use aikido to prevent this...

to me the physical and spiritual aspects must both be present and effective for Aikido to be valid...
hope that helps...

Simbo
01-29-2006, 07:33 PM
I made a comment that I think fits this a little on a previous thread.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9680
Check it out, it's good stuff

eyrie
01-29-2006, 08:07 PM
Allow me to offer a different perspective of "self-defense". Let's just take the first part - "self". What is the "self"? When you have the answer to that question, then what is the "REAL" self? If you are dead, where is your SELF?

When you can answer that, then we can start to talk about "defense" and why you feel it necessary to defend the SELF....

Often we look outside of ourselves for a panecea that provides some perceivable promise of protection. What we often fail to do, is introspectively look at ourselves. The answer to self-defense or rather the ability to defend one's self, lies not in some external art form, but in the very core of our BEING; external forms are merely a vehicle for expressing the inner SELF.

The question should not be, can aikido [or any other martial art] be a good self-defense art, but rather, if I need to, can I defend my SELF with the art. My question is, do you need to?

doronin
01-30-2006, 06:59 AM
Aikido learning curve is much, I would even exaggerate by saying - tens times longer then many other martial arts, which makes Aikido looking less functional with regards to self-defence. But when you eventually get there you will be capable of some nice things.

I would say is that Aikido is an attempt of refinement of martial arts general concept. I can't judge how far did it get on this way, but what I see is that most people choose it as a martial art that can open "new horizons" in martial and other aspects of self development, rather then the quick way to learn self-defence.

Another think is the purpose. IMHO, Aikido, as it is, has limited capabilities for some specialized applications, such as military attacks or sustained fights, just because it wasn't created and designed for such purposes. And because of that it lacks some necesary for the mentioned applications elements in its general curriculum, as well as some training approaches. And though Aikido can be applied in the above situations, it's usually is not enough to have consistent positive results.

So, the final answer depends on what aspects of self-defence are more or less priority for you.

Just my 0.02.

SeiserL
01-30-2006, 09:01 AM
Is aikido useful in self-defense situations? Why or why not? What are good self-defense arts? What aspects of a martial art make it useful or not for self-defense? What are the factors that decrease the time required to be functional from a practical standpoint? Is self-defense even important?
IMHO, yes Aikido is still a martial art, therefore important and useful in a self-defense situation.

It takes longer because you not only have to learn a different way to move, but also a different way to think. The change and unity of body and mind is not a simple task.

To decrease time, go slower initially and learn the technical tactics and the strategic principles and concepts.

Dajo251
01-30-2006, 10:48 AM
IMHO, yes Aikido is still a martial art, therefore important and useful in a self-defense situation.

It takes longer because you not only have to learn a different way to move, but also a different way to think. The change and unity of body and mind is not a simple task.

To decrease time, go slower initially and learn the technical tactics and the strategic principles and concepts.
well put.....

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 12:45 PM
Come on lets not get all full of ourselves here...
the learning curve of aikido ten times other MA??? PROVE this don't just state it...this can be construed as egotistical and often is by people new to the martial arts or other MA... our art is so incredible that it takes a lifetime to learn implies others are so much easier and thus "not as good"...the "basic physical movements" of aikido can be learned in less than a year... does this mean "mastery"? no... does it mean that you "could" use the "basic physical movements" for self-defense? the answer must be yes... does this mean you know everything there is to know about aikido? of course not... People who would make claims that aikido is SOOO incredibly complex must be prepared to back them up... i DO NOT know how to play basketball... if i had up to lets say one year to practice under the guidance of a good coach i could learn the basic rules and physical skills of the game... does that mean i am ready for the NBA or even have a "black belt" in basketball... probably not, nearly certainly not in my case... I am saying that people that say things like it takes too long to be practical, MUST be missing the point of aikido altogether... aikido must be martially viable! If you cannot even protect yourself, you cannot even HOPE to not cause harm to a potential attacker... do i mean everyone will be able to use their aikido sucessfully in a self defense situation after one years training... no that depends on the situation there are no guarantee's in such a situation with any martial art however long you have studied...
I am willing to accept testimonials... come on folks... tell me your story have you used your "basic physical aikido skills" in any kind of "situation", before you studied for "many years" maybe 10 times more than any other art? my personal experiences tell me that i did in fact have skills that were useful in a relatively short time... but i still have much to learn as well... just because our art is "infinitly" rich doesn't mean it takes infinity to get it...

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 12:55 PM
Ignatius... interesting thoughts, but try a philosophy or Buddhism forum... there is no self you can't dissect someone and take "it" out... it is a concept... one of the incredible things about aikido is that it answers this question for you... there is no 'self' that is seperate from all of creation when you realize this this is called "aiki"...

bratzo_barrena
01-30-2006, 01:10 PM
I happen to agree with Edwin Here,
A lot of Aikido instructor state that Aikido would take 10, 20, xx years of practice to have some practical application, in a self-defense sense.
Which is just bullshit.
it's true that Aikido has body movements that need practice and principles that need to be understood, but it would be an innefective martial art if it would take sooooooo long to have some proficientcy, or some level of application.
One just can't wait all his life to see if Aikido would work.
The problem with the instructor are basically 2:
1. the instructor that really believet that Aikido will bring some kind of magical power/energy/illumination, only achievable through xxxxx years of practice/mediation. Some kind of Jedi power... and disregard the body mechanins and physics behind the technique (which actually are what make Aikido effective).
2. the instructor who don't know the body mechanics and don't know how to aplly the principle of Aikido, and hence, won't be able to teach proper techniques to his/her students, making it not only longer, but impossible to achieve any proficiency in Aikido, thus making it inefective.

Aikido is a Martial Art based on body mechanics, laws of physics, there is no magic. Explainig body mechanics, meanin body movements, takes as long as the explanation, then you have to practice what you are told. Takes practicem time and effort, and depending on the student commitment, will take more or less time, but infinite year of practice, not true.
Now having some level of proficieny in AIkido (or any martial art, sport, art or else) doesn't make anyone a 'master', but one should be able to have some level of practical application of Aikido in a couple of years or sooner.
There is no magic in Aikido, there is no secret mystical knowledge, no poewr of the goods, is just physics and body mechanics

Bratzo Barrena
Instructor
Aikido Goshin Dojo
Doral, FL

Dajo251
01-30-2006, 01:16 PM
I1. the instructor that really believet that Aikido will bring some kind of magical power/energy/illumination, only achievable through xxxxx years of practice/mediation. Some kind of Jedi power... and disregard the body mechanins and physics behind the technique (which actually are what make Aikido effective).

Bratzo Barrena
Instructor
Aikido Goshin Dojo
Doral, FL
wait you dont get jedi powers from training in aikido, damn I am so out!

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 01:32 PM
But you DO get the jedi powers after infinity years of practice Daniel... hang in there!

Dajo251
01-30-2006, 01:34 PM
thanks, I got scared for a moment.

eyrie
01-30-2006, 04:29 PM
Ignatius... interesting thoughts, but try a philosophy or Buddhism forum... there is no self you can't dissect someone and take "it" out... it is a concept... one of the incredible things about aikido is that it answers this question for you... there is no 'self' that is seperate from all of creation when you realize this this is called "aiki"...

Well, Edwin, he wanted several perspectives and I offered one. ;)

I agree that it doesn't take decades of training to be proficient in the way of movement and applying a basic level of aiki. But it does take at least a few years to develop good kokyu strength.

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 04:41 PM
true please take no offense as none was intended... i have some background in both the Western Philosophical debate, and the Buddhist philosophies about the nature the self... i just thought any one really interested would find more detailed info in those places... true as well about the developement of kokyu/ki power, but i am primarily interested in the basic physical functionality of the techniques... we all get better with years of practice, but that doesn't mean it takes that long to be functional... i just think as i expressed before that this is somewhat wrongheaded and unfair to prospective students, especially if it makes aikido look like or into some sort of egalitarian pursuit with nebulous goals like enlightenment, with no SD benefits... if you doubt aikido why would you do it? and further you have no grounds to refute any criticism of the art from others...

i would like to hear any lower levels or stories from any level about their use of aikido skills, esp. in SD situations...

Charlie
01-30-2006, 05:56 PM
Story related to me from a fellow MYAA instructor...

Child student of his [probably between 8-12] was confronted on the play ground by the class bully. Bully began to push him around like he did with all the other kids. Child student proceeded to do a perfectly timed TAI NO HENKO NO NI/ TENKAN movement at the moment the bully began to push on his chest. Bully went flying into the fence and was ridiculed by all the other students.

Child student proceeded to promptly tell his story to his sensei at his next lesson with a big ole grin on his face and proud parents standing behind him.

Sounds too good to be true...but is! Basic "self" defense in action with a touch of kokyu to boot!

Charles

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 06:07 PM
Sensei George,
It has been my honor to train with many fine students and instructors... I began my training in Japan, and have trained mainly on the east coast and southeastern areas of the U.S....
I do not believe my idea of functionality is unrealistic... i believe that some methods of training do not focus on funtionality and thus it does take more time to become skilled... and i think we are using the words: functional, skilled, mastery(no such thing)and effective in a rather loose fashion... i have a strong feeling that this is a matter of Doctrine (indoctrination), and methodology... taking your MA examples i feel judo is just as complex as aikido, and based on similar even nearly identical principles... i am not saying that one will have a grasp of kokyu/ki or a mastery of these skills but rather will be able to apply them in a meaningful way... see my earlier posts on this thread...

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 06:28 PM
I do agree with Dmitry when he says aikido is a refinement of the martial arts, but i tend to say a Meta MA... some styles(really hate that term) teach that there are no strikes, or kicks or chokes or groundwork or whatever in aikido... this is clearly false from video evidence of Osensei, and by first hand accounts from those who studied with him... Osensei said to absorb venerable traditions into aikido, and use them to build better forms(waza)... if aikido is ineffective martially for SD it is my feeling that the cause is the drift from teaching for functionality, but this is absolutely imperative to aikido, and does not exclude the more spiritual aspects of training... indeed without the physical functionality the spiritual functionality is also lost, and it becomes a kind of physical movement with an unreachable goal of harmnony with an attacker.
aikido is a complete system and does not need to borrow from others styles what is already supposed to be a part of it...

Michael Varin
01-30-2006, 06:59 PM
Thanks to everyone who's commented so far.

Hey Edwin, I'm familiar with http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com)
I was turned on to it by a novel. The author sited references that explain the main character's behavior and this was one of them. I agree with most of their ideas, at least of what I read. It's a big site. Its strongest point is discussing the realities of personal protection and smoking out the melodramatic, martial arts hero fantasies.

I, also, would like to hear accounts of martial arts used in self defense. Which brings me to another question. What do you out there consider to be self defense situations? Or where and in what situations do you expect your martial arts to work for you?

Michael

PeterR
01-30-2006, 07:04 PM
Basically I'm in Edwin's camp on this one. It shouldn't take very long to be able to use Aikido in a functional self defense way. It may take a serious chunk of time to develop the full breadth of what Aikido offers but that really is another question.

Somewhere back in time I made the point that choosing a subset of Aikido techniques, heavily drilled, along with scenario based training, will get you there as fast as any PK art. Its all in how you train. Case in point is the randori level you see with Shodokan Aikido students - they are really good. The breadth of Aikido will come in time.

What is self defense is another question? One of my dojo mates gets a gleam in his eye and talks about cutting femoral arteries. He comes from a pretty tough part of the world. Me - I consider self defense as a tad less intense.

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 07:35 PM
thanks for your input guys... i don't have a camp yet, just one small tent...
i consider self defense in a relatively broad context i guess... i really like the nononsense site it is big, but he has an analytical style that appeals to me... too many MA think self defense equals fighting... i never have, its just part of it... i served in the navy in my younger days... started aikido on the navy base in yokosuka with Parker shihan of the Yoshinkan... while there i had the opportunity to also train with Terada shihan... lucky me... it was awesome I wanted to do kendo so i went to talk to the sensei and she told me how much armor and stuff cost and that kind of took the wind out of my sails, she then suggested i try the aikido (never heard of it) class until i saved the money... i went to aikido class the next night and never went back to kendo... the first aiki SD moment just involved ukemi what could have been a really nasty fall on ice coverd concrete shocked me when i just fell the aiki way... my next was after i had left japan and was assigned to a submarine in Charleston SC... a shipmate decided to horse around and as i'm walking down the pier he comes up behind me to a rear bearhug... without even thinking it just happened... you know the Ushiro tori undo exercise right into a tai no henka pivot, hand on his wrist to do a nikkyo, he let go and stepped back looking really surprised, but not as surprised as me... turns out he had studied some hapkido so he knew what was happening too... we became good friends and practiced together alot... this was with about a year of practice and not very intense as the navy kind of keeps you busy...
mostly i avoided bad situations as i got into the habit of really being aware of where i was and my surroundings and what was going on, and kind of "projecting ki" that i was ready if someone wanted to cause trouble... which i kind of got from aikido...
that's my moment anyone else wanna share...

Ketsan
01-30-2006, 09:51 PM
In my opinion being able to defend yourself is less about which art you study and more about how developed your martial mind is. Some people are born who are just naturally martial minded, some become so though training, no doubt some people never do.
That said different arts have different skill sets which reflect the arts stratagy and mindset and having a broad skill set and set of stratagies is always good. You should always have one art as a your basis though and in my opinion Aikido is excellent for that.

Charlie
01-30-2006, 10:05 PM
My personal contribution:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=97339&postcount=11

Edwin, what year were you in Yokosuka? Maybe we meet. I left in 1997.

Charles

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 10:34 PM
Alex, with respect you don't defend yourself with your mind, by the time your mind kicks in it is usually too late! that's one thing i like about aikido is it just happens naturally, even more as your practice progresses... as i stated earlier ALL the skill sets are IMHO a part of aikido, not that they are taught in most dojo's...
Charles, how am i supposed to top that?! great story... I too have been on that sacred battleground! you should look at it not as loosing control of yourself but giving a much needed reality check and lesson in humility to a bunch of squids that needed it! you held off 3 attackers as a white belt!!!, best evidence yet that functionality comes rather quicker that the "Mystifiers" would have people believe... and the second guy came around and no one was really hurt so i think those qualify as victories... in both stories you protected yourself, and did not brutally harm your attackers... aiki-victory...
the story about the kid in that earlier post was very good too
My only what i would consider real fight was when i worked bouncing in a bar in Charleston, by this time I had studied maybe 3-4 years on and off... guy gets mouthy and threatens to kick my ass reaches for me and i catch him with a hard irimi nage... his friends picked him up and took him home... telling me that they would take care of him don't beat him up... i just told them to get him out and that i hoped he wasn't hurt...
i hope some more people will put up their stories...
but even people that don't believe aikido works, don't study and don't even KNOW that what they are doing is aikido can make it work... even in a MMA situation... check this out...

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=30771

PeterR
01-30-2006, 11:00 PM
I read Alex's post a bit different.

A well devoloped martial mind set will let you train in a way that gives you that extra edge when push comes to shomen-ate.

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 11:03 PM
i agree, Peter, but i just think it is way cool when you realize that this stuff is internalized, and works on like automatic pilot...

George S. Ledyard
01-31-2006, 01:10 AM
Sensei George,
It has been my honor to train with many fine students and instructors... I began my training in Japan, and have trained mainly on the east coast and southeastern areas of the U.S....
I do not believe my idea of functionality is unrealistic... i believe that some methods of training do not focus on funtionality and thus it does take more time to become skilled... and i think we are using the words: functional, skilled, mastery(no such thing)and effective in a rather loose fashion... i have a strong feeling that this is a matter of Doctrine (indoctrination), and methodology... taking your MA examples i feel judo is just as complex as aikido, and based on similar even nearly identical principles... i am not saying that one will have a grasp of kokyu/ki or a mastery of these skills but rather will be able to apply them in a meaningful way... see my earlier posts on this thread...

Hi Edwin,
I think my own biasis come out in these discussions... When I think about functionality I am usually thinking in terms of "martial arts". I have always been fond of Ellis Amdur Sensei's definition of "martial arts" as training to fight another professional.

If by "self defense" one means being able to execute some effective techniques on someone who, while potentially being dangerous, has little or no actual training, then yes, there are all sorts of stories, many of them recounted here on the forums.

This is why the police are able to actually handle the subjects they arrest... It certainly isn't the high level oif skill they posess technically, despite their total focus on practical application. It's that the people they are arresting are generally untrained idiots in various stages on intoxication, not people with formal training in fighting. On those occasions in which they do meet with someone who can really fight, they generally get the punky beat out of them and end up prevailing only by calling in superior numbers. Even then they usually get very bunged up in the process.

Peyton Quinn has written extensively on the problem of appying ones tecfhniques under real high stress street situations. In general, even those people who train in very practically oriented self defense styles, have trouble accessing those skills when they get the adrenaline dump associated with a real violent encounter. The physical symptoms associated with the adrenaline dump i.e. tunnel vision, loss of fine motor control, lack of depth perception etc. make executing technique of any complexity, difficult, if not impossible, for a person who isn't used to operating under that type of stress.

Aikido is an art which has quite a bit of complexity compared with many of the standard moves one would see from some of the other arts I mentioned. The hands are very important in the execution of technique, well beyond what is required for simply striking someone or what is needed for grabbing them in order to do a double leg takedown... For most Aikido folks, even though they may have been training very energetically, they still have no experience applying what they do in the dojo on the street in that high stress, adrtenalized environment. Most self defense programs which are aiming for solid, reliable self defense capability in the shortest possible time focus on a set of simple techniques that rely on gross motor movements an the large muscle groups. I can't think of any Aikido school that teaches Aikido with that in mind as it would be completely wrong in terms of the principles we are trying to imprint in our traiing.

Clint George Sensei told me a story about Shioda Sensei that he'd picked up from someone who had trained with him (Shioda). Shioda Sensei and some students were doing a demo after the War for some American GI's. After the demo, one of the soldiers said that it was pretty cool stuff but how would it work against a boxer? They of course had a guy with them who had been a golden gloves boxer in the States. Shioda Sensei had his boys try to show them but they couldn't get anything on the boxer so Shioda Sensei himself had to show them (in order to save the reputaion of the art). Shioda Sensei completely ignored the jab, which had been so effective against his students and entered in and seized the boxer's rear hand and cranked a shihonage on him. Now I think that the Yoshinkan guys have the reputation for being the most concerned with the ability to do effective technique of any Aikido style and these guys were training directly under Shioda Sensei, yet they had a very hard time with the boxer... it took the big guy himself to actually do a technique against him. This story is completely consistent with my own experience that it takes quite a bit longer to reach some real functionality in Aikido than the other arts.

It is not that difficult to go to the center and knock someone out... If one trains hard in a striking art, one starts to have a pretty good strike in a relatively short time. I have not seen anyone who could pull off the entry required for an Aikido technique and then be relaxed enough to execute that technique against a resistant opponent as well as a person could be taught to step in and hit someone rapidly with some decent power in the same amount of training time. I can't think of an Aikido technique that one would learn in a few months that would be as reliably executed by someone of only moderate experience that would be as effective as a BJJ student would be on his double leg takedown after the same amount of training. I just don't see it. I've taught for a very long time now and seen students of all sorts of capabilty and experience levels come and go and I just haven't seen equal defensive capabilty in the Aikido folks for the first few years of their training when compared with some other arts. After four or five years (which is close to Shodan in most places) the Aikido person starts to integrate his stuff and may start to develop some ability to apply technique outside the controlled environment of the dojo.

It's possible that someone with a different background in Aikido, like Peter Rease, who comes from a style which has competition, might have a different perspective on this but it certainly hasn't been my experience at all.

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 03:02 AM
Charles, i was there in 87-90 at the Naval Supply Depot and at Yokota Air base some too... ;)

George, i do think the definition of SD is a little hard to pin down, but most people DON'T have any serious training and even with the rising popularity of MMA it is still unlikely that any aikidoka would encounter such a person in a SD situation, and the relatively 'unknown' style of aikido is surpriser even for them... just ask the GJJ guys about my SNEAKYO(TM) :D nikkyo in guard that sets up many other possibilities... as to LEO with all respect to them, IMHO alot are relatively speaking poorly trained, they have too many other things on their plate to really put considerable time into it, but they also illustrate my point... a little goes a long way... they are also not in a SD situation they are trying to arrest, in a SD we are trying to live and/or escape...
as to performing under stress that is part of the beauty of aikido... there is joy in repetition... you don't defend with your brain, but with your fighting spirit and physical movements... your body does it... shin no mushin...adrenaline is liquid ki...
i still take issue with "complexity"... after "trying" to do judo and GJJ i would argue that aikido is easier in some ways!!!... take TKD there is no way i could execute some of those kicks under stress... ever watched some karateka/tkd spar? bounce bounce flail flail... all that beautiful technique gone...
Simple gross motor physical movements in aikidoka's repetoire
atemi waza(99% per Osensei an "essential" skill, sometimes a stopper see charles' post), ikkyo(FIRST teaching/principle), irimi nage, tai no henka tenkan (cited in post about the child), sayu nage, kaiten nage(great against shoots), kata otoshi, aiki otoshi, ude osae, sumi otoshi, koshi nage(although i still have problems with it), kokyu nage(lots of varieties)... it seems to me many of the moves in aikido start with simple gross body movements chained together to great effect ie 'gestalt'... sum is greater than the parts... the 'control' of the dojo ingrains this precision and power into our waza through repetition... te waza 'might' be a little more 'complex', but i have always felt comfortable with them...
The example with Shioda Shihan... well thats a little misleading... :confused: no one was trying to execute 100%... they did not want to injure the GI's... I bet Shioda did not use his 'metsubushi' backfist to the eyes (one of my favorites) as he entered for the throw... and his mind did not become captured by his foes sword(jab)... as a less experience aikidoka might in a 'sparring' situation... especially as most dojo do no sparring... even light sparring...
with respect to all...the MYTH of not functional in a timely manner, retold by generations of aikidoka only reinforces the belief in it... it is indoctrinated... teaching methodology does not try to address this but takes it to be fundamentally true and so reinforces it even more... reread the posts above... i hope more people will share... true it is anecdotal, but i will trust my fellow aikidoka's anecdotes ;)

however, we never get to the top of the mountain... it is always one more step... :do:

Nick Simpson
01-31-2006, 06:26 AM
Actually edwin, I believe Shioda broke the boxers arm/shoulder. I might be wrong, but I have heard this story before and thats how it ended. Apparently it was a fairly 'rough' contest...

I'd also agree that its the mindset and the will to do your utmost to survive/win that dtermines a persons effectiveness, rather than the art they study. If someone is tying you up on the floor trying to break your arm in a lock, then you might well have to gouge their eyes out or bite their nose off. Are you prepared to do this from training in a martial art? Im fairly sure no martial arts will train you in how to bite someones nose off. (sorry for all the grizlyness of this) But your attitude, mindset and survival instincts might. Of course, MA training can help cultivate this mindset. And I agree that Aikido is as good a place to start as any. Im very happy with it, while still realising its limitations and shortcomings :)

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 06:36 AM
aikido does not have any limitations or shortcomings, unless ones practice or instruction has them... cultivating Tokon or fighting spirit is fundamental to all martial arts...

Nick Simpson
01-31-2006, 06:41 AM
Thats your point of view, but I would say that nothing is perfect, therefore everything has limitations. A man should know his limitations...

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 06:58 AM
the art of peace is to fulfill that which is lacking.

multifaceted
not knowing any boundaries,
Aikido-
open it to the world,
manifest it in everyone's body and soul!
Osensei...

not only my point of view...

Nick Simpson
01-31-2006, 07:05 AM
By saying that 'the art of peace is to fulfill that which is lacking', then you are indeed recognising and reaffirming that 'something' is 'lacking'...

Nothing is perfect, working towards perfection is, however, a great goal.

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 07:12 AM
nothing is lacking in aikido... it fulfills what is lacking

Nick Simpson
01-31-2006, 07:18 AM
Again, thats your opinion...

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 07:27 AM
the art of peace (aikido) is to fulfill that which is lacking.
Osensei

this is not my opinion... it is Osensei's... you may argue with him if you like... but i believe him...

Nick Simpson
01-31-2006, 07:29 AM
Erm, he's dead mate. Thanks though...

So currently, it is two peoples opinions. Qouting O'sensei ad-infinitum does not a strong argument make...

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 07:38 AM
so if you put no faith in the words of the founder... if you find aikido limited and imperfect, then why do you practice aikido at all? would not your time be better spent elsewhere somewhere less limited and less imperfect? Do YOU know more about aikido than Osensei? And for the record no one and nothing 'dies'... even modern physics takes as fact the Law of conservation of energy and matter... nothing is gone it has merely changed form... i believe many more people share that "opinion" than just Osensei and me... even you are perfect and without limits, though you do not know it... perhaps you better stay with aikido, until you realize this truth...

Nick Simpson
01-31-2006, 08:08 AM
Theres more of that condescension Edwin. I did not say I had no faith in the words of the founder. I find pretty much everything limited and imperfect to some degree. It may be a very small degree, it may be a very large degree. Depending on what we are talking about.

I practise aikido for a mulititude of reasons. Mainly because I love doing so and it is part of what makes me who I am.

My time? If I was you, I would worry how you spend your time...

No, I imagine that I do not know more about aikido than O'sensei did.

As for your statement about no one and nothing dying, yes I recognise the fact that energy changes form etc etc. But the man is dead.

Perhaps, Edwin, you should refrain from being quite so arrogant and telling other people what they should and should not do. You do not know me, how I train, who I train with. You do not know my heart, my mind or my soul. You concern yourself with, well, yourself and I will do likewise. This is my last on this topic with you.

happysod
01-31-2006, 09:06 AM
aikido does not have any limitations or shortcomings, unless ones practice or instruction has them I'm puzzled by your point here, do you claim that aikido somehow transcends the practice and instruction that is available to most. Perhaps you could given me an example of perfect practice and instruction that embodies what you mean.nothing is gone it has merely changed form certainly the "fact" that energy can neither be created nor destroyed is accepted by most scientists, but I'm unsure how this equates to either aikido practice or a persons attempts at mastering any activity.

While I agree with your disdain for the "too complex to learn" which is sometimes used to defend poor aikido from a self-defense point of view, I also disagree with your idea that aikido is perfect. For Ueshiba, it was. However, to then extrapolate that it is perfect for everyone is to do his wealth of experience both in other arts and the lifestyle he led a disservice and also begs the question why he originally insisted his students came from other arts. I much prefer to think of people as the sum of their experiences rather than a single thread.

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 03:11 PM
good questions Ian... aikido by definition is transcendant( :ai: :ki: ), and thereby perfect and limitless... have any of us reached this in our practice?... well i haven't, but i have had what i believe are glimpses or hints that that state is possible... i would guess that lots of people have had 'aiki-moments'... i made a general statement with regards to practice and instruction, not a statement claiming there was a perfect practice or instruction... people are the sum of their experiences, we all bring our own stains and imperfections to everything we do... aikido is misogi, a practice to 'fix' these problems...it is indeed because of Osensei's experience and lifestyle that one may reach this conclusion... he chose other MA (although not exclusively so) because they also had experience that would lead them ultimately to this same conclusion...
:blush: if any see this as 'condescending'... i apologize again... i have given no 'orders' that 'must' be obeyed merely made observations and discussed issues that we all agree are 'limitless'... most of my 'questions' are not to be taken personally, but to further the discussion... :confused: is it not the height of arrogance to not concern yourself with your fellow man? would you watch someone drown or would you reach out to save them, even at the risk of your own life? :)

Michael Varin
01-31-2006, 04:12 PM
Wow! A lot of back and forth since I've been gone. I have high hopes for this thread and don't want to see the Does aikido work in a fight? thread that never goes anywhere.

Stating that it takes a long time to be effective with aikido (because that's how it's always been/that's the way my teacher did it and he's the greatest) just doesn't cut it for me. Be innovative. How can one attain effectiveness sooner? How can we move toward, as Edwin said, the limitless? What methods should be used? Can it be done?

Also, George Ledyard said: "When I think about functionality I am usually thinking in terms of "martial arts". I have always been fond of Ellis Amdur Sensei's definition of "martial arts" as training to fight another professional."

OK. So one guy does kyudo (archery) and the other does judo and they are 10 meters apart. The judo guy is in trouble. None of his techniques will work, yet he was training to fight other martial artists. Why do we always think of boxers when we talk about self-defense, real fighting, etc?

The people who are most likely to assault you are either cowards, sociopaths, total idiots, or very highly trained. All of these with the exception of the idiots are going to favor the use of weapons and/or numbers for their assault.

Just the presence of a knife drastically alters the situation. Jab, you die. High kick, thigh is cleaved to the bone. Double leg, you die. A good right hand, with the element of surprise, will KO most anyone, so I'm not arguing that one. But you get my point. Back to my original questions. What are ways we can enhance the training? Assuming your other layers of security have been breeched, What makes an art viable for self-defense?

Something that I have been experimenting with for about the last year, is the execution of techniques when either uke or nage is holding a knife. Most people instantly recognize why they would use a technique such as shihonage. Even the traditional attacks are clear in their usefulness (How many times have you heard these are just for learning the techniques?), and in fact become legitimate techniques themselves.

Don't take what I just said to mean that aikido has no empty-hand v empty-hand applications, because it clearly does.

Again thanks for all of the comments.

Michael

Charlie
01-31-2006, 04:57 PM
Ah, I just missed you Edwin. I didn't get there until '92.

Michael O'Brien
01-31-2006, 06:33 PM
I could be wrong in my interpretation of the question asked regarding Aikido/MA in general and self defense, but I took it to mean an attack on the street from "joe punk".

George Ledyard Sensei approached vs. another trained martial artist instead.

My only encounter in street self defense was in the early 90's after a year or two of training in Tae Kwon Do and ended in a matter of seconds with my attacker unconscious on the ground.

In my humble opinion I would say in Aikido, or any art, the more time you dedicate to training will obviously speed up your learning curve to being able to effectively defend yourself on the street.

How quickly will that occur with dedicated (3 days/week) training? Again, my opinion, I would estimate the timeline at 1 year give or take a little.

Against another well trained person in a different style of MA? I don't feel qualified to answer that.

Charlie
01-31-2006, 07:12 PM
Sorry…this is long!

This debate about Aikido's effectiveness in a self defense scenario and/or the supposed long learning curve to get to a level to be effective in a live scenario has always disturbed me.

What are we selling? MOST of the schools that are represented by the people on this forum claim to have some level of self defense capabilities whether that is there main focus or not. I don't recall anyone's training brochures stating that -- "Oh by the way…it will take you a really really long time to be in any condition to use what you are taught in a manner that resembles competency. So, in conjunction to your regular Aikido training, you will have to attend my ‘dumbed down' self defense course.

If the argument is that we learn all this stuff to use outside the dojo walls and that it will be nullified by the adrenaline dump that is sure to come regardless of skill level -- then what is wrong in our approach?

…Most self defense programs which are aiming for solid, reliable self defense capability in the shortest possible time focus on a set of simple techniques that rely on gross motor movements an the large muscle groups. I can't think of any Aikido school that teaches Aikido with that in mind as it would be completely wrong in terms of the principles we are trying to imprint in our training...

With all do respect, WHAT? We are talking self defense right? The only ethical stance on principles that I need to be making in this type of situation is do I kill them or not! Do I continue to apply that choke or lock or what ever to the point of no return or not? Are these not Aikido principles as well? My training never made a distinction between this is Aikido and this is not because I use muscular strength in my technique in a self defense scenario. That is what you are saying right? Self defense relies on using strength to be effective and therefore is not Aikido? On the contrary, my training dictates that this is in fact AIKIdo, on a lower level, but Aikido none the less.

If what is being represented as Aikido self defense is only the higher level of AIKI applications then yes, I concur. You will only be able to apply effective Aikido self defense techniques after you have reached the higher ranks.

…Clint George Sensei told me a story about Shioda Sensei that he'd picked up from someone who had trained with him (Shioda). Shioda Sensei and some students were doing a demo after the War for some American GI's. After the demo, one of the soldiers said that it was pretty cool stuff but how would it work against a boxer? They of course had a guy with them who had been a golden gloves boxer in the States. Shioda Sensei had his boys try to show them but they couldn't get anything on the boxer so Shioda Sensei himself had to show them (in order to save the reputation of the art). Shioda Sensei completely ignored the jab, which had been so effective against his students and entered in and seized the boxer's rear hand and cranked a shihonage on him. Now I think that the Yoshinkan guys have the reputation for being the most concerned with the ability to do effective technique of any Aikido style and these guys were training directly under Shioda Sensei, yet they had a very hard time with the boxer... it took the big guy himself to actually do a technique against him. This story is completely consistent with my own experience that it takes quite a bit longer to reach some real functionality in Aikido than the other arts…

After reading Aikido Shugyo, I would have to say that you completely missed the point of Shioda sensei's account of this incident. He tells of this very story starting on page 56. He touches on the fact that his kohai was bested because of his preoccupation with HOW to deal with the opponent's attack. As such he was psychologically out maneuvered and placed in a reactive mindset. He goes on further to state, "This is why you must abandon any plans about doing one technique over another. It is not a matter of moving based on conscious judgment, but rather, when you rely completely on your five senses, you will for the first time be able to move freely. If you can do this, then the type of attack your opponent uses becomes irrelevant. As it was, my kohai was unnerved because he was up against unknown fighting techniques and even his stance seemed to be saying, "Now what do I do?" He had completely lost his own natural posture. As a result, he was already psychologically one step behind the opponent. He was defeated."

Sounds like he was beaten before the contest began and according to your own self professed biased definition as to what an encounter is between two martial artist; then this account is right in line with any other dual of past between two professionals where there had to be a loser. He made the 1st mistake and lost -- period.

For me, teaching self defense is not based on techniques. Anyone can come up with a list of techniques to present as self defense. All the arts have them and most of them are very similar.

Instead I try to make a point to be aware of the immediate surrounding, to be aware of the people in these surroundings. In general, to utilize the same five senses that Shioda sensei alludes to. I constantly strive to be aware of my body positions and stances in each and every one of my everyday activities. When I am practicing on a crowded mat: to be aware of my spacing and the activities surrounding me so that I can protect myself or my training partners.

For me this is the first line to good solid self defense. The addition of technique is secondary. If this awareness is not the focus of your entry level Aikido training program then [IMO] something is serious lacking and you will always have a division between what is perceived as Aikido and self defense Aikido.

Respectfully,

Charles

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 07:45 PM
spot on Charles... fighting is not the same as SD, SD covers way more ground than just fighting... but if you had to you better know how to fight! standing or on the ground...

Ketsan
01-31-2006, 08:25 PM
Alex, with respect you don't defend yourself with your mind, by the time your mind kicks in it is usually too late!

Actually. Your mind controls your body, so what I say holds. Your body can only work with the knowlege and understanding (martial mind) that's in the mind. The more knowlege you pack in, both in terms of depth of knowlege and breath of knowlege the better off you are.

Edwin Neal
01-31-2006, 08:49 PM
true but not entirely accurate... i am not a doctor so i'm no expert on the whole process, but the 'nervous system' has a conscious and unconscious component... i think we train for unconscious action... you don't think 'i have to blink' your body does it although your subconscious makes it happen... sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system... tell you heart to stop beating... it won't, but you don't have to tell it to keep beating every individual beat either...

happysod
02-01-2006, 03:44 AM
If the argument is that we learn all this stuff to use outside the dojo walls and that it will be nullified by the adrenaline dump that is sure to come regardless of skill level -- then what is wrong in our approach? This is the nub of the argument regarding many TMA (not just aikido) in that it is more often taught as an end unto itself rather than a specific path to self-defense. This is why many of the posters (including myself) have mentioned that if their interest was primarily self-defense, then their approach teaching aikido would change, often sacrificing some of the more esoteric moves in the process.The addition of technique is secondary Here I disagree, the points you mentioned re mental competence are valid from a "keeping yourself safe" point of view. While I agree it should be your formost reaction to situations, but if that's what you're focusing on you don't actually need a martial art and you'd probably be much better promoting money-fu to prevent yourself ever having to be in the situation in the first place.

The practice of martial arts assumes the worst-case scenario in that the confrontation has already happened or is unavoidable. Here, the techniques you know (in the bone so to speak) are paramount as these will dictate your actions.

Alec Corper
02-01-2006, 04:00 AM
I have often heard the trem "fighting spirit" used in association with Aikido. I can even remember my former Shihan referring to it during gradings. It struck me then as now, as a misnomer when applied to Aikido. When I began MA 37 years ago I started with Kyukushin and Shotokan for a couple of years, then switched to 5 Animal boxing. We did fairly full contact fighting without pads or body armour, and there were plenty of injuries .During one competition I fought a guy 15cm. taller and at least 30 lbs. heavier whose primary tactic was to try to deliver head shots. I got scared, I disliked being hit in the face (who doesn't) and this quickly turned to an aggressive response since that was the way we trained, fear as a stressor supplying adrenaline for fight rather than flight. I successfully delivered a flying kick to the solar plexus and the guy went down and stopped breathing. Fortunately for both of us he was brought round with several bangs to the back, no damage done, apparently a motor spasm. That marked the end of my love affair with fighting but it taught me that under duress we go where our body has been trained to go, not where our mind tells us.
So when people talk about fighting in Aikido I think they must be very careful because the fighting mind develops a fighting body. The development of a peaceful mind can lead to a self defense capacity but it needs special training to do so. It is a contradiction to train Aikido all the time thinking about how this or that technique could be applied lethally whilst still saying that Aikido is an art of peace. However if we are not studying the essence of mortal combat it is not Budo, and therefore not Aikido. This is the paradox that we wrestle with and you cannot seperate the moral, ethical and psychological aspects of training from the physical since they impact and influence one another.
Edwin, by the by, you can certainly learn to slow your heart down through mental control, and develop breathing control to reduce autonomic responses. So I guess in that sense Alex has a point.
Finally we should not ignore the fact that Aikido attracts different people to the dojo than other MA and I'm always surprised if fighters show up and stick. After all if they can fightalready why do Aikido. I asked one of my students, a big, strong paratrooper why he was doing Aikido. He said with a smile and a wink, "I already know how to kill people, now I want to learn to have the choice not to!"

respectfully, Alec

Mark Freeman
02-01-2006, 05:55 AM
Great post Alec, thanks. :cool:

regards
Mark

DaveS
02-01-2006, 06:37 AM
Peyton Quinn has written extensively on the problem of appying ones tecfhniques under real high stress street situations. In general, even those people who train in very practically oriented self defense styles, have trouble accessing those skills when they get the adrenaline dump associated with a real violent encounter. The physical symptoms associated with the adrenaline dump i.e. tunnel vision, loss of fine motor control, lack of depth perception etc. make executing technique of any complexity, difficult, if not impossible, for a person who isn't used to operating under that type of stress.
Out of interest, are there any Shodothugs out there who have been in a Real Life Self Defence Situation(tm) and if so, did shiai randori prepare you at all for dealing with the adrenaline dump in a calm and controlled manner?

Nick Simpson
02-01-2006, 06:42 AM
I've only got one more thing to say on this subject:

There are no effective arts, only effective practitioners.

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 07:18 AM
good posts everyone...
for SD i don't think much has to be changed in the way aikido is taught/practiced... the repetition and relaxation, and proper form over speed or power... are indeed probably the best methods for learning to do the techniques... internalizing them then becoming "formless" and allowing waza to naturally manifest...
the particular technique that gets used does become 'secondary' or perhaps a better way of describing this would be you don't go through a mental process of reviewing the waza you know and selecting one... rather it happens as an almost 'autonomic' response which as Alec said can be trained and controlled... i often think of it like 'flinching' rather than supressing that response we make the response more appropriate ie a better habit... a 'flinch' atemi or tenkan...
many traditional martial arts don't train or assume a 'worst case scenario' rather they sometimes refuse to admit that it may come to that (denial)... for instance saying there is no ground work in aikido because we would 'never' get taken down is ridiculous... most people may not want to go to the ground, but you better be able to do something there because it may(probably will) happen... we cannot be aiki-ostriches... indeed Osensei and others in a sense 'assumed' some knowledge of ground work, and aiki principles and techniques can be applied to ground work...
i like to think of fighting spirit, more as survival spirit and not violent or aggressive spirit... this is an important source of power/motivation in a SD response... indeed if this spirit is stronger than your attacker's spirit you have a significant 'lead' on him already... most predatory criminals choose easy marks... if you would fight back strongly and they sense this they may think it's not worth it...
we must also know how to apply waza across the entire spectrum... from benign to lethal... just for control/safety/practice purposes at least... but also it may be necessary to fight to the death... hope for the best prepare for the worst... if you have no control, then you have no choice...

Charlie
02-01-2006, 01:12 PM
…This is the nub of the argument regarding many TMA (not just aikido) in that it is more often taught as an end unto itself rather than a specific path to self-defense. This is why many of the posters (including myself) have mentioned that if their interest was primarily self-defense, then their approach teaching aikido would change, often sacrificing some of the more esoteric moves in the process…

While I can agree with this to a certain degree, I don't feel that it is valid as a reason as to why some think that Aikido is non-functional as a means of self defense until the latter stages of one's training.

The Yoshinkan approach is that all Aikido techniques stem from 6 basic movements [the last two forms are just combinations of the first four -- so actually based on 4 basic movements]. The average student who exhibits a certain degree of commitment should have these movements down in about a month. Once these are ingrained, then the teaching of technique really begins to ‘happen' because you don't have to keep hounding them on the very basics [e.g. how to move and body posture]. YEAH RIGHT but you get my gist.

At this point [when the basics start to stick] is when a student should be able to exhibit certain aspects of their Aikido training in a self defense manner. Case in point: my previous posts #16 (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=129668&postcount=16) and #23 (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=129699&postcount=23). Notice that I am not saying that they can go out and stand toe to toe with a professional martial artists -- only that they can perform in a manner that defends their very self. I firmly stand by my comment that if your own training is not cultivating these very basic fundamentals in your ‘traditional' Aikido class then something is missing.

I am a former US Marine. My instructor is a retired Navy Chief and his instructor served in WW2. So my training has always dictated a honing of the ‘warrior spirit'. My lessons have always made a distinction as to what we practice [for the most part] in the dojo is considered to be ‘classical aikido'. In other words the techniques that you would use in a self defense scenario are different or abbreviated as Ian alludes to. HOWEVER, the basics of Aikido are what we learn in class and are the very cornerstone to what you do in self defense, not separate but part of and all inclusive.

…Here I disagree; the points you mentioned re mental competence are valid from a "keeping yourself safe" point of view. While I agree it should be your foremost reaction to situations, but if that's what you're focusing on you don't actually need a martial art and you'd probably be much better promoting money-fu to prevent yourself ever having to be in the situation in the first place.

The practice of martial arts assumes the worst-case scenario in that the confrontation has already happened or is unavoidable. Here, the techniques you know (in the bone so to speak) are paramount as these will dictate your actions...

But isn't that what self defense is, "to keep yourself safe"? My statement was that this is the FIRST stage to learning good solid self defense. It goes hand in hand with learning technique. If a student is working on their awareness and not spending time on technique is absolutely a recipe for disaster just as if a student is working on learning their 100th technique [for self defense] and is never aware of exactly where they are or their relationship with others in their immediate surroundings is.

Self defense/Fighting always starts with this awareness and that is exactly the point that Shioda sensei was trying to make when he was commenting on the ‘boxer incident'.

In my minds eye, the person that will be more successful in a self defense scenario is the one that has the higher level of awareness AND is the least inundated with extraneous technique [but has fully ingrained some techniques]. On the flip side, the person that is most likely to suffer from the ‘adrenaline dump syndrome' is the one that has made or been taught that there is a division between what they learn in their ‘traditional' class and what is presented to them in a self defense context and will not be able to infuse the two until they reach higher training levels.

Ultimately we never know who is going to freeze up. All my training [martial and mililtary] agrees with this. All you can do is to continue to practice practice practice AND look behind you every now and then and maybe the chance that it will happen to you will be decreased.

Respectfully,

Charles

senshincenter
02-01-2006, 03:03 PM
Good points all around. I do not think I can even say I am on the fence here – I am thinking I’m all over the map with this one. So as to cut down on writing time – please let me offer the following question and answer format to demonstrate my position:

1. Is it easier (i.e. takes less effort, sacrifice, time, dedication, etc.) to learn a poke to the eye or to learn Ikkyo?

Answer: It is easier to learn a poke to the eye.

2. Is a poke to the eye Aikido?

Answer: Yes.

3. Is it harder to execute a poke to the eye or to execute Ikkyo within a real-life violent encounter?

Answer: They are equally difficult to execute and they will require the same amount of time and effort to apply in such situations in any kind of consistently successful manner.

5. Is it self-defense when you take a roll after crashing on your bike?

Answer: Yes.

6. Should instructors who are asked, “Can this art be used as self-defense?” silently understand that question to mean, “Can I learn to take a roll after I crash on my bike?”

Answer: No.

7. Is it self-defense when you use posture and awareness to deter and/or avoid attack?

Answer: Yes.

8. Should instructors who are asked, “Can this art be used as self-defense?” silently understand that question to mean, “Can I here learn to deter or avoid attacks by gaining posture and awareness?”

Answer: No

9. Should one excuse one’s lack of progress and/or of depth in the art by utilizing some sort of abstract “future” to dismiss the absence of such things?

Answer: No.

10. Can one progress and/or gain depth in the art via a short interim or via the immediate future or without a great deal of dedication, commitment, sacrifice, and hard work?

Answer: No.

10. Can Aikido be used as a self-defense art?

Answer: Yes.

11. Do most aikidoka train in a way that their Aikido could be used in a self-defense situation in any kind of reliable way?

Answer: No.

12. If you defend yourself from a violent attack, does that mean your training assisted you?

Answer: Perhaps.

13. If you defend yourself from a violent attack, does that mean your art is capable of being a “self-defense” art?

Answer: Perhaps.

14. If you defend yourself from a violent attack, does that mean you were just lucky?

Answer: Perhaps.

15. If you defend yourself from a violent attack, does that mean you attacker was just inept?

Answer: Perhaps.

16. How many instructors and practitioners use single and/or relatively few real-life past experiences to determine what is a successful self-defense art?

Answer: Too many.

17. Of the many instructors and practitioners that use single and/or relatively few real-life past experiences to determine what is a successful self-defense art, how many truly factor in their luck and/or the relevant ineptness of their attacker?

Answer: Too few.

18. Is Aikido an art that aims at gaining some sort of rarefied magic?

Answer: No.

19. Is Aikido an art that operates within the natural world and thus via the natural laws of physics, biomechanics, geometry, etc.

Answer: Yes.

20. Does the naturalness of Aikido make it any more accessible to the masses than were it aimed at some sort of rarefied magic?

Answer: No.

21. If you are in a bar, and you sense some danger or some sort of risky situation, do you have to fight your way out of the bar in order to defend yourself?

Answer: No.

22. If you are a woman about to face a serial rapist or an ex-husband that has violated his restraining order, will your capacity to sense danger be enough to defend yourself?

Answer: No.

24. Are there situations when self-defense entails more than just fighting?

Answer: Yes.

25. Are there situations when self-defense entails nothing but fighting?

Answer: Yes.



my opinion, thanks,
dmv

Alec Corper
02-01-2006, 03:51 PM
Nice succinct post, David. Short too :D

L. Camejo
02-01-2006, 10:28 PM
David V,

Great post. Nice and short too.:) For you at least ;) Good to see you around.

Out of interest, are there any Shodothugs out there who have been in a Real Life Self Defence Situation(tm) and if so, did shiai randori prepare you at all for dealing with the adrenaline dump in a calm and controlled manner?

Yes it did. Everything kinda happened in slow motion.

This thread has my most recent and hopefully last encounter - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3985&page=4&pp=30

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 11:04 PM
the idea of the adrenal dump seems to get overplayed, while i agree it happens i don't think it necessarily hampers performance... like larry said it tends to slow things down for me... i don't really get shaky or anything until after things are already finished... i think our training helps prevent this, although i am not sure how exactly... maybe relaxation or keeping your one point has something to do with it...

CNYMike
02-02-2006, 01:16 AM
.... Is aikido useful in self-defense situations?.....

The best answer to this question is here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=122648&postcount=438

End of discussion. :)

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 01:31 AM
i doubt that will be the end of the discussion Michael, but a good example, although maybe he's just a lucky guy...

jmcrae
02-02-2006, 01:38 AM
Burton Richardson argues that any art that claims to teach self-defense must take into account all of the following considerations.

(1) You need to be able to defend yourself in all ranges: kickboxing, clinch-fighting, and ground-fighting (since even if you don’t want to deal with an attacker in one of these ranges, you’ll at least need to be able to escape from it).
(2) You need to train against resistance (on a continuum from no resistance when initially learning the technique to full resistance in all-out sparring/randori)
(3) You need to train with both empty-handed and with weaponry (both disarms and the offensive use of weapons as an equalizer).
(4) You need to know how to fight against both single and multiple opponents (and you should focus on getting away from multiple attackers rather than trying to subdue them all Kung-Fu Theatre style).
(5) You need to be able to use the environment to your advantage (including environmental weapons, techniques using your opponent’s clothing, throwing someone into objects, etc.).
(6) You need to make moral development and a thoroughgoing knowledge of the law an essential part of training.

In theory, Aikido has the potential to meet all of these criteria. However, the way the art is actually practiced varies greatly from dojo to dojo. Some instructors place a great deal of emphasis upon resistance training in all ranges against realistic attacks. Others have little concern for self-defense, focusing instead upon tradition and the aesthetic value of the art. So long as Aikido is practiced according to these criteria, it can be a viable form of self-defense.

Temet nosce,
James McRae

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 01:55 AM
great post James, my thoughts exactly only much better organized and written! may i use this list for other posts and a paper i am working on??? do you have a link i could folow??? Thanks for any info, and the great post...

jmcrae
02-02-2006, 02:10 AM
Aloha, Edwin. Please feel free to quote me or, better yet, check out Burton Richardson's detailed article...

http://jkdunlimited.com/article_info.php?articles_id=21&osCsid=468d90d2e54499f44b208d0f9f091de8

He has a variety of articles on the subject of realistic self-defense training on his site (this one is taken from #3 of "The Three Guiding Principles of JKDU" found on the main page of his site, linked above). What is the thesis of your paper?

Temet nosce,
James McRae

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 02:22 AM
i haven't entirely fleshed out my thesis, but it would compare and contrast various arts and combat sports philosohy and strategy of self defense... i'm always working on papers it seems... thanks for the info...

doronin
02-02-2006, 03:41 AM
Well, the definition of SD may look quite controversial sometimes. If you were to describe a "fighter" (MA, not military) - looks like it would be the same quoted list.

Aikido doesn't seem to have a purpose to prepare a fighter. It provides you with a concept, methodology, of another way of dealing with aggression; and the techniques in the general Aikido curriculum serve more as examples of this concept applied, leaving to the martial artist to figure out the rest, i.e. how to propagate the obtained knowledge into all his previous experience, including his experience in other martial arts he knows.

I mean "all his previous experience", i.e. not necessary martial arts. Someone might not to have a past MA experience at all, but to have a practical fighting experience, regardless of how was it obtained -- this would be the foundation for applying Aikido principles. But take a person without ANY past fighting experience, for him to become capable of the "features" listed below would take a while…

This also explains why some dojo put more or less emphasis on a practical SD component -- because SD, in its full extent, is not a natural part of the "core" Aikido, but rather an application of Aikido into this or that kinds of situations -- important, but separate matter. So, different people give different priority to this component of the practice.

FWIW


Burton Richardson argues that any art that claims to teach self-defense must take into account all of the following considerations.

(1) You need to be able to defend yourself in all ranges: kickboxing, clinch-fighting, and ground-fighting (since even if you don't want to deal with an attacker in one of these ranges, you'll at least need to be able to escape from it).
(2) You need to train against resistance (on a continuum from no resistance when initially learning the technique to full resistance in all-out sparring/randori)
(3) You need to train with both empty-handed and with weaponry (both disarms and the offensive use of weapons as an equalizer).
(4) You need to know how to fight against both single and multiple opponents (and you should focus on getting away from multiple attackers rather than trying to subdue them all Kung-Fu Theatre style).
(5) You need to be able to use the environment to your advantage (including environmental weapons, techniques using your opponent's clothing, throwing someone into objects, etc.).
(6) You need to make moral development and a thoroughgoing knowledge of the law an essential part of training.

In theory, Aikido has the potential to meet all of these criteria. However, the way the art is actually practiced varies greatly from dojo to dojo. Some instructors place a great deal of emphasis upon resistance training in all ranges against realistic attacks. Others have little concern for self-defense, focusing instead upon tradition and the aesthetic value of the art. So long as Aikido is practiced according to these criteria, it can be a viable form of self-defense.

Temet nosce,
James McRae

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 04:21 AM
i disagree Dmitry... aikido by its very definition MUST work... it IS a martial art... however it is taught this does not change... the physical and philosophical aspects are interdependent... if you don't have one then you do not have the other... the physical techniques are fundamentally sound and effective, and are absolutely essential to attain the philosophical/spiritual goals... how long it takes to gain functional skills in just the physical aspects has been discussed here earlier, but i believe in about a year, depending on the student/sensei... re read post #27 &28...

doronin
02-02-2006, 04:58 AM
Well, Edwin, perhaps I was not clear enough. Of course it works. But Aikido presumes previous martial experience, and thus doesn't bother to cover everything.
It's your problem to obtain the knowledge in ground work, etc. and then to fugure out how to apply Aikido ideas on that. Aikido dojo may, but not must provide you with that.

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 05:03 AM
true Dmitry, but i don't think it is difficult to apply aikido principles to groundwork, or striking for that matter, in fact usually i have found they often share the same principles... my experiences with karate, judo, GJJ, and arnis have all been surprising similar to ideas i find in aikido...

senshincenter
02-02-2006, 10:07 AM
Burton Richardson argues that any art that claims to teach self-defense must take into account all of the following considerations.

(1) You need to be able to defend yourself in all ranges: kickboxing, clinch-fighting, and ground-fighting (since even if you don't want to deal with an attacker in one of these ranges, you'll at least need to be able to escape from it).
(2) You need to train against resistance (on a continuum from no resistance when initially learning the technique to full resistance in all-out sparring/randori)
(3) You need to train with both empty-handed and with weaponry (both disarms and the offensive use of weapons as an equalizer).
(4) You need to know how to fight against both single and multiple opponents (and you should focus on getting away from multiple attackers rather than trying to subdue them all Kung-Fu Theatre style).
(5) You need to be able to use the environment to your advantage (including environmental weapons, techniques using your opponent's clothing, throwing someone into objects, etc.).
(6) You need to make moral development and a thoroughgoing knowledge of the law an essential part of training.



I think this list is good, only, like most of the modern "self-defense" industry, it assumes too much from technique (which happens because technique is actually marketable). In other words, arts themselves are not self-defense oriented, or rather they can only be so up to a very limited point. What is more important is that the training itself be self-defense oriented. I am referring to the manner in which the martial attributes necessary to consistently succeed within self-defense situations are cultivated within the practitioner. For example, take a reverse punch - not all reverse punches are the same at a practical level: If you train to use this strike in an environment made solely of idealized scenarios, you will not be as prepared for using this strike in a self-defense situation as someone that does spontaneous training with this strike; if you practice this strike in spontaneous environments but those environments are made up of point sparring, you will not be as prepared to use this strike in a self-defense situation as the person that seeks to practice it in full-contact sparring; if you practice the reverse punch in full-contact sparring conditions but that sparring takes on more sense of training and/or of sport, you will not be as prepared to use this strike in a self-defense situation as the person whose spontaneous full-contact environments inspire deep emotional investment through the generation of things like fear (which comes about from a real risk of physical injury - not the fear of losing a match); etc.

To this list, and understanding it more as training requirements, I would add the following:

1. One's technical architectures must seek to provide the practitioner with an overwhelming mechanical advantage while simultaneously providing the attacker with an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage. (This sounds like a lot of Aikido but in reality this disqualifies more Aikido than one might imagine at first - just look at how Irimi Nage is practiced all over the world.)

2. One's idealized training assumptions must provide the attacker with the same level of sophistication as is being provided to the defender. (Again - this sounds like a lot of Aikido but in reality this disqualifies more Aikido than one might imagine at first - just look at how shomenuchi or yokomenuchi is executed all over the world.)

3. One's training must not assume that a consistently reliable spontaneity comes from the practice of basics alone. One's overall program must include a well-thought out process that cultivates the practitioner out of the realm of habitual reaction and into the realm of positive and immediate response. (Doing randori here or there and/or doing randori where everyone charges at your like a Frankenstein with his/her ass on fire does not qualify here.)

4. One's training must work to make one physically fit - strong of body and mind - flexible/supple - quick, high pain tolerance, etc. (Again, this quite different from most Aikido dojo where folks are often skinny, stiff, and very put off by pain. Ever have that hard of a time telling the Aikido group from the Judo Players?)

5. One's training should be dominated by a feeling of constant "intensity" - where injury is not only possible but more than likely, etc. (Again - not a normal position of most Aikido dojo.)

With these things come a whole list of other things that must be present - such that these five things listed above can actually function in a proactive manner and not just demoralize the practitioner into being a submissive and/or paranoid, etc.

dmv

Ron Tisdale
02-02-2006, 10:44 AM
Good post once again David. sometimes these issues seem to have such a thin line.

Best,
Ron

CNYMike
02-02-2006, 11:41 AM
i doubt that will be the end of the discussion Michael, but a good example, although maybe he's just a lucky guy...

Well, as far as I know, every martial art in the world is backed by people who claim it worked in real life. This includes Aikido. So IMO, arguing over what will or won't work is moot. Makes for a good flamewar, but little value other than that.

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 12:43 PM
David great post, i think i have some things in there to discuss/hash over with you... i really enjoy reading your posts... i will continue to read, and reread it for a little more to organized my thoughts, but i would like to ask you if i may use your list in the paper i am writing... your additions to the previous list address a lot more of the issues that i plan on compare/contrast in my paper... i appreciate your consideration of this... i plan to have this paper not be the typical style vs. style for SD, rather i want to explore the ideas of SD as a method of approaching training in any or more likely the more popular/well known traditional martial arts and combat sports (of course there is some overlap)... thanks again...

senshincenter
02-02-2006, 01:20 PM
Edwin,

Sure thing - not a problem at all - though you might want to clean up the spelling and grammatical errors (I was writing on my way out the door - sorry). No need to even ask - but thanks for doing so.

Talk soon then,
take care,
dmv

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 01:29 PM
yeah i kind of just type 'stream of consciousness' style on here, but i really envy your good style of writing... i'm sure there are only minor things... thank you for your help... do i need to give you 'credit' by footnote or anything like that, because i would be very happy to do so... your points are really spot on to what i wanted to get into... i'll let you know more when i've done a very rough draft in the next few days... thank you again...

senshincenter
02-02-2006, 01:39 PM
Hi Edwin,

Nope - don't need credit for anything. If you want it, and you can make it yours, it's yours. (It's the middle part that's hard to fulfill. :-)).

I sure would like to read the paper if you are ever up for sharing it with folks. :-)

That'd be nice indeed.

Thanks,
dmv

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 01:53 PM
i kind of plan on doing that... i may submit it to this site and one other... if i think it is okay, but its been a while since i did any serious writing so we'll see... i've jumped into a couple of forums to kind of toss around some ideas and get some feedback, but i have about 3 papers in mind and i'm sort of just starting to lay out the outlines... so it may be about a month... i'll be here way more than i should since i really like the people and ideas that go around... thanks again...

jmcrae
02-02-2006, 01:54 PM
Good post, David.

I agree with all of these points and believe that Burton would happily include them in his own definition (he addresses many of them in the article I reference, but I gave a rather condensed synopsis for brevity's sake).

It seems that a major point that can be drawn out of your comments (points 2, 3, and 5) is that the idea of "aliveness" is important in martial arts training. This concept is discussed a lot in Jeet Kune Do, and means that you and your partner should give each other realistic energy based upon your natural reactions within a resisting environment.

I especially like point 4: there are few things more shameful than seeing a martial artist with a huge gut hanging over his black belt (and don't anybody tell me it's all ki in there, either) :D .

Temet nosce,
Jim

Charlie
02-02-2006, 03:48 PM
In reference to David's post #70 (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=130151&postcount=70)...yes yes and yes!

A large portion of this thread is based on the assumption that a practitioner of Aikido would not be able to exhibit elements of usable self defense until they reached higher grading levels [compared to other arts]. I say that this is not true if what you are teaching is truthful in its presentation.

Why market what ‘you' teach as a valid method of self defense when almost every aspect of ‘your' approach does not support this and then on the flip side offer classes for self-defense separate and apart from your regular Aikido teaching/training? If the answer is to still be able to attract students and remain in operation, then I have to ask again, what are we selling?

Your list [David] makes the assumption that one would have to incorporate these necessary levels into your everyday training in order to become at least partially viable in a self defense setting. This is why I take issue with the fact that so many make a division between what is considered to be self defense Aikido and regular old Aikido. For me, it is all Aikido and if the approach is truthful, what you learn in an everyday ‘traditional' setting SHOULD spill over into what you do in a "self defense mode' and vise versa. Proper body alignment, hand movements, balance and everything else important to executing good solid Aikido is relevant to solid self defense. Not separate, not less important and definitely not beyond the function of the everyday ‘traditional' student.

It is understood that not everyone wants to train this way or gain this function. That is SO fine. However, if that is the case then change the focus of what you are selling to closer resemble what it really is…a philosophical method of dealing with conflict in a non-martial context.

I would like to make it very clear that I do not feel that all the different methods of teaching Aikido that are out there are completely invalid as a method of teaching self defense. On the contrary, if someone is lucky enough to incorporate what they learn on the mats in a self defense context and be able tell about it tomorrow [including myself!] then it is all for the better. Furthermore, it probably helps to support my claim that if the foundations are truthful then they will be applicable early on.

However, if this is the case then I suggest that you take another look at an earlier post [#56] (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=129988&postcount=56) that touches on this. I very much like the way this post presents how back and forth the topic of self defense can be!

Respectfully,

Charles

senshincenter
02-02-2006, 04:33 PM
Charles wrote:

"Your list [David] makes the assumption that one would have to incorporate these necessary levels into your everyday training in order to become at least partially viable in a self defense setting."


I would say that what I listed not only assumes such things but that it prescribes such things. In other words, there cannot be any difference between this "everyday training" and any other kind of training. This I believe is also your point.

For me, however, this does not merely go to the issue of self-defense but also to those issues related to spiritual matters. For that reason, I may use such understandings in my own curriculum, and we may produce some very capable folks in relation to self-defense concerns, but my focus through such listings is not self-defense -- it is spiritual.

This really comes up when one lists all of those other things I suggested one would need in order to be able to list the things I have already listed. However, I do not want to detract from the thread too much -- seeing that for some this may be an entirely different topic. On the other hand, I do not want to run in and dash away either with this idea. Here then is what could be thought of as an entryway into this topic of how martial virtues can and should coincide with spiritual virtues -- for those that might be interested in such reading:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/writs/exchanges/awarenessandconsideration.html

Thanks,
dmv

senshincenter
02-02-2006, 08:44 PM
I just had a related experience to this...

It made me realize how much perception plays in all of this - really how much delusion and/or ignorance plays in all of this. I do not mean this in a derogatory way - I am referring to the perception that comes to us when we cannot see the whole picture and/or when we replace what we cannot see with what others (less virtuous than ourselves) suggest we should see. I am referring to the perception of the beginner – the person who has not seen the whole picture; the person who cannot see the whole picture for the very reason of being at the beginning of a process or a path.

Allow me to ramble: On the one hand, we have this idea floating around here that real (I'm assuming this word means "consistent") self-defense skills can be obtained in a relatively short time. Along with that notion comes this implication that one should be able to SEE this in a relatively easy manner. In other words, there is as much obviousness to this position as there is immediacy to this position. Yet, as one read in my first post, I do not feel this to be the case at all. Of course, I am against the self-deception some use to hide their lack of progress – placing it in some sort of abstract and never-experienced future. However, equally, am I against the notion that one can cultivate within him/herself viable martial skills quickly, easily, and/or in an obvious manner.

In my teaching, mainly when I am instructing our arrest and control class and/or when I am instructing our advanced topics classes – because these classes both work around live-resistance and aggression – I often start class with the following contextualizing statement:

“In the beginning of your training, what is fake will look real and what is real will look fake. What is fake will often look real in the beginning - when no resistance or aggression is present and/or when the rate of action is slow; what is real will often look fake in the beginning – when no resistance or aggression is present and/or when the rate of action is slow. To know what is real in the beginning, you will have to accept what I am saying on faith; to experience what is real in the end, you will still have to take what I am saying in the beginning on faith. If you cannot muster up any faith, you will be stuck in the beginning – where everything is fake but where you will see it as real.”

In other words, a beginner, whether they belong to a “real” school or a “fake” school, is still going to be plagued by this illusion concerning what is real/viable/usable/consistently practical. Why? Because real techniques cannot be used safely and slowly without in essence dropping their connection to reality. This is compounded by the fact that real martial techniques – techniques meant to protect the human from disability and/or damage the human body into disability – are designed primarily to address great work loads. For example, this means they are meant to be used against strong and supple bodies and minds that can experience great deals of pain and injury before entering into a state of disability. Yet, what beginner comes into the dojo with such a body and such a mind? Answer: None. What is the result or consequence? You have to train them slow and easy or you will break them (physically, emotionally, mentally, even spiritually) and thus prevent them from learning whatever you are trying to teach. This brings us full circle: When you train them slow, easy – the fake stuff looks real, and the real stuff looks fake.

This thread is stirring up some stuff for me – not sure about all the connections – not sure I have the time now to work them all out – but I’d like to share a bit and see what comes up…

Once, a while ago, I was given a tough time by some when I wrote up our dojo’s position on the nage/uke dynamic. One of the popular “critiques” centered on the ol’ standby: “If you really want to understand, you should just be on the mat.” I.E. Shut up and train. We all know this “criticism” – it has many forms. Today, I think more folks, maybe most, now understand my position regarding the relationship between practice and theory, the role of these forums, etc. Therefore, it is no surprise when I say now that I still stand by our summary of the nage/uke dynamic – seeing it as in no way being a replacement or substitute for training. Regardless, here is my point: Some of the folks that offered said “criticism” had websites. When you looked at their websites, you saw pictures of some really skinny weakly looking folks who couldn’t possibly train all that much. When you looked at their schedule, indeed, you saw that such folks only held about three hours of training per week. Nevertheless, they felt fine leveling said criticism against a person that then had five times as much mat time per week (now, with our new dojo, nearly eight times as much per week – they are still at three). I am wondering how much this delusion, this kind of delusion (which is nicely covered in George’s article from two months ago), which of course comes in many many forms, and is experienced by many people (inside and outside of Aikido), further warps things that must already be warped to address the needs and limitations of the new beginner body/mind? In other words, how can we talk about teaching “self-defense” when we are not talking about how a beginner (or even an aikidoka), who already carries many delusions, must by the nature of the science being taught be deluded (i.e. having the real look fake and the fake look real)?

For me, when you raise this issue – the same traditional answer must apply: It takes time, faith, and patience, to see through both the delusions one holds for him/herself and the delusions that must be generated so that lethal arts can be learned by bodies and minds that start out weak, uncoordinated, fragile, stiff, etc. For me, the quick fix has no place in the development of consistently successful self-defense skills. For me the old answer applies: One needs Faith, which gives one Patience, which allows Time to pass, which allows the delusions of the beginning to be replaced with the reality of maturity.

This last week I suffered breaking my most senior student’s hand in kihon waza training. It was quite shocking – not so much because it “came out of nowhere.” Rather it was shocking because I was very “unsympathetic” toward my past teacher when I saw him do that many times to his uke – me always thinking he should be more aware, etc. He always acted surprised at the event. I ended up acting no differently. It (metacarpal), at most, felt like a matchstick. Somehow, there is a sense of hypocrisy that is waving over me now – a drive to say to my old teacher, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand everything you were doing and/or trying to do – everything you were facing. I still don’t – I know this.” Additionally, this same week, among many shots, I took a right hook to the brow that had me reliving that strike every day for the past seven days. This same week, among many shots, I severely connected with a left hook and a round kick to my senior student’s face (when he was on the ground); this same week, my most brand new beginner tells me, “I see you as the teacher I always wanted; I see this as the dojo I always knew could exist; but I don’t think Aikido is martial enough for me.” There is only one answer for this statement: Faith, Patience, Time. If my new student cannot muster up the Faith our forefathers have always said we needed, he will leave in the beginning, when what is real looks fake and what is fake looks real and being none the wiser concerning this confusion.

dmv

Charles Hill
02-03-2006, 12:41 AM
I, too, just had an experience relating to the issues Dave has written about. Last Monday, I taught a class on knife disarms. We use real kitchen knives that I have taken a grinder to to dull the blade. About half way through class, I called up a white belt student to demonstrate the next step in the progression. I saw that his gi was covered in blood. I realized that what had happened was that he had been paired with one of my seniors from another dojo who often visits my dojo. This person often resists in a way that leaves him open to strikes and reversals. He does it because he feels it is more realistic.

I didn`t see the event, but I am sure it ended with the white belt successfully taking away the knife but paying for it with a bad cut. This would have been a positive thing had it been a real fight, but it is shameful for me as the teacher because it wasn`t. Many students seem to think that this is a thing one "gets" as opposed to "develops." I think it does require "faith" but I also think that I have a responsibility as a teacher to help new students (or even old ones) acquire it.

Charles

senshincenter
02-03-2006, 01:25 AM
I 100% agree with you Charles - this point of "many students seem to think that this is a thing one "gets" as opposed to "develops." I also agree with the point, "...that (we) have a responsibility as a teacher to help new students (or even old ones) acquire it."

Thanks for the post,
dmv

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 03:32 AM
I think i am nearly satisfied with my thesis, but would appreciate any critiques of it... here goes...

Self defense is a goal that many training in the traditional martial arts and martial sports share. Defining this goal and training methodology to reach it, are not generally agreed upon, even by those within the various styles of TMA and MS. I will outline the similarities and diffences, between the two in both definition and training methodology for SD. I will not attempt to prove one approach is better than another, instead i will try to frame the debate and loosely define a middle ground that will allow a lay person to understand the debate and have some useful basic knowledge that they can use to judge an individual's or style's definition and training methods in a self defense context.

so what do you think???

Mark Freeman
02-03-2006, 04:26 AM
I think i am nearly satisfied with my thesis, but would appreciate any critiques of it... here goes...

Self defense is a goal that many training in the traditional martial arts and martial sports share. Defining this goal and training methodology to reach it, are not generally agreed upon, even by those within the various styles of TMA and MS. I will outline the similarities and diffences, between the two in both definition and training methodology for SD. I will not attempt to prove one approach is better than another, instead i will try to frame the debate and loosely define a middle ground that will allow a lay person to understand the debate and have some useful basic knowledge that they can use to judge an individual's or style's definition and training methods in a self defense context.

so what do you think???

Good, with one small proviso, lay people are notoriously phobic of TLA's ( three letter abbreviations )so if you can keep them to a minimum or eliminate altogether it will make what you write more accessible.

Cheers
Mark

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 04:42 AM
thanks Mark i have considered that, but had not decided to keep or not... just using it currently for my convenience... i am leaning toward eliminating them...

eyrie
02-03-2006, 05:22 AM
Edwin, for good measure, perhaps you should compare your findings with what Marc Mac Young has to say about the subject of TMA/MAs marketing themselves as SD-oriented arts.

http://nononsenseselfdefense.com

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 05:34 AM
Ignatius, i plan on that being a part of the basis of my discussion, but not getting int the whole marketing deal... thanks for the critique...

Nick Simpson
02-03-2006, 07:06 AM
To jump back in again heres a little story about a daft encounter last night:

After training, the rest of the class were going to a pub and I was going to the bus stop, I was walking to the pub with them when a 'chava' (young thug for any american readers) who was walking in the opposite direction, drunk and with a gang of friends started looking at me. I could see the cogs whirring in his brain and sort of half realised that he was going to do something. But I was deep in conversation and didnt pay too much attention to it. When he got within a foot or so of me he leant forward and screamed in my face. I was a little shocked, but out of reflex elbowed him across the chest/collar bone and knocked him into a window, which he bounced off and staggered away the laughing stock of his friends.

I got a bit angry afterwards and thought I should have filled him in. Then I realised this was a fairly good outcome, no fight, no real violence, no police/ambulance involved. Not bad eh? Was a bit tense afterwards but no adrenaline dump or anything.

I have used aikido principles successfully in the past while on the defensive, but this was pure reflex and though not a technique (which would have been irrelevant anyways, as there was no 'attack', just an invasion of my personal space) it was definately something instilled in me via my training.

Which is nice.

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 07:24 AM
who told you it was not an aikido technique???lol... sounds good to me... what if he had planned to follow up that scream with something more? you stopped that... and he got a lesson in ettiquete and humility that he probably needed... great story... too many people take a SD situation to be the extreme case of some incredibly huge, strong, bloodthirsty attacker, but even a dick like this one may have taken it further if you did not respond, just to impress his friends...

Nick Simpson
02-03-2006, 07:37 AM
'who told you it was not an aikido technique???'

Well, No one. We do use a lot of elbows as atemi and in iriminage and as a technique themselves, but what I meant is it wasnt really what you would call 'Classical Technique'. If you know what I mean ;)

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 08:01 AM
i know what you mean... but atemi waza is aikido... and you did it with proper intention... so to me it counts... others will probably disagree...

Mark Freeman
02-03-2006, 08:51 AM
Good story Nick and a good outcome, I'm not sure what constitutes 'Classical Technique', seems to me that you applied the right amount of force for the occassion. The only damage being to the chav's pride as his friends will probably dine out on his misfortune for quite a while. ;)

Also I'm wondering is post practice drinking just a UK thing? we have always as a matter of 'tradition' gone to the pub after training, mostly to practice applying the classical technique of 'fluid replacement therapy'. :D

Cheers
Mark

Ian Upstone
02-03-2006, 09:12 AM
Also I'm wondering is post practice drinking just a UK thing? we have always as a matter of 'tradition' gone to the pub after training, mostly to practice applying the classical technique of 'fluid replacement therapy'. :D

Nope! Training at Roppongi Yoshinkan pretty much means a compulsory visit to Geronimo's afterwards. Not naming names.. *cough* Michael Stuempel...

Nice story though Nick. Is it wrong to want to hear stories about the odd burberry cap boucing off a window? evileyes

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 09:38 AM
we always went out after training when i practiced Yoshinkan in Japan... maybe it's a Yoshinkan thing???LOL

Ian Upstone
02-03-2006, 09:50 AM
I reckon so! All that hiriki no yosei training gives you subliminal hints...

Well that's the official excuse I'm sure :)

jmcrae
02-03-2006, 01:35 PM
I think i am nearly satisfied with my thesis, but would appreciate any critiques of it...

Sounds good, Edwin. Have you read Bob Orlando's book, Martial Arts America ? He offers a theory of how fighting systems evolve over time into martial arts (and can potentially devolve into practices with no self-defense value whatsoever). In particular you might be interested in his detailed definition of what is specifically entailed by the term "martial art."

Temet nosce,
Jim

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 05:04 PM
1. One's technical architectures must seek to provide the practitioner with an overwhelming mechanical advantage while simultaneously providing the attacker with an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage. (This sounds like a lot of Aikido but in reality this disqualifies more Aikido than one might imagine at first - just look at how Irimi Nage is practiced all over the world.)

2. One's idealized training assumptions must provide the attacker with the same level of sophistication as is being provided to the defender. (Again - this sounds like a lot of Aikido but in reality this disqualifies more Aikido than one might imagine at first - just look at how shomenuchi or yokomenuchi is executed all over the world.)

3. One's training must not assume that a consistently reliable spontaneity comes from the practice of basics alone. One's overall program must include a well-thought out process that cultivates the practitioner out of the realm of habitual reaction and into the realm of positive and immediate response. (Doing randori here or there and/or doing randori where everyone charges at your like a Frankenstein with his/her ass on fire does not qualify here.)

4. One's training must work to make one physically fit - strong of body and mind - flexible/supple - quick, high pain tolerance, etc. (Again, this quite different from most Aikido dojo where folks are often skinny, stiff, and very put off by pain. Ever have that hard of a time telling the Aikido group from the Judo Players?)

5. One's training should be dominated by a feeling of constant "intensity" - where injury is not only possible but more than likely, etc. (Again - not a normal position of most Aikido dojo.)

David, i think we agree on many issues here but i do have some things i would like to explore a bit more, i have gotten to the part of my draft where i will essentially be comparing training methodologies... you didn't use the term, but what you seem to be saying is we must train 'alive' a concept that gets much play on another forum i frequent, and has been written and espoused by a guy named Matt Thornton... do you know of him? i have also read an article in the latest issue of Black Belt Mag with similar ideas... this concept classifies aikido and most Traditional martial arts as dead drills...
let me address your list one point at a time
1. i agree, and i think aikido does fit the bill although 'overwhelming' is a bit well too overwhelming, advantage /disadvantage need only be slight for success... the more the better obviously... i do not understand what you mean when you give iriminage as an example ie practiced badly, wrong? or not tactically sound?
2. i agree... basically realism in the attack and reactions of uke to atemi, techniques etc... not faking
3. i think i disagree here i believe that the repetition, and internalizing of waza does cultivate an habitual, positive, and immediate response... i agree with your frankenstein uke objection
4. i think i disagree here too... practice does improve general physical fitness et al, but requiring a certain standard will mean that most people would never achieve any level of functionality... my example has always been TKD if i have to kick over my head to defend myself then i will never be able to defend myself... aikido does not require a high degree of these qualities in order to function and so is ideal for SD, for example the aikido granny story recently posted here... and i thought the stereotype for aikidoka was overweight, stiff and liked pain! haven't noticed much except judo players are thick and strong usually
5. i think i differ here too... this is more mental than physical the calm mind in the face of danger Fudoshin... which aikido cultivates...
I think too many people think that we will always be attacked by really big strong bloodthirsty killers that are highly trained in the MA, but that is by and large the exception i think... likewise a little training is all that is needed in some cases to make a difference... ounce of prevention and all that...
as to time to gain functional skills that is of course dependent upon training intensity and student and instruction, but is aikido really any more complicated physically that any other physical activity like basketball or ballet or other MA... i don't see that... i get the feeling that is an excuse or ego/pride/superiority of aikido, that has somehow become doctrine... thank you for your comments and ideas...

Michael Varin
02-03-2006, 05:43 PM
David, I have a few questions for you as well. Although you might answer them in the course of answering Edwin's questions.

The first is really just to clarify points 1 and 2 on your list. The second, while everyone should strive for physical fitness, not everyone can be equal or even in the same class with regard to physicality. How do you address this? Do you believe all people have an equal right to self-defense? With proper state of mind and training with a handgun someone who is physically weak can be quite formidable.

Michael

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 06:02 PM
my point exactly michael... some people would never have the physical characteristics for this godly physical prowess... according to Shioda in Dynamic Aikido if you can lift 16 lbs you can do aikido, as aikido techniques require no undue physical effort...

Ketsan
02-03-2006, 06:33 PM
In reference to number 4 I've noticed that a lot of dan grade Aikidoka tend to have rather large and well tonned arms.

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 07:12 PM
David i have had some time to catch up on reading this thread and would like to know more about some of the things you said in post # 81
there is no way to say what a real or consistent skill is... each situation is unique and thus cannot be practiced for nor measured for consistancy... however the physical movements which are tactical and strategically sound can be learned and practiced and internalized (made somewhat automatic) in a relatively short time... we learn the forms and in time forget the forms and embrace the formless... ukemi is a good example... for some things this takes longer for some not so much...
real fake fake real give specific examples of each... like you seem to say you can feel the difference even if looks are decieving... it is all real viable usable and consistently practical... i am not aware of the position and critique of the nage uke relation, but i do have some ideas about it...any amout of training even dead training gives benefit... aikido science? well a good instructor and sincere student can cover the basics of science in about a year of study can't they?... lethal arts? breaking things? many times!? this is unnecessary and irresponsible possibly... what are you doing beating each other with sticks??? i think this student was making excuses and trying to let you down easy...
please excuse my fragmentary style as my fingers, and head are becoming thick... :cool:

senshincenter
02-03-2006, 08:25 PM
These are all worthy questions and issues being raised. I'll do my best to get to them soon.

Thanks,
dmv

senshincenter
02-03-2006, 10:41 PM
Hi Edwin,

I will see if I can lend a hand here will milling over some ideas…

First, however, I need to know how you are using the term “alive.” Just to make sure we are on the same page – could you please define that term for me and even, if possible, provide a couple of examples (even a contrasting example or two). Please/thanks.

As to your other points:

Point 1 –

You wrote: “i agree, and i think aikido does fit the bill although 'overwhelming' is a bit well too overwhelming, advantage /disadvantage need only be slight for success... the more the better obviously... i do not understand what you mean when you give iriminage as an example ie practiced badly, wrong? or not tactically sound?”

I can only go with my own experience. In that experience, I tend to focus more on what I learn inside of spontaneous training environments against other skilled fighters first – this is what I give the most weight to when it comes to determining what is “real” and/or what “works” – what is self-dense capable and what is not, etc. I give secondary weight to what I learn from dealing with real-life skilled fighters (on the street). This is because they are relatively too few to base any kind of practical perspective upon and because they are nowadays fewer and further between. For me, I give almost no weight to what I experience when facing real-life unskilled fighters. For though their numbers may be adequate for forming some kinds of practical perspectives, the huge amounts of ineptness and overall “bad luck” of the unskilled fighter makes anything one might experience via them almost meaningless. In short, in my opinion, one should not determine what is real and/or effective via scenarios that one cannot to a large degree factor out the ineptness and bad luck (which tends to plague the unskilled) that is truly supporting “victory.” Besides, if you are training right, what works against highly skilled fighters in a training scenario does work against skilled fighters in the street – and, of course, it works against unskilled fighters in the street as well. If you take the inverse of this, what works against unskilled fighters in the street almost never works against a skilled fighter on the street and/or in the dojo. Better then, in my mind, to place weight as I have placed it when formulating what works and/or does not work, what is needed and/or not needed, etc.

With that said, my experience tells me that slight mechanical advantages are never enough when dealing with either real resistance and/or real skill. Using an abstract example here: If it takes “10” to move a person’s shoulder to the ground under normal training conditions (into a pinning position), neither “10” nor “10+1” will be enough to get the job done when said person is resisting, and/or skillfully resisting. If you want to get that shoulder down when facing a skilled resistance, you had better have a capacity of something like “10+10” to do the job.

This is not something that has to remain abstract. If you are an aikidoka that is not familiar with this experience, then chances are you have not necessarily developed architectures that are designed to address it. If you have not developed architectures that are designed to address it, you are open to getting a first-hand sense of what I am talking about. All you have to do is get you and your buddy together and have one of you try and pin the other while the other one resists as skillfully as possible (strong-arm moves, strikes, counters, reversals, range changes, pulling knives, etc.). Note: You got to make sure your buddy is not so cultured as to fall down at your slightest cues and/or at the slightest sensation of pain and/or possible injury. If you do this, you will find that strength only goes so far, kokyu-ryoku only goes so far, and that both of these distances are way short of the work output necessary to achieve even a simple end like a pin. What is needed (in combination with physical strength and kokyu-ryoku), as I said before, is a tactical architecture that has as its aims the providing of a overwhelming mechanical advantage for you and an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage for your opponent. Without this, moves become very hard, most often impossible, to employ under real life conditions – unless your opponent is inept, unskilled. Notice that I do not say “weak” – because even a person of relatively little physical strength can give you one hell of a hard time should your tactical architectures not be designed in line with this aspect of the combative experience.

To tie this into what I was saying about Irimi Nage as it is more commonly practiced all over the word…

There are two main places where the common architecture actually seeks to function via a mechanical disadvantage – and thus not to function under real-world conditions (i.e. where Uke is not choreographed to NOT take advantage of Nage’s mechanical disadvantage). In Kihon Waza training conditions these mechanical disadvantages are not exposed for what they are – the place where in real life you would lose dominance over your adversary – because ukemi has been choreographed to not expose them. Using Shomenuchi Irimi Nage (tenkan) as my example, the two points in question are: 1) That point where Nage enters behind Uke and then performs a tenkan in order to bring Uke down and around into the Kuzushi; and 2) That point following the above mentioned tenkan and prior to performing the irimi-ashi in order to execute the throw – with Nage standing to the front of Uke. The first point operates at a mechanical disadvantage for the very reason that it also loses aiki. That is to say, it is in fact a kind of “reverse clash” made up of two pulling energies – two energies pulling against each other. Because of the soon-to-be-performed tenkan, Nage’s pulling energy is soon-to-loose body fusion and directional harmony and does so increasingly as it generates greater force at the point of contact at Uke’s collar and/or neck (wherever). This is no match for the body fusion and directional harmony present in Uke’s shomenuchi strike. To feel this for yourself, all you have to do is get you and your buddy together and have him strike like he’s about to break through ten boards with that strike – without the slightest intention of taking ukemi (i.e. turning around Nage). What you will find when you do this is that it is extremely easy for such a committed Uke – delivering a fully committed strike – to either blow right past Nage’s attempted control point (at the collar/neck/?) and/or to pull right out of its influence – nullifying the Kuzushi altogether.

However, let us say you get through this and you are now standing in front of the Uke you just brought around… Here again is a clash of energy – another loss of aiki – only it is the standard push-push clash. It is often overlooked because either super-human strength is afforded to Nage’s arm and/or because super-human weakness is afforded to Uke’s head and/or supporting core muscles, etc. As a result, Uke is choreographed to either be surprised and/or caught coming up – so that the irimi portion of the throw can occur. That is to say, Uke is choreographed out of executing a tactic that would actually demonstrate the mechanical disadvantage that Nage is experience simply because he is now standing in front of the on-coming Uke. To feel this mechanical disadvantage, again, get you and your buddy together and tell him to go ahead and give you the Kuzushi but then to do everything he can to not be thrown by the Irimi Nage part of the whole technique. You will again find that you will not only be at a mechanical disadvantage to Uke’s lower oncoming posture but that you will also be at a tactical disadvantage because of Uke’s lower oncoming posture. For example, you are a grappler’s wet dream come true – in other words.

Point 2 –

You wrote: “2. i agree... basically realism in the attack and reactions of uke to atemi, techniques etc... not faking.”

Since others have asked for further clarification on this matter, please allow me to elaborate a bit on this as well…

Here I am referring to tactical architectures that fulfill their aims predominantly because Uke has been choreographed to attack in an inferior manner and/or to employ inferior tactics. Examples of this are those Shomenuchi versions where folks just stick their hand up and out and wait there for Nage to “blend” with them; and/or those Yokomenuchi strikes that come way from the outside (at an angle that would actually damage Uke’s shoulder and/or elbow were he to actually hit any kind of real target, even a head), etc. One can even here consider those “reaction” techniques along the same lines – e.g. where nage puts his hand up in Uke’s face and Uke then does that goofy totally tactically inferior “block” that opens him up for Ikkyo.

Point 3 –

You wrote: “i think i disagree here i believe that the repetition, and internalizing of waza does cultivate an habitual, positive, and immediate response... i agree with your frankenstein uke objection.”

I am not sure what you meant when you wrote this but I simply meant that one cannot go from form to non-form simply by doing form. I was not out to make a point against repetition and/or the internalizing of waza. My point, using your terminology, is that one cannot truly internalize waza simply by repeating forms over and over again. There is a lot that goes into unifying the doer and the deed and almost all of that is done way with when you only focus in on the deed – when you believe the deed and/or the repetition of the deed accomplishes everything. To keep this short – because this is a complex problem (the heart of the martial arts in my opinion) – to unify the doer with the deed (i.e. spontaneity of technique) one’s training has to have a thoroughly established system meant to address the doer himself. This has been brought up a great deal in the thread Larry started on the “Culture of Mediocrity,” you see a lot of this being discuss on our website, and there is some of this being mentioned in the thread started by Paulina on “David’s Drills.” Remember, it is SHU-HA-RI, not just SHU.



Point 4 –

You wrote: i think i disagree here too... practice does improve general physical fitness et al, but requiring a certain standard will mean that most people would never achieve any level of functionality... my example has always been TKD if i have to kick over my head to defend myself then i will never be able to defend myself... aikido does not require a high degree of these qualities in order to function and so is ideal for SD, for example the aikido granny story recently posted here... and i thought the stereotype for aikidoka was overweight, stiff and liked pain! haven't noticed much except judo players are thick and strong usually.

Let us not forget that the whole time Osensei was putting in his time, he was thick and strong too. If you train hard, train a lot, both of which are required for the developing of real-life consistently successful self-defense tools, whatever your body type, you too will be thick and strong for your body type. Because of the nature of the exercise itself, you will not be able to train hard, train a lot, and not gain these same dimensions relevant to your own size. I am not saying that everyone has to weigh 180 lbs to 240 lbs in order to practice self-defense. I am saying that anyone that seeks to practice self-defense is going to have to train hard and train a lot, and that because of this they are going to be thick and strong (as their body type will allow). They will never be thin and/or weak for their body type. It is kind of like this: If you race bicycles professionally, you are going to have strong legs (not “x” size legs – but strong legs). If you do not have strong legs, then you do not race bicycles professionally. You may ride bicycles, but you certainly do not race them professionally. Thus, it is true that Aikido does not require a high degree of such qualities in order to function – especially if you are fulfilling my point 1 – but it is also true that high amounts of hard training (which are necessary for developing self-defense skills as I understand them) do make one thick and strong for their body type – not allowing one to remain thin and weak for their body type.

Point 5 –

You wrote: “i think i differ here too... this is more mental than physical the calm mind in the face of danger Fudoshin... which aikido cultivates...
I think too many people think that we will always be attacked by really big strong bloodthirsty killers that are highly trained in the MA, but that is by and large the exception i think... likewise a little training is all that is needed in some cases to make a difference... ounce of prevention and all that.”

I’m not sure where the departure is in our views. I agree, one is after qualities like Fudoshin, but in order to truly cultivate this, one will have to train facing a whole lot of danger. My point is to bring the danger into training and to leave it there – making sure it is there, always upping it, as one grows accustomed to it. This is how you cultivate Fudoshin, how you reconcile the egocentricism, the lack of awareness, and the tendency to resist energy by pushing against it, etc., things that all come from fear (for example) taking us over within self-defense situations.

I agree with you that for the average person the majority of violent encounters that one might face on the street are not made up of highly skilled martial artists and/or street fighters. However, I also have to say that I do not qualify those encounters that are the result of an immature spirit, ego-attachments, and/or emotional insecurities, as self-defense situations. Additionally, and personally (of course), I do not think it wise or honorable to develop, and thereby market, self-defense systems that are designed to confront and defeat the unskilled (no matter how numerous they may be and/or how many times the immature spirit will bring one into a state of violence with them). After all, what will the Yellow Page ad look like:

“Come learn to kick the ass of folks that can’t fight worth crap! Gain confidence by beating up people that have even more reason to be insecure than you do! Sign up today and get a free gi and beer mug with dojo logo! Sign a friend up with you and get two beer mugs each! Come and learn Aikido now!” :-)

You wrote: “as to time to gain functional skills that is of course dependent upon training intensity and student and instruction, but is aikido really any more complicated physically that any other physical activity like basketball or ballet or other MA... i don't see that... i get the feeling that is an excuse or ego/pride/superiority of aikido, that has somehow become doctrine... thank you for your comments and ideas.”

No, I would agree, Aikido is not any more physically complicated than basketball or ballet or any other martial art. Only, I feel all of these things take a great deal of time to learn (obviously we have different understandings of “learn”). This is where we differ – you think they all take a short time to learn, I think they all take a long time to learn. Sure, as you said earlier, someone can learn how to dribble the ball around, come to understand the rules of basketball, make a basket or two here or there, etc. – sure he’s playing basketball. A lot of folks do Aikido just like that – playing Aikido. A lot of folks are just like that in every martial art – just like a lot of little girls are out there now playing ballet. These folks play basketball, they are doing basketball, these little girls are playing ballet, they are doing ballet, these folks play Aikido, they are doing Aikido – but the verbs “playing” and “doing” do not cover the difference in years that makes one into a basketball player, a ballerina, and an aikidoka.

I get what you are saying, trying to say. I understand your critique over this pride issue and how it is often used to disguise incompetence and/or a lack of investment, etc. However, for me, the solution to all of this is not to then say that one never really needs to know all that much and/or to invest all that much in order to understand. Rather, I choose to remain critical of the incompetence and/or the lack of investment directly – leaving the passing of time to its rightful place in the maturing process of developing these skills authentically.

Great discussion, thank you very much for bring these things up.

Much appreciation,
dmv

FYI: My six year old daughter, the blessing of my life, plays ballet. She sucks at ballet.

senshincenter
02-03-2006, 10:44 PM
In reference to number 4 I've noticed that a lot of dan grade Aikidoka tend to have rather large and well tonned arms.

My past teachers all felt like trains on the mat.

A funny story: We were all talking one day after class - when I was training in Japan - saying how Sensei felt like a train on the mat. Sensei was passing by without us noticing - when we looked up to see him there. He just said, "Wow, I never thought of myself as a train - I always tried to feel like a giant bear."

We said, "Same thing."

:blush:

senshincenter
02-03-2006, 10:46 PM
David, I have a few questions for you as well. Although you might answer them in the course of answering Edwin's questions.

The first is really just to clarify points 1 and 2 on your list. The second, while everyone should strive for physical fitness, not everyone can be equal or even in the same class with regard to physicality. How do you address this? Do you believe all people have an equal right to self-defense? With proper state of mind and training with a handgun someone who is physically weak can be quite formidable.

Michael


Hi Michael,

I think maybe I did cover these questions in my reply to Edwin - if not, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks,
dmv

senshincenter
02-03-2006, 10:48 PM
David i have had some time to catch up on reading this thread and would like to know more about some of the things you said in post # 81
there is no way to say what a real or consistent skill is... each situation is unique and thus cannot be practiced for nor measured for consistancy... however the physical movements which are tactical and strategically sound can be learned and practiced and internalized (made somewhat automatic) in a relatively short time... we learn the forms and in time forget the forms and embrace the formless... ukemi is a good example... for some things this takes longer for some not so much...
real fake fake real give specific examples of each... like you seem to say you can feel the difference even if looks are decieving... it is all real viable usable and consistently practical... i am not aware of the position and critique of the nage uke relation, but i do have some ideas about it...any amout of training even dead training gives benefit... aikido science? well a good instructor and sincere student can cover the basics of science in about a year of study can't they?... lethal arts? breaking things? many times!? this is unnecessary and irresponsible possibly... what are you doing beating each other with sticks??? i think this student was making excuses and trying to let you down easy...
please excuse my fragmentary style as my fingers, and head are becoming thick... :cool:

Hi Edwin,

Not sure I understood this post - either my thick head or your thick fingers. :)

If you get a chance, perhaps you can explain things further for my thick head. :freaky:

d

Edwin Neal
02-04-2006, 01:10 AM
thanks for the reply David... heres a link about 'aliveness'
http://www.straightblastgym.com/newbook.htm

I think we are really very close in our ideas and values on this broad topic... i think that any differences are by relatively small degree's and the terminolgy is somewhat fuzzy... i have found that many people and myself find aikido 'harder' to pull off in the dojo than on the street... i think you are (rightfully so) being a little more conservative in you framing of the topic... we don't call that waza iriminage thats what Seagal does like a clothesline... we call it kokyu nage tenkan, and i recognize it from your description but all the problems you point out are problems my sensei taught us to fix/not do... it's uncanny how you touched the points that we work to avoid... i too have seen it done very badly in places, but i still have used it effectively in hard live randori and against people sparring outside the dojo... i will not discuss all the specific points of the waza, but i agree the points you mention are how it is done badly and yes i will say it wrong...
i think we will save point 3 for later as i too think there is a very complex matter there, but again i believe you are being conservative, and i am probably for the sake of my position taking a slightly more liberal view... again just a matter of degrees... point 4 i agree, but still maintain any training gives some benefit, and some skill that can be applied... though probably not at the conservatively high level you want to establish as a baseline... point 5 agian we agree, any difference is by small degrees... the only issue i still want to examine is practice of the waza... i truly believe that if the waza are practiced correctly in mind, body and spirit, then all the qualities and benefits will develop over time... the length will be longer for some not so much for others, but my core fundamental belief is in the practice... my sensei feels like a bear riding a train hitting you with sledge hammer's!!! ... your piece on your sensei reminded me alot of him... you can feel it when it is for real...

even i will have to go back over my last post... we will talk more if you like... your dojo sounds great... i couldn't get the videos to work... but i'll see if i can work on that... thank you so much this is really helping to organize my thoughts for my paper...

Michael Varin
02-04-2006, 08:55 PM
David,

I always enjoy your posts - even if they are long. I can tell that you put effort into them and speak honestly, and I appreciate that. And it seems like you guys train really hard and work with a lot of spontaneity at your dojo. That's great.

You did answer my questions, by the way. You also did a very good job describing the irimi nage. That is much different than the way I was trained to do irimi nage. If you achieve nearly pushing someone's face into the ground why not just continue to do so?

Regarding the overwhelming advantage/disadvantage, let me share a story that a close friend told me. He trained in mma in the LA area for a few years and told me of a time that one of his training partners (important note: this man could do repetitions of one-arm pull-ups, very strong), who was not a novice, was sparring with Kimo (early UFCs) who, many said, was on steroids at the time. He had Kimo nearly locked out in juji gatame (arm bar) and Kimo one arm curled him breaking the technique. I would say that juji gatame is one of the most classic examples of overwhelming advantage afforded by a technique, and yet it was defeated by sheer strength.

What is your opinion on size and defensive capability? Isn't the proper use of weapons the only thing that offers you a truly overwhelming advantage? Where does aiki fit into all of this? Both of these were important to Morihei.

Also, when you are practicing techniques that give you this advantage, and are, say, pining someone, or kicking them while they're down, do others in the dojo rush you from behind and then proceed to assault you as a group? We so often see things in a one-on-one environment. When in reality, things are seldom one-on-one in self-defense. What if you have a child with you?

In a neighboring city last week, a 51 year old man was knocked of his bike and beaten to death by 8 gangsters. I doubt they were trained, but I'm 100% sure they were dangerous. And I doubt that techniques that work against 'a' skilled fighter would have worked against them. Don't the gangsters' tactics give them an overwhelming advantage? Multiple attackers seemed important to O'Sensei as well.

These questions are not only for David, so feel free.

Michael

senshincenter
02-05-2006, 12:28 AM
Hi Michael,

Thanks for the reply. Only - You are too kind, but thank you very much. I trust you can always scroll over me if ever you wanted to…

Let me try to reply to your questions and the issues you raised...

You wrote: “Regarding the overwhelming advantage/disadvantage, let me share a story that a close friend told me. He trained in mma in the LA area for a few years and told me of a time that one of his training partners (important note: this man could do repetitions of one-arm pull-ups, very strong), who was not a novice, was sparring with Kimo (early UFCs) who, many said, was on steroids at the time. He had Kimo nearly locked out in juji gatame (arm bar) and Kimo one arm curled him breaking the technique. I would say that juji gatame is one of the most classic examples of overwhelming advantage afforded by a technique, and yet it was defeated by sheer strength.”

I myself have experienced this – when I was first learning to apply this lock under more spontaneous conditions. Folks do not have to be all that much larger than you to do this and/or to do it enough to offer enough resistance to create some sort of opening for a counter or a reversal. Of course, if your opponent sucks, it’s easy. You can do it just like out of picture book instruction manual. But if your opponent is good, no way - can’t be done. It can’t be done until you do more than just learn the basic mechanics of the lock. For example, one of the things that makes the technique more effective is being able to hide the opening for it within the opponent’s own movements. This sounds obvious – but obvious or not it is very hard to do and gets harder as your opponent gets more skilled. A lot of aiki goes into this and aiki is not cultivated in the body/mind over night – certainly not within spontaneous and/or violent conditions.

Additionally, so we get away from the obvious strong folks… I’ve seen drunk girls of about 110/120 lbs give a 200 lbs plus law enforcement agent (even two at one time) one hell of a tough job in gaining tactical control. In our ARCON, with me only weighing about 170 lbs, and only offering about 10% resistance, it is very possible to shut down normal controlling techniques consistently – sometimes just wiggling is enough even though the Nage is about 250 or 270 lbs. In short, as I said in an earlier post, one severely needs tactical architectures that are designed to meet resistance – architectures that actually function better with resistance than without (in a way). Of course, we all say this, and we all think we do it. So no matter what I’m preaching to the choir here. No one is ever going to say, “Oh no, that’s not true – you do not want architectures that give you an overwhelming mechanical advantage and your opponent an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage.” However, though we may not say it, many of us do it nonetheless (in my opinion).


You wrote: “What is your opinion on size and defensive capability? Isn't the proper use of weapons the only thing that offers you a truly overwhelming advantage? Where does aiki fit into all of this? Both of these were important to Morihei.”

Of course, a weapon can do what you describe. However, weaponless techniques can do this as well. And, yes, in my opinion, aiki is definitely a part of what I am talking about. I will define aiki here as a harmonizing of yin and yang energies – melding yin with yang and yang with yin (e.g. when pushed turn, when pulled enter, etc.). These are long answers already, and this one would be an immensely long one – so let me say this one example and let me speak, for the sake of common ground, using commonly practiced Aikido kihon waza: To establish an overwhelming tactical advantage over a resisting opponent (inside of spontaneous conditions), and to simultaneously provide him with an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage, one can take the strategy of aiki and employ it tactically by finding the pin in every throw and the throw in every pin. Here is a very basic example of this – using Ikkyo:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/moroteikkyo.html

You wrote: “Also, when you are practicing techniques that give you this advantage, and are, say, pining someone, or kicking them while they're down, do others in the dojo rush you from behind and then proceed to assault you as a group? We so often see things in a one-on-one environment. When in reality, things are seldom one-on-one in self-defense. What if you have a child with you?”

Well it is not that we don’t practice these things – we do (e.g. multiple attackers, etc. And thus it is not that we would say there is no need to and/or that we would say we shouldn’t train in such things. (Though I have never taken my children on the mat with me for spontaneous training.) However, we do not orient our training via scenarios. We are very principle oriented – we do not try to recreate ever situation that one might face, etc. I do not think one can do that or even should try to do that. The cultivation of technical spontaneity is only hindered by that kind of training. Additionally, one must remember, we are only interested in self-defense skills and such training, etc., because of the edge it can provide in the honing of our spirits. This will mean at some point, probably long before one gets to the horseback riding armor-wearing machine gun-carrying challenger in scenario training, we would have found our answer and felt little need to ask such a question. To really tie this into your last question, we would not uplift the fact that one could on rare occasion protect oneself and one’s child within a self-defense situation if one could not protect one’s child from one’s own fears, one’s own pride, and one’s own ignorance on a daily basis.

Again - thanks for writing – got to go now, sorry.

Take care,
dmv

AESBird
02-05-2006, 11:20 AM
I think the best thing to do would be to learn several of the most easy and effective Aikido techniques, so they come as second nature to you (like the blocks in Karate should).

Some of the Aikido defences are so long and complex it is probably better to keep to doing them in kata, unless you are very good. I certainly wouldn't like to be working out the defence if someone attacked me.

If physical defence can be avoided then I prefer to run away, though I'd rather know some way of defending myself if cornered. Most of the blackbelts in our dojo show us how the techniques can be used in self defence, and that is not always 'clean' fighting - but effective!

- Angela

Nick Simpson
02-06-2006, 05:00 AM
'Also I'm wondering is post practice drinking just a UK thing? we have always as a matter of 'tradition' gone to the pub after training, mostly to practice applying the classical technique of 'fluid replacement therapy'.

Well, Im sure it's not unique as we know that theres a big drinking culture among older men in japan (shihan ;) ) but it is definately an integral part of it...

Nick
Off the sauce for 9 more days...

senshincenter
02-06-2006, 12:22 PM
I suggested one could take on more directly the underlying problem that may arise when one states that training and proficiency require time - that we do not have to throw the baby out with the bath water by saying "profeciency comes relatively quick and easy." I wonder if any others have any ideas along these lines and what suggestions we all might consider. Here's one that I would like to share...

In my training and in my teaching experience, the one thing that simultaneously keeps one honest with one's own training and/or progress (or lack thereof), and that instills in the student that profeciency take time, is training within spontaneous environments. Since we happen to do a lot of this type of training at our dojo, it seems, we almost never come across this problem of using the distant future as some sort of hideout for our lack of commitment, sacrifice, understanding, and progress. If one does not have these things in their training, which may be fine for someone at a given stage in their life/training, there's no hiding it. I think this is why we tend to have the opposite trend in training that I have experienced in previous dojo where I was a member. As folks progress in their training, as they become more senior in the dojo, they train more - not less. They don't seek to replace quantity with quality - they simply seek to add more quantity and to use it in a more quality-based manner. For example, after one gets some basics down, feels good about them (subjectively), it is about that time that they get their first taste of a spontaneous training environment. What always happens? They realize they should not be feeling so good about their technique, their rate of progress, their level of investment, their degree of commitment, etc. What do they do? They always start adding classes to their training week. For me, this is the exact opposite of what folks do when they hide their lack of progress in a distant future. The former way mentioned above seeks to relate to time through work - not hope - and it does this precisely because proficiency takes time/effort. It is not hindered or tempting us into not working because proficiency takes time. In other words, one is relating to time in an entirely different manner, and in my opinion, that difference is coming to one's training via honesty, which is coming to the practitioner via spontaneous training environments.

In the end then, I think the real problem here is twofold: 1) There is not enough honesty in one's training; and 2) There is too much room for denial on one's training. The solution then should address these things. It seems then that anything one can do in one's dojo to support honesty and/or to reject denial should be a huge part of one's overall training curriculum.

That said, I do agree that technical proficiency within idealized conditions (e.g. kihon waza) and/or within some sort of "real" altercation that occurred at less than idealized conditions (i.e. restraining a drunk girl you have over 100 lbs on) should occur at a relatively quick rate. What I am referring to is meeting the parameters that are contained in our idealized training assumptions but doing so within spontaneous situations. It's like I tell the law enforcment agents who finally and consistently detain the 100 lbs drunk college female - "We'll don't quit now - that'd be your worse mistake. Keep training - for a long time."

I came across these quotes by a boxing expert and a BJJ expert - they are intersesting because the seem to say the opposite of what most non-practitioners feel about these arts (i.e. that they are easy and easy to learn - that they can be learned fast).

"If improper form is encoded, or bad habits are picked up early on, it is very difficult to fix. Using improper form reduces you efficiency in the ring and doesn't allow you to optimize your movement...This is a difficult punch. It's going to take time, it's going to take patience on the athlete's part, it's going to take patience on the coaches part, but with persistence, and like with anything else in life, with training nigh after night, one will be able to learn the left hook properly." (John Brown - Boxing)

"For you that want to enter into a no rules professional fight or for those of you that are unlucky and get in a fight in the street, or for those of you that just want to know about real fighting, I hope that I could explain some details and help you in some way. It is very hard to explain real fights, the real situation, because you have to train a lot and you have to know a lot of techniques - you have to taste them - that's why did - I've done more than 20 years in Jiujitsu and more than 10 years in professional fights." (Mario Sperry - BJJ)

justinmaceachern
02-06-2006, 12:48 PM
Hi David Valadez Sensei, How are you today. i have a question in wich i am having problems with the answer. My freind (Derek Gaudet) By the way he is the one from Canada that sent you footage of him and i doing some basic randori, doesnt feel that the training that we do is good enough for me to call him a sensei. He state that we are just practicing but doesnt realize the signifagents of what he shows me. Over the past few months he has maid me realize that alot of people use that term (Sensei) very lightly. Now despite what others may say, he is my teacher, I have learned more from him in short months then i did couple years of training at my old dojo. He can put me down whithout strain and that is not an easy thing to do. And he seems to have all the answers i need.
Do i have the right to call him sensei even know he is waiting for shodan.

Josh Reyer
02-06-2006, 01:21 PM
Do i have the right to call him sensei even know he is waiting for shodan.

Calling someone "sensei" is not a right, it's a courtesy.

"Sensei" is a title, and implies an acceptance of a certain responsibility. If Derek Gaudet doesn't want, or doesn't feel worthy of the responsibility (or more importantly, isn't qualified for it), then the case is closed: don't call him "sensei".

If you absolutely must show your respect with an esoteric Japanese term, use "sempai". I would suggest that you just call him "Derek". And then start taking Japanese classes to get a sense of the meanings of these words you want to use.

justinmaceachern
02-06-2006, 01:28 PM
Another question how can you say he is not qualified just because he doesnt have a shodan. he has taught me more then a fourth dan could show me. And i dont want to just call him Derek were is the honour and loyalty in that. would you call your instucter by his first name? Probably not

Ron Tisdale
02-06-2006, 01:47 PM
Honour and Loyalty are not in a title. My behavior may (or may not) reflect those qualities. What I call my instructor has no bearing on what you should call your friend. My intructor, for instance, is japanese, and teaches aikido as much from a cultural perspective as from a Martial Art perspective.

There are many that believe to open a dojo without supervision in judo or aikido should require a 3rd dan. Whether you agree with that or not is up to you.

Best,
Ron

Edwin Neal
02-06-2006, 01:52 PM
hey justin... i seem to have a situation where i am in derek's situation... i think of myself as a student... even though i have 'shown' some of the waza i know to my friend, and he like you is grateful... we are just training partners... i don't call him sensei when he shows me karate... we both just want to practice and learn...

Edwin Neal
02-06-2006, 02:31 PM
Well David... i'm glad you do see it my way...LOL... i know exactly what you mean, since for every aiki-moment or 'street' encounter, i have an equal and opposite episode that lets me know where i REALLY am... i still have a ways to go to get that spontaneous place you seem to focus on... but my paper's focus, and questions at this stage are about training and what way best gets us where we need to go... for example the concepts of live training vs the more traditional slow idealized practice... "i believe both have their place and are complementary, but what porportion should we give to each? "... the next part of my paper is about the trend for most modern martial sports to feel that live is the only way to go to get timely effective skills, but i find many benefits can be offset by bad habits this kind of training may develop... of course i think the traditional method has some similar problems, so each supports the other... i like traditional for learning proper form and live training for proper effort or application... each has strengths and weaknesses...great quotes... i also think the traditional develops the mind and spirit of the waza,... whereas live training can easily lead one into sloppy, or less efficient waza... thanks for your insights... i have finally gotten my quicktime upgraded and seen a couple of your clips... very cool... it will take me some time to look at them all as i have dial up... living in the country also has advantages/disadvantages...

makuchg
02-06-2006, 03:18 PM
I have been reading this post and wish to offer my opinion. While size/strength does play an important part in your ability to control, it can be mitigated. Several examples in this thread are strenght overpowering joint locks or submissions. While this is possible, it must be noted that in these examples, they are training, which means nage is demonstrating a level on control to avoid permenant disfigurement of uke. In real life, this restraint is removed. While someone powerful may be able to power out of an Ikkyo I'm holding (such as in training), I don't think they would power out of it when I apply the technique in real life causing the elbow to break. It must be realized that the initial application and break are near simultaneous, there is no pause to allow the resistance. I plan to use every pound of my being against that joint.

The techniques we train in the dojo have distinct self-defense applications if one understands the vulnerability of the human body and has the mind set to apply them. A half-hearted technique on the street will get you killed or seriously injured. Of course no technique is fool proof and the belief that your first technique will work can cost you dearly. For true self defense applications of Aikido, one must train technique transition and how to move from one to another. True self defense is adaptability and Aikido works very well in this regard.

Edwin Neal
02-06-2006, 03:31 PM
well put, Gregory... but just adding more force to the technique for self defense is a bit misguided as well... we should strive for seigyo... complete control over our attacker, not more injury and possible law suit... your points about transitioning is what i call flow or plan b,c,d,etc...

senshincenter
02-06-2006, 04:46 PM
I have been reading this post and wish to offer my opinion. While size/strength does play an important part in your ability to control, it can be mitigated. Several examples in this thread are strenght overpowering joint locks or submissions. While this is possible, it must be noted that in these examples, they are training, which means nage is demonstrating a level on control to avoid permenant disfigurement of uke. In real life, this restraint is removed. While someone powerful may be able to power out of an Ikkyo I'm holding (such as in training), I don't think they would power out of it when I apply the technique in real life causing the elbow to break. It must be realized that the initial application and break are near simultaneous, there is no pause to allow the resistance. I plan to use every pound of my being against that joint.

The techniques we train in the dojo have distinct self-defense applications if one understands the vulnerability of the human body and has the mind set to apply them. A half-hearted technique on the street will get you killed or seriously injured. Of course no technique is fool proof and the belief that your first technique will work can cost you dearly. For true self defense applications of Aikido, one must train technique transition and how to move from one to another. True self defense is adaptability and Aikido works very well in this regard.

I agree with much of what you said, but I'm not too sure you got my points. I guess, here, I can say that while I can agree with much of what you said, I also know that the human body is way more sturdy than most folks might realize - especially folks that have not ever actually tried to damage it in non-idealized conditions against skilled resistance. This would be the flip side of my suggestion that one requires these overwhelming mechanical advantages and disadvantages. While I guess one could break some elbows with Ikkyo, there is just no real mechanical advantage there for doing so against a strong and skilled opponent.

Justin, I think you got some good advice from some folks that already posted, but you should feel free to email me (senshincenter@impulse.net) if you'd like to discuss things further - since that topic is a bit off topic here (in my humble opinion). BTW - please call me "Dave" or "David." :D

makuchg
02-06-2006, 08:33 PM
While Ikkyo was a very rudamentary example, my point seemed to be received. I agree with several key points you made, the human body is much more resistant to damage than people anticipate. The old I'd snap that or this, particularly from someone who lacks the strenght to open a jar of mayonaise themselves is ridiculous. Martial arts students, or anyone interested in self-defense (preservation if you will) need to understand how much force is needed to damage particular areas. However, the human body can be damaged and damaged severly with the proper application of force at vulnerable locations. I think the key here is the proper application of force; I'm not talking about some mystical "death touch" crap or unlikely single strike knock-out. What I am talking about is understanding human vulnerabilty and understanding how to create or recognize these openings when they are available.

The strength of Aikido in combat application is the flexibility the techniques offer. Edwin, I agree that more force is not the answer, however wise use of force against vulnerable targets is. That means Aikido student wishing to understand how their art transfers to self-defense applications needs to know these targets and how to expose them. I think you misjudge how difficult it is to control someone who wishes to not be controlled. While I agree doing the least damage, none if possible, is the aim of Aikido. Protecting my attacker is not my goal in a self-defense scenario. Having taught police and military throughout combat zones, it is not their goal either. Self-defense and martial arts principles often do not intertwine. While the "rules of engagement" are different for police and military the ultimate goal is the same-self survival. I am not dismissing the higher principles martial arts teach, but for self defense applications these are often mute.

senshincenter
02-06-2006, 08:44 PM
The old I'd snap that or this, particularly from someone who lacks the strenght to open a jar of mayonaise themselves is ridiculous.

This is a great line - thanks for sharing.

dmv

PeterR
02-06-2006, 09:54 PM
But some of those jars are welded shut with kryptonite.

"Here honey open this."
"Sure dear grunt gasp more grunting"
"Oh give me that - pop"
Peter totally emasculated slinks off to Aikido where he can feel the power.

Edwin Neal
02-06-2006, 10:50 PM
ooww peter just give it a few raps on the lid... or practice your yonkyo 'aikido death grip'... actually i cheat with one of those rubber gripper thingies...

Pauliina Lievonen
02-07-2006, 01:50 AM
Actually it's a Mom thing. Everybody in my family gives jars to my mom to open. But then again, she can fell trees with her bare hands... :D

kvaak
Pauliina

Nick Simpson
02-07-2006, 04:19 AM
'Do i have the right to call him sensei even know he is waiting for shodan.'

Well, you cant call him what he doesnt want to be called. But for some perspective on the above, Im an Ikkyu waiting to take my shodan exam sometime this year (possibly in the summer), I am also the assistant instructor at my dojo. When I teach a class Im reffered to as sensei, even by dan grades, I dont feel entirely comfortable with it, but its just ettiquette and good practise. It's the way things are done here.

PeterR
02-07-2006, 04:33 AM
Hmmm that's interesting.

Is that common?

We often have deshi teach classes where they are not the highest ranked person but it is uncommon for them to be referred to as sensei in that sense (there's a pun in there) by those higher ranked unless they are being referred to a third party that does under rank them.

That's not meant to sound that complicated. Basically sensei implies a certain seniority rather than just who leads the class.

doronin
02-07-2006, 05:18 AM
The thread became very interesting,.. but I would appreciate if someone can explain me why do we expect the "proper" Aikido training to cover the self-defense field in full. I don't mean to question necessity for realistic trainig, but the claims that traditional Aikido training doesn't get you prepared to deal in such fields as groundwork, striking-n-kicking, etc.
As far as I remember samurai were required to acquire the required skills in minimum 5 or 6 martial arts. Which means those martial arts weren't expected each to cover all the field, but rather to specialize on one of the fighting aspects.
For example, I hardly believe Kyudo students expected their art to cover ground work, and those who would care about "self-defence" of those times would propably pick some another art specializing on bare hand and/or sword fighting to complement their Kyudo training.
So why is Aikido different in that matter?

Josh Reyer
02-07-2006, 07:08 AM
'Do i have the right to call him sensei even know he is waiting for shodan.'

Well, you cant call him what he doesnt want to be called. But for some perspective on the above, Im an Ikkyu waiting to take my shodan exam sometime this year (possibly in the summer), I am also the assistant instructor at my dojo. When I teach a class Im reffered to as sensei, even by dan grades, I dont feel entirely comfortable with it, but its just ettiquette and good practise. It's the way things are done here.

This would fall under the "acceptance of a certain responsibility" I mentioned in my post. And, am I right in assuming that you are not referred to as sensei off the mat?

As Peter suggests, it is different in Japan, though. Either you're a sensei (and you get called that on and off the mat), or you're not. But then, it's often just a term of address, and doesn't necessarily have all the connotations Justin would like to put into it. I mean, when high school or college students viciously cut down a teacher they hate, they still call him "sensei".

Nick Simpson
02-07-2006, 09:26 AM
Nobody is referred to as 'sensei' off the mat in our organisation. On the mat, the person who is leading the class is called sensei and anyone 4th dan or above is always called sensei when they are on the mat.

'Is that common?'

Nope, to my knowledge I am the only current kyu grade in the organisation who teaches (whether as an assistant or taking a full class). The reason for it being that I am the senior student in my instructors class. When he is on nightshift/injured/otherwise unable to teach he needs someone to take the class for him. So thats where I come in, although other dan grades sometimes attend the class, they are not his students, so I teach for him. It's all official. And stuff.

Our regional instructor who is a 5th dan regularly comes and trains. I still call him Sensei when he is on the mat by the way.

Counsel
02-07-2006, 11:07 AM
Come on lets not get all full of ourselves here...
the learning curve of aikido ten times other MA??? PROVE this don't just state it...this can be construed as egotistical and often is by people new to the martial arts or other MA... our art is so incredible that it takes a lifetime to learn implies others are so much easier and thus "not as good"...the "basic physical movements" of aikido can be learned in less than a year... does this mean "mastery"? no... does it mean that you "could" use the "basic physical movements" for self-defense? the answer must be yes... does this mean you know everything there is to know about aikido? of course not... People who would make claims that aikido is SOOO incredibly complex must be prepared to back them up... i DO NOT know how to play basketball... if i had up to lets say one year to practice under the guidance of a good coach i could learn the basic rules and physical skills of the game... does that mean i am ready for the NBA or even have a "black belt" in basketball... probably not, nearly certainly not in my case... I am saying that people that say things like it takes too long to be practical, MUST be missing the point of aikido altogether... aikido must be martially viable! If you cannot even protect yourself, you cannot even HOPE to not cause harm to a potential attacker... do i mean everyone will be able to use their aikido successfully in a self defense situation after one years training... no that depends on the situation there are no guarantee's in such a situation with any martial art however long you have studied...
I am willing to accept testimonials... come on folks... tell me your story have you used your "basic physical aikido skills" in any kind of "situation", before you studied for "many years" maybe 10 times more than any other art? my personal experiences tell me that i did in fact have skills that were useful in a relatively short time... but i still have much to learn as well... just because our art is "infinitely" rich doesn't mean it takes infinity to get it...

vs.



Allow me to offer a different perspective of "self-defense". Let's just take the first part - "self". What is the "self"? When you have the answer to that question, then what is the "REAL" self? If you are dead, where is your SELF?

When you can answer that, then we can start to talk about "defense" and why you feel it necessary to defend the SELF....

Often we look outside of ourselves for a panacea that provides some perceivable promise of protection. What we often fail to do, is introspectively look at ourselves. The answer to self-defense or rather the ability to defend one's self, lies not in some external art form, but in the very core of our BEING; external forms are merely a vehicle for expressing the inner SELF.

The question should not be, can aikido [or any other martial art] be a good self-defense art, but rather, if I need to, can I defend my SELF with the art. My question is, do you need to?

Perhaps these are the two extremes in Aikido. Instructors teach differently--some focus on techniques, some on the spiritual aspects, some, unfortunately, on neither. If you talk to the instructor, perhaps he or she can guide you to what would best fit you, even if it isn't aikido.

C

Kevin Leavitt
02-07-2006, 03:04 PM
So why is Aikido different in that matter? (in regards to training for self defense)

I didn't have a chance to read through all the discussion, but since you asked here I will bite.

I think the samurai etc and those that study SU arts had a focus on employing the tactics in a military situation. Therefore they practice only those things that benefited them in combat. As weapons systems and tactics change so do the things they focus on.

The establishment of the DO arts, in this case aikido used this as the base, (SU arts) however the reason for studying the arts is a totally different focus from a DO perspective. Being a realitively young art established in the last 50 years and having the founders students still in charge for the most part only on layer down from O'Sensei...I think aikido is very unique in the fact that it has remained somewhat true to the founders original focus and intent of the DO art of aikido.

Self defense is simply not a strong concern of the DO art that is designed to teach you the "WAY" and not the techniques of self defense.

I could go on my usual disertation about why empty hand MA are really a poor method of self defense, but that is another discussion entirely! Simply put, IMHO, studying these arts if your overwhelming need for studying is to defend yourself is not efficient. There are other things that can be done that are much more better use of your time!

Michael Varin
02-07-2006, 07:52 PM
Kevin Leavitt said, "I could go on my usual disertation about why empty hand MA are really a poor method of self defense, but that is another discussion entirely!"

Kevin,

Actually, it is not another discussion. Those are precisely the kinds of issues I was hoping people would address. I realize that this thread has become a long one, so here, again, are some of the questions that I posed in my postings:

Is aikido useful in self-defense situations? Why or why not?
What are good self-defense arts?
What aspects of a martial art make it useful or not for self-defense? What are the factors that decrease the time required to be functional from a practical standpoint?
Is self-defense even important?
What do you out there consider to be self defense situations? Or where and in what situations do you expect your martial arts to work for you?
Why do we always think of boxers when we talk about self-defense, real fighting, etc?
What is your opinion on size and defensive capability?
Isn't the proper use of weapons the only thing that offers you a truly overwhelming advantage?
Where does aiki fit into all of this?

I don't expect anyone to methodically answer this list of questions. I just wanted to use them to spark a discussion.

Michael

senshincenter
02-07-2006, 08:16 PM
I'll take a stab at this:

Is aikido useful in self-defense situations?

There is no single Aikido -- not in terms of study, application, or understanding. Thus, this answer has to be "perhaps."

Why or why not?

This answer will have to wait until an example of Aikido is given.

What are good self-defense arts?

This question is misleading. It makes too much of "art." It also ignores the fact that what makes an "art" self-defense applicable is its own transcendence.

What aspects of a martial art make it useful or not for self-defense?

See Burton's list and my small additions to deduce what this might be.

What are the factors that decrease the time required to be functional from a practical standpoint?

In terms of months, the number of weeks one trains; in terms of weeks, the number of days one trains; in terms of days, the number of hours one trains, in terms of hours, the number of minutes one is training (not talking, thinking, debating, etc.)

Is self-defense even important?

Self-defense is important if you are in a self-defense situation. A capacity for self-defense, because of its relationship to the transcendence of the given art, is important because of its relationship to spiritual maturity.

What do you out there consider to be self defense situations?

When you are attacked with physical violence.

Or where and in what situations do you expect your martial arts to work for you?

The whole of my life.

Why do we always think of boxers when we talk about self-defense, real fighting, etc?

I don't, but if I were to answer for the abstract "we," I would think it is because the abstract "we" tends not to have spontaneous training environements.

What is your opinion on size and defensive capability?

Get your ass as strong as it can be, get your ass as skilled as it can be, then if you are facing someone who still requires an even higher work capacity get a weapon and repeat the former. Still, as my Kenpo instructor says, "Some folks are so big, you just got to shoot them."

Isn't the proper use of weapons the only thing that offers you a truly overwhelming advantage?

Sometimes one can establish this advantage without a weapons, sometimes not even a weapon is enough. Nevertheless, a weapon without skilled hand-to-hand skills, plus training, etc., is hardly as effective as a weapon with. Weapon use should never exempt one from training in the martial sciences regarding hand-to-hand combat.

Where does aiki fit into all of this?

Aiki is both the ultimate mechanical advantage and the most mature state of human spirit.

makuchg
02-08-2006, 07:56 AM
Well said David. I agree with almost everything you said. I would like to add to the "good self defense arts." IMHO there are no true self defense arts, there are self defense principles. I believe an art is a study, usually a lengthy process at that. In that regard, martial arts are a study into martial principles which may or may not lend themselves to a self defense situation. As a result, no art is the right choice for a student only interested in self defense. Self defense principles are a way to enhance survivability in these situations. Self defense principles include awareness, adaptability, fitness, strength, ability to improvise, instinct, training, and experience. While this list is not all encompassing, I think it give you and idea.

If you look at the principles of self defense, you can see how Aikido, or any martial art, could fit into some of these characteristics. However, because of the nature of martial arts study, it does not lend itself to self-defense. Most obviously martial arts will help in the training principle and possibly fitness and awareness, depending on your level of study. However things like improvising and instinct are usually not focused on (these are just examples). As a result, ones ability to survive a violent altercation are reduced. Now if an Aikidoka recognizes what principles could apply to self defense and trains on the ones that are missed, like strength or cardiovascular fitness, they could enhance their ability to survive.

The important thing to remember is that the actual physical confrontation is usually the final part of the scenario. There are usually several opportunities to avoid the situation all together by applying common sense self-defense. However when it does occur, it will be fast and violent and the winner is not always the most technically proficient, but often the one with the most will to win.

senshincenter
02-08-2006, 01:08 PM
I think in my understanding of things, I assume an art to be a study and application of principles. This is why it went unsaid by me. I am thoroughly against the idea of arts being made up of techniques - for example. That said, I'm wondering what you mean when you suggest that there are martial principles that do not lend themselves to self-defense situations (You wrote: "In that regard, martial arts are a study into martial principles which may or may not lend themselves to a self defense situation.") I would have no idea what those principles might be, and I'm wondering if perhaps you are making use of a contrast that I myself would not hold - namely between "self defense" and "martial art." I also wonder how valid that contrast may be when we are talking about principles.

I imagine we have different understandings as to the nature of the martial arts, but that is something I said is most likely to happen - see my first answer. For example, you mentioned fitness and strength, two things that I brought up earlier in this thread and that have raised further discussion. When you mentioned them, it could be read as if you are suggesting these are not part of the martial arts (whereas I implied they should be for all). While, as I said before, it is often not part of many understandings of Aikido, I also implied that there are some Aikido dojo (e.g. my own), as well as some representatives from every art, that see this as very much a part of one's overall training. This is because, for example, one expects practitioners to be on the mat as much as they can - with daily training being held up as the ideal (made up of multiple hours each day). As a result, one is going to get fit and strong, etc., by training and in order to continue training daily in the given martial art. Additionally, when daily training is held up as the ideal, in order to train daily, the practitioner is going to have to find ways to condition his/her body to better deal with the curriculum. As a result, one is going to be motivated - quite directly - to do outside work to increase one's physical fitness (e.g. gaining strength, flexibility, aerobic capacity).

As to the contrast between martial arts and self-defense... My personal opinion is that it is a marketing strategy that seeks to take advantage of two interrelated cases of ignorance and modern culture's dependency upon Fear. The first case of ignorance revolves around the fact that most people suck in the martial arts; and the second case of ignorance revolves around the fact that most people who suck in the martial arts do so because they do not train long enough, or with enough commitment and/or investment. What do you get when you combine these two cases of ignorance: The Self-Defense Industry. However, the Self-Defense Industry itself lies firmly upon an ignorance of its own - one it obtained from the general martial arts population like some sort of STD (i.e. this ignorance came in via the other two cases of ignorance from which it was born). The ignorance of which I speak is that of assuming that introduction means application (i.e. that a technique shown is a technique one can do). After this ignorance is exposed for what it is, I'm sure a new industry will arise - maybe something like in The Matrix - where technology can lend a hand in dealing with the common human tendency to not do work, to want things fast, and to have things go easy. In the future, as need drives the market, I do imagine one day a person can be "jacked in" and few seconds later say, "Uh, I know Aikido." Still, we'll have to wait to see if he/she can actually DO Aikido.

makuchg
02-08-2006, 02:45 PM
Dave,

My interpretation is martial arts, not limiting this to just Aikido, are a study of combat arts. Practice with empty hands as well as weapons (sword, knife, etc), offense and defense. Martial arts are about more than defending oneself, they are the arts of war and intertwined in these arts are the rules that the warrior lives by. What is learned in traditional martial arts schools contains a lot of non-essential ideals for the self-defense student. Many martial art schools focus on techniques derived from classical weapon attacks or on rudimentary attacks to allow students to grasp the concepts. These are often complex techniques which require years to become proficient at; which is precisely why many of us continue our quest.

Self-defense needs to be simple and effective and able to be applied in any environment. I've seen many martial arts students lose in a self defense situation because the environment was not conducive to the techniques they had spent years learning. The police and military both recognize this and have incorporated a very limited number of simple techniques that can be used in many different scenarios from many different positions with any configuration of equipment on. Martial arts do not lend themselves to rapid assimilation and implementation.

While I agree fitness and strength should be an integral part of a martial arts training program, the reality is it is not. If we judge martial arts proficiency on ability to implement the techniques in and effective way, strength and fitness would be crucial. I have worked with many dan ranked martial artists, that lacked the physical strength to be effective. While their mechanics were excellent, their execution was weak. To many martial arts schools do not promote the overall artist, not just techniques.

No arguments on the self-defense industry. Please don't confuse my belief that traditional martial arts are not ideal for self-defense as an endorsement for the self defense industry. It is merely an acknowledgement the martial arts should be supplemented with other applicable training.

Okay, I've ranted long enough, I hope I wasn't too incoherent

senshincenter
02-08-2006, 04:05 PM
Hi Gregory,

Thanks for the reply.

I can agree that martial arts are about "more" than defending oneself (though I tend to stay away from that quantitative word). However, the part that is confusing for me is that if we are dealing with principles here, and if martial arts contains "more" principles than self-defense, then why is it possible to say that self-defense is not fulfilled by this "more" of the martial arts. That is why I was asking for a specific martial principle that one sees in martial arts but that cannot be used in self-defense training and/or application. I cannot for the life of me think of one right now - not of the top of my head at least. So I am again leaving that question out there...?

Of course, for me, I would not call a moral or social code (even if it supposedly belongs to a warrior class) a martial principle (You wrote: "Martial arts are about more than defending oneself, they are the arts of war and intertwined in these arts are the rules that the warrior lives by."). Perhaps that is where we are talking past each other. For me, a martial principle is something like "clearing the line of attack," "there is more force at the distal end of a lever traveling upon an arch," "the lower your center of gravity, the more stable your base," etc. A thing like "respect your seniors," for example, is a moral or a social principle - not a martial principle for me. For me, martial principles have to do with the structures of human combat - not the structures of human combatants in their social or cultural settings. If you mean the latter, then yes, I would agree, there are things in the martial arts that do not lend themselves directly to self-defense applications. However, we cannot then jump from this position to suggesting that the martial arts does not cover self-defense in full. We can only say what we have said: the martial arts covers more than self-defense (though it covers self-defense fully).

You wrote: "Many martial art schools focus on techniques derived from classical weapon attacks or on rudimentary attacks to allow students to grasp the concepts. These are often complex techniques which require years to become proficient at; which is precisely why many of us continue our quest."

As I mentioned, this is not how I feel we should understand our practice - no as long as spontaneous application is our concern (which must be if you are interested in self-defense)(I feel it must be even if our concern is spiritual). This is a focus on technique - not on principle. Whether our techniques be long or short - attention should be placed upon principle. In which case, it matters not if our technique is long or short because it matters not what are techniques are. The only concern for a technique that we should have is if it is constructed of sound principle - my opinion.

You wrote: "Self-defense needs to be simple and effective and able to be applied in any environment. I've seen many martial arts students lose in a self defense situation because the environment was not conducive to the techniques they had spent years learning."

I would say martial arts fails here because it, like self-defense, has become technique oriented - falling from its principle-based orientation. If the martial arts practitioner was training from principle to principle, all the while seeking to cultivate a spontaneous capacity for embodying those principles, it matters not how the environment changes. This is a very important level of maturity since one can never create a training scenario for every application. And if one is skilled, or if one wants to be skilled, one will have to move beyond the luck and convenience of having his training environments matched by the happenstance of real life. For me, it is not the martial arts that failed these practitioners you mentioned, it is they that failed to live up to the martial arts and its ideals and principles. In other words, we are looking at bad martial artists, not at a case of martial arts being bad.

Additionally, I think this is that STD ignorance of the Self-Defense Industry. It all makes sense if you accept the assumption that learning something is the same as being able to do something. The traditional martial arts rejects this notion - hence, SHU-HA-RI; hence, TAKEMUSU AIKI. Whereas, bad martial artists and self-defense proponents share this in common. In real life, a move is made "easy" or "simplistic" not by its construction but by the body/mind's capacity to remain unfettered while within a state of violence. The idea that there are simply moves out there that once learned you can do them with consistent success and thus consider yourself able to "defend your self," is a pipe dream - a marketing gimmick. If it works for a person, it does so only in the way that a placebo does or otherwise it was luck (or the ineptness of the attacker), not skill.

You wrote: "The police and military both recognize this and have incorporated a very limited number of simple techniques that can be used in many different scenarios from many different positions with any configuration of equipment on. Martial arts do not lend themselves to rapid assimilation and implementation."

My Kenpo instructor is actually a special forces hand-to-hand and knife combat instructor - Michael Robert Pick (10th Special Forces Group, Airborne). I don't want to speak from him, but I can say here that his impression of things is quite at odds with your summary. I can comment for myself however, as I train law enforcement agents on a bi-weekly basis, have taught advanced courses at the police academy, am about to be POST certified though a civilian, and have had things set in motion to have our Arrest and Control program accepted by POST as an advanced program for instructors. I don't want to offend any law enforcement agent out there, but my experience with the implementation of this tactical philosophy is the same as any other officer that is truly honest about his/her training - it is far from sufficient/adequate. George Ledyard gave a great summary of this - I believe it was in this thread, early on - and my experience is 100% in agreement with his: The idea of a very limited number of simple techniques that can be used in many different scenarios from many different positions with any configuration of equipment and that can lend themselves to rapid assimilation and implementation is not what is going on with current law enforcement personal (unless you count dog-piling - which is not officially taught in the academy, mind you). Rather, you have the idea of this glossing over the fact that more training, continuous training, of principle-based martial arts practice is needed (because it is always needed and because one can never get away from this regardless of the claim to have done so).

You wrote: "While I agree fitness and strength should be an integral part of a martial arts training program, the reality is it is not. If we judge martial arts proficiency on ability to implement the techniques in and effective way, strength and fitness would be crucial. I have worked with many dan ranked martial artists, that lacked the physical strength to be effective. While their mechanics were excellent, their execution was weak. To many martial arts schools do not promote the overall artist, not just techniques."

Well some do understand martial arts this way - they train daily and they train hard. They get strong, and they have effective technique. I personally think this is how one should understand the martial arts. The fact that most don't only tells me I'm on the right track - since the masses can never define what comes to us when we seek to leave the realm of mediocrity. Thus, I don't see the martial arts at fault - I see a person's understanding of the martial arts at fault. And because of that, I cannot make the jump in logic that suggests that becomes some folks do not understand the martial arts that those that claim not to do the martial arts are by default correct in their understanding of human combat and thus effective in the application of martial training and martial principle. For me, this is why you are going to see a hell of a lot more physically fit women judo players at the judo dojo then you will see physically fit women training in self-defense at the women's crisis center.

In the end, I think what you consider supplemental training, I consider part and parcel. I guess then it would be up to each of us to suggest why we either keep it separate and/or keep it as a whole.

Good post, thanks so much,
dmv

Charlie
02-08-2006, 04:16 PM
I really must be dense because I have really struggled with this line of thinking… My interpretation is martial arts, not limiting this to just Aikido, are a study of combat arts. Practice with empty hands as well as weapons (sword, knife, etc), offense and defense. Martial arts are about more than defending oneself, they are the arts of war and intertwined in these arts are the rules that the warrior lives by... Am I to believe that if I strive to learn a martial art, strive to become efficient in the ways to wage war and learn the rules of ‘being' a warrior, that I cannot make the next obvious transition to see were the practical application is? This line of thinking [for me] just indicates how fractured people's idea of studying a ‘way' can be. In other words, this is for studying this and that is for studying that.

One can say that the ‘way' teaches you offense/defense and goes beyond just learning to defend yourself but yet you will not be able to apply what you learn in a real application scenario because it is too long and complex. Well then, what is missing from this equation that you cannot make this necessary transition? What allows you to be able to tell yourself and others that the way you practice is martially viable yet you cannot transition from theory to reality?
What is learned in traditional martial arts schools contains a lot of non-essential ideals for the self-defense student. Many martial art schools focus on techniques derived from classical weapon attacks or on rudimentary attacks to allow students to grasp the concepts. These are often complex techniques which require years to become proficient at; which is precisely why many of us continue our quest…
Yes this can be true. But if you were really training in the ways of warfare you would recognize this and be able to extract what you need from the classics to use in a situation based in reality. Every branch of the services has war colleges where they hold war games. In these schools they take known military situations and conflicts and dissect them. Learn the strategies that are effective and where the mistakes were made. They don't discard what is learned from these exercises and techniques of warfare because they are outdated modes of warfare that don't necessarily apply to today's battlefield. Instead they learn to make them viable for today. Solid military technique remains solid as long as you apply it in a context that remains tactfully sound for that situation [i.e. adaptability].
Self-defense needs to be simple and effective and able to be applied in any environment. I've seen many martial arts students lose in a self defense situation because the environment was not conducive to the techniques they had spent years learning.
Well that speaks volumes right there doesn't it?
The police and military both recognize this and have incorporated a very limited number of simple techniques that can be used in many different scenarios from many different positions with any configuration of equipment on. Martial arts do not lend themselves to rapid assimilation and implementation.
And then train in a manner as such that they will be able to use them if necessary. If they take simple techniques and do not train in them correctly [e.g. in the manner that has been debated through out this whole thread] then they will have the same problems that we are debating now.
While I agree fitness and strength should be an integral part of a martial arts training program, the reality is it is not. If we judge martial arts proficiency on ability to implement the techniques in and effective way, strength and fitness would be crucial. I have worked with many dan ranked martial artists, that lacked the physical strength to be effective. While their mechanics were excellent, their execution was weak. To many martial arts schools do not promote the overall artist, not just techniques.
Then it is not a complete and effective way to study a martial art then is it? Training in this way that produces this result should probably be labeled something closer to what it really resembles, that being a philosophical method of dealing with conflict presented in a pseudo-martial context.

Regards,

Charles

Charlie
02-08-2006, 04:18 PM
Uh Oh...I just posted my respose...looks like David beat me to the punch. Yeah ditto...what he said LOL!

makuchg
02-08-2006, 08:47 PM
Well this has turned into a very interesting thread. Dave, I'm sorry I'm not articulating my principle concept clearer, sometimes my thought process only makes sense to me (at least that is what my wife is always telling me :) ) I'll address a few things from multiple posts:

Charles wrote, "Yes this can be true. But if you were really training in the ways of warfare you would recognize this and be able to extract what you need from the classics to use in a situation based in reality." This is exactly my point, in a split second of reaction you don't have time to "extract" what is viable. The military has a saying, "train as you fight." This is as applicable to our discussion. The military, and I'm sorry for the repeated references to the military but I think it's appropriate, understands that adding unneeded repetitious movements will cause the body to react that way under stress. The body has a unique way of reacting in conjunction with its conditioning. LTC Dave Grossman's book "On Killing" examines this phenomenon as the desire not to kill is conditioned out of soldiers to increase effectiveness on the battlefield. When you train repeatedly a certain way, you will react that way. So while you may be able to examine a technique in class and extract what is pertinent, in application under stress you will most likely execute exactly as practiced.

Dave I disagree with the statement that a moral or social code is not a martial principle. The Law of War adhered to by (or at least they are supposed to) is very much a part of martial principles. It dictates what are acceptable actions for the warrior.

Now the $64,000 question: First, I think part of our communication breakdown is not in the number of principles, but in the applicability of the principles from one to the other. Do the traditional martial arts teach improvising? Do they address non-traditional scenarios (from you car, sitting at a table, while carrying groceries or luggage, etc)? Are they practiced in confining clothing wearing dress shoes, high heels (stop laughing, for the women students), etc? These are all critical aspects of self defense that are lacking in traditional dojos.

Dave it sounds like your dojo (and from what your web site says) really places emphasis on the total training concept. I believe that is the best way to train. I am not disputing that should be the goal of every martial artist. However the reality is many students are in martial arts for confidence and self-defense and are never given the mental and physical tools to truly do that.

As for the police and military training, there is definitely a transition in training principles. Armed forces and police departments are adapting more hand-to-hand training and more intensive standards. The minimalistic training that use to take place is going away. And I agree that many are taught just enough to get themselves seriously hurt. I hope the area you are in is not an anomaly, but the officers I know are still paying to train on their own because they are not provided adequate training by their departments (including the Massachusetts State Police).

My final point of this post will be Dave's comment about fitness. Dave you used the example of fit women at the judo dojo vs. a "self-defense" course. I agree, however I don't know if that's a proponent of martial arts training or that particular training. I have trained Aikido all over the country and my sons competed in judo. Generally speaking the women who trained in judo were in much better shape than the Aikidoka as well. I'm not trying to offend anyone, I'm generalizing. So I'm not convinced the martial arts is the reason for the fitness, because it is not a consistent standard.

For everyone: I am not advocating for separating fitness and martial arts, or for "self-defense" schools. I am merely pointing out that many train in a manner unsuited for actual self-defense and many don't realize until they are in a violent confrontation (and then its to late). I would like to see the martial artist be able to accurately recognize their strengths and weaknesses.

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 09:00 PM
Do the traditional martial arts teach improvising? short answer yes... if we look at the spectrum of training here we come up with two extremes much talked about in martial arts today the debate of traditional kata type "dead" (non resistant, compliant) training as opposed to more modern realistic, competition type "live" (resistant, non compliant) training... i think this is a false dichotomy... they are both necessary, and training in either exclusively can produce results, but best results are attained by a proper balance and use of the two...
What porportion of training should each have... i want to give equal emphasis to each... one teaches technical proficiency, the other application, one mental focus and clarity, the other spontaneity...

senshincenter
02-08-2006, 10:35 PM
Hi Gregory,

Thanks for the follow-up.

I’ll have to be fast about this – sorry.


You wrote:

“Charles wrote, "Yes this can be true. But if you were really training in the ways of warfare you would recognize this and be able to extract what you need from the classics to use in a situation based in reality." This is exactly my point, in a split second of reaction you don't have time to "extract" what is viable. The military has a saying, "train as you fight." This is as applicable to our discussion. The military, and I'm sorry for the repeated references to the military but I think it's appropriate, understands that adding unneeded repetitious movements will cause the body to react that way under stress. The body has a unique way of reacting in conjunction with its conditioning. LTC Dave Grossman's book "On Killing" examines this phenomenon as the desire not to kill is conditioned out of soldiers to increase effectiveness on the battlefield. When you train repeatedly a certain way, you will react that way. So while you may be able to examine a technique in class and extract what is pertinent, in application under stress you will most likely execute exactly as practiced.”

There are several points here that have been glossed over in my opinion:

- The first is a twofold assumption: that “easier” moves are easier to employ in real life altercations, and that martial arts are out there doing these highly complex moves that the self-defense industry does not do. Neither one is true.

Again, the mind is both the greatest weapon and the greatest opening. If the mind is fettered, every move is “complex” in real life. If the mind is unfettered, no move is “complex.” In real life, the mind alone makes something easy or complex. This is the whole point of repetition (though it falls way short in the end) – a point you make. One is trying to get around the fact that all moves are complex within real conditions regardless of the number of components they may contain. That is why they have you do it over and over again in the military. But martial arts don’t see this as a problem solved by repetition. It’s a problem of the mind being fettered. One is not after doing simple moves over and over again and saying, “See, I can do it now.” It’s the mind that counts. That’s why a Karate reverse punch, which is very complex to achieve in real life conditions, can take one out just the same as a fighter pilot can go through all his/her procedures in the middle of air defenses and still get the job done – it’s all about the mind.

As I said, I’m thoroughly against the notion that a technique learned means a technique done, so you can imagine then that I still don’t hold that repetition is enough. When you have repetition alone, you are trying to address a likelihood via the production of a habit. This is fine for grunts who work en masse, and generals that see things in terms of strategic ends or final numbers and not in terms of individuals (like a self-defense proponent should). However, this is one sure what of having your training work against you on an individual basis – because real life will almost never duplicate your training experience (one more reason to train via principles and to drop the pipe dream of scenario training). Just look what happened in that famous CHP case where repetition and the production of habit was thought to suffice for the cultivation of the unfettered mind – where officers were trained not to let their brass drop but to catch it and put in their pocket. Additionally, let us not forget that the military, the self-defense industry, and poor martial arts all hold this idea - that repetition leads to spontaneous action in and of itself. This is not a contrast that one can hold between these groups. Thus, I also will repeat here that I find this mistake being made inside and outside of the martial arts - this is a mistake they often share with the self-defense industry. The difference is that the self-defense industry was the first to jump on the bandwagon of “easy moves means easy access to them in real life” while using the martial arts as a contrast. Where the martial arts goes beyond this, where it should, is that it sees all “reaction” as an immature state of training. Again – hence, Shu-Ha-Ri, mushin, Takemusu Aiki, etc.

Additionally, we have to say that the military is hardly the place to uphold the logic of “train as you fight.” All the way to the present, they have been behind serious martial artists regarding bringing as much reality into training as possible. I think it was only in the last decade that they switched to body silhouettes in their firearms training - etc.

You wrote: “Dave I disagree with the statement that a moral or social code is not a martial principle. The Law of War adhered to by (or at least they are supposed to) is very much a part of martial principles. It dictates what are acceptable actions for the warrior.”

Well, I can go with us having working definitions for “martial principle” then. You know what I mean and I know what you mean. Thus, I can say, I have no problem saying that moral and/or social codes often associated with “warrior” traditions may have a difficult time directly translating into a self-defense situation. However, I cannot say that strategic and/or tactical principle that one finds in the martial arts is going to not be applicable in a self-defense situations. Additionally, this brings up several points:

- You are holding up the military and the police force as “self-defense” oriented but these organizations have way more moral and/or social codes to confront than the average martial artist that just wants to learn to kick ass.

- Whatever these social and moral codes may be in the martial arts, they are not substitutive for strategic and tactical principles. Thus, just because one may have such social and moral codes in a given martial arts tradition, it does not follow that one does not have sound strategic and tactical principle in that tradition.

- Granted, if one wants to say that such moral and social codes take time away from training in sound strategic and tactical principle, such things in the martial arts could never come close to the time taking away from tactical training in both the military and the police force (which you are upholding). For example, the average police training after the academy out here is 8 hours every two years. I do about 8 hours of training in a day and a quarter.

You wrote: “Now the $64,000 question: First, I think part of our communication breakdown is not in the number of principles, but in the applicability of the principles from one to the other. Do the traditional martial arts teach improvising? Do they address non-traditional scenarios (from you car, sitting at a table, while carrying groceries or luggage, etc)? Are they practiced in confining clothing wearing dress shoes, high heels (stop laughing, for the women students), etc? These are all critical aspects of self defense that are lacking in traditional dojos.”

I think there is a jump in logic when one says, “Jon’s dojo does not cultivate spontaneity or teach improvisation and therefore self-defense does.” It may be true that Jon does not seek to cultivate spontaneity in his dojo, but that makes him fall short of the martial arts. It does not make the martial arts fall short, nor does it lift up the self-defense industry to such training by default.

The fact is that every “premise” the self-defense industry uses today (e.g. fight as you train, simple moves, scenario training, etc.) to sell its goods all came from the martial arts. These are age-old positions and debates that happened long before the self-defense industry came along with its product. Moreover, concerning spontaneity and/or improvisation, the martial arts has the model of Shu-Ha-Ri (and many equivalents) to tell one that if you are not having this stuff be a part of your training, then you are only doing half the picture (maybe not even that).

Thus, the answer to the question, “Do the traditional martial arts teach improvising?” The answer is “yes.” Now if you ask, “Does Jon?” the answer is “no.” Or, if you ask, “Do most of the modern interpretations of the traditional martial arts teach improvisation?,” you may again get a “no.” However, here we are dealing with statistical trends and not structural markers. And one cannot structurally dismiss something outright if one cannot show the points being criticized at a structural level. Moreover, one cannot jump from statistical trends on the one hand (i.e. most martial arts schools today don’t make improvisation part of their training) to suggesting structural markers on the other (i.e. self-defense does teach improvisation – it does not, which is why you saw those CHP unable to drop that brass and get in the gunfight). The self-defense industry does not teach improvisation, it only seeks to cultivate a habitual response to a (assumed) likely situation.


You wrote: “My final point of this post will be Dave's comment about fitness. Dave you used the example of fit women at the judo dojo vs. a "self-defense" course. I agree, however I don't know if that's a proponent of martial arts training or that particular training.”

Well, my point was that fitness is part of self-defense and that any martial art that aims at self-defense is going to have physically fit people training at their dojo. That was a point I made early on. My last contention regarding this was that you seemed to suggest that self-defense schools (non-martial arts) are filled with these physically fit people – which is another way that they differ from dojo, and the self-defense school from the martial arts school. My experience with such schools hardly meets this observation – this was my point. In general, in my experience, self-defense school practitioners make the aikidoka I was critical of earlier look like an Olympic athlete.

You wrote: “For everyone: I am not advocating for separating fitness and martial arts, or for "self-defense" schools. I am merely pointing out that many train in a manner unsuited for actual self-defense and many don't realize until they are in a violent confrontation (and then its to late). I would like to see the martial artist be able to accurately recognize their strengths and weaknesses.”

While this may be true, it is my opinion that many more self-defense practitioners – those who advocate “easy moves, fast to learn,” and/or offer repetition and the cultivation of a habit in place of true mushin, and/or that feel a technique learned is a technique one can do, etc. – far outweigh the number of martial artist in the land of the hopelessly lost.

Please excuse the roughness of this post - gotta run.

thanks,
dmv

Charlie
02-08-2006, 10:36 PM
Charles wrote, "Yes this can be true. But if you were really training in the ways of warfare you would recognize this and be able to extract what you need from the classics to use in a situation based in reality." This is exactly my point, in a split second of reaction you don't have time to "extract" what is viable. The military has a saying, "train as you fight." This is as applicable to our discussion. The military, and I'm sorry for the repeated references to the military but I think it's appropriate, understands that adding unneeded repetitious movements will cause the body to react that way under stress. The body has a unique way of reacting in conjunction with its conditioning. LTC Dave Grossman's book "On Killing" examines this phenomenon as the desire not to kill is conditioned out of soldiers to increase effectiveness on the battlefield. When you train repeatedly a certain way, you will react that way. So while you may be able to examine a technique in class and extract what is pertinent, in application under stress you will most likely execute exactly as practiced...
I probably wasn't clear in my sentence structure. However, if you check back on my previous posts, you will find that I am echoing many of David's fine points on the importance of spontaneous training.

That being said, the lessons that forms training provide [i.e. techniques] are absolutely the backbone and foundation of what we learn as a martial way. They, however, are not realistic as far as how they apply in a real situation [unless a situation arises that is perfect for that application] and therefore need to be balanced out with other training tools that point out how the basic structure of the technique fits into spontaneous scenarios. Study of basic technique alone will not cultivate a true understanding of how the martial way that you study applies in reality.

My point was, if you are practicing in a manner that is built on truth, you will then realize that the study of technique is only part of the puzzle. Unfortunately this is precisely the part of the puzzle that many get caught on. Their understanding tells them that the techniques that they study are the end result that you are training for and except this as their truth. This misconception usually comes to light when and if they find themselves in a situation and they are unable to perform in the manner that they thought they ‘trained' for.

I agree, train as you fight. However, even in this scenario has to be built on solid foundations. You can not just train spontaneously and expect it to be effective either. In order to know spontaneous you need to know form and vise versa.

white rose
02-09-2006, 06:20 AM
I'd just like to say that I teach Aikido and not self-defense. Yes it is a part of it but not the whole reason I train.

One point I would like to make, Uke.

I was attack a number of years ago by two lad in a underpass. I was on my way home from training and had my weapons and all. None of this helped me at all. But when I hit the floor they walked off a little, it was than I saw them turn around and come back. It was to me the fact I was on my feet and telling them my sister hits harder that them, that they walked away saying I was not right in the head.

Yes it could have been a lot worst, and yes by saying what I did may have getting me another beating. But the idea I got up may have put them off, I put this down to being a good uke. A good hard kicking in the dojo teaches you to get back on your feet.

I don't know if anyone else feels the same. I am always shouting at people to get up as soon as it is possible. as the saying goes "those who can teach, those who can't shout".

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 12:00 PM
sean you had big pointy sticks and you could not deter two "lads"... come on even someone with no training at all should have a reasonable chance in that situation... like the saying goes... aikido works, yours... not trying to pick on you, but WHY do you think you "failed"... is it aikido's fault, or your sensei's, or your's??? again i'm not trying to be mean or pick, i just wondered what you thought was the reason for this?

Ron Tisdale
02-09-2006, 12:53 PM
Sean didn't fail. He survived.

Best,
Ron

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 01:12 PM
true Ron, but not the question i asked... notice the quotation marks...

doronin
02-09-2006, 04:02 PM
So why is Aikido different in that matter? (in regards to training for self defense)

I didn't have a chance to read through all the discussion, but since you asked here I will bite.

I think the samurai etc and those that study SU arts had a focus on employing the tactics in a military situation. Therefore they practice only those things that benefited them in combat. As weapons systems and tactics change so do the things they focus on.

The establishment of the DO arts, in this case aikido used this as the base, (SU arts) however the reason for studying the arts is a totally different focus from a DO perspective. Being a realitively young art established in the last 50 years and having the founders students still in charge for the most part only on layer down from O'Sensei...I think aikido is very unique in the fact that it has remained somewhat true to the founders original focus and intent of the DO art of aikido.

Self defense is simply not a strong concern of the DO art that is designed to teach you the "WAY" and not the techniques of self defense.

I could go on my usual disertation about why empty hand MA are really a poor method of self defense, but that is another discussion entirely! Simply put, IMHO, studying these arts if your overwhelming need for studying is to defend yourself is not efficient. There are other things that can be done that are much more better use of your time!

Kevin, you seem to argue my post, but what you say is quite close to what I actually wanted to say.

IMHO, Aikido, being DO, well may and should be fairly effective in its original domain, but should not be considered as something that can be a fully-functional self-defence system.

Well, one can teach it that way, but here it stops being aikido, and becomes aikido-based self-defense training program - something different in attitude and major purposes. What's the most important reason one trains for: to become the strong, the fighter; or because it's something that keeps him on the way of self development through martial training, which presumes martial effectiveness, but doesn't put it as first and foremost goal?

Where's the line between aikido and aiki-jitsu?

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 05:05 PM
aikido is equally martial and spiritual, indeed must be both equally... if you loose or downplay one part you have lost aikido... it is a fully functional self defense system and a spiritual practice these two aims are not contrary purposes or attitudes... the line between aikido and aiki-jitsu is Osensei...

doronin
02-10-2006, 03:06 AM
Edwin, I'm all with you! I just don't see where I was talking about spiritual aspects... it was all about martial, and the trainee attitude. (Is thinking about attitude a spiritual practice?.. If so, most of us would be able to levitate by now. :) )


As for the line between aikido and aiki-jitsu... With all the due respect to your personal beliefs... please educate me how a person can be... a line between two concepts? Or even simpler, just explain how do you see the difference between DO and SU?

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 07:01 AM
Dmitry... you can't levitate yet??? your aikido sucks...LOL... i think mental/spiritual/attitude are all aimed at the same area of practice... a jutsu is the foundation of a Do... if you don't have a jutsu then there is nothing to Do... it is about expanding the scope of the practice of the jutsu... Osensei (and others) built upon other jutsu and made it a Do... the only difference between a jutsu and a Do is the person doing it...

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 07:31 AM
sean you had big pointy sticks and you could not deter two "lads"... come on even someone with no training at all should have a reasonable chance in that situation... like the saying goes... aikido works, yours... not trying to pick on you, but WHY do you think you "failed"... is it aikido's fault, or your sensei's, or your's??? again i'm not trying to be mean or pick, i just wondered what you thought was the reason for this?

Edwin, you seem like a pretty intelligent guy and so far I have given you the benefit of the doubt, even though I havent always seen eye to eye with you. That is the wondrous variety of life, is it not?

But seriously, you have huge problems with your condecension and arrogance.

Sean did not fail. As Ron said, he survived.

'come on even someone with no training at all should have a reasonable chance in that situation'

Here you display the truth: Conjecture, bullsh*t and assumptions based on little knowledge or fact.

Sorry to be rude, but, Sean was jumped, by two other guys, who sucker punched him with a knuckle duster. He had his nose broken. He got up off the floor and told them they hit like girls. They decided he was too 'mad' to fight and they left. He beat them, with mental atemi, if you will.

What was to be gained by fighting them? Maybe a worse beating? There is little one can do when sucker punched, it is what you do after that counts...

As for seans aikido and his sensei's, please. Look first to yourself, you do not know this man, nor his instructors (at the time and since). They are both of an excellent pedigree, in my mind.

So Edwin, before you make sweeping statments based on little understanding of the situation, please think first eh?

Nick

doronin
02-10-2006, 07:56 AM
:)

Counsel
02-10-2006, 08:06 AM
Dmitry... you can't levitate yet??? your aikido sucks...LOL... i think mental/spiritual/attitude are all aimed at the same area of practice... a jutsu is the foundation of a Do... if you don't have a jutsu then there is nothing to Do... it is about expanding the scope of the practice of the jutsu... Osensei (and others) built upon other jutsu and made it a Do... the only difference between a jutsu and a Do is the person doing it...

I am not so sure....

This may be extreme, but Ju-do was derived from ju-jutsu, and they are not the same. Not to say one is 'better' than the other, but one may be _____ (fill in your answer here).

While ju-do may 'expand' on ju-jitsu in some areas, it eliminates much of what makes ju-jutsu 'ju-jutsu.' Therefore, I don't think (as I define the term) that Judo 'expands the scope of the practice of Ju-jutsu.'

If there is no difference between aikido and aiki-jutsu, why call it a different art? Wouldn't it be a different school with different attitudes?

I do not have a background in aikido, so excuse any assumptions from this 'simple' mind...

C

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 08:07 AM
Nick,
But seriously, YOU have huge problems with my alledged condecension and arrogance.

the QUESTION i asked was WHY did he think this happened? Like Ron notice the QUOTATION MARKS around the word failed...

Notice that i asked a question, not made a declaration... i also qualified my remarks by saying i was not trying to be mean or pick on him, but sincerely wanted to know HIS thoughts on the incident...

Seems like you are the one being condescending and arrogant... try reading and comprehending my posts before resorting to personal attacks... with respect...

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 08:12 AM
James you are right "different schools with different attitudes and training goals" but the physical techniques could be virtually identical or just slightly modified... the mental/spiritual aspect is what makes it a Do... this i what Osensei, Kano, Funakoshi and others brought that created the line between the Jutsu and Do...

Counsel
02-10-2006, 08:16 AM
Nick,
But seriously, YOU have huge problems with my alledged condecension and arrogance.

the QUESTION i asked was WHY did he think this happened? Like Ron notice the QUOTATION MARKS around the word failed...

Notice that i asked a question, not made a declaration... i also qualified my remarks by saying i was not trying to be mean or pick on him, but sincerely wanted to know HIS thoughts on the incident...

Seems like you are the one being condescending and arrogant... try reading and comprehending my posts before resorting to personal attacks... with respect...

* cough * ...

Nick:

I think we are on the same page, but I think we have a large misunderstanding...

I feel as if I asked WHY he thought the situation happened as it did (that is why I placed quotation marks around the word failed... ).

I asked a question and did not make a statement. In addition, I qualified my remarks by saying I was not trying to be mean or pick on him. I sincerely wanted to know HIS thoughts on the incident...

Can you see my thoughts and meaning at this point? Perhaps try reading and comprehending my post with the information contained in this post

With respect...

*cough*

:D

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 08:19 AM
About what I expected from you, Edwin.

Yes, I do have a problem with what I perceive as your arrogance and condescending manner. Im sorry, but it's right out there in the open for everyone to see. Regardless of the intent behind them, many of your posts come across in an arrogant, condescending and indeed, know it all manner. Again, sorry, but this is the way that I have read them (and I am sure, others have also).

I did actually notice the quototation marks around the word failed. I assure you that I am more than capable of reading your posts and comprehending what you mean. And to be honest, what you mean to say: I do not hold in particularly high regard. Sorry.

You qaulified your remarks? Bully for you! Your 'opinions' are some of the least 'qaulified' I have seen on here in a long time. Assumptions and conjecture, in my opinion.

Seans point, if you were not able to read and 'comprehend' his post, was that it was his ukemi skills and the mental attitude that taking a beating regularly in his aikido training that allowed him to shrug off the attack, get up and insult the attackers. Well done for missing it...

Nick

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 08:22 AM
but james i was trying to reflect a little arrogance and condescension with my reply... how will he KNOW when i am truly being arrogant and condescending if i don't give a sample?

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 08:26 AM
Oh, dont worry, It's pretty obvious :p

makuchg
02-10-2006, 08:26 AM
Nick you bring up some excellent points. Self defense is about surviving the altercation, not necessarily "winning" the fight. We can all next day quarterback a violent altercation that lasts seconds at our leisure the next day, but often it is the clear thoughts and actions during the confrontation that lead to survival. While Sean's ukemi and martial arts training most likely played a key role in his ability to roll with the punches (pardon the pun), his jumping up and taunting his attackers probably wasn't taught, it was survival instinct. I have contended that those with the will to survive, not necessarily the best training, are most often victorious.

I continue to maintain it should be the martial artist goal to be as well rounded as possible with their training, and while some schools advocate maybe even require this, I believe many more do not.

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 08:39 AM
'I have contended that those with the will to survive, not necessarily the best training, are most often victorious.'

Thanks Gregory. Totally agree with you on the above :)

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 08:44 AM
do not mistake Your perceptions with reality... if my words seem arrogant and condescending to you, then why do you think that is so... once again i asked why did Sean feel like aikido had not prepared him for the situation?
"I was attack a number of years ago by two lad in a underpass. I was on my way home from training and had my weapons and all. None of this helped me at all."
Why does he feel that none of this helped him at all??? Where was the failure?

"You qaulified your remarks? Bully for you! Your 'opinions' are some of the least 'qaulified' I have seen on here in a long time. Assumptions and conjecture, in my opinion."

You obviously do not understand the term 'qualify' in the context used... more personal attacks...

Feel free to use the ignore option if you choose to... if i have offended you or any others here it is not my intention as i have stated before... if you ascribe your beliefs as my intentions... i could find that offensive, but i realize you just don't understand, and so i try to explain even in the face of your personal attacks... if my words offend You and unsettle Your mind, meditate on what it is in You that moves you this way... with respect...

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 10:48 AM
Thanks for the advice on reality Edwin, I will bear it in mind.

'Why does he feel that none of this helped him at all??? Where was the failure?'

In my opinion (and at least two others) there was no failure. I believe that Sean means it did not prevent him from being hit. However, it was indeed his aikido training (ukemi) and his will to survive/instincts/reactions that extricated him from the situation.

'You obviously do not understand the term 'qualify' in the context used... more personal attacks...'

Calm down Edwin. You obviously cannot recognise a pun (thats a play on words), more clap trap...

'Feel free to use the ignore option if you choose to... if i have offended you or any others here it is not my intention as i have stated before... '

Im considering it, but I prefer to get the full picture (or as much of it as possible when reading and replying to these threads, so not an option really). I dont believe that you deliberately intend to offend anyone Edwin, you just seem to have a manner and a way of saying things that grates (in my opinion and others). I apologise for anything that you take as a personal attack, it's not my intention to offend either, however I do believe in setting the truth straight and responding to statements/ and ways of stating things, that I disagree with.

'but i realize you just don't understand, and so i try to explain even in the face of your personal attacks... if my words offend You and unsettle Your mind, meditate on what it is in You that moves you this way... with respect...'

Well, im sure you believe this Edwin and you are of course free to do so. Democracy is great eh? :) Your words dont offend me or unsettle my mind, I just dislike your tone (I know it is hard to convery tone/emote on the internet, this possibly has something to do with it). All I have told you on this forum, in the past couple of weeks is when you have appeared to be arrogant and condescending (in my opinion and others), in the hopes that you would consider how you phrase things in the future. Now I know I have no right to tell you what to do or say, or how to say it, it was just intended as a word to the wise, before you possibly alienated yourself from others on this forum (as in my opinion you have done with a couple of people). You though, have told me/advised me to do many things: Meditate on this or that, keep training till I understand this or whatever etc etc. No offense, but where do you get off?

Nick

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 11:29 AM
But seriously, you have huge problems with your condecension and arrogance.

Here you display the truth: Conjecture, bullsh*t and assumptions based on little knowledge or fact.


you started the labeling thing... i don't feel arrogant or condescending, and i have no control over yours or anyone else's thoughts... my question still remains unanswered... how did his aikido not prepare him... other than the falling down part??? if we get all bitchy over the alledged tone of a typed response on an internet forum then we are making mistakes... my opinion and presentation of them are just that mine... they don't reflect on anyone other than myself... i am happy with the way i parse my opinions here, i try to be humorous and engaging... if some don't get that okay... but don't preach to me and act like you're doing me a favor... you are being confrontational... if my words don't offend you or unsettle you mind... then why say anything?... i just wanted to hear Sean's thoughts on the encounter he described, and why he thought aikido did not help... other than the falling down part... many others here say things that i could find irritating and arrogant etc, but that is my own problem and i do not give my problems to other people...

give this a read...
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2005_05.html

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 11:33 AM
'but don't preach to me and act like you're doing me a favor... '

Ironic, coming from you.

That is my last on the matter, i do not wish to extend this debate/argument further and spoil what is a good thread. We shall just have to agree to disagree.

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 11:33 AM
but i never disagreed with you...

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 11:42 AM
until you started the attack... then i defended... what? you don't have any thing else to say about the idea's of this thread which is what the post you found either offensive or not (first one then the other) was about.... why did his aikido not prepare him for the situation... two punks, one guy with pointy sticks... most would agree that the stick gives some advantage, but not an automatic win... what other aspects of this scenario were important? how long had he studied... was he not aware of his surroundings... did he do everything 'right' but still get it, or in hindsight could he have been better prepared, and how so? got any thoughts about the topic under discussion... with respect...

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 11:49 AM
Ok, despite what I just said. I will be back, to discuss the topic of thread. I have you pm'd you with regards to our discussion, that I stated I do not want to spam this thread further. I am busy for the rest of the night (class) so I will continue this in a day or two.

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 11:52 AM
good, i look forward to hearing your thoughts on the self defense aspects of this encounter...

Josh Reyer
02-10-2006, 01:00 PM
Edwin,

As I read it, "none of this helped me at all" did not refer to his aikido, or to aikido in general, but rather to his weapons. In other words, he was making a point that he was actually carrying (on his shoulder, I imagine) implements designed to cause injury to others, and they did not help him in this particular altercation. What did help him was his conditioning from taking ukemi. At no point did he say that he, or his aikido, or aikido in general "failed". Only that his weapons were not what saved him.

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 01:36 PM
i see that Joshua, but i read it as none of this to be weapons, and practice... this is why i am interested in learning more about the scenario... and i agree with the idea that ukemi is a form of conditioning the body to resist physical punishment...

Josh Reyer
02-10-2006, 01:51 PM
i see that Joshua, but i read it as none of this to be weapons, and practice...
Well I assumed the "I was on my way home from training" was meant as context for why he was carrying weapons. Had he mentioned how many years he'd been training, or the intent with which he trains, I could see reading it your way, but as it is,
I'd just like to say that I teach Aikido and not self-defense. Yes it is a part of it but not the whole reason I train.
Sean indicates here that his Aikido training is global in scope, not localized for purely self-defense.
One point I would like to make, Uke.
Here, Sean provides context for what follows: it will be about being an uke.
I was attack a number of years ago by two lad in a underpass. I was on my way home from training and had my weapons and all. None of this helped me at all. But when I hit the floor they walked off a little, it was than I saw them turn around and come back. It was to me the fact I was on my feet and telling them my sister hits harder that them, that they walked away saying I was not right in the head.
Here, he simply describes what happened, and how he survived the encounter.
Yes it could have been a lot worst, and yes by saying what I did may have getting me another beating. But the idea I got up may have put them off, I put this down to being a good uke. A good hard kicking in the dojo teaches you to get back on your feet.
Here Sean refers back to his "Uke" comment. Being an uke in training is what saved him. Rather than suggesting his training failed him, he's saying the exact opposite.

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 02:11 PM
i don't disagree, Josh, but we are discussing the effectiveness of aikido for self defense and specifically how ones training affects this... so the points you made are valid, but what i am asking is different in scope... as i believe all aikido training should give us skills that we could use in just such an encounter... my comment about the pointy sticks was my feeling that even an untrained person should have a possibility of dissuading two street punks... we need more info to really explore this situation... his ukemi may have helped but the fact that his attackers let him be and possibly luck seems to me to be more central to this situation... it is just as important to understand the situations where aikido did not "work" ,and why, as the ones where it did... with respect...

Josh Reyer
02-10-2006, 04:06 PM
i don't disagree, Josh, but we are discussing the effectiveness of aikido for self defense and specifically how ones training affects this... so the points you made are valid, but what i am asking is different in scope... as i believe all aikido training should give us skills that we could use in just such an encounter... my comment about the pointy sticks was my feeling that even an untrained person should have a possibility of dissuading two street punks... we need more info to really explore this situation... his ukemi may have helped but the fact that his attackers let him be and possibly luck seems to me to be more central to this situation... it is just as important to understand the situations where aikido did not "work" ,and why, as the ones where it did... with respect...

No, my point is, we don't need more info, nor to explore the situation. Sean was making a point about a particular aspect of aikido, and how it aided him in the situation. To focus on why he got nailed in the first place misses the forest for the trees. I don't believe Sean has suggested he is at the level where his aikido can fully serve him in fending off attackers. Nick, who seems to know more about it, says he was sucker punched. So there you go. He never had a chance to dissuade them, and I'm sure his "pointy sticks" were in a weapons bag. Let's focus on the point Sean was making.

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 04:15 PM
But i would like more info, and to explore the situation, and i do feel it is important why/how he was nailed in the first place... if people don't want to talk about this okay, but i would like to talk about these things in a thread about aikido and self defense situations... i am not denying the point Sean made about ukemi, but i am interested in more than just ukemi in a SD situation... with respect...

Nick Simpson
02-10-2006, 04:57 PM
Well, for information on this particular incident, I beilieve you'll have to wait and ask Sean for more details next time he is online. However, as I understand it, he was indeed sucker-punched, with a particularly nasty weapon. His weapons would have been in their bag over his shoulder/back and not really of any use or particularly quick or easy to access. And to be honest, I wouldnt recommend anyone attempt to use a bokken in a real encounter.

If someone is intent on hitting you, especially if it is out of the blue then there is little you can do about it. Take it on the chin, get back up again and deal with them in whatever manner you can. This is what is important, in my mind at least.

'No, my point is, we don't need more info, nor to explore the situation. Sean was making a point about a particular aspect of aikido, and how it aided him in the situation. To focus on why he got nailed in the first place misses the forest for the trees. I don't believe Sean has suggested he is at the level where his aikido can fully serve him in fending off attackers. Nick, who seems to know more about it, says he was sucker punched. So there you go. He never had a chance to dissuade them, and I'm sure his "pointy sticks" were in a weapons bag. Let's focus on the point Sean was making.'

Joshua, I am in total agreeance with you.

Michael Varin
02-10-2006, 08:09 PM
The posts that revolve around Sean's incident made me think of something I read a long time ago in a book on Japanese swordsmanship.

A prospective swordsman was told by a master that he would have to live and work on the master's farm for an indefinite time before he could begin training. While the student was working, the master would sneak up on him, and hit him on the head with a hard stick. The student put up with this because of his desire to learn from this master, until one occasion where the student avoided an unexpected strike. The master then told him he could begin his technical training, because he had already learned the difficult lesson.

Like many of these old stories, this may or may not be true, but it nonetheless addresses something important. A heightened awareness of the present moment. I believe this is a cornerstone of self-defense. One should never be blindsided if their awareness is adequate. I don't know Sean, and don't mean to make it personal, so we can speak hypothetically if analyzing his particular situation is too sensitive.

Nick said, "There is little one can do when sucker punched, it is what you do after that counts..."

Of course, perseverance and will to survive are important, but someone who can see an ambush coming and steer clear of it will be more successful than the most highly trained fighter who unknowingly walks into an ambush and then has to fight his way out. Interestingly, Jack Dempsey (one of the last real boxers) said that the name 'sucker punch' is from the fact that the person who through the punch is the sucker, not its intended target!

Nick also said, "And to be honest, I wouldnt recommend anyone attempt to use a bokken in a real encounter."

Why not? Assuming the bokken is accessible, it would be foolish not to. A bokken can be a potent weapon. And in the majority of instances weapons act as a deterrent.

Numbers. The element of surprise. Awareness. Weapons. All critically important in my mind. Anymore thoughts on these subjects?

Michael

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 08:18 PM
the very things i wanted to discuss and explore... before i was hit by a stick...

Nick Simpson
02-11-2006, 08:30 AM
'Why not? Assuming the bokken is accessible, it would be foolish not to. A bokken can be a potent weapon. And in the majority of instances weapons act as a deterrent.'

Well, I imagine the weapons werent accessible, so its kind of a moot point. But in the interests of the thread: I know a bokken can be a deadly weapon, depending on the materials its made from it can be a dense wooden bat (basically) that can be swung with a fair amount of speed. However,it's long an unwieldy and could probably be easily pulled out of a persons grasp (it has no edge to prevent this). As a deterrent, yeah, maybe, but I would feel rather silly. I wouldnt really go for a pool cue or a bat in terms of 'to hand' weaponry, I'd prefer a bottle.

Edwin Neal
02-11-2006, 09:55 AM
"i imagine the weapons werent accessible"... just plain ridiculous... i carry a jo and bokken in a weapons bag and whether it is on your shoulder or in your hand it is accessible... there is no need to take them out of the bag... a solid tsuki along the centerline, or nanamae/shomen swing are both easily done in bag or not... a bokken should be considered a deadly weapon... Musashi is said to have used one often, and killed many challengers with one... "long and unwieldy", "easily pulled out of a persons grasp"... just as ridiculous... we 'practice 'wielding' these weapons... we practice techniques against grabs be it wrist or weapon... 'long' gives room for escape a primary goal in a SD situation... "i'd prefer a bottle"... you should probably stop watching so many movies... grab a 'weapon' that is as likely to break and cut you as your attacker? BRILLIANT!

Nick Simpson
02-11-2006, 01:08 PM
Hi Edwin,

I did state that the bokken 'can' be a deadly weapon. Believe it or not, I am very familiar with Musashi, his writings and his history (as well as the subsequent myths).

A Bokken, jo and tanto in a weapons bag is a pretty unwieldy object to attack/defend with. Im sorry but I wouldnt really bother with it. Ok, of course we practise techniques from weapons grabs (that being where ai-hanmi originates from) but if there is 2 attackers it would not take long for them to grab and overwhelm the defender, with or without there deadly bag of weaponry...

''long' gives room for escape a primary goal in a SD situation'

I agree with this principle.

'you should probably stop watching so many movies'

Thanks for the advice Edwin, I will bear it in mind ;)

'grab a 'weapon' that is as likely to break and cut you as your attacker? BRILLIANT'

Sorry, I disagree here. Im not adovcating use of a bottle in anything less than a last resort sort of situation (as it is not a 'nice' thing to do and would probably land you in prison), but I have seen people hit with a bottle and I think Im in a position to make my own mind up on this. Thanks.

Edwin Neal
02-11-2006, 01:20 PM
wouldn't bother with it??? then why bother at all just lie down and let them stomp you... we are talking about defending oneself... a weapons bag may be a bit awkward, but not bothering shows a lack of intention and tokon... just offering some "bother" to attackers may break their will to continue... as i am sure you will come to understand...

Nick Simpson
02-11-2006, 01:23 PM
By not bothering with the weapons bag/bokken, I did not mean not bother defending myself at all edwin. I would have assumed that this was pretty obvious, however, I'll fill in the blanks: I would have preferred to use my natural weapons - Hands, Feet, Elbows, Knees, Head, Teeth. Im off for the night, It's saturday and I have socialising to do. Easy all :)

Edwin Neal
02-11-2006, 01:26 PM
why discard any weapon that gives a potential advantage...

Cleetus
02-11-2006, 06:10 PM
Hi just been reading this thread and I haven;t posted in a whle so i thhought I would put in my piece.

"why discard any weapon that gives a potential advantage."

The thing about using weapons is that they can easily be taken away from you and used against you. If they are live weapons then they would not try it but its a weapons bag they have nothing to deter them from taking them. If there is multiple attackers it does not take much for one to restrain you and for the other to take you weapon and use it on you(especially if you didn;t see the attack coming). As Nick stated

"I would have preferred to use my natural weapons - Hands, Feet, Elbows, Knees, Head, Teeth."

These are weapons that you will always have with you and don't have to worry about loosing them in a fight they will always be there and ready to use. Also if you rely on using weapons too much then your going to be in trouble if you loose them. If you are prepared to fight without them then do so.

Also in todays society with the CCTV there is constantly used the use of unarmed defence is better. If you are using your hands, feet etc is seen as self defence but with weapons it would be seen as malicious intent.

Michael Varin
02-11-2006, 07:40 PM
Nick Smith said, "The thing about using weapons is that they can easily be taken away from you and used against you."

This can be true if you lack the training and, more importantly, the will to use your weapon. However, if you look at the techniques of aikido with no preconceived notions, you will see that they all address retaining possession of your weapon, so that you can continue to use it against your attacker(s). I am not just talking about tachi/jo dori/nage. I'm talking about all of the techniques. Why do you think there are all those wrist/arm grabs? Because that is such an effective empty-hand attack?

Nick Smith said, "These [hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, teeth] are weapons that you will always have with you and don't have to worry about loosing them in a fight they will always be there and ready to use."

Please, don't misconstrue what I am saying. Learning to use your body weapons is important. If you believe that you can't lose them, well, you have never considered what happens when blade meets flesh, when club meets bone. You can lose them!

Nick Smith said, "Also in todays society with the CCTV there is constantly used the use of unarmed defence is better. If you are using your hands, feet etc is seen as self defence but with weapons it would be seen as malicious intent."

Legal ramifications must be considered, but if you die at the hands of a criminal it won't matter you'll be dead. I am not talking about illegal (in the pure sense of harming another law abiding citizen) use of a weapon. If anyone would fault another for using a weapon for self-defense the problem is not with the use of a weapon, but with the laws, and attitude that protect criminals and deny victims their rights. This doesn't sound like the ideas of a civilized society to me.

Michael

Nick Simpson
02-12-2006, 07:11 AM
I understand what your saying about throwing away any possible advantage. I just personally, as I have already stated, would not use a bokken/weapons bag in a sd situation unless it was absolutely desperate. I have plenty more options at my disposal. What I would consider, is perhaps throwing said weapons bag at the attackers to confuse them, possbily theyd catch it out of reflex, it might give me a split second to close the distance and get in to them.

As someone who has indeed felt the rammifications of sword meeting flesh, I know what you are saying. But Nick still has a valid point. The Police if someone grabs their truncheon/baton rather than struggle with it in a crowd just let go, it's to easy to be pulled down/bogged down if you struggle in this manner. Of course all aikido techniques come from the perspective of trying to retain your weapon/sword. If you want to try and nikkyo someone with your tsuka in an underpass then thats your decision. It just wouldnt be my ideal method of self defense.

At the end of the day, we have two different opinions. Thats brilliant. You guys might prefer to use your bokken/weapons bag, I probably wouldnt :)

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 10:42 AM
i believe this is a somewhat silly distinction... as David Valadez has espressed in some of his posts to this thread there is at issue here a question of 'spontaneous" reaction/application of technique... consider the situation under discussion... i wouldn't think of trying to do 'suburi' with a weapons bag, but would adopt a stance like "present arms" in military talk, with bag held diagonally across my front... attackers may be deterred just by the appearance of resistance... this posture gives ample possiblities for responses to any action potential attackers may make... it has 'two' (actually more) live ends to use... for arm wrist techniques as well as strikes...

" I just personally, as I have already stated, would not use a bokken/weapons bag in a sd situation unless it was absolutely desperate. I have plenty more options at my disposal. What I would consider, is perhaps throwing said weapons bag at the attackers to confuse them, possbily theyd catch it out of reflex, it might give me a split second to close the distance and get in to them"

So you give them your weapon... hoping it will confuse them... then want to take that "unlikely" moment of confusion to move forward where they can attack you!!? with the weapon you just gave them... BRILLIANT!!! come on you need to seriously rethink your strategy!!! a SD situation is desparate, but doing strategically unsound things only increases the chance that you will be hurt or killed... if you get stuck on the narrow forms that you practice in class without considering how to apply them in a real situation you will probably fail... I thought us Yanks taught that to the Redcoats 2 hundred years ago...LOL... at the end of the day there are more than two opinions... the correct one and everything else...

Nick Simpson
02-12-2006, 10:53 AM
*Yawn*. Edwin, these are two different opinions. Mine and yours. Neither is wrong, they are merely different...As for bringing up the war of independance? Lame and completely irrelevant.

Im off for the night again. Enjoy your afternoon of web related activities.

Best,

Nick.

Qatana
02-12-2006, 10:54 AM
Would someone please tell me how an opinion can be correct or incorect?

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 11:06 AM
opinions are subjective... ie personal... i personally believe the earth is flat... correctness (truth) is objective... ie not personal... no matter what my opinion the earth is actually spherical (more or less)... good question Jo... opinions may be either...

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 11:10 AM
*Yawn*. Edwin, these are two different opinions. Mine and yours. Neither is wrong, they are merely different...As for bringing up the war of independance? Lame and completely irrelevant.

it is true and this proves it the british have no sense of humor...LOL...

Qatana
02-12-2006, 11:16 AM
But Edwin you yourself said there are two opinions-the Correct one and Everything Else. So are you now contradicting yourself?

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 11:20 AM
i notice you only parroted the opinions defense and picked on my sense of humor, but did not address the main points of my post... evasion is good but one must eventually engage the enemy or be overwhelmed...

Mark Freeman
02-12-2006, 11:30 AM
it is true and this proves it the british have no sense of humor...LOL...

Edwin is this an objective truth or an opinional thruth? Either way you are correct the british have absolutely no sense of humour, and to prove it we will no longer laugh when we are told that your elected leader is an intelligent, thoughtful, moral, and thoroughly lovely man! < at this point I would put a smiley, but it is NOT funny! >

Qatana
02-12-2006, 11:34 AM
My question is about the rightness and wrongness of opinions. You are both saying there is a right and wrong opinion and also that opinions are entirely subjective. So which one is the correct definition?

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 12:23 PM
i too laugh at the guy who is president of my country, but hey he is all buddy buddy with your guy... so i guess we are both in a non humorous, laughable situation... whatever your opinion...
for Jo opinions are subjective/personal... this says nothing to the truth or correctness of the opinion... that of course is subject to 'reality', no matter how dearly 'we believe' it... some opinions are true with respect to reality, and some are clearly false with respect to reality... both are still opinions, but some are true and others not so true...
try this article for some additional thoughts
http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/pschweer/2005_05.html

Qatana
02-12-2006, 12:44 PM
So what you are saying is that you are either unable or unwilling to answer my straight question with a straight answer?
I maintain that you are contradicting yourself. Ther is NO intrinsic rightness or wrongness in an opinion., Ther is only agreement or disagreement.
Or are you of the opinion that "opinion" and :judgement" are of an identical definition?

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 12:53 PM
opinion is what you believe... it may or may not be "true" in a reality sense... holding the opinion that the world is flat will never be true no matter if one agrees or disagrees with it... holding the opinion that the world is spherical is always true no matter if you agree or disagree with it... i would say opinion and judgement are of 'similar' definitions... i am trying to answer your question and i don't think i am contradicting myself... opinions are beliefs and they are either true beliefs or false beliefs with respect to reality...

Qatana
02-12-2006, 12:56 PM
So "true and false" are the same as "right and wrong"?

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 01:00 PM
generally speaking i would say yes... however thats my opinion...LOL

Qatana
02-12-2006, 01:01 PM
So if I say that I think the primary purpose of aikido training is self transformation, how do you interpret and respond to my statement?
True or false? right or wrong?

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 01:06 PM
i agree, but the term "self transformation" could be interpreted in many ways... one could then call some of these interpretations right or wrong based upon different criteria, and opinions...

doronin
02-12-2006, 01:18 PM
Guys, what you're doing now, is it self-defense, or a martial art?

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 01:30 PM
i don't know Dmitry... what's your opinion? I do both...

doronin
02-12-2006, 03:01 PM
Me neither, but this discussion looks like a street fight now...


BTW, what people used to say about a difference between SD training and MA practicing - kinda overlapping subsets, but definitelly not the same thing, huh?...

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 03:18 PM
true on both points Dmitry, my feeling is SD is mandatory in a MA, that is one of my clear goals, and emphasis... but not all MA practice this way...

creinig
02-13-2006, 05:22 AM
Just a little note on the use of weapon bags in a SD situation: I use this bag: http://www.bujindesign.com/cases2.html (The "D" model). No matter what nasty things you pack inside, it's still utterly unusable as a weapon. It makes for a decent cushion though ;)

Nick Simpson
02-13-2006, 07:10 AM
'There is NO intrinsic rightness or wrongness in an opinion., There is only agreement or disagreement.'

Well said Jo.

Nice weapons bag Christian:)

Cleetus
02-13-2006, 07:16 AM
The thing is we can debate all day about what would be the right thing to if we were attacked. The truth is unless in a specific situation but unless we are actually faced with that situation we don;t know what we would do.

Nick Simpson
02-13-2006, 07:32 AM
'I thought us Yanks taught that to the Redcoats 2 hundred years ago...LOL.'

'it is true and this proves it the british have no sense of humor...LOL...'

You think either of those two 'statement's (I wont call em jokes...) are funny? Well, you obviously have a very different 'opinion' on what constitutes a 'sense of humor'...

Mark Freeman
02-13-2006, 09:20 AM
for Jo opinions are subjective/personal... this says nothing to the truth or correctness of the opinion... that of course is subject to 'reality', no matter how dearly 'we believe' it... some opinions are true with respect to reality, and some are clearly false with respect to reality... both are still opinions, but some are true and others not so true...

Can I hazard an illustration to support this premise.
Some believe that the universe is something like 15 billion years old, and that the earth is approximately 4 billion years old.
There are those that believe that the earth was 'made' around about the time that the others believe the agrarian revolution was happening. Both opinions, only one of them 'true'. I'll leave you to guess where my beliefs lie. ;)

i too laugh at the guy who is president of my country, but hey he is all buddy buddy with your guy... so i guess we are both in a non humorous, laughable situation... whatever your opinion...
opinion does not come in to it, this is sad but nonetheless 'true' :(

Cheers
Mark

Qatana
02-13-2006, 10:49 AM
Belief can be based on fact, fantasy or faith. Opinion can be based on imagination or experience.If I believe something do I have to have empirical Proof of the object/subject of my belief?If I believe in ki and I don't believe in somebody's organised religion, Where is the Right and Wrong in that?
If I say IMO that chocolate is better than strawberry, you may agree or disagree, but can there be any Right or Wrong?

Mark Freeman
02-13-2006, 11:39 AM
Belief can be based on fact, fantasy or faith. Opinion can be based on imagination or experience.If I believe something do I have to have empirical Proof of the object/subject of my belief?If I believe in ki and I don't believe in somebody's organised religion, Where is the Right and Wrong in that?
If I say IMO that chocolate is better than strawberry, you may agree or disagree, but can there be any Right or Wrong?

Interesting,
Belief based on objective fact at least has something going for it. It's not really 'belief' to say the planet earth is round, it just 'is' I 'know' it, there is no room for right or wrong in this case
Belief based on faith is the most common area for most of us, for example we have faith that our fellows will follow common rules e.g. stick to the right side of the road. Luckily they usually do :) There are many many cases where we have faith that things will turn out a certain way, our own general experience tends to bear these things out.
Belief based on fantasy, seems to me to be rather 'daft' as if you know something is fantasy it is just that. Like believing "The force is with you"
I think some problems arise when belief is 'faith' based and that faith is built on fantasy. If enough people believe it, it starts to have a life of it's own, and then the 'believers' start to believe that it's 'true'

As for chocolate being better than strawberry, well Strawberry Chocolate wins hands down ;)

It's probably best not to believe a word that I say. :rolleyes:

regards,
Mark

Edwin Neal
02-13-2006, 12:29 PM
well put mark... chocolate and strawberry what sublime unity and harmony...
got the same weapons bag... try this, get your friend to take it with a jo and bokken in it you stand there and 1) let them hit as hard as they can in the face with it, 2) take it and 'sweep' behind your knee or ankle...

Nick Smith said, "The thing is we can debate all day about what would be the right thing to if we were attacked. The truth is unless in a specific situation but unless we are actually faced with that situation we don;t know what we would do."

i would say we practice so that in any situation we have trained some response(s) that can be applied to that situation, and that is certainly better than 'freezing' and doing nothing... it is all about improvising and spontaneity...

Nick Simpson
02-13-2006, 05:22 PM
'try this, get your friend to take it with a jo and bokken in it you stand there and 1) let them hit as hard as they can in the face with it, 2) take it and 'sweep' behind your knee or ankle... '

Stand there? Why? Im too pretty for that kind of shenanigans...:p
I understand the importance of conditioning and learning to take blows, but allowing someone to hit you in the face with a weapons bag full of jo etc etc, does not sound like a sensible recreational activity to me. Hell, it would be pretty silly even in the name of budo. I'll get my kicks elsewhere guys an gals...

'it is all about improvising and spontaneity...'

This is the heart of it. Totally agree.

Edwin Neal
02-13-2006, 05:45 PM
alas Nick I believe your sarcasm meter is not getting the sunshine it requires... perhaps you have it stuck in the wrong place...

Nick Simpson
02-13-2006, 05:48 PM
'A sarcasm detector? Now thats a REAL USEFULL invention...'

Notice the playful tone of that paragraph? Notice the smiley?

Never mind ;)

white rose
02-14-2006, 02:47 PM
Hi guys.

Well to answer Edwin's question. I really don't know what failed, Aikido, training or me not paying attention to my surroundings. I'm just glad they didn't come down, because it hurt the first time.

As for what I'd do different, I think I'd be more wearier of people and not wander into underpasses with two lad's in ha,ha. As have been pointed out my point was about Ukemi and its part in Aikido.

Tim Gerrard
02-14-2006, 03:30 PM
but allowing someone to hit you in the face with a weapons bag full of jo etc etc, does not sound like a sensible recreational activity to me.

Sounds like the perfect Saturday afternoon after a few!

Nick Simpson
02-15-2006, 05:23 AM
''Sounds like the perfect Saturday afternoon after a few!''

Yeah. But you get paid to get shot at...

Edwin Neal
02-15-2006, 08:11 AM
thanks Sean, a lesson we all must learn... pay attention to your surroundings... i'm glad it turned out okay for you... and your point about ukemi was indeed very valid IMHO, after years of intense ukemi i feel many aikidoka can 'absorb' or blend with alot of physical force... thanks for your thoughts...

Chris Evans
08-13-2012, 07:08 PM
wait you dont get jedi powers from training in aikido, damn I am so out!

You may get Jedi powers over your own mind doing zazen (shikantaza/mo-zhao) daily, under the guidance of a trust worthy Zen teacher, but I am under the delusion that dedicated aikido practice with an open minded martial arts sensei, along with jujutsu or hapkido "cross-traiining," will be fun and is likely to be useful when faced with the need to save a life, while unarmed.

Perhaps as I gather confidence with my budding aikido, I may drawn down near-daily punching and kicking practices, but I doubt that since the aikido sensei Henry Ellis, of the UK, teaches his aikido kata to practice hard atemi, running, and many push-ups.

Aikido training has given me the beginner's energy and enthusiasm that I hope will last a while as I have fun attempting to balance all that's worth repeating in my life.

OK, time to walk my talk...

Osu

Chris Evans
08-21-2012, 10:22 AM
IMHO, yes Aikido is still a martial art, therefore important and useful in a self-defense situation.

It takes longer because you not only have to learn a different way to move, but also a different way to think. The change and unity of body and mind is not a simple task.

To decrease time, go slower initially and learn the technical tactics and the strategic principles and concepts.

OK, I'll do that" "...To decrease time, go slower initially..."