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Mark Freeman
02-08-2006, 01:14 PM
In my career life as a training consultant, I used music to great effect in the learning environment.
I do not however use music in the dojo, probably because it is just not part of my experience so far.
My question is:
1. Does anyone use music in their dojo, and if so what?
2. If you were to stop for a moment and imagine in your mind aikido being practiced as if you were an observer, what would the soundtrack be?

Just a thought, curiosity sometimes forces me to do these things! :)

regards
Mark
p.s. for me the answer to 2 is Miles Davis :cool:

justin
02-08-2006, 01:23 PM
never heard of that before in any martial art, dont quite like the idea myself.

Josh Reyer
02-08-2006, 01:42 PM
2. If you were to stop for a moment and imagine in your mind aikido being practiced as if you were an observer, what would the soundtrack be?

Just a thought, curiosity sometimes forces me to do these things! :)

regards
Mark
p.s. for me the answer to 2 is Miles Davis :cool:

Halcyon + On + On, by Orbital

Or, "Moon Light" from the Odoru Daisousasen soundtrack.

Both are soft, but with energy. :)

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 01:57 PM
Kitaro "kojiki" might be appropriate... we used to do kung fu to quiet meditative music... no not "kung 'fu fighting"!!!... i can't see how it would be 'more' effective than not, but it might be motivational for say a randori, but could have the downside of impairing your sense of hearing, which could be a vital part of awareness training...

Nick Simpson
02-08-2006, 02:10 PM
I reckon anything by 'Sigur Ros' would be the perfect soundtrack to most aikido classes. Although in randori some good metal like Darkest Hour or Johnny Truant would be cool. New Noise by Refused is also blatantly an ass kicking song.

Trish Greene
02-08-2006, 02:15 PM
p.s. for me the answer to 2 is Miles Davis :cool:

Can't go wrong with Miles in any situation!!!! Miller Sensei usually plays music when we are warming up before class but not during class.

aikidodragon
02-08-2006, 02:46 PM
In our Aikido dojo we don't have music. However; my first judo club we always played music. Our coachs found that we learned the drills and techniques if we had a rhythm. It veried from rap, rock, japanese soundtracks, to movie sound tracks. It just depended who was running class what we listened to. And my jujitsu school, we have some kids movie running almost all the time.

Mark Uttech
02-08-2006, 03:06 PM
Kind of like people who bring music along when they go camping....

Don_Modesto
02-08-2006, 03:39 PM
Ya just gotta wonder how much of the antipathy to music in the dojo is inertia.

Muay Thai and Capoeira use it. With not too much imagination you could think of benefits.

We just didn't come up in dojo using it so we lack that IMAGE of music being appropriate to MA. Anyone remember that anecdote toward the end of Blink about the blind audition for the brass section of some prestigious symphony?

Dajo251
02-08-2006, 05:10 PM
Ya just gotta wonder how much of the antipathy to music in the dojo is inertia.

Muay Thai and Capoeira use it. With not too much imagination you could think of benefits.

We just didn't come up in dojo using it so we lack that IMAGE of music being appropriate to MA. Anyone remember that anecdote toward the end of Blink about the blind audition for the brass section of some prestigious symphony?
well capoeira is intended to look like dancing, music is as much part of the art as the physical aspect

neaikikai
02-08-2006, 05:21 PM
I hear these things and my mind is blown. Music in a Aikido dojo. Unbelievable. People, I know Aikido is pretty when performed well, and has an artistic look to it. But please lets not forget this is a martial art first and foremost. It can be other things also, which it is, and people practice for different reasons, but don't ever loose sight that first and foremost it must be approached as the martial art that it is. A martial art to defend oneself against attack. Don't get me wrong, I know it encompasses much more than that and has a deep spiritual background, but don't ever forget Osensei was a martial artist, the best of his time, and not just because he was religious, his martial technique was incomparable. My sensei Kanai Shihan would be very offended by this notion. He viewed the dojo as an extremely serious place. A place for serious martial training and respect. I also don't feel like I am jumping out on a limb here by assuming that the uchi deshi of Osensei would not approve of music in an Aikido dojo. I know it looks like dancing, but practiced correctly it is a vigorous martial art.

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 05:35 PM
easy Michael... music does not automatically, or necessarily, eliminate the seriousness of the dojo and training... nor does it negate aikido's martial nature or self defense applicability... Kanai and uchi deshi's don't have to freak out either... it is no offense to them, nor should it be viewed as such...

Karen King
02-08-2006, 06:12 PM
I attended a seminar with Chiba Sensei where he talked about how he had used disco music in a class once to try to get people to move/use their hips. I pretty sure he doesn't use it on a regular basis, but he certainly didn't seem adverse to using music.

Don_Modesto
02-08-2006, 07:09 PM
LOL. I hear these things and my mind is blown. Music in a Aikido dojo. Unbelievable.Cultural. The Jpn can be pretty uptight folk. Sclerotic about precedent and tradition and the like. Why limit ourselves to their neuroses? Surely we can find a few of our own? People, I know Aikido is pretty when performed well, and has an artistic look to it. But please lets not forget this is a martial art first and foremost. It can be other things also, which it is, and people practice for different reasons, but don't ever loose sight that first and foremost it must be approached as the martial art that it is.DiFronzo...Di is short for didactic? :) A martial art to defend oneself against attack. Don't get me wrong, I know it encompasses much more than that and has a deep spiritual background, but don't ever forget Osensei was a martial artist, the best of his time, and not just because he was religious, his martial technique was incomparable. My sensei Kanai Shihan would be very offended by this notion. He viewed the dojo as an extremely serious place. A place for serious martial training and respect. Not sure I see the necessary contradiction between music and efficacy/gravity. Tomiki asserted that ballroom dancing would help technical progress.
I also don't feel like I am jumping out on a limb here by assuming that the uchi deshi of Osensei would not approve of music in an Aikido dojo. I know it looks like dancing, but practiced correctly it is a vigorous martial art.Takeda didn't like where Osensei to his DR. That didn't stop Osensei. Why should we be anymore limited by our teachers? Tradition in Jpn didn't mean rigormortis. It was taken for granted that MA-ists would adapt what their teachers gave them.

(Btw, non-sequitur, I suppose, but I've never played music in any of my classes. Don't a priori have anything against the idea, though. Kinda like it actually, in a devil's advocate kind of way...)

Qatana
02-08-2006, 08:04 PM
We listen to music throughout every class, except when the ballet school is closed. We don't get to choose what we hear.

Karen King
02-08-2006, 08:12 PM
Theres certainly been a lot of music playing in my head when I am thinking about/doing Aikido. Everything from the soundtrack to Gladiator to that Chumbawumba song that goes..."I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never going to keep me down"

Edwin Neal
02-08-2006, 08:26 PM
hehe she said chumbawumba... rofl...

djyoung
02-08-2006, 08:48 PM
Thats 'Chumbawumba - Tub Thumping' i do believe

I think thats a good song for a lot of grappling arts, I used to think of that when doing a randori style activity.

Although, I think music can be a distraction to many of the people these days that seem to not be able to pay attention properly, without music they have nothing else to focus on but the class. Its not necessary either, unless your a believer in all the rediculous research that proves X makes us learn better (which the researchers promptly disprove in a few years). Use in one or two classes could be beneficial.

**Note: Last I heard its classical music that is supposed to be beneficial to study.

mriehle
02-08-2006, 09:01 PM
Music is an integral part of our training in our dojo.

But the comment about serious is apropos.

It doesn't matter all that much what the music is, as long as it conforms to some rules:

1) Solid rhythm. The point of the music is to practice rhythm. To this end, my teacher will often turn the music off without warning to see if our rhythm falls apart. Let's say he gets a little grumpy if it does. But the music stays on pretty much non-stop in beginner's classes.

2) Careful about vocals. This isn't just about inappropriate lyrics (though that is a factor), it's also about distraction. If the music stops being a rhythm enhancing tool and starts being a distraction, it's no good.

3) When the music is on, it's on. When it isn't, just shut up and do your Aikido. IOW, the music has a purpose and when that purpose doesn't apply to the particular lesson, it goes away.

I'm also an instructor and I find I use the music or not depending on what I'm teaching that day. The character of the music may change depending on the lesson as well. Different music for meditation (if we use it at all) versus randori.

One thing I use the music for in kids classes (and sometimes it even works) is to cut down on talking. Play it just loud enough that talking is difficult, set them a difficult, non-stop exercise and yell, "No talking" occasionally during class. Even the most unruly kids eventually give up the attempt to talk. :D

Michael O'Brien
02-08-2006, 09:20 PM
... first and foremost it must be approached as the martial art that it is. A martial art to defend oneself against attack.

But if I train without music and get attacked in a bar won't the music be a distraction then?

"WAIT WAIT ... Everybody be still and quiet so I can focus on my technique here".

Sorry, couldn't resist just a little sarcasm. :D

Dajo251
02-08-2006, 09:54 PM
We listen to music throughout every class, except when the ballet school is closed. We don't get to choose what we hear.


yeah our school shares a wall with a dance school so we do hear some music most classes, last week it was the white stripes.....

jk
02-08-2006, 10:43 PM
Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those cats were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightning
But they fought with expert timing

They were funky China men from funky Chinatown
They were chopping them up and they were chopping them down
It's an ancient Chineese art and everybody knew their part
From a feint into a slip, and kicking from the hip

Sorry, couldn't resist that one hit wonder. One of the things about music in Muay Thai (and what I've seen of Capoeira) is that it's live, and as such the musicians do have some interaction with what's happening in the ring. Not quite the same as putting on your Carl Douglas LP from 1974 in the dojo (or listening to it on your iPod). But then again I remember singing Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual" in the dojo...

aikidoc
02-08-2006, 11:13 PM
I have used light flute background music (Cusco) in class before to create an atmosphere of flow. There were also two articles written on music and aikido in the Journal of asian Martial arts-although I have not read them.

Chuck.Gordon
02-09-2006, 03:40 AM
I've experimented with using a soundtrack to establish, mostly, a rhythm to practice. Used shakuhachi, koto and taiko mainly, but also injected some less trad. more rad stuff, too. The thing I found most useful on the mat wasn't music at all, though. It was an environmental audio CD of a seashore, waves breaking and all that.

After a while, I abandoned the soundtrack idea entirely, as being too much of a distractor.

In some (though, not many) dojo, I've seen (mainly for special events) taiko drumming being used to call class to order or to establish transitions between classes and so forth.

Aristeia
02-09-2006, 04:17 AM
A BJJ school I went to for a while often had loud dance music playing at the start of class - because the Muay Thai guys that had just come off had it playing while they sparred. Annoyed the hell out of me.

But I love having music going for BJJ sparring. In fact when we're rolling in my garage that's how I time the rounds, either one or two songs worth. Adds a certain something to it when you can hear the song coming to the end and know you don't have much time.

I can see how it could be very useful in Aikido, at the appropriate volume and the appropriate type. Particularly to get people to flow into the techniques.

One of the problems a certain set of beginners have is that they come in looking for something *too* martial. And are so busy trying to yank peoples arms around the miss the point on blending. Perhaps music could help with that.

Mark Freeman
02-09-2006, 04:53 AM
Hi all,

well my curiosity has certainly been satisfied, thanks :)

as usual, you all confirm that the world of Aikido is a dynamic one, and that experimentation is as important as practicing passed down forms.

Personally I am of the opinion that what works, works. Some may not like the fact that other ways of doing things, may be as effective ( maybe even more so? ), but that is not uncommon in any sphere of practice.

In my work, the use of music is very effective at 'state changing' - getting energy levels up, calming them down etc, the right sort of music at the right level can also be usefull when people work collectively on some task. I remove the music when any instruction is being given though, as I dont want to be competing for attention.
Certain Classical music e.g. Bach has been proven to increase brain capacity for understanding maths. I know that in educational circles, particularly primary levels, they are using music to great effect.

Cheers, and let the debate continue.... ;)

Mark
p.s. as I type this I am still listening to Miles Davis :D

white rose
02-09-2006, 05:11 AM
If people are watching you train. How about a bit of Robbie's Let Me Entertain You, or the Manics, You Love Us.

I think there cracking tunes, oh yes Nick thought you'd be on this thread bud. Never heard of any of your bands ha. :crazy:

Nick Simpson
02-09-2006, 07:57 AM
Really? Refused? Sigur Ros did some of the soundtrack to Vanilla Sky, by the way...

Amelia Smith
02-09-2006, 08:33 AM
I attended a seminar with Chiba Sensei where he talked about how he had used disco music in a class once to try to get people to move/use their hips. I pretty sure he doesn't use it on a regular basis, but he certainly didn't seem adverse to using music.

Chiba Sensei?!?!?! :eek: :freaky: I am shocked! When was this? Does anyone have a video of it?

I have trained in places where music comes through the walls from neighboring classes or restaurants, and have found it not too much of a distraction, but it doesn't add much, and I'd rather it weren't there.

Eric Webber
02-09-2006, 11:39 AM
The Montreal Aikikai has (I assume they still do) a "rhythm class" where each aikidoka takes a turn beating a drum while the class does technique to the beat. I have done this on only a couple of occasions while visiting, it is very interesting in that it refocuses ones senses to another stimulus outside the norm of what we normally are aware.

...and my personal aikido soundtrack would consist of AC/DC, Audio Slave, Theory of a Deadman, Rage Against the Machine :D

mriehle
02-09-2006, 12:00 PM
You know, oddly, liking the music is nearly irrelevant. The music I find best for training with is often music that irritates me to listen to outside the dojo. Context matters, I guess.

Music that I truly like to listen to can be a huge problem to have playing in the dojo. I'm pretty much the definitive Led Zeppelin fan. I can still watch The Song Remains the Same and enjoy every minute of it. But if The Mighty Zep is playing during an Aikido class it's just distracting. I listen to the music instead of training.

Hmm....maybe I need to train to Zep in order to work on discipline...

I find trance music, a form that until recently I had largely ignored, to be the best to train to. I like the music in any case (which came as a surprise to me), but it isn't my favorite thing to listen to. There are other forms that also work well that I just can't listen to outside of a training context, e.g., certain types of jazz.

Qatana
02-09-2006, 01:21 PM
Somehow the idea of training to the Gateful Dead or Irish Fiddle is just Wrong....but so is the idea of training to the Hokey Pokey, but thats where you find out it really IS what its all about.

Lyle Bogin
02-09-2006, 03:22 PM
lol, Jo.

I train to music at home...mostly jazz lately.

James Kelly
02-09-2006, 03:42 PM
I used to practice Zen at a school that shared a wall with the Jim Henson studios. Just try to calm your mind with Muppet music piped in... Itís not easy being serene.

Lan Powers
02-09-2006, 06:09 PM
We shared a wall with a spanish church that played live music during their services....poorly I might add. It didn't seem beneficial in any way. Maybe if it was played better, but I just found it distracting.
I often think/sing under my breath as I did fighter practice in the SCA to control my breathing but I haven't applied that to randori. (Aikido trains the breathing in better ways I think.)
For my .02
Lan

Mark Freeman
02-09-2006, 06:31 PM
I used to practice Zen at a school that shared a wall with the Jim Henson studios. Just try to calm your mind with Muppet music piped in... It's not easy being serene.

Kermit me to say...priceless! :D :D

Mato-san
02-10-2006, 07:52 AM
I am a musician and adore all genres of music, Aikido, I think no music has no place. Maybe other arts. I guess its a matter of preference. Who do you train with what mood you want to set. But aikido has ki energy, music also has energy and finding the harmony in the two would be near impossible. But maybee thats a challenge for all the musicians out there, you got me thinking. Good post

MaryKaye
02-10-2006, 09:31 AM
Ki Society has a seventeen-movement drill, Oneness Taiso, which can be done to music. It works better that way, because you don't have to count and can concentrate on flow and form. But the approved music for this purpose is...is...well, to this Western ear it's "The Smurf Christmas as the Mall," to be honest. Our teacher tends to close the door when she plays it, because it's just embarrassing.

I recently discovered that Oneness Taiso works equally well to the tune of "The Banana Boat Song" and I'm waiting for the proper moment to spring this discovery on my seniors. In the meantime, that's how I do it when I'm by myself. (It has the additional advantage that it can be sung, which the approved music can't.)

I don't feel that it's necessary to be serious every moment in the dojo. Laughter is one of the things that attracted me to aikido. Quite a few of the very senior people bring humor to the mat too--at Winter Camp Shibata sensei and Yamada sensei made us laugh many times, and I would never consider either of them less than serious about their aikido.

Mary Kaye

Jorx
02-10-2006, 01:06 PM
We have music in class (bjj/mma). Mind that it very much affects how people train/spar. We usually NEVER have agressive music (heavy rock, metal) during groundfighting sparring - it pumps ppl up and they start spazzing and injury risk goes up. However we do it when boxing and sometimes Vale Tudo when people need "a kick".

ikkitosennomusha
02-10-2006, 04:19 PM
never heard of that before in any martial art, dont quite like the idea myself.


I am going to have to agree 100%. Music should not be a factor that students get conditioned to. Pretty soon they will be on the street, someone attacks them and their initial response would be "Darn, I need some music to perform". Just a thought.

Michael O'Brien
02-10-2006, 04:37 PM
I am going to have to agree 100%. Music should not be a factor that students get conditioned to. Pretty soon they will be on the street, someone attacks them and their initial response would be "Darn, I need some music to perform". Just a thought.

Couldn't the opposite be said as well? If you only get used to training in a quiet, serene, peaceful dojo environment then in the mall, a parking lot, a bar, etc the student will have to go "WAIT! Everyone step back and give me room, and be very quiet so I can focus on seeing the attack coming?"

Proper training instills good instintive techniques in the mind and body, period. If music helps achieve that goal then it becomes a useful training tool.

ikkitosennomusha
02-10-2006, 08:14 PM
Couldn't the opposite be said as well? If you only get used to training in a quiet, serene, peaceful dojo environment then in the mall, a parking lot, a bar, etc the student will have to go "WAIT! Everyone step back and give me room, and be very quiet so I can focus on seeing the attack coming?"

Proper training instills good instintive techniques in the mind and body, period. If music helps achieve that goal then it becomes a useful training tool.


I knew this would come up and you are right but, I feel there are plenty distractions in a dojo to overcome without the use of music. Besides, as sensei, I don't want to give directives while competing vocally with a stereo. During group practice, there is enough thumping of the mats and people making ki noises.

Next thing you know, people will come in and see aikidoka doing movements that look like ballet to them with the accompanyment of music and get the vibe it must be a new age billy blanks aerobic, tai chi kind of place.

Mark Freeman
02-11-2006, 06:26 AM
Next thing you know, people will come in and see aikidoka doing movements that look like ballet to them with the accompanyment of music and get the vibe it must be a new age billy blanks aerobic, tai chi kind of place.

Heaven forbid, we wouldn't want that would we?? :rolleyes:

When I first asked the question at the head of this thread, I had absolutely no idea of the extent of the use of music in the dojo. As I said, I do not use it, and have not experienced it.

I am pleasantly surprised to find so much open-ness to it's use in the dojo, and the variety of ways that it can usefully be deployed.

I think those who do not like the idea of music being used in the 'martial arts - serious self defence' setting, are slightly missing the point and are not thinking of the history of the use of music and Martial/Military life.
Music has been used for centuries, throughout many different cultures to put warriors into the right frame of mind to go out and do the things that they have to do - kill or be killed. It has been used to put fear into the enemy - Scottish bag-pipers come to mind. It even served to provide a backdrop for the Vietnam war that somehow defined the 'madness' of it all.

Where I practice, we are on the first floor of a Community Centre, and occasionally during the evening class, there may be a band practicing downstairs or sometimes there's a disco (whoops that shows my age :eek:)). We just smile, and continue to practice as we always do.

Music is one of the great joys of life, it brings people together, I can't imagine that there wouldn't be a place for it in the world of Aikido.

Cheers

Mark,
p.s at the moment listening to Nils Petter Molvaer :cool:

dan guthrie
02-12-2006, 05:12 PM
Vivaldi, Bach and Handel are on four or five times a month for the whole class. Once in a while our sensei turns off most of the lights and we do light jiu waza to taiko drums - usually at the end of class. "Kung Fu Fighting" has been used at least once.
I like it. I'd recommend it.

Jory Boling
02-13-2006, 08:15 AM
What about that song "I've Got the Power" that that guy, Jeff Speakman, did a kata to in The Perfect Weapon.
"SNAP! I will attack and you don't want that." Great. now i can't get it out of my head.

Trish Greene
02-13-2006, 02:01 PM
First of all, as a musician and an Aikidoka, I have to say that the integration of the two during practice would be very ideal for me. Music is a part of the life that surrounds you. Let me say that again MUSIC IS ALL AROUND YOU in some form or another, it has an energy and presence of its own that can very well align with ki.
I understand that it is a martial art that we are studying, with all the agression that pertains to it. But we are also studying the way of harmony, a harmony that flows and blends around our agressor, much like water around a rock.

Sorry if I am getting too ephemeral with this analogy, but they are both subjects which are dear to me.

No, we don't have music in our dojo during practice because we are all intent on listening to soft spoken Miller Sensei when he instructs. But we have it playing while we warm up. (From Japanese flute and drum to "Kung Fu Fighting" and P. Diddy depending on sensei's mood!)

jester
02-13-2006, 04:21 PM
The sound of tsugi-ashi on a canvas mat and the slap of a breakfall is music to my ears!

Michael O'Brien
02-13-2006, 06:06 PM
I knew this would come up and you are right but, I feel there are plenty distractions in a dojo to overcome without the use of music. Besides, as sensei, I don't want to give directives while competing vocally with a stereo. During group practice, there is enough thumping of the mats and people making ki noises.

Next thing you know, people will come in and see aikidoka doing movements that look like ballet to them with the accompanyment of music and get the vibe it must be a new age billy blanks aerobic, tai chi kind of place.

I was purely playing devils advocate, but only to a degree. LOL

I agree that it may not be the proper thing to do every class, and I would think it would be advisable as a general rule to have it blaring so loud as to be difficult to talk over.

However, as I previously stated, if it can be used in situations to help out then it is a valuable training tool and I am all for it.

ikkitosennomusha
02-14-2006, 11:21 AM
I would like to announce that I am a virtuoso on the guitar. By the beard of Zeus I love music as much or more than most people but still I would not have it in my dojo, nor would I train in a dojo that had it. For me it is spiritual reasons. However, I am not saying that it is wrong. I think it is fine if others want to do it. I just prefer not.

I think since people are more diverse and people are divided in their opinions, it is best not to have it to eliminate the issue of whether someone is comfortabe or uncomfortable.

Off topic, what I have always believed in and could never get a sensei to do, was to conduct training once in a while with everyone wearing their everyday, street atire. We are so used to training aikido in our element, e.g., in our hakama, keikogi, mats, etc., I feel it would be beneficial to see how the mechanics of aikido will work in a real environment so if a situation should arise, one is more aware of how things will be outside the dojo. Do I make sense? hope so, hehehehe

Nick Simpson
02-15-2006, 05:47 AM
'Off topic, what I have always believed in and could never get a sensei to do, was to conduct training once in a while with everyone wearing their everyday, street atire. We are so used to training aikido in our element, e.g., in our hakama, keikogi, mats, etc., I feel it would be beneficial to see how the mechanics of aikido will work in a real environment so if a situation should arise, one is more aware of how things will be outside the dojo.'

Great idea, I've been wanting to do something like this for a while, I also want to play the tanto - marker pen game and the find the best weapon you can in your house game :)

ian
02-15-2006, 08:07 AM
Our training hall is next to a bar, which often has bands practising in it! Thus we get an involuntary taste of music. Probably helps, if only because it stops me talking!

ikkitosennomusha
02-15-2006, 02:22 PM
'Off topic, what I have always believed in and could never get a sensei to do, was to conduct training once in a while with everyone wearing their everyday, street atire. We are so used to training aikido in our element, e.g., in our hakama, keikogi, mats, etc., I feel it would be beneficial to see how the mechanics of aikido will work in a real environment so if a situation should arise, one is more aware of how things will be outside the dojo.'

Great idea, I've been wanting to do something like this for a while, I also want to play the tanto - marker pen game and the find the best weapon you can in your house game :)


Seriously, some aikido techniques are optimal in a dojo environment and not in a "real" environment. Some examples would be that you cannot slide your foot into "ai hanmi" stance on concrete wearing shoes with rubber grips so, your foot has to slightly come up a little more than in the dojo comprimising stability (only minutely). You are also not going to be doing much of suwari waza on concrete either if you can help it.

There are other ideas that come to mind and I think it is good to see some of the limitations that a "real" environment provides and how one might overcome/adapt to the environment. Just a thought.