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I know immediately when someone does combat sports but has never really been in a fight; they think fighting is just like sparring or randori or rolling and actually a lot of Aikidoka do too. I would even say that really you struggle to understand Aikido without having been in an actual fight because it is strategically at odds with western notions of fighting.
I remember a while back we (my dojo) were out drinking and discussing why our outlook on Aikido was so different from the mainstream and the conclusion we came to was that'd we'd all been rather heavily bullied; getting beaten up for us was fairly normal at certain stages of our lives and so we had no illusions and even there was among us a real sense of fighting with the spirit of ken ore ya mo tsuki. Winning a fight was an alien concept because four or five on one fights are not the kind you win.
This experience is central to how I practice Aikido and I know the same is true of all of my friends that practice Aikido and this experience leads to the understanding that all real fighting must be done with the intention of ikken hissatsu and by extention the training for that fight must be done in the spirit of ikken hissatsu.
To my way of thinking this rules out the possibility of sparring or randori or rolling. If your opponent is still standing after thirty seconds you are dead because his friend has killed you. Now the sports minded among you, and western thinking is fundamentally sports orientated when it
I'm suprised how much latitude Sensei gives me with teaching. I've made a few minior changes and he's ok with them. The biggest is the use of proper kamae when doing katate dori; something that's puzzled me for a while was the palm up/palm down thing which isn't needed and isn't proper kamae. I know it's explained as coming from drawing the sword but what relevence does that have today?
Drawing the sword actually involves bending the elbow which in an art that's practically built on the unbendable elbow is frankly a bizarre way of doing things. "You know that unbendable elbow I spend ages teaching you? Yeah well don't use it in this technique because if you had a sword.............."
a) The guy does not have a sword
b) If he carried a sword in public the armed response unit would gun him down like a dirty dog
c) The technique works not just fine but actually better without having to resort to some bizarre medieval paradigm.
Why are we teaching impractical things for medieval reasons which actually detract from general competance in the art across the board?
Also I think it actually has a psychological impact in that it teaches a moment of messing around behaving like you have a sword before responding rather than simply teaching an immediate, aggressive and decisive response to an attack. Then when I get around to having to teach shomen uchi rather than having to teach a completely new movement I can just tell them to do exactly what they did for ai hamni. Simp
I talked to Sensei about my plans for a Saturday class and he's very enthusiastic about the whole thing and directed me to go and see a rather senior person about it. The only thing that, well it mostly perplexes me, is that he said that we can't enter competitions because we're traditionalists. I don't see what the problem is.
The only concern is that we're representing Aikido, the association and Hombu Dojo and so we mustn't do anything which brings either into disrepute which is something that's been central to my ideas. As I see things this is my project and I want things done in a way that's martial; more important than representing Aikido, the association and Hombu Dojo we're representing our dojo.
The public face will have to be one that inspires respect and there will be no room for posturing. posing and other testosterone fueled adolescent nonsense or endless chatter about things. Also if it all works out and we become successful then I think I'll actually have to be quite careful about who I train, I don't, after all, really want this to be a massive thing, I don't see this transforming Aikido as a whole; it's purpose is to draw in and retain younger students specifically for my dojo.
So I came in the other day and mum is in the living room doing her Tai Chi while watching a DVD her teacher made and it went onto martial applications. So mum's there rehersing this movement over and over again and she's giggling that she can't get it right so I had a look at the DVD.
It was only shomen uchi jodan irimi nage omote, nearly step for step.
Umm, this is my average weekend. This is what I do for fun. I know he says "This is not paintball" but I can't see a difference between this and the campaign days I play. Even the weapons and uniforms look the same; I suspect he hasn't played much paintball and I have had FAR worse bruises than that at paintball.
"After the first couple of simunition engagements you find the heart rate coming down and down and down because you're being innoculated"
And I'm here thinking "Uh, the heart rate is meant to go up? Mine doesn't. If someone shoots at me I don't really care, I just shoot back. I don't even think about it."
Actually it's worse/better than that. It's this cold aggression takes over, there's no adrenaline, no rush or excitement. It really is this mushin experience. There isn't even really a desire to shoot the other guy and I know from talking to other members of my team, who are all guys I do Aikido with that it's the same for them and this is what it feels like for us when we get into a self-defence situation. Even when I'm paintballing I have a real desire to close with and get hand to hand with the opposition.
The thing that's really worrying me is that in part three the instructor is yelling at him like "He's just raped your sister" and all this and presenter is talking about how when he thinks of the target as being a bad human