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Leon Aman 09-25-2006 05:09 AM

failed?
 
Hi,

A few months ago I raised a topic "Is it proper? ". This about the situation we had in our dojo where my main concern is our own sensei. Different people shared different views. Some had to suggest to leave my dojo and look for another one, and for some are to let me stay . Different views different reason, that eventually compelled me to make a decision.

To make it short, I left my dojo and subscribed to another one. About 4 or 5 months of observation which in the beginning I presumed is a different recipe of aikido where I can train interestingly seems unsuccessful to me because they failed to honor the sense that interest me.

Right now I am concentrating on my BJJ (under team machado) and kickboxing classes. Every training session is surely learning(not teaching) and inspiring , though the training is really exhausting. So I cant avoid not to compare this to my aikido training where in these academy I can easily determine who are really good players or fighters. Unlike in Aikido where everybody claims to be better than the other though there is no basis/measure of goodness in this art.

I am still practicing aikido in this new dojo to retain my body to be flexible and be supplemented by my bjj class, and that is one of my benefits I got from my akido class. But unfortunately the bad side from my 6 years aikido training is that my mind was conditioned to believe that to become "Powerful "is wrong (pathetic :straightf ), such belief is a horror to me everytime I practice BJJ esp. the 1st 3 months of my BJJ training where I could easily sweep by a person half to my weight despite of my strong, tough and powerful built. No wonder because I was conditioned to be powerless.

Right now I am still digging the gift that has been buried for a quite time. And I owe all of these to all my competitors who almost broke my arm from armbar submission or broke my ribs from a roundhouse kick. Despite, I am really grateful for that experience that keeps reminding me that I must learn more and I must not (be) a powerless person coz I really am not.

Regards to all,

leon

odudog 09-25-2006 09:52 AM

Re: failed?
 
You got swept by the smaller person not because that person was more powerful than you but because that person found that certain spot where you are powerless to keep your balance/center. If that person attacked a different spot, then you would have kept your balance/center and that person would have been powerless against you.

In Aikido we teach from the beginning that power is not good so that you will start from day one to look for that certain spot where the balance/center can easily be taken which is the ultimate goal of the art. Saves you from practicing years of strengh and then have to re-learn everything again for you are now looking for the "sweet spot".

Luc X Saroufim 09-25-2006 10:19 AM

Re: failed?
 
Leon,

don't be so hard on yourself. you at least had the courage to do what is in your heart and leave your dojo. not an easy thing to do. i am planning on moving geographically, and when i do, it will not be easy for me to leave my fellow Aikidoka.

in my opinion, you are experiencing a shift in focus, and it will take some time to adjust. i don't think it has anything to do with whatever martial art you're studying; you're choosing a different direction, and you can't expect to change with the snap of a finger.

kind of an open ended question: how relevant is power in other martial arts? do you have to be stronger than someone to defend yourself?

bratzo_barrena 09-25-2006 10:48 AM

Re: failed?
 
Leon,
Seems that your aikido teacher was wrong from day one or you misunderstood him/her about the comment on "Power".
To practice aikido you should not become powerless, actually is all the contrary.
But the kind of power Aikido helps you develop is not muscle power, but structural and mechanical power, which properly used give you advantage over a more muscularly powerful opponent.
What I mean is Aikido's use of structure/mechanics are more "powerful" than muscle/brute force, when properly applied of course.
So, or you misunderstood what your aikido instructor try to say when he/she refer about "power" in aikido, or he/she doesn't know what is he/she's talking about.
Unfortunately, like you many aikidoits misundertand what aikido is about or are taught wrongly.

aikidoc 09-25-2006 11:33 AM

Re: failed?
 
I think you are confusing power and "strength". Power comes from the center and is relaxed. strength comes from the muscles and is tense.

Perhaps Aikido does not have what you are looking for in a Martial Art. It sounds like you are enjoying your BJJ and kickboxing more.

George S. Ledyard 09-25-2006 12:05 PM

Re: failed?
 
Yes, and no. It is absolutely true that the training in many Aikido schools fails to train the strength of intention required to deal with folks who train in arts that have competition. This is a very serious complaint against the way that many folks train in our art. If we had competition and that was how people could judge the capabilities of the folks they wished to train with, there would be far fewer Aikido teachers around.

That said, there is a problem with your thinking here. You are trying to compare an art that is one of the more subtle arts being widely taught in the world today. You are upset that you can't handle folks that have trained far less than you have in these other styles. Well, the answer is... of course you can't! Aikido takes far longer to learn correctly than these other styles. In BJJ you can start to get good solid results in a very short time. If you train your ass off you can get quite good in a few years. You can't do that in Aikido.

If you are trying to adjust your Aikido to work (in the short run) against a group of folks who do a sport martial arts, you will ineviatbly focus on developing strong technique and strong center. This will take you to a certainlevel but you will not be able to go beyond that. Many people take this path because they can see the results in the short run.

But Aikido training is fundamentally about reprogramming the mind and the body to react to conflict by relaxing and ridding ones body and mind of tension. You will not do this by trying to pit your Aikido against trained grapplers in the early stages of your Aikido. There is a reason that Aikido training, Daito Ryu training, Yanagi Ryu training, etc is done non-competitively. Training is designed to systematically reprogram your responses and to imprint various motor skills that work in accordance with the principles contained in the art. You won't figure these out by adapting your Aikido to another fighting system. When your training has taken you to a higher level it is useful to try it out against folks who don't know any Aikido and will therefore respond according to whatever their training has been. If your Aikido training has been proceeding in the correct manner, you will find that it doesn't matter but that's a very, long time in coming.

Just do the BJJ training. Do whatever else you want as well. Find an Aikido teacher whose Aikido is of the calibre that can take you to a high level but then don't worry about whether it "works" for quite a while (this may actually be the hard part; don't confuse the physical, violent Aikido teacher as the one who is the strongest martial artist. Look for someone who has strong spirit but is soft. Make sure that he can handle anythiong his ukes dish out and that it's not a matter of collusion; this usually means you need to put your hands on them yourself) I don't mean whether it works at all... it darn well should work against other Aikido people who are training using the same set of assumptions. So over responsive ukemi, wimpy attacks, etc have hot to go. Good solid training in the art.

Get as much experience as you can in other arts... Virtually all of the great Aikido practitioners had extensive backgrounds inother arts before they started Aikido. BJJ is great stuff. But don't try to confuse them at the beginning / intermediate stages of your traiing or you will fail to find the essential principles of aiki.

Remember, Aikido, at least in my opinion, is not an empty hand style. It is a style whose logic assumes that both parties are armed. Atemi to vital points is inherent in the system, although in normal practice these are implicit rather than explicit. Thes atemi are precisely the ones that one would never do in a sport martial art. The lack of weapons and the lack of really dangerous and injurious atemi in the sport martial arts allow for a certain way of doing things. If you adapt your system to their assumptions, their system would always work better.

Just make sure you find the right Aikido teacher. This can be very difficult. There is lots of Aikido out there. There is only a very little really good Aikido out there. Aikido is a system that one does for quite a long time while things don't really work. It takes patience. But if you start with a teacher whose Aikido doesn't really work... well, you will never get to a point at which your own Aikido will work. If there is no one whose Aikido is solid to train with, it would be better to train in an art in which the teacher has taken his training to a deeper level. Training in any art on a deep level is better than bad Aikido training.

Sometimes what really needs to happen if you wnat to really do Aikido is that you have to move. Just a fact. To paraphrase Ikeda Sensei, "it's not Aikido that doesn't work, it's the particular practitioner's Aikido that doesn't work".

gnlj 09-25-2006 05:35 PM

Re: failed?
 
Very interesting points have been mentioned by George Ledyard above. I have been training in aikido for some years now and have recently been training in some other martial arts (karate and judo). These have been "sport" forms of these martial arts and I have found it a very interesting experience. It is, of course, very hard to keep relaxed and centred in a competitive environment. It is a real eye opener and I hope my aikido will eventually improve because of it.

Mike Sigman 09-25-2006 07:30 PM

Re: failed?
 
Just to toss in my 2 cents, regardless of Aikido techniques, "intention", etc., etc., there are still out-of-the-ordinary strengths that must be developed in real Aikido (and in other Asian arts). If Leon had had training in those strengths he could be more "relaxed" and yet should have still had increased competitive ability against those people of other styles. It should not take "many years" to develop those strengths if there is a good teacher who knows how to do these things (rare) and is willing to teach (even rarer). Using those strengths in the subtleties of Aikido waza, etc., is, of course, another story entirely.... on the other hand, I have a question about how "subtle" anyone's Aikido truly becomes if they don't have appreciable skill-level in those basic strengths.

Here's a short clip of O-Sensei demonstrating various techniques, etc., but interspersed among them are a few direct applications against thigh, hip, and chest pushes that are not "subtle" in the use of waza... they are only subtle (read "experienced" as a better term) in the use of the basic "strengths" that don't require being muscularly strong. These are the specialized strengths and applications that help close the gap against people who have trained in more external modes of fighting.

http://www.neijia.com/UeshibaKokyu.wmv

Regards,

Mike Sigman

raul rodrigo 09-25-2006 09:25 PM

Re: failed?
 
As someone who has actually trained with you, Leon, I would have to agree with the others who say that you're mistaking muscle power with the power of aikido. Giving up the first kind of power is the only way to get to the second kind. But its an act of faith to do that, and you will stumble over familiar waza at first, and it takes a while for that second kind to arrive. In the meantime, you can get impatient and long for something that gives you more immediate results. I say go for it. Maybe BJJ is the way to go.

James Davis 09-26-2006 11:51 AM

Re: failed?
 
In my opinion, there are some people that are supposed to be aikidoka, and there are some that are meant to do something else (at least for a little while). If someone is seven feet tall, they'll probably be drawn to sports like volleyball or basketball. They might have played a few games of baseball and decided that it was "stupid", or just not for them. To each his own.

There are many ways for people to defend themselves. Skunks, porcupines, and grizzly bears are all not to be messed with, for a variety of reasons. :D As we go through our lives, our ideas of what power is might change. ;) O'sensei was already a tough guy; why did he choose to change? ;)

I think that when I'm a little older, and not able to rely on strength so much, I'll be glad that I've practiced aikido. I study tae kwon do in addition to aikido because it's fun, and I get to hang out with my "martial arts family" for a couple more hours each week. I'm also learning skills that I believe have value.

I think that as long as we strive to make forward progress and try to improve ourselves, it doesn't matter very much which art we study. I think that we'll probably be better off just for making the attempt.

DonMagee 09-26-2006 01:12 PM

Re: failed?
 
Quote:

Raul Rodrigo wrote:
As someone who has actually trained with you, Leon, I would have to agree with the others who say that you're mistaking muscle power with the power of aikido. Giving up the first kind of power is the only way to get to the second kind. But its an act of faith to do that, and you will stumble over familiar waza at first, and it takes a while for that second kind to arrive. In the meantime, you can get impatient and long for something that gives you more immediate results. I say go for it. Maybe BJJ is the way to go.


I don't belive you have to give up strenght to get power. You just have to set it aside. When I train in bjj I rarely use any muscle at all. I usually focus on using techniques that work against bigger stronger partners. However, when I compete, I will use both tools to my advantage. It is good to be both strong of muscle, and strong in coordination of mind, body and breath. This is why it really bothers me to hear someone tell someone to give up their strenght. I say no, keep it, build it and learn when it use it.

I think you are going to find that your bjj training will help build valuable skills, as will any sport. You are going to have to learn to relax, how to breathe properly, how to keep your center, how to move with your center, and how to use both muscle and 'power'. The only difference is nobody is going to tell you how to do it. Rather, you are going to learn though physical conflict.

I am not a tell me learning. I had a VERY hard time learning aikido (and based on the skills of my fellow students, I belive my teacher to be an excelent teacher). I however have no problem learning judo/bjj/boxing, etc. I am analytical in my approach to learning. I like to struggle all night long sparing and drilling. Then go home, write out my experiances and thoughts and study what I did wrong and how to improve. I spent over a decade in the martial arts and basically learned nothing. I spent a year in bjj and was 5 times the martial artist I was before that. Now however the concepts my aikido teacher was trying to explain are falling into place on their own. I frequently talk to him about my experiances in life and I think we agree that there are many paths to life that can lead to the same place. I like to call it 'learning though struggle' or 'Higher consciousness through harder contact'. I think I just need different teaching methods to learn then aikido tipically provides.

And that is not a rip on aikido. As I've said, though my judo and bjj training I have developed many of the skills I was trying to learn in aikido. Though sparing I learned to relax and move from my center to protect my balance. I learned to use leverage, speed, timing, motion, and full body movements instead of 'muscle strenght' movements. I've become a more peaceful person as well and found almost spirital moments in competition. The more I train in bjj and judo, the more I can understand what my aikido teacher was trying to tell me. And maybe someday I might reach a level of skill where I no longer desire or need sparing and competition and can go back to learning though kata. As of right now though, I can not picture a limit to where my skills can go with bjj, boxing, and judo.

Michael Douglas 09-26-2006 03:28 PM

Re: failed?
 
This thread could really be going places.
I say good aikidokas are powerful.
In order to be powerful they need to be strong.
On the other hand I have a friend who is strong but not powerful in the grappling/moving sense, wierd.
So I reckon good aikido needs both simple physical strength and aikido-type-power.
Don't get too fluffy-bunny or you have no chance to be martially effective.

Leon Aman 09-27-2006 04:31 AM

Re: failed?
 
Please be informed that I am not in a tone of defaming the divinity of aikido in a real sense, neither do I directly vilify anyone for personal reason. The only fulmination against or demurring at is on the methodology of some people who bring about or take to mean aikido in a limited way, I don't see any special or remarkable thing in aikido that any other MA don't have. The principle being used is not strange to any other MA. In fact it is more easier to practice it than any other MA because every technique is cooperatively done by both uke and tori, undeniably, You know…. I am just wondering why a simplicity (forget it if you disagree with this) of this art seems complicatedly done and that is one that really bogglings me. As I paraphrase what ikeda sensei said" aikido is just simple, only some practitioners maketh it complex". Anyway thanks for all your inputs.


Goodnight,

Leon

raul rodrigo 09-27-2006 10:06 AM

Re: failed?
 
Quote:

Don Magee wrote:
I don't belive you have to give up strenght to get power. You just have to set it aside. When I train in bjj I rarely use any muscle at all. I usually focus on using techniques that work against bigger stronger partners. However, when I compete, I will use both tools to my advantage. It is good to be both strong of muscle, and strong in coordination of mind, body and breath. This is why it really bothers me to hear someone tell someone to give up their strenght. I say no, keep it, build it and learn when it use it.
.

This is the theme of many of the shihan (Endo, Yamaguchi, Saotome, etc): don't do the waza with strength. Do it with timing, with position, with kokyu. But not muscular strength. Its not the same thing as saying we should be spineless blobs of jelly. Its the idea that when we relax the muscles a different kind of power comes into play. This bothers you?

DonMagee 09-27-2006 01:35 PM

Re: failed?
 
Quote:

Raul Rodrigo wrote:
This is the theme of many of the shihan (Endo, Yamaguchi, Saotome, etc): don't do the waza with strength. Do it with timing, with position, with kokyu. But not muscular strength. Its not the same thing as saying we should be spineless blobs of jelly. Its the idea that when we relax the muscles a different kind of power comes into play. This bothers you?

What I'm saying is never give up your strenght. Learn how to use it as yet another advantage. I can move with a good center, get good position, execute good technique with great timing, and have the technique work fine. But I am not perfect, this means I may come across someone who can counter me, so now I add my strenght into the mix. A good bjj example is the armbar. I'm using my center (my hips, back, stomach, and body weight) to extend your arm. I know guys so strong they can armcurl me and lift me right up off the ground. So even though I have better technique then they do, it still doesn't matter. They justed used strenght to help cover up a weakness in their ablities.

I am not saying you should give up learning how to move and just build muscles. I'm saying you should learn how to use both to your advantage.

On another note, far far too many people use this "You do not need muscles" mentality to be fat, lazy, and weak. It should be preached that you should strive to take the best care of your body as possible, this means controling eating and getting good exercise to build muscle and cardio. I've heard people say that their teacher told them to stop body building as it could hinder their ki development. I just can't understand how someone can say "Don't get in shape, you do not need to be in shape." But a lot of people misread the "You do not need to use strenght" as "You do not need to have strenght."

So I say you should learn how to not use strenght AND learn how to use strenght. Sometimes that little uph can be what makes the difference off the mat.

stelios 09-28-2006 06:15 AM

Re: failed?
 
I am very strongly built and in fact I have not stopped training with heavy weights when I started Aikido 4 years ago (do not intend to ever stop training weights) . With the stracture of your average non-pro bodybuilder, people usually wonder how this solid mass of meat can be very flexible and very fast in executing all sorts of movements. My arms are particularly strong and so are my grips (I know I can break a wrist if I squeeze it with everything I ' ve got). BUT ...My teacher, on the contrary, is a lot shorter and I outweight him by almost 50 kilograms as he is very slim. Occasionally he either calls me up to demonstrate raw strength vs mind strength techniques or I intentionally give it all in a futile attempt to prove that some techniques might not work if uke is brutally strong. Never in this 2-year time period that he is my teacher have I managed to overpower him or even move him an inch from his standing point. Aikido works against all sorts of attack forms, no matter how strong or not strong they are. Do not hate the time you invested in Aikido although you seem to have a different point of view at the moment. Even if what you learnt in Aikido is of non-importance to you now, you can view it as an additional life experience at least. Whatever you additionaly learn is good!


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