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lars beyer 03-12-2012 08:44 AM

Weapons in Aikido
 
Hi ladies and gentlemen.

I practise Aikido with a big emphasis on Aikiken and Aikijo.
Personally I love it and it makes a lot of sence to me in relation to Aikido.
What are your experiences with Aikido and Weapons ?
Do you like it ? Does it enhance your training or do you feel it is not relevant to Aikido ?

Peace
Lars

PS
Maybe there is allready an old thread on the subject.. so please excuse me..
I just think it is an interresting subject.

ryback 03-12-2012 04:21 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Well,the way i see it one should not choose weapons or no weapons,this or that.The roots of aikido techniques go back to the days of the samurai,when the weapons were used in every combat situation.So aikiken,aikijo are along with the unarmed techniques and every possible combination,a part of aikido.The weapons teach us,among other things,posture,distance and the basic principles behind the techniques.So there is no dilema.I think that one cannot learn aikido trully without weapons practice!

Travis Johnson 03-12-2012 06:09 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
I totally agree with the above! weapons practice has been an essential part of my aikido study, probably almost 50% of it. I also find that working with weapons is very useful when training alone!

phitruong 03-13-2012 07:44 AM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
love it. hate it. ok with it. on occasion, sleep with it in order to defend myself against vicious invaders, who sneaked into my bedroom, and screamed this horrible noise on Saturday morning, "Dad, we are hungry. Make us some breakfast!" :)

OwlMatt 03-13-2012 01:24 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
I hear a lot about how weapons training is important for learning the fundamentals of aikido, but I've yet to train with an instructor who satisfactorily explains why or how.

JJF 03-13-2012 02:05 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Matthew: Come to Denmark during easter.. Six days seminar with Arisou Sensei and about 140 aikido ka from several contries :) I'll introduce you to some chaps that might be able to show you our take on the connection.

lars beyer 03-13-2012 03:09 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 305397)
I hear a lot about how weapons training is important for learning the fundamentals of aikido, but I've yet to train with an instructor who satisfactorily explains why or how.

Hi Mathew,

You have some very prominent Aikido senseis and shihans in your home country who knows traditional aikido weapons extremely well. Like Pat Hendricks, Bill Witt, Hans Goto, David Alexander, Stephanie Yap, Miles Kessler, Mark Larson,Vincent Salvatore and many more. If they canīt explain that to you.. well.. I guess nobody can. :)

Peace
Lars

Janet Rosen 03-13-2012 04:16 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 305397)
I hear a lot about how weapons training is important for learning the fundamentals of aikido, but I've yet to train with an instructor who satisfactorily explains why or how.

From the website:
"The Milwaukee Aikido Club, Inc., is a member of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba and is associated with Mitsugi Saotome, Shihan, and Hiroshi Ikeda, Shihan."

Um....I am not a member of an ASU dojo but from what I know of them I believe the link between weapons and empty hand should be available if not at your dojo than certainly at many weapons seminars offered within the ASU.

Gerardo Torres 03-13-2012 04:58 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 305397)
I hear a lot about how weapons training is important for learning the fundamentals of aikido, but I've yet to train with an instructor who satisfactorily explains why or how.

I've trained with teachers who successfully teach aiki-weapons in relation to empty-hand technique: a) from a technical perspective, as in this empty-hand technique or this footwork can be mirrored with the bokken, etc., and/or b) by explaining issues of timing, centerline, tegatana, mental "connection", etc.

The perception of the usefulness of aiki-weapons as practiced today will depend on your definition of "fundamentals of aikido". The way I see it and circular logic notwithstanding, I still don't understand what makes any of the prominent aiki-weapons work out there "aiki". That said, I don't do aiki-weapons as I think a lot of that training is counter-productive to my work on aikido fundamentals as I understand them.

And don't get me wrong, I like and do (cross-train) weapons. Weirdly enough, the "outside" weapons work I've done have helped my aikido far more than any aiki-weapons I've been exposed to. I've also seen this phenomenon on friends who cross-train in classical Japanese and FMA weapon systems.

lars beyer 03-13-2012 05:00 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 305397)
I hear a lot about how weapons training is important for learning the fundamentals of aikido, but I've yet to train with an instructor who satisfactorily explains why or how.

Hi matthew
There are many different takes on Aikido weapons since many postwar senseis outside as well as inside Japan invented their own Aikido weapons based on their individual sword practices.
If you are looking for a clear and methodical step by step Aikdo weapons practise look for students of the late Morihiro Saito Shihan.
He studied weapons with Oīsensei for 24 years on a daily basis.

Regards
Lars

sakumeikan 03-13-2012 05:27 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 305397)
I hear a lot about how weapons training is important for learning the fundamentals of aikido, but I've yet to train with an instructor who satisfactorily explains why or how.

Dear Matthew,
I suggest you try and review a copy of Sansho wherein Shibata Sensei indicates the reasons for doing weapon training.Unfortunately I do not know which issue of Sansho where the article is printed. Try looking for back nos of Sansho on line. Cheers, Joe.

phitruong 03-13-2012 05:56 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Matthew Story wrote: (Post 305397)
I hear a lot about how weapons training is important for learning the fundamentals of aikido, but I've yet to train with an instructor who satisfactorily explains why or how.

no teacher can explain to your satisfactory. for me, no teacher could explain it to me, only i can do that through my own practice and searching for answers. be your own teacher and you don't need explanation.

Janet Rosen 03-13-2012 06:06 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Like Gerardo, I'm a fan of koryu weapons, though by geography I'm out of that option for the foreseeable future.

Within aikido, being an aikimutt, I've done a few years of Chiba Sensei's weapons, a few years of Tohei Sensei's kata and more recently more of Saito Sensei's weapons, with a teeny bit (as in a day at a time for a total of maybe three times) of Kato Sensei's weapons.

While each has its own very distinct flavor, I find they have in common several things in terms of how they enhance empty hand technique (and here I am talking specifically about partnered practice, not solo kata) :
- increased focus because of a greater sense of potential danger ("I'm gonna hit you with a stick!")
- learning to look at the whole person, not just the weapon helps with noting small movements, weighting, etc as well as zanshin
- if you are taught, as I was, to remain outwardly impassive during weapons, you find this carries over when you want or need it to in empty hand (although I've been known to spend a lot of time smiling on the mat, training joyously :-) )
- issues like centerline, entering, claiming centerline, where your center is aimed, etc become much more obvious when the weapon is several feet longer
- so does timing, especially as in weapons we often start by taking turns doing each strike/block and then, without speeding up per se, do them in a flowing manner
- if you can enter and deal with shomen from a jo or bokken, it is a lot easier to do irimi on a shomenuchi
- for movement challenged people like me, memorizing 20 to 30 part long weapons kata makes any empty hand technique seem pretty simple in terms of "getting" the gross movements :-)

lars beyer 03-13-2012 06:09 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Phi Truong wrote: (Post 305443)
no teacher can explain to your satisfactory. for me, no teacher could explain it to me, only i can do that through my own practice and searching for answers. be your own teacher and you don't need explanation.

Hi Phi
I disagree. A good teacher can give you exactly what you need to move on. Thats the whole point of a teacher student relationship.

Peace
Lars

phitruong 03-13-2012 06:21 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Lars Beyer wrote: (Post 305446)
Hi Phi
I disagree. A good teacher can give you exactly what you need to move on. Thats the whole point of a teacher student relationship.

Peace
Lars

perhaps that's for you. for me, as i see it, until your practice reached a certain level, no explanation is satisfactory. and when your practice reached a certain level, no explanation is necessary. analogy of mathematics, if a person has problem doing multiplication, then no amount of explanation on algebra will make sense.

Gerardo Torres 03-13-2012 06:33 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Lars Beyer wrote: (Post 305446)
Hi Phi
I disagree. A good teacher can give you exactly what you need to move on. Thats the whole point of a teacher student relationship.

Peace
Lars

I see Phi's suggestion that one should "be their own teacher" as a good one, since to me it implies that one should not rely too much on any given teacher and be responsible for one's learning. In other words "own the material" rather than simply emulate or follow someone. A teacher can guide and provide good information, but the bulk of the responsibility for learning has to be held by the student IMO.

In that vein, when it came to aiki-weapons, I reached a point where I stopped and asked what my understanding of aikido and my goals were. The second step was to disregard anything that separated me from those goals, and to look for training (weapons and otherwise) that could help me achieve those goals. I had to make those decisions myself. People are often too quick to drop Sensei names and say do this or that. I would ask, why, how, for what purpose? and if possible try them out and do an objective comparison against certain goals.

DH 03-13-2012 07:57 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
I've never seen Aiki in Aikido weapon work, so I don't know what to call it other than aikido weapons.

Since it seems to match aikido movement of ___________________flavor of any group, there's really nothing to discuss ...its just a bunch of people having fun....until the mid dan and kyu ranked people start to once again " imagine" they're doing real weapons, or that what they're doing is aiki.
Dan

lars beyer 03-14-2012 05:11 AM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Gerardo Torres wrote: (Post 305450)
I see Phi's suggestion that one should "be their own teacher" as a good one, since to me it implies that one should not rely too much on any given teacher and be responsible for one's learning. In other words "own the material" rather than simply emulate or follow someone. A teacher can guide and provide good information, but the bulk of the responsibility for learning has to be held by the student IMO.

In that vein, when it came to aiki-weapons, I reached a point where I stopped and asked what my understanding of aikido and my goals were. The second step was to disregard anything that separated me from those goals, and to look for training (weapons and otherwise) that could help me achieve those goals. I had to make those decisions myself. People are often too quick to drop Sensei names and say do this or that. I would ask, why, how, for what purpose? his and if possible try them out and do an objective comparison against certain goals.

Hi Gerrardo,
First of all, I believe the reason must be to learn Aikido.
It goes without saying that the student have the responsability to show up in the dojo, but from there itīs the responsability of the dojo cho, the boss, to provide the prober invironment for learning- maybe even without the student realising this in the beginning.
A good teacher/ sensei will guide you and a bad one will misguide you.
By good teacher/ sensei I mean a person who is high ranking inside the traditional system, but still progressing, still evolving, still an open human being, still open for personal improvement. A person who is not lazy and absorbed in his personal achievements.

Aikido is also about letting your self go and just practise and for me personally there is no better way to do that than to put my trust 100% in my teacher and my teachers teacher and my teachers teachers teacher.
My goal is not to invent my own aikido, or to "own the material" like you say, but to train myself in this wonderfull Martial Art.
I think the idea of re- inventing Aikido and make it my personal "thing" is absolutely irrelevant for the teaching and the learning.

I had a teacher/ sensei once who said that itīs up to the student to internalise the aikido by himself, make it his own personal expression. This is a false goal I feel, even it can be obtained as a product of training but this is also irrelevant for the teaching process. Itīs a by-product.
The quality of Aikido relies 100% on the teachers and what they teach.
I believe itīs our seniors job and everybodys job to try to set the bar a little higher.
I have experience in teaching and I feel the above is true for all teaching.
I also know from personal experience that if the things you teach are not based on a solid tradition
they become superficial because learning stops when the teacher looses his foothold, that is the
tradition.

I will allways say to beginners in Aikido that they should look for the lineages that have a close and longlasting direct personal connection with Oīsensei and there is plenty of historical material available to investigate who your sensei is, and what is his lineage.
I like this quote from Oīsensei: "Dress Aikido in fresh garments but build on the old styles."
I understand the "old styles" as being the traditional styles.

I have often come to a point in my training asking myself if the things I practise collides with my personal beliefs.. But my personal beliefs are just that: Personal beliefs... and as such they can be challenged and should be over and over again.

I feel this thread is wandering off topic and I am partly to blame for this and I apologise.

Peace
Lars

phitruong 03-14-2012 05:42 AM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 305455)
I've never seen Aiki in Aikido weapon work, so I don't know what to call it other than aikido weapons.

you are depressing me! don't you have somewhere to go and people to throw and fish to kill?

phitruong 03-14-2012 05:50 AM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Lars Beyer wrote: (Post 305480)
Aikido is also about letting your self go and just practise and for me personally there is no better way to do that than to put my trust 100% in my teacher and my teachers teacher and my teachers teachers teacher.
My goal is not to invent my own aikido, or to "own the material" like you say, but to train myself in this wonderfull Martial Art.
I think the idea of re- inventing Aikido and make it my personal "thing" is absolutely irrelevant for the teaching and the learning.
Lars

if that is your goals, then that's fine. but for me, my goal is to be better than my teacher, and his and his. if i can't exceed my teacher and his and his, then i have not learned anything, but maintain status quo and eventually diminishing the arts. what i said isn't about ego, but of in search for excellence, and never satisfy. that's my budo, my way.

Pauliina Lievonen 03-14-2012 06:09 AM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Lars and Phi, may I suggest that the difference in opinion you two have might have to do with how long you both have practised?

I used to think like Lars and be very content with just learning what my teacher and my teachers teacher were teaching me.

But nowadays I'm much more self-directed in my practice, my teacher (and my dojomates, and other people when I go to seminars) of course give valuable feedback, but the problems I work on are questions I come up with by myself.

I've had the same change happen in the other things I'm studying in my life, so I think to some extent it's just a natural progression in learning.

Pauliina

lars beyer 03-14-2012 06:44 AM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Pauliina Lievonen wrote: (Post 305484)
Lars and Phi, may I suggest that the difference in opinion you two have might have to do with how long you both have practised?

I used to think like Lars and be very content with just learning what my teacher and my teachers teacher were teaching me.

But nowadays I'm much more self-directed in my practice, my teacher (and my dojomates, and other people when I go to seminars) of course give valuable feedback, but the problems I work on are questions I come up with by myself.

I've had the same change happen in the other things I'm studying in my life, so I think to some extent it's just a natural progression in learning.

Pauliina

Hi Paulina and Phi

I agree that with time we change our focus in training, but since we are also gradually becoming more and more responsible in relation to new students, becoming rolemodels so to speak, we have to maintain a knowlegde of the beginners mind in order to progress and to understand our junior training partners.

Itīs said many times before that a beginners frame of mind is the best for learning, and nomatter how stereotype this may sound, itīs the truth.
So instead of relying on our own abilities, our own "unique" ;) ideas, we are better off trusting our seniors and those who came before them as a foundation or general framework for our practise.
Without this framework no progression is really possible.
Offcourse we can wander off and try out different ideas, but they shouldnīt become be the basis of what we teach the beginners.

I believe in our western hemissphere we tend to rely too much on our individual personalities and personal gain when we practise.
I prefer the Japanese approach where students are not allowed to ask too many questions.. For a westener this is a huge challenge, Iīve been there, and I have to admit it changed my concepts of learning and teaching considerably, so no, I donīt think it is merely a progression of learning because even the most
advanced students fall from grace when they place too much trust in their personal achievements and as a consequence become slacking.

Peace
Lars

lars beyer 03-14-2012 03:45 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 305444)
Like Gerardo, I'm a fan of koryu weapons, though by geography I'm out of that option for the foreseeable future.

Within aikido, being an aikimutt, I've done a few years of Chiba Sensei's weapons, a few years of Tohei Sensei's kata and more recently more of Saito Sensei's weapons, with a teeny bit (as in a day at a time for a total of maybe three times) of Kato Sensei's weapons.

While each has its own very distinct flavor, I find they have in common several things in terms of how they enhance empty hand technique (and here I am talking specifically about partnered practice, not solo kata) :
- increased focus because of a greater sense of potential danger ("I'm gonna hit you with a stick!")
- learning to look at the whole person, not just the weapon helps with noting small movements, weighting, etc as well as zanshin
- if you are taught, as I was, to remain outwardly impassive during weapons, you find this carries over when you want or need it to in empty hand (although I've been known to spend a lot of time smiling on the mat, training joyously :-) )
- issues like centerline, entering, claiming centerline, where your center is aimed, etc become much more obvious when the weapon is several feet longer
- so does timing, especially as in weapons we often start by taking turns doing each strike/block and then, without speeding up per se, do them in a flowing manner
- if you can enter and deal with shomen from a jo or bokken, it is a lot easier to do irimi on a shomenuchi
- for movement challenged people like me, memorizing 20 to 30 part long weapons kata makes any empty hand technique seem pretty simple in terms of "getting" the gross movements :-)

Hi Janet
I have experienced much of what you describe here as well :)
Peace
Lars

sakumeikan 03-14-2012 05:49 PM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Dan Harden wrote: (Post 305455)
I've never seen Aiki in Aikido weapon work, so I don't know what to call it other than aikido weapons.

Since it seems to match aikido movement of ___________________flavor of any group, there's really nothing to discuss ...its just a bunch of people having fun....until the mid dan and kyu ranked people start to once again " imagine" they're doing real weapons, or that what they're doing is aiki.
Dan

Dear Dan ,
If you have never seen or been exposed to Aikido weapons how may I ask can you know whether or not people doing weapons work are imagining they are using real weapons/ having fun or not?Neither can you state categorically they are not doing aiki. I would not presume to suggest your work is of no value or you are just having fun[your term ,not mine ] without seeing /feeling what you do.If you must be judgemental at least do some research on the subject matter. Cheers, Joe.

lbb 03-15-2012 07:16 AM

Re: Weapons in Aikido
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 305536)
Dear Dan ,
If you have never seen or been exposed to Aikido weapons

That's not what he said. Reread what you quoted.


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