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aiki-jujutsuka 07-12-2013 05:00 AM

Aikido as an educational system
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=T9fWTJrRdCk

Found this very interesting short interview with Christian Tissier in which he describes Aikido as an educational system. I really liked that idea of the purpose of Aikido being to educate our bodies and spirits in how to behave in our daily lives. When you look at Aikido this way it helps us to apply the principles from the waza and to train with purpose not just for self-defence but self-awareness.

Following this train of thought could it not also be said that Aikido/budo is in a way a system of rehabilitation of violence, a way of training our bodies and instincts to not be given over to violence but to reform those tendancies within us and society?

lbb 07-12-2013 08:27 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Ewen Ebsworth wrote: (Post 328065)
Following this train of thought could it not also be said that Aikido/budo is in a way a system of rehabilitation of violence, a way of training our bodies and instincts to not be given over to violence but to reform those tendancies within us and society?

Maybe, sort of. You hear this"and society" bit a lot re: aikido; personally, I don't see it except as the collective outcome of changing a lot of individuals - in other words, I don't see aikido providing a remedy for the ills of society directly, only indirectly.

Addressing the case of the individual...again, I think it's a maybe. You speak of "rehabilitation of violence", so let's talk about the case of someone who's got that predisposition, to see violence as a tool of choice, and how aikido might change that person. I'm thinking of something my sensei said once, when a student was saying that he thought that many police officers and corrections officers would like to study aikido. Speaking of his own experiences when they had come into the dojo, my sensei said that he mostly hadn't found that to be the case. "They like to dish it out, but they don't like to take it," is how he put it. I don't think that's an indictment of police and corrections officers, so much as an observation about human nature. Many people don't mind dishing it out, but fewer are willing to embrace what it's like to be on the other side of the exchange - and some people in positions of authority have more leeway than the rest of us as far as which role they get to choose in life.

So a person comes into the dojo, whose tool of choice is violence - what does the dojo have to offer to inspire them to change? It offers them other tools, sure, but until they can see the problem as something other than a nail, they're going to think the hammer they've already got works just fine.

jonreading 07-12-2013 11:58 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
I tend to agree with Mary here... I think we remove the "society" comment and focus on ourselves.

Yes, I do believe aikido is a vehicle with which to reform our behavior, develop clear ethical amd moral positions and empower ourselves in defending those positions. If in the need of defense the action required is physical, aikido provides some preparation for that response as well.

That said, I think also that some elements of our behavior are so ingrained or habitualized that it is very unlikely that reformation will be succesful. Personally, I believe violence is one of those behaviors that can take root and be so difficult to change that it is near impossible without a large measure of investment. So for me, individuals who express extreme levels of violence probably exceed the investment we place in our training. On the positive side, I think those of us who simply deal with a lesser habituialization of violence (road rage) are more likely to address our issues with greater success.

lars beyer 07-12-2013 02:06 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
On a personal note I think violence is a means to an end which we all can embrace even we feel we canīt.
I think moral is an institutional construction seeking to judge moral and ethic activities seen in a moral perspective.
Human nature is a difficult and sometimes confusing subject to observe and describe in a moral and ethical perspective.

In life it comes down to how we feel I guess.
Good or bad.

Best
Lars

aiki-jujutsuka 07-13-2013 03:58 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 328074)
That said, I think also that some elements of our behavior are so ingrained or habitualized that it is very unlikely that reformation will be succesful. Personally, I believe violence is one of those behaviors that can take root and be so difficult to change that it is near impossible without a large measure of investment. So for me, individuals who express extreme levels of violence probably exceed the investment we place in our training.

Flipping that round then and thinking about Aikido from a self-defence point of view, is the same true in cases of assault? Would an extremely violent attack overcome Aikido in the street, even when used by someone of many years training and experience? What are the connections (if any) between the limitations of Aikido as an educational system of moral behaviour and the limitations of Aikido as self-defence?

graham christian 07-13-2013 05:58 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Ewen Ebsworth wrote: (Post 328065)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=T9fWTJrRdCk

Found this very interesting short interview with Christian Tissier in which he describes Aikido as an educational system. I really liked that idea of the purpose of Aikido being to educate our bodies and spirits in how to behave in our daily lives. When you look at Aikido this way it helps us to apply the principles from the waza and to train with purpose not just for self-defence but self-awareness.

Following this train of thought could it not also be said that Aikido/budo is in a way a system of rehabilitation of violence, a way of training our bodies and instincts to not be given over to violence but to reform those tendancies within us and society?

I agree completely. Thus I and those I work with call it self development where self defence is merely the by-product of such. In fact I am 100% confident that the better trained you are in such discipline and behaviour the more competent you will be when coming across violent attack or situations.

Peace.G.

PeterR 07-13-2013 06:30 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Educational system is really defined by those who take up the offer. You can call Aikido what you will but the people that come to our little world - what reason's do they give.

Tomiki/Kano would be very comfortable calling Aikido/Judo an educational system - for it is a system that teaches. Both these men understood the outcome was expected to be more than a collection of techniques but also a method of developing character. I certainly am comfortable with that definition and really Christian Tissier is touching on the same aspect even if my goals may be somewhat different than his.

What I found telling in the interview is that he alluded to the fact that his goals changed as he progressed which I think is very common. Few people go to Aikido because they expect to be taught how to fit better in society although many eventually see the positive benefits beyond the physical.

Hellis 07-13-2013 02:13 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Ewen Ebsworth wrote: (Post 328094)
Flipping that round then and thinking about Aikido from a self-defence point of view, is the same true in cases of assault? Would an extremely violent attack overcome Aikido in the street, even when used by someone of many years training and experience? What are the connections (if any) between the limitations of Aikido as an educational system of moral behaviour and the limitations of Aikido as self-defence?

In the UK there is a true story of a creditable 6th dan, who was / is the head of his own organisation, he had a confrontation with a 16 yr old boy in his home town - the boy left him totally battered in the street, his Aikido did not work in the street. I don't know how the confrontation came about ? - Maybe the Sensei told the boy that Aikido was love, or maybe he offered him the other cheek, that would probably upset the lad.
A bit rough all those years of training and harmonising to get filled in by a schoolboy. :uch:

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

aiki-jujutsuka 07-13-2013 02:55 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Henry Ellis wrote: (Post 328097)
In the UK there is a true story of a creditable 6th dan, who was / is the head of his own organisation, he had a confrontation with a 16 yr old boy in his home town - the boy left him totally battered in the street, his Aikido did not work in the street. I don't know how the confrontation came about ? - Maybe the Sensei told the boy that Aikido was love, or maybe he offered him the other cheek, that would probably upset the lad.
A bit rough all those years of training and harmonising to get filled in by a schoolboy. :uch:

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

I wonder whether the boy was filled with rage and it was the intensity of his attack that overwhelmed the 6th dan? I wonder whether psychologically the 6th dan couldn't bring himself to fight a teenager even in self-defence? Whatever the reason this is a poor indictment of Aikido.

I'm sure there are many more cases of Aikido being used effectively in self-defence. But it's an important reminder that training with like minded people who respect one another in the dojo can be deceptive if we don't respect our opponent in a real life attack, a little like a boxer underestimating their opponent as they are too focussed on winning the world title further into their career. Achieving the more moral and philosophical state of mind that O'Sensei discovered and encouraged and the transcendancy of strength in technique is if you like many an Aikidoka's world title. But we must not overlook or underestimate the necessity of making Aikido work in reality while on the journey.

Hellis 07-13-2013 03:22 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Ewen Ebsworth wrote: (Post 328099)
I wonder whether the boy was filled with rage and it was the intensity of his attack that overwhelmed the 6th dan? I wonder whether psychologically the 6th dan couldn't bring himself to fight a teenager even in self-defence? Whatever the reason this is a poor indictment of Aikido.

I'm sure there are many more cases of Aikido being used effectively in self-defence. But it's an important reminder that training with like minded people who respect one another in the dojo can be deceptive if we don't respect our opponent in a real life attack, a little like a boxer underestimating their opponent as they are too focussed on winning the world title further into their career. Achieving the more moral and philosophical state of mind that O'Sensei discovered and encouraged and the transcendancy of strength in technique is if you like many an Aikidoka's world title. But we must not overlook or underestimate the necessity of making Aikido work in reality while on the journey.

With due respect - do you really think that someone would not fight back if he was being battered, even if it was a 16 yr old boy.
In the late 1950s / 60s I worked on the London night club scene - I used Aikido successfully many times. I never expected my opponent to harmonise with me, but I did harmonise with them.

I will add a little story of my teacher Kenshiro Abbe Sensei - this incident happened after we finished practice one night in London.
I have c/p this from my son Rik's site " Aikido in MMA :

` Are you prepared to die ? `

1959 - It was late one evening as Kenshiro Abbe Sensei left the Sandwich Street dojo in the King Cross area of London.

Sensei was just a few minutes ahead of the following students.

As Abbe Sensei walked towards the underground station, there were four yobs sitting on a wall, as Sensei approached they made a semi circle in front of him and the leader demanded " Give us yer wallet mate !! " -- Abbe Sensei stopped, eyed them all carefully, he then reached inside his jacket for his wallet, he slowly pulled out his wallet and dropped it between his feet.

For a moment the yobs looked at each other a bit bemused, the leader spoke up again demanding " Kick yer wallet over ere mate or else " -- Abbe Sensei calmly replied " No ! -- I am prepared to die for my wallet -- are you ? " -- with that the yobs again looked at each other, unsure what to make of this man. Without speaking they all took a few steps backwards, with a few defiant words of abuse they bravely retreated into the night.

Abbe Sensei didn't tell them that Aikido is love and he would give them his wallet and a cuddle, his very presence was so intimidating they knew he would destroy them.

We now live in a world where so many grade themselves or each other as if they are swapping cigarette cards. Abbe Sensei summed it up perfectly.

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei

" No matter your pretence - you are what you are, nothing more.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

aiki-jujutsuka 07-13-2013 03:40 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Henry Ellis wrote: (Post 328100)
With due respect - do you really think that someone would not fight back if he was being battered, even if it was a 16 yr old boy.

I was just hypothesizing I don't know this sensei or the particular circumstances of the incident, there could be any number of reasons why he was unable to successfully defend himself. I didn't mean anything by it. :)

Hellis 07-13-2013 03:50 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Ewen Ebsworth wrote: (Post 328101)
I was just hypothesizing I don't know this sensei or the particular circumstances of the incident, there could be any number of reasons why he was unable to successfully defend himself. I didn't mean anything by it. :)

Ewen

I also did not wish to appear offended by your response, but we should not look for excuses for the incompetent. I would imagine the truth is too much harmonised practice without an approach to reality.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-mma.blogspot.com/

aiki-jujutsuka 07-13-2013 04:06 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Henry Ellis wrote: (Post 328102)
Ewen

I also did not wish to appear offended by your response, but we should not look for excuses for the incompetent. I would imagine the truth is too much harmonised practice without an approach to reality.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-mma.blogspot.com/

I agree.

sakumeikan 07-13-2013 05:29 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Dear All,
Get real.Just because you knock about with Japanese type gear and spend time doing fancy throws will not guarantee that you become invincible.I would suggest that anybody who thinks this is the case is living in cloud cuckoo land.The fact is that if you are not careful any determined aggressor be they 16 , big , small or whatever can give you a hard time.Aikido is the cultivation of common sense.If threatened if possible avoid conflict.This to me makes sense.Too many people watch rubbish on TV [Big Steven S for example ] and think Aikido turns you into Superman.There are of course some Aikidoka who I would not want to run into on a dark night, like henry Ellis said Abbe Sensei might well have been of small stature but he was a tough guy.Cheers, Joe.

graham christian 07-13-2013 07:30 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Ewen,You ever watched Karate Kid? Just about says it all really.:)

Peace.G.

aiki-jujutsuka 07-14-2013 04:15 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Graham Christian wrote: (Post 328107)
Ewen,You ever watched Karate Kid? Just about says it all really.:)

Peace.G.

Yes I have, LOL. The original is better than the remake imo :cool:

Stefan Stenudd 07-14-2013 05:30 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Henry Ellis wrote: (Post 328100)
"I am prepared to die for my wallet -- are you ?"

So true, not only about martial arts but life in general. Everything has a price, so are you prepared to pay it? Not only did Abbe sensei manage the situation, but he also gave the hoodlums a valuable lesson.

By the way, I have a friend who is a prominent medalist in several martial art championships. At a bar, someone wanted to fight him. "I'll do that," he said, "but first, google my name." The other guy was confused, walked away for a moment and did so. Then he came back, pale faced, and offered my friend free beer all the evening. That's damn cool , too ;)

Hellis 07-14-2013 06:10 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Stefan Stenudd wrote: (Post 328116)
So true, not only about martial arts but life in general. Everything has a price, so are you prepared to pay it? Not only did Abbe sensei manage the situation, but he also gave the hoodlums a valuable lesson.

By the way, I have a friend who is a prominent medalist in several martial art championships. At a bar, someone wanted to fight him. "I'll do that," he said, "but first, google my name." The other guy was confused, walked away for a moment and did so. Then he came back, pale faced, and offered my friend free beer all the evening. That's damn cool , too ;)

Stefan

Violence can be resolved without a violent response - sometimes.
My son walked into a bar, he saw his local gents hairdresser / barber, he said hello and sat with the guy, the barber began telling my son he was upset that some thug who lived next door to him was making his life very miserable, as he was talking he suddenly went pale and said to Rik " He has just come through the door " - The thug ordered his beer and saw Rik and the barber, he came over and politely said hello to Rik - he then said to the barber " I did not know you knew Rik Ellis ?" - without smiling Rik said that he and the barber were as close as brothers. That was three years ago and the barber has never had a problem since.
The moral of this story is - the barber will never allow Rik to pay for his hair cuts :D

Henry Elllis
Co-author ` Positive Aikido`
http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/

Richard Stevens 07-15-2013 02:14 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Ewen Ebsworth wrote: (Post 328099)
I wonder whether the boy was filled with rage and it was the intensity of his attack that overwhelmed the 6th dan? I wonder whether psychologically the 6th dan couldn't bring himself to fight a teenager even in self-defence? Whatever the reason this is a poor indictment of Aikido.

I'm sure there are many more cases of Aikido being used effectively in self-defence. But it's an important reminder that training with like minded people who respect one another in the dojo can be deceptive if we don't respect our opponent in a real life attack, a little like a boxer underestimating their opponent as they are too focussed on winning the world title further into their career. Achieving the more moral and philosophical state of mind that O'Sensei discovered and encouraged and the transcendancy of strength in technique is if you like many an Aikidoka's world title. But we must not overlook or underestimate the necessity of making Aikido work in reality while on the journey.

Just because someone knows a martial art doesn't mean they know how to fight.

aiki-jujutsuka 07-15-2013 04:25 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Richard Stevens wrote: (Post 328157)
Just because someone knows a martial art doesn't mean they know how to fight.

true but you would hope somewhere down the road, especially if you've reached shihan status, that you'd be better equipped. You may never be able to perform a "perfect" technique in a real fight, but through the process of training surely you should be given some tools to help you know how to fight.

lbb 07-16-2013 08:36 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 328105)
Get real.Just because you knock about with Japanese type gear and spend time doing fancy throws will not guarantee that you become invincible.

Isn't this the epitome of a strawman argument, Joe? Who have you ever met who thought that they were "invincible" just because they "knock about with Japanese type gear and spend time doing fancy throws"? And, honestly, hasn't this particular strawman been just about beat to death in this forum? You're picking a fight with no opponent.

George S. Ledyard 07-16-2013 11:15 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Henry Ellis wrote: (Post 328100)
With due respect - do you really think that someone would not fight back if he was being battered, even if it was a 16 yr old boy.
In the late 1950s / 60s I worked on the London night club scene - I used Aikido successfully many times. I never expected my opponent to harmonise with me, but I did harmonise with them.

Hi Henry, my favorite quote on this subject comes from Peyton Quinn who is a well known American practical self defense teacher. He had yudansha rank from Toyoda Sensei as well as having rank in karate and other arts. He did a lot of club security work back in the day in Atlantic City biker bars. I was talking to him about Aikido and he said, "I love it when folks say Aikido doesn't work... You'd be amazed at how well iriminage works when you bounce the guy's head off the bar". That's a bit too "earthy" for most Aikido folks.

sakumeikan 07-16-2013 01:49 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 328176)
Isn't this the epitome of a strawman argument, Joe? Who have you ever met who thought that they were "invincible" just because they "knock about with Japanese type gear and spend time doing fancy throws"? And, honestly, hasn't this particular strawman been just about beat to death in this forum? You're picking a fight with no opponent.

Mary,
Picking a fight with no opponent is preferable to picking a fight with an opponent. I think this question about the effectiveness has been done to death.If so why is the subject being discussed again? Can't we think of better things to discuss herein? Cheers, Joe.

lbb 07-16-2013 07:35 PM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 328184)
Mary,
Picking a fight with no opponent is preferable to picking a fight with an opponent.

But that's a false dichotomy, isn't it? How about: if there's no opponent, if no one's attacking you, why fight at all?

Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 328184)
I think this question about the effectiveness has been done to death.If so why is the subject being discussed again? Can't we think of better things to discuss herein?

Some people can't, no. For some people, that's a central issue they have to resolve since they're studying a martial art, and the only acceptable resolution for them is one that involves physically schooling their opponent. Personally, I don't know that it's so much that aikido gives us other choices in conflict (I believe it does, but not without a lot of work), as that life gives us those other choices. It's kind of dumb to use a martial art, any martial art, to solve a problem that could better be solved with a different set of tools.

Krystal Locke 07-17-2013 12:39 AM

Re: Aikido as an educational system
 
Even shihans dont have eyes in the backs of their heads. Get the drop on someone, they're done. Armed, yudansha, military, cage fighter, power lifter, gangster, psychopath, all fall down with a 2x4 to the back of the bean.

Even if someone doesn't get the drop on, one good/lucky shot turns the tides.

Quote:

Ewen Ebsworth wrote: (Post 328163)
true but you would hope somewhere down the road, especially if you've reached shihan status, that you'd be better equipped. You may never be able to perform a "perfect" technique in a real fight, but through the process of training surely you should be given some tools to help you know how to fight.



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