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shadow 12-20-2002 08:54 PM

I read a lot of threads concerned with the fighting aspects of the art. Wether aikido is effective on the ground, against kicking, against a boxer, against a grappler.... etc. That it is originally a battle field art, whatever. There seems to be a lot of concern with the fighting effectiveness of the art.
If I wanted to train so that I could defeat an oponent I wouldn't train a 'do' or way, I would train something that is for fighting.
I see aikido as a vehicle, a method for personal or spiritual development of which there are many and aikido just happens to be one of.
When I train I try to keep this in mind, I am aspiring for something great, not to be the greatest warrior but to be a great man and aikido is a way I can learn to understand my body and its relationship to other bodies and universal energy.
Sometimes I get caught up in the fighting aspects but I try to keep away from this. There is no competition in aikido for a reason, and this is that. In my opinion from a young age we are geared towards competition, the whole education scheme emphasises competition between people and I dont think this is the ideal that Morihei Ueshiba intended when developing the art.
I apologise for the long post but I still have some more to say.
I have recently come to the conclusion that morals, ethics and values all exist with the assumption that there is something greater in the world, something to aspire to. So if you live a life in which you hold morals and life valuable then you admit in yourself there is something higher.... so why not strive for it? Why do anything half heartedly? If you dont believe there is something higher, morals should not make any sense to you and as such rules and boundaries dont make any sense.
Back to my original idea, aikido is still a self defense art and as such the martial value is important. But I think it is only of secondary importance and we need to not get caught up in it. When it all comes down to it, the majority of us would get our asses kicked by anyone who has studied a serious fighting art, and if that concerns you then train a fighting art. If not then take a little look at your motivations for training.
The moment I admit to myself that something higher does not exist, then that moment I may as well be dead because nothing will be of importance.

Thank you for the patience any of you had to bother finishing reading my post.

On a closing note, Im not sure if I have read or heard this quote anywhere before but it popped into my head last night.

If you train to defeat an enemy then ultimately the only person who will be defeated is yourself.

tedehara 12-20-2002 10:49 PM

Re: Fighting

Damien Bohler (shadow) wrote:
...I see aikido as a vehicle, a method for personal or spiritual development of which there are many and aikido just happens to be one of.

When I train I try to keep this in mind, I am aspiring for something great, not to be the greatest warrior but to be a great man and aikido is a way I can learn to understand my body and its relationship to other bodies and universal energy.

Sometimes I get caught up in the fighting aspects but I try to keep away from this...

:cool: cool

SeiserL 12-21-2002 09:07 AM

Some people still train to fight the enemy out there instead of the one inside. IMHO, both are important.

Until again,


udoka1 12-22-2002 03:19 AM

"aikido is first and foremost a martial art" i beleive those are the words of o sensei..........

udoka1 12-22-2002 03:25 AM

if u want to get spiritual do yoga... atleast thats my opinion. i am absolutely in aikido for the martial aspect of it. my dojo is very relaxed and small and my sensei kicks ass. almost all of our training is very much applicable on the streets. we focus alot on that. thats just my opinion on things though, each to thier own i suppose.

erikmenzel 12-22-2002 04:39 AM

I always wondered why people think spiritual and martial exclude each other.

Edward 12-22-2002 07:59 AM

When I was a teenager, I was so impressed with karate movies and started kick-boxing under that influence. After one year of training, I found out that I have been taking much more beating at the training than I would ever get if I became a street fighter. I quit.

Now at the age of 34, after many years of training in judo and recently in aikido, I have never had a significant fight in my life so far. Nothing more than some verbal exchange in the worst case.

I believe there are much more important benefits to martial arts than the fighting or self-defence aspects. However, if we neglect the martial aspects in these arts, many of the benefits are lost as well.

That's why I believe that we should avoid the fighting and competitive aspect while keeping the martial ever present.

mike lee 12-22-2002 10:43 AM

the wisdom of aikido
It's all spiritual and it's always spiritual it just depends what level your spirit is at. Some say love is the highest level.

People who say that they train in a martial art, but don't focus on the spiritual aspects are in fact still training based on some kind of spiritual aspect and motivation. It's their spirit that motivates them to train, for example, on what they percieve to be "purely physical techniques." Nevertheless, it was their spirit in the first place that motivated them to train in such a way.

It's been the experience of some older and wiser teachers that if the spirit of the training isn't moved to a higher level, students may abuse their newly learned skills and, for example, end up in trouble with the law.

Therefore, every student, teacher and even dojo (as a collective) has a spirit. But it's up to those people whether it's going to be a base spirit of violence and brutality or a spirit of a higher order.

shadow 12-22-2002 07:42 PM

my problem isn't with the martial aspect of the art. aikido is a martial arts and it is trained as such. perhaps morehei ueshiba said aikido is first and foremost a martial arts, but he also said many other things such as martial arts is about love or unifying the whole world and so on. that aikido is not a means to defeat or destroy one's oponent but rather a way to embrace the universe.

when i read constant posts about how effective it is against a boxer or a kick or a ground grappler i feel that perhaps this ideal is somehow missed.

but mike you are right, regardless of who trains a martial arts, you are training your spiritual side at the same time (although i hate using those words cos it makes me feel like a 'new age' nut).

but if all you want is a way to beat the common thug on the street, go for it. who am i to say what you can and can't do. but you would probably be better off training an art more geared towards this than aikido.

in the end it doesnt really matter what i say. ive just found some new inspiration for training from watching morehei ueshiba's old video's and reading many martial arts books and i was just hoping to share the inspiration with others. take it or leave it.

opherdonchin 12-22-2002 09:01 PM

I've said this before but I will say it again (hopefully more briefly this time):

It seems to me that AiKiDo is about learning to change your perspective. For me it works when I manage to take a situation that I would have normally thought of as martial or full of conflict and redefine it for myself as one in which tools of cooperation and understanding would be more effective.

It is a martial art in the sense that it starts with a situation in which I perceive conflict. It transcends martial arts in that it teaches me to see them afresh.

shadow 12-22-2002 10:08 PM

i guess it's exactly the same for me opher.

situation full of conflict: life

now im still trying to cooperate and understand with it, i guess i got a while to go huh?

mike lee 12-23-2002 02:24 AM

no future
There's no where to go there's only now. Now is the only time we can act.

I recently found out a good friend of mine was killed in the Bali explosion in October. She was only 24 years old, but she lived life to the fullest. Her name was Eve, and I can't help but think that there's some meaning in that.

It was just another one of those shocks that made me realize that we never know when we will disappear from this planet forever, no matter how young we are.

opherdonchin 12-23-2002 07:39 AM

I'm sorry to hear about your friend, Mike. News is very different when it touches us directly like that.

Jeff Tibbetts 12-28-2002 10:40 AM

I think that Damien is onto something here, and I think that many of you judged him too harshly at first. Many of us take our Aikido for different reasons, which is fine, but I think that we have to remember that our differences are what makes the world interesting, and our training diverse. Some of us will strike harder, some of us will take Ukemi better, we are all shaped differently and move differently. Some of us really focus on the Martial and some more on the Spiritual, but either way is a part of the same art. I think that anytime you have extremed on either side you lost some of what makes Aikido great. If you only want a spirital vehicle and nothing else, sit in Zazen and meditate. If you only want to stop physical conflict, study Senshido or some other highly effective MA. The thing I try to strive for is a balance, although I certainly lean more to spirituality, because I don't find myself in purely physical confrontation often (or never, really). I don't deny the martial aspect, part of the reason I started Aikido was for the fact that I didn't want to have to kill someone to stop them attacking me if they tried. Once I started really getting into, though, is when the spiritual growth kicked in. I agree with Erik in the sense that I don't see why the two sides can't be resident in the same person at the same time. It's a paradox and a contrast, but that makes it beautiful, like a good black and white photo, you get bright white and dark black and everything in between. If it's overexposed or burned than the picture may lost some of the beauty, even if it's composed just as well or even if it's a picture of something beautiful...

Thalib 12-28-2002 04:26 PM

The Katana is brittle yet ductile, rigid yet flexible, curved but straight in its own sense. It has a sharp edge on one side and blunt on the other. Yet all of this charcteristics exists in the blade and makes it a very effective and formidable weapon.

shadow 12-29-2002 06:19 PM

ive just recently read some articles by the current doshu and chiba sensei. they both say that o'sensei was not interested in the spread of the martial art, it was only through persistance of his son k. ueshiba that his opinion was changed and then o'sensei saw that his vision of world peace could be helped along by the spread of aikido.

with this knowledge in my mind it seems that perhaps we should train with a little more of this idea in mind, that we are training o'senseis path to peace and harmony, rather than his path to martial supremacy (for lack of better words).

johnny rebb 01-15-2003 02:31 PM

Re: Fighting

Damien Bohler (shadow) wrote:
I read a lot of threads concerned with the fighting aspects of the art.

Well spoken my friend.

Sanshouaikikai 05-23-2005 04:11 PM

Re: Fighting
I think it's very nice that everyone here for the most part strives to be a better person. However, that's why there's churches and other religious groups and organizations that can help you to become a "better person" and they'e FREE!!!! No charge whatsoever unless your in some cult...but we're not getting into that one, LOL! Like I said in a previous post on another thread....aikido (and most martial arts in general) can HELP to make you become a better person in the sense of discipline, respect, and self control...however, martial arts (including aikido) were invented to defend yourself, family, and country. That was the primary reason. All the "making you a better person" stuff came after it got all systemized and what not. Let's put it this way...I'm not going to pay whatever amount of money that people pay for martial arts classes just to become a better person and spend all that money on supposedly training in the martial arts when I can go to church and learn how to be a better person. Martial arts is about fighting and that's what it should focus on otherwise it'll just be ripping people off.

Ketsan 05-23-2005 04:48 PM

Re: Fighting
Martial and spirtual are linked although I think that the individual has to make a concious effort to improve as a person.

Kevin Leavitt 05-24-2005 04:04 PM

Re: Fighting
martial arts may not have been invented solely for defending or offending. There is a school of thought that says that the Bodhiharma "invented" a set of exercises resembling yoga to improve the conditioning of the monks at the shaolin temple so they could medidate longer. (over simplification, but the basic idea). according to this "theory" MA developed as an offshoot.

It has been well documented as to the benefits mentally and spiritually of MA training. The Marine Corps and the Army have recently adopted/revamped/placed new emphasis on MA training, not so much to train people to be effective at hand-to-hand, but to improve their warrior spirit.

I think self defense is more of a byproduct. Frankly if this is what you are concerned with, I can think of many more effective ways to defend yourself from knives, guns, to pepper spray. Much easier to learn and much easier to be effective.

Aikido is named aikido for a reason. It is a "DO" or way art. Focus is on developing and refining you as a holistic being. Some might enjoy it for the physical aspects, some for the mental, others for the spiritual. The fact is, that they are all there regardless of what you personally get out of the art.

Frankly I think it is more of a rip off if all you get out of it is some rudimentary fighting skills.

Sanshouaikikai 05-24-2005 10:08 PM

Re: Fighting
I guess you're right with the origin stuff...however...people these days come from different religious backgrounds or no religious backgrounds at all...hence...I really don't think they care about being spiritual or paying money to be a better person when they can do it elsewhere by other means free of charge, you know what I mean? I think that now a days...if it's not for the physical it's for the mental and vice versa. I'm not saying that there are NO people in it for the spirituality...there are many...but...who would want to pay to take a martial arts class where they teach how to fight...and you go there and they're meditating and saying all these weird philosophical junk and no fighting?

Bronson 05-25-2005 01:47 AM

Re: Fighting

Alan M. Rodriguez wrote:
who would want to pay to take a martial arts class where they teach how to fight...and you go there and they're meditating and saying all these weird philosophical junk and no fighting?

I wouldn't, but I don't take martial arts to learn how to fight.


Beau 05-25-2005 08:06 AM

Re: Fighting
It appears to me that the mental fortitude and spiritual insite gained from aikido training comes as a result and side effect of training towards the goal of being proficient in budo. As has been said a million times, "Aikido is first and foremost budo". If someone wants to treat aikido techniques like a moving meditation to seek enlightenment or what have you, that is fine, but I'll never be convinced that it is aikido.
If a person takes up kyudo, their goal is to become the most accurate archer that they can possibly be. The tenacity and intensity of training that it takes to reach this goal is what forces the practitioner to grow and examine themself.
Sure there are easier ways to defend yourself in modern society. Buy a gun, a rabid pitbull, whatever...
But...there are also easier ways to hear music than to learn to play it yourself.


jonreading 05-25-2005 11:53 AM

Re: Fighting
Many of the history books on Samurai devlopment lean towards the change from "jitsu" to "do" as a turning point in the countries internal fighting. Lots of "do" arts began once the warriors found they needed something to do to pass time because they weren't fighting anymore (I am not referring to the removal of the samurai class, a la Last Samurai, but an earlier period). "Do" was a way to integrate the martial spirit into other activities, including self-improvement.

To me, Aikido is a codified fighting system. Because we no longer fight, "jitsu" is not [necessarily] needed, so "do" becomes appropriate. Even though some aikido people do not train for combat, the martial spirit of "jitsu" must be present to understand why and how techniques work.

Those that train in aikido but do not understand the fighting concepts behind the techniques are not learning aikido, they are learning how to mimic a movement. If you paint-by-numbers DaVinci's Mona Lisa, does that make you an artist? No. Why? Because you do not comprehend the elements necessary to painting a portrait.

Everyone has the right to practice aikido. People train for different reasons. But, when aikido people remove the martial spirit from their training because they feel that aikido is not a martial art, you lose purpose.

O'Sensei said alot of things about aikido. He spoke about love, harmony and peace and the purpose of aikido, but he never in all of his life said anything that would hint that aikido was not a solid martial art. I know that aikido is not only a valid fighting sytem, but a good fighting system that is capable of producing skilled fighters. I contend that a solid aikidoka can hold his/her own against almost any serious fighter. So why do many aikido people instantly concede that they are not capable of defending themselves against "serious martial artists" or "real fighting situations"?

It took Damien 4 paragraphs to concede this point. How long does it take you?

Kevin Leavitt 05-25-2005 12:08 PM

Re: Fighting
Hey Jon! Certainly enjoyed training with you a couple of weeks back! Thanks!

I agree with all that you have said. Looking back through the various post and reading yours a thought came to mind.

I do not doubt the ability of the effectiveness if aikido. It certainly is the main art I identify with and feel I have learned the most with to become a somewhat effective "fighter" if you must.

I think where some get in trouble is when you start looking at it strictly from a self defense standpoint. Approaching Aikido always looking for how effective it makes you in a self defense paradigm will cause a great deal of frustration.

I can think of many things that are much more effective if this is your primary concern, and frankly I believe aikido is probably not the best use of your time if you live in fear of being mugged, assaulted, or beat up and simply want to learn how to defend yourself against such things.

I think what many do is try to apply simple logic to this and say: "well it must not be a real system or complete system if this is the judgement".

I would say, yes, those elements (self defense) are in there, and yes it is an effective system that will give you much more than simply defending yourself, aikido will give you options, many more than you have from simple self defense.

To me, there is a big difference between self defense and conflict resolution. There is also alot of ground in between. For me, Aikido allows for the development and growth of not only your physical skills necessary to be effective, but also the mental and spiritual aspect that must accompany that.

It is a wide system that can be many things.

If your focus is more pinpoint, that is, for self defense, or to be a competition MMA fighter, or to gain flexibility....there are other ways that may focus on these aspects that are better suited than aikido, but aikido should not be judged by this focus.

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