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-   -   Poll: Is weapons training necessary to understand aikido? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3247)

AikiWeb System 01-12-2003 12:01 AM

AikiWeb Poll for the week of January 12, 2003:

Is weapons training necessary to understand aikido?
  • I don't do aikido
  • I haven't done any aikido weapons training
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.

Ta Kung 01-12-2003 04:16 AM

I voted no. I don't think it's necessary, but then again, (in my style) it's a huge part of Aikido so without it are you stil doing Aikido or just a particular part of Aikido? Isn't Aikido the whole of taijutsu AND bukiwaza? Weapons training might be in there just to help your taijtsu, but I feel there is something more to it, than just that.

It's sort of like beeing able to drive a car superfast and supergood, but not beeing able to go in reverse. You could win every race, but you'd suck at parking when going to the mall... Are you stil a good driver? Would people think you were?

/Patrik

Duarh 01-12-2003 07:04 AM

The old adage says that there are many paths to the truth, and I am inclined to agree. Therefore, my answer is 'no'. We do practice weapons at our dojo, although you can start as late as 5th kyu, but they are an aid, not the supremely important part of our training.

I might be very badly mistaken since I know next to nothing about the topic, but aren't here schools that don't practice weapons at all? Yoshinkan? And don't the folks in those schools do pretty good aikido now and then? ;)

JO 01-12-2003 07:13 AM

I answered no, for the same reasons as those above. We train every week with weapons at our dojo. I find that weapons training adds an interesting and useful dimension to the art but is not necessary in understanding it.

As for the old debate on the importance of the weapons training in understanding the taijitsu, I am more comfortable with the empty handed training than with the weapons training and find that my taijitsu helps me improve my weapons training more than the reverse.

Edward 01-12-2003 07:33 AM

I join my voice to the others who voted no. But weapons training is so much fun, and breaks the monotony of taijutsu.

mike lee 01-12-2003 10:38 AM

a slippery slope
 
Absolutely yes. Weapons training is an integral part of aikido training. That's why we learn it. Weapons teach us improved hand-feet-center coordination that is actually the first step to truly understanding what aikido is all about.

Defensively, it teaches to adjust our distance and to be able to cover greater distances, ultimately making unarmed waza easier.

There are people who believe that they can "understand aikido" simply by having the art described to them. Of course, we know that they don't have anywhere near a true understanding of the art.

It's also students and teachers who lack sufficient weapons training that like to downplay the importance weapons in one's overall development in the art.

If we begin to negate certain aspects of the art, then we enter onto a slippery slope. Where would such judgments end? Maybe some will say that suwari waza is not needed to understand aikido, so those movements will become neglected. Others may say that koshinage is not important to understanding aikido, so then that technique will no longer be taught.

It's my view that all of the various techniques are needed to gain a true and complete understanding of aikido as O-Sensei intended it to be understood. We bow to O-Sensei before every class because we supposedly study his art. Who are we to say what is needed and what is not?

A solid knowledge of the use of tanto, bokken, and jo is also important if one ever hopes to become a complete teacher.

Duarh 01-12-2003 11:14 AM

Quote:

Absolutely yes. Weapons training is an integral part of aikido training. That's why we learn it
An absolutely fallacious argument. . .There are many things that people learn though they don't need them, out of tradition and inertia.
Quote:

It's also students and teachers who lack sufficient weapons training that like to downplay the importance weapons in one's overall development in the art.
You might also say that there's people who have done a lot of weapons training and may wish to use that as a factor that makes them superior to those who haven't.

I myself like weapons training and wouldn't want to drop it, but I can easily imagine how aikido - as in, art of coordination of mind or body or, more simply put, the ability to control people and throw people to the mat in the way practiced by masters of aikido - could be learned without weapons training if other training methods are substituted to provide the additional skills that weapons training might yield.
Quote:

A solid knowledge of the use of tanto, bokken, and jo is also important if one ever hopes to become a complete teacher.
Oh, undoubtedly. A complete teacher should be a proficient lecturer on philosophy and modern art as well. The question of the poll does not, as far as i understand, run 'is weapons training necessary for one to become a complete teacher?'.

A person who has learned the principles of aikido through taijutsu would likely be able to apply them rather easily to weaponswork without as much practice as a complete novice would need.

What we learn and do not learn in aikido is our own choice. If we do not wish to learn weaponswork, we should substitute something for it. If we do not want suwari waza, we'll have to do something else to gain the same effects. Those things CAN be done. The real question is - what's the point in messing with a system that works? If people physically DISLIKE suwari waza or weaponswork even after a year or two of practice, there might be one, otherwise. . .

siwilson 01-12-2003 11:42 AM

Yes!

To "understand Aikido" you need to have complete understanding. To have complete understanding you must study Aikido completely! Other-wise you will only have a partial understanding.

By the way Toms, Yoshinkan does have weapons practice - Jo, Bokken, Tanto, etc.

Duarh 01-12-2003 11:47 AM

Oh - thanks for the clarification. It's just that I remember someone saying on these very boards how Yoshinkan had a developed exercise system that made weapons training redundant.

Let me see. . .
Quote:

It is the way we teach Aikido. A very disciplined and structored system that does not require the use of weapons to teach these principles.
(Steven Miranda in thread 'Yoshinkan')

Also

http://yoshinkan-aikido.org/hombu.htm

indicates no weapons training times. I know this doesn't necessarily mean there is no weapons training at the Yoshinkan Hombu, but it's an indication at least that it is not considered important enough to be mentioned separately.

mike lee 01-12-2003 12:46 PM

knowledge is power
 
Quote:

To have complete understanding you must study Aikido completely! Other-wise you will only have a partial understanding.
Agreed. I always seek out a teacher that has a broad yet solid understanding of aikido, which means that they would be able to teach weapons.

I would not intentionally seek out a teacher who does not know how to teach a very significant segment of aikido this defies reason and common sense.

siwilson 01-12-2003 02:09 PM

Hi Toms

There is no hard and fast rule. Some dojos have weapons classes, but I suspect the norm is as with us. I should point out that we come from the Yoshinkan, but not all of our dojo are IYAF.

Our classes are simply "Aikido"! So the class can be any aspect. When I teach a class I plan it around how I see the need. I always feel that weapons is something that a student should follow on their own with the guidance of their teacher. My reason for this is that there is a lot of solo practice required. Once that a student is adept with the sword or Jo, then the value of weapons can be found.

The sword teaches center, hip power, focus, etc... and with a partner adds timing and maai (fighting distance). Jo is different. The solo practice teaches focus, but in Jo Kata the postures move into different forms from our empty handed Aiki. Things like back-stance, etc., but these teach us a flexability in our movement. It is all extra to what we do, but it must all approache from the way we approach all our Aikido. If we "do" Bokken, then "do" Jo, etc., then we limit ourselves, but if it is all AIkido, then we build on everything else and grow.

Tanto teaches distance. In our school we do Jiyu Waza (parallel "randori") with a "real" Tanto. This absolutely teaches distance as it removes any margin for error.

Best wishes

jimvance 01-12-2003 07:56 PM

I would say "Yes", as Aikido has more in common with weapon wielding skills than it does with purely pugilistic or grappling arts. The concept of "instant victory" for example is not consistent with most striking or grappling disciplines, but definitely exists in the koryu.

The other aspect is that true self defense should prepare one to use weaponry or have weaponry used against them. Tools (weapons)of all sorts can be used that work on similar principals to those taught through the use of bokuto, jo, or tanto.

I think brush painting, history lessons, Japanese language study, and learning to drink beer are also necessary to understanding Aikido too.

Jim Vance

MaylandL 01-13-2003 01:07 AM

Quote:

Si Wilson (siwilson) wrote:
....The sword teaches center, hip power, focus, etc... and with a partner adds timing and maai (fighting distance). Jo is different. ...but these teach us a flexability in our movement. It is all extra to what we do, but it must all approache from the way we approach all our Aikido...

I would agree with Mr Wilson. I would add that at the dojos that I train at (both aikikai) weapons training is incorporated into the overall class. Separate weapons classes are not used because the Senseis believe that movements and principles remain the same regardless of whether weapons are used or not.

The underlying principle that is taught at the dojos that I train at is that the use of Jo and Ken are a training aid to reinforce Maai, Movement, Balance/Posture/Centre, "hip power" and timing (awase and kumitachi timing).

IMHO, the use of ken and jo is not necessary but ken and jo do provide a valuable training tool to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of aikido.

Happy training all :)

Jappzz 01-13-2003 08:12 AM

I don't know if it only me... but wasn't there this guy called Morihei Ueshiba who... sorta FOUNDED this whole Aikido thing? ... if he said that weapons is like a major thing in his art and stuff shouldn't we kinda try to respect that before we like... reinvent the wheel...

sigh

Jesper Arenskogh

Ta Kung 01-13-2003 09:25 AM

Quote:

aren't here schools that don't practice weapons at all? Yoshinkan? And don't the folks in those schools do pretty good aikido now and then?
Ah, but are you sure they don't just do good TAIJUTSU then? After all, Aikido is both Weapons and Taijutsu. Just playing with a thought here. Nothing bad about not practising weapons. Their aikido is as good as any other styles...

/Patrik

Ron Tisdale 01-13-2003 09:26 AM

As far as weapons in yoshinkan...it really seems to depend on the instructor, like in most aikido schools. There are instructors who teach extensive weapons curriculum (Utada S., Kimeda S., Kushida S. [ex-yoshinkan]), and those who don't focus on it much. The Hombu dojo does do some weapons work (1st, 2nd and 3rd jo kata, united basic movements with boken, a variation of the kendo ten basic paired kata) at shodan and above, but almost none below shodan from what I understand.

But then you also have to contrast that with the fact that at one time the headmaster of Yagyu Shinkage ryu (Omori ha) used to give classes at the Yoshinkan Hombu dojo...I believe all of the instructors above and some others used to train in those classes. So it really is a mixed bag.

I personally like aiki-ken and aiki-jo, as well as the tanto practise. I'm not sure "weapons" practise is a proper way to refer to it in most cases though. Buki waza in Aikido is usually taught differently, and looks different from classical weapons training.

Ron Tisdale

MHolmes 01-14-2003 05:03 AM

Re: Weapons Training Poll
 
Aikido comes from the sword. If you want to truly understand your waza, you really need to understand the nature of the sword. Everything is one in aikido. Thinking of it as pieces that may be pasted together and learned or not learned will never lead to understanding. Regards.

Duarh 01-14-2003 06:22 AM

Quote:

Patrik Eng (Ta Kung) wrote:
Ah, but are you sure they don't just do good TAIJUTSU then? After all, Aikido is both Weapons and Taijutsu. Just playing with a thought here. Nothing bad about not practising weapons. Their aikido is as good as any other styles...

/Patrik

That depends primarily on your definition of aikido (aikido the historical art vs. aikido the set of general principles)

mike lee 01-14-2003 09:34 AM

Quote:

That depends primarily on your definition of aikido (aikido the historical art vs. aikido the set of general principles)
Why?

Hanna B 01-14-2003 09:58 AM

Quote:

Jasper Arenskogh (Jappzz) wrote:
wasn't there this guy called Morihei Ueshiba who... sorta FOUNDED this whole Aikido thing? ... if he said that weapons is like a major thing in his art and stuff shouldn't we kinda try to respect that before we like... reinvent the wheel...

sigh

Well, did he actually say that? May I ask where?

Just wondering.

Brad Smith 01-14-2003 10:13 AM

Aikido is weapons training.

JMCavazos 01-14-2003 12:29 PM

I think that you can learn aikido techniques without weapons. I think that to learn more about aikido, learn how to use a weapon : the extension, the body movement, etc... and it will help your aikido immensely.

Duarh 01-14-2003 11:25 PM

Quote:

Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
Why?

Because of what the person said in the original posting - that, by not learning weapons, you would only be learning taijutsu, not aikido. If you define aikido as an art that includes weapons, OF COURSE you need to study weapons to become good at aikido (duh). If you define it as an art that consists of general movement/control/etc principles, weapons training might not be absolutely necessary.

:) I DO think weapons training is very beneficial - I just think you can learn aikido under the latter definition without it.

Bronson 01-15-2003 01:52 AM

Quote:

Maybe some will say that suwari waza is not needed to understand aikido, so those movements will become neglected. Others may say that koshinage is not important to understanding aikido, so then that technique will no longer be taught.
Hey Mike, I didn't know you were familiar with seidokan...that kinda sounds like us :D

Bronson

DGLinden 01-15-2003 11:06 AM

I see weapons as an individual art form that we integrate into the training of aikido, not as a part of aikido. To me Aikido will always be done empty handed. I've already read all the other comments and agree with some sentiments, and others I think are merely juvenile and misinformed.

O'Sensei did in fact begin this art and did in fact use weapons. Saotome Sensei has developed many wonderful kumi tachi that he integrates into his art. I myself have written and taught the Shoshin Kumijo katas for years, yet I still think of them as extra to the art. So to the question asked, I say no. But without weapons we would be poorer indeed. Aikido is principle and not everyone's choice of physical manifestation will agree with everyone else. The principles do not require weapons.


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