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-   -   the whole competition thing (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=542)

Nick 01-30-2001 08:17 PM

I find it interesting that while 10% of the people participating in the poll believe that Aikido should incorporate competition, the poll taken a while back showed that only 2% practiced Tomiki Aikido. To my limited knowledge, Tomiki-style Aikido was the only variation that incorporated competition into its curriculum... do we have more Tomiki folks nowadays, is there another variation that uses competition, have minds changed, or are all of the Tomiki people voting twice? (joke)

Nick

Tony 01-30-2001 09:20 PM

Hello everone
 
Aikidoka seem to be very upset about sparring. Sparring can be goood. It makes you strong and fast! Tings you will need if you are attacked by the bad man.

It is more difficulty to spar. but you learn a lot more that way.

One day you will be happy that you did spar and understand the real world fight, if you get mugged.

I hope I didnt upset everyone with my opinion.

JJF 01-31-2001 01:46 AM

Sparring maybe
Competition no!

We sometimes practice a sort of watered-down sparring to build awareness of what is going on around you and to learn how to move around between several oponents, but we would never consider this a competition. As far as I believe the competitive mind is not something that should be encouraged in Aikido.

andrew 01-31-2001 03:42 AM

Re: Hello everone
 
Quote:

Tony wrote:
Aikidoka seem to be very upset about sparring. Sparring can be goood. It makes you strong and fast!
Training makes you strong and fast too.
If you're trained by a good teacher, you'll know which of your techniques will work for you "on the street."

I don't think "sparring" would give much that you wouldn't get from normal randori/jyu waza training. Although I can see how people I know would end up using awful bad technique which would be bad for their aikido in the long run. If you told me I was going to get mugged and gave me the choice, I'd personally take three hours of Kihon Gi over a month of "sparring."

Actually, I don't really see what's meant to set "sparring" apart here.

andrew

Matt Banks 01-31-2001 04:38 AM

Re: Hello everone
 
The competion in Tomkiki Aikido is not sparring. I have seen it and have been asked to enter competions from other clubs. I dont mind sparring with other arts, I think it helps. But the competion in Tomiki Aikido is not this.



Matt Banks

petra 01-31-2001 04:50 AM

I think it is a good thing to practise various attacks and techniques at random in randori. I consider that very education because nage discovers his or her strong and weak points. You automatically turn to the techniques which is most natural for yourself, and even more important, find out which technique you have to work on (very, very much). However, this is not competition, you could call it sparring but I consider it basic training.
Competition is when 2 (or more) people come together in a predesignated limited space and start hurting each other untill one of them gives up (voluntarily or compulsory due to serious bone damage).
First of all IMHO aikido cannot be conducted in a predesignated limited space. It is everywhere (in your movement in day to day life) or you are doing something that is not aikido. You come together with fellow students in a dojo (all dressed up and with your boken, jo etc.) to further your own development and discover more about yourself.(Face it, it looks funny if you go around wearing gi and wooden weapens 24 hours a day ;)).
Secondly, I don't think aikido is meant to hurt, you try to convince your PARTNER that a certain movement is not benificial for his or her general healt by applying a certain amount of pressure. Depending on your partner the amount of pressure can be increased or reduced depending on his or her level and ability to take ukemi.
In my dojo you are in big trouble with our teacher if your partner gets seriously hurt (nobody minds a bruise, some tense muscles or some sprained tows or fingers, but as soon as a docters apointment is advisable....) But in the years I have been training no real serious injury occured.
Finally, our teacher says if you hurt uke too much he does not want to train with you anymore and you cannot do aikdo anymore. Competition = hurt and therefore not aikido, training in predesignated techniques or at random is trying to better yourself and your partner, without any semi-permanent damage.
Sorry for the long post but I feel very strongly about this (but you probably guessed that much). I have had serious bone damage, not MA related, and I could not train for a year. I am still not at my previous level of bodycontrol and it will probably take a couple of years more before I have overcome it all. Anybody who practises aikido and considers competition as in hurting your partner to the point where he/she gets damaged has gotten the wrong idea somewhere (sorry, I don't mean to offence any lawenforcing people here, if required, go ahead and 'convince' someone that what they are doing is wrong, I donnot mind or criticize that).
One of the beautiful thing of aikido is that everyone can practise with everyone, experienced with unexperienced, young with old, small with large and male with female. You learn different things from all these partners. Frankly, I don't even see how anyone could set up a competition, you would have to exclude a lot of people and, to me, aikido is alot about equality, I can train with anyone and I like that.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings, hope I made my point clear.

ian 01-31-2001 05:09 AM

abstain
 
I had to abstain from the vote 'cos I thought voting either way would not really show what I thought.

The problem with competitive aikido is that you loose either:
1. the ability to do techniques with the potential to cause serious injury if you have to.
or
2. the smooth blending which you can get in practise through a degree of uke compliance

Which one it would affect obviously depends on your style.

HOWEVER I do think that much of aikido in practised in an unrealistic manner and competition could re-inject more realstic uke responses (though this reduces the potential for nage to actually do damage due to non-complaince of uke).

I think what is very important in traditional (non-tomiki) aikido is to have good 'focus' on what the technique is all about. i.e. where you can do additional atemis or strikes during the technique, where you can injure or break peoples arms/wrists. Also, the response of uke is appropriate to the technique and way you do it (i.e. you assume uke has some compliance because this is a staged response, and we would do the technique differently (or a different technique) with a different response.

Therefore what you gain with one you loose with the other.

I have not trained in tomiki enough to criticise it authorititively, but I would say more freestyle randori in traditional aikido is beneficial in breaking over this gap between a formalised response from uke into a multitude of different responses. Everyone that has done randori knows that it is very different to normal practise.

Ian

Sam 01-31-2001 06:04 AM

I find it hard to believe that some of you, whilst you have made interesting points are arrogant enough to believe that the teachings of Tomiki Sensei are wrong. Perhaps you underestimate the amount Tomiki Sensei has done for aikido as a whole. That cannot just be dismissed.
As a student of Tomiki aikido I have always tried to keep an open mind about other styles of aikido and would never dismiss their ideals as wrong.
The word competition is one that seems to give the wrong idea about what we practise. The idea is that it is 'free-play' - the application of aikido on a non-co-operative person in a safe environment.

Frugal 01-31-2001 08:11 AM

Re: Re: Hello everone
 
Quote:

andrew wrote:
I don't think "sparring" would give much that you wouldn't get from normal randori/jyu waza training. Although I can see how people I know would end up using awful bad technique which would be bad for their aikido in the long run. If you told me I was going to get mugged and gave me the choice, I'd personally take three hours of Kihon Gi over a month of "sparring."

We don't do sparring as such in our dojo, instead we do circles. One person stands in the middle of the circle and the students on the outside take random turns to attack them. The grade and experience of the person in the middle will affect which attacks are allowed and whether people are allowed to attack from the back and sides.

The whole point of it is to make you do something, anything. You really learn the difference between a static technique and a dynamic one. You learn which techniques work against different speed attacks. Most of all you learn to get off the line.

When we started to do circles I had a real problem (as did most people) in that I would step off the line and my mind would go blank. Needless to say if that was a real life situation it would be bad.

It isn't sparing, it isn't really randori, it is sort of a combination of the 2 and it is very usefull.


Guest5678 01-31-2001 08:21 AM

Relax, there is no true competition here.
 
I really enjoy sparring with people that have different MA backgrounds. This can only help if done with the right intention. I do not compete in Aikido however, because even at the highest level of training you cannot execute the techniques you might really want to without causing serious injury.

When competing in boxing for example, I pull out all the stops. The idea is to dominate your opponent from the start and knock him out. That's the name of the game. This means I can use ANY "Boxing" technique in my toolbox to accomplish this goal. I'm giving 100% and hopefully my opponent is also. We both accept the risk of injury here. Yes, there are rules in boxing as well however, the rules here do not prevent me from executing ANY of my "boxing" techniques. The same cannot be said for martial arts competition.

You cannot go 100% in Aikido (or other martial arts) competition without someone getting seriously injured or perhaps killed. Therefore, a true measure of ones ability will never be realized while competing. True "competition" is not allowed. I feel the same about "sport Judo". The Olympic committee had to strip techniques from Judo to prevent people from getting seriously injured while "competing". Is this then really Judo that they are competing in? Some say yes, some say no. To me, this would be the same as the boxing commision ruling that you can no longer use left hooks to the head because too many people have suffered injury. As soon as you put restrictions on the use of technique you limit that persons true abilities. "Competition" then becomes some watered down activity that does not allow the participants to realize their full potential. Personally, I choose not to "compete" in martial arts because of these limits. Even if we could go all out, I wouldn't want to risk that kind of injury to me or my opponent.........

Sam: I don't think anyone said anything about Tomiki sensei being wrong here. This is just a matter of semantics regarding the word "competition". Most people interpret the word as meaning someone trying to "best" another, however, in regard to YOUR style of training, it has a totally different meaning...... not unlike many Japanese terms.....


Just another view,

Dan P. - Mongo


Jim23 01-31-2001 09:17 AM

Dan,

Excellent points.

My opinion is that a little sparring (even with restrictions) would wake a few people up and make them better prepared to deal a real physical confrontation.

That way thay get to experience/learn both sides.

It's a bit like your boxing (but different), you get to understand if your punch has any effect on your opponent and just how strong or weak people are.

If you try to throw someone much stronger or quicker, who is resisting, you'll quickly find out if your technique works and what technique works for you.

It only makes sense to me. But let's not brawl.

Jim23

Chocolateuke 01-31-2001 02:10 PM

as most of you know I have taken Tang wei and we sparred but never competd. Sure the person who beats teh other people got the practace worksheet for teh day! I got it once or twice!!! anyhow it was not a big deal we just did it to improve our tecqnue and not bragg. Now that I am in Aikido we dont sparr at the dojo but I have sparred with some JJ friends of mine and it really helps me. but then again Randori helps to...

cguzik 01-31-2001 02:58 PM

Winning and Losing
 
Is it not true that the typical definition of competition is one which determines winner and loser?

Now, in aikido we are practicing techniques that determine life and death.

Do we want to even metaphorically equate winning with life and losing with death?

By doing so would we not cultivate the idea that, in the end, we are all losers?

Chris Guzik


Jim23 01-31-2001 03:42 PM

Re: Winning and Losing
 
Quote:

cguzik wrote:

Do we want to even metaphorically equate winning with life and losing with death?

No we don't. Well, I don't anyway if we both lose.

What was actually being discussed were the benefits of improving one's skill; making oneself a more well-rounded martial artist, in order to better prepare for the possible attack from a rather unpleasant individual, whose intent might be to inflict pain, or even worse, to turn out one's lights.

Put another way, perhaps cross-training or sparring could help us better manage that 250lb jackass who just kicked sand in your face and is trying to take granny's purse.

Jim23

sceptoor 01-31-2001 09:56 PM

I personally don't believe in competition. If I did, I wouldn't have considered training in Aikido in the first place. However, my "parent" dojo,-- http://ctr.usf.edu/aikido/dojo/ --has recently had their first "friendship" seminar with other dojos in the area. This is so that other "styles" of Aikido can all train together, which I think is a good idea. However, I don't think you'll see a "karate" student "sparring" with an Aikido student in these seminars, probably in order to avoid injury to both practioners of each of their respective arts.

Competition should NOT be used in order to "show the Aikido student" the ineptitude of the art(which it isn't), or even that the "attacks" are "unrealistic". Any Aikido student can train in any other martial art that one so chooses in order to find the weaknesses and/or strengths in any chosen art as compared to aikido, so competition is just plain unnecessary. Keep Aikido competition free, and leave that to "sport" arts like Karate and Judo.

Personally, I don't see a shodan karate or TKD student being very effective when attacking a shodan Aikido student. Many of the Aikido defense techniques look like defenses against the "unrealistic" karate and tae kwon doe attacks that so many sceptics love to bring up. (Many, many more are defenses against samurai sword, spear, and tanto attacks.) That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

sceptoor 01-31-2001 10:20 PM

P.S. our "parent" dojo likes to have Aikido/Karate cross training seminars once a year. I personally don't see the benefit, but I will certainly check it out next time it comes around.

Guest5678 02-01-2001 07:14 AM

Quote:

Jim23 wrote:
Dan,

Excellent points.

My opinion is that a little sparring (even with restrictions) would wake a few people up and make them better prepared to deal a real physical confrontation.

That way thay get to experience/learn both sides.

It's a bit like your boxing (but different), you get to understand if your punch has any effect on your opponent and just how strong or weak people are.

If you try to throw someone much stronger or quicker, who is resisting, you'll quickly find out if your technique works and what technique works for you.

It only makes sense to me. But let's not brawl.

Jim23

Jim23,

Thanks, I really like working with people who can kick. I never learned to kick very well and I admire those with that ability. We have a couple guys here that are extremely fast, hard kickers. No flash either, just hard linear shots to just about every soft spot on your body. REALLY good test of your irimi AND tenkan abilities! Also, if you miss the timing at all, you may require a few minutes to get your breath back! Hate when that happens.

None of this activity however, is ever viewed as "competing" by either party. We consider it just another aspect of our training. Most of these people are cross training in different arts and we feel both participants benefit greatly. Personally, I feel this type of training (obviously at various speeds and intensities) should be considered a regular part of everyones training. NOT competing, but sparring with a real intention of learning something.

I've also discovered that my Aikido looks and feels much different under these conditions. Things happen much faster and technique doesn't look nearly as good as when doing "repetition training" with a cooperative uke. It has also taught me the importance of atemi!

The other reason I favor this type work is that your working with more common attacks. For example, you get punches instead of Shomenuchi. Backfists, elbows, knees, feet and any combination thereof. This is great training that a lot of people miss out on. It does however, require a bit more control. Thats why I really value my time with the "more experienced" training partner. I get hit more often, but they have much better control of their power.........

Regards,
Dan P. - Mongo

Sam 02-02-2001 04:47 AM

With regard to sparring, it is very difficult to apply what you know to a situation where the other person has a completely different aim to you. I used to be very interested in how I would compare to a practitioner of a different art, but really aikido is not suited to a situation were somebody is try to pick you off or tap you on your nose. Plus a karate person (for example) will never commit an attack or close in when they see you aim to enter and apply technique. This can be very disheartening and probably best avoided.

With regard to this idea that you would never get a clean technique in randori, I have several quicktime videos to show this is not the case. Is there a place I can upload them to for people to see?


Frugal 02-02-2001 07:27 AM

Quote:

Sam wrote:
With regard to sparring, it is very difficult to apply what you know to a situation where the other person has a completely different aim to you. I used to be very interested in how I would compare to a practitioner of a different art, but really aikido is not suited to a situation were somebody is try to pick you off or tap you on your nose. Plus a karate person (for example) will never commit an attack or close in when they see you aim to enter and apply technique. This can be very disheartening and probably best avoided.

It is really strange to hear you say that because a few of the people I know who have dan grades in both Aikido and Karate seem to say the opposite.

One guy said that the body movement and getting off the line he learnt in Aikido meant that he walked all over his opponents during Karate competitions. All he had to do was move off the line and attack from a different angle, most of the Karate guys were very linear and were not used to having an opponent who was not in front of them.

Admitedly we do a fair amount of Aki-Jitsu in our class, but we do a lot of defenses against punches and kicks. Is this unusual for Aikido ?

akiy 02-02-2001 09:32 AM

Quote:

Frugal wrote:
Admitedly we do a fair amount of Aki-Jitsu in our class, but we do a lot of defenses against punches and kicks. Is this unusual for Aikido ?
What do you mean by "Aki-jitsu" (sic)?

We do practice against punches a lot but, admittedly, not much against kicks. This is most likely due to the fact that most people do not know how to kick properly; the ukemi from kick defenses is also pretty hard for some people, too.

Frugal, if "Frugal" is not your real name, please start signing your posts with your real name as it is a Forum Rule. Thank you.

-- Jun

nikonl 02-02-2001 11:35 PM

We must always keep in mind the spiritual side of Aikido

Aiki-Kiwi 02-04-2001 04:23 AM

Reality=Competition?!
 
To begin with I'd like to say that this debate has prompted much better posts on AikiWeb than has at Aikido Journal. One thing I have noticed however is that a few Aikidoka posting on both sites seem to support competition on the grounds that it is more realistic, more 'street' and thus a good way to test your techniques. I really don't think this is true. A friend of mine, who also does Aikido (he's a 1st kyu), worked nights for a security company during university. The company provided the security guards for several fast food chains, in two of the largest cities in N.Z. While he was working one night my friend saw a couple of guys breaking bottles and messing with cars in the parking lot, so he goes over and tells them to leave. One of the guys gets in his face looking for a fight. My buddy kept his cool and just tried to talk them into leaving, but they wouldn't leave, so he said he was going to call the cops. When he said this one of the guys screamed 'I'm going to kill you' and grabbed him by the throat. My friend reacted instinctively and knocked the guy's hands away and punched him right in the face, breaking his nose. The guy did not flinch at all and tried to put a 'sleeper-hold' on my friend, screaming the whole time. My buddy bit down on the guys arm hard enough to draw blood, grabbed and crushed the guy's family jewels, then ripped out a handful of the guy's hair and scalp and did ikkyo on him. While the guy was bent over he kneed the guy in the ribs and broke them, then slammed him head first into a concrete pole. The scary thing is this guy was so doped up he didn't notice anything my friend did to him, the only reason the fight stopped was that his friend dragged him away.

I don't know any kind of competition that could provide anything like realistic attacks that you might face on 'the street', and I don't know of any MA that can provide a perfect defence against attacks in the real world because ANYTHING can happen. If you want self-defence applications for Aikido competition is not the answer. In my opinion: ask your teacher. Question them about attacks that worry you and attacks we don't traditionally focus on(headbutts, chokes, knees), where and how to strike an opponent etc... If your teacher doesn't know ask around or think logically (i.e. a drunken assailant has a full bladder and overworked kidneys so those would be good places to strike). Nothing you learn in Aikido can make invulnerable in a fight but the knowledge you gain combined with the fear and adrenaline of a fight situation could save your life.
However I think the best self-defence advice possible is: RUN VERY FAST. Self-defence Aikido should definately be your final step.

I sorry if this seems a little dark to you but I really don't think competition will do anything but give people a distorted sense of their ability to deal with a dangerous real world situation.

Anyway be safe, and promote peace.
Simon

Jim23 02-04-2001 09:14 AM

This from a guy who has trained the DEA, police, etc. who insists on sparring, not to test lethal techniques, but to understand how you would react emotionally and physically to confrontation and various types of attacks. BTW, he also strongly suggests talking your way out, walking or running away from an attack.

A long one.

---

Quote: "If you are ever forced to confront violence, you will have no choice as to the time of day (or night), the location, the environment, how many assailants there will be, if weapons will be involved, nor who will be with you at the time of its occurrence. You will simply have to respond to whatever set of circumstances present themselves."

Roy Harris

----
This from an Q&A forum with him:

QUESTION: Roy, how can a martial artist (who works 40 hours a week) be confident about defending themselves? I train in BJJ and wrestling, and know some basic boxing. I know not to go to the guard or the mount in a fight (unless I have serious backup) and I know to run when a knife or gun is pulled. Aside from that, how can someone like myself gain confidence in regards to street fighting (meaning I'm being attacked by surprise)? Some of us work in bad neighborhoods so trouble finds us sooner or later. :) Thanks.

ANSWER: Confidence comes through experience. Experience will be one of your greatest teachers.

To become confident at self-defense, you must push yourself to your emotional limit, and beyond. Your greatest fear should not be your opponent, but yourself. If you take the time to prepare yourself now, you will have very little to fear.

Learning self-defense is something that takes times. Becoming confident with your new found knowledge is something that also takes time. Time is the true test of everything in life. Nothing of true quality comes without hard work, diligence, persistence and time. There are no short cuts!

How long will it take for you to become confident? It all depends on you and your instructor. With a good instructor an some discipline on your part, you should feel confident in about one year of consistent training, two times per week. Some will feel confident after their first lesson. However, this type of confidence fades when they spar against others in class and find out how difficult it is to land a punch or slap an arm lock on someone. True confidence comes with time and experience.

To develop good self-defense skills, you must first understand that there are three periods of time during a fight:

1. before the fight ever starts.
2. during the fight.
3. after the fight has ended.

BEFORE THE FIGHT - you must prepare for anything: kicks, punches, elbow, knees, weapons, legal concerns, etc... This will take time to train. Also, you must learn how to see a potential fight and remove yourself before it begins. This is called "street smarts." Prevention is the best way to stop an attack!

Additionally, you should understand the culture you live in. Southern California culture is different than Minnesota culture. Minnesota culture is different than Pilipino culture. Some cultures settle fights with blades, while others settle them with guns. Still others settle them with wild hay maker punches and beer bottles. Understand how your culture responds to violence.

DURING THE FIGHT - This is where most people spend their time training. Although I have spent a considerable amount of time training in this area, I believe that this is the least important of the three. To effectively neutralize any type of assault, you must train for every type of assault: strikes, weapons, multiple assailants, grappling, environmental considerations, improvisation, etc...

AFTER THE FIGHT - This is where the fight really begins. Sometimes, a person will start a fight just to get you into court. So remember, before a fight and during a fight you have a certain amount of control. After the fight, you have no control. There are legal ramifications to your every action, and you will be held responsible for them. Additionally, there will be emotional consequences that can last years.

To sum it all up, there's a lot to consider. However, don't let it disturb you. Most people will never be in a fight in their lifetime. And for those who do, the fight is usually over in less than 10 to 20 seconds.

If you happen to live or work in a bad neighborhood, it's time to concern yourself with statistics. Find out from your local police department what the most prevalent crimes are in that area, whether they be crimes against persons or crimes against property. If it is crimes against persons, then you should focus your training on that one specific area for several months.

Prepare to survive now! If you never have to use your skill, great! It is better to have a skill and never need it, than to never have a skill and need it!

----

Also:

1. Gain your composure.

Remember, you could unexpectedly be taken to the ground. Maybe your head hit the ground. Maybe your wife is standing there watching it happen. What about your 18 months baby that your wife is carrying in her arms? Maybe when you hit the pavement, a piece of dirt got in your eye and you are having a difficult time seeing? What is you had been drinking a bit to much? Gaining your composure will be your first task.

2. Remain aware of your surroundings.

While in the midst of your altercation, you could end up being someone's else's carpet or personal shoe cleaner. You could also end up getting stuck with a blade from your blind side. (Every one has blind sides!) You must remain aware of your surrounding at all times, from the beginning of the fight until it ends.

3. Gain temporary control of the situation.

This is where your skill in escaping from vulnerable positions will come into play. This is also where your environmental training will come into play. You may end up with a big guy on top of you. You feel the urge to perform elbow/knee escape on your left side but you can't because the pool table is in the way. You remember how you HATE to do it on your right side because that is your weak side. So now you must find a way to get to a superior position and begin to control the fight.

_____

Jim23

akiy 02-04-2001 09:57 AM

Re: Reality=Competition?!
 
Quote:

Aiki-Kiwi wrote:
However I think the best self-defence advice possible is: RUN VERY FAST.
Actually, i think the best self-defense advice that you can have is don't get into a situation in which you may have to defend yourself...

-- Jun

Jim23 02-04-2001 10:44 AM

Re: Re: Reality=Competition?!
 
Quote:

akiy wrote:

Actually, i think the best self-defense advice that you can have is don't get into a situation in which you may have to defend yourself...


Right on. I couldn't agree more.

Interesting stuff though. Interesting guy also.

He has taught defensive tactics to the San Diego PD SWAT, Los Angeles Police Academy, US Marshal's Service, DEA and US Navy Seals. He's been a guest instructor at the San Diego Regional Training Academy, the San Diego Sheriff's Extended Format Academy the Slovakian Special Forces Training Camp and the Polish Special Land Forces Training Academy.

He was a subject matter expert at the 1994 Use of Force Symposium for the California Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. He taught a two-day ground fighting seminar at the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainer's (ASLET) 1994 International Conference. He taught a two day Self-Defense tactics class for the California Narcotics Officer's Annual Convention in 2000. He's appeared on national television as a self-defense expert for a syndicated television show entitled "Don't Be A Target: A T.V. Guide to Crime Prevention."

Jim23


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