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-   -   Weapons training leads to good aikido. (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8405)

Tubig 06-28-2005 11:59 PM

Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
There are different types of ryus in aikido that are unique in what type of aikido they offer hence what they specialised. From the graceful aikikai, to the kick ass riot police type Yoshinkan. From the very spiritual extention of the tao of the Tohei school, and to the hundreds more schools that completes the equation of the universal art of aikido. All schools unite and say that aikido came from the sword and the art of the samurai. Every schools unite that aikido's taijutsu came from buki waza, especially tachi waza and aiki ken.

So why is weapons training (suburis and partner practice) not a part of every aikido syllabus? How come not every aikidokas in the planet can wield a jo? How come not every aikidoka can do Osensei's sanjuichi-no-jo, when it is one of the most popular original teachings by Osensei that is forbidden to be altered by any shihan or sensei.

I guess to simplify the quesetion:

* To do good and complete aikido: does one need to know the weapons training part of it? *

PaulieWalnuts 06-29-2005 01:21 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Simply because not all of the old masters where iwama students most where in the honbu, (if we are talking post war aiki)so there training in Osesneis aikiken and jo was non to limited. Alot of them took other weapons schools ie chiba which is why we have a lot of different looking taijutsu in syles now.

happysod 06-29-2005 02:36 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Quote:

To do good and complete aikido: does one need to know the weapons training part of it?
Yes if your definition of good and complete means knowing how to use a stick properly. Like many parts of aikido training (suwari-waza, randori), weapons work is a decent tool for teaching specific aspects of distance, posture etc. However, it's not the only tool or method available.

Yann Golanski 06-29-2005 02:48 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Shodokan introduces weapons in the second and third dan. The second dan kata are based on knife attacks and third dan goes with jo and bokken in both tori and uke's hands with the addition of the tachi waza (bokken vs bokken).

Jo work (mainly the 6 and 18 jo kata) are included and should be practices from time to time even if I do not think that they are part of the syllabus.

Our basic hand and foot movements are based on sword strikes and whenever I teach them, I always use a bokken to demonstrate where the moves come from.

On a side note, many Aikidoka do not know how to use a real sword at all even if they have trained in aiki-ken or whatever. Using a sword is an art in and of itself. There were several past threads on the subject, just search for it.

Amir Krause 06-29-2005 03:16 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Quote:

Cromwell Salvatera wrote:
* To do good and complete aikido: does one need to know the weapons training part of it? *

In Korindo Aikido, I believe the answer to be - Yes.
The curriculum includes many weapons, and it is obvious no one is expected to be proficient in all, each student should select his own weapons of exploration.

All advanced students (above Kyu 1) learn Jo and Bokken. When explaining the 8 Tai-Sabaki movements that are at the base of the system, at least 7 have clearly come from ken (The 8th is more natural for Jo or Nito then for a single Ken).

Each weapon has it's own emphasis on principles that are essential to our Aikido, these give a wider and more complete view compared to practicing only empty hand. Minoro Hirai, Korindo Aikido founder is quoted as saying: "when practicing empty handed, imagine you hold a weapon and when practicing with a weapon, imagine practicing empty handed". Hence the importance of weapons work for empty hand practice.

Amir

Dazzler 06-29-2005 05:26 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Quote:

Ian Hurst wrote:
Yes if your definition of good and complete means knowing how to use a stick properly. Like many parts of aikido training (suwari-waza, randori), weapons work is a decent tool for teaching specific aspects of distance, posture etc. However, it's not the only tool or method available.

Absolutely.

31 count kata for instant is a good tool but is it truly a spontaneous blending of uke and Tori?.

In Awase form, uke and tori still know exactly what lies ahead.

Aikido weapons work is highly useful and beneficial to practice.

But I have met some highly skilled aikidoka who have achieved their level with little or no exposure to formal weapons training.

Quote:

Yann Golanski wrote:
On a side note, many Aikidoka do not know how to use a real sword at all even if they have trained in aiki-ken or whatever. Using a sword is an art in and of itself.

I'd say I'd fall into this category. I am interested in Aikido. My weapons practice is part of that.

I have little more than a passing interest in using a real sword and see little chance of me ever carrying one around Bristol.

For a start they are generally rather expensive...I'm sure it would get nicked! ;)

Regards

D

akiy 06-29-2005 09:03 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Poll: Is weapons training necessary to understand aikido? - 1/18/2003

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=148

-- Jun

senshincenter 06-29-2005 09:21 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
We do weapons. I do see the sword as relevant to the origins of the art. However, I would never say that one needs to do weapons in order to move right. To say such a thing almost contradicts itself since it posits an "origin" but negates it immediately by allowing for no distance from that origin (What is an "origin" if we cannot move further from it?). Do practitioners of the oar or the various "farming" utensils of other arts need to get in a boat and row or get in the field and do some farming before they understand these weapons and/or garner the benefits of training in them? I say, no.

Osensei did weapons, however, I would never say that because Osensei did something, we need to do that thing. Such a view is traditionalistic and thus adopting such a view is one sure way of killing your own practice with a kind of "museum death." Aside from the sword, Osensei also found the origins of his art/practice in the will of God. To that end, he practiced not only very sophisticated forms of mysticism, he also practiced and held many superstitions partial to his time and place, types of shamanism particular to spirit possession, and probably countless types of cultic exercises related to the talisman. Shall we do these things too in order to discover the will of God that is at the origin of Aikido? Again, I say, no.

Daren's point of meeting folks who have shown very high skill in body art with only little to no experience in weapons work should be placed side-by-side with those folks that have done weapons work for quite a while and still demonstrate relatively low skill at both body art and weapons art. This tells us that the relationship between body art and weapons art is not a causal one -- especially not one of a single direction. For me, the "reason" for bringing weapons work into one's practice cannot be satisfied by all the usual rhetoric. Every one of those usual reasons can be satisfied equally by something else or in many cases even better by something else. For me, the only reason why weapons work is vital to one's overall training is that it allows us to measure and cultivate something very particular to that type of human-to-human interaction (i.e. two folks standing at a distance with two inanimate objects between them). Such training allows us to measure and cultivate our capacity at Aiki at levels of no contact and often no sight.

Without the senses of touch or sight, the two senses of the tactile/visible world, the two senses nearly all of our Aikido practice comes to us through in body art, we are forced to take Aiki to the next (higher) level -- of the invisible world or the world of true "feeling" or "inner sensing." While we can and should measure and cultivate this in body art, we also do not HAVE to do this in body art. In weapons art, the luxury of choosing to do with or without this is not so readily available. In weapons art, things are moving too fast and the consequences for being unable too sense your opponent's actions before you feel or see them are too stern to allow for many of the "adaptations" or "corrections" you usually see folks (even of very high rank) having to make in body art when such sensing is absent. Weapons, being inanimate objects, do not give off the same cues as to their intentions -- the way an arm does or a leg, etc. To read the weapon properly, I must move beyond the mundane nature of the weapon to the Ki of the encounter (i.e. the overall collective of relevant elements that make up this particular time/space). Thus, like all forms of higher training, in whatever the endeavor, the lack of choice for opting between lesser and greater skills (i.e. requiring only greater skills) marks weapons training as both important to body art and related to body art. For he or she that can move to the Ki of an encounter in weapons art -- where it is required -- can certainly move to the Ki of an encounter in body art - where it is possible but not required.

Now, what does a solo form that has a some from a political organization attempting to archive it through prohibition to do with this? For me, nothing. Such a thing is just one more form, and thus such a thing is just one more reason why the weapons training I mentioned should be part of our training.

Lorien Lowe 06-29-2005 12:55 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Recently a student who tested for 5th kyu at our dojo was promoted to 4th based on the level of his sword techniques. His taijutsu was at about normal 5th kyu level, but our dojo-cho generally assumes that good weapons work will inevitably improve one's taijutsu with practice; powerful weapon techniques require a very good base, and (depending on the technique) one's mistakes are entirely one's own.

maikerus 06-29-2005 06:43 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
I would say not...but then again I do seem to be in the minority in this.

I studied jo/bokken/tanto alot for 9 years while doing Aikido in Canada. I then came to Japan to the Yoshinkan Hombu and since then (12 years) have studied virtually none. Basically only some tanto demonstration katas and futari dori and san-nin dori. A little bit of techniques with taking away stuff.

This does not discount weapons, but it would seem that they are not necessary. My take on this is that the principles that we learn from non-weapon Aikido are the same as if we were doing weapons. They do not *derive* from one another.

So...studying the weapons is not necessary to learn those principles. For some it may help, but I don't think its necessary.

My few yen...

--Michael

NagaBaba 06-29-2005 08:45 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Good post David. I like your expression "human-to-human interaction" --- Sugano sensei teachs such things regulary. This is very high level of practice.
But for me, weapons practice have two important reasons:
1. develops "sword spirit" or weapons spirit.
2. teachs skills normally learned only in competition environement.

There is always very big difference between two aikidoka with comparative level of technical skills, if one practice regulary weapons and other not at all. I know such case personally and it is simply matter of different state of mind.

senshincenter 06-29-2005 09:03 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Hi Szczepan,

Thanks for chiming in. I definitely agree with these two elements being a part of weapons training (I'm assuming with "sword spirit" you are meaning some kind of charged intensity of a martial type). My earlier post was not meant as a argument saying that such things are not in weapons training and/or that they are not important to our overall cultivation as an aikidoka. These things, and many others, are there in weapons training and they are indeed important to things like body art. My only take, however, was that these things are not made mandatory/monopolized by weapons training. For example, it is true that facing shomengiri with one's own bokken response tends to be quite different, especially in terms of intensity, clarity, and purpose, than facing shomenuchi with Ikkyo Omote, but it just doesn't have to be. One should eventually come to have their body art practice be charged with the same intensity, clarity, and purpose. It is true many don't, such that many for example attempt to do things like affect shomenuchi at the wrist on the way down, but this isn't because they don't do weapons, only because they don't strike like it was a weapon (i.e. with intensity, clarity, and purpose). On the other hand, as for becoming sensitive to the Ki of a situation involving weapons - you either do or you don't. If you do, your technique is good and you survive. If you don't, your technique is poor and you possibly face injury or you compromise your practice so much that the failings of your body art come to also occupy your weapons art.

Anyway, great input. This sword spirit is important - even if there is no actual causal relationship, statistically it remains extremely relative - such that it almost acts just like a causal relationship.

thanks,
dmv

xuzen 06-29-2005 09:22 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Once I had a junior member in my dojo asked me that he can't use his aikido against someone in his school. I asked him why? He said that the other boys kicks are to fast, punches too fast... etc etc.

I don't know why I did this but I went to the weapon's rack and took a jo. I got into ready position... and asked him to come at me with any attack he so desired.

He tried, but as I held my jo in my ready position, he couldn't find any opening to enter. Figuratively... I had tied his spirit down. He just could not enter into my zone.

The point I tried to make to him maybe was that it was easy to get confused and think how should be intercept a fast kicks etc etc... but when you have a weapon... the feeling is so totally different.

Hence my point... is I agreed with Nagababa wrt to weapon training... it add a bit of realism and weapon spirit (sorry for lack of proper word) to aikido.

I guess I am an advocate of weapon training.

Boon.

Tubig 06-29-2005 10:18 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
All of Osensei's great students know how to use weapons. Either they learned it directly from him or endeavoured to learn it somewhere else.

Practicing with people that have done weapons I noticed the posture is stronger. The hip movement is more complete. The Maai is excellent. Also I noticed that they do not flinge as much to strong attacks, attacks with big kiais, and quick multiple attacks. I even sparred with karatekas that has done nunchakus and tonfas, I noticed their punches and kicks are more accurate, smoother, and cleaner in comparison to karatekas that stayed with emptyhands.

Perhaps the most obvious observation with people that practices weapons is the enhance Zanshin and the great awareness to Ai-uch (mutual kill). With Zanshin I noticed that aikidokas that do weapons can block and avoid better, randori and multiple attacks are handled better. It almost comes out that the Zanshin (sixth sense) is very sharp. With zanshin the aikidoka can almost predict (not anticipate) where to attack would land, where to stand, and when to awase. they can avoid the Ai-uch that is inevitable if the reaction is delayed.

One can really see the spirit of the sword or jo itself, in fact holding the weapon, feeling that connection, the extention of one's ki through the sword is more energizing in the true spirit.

The classic analogy on this one is there are two types of people:
The astronaught and the astronomer. The astronomer studies the heavenly bodies, the astronaught touches the heavenlybodies.

In regards to the spirit of the sword, wouldn't it be better to invoke the spirit of the sword rather than evoke it like an outside entity?

Tubig 06-29-2005 11:59 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
My sensei was lucky enough to be taught by Saito sensei how to use shuriken. And in return we are lucky enough to learn from Sensei the use of shuriken. Do other dojos practice this art with aiki?

Jorge Garcia 06-30-2005 12:48 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
My instructor, Hiroshi Kato says that weapons training is necessary to help you to understand how to move in Aikido. Apart from everything already mentioned, our weapons system emphasizes heavily the proper foot and body movement and martial distance as well. It teaches how to employ the hips, how to move in and out, and the correct form of the techniques. People that have been exposed to our system are amazed at how close it is to the body arts. Working with weapons also helps to understand the feeling of the energy in your body and how to extend it when you make the application. Our Sensei has said that weapons is what you can do in Aikido when you are alone.

maikerus 06-30-2005 11:56 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Quote:

Jorge Garcia wrote:
Apart from everything already mentioned, our weapons system emphasizes heavily the proper foot and body movement and martial distance as well. It teaches how to employ the hips, how to move in and out, and the correct form of the techniques. People that have been exposed to our system are amazed at how close it is to the body arts.

I don't dispute that this is true, however why can't you do this without weapons?

Also...if you train according to the martial distance for weapons...doesn't that change for different weapons as well as for hands...? And hand movement is different from weapons movement - for example bokken - because you always hold a bokken with right hand above left, but that can and should change with empty hands.

Similar. Yes. Follows the same principles. Sure. Fun. Definately. Required for good aikido...I am still not convinced.

FWIW,

--Michael

PeterR 07-01-2005 12:13 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Quote:

Michael Stuempel wrote:
I don't dispute that this is true, however why can't you do this without weapons?

<snippage of several reasons>

Similar. Yes. Follows the same principles. Sure. Fun. Definately. Required for good aikido...I am still not convinced.

I'm going to toss in a me too here. Taught right I found that tachi-dori and yari-dori practice increases the intensity of focus but again there is no reason empty handed practice alone can't serve the same function. Well in Shodokan it actually does since tachi and yari are not introduced into the curriculum until later and I suspect that the main reason is to give a historical completeness rather than any intrinsic need.

senshincenter 07-01-2005 01:21 AM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
I'm siding with Michael and Peter on this one as well.

NagaBaba 07-01-2005 08:26 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Quote:

Michael Stuempel wrote:
I don't dispute that this is true, however why can't you do this without weapons?

You can observe certain phenomena: if in weapons practice somebody hit partner with bit power, you will not be angry at all. One will accept it, cos it is weapons practice. But if in empty hand techniques somebody hit you or execute a technique in strong manner, one will tend to perceive it as aggressive behavior.
Spirit changes, only because one is holding a weapon. Perception of environment changes too. If attacker on the street holds a weapon or has no weapon you reaction will be different.
Now imagine how deep changes produce 30 years of studying weapons.
Quote:

Michael Stuempel wrote:
Also...if you train according to the martial distance for weapons...doesn't that change for different weapons as well as for hands...? And hand movement is different from weapons movement - for example bokken - because you always hold a bokken with right hand above left, but that can and should change with empty hands.

Similar. Yes. Follows the same principles. Sure. Fun. Definately. Required for good aikido...I am still not convinced.

FWIW,

--Michael

One of main purposes of weapons training is exactly that thing; get use to different martial distances. Not only that, body must "feel" this distance, without brain. So you will be free to do anything in any distance.
Than you can use this distance as a weapon! If you train only against empty hands, one can't develop such sophisticated skills. He train only in one distance, so can't deal unconsciously with quickly changing distance.

In fact, weapons attacks are 2-3 times faster then hand/leg attacks. If you add difficult changing distance, live blade --- you have really good deal. After that when you return to empty hand, things are simply too easy for you.

Other important dimension of weapons practice is a fact that physical force, weight and being male/female not playing important role. That situation allows learning for relatively weak and light men and woman some high level skills that are inaccessible only with empty hand practice.

There are very many others. Best way is to discover yourself, don't be lazy LOL! ;) :p

6 months weapons with good teacher will change your aikido forever.

Jorge Garcia 07-01-2005 11:04 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
You wrote,
"I don't dispute that this is true, however why can't you do this without weapons?"

The answer is because we generally don't do it unless we have weapons . The use of the weapon makes apparent what isn't apparent otherwise. I can show Aikido without words but sometimes, words help. You can teach these things without weapons but most times, they help. I wasn't trained with weapons the first 3 years of my practice but have used them the last 7 years. For me, especially as an instructor, there has been a huge difference in understanding what I should have known and seen with out them. For example, I recently realized that when avoiding a shomenuchi strike with the bokuto using a tenshin, you have to take an extra long step back where as before I tried that with the weapon, I never thought about that. I also realized that the position of the right foot is critical in that you have to place it in such a way as to be able to enter back in when he raises up again. I have incorporated those ideas into my regular body arts since. I must also add that when saying all this, I am refering to the kumi jo and kumi tachi kenjutsu. I never realized anything much from regular bokken tori or jo tori exercises.
As for the form of the technique, the kiri kaeishi exercises so show the form of the technique, they are a wonderful guide to the correct form of the technique. I use them to correct my technique all the time and they serve as excellent illustrations to the students when they unknowingly drift from the form. The hand and foot movemnet of iriminage with the jo show that either you must get behind uke or you must allow him to pass you so you can enter with the hip. I will grant that you don't need the weapon to know or learn that. It's just that using that form as an aid sure helped me to understand that concept. Maybe for those of us that are tactile and visual learners, it makes a difference.


Best,

markwalsh 07-02-2005 01:49 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
This needn't be a theoretical debate. Acid test: Are there any outstanding aikido teachers who have done little or no weapons? I would suspect there to be at least some, but maybe not that many. Names please anyone - Daren?

Mark

Chris Li 07-02-2005 02:05 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Quote:

Mark Walsh wrote:
This needn't be a theoretical debate. Acid test: Are there any outstanding aikido teachers who have done little or no weapons? I would suspect there to be at least some, but maybe not that many. Names please anyone - Daren?

Mark

Yoshimitsu Yamada.

Best,

Chris

senshincenter 07-02-2005 02:27 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
I cannot speak about his past training, but when I trained with him he did no weapons at all nor expected us to: Kazuo Nomura (of Osaka Aikikai).

On the other side of this, however, is the also easily proven fact that a lot of folks do weapons just like they do body art or just like some are critical of how some do body art. Meaning, a lot of folks do weapons with little or no intention, with no sense of lethality, no "sword spirit," etc., and in this way there is also no difference between body art and weapons art (as far as these things are concerned). My own subjective experience would lend itself to the position that even out of all the folks that do weapons, most do not do weapons as some are suggesting here - as a manner that is inherent to weapons training. So one has to ask, "What is really helping their body art?"

maikerus 07-03-2005 07:00 PM

Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
 
Just for the record...I did 9 years of weapons training when I first started Aikido. Basically various Jo, Bokken and Tanto techniques and was in a lot of demonstrations with weapons. I attended weapons classes and enjoyed them.

Since I came to Japan 12 years ago I found that we did NOT practice weapons at the hombu dojo. They were there to illustrate some points, or for fun, but there are no weapons classes and very, very seldom are they pulled off the rack. We do use them for for san-nin dori and for futari-dori when training for nidan and above.

That being said, any time one of the hombu teachers does pick a weapon up it looks natural and strong in their hands.

So...what does this say? My Aikido has vastly improved since I have been in Japan and it was done without weapons. Perhaps I am wrong and you do need weapons, but my personal experience is that I didn't. Also...it would seem that the hombu dojo made this decision for some reason or other...of course they could be wrong as well.

Training with intent and focus can be done without a weapon in hand. If you cannot train that way maybe you should train harder and not use weapons as a crutch (oops...did I say that? LOL).

Seriously...this is a discussion about whether it is necessary or not. I don't see it as being necessary and I would much rather learn how to be focused and intent without the aid of weapons than with. There are enough techniques within the Aikido framework without weapons for me to spend the next 50 years working on without diluting them by cross-training with weapons :).

I have no problem with training weapons. I think there are lots of good that can be learned from them...but again...necessary....my vote is "no".

FWIW,

--Michael


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