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Old 05-02-2005, 12:38 AM   #23
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Aikido challenges today

Bryan Sardoch wrote:
I wholeheartedly agree -- but it would be good to point out that Northnern California is host to many traditional or otherwise serious dojo -- of the non-hippy variety.

Notable are Tatoian Sensei (, Goto Sensei ( and most any other listed on and quite a few others. My father, who lived about 5 hours away from me when I was in California, was forced to train at what I would call a "hippy dojo" for a number of months when he lived in a very rural area. Now he lives in an even MORE rural area and trains only in weapon suburi... iwama style.

Of course my comments were meant to be taken "tongue-in-cheek" and in no way indicative of any generalization that I feel should be attributed to Aikido dojos, or the like. However, having said that, that doesn't mean that it isn't true about any particular dojo, Chris Hein's dojo apparently excluded by him from the mere possibility. He seems to think that his opinions based upon his limited experiences amount to the truth, but don't we all... However, simply restating them, albeit with a little more verve" as he did in his last post doesn't seem to make them any more right - pity.

Taking a closer look
For whatever reason, he stepped up and stated, " you think that any of the original members of Daito Ryu were planing of fighting predominantly empty handed? The techniques of Aikido are clearly first and formost a weapons system." Spelling mistakes aside, dealing with his first, "original" idea, well, he seems to forget that Aikido is not Daito-Ryu. However, should we choose for a brief moment to stand on the weak shoulders of that argument as a misbegotten truth, and extrapolating further from the farce of it all, even those on the wrong side of that argument would then agree that Aikido is merely a subset of the Daito-Ryu syllabus. We hear that message all the time coming from Daito-Ryu land, and even further along the path of extrapolation that this limited set of techniques are, at some level a way one competently deals with attackers who are armed when one happens not to be.

He later states, " If you don't understand this you havent' been training Aikido, weather you live on the east coast, west coast or Antartica! I would venture that if we gathered up a 100 person committee to judge our two perspectives, his being that one trained in (his art of) aikido could as he states, "…never face even an unarmed skilled opponent…," and my view being that someone competent in (my art of) aikido should be able to face a skilled, armed opponent, it may be judged by same committee that he may be the one who, in fact, may be missing the proverbial point.

As for his second point, as it so happens, I do remember fifteen or so years ago the shihan of my dojo at the time uttering a few words selected amongst many others for the consumption of those attending one of his public seminars. They went something along the lines of "I am teaching you how to be practical, how to make it work. …it has to work… If you can't go outside into that street and let a couple of gang-bangers come at you with baseball bats, and know that you are going to do the right thing, then you don't know aikido." These were uttered just prior to this other memorable ditty, "…it has to be real, otherwise, you may as well go take up aerobics, or something…" Again, with regards to his second point that The techniques of Aikido are clearly first and formost a weapons system" interestingly, the answer to the next question we asked of, "how much of your aikido is based upon kenjutsu, he answered, "I would say all parts of it. When I do nikyo, I cut, when I do irimi, I cut, when I do shihonage, I cut…" So given all of that, perhaps there is some element of truth to what Mr. Heins in his infinite wisdom has said. The problem I have with his argument is that this coming from someone that says that Aikido doesn't work.

Funny thing is the seminar where this question and answer session was taking place was in Northern California. His comments were designed to encourage those whose aikido was not effective to question their training methods, and their allegiances to dojos, teachers or organizations that have gutted aikido into something it never was, that isn't practical and has sold the student short on promises of the spiritual and harmonious without any basis in reality. My post simply echoed the sentiments of an old proverb (but aren't they all old?) Don't spend ten years aimlessly practicing an art, but focused on finding a teacher that can lead you to the place you want to go. It doesn't sound like with regards to Aikido that Mr. Heins has found that for himself - yet.

Mr. Heins hailing from a "KI" dojo in Northern California tells us, "Aikido doesn't work." Now O-Sensei didn't teach ki, but his aikido worked, so who are we to believe?


I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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