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Old 05-26-2005, 08:26 AM   #17
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Great posts folks. At least I see now that I'm not the only one feeling this way.

I think Maikerus and Stefan to a point are getting exactly what I am talking about.

As I may have indicated in the first post, the issue here is not with the benefits of cross training. There are so many and Aikido is a very good art to append things that have been taken or understood from other arts. I myself train regularly in Aikido, Jujutsu and Judo and to a lesser extent Wing Chun and Kali. I have found the interchange and inter-applicability of information to be very enlightening in different ways.

My issue though is not with cross training . The problem I see with how many Aikidoka approach things is that instead of properly trying to learn and really apply the principles of Aiki (which does not get down to the level of technique yet, just principle) many will simply resort to using what they know from other systems to get off a particular result without realising that the answer to these tactical and strategic problems exist within the paradigm of Aikido itself.

Here is an example: I have students who come from a variety of MA backgrounds, mostly the Judo and TKD/Karate types. The randori that we practice is designed to make your defenses shut down and make you really dig down deep to find the way to apply Aiki to get out of the situation without injuring your partner while being very effective. However, as I have seen many times, as soon as the going gets tough the folks who cross train will want to switch to Judo or some other method to put their partner down instead of sticking to the Aiki principles so that they can enhance their Aikido training, understanding and skill level. It is a challenge for them not to resort to old habits and other systems, but that is the point of Aikido training, to find ways of applying and understanding Aiki in different situations.

The above situation tends to expand into other areas of training where folks start thinking that Aiki principles simply don't work under resistance (when in fact you have not taken the time or gotten the training to really understand and use them effectively). The result of this sort of thing may be seen on AJ right now with one of the seminar instructors who believes that Aikido needs to be modified to meet certain combative requirements, but which in fact the art already addresses.

Many folks from grappling type schools always bring up the subject about the shoot and Aikido's defenses (or lack thereof) or that "most fights end up on the ground". To me an Aikidoka is firstly supposed to understand certain fundamentals of posture and movement that would make breaking his balance with a shoot or other pushing attack a very difficult thing to accomplish (not impossible, but not a given either).

I'll give a simple example of this aspect from my experience: I was attacked a while ago by a gang of muggers who were unarmed but whose MO was to tackle or push their victim to the ground where the group would move in and kick the victim's brains in. Others that day were not as lucky as I and ended up in the Hospital for falling down. When I was attacked, even though Aikido technique did play a part, a major factor in my successful defence was not allowing myself to be taken to the ground by maintaining proper posture and staying upright. This way I kept myself in a place where I could still use my Aikido, i.e. standing up.

However, often I get the feeling that these simple things like training in maintaining balance while applying effective technique or receiving a serious attack designed to disrupt balance is not utilised, taught or stressed upon enough as a vital element in having one's Aikido work in a resistant situation. Some folks refer to it as "weight underside" the name is not so important as the lesson imho. My issue though is that posture is one of the cornerstones of good Aikido, yet many will easily abandon it like other elements of Aiki strategy in favour of a sacrifice tech or something that is "easier" (I am talking about the dojo now, since in the street anything goes and the KISS principle is good). Imho the idea of training in AIKIDO is to enhance one's understanding of Aiki at all levels. If we can easily abandon what we know of Aiki tactics to something more "muscle oriented" or utilising non-Aiki principles to get off a technique then what are we in fact teaching to our students or trying to achieve in training? This phenomenon is even seen when some Yudansha Instructors are surprised by a bit of resistance to their usually flowing technique and instead of moving with the energy flow and adapting, suddenly stiffen up and say you are being a poor Uke (or something of the sort). Often the "resistance" is really just because the person does not give away his balance but must have it taken from him, which is part of effective waza.

Of course I know many don't engage in resistance type practice (which is not only physical), but for those who do, what are your thoughts? Should we not try to maintain our tactical advantage and Aiki initiative and work with it until it can no longer be maintained or until the conflict is resolved? If we don't then how do we improve in our understanding of Aiki and reconciliation of a seriously aggressive force? Again, this does not have to mean self defence, it has to do with sticking to our tactical methodology (or our game) and exhausting our options until the conflcit is reconciled, it is no longer available or we move into another tactical zone.

Just some thoughts. I hope I am making sense.

Thanks for the great replies.

Last edited by L. Camejo : 05-26-2005 at 08:34 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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