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Old 05-27-2005, 08:21 AM   #50
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?

Peter Rehse wrote:
Of course these people use uke just like in Aikido - same problems apply and also the inherent difficulty of evaluating just how good they really are.
True Peter. The reference I was referring to though had to do with folks who actually tried to resist and counter the technique of the head student of a particular DR instructor in his office. The accounts were given by these guys who indicated that they were definitely trying to fully resist the techniques in different ways.

Of course I could also have read things incorrectly.

Well, part of that has to do with what is in their muscle memory. To use an extreme hypothetical example, if someone who'd done karate-do for 25 years joined your dojo and at the end of his very first class, some weisenheimer fired a roundhouse kick to his head when he doesn't exepct it? What would he respond with? With karate-do, of course! Yes, Aikido should contain an answer, but he'll refelxively fall back on what's dominant in his muscle memory.
Michael, I am well aware of the effects of muscle memory and preprogrammed instinctive responses, we all have them. It is interesting to note though that these responses even show up in Instructors who have over ten years in consistently practicing and teaching Aikido when placed in situations where the Uke intends to attack, resist and counter wirth serious intent. It's like their mind crashes or something.

I don't see this as a sign of Aikido being bad or inadequate, just a "cost of doing business."
Just to keep things on target I repeat that I in no way believe that it is the art itself that is inadequate, merely the goals, methods and measure of "skill" that is used by many instructors and how it affects the overall transmission of the art and the understanding and application of the Aiki concept to unccoperative or pressing situations effectively.

So maybe you could step back and build up to randori, and then start it at a slow pace so they have time to think and apply Aikido, and that after being grounded in Aikido.
This is a regular part of our practice method, but as I indicated before, the issue here is not so much with the students as it is with the Instructors who are supposed to be indicating the way towards a deeper understanding of the art for those who wish to explore it. Instructors should be the measure of the quality of training at any dojo, yes or no? If yes, then that quality should have an objective measure that is independent of who is taking the ukemi, yes or no?

Again, it may be a good idea to look at those areas and come up with drills to address them. It may be one thing to say, "Aikido works on the ground," but that doesn't mean you know how to translate to that scenario.
This is an example of what I am talking about all along. If you have allowed yourself to be taken to the ground then you have already lost initiative, balance and posture which are integral parts of Aiki waza (at least as done in Aikido). It's not about getting Aikido to work on the ground (i.e. ne waza) but having Aikido that is sound enough that does not allow you to have to get taken to the ground and still works effectively from the vertical posture against a serious grappling attack. Imho (and I can be wrong) ne waza is the realm and combative range of Wrestling, Judo and a part of Jujutsu etc. So if you are on the ground as an Aikidoka you need to be effective in Ju waza and Ne waza as the opportunity for applying Aiki may have already been lost imho. Of course I can be wrong.


Larry, maybe now, there are more people who are afraid to take the hard route that are joining the dojo environment as oppose to genuine martial art enthusiast. You know, new age fruitie kind of crowd equating aikido with some kind of new age yoga? I can only guess.
Good point. From how I see it there will always be those who seek something other than martial effectiveness out of Aikido and that is fine. There are many ways for them to train in Aikido without going into sound martial tactics (which we see more often than not nowadays).

The topic I am referring to is really for those who are Instructors and students of Aikido who are honestly trying to understand the depths of Aiki and how to apply it in a myriad of situations without resorting to external systems or primitive responses before it is obvious that the Aiki state can no longer be maintained and by extension, the tactics and strategy contained therein are compromised. For example, it may not be the wisest thing to use a bow and arrow against someone who is holding onto you and pounding away. At this point it's time to dump the bow and pull the knife (or use the arrow as a close combat weapon or the bow as a strangulation device etc.) But once the enemy is within the effective tactical range of the bow and arrow as typically used, one should be able to maximise the bow's use imo and not pull the blade prematurely.

This is the point I am getting at. If we really start to understand, utilise and maximise the Aiki concepts and principles, then the place for using effective Aiki waza becomes obvious vis a vis other methods of combat. In this way we would not be trying to force Aiki into a mold it may not be designed for, but learn to maximise its strengths, and in the event things go awry still be able to fall back on things like Ju waza etc., hence the reason for cross training. It's about knowing the limitations of the principle by pressing, exploring and understanding its boudaries, not because we lack the ability to apply it effectively and therefore assume that the boundary between Aiki no ri and Ju no ri is a lot closer than it really is.

Am I making sense?

Thanks for all the great insights and replies.

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