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Old 07-28-2005, 12:43 AM   #100
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Michael Fooks wrote:
What I'm not convinced we can do to Aikido without losing something, is instigate the sort of sparring where there is no distinction between uke and nage. Where both are concerned with winning a "match". My take is that this kind of sparring has a completely different energy pattern and therefore strategy to what Aikido was trying to accomplish. If someone is attacking me but is just as concerned about watching out for my kote gaeshi as they are about actually hurting me, it's a different kettle of fish. I guess I'm talking about the difference between a sparring match, and an assault.
Very well said Michael. The thing is that the Randori method Tomiki created that is used for tournament or shiai-based training is very easily expanded towards self-defence type training where the limitations of techniques and attacks as found in shiai can be modified to the point where it's less like a sparring match for points and more like an assault by a skilled attacker (i.e. not giving away balance, good targeted striking, aware of what you might do to respond and skilled enough to shut it down or utilise it to further his attack if possible). In this method there is still no Tori or Uke, but one person does have a tanto which will affect how he attacks and uses technique. In this sort of training it is not a match for points but a test of application of skill and technique to control the attacker and stop his assault without injuring him while he tries everything to plunge that tanto into you, resist and counter your technique with his own Aiki waza.

Michael Fooks wrote:
Now obviously you can set up this kind of a match, but because of the changes that result you are going to doing a somewhat different style of aikido, smaller, in some sense less committed (in terms of commitment to the technique and the action).
The thing is that there is no guarantee that says an assault will always involve a committed attack. It depends on the type of assault. Also as far as technique goes, if one is uncommitted then there is a risk involved (i.e. being in position to get sliced/stabbed/hit) that is also existent as in an actual assault. The idea is to be committed in technique but at the same time unfettered by not trying to execute a particular technique after its interval for complete execution has passed or it has been shut down.The idea is to use everything about the attacker's movement, reactions etc. to get off the right technique at the right time. So one is committed in technique, just not mentally bound to executing that technique to the point where the situation is a muscle contest of force vs resistance. One in fact uses the resistance to show the path of the next technique that will work if the first one has failed.

Michael Fooks wrote:
guess I can come back to Judo and BJJ - sparring in those arts is not what real fighting looks like. The grip fighting, the feinting etc that is required for competition. No doubt they can translate this to real world effectively, but my point is the sparring and competition focus has altered the arts because it's a different set of techniques and strategy that work on someone that knows your game and is holding back their attacks because of that.
Agreed. I've come to look at sparring in different ways since doing Aikido, Judo, Japanese Jujutsu and a bit of BJJ also. There is sport sparring and there is "other" sparring imo. Sport sparring adheres to the rules of the game and is designed to develop skill in the sport via tactics which include exploitation of the rules etc. for the purpose of winning the game or bout. This is good for those training for sport and affects all arts with shiai. It will undoubtedly develop habits that will only survive in a rules-based (and protected) environment e.g. the grip fighting you referred to.

"Other" sparring can be tailored to meet other, non sport-oriented goals. This can include "Self Defence" (for lack of a better term) sparring which is designed to mimic the speed and intensity of an assault, where the goal here is to survive the assault and if possible control your attacker. Rules-based protection (for safety reasons) are strictly highlighted so the practitioners know that this is not equal to an actual assault but an approximation and are therefore made fully aware that they or the attacker can do other things in a true "rule-less" environment that are not addressed in the particular sparring exercise. These other aspects may even be addressed in a different type of tailored sparring. This is the same principle that is followed by folks who do scenario-based training, though there are a few differences. The armed attacker of course is encouraged to make a successful assault while the defender 's job is to "survive" the assault.

Michael Fooks wrote:
I wouldn't like to see that happen to aikido. It works great with genuine assault type attacks and I'd rather keep it as it is and get my sparring attributes from another art. My understanding is that this is what the competitive schools of aikido do within their own art to some degree? i.e. they type of fighting they use for sparring isn't the only type of aikido they practice, they also devote time to traditional techniques against assault type attacks? Maybe someone can confirm or deny that.
Agreed. And yes we do practice techniques outside the "sport sparring" paradigm regularly as I indicated above.

Great post and question Michael. I think we agree more than anything else.


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