Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Would you agree that a MA is a group of techniques that demonstrate principles.
yes, very much so.
If you understand those principles, can you apply them in a way that may appear to be outside the technical realm of that art?
This is where we differ. I'm going to keep talking about BJJ because that's my experience, hopefully you can see the point.
Many people, myself included consider BJJ to be the application of Aiki principals in the context of a fight on the ground. There's a number of very good reasons why this is the case which I've made before if you search my history, or I'm happy to regurgitate them for you if you think it will help the discussion.
When I started training BJJ it was instantly apparant to me that this was Aiki. The only problem was that didn't actually help me perform the techniques. I had no idea how to move on the ground, how to go about breaking the balance of someone mounted on top of me, how to physically apply the principals I all ready had a good understanding. of.
Let me put it another way. You or I could go and give a lecture on the pincipals of Aikido. We could sit people down in classroom with a whiteboard and explain how it all works why it makes sesnse from a physics point of view etc. and they could really get it and understand exactly what Aikido is looking to accomplish and how. But understanding does not imply competence. We wouldn't expect them to be able to go and start using techniques without having had done the physical training right?
Same thing here. Although Aikido has principals that can be applied in many situations we don't train for them. So it is not accurate to say, because I train Aikido and understand the principals I'll then be able to actually apply those principals in an unfamilar context. I have to train for the context just as I trained for our normal one. And there are other arts that can teach you to utilise those principals much more quickly than trying to extrapolate them from standard Aikido training.
If so, and Aikido exercises all principles, wouldn't it be accurate to say that Aikido encompasses all techniques?
Well kind of. Aikido doesn't exercise all pincipals, it exercises the principals of Aiki, so I don't think it would encompass the techniques of Muay Thai for example (although I'm willing to be corrected on this). But I don't think this is what you mean. I think you're asking if it's not true that anything that utilises the core concepts of blending, kuzushi etc can therefore be described as Aikido?
Well in one sense you're right they can. In the broadest sense that they apply aiki type princiapals. But in a more important sense not so much imo. I think it's a little disengenious to describe "Aikido" as encompassing techniques that most Aikidoka can't actually execute.
Aiki concepts applied effectively on the ground is called BJJ. Aiki concepts applied effectively in a clinch situation is called Judo. BJJ concepts applied standing could be both Judo and Aikido. But if we take this broad an apporach then everything is everything else and all distinctions become meaningless.
I've argued that BJJ is Aikido on the ground. But it would be somewhat mischevious to suggest that therefore Royce Gracie won 3 UFCs using Aikido. Yes Aiki principals can be applied in a range of contexts outside our normal training one. But they cannot be applied in those contexts without training in them specifically, and the best way to do that effectively is to cross train. Why reinvent the wheel.
Hope that makes sense.