Rob Liberti wrote:
If you want to be mad at delusional people, good. Help wake them up. But please don't say it can't work.
That's essentially what I am trying to do/say. Your 3 points (from this post) are quite accurate I think. Also, I am definitely playing devil's advocate here a little bit.
Certainly Aikido techniques are applicable. I merely lament the lack of randori/shiai/"live" training in most Aikido dojos because the skills necessary to apply these techniques are never acquired. I'll use myself for an example. I started out training Aikido in a pretty "hard" Aikikai dojo in 97. Trained til I got my shodan. However, never was there "live" training.
After frequent exposure to the Yoshinkan system I got hooked. It appealed to me because it seemed even "harder" and the techniques all had a real martial....crispness to them, at least in my eyes. (not dissing any aikido styles here, just my preference) So I went off and was uchi deshi for nearly a year at a Yoshinkan dojo under a rokudan. Trained 5-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. At the end of my stay, I got my nidan. This was in 2003.
Moved back to where I was originally training and I quickly became disillusioned in training there because it was no longer the kind of training I wanted. Essentially, not Yoshinkan. (That being said, it's a great dojo, full of great people. I'm still friends with many of them) Also, I had a growing interest in grappling and MMA so I began to branch out and training more in BJJ and less in Aikido.
Eventually I ended up in Sambo, which is a great fit for me. Now the point of all this is: in the past 1 and a half years of "live," resistant training I've only gotten Aikido techniques to work maybe a dozen times. And let me tell you, it's certainly not for a lack of trying! The problem is that another experienced person very rarely over extends themselves in an attack or "fully" commits to an attack. Even when a person does "fully" commit, Aikido techniques are damn hard to pull off.
Now, I'm far from being some expert at Aikido, I'm only a nidan. But I've been training really hard for a long time and I would hope after 7 years of training my techniques from Aikido would be a bit higher percentage than that but they're not. But the other folks I train with; whether they are BJJers, MMAers, or Sambo players nail their techniques on me all the time. Why? I attribute it to the "live" training environment in which they practice. And the techniques I have learned from BJJ/Sambo/MMA work well all the time in the "live" environment. They are all high percentage because the number one motivation in these sports is that techniques must
be effective in a "live" environment.
Beyond all that, the longer I am in a "live" environment the more I find my Aikido techniques improving. They come up rarely but are increasing in number. What I find unfortunate is that I had to leave an Aikido environment in order to improve in my Aikido techniques! So Aikido definitely works, it's just that I personally have had to cross-train to ensure that it works. By cross-training in a "live" environment I am beginning to accumulate real, personal
experience about what works and what does not work from my Aikido. I don't have to rely on hearsay or faith. It's made my Aikido better, and I'm sure that it would do so for others.
What I find personally troubling are people who are high kyus or low dan ranks (or any Aikido practioner really) thinking they are capable of applying Aikido techniques in a "live" environment because from my personal experience, they're quite difficult to pull off. I don't know, maybe I didn't train hard enough in Aikido. I knew I should have spent another year as an uchi deshi!
Perhaps if I trained for another ten or fifteen years in Aikido only (meaning kata only, non-resistant) I would be proficient enough in my techniques that I could perform well in a "live" environment. But I seriously doubt that.
By training in a "live" environment techniques become refined and polished in a different
way than kata alone. Both are necessary. I need to practice my triangle drills (kata) in Sambo. But then I need to train "live" with people to see if I can actually make a triangle work in competition. I need to practice second control in Aikido (well I used to). But then I need to come to Sambo and try and see if I can get second control in competition. Because if I can, then I have real, personal
experience that second control works. However, the manner in which I have obtained second control while rolling is far from any sort of way I practiced in Aikido. And that's something I, and anyone else, needs to know if the practical effectiveness of techniques are a priority.
Anyway, both budo and combative sports have their place. In refence to the original question Jorgen posed in the first post in this thread:
What are the differences and different goals and objectives of "traditional budo" and "fighting system" or whatever you may call it?
While I'm sure there are different goals to different people, I think of the "goal" of budo to be self-improvement and combat effectiveness as a secondary goal. Whereas in a "fighting system" the goal is combat effectiveness period. It all depends on what the student is looking for. I just think if a student is studying budo, it should be made clear to them from the beginning about these goals and the order under which they follow. And in kata-only, non-competitive environments such as Aikido (depending on the style), it should be known that the combat effectiveness of techniques are in question.
On an entirely different note, great posts by many in this, and the other few threads that everyone seems to have been posting in. Posts by Rob, Jorgen, Ron Tisdale (Ron, I'm always struck by the way you handle delicate topics with your posts. I need to know what your secret is!), Dustin, Michael Neal, Peter Rehse, etc. have all made me think really deeply about Aikido these past few days. I really appreciate the intelligent discussions about the art. Even we agree to disagree! Major thanks to Jun for making all this possible.