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Old 01-31-2006, 12:19 AM   #133
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
Location: Cortland, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 977
Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Larry Camejo wrote:
Good posts from Alec and Edwin imo.

Michael: Quick, stable, powerful, centred movement is a core principle of all Aikido - this is all that is necessary to deal with a shoot. Edwin gave one technical option. So I guess that knocks out your theory that it isn't taught in Aikido ....
Kaiten nage would have been my choice, too, although someone in another thread said it didn't work. In any event, none of the three dojos I have trained in, including the one I am in now, regualrly do it as a defense against a shoot. None of the books I have on Aikido, including both Best Aikido books, show it as a defense against a Shoot. And none of the seminars I've been to even mentioned the Shoot. If you're going to claim "it's taught in Aikido," you're going to have to explain why it's hard to find!

..... What I am hearing from Michael is the same concept I alluded to earlier about the passive student .....
What you are hearing from me specifically is the result of having a steady diet of hormat for the past 2+ years. Hormat is the Indonesian word for "respect." One of its implications within the context of learning Pentjak Silat Serak is that you learn the system exactly as it is taught to you and teach it exactly as your learn it. The reason for this is that it is not just something some guy knows but Maha Guru Victor de Thouars's sacred family heirloom, and absorbing and retransmitting is how it is kept alive. Failing to do so would be to break hormat, and anyone who does that is out of Serak. And when you're out, you're out. No, no one comes to your house and slits your throat, but you are out of the organization and you can't get back in.

Pembantu Guru Andrew Astle, who I'm learning Serak from, takes hormat very seriously, and he applies it to all the arts he teaches, namely Serak, LaCoste Inosanto Kali, and Jun Fan/JKD. It's not that he doesn't beleive in experimentation; that's what sparring's for, and why the his Kali students (including me) have been in what I call the ongoing run-up to sparring. We are not sparring yet but being taught how to. Yet that step only comes after you have abosrbed the basic grammar and principles of whatever art you are doing, and for those purposes, the student should make it his or her business to learn from the instructor. It is one things to ask questions. But if you question everything he tries to teach you, at some point, Guro Andy would be sorely tempted to kick you out. He'd kick me out if I were a horse's @$$, and I've known him for 8.5 years!

So hormat has provided the lense through which I look at Aikido as I've returned to it after 16 years "away." Right now I am in the business of learning and absorbing. "Experimenting" comes later. And even then, if you're told not to train in certain ways, you don't do it. That would break hormat.

What you call "passive" I call knowing your place. I'd be lying if I said I didn't screw up now and then. But I don't call it "passive."

One must aim to see the principle behind the technique .....
I agree with you; that's Guro Andy's thesis, too. His Kali instructor, Guro Kevin Seaman, is also big on "concept and principles."

Getting at them through regular Aikido practice may be another story, but you have to remember that you are not just learning techniques but learning something you are supposed to pass down eventually. So while veering from "traditional" methodologies may have some beneftis, are you losing something else? Are you failing in your role as an Aikido student if you decide, "Yeah, I'll listen to that guy in the skirt, but I ain't gonna train his way and damn if I'm going to teach his way"? I would say you are.

it is often seen with students who can't handle a round punch even after having dealt with innumerable yokemen uchi attacks. They allow the change to take their centre instead of finding a way to adapt to the not so new pattern of movement.
The only similarity between a hook and yokomenuchi is that they're on an arc; there the similarity ends. Even if you allow for a wide hook on some kind of downward arc, it's not going to be the same as yokomen because the elbow will be pointed up instead of down, and even then will (or should) snap back to a gurad position right after impact instead of following through.

There are enough differences between hooks and yokomens that I would be surpised if you could take a yokomenuchi defense and use it as is without any modificatiohns. Try amazed. The stance is different, there are differences in the mechanics, and the strategy and use is different. I wouldn't be surprised if someone who had never seen a hook before had trouble with it if someone sprang it on him.
In the end my post is about truly getting the most out of your training by deeply searching into the principles and not just sitting there, copying the sensei in "monkey see monkey do" manner and hoping that skill and understanding will come through osmosis or conduction.
I don't think anyone does hope it comes through osmosis. I certainly don't. But if I never did anything my sensei told me to do, would I gain anyting out of it? I don't see how. I'm there to learn from him, not just regurgitate what I already know. If I sprang kicks and punches on people who weren't expecting them, and back talked on everything, what would I get other than a chance to practice ukemi as I get sent flying out the door? And major trouble from Pembantu Guru Andy once he found out what had happened? And there would be trouble?

I agree with "getting at the principles." What I disagree with -- if not totally reject -- is this idea that doing what your sensei tells you to do won't help you get there. Presumably, he is where you want to be, so he is only trying to point the way and give you the tools to get there. If you "think critically" about things you really don't understand, are you helping yourself or shooting yourself in the foot? I think the latter. It's not that there isn't a place for it. But that would come after you get the tools you need to understnad what you're doing, not before.
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