Paul Nowicki wrote:
According to Mr. Thornton we are all wasting our time I think...
I think it is very possible to train aikido in a 'alive' way. The first step would be to introduce motion and timing to a basic technique. This would mean a non static uke (moving around looking for an opening) a good solid commited punch (we already have that) and a level of resistance (this could be anywhere from 1% to 100% depending on your level). So now we got 2 guys moving with one guy trying to hit the other and the other guy trying to do a technique. Kinda sounds like aikido randori to me.
I think what matt stresses is that you can not stop there though. You need to step it up to its eventual conclusion. 100% resistance. This means 2 people with as little protective gear as possible using all of their techniques to subdue their partner. This does not have to be competitive or ego driven. Once people learn it is ok to 'loose' they will find they can learn much faster. Just like you learn at lot from being uke, you can learn a lot from getting tapped by a more skilled partner.
However, I dont think Matt has a problem with you never sparing as long as you are honest with yourself and with what you are doing. Identify your weakness and strenghts. Anyone who thinks their aikido can handle all ranges of combat without actaully having trained in those ranges of combat is fooling themselves. Being honest with yourself and your training partners is very healthy and will help you learn much faster. Being dishonest with yourself and your partners will breed distrust, fear, and ignorance. These traits will be past down to your students and the bullcrap will get further ingrained into the art. Its ok to not know the answer, and its ok to not be a uber killing machine. Its better to state you do not know then to make up some crap and then say it will work based on what you think you know vs actually trying it in a fully resisting enviroment. A lot of people think what they know works, and at the same time get offended if you question them. I think this points to the fact they dont really know if what they know works. I know what I can and can't do. i know my triangle choke setups are weak and my guard gets passed trying them. I know I tend to turn sideways when I get pressed in standup. I know I have a really good Harai-goshi and really strong choke defenses. It feels good to not have to question if I can really do something when someone is seriously trying to punch me in the face.