Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido
I've really enjoyed this thread. What I have liked the most is that nearly everyone has acknowledged that "hard or Soft" or rather early or modern aikido is dependent on not just the time and place (Japan in O'Sensei's time, as compared to wherever you are now), but to the individuals involved in training.
I am one of those that began to train in aikido when I was 30. There was really only one place to train locally so I absorbed the culture of that "style" Ten years later I am still there and as we have all gone along together, the style has become softer and softer. This is because many of us are getting older and although can take hard falls and intense applications of technique (we do explore this every once in awhile), just don't feel the need to have our middle-aged to later years bodies pounded upon. Our most Senior sensei's however despite appearing soft have little trouble putting the biggest persons to the mat, even if they reist. I like what one fellow says who has trained in many styles of Judo and Jujutsu and just loves aikido. "it's easy to mash a tick, but harder to pick it up and let it go."
Although we practice with the intent of keeping the body and mind open, relaxed, focused, and supple we also can be quite vigorous, often working up a good sweat. Soft does not mean slow.
Personbally I agree with many sentiments that frequent training will help any aikidoka progress. We encourage at least 2-3 classes a week. Many train 4-6 days a week.
I'm not training in aikido though to go out and look for a street fight. I certainly know there are other methods for that and do explore them for consideration in terms of self-defense (I teach self-defense as well). However with aikkido I can see how it can be used for self-defense, especially with someone who might not expect you to move as you might in applying an aikido technique.
I got to find this out early in my aikido when some goon at a local lake decided I might be a potential victim. He surprised me from behind, applied a chocking head-lock type of grab and was dragging me off into nearby bushes.I know I did not resist as he expected. I actaully went with his motion and this let me enter closer to him and created a space for me to slip out of his grab. I ended up behind him with his arm in my grip in a position that looked like the end of shihonage. I had a lot of fear fueled adrenaline going and this gave me the speed and power that I do not need or use on the mat in an aikido class.
I added a sharp kick to the knee as I pulled him backwards. It seemed he went down like a ton of bricks. I did not stick around though, but took off and called the cops. He was long gone though and I'm not sure if they ever got him, but I do know that both aikido and self-defense kept me from being hurt or worse.
Well that's my long ramble for now. thanks folks. -Kim