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Old 01-03-2007, 12:33 PM   #8
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min Wrote:

I was trying to use the wrist grab illustration as a means to discuss the mindset behind "doing Aikido" in a practical sense.

I always thougth that Aikido was great at demonstrating the essential elements behind martial arts - the use of time/distance and placement - the whole "being in the right place at the right time" concept without which it doesn't matter how quick, strong and skilled you are at striking.
I agree, but what I found was that it was really hard to explain and demonstrate to a bunch of guys that had no preconceived notions about what was appropriate within the aikido paradigm, and had an honest willingness to learn how to learn how to fight.

I'd get looks like, why would I grab your wrist like that? as it was totally artificial and they could not concieve of the teaching context.

So, then they ask you to demonstrate the effectiveness of what you are talking about on someone (non-compliant). It was impossible to show them how this was even remotely useful from both a teaching point, and effectiveness. It is frustrating. You doubt yourself, and what you have spent a good part of your life on!

So, how do you reach them? I had to develop new skills that allowed me to first deal with the basic non-compliance issue....that is clinch, takedown, dominate, submit.

From there It has been a slow journey back outward to the aikido principles.

As you know from working with me over the years, it has always been a concern of mine and something I have struggled with (and still do!)

It was a humbling experience having a guy with 7 months of MMA training in grappling beat me. It makes you question your training for sure!

The whole timing and speed thing....

I found that I was never really prepared to deal with it. We talk about the universal fight plan in Army Combatives alot, that is, the things that everyone instinctively is born with, the ability to hit, kick, trip. Watching the UFC, street fights on youtube, and having young soldiers come at me has convinced me, that as a martial artist, we must first learn to adequately deal with this game first.

I think grabbing wrist and using shomen and working at the distances we work in aikido do not prepare you for this. Nor does Tae Kwon Do, as both systems have developed artifices based on the training methodolgy that work to teach the art, but do not teach us how to defeat the universal fight plan of close distance, clinch, takedown, submit.

I think that once we can grasp how to adequately control this non-compliant universal fight plan, that we can then move out to understand and become proficient at the other things such as we learn in aikido.

You know, O'sensei, Saotome Sensei, and the others all had developed these skills prior to coming to aikido. So why should we be any different.? Other than they tell us "good news, I learned all this and now I can show you want is important without you having to go through the same thing!"

Buddha and Jesus both said this as well, but many of us have to go out and figure it all out for ourselves!

I have demonstrated this with my guys in a couple of scenarios:

1. They close the distance in an attempt to strike, kick, injure or immoblize me.
2. I achieve the clinch and take balance.
3 I may go to there back and move out and control much like in Iriminage and disengage.
4. I may take them to the ground and submit them or take them to the ground and disengage.

This assumes I am sucessful in acheiving balance in the clinch.

If they overwhelm me and knock me off balance I might have to go to the guard, or what not, or may regain balance and come to feet again.

Many times I am able to gain control of an arm or something then demonstrate kotegaeshi, nikkyo on occasion, or sankyu.....

However, this is really not in the context of aikido I think, and they are simply techniques that I learned in aikido that are applied when the appropriate scenario presents itself.

Min, I think that Aikido is good at teaching principles and the philosophy of aikido, which is a good thing, but like you say is some hippocracy to try and take the moral high ground by studying aikido thinking that you somehow will learn how to control things without harm.

Ellis Amdur wrote about this last week on a thread and it really hit home for me.

I think the real challenge is learning the skills to do the things we choose to do in life, and then having the ability to choose when and where to use those skills in the appropriate situation.

George Leonard sensei wrote a real good book on this called mastery.

Mastery is an individual endeavor. What I may define as mastery may be different than you or anyone else. We have to figure out the path that each of us takes on our own.

I'll stop now, I am drifing waaaaay off course!
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