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Old 01-04-2007, 09:25 AM   #14
Min Kang
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 34
Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

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!
I felt the same way when I started teaching. I kept wondering WTF? This doesn't make martial sense... that started me down the road to where I am now.

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.
I decided to take the path of demonstrating the strike latent in every Aikido technique: e.g., when doing a kaitenage, show the strike to the head/throat that forces uke to roll; when doing a iriminage, show the elbow/fist to the face that is expressed as kokyo ... ad infinitum.

I've found that makes sense to beginners and they begin to see the rationale behind the nage/uke dance.
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.
Everyone knows how to hit, kick, trip but few are born knowing how to do it well. Where the criminals, thugs and attackers have an advantage is that ... well, their mind is made up! Their intent is clear and their movement uncompromised. For the rest of us, it takes time to realize "oh, f*ck! he's actually attacking me!" and then it's too late

So, in a practical sense, martial arts training teaches you to hit, kick, trip effectively; and more importantly, it teaches you to act decisively. And I think Aikido training is great for both of these facets: Aikido, more than any MA I've been exposed to, emphasizes body placement and timing - essential to an effective strike. Aikido also teaches you to act decisively under the sword - think of the tachidori as an examplification of this principle: If you lack singular focus, you get cut.

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.
Kevin, there's difference btwn MA and fighting, as you know. My friends ask me how to win a fight? and I tell them it's really very simple: Pick up something heavy and hit them when they're not looking.

If I wanted to learn to fight, I wouldn't train in Aikido. Which is NOT ot say that Aikido is not effective in a fight.

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.
Kevin, I don't think it's hypocricy to have the goal of learning to resolve conflict without harm - just recognize that it's really, really hard and you run the very likely risk of failure and that failure could result in harm to your self.

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.
Beautifully stated, Kevin. And I totally agree.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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