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Old 01-04-2007, 10:48 AM   #15
mriehle's Avatar
Dojo: New School Aikido
Location: Stockton, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 320
Re: So What Is a Fight Anyway?

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
If your main concern was learning how to be effective for real in various scenarios on the street, why on earth would you waste your time studying aikido when there are more efficient methodologies for training these things?
Well, for me, Aikido has actually proven effective. I personally know other people who've also found it actually effective. Having said that, I would not try to use Aikido in a competition.

Because "effective Aikido" is as much about the mind set as it is about techniques and I, at least, lose that mind set immediately where competition is involved. As soon as I let go of competition and just get on with what needs to be done things go much better.

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I think that we study aikido for lots of reasons, I do, and okay we can go down the path about all the mind development, and how that has third order effects on whether we can avoid a fight, or we can get into all they other things we always talk about...
I think you may underestimate the value of the mind development. The biggest issue I've seen with my students is the number of them that are simply unwilling to defend themselves. It isn't that they don't want to, it's that they freeze or panic in the face of even the gentlest of "attacks". Imagine what happens when someone really attacks them, then.

The mental training, learning to act in such a situation may actually be the most important benefit in any martial arts training.

Kevin Leavitt wrote:
but my question is more direct in nature to actual physical violence. If that is our concern, wouldn't you want to train in someway that best taught you to win?
I don't want to win, I want to survive. I have no need to dominate, I just want to resolve the situation in a way which leaves me safe, my attacker safe and I prefer it if I've given an attacker no particular reason for retaliation. Or his friends.

Growing up I lived in some tough neighborhoods. Fighting was part of daily life. Here's how it usually went:
  • Kid A would irritate me in some way or would pick a fight.
  • I'd beat Kid A bloody. Now I'm feeling pretty good about myself.
  • Kid A would tell his big brother, Kid B and six other friends.
  • Kid B and friends would look at Kid A and see the evidence of the damage done, deciding that retaliation was in order.
  • Kid B and friends would find me and beat me bloody. If Kid B wasn't big enough to do it by himself, they'd gang up on me.
  • Kid B and friends would now be looking for excuses to beat me up and would encourage all other bullies at the school to consider me a target.

In every situation where Aikido has been a factor, the person attacking me would get up feeling silly and that was the end of it. I remember one kid, a big guy with a little bit of MA training who decided to "test" me seriously. He tried to take me to the mat and I didn't go (he did, though). He got up and complained to his friends who responded, "Well, it was stupid to attack him, wasn't it?" or something to that effect. I didn't actually hurt him, so he got no sympathy from his friends.

But, of course, most confrontations I've been in since I started training have never gotten physical. I love the fact that they pretty much end with the other person walking away feeling like it would be a waste of time to fight. Especially when they have no knowledge of my training.

Honestly, I doubt I'd have had many physical encounters if I hadn't been teaching the kids who wanted to attack me all the time.

And that's reality for most of us. I notice you train military people. That's a whole other ball o' wax. But, even there, I'd bet the mind set, the willingness to "fight" is at least as important - and often more so - as any techniques learned.

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