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Old 03-04-2002, 08:27 AM   #13
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
Quiting Aikido? Soft approach

The essence of what Chuck says is the spirit of the young warrior who, like the old knock this chip off my shoulder adage, trys to instill confidence through vibrant speech's and eye filling techniques. That is one way to inspire, but what about the other way?

The soft approach?

My teacher, is about 5ft8in/140lbs to my 6ft 280lbs, uses the soft approach to teach. He gently, slowly shows all his students the fine points slowly, until they gain greater levels of skill that allow the techniques to work on me and much larger people than me. Aikido was not designed to be the psycho-analysis solution to everyones problems, but it does keep the old tired body moving and the old style Jujitsu from hurting others.

My reason to learn Martial Arts was to learn NOT to hurt others. Understanding the minimum force needed to FEEL the submission of an opponent, rather than waiting for the sound of bones snapping, or physical damage being related to sounds of pain, my training has led to greater depth of actually feeling the sensitivity of each submission as the joints and muscles respond to nerves being activated by technique rather than brute strength.

When I began Martial Arts, in my thirties, the preferred method of defense was to grab and twist until pain or the sound of breaking stick was heard ... not very technical, but the way of ignorant youth, I guess. This type of behavior carried on, to lesser degree in Karate/ Jujitsu training until I began Aikido. Only when I began Aikido did I begin to learn the strength of its lessons. In th beginning I used to tighten locks until firmness resulted in tapping, slapping, or pain submission ... not good if the uke resists and inflicts more pain? So, the first few months of Aikido were marked by uke's who sometimes resisted, while I would tell myself " ... gentle, be gentle..." until the image of Budo being loud and boisterous became that of soft and passive to the observers eye.

Many people who train in Budo, imagine themselves warriors training to maintain the balance of good in the world ... in some ways that is true. What they lose is the ability to switch to a gentler mode that may look slow and implausible, but it is just as effective as the Aikido that physically damages and kills in war? Although that would not be Aikido anymore as it subverts the very meaning Aikido, doesn't it?

Anyway ... I still get the new Blackbelts at seminars who think that the end of a technique with submission is the most important part of training, but no matter how much they wiggle, or squirm, when I slowly do the technique of the seminar leader, they somehow can not resist? The soft appoach by a big scary, laughing man who bows politely and invites friendliness not fright?

Speed does not mean knowledge, just as training in Budo does not mean becoming Japanese? All martial arts steal from each other, some outright, but ... teaching within the physical capabilities of each student would be withing the tenants of Aikido, wouldn't it?

Please, if you have been injured from rough Aikido, or some throw/technique gone wrong or too far, Speak UP!! You will find that most of your fellow practitioners understanding towards your physical condition. If you truly are injured, let your body heal. You might do some stretching, breathing, most of the lesson from a class, but stop and tell your teacher/ your partner of your limits and work within those limits until you heal!

Over the years I have learned that injuries to one leg, or arm require support on the good arm or leg to relieve the strain put on the good limb. If you don't support equallaterally the points of your body, there is a good chance of having a long term, long time healing injury?

If you can't do Aikido until you are very old, you might as not do it?

I say, do it, have fun, grow very, very old!

Good Aikido practice to all!
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