Frankly I get confused as to the what the focus of all this is. Seems like we go through a pattern here. Proponents (those that have jumped on the bandwagon creep slowly to the fact that this is very useful...then those that say, "then why don't we see this in UFC, or in an aliveness environment ..then there is shift in definition, or a failure to define parameters...and then I am left scratching my head trying to figure out how to frame this once again.
Kevin, let us assume for the moment that everything the "proponents" here have said is true. Well, actually I do believe that, but as you're still on the fence, I'd ask you to just assume the conceit.
So, if we assume that, we have aikido. An art devoted, ostensibly, according to all three Doshus and Tohei, to developing "Ki" and "kokyu-ryoku". And yet these skills are rare in aikido, and not getting disseminated to everyone. We have Daito-ryu, aikido's parent art, which is ostensibly devoted to developing these "Aiki" skills. And yet, again, they are not widespread, and even those who have trained at its most notable dojo (Sagawa Dojo) have been seen to not have it. We have taiji, another art that perhaps more than any other is devoted to developing these skills. And yet again, these skills are rare in that art.
By all accounts, those who historically have mastered these arts have been secretive and reticent to teach them to the masses, particularly to westerners. So in such conditions, where even many who practice the very arts meant to develop these skills go off on the wrong track, or ignore the potential all together, would you really expect to see this in the UFC or Pride? If the "proponents" here have to convince the believers, as it were, why would the typical MMA'ist even give it a go, when there are more concrete, tangible things they can work on?
These skills are just starting to really get taught and disseminated. More dojos are opening up, more dojos are seeking this knowledge. 20 years ago, if you had this knowledge, you couldn't talk to people on the internet about it, and even if you did the audience at the time was microcosmic. Hell, even now all the participants of AikiWeb, Aikido Journal, and E-Budo represent a fraction of those practicing.
So, I remain confused as to the value this training might have.
And I'm stunned that you can say that. Even setting aside doubts on whether Mike, Dan, Akuzawa, et. al can actually do what they say, if you entertain for the moment the idea that these skills exist, how can you not see the value? A strength that will not deteriorate so greatly with age? A relaxed strength that allows for more fluidity of movement? More powerful strikes and pins? The ability to physiologically and psychologically disorient an opponent? And let's go further and suggest that maybe the "proponents" here can do some stock demonstrations, but can do jack-shit (pardon the language) when it comes to an live environment. Wouldn't it be worth it to learn the skills to try and make them work for you in a live environment?
...just don't call yourself a MMA guy or say that these things are useful in MMA if you can't demonstrate it.
And then this I really can't understand. Two major proponents of these skills, Dan and Rob, all they talk about rolling, sparring, striking, kicking. That's what they do
. People get on their case for not
being aikido! When I met Rob, he had me try to do one kotegaeshi on him, and then everything else was in a MMA paradigm. I held a bag while he and another Ark student kicked it and punched it to show the difference in striking. He had me mount him, get him in holds and chokes, and then showed how he could get out of them. On one hand, this was not particularly impressive, since I'm not a MMA'ist, and probably any six-month BJJ'er could easily do the same. But it shows you how he approaches this stuff and how he demonstrates
it. The videos he puts up are of two things: conditioning exercises, and alive training. Have you seen
website (newly redesigned)? How can you look at that and say it's not MMA?
Dan, his whole thing in demonstrations has been "do what you want." Try punching, pushing, tackling. Get him in any kind of lock you want. These guys aren't doing Ueshiba type tricks here. In any thread regarding competition, alive training, sparring, and the like in aikido, they are going to be on your side. All I can say is I'm halfway across the world here in Japan, trying to resolve issues in my own training, and every time I log onto AikiWeb I'm hoping to see a "Kevin Leavitt meets Dan Harden (or Akuzawa)" thread, because more than just about anybody else here I have the distinct feeling that you would really mesh with these guys, and come out of such an experience invigorated and excited about your training.