Thanks for the encouragement Josh.
As I said, I have my own criteria, as selfish and personal as it maybe, so admittidly that is what I am using to try and understand this. I am not trying to be judgemental or negative, only trying to understand it based on that criteria. My criteria is mine. I don't mean to invalidate or say Mike or anyone is wrong because they have there own, and that is fine! (Just wanted to clarify this is where I am coming from).
I do not mean to imply that I see no value in it. I am saying I don't understand the value in it. A big difference from others I believe that are seeking to say this is crap or something along those lines. There is a difference between seeking to understand vice seeking to discredit.
I had the same problem with my aikido practice for many years and frankly that is the question I ask everyday I train...what is the value of what I am doing?
I don't know enough about the Aunkai website or akuwaza to comment on it, although it does seem very impressive.
Obviously I see value in this type of training as I continue to study Aikido, and certainly anything that improves my ability to understand body movement and kinetics as it relates to Martial arts is worthwhile.
again, it is a question of realitive value, not of total value!
I'd say that someone that has designed/codified a program of study that provides a methodology for core practices with aliveness training would be on the right track, and it would keep me from having to study both aikido and BJJ.
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 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
Your above experience is why I get confused and discerning/critical when viewing this and the claims many are making concerning the value.
It means a great deal more to me when someone like Pete comes on here and says "I have walked the walk and these are my experiences with this." No disrespect intended to pure aikidoka or self defined internist here, but when claims about concerning the benefit these skills have are made here, I want take my advice from those that train in the fashion that the claims are being made to...that is all. Simply saying...be honest about what you are saying. That is all.
If it is an intellectual pursuit for you..fine..then say that.
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.
All I have ever asked for is pretty much defining this criteria as you state above and I have no issue and will then go and train. It is as simple as that, and then we will all be great friends as you state having shared a common bond and community of practice!
So, if what you say is true...then I have no real issues with it.
Everything that I have seen though has pretty much centered around static practices, and core foundational training...which is very, very important, and frankly where the conversation should be focused.
I just simply get my panties in a bunch as Rob said, when we step outside of those boundaries and then contradict things that were said much earlier months ago.
I am simply trying to understand from my perspective and put it in the right framework. One day I here...no BJJ guys don't get it. Then I hear..well the have components of it, where it is useful to them. Which is what I said months ago! It confuses my simple mind that is trying to only learn and sort through information!
Again, I don't do aikido for the sake of doing aikido any more than I lift weights to be a body builder. I don't do BJJ for the sake of doing BJJ....but this is me, and the criteia only applies to me.