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Old 01-14-2008, 05:27 PM   #21
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: real world aikido

David Skaggs wrote: View Post
With respect and seriously,

Fighting is what O'Sensei did on his path to developing Aikido. He trained for strength, power and martial effectiveness and tested himself to see if his martial abilities worked. It is the foundation of what O'Sensei developed. Why shouldn't we travel a similar path that O'Sense did? Did O'Sensei abandon his martial abilities for the path of peace and harmony?

If you feel the need to reinvent the wheel, go ahead. No one said anything about abandoning anyone's martial abilities. It's just that people who attempt to apply the kihon waza they learned in Aikido on the street generally find they need to make some adjustments. (See the discussion about and law enforcement). Often, in working out what works and doesn't work in a true fighting situation, they begin to devolve Aikido into what it had been. You want to do that ok, but Daito Ryu was a better version of that than Aikido is.

I have no problem with Aikido as a martial art. But I absolutely believe that most people miss the whole intention of what O-Sensei wanted the art to be and why he changed what he did. Aikido is a practice of personal transformation, it is misogi. Some level of martial capability is the by product of proper training but it is not the point. The point is the transformative aspect of the art. O-Sensei clearly stated this in his writings, his son Kisshomaru quite clearly proceeded on that assumption. The fact that people are generally insecure and tend to focus on whether Aikido works to protect themselves, that they were attracted to the art by the seemingly magical level of skill attained by the Founder, doesn't change the fact that O-Sensei specifically created the art for an entirely different purpose and that he changed the outer form of the art to fit his vision of this purpose, which he flat out says in a number of places isn't about fighting with other people. The true battle is with oneself... masakatsu agatsu, true victory is self victory.

There are combat forms of aiki around... if that's your focus. Yanagi Ryu is a far better vehicle for defeating opponents than Aikido and it is unencumbered by a lot of the wishful thinking conflict resolution baggage that often goes with Aikido. It has every bit of sophistication in terms of Aiki, far more than most of what you see in Aikido in fact...

Spending all ones efforts trying to duplicate O-Sensei's experience training in the 20's and 30's means that you are missing what he did with the art in the 50's and 60's. He kept growing but folks get trapped by the power aspect and don't see the value of what went later. That's why they disrespect the Nidai Doshu and his efforts to take Aikido further towards his father's vision of what it was meant to be. I am not 100% in agreement with all of the changes that were made to the art on his watch but I totally believe that he understood his father's vision for the art and pursued it to the best of his ability.

The folks who criticize his Aikido for not being "effective", whatever they mean by that, are wrong. His Aikido was very effective in that it manifested beautifully the kind of Aikido he was trying to put forth. His Aikido was the manifestation of a kind and generous spirit, the Aikido of a gentleman. It wasn't about fighting and it wasn't meant to be. It isn't his Aikido that was the problem, it was people's inability to let go of their fear based need to reassure themselves by focusing on fighting prowess that was the problem. The world didn't need another fighting art, it already had plenty. Aikido is meant to be so much more than that but it will find itself failing the vision, limited by the the folks who practice the art and their inability to let go of their concerns about effectiveness and power in favor of a practice that goes deeper than that.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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