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Old 01-27-2008, 02:41 AM   #93
Peter Ralls
Dojo: Suganami Aikikai SF
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 32
Re: Is Aikido effective for police?


I couldn't agree more with you that we should train principles, and that techniques are not the art, but only a method with which to train ourselves. This is not only true for self defense in the real world, but also for everything else the martial arts offer us as well. I find it interesting that this thread has gone from discussing self defense to now talking about training principles. I think these two subjects are inseperable.

My experience has been that aikido is not the only martial art in which training methods don't duplicate reality. No martial art does. And that includes Judo and BJJ, which I have both trained in. In any martial art you have to take your training methods and play around with them to get the results you want for whatever reality you might have to deal with in your life. In your and my case it's law enforcement, so we take what we learn from our martial arts training and play around with it in contexts that we deal with in our jobs, and learn from training and experience what works for us and what doesn't.

Anyway, if we limit ourselves to training techniques along the lines of, "If my opponent does A, I will respond with B." we will probably not get too far. This is what I think of as falling into the trap of technique. The problem is, how do we learn martial arts without learning technique. The only teacher I have experienced who actually started people from the beginning with methods to produce principles of movement and connectivity without teaching martial arts techniques is Akuzawa Sensei of Aunkai, and everyone at the seminar had a background of other martial arts. When I was a relatively new martial arts student, I wanted to learn technique, I didn't understand anything else, and would have quit if I wasn't taught something I could understand at that time. So I think in general, for most people wanting to learn martial arts, we probably have to start them off for some time with technique. Hah, I couldn't imagine trying to teach any kind of internal stuff or principles to the cops I work with, they would think I am getting even crazier than they think me already. So for them, our DT training has to stay at, "if your opponent does A, respond with B."

But of course, after I did aikido (and other martial arts) for a long time, doing the techniques over and over again, I realized that I was not getting what my aikido teachers had, the ability to throw larger stronger people fairly effortlessly. So like some other people that post here, that sent me in the direction of trying to understand the internal principles of what they were doing. And going in that direction is improving my ability to successfully apply stuff in real life, though I am not in a position where I have to use stuff much anymore, being a supervisor and not very popular with my current administration. But I have come to the same opinion that you have, shiho nage or irimi nage is not what aikido is, rather it is a set of principles and a practice. I really like what you wrote about training, I think it's totally correct.

So for police work, for me, being able to put sankyo on a belligerent drunk and get him to comply without using any force that is going to injure him has been very useful in my job, but just the enjoyment of the practise and the challenge of trying to apply the principles in my daily interactions have been what is really beneficial to me in my job.
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