Re: Soft Power, A Magnetic Approach to Practice
Personally, I think that aikido should not be primarily about fighting. I've even said just the opposite in another thread not that long ago. In fact, the reason I don't do aikido anymore is that I have found that it is far too concerned with fighting for my taste. Most of the people I have encountered in the art actually enjoy fighting a great deal and take a lot of pleasure in throwing people around and pretending they are martially powerful.
They like to talk about how "deadly" their art is, or how they have discovered some magic technique that "magnetically" controls real physical attackers, or how certain strategies of various koryu that are very much about fighting should be used in aikido, but then when they are called on it and challenged on their effectiveness, they retreat back to the position that "aikido is not about fighting," using it not only as a get-out-of-jail-free card for their own lack of effectiveness, but also as a moral trump card meant to imply that those who are concerned about effectiveness are somehow less spiritually developed than all of these wonderful, peaceful aikido people.
People in aikido love to think that they are simultaneously highly skilled fighters yet somehow above fighting, perhaps because this is how the hagiographical accounts of Morihei Ueshiba have cast him. Rather than actually doing the same kind of training he did, though, they want to take the short cut to enlightenment, and create a martial fantasy world where their cooperative partners make them look like highly accomplished martial artists who can easily and gently handle the most powerful attacks. When presented with evidence that what they doing would never work on a real attacker, they say that it doesn't matter because aikido is not about actually winning in a fight, so please just let us get back to pretending to win in a fight like we were before. If aikido is not about winning in a fight, then why do you simulate that activity over and over again? If you have become so detached from any connection to the actual act that you are practicing that you have to completely deny its reality, then there is something seriously wrong with your art.
I'm not the one who brought up the subject of physical effectiveness in this thread. The original author claimed that what she teaches is effective in physically controlling a real attacker due to some "magnetic" force created by enjoying one's own movement. I find this notion preposterous. Yet somehow I am to blame for honestly challenging someone else's highly suspect claims of physical effectiveness. If you really think your art is not about fighting, then why do you spend so much time talking about how effective it is in a fight? Why do you claim that you can effectively control a real attacker if that is not actually your goal?
I'm not the one who is making aikido about fighting. It is all of the people in aikido who want to be good fighters and who are constantly coming up with all sorts of ideas and theories for why they are. When people in aikido stop making claims that what they do is effective in a real physical conflict then you can say that aikido is not about fighting and I will have no problem with it. Quite honestly, I don't expect that to happen any time soon, though, since I've found aikido people of virtually all styles to be very attached to the idea that they are good fighters and very unwilling to let go of that idea, even as they proclaim that aikido is not about fighting.
Last edited by G DiPierro : 04-30-2008 at 01:44 PM.