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Old 05-04-2008, 10:27 AM   #1239
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
What's so odd is my martial arts plan is to continue to learn from both Dan and Gleason sensei (and other aikido people especially like George) and resolve any conflicts myself. It seems to me that if we go after principle, the art should work as a fighting system and a transformative system to remove ego and manifest your true self. The conflict point seems only to be in ukemi. And I was planning on the "when in rome" model. When I train with Dan, uke becomes anti-aiki, when I train with aikido folks ukemi becomes an expression of nage when I attack with "normal" strength. As a matter of fact, in continuing my approach of "level-appropriate, progressive resistance" it just means I can continue to turn up my resistance to make things interesting for senior aikido folks too. They give an awful lot, it would be nice to give back.

In terms of teaching aikido, I really don't plan to stop teaching the way I think will help people the most. If that means I incorporate anti-aiki as needed with my approach ("level-appropriate, progressive resistance") then so be it.

I don't see any other conflict points that cannot be resolved. And heck, resolving conflict is what this is all about anyway so I don't fear it.

This is what Saotome Sensei has always maintained... that we all have to find our own Aikido. O-Sensei repeatedly said that Aikido has no set form. I think then, what makes it Aikido is that it a) be based on the principles of aiki and b) have a certain set of values at its heart. The Aikido people you are training with can give you a good take can give you a good take on the heart, I think.

So going forth and finding top level training with people who understand "aiki" principles better than the average Aikido teacher or who can teach these principles in a more comprehensible fashion will only benefit you and the art. And how that mix comes together in your person will be totally individual.

Look at what Ikeda Sensei has done with what he has taken from Ushiro Sensei... it's some of the most sophisticated Aikido in the world at this point. Ushiro Sensei is not an Aikido person any more than Dan, Mike, Aukuzawa, or Rob J. But what he has taught Ikeda Sensei has transformed Ikeda Sensei's Aikido completely. I see so many Aikido people who are presented with this material and are simply walking away from it because they don't understand what Ushiro is doing or they can't see past the outer form it takes as Karate. This, despite the fact that Saotome Sensei has flat out stated that he and Ushiro are doing the same thing. Despite the fact that one can watch the transformation of Ikeda Sensei's Aikido right before our eyes.

Aikido desperately needs people like yourself who will go forth and train with the Dan Hardin's, Mike Sigman's, Akuzawa's, Howard Popkins, Ushiros, Kurodas, Vasilievs etc. and then bring that knowledge back into their Aikido. The people who will do this are the ones who have a good sense of the heart of the art and what it should be, staying true to O-Sensei's message. People with little understanding of the heart of the art and its transformative power will simply go train with these other folks and quit Aikido. I am already seeing an exodus of talented young people who never stayed in long enough to get very deeply into the art who have now left to do what they see as "more effective" be it mixed martial arts, Systema, some sort of aikijutsu, whatever... If ones reason for doing Aikido is focused on defeating others, then one will eventually leave Aikido for precisely the reasons that all of these non-Aikido folks have been pointing out.

The only reason for folks to stay in Aikido, as far as I am concerned, is the Founder. He had the vision. Developing an understanding of that vision for oneself and being able to not only understand those principles on a conscious level but also be able to manifest those principles in ones body, on the mat, and be able to take those principles off the mat into ones life, well, that is far more difficult than mastering the principles of aiki for fighting.

Fighting is where we come from. It is where we are. We start with the mind of conflict. It will be the end of us if we can't find another way. The purpose of training can't simply be about fighting. What good is the ability to defeat any opponent in single combat when they fly an airplane in to your building or blow a dirty nuke in the port city in which you live? All the aiki skills in the world will not stop a road side bomb or a suicide bomber. Fundamentally, if we cannot get past this mind of conflict which plagues us as a species, it will be the end of us. Someone will nuke someone else and the whole place will go up. O-Sensei had a vision of budo that he felt would change that mind of conflict. That was the whole and entire point for creating his new art of Aikido, this new budo. I do not see any other reason for the art to exist if it isn't this. But people would rather take the easy way. The way that doesn't call for them to change themselves on the inside, in their hearts, rather than the outside of physical form.

So Aikido needs people like you with a commitment to its underlying mission. It needs people who want to do the work to do a an Aikido with greater depth, a stronger foundation in aiki principle, but who are motivated by the desire to develop an art that will transform them fundamentally as people not just make them better at, what in the end is a fairly useless skill, of defeating others.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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