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Old 05-06-2008, 03:19 AM   #1266
Robert Cowham
Dojo: East Sheen Aikido and Kashima No Tachi
Location: London, UK
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 274
Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Some comments from one of Peter Ralston's newsletters:

If will and determination were all it took to beat someone skillful, then what we should study is anger or some such. It is not the same as skill, which generally involves mental clarity, calm mind, responsive performance, sensitivity to the moment to moment interaction, a well-honed feeling-sense of what's appropriate in ever-changing circumstance, and the like. These things need to be understood and trained.
Fighting skills cannot be trained without fighting or playing games that lead to skill, just like you can't learn to ride a bicycle without riding a bicycle. Not everyone should fight, and it isn't necessary in order to get a lot out of an art like Aikido, but you won't get fighting skills, or true interactive skills, [if] you never freely interact and always practice uke-nage.

When competing the opponent or partner is purposefully trying to accomplish the same objectives you're trying to accomplish – and they are trying to keep you from being successful. This takes place in many more ways than merely resisting what you are doing [...] The many changes in strategy and tactics, mind and body, timing and maneuvering that a fighter must make commonplace [...] need to occur as a steady stream, making changes in terms of milliseconds, and responding to every single thing the other does, while he attempts to respond to what you are doing.
I am in George's camp - Aikido has a deep appeal to me and has kept me going and interested for 20 years (with hopefully plenty more to come). My training and interests are reasonably eclectic, but certainly not governed by fighting. I have had one session with Dan (so far - more hopefully in future) which gave me a lot to take away and digest. I find Peter Ralston's ideas compelling, and I don't see them as antithetical to aikido. I have had huge amounts from Kashima Shinryu (via Inaba sensei).

I view my current practice/teaching as a research project and consider myself lucky to have such a vehicle.
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