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Old 03-04-2009, 06:31 PM   #47
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Joseph Connolly wrote: View Post
When I took Aikido, that is all I got was ego. But I don't assume it is caused by Aikido, it is just the way those people are.
My teacher, Saotome Sensei once said "Aikido people are most angry people in martial arts..." While I am not a fan of the way mixed martial arts has gone, we need to be realistic about our Aikido. Aikido really has a hugely passive - aggressive culture. We have an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection but the art attracts folks who do not want to really connect.

So many people have no idea how they might go about applying their technique in a martial situation. If you point that out to them, they respond that Aikido isn't about fighting. Well, it isn't but that shouldn't be an excuse for not understanding your technique.

The fact is that most folks cannot actually do their waza within the Aikido context if they get real committed attacks from ukes who aren't colluding. Forget about applying the techniques against other martial artists... they can't do their techniques against a proper katatetori, they can't actually do an irimi with a partner who is REALLY trying to hit them. This applies to many of the folks teaching as well as the average practitioner. This is particularly prevalent on the West Coast where people are trying so hard to do "spiritual Aikido".

This causes Aikido to have a bad reputation. Ikeda Sensei has said many times, "It's not Aikido that doesn't work, it's YOUR Aikido that doesn't work". Aikido people need to let go of the whole moral superiority thing they have about their art. I love this art. It is my Path. But people who don't know what they are talking about get so superior.

Again, I don't think it is an aikido thing or a ufc thing. It is about having good parents and common sense. It is easy to avoid fights. If you need aikido to help you avoid fights, you might need a psychologist not a martial art.
Here I disagree... if not fighting were so easy there wouldn't be so much violence around. Most of the violence in the world is done by people who actually think they are doing the right thing had regular parents and were members in good standing of their communities.

Most folks are not particularly emotionally integrated. Budo is about working some of that out. Aikido is definitely about not fighting but I don't mean that the way most folks mean it. Even when it is used for self defense, it is still about not fighting. The UFC is totally about fighting. I am not saying that is bad, but that's what it is about. That doesn't mean that the folks who do the art are more aggressive than folks who don't, or that they are morally not as advanced somehow. I am sure that the best of those guys are quite stellar human beings, just as the worst Aikido people are wretches.

But it simply is a fact that human beings don't do well at not fighting. They fight within themselves, they fight with those around them, they fight with those they love... We are VERY fearful animals and that causes violence against the self and against others, much of which never gets to the physical stage.

Mankind is always in need of practices that help them transform themselves into what they can be from what they are. Aikido is one of them. It isn't the only one, or the best one, but is the one that many of us have connected with. It is our job to make the art as strong as possible but it definitely is about not fighting, on all sorts of levels.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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