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Old 04-23-2010, 10:48 AM   #7
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: Control in the martial arts.

I think this is one of those elephant in the room discussions that organized martial arts will have to have as societies become more "civilized." How does a combat art preserve its viability without actual combat? The general observation is that without the experience of fighting, combat training becomes a contrivance of simulated scenarios. After a period of times, the art loses the meaning for the contrived scenarios and we are left with choreography.

As this observation relates to striking, I believe those arts that have contact striking will hold advantage over those arts which choose to eliminate contact striking in the realm of "viable" fighting arts. Aikido curriculum for most does not include matched fighting, contact striking, or even opposed resistance. As such, that puts aikido at a disadvantage in fighting scenarios where the focus of the engagement is not on "do" (the pursuit of self-improvement).

The argument posed by many in aikido is sacrificial to the other arts, "we do not need to be actual fighters; aikido is about self-improvement." We do not often discuss why we cannot advocate both martial viability and personal development.

For aikido training, the role of atemi is fundamental to controlling the human condition during engagement. We should advocate [at minimum] competency in striking in our curriculum, regardless of what rules we enact for safety. It is unfortunate to see aikidoka after aikidoka abandon aikido as a resource for learning to strike; however, I believe there are few (and fewer) competent fighters in roles of teaching in aikido.

As for control, I believe that control is the influence over something. Striking is the influence of behavior modification through either the perception of bodily harm or bodily harm manifest. So for me, "control" implies my behavior influenced another's. If I punch falsely and do not modify my partner's behavior, I am not in control.
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