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Old 10-20-2011, 04:29 PM   #1508
Gerardo Torres
Location: SF Bay Area
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 197
Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post

Whoever may be genuinely interested in aiki, would never dare say he knows what aiki is. It's an implied gentlement's agreement for me.
Well, pardon my ungentlemanly behavior, but it was exactly because I was genuinely interested in aiki (and not peripherals like "technique" or "fighting") that I was able to find people who had aiki abilities, and could demonstrate it and explain itů in excruciating detail. Thus my current understanding (as limited as it may be).

Yet as a matter of fact, the fact we have no canonical definition of it so that immediate consensus about it can be won, opens the concept of aiki to broad speculation.
You're right in that there is no consensus, mostly due to the fact that so many teachers have thrown aiki into the realm of the rhetorical, spiritual or personal interpretation. However there are more concrete definitions, supported by Ueshiba's writings and a long history of Asian martial arts (what makes aiki work is not unique to aikido).

But if you place aiki among the most refined achievements of aikido, as I assume it ought to be placed, then you should not consider it as something that can be acquired cheaply or as something that may be granted to anybody.
Aikido is the way of aiki. Aiki should not be a "final destination" but a path. You should be training and trying to physically manifest aiki from day one. Unfortunately aiki has been either guarded or largely unknown, so this is not the norm. Practitioners, especially beginners, should not concentrate on techniques or applications and leave aiki to manifest through some 20-year game of chance.

Given that assumption, whoever plans to discover aiki would never say: i now know with finality what aiki is.
In your reasoning, Torres, you are replacing my alleged intention to be final about this thread, with your alleged intention of being final about what aiki is.
I don't pretend to have finality or totality, only the best I know at this point. My understanding of aiki comes from people who were able to demonstrate it, explain it and teach it, and it's supported by the study of Ueshiba's writings and his own training background. It is the best manifestation of aiki that I've encountered that would allow me to pursue the goal of using harmony to deal with conflict as proposed by the philosophy of Ueshiba's art. If anybody can offer a better aiki and deliver in person, I'll be the first one to go out and beg them to teach me.

Speaking of this immaterial, unnamed aiki as if it were the true tao which cannot be named or explained, as the reason because a certain type of aikido is totally ineffective against brutality, is only another way to keep the accusation come: because it won't cease of being flung simply because we place a phantom along its path, with the hope that it may fend it off with its spectral weapons.
Aiki is not immaterial, unnamed, a phantom, or a spectrum. It's real and happening on the mat. The accusations that it doesn't work are the phantom, because they mostly come from an uninformed and inexperienced position. The switching from "fight", to "violence" to now "brutality" is yet another argumental clutch.

The accusation is thrown at aikido from a ground and a world that is made like this: show me your aiki by defeating this ruthlessly violent challenge.
Would most Tai chi people be able to deal with "ruthlessly violent attacks"? Does that invalidate it as a martial art that can be used in a fight? Does that mean that there are no Tai-chi people who are capable and able to mitigate a fight using Tai-chi principles and skills? The same questions can asked about iaido and violent swordfights.

As long as you won't meet the challenge, the quest won't be won, the accusation will keep coming, and aiki will keep being considered an excuse for covering up martial incompetency
Aiki is a martial ability that can give you an advantage. You either know it or not, to various degrees of proficiency, and you can either use it or not in any venue you're familiar with. It is only an "excuse" to those who don't understand it or have never encountered it. The accusation can keep coming forever, it's not going to make them more informed or true. Who is making the accusation and to whom, specifically? "Aikido" includes millions of practitioners over a span of 6 decades, including Ueshiba, Tohei, etc. Are you ready to lump all that together and throw it away? To anybody who wants to add something and not just "join in the accusation" I suggest they do their homework and get enough information before casting the same aspersions.

Furthermore there are teachers here with a wide and varied background including aikido and fighting arts. The whole harping on violence, brutality and the real world in the face of some of these teachers is ratherů disingenuous. Do you honestly think they haven't been around the block, that they haven't met "the challenge" as you put it? Perhaps you're giving your own experiences waaay too much credit.
(not saying you are not competent Torres, don't read me wrong here! I am just reproducing the reasoning behind this accusation - a reasoning that has its part of valid rationality and truth).
I suck, Alberto. Seriously, I do. I have no delusions. And I know it because I have met and trained with people who are on an entirely different level and can do things that the majority of practitioners (including many of those with a much harped "realistic" bad-ass approach to aikido) could not do. I've done my homework.
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