Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.
Agreed. We want to get to 4 or ACT as quick as we can. Training, in theory is what will get us there with the appropriate response, hopefully.
Tony Blauer spend a lot of time on the startle/flinch reflex, which is a natural reaction to a unknown assault. Tony tries to embrace this natural response and turn it into something positive. That is when u are hit or receive force, you don't process it, you respond instinctively.
I use the hot stove analogy, when we touch it we go ouch and pull away. We act without orienting or deciding it just happens. In my combatives class, I tell the guys that I am going to teach you essentially to do the opposite which is to push into the stove ( go forward) and not pull away.
So, I spend a lot of time on developing macro reflexes in empty handed work of forming frames and driving into the fight as a initial instinct. This ACT phase hopefully get you to disrupt your opponents ACT phase and then allows you to start doing what you do to get ahead of the loop.
Yes, so I think as you state, you accept death and pass go, if you get that far. You really don't have a choice.
My statement about a 90 year old woman beating up Anderson Sliva is kinda tongue in cheek, but in theory, yes. If she gets the jump. Say he is on a park bench reading the paper, she sneaks up hits him with a bat and down he goes. He never had time to ACT, nor the other three phases. Such
It is with circus ponies, but I think we need to put things in perspective on the spectrum. Of course if he does recover and can act my bet is based on his skill level that he will most likely ACT and get ahead of her and end the fight.
The point is, that it is not always about the level of skill someone has. As you state, audacity, speed, surprise, and overwhelming force matter a lot. Street thugs may have very little actual skill, comparable to you and me and even Ueshiba in his day. But they do understand OODA and how to apply basic tactics to win. So while techincial skills are important, I believe in reality they are relegated to a lower priority in reality if fighting.
So why do anything at all? Well it comes down to fight management and being able to recover once you have the chance. Given all else equal, we need skills to exploit what SMALL opportunities we have. I don't know about u but I want to have every chance I can at succeeding.
Also on the spectrum of knowledge of OO phases, it is not always about the ambush. I'd say most of the situations I have been involved in, I had much knowledge about what I was entering and had the ON switch up. Having my Jiu Jitsu knowledge (JJ includes Aikido) put me in a situation in which I could disrupt the OO phase of my potential adversary to close down the gaps and keep him from ACTing. Most of these situation never evolved and I'll never know what might of transpired if anything, but I like to believe that I have avoided a lot of trouble.
It is a complex dance really I think.
I don't subscribe to the 20 year thinking. I can teach someone to win fights or at a least understand what it takes to win a fight in a matter of a few weeks. If you can understand OODA then you can understand the basics on how to ACT and win a fight.
Now size, condition, and age are a couple of factors that can enter into the mix for sure. So it is also a loaded proposition! But go back to the 90 year old lady.
So, we can practice JJ to level out some of those things to gain skills over the long haul. If nothing else recognize the limits of our abilities and understand the risk we expose ourselves to, which is just as important. If we can minimize our exposure, then we are ACTing before something occurs.
I spend a lot of time in Africa these days. One thing that has come apparent it the risk
Are always there. I have to insert myself into the risk, I have no choice to do my job. ( by the way, I carry no weapon). However, I've come to understand that I can't control my exposure, but I simply need to keep the bad guys on the negative side of the cost/benefit ratio. In other words, to out run the bear, you don't have to be the fastest person, just faster than the slowest guy. Hence, I simply need to make it not worth the bad guys while to mug me. It could be crossing the street, staying in crowds, unpredictable behavior, etc. Just staying on the right side of the equation is all that matters.
So, I think that budo is very important if we take the time to understand all the levels and variables that go into our training. Some stuff will take like 20 years, other stuff, we can learn in the first couple of days of training. Like I said, we can teach someone to fight in weeks, not years.
The problem is new students coming out of a institutional learning model of superficial rote learning modalities, want to look at the technical curriculum of Aikido, TKD, BJJ or any number of martial arts and simply apply the formula without regard to the dynamics of a fight. Aikido the way it is trained is very subject to this dissonance. Sure kote gaeshi will work in a fight, so will iriminage. We can't though ignore the importance of OODA, as you state the ACT phase. We certainly cannot apply the timeline or continuum of how we perform those things in the dojo and expect things to go well.
Keep in mind that our primary goal in Aikido is not about teaching people how to fight. We have range of body types and ages etc. In military organizations you don't have this. In fedual japan you were not teaching 50 year old accountants to beat Tito Ortiz. No you had young, conditioned warriors that were going to fight the same. So all else equal, jiu jitsi was very important when you want that edge in combat.
In our dojos today, the same cost/benefit ratio does not apply. As a 50 year old accountant, we really have very little reason to master jiu jitsu or Aikido for the original intended purposes. But if it calls to use, we like it, then there are some real benefits to be gained from training. I think we can all recognize these otherwise we would not be doing it.
So to close, I think once you can understand OODA and all that, you can begin to see how budo and Aikido fit into the equation and you can begin to see that simple questions like "Aikido doesn't work in a fight" are not so easy to answer as yes/no.