Dojo: Aikikai affliated club
Join Date: Jun 2012
Re: Aiki in MMA
I think there is no productivity in such discussions because there is no definite definition for what it is. This opens things up for allot of subjectivity, and speculation. Let us suppose one day, some early period Samurai was practicing with his sword making a cut in a way he never did before. He stopped hacking through his target, and instead made a cut. A movement that was effortless and got greater results. He felt the difference in his performance. It was more efficient. It was clear to his fellow samurai what he is doing differently, but the performance results differed greatly. Our Samurai friend attributes his new skill Aiki. In sports, athletes experience the same thing. When it all comes together and they do something spectacular. Like when Babe Ruth called his shot. It happens all the time in sports, like the full court swish. The impossible catch or shot. The consistent performance of any great athlete.
We get too hung up on labels and terms, precisely defining things, fitting them to subject. We over do it in figuring out to the nth what they are and what they aren't. We overlook in that case what really is important, the performance, the result. It is a type of perceptual blindness. There is no secrets to be taught, or withheld. There is no secret to say Tiger Woods' swing, or how Babe Ruth hit a home run. In sports it is all out there. There are no secrets to success. Yet, those of us in martial arts believe there are secrets, because we are told early on there is. Because we are taught to be depend on the instructor to tells us how to do things. That the sensei has all knowledge and doles it out just at the right time and stage of training. We then are highly susceptible in believing that there are secrets. We are told there are secrets because those telling us that know the skills and information they withhold are simple to achieve. Think about it, they are not super human in anyway. No, they are human, just like us. Difference is they lead us to believe that they have something special having something we don’t...say Aiki!
A mysterious word aiki as defined by those Lorel Latorilla suggests have aiki and Osensei is vaguely and ambiguously define to us. Being students who are waiting with baited breath for the next morsel of information to complete the puzzle, we are instruction dependent, and our development and performance is at their mercy and whim. That isn't a good thing for the student. A great thing for the instructor who benefits the most from it, and those who profit from it. The sensei who plays the aiki game and the hide and seek with the information like a magician, is worshipped. He/she has loyal dedicated fan base of students holding such a sensei in awe. The sensei gains a reputation. As long as the sensei has devoted students he/she is important, he/she has a position, is wanted. If that sensei acts like a coach they have a short shelf life. The short turn around of students deprives the sensei of the fame and reputation, he/she has to disseminates all the knowledge he/she processes, as the reputation then is based on the students performance. There also isn’t loyal dependent student base holding up the pedestal the sensei is comfortable on. If sports took that angle of martial arts where coaches played games with instruction, knowledge, and their players, we wouldn't have great athletes, we would have sports. We would have struggling athletes never realizing their full potential constantly waiting for that next piece of the puzzle. We would have games to play, or great athletes doing great things. It would only be the coaches who would perform well, and what sense is there to that? There are no secrets, we are told there are and that is the biggest hinderance to all of us.
The knowledge we need is all around us, at our finger tips. Not hidden in plain sight. But rather staring us in the face, yet we don’t see it. A perceptional blindness.
If we don't think there are secrets like in sports, we become autonomous reaching our potential performance. Now that doesn't mean everyone will be a great athlete, talent plays a huge role in that. You can't turn everyone into a superstar. Realizing that the knowledge is out there all around us, at our finger tips, and that knowledge is obtainable rather then hidden like athletes your performance will improve. Aiki isn't gold, it isn't the mother load find. That when you get it, it magically transform you into something special. It is a word often used to keep people dependent on instruction. Performance is a result of two things hard work/practice, and self evaluation/correcting mistakes and the right mental attitude.
It is said that Osensei skill is unparalleled in Aikido. Why is that? It is plain as day. He had more talent than those he taught, and he with held information. He also insured this by default or design when he allowed people to teach before they had complete knowledge, early in their careers. This doesn't happen in sports, coaches are properly trained if they are to be taken seriously. They require complete knowledge of the game and how to coach players. The difference between a bad and good coach is another subject. What I am taking about is coaches who are taken seriously, as coaches none of the tools are with held from them to coach. A good coach will not withhold any knowledge from their players. What good is a coach who out performs his players? A losing coach. A selfish coach who has lost sight of the big picture.
Now here we are in perceptual blindness arguing over a what is Aiki. A term that simply describes not something, not the mother load, not the magic bullet, instead it describes someone who has put it all together, whose performance is the combination of skill and talent. No different then any other great athlete who became that way from hard work and with the right mental attitude that went beyond his fellow players. An athlete who is autonomous dedicated to developing their performance beyond others. Because they are never satisfied with their performance and always challenging themselves. That is aiki. That is the secret those aiki masters including Osensei keep hidden. Aiki isn't a puzzle piece kept secret that can be reviled and granted at will, even if someone wants you to think so.
I understand a person may think Aiki is a puzzle piece because they lack knowledge that will improve their skill. But, the truth is that the knowledge for improvement is in sports and sports science sitting on a book shelf. Rather than being shrouded in metaphorical and obscure language used to keep the illusion aiki alive. Sliva and many top MMA fighters, and athletes use aiki, though in an application different than Aikido. Though because of sensei's playing games with their students, students are lead to believe aiki is a magic bullet and something special, thus proprietary. It isn't. It is the cumulation of an outstanding work ethic, talent and the right mental attitude that produces improved performance. Because when that doesn't exist any coaching or knowledge is a waste of time. A truth that comes from years of playing and coaching.
Last edited by Settokuryoku : 07-15-2012 at 11:56 AM.