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Old 03-26-2014, 10:47 AM   #36
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,139
Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

While somewhat beating a dead horse...

If Aikido (empty-hand) is based on "real sword attacks" and not "aikido weapons," then are we claiming that aikido empty-hand is not based on "aikido weapons" (since they are different)? If "real sword attacks" differ from "aikido sword attacks," then are we also claiming that aikido sword is not based on "real sword attacks"?

I am willing to concede that "real" does not equal "formal" and there is some room for practical variation. But, I continue to struggle with what appears to be a ethos-based claim upon some pre-existing foundation for our weapons. When pressed, the claim seems to be very circumstantial and our actual movement discredits any claim to a functional weapons system foundation. My inner dialogue often sounds something like this:
Me: We use weapons in aikido.
Observer: Really? That's great. I do some sword stuff. Can you demonstrate your sword moves?
Me: [look like idiot]
Observer: Hmmm. That's nice movement, but we don't cut that way. You'd get killed if you cut that way.
Me: Well, our weapons are really for teaching us empty-hand movement, which is based on sword strikes.
Observer: Really? We'd never move that way either. There's too much movement and it's unbalanced. Not to mention no power.
Me: Oh. Our attacks are generally considered to be for multiple attacker environments and someone has a weapon. We move alot to stay in control of multiple attackers.
Observer: I don't know about that. My sword style was based on a battle-field environment and we still would not move that way. But, thank you for showing me aikido.

Seriously, I have had that conversation. I do not practice another weapons art. Aikido is it for me and I love it. But, I see so much value in aiki weapons that I want to keep it part of my practice.

Secondly, I am not sure if our ethos is so low such that we need only claim , "we defend like this because a monkey with a Jim Beam bottle is gonna swing it at you like that." (no offense to the monkey for my implication it would drink Jim Beam #JDman4LFE). I like the point in the video that the attacks are stylized to support a general tactic of attack. But then the claim need not be specific to the swung object. Why not call upon a yokomenuchi similar to the unorthodox swing of Ty Cobb? The general arc of the bat and hand posture would be similar (Ty Cobb was known to spread his grip 1 hands breadth apart to have more control over his swing). Why do we call upon the majestic image of the sword?

In part, I am asking these questions because I do not feel comfortable with my stance on weapons, empty-hand, and the roll practicality plays in our weapons work. I know good sword people in aikido who impress and inspire me... and have some exposure to sword outside aikido. I want to get to a level of aiki weapons in which I am comfortable demonstrating aiki with a weapon but free to let weapons people see what I am doing makes sense, even if it is not practical. Right now, I am not convinced I am doing that...

If I am to learn to move as if I was holding a sword, it would stand to reason that I should learn how to hold a sword, correctly. If aikido sword is not the real sword work that gives me that knowledge, then how can we make it so?

Last edited by jonreading : 03-26-2014 at 10:48 AM. Reason: spellen'

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