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Old 03-26-2014, 11:36 AM   #37
Cliff Judge
Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,267
Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
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"?
My point was that there is no chicken and egg problem here. First came sword, then came Aikido, then came Aikido weapons forms. I wasn't talking about attacks, i was talking about systems. The attacks are the attacks....Aikido attacks with weapons can be said to have tons of problems from another art's perspective but all the weapons arts are like that.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
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.
Again, this conversation could play itself out between two practitioners of any two different sword arts. But they'd both be less self-effacing than an Aikido person.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
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.
(he's probably wrong).

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
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?
Well, I get people throwing all kinds of differently-shaped yokomens and shomens at me all the time in my Aikido training. You get some variation.

As far as the sword...originally, in Daito ryu, sword attacks were simulated for very specific reasons. (Entering, building up to tachi dori, meeting yo with in, stuff like that). We have this nice thing going on in Aikido where we took a bit of the old and abstracted it and turned it into a more general framework. I think you should just embrace that, JD bottle and all!

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
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?
One of the problems as I see it is you really need to put away your concerns about aiki when you are working with weapons. Most of the action in a classical kumitachi kata takes place before the training partners are close enough to cut each other. You can feel free to broaden your definition of aiki to include all of those things (kiai, rhythm, timing, distance, targeting, blah, blah, blah) but you need to study them. And I am not sure how to do that without finding a good teacher of a classical sword art, and there aren't many of those around.

When you say you have interacted with people who are really good with weapons, what is it that impresses you? Maybe it is something other than aiki...and maybe start a new thread on that, we've taken this one so far off course I can see P-3s in the sky thinking we are 777 wreckage.
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