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Old 04-04-2014, 08:33 AM   #55
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.

I get the differences. Boxers don't use weapons. Judo players don't use weapons. But, I am not pointing out differences I am pointing out commonalities. Statements of commonality are not the same as statements of difference. I do not envision a meeting of the minds pulling out a weapon and attacking someone without experience managing weapons; there isn't much in common there. A boxer punches. Aikido people punch. Why is it that we cannot have a conversation about why a boxer punch affects an aikido person, but an aikido punch does not affect a boxer? [Continue the same analogies from my previous post].

It sounds like when we start that conversation, the answer is, "Our attacks are based on sword." Fine, So our attacks are based on sword and the [fill in the blank] cannot comprehend our tactical work. We have moved the argument from the commonalty of empty-hand to the difference of weapon/empty-hand. Which really doesn't answer the question, it just frames the context of why we attack in a fashion that is ineffective against a boxer. But, shouldn't that attack be effective against another sword art? Sword people should appreciate what we're doing, right? Now we are back to the commonality of sword-based tactical work. So how do we fair against sword people? Not well; aikido is not a sword style. But we just said it is based on sword... But not real sword stuff - educational stuff to teach us how to use aiki... Which we don't care about putting into our sword stuff.

We are creating a circular logic by changing the argument from commonalities to differences. I am confused because we are all about weapons right up until we meet somebody who is all about weapons. Then we start looking at the floor and shuffling our feet and excusing what we do.

We can all celebrate our differences and I am not trying to set up an argument of differences. I use the term "sister" to include those arts that share commonalities from which we can learn. I say that because in my training I have access to great judo and jujutsu and I want to learn from the commonalities we have, not isolate myself by the differences in our training. Why would a judo guy work with me if I threatened to hit him with a weapon as part of my training? Shouldn't I be able to dazzle him with aiki?

To Michael's point, my concept of aiki is different. I have exposure to great martial artists who are great people from whom I want to learn. I am trying to learn how to express aiki and demonstrate that expression in a common fashion and give back to those relationships. It does not seem difficult to be able to say, "well, we hit a little differently, but this is what it feels like to get hit with aiki." Or, "you have good sword work, here is how we use the sword to help develop aiki."

And to be clear, I am not necessarily being down on aikido. The simple fact is many martial arts see our uke waza as a serious problem if we are talking about practical application. I happen to agree that in general terms our uke waza is not adequate training for practical use. I also understand that if our focus is aiki, practical fighting skill is not necessarily required.

And to answer my own question, I think it is very difficult to put aiki into my hands, let along study a methodology of delivering a punch. I have no illusions that what I am working on is difficult with a high rate of failure. But that is a difference response than what I am hearing...

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