Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
If aikidoists are generally past it by the age of 40 in any case, then perhaps we need rules and weight categories.
Again, if someone wanted to learn how to shoot a gun, they would go to a shooting range. After classroom instruction, they would practice shooting at targets. Although it isn't even a close approximation of a lethal force encounter, presumably they are learning how to operate their gun and marksmanship.
After practicing things such as front sight, sight alignment, trigger pull and trigger reset, they can employ their skills in more "realisitic" scenarios.
Even after 2000+ rounds, I'm still working on the trigger pull with my finger.
But, apparently for reasons beyond my limited comprehension, some people in Aikido do their techniques with, in my opinion, too much speed and strength. And in Aikido, you're moving more body parts than just your finger...
Some people don't bother actually learning the technique (ie mechanics and purpose) and rely too much on their physical prowess. They seem to equate slamming their uke on to the mat as hard as possible as being "martial."
Why are some people so quick to criticize the way Aikido is practiced? A common complaint is that Aikido attacks are "not realistic."
If the logic of learning how to shoot isn't enough, I suggest playing catch with a five year old. Take the ball and throw it at the child as hard as you can - because in "real life," nobody is going to count to three and throw underhanded at a slow speed.
The child (or target) will never catch the ball nor learn to catch it. But those fortunate enough to have people patient enough through the painfully slow developmental period of learning to catch a ball can now catch a ball thrown at them. Even if the ball is thrown at a different angle or speed, the catcher can make the appropriate adjustments without emotional exertion.
What happens when you lose your physical strength? Instead of bothering to actually take the time to learn the techniques, we could always institute artificial props, such as "rules and weight categories."
I was unfortunate enough to read Terry Dobson's experience attacking Ueshiba. Apparently he decided to "test" him and attacked full speed. After arriving on the mat faster than before, Ueshiba asked him, "Are you OK?"
About a year ago, I went to a Saotome seminar. When I had the opportunity to attack him, I decided to "test" him (and I wonder why people always tell me I'm disrespectful towards elders...). After literally falling flat on my face, he bent over and asked me, "Are you OK?"
I was at reunion-like seminar recently. And I was literally hunting down a Seidokan 6th dan on the mat. Other people told me he was really good, so I wanted to test him (ettiqute and respect?). After attacking harder didn't work, I tried to counter him. After reversing my counters and throwing me around, he got tired of "playing" with me. He wanted to talk to his old friends.
Come to think of it, there should be "rules" - rules to protect innocent and inexperienced Aikidoka from the evil clutches of the elderly and accomplished shihans and senseis.