George S. Ledyard wrote:
I'll post the same repy I did on the Aikido Journal thread:
Practice of so-called "non-traditional" attacks is quite useful and has a necessary place in the practice of Aikido as a viable martial art. But that isn't the main thrust of the critics of Aikido attacks, of whom I am one. My problem is that in many dojos I see, there are NO attacks....
I understand where you coming from. Many years ago, a couple of us students questioned our teacher about the authenticity and realistic of the aikido attacks -- lack of commitment and honesty and the telegraphy of the attacks miles away - plus some of the unrealistic moves contradictory to self-defence principles. We asked, "Isn't Aikido a martial art as O sensei talked about Budo and related stuff?" The reply was "Aikido can be anything for any individual. For you, it is a martial art -- self-defence, for others, it is an exercise, to sweat, to socialize, etc. " Twice I was asked to grade for Shodan, as I took a look at my otagani who were about to grade with me, I asked myself, "So, which Shodan am I grading for - Aikido, aerobics or socialite?" Twice I declined amongst other reasons I best not pen here. I was already a Yudansha in other martial arts discipline and I don't really need another, I told myself.
Today I found a new class and a new teacher. Things are still the same but answers are more straight to the point -- "David, not everyone trains the way you do. As per O sensei, Aikido is for everyone. I can't conduct the class according to the way you preferred to train, it is too hard, my other students may not like it and will go away." Aaah!! Now I am beginning to understand real (istic) Aikido.
Will catch up with you later, right now I'm preparing to go help my teacher in a demonstration to a ladies' club interested in taking up Aikido for self-defence. It is an expressive opportunity. It's never too late to learn.