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Old 02-14-2005, 08:14 PM   #54
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: Competition in Aikido

Jon Reading wrote:
Competition relies on parties to compete against each other. Most everyone will concede that Aikido happens when two forces cooperate to realize the fullfillment of technique; when cooperation is coerced, you still do aikido, but the results are not as pretty.
Exactly. And which martial art looks exactly the same way it looks during cooperative practice as it does when someone is seriously resisting and fighting back? Not even the Jujutsu styles look as "clean" when the other person does not intend to just let you "do him in" without a fight. So I don't see the point of raising the "it is not pretty" concept. If one wants to look pretty then focus on form, not on objective, resistance based training. This was not the question of the original post. I believe Wynand basically is looking for a forum where he can test whatever he thinks he may know about Aikido in an objective manner where he can truthfully look at his own practice and at himself. His concern is one of effectiveness the way I read it - and in the places I know of where effectiveness is very important there is no one standing there checking your form against the dojo standard. The best form in those cases is the one that lets you survive and escape.

The fact is, the majority of "pretty" Aikido is a direct result of the Uke's "pretty" ukemi skills, regardless of what is done by Tori (did someone say "no touch throw?") . Case in point - the same technique done on a 100lb Uke who is skilled in ukemi against a 400 lb unskilled in ukemi determined attacker. Regardless of whether you are a 20th Dan Professor Soke Grand Master Poombah, the 2 techs will look different and the latter will probably be a lot less pretty as the heavy guy who does not know ukemi goes crashing into the floor.

To deal with the "pretty Aikido" point and competition - this is why there is kata competition separate from shiai. Though from my experience someone who has poor technical form in our system shows that lack of form very quickly when under pressure of resistance randori as well. So either way one serves to aid the other - the randori tests the soundness of one's technical form (kata), the kata is then developed and forged into an even more effective form as one applies what is learnt and proven through testing in resistance randori.

Jon Reading wrote:
Competition is not cooperation, so the result is brutal technique that invites injury.
I really cannot agree with the above generalisation. I would like to see the documented proof that Aikido competition results in "brutal technique that invites injury". Even official studies like the one done by Shihan F. Shishida some years ago shows that injuries and deaths in Aikido training comes from the repetitive falls and aspects of kata training and not from any "brutal technique" that comes out of competition. The fact is that applying techniques in a manner to be brutal or deliberately injure shows again one's lack of basic skill and the ease with which one loses composure under pressure. It actually makes things a lot worse for you in competition because it instantly disqualifies you. So it is hard to see in the Aikido context how being brutal comes from competition type training.

Of course if one tries to compare typical Aikido shiai to competition in pretty much any other art they will probably fall far short of the reality, even if there may be similarities. So comparing Aikido comps to BJJ comps for example, is not a smart idea if one is trying to be accurate imho. The opportunities and rewards of being brutal are much more evident in stuff like BJJ comps from what I have seen.

Also, since Aikido randori (and competition) is about reconciliation of opposing forces, then what better force to test one's mettle with than an equally skilled and determinedly opposing one? If one ends up doing forced, brutal technique then basically it means - train harder and smarter, raise the bar for your performance and do better next time.

Jon Reading wrote:
I do not think there's anything wrong with those systems, as long as they understand competition is simulated combat. There are some systems that do not have competition. There is nothing wrong with that either, as long as they understand that mat training is not combat.
Perfectly correct. However, the structure for resistance randori and competition given by K. Tomiki has been from my experience a great structure from which one can build a great freeform practice system to teach military hand to hand (hey, it's used to teach a few Police precincts in Japan as well from what I've heard). I've been using this structure with some of my military SF students to great benefit. The structure stays the same, we merely build on it, the intent of the training is what changes.

Jon Reading wrote:
To be sure, their are some frauds that exist because it is difficult to prove their inability without competition, but there are also frauds that exist because they have inflated their image with competition. Either way, as long as you know they are frauds, and take steps to protect yourself and your students from those frauds, does it matter where their fraud lies?
Actually I think if one is around effective technique long enough one will be able to spot it and spot what it is not. I have found a couple Aiki frauds without requiring competition. And it's not like I get around as much as some other folks I know of.

Good thread.
Happy training folks.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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