View Single Post
Old 02-15-2005, 08:29 AM   #65
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: Competition in Aikido

Yann Golanski wrote:
I've already done this several times before and once in this very thread.
Yes, after you explained your views, you then suggested that other people who don't have your experiences go get them to add further context and ended your post eluding to the idea that you knew perfectly. So my point was that it would make more sense for YOU to add the further context, and maybe just site your sources. When I weigh the amout of information you were able to add based on your experience, compared the the amount of effort I would have had to expend to follow your advice and get that experience for myself, I'm glad I simply just asked you to explain your viewpoint further.

Yann Golanski wrote:
Now, could the same thing be achieved without "competition"? ... This is a meaningless question. It's down to semantics of what you understand by competition.
The question has meaning to me and I'd imagine it does to others. I agree with most of the stated problems with how people are practicing the cooperative model, and the competitive models. Given all of my experiences, I say overall cooperation is better. You seems to say otherwise. Of course semantics influences how either of those ideas are meant/interpreted, but the entire point of the forum is to discuss ideas like this. Therefore, I claim that question is meaningful.

I don't really know exactly what goes on in competition aikido - but I'm getting a better sense of it by reading this thread. To get even a better understanding, I'm going to go out on a limb and explain my prejudices further and encourage the competitive model supporters to explain theirs to me.

My opinion is that I am strong enough with most of my basic waza that I can force them on many, many people. If my goal to win becomes 'make the technique work', then I'm bound to stay at my current level and just basically get stronger and stronger and maybe improve my timing a bit. But my goal of martial improvement requires me to let go of some of the things I've used in the past to be successful in getting the uke to the ground and try to be more and more effective *eventually* by having a lot more discipline about how I move my body with the uke.

There was a great story where Endo sensei (who was like 6th dan at the time) had injured his arm and was talking to Yamaguchi sensei about it. Yamaguchi sensei's opinion was something to the effect of 'break your other arm if you ever want to really do aikido'. Endo sensei took that message to heart, so the story goes. He competely stopped using his arm strength (directly) and was getting reversed in his classes by yondans. Eventually he made some significant progress and really made a level jump in ability. He is one of the more amazing shihan alive right now. He got there through the overall model of cooperation - where there was some degree of competition (I'd imagine that he was trying to live up to what he percieved that Yamaguchi sensei would respect, and more specifically he was trying to figure out how to get his technique to work against yondans who were resisting him in his class). If the overall model was competition, then I don't know that he would have been able to completely drop his arm strength to make that break-through.

My opinion is that the folks competing can get pretty good - probably just about as good as Endo sensei got before making that break-through. It is a respectable level - but not the highest level - or the level of depth (which is what the aiki of aikido means). I might even be willing to believe that many of those folks who are competing might just get to that respectable level of competancy more quickly than those who are not competing and good for them. But, my goal is to breakthrough and get to that level of being effective with my arm strength completely dropped. I don't see what the driving forrce in the competitive model would be to get people to break-through. Any thoughts here? This doesn't mean I see the other way as invalid, just not what I am trying to achieve.

The bottom line for me is that both Endo sensei and my teacher set a very good example for me to follow to my goal. Doing this furthers my other goal of walking the path of michi (it is aiki DO, not aiki - jutsu). I have no problem with you (Yann or anyone else really) following someone elses example. The difference is that I'm not saying, hinting, suggesting, or even eluding to the ideas that other ways from my own way are invalid and that I understand anything perfectly.


Last edited by rob_liberti : 02-15-2005 at 08:36 AM.
  Reply With Quote