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Old 02-16-2005, 08:33 AM   #92
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: Competition in Aikido

Great post above Rob.
Rob Liberti wrote:
1) Apparently, that is a terrible term to describe what is really done. If I have a blue car and you put a small red dot on it, I would never call it a red car. If someone is saying that the overall atmosphere of "competititve aikido" is cooperation and collaboration then okay, but can't you see why someone might be confused by that?!
Totally agree Rob. There was a time even I disliked the words "competitive Aikido" since somewhere inside it appeared as if it did not make sense. But then, after reading the books that Tomiki and some of his direct students had written I decided to re-think my definition of competition to a great extent and Aikido to a lesser extent. My personal view is that the word "competition" does not fully convey the image of what goes in on this training method. I think this is why Yann says to try it out, since only by experience can one get a total definition. It's sort of like saying Aikido is the Way of Harmony for someone who has little knowledge of the martial arts. We know what it is because we do it, not so easy to explain to others in a word.
Rob Liberti wrote:
2) I'm told that folks from competition aikido have run into more ego problems from without compared to within their model. <rant> The point is somewhat dimished by Yann posting 3 times in a single short post that he wins every competition (post#20) , and following it up with several smug posts eluding to superior knowledge that has not been demonstrated. </rant>
The whole approach to competition is a personal thing for every player and there will be those who see winning and competition as a means to an ego trip. This however, was not the way it was intended by Tomiki as far as I understand it. To borrow from Yann's concept - if one approaches competition correctly one does win every time, even when one "loses" the match. This is because knowledge is power and everytime you compete and you learn something that you did not know before, you have won. It does not matter who has the trophy if one approaches it as a way of learning.
Rob Liberti wrote:
2a - Do the people who lose all of the competitions feel they are being as respected as the people who win all of the time? Maybe you should ask them.
This one may require a poll. But again, it may not matter so much what others think of you whether you win or lose. In Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge it says that even in an international tournament, the feelings after one wins or loses a match are very personal and private. One hardly (if ever) sees the taunting, jeering and beating of chests that often appears when some types win and others lose. The whole affair is often taken in a very internal way by those involved in the match. Of course there are exceptions.

Rob Liberti wrote:
2b - Do competitors hold back help from their classmates in order to win?
Good question. I believe there are those who may do this, but again it is up to the individual to hone his skills to the degree that the effects of any such holding back does not adversely affect his performance. Football teams don't share game plays and tactics with each other before the match, but the rules are designed that even though some things are hidden, the playing field is kept more or less level. If your defense is good enough, then no offense can penetrate it and vice versa.

Another thing is that if holding back is going on and you are good enough to force your partner to reveal what he did not want to, it becomes a learning experience for you both. In all cases a personal drive towards peak performance helps the situation.

Rob Liberti wrote:
2c - Would someone who has had the objective to win and has been successful for several years be willing to completely drop their arm strength (and let arms fall by their weight alone) knowing that they will lose competition after competition in order to break-through to a deeper level of aikido exclusively based on blending and kokyu - and only then start winning again? Is there another way? Who are these people from that model have broken through? Would they be willing to explain how they got there using this model.
Why is dropping arm strength so important to you? The elements of effective technique are indentifiable. If losing arm strength in some way aids in the development of one's Aikido (either by physical or other effectiveness) then I believe that it is beneficial to practice it. This dropping of arm strength phenomena is also practiced in Shodokan when we do kata mainly, so I don't see the need to abort normal training to explore this. It is all contained in the same place.

I for one have trained in (and still do sometimes) Ki Aikido, Aikikai, Tai Chi Chuan, Wing Chun, Jujutsu and Judo to learn things (steal principles) to make my own Aikido better. Hell I've even gone into Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shiatsu and Qi Gong to explore theories and concepts I've found while doing Aikido. This applies to competition as well as everything else. And yes I have learnt things in other Aikido schools that have made my Aikido more effective, since I believe that the different schools tend to focus on different things in different intensities. The lessons I have learnt however did not require any extended leave from training in Shodokan, all it called for was an empty cup when training in the other style and a willingness to learn and absorb from the second you enter the other Dojo.


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