Rob Liberti wrote:
<rant - not against the folks contributing to this thread, but it seems like this thread would be one of the better places for me to be heard on this related issue>
I keep hearing people say (and reading posts) that "aikido is simple" as if that means it is easy. People claim or seem to imply that you have to "_just_ not do" things for aikido to work, and that everyone can do aikido at any time; basically it's just in us and we simply get in the way of it.
This is only a half truth as far as I'm concerned. Certainly aikido (beyond surface level total beginner stuff) can happen at anytime but if the person being attacked is not well trained, I'd say they are probably one of those people who are naturally squarely over their center, have excellent posture, are very reflexive in their movement, and/or happened to get incredibly lucky.
there is a difference between K.I.S.S. and saying that something does not require a lot of training. In fact in all the martial arts I have done, it seems to take a lot of training to get one not to add unnecessary, sometimes counterproductive movements. In fact in the last year after watching Ellis Amdur's critique of the way many Aikikai groups do Ikkyo irimi(omote) and how it leads them right into a ground grappling match if uke is not "giving up", it taught me a greater appreciation of why Tohei Sensei teaches a "simpler" ikkyo with less angles of movement and steps.
simple does not equate to easy especially if you want to be able to perform well under an adrenalin dump. If one is worried about the
self-defense side, one had better be thinking about simplified movements because competent fine motor control like what is required for some of the more complicated things people have fun doing in the dojo just isn't going to be there for the majority of trained people. You can also can count on being not as relaxed as in the dojo, so I would want to practice being as relaxed and fluid as possible in the dojo. Under stress, I won't be as relaxed or calm but with a lot of practice I will be a bit more relaxed and calm than the other guy.
Tohei Sensei can spend a day on drilling your posture, on how you walk and stand and sit and put out your arm(s), and people will complain and bitch about not getting to the good stuff (I have done that :-)) and not realize he is giving them the good stuff. Not all the fancy moves, but just being and looking to be a hard target to begin with, being very difficult to take down, responding reflexively by relaxing and not tensing.
I don't think I ever seen anyone who was just a natural though I am sure some exist. Those who do it simply or make it look simple have usually trained a long time.