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Old 09-05-2009, 10:41 AM   #61
Kevin Leavitt
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Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Folks, when I suggested that this thread be split, my intention was for people to discuss what their perceived inefficiencies - if any - were with the "Aikido Training Method" (ATM), what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why? I was hoping to hear how others who may have come to the same conclusions, approached the conundrum, and if and how they surmounted it.

It is not about whether Aikido can or cannot kick ass in the UFC, or why it wouldn't be something you'd want to, on supposed high moral grounds of "peaceful conflict resolution", or whether Ellis misunderstood the ATM, or even his personal interests in Chinese MA. Personally, I'm not interested in the former, and the latter is IMO totally off-topic, irrelevant and downright rude.

IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS THOSE THINGS, START YOUR OWN THREAD! Please... and thank you for your cooperation.
LOL...I just caught your post above. I hope I am not guilty of that entirely, because I agree..this is my objective as well.

I think (hope) what I am relaying when I talk about the UFC type stuff is that it represents one side of the equation and provides a model in which to talk against.

To be a little more precise maybe than my last two post....

The UFC brought about a great deal of innovation in MA training. The rules and objectives forced upon the MA world a quantifiable goal. This drives innovation and new knowledge into the MA world as people focus on how to best train to meet those goals. Thus we have the whole MMA movement which strives to cut out all the chafe and focus on those basic skills that provide the edge necessary to win in the UFC.

By it's nature the MMA culture MUST be efficient. And I personally believe there are alot of good lessons to be learned from how they train and constantly innovate. The measure of success for them is very quantifiable and the essentially have feedback loops that process very quickly which allow them to adapt and expand there knowledge base and turn experience at a very quick rate.

Studying MMA and BJJ for the past 5 years or so, I really have been fascinated by this way of learning and reached the same conclusion about 2 years ago concerning Aikido that yes, it was a very extremely inefficient methodology for training. Very inefficient.

I have been working on my thoughts and trying to figure out how I might fix it if I could. There are a few things that need to be considered however that present a challenge.

One, it is NOT the UFC, nor do most folks that come to the practice of AIkido desire to be a cage fighter. So it is hard to quantifiy and objectively define Measures of Success, when we are not really sure what they may be if it is not winning in a competition.

Two, Aikido culturally is connected to a philosophy and a "way" or "path". Again, how to you define Measures of Success?

Three, what is it in the methodology that does work and is good, or unique that we bring to the MA community that we need to keep doing that makes Aikido special.

Four, if you make changes to the system, are they good ones, that is Additive or do they take away from it?

My latest thoughts are centered around the concept of OODA as outlined above. OODA is an objective process that is not tied to dogma (other then it's own, of course), and in somewhat clinical and neutral as a model to martial arts.

OODA I think, so far provides the framework upon which we can assess and identify success. Success as defined by the process, not by how well we do in the ring...or how well we are tied to the dogma of philosophy or ethics. Again...I think it is fairly objective and clincial.

My basic observations are that any good martial or budo practice needs to balance against OODA. There are training things that concentrate on the Observe category. Things on the Orient..which is where we spend most of our time in Aikido...learning new concepts, skills, and techniques, and things that concentrate on the Decision and Act.

Of course, Aikido has all the elements as does any martial practice...but I don't believe we fully grasp the importance of this cycle, nor do we really understand how to balance it.

Randori is a DA activity for example. How many schools really understand this and how it links back to OO? When doing randori, how do you provide the controls, assessment, and feedback process in order to cultivate a student grasping the lessons to be learn back into the OO phase.

My Randori experiences have mainly served to confuse the hell out of me with very little learning taking place.

When I went to BJJ for instance, we practice Randori all the time. Intrinsicially, it is tied directly back into the OO phase and reinforced constantly in training.

I personally believe THIS is a big part of the breakdown in the Aikido method process. We don't get it and we stay stuck in OO.

That does not mean we need to turn what we do into certainly is not the objective of the study of aikido. However, I think we should really look hard at the OODA process and figure out how we can re-balance it.

One thing, for example, that I have been wanting to do for the past two years is attend one of Ledyard Sensei's workshops with Shinai. From what I am told, this training provides this kind of feedback and the people that I have heard that have gone experience this OODA linkage greatly.

So, I think maybe that this serves as a good example of how maybe we can change our training to be more efficient.

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