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Old 11-17-2015, 05:10 PM   #27
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,619
Re: Article: Ellis Amdur, "The Use of Weapons in Aikido Training"

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
When pressed, I think we have a difficult time differentiating our weapons work from weapons-based arts. When further pressed, I think we have a difficult time proving our weapons work holds up against "non-aikido" attacks. So we're all about combat unless we fight someone that knows something, then it's a teaching tool.
Weapons in aikido primarily serve as a teaching tool, IMO. That said, I do not feel unduly disadvantaged in a dark alley with a broomstick or shovel handle near to hand. The question is what they are there to teach. I have some thoughts on that.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
We have dropped our weapons component for while after researching the role of weapons in aikido and how our weapons work translates into other systems. I think that generally, we are caught between putting up and shutting up. I think most of what we do with weapons is not "aiki", nor is it functional weapons work.
Due props to your points -- but I think abandoning weapons is going overboard -- and having trained substantially in Iwama's weapons, I have some grasp of Saito's point in integrating the weapons and tai-jutsu study. He did it to preserve what had been given. I do it, on the other hand, because the relationships in the principles that Saotome's doctrine sensitized me to, permitted me to look for and to develop them consistently in all the training. These are found in the weapons work, rightly understood.

Whether there is aiki in your weapons training or not -- rightly approached, the principles that lead to it may surely be found there. Particularly, focus on the creation and maintenance of juuji , keeping a high quality of musubi, and strong intention of cutting always deeply to the center , even -- and perhaps especially -- when not actually moving.

Things done at miniscule scale in aiki are expanded to vastly larger scales in the weapons. The stress paths and dynamics may be made the same -- the scale merely changes. In the weapon errors of structure and dynamic may be seen more readily and adjusted more plainly. And if you learn what the weapon has to teach to your tai-jutsu in these terms -- not merely as analogies ---but the same exact structural and dynamic principles simply writ large, your weapons work becomes steadily more functional and more subtly responsive as well. At least, mine has.

Plus, our 3d dan Iaijutsu instructor keeps me honest...

I follow a different manner of abstracting, less focused on closely repeated strict form, and more focused on keying to structural feel and dynamic. I did not approach things this way out of any sense of revelation or invention -- but out of necessity. I seem from an early age to have had a severe deficit in sequencing and have exceeding difficulty putting a kata in the same sequence twice. On the other hand -- habits don't trouble me that much -- they never get started. I just ken things a different way.

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
We know it's not aiki, but we kinda hope to bluff our way through functional... until someone shows up and says, "Really? I play swords, too."
Play-sparring with weapons is false -- false in principle, false in feeling, and false in effect. Good for movies, maybe and not much else. In point of fact, the very abstraction that is accomplished in kata and awase allows one to study true principles that would be lost in the artificiality of some form of reinvented formal duelling or weapons equivalent of kumite. Recruits do combative training with padded batons -- hurts like a mother -- but that is not really real either -- it's more for personal toughening in the face of attack -- a Western form of shugyo , if you will ....

(I suppose actual duelling would suffice - but the lessons would be short and the career very likely shorter. Plus, you use up training partners ... )


Erick Mead
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