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Old 05-04-2008, 03:20 AM   #1235
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Aikido does not work at all in a fight.

Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Hi George
I can't hep but ask. With your recent experiences, can you at least see my view with a bit more understanding?
I believe there is a much more *complete" view of the "aiki" based arts than has been commonly experienced. It is this dilemma that has continued to plage the aiki arts. Doesn't some of your recent research demonstrate the power potential I have been so unapologetically advocating these many years? This would include demonstrably showing what Ueshiba believed to be true; the completion of all budo- with what Takeda ascribed to as both a way of life and in his budo-that it "Leaves no openings."

Although your idea of completing a successful irimi against a balanced attacker is fine, it's just so limited and small compared to the fullness of what everyone could be doing. Comparatively, the power potential demonstrated in what you quoted me mentioning (the unthrowable man) is staggering. The greatness of the aiki arts-"aiki" (internal power in use) completes budo, and fulfils it's hope. Of being able to more meaningfully defend without causing harm.

Granted this isn't my goal, but within my parardigm, aiki can be profoundly effective within a resistive environment. Aiki strikes can be devastating, and the body method will work if you train it in MMA, BJJ or anything of your choicing. In much the same way Takeda and Ueshiba made it work in whatever they chose to use it in.

In the end, if or where we are seeing a failure of martial veracity, what we are seeing is not the failure of the way of aiki (aiki-do) but the failure of those practicing and those teaching aiki as a means of power.

I say that the majority of the people doing it are missing what aiki is. Thus they have, over time, incorrectly defined (or said more definitively re-defined) the art in a weakened state from what it once was, and could still be now.

Although I do not do Aikido or Daito ryu anymore, I remain as much of a fan of the potential of "aiki" as I always was. Well, actually no, I guess I am MORE of a fan of its potential in the hands of the few who truly understand it, Although the art has failed (most everybody) in conveying its real power potential- we have the means, and the potential... to fix it.
Hi Dan,
I absolutely do not disagree with you about what you are doing. I'd be happy to train with you and experience things directly and take what seemed to fit and put it into what I am doing. I think what you are doing is great. It's just different than what I am doing.

What you know would fit into my idea of what I am trying to do without any conflict. It's simply the purpose of acquiring those skills that puts us into a different place on it. I would like to acquire more knowledge and skill in the area because that is how I go about perfecting my art. But I have no interest in applying these skills in fighting, in fact just the opposite. I've incorporated a bit of what I got from Akuzawa Sensei's visit and it's been helpful. I am looking forward to more opportunities to add to my knowledge. But I have recently come to exactly the opposite conclusion about the form the art of Aikido has from what you and a number of others have come to.

You've left Aikido and Daito Ryu because they are simply impractical for fighting. You are working out your own take on developing a fighting system which has the skills but is martially effective and practical, designed for application. I am interested in acquiring the very same skills but have little or no interest in changing the actual outer form of my art. The more I do it, the more I understand why the Founder made the form the way he did. The doing of this art can have a profound effect which will not at all be the same if the purpose and form is changed.

When I was younger, I was far more interested in application. I did a few years of koryu with Ellis. I understand what a combat art is from the Araki Ryu experience. I did quite a bit of law enforcement and security training and the stuff I taught proved to be just fine on the street with real bad guys. Not skilled martially trained opponents, just the run of the mill bad guys the cops meet on a daily basis.

I learned quite a lot from those days but that's not what I am into any more. I continue to train with new folks and get more exposure to other things, I am playing with Howard Popkin and getting tremendous benefit. I continue to incorporate the material I've gotten from Ushiro Sensei. I work with the Systema folks regularly, mostly on structure stuff and breathing. All of this fits into my Aikido and makes it better. I am looking forward to the time when I can see what you are doing. I'd like to get together again with Mike S, last time was too short. I have absolutely no doubt that my Aikido will improve with the help of people who are doing other things and have these skills.

But I have no interest in changing the form of what I do. My goal is to eventually have Aikido like Yamaguchi Sensei, Endo Sensei, and of course my own teacher, Saotome Sensei. I think that what they have done with what the Founder gave them would have met O-Sensei's approval. Many of the flaws which you and others point out with the art are only flaws if you start from the assumption that the art must be utilitarian from a fighting standpoint. Taking another paradigm for the art resolves that issue.

I applaud the fact that there are folks out there researching, developing, passing on the skills of aiki in different forms. I have no problem with anyone who is interested in effective martial application, modernizing the form which aiki training takes, etc.But if everyone took that approach Aikido would cease to exist. What you are doing is different, for different reasons, and with a totally different training paradigm. My path is to take my Aikido as far as I can. I'd be happy to take what I can from you and anyone else I come across with skills I want to develop. But my art will still be Aikido at the end of the process, which means it still won't be about fighting. I'm fine with that. And you will have your art, whatever you choose to call it, and you will be fine with that. I don't see any conflict with this process at all.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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