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Old 07-18-2008, 05:55 PM   #313
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Eric Joyce wrote:

Hi Kevin or Rob,

I had the same thoughts several years ago as well. I have done Yoshinkan aikido for almost 5 years. After I moved, I found a jujitsu dojo close by that I joined. During that time, I had a few questions that were answered that I had on my mine from my previous training.

Here is a question I have for you...would it make sense for people to start in jujitsu before aikido to get a strong base? I am not saying this to cause controversy, but I was curious. I can say this, the training I did receive from my Yoshinkan days served me very well when doing jujutsu. I had a pretty decent base already, but some things opened my eyes. Now I am doing both Yoshinkan and jujitsu and loving it.
I don't believe there is any one definitive answer out there. Frankly I only have an opinion based on my limited experiences and I am by no means a master even remotely of jiujitsu or aikido with any depth at please consider that in what I offer in opinion.

Like you my aikido skills did provide me a decent foundation to learn jiujitsu and vice versa. I am now getting involved in Judo as well which is opening up doors to things and methods as well.

My thoughts these days are pretty much in line with Rob Liberti. That is, get a good teacher.

I am not even remotely criticizing my teachers, who btw read aikiweb and post, so I want to point that out. (they know this, fwiw)

Good teachers can be in aikido and in jiujitsu, judo etc. I have been very fortunate to have found good teachers over the years.

Anyway, back to methodology.

Today if I could do it correctly/ideally.... I think Chris Moses is on the right track. I'd spend time doing basic development skills 15 or 20 minutes at the beginning of class, a big suck fest really and then tell people if you don't like suck...go home and do these on your own and it will suck less for you.

I'd also spend time on basic judo and jiujistu skills and get students up to a blue belt level in the first year or so. I'd also encourage competition and KI testing (if I knew how to do that...I don't).

From there I think I'd then "graduate" them to advance training to start working on aiki stuff maybe....however aiki along the lines of what Ark, Mike, and Dan do...not so much the shihogage, nikkyo, kaitenage technique focused aiki...but core stuff. KI testing would become emphasized more and more. Also continue to encourage competition in judo, jiujitsu, and grappling tournaments....maybe even push hands...who knows!

Once a good base was developed, then maybe we could start looking past all that competition and really start focusing on the whole philosophical, teaching, and transmission thing as students would now have a very broad base to have opinions and ideas.

(BTW...I am looking for a teacher or school that does all this...haven't found one) Ark comes the closest, alas he is in Japan!

The problem I have with the sole focus on internal training and exercises is that it is sort of like learning to use a hammer very efficiently for many years by pounding nails into a board over and over with no actual application. After you have this skill perfected, you THEN start trying to build a house, only to find out that you don't know how to use other tools or how to actually build the house! you are very good at a using a hammer of the best in the world.

I think if you are looking at the Martial Aspects of Internal training, you have to do some stuff concurrently.

Yes, there are always trade offs...I will atest to that as a jack of many trades and a master of none! Heck there are only so many hours in the day!

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