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Old 09-10-2009, 02:09 AM   #2
Location: Rotterdam
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 459
Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Who would maintain that Kendo and Judo aren't martial arts?
In Dutch we call those 'vechtsport' (fighting sport). Aikido is called 'krijgskunst' (martial art) and sometimes 'vechtkunst' (fighting art). Basically 'vechtsporten' have competition and are more sport-like than the 'krijgskunsten', but it's not always simple: Japanese karate is a 'vechtsport', but Okinawan karate would be a 'krijgskunst'.

Are Iaido and Kyudo not considered martial arts? They are done solo and have no emphasis whatever on winning over anyone other than oneself.
And by being practiced solo they do not pretend to be effective. To the untrained eye aikido looks effective, there are aikido teachers that teach self-defense based on aikido, website present aikido is effective, etc. Plenty of aikido practitioners and teachers talk as if aikido is an effective fighting art, so it makes sense that people expect aikido to be effective.

It has been stated many times, by many people, that non-violence without the ability to defend oneself is just wishful thinking. I think that history would indicate that something else entirely is required for non-violence, or pacifism.
What is required to be non-violent is depth of character. What is required to be a pacifist is the ability to over come the fear of death. The followers of Gandhi and King walked unhesitatingly into situations in which they KNEW they would be beaten, perhaps killed, and they marched anyway; without the back-up of great destructive martial skill or weaponry of any kind other than their moral force.
You're confusing the choice for non-violence with the taking of non-violent action. For the latter you need great depth of character, no argument there. And choosing non-violence because it's the only option you have with a non-zero chance of success (with the alternative of accepting the injustice being done to you) also requires great depth of character.
Yet, that's a different choice than the choice between violence and non-violence, when both can be successful means to achieve your goals. Put crudely, the former is a choice of character, the latter is a choice of morality. (Of course, in the real world both need character and morality.)

I think that, human nature being what it is, it was easier for many practitioners to focus on hard physical training and mastery of technique than it was for them to really try to understand statements like "Budo is Love" or the Founder's assertions that the art was not about fighting and that fighting destroyed the spirit of Aikido.
Ellis Amdur has some interesting things to say about that in HIPS, in the chapter "Aikido is three peaches". A lot depends on one's definition of 'Love' and 'fighting'.

Aikido was meant to be less practical for fighting.
Yet most aikido websites state that aikido is suited for self-defense. Apparently because aikido needs to be sold as such. And when presented like this it's a magnificent package: it's spiritual, it's non-violent, nobody gets hurt during practice, no sparring and yet it's effective in self-defense!
I won't deny you can pick up some valuable skills for self-defense by training aikido, but that's as much by accident as it is by design.
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