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Old 03-01-2011, 11:09 PM   #89
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Is your Aikido as a Martial Art up to Reality?

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
First of all I would like to say thank you Jun for banning me from this site for one month, It seems to me that having controversial opinions and thought is not very welcomed by many on this site.... Then again, it was a welcome break from so many IS/IP threads that were bogging down the forum!!..
Tony, as Jun said earlier, it's usually not the topic that gets you suspended: it's your own attitude and the tone and the wording of your responses to people. As one who's been suspended a few times, myself, I have to agree with him. And as an aikido man, you ought to know that when you have problems, the first place to look is at yourself.

Second, if you think IP/IS threads are bogging down the forum, you have the perfect right to ignore them. No one forces you to come into a serious discussion about which you know nothing and stink it up with "I already do that" while also claiming it's all hogwash. People who understand this topic get a lot of good out of detailed examination of principles and methods and it goes a lot better without someone's trolling out of ignorance. So if you don't like those threads, you don't have to read them. And you certainly don't have to expose yourself to the ridicule that's bound to result when you mouth off about something you don't understand. Simple, isn't it?

Third, as to your pressure testing, it's a fine idea, but don't forget that, once you go that way, there's no end of it. Geoff seems like a well-intentioned fellow. He says he doesn't fancy himself a fighter, but he can defend himself. The problem is, take any man like that and I can find you another man who can pound him into the dirt. Can Geoff defend himself against Mike Tyson, for instance? I seriously doubt it. How will his character stand up with Iron Mike pounding his head? Will he go toe-to-toe or run for his life? If he has any sense, he'll gtfo.

And how will he do if someone decides "That's not pressure-testing!" and will only believe you when you "pressure-test" against a live blade--or against two guys with live blades?

In Japan, as uchi deshi, I was often called out to meet people from around the world who came to train at one of the toughest aikido dojos in Japan. I met people from the US, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Africa, you name it. Sensei would say, "Show this guy what we're doing," and I would have to put on the gi and go face them. And I was almost forty years old then, with accumulating injuries. And more and more I would meet men who were much younger, must stronger, much faster and who already had a lot more experience in martial arts than myself.

This was before UFC, but the Gracies were already advertising $50,000.00 purses to anyone, from any style, who could beat their jujutsu. Everyone in our dojo was impressed by that and I had to face the fact that I was not a professional athlete, even though I had dedicated almost 20 years of my life to aikido up to that time. I had to realize that I could train as hard as I could force myself to go and I would never be able to match these guys who had been living in dojos since their early teens and who simply had better genes and physiques since the day they were born. So I know a little about "pressure testing", having spent years in a dojo where hour-long sutemi randoris were the norm. And I know that while each individual has his limits, "pressure testing" can always go up another notch---or ten.

Tomiki's system is all well and good, but once something becomes a sport, the nature of it changes irrevocably. In the yoseikan, we had a similar thing, only with no scoring. It's not sport if there's no "winner and loser" decided by points, but we always went all-out and when it was over, we knew who had dominated and who had "lost" the bout. But it hardly mattered because as soon as that was over, the next attacker was ready to go. We didn't draw blood on the mat (usually), but no one fell for anything but a fully effective technique. And if the attacker wasn't thrown effectively in the first move, he would follow up with karate, judo, aikido, jujutsu--whatever he was capable of--and it would usually go to the ground for serious grappling until someone was submitted. And that could mean five minutes or more of serious grappling for one attacker, to be followed by four or five more attackers as soon as you got on your feet again. And each one of those attackers would do the same: if you didn't throw them in the first instant of their attack, they would take you to the ground and fight you to submission.

Amazingly, there were very few injuries because of the general high level of conditioning, but I doubt you'll find the same results in Geoff's circles. Anytime there's blood on the mats, there are bound to be some serious injuries, eventually.

If that's what you like to do, go for it, but it's not a good standard for everyone. Are you suggesting that the "young mother" who was attacked on the bus should then go and enroll in Geoff's classes and let someone else pound her head in? Most normal aikido classes would be enough to keep her out of the situation described. But the pressure testing you describe would be only likely to injure her.

Sure, there's room for a lot more demanding aikido practice than we normally find, but simply being more brutal is not likely to fill the need.

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Violence happens across the country on a regular basis, in every town, city, week in, week out.... so those of you that say or think it will probably "never happen to me" are so wrong!! The chances are sooner or later it will happen...... You have been lucky so far!! I / We (cabbies) work with the doormen and police here in Winchester UK, that is, those who are switched on, who are aware, who do something about their situation, and do have the bottle to do what is required!! Most of the doormen and police officers I know in Winchester know that I practice and teach aikido. I do get a lot of respect from them, as I do them..... They really do know the reality!! Most openly say in conversation that people are just so totally unaware, so therefore do not take responsibility for themselves in our modern societies, and then wonder why when it does happen they blame everything else except their own inability to take more control of themselves or their own enviroment!!
The problem with your ideas is that they are not really universal. Here in the states, the most common way for a cab driver to die is from a bullet in the back of the head. They don't see it coming. The passenger gives them no hint, no warning, no lip in advance. The driver pulls over to let out his fare and "BOOM!" before he can say "Here we are," he's dead. A jo in the seat might as well be a sword in a museum.

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
When people come to me for aikido instruction, I give them a choice....
If you are only doing it for health, that's fine, but you will never achieve Shodan level. I make that a paramount requisite!! Most understand that....
Those that don't, either leave, or carry on knowing that, for them, Shodan level is out of reach unless they go through the pressure testing required for the level. Once Shodan level has been reached we have refresher sessions to make sure they keep 'alive' the 'reality sessions'
Yeah. The problem is, for real life-and-death situations, what you describe is not very realistic at all. Tough as it is, it's a fantasy in a world where people shoot first and issue threats later.

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Half of my altercations with the idiot public have gone to the ground, so I teach newaza all the same, with all the dirty cheating methods incorporated!!. The ground is not a good place to be, but that is the reality for most fights or altercations.....
Sounds like playing, really--where people aren't fighting to kill, but just to let off some steam after drinking too much. I live in one of the most dangerous cities in the US and I've never been in "a fight" despite walking the streets alone for half my life. I've faced armed attackers, multiple attackers, multiple armed attackers, crazy people, ex-cons, various kinds of crooks and I've had all kinds of people show up at my aikido classes. And I never had to touch but one of them and never got in a fight with any of them--and never went to the ground with any of them, despite my long experience in judo, jujutsu and newaza. So maybe you're looking at things from a mistaken perspective, somehow? Never hurts to ask yourself that, does it?

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
In addition to that my regime of isometric/isotonic exercise (my own version of I/S or I/P training if you want to call it that!!)
All those who harp on about IP or IS?...
Everyone I know who's into IP/IS uses not "their own version" of it, but relies on that that comes from China and Japan...and none of them agree with you on it, so....again....maybe you ought to learn more and harp less?

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Just train with uncooperative partners or players as we have done in T/S aikido since its inception!! Or better still take up MMA, judo or whatever has resistance in it, you will be better off, plus you will soon find out how to move people! I will keep practising until my body will not allow me to do so anymore. Then it will be time to retire gracefully....
Training harder has its benefits, but it usually comes with injuries that never go away. Training smarter (IP/IS) seems to work better for those who really develop it.

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
It's about time that those who practice aikido as dance, get wise and start doing an aikido we can all be proud of again..... Or carry on dreaming the dance in most cases!!
Better still remove their black belts, give up their excuse for what they consider aikido and join a good dance and social club, it would be far better health wise, for them and aikido!!
That's true, but how many people really are past criticism? Who can present impeccable aikido without flaw? Neither you nor I, bud. And maybe we'd do better to find the flaw in our own approaches rather than spend the time criticizing others.

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
After all this time some are beginning to wake up to the reality, and have found out that it can be done, but it takes hard work, usually shunned by most!!
Tony, I know I passed the point where pure "hard work" could take me any further and I think you have passed that point, as well. What's needed is not more of the same but to get a deeper insight into the real truth of aikido's inner workings--to get to the truth of what O Sensei was doing and actually change our way of approaching aikido. And that way allows us to continue improving past the point that simply working "harder" on the same old stuff can take us.

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
What is the point of learning a martial art if you don't want to learn to defend yourself?
And what's the point of incurring life-long injuries that could one day be the difference in living or dying in a real encounter? What's the point of crippling yourself in the name of "defending yourself"?

Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Just remember that an ineffective aikido can also be detrimental to your health and well being!!
And sometimes it's the overly tough and less-than-insightful approach that makes aikido less effective. Ever consider that?

Best wishes.


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"