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Old 08-20-2013, 07:21 PM   #2
Dojo: Aunkai
Location: Fairfax, VA
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 429
Re: Is is it still Aikido if you take away the Japanese clothes, etiquette and other things?

Many japanese arts stress the importance of reiho, kendo for example begins and ends with rei. Kendoka will say... that without it, kendo is just hitting people with sticks.

While this is an aikido forum, I think a good basis for comparasion for your blog would be to contrast BJJ and judo given their common roots, as I'm not aware of aikido which has mostly abandoned many of the traditional practices.

Having practiced both judo and Brazillian Jujitsu (aka basically just judo), I would tend to disagree with your thesis. If one was to follow the same logic, BJJ could only be choking out your opponent and locking their joints as it lacks reiho as expressed in JMA. Judo shares the same etiquette as found in aikido, karate and kendo, however BJJ (as I have experienced it) lacks most of the etiquette, and in competition has both gi and no-gi divisions (different waza are appropriate to both as the lack of the gi changes the dynamics considerably).

Are BJJer's any less polite than judoka? No, not really. In any martial art, if you act like a jerk or if you have a habit of hurting people, others don't want to practice with you. If you aren't wearing a gi, are you no longer doing the same art? No, most of the techniques still work (that don't require the use of a gi, like a gi-choke). Do the elements of self improvement disappear? Nope, they're still there if that's your intent in training, or as a biproduct of training. Does the lack of japanese style ettiquite make BJJ less safe than judo? No, not at all, you still have to look out for your training partners and use proper control. Utilzing english terms rather than japanese ones (or portugese) doesn't change the training dynamic either.

If anything, I found people in BJJ (and MMA) acting more towards the principles idealized in most japanese martial arts and with very little ego which is totally the opposite of what I expected. I suspect this is because, in my opinion, reiho as practiced in the west is appears as "forced" sincerity/humility, as it is expressed via a foreign culture. In arts where there is a greater chance of accidental injury or higher levels of contact, you have to take greater care and think of others.

This also limits the "roleplaying element" which admittedly, is part of what draws some martial arts enthusiasts to japanese martial arts. Of course, adopting the costumes and some cultural elements can be taken to some amusing extremes, and may be in part what brings people in the door, but its hardly the main part of the practice.
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