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Old 01-13-2006, 02:23 PM   #51
Aristeia
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Re: Grading question advice please

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
hey bronson that last was uncalled for up until then it was blending so smoothly...

once again i must say you are asked to test because you are that level... you ARE performing at that level heck how muck more stressful can just a regular end of class randori be with sensei and all the yudansha pushing you??? bout like testing every day YO! ... over-ritualization of the testing process is like over pakaging just unnecessary... What i bet some places make you hold your bokken with the handle to this way and the blade that way so that you don't insult your senseis and shihan... or mess of with flow of ki in the dojo... just ridiculous...
As some have pointed out, in some circumstances the sensei in charge of rank does need to see the student in a testing enironment.
I aslo disagree that the over ritualisation is unnecessary. It serves an important function in terms of raising stress levels. This is why having a date for grading you know ahead of time is also useful. Gives the stress levels time to rise. Scheduled gradings provide the opportunity for sensei to see how students effect techniques under pressure and stress that cannot be replicated by an impromptu grading imo.

BTW, are you the same Edwin that's posting over on Bullshido?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-13-2006, 07:52 PM   #52
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

I think the more stressfull situation is to be constantly testing never sure when the real test will come ... you don't get no scheduled test on the street...

Why yes I am... Why wanna fight about it??? ;-))

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-13-2006, 09:25 PM   #53
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

testing

every practice is a test
everytime you step on the mat is a test
every waza is a test
every moment is a test

O'sensei is watching you

this has been a test ;-))

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 03:32 AM   #54
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Re: Grading question advice please

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
O'sensei is watching you
You're getting confused. Thats Big Brother you're thinking of.
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Old 01-14-2006, 04:14 AM   #55
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

yeah they are eating popcorn and ROFL watching us...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 03:50 PM   #56
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Re: Grading question advice please

you misunderstand the components of the type of stress we're talking about. It's impossible to generate it every class every session, every technique. It *needs* to be out of the ordinary by it's definition. It's very easy to say "I treat every class as a test" but the fact of the matter is that because it *is* every class, it becomes mundane. It has to, you can't maintain adrenalin and nerves that consistantly.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-14-2006, 04:45 PM   #57
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

hey Michael, i think you are sort of talking about how "alive" the training is... as a general rule the level of stress ie all its components like resistance, adrenaline, novelty, aliveness, occur in a graduated way in practice. As a class or aikidoka's study progress this level is increased, and not knowing when you may be asked to test makes it out of the ordinary... ramping up the intensity of the end of class randori is another way to keep it from becoming mundane... and although mundane is probably not the best way to express it, we are training to NOT be captured by the situation... that is not let our nerves or adrenaline or fear interrupt our focus our aiki. I am a big advocate of alive training, on the mental/spiritual side we learn that a real life situation really is nothing special, or different from what we practice so we don't freeze up mentally...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 05:18 PM   #58
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Re: Grading question advice please

No I'm not talking about alive training. In fact talk to those who train alive all the time, BJJers, Judoka, Kickboxers etc. and many of them will tell you that tournaments generate nerves and adrenalin above and beyond their normal training. And that as a result it can affect their performance, particularly in the first few tournaments they enter. This despite the fact they train alive day in and day out.

That's what schools who have gradings as an "event" are trying to replicate.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-14-2006, 05:36 PM   #59
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

i basically agree with you mike, but i want to be a little bit picky... not at you but on the aliveness thing... Train alive all the time??? how "alive" is alive 50% resistance or more ... 100% alive would mean to the death or incapacitation of one or both partners... does 1% resistance constitute alive practice... I would characterize my typical class experience as about 25-50% resistance until the long 50% or more randori to finish class... does that constitute "alive" ... I agree totally on the performance anxiety angle you explain... I had terrible nerves on my first test and was scheduled to test after lunch... puked my guts up(but finished the test!)... my subsequent tests have been better with regards to jitters...
i enjoy your thoughts on this...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 06:38 PM   #60
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Re: Grading question advice please

I know what you mean Edwin but think you are taking an extreme definition of aliveness. It doesn't mean fighting to the death so much as adding in reisistance. But not just uke thinking "i'll make this harder for nage" (which is about as far as most aikido dojos go), but actually motivating both parties to dominate the other.

Let me ask you this. Don't you think it's a bit incongruous that on the one hand we tout Aikido as being the art of compassion because it allows you to "control an attacker without hurting him" and on the other hand claim that we can't spar because it would end in death or maiming?

I've given this alot of thought and unfortunately come to the conclusion that it's all but impossible to make Aikido "live" in the sense of Judo or BJJ without sacrificing some fundamentals of the art. Unlike Phrost I don't think that means we have to throw it out altogether, but if you're interested in self defence I think it should be trained alongside an alive art.

You see the beauty of arts like BJJ and Judo is that they truly *can* train full on without damaging the other person (unless they decide to). Which lets them practice in extremely realistic conditions. Aikido struggles to do that.

Which brings us back to gradings as a tool to see how we perform with the adrenlin dump. And if you accept that is one of the purposes of testing, it follows that everything should be done to make it as stressful and adrenalised as possible.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-14-2006, 07:15 PM   #61
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

on aliveness... i have a feeling that term may come to be something like KI in time everyone tossing it around, but it basically referring to different things...

well as to competition it is not the only way (nor necessarily the best) way to train even some judoka and jujutsuka train less alive than my way of training in aikido... and even folks that do want that alive practical kind of self defense practice seldom, really need to go to a very high level of resistance to gain some improvement in their skills...
as to "full on" like i picked before NO body trains full on even UFC fighters can cover up tap out just because it is vigorous training doesn't mean it has any relation to a real life or death situation or even a lesser confrontation in real life...
that crap that some aikidoka spout about it being too deadly is just as valid for judo and jj... the chokes and some other techniques are really less lethal variations of really lethal techniques you can get maimed or killed in any of these activities... we ought to start a thread to see how many people HAVE been killed or seriously injured in aikido, judo, jj classes
I agree testing is an important thing and should focus on that stressful adrenalized stuff how much do you have to do? does it really substantially increase the stress? How much stressfullness is necessary to receive an improvement in skills? TRYING to artificially induce stress is okay IF it improves your skills, but can be just what i spoke on previously EMPTY over ritualization that really adds nothing significant to the level of improvement you gain...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 07:25 PM   #62
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Re: Grading question advice please

Everyone who trains alive understands very well what it is. It's a nobrainer that never even occurs to them. You are confusing "alive" training with "training for the real world (tm)". Alive training is simply training where you are fighting against somoeone who has as much desire and motivation to triumph as you do. There is no uke/nage distinction going in.

It's not about vigorous or non vigourous. I've seen very vigourous training in some dojo in the sense it was high energy and high impact, but it wasn't alive.
Tapping out doesn't prevent training from being alive, it's just a means to say "were we to continue I understand I would be damaged".
Judo and BJJ never say they are too deadly to spar. Because they do spar all the time. The techniques come from other more lethal versions? Well ok if you say so - but who would know because no one trains those techs so who can actually use them.

Which is the point. Anyone that's trained in any MA understands that you don't "get" a technique just by seeing it or trying it once. You've got to drill it, practice it. If the effect of a technique is death or serious injury, you cannont actually practice it as you'd need to to "get" it. Because you run out of places to put the bodies.
So maybe art x has a lethal neck breaker, and art y has a choke that allows the other person an opportunity to concede. Maybe art x is in theory more dangerous but no one actually gains the skills cause you can't keep breaking necks. But you can apply chokes all day long so practitioners of art y, really "own" their techniques and can pull them off against someone fighting for all they're worth to avoid it. I'll take art y. And of course in teh str33t you can then make choices about what you do once you've applied the choke, making as lethal as art x in the first place.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-14-2006, 08:19 PM   #63
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

Thanks mike... i think i was less than clear in my last post judging by your comments... I do get the alive thing I just think Some people look at one thing and say thats live training and then look at something else and call it dead just beacuse you know? they don't think its any good or some thing like that.
If I am resisting and actively trying to best you then it is live, but that does not have to be "hardcore" blood and broken bones...the distinction between uke and nage is some what contrieved... there is no uke or nage... but you have to know whos turn it is to live drill that technique... we regularly practice trying to reverse or counter each other in practice... in a sense that is exactly what you should be doing/learning to do as uke...
I meant that judo and bjj are just as deadly not that they said that... most aikidoka say that as an excuse... a choke can kill whatever aikido judo or bjj... aikido came from traditional jujutsu there is really only a difference in focus not necessarily skills... we practice ground work... no i dont just mean suwari waza, although we do that to help with your core conditioning, and it really confuses "some" bjj players...
i know you don't learn just after one demo... you know we practice repetiton, drill.

"If the effect of a technique is death or serious injury, you cannont actually practice it as you'd need to to "get" it. Because you run out of places to put the bodies."

if the effect of a technique is to choke into unconsciousness, you cannot actually practice it as you'd need to to "get" it.
Because people would quickly tire of you choking them into unconsciousness... you don't have to choke someone(everyone) out to learn how to "apply"(thats another term like alive that gets bandied about too much) a choke.
alot of this is like what i used to term the real factor... how "real" do you have to practice it to gain notable improvement in skills.? you can rarely(probably never) practice "real" or 100% alive... does that mean all training that doesn't meet that impossible requirement, 99% or less, is not worthwile or giving some improvement? does it mean you can't possible learn to apply the technique??? where is the (arbitrary) cut off... this live and worthwhile and this is not???
for all techniques Nage decides the amount of hurt or lethality, but all techniques are potentially lethal...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 08:49 PM   #64
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Re: Grading question advice please

Have you read Matt Thornton's stuff on the "I" method?
You do need to know who's turn it is to drill the technique quite right (one of my pet hates is people who don't know when you're drilling and when you're sparring). And you can drill with progressive resistance as well which is valuable training.
But the point is, alive training means there's times when it is "no one's turn". both practitioners are just going for it. Usually this is a sparring context - there's now technique you're drilling you're just applying the sum total of your game.

The sense I get from your posts both here and on bullshido is that you think "aliveness" is not clearly defined because people aren't calling what you do alive and you think they should. The best thing to do in this case is spend a month or two on a judo or BJJ mat. Not just a session with a grappler but actually put the time in and you'll see the difference. The biggest eye opener for a lot of my Aikido guys that joined me in BJJ was the gulf between being able to drill the technique and apply it live in a sparring situation.

A choke or armbar that's locked is locked, the tap is the signal to avoid the next logical step. Up until that moment the other person is fighting back. With systems that are not alive the other person beleives they should not fight back for fear of injury from much earlier on.

Having said that, my BJJ coach John Will does talk about techniques that have developed that will give you a "mat tap" but not necessarily be as efficient delivering damage on the street.
Quote:
you can rarely(probably never) practice "real" or 100% alive... does that mean all training that doesn't meet that impossible requirement, 99% or less, is not worthwile or giving some improvement? does it mean you can't possible learn to apply the technique??? where is the (arbitrary) cut off... this live and worthwhile and this is not???
This to me says you don't fully understand "aliveness". It's not about blood and cuts or using every weapon and dirty trick at your disposal. You can train within a set of understood parameters and still have it be live.
Lets put it like this. If in an Aikido class I was putting kote gaeshi on you, but it was just as likely that in the course of my attempt you'd apply the same, or a different technique on me, that would probably be alive. If I was applying kote gaeshi on you and you were trying to make it hard for me to do so but not mounting your own offence, and it was more likely that I would succeed in the end, or at worst concede that it wasn't working, scratch my head and start again, that would not be alive training.

I personally disagree that anything that is not alive is worthless, I think it has a place and a purpose. I think it's more important that people understand the limitations of this training and where possible suppliement it with something that is alive.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-14-2006, 08:50 PM   #65
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Re: Grading question advice please

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
all techniques are potentially lethal...
Not the ones that you cannot apply outside of drilling.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-14-2006, 09:32 PM   #66
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

hey mike, i read it and understand the difference... do classes and seminars with royce count as live? I didn't find it that much different than my normal training in aikido... i think the concept has some flaws not in practice, but in theory... i agree some places do dead practice... I do with beginners... but if you are Nage, if I try to stop your waza, counter attack, and perform my own waza with a reasonable amount of resistance based on your level, isn't it alive?

"A choke or armbar that's locked is locked, the tap is the signal to avoid the next logical step. Up until that moment the other person is fighting back. With systems that are not alive the other person beleives they should not fight back for fear of injury from much earlier on."

WHAT??? so aliveness depends on my belief that I could still keep fighting that choke, but I tap way before it is really on tight or making me see spots??? because we practice until you Know you are locked and can't keep from being choked... I have been choked out and choked other out. I know when its too late, but i do some times tap a wee bit early to save my neck... ;-))

one of my points with the alive ness thing is while i understand it and practice that way that is not always appropriate to your training partner. I dont really have to be alive with our white belts to tap them, and i do have to give them the choke for them to learn to apply it... they catch on and eventually i have to up my level of aliveness... and I was no where near alive enough for royce and the guys at those seminars, they had no trouble tapping me but were nice and gave me slack so i could practice applying , but they didn't make it so easy that i didn't work for it...
i guess i just think any training is better than no training... and even training with light resistance is worthwhile as it adds to your skill. It seems that what counts as resistance enough to satisfy the condition for alive is usually skewed by the guy who thinks its "not real enuff"...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 10:27 PM   #67
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Re: Grading question advice please

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
hey mike, i read it and understand the difference... do classes and seminars with royce count as live?
Quite possibly not. Semainars and guest appearances at classes tend to be run different and often only encompas technique transmission (i.e. drilling)
Quote:
but if you are Nage, if I try to stop your waza, counter attack, and perform my own waza with a reasonable amount of resistance based on your level, isn't it alive?
Quite possibly. But even going in with the knowledge that mike is nage and Edwin is uke is a bit of a giveaway.
Quote:

"A choke or armbar that's locked is locked, the tap is the signal to avoid the next logical step. Up until that moment the other person is fighting back. With systems that are not alive the other person beleives they should not fight back for fear of injury from much earlier on."

WHAT??? so aliveness depends on my belief that I could still keep fighting that choke, but I tap way before it is really on tight or making me see spots??? because we practice until you Know you are locked and can't keep from being choked... I have been choked out and choked other out. I know when its too late, but i do some times tap a wee bit early to save my neck... ;-))
You miss the point. In BJJ (for example) you fight until you know you're caught and aren't going to escape (on the basis of previous live training usually) and then tap.
In Aikido people are oftentimes bowing in with the mindset already that it would be dangerous to resist and therefore go through their dance steps.

Quote:
one of my points with the alive ness thing is while i understand it and practice that way that is not always appropriate to your training partner. I dont really have to be alive with our white belts to tap them, and i do have to give them the choke for them to learn to apply it... they catch on and eventually i have to up my level of aliveness... and I was no where near alive enough for royce and the guys at those seminars, they had no trouble tapping me but were nice and gave me slack so i could practice applying , but they didn't make it so easy that i didn't work for it...
Sure, and no one's talking about smashing some newbie. We're talking about what happens between to practioners of similar level in day to day training.
Quote:
i guess i just think any training is better than no training... and even training with light resistance is worthwhile as it adds to your skill. It seems that what counts as resistance enough to satisfy the condition for alive is usually skewed by the guy who thinks its "not real enuff"...
There's two issues here that I think may be being confused.
1. What is "alive" training in the Thorntonian sense
2. Is there any benefit in training that is not alive.

Now it may be that you are training at that legendary Aikido dojo that practices truly alive but I doubt it*. I think it's more likely that you are arguing that there is a benefit in doing the training you are doing, but are arguing form point 1. when you should be arguing from point 2.

* there's 2 reasons why I doubt it.
1. I've heard plenty of people that claim to do this, but never seen it. Experience tells me therefore that this is likelty to be the case in this instance.
2. I have serious doubts if Aikido can be trained in a truly alive manner and continue to be Aikido.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-14-2006, 11:06 PM   #68
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

I'm not defending my training style, but it is legendary. I do think there is some benefit in that other type of training. I guess i object to the absolute nature of the arguement...
only alive traininng gives true (fighting)skill, any thing else is worthless and gives no fighting skill...
sounds kinda like my kung fu is better than your kung fu
I do believe that alive training in aikido is possible, but not done much... again I have used my aikido rolling with bjj and judo guys and find that i can depending on my opponent use my aikido... nikkyo from the guard being easy and Very effective... ikkyo or sankyo for reversals from guard... of course how you move your body on the ground is just as important to proper execution as to standing waza.
call it ki flow or leverage or whatever you got to move and unbalance and control your opponent even on the ground...
as for Thornton god of aliveness Grandmaster of AliveFooDo... i can take most of that and make it explicitly mystical and aiki... some even sounds like aikibunny stuff...

"Aliveness is about the freedom to use whatever works in the moment. Right action at right time. Which is another name for true compassion. A freedom that is only fully felt when one is completely immersed in the present moment of now, and free of the burden of beliefs, which manifest as thoughts. A clear mind fully aware of reality as it is now, and operating with absolute synchronicity within time and space, that is the real beginning of Aliveness."

I take back the aikibunny thing... i like aikibunnies... and I like the quote... I think some people practice Live aikido (not necessarily all the time) and most probably don't, while the former may be more efficient (ie take less time, produce a more practical combat athelete), I think the latter will produce at least some practical results over a longer period of time... its not a race for everyone...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-14-2006, 11:51 PM   #69
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Re: Grading question advice please

We basicaly agree in that absolutes are bad. The problem with someone like Phrost is that he doesn't get that for some of us there are reasons for training that go beyond ass kickery, and that therefore arts like Aikido have something of real value to offer many people, whatever the drawbacks in the training methods.

I do think as a whole, Aikidoka could probably be a bit more forthcoming to new students about what the art is and is not good for. there are a fair few people wandering around in hakama's with an inflated view of their martial ability.

As for the "my kung fu is better than yours" thing; it's taken as being self evident in many circles that such discussions are "bad". should that really be the case? This attitude came about for noble reasons. To encourage people to be open to other approaches. Which is great. But to listen to some people (not necessarily you) you'd think as soon as somebody labels something a martial art and gives it a name, you must give it respect and assume it's "another path up the same mountain". Logic tells us that it is more than possible that there are arts out there that cannot do what they claim they can and that we should be able to discuss that in a robust way in the name of truth.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-15-2006, 12:25 AM   #70
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

I just think it seems to be extreme one side vs. extreme other side... i like mine a little more medium well
I've been running this other thread on Aikido mc dojo s and saying that the ultra conservative highly ritualized are becoming a problem... I have no problem with soft aikido, but don't tell people you can throw a ki ball out your ass...
with the term alive I see it becoming like a mystical mantra type thing for all the combat atheletics... then dudes start opening gyms and sell their brand of alive jujutsu... and some suckers will get bilked ... I don't think that will be as big a problem as you have the competition clause ie put up or get whupped... aikidoka have the non competitive card they play which lets Mcdojos keep scamming people...
yeah if a guy walks in and says he wants to learn to be a good fighter ie UFC then I tell him this is not quite that high intensity, but it can give some skill that may be helpful in that endeavor... most people aren't looking for that level of performance and intensity...
I am waiting to see what develops in atlanta... i am interested in going and probably getting my ass whupped but it sounds like a good time... maryland is also a good possibility as is NYC, or nashville.
If I may ask what is your thing Aikido or mostly bjj...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-15-2006, 01:07 AM   #71
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Re: Grading question advice please

I don't draw a link between high ritual and ki ball aikido necessarily. I've seen some hard asses that are all about the etiquette and ritual. I also tend to think in the modern age of internet and accessibility of information, if anyone walks into a Mcdojo and doesn't educate themselves enough to be aware of warning signs then bad luck to them. Because you'll never be able to police it beyond that level.

Never seen "alive" used as a marketing gimmick and woud be surprised if I ever did. People that are into alive training don't need it. And yes the competition thing is a great leveller - in alive arts, the mat doesn't lie.

My background is primarily aikido, 13 years of practice. To be honest if someone walked into my dojo looking to become a UFC type fighter I would tell them absoultely they've come to the wrong place. Anything else would be wasting their time (and mine).
I am now focusing more on BJJ and will probably do that exclusively for the next couple of years (maybe a bit of judo thrown in). I like to think I have a balanced view of both approaches which tends to be unfortunately rare in internet battles (although there's more and more BJJing Aikidoka popping up which is for the good of everyone I think)

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Old 01-15-2006, 01:30 AM   #72
Edwin Neal
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Re: Grading question advice please

i think crosstraining (retrofitting is probably more accurate) is imperative to stop the mcdojos and drift toward a watered down aikido... remember Osensei and the other old timers had a huge background in judo/jujutsu... most students today have aikido as their only experience, and alot of senseis are the same... add in some mysticism(which i like) and a heavy dose of ritual and you get some of the "problems" , and drift from the path that we see in dojos today...GJJ is straight from the japanese jujutsu... they just do it with their own flair, but its still jujutsu... the same stuff my sensei did and teaches... is there some drift in the judo jj world? of course but i think less than in aikido...
keep trying to integrate your aikido into your whole package, its worth it... for me it was harder to get some of the ground work than integrating my locks and things into my game...
why don't we let this thread die now since we are way off topic and seem to be the only ones talkin...
sound like we have similar backgrounds i have about 15 yrs aikido and a dabbling of other things mostly japanese, some JKD/WCKF, and Arnis... my main thing now is I would like to up my grappling, but time and distance make it tough... but I do what I can...
it was good discussing it with you... I was starting to feel like the put upon aikidoka on BSD...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-15-2006, 02:05 AM   #73
Aristeia
Location: Auckland
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Re: Grading question advice please

good luck with your journey.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 02-07-2006, 10:34 AM   #74
Counsel
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Re: Grading question advice please

Quote:
Neil Mick wrote:
It's not even a measure of proficiency.
This may seem ... blasphemous, but...

Why not?

C
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