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Old 03-19-2007, 10:36 AM   #26
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Chiappetta wrote: View Post
More silliness.....

Mark
Yup

Mike

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Old 03-19-2007, 10:41 AM   #27
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

I try to stay away from threads like this, but out of genuine concern for the future of Aikiweb (some of my favorite writers have considered - or decided - to quit), I'm going to participate.
It's unclear to me if Mr. Baker, feeling his power in whatever type of training he's doing, is calling out aikidoka for a fight, or if he's suggesting that his teachers(s) should fight, or professional fighters he's seen on TV. Somehow, I think it's one of the latter two. Or you would, Mr. Baker, simply post that you, with whatever skills you have, can beat up any and all aikido practitioners, put up your address, and welcome visits - much as they do on the unlovely site - Bullshido. But you are not saying that, are you? You are really taking the discussion to the next high level, "My dad can beat your dad!"
It's one thing to write - as some are - that the introduction (reintroduction) of a certain training method can truly improve one's aikido technique, and that, further, that this training method was once in aikido, and should return. It's unfortunate that the gracelessness of many posters on both sides of this question sometimes lead to rather pointless arguments and offended feelings, because that really obscures a quite interesting discussion.
This thread is something else. I do not know if you are an aikidoka.If so, you ought to quit training in an art that you hold in such disdain. If not, you should get off this site, because this is simply trolling - yet another example of an electron warrior. When I read puerile posts like "take the ten best shihans ,and ten best fighters in the world. dream on if you want to," it angers me because this type of poster can take over a site and induce people to simply stop participating.
Go back to anime, little boy (and you may be forty years old for all I know). If you are hiding behind your powerful teacher(s), imagining what they can do to unnamed aikido shihan, such sweaty fantasies should be kept to yourself in the privacy of your room. However, if you are putting out a challenge yourself, then the internet is not the place to do it - go visit dojos yourself - and take all the consequences, physical and legal.

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Old 03-19-2007, 10:48 AM   #28
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

Quote:
Mark Chiappetta wrote: View Post
I'm not sure that the inclusion or exclusion of some explicity taught baseline skillset is enough to declare aikido a martial art or not.
Hi Mark,

I agree with that, wholeheartedly. I do, however, think that to consider a pursuit to be martial, the potential for physical conflict (armed or unarmed) has to present. I think that aikido can be that, but how many aikidoka do you know that, like you and Ron, have actively trained or sparred against people in other arts? That sounds more challenging than I mean it to be - I would be curious to know. I give you huge props for doing so, because that's where the art can grow, in my own opinion. It's funny you mention it not looking pretty, because I don't think it looks especially so in the arts that do mix it up. Judo? Okinawan karate? Effective, but not often graceful looking. Again, just my opinion, but if you're holding your own, and are using aikido waza, then that's aikido working. I do think the baseline stuff is truly necessary, though, and will get you to doing more than just holding your own. I mean, seriously, look at what Dan was doing just demonstrating this stuff to us, at a low level. Some of the best aikido I've ever seen or felt. So I'll have to mildly disagree with you by saying that, effectively worked, the baseline stuff could tip the skills.

Best regards,
Murray
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:57 AM   #29
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

I like to think that aikido could stand on its own and stand proud with the return of the internal skills that Ueshiba had, and which are now becoming available. Think positive!

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 03-19-2007 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:59 AM   #30
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Murray McPherson wrote: View Post
It would seem to me that aikidoka, if indeed viewing their art as a path of budo, might be a bit more sensitive about denigrating a thing based upon appearance.
On a forum such as this, what you write is all that many can possibly know about you. You are asking me to be sensitive to a provocative post ? If he doesn't respect the forum enough to write out what he means, why are you asking me to respect a brief bit of nonsense he does post.

I respect that you took the time to write out your thoughts and I give you the credit for your own words. If he is who you are giving him credit for, then he doesn't need you defending him or explaining him.

What you are talking about could hardly be drawn out of the simple quip he made.

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Old 03-19-2007, 11:21 AM   #31
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
I like to think that aikido could stand on its own and stand proud with the return of the internal skills that Ueshiba had, and which are now becoming available. Think positive!
I'm curious as to why, amongst all this talk is it so rarely mentioned that these internal skills have been actively taught for the last 50 years. They are not only just now becoming available. They have always been here if you looked for them.

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:25 AM   #32
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Mark Chiappetta wrote: View Post
Could this be one reason why it takes so long? I don't know the answer but am curious as well.....

Mark
I don't believe it has to take so long. Who among us honestly trains with the intensity of someone getting ready for a professional MMA match ?

Frequency of practice and quality of coaching are big factors.

Where would your aikido be a year from now if you went into a fulltime intense training program with sensibility about physiological recuperation times (mixing things up so your body would maintain and strengthen in the program not get torn down)
and cross training in physical and mental activities that help your internal and external skills.

Who would like to win the lottery, drop the family and job and sign up for this fantasy program for a year ?

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Old 03-19-2007, 11:27 AM   #33
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Mr. Hocker,

Like I wrote in my first post, I think what Stan wrote was too provocative and simplistic, but it raised interesting questions. I know he and I have agreed on similar things in the past, a common perspective about the things being debated here, so I apologize for not writing clearly about that (guilty of poor writing myself!). I also agree with you that this is, when it comes down to it, a written medium, so how we write is who we are perceived to be (emoticons aside). That's not always fair, but that's how it is. Apparently, Stan's taking a lot of heat for this (I wore a nomex suit just to read Mr. Amdur's post), and, unfortunately, deservedly so. I still think his essential viewpoint has merit, and that's why I wrote what I did. I'm not defending Stan, but I am defending his viewpoint. As Mark replied to me, it would have been nice if Stan could have elaborated on that viewpoint. He has elsewhere, but apparently couldn't do so here.
Also, additional grist for the mill (this isn't aimed at you, Mr. Hocker, but I'd be very happy to hear your opinion on it), but given the thread split, and the new thread title, why either/or? Can there be aikidoka who are both shihan and fighters? Or are the two irreconcilable?

Regards,
Murray McPherson
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:31 AM   #34
mickeygelum
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

" Say Mr Hood, whose stronger Flash Gordon or Tarzan?"...Alfalfa Schweitzer
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:44 AM   #35
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Don Magee wrote: View Post
Actually a true MMA fighter trains for the event, so he would know of these rules and take up sword fighting.
Sorry, I was not aware of that. So they take up sword fighting for 3 to 6 months, while the others have daily sword practice for 20 to 40 years - and they enter the ring. So my guess is one of them is hurt seriously, the other one trained very hard and was very good, so he dies. Now the result is clear. Scores say 8 wins for the mma fighters, 2 for the aikidoka. 10 aikidoka healthy alive, 1 mma fighter dead, 1 hurt and can restart training after 12 month rehab, 8 mma fighters healthy and alive.

Now let's stop that joke. If you are going to tell us that a young guy with the ideal body for mma fighting and some years of full time professional training is in general a better fighter than someone, who used to teach mostly others for the last twenty years, You are absolutely right.

If we would have more full-time professional aikido students - who would pay them, what they need in these days? - and good selection criterias, to find the best aikido fighters, it could be different. Not necessarily, but could be.

In fact, if they understood a bit of what they were taught the recent years, most of them would not enter the arena nevertheless as general aikido is not about who is the best in competition. Some aikdoka did show up for fights, and we only tell each other about those who did well, O-Sensei esp. in bokken fighting, Tohei, and very few others. And even those told their students to improve their technique, but did not encourage them to participate in competition.

So however a match would end, what does it prove?

I would say in MMA you can earn more money and/or glory so they attract the better fighters - potentially. probably the explanations would be somewhat different, but nothing is sure.

So I have another interesting contest in mind.
Put 10 highly reputated mma (or comparative) fighters and 10 highly reputated aikidoka all between 50 and 60 in a 4 hours cooperative training class and find out, who of them in healthier and fitter. Could give interesting results, but I would not bet on either side.

Cheers Dirk
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:49 AM   #36
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Hi folks,

Just wanted to step in and say that I appreciate the respectful tone that people have used in the latest posts in this thread. Thank you.

-- Jun

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Old 03-19-2007, 11:53 AM   #37
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
To try to add something of value to this conversation (good luck right?) Why is it you do not see this shihan level of skill in younger people? We see many amazing artists in the MMA world with great skills in their 20's and 30's, yet it seems the great examples of non sport arts are always 50+. Is this a positive or negative trait of traditional arts like aikido?
I don't think it's an "either-or" thing. To some degree I imagine the hierarchy Aikido has tends to make the younger practicioners less obvious, but who knows. In my experience, there are some VERY talented 30-something yudanshya.
I think it's akin to apples and oranges to compare the goals of most MMA-ists and most aikidoka. I'm inlcined to think most people who take up MMA are more concerned with ass-kickery than those who take up Aikido. As you point out, the energy exchange, the fellowship, the fact that it's an incredibly healthy activity, all combine to form an appealing activity which also happens to teach you a thing or two about protecting yourself. I know what I've been taught is functional. How functional depends on a variety of factors, most of which (in my opinion) depends upon the individual's drive and how engaged/active their mind is. Personally, i think it's that last part, the mind, which ultimately determines how effective a person will be in defending themselves. People develop injuries which preclude certain movements...they may even put a person at a complete disadvantage physically, but the mind can still remain sharp and responsive. Like the saying goes: when applied properly, the vigor of youth will always succum to the wiles of age.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:57 AM   #38
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Quote:
Murray McPherson wrote: View Post
? Can there be aikidoka who are both shihan and fighters? Or are the two irreconcilable?

Regards,
Murray McPherson
I think that really comes down to whether you believe the goals of being a fighter are irreconcilable with goals of someone who has been around aikido long enough to get designated as a shihan.
That's someone who has being following a long time an art whose philosophy at heart is about not fighting.

Some one who is a great fighter might be an awful teacher. And someone who is an excellent teacher might not be a fighter at all.

If it is important to you that your Shihan hold his own in a bar fight then find someone like that. They do exist.

In my book, shihan is fairly poltical, and because of that there exists shihans that aren't great teachers or people. I would rather look for a good teacher for me without worrying about titles.

A subset of Shihan might have been great fighters in their younger days, but an aikido shihan isn't picked because they are a fighter.

I don't know any senior person who believes they are training aikido to fight. That's different than saying that I don't know of senior people who have spent part of their training making sure they have skills in a self-defense situation. Self-defense and fighting are overlapping but different skill sets.

Last edited by kironin : 03-19-2007 at 12:01 PM.

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Old 03-19-2007, 12:15 PM   #39
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Last year, a fellow training partner, had a chance to go to the Hombu Dojo. Upon this persons return, they asked us who it was that was the talk of all of Hombu Dojo. When threw out some names and were wrong everytime. So this person informed us that it was Chiba Shihan. We were told that it was because he was the one student in his day, that accepted all challenges from all the outside martial artist and never lost. This was confirmed in a conversation I had with a Japanese Gentlemen who is a practitioner of Shotokan and knows Chiba Shihan and his reputation.

I am only guessing, but if I had to put up a few more Shihan, they would have been the Late Saito, A. Tohei, and Nishio Shihans.

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Old 03-19-2007, 12:15 PM   #40
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote: View Post
How do you know you don't ?

I think it's quite possible to have some younger people with amazing skills in aikido that you will never hear of. There is no television spotlight on traditional arts like aikido. There is no monetary payoff in the traditional world. Quite frankly, there is also the fact that it is a numbers game like anything else. You need to have a lot of raw recruits to find those with the raw physical and mental talents to allow the technical syllabus really shine. And you need to find them early enough (in their teens).
Find those willing to train hard for a future that offers no fame, no TV exposure, and most likely no money. I had a very talented teenager as a student, great physical shape, smart, picked up technical skill quickly and rose in rank fast, what might have been possible in 10 years ? However, he also was a top performer in BMX racing - money, fame, tv, graduated HS. and he had to make a decision ...

Even so there are those that have and do exist. Take for example someone like Bruce Bookman who started training with Yamada Sensei when he was 12 or Chuck Clark's son Aaron Clark who is quite good in his late 20's high ranked and now in his 30's. There is no TV spotlight on this or local promotion machines. In you aikido, you have to age, achieve really high rank, have an organization newsletter or magazine talk about you, hold large seminars, etc. to you achieve the kind of visibility that would make you aware of them. There is no promotional venue to point you out in your 20's or audience to watch you.
So why aren't they put on show more, we live in a world of instant communication. We have video on demand, message boards, etc. Lets spread the word. To further my question, why is the majority (not the elite good at everything minority) able to build skill faster in judo then aikido? For example, most brown belts in judo or blue belts in bjj only have a few years training and can destroy most anyone without training. However, it takes much longer to get a black belt in aikido, and even then we have debates on the expected level of skill. Some will say you are just now ready to learn, others will say you should be able to defend yourself. Where is the consistency that should come with a system?

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:18 PM   #41
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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So why aren't they put on show more, we live in a world of instant communication.
Maybe cos they don't really care to be? Or maybe because people don't really care if they are?

Dunno but I certainly would like to see more of these people.

Mike

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Old 03-19-2007, 12:31 PM   #42
Don_Modesto
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Tourette's Online

What is it about this topic that we have to suffer it's outbursts with such regularity?!

Geez, won't a search of the archived gigs of rants on the topic suffice? ...folk gotta be heard on this tripe again?!

Get a punching bag already.

Geez.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:58 PM   #43
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Don Magee wrote: View Post
So why aren't they put on show more, we live in a world of instant communication.
Why do they need to ?

Why would would they want to put themselves out there. May be they are happy training while pursuing their careers and building families.

I suspect those inclined to self-promote have self-selected themselves into something like MMA which has been so good at feeding the media beasts.

I honestly can't even fathom your thinking process revealed in these responses as it is so alien to my mine. I am actually sympathetic to Dan's statements in that regard when he states the lack of desire to jump into the lime light even though his actions may not always be consistent with that stated desire. Many people don't desire that so you won't ever know of them and that IMO is a healthy thing. Forget the instant media and this need to know everyone's elses business.

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Old 03-19-2007, 01:00 PM   #44
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

I really don't have a dog in this fight, but this caught my eye...
Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
However, it takes much longer to get a black belt in aikido, and even then we have debates on the expected level of skill. Some will say you are just now ready to learn, others will say you should be able to defend yourself. Where is the consistency that should come with a system?
Well, there is a consistancy...it just doesn't match that of other systems. BJJ is consistant within itself, pretty much where ever you train, because there is a consistent syllabus and measuring stick in use. Same same for judo. For aikido?

Different kind of system. Same same for most "traditional" arts. Ick I hate that term these days...anywho...

From dojo to dojo, teacher to teacher, aikido org to aikido org you have different standards, different requirements and for the most part, no competition. And it's usually pretty clearly stated that it's not about competition / fighting.

So... it's pretty consistent in...it's inconsistency!

Best,
Ron

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Old 03-19-2007, 01:08 PM   #45
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

The real question is this, and it would end it all.

When do you guys want to have a throwdown?

That is, an event were we all get together and agree to the level of non-compliance that we can commonly agree to that would define martial effectiveness in an empty handed situation.

I think leaving weapons out of it to be a good thing, after all, we are only after demonstrating baseline skills, and empty handed non-compliance is enough to deal with to demonstrate this.

I have posed the question several times over the past several months, but no one seems to want to define the criteria of effectiveness, they will only illude to it and evade the question when asked directly.

Personally, I am okay with my own practice, and future practice as it has been tradittionally performed in aikido. I have a great amount of respect for my Shihan and instructors, and have no issues with what they try to teach.

I did go outside of the art to hone my skills in non-compliance so I could deal with it better than what I was learning in aikido.

Frankly, I am out of this fight, as no one has really demonstrated that they are willing to test their baseline skills for whatever reason, other than to come here and shoot their mouths off about it, and work on a few static exercises with people from what I can tell.

I am trying to refrain from discusssing it any longer, because like Mike Haft, I have caught too much flak over it in the past month.

All the years I have been studying Aikido, all the years I have been on aikiweb, all the years I have spent in trying to understand budo, I have never seen such a commotion over this.

When I move back to the states in July, I will gladly try and find the time to meet with anyone on a friendly event that is geared toward aliveness/noncompliance, not static demonstration, or KI test, but testing it against aliveness and non-compliance, and work through this stuff.

You want to claim that a Aikido Shihan cannot fight or beat a UFC guy...good for you. I agree with Ellis, that is a juvenile and frankly shortsighted view of the world. Get a life.

However, if you want to go there, then I will gladly meet you and have you demonstrate what that you to can walk the walk and talk the talk. It doesn't matter to me if I get beat or dominated in such an event, frankly I like when that happens as it means I have something to learn.

I am no Shihan, no not even a shodan in aikido yet! So, I should be easy to teach and to show the path away from my ignorance.

Unless you are willing to put your own chips on the table, then I don't think you have a leg to stand on, and should simply keep your mouth shut and find something else to entertain yourself with.

Sorry for the bluntness, but frankly I am really getting sick of all the crap that has been flying around here of lately.

Put up or shut up.

If you want to discuss internal skills, that is one thing. You want to go down this path of discrediting shihan and judging things by your own percieved criteria..that is another.

First, adequately define your criteria so those like myself can understand it, and not be confused by all the emotionally charged, meaningless phrases.

Second, realize that aikido does not necessarily meet it.

Third, get over it.

Fourth, if you can't...then be prepared to put up or shut up, based on that criteria.

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Old 03-19-2007, 01:20 PM   #46
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote: View Post
Why do they need to ?

Why would would they want to put themselves out there. May be they are happy training while pursuing their careers and building families.

I suspect those inclined to self-promote have self-selected themselves into something like MMA which has been so good at feeding the media beasts.

I honestly can't even fathom your thinking process revealed in these responses as it is so alien to my mine. I am actually sympathetic to Dan's statements in that regard when he states the lack of desire to jump into the lime light even though his actions may not always be consistent with that stated desire. Many people don't desire that so you won't ever know of them and that IMO is a healthy thing. Forget the instant media and this need to know everyone's elses business.
They need to because it would further the adoption of their art, therefor furthering the goals of aikido. People can't change and convert to something they do no know exists. You can't change the world if you stay hidden. Had their not been a UFC, I wouldn't know that the true way to pronounce R's is with a H sound.

By saying you do not want anyone to know about you, or you do not want to show the world, you are saying you do not wish to promote world peace, or you do not wish to further your art. You want it to be exclusive, hidden, etc. If aikido is a message of peace and love, then it should be spread, not hidden. But as martial artists, we must do everything backwards and counter productive. Otherwise we take the art out of martial arts.

Last edited by DonMagee : 03-19-2007 at 01:22 PM.

- Don
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:58 PM   #47
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Don,

I understand what you are saying. Personally I feel this is true for me and my pursuit of martial arts...be it aikido, BJJ, MMA or what not.

However, I don't think that my Shihan, Saotome needs to do anything to prove anything to me in respect to this conversation.

The guy is 70 years old, I could probably kick his ass from here to tommorrow as I am 28 years his junior., outweigh him, out reach...you name it.

I do however, have a great deal of respect for what he has done, what he represents, and what he teaches.

I am not a close student of his, and I have only engaged him sporadically over the past 12 years. However, in my dealings with him, I have been impressed with him as a person. Yes, a person, falliable, human, and experiencing life as the rest of us are.

He understands reality. Once about 12 years ago, as a new student fresh from Ranger School, I challenged him in a non-compliant scenario in which he obliged me, and flattened my nose hard against a wall.

On another occasion when in DC up from florida the dojo caretaker informed him to be careful as crackheads were using the front porch of his house to light up. Sensei said in his broken japanese/english accent..."oh should have brought shotgun up from florida", laughed and went about his business.

He has thousands of students worldwide, he as spread the word and message of O'sensei through the medium of aikido. He has never misrepresented the art, or have I ever heard him talk about martial effectiveness, or all the other garbage that we throw out.

Yes, there are many of his students that form attachments to the art of aikido that they clearly don't understand. It happens admittdly when you don't have the element of aliveness in the art.

It was something that I was personally seeking, and I found it in BJJ...so I study that.

That attachment, however, is MY attachment, not aikido's or ASUs, or Soatome Sensei's. It is mine. Important to me.

I go to study aikido because it has something that I need or want. It has a clear message, and it has a clear methodology for teaching me certain things.

I have my own criticisms of aikido as I judge it from my own needs, attachments, and goals. Those things are up to me to fix, it is not up to me to change.

This kinda reminds me of the people who find cheap land at the end of an Airport. They buy the land knowing that the airplanes land there every minute of everyday. At first they say, 'Hey it is okay, at this price, we can live with it." However, a few years go by, and they forget why they did what they did, they form a new paradigm and a sense of entitlement toward things...then they complain to city council about and lobby to have the airport moved, because how dare it make that noise with houses next to it.

So, do the shihan need to change, that which they best know and best see at their particular view point and time in place...or do we need to change and find our own way in the art.

I don't think it is necessary to beat these guys up. If you feel that the art is inadequate, or not serving your needs, and it leaves you empty...go look elsewhere, don't try and change something you don't really have any control over.

It is about changing yourself, not your environment and the things external to you.

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Old 03-19-2007, 02:05 PM   #48
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Quote:
It is about changing yourself, not your environment and the things external to you.
Gee, this could be a quote from Dan, or Mike, in that other thread...what's it called...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:09 PM   #49
Esaemann
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 92
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Probably reading too much into the intial statement here, but I run through things like this in my own mind sometimes (condition yellow). Thought it might do good to actually write it too.

Am I training in Aikido to learn to defend myself? Moreso when I started than now. Strictly defensive-wise, I realize that what I have now versus 5 1/2 years ago, I'm in a better boat.

Although it is interesting/entertaining to think about top martial artists from different styles having it out (e.g. in a movie Jet Li vs. Steven Seagal vs. ?), it doesn't ever go any deeper than that for me. Why not? Lets assume that if I could find the best fighter(s) and copy their style, I would be able to defend myself in the best way. I believe that most who are going to attack me for whatever reason (ego gratification, robbing, killing), I will either be able to handle bare-handed, I'll need to shoot them, I'll be hurt (so what), or killed. My lifestyle doesn't lend itself to "getting in fights". Maybe I'm dreaming here, but it seems the chances of getting attacked by a great MAer are very low simply by virtue of someone dedicated enough to such training doesn't go about attacking people unprovoked. I just doubt that most street thugs are trained fighters, but instead pick out good victims and are just plain vicous (sp?). So I have to ask myself, why would I want to be a great fighter? If someone is intent on killing me, I will use a gun as soon as possible.

Is it important that the "top 10 in my art of choice can kick the butts of top 10 in other art"? We each have to answer that for ourselves. Most likely (never say never) I wouldn't hang around with someone who answers yes.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:19 PM   #50
DonMagee
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,311
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Re: Shihan vs Fighters

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post

I don't think it is necessary to beat these guys up. If you feel that the art is inadequate, or not serving your needs, and it leaves you empty...go look elsewhere, don't try and change something you don't really have any control over.

It is about changing yourself, not your environment and the things external to you.
Actually, its funny you should say that. The last few weeks I've contemplated quiting my aikido classes to free up more time for more serious study in other areas. I'm not seeing what I want in my life from my aikido training, and the end results also do not mesh with how I feel as a person. I probably will leave it all behind very soon.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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