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Old 06-14-2007, 08:32 AM   #51
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

I am a BIG proponent of teaching my students how to attack properly. That means attacking in a balanced manner with good posture. That means extending energy through strikes and not hitting while contracting muscles against an anticipated contact point. That means REALLY hitting, striking, kicking, grabbing so that real intention is conveyed. You cannot improve your Aikido unless you can work with honest attacks.

That being said....

Many people train TOO fast without any sense of connection. This is frequently where and why injuries occur. I am not concerned about a student going full hilt in trying to strike me. I am fairly confident in my ability to respond in a manner that is safe for me AND the attacker. This requires me to remain soft and connected to the attacker. Mimicking the words of James Williams Sensei (Bujutsu instructor) "being soft does not mean that we are nice people, it means that we are simply being more effective and efficient."

I will only allow my students to train at a pace and level of intensity where they can learn how to make the internal principles of Aikido work properly. I do not believe that it serves anybody to have beginners strike and respond with a level of intensity so that their reactions and responses are fear-based, too tense and out of control. The students are always shown how what they are doing gets ramped-up to real-life attacks. They deserve to know that there is a progression to the capacity to respond in more realistic scenarios.

I, like a previous person, noted that even in really hard dojo's (my first instructor was Oyama Sensei- Karate) NOBODY suffered serious injuries from demonstrations or practices. That usually happened in open tournaments. To me, the quality of instruction is closely linked to safety level in the dojo.

Some students simply won't have the patience to learn at a safe pace, believing that full-hilt from the beginning is the ONLY way. I have allowed some students to come at me in that manner and an atemi and powerful movement usually opens up his eyes. My responsibility as a teacher is to create a safe environment in which true learning can take place. If the student does not like the atmosphere that I create, then there are other dojos out their with different training philosophies.

In summary, I think that it is important to view your dojo from the perspective of whether or not the training atmosphere and methods can bring you to the point of handling a full-hilt attack. It might require some patience and trust on your part to get there. If you do not believe that this school will take you to the place that you want to go, I am sure that you can find a dojo that will be supportive and accepting of your training attitude.

best wishes on resolving this dilemma!

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-14-2007, 09:54 AM   #52
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Quote:
Richard Fox wrote: View Post
I remember last year I was training with a senior member of my dojo, and the attack was a face punch, and I hit him square in the mouth and bloodied his lip a little bit. He was really, I mean, really pissed off. He kept repeating "You f**king hit me!" I didn't say anything, but I also didn't feel bad one little bit. It's a dojo for Chrissakes! Of course I am not going to punch a 5th kyu in the mouth in aikido training, but we owe it to eachother to make it as real as we can without serious injury.
When I trained at that dojo, when it was first founded, the proper response was "Thankyou".

There's a problem for seniors who don't get out much; they get to the point which they get used to no one in the dojo being able to hit them. They need someone to keep them honest. It's supposed to be the other seniors since the juniors shouldn't be able to but it often doesn't work that way.

Of course, some of your seniors are getting older. You can't expect them to play like they did when they were younger. But there darn well should be folks, like Robert, who are quite happy to nuke you any time. If Robert isn't hitting you, you have either gotten to a very high level, or he is being polite.

That said, you don't want to do that "balls to the wall" training all the time. It's fine for developing an understanding "irimi" and it's great practice as uke to go for total "lock-on" and nail your partner. But a diet of just that training typically results in too much tension and muscular technique. I know because I trained that way for years. We trained hard but we didn't train smart. There's a reason that most of the Rokudans are pretty beaten up. I don't recommend repeating our mistakes.

You need some time when it's slower and less intense so that you can, over time, re-program your body to understand that relaxing will make it safe. Static practice, flowing technique from grabbing style attacks are important in this reprogramming. This is something the "beastie boys" in the dojo often forget. If your goal is to understand what Saotome Sensei can do you need that balance in your training or you won't get it.

Keep up your boxing while you are still young. You are not going to want to take that impact later on. Pick up striking instruction where you can. I would say, get out and train with folks like Dan and pick up some info on how to train your structure properly. Achieve a balance between practice which is designed to make your spirit stronger and your technique more "realistic: in its ability, and practice which is designed to allow you to find the places where you carry tension, both mental and physical, and to release it. Do a lot of sword, the goodies are there and you don't get so trashed physically over time. Talk to Eugene Lee about your concerns, he's got an excellent approach to his practice.

Don't bail on your Aikido, just find people to train with who can show you a better way to do things. The problem with many of the DC boys is that they believe that, because they are direct students of Saotome Sensei, they don't need to go elsewhere to seek answers. This is wrong and leads to people who are marginalized, left behind by folks who have been out there getting a broad exposure to different viewpoints and technique.

I'll be at DC Summer Camp, come introduce yourself and we can play. I'll try to explain what I currently see as the proper balance. You can try to hit me and we'll have some fun.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:13 AM   #53
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
When I trained at that dojo, when it was first founded, the proper response was "Thankyou".

I'll be at DC Summer Camp, come introduce yourself and we can play. I'll try to explain what I currently see as the proper balance. You can try to hit me and we'll have some fun.
That's the ticket. Onegaeshimasu ... please try and hit me. It's part of the yakusoku that everyone I like to train with understands. Appropriateness is the key. We can shake someone up without hurting them. Seniors leading juniors.. everyone learning.. great fun!

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 06-14-2007, 11:50 AM   #54
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

If you train with George Sensei at the camp DO NOT try any moves from Tennenhouse Ryu - ala last Aiki Expo!

Lots of Luv George Sensei- Cannot wait to play at the Boulder Camp!

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-14-2007, 03:41 PM   #55
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Wink Re: Aikidoka attacks

You know what? I think that your are going throught a phase. You are looking for something, and you are not sure yet what it is. Do less A´kido - but do not give it up entirely - and more boxing, if that's what makes you happy now. No effort is useless. Two things come with time and sincere training: skill and experience. You might be surprised, in a few months, or even in a few years, by what you will discover during your journey.
That's what being young is for.
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:18 PM   #56
cjudge
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Hey Rich,

So, at this boxing gym of yours...how are their breakfalls?

Cliff
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Old 07-16-2007, 01:12 PM   #57
mwible
Dojo: Aikido of Suenaka-Ha in Greater Richmond
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

ive only been training in aikido a little over a year, but i also did TKD beforehand and i still spar with my TKD friends often, and i like to surprise them with a throw every now and then. i understand what you are saying tho, it is much more invigorating when the attacks are real speed and real technique.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:35 PM   #58
Dewey
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Three words: Aiki Fight Club!

You'd be surprised how many Aikidoka out there are looking for full intensity training sessions with full-speed strikes and takedown attempts, also. Perhaps you should take the initiative and put out notice to the area dojo (regardless of affiliation/style) for interested yudansha. However, it should be understood as an informal gathering of local Aikidoka, not the formation of a new dojo...just a randori club...aiki fight club!

Seriously, though (although I'm only half-kidding about the above-mentioned). The nature of dojo training is that it must accommodate all skill levels as well as martial interests. Thus, it requires patience, understanding and humility on your part. Like in days of old in feudal Japan: your dojo is only as strong as its weakest/most inexperienced student. You have duties as sempai to mentor/challenge/train the "youngin's"...which means you have to put your personal interests aside. However, it does give you an opportunity to introduce them to a more realistic training.

Remember: the first rule about Aiki Fight Club is that no one talks about Aiki Fight Club....

Last edited by Dewey : 07-16-2007 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 07-22-2007, 11:21 PM   #59
nikau
Dojo: Makotokan Budo
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Question Re: Aikidoka attacks

some great points throughout this whole post.

i've 15 years in box and kick.
only 1 in aikido

BUT 1 of our lessons a few weeks ago with sensei was keeping mawai distance.

so when i trained with a friend or 2 for box and kick i practiced keeping my distance while they attacked. I found it difficult not to revert to boxing etc BUT by the end my foot work was improving.

There's no reason why you can't cross-train and keep your training focussed on aikido. I'm only doing it for distance BUT i'm sure when sensei gives us other exercises to practice i'm sure these are things i can apply as well.
i.e i'm hoping after a few months i can go from practicing distance on a boxer or kick boxer to ENTERING.

I think if you change your approach to boxing training and look to practice some aikido techniques you may find what your looking for.

good luck.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:49 AM   #60
Erik Calderon
 
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Quote:
Brian Dewey wrote: View Post
Three words: Aiki Fight Club!

You'd be surprised how many Aikidoka out there are looking for full intensity training sessions with full-speed strikes and takedown attempts, also. Perhaps you should take the initiative and put out notice to the area dojo (regardless of affiliation/style) for interested yudansha. However, it should be understood as an informal gathering of local Aikidoka, not the formation of a new dojo...just a randori club...aiki fight club!

Seriously, though (although I'm only half-kidding about the above-mentioned). The nature of dojo training is that it must accommodate all skill levels as well as martial interests. Thus, it requires patience, understanding and humility on your part. Like in days of old in feudal Japan: your dojo is only as strong as its weakest/most inexperienced student. You have duties as sempai to mentor/challenge/train the "youngin's"...which means you have to put your personal interests aside. However, it does give you an opportunity to introduce them to a more realistic training.

Remember: the first rule about Aiki Fight Club is that no one talks about Aiki Fight Club....
Great Post!

http://www.shinkikan.com

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Old 07-24-2007, 10:05 AM   #61
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

No one talks about what??????

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 07-25-2007, 03:23 PM   #62
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

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Erik Calderon wrote: View Post
You share space with a Bujinkaner?
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:54 AM   #63
Mike Haftel
Location: Hokkaido
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Quote:
Richard Fox wrote: View Post
My question and the reason for posting this thread: what is your experience of this issue in your own dojos?
Well, it seems that another martial art might be better for you (or cross train).

There are plenty of other martial arts out there that look at training under a different light.

But, you also need to think about what you are looking for in a martial art. Do you want self-defense, do you want fun, do you want to be a skilled fighter, do you want a hobby, and etc.

Some people could care less about how effective they are at fighting or self-defense or the like. And, other people care only about how skilled of a fighter they are.

As for myself, I look for a balance between pure combative skill and some aspect of history, tradition, and the educational process of training. For me, Aikido lacks some of these qualities.

Mostly, it is is due to the fact that the vast majority of Aikidoka I have encountered refuse (consciously or not) to look at alternative, and possibly more effective/efficient, ways to apply the principles which are inherent in the techniques they are doing. This may be just a difference of opinion, but I think it goes further than that.

Sometimes, people (including myself) have grand illsuions about what it is they are studying and how they are training. For me, it is about finding these illusions and putting them to rest.

I am happy to say that there are arts out there which I do enjoy and I'm sure you'll find something which is a good match for you.

Last edited by Mike Haftel : 07-30-2007 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:36 AM   #64
Mike Haftel
Location: Hokkaido
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

I think another issue (as already stated) is the nature of the attack. I am usually presented with weak attacks as well. What I'll do is not move at all and see where the attack is really going. What happens is uke will punch, I won't move, and the punch will wind up 5 inches to the side of my head in empty space. I usually smile and politely ask that uke strike ME instead of empty space. And sometimes the attack will end a foot or so from my body, in front of me. And, even after going over all of this, five minutes later uke will be striking at empty space again.

However, I also fall victim to this sometimes. Sometimes I'll pull my punches or attack because I know that if I attack sincerely I'll seriously injure my partner. Other times, it's out of not wanting to embarass the person I'm working with. But, you can attack with proper intent without attacking with intensity
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:57 AM   #65
Dewey
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Quote:
Mike Haftel wrote: View Post
I think another issue (as already stated) is the nature of the attack. I am usually presented with weak attacks as well. What I'll do is not move at all and see where the attack is really going. What happens is uke will punch, I won't move, and the punch will wind up 5 inches to the side of my head in empty space. I usually smile and politely ask that uke strike ME instead of empty space. And sometimes the attack will end a foot or so from my body, in front of me. And, even after going over all of this, five minutes later uke will be striking at empty space again.

However, I also fall victim to this sometimes. Sometimes I'll pull my punches or attack because I know that if I attack sincerely I'll seriously injure my partner. Other times, it's out of not wanting to embarass the person I'm working with. But, you can attack with proper intent without attacking with intensity
That's one thing that REALLY irks my instructor and he constantly scolds us about: not making sincere attacks. That is, the issue isn't necessarily the intensity/speed of the attack (that increases proportionately with rank in our dojo), but rather with the range of effective motion and trajectory of the attack.
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:58 PM   #66
Matthew White
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Re: Aikidoka attacks

Well said, Amir!

I think it's easy for us to train in one style and think that every other aikido group trains that way. Since I train in an offshoot of tomiki, I'm often surprised by things I read here. I believe Mr. Fox said, "The set routine of uke and nage with single attacks, no counters, is simply not fun anymore." That was the part that amazed me. The idea of not countering if there is a hole in the technique is alien to me.

there are no "perfect" schools of anything, from aikido to particle physics to physical therapy. there's always something lacking, some way of improving. either see if you can find a constructive way to alter your current training, or look for a school that has what you're looking for.
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