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Old 08-05-2007, 02:13 AM   #51
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Are there any place online to see videos of previous Yoshida Shihan seminars?
I posted this URL before in the "Aikido is weapons technique" thread but it seems it was ignored. I get the feeling I'm on the "ignore" list of a lot of people.

Clips of Yoshida Sensei's seminar in Kiev

Happy Viewing!

Cito

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:22 AM   #52
darin
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
No Worries Darin. I am glad you and Paul have discovered Nishio Shihan. I understand why Unno Sensei would want to use Karate in a dangerous encounter. Everyone has thier "Money Punch" aka "Knockout Blow"... A Favorite Technique they can execute without thought from muscle memory under duress. It's still Aikido as knocking someone out prevents them from further harm.

Nishio Shihan understood the practical nature of Budo very well... Which is why all our techniques start with a "Knockout Blow" so to speak. He used to say "In Aikido The fight is over at the moment of first contact." This "Knockout blow" is exactly what he meant. Nage should "accept (enter/Irimi) and influance (Atemi)" Uke to achieve harmony with him/Her "right off the bat" to end the conflict before it escalates into a Technique.

Nishio Sensei understood with O'Sensei blessing that Aikido must both survive and evolve as a Martial Art. His Aikido when applied as a Martial Art is very effective When combined with the Spirit of Aikido it becomes a tool in which a person can change from a Fighter to a Person of Peace.

I hope that last line makes sense. It is sometimes hard to articulate my feelings correctly.

William Hazen
Its interesting to see different strategies. I understand and agree with Nishio sensei's application of atemi in aikido. However I was never really taught that method. I really don't think there are many styles out there that do aikido like that. I mean a lot will say you can do atemi here and there but very few actually train for it to be second nature.

Unno Sensei despite teaching atemi always viewed it as a separate entity. His idea was that you use atemi if your timing isn't good enough, and that aikido doesn't need atemi if done properly. However he wasn't against using atemi in randori or while practicing techniques.

Hiro Mochizuki (Yoseikan Budo) has adopted a kick boxing/mui thai style of atemi using the wave principle to generate power. I remember seeing him in a video say that its very difficult and not practical to be passive and just hope to receive an attack and then apply a technique. His strategy is to duck and weave like a boxer to setup your opponent to commit to a punch or kick therefore giving you the opportunity to apply atemi and then do a throw or lock. I find this very interesting. (This is really Phil Farmer's territory as I have only a limited experience in Hiro Mochizuki's Yoseikan Budo. Hopefully he will come online and share their style's views on sparring).
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:15 AM   #53
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Cito Maramba wrote: View Post
I posted this URL before in the "Aikido is weapons technique" thread but it seems it was ignored. I get the feeling I'm on the "ignore" list of a lot of people.

Clips of Yoshida Sensei's seminar in Kiev

Happy Viewing!

Cito
Yeah, you're definitely in mine:

ha-ha-ha.
I love your posts. you offer an interesting angle and are informed on many subjects. At times I have no idea what you might say next. That is refreshing.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:21 AM   #54
CNYMike
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
I've seen this rationale before and it makes no sense. How can you have any kind of two-person martial arts training without one person eventually winning and the other person losing? Certainly you have this in every aikido technique: the nage wins and the uke loses.
Even so, it's one thing to practice a prearranged technique, or know (in the case of randori) that you will always be uke or nage. But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win." Even if no one is actually keeping score, you can still try to win. I learned this the hard way a coupel of years ago when we started sparring in Kali class. My instructor had us starting low intensity with just punches (the idea being over time to add more techniques and ramp up the intensity). He also had us all doing it at once so we wouldn't have the time watching another match to get nervous. I thought I had the idea down, but he shouted at me from across the room: "You're trying to win sir!"

"I am?" I called back, surprised.

"Yes, you are."

Sparring in class isn't supposed to be about winning or losing, just examining techniques in a freestyle format. But you have to learn to get your ego out of it. Prearranged training where you are always uke or nage short circuits that, too.

Quote:
The reasons why there are no sparring in most styles of aikido originally were historical, but recently they have become mainly political. If you introduced realistic resistance training at this point in any of the major organizations that do not have it, a lot of people in powerful places would be shocked to find out how badly their techniques work against resistance .....
It seems to me the question then becomes to study how Aikido's principles would work against resistance. Is the person just pushing back against you? Then you have to blend with that energy. Is he trying to counter you? Then counter his counter. Is he just locking down and not moving? Then hit him the face; if he's going to give you a second, use it.

I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar. You don't care about that, do whatever you want. But I do.

Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:37 AM   #55
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win." Even if no one is actually keeping score,

It seems to me the question then becomes to study how Aikido's principles would work against resistance. Is the person just pushing back against you? Then you have to blend with that energy. Is he trying to counter you? Then counter his counter. Is he just locking down and not moving? Then hit him the face; if he's going to give you a second, use it.
................................................................................ ..................
I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar. You don't care about that, do whatever you want. But I do.

Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.
NIce post there Michael.

I know what you mean about the winning. I'm pretty lucky in that most of my students try as hard as they can, but don't seem to be too attached to "winning". The problem with not trying to "win" is that you don't go as hard, and resist will all your ability, if you're not trying to win.

The problem with trying to win is, your ego gets attached to the "win" and not the training. You will do things like pervert the rules of the practice to win. Or you may become angry, and disconnected due to your desire to win.

Either way it's bad training. So what to do? You have to breed a special quality in yourself. You have to summon up your fighting spirit, and try as hard as you can. At the same time, you can't allow yourself to derive much pleasure from the victory, only the joy of training.

If it's the joy of training you're attached to, then win or lose you will train hard and honestly.

About not sparing because O' sensei said so. I don't think he ever said you shouldn't spar. I've heard lots of stories about him closing up the dojo to outsiders so he could do sumo. I've read plenty about his nature to compete, and to put himself through arduous training. I think he would really like sparing.

As to what your teachers think. Yes, I've known many teachers that are upset by "sparring". I've been yelled at, and told many times that what I'm doing these days isn't Aikido. One of my teachers told me many times that "wrestling around isn't Aikido".

But that's fine. It's a free world (even if some maniacal dictators say it's not). They can feel how they like about Aikido, and they're not wrong. Neither am I. They do Aikido their way, and I mine. Hopefully we can talk about it, and learn something from each other.

Hey Cito,
You're not on my ignor list. I usually like your posts.

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Old 08-05-2007, 11:58 AM   #56
deepsoup
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
Now, if you really want to spar more than anything, either (A) don't do Aikido and find another system more to your liking; or (B) train in both Aikido and another system at the same time.
Or (C) find a dojo such as the one where I practice, and choose your training sessions accordingly. (You'd like our Monday night sessions a lot.)

Sean
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:59 PM   #57
G DiPierro
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win."
I think you mean to say that when you have tried freestyle training in the past, your ego has kicked in. When I do freestyle training, this is not a problem. I've also trained in other arts that have a dedicated non-competative freestyle resistance training component, and this is not a problem there either.
Quote:
I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar.
Well I never met or corresponded with Morihei Ueshiba, so he never told me anything. None of his direct students that I have trained with (over half a dozen) have told me not to spar either. M. Ueshiba was known to have a open policy where students could challenge him in a freestyle situation, even off the mat, but I do not know of many teachers in the aikikai today that would accept any kind of freestyle challenge. Perhaps the lone exception that I have encountered would be N. Tamura.

Quote:
Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.
It is interesting how often people want to define what aikido is and to determine who should and who should not practice it. Who really has that right? You could say the current doshu, but then you are talking about doing the doshu's aikido and not that of Morihei Ueshiba. And since the founder is dead, I don't think he is in any position to comment on what is and is not aikido. However, when he was alive he once remarked that what his son Kisshomaru was teaching was not his aikido, and his son has probably been the strongest influence on the development of post-war aikido, particuarly in the US aikikai-affiliated organizations. So perhaps none of what people in the US are doing today can be said to be the aikido of the founder. Either way, I really don't think anyone on an internet forum is qualified to say what aikido is, who should practice it, or how they should practice.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 08-05-2007 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 08-05-2007, 04:32 PM   #58
CNYMike
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
I think you mean to say that when you have tried freestyle training in the past, your ego has kicked in. When I do freestyle training, this is not a problem. I've also trained in other arts that have a dedicated non-competative freestyle resistance training component, and this is not a problem there either.
First of all, what I mean to say is what I said. Don't tell me what I think. I will tell you. I don't like it when internet posters try to tell me what I'm really thinking. Please refrain from doing it.

In the second place, I didn't know I was trying to "win" until someone else pointed out to it. So the lesson I took from that experience is one can think his or ego and/or pride isn't kicking in when, in fact it is.

Quote:
Well I never met or corresponded with Morihei Ueshiba, so he never told me anything .....
Ditto. So what? We have the art that's been passed down to us as well as the direct students still living and a ton of books about him and Aikido, so it's not like there are plenty of resources out there.

Quote:
None of his direct students that I have trained with (over half a dozen) have told me not to spar either. M. Ueshiba was known to have a open policy where students could challenge him in a freestyle situation, even off the mat, but I do not know of many teachers in the aikikai today that would accept any kind of freestyle challenge. Perhaps the lone exception that I have encountered would be N. Tamura.
See above.

Quote:
It is interesting how often people want to define what aikido is and to determine who should and who should not practice it .....
Well, I'm not interested in saying who should or shouldn't practice it. As for defining what it is or isn't, I think that's where one has to be careful.

I'll agree, O Sensei left a lot of wiggle room in passing down Aikido. Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, and all his other students from the '30s were different from him and each other. That's true of the latter generation of his students and their students. There may be as many "styles" of Aikido as there are people practicing it, but one' style won't be recognized unless one's been wearing a hakima for a long time.

But I still think one has to be careful not to cross the line -- however amorphous it is -- between what Aikido is and what it isn't. Because part of what's going on in martial arts training is an oral tradition whereby the art is passed from generation to generation; that more than anything keeps it alive. That's why I keep saying that if someone wants to teach generic grappling, do it whichever way one wants, but if one wants to teach Aikido, specifically, there are more issues one has to deal with. If one chooses to ignore those things, that's that person's business, but it still has to be dealt with, like it or not.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:04 PM   #59
G DiPierro
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
First of all, what I mean to say is what I said. Don't tell me what I think. I will tell you. I don't like it when internet posters try to tell me what I'm really thinking. Please refrain from doing it.
I never said anything about what you were thinking. What you wrote, exactly, was
Quote:
But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win."
Just from reading that sentence, it's unclear who is signified by the pronoun "you." Although you were replying directly to my post, you could not have been referring to me, since you have never seen me do freestyle. I also don't think you were referring generally to the readers of your post as that would mean that you would have had to observe many aikido students of various styles doing freestyle resistance training. Judging by the context of this statement -- the fact that you then went on to describe how one time when you tried resistance training you had problems with trying to win -- it seems as if you were talking about yourself, so I was suggesting that your choice of pronoun in that statement was a bit unclear and did not convey your true meaning. Since you disagree with this, why don't you explain exactly to whom (other than yourself) you were referring in that statement and what evidence has led you to this conclusion.
Quote:
I'll agree, O Sensei left a lot of wiggle room in passing down Aikido. Tomiki, Shioda, Shirata, and all his other students from the '30s were different from him and each other. That's true of the latter generation of his students and their students. There may be as many "styles" of Aikido as there are people practicing it, but one' style won't be recognized unless one's been wearing a hakima for a long time.
You mentioned K. Tomiki, who was one of Ueshiba's top pre-war students and the first recipient of the 8-dan rank from M. Ueshiba in 1940. He taught sparring as part of aikido. Yet you have said more than once that people who want to do sparring should not do aikido and should "leave aikido the way it is." I don't know how long you have been "wearing a hakama," as you put it, but I doubt that you are better qualified than Mr. Tomiki to determine whether sparring should be a part of aikido or whether people who want to do this kind of training have a place in aikido.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:47 PM   #60
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
What kind of question is that? With all due respect Chris it's a silly question.

Show up at the next seminar with Yoshida Shihan and find out for yourself.

We've converted quite a few Theorists over the years. LOL
I don't really think that's what Chris meant with his question. Just watched the videos, and it seemed like standard Aikido. Maybe there's something I'm missing out?

Quote:
I thought I had the idea down, but he shouted at me from across the room: "You're trying to win sir!"
To me, someone always had to win or lose. I just found I was not being fair to my partner if I didn't try to win.

I've learned to avoid jabs in Muay Thai because my partner aimed to hit me for real with every jab. I don't see how you and your partner can improve and step up your skills if neither pushes the pressure. My opinion.

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 08-05-2007 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:03 PM   #61
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

And why does everything always have to be about ego? What happened to just the joy of training? Since when is sparring with your friend about buffing your ego and knocking him out? I just always hear this stuff from people trying to discourage sparring/freestyle. Everyone has an ego. Your human brain will naturally feel good when you "win" and a bit depressed when you "lose". There's a difference between feeling an ego boost when you see your skills progress, and just going apeshit and trying to smack your partner around.

Sorry, didn't edit previous post in time.
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:21 AM   #62
Ian Cottrill
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

I think most Dojo's do allow freestyle sparring but not to low belts. It is like all sport, you need to learn the basics properly before you can learn more advanced techniques. With Aikido when you reach Black Belt you learn to fall your opponent slowly & gently even if they attack with much force, however a lower Belt cannot. It is obvious to see that you would go through quite a lot of Uke's if you started freestyle too soon.

Regards Ian.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:12 AM   #63
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Shayaan Faruqi wrote: View Post
I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.
Without reading all the replies here.... there is only one style that actually allows and encourages full sparring.... that is Shodokan Aikido. It is the nearest you will get in aikido.
Tony
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:28 AM   #64
CNYMike
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
..... what evidence has led you to this conclusion.
Well, with regrad to the sparring incident, when Guro Andrew Astle explained what he calls practice sparring -- a concept he borowed from Thai Boxers -- he said the goal was to get our egos and pride and fear out of the way so we could eventually use sparring as a learning tool. And he added that right off, "None of you will be able to do it!" So when he said "You're trying to win," he proved he was right.

No, you weren't there, and no, you probably don't know my Kali instructor, so if you are going to quibble over such things .... don't bother.

Quote:
You mentioned K. Tomiki, who was one of Ueshiba's top pre-war students and the first recipient of the 8-dan rank from M. Ueshiba in 1940 ..... I doubt that you are better qualified than Mr. Tomiki to determine whether sparring should be a part of aikido ....
Well, how many of his peers did the same thing Tomiki did? How many did not? That would be a good place to start. What did O Sensei think of what he did? Another clue.

Additionally, you may recall I referred to the specific lineage -- O Sensei -->A-->B-->C--->you. I think a student should listen to what those people have to say. If they say "No sparring!" no sparring. If they have another policy, follow that. If a student is not going to listen to those people, then what is he or she doing there in the first place?
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:32 AM   #65
CNYMike
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
And why does everything always have to be about ego? What happened to just the joy of training? Since when is sparring with your friend about buffing your ego and knocking him out? I just always hear this stuff from people trying to discourage sparring/freestyle. Everyone has an ego. Your human brain will naturally feel good when you "win" and a bit depressed when you "lose". There's a difference between feeling an ego boost when you see your skills progress, and just going apeshit and trying to smack your partner around.

Sorry, didn't edit previous post in time.
Well, your ego can get in the way. If you've already moved past it and can enjoy sparring, congrats, you can learn from it. But getting there is half the fun.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:44 AM   #66
G DiPierro
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
Well, with regrad to the sparring incident, when Guro Andrew Astle explained what he calls practice sparring -- a concept he borowed from Thai Boxers -- he said the goal was to get our egos and pride and fear out of the way so we could eventually use sparring as a learning tool. And he added that right off, "None of you will be able to do it!" So when he said "You're trying to win," he proved he was right.
Obviously, if you have no experience with sparring, you will not be able to do it right. That's the best argument (apart from technical effectiveness) for regularly training in freestyle resistance training. Only through such regular training do you learn to let go of your attachment to winning and losing. I bet that if you asked Mr. Astle he would tell you the same thing.

Quote:
Well, how many of his peers did the same thing Tomiki did? How many did not? That would be a good place to start.
How many of Morihei Ueshiba's peers in Daito-ryu left to start their own martial art? By your logic, since he was the only one, we should conclude that the Ueshiba was wrong to "disrespect" his teacher and so we should all quit aikido and study Daito-ryu instead.

Quote:
What did O Sensei think of what he did? Another clue.
As far as I know, Morihei Ueshiba did not have any problems with Tomiki or what he was doing. It was his son Kisshomaru that did not approve of Tomiki's innovations.

Quote:
Additionally, you may recall I referred to the specific lineage -- O Sensei -->A-->B-->C--->you. I think a student should listen to what those people have to say. If they say "No sparring!" no sparring. If they have another policy, follow that. If a student is not going to listen to those people, then what is he or she doing there in the first place?
As I've said, I've never been told by any aikido teacher that I have had not to spar. I'm not currently training with any aikido teachers, but if I were I certainly wouldn't have any interest in becoming a student of a teacher who did not permit his students to engage in freestyle resistance training. In fact, at this point I'm not really interested in becoming a student of any teacher in any art who will not engage with me in such training himself, and the fact that there are very few such teachers in aikido is probably the main reason why I'm not training with any aikido teacher right now.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:53 AM   #67
DonMagee
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

As for ego's in sparing, if you spar often enough, you will be unable to continue without losing your ego.

What I mean by that is this. Each week we get new students in my bjj club. Every single class we spar, new students are no exception (except it might be positional sparing such as escape from this mount, or pass this guard). Every single one of them has an ego that gets bruised. The ones that can put that past them stay and become good students. The ones that can't whine, get scared, make excuses, never gain skill and eventually leave us.

It's a great tool for filtering out who is worth training with.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:29 PM   #68
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Would have to agree with Don. I don't see how it's possible trying to hang with people a lot more skilled than you without getting a bruised ego, and then eventually very little of an ego at all. People need to stop using the whole "ego" argument as an anti-sparring debate, and maybe start some sparring with people who know more than they do? Just my idea.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:34 PM   #69
CNYMike
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
Obviously, if you have no experience with sparring, you will not be able to do it right. That's the best argument (apart from technical effectiveness) for regularly training in freestyle resistance training. Only through such regular training do you learn to let go of your attachment to winning and losing. I bet that if you asked Mr. Astle he would tell you the same thing.
I'm sure he would; circumstances that are none of your businesses prevented us from continuing to do that. But I started Jun Fan Gung Fu last year and have sparred more frequently; on occassion I have begun to enjoy it.

However, it is still possible for one's ego and pride to get in the way! In my case, it is because when I sparred in karate back in the '80s, I was more often than not a pucnhing bag with legs. I have the same problem now. It is hard to get past "winning" and "losing" if all you do is "lose" (or think you do).

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How many of Morihei Ueshiba's peers in Daito-ryu left to start their own martial art? By your logic, since he was the only one, we should conclude that the Ueshiba was wrong to "disrespect" his teacher and so we should all quit aikido and study Daito-ryu instead.
Or maybe we could do what O Sensei did --- found our own systems. If we assume for the sake of argument that O sensei was disrespectful to his teacher, it would have been even worse if he had continued to promote what he was teaching as Daito Ryu when he was going his own way. But by doing his own thing and giving it its own name, no one could tell him he is doing anything wrong because it is his thinking, no one else's.

Which goes back to the point I was trying to make: While there is considerable wiggle room in Aikido, if you wiggle too far, it's not Aikido. At that point one viable option is to call it something else and make it your own.

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As far as I know, Morihei Ueshiba did not have any problems with Tomiki or what he was doing. It was his son Kisshomaru that did not approve of Tomiki's innovations.
This came up in another thread a while ago; Tomiki had to broker a deal with O Sensei to use the name "Aikido." So I wouldn't put O Sensei out of the picture just yet.

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As I've said, I've never been told by any aikido teacher that I have had not to spar. I'm not currently training with any aikido teachers, but if I were I certainly wouldn't have any interest in becoming a student of a teacher who did not permit his students to engage in freestyle resistance training. In fact, at this point I'm not really interested in becoming a student of any teacher in any art who will not engage with me in such training himself, and the fact that there are very few such teachers in aikido ....
And I was trying to explain why.

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..... is probably the main reason why I'm not training with any aikido teacher right now.
So in other words, you are following exactly the same advice I gave to the original poster! And your problem is, then .... what?
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:35 PM   #70
CNYMike
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Don Magee wrote: View Post
As for ego's in sparing, if you spar often enough, you will be unable to continue without losing your ego.

What I mean by that is this. Each week we get new students in my bjj club. Every single class we spar, new students are no exception (except it might be positional sparing such as escape from this mount, or pass this guard). Every single one of them has an ego that gets bruised. The ones that can put that past them stay and become good students. The ones that can't whine, get scared, make excuses, never gain skill and eventually leave us.

It's a great tool for filtering out who is worth training with.
If you want to weed people out, yeah. If you don't, not so much.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:37 PM   #71
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
..... I don't see how it's possible trying to hang with people a lot more skilled than you without getting a bruised ego, and then eventually very little of an ego at all ....
That would be true whether a system includes sparring or not.
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:26 PM   #72
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
That would be true whether a system includes sparring or not.
Well, I"m not sure sure on that. At least in my case I trained in arts without sparing for a lot longer then I have in arts with sparing. My first instance of sparing I was paired with a smaller kid who was still in high school. I was at least 20 pounds bigger, and just coming off a long stint in krav maga and aikido.

I was thinking, this should be a cake walk, I'm going to tap this kid faster then he can even react. After about 5 chokes later, I was singing a different tune. I went home that night sulking and wondering why nothing I knew actually worked. Luckily I came to the decision that I had to put it all past me and keep training. I see it happen over and over ever class. It usually doesn't happen as fast as it did in my case, but I watch as white belts go from fighting as if their lives depended on it, to exploring and being ok with making a mistake that costs them that tap. My ego was inflated to huge levels after krav maga and aikido. I mean besides my instructor who has 20 years on me and massive knowledge in the arts I'm invincible. And even if there was someone else like him out there, chances are he wouldn't be a problem anyways.

My attitude a few years ago might of gotten me killed. I probably would of jumped into a fight just because I thought I was invincible. Now I realize I'm a skinny computer nerd with no athletic talent at all. I know my limits, and I would avoid a fight at all costs.

Sparing has given me everything I hold dear in my martial arts. Before sparing, I feel everything I did was a waste. After sparing, I feel I can learn what I was ment to learn in my previous arts.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-06-2007, 08:33 PM   #73
G DiPierro
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
However, it is still possible for one's ego and pride to get in the way! In my case, it is because when I sparred in karate back in the '80s, I was more often than not a pucnhing bag with legs. I have the same problem now. It is hard to get past "winning" and "losing" if all you do is "lose" (or think you do).
I personally prefer non-competitive freestyle resistance training over formally competitive versions. There's several reasons why, but one of them is that the notion of winning and losing is not so specific or well-defined. There is a lot more room for people of varying levels to work together without one necessarily having to lose all of the time.

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Which goes back to the point I was trying to make: While there is considerable wiggle room in Aikido, if you wiggle too far, it's not Aikido. At that point one viable option is to call it something else and make it your own.
And again my question to you is who has the right to define what is and is not aikido? Is it simply a matter of politics or is it a matter of fidelity to what Morihei Ueshiba was doing or trying to do? Depending on how you answer this question, you could end up with radically different notions of what should be considered aikido. I'm already very close at this point to not calling what I do aikido anymore if I were to start teaching it publicly again, not because I don't think it qualifies as aikido -- I certainly think it does -- but because I wouldn't want it to be confused with the practice that most people think of as "aikido."

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This came up in another thread a while ago; Tomiki had to broker a deal with O Sensei to use the name "Aikido." So I wouldn't put O Sensei out of the picture just yet.
Do you have the link? I would like to know more about this.

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So in other words, you are following exactly the same advice I gave to the original poster! And your problem is, then .... what?
The reason I'm not training with any aikido teacher comes down to lack of access more than anything else. There might be a couple of people in the major aikido organizations would could potentially meet my standards, but I cannot practice with them on a regular basis. So instead I work with the best available teachers I can find, and right now none of them happen to be aikido teachers.

My "problem" with your original and subsequent posts is mostly with your explanation for why there is no freestyle resistance training in aikido. I believe that the reason for this began with the historical development of aikido from Daito-ryu and persists today for political reasons and the inherent unwillingness of people within a Japanese-style hierarchy to change, particularly in ways that might threaten the legitimacy of that hierarchy. I don't buy that there are any good pedagogical reasons (or good reasons of any kind, really) for the lack of this kind of training, and further I think its absence has allowed aikido to develop in ways that have led it away from what the founder was doing both physically and philosophically and increasingly towards a practice that is both martially and spiritually deficient.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 08-06-2007 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 08-07-2007, 01:22 AM   #74
tarik
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
But apparently, when you go totally freestyle, your ego kicks in and you try to "win." Even if no one is actually keeping score, you can still try to win.
Yeah, it takes a while to get that out of your system. It's important, IMO.

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Sparring in class isn't supposed to be about winning or losing, just examining techniques in a freestyle format. But you have to learn to get your ego out of it. Prearranged training where you are always uke or nage short circuits that, too.
I very much agree with your statement about what 'sparring' is supposed to be about. To me, a very important part of that training is to learn to let go of that ego.

As for the second part, are you saying that pre-arranged training short circuits ego in training? Because that's not my experience. Some of the most combative and ego driven training I've ever experienced in aikido has almost entirely been during prearranged forms rather than randori or sparring.

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It seems to me the question then becomes to study how Aikido's principles would work against resistance. Is the person just pushing back against you? Then you have to blend with that energy. Is he trying to counter you? Then counter his counter. Is he just locking down and not moving? Then hit him the face; if he's going to give you a second, use it.
Sounds good to me.

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I also firmly believe in not being disrespectful to your teachers and your lineage. If O Sensei and everyone between you and him says "don't spar," don't spar. You don't care about that, do whatever you want. But I do.
I care a lot, myself. However, Ueshiba Sensei's aikido is gone, and most of us are interested in learning our own teacher's aikido which is all that's truly available to learn. I know of plenty of teachers who don't say "don't spar".

I agree about the issue of disrespect, but what is it?

It was expressed to me at one time that I was disrespectful for not falling down when a senior (6th dan) instructor waved his hand in front of my face. I disagree.. it would have, in my opinion, been disrespectful to fall down, and in this case I'm not talking about sparring. It happened 3-4 times in a row, and I was honestly wondering when he was going to throw me as we were in front of class and he was instructing.

So then I endured first a blow that required the instructor to check in with me for an injury (there was none as my ukemi was up to it) and then a lecture in front of the entire class about my ukemi for not falling down earlier.

I sincerely expected this instructor to know how to throw me without hurting me and I also expected that I was not supposed to just fall down for no reason I could discern. Was this disrespect, or a miscommunication of expectations and values? (FWIW, I have never gotten on the mat with that instructor again.)

What this really boils down to, in my opinion, is finding and training with partners who have similar expectations, values, whom you can respect, and who want to train in the way you want to train.

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Like I said, if you really want to spar, either don't do Aikido or crosstrain in something where you can spar, but don't do Aikdo and whine about it, and leave it the way it is.
Respectfully, getting caught up in whether it's called aikido or not because you don't care for some of the content strikes me as potentially another battle of ego.

Arguing that this is not a part of aikido seems a little silly to me. It's a simple reality that there are forms of aikido that contain 'sparring' and forms that do not. Heck, I know of at least one form of aikido that includes music and dancing.

They're all each aikido to one degree or another. I certainly confess that I harbor opinions as to what is more likely to be viable and true budo, but I think that is perhaps a different issue and not entirely written in stone anyway and after all, not everyone studies aikido as a budo.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:14 AM   #75
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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eck, I know of at least one form of aikido that includes music and dancing.
That's the hardcore one
http://youtube.com/watch?v=9OqMLzVKAJs
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