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Old 12-30-2007, 02:56 PM   #1
David McCormack
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real world aikido

thankfully ive never been in a situation where ive had to use any aikido outside of my dojo, but i was wondering how effective people think aikido is/would be in the real world.

David
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Old 12-30-2007, 04:12 PM   #2
Bronson
 
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Re: real world aikido

Results from a thread title search for "real world".

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search...earchid=343351

Mind you, this is just searching the titles. If you search the entire thread you get 20 pages of results.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:19 PM   #3
Dewey
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
David McCormack wrote: View Post
thankfully ive never been in a situation where ive had to use any aikido outside of my dojo, but i was wondering how effective people think aikido is/would be in the real world.

David
Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote: View Post
Results from a thread title search for "real world".

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/search...earchid=343351

Mind you, this is just searching the titles. If you search the entire thread you get 20 pages of results.

Bronson
Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, Aikido "can" be effective "in the real world"...just depends upon how you train and how your dojo conducts training.
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Old 01-01-2008, 12:24 AM   #4
mickeygelum
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Re: real world aikido

In a very solemn tone....

"Why does this question keep appearing? "

Mr Dewey is absolutely correct, it depends on how you train and how your Sensei conducts training in the dojo.

I started to write a reply to the thread entitled " I am leaving Aikido", but refrained, now this thread appears. Again, in a very solemn concerned tone...Go talk to people who train diligently, for the purpose of finishing their shift and walk without fear into situations that require them to initiate action in the service of the public.

I started Aikido many years ago, to enhance my karate, in order to avoid criminal and civil liability for excessive force. I was 5'9'' and weighed 160 -165. I was a narcotics officer and did not wear a uniform or worked on a squad/team...it was my ass, and my ass alone. For all those require an answer to this question...

"Aikido is a viable, street applicable martial art...cross-training made it even more formidable."

In my schools, we train for the street...I train ERT/SRT, State Troopers, military and EMS...we all have the same attitude and similar experiences.

What experiences do your sempai, kohai and Sensei have to share...ask them. If they do not have any real life experience of street encounters, ask them who they know that does....and go talk to them. Express your concerns about your training.

Do not accept, " Twenty year technique" or " There is no resistance in training'' crap. You only get out of your training what you put into it. Ask questions, require answers.

I train Shodokan, knife techniques are part of our fundamentals. I have been in situations against a knife, I have been cut once and it was not serious. Remember, if you are going to take on a knife be prepared to get cut, it is a simple fact.

Sorry for being long-winded...I hope someone got something out of this.

Train well, train to standard...train to survive.

Mickey
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:13 AM   #5
David McCormack
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
What experiences do your sempai, kohai and Sensei have to share...ask them. If they do not have any real life experience of street encounters, ask them who they know that does....and go talk to them. Express your concerns about your training.

Do not accept, " Twenty year technique" or " There is no resistance in training'' crap. You only get out of your training what you put into it. Ask questions, require answers.
thank you for the advise (especially the Ask questions, require answers)

ive not heared the saying "There is no resistance in training'' before, somebody care to explain this one please?

David
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:19 AM   #6
darin
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
David McCormack wrote: View Post
thankfully ive never been in a situation where ive had to use any aikido outside of my dojo, but i was wondering how effective people think aikido is/would be in the real world.

David
Depends on the situation but I think you've done pretty well not having to use your aikido outside of the dojo. My brother used nikkyo to disarm a guy who attacked him with a pool cue and a friend put kotegaeshi on a guy who tried to steal his wallet. I used it once to throw a guy into a couch who was fighting with a girl.
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:25 AM   #7
David McCormack
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Re: real world aikido

ive only been doing aikido for about 14 months, but yes, im lucky to have never had to use it in a threatening situation (i use it on my friends who also do various martial arts)
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Old 01-13-2008, 05:42 PM   #8
Chris Parkerson
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Re: real world aikido

Aiki is a set of principles of movement. Aikido is a way of using those principles towards love and harmony. Aikijujitsu, on the other hand is large study that evolves from traditional jujitsu. It employs three methods of technique. Gross manipulation - Jujitsu, the control of uke's center with light joint manipulations - Aikijujitsu, and finally, the taking of uke's center with suggestion, light physical movements and light or no touch - aiki no jitsu.

Few martial artists who engage in street combat would enter the fray without all three tools under their belt. The great Aikidoka of the last generation were originally trained in forms of Jujitsu and daito-style arts.

Today, we have the wonderful option of cross training in a variety of worldwide martial experiences. As Danny Inosanto would say, "absorb what is useful"... Whether you are a purist or a person who would prefer Do arts, I suggest that you "follow your bliss". But when it comes to self defense, cross training is a must.
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:34 PM   #9
Ketsan
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
In a very solemn tone....

"Why does this question keep appearing? "
Not enough experience of actual fighting leading to a mistaken belief that MMA competition represents a real fight combined with the fact that pure Aikidoka can't beat MMA trained fighters in MMA style fights.
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Old 01-13-2008, 06:40 PM   #10
Roman Kremianski
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Re: real world aikido

Yes, Eye-gouge fighting is real fighting. If you've never been in an eye-gouge fight, then you have no real experienze!!
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:01 PM   #11
Chris Parkerson
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Re: real world aikido

MMA is a sport. Aikido is a way of higher consciousness.

Real fighting should not adopt either of these strategies.

I train one way and apply aiki to it. I assume in my doctrine of battle that it will be a dark, cold, wet night where more than one person will attack me. They will likely have edged, blunt or percussive weapons in their hands.

All strategy must follow these assumptions. Tactics and techniques follow strategy. it cannot be the other way around or you will assume poorly about the hidden knife or gun. And In the U.S., this Gracie mano a mano stuff just doesn't cut it. In the U.S., you get ganged up on. There is no promise of a one-on-one fight.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:54 AM   #12
Roman Kremianski
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Re: real world aikido

You know Chris, not all people in martial arts to defend themselves on the street. I don't see why that theory needs to be forced. Aikido is not a higher way of anything. It's Aikido, and MMA is MMA.

I don't train against knives or multiple opponents. I guess I don't do real martial arts. Oops.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:14 AM   #13
Chris Parkerson
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
You know Chris, not all people in martial arts to defend themselves on the street. I don't see why that theory needs to be forced. Aikido is not a higher way of anything. It's Aikido, and MMA is MMA.

I don't train against knives or multiple opponents. I guess I don't do real martial arts. Oops.
Forgive me if my words got in the way and were perceived as offensive. The term "real" is quite relative.

U.S. Marine Corp martial arts training (for instance) is quite real and is designed around traditional priorities. Modern Bujitsu would include drone bomber aircraft as well as the M-16, not to mention poisons, and homemade explosives. Their hand-to-hand combat is designed around their doctrine of battle. They intend to close with and destroy the enemy. They do this as a working unit of men/women. In their hand-to-hand combat, they include fighting as a group, fighting in water, and mass attack with blunt and edged weapons.

People who like duelling (one-on-one) have a specific doctrine of battle and strategy that evolves from it. It may include "first knife cut wins" or "knock-out or tap-out wins:.

All martial formats have value. You cannot play full contact Jujitsu without applying rules to the game and making it a sport. That is what Judo is about. By the way, the best fighter I have ever met was a 3 time National Champion Judoman. But on the street, or in the field (he worked for a 3 letter federal agency) he had no rules. What am I saying,? His Judo venue taught better that others how to have continuity in a fight when you are tethered to a wild dog at the end of a chain.

Aikido teaches me how to improve martial movement. Thus it is also real martial art. But I would not take aikido techniques into a fight without having other back-ups in my quiver. Too many assumptions in the doctrine of battle and the resulting strategy for my confort. Give me the hand grenade, the M-16, the pistol, the knife, my empty hands and a good mind. A poor man's Bujitsu. Perhaps I can afford an Abrams tank someday if I feel the threat assessment warrants it.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:38 AM   #14
Chris Parkerson
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
Eye-gouge fighting is real fighting. If you've never been in an eye-gouge fight, then you have no real experienze!!
Funny you mentioned eye gouging. The Spartans called the Atenians wooses because they did not want to allow eye gouging and biting into the pankration games.

Look closely at the MMA. There are a lot of written as well as unspoken rules. The essence of these rules comes down to this, "let's go hard but let's keep it safe enough that we do not lose our careers through foolishness."

For several years, at least in my lifetime, these rules applied to street fights. Indeed, until recently, military men simply did not want to do to someone else that which they did not want done to them. The Apache of the 19th century had no such unwrittenrule. Neither did the Viet Cong. Today's radical terrorists as well as Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13 street gang) have few rules except to win.

So you are at that bus stop mentioned in another discussion. The girl comes out and screams at you. You lightly tap her on the cheek in an automatic reaction wondering if you did wrong in hitting a girl. Her friend then pulls a gun at 8 feet away and shoots you. They were MS 13.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:49 AM   #15
Roman Kremianski
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Re: real world aikido

Again, many people who practice "martial arts" are not interested in self-defense or waging war.Martial arts evolve with time...and it todays time, we don't need to pilot bombers to call ourselves "real martial artists".

The argument is silly. From personal observation, people who train full-contact martial arts have higher chances of survival. They're strong, conditioned, and have an increased tolerance to pain. You can easily kill them with a knife or gun or a tank shell. That's not really the point of martial arts for them.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:57 AM   #16
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
David McCormack wrote: View Post
thankfully ive never been in a situation where ive had to use any aikido outside of my dojo
What about when opening a door?

Quote:
David McCormack wrote: View Post
i was wondering how effective people think aikido is/would be in the real world.
One ticket for the "real" world, please.

but really, I think this question can only be answered by the person asking it, for themselves. I know if I wanted to test the effectiveness of my aikido, or the ability for me to apply aikido, I'd invite some of my acquaintances to randomly attack me (i can think of a few folks I know who would welcome such an invitation). For the time being, I'm happy without people taking swings at my head. I've survived enough fights without any formal fighting education, that I figure adding some aikido can't possibly hurt.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration...

ART! - http://birdsbeaks.blogspot.com/
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:28 AM   #17
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Re: real world aikido

To me, I need to first define martial arts before I offer my opinion on this thread. In this context, "martial" is a reference to war; "martial arts" would be the practices pertaining to war. By my definition, I consider aikido to be a martial art because my training involves elements of military tactics. Second, I need to qualify my response by saying that most of us are "martial artists" in only the most loose sense. Excepting those rare (and lucky) individuals who may claim training aikido as their profession (as in full-time job), our time commitments preclude us from claiming fighting as our profession. In other words, most of us our hobbyists at aikido; some of us may even be amateurs.

So:
1. Aikido is an effective military tool for combat. Good aikido training better prepares you for situations in "the real world."
2. If you do not train in martial tactics, then you are not training in martial arts.

I do not make these statements in jest or to offend. I make them because sometimes I speak with people who do not know the difference, so it places my conversation on level ground with others.

Many of us practice budo, only a few of us are bushi. If I cannot do something, that does not mean it can't be done.

My grandpa used to fish with us granchildren. My sister didn't like taking the fish off the hook after she caught it and she would ask someone to take off the fish for her. My grandpa would say, "it isn't fishing unless you bait your own hook, catch the fish, and take it off the hook." My sister learned to fish...acccording to my grandpa.
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:29 PM   #18
George S. Ledyard
 
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Tongue Re: real world aikido

Quote:
David McCormack wrote: View Post
thankfully ive never been in a situation where ive had to use any aikido outside of my dojo, but i was wondering how effective people think aikido is/would be in the real world.

David
I would like to have someone explain to me what this so-called "real world" is... It always seems to be thrown out in some context that infers that the world of conflict, violence and confrontation is somehow more "real" than the other world we train in.

What is it that we are training for? It is a fact that the vast majority of folks practicing this art will NEVER in their lives use an Aikido technique for self defense. People seem to completely fail to understand that O-Sensei had a fundamentally different outlook about what he meant this art to be. If it had been about defeating bad guys, he never would have made the changes to the art he did.

This obsession with "fighting" and "winning" on the part of Aikido folks distorts the art. It was precisely the opposite of what the Founder intended. When Mochizuki Sensei went to France, he had to deal with a number of challenges. When he returned to Japan, he expressed his reservations about what he had been doing by informing O-Sensei that he had prevailed in these challenges but by resorting to "tricks" he had learned in his karate and judo training. O-Sensei chided him by asking whether had he not understood the point of the training.

Aikido is not about fighting... period. To make it so you will have to devolve it into its combat roots. While there is nothing at all wrong with the antecedent combat arts, they are quite valuable in and of themselves, and I in no way want to imply some moral high ground on the part of Aikido that other arts do not have, I do maintain that the fundamental purpose of the art is about not fighting, rather than fighting.

Can someone explain to me how not fighting is less "real world" than fighting? Martial arts folks so often get into the arts because of fear based insecurities. Rather than deal with the essential causes of these fears, they attempt to become more and more powerful, as if they can paper over their fears by being able to defeat any enemy.

Power attained because of fear does not result in a loss of that fear. It results in aggression. The founder created this art as a way to lose that fear, not just paper it over. The art is about systematically reprogramming ourselves to lose the fears that cause conflicts in the first place.

Say you actually managed to develop your art into an undefeatable system in which you could defeat any attacker? So what? How is that something that relates to your so-called "real world"? In my "real world" I have had to deal with divorces, raising my children, my career, running a dojo, teaching in a way that inspires people, etc. I cannot see how a focus on "real world" application of technique would have helped me with any of these things. When my ex told me she wanted my out of my own home, would an extraordinary fighting ability have helped me one iota? When my son was going through issues and was hanging with a bad crowd and getting in trouble, would an ability to punch him out and render him unconscious have helped at all? These are the kinds of things that I run into in my "real world". My ability to handle them had to do with changes I have made inside myself, not with some extraordinary martial prowess acquired through focus on fighting, self defense, etc.

Aikido has this on-going inferiority complex that results in a sort of schizophrenic identity crisis. The founder left us with quite a bit of information about what he saw as the purpose of his creation. His son, Kisshomaru wrote even more on the subject.

The focus on proper technique is important, not because we rely on those techniques to defeat some imagined attack in the future but rather because it is in the mastering of proper aiki principle that the transformative aspect of the art exists. The elsewhere commented on lack of understanding of what real aiki principles actually are results in a problem with the art's transformative purpose. Focus on fighting is not the way to fix that problem. Devolving the form of Aikido into its antecedent forms is not the way to fix the problem.

Preserving the form, understanding what O-Sensei intended as the purpose of his art coupled with acquiring a broad experience of related arts, taking advantage of the deep knowledge which other arts contain, and then bringing that technical knowledge back into our Aikido is the proper direction. Understand the form Aikido contains, don't change something you never understood in the first place simply to make it apply in an essentially unreal vision of a so-called "real world".

I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of bad Aikido out there... I'm saying that worrying about applied technique and its effectiveness in fighting isn't the point and it distorts the art. I'd love to see people make connection between effective aiki and the process of personal transformation... the doing of the art using a proper understanding of principle is transformative in itself. That transformation directly relates to the "real world" in which most people exist. Let's put some focus on how the art can make our every day lives better rather than how it might save us our lives from some unlikely future threat. Aikido is not about fighting, it's about not fighting. I just fail to see how not fighting is somehow less real world than fighting.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:59 PM   #19
Chris Parkerson
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Re: real world aikido

Superb
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:48 PM   #20
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I do maintain that the fundamental purpose of the art is about not fighting, rather than fighting.
With respect and seriously,

Fighting is what O'Sensei did on his path to developing Aikido. He trained for strength, power and martial effectiveness and tested himself to see if his martial abilities worked. It is the foundation of what O'Sensei developed. Why shouldn't we travel a similar path that O'Sense did? Did O'Sensei abandon his martial abilities for the path of peace and harmony?

David
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Old 01-14-2008, 05:27 PM   #21
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
With respect and seriously,

Fighting is what O'Sensei did on his path to developing Aikido. He trained for strength, power and martial effectiveness and tested himself to see if his martial abilities worked. It is the foundation of what O'Sensei developed. Why shouldn't we travel a similar path that O'Sense did? Did O'Sensei abandon his martial abilities for the path of peace and harmony?

David
If you feel the need to reinvent the wheel, go ahead. No one said anything about abandoning anyone's martial abilities. It's just that people who attempt to apply the kihon waza they learned in Aikido on the street generally find they need to make some adjustments. (See the discussion about and law enforcement). Often, in working out what works and doesn't work in a true fighting situation, they begin to devolve Aikido into what it had been. You want to do that ok, but Daito Ryu was a better version of that than Aikido is.

I have no problem with Aikido as a martial art. But I absolutely believe that most people miss the whole intention of what O-Sensei wanted the art to be and why he changed what he did. Aikido is a practice of personal transformation, it is misogi. Some level of martial capability is the by product of proper training but it is not the point. The point is the transformative aspect of the art. O-Sensei clearly stated this in his writings, his son Kisshomaru quite clearly proceeded on that assumption. The fact that people are generally insecure and tend to focus on whether Aikido works to protect themselves, that they were attracted to the art by the seemingly magical level of skill attained by the Founder, doesn't change the fact that O-Sensei specifically created the art for an entirely different purpose and that he changed the outer form of the art to fit his vision of this purpose, which he flat out says in a number of places isn't about fighting with other people. The true battle is with oneself... masakatsu agatsu, true victory is self victory.

There are combat forms of aiki around... if that's your focus. Yanagi Ryu is a far better vehicle for defeating opponents than Aikido and it is unencumbered by a lot of the wishful thinking conflict resolution baggage that often goes with Aikido. It has every bit of sophistication in terms of Aiki, far more than most of what you see in Aikido in fact...

Spending all ones efforts trying to duplicate O-Sensei's experience training in the 20's and 30's means that you are missing what he did with the art in the 50's and 60's. He kept growing but folks get trapped by the power aspect and don't see the value of what went later. That's why they disrespect the Nidai Doshu and his efforts to take Aikido further towards his father's vision of what it was meant to be. I am not 100% in agreement with all of the changes that were made to the art on his watch but I totally believe that he understood his father's vision for the art and pursued it to the best of his ability.

The folks who criticize his Aikido for not being "effective", whatever they mean by that, are wrong. His Aikido was very effective in that it manifested beautifully the kind of Aikido he was trying to put forth. His Aikido was the manifestation of a kind and generous spirit, the Aikido of a gentleman. It wasn't about fighting and it wasn't meant to be. It isn't his Aikido that was the problem, it was people's inability to let go of their fear based need to reassure themselves by focusing on fighting prowess that was the problem. The world didn't need another fighting art, it already had plenty. Aikido is meant to be so much more than that but it will find itself failing the vision, limited by the the folks who practice the art and their inability to let go of their concerns about effectiveness and power in favor of a practice that goes deeper than that.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:23 PM   #22
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: real world aikido

Excellent posts Ledyard Sensei

One of the main things that moved me to the core when I first found out about aikido was the amazing concept that this is beyond fighting. If someone wants to hurt you, if you can do aikido correctly, there is no "fight", no conflict at all, either physically or mentally. You don't have to care about winning or losing because there is no fight to win or lose. In that sense, it is an art of "not fighting". How effectively one can do this is another issue. How hard are we trying?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Fighting is what O'Sensei did on his path to developing Aikido. He trained for strength, power and martial effectiveness and tested himself to see if his martial abilities worked. It is the foundation of what O'Sensei developed. Why shouldn't we travel a similar path that O'Sense did?
Of course there is much to learn from exploring Aikido's parent arts and other arts too in order to inform our training. I like to think the best things the founder learned on his journey are embodied in his martial art. One of them is the above mentioned principle of transcending mere fighting.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Did O'Sensei abandon his martial abilities for the path of peace and harmony?
From what I can tell, I think they are one and the same thing.
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:38 PM   #23
Chris Parkerson
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Re: real world aikido

Perhaps the "wanderings along the way" are the way. No one can really get ahead of themselves. Their way is simply to follow their bliss.

Chuang Tzu

To try and impose the goals of the latter period of O Sensei's life philosophy onto new students is more of a Confucian or perhaps "legalist" precept that does not allow a student to follow their way.

Indeed, judgement is such a Puritan (Western) plague.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:15 PM   #24
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Re: real world aikido

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Yes, Eye-gouge fighting is real fighting. If you've never been in an eye-gouge fight, then you have no real experienze!!
Not quite true but not wrong either. If you've never been in a situation that required eye gouging you haven't seen the full range of "real fighting".
In a way it kinda backs up my point. The numbers of people in society who can talk about real fighting from an experience stand point are tiny and of those people only a tiny proportion are Aikidoka.

So the number of people qualified to talk about Aikido's effectiveness are miniscule, as in there might only be a handful on the planet.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:40 PM   #25
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: real world aikido

Good post.

I like what Jon said concerning the fishing analogy.

Ledyard Sensei is dead on, of course, IMO.

I have spent my whole adult life in the military, first picking up the pieces after the fight as a medic, now as an infantry officer. I have employed, used, or trained on just about every weapon system from guided missles to empty hand.

It really does not take much skill or too many years to learn how to master the tools to hurt or to kill. I teach Army Combatives, and in a few weeks, I can get across the basic skills necessary to teach soldiers how to close distance and fight.

Shooting, kicking, hitting, biting, stabbing etc are low skill things really when you think about it! Sure some are better than others at it, but it does not take years to train, and you know what...at some point there is always someone waiting around the corner that is better at it than you, based on age, speed, strength, luck, alertness...whatever.

Harder is mastering the skills of strategy. that is, being able understand the enemy, posturing and positioning yourself, minimizing exposures, the art of negotiation, leading, motivating etc.

These things take much greater skill and time to master. In the military we have field grade and general officers to do this. These people have many years of training and hopefully wisdom to make the decisions that put us in an advantageous position.

Even more challenging, I think, in the art of peace. That is, something that we as a world struggle with. How do we develop the skills necessary to "do no harm, yet stop harm"?

How do we make ourselves strong enough to not be a victim, yet compassionate enough to understand the other side, and influence things in such a way that we do not have to result a win/lose mentality?

I am not sure that aikido will always produce this as an outcome. Most certainly it is an active form of practice in which we can remind ourselves as we face conflict daily, that we indeed have other options. that it is possible to deal with conflict in ways that are more skillfull than meeting force and might with force and might!

Does aikido produce effective fighters? IMO and personal experiences no it does not. As Ledyard Sensei most succinctly put it, that is not the goal of aikido. At least not the goal that has been communicated to me by my teachers.

As Jon Reading states, while it is a part of the martial spectrum, it does not address all aspects of fighting. If this is your goal, then you must bait the hook, put the pole in the water, and then unhook the fish!

Using that analogy, most people that view martial arts as a part of their job are concerned with the baiting the hook...and fishing up until the pull the fish out of the water....that is when the physical fight ends.

Aikido, in this analogy, is concerned at the point the fish is in the boat, how you get it off the hook, and how you deal with it at that point on. It considers the spectrum that happens after the physical, that is the after effects of physical conflict.

It is interesting to me that the philosophies and teaching of Jesus, Buddha, and O Sensei have on thing in common. They all provide a way to transformation that says that you don't have to go through the same things we went through to get there. They all share a message of transformation, yet for whatever reason, most of us find it difficult to accept and follow, even though we might consciously feel that we believe them.

So we flounder along on the same path, making the same mistakes, dealing with the same failures, frustrations, and all that! Then maybe, years later, we go "you know, i could have been here years ago if I'd just did what i was told to do from the start!"

I do agree that for many, (myself included) that we must discover the lessons for ourselves. Each person has their own path and their own experiences and needs along the way. Some can practice only aikido and achieve the desired results. Others might take on more ascetic practices such as say..the Dog Brothers, yet others may find it in meditation, zen, Christianity, vegetarianism...or a combination of all that.

Even if it is the case, that does not mean that the intent of O sensei and his message is any less effective or relevant in pursuit of peace or happiness.

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