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Old 04-13-2008, 07:49 AM   #76
rob_liberti
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

All fair points.

My understanding of the problem statement was:
1) The OP said: "I cannot run a school to teach self defense and confidence if I have not faith my own abilities."
2) The OP felt the people in his dojo could do it.
3) The OP can only do things after atemi.

I do not think it is clear to know if the OP believes the people in his dojo are effective in aikido against non-aikido attacks. My understanding of aikido cooperative model is to work with symbolic attacks with progressive resistance such that the techniques are designed to NOT WORK with low level understanding and ability. As the resistance increases, the techniques are supposed to continue to be on the edge of failure to continually drive you deeper and deeper into internal power. The problem is that the vehicle is generally plagued with delusion. Let's face it, delusion typically pays the rent. But it's not like that everywhere and there are many varrying degrees of this - although in general I tend to find less transformation and research than I would like to see.

My advice to the OP as well as everyone is to concentrate on being a student. People who want to be teachers rather than being forced into it are *generally* the people I don't want teaching me.

To that end, for the OP, get additional help - if that is inside or outside of aikido doesn't matter. I wouldn't say you MUST cross train to get help, that may be going a bit too far. We all don't learn the same way. Good students seek out teachers to help them - *just define your goals clearly*. Are you looking for purely self defense? What exactly is meant by that? Does that include the ability to defend others? (I find aikido generally sucks in that area.)

After defining your goals, the way the math works as I understand it - is that you have to MULTIPLY the probabilities of technical effectiveness by the chance of that situation popping up in the first place to determine if you are wasting time for "reality". So if I'm leaving a bar when a bar fight is starting to happen (which has happened) and someone grabs my wrist or shoulder while I'm trying to get out of the door I suppose I'll be in a higher percentage situation. If someone in that bar goes for real naked choke or a single leg take down, well maybe I'll be screwed. But you have to ask yourself or maybe better others -> Has anyone seen this happen? Was it in a bar full of pissed off and drunken MMA guys? Hey, who pissed off Bas Ruten again?!

Regardless, I honestly think a better argument for doing MMA is if someone is attacking a family member or friend. I don't see a lot of useful aikido things to do in that situation. Sometimes you have to attack and I wouldn't do that with a shomenuchi. But that's not "self" defense" as much as "other" defense.

Personally, I am doing MMA as a means to my goals of better transformative practice. I want to learn the internal power and skills, apply them to fighting and aikido so that I can understand a lot more of the spiritual aspects of aikido. That aspect of aikido seems to be sorely lacking in terms of teaching as well. It seems it would be a lot easier for me to grasp it if I were manifesting some of the concepts physically and had something more concrete to relate the theory to. But those are my goals or current path I suppose.

Rob
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:09 AM   #77
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

Delusion is everywhere. It is what makes the world go round from diets fads to aikido. Without Delusion we'd have no art of aikido. Think about it, two people line up with perfect knowledge of exactly what the other person is getting ready to do! No aikido whatsoever would be possible or ever needed!

Anyway...

Everyone has his/her own reasons, goals, endstates, Delusions, and expectations in life. This also applies to the study of budo to include aikido. Budo is very personal in nature, IMO.

I think most of us, myself included, come to Budo with perconcieved notions about what it is and isn't, and what we expect to get out of the study of Budo.

We live in a world of immediate and instant gratification. It is why we have a Kyu and Dan system. It is why we have a graduated and codified hierachial practice in all arts!

It is also the tools that perpetuate and extend the delusion.

We need these tools though, because, you are right, without them, we would have no students or training partners!

The trick is to provide just enough to provide structure and order and keep things lose enough so people will be frustrated and walk the edge an lose themselves in the abyss of aikido! That is, to disrupt the process of delusion!

I think this is what makes aikido so wonderful as an art! You have to lose yourself to find yourself!

So, I think it is healthy and it is the desired effect to have us study this for years, then "wake up" and realize that we suck and feel we have wasted years of our life studying it, and to then contemplate what might be better or what might be something else we should be studying.

I think a small percentage will do this. Only a small percent. Many will leave the art at this point feeling ripped off maybe. Especially if they don't have adequate guidance and mentorship that can steer them correctly through the fog.

You start asking your dojo leadership some very tough questions and holding them very accountable during this stage. If they do not have the abilities or skill to handle them, then you will lose the student.

Even if you do, the student may not be able to work it out and leave any way.

Some may just simply say "I have the answers I was seeking" an leave.

It is individual in nature.

Things like MMA and BJJ have proven to be very good adjuncts to aikido in this stage as they directly deal with the questions that we develop at this stage, that is they help us push and breakdown the limitations and paradigms of our training.

I think age has much to do with it also. Now in my 40's, I may not have had this same view in my 20's if BJJ or MMA would have been around. I would not have seen aikido for what I see it for right now because althletically and physically I would have been making good success in BJJ and would not have looked long term at the aging process. I see many BJJers in the older generation struggling with this as they become older and the younger generation takes over. What does your practice become in your 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and 90s???

Good stuff! Keep it up!

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Old 04-13-2008, 09:17 AM   #78
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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The idea that an Aikidoka is going to handle street situations better is fall-down funny. In this video clip had one of his opponents tried to grapple him effectively, MMA training would also come to the rescue far better than Aikido in stuffing those attempts. And think about it, if you can hit this well under pressure, what is the use of following it with some throw or lock attempt? At what point do you need to go from atemi to the rest of Aikido? If your atemi is good, the answer is practically never.
Hi Dan,
I think you probably meant this in general terms rather than an overall blanket, right? As for atemi ... if you think about situations, anyone can find themselves amidst all kinds of things. The legal system in the U.S. can be either helpful or a real pain in the rear. Throwing the first atemi to help gain control of the situation is one thing to a D.A. Throwing severe atemi to end an altercation can be a D.A.s dream come true, especially if he/she is looking to run for office. However, after an atemi, using a throw or lock attempt severly inhibits a D.A.s option to prosecute. If the throw or lock doesn't work and you resort back to atemi, even that sequence of events inhibits prosecution efforts. Just in that instance, aikido servers a world of good.

There are others ... controlling with throws or locks in a non-lethal situation is really more desirable anyway. Especially when you get to LE.

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Dan Austin wrote: View Post
And here's something important to think about, why even risk tying yourself up with someone if you don't need to, especially in a multiple opponent scenario? Attempting any irimi/tenkan with lock/throw technique X brings you in closer contact and increases the chances of getting tied up in standing grappling. The Aikido approach is much riskier than just being a good puncher and keeping everything near the kill zone of your punching range.
I think some of the early students have a great answer for that. There are accounts out there about the early students using what they'd learned in fights, bar fights, etc.

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That's an interesting choice of examples considering that Aikido has a hard time with jabs and double-legs - AND machetes. At least MMA can handle the first two reliably.
Again, you seem to be using a blanket statement for the whole aikido world. That isn't true. Maybe for a majority. But, then again, that just shows it isn't the art that fails, but the student. Happens in all the arts: karate, judo, etc.

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If fighting effectiveness is a goal, the fact is that spending more than 0.2% of your training time on standing joint locks is a waste of time. That works out to about 1-2 minutes a month, which is about right, and only then for fun. Even if done in a more realistic manner than you see in Aikido dojos it's still a horridly inefficient use of limited training time.

The lesson of MMA is that any one art is insufficient to the task of addressing all things with maximum effectiveness, hence the "mixed" in the title. Boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, BJJ, and Filipino/Indonesian systems excel in particular areas, and their combination is far more potent than any single one. Aikido doesn't excel at ANY of the areas covered by these arts. It has a hard time dealing with boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai and BJJ, and doesn't address weapons as realistically as Filipino and Indonesian systems. Yet it's not difficult to find schools nowadays that teach all these things under the same roof.
The downfall of modern MMA (which is different than what I consider "true" MMA), is that it doesn't ever come close to learning any one art's principles. And that means that they never get close to realizing just what is happening in specific arts. They gain surface knowledge only and think that that knowledge applies to the whole art. It doesn't, but they can't see that because they're busy learning other surface stuff from other arts.

Now, that I'm not saying that modern MMA is bad. Just that there is a weakness in it in that aspect. It's why I see quips like yours often from modern MMA people.

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Every minute you waste doing another round of some multi-syllable sanyko variation is a minute you could have trained something with a much bigger bang for the buck.
This is a very good illustration of the weakness I noted above in modern MMA. Sankyo, in aikido, is *not* done to gain a wrist lock. There is a principle in executing sankyo that does not have anything to do with a wrist lock. Believing that sankyo in aikido is all about gaining a wrist lock is utterly wrong and you've missed the principle completely.

Going to go on that note. You want principles ... find a good aikido instructor. I have. Several, in fact. It makes a world of difference.

Mark
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:22 AM   #79
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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I had my own disillusionment with the effectiveness of Aikido many years ago, after sparring with a BJJ blue belt (who was really just an old high school wrestler with a rear naked choke). It helped me recognize Aikido for what it is, rather than what I had wanted it to be.
Hello Roy,
As I noted to Dan. I'm hoping that you're not making a blanket statement to all of aikido. I can understand your disillusionment, however, that might not be the case for other schools/dojos/teachers in the aikido world. Unless, you've been to them all. Certainly, there are some very ... um, aiki bunny type schools. I've seen vids posted of some dan tests from other schools where the uke is *literally* jumping into breakfalls for the tester. Not my cup of tea, thank you.

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Roy Dean wrote: View Post
To the original poster: It seems that people are trying to fill in the chasms on the road to effectiveness through structural realignment, internal exercises, etc. I'm not sure what to think about this, but I'm trying to keep an open mind. What would really help is the slightest amount of visual proof for the claims offered. So I would not venture down that path as a vehicle of saving your Aikido.
Okay, here I sort of disagree completely. First, like others I've posted to, I would say you are trying to make the mountain come to you on your terms. Instead, try going to the mountain to see for yourself. Otherwise the mountain isn't really listening, so all you get is continued being-in-the-dark on the subject. Second, you're giving advice to people without any understanding of the subject. Wouldn't you say that's like being a Liberal Arts major and giving advice to NASA on how to build their Space Shuttle? If you wouldn't, then I strongly suggest visiting Dan Harden or Mike Sigman and then posting back here.

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I will say that BJJ has increased my Aikido effectiveness a thousand fold. Against a resisting opponent, I now realize how fleeting those pockets of aiki actually are.
I know next to nothing about BJJ. Won't comment on any of that. But, as for "aiki" ... that really depends on your definition and view of it is.

Just wanted to offer opinions on those points.

Mark
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:55 PM   #80
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

I'm sure Mr. Dean isn't attempting to speak for all experiences, but I will ask bluntly to the others with similar experience here on the board - has anyone who's walked away from Aikido and/or decided to cross train in Judo or BJJ or Wrestling or MMA (etc.etc.) not come to at least very similiar revelations about the nature of Aikido?
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:38 PM   #81
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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I'm sure Mr. Dean isn't attempting to speak for all experiences, but I will ask bluntly to the others with similar experience here on the board - has anyone who's walked away from Aikido and/or decided to cross train in Judo or BJJ or Wrestling or MMA (etc.etc.) not come to at least very similiar revelations about the nature of Aikido?
I'm currently training aikido and Albo kali/silat. I haven't had similar revelations yet. If I wanted, I could probably train MMA with a top notch instructor and I still don't think I'd have similar revelations.

Consider this ... Ueshiba Morihei took challenges from top notch Budo people. They considered him very good. Shioda took challenges from other martial artists. He was considered very good. Tohei, Tomiki, etc. So, at some point some people were doing Aikido and it was good.

In other words ... it isn't the art that's wrong ... it's the people doing it. That's blunt and a lot of people will argue that point. But ... if walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc.

Mark
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:01 PM   #82
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

It's not the people that are doing it wrong that is the problem, IMO. It is the expectations they have of aikido that are incorrect. It is the teachers that are failing to provide clear guidance on the path.

It is also the methodology, that is good for transmitting certain things, but also not other things.

Arts like BJJ have been found to help many fill some gaps in producing a "holistic" experience in jiujitsu.

YMMV depending on what your goals and endstates are.

That should not be taken as a slam on Aikido...as Mark states, if it walks and quacks like a duck.....

I think this is sums it up quite well. Many attempt to turn aikido into something other than the duck.

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Old 04-13-2008, 07:10 PM   #83
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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Hi Dan,
I think you probably meant this in general terms rather than an overall blanket, right? As for atemi ... if you think about situations, anyone can find themselves amidst all kinds of things. The legal system in the U.S. can be either helpful or a real pain in the rear. Throwing the first atemi to help gain control of the situation is one thing to a D.A. Throwing severe atemi to end an altercation can be a D.A.s dream come true, especially if he/she is looking to run for office. However, after an atemi, using a throw or lock attempt severly inhibits a D.A.s option to prosecute. If the throw or lock doesn't work and you resort back to atemi, even that sequence of events inhibits prosecution efforts. Just in that instance, aikido servers a world of good.
Hi Mark,

I said "practically never", which is a generalization. It should go without saying that one can always find exceptions. I think the boxer being attacked by four guys in the clip was within rights to punch people, so one can't make blanket statements about how the law will view things because every situation is different. I will reiterate that had he attempted to "control" or lock people in such a situation, it would have been foolish and would have increased the odds of him losing. This falls into the "don't harm the attacker" mantra, which I think is severely misguided. The priority should be the defender. I won't even presume to talk about LE issues, only law enforcement professionals know what they face and what's in their best interest.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Again, you seem to be using a blanket statement for the whole aikido world. That isn't true. Maybe for a majority. But, then again, that just shows it isn't the art that fails, but the student. Happens in all the arts: karate, judo, etc.
A statement about the majority is pretty much what a generalization is. I don't subscribe to the PC "it's not the art". It's the art AND the man. If my art consists of doing a backflip before every punch, it's a stupid art that maybe one guy in billion will be decent at. Some arts are more practical than others, just as some schools within the same art are better than others. An art doesn't meaningfully exist as a thing separate from its current schools and practitioners, and if most of them suck then the art mostly sucks. If I'm a noob looking for a martial art, and I'm told that 1% of Aikido schools are good, then Aikido pretty much sucks. Only people emotionally vested in art will point to the 1% with pride. If the art is somehow different from what everyone practices in its name, then it's practically dead and the name is just a label.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
The downfall of modern MMA (which is different than what I consider "true" MMA), is that it doesn't ever come close to learning any one art's principles. And that means that they never get close to realizing just what is happening in specific arts. They gain surface knowledge only and think that that knowledge applies to the whole art. It doesn't, but they can't see that because they're busy learning other surface stuff from other arts.
Now you're making a generalization and forcing me to point out the exceptions. MMA is a sport, not an art. If you can incorporate drunken monkey kung-fu, good for you. But I know what you mean, and ironically, in this case it does depend on the practitioner. Some MMA guys may train under someone who isn't deeply knowledgeable in any of the usual constituent arts, while other people have a deep speciality, or may have the opportunity to have separate coaches for wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai and so forth. BJ Penn states in his MMA book that he feels it's necessary to have depth in at least one component. Many if not most of the upper echelon guys in MMA exemplify this. Bas Rutten was a kyokushin and Muay Thai guy who learned grappling. He's also a real thinker, constantly coming up with new ways to win. Same for your Mario Sperrys, Randy Couture obviously is a world class wrestler, and so on. Occasionally you have a freak of nature like GSP, who learned wrestling late in life and is now good enough to consider trying out for the Canadian Olympic team. He's pretty much good at everything in addition to being insanely conditioned. But because a sport is competitive, the people who do acquire serious depth will rise to the top. If someone can get to the top with a generalist knowledge in each discipline, it really wouldn't matter. If you beat everybody, you're just good. That's the benefit of competitive feedback. The rest for martial artists looking for effectiveness is taking the lessons of MMA and applying them to self-defence. If the goal is "for the street", MMA can easily filtered through the same lens as can anything else.

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This is a very good illustration of the weakness I noted above in modern MMA. Sankyo, in aikido, is *not* done to gain a wrist lock. There is a principle in executing sankyo that does not have anything to do with a wrist lock. Believing that sankyo in aikido is all about gaining a wrist lock is utterly wrong and you've missed the principle completely.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that the internal guys are correct, and that it's all about a certain body mechanic that's missing in the majority. If that's true, then sankyo simply becomes a means of expressing the body connection or whatever you want to call it in a particular scenario. But if it's about the whole body and how you use it, then a particular instance like a sankyo is no more important than any other technique. Whatever that body skill is, from basic logic and everything I have read it is technique-agnostic. You could practice it thousands of ways without ever doing sankyo. I don't think any of the internal guys does Aikido, and they harp on solo training, which by definition means no partner, ergo no sankyo, nikkyo or anything else. You can delete sankyo from the repertoire and still get what they have. No matter how you look at it, focusing on doing particular technical variations 120,000 times completely misses the point, whether it's for working some overall body skill or for self-defence effectiveness. It's inefficient at accomplishing either goal.

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Going to go on that note. You want principles ... find a good aikido instructor. I have. Several, in fact. It makes a world of difference.
Mark
Unfortunately that's what everyone under the KoolAid influence will say as well. Not MY school, we do it right. By definition, good martial art X is what's practiced in the poster's school, and bad martial art X is what everybody else does. Heard that way too many times to get excited about the prospect of finding real X.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:29 PM   #84
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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Consider this ... Ueshiba Morihei took challenges from top notch Budo people. They considered him very good. Shioda took challenges from other martial artists. He was considered very good. Tohei, Tomiki, etc. So, at some point some people were doing Aikido and it was good.
Even if he was considered good by his contemporaries, what can that mean to us today? Sankyo still isn't likely to save my bacon in a pinch, and nobody's going to shomen-uchi me. Here's about the only footage available of anything the looks remotely uncooperative, and it's not impressive, to say the least:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJ3bI-VyDg

This is asian master vs fat untrained palooka, and it looks a lot closer a match than it should be. Against guys with real wrestling skills like this completely random clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSe23eKymSM

it would be a washout. Even high school wrestlers in his weight class would be tougher than the fat load his was sparring with, and of course you have much higher levels of skill and athleticism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubxzhsnxh_Y

How is this supposed to deal with modern conditions, where people routinely lift weights and box and wrestle? I'm talking about untrained people, the TRAINED people are at another level entirely. This isn't 1940's Japan, and expecting this level of technique and ability to cut it today just doesn't make any sense.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:18 PM   #85
rob_liberti
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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Even if he was considered good by his contemporaries, what can that mean to us today? Sankyo still isn't likely to save my bacon in a pinch, and nobody's going to shomen-uchi me. Here's about the only footage available of anything the looks remotely uncooperative, and it's not impressive, to say the least:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvJ3bI-VyDg

This is asian master vs fat untrained palooka, and it looks a lot closer a match than it should be.
I don't think Tohei was allowed to use any techniques or atemi. That makes it a lot harder. What MMA guy could stand up to Herman completely disallowed from techniques or striking again? I'd like to see that clip. Funny thing is Dan Harden could. So could Jill whose been training with Dan for about a year. She is about 100 pounds, and would have made Herman look more stupid than Tohei did.

It's not the 1940s for sure. But some of the training that powered those techniques is alive and well and dare I say improving in terms of being taught effectively in a short time rather than over many many many years. What Mark has been saying about surface level effectiveness rings very true. One of the best MMA types near me stopped rolling so much because he considered himself too old. He had turned 30.

Rob
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:39 PM   #86
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I don't think Tohei was allowed to use any techniques or atemi. That makes it a lot harder. What MMA guy could stand up to Herman completely disallowed from techniques or striking again?
Well, considering that Herman looks like a complete zero, I'm guessing all of them? Is this a trick question? I think anybody with a decent sense of balance would put Herman down, he's a complete flounder. If you see anything redeeming in this clip we'll just have to agree to disagree on it, I don't know what else to say. I've never seen clips of Jill or any of Dan's students, or Dan himself, so I can't say a thing by way of comparison. Based on his writings though I'm guessing Dan wouldn't be impressed with Tohei here either, but of course that's for him to say. The point is that Ueshiba's contemporaries saying great things about him doesn't give us a lot of information.
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:05 PM   #87
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

Herman may be complete zero ability wize but he was like 200+ lbs. When you are not allowed to hit him or do any techniques, exacly what would you do that would be so different from Tohei? Answer that question.

While I'm sure that while any professional fighter could stand up to such an attack by just ignoring Herman, I'm sure that they would definately get pushed around by 200+ lbs of force pushing them when they can't do any techniques or striking. And my point here is that those MMA heros would probably look a lot like Tohei or mostly likely get pushed around MORE.

As far as Dan and his students. I've personally seen Jill doing that same exercise with Dan attacking like Herman (not like Dan would attack with internally powered technique and striking) and she handles such attacks by basically just standing in one place, disrupting the attacks, and not be knocked over at all. It's incredible. That is the level beyond very impressive external power that fades as you get older.

I would suggest that Tohei sensei - 20 years after that film would stand up against a Herman like attack with the same rules even better. If the typical MMA guy tries this with the same rules, and then again 20 years later, I would guess that person would do worse.

Rob
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Old 04-13-2008, 11:34 PM   #88
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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Herman may be complete zero ability wize but he was like 200+ lbs. When you are not allowed to hit him or do any techniques, exacly what would you do that would be so different from Tohei? Answer that question.
Tohei is the one who is supposedly capable of doing things differently and better than your average Joe. Isn't it supposed to look better than this even without using ikkyo or another "technique"? He should be able to decisively move someone without resorting to a lock, right? So where is anything like this evident in the Tohei clip? It looks like a shoving match with some judo thrown in. Ueshiba was supposedly able to get people to fall down even without touching them, how is that not possible under these rules? There are plenty of examples here that would be fine in this no-atemi no-arm-attack situation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUtB2aB8Q_Q

You talk about 200 lbs, at the end here Ueshiba is taking on what looks like a dozen people together, that's a lot more than 200 lbs. So why is Tohei having so much trouble with one uncoordinated guy? The only apparent difference is the lack of cooperation. If Tohei doesn't impress, how is his opinion of Ueshiba's skills going to impress? Past tales of greatness aren't going to help, which is why so many people believe the art needs to be seriously updated to meet modern standards.

Last edited by Dan Austin : 04-13-2008 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:28 AM   #89
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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Roy Dean wrote: View Post
Post #62 should get some kind of recognition (i.e. post of the year, or even post of the decade!).

I agree with everything Dan Austin wrote, and thank him for taking the time to do so.

I had my own disillusionment with the effectiveness of Aikido many years ago, after sparring with a BJJ blue belt (who was really just an old high school wrestler with a rear naked choke). It helped me recognize Aikido for what it is, rather than what I had wanted it to be. I wrote extensively about that process of realization here, for those interested.

Ultimately, words will not give you the truth, only direct experience will. I remember a discussion on this very board about how kaiten nage was a perfectly viable option against a double leg, rather than a simple sprawl. The Aikido option is always preferred, regardless of how improbable it may be to execute. It's almost like a religious belief, and many of us left that church years ago for the atheistic approach of repeatable, scientifically verified martial effectiveness (and with it, repeatable, scientifically verifiable losses against more skilled opponents).

To the original poster: It seems that people are trying to fill in the chasms on the road to effectiveness through structural realignment, internal exercises, etc. I'm not sure what to think about this, but I'm trying to keep an open mind. What would really help is the slightest amount of visual proof for the claims offered. So I would not venture down that path as a vehicle of saving your Aikido. Here is my alternative:

Video tape a match with your MMA friend and let us see how it unfolds (a good college wrestler will also do if an MMA fighter is unavailable). Do it. Test it. Film, examine, and analyze. This is the path of true progress.

Then let us then look at it objectively and offer advice. If you're serious about opening a school, you need the confidence that only comes through direct experience, with full resistance. That way, you won't be intimidated when the 320 pound powerlifter wants to test you out. You're aware, but not intimidated. You've got it mapped out. You know what techniques will work on this guy because you'd wrestled a thousand bodies at full resistance, and know that big guys are almost helpless once you take their back. You also know they have tight shoulders and are suckers for bent armlocks. You know that if necessary, you will expend up to 50% of your energy to not be sidemounted by the behemoth, and avoid that position at all costs. These are the lessons experience gives you. And these lessons are often taught by losing.

I will say that BJJ has increased my Aikido effectiveness a thousand fold. Against a resisting opponent, I now realize how fleeting those pockets of aiki actually are. BJJ taught me a process of eliminating space with my opponent that is undeniably effective. It taught me how to push, how to pull, and how to set up your opponent to push and pull as you'd like. It taught me how to flow with resistance, and keep calm during duress, even as you're being smashed.

Above all, I realized that softness is an illusion. Soft is not soft, soft is just hard enough.

In my opinion, the only way to save Aikido as a martially viable art form is to not do Aikido. I do not limit Aikido to the severely pared down syllabus derived from Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. I feel that the BJJ I practice and teach is also Aikido. Minoru Mochizuki did not limit his expression of Aikido to Morihei Ueshiba's tai jutsu techniques, so why should you?

Every generation must rediscover effectiveness for themselves. Your recent experience is a huge step for your own development. Don't stop now. Continue on the path and discover your own truth. It will be infinitely more meaningful than the truth that had been handed to you previously.

Best,

Roy Dean
I don't think I could of ever written anything that well. Great post.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:29 AM   #90
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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An art doesn't meaningfully exist as a thing separate from its current schools and practitioners, and if most of them suck then the art mostly sucks. If I'm a noob looking for a martial art, and I'm told that 1% of Aikido schools are good, then Aikido pretty much sucks.
And there's the real point. At what percent are there good versus bad schools? Has anyone invested the time to figure that out? Or are they going by the 0.5% of total schools that they've actually studied or been to a seminar? It's a hard thing to guess. I know of a couple of systems that are doing good stuff and a couple that are not doing good stuff. So, for me, say 50/50-ish.

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Let's assume for the sake of argument that the internal guys are correct, and that it's all about a certain body mechanic that's missing in the majority. If that's true, then sankyo simply becomes a means of expressing the body connection or whatever you want to call it in a particular scenario. But if it's about the whole body and how you use it, then a particular instance like a sankyo is no more important than any other technique.
Yep. And that's precisely the point. Sankyo in aikido isn't about getting this wrist lock that looks like sankyo. It's about control of the other person through that physical point of contact. So, why sankyo? Think about trying to armbar someone while grappling. You can't armbar a bent, pliable arm. You have to stretch it out and twist it just right to get the joint locked. Sort of similar with sankyo. Only it goes one step further. Twisting the wrist in a sankyo takes the slack out of the arm and shoulder and gives a concentrated connection through to the person's center/hara/dantien/whatever. From there, you can single weight the person, etc. The same goes for nikyo, ikkyo, kotegaeshi, etc, etc.

back to your point. Yep, technique doesn't matter. Once you get to a certain point in aikido, you realize this. That what you are working on in training isn't about getting this or that technique out in the "real world". It's all about keeping structurally intact while destabilizing the other person on contact through various physical interactions in a dynamic environment. The art that is called aikido uses certain "techniques" (These will vary from school to school but some carry over) to train in this manner.

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Whatever that body skill is, from basic logic and everything I have read it is technique-agnostic. You could practice it thousands of ways without ever doing sankyo. I don't think any of the internal guys does Aikido, and they harp on solo training, which by definition means no partner, ergo no sankyo, nikkyo or anything else. You can delete sankyo from the repertoire and still get what they have. No matter how you look at it, focusing on doing particular technical variations 120,000 times completely misses the point, whether it's for working some overall body skill or for self-defence effectiveness. It's inefficient at accomplishing either goal.
Solo training is only one part of the equation. How do you know your solo training is going down the right path if you don't test it? So, yes, there is more than just solo training. But, I agree it can be technique-agnostic.

In regards to "focusing on doing particular technical variations 120,000 times completely misses the point", I agree and I disagree. It isn't about techniques, no. But using techniques to train is worth doing. So is resistance in training. So is freestyle of some sort. And good aikido schools have all that.

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Unfortunately that's what everyone under the KoolAid influence will say as well. Not MY school, we do it right. By definition, good martial art X is what's practiced in the poster's school, and bad martial art X is what everybody else does. Heard that way too many times to get excited about the prospect of finding real X.
Eh, well, I've been in good dojos and bad dojos. Seen some really good stuff and some really bad stuff. As they say ... YMMV. Me? I'm just trudging along outside of organizations, hoping that what I'm doing is good.

Mark
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:40 AM   #91
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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Dan Austin wrote: View Post
Even if he was considered good by his contemporaries, what can that mean to us today?
and

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Dan Austin wrote: View Post
Past tales of greatness aren't going to help, which is why so many people believe the art needs to be seriously updated to meet modern standards.
Dan,
You've touched upon the highly debated point we in the aikido world are having. To me, it's obvious that IF Ueshiba, Tohei, Tomiki, Shioda, etc were very skilled and they all said they did aikido, then some "thing" was lost between then and now if we do not have any more people of that skill level. So, no, I don't believe that the art needs to be "updated". Rather it needs to regain what it originally had. If it does that, IMO, it will meet modern standards.

Mark
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:49 AM   #92
rob_liberti
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

I agree entitrly. In my opinion Osensei had something he didn't pass on directly. Maybe there was some reason, like one of those blood oaths people take when studying some Koryu. Maybe Osensei felt he could teach by means of kinesthetic perception and drop hints using kotodama. I had been trying to learn that way myself becuase I thought it was the ONLY way until I met Dan. Now I get to train both ways and it is very interesting.

For some reason I thought Dan was comparing aikido training to MMA training and using this bizzare test for the comparison. Since I'm actively practising all 3 things, I feel like I can respond with a bit more insight than the norm.

In that video, Tohei WAS clearly deomonstarting that he was one who is was capable of doing things differently and better than your average Joe. You can bring anyone from MMA (except Dan) to show me how they handle that situation and you'll see that they don't handle it nearly as well as Tohei sensei did when he was totally suprised by this set up. You can pick the MMA person and let them know to start preparing for it now.

I've personally witnessed one of the people who train that exact sort of thing directly with clear instructions do it even better. I'm training to be abe to do that too so I have a pretty good idea what to look for in terms of posture, arm movements led by intention, and central pivoting. Tohei sensei did okay for a surprise test like that.. Give me some time and I'll be happy to show you myself. I'm kind of a bonehead, my legs still shake wildly trying to hold the stance for any length of time (and I can probably squat 400lb+ easily so it has little to do with leg muscles).

But the bottom line here is that you define your goals, and seek out proper training to achieve it. It can be found in aikido if you seek it out. It can be found outside aikido as well. I got myself a structural tutor if you will. I could have taken the longer road but that didn't match my goal. I'm not sure what the OP wanted for their goals - but I won't agree that MMA is the ONLY way to achieve any martial goals. I've provided enough examples to support the position and I'm certainly not wearing aikido-blinders. Just taking on what seems to be MMA-blinders (which is a good way for a short time which meets only CERTAIN goals itself and meets THOSE well).

Rob
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:35 AM   #93
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

Just like, maybe, some skills didn't get passed down in the mix of transmission, I don't think that means that it's not a good idea to be able to train/spar/randori against someone executing a skilled attack. Just because you don't see video of aikidoka doing it, doesn't mean it ain't happening. I like working out with MMA folks. I like working out with BJJ folks, wrestlers, boxers, etc. I like scrapping These days I'm spending time building some skills I didn't have before. At some point, I'll go back to working out with other folks more, but for right now, I'm kinda happy having lots of dedicated time and a narrow focus.

But, I also think it depends on the skill set you want to build. If you are training to manifest "teh in73rnal skillz", then sparring against resistance, in the earlier stages, may be detrimental to your development of them. At some point, I think you need to pressure test them against skilled people (and skilled in ways you are not, maybe) in an honest fashion -- but there's limitations around that, too.

But basically, running your mouth about what your teacher can do, doesn't exactly give you any credibility for having an informed opinion or being able to demonstrate anything worthwhile. In other words, what can you do? What are you training to do? If you aren't worried about being able to use your skills against someone offering a skilled attack - or in a randori situation, then what's the problem? If you are, then get thyself into a randori situation and see what happens, already . . . no need to overcomplicate things with "what if's" or point to other people . . . what can you do?

If you are in aikido and care neither about internals or sparring, then no problem, enjoy yourself. If you care about both, then your training agenda better include a logical progression towards both (and maybe worrying more about that rather than talking about what your teacher can do - especially if you can't do it). If you are in MMA and don't think there's much value in aikido (or only 2% value) good, thanks for offering your opinion. My experience is different, but I'm too lazy to bother trying to change your mind
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:16 PM   #94
rob_liberti
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
But basically, running your mouth about what your teacher can do, doesn't exactly give you any credibility for having an informed opinion or being able to demonstrate anything worthwhile. In other words, what can you do? What are you training to do? If you aren't worried about being able to use your skills against someone offering a skilled attack - or in a randori situation, then what's the problem? If you are, then get thyself into a randori situation and see what happens, already . . . no need to overcomplicate things with "what if's" or point to other people . . . what can you do?
Seems to be a chasm between "a bit more insight than the norm" and "doesn't give you any credibility".

"Running your mouth about what your teacher can do"?! That kinds of speaks to finding someone who can help you achieve the goals you have defined for yourself. Especially since the point of what I was saying was that I found someone with the skills I wanted who had successfully imparted some of those skills rather quickly. If that was truly directed at me then I'm surprised you didn't agree with the relevance.

Even if that is not directed at me, all i can say is: if you want to only know about opinions from more accomplished folks there is a "voices of experience" section here.

It's hard to tell if that was directed at me because we seem to agree on every other point. Just in case - to make it abundantly clear, (because I was the last poster) my answer to: What can *I* do? - would be that I can define my goals, and find people with those skills to help me attain them. I can also resist 10 times the push I used to be able to. I can listen to other people's bodies remarkably better than ever before. I can relate what I'm learning to people who are ahead of me because I'm on the same track. My ability to recognize such things at a basic level is maybe moderately informed as opposed to expert. But I believe I had already made that clear to avoid any such confusion.

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 04-14-2008 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:05 PM   #95
Budd
 
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

Hi Rob - nope, not solely directed at you - I don't think I've ever asked that only experienced people chime in (hell, I'm unexperienced, depending on your viewpoint). What I think is more powerful an argument, though, rather than talking about how tough somebody you're studying under is (because even the greatest teachers have students that suck and never get anywhere) is what you can do right now - what you're training to do, specifically . . . is it receive pushes? Build structure? Apply what you're doing in a freestyle environment?

I agree with a lot of things you say regarding MMA and Aikido, but what are you training to do right now (beyond the higher level ki powers)? And . . . how is it going (besides receiving ten times the push - though what are you doing differently to achieve that, for that matter)? Are you finding your aikido is better now? Your MMA sparring? You see what I'm getting at? Most of us have a "where we'd like to get to" place in the training journey, but I'm particularly interested in the cold assessment of "where we are right now", because I think realistically you only really make progress farther down by creating those little checkpoints along the from from A to B . . . so . . . whatcha doing now?

For example . . . Me, I'm seeing how I can use the ground in a single leg to take someone down a lot easier than I could before when I was using raw muscle . . .
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:10 PM   #96
rob_liberti
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

I agree it may have been stronger had I been say 5 years further down my current path. I just didn't want to wait that long before posting.

I'm currently in the duldrums of building better structure/clean power lines and applying intent to new skills.

My aikido is much better now. I understand a lot more what Gleason sensei is telling me in aikido. The principles make a lot more sense because I'm training some of them in a much more isolated way.

Also, I suppose I'm building/rebuilding my standing, resisting of throws, walking, sword swings, punches, ground fighting, low kicks. None of that is all that impressive right now probably to anyone but me becuase I'm so aware of the differences. I showed my 4 year old how to row backwards while pushing his intent forwards at the same time. About an hour later my wife tried it out by grabbing his hand while he did it and remarked how he was energetically splitting her senses or something like that.

Good luck in your training!

Rob
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:00 AM   #97
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

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nobody's going to shomen-uchi me.
Many of the comments in this thread seem to be from people that train in aikido at beginner levels. Aikido techniques against a hand or shoulder grab are beginner level techniques. Techniques against shomenuchi or yokomenuchi are medium level techniques. We start small, with soft attacks, and uke learns to flow with the technique. But aikido is a martial art. A shomen attack becomes a straight punch (or a knife stab), a yokemen becomes a roundhouse punch (or a knife slash).

When aikido students understand the basics (how the techniques work, how to flow and extend), then their training should start to get harder - and by that I mean, the attacks should get harder. They should be realistic - uke should be coming in hard and fast, trying to knock your block off. Attacks should come from different distances, at different speeds, from different directions, from multiple attackers.

And then when the techniques don't work, you go back to the basics. Because if the techniques don't work, then you don't understand aikido yet.

At least, that's how it works in my dojo. I have trained in schools where the attacks are predominantly soft, and the students' aikido falls apart if someone attacks them hard. They don't know how to deal with more realistic attacks. But when students from soft styles come to my dojo, the learn quickly if they have already a good grasp of the basics. It's like taking theory and putting it into application.

My advice (and I heed it myself) to Annoynamus Person 1231 is to just keep on training. If you want to deal with realistic attacks, either change dojos or do as others have advised and cross-train.

One thing to remember - your training will always be better if you can train with peers or betters. I wouldn't rush off to start your own dojo. I teach, and learn a lot from teaching, but I learn a whole lot more training with partners that challenge me. You want people around who won't go with the technique unless it's perfect, and that means people who've been training at least as long as you - people you cannot overpower or force.

Good luck!
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:33 AM   #98
rob_liberti
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

Fiona,

Do you teach people how to deal with realistic attacks?
Can you describe the realistic attacks? How are their MMA skills?
How balanced are the attackers? Do they use any combinations?

What do you teach for protecting "others" using your aikido skills?

Can you describe the basics you are developing at your dojo beyond other dojos that better prepare you for more realistic attacks?

I'm very open to your training ideas. Thanks, Rob
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:03 AM   #99
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

Budd,

You comiing down for Aunkai workshop? If so, would love to roll around with you. I am really looking forward to getting down on the ground with Rob John!

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Old 04-15-2008, 07:52 AM   #100
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Re: The Topic I never Wanted To Post

Hi Kevin,

Unfortunately, I'm leading a project in Mississippi and my best bud from high school is getting married in CA around that time as well - so I am not going to be able to make it *GRUMBLE* - HOWEVER - there's no reason why we can't just hook up at some point post - workshop and play (seeing how some other folks want to participate as well).

As I mentioned, I've backed off the more pugilistic stuff for now, while I just work the bodyskills (bad movement habits come back when I get competitive ), but the rolling is something I can be very relaxed/chill about - so that would be fun!

Best,
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