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Old 06-02-2008, 05:29 AM   #1
Mary Eastland
 
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effectivness of technique

It seems like some folks have decided that since I find joy in seeing someone do freestyle knowing that every single technique they are doing may not be effective if they did not have an aikido uke, that some how we don't teach real Aikido.

So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?

Earnestly,
Mary
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:53 AM   #2
DonMagee
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Re: effectivness of technique

I wrote a long post where I tried to explain, but then I decided it doesn't matter what I say.

Those who get it, get it. Those that don't, well they don't.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:54 AM   #3
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?

Earnestly,
Mary
If you're "earnestly" asking that question, I'll smile and kiss a pig.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:27 AM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: effectivness of technique

I tend to think of waza in two categories: practical and principle. Some are very practical. Some are designed to teach the principles that often make the other techniques practical.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:34 AM   #5
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
If you're "earnestly" asking that question, I'll smile and kiss a pig.
lol
better pick your pig..

Mary
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:35 AM   #6
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
I tend to think of waza in two categories: practical and principle. Some are very practical. Some are designed to teach the principles that often make the other techniques practical.
What a great way to sum it all up in a few words
Mary
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:44 AM   #7
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Re: effectivness of technique

Mary Eastland wrote:
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?

Earnestly,
Mary

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
If you're "earnestly" asking that question, I'll smile and kiss a pig.
I guess you're saying that the answer is so obviously 'no' that the question can't be asked earnestly. If then the answer to Mary's question is indeed no, it must be that some techniques you learn are martially effective and some aren't. So why bother with the ineffective techniques at all? Why not just concentrate on the techniques you know to be martially effective? After all, isn't the consensus on these boards that 'real' Aikido must work in 'real life' situations all the time or it just isn't real Aikido? Aren't you being cheated by your instructor if you're learning stuff that you can't take out on the street and defend yourself with? And what about those students who, no matter how long they train and how much dedication they exhibit, will never grasp the martial applicability of what they are learning? Is their Aikido any less real than yours? Must Aikido learning be fear based for it to be considered real?

Fact is that Aikido isn't like every other martial art. The whole foundation of the art is based on a contradiction.

From the Aikido Teachings article right here on Aikiweb in the words of the Founder:

'Aikido is not an art to fight with enemies and defeat them. It is a way to lead all human beings to live in harmony with each other as though everyone were one family. The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, "I am the universe."'

You can spin your interpretation of the above quote any way you like, but the simplest reading remains the literal meaning of the words and therein lies the paradox - what is a martial art that is 'not an art to fight enemies with'? How each of us, as students of Aikido, through our training and study attempts to resolve the paradox determines the form our Aikido takes.

Best,

Ron
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:57 AM   #8
rob_liberti
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
It seems like some folks have decided that since I find joy in seeing someone do freestyle knowing that every single technique they are doing may not be effective if they did not have an aikido uke, that some how we don't teach real Aikido.
I read a thread about how sport fighting doesn't work in aikido.
I assume your prespective was that you intented to "defend" the validity of your approach. Unfortunately, it came off - to me - a bit more like "attacking" other's people's approaches - specifically the shotokan/tomiki aikido people's approach, and anyone who wanted to up progressive resistance to 100% full MMA as invalid.

If that thread had been something more to the effect of - what you are doing is interesting and joyful and has enough depth in its specific focus to last for lifetimes - the thread would have been about 10 posts long with the 9 replies saying "good for you!" (and one of them would have been from me)

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?

Earnestly,
Mary
I think the most respectful thing to do is to challenge the quesiton. Is this "question" an arguing technique to wrong foot opposition away from reality into absurdity land? Why ask such an absurd rhetorical question?

Obviously, NO. Not every single technique that every single student does in anyone's dojo is guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw.

First, because if it were, where would the learning be?!

Second, techniques - as manifestations of the all the principles - will work to some degree on some percent of all attackers in some percent of all situations. If your goal is to manfiest the principles completely you may consider TESTING them more completely so that those percentages get more favorable for nage.

If your goal is not to completely test your manifestation of the principles then it is doubtful that the percentages will increase beyond a certain point. If you intentionally set that limit, then fine - continue to enjoy your training. If you tell others that they are wrong for intenting to surpass that limit how do you expect to convince them to limit themselves?

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 06-02-2008 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:34 AM   #9
Ron Tisdale
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
It seems like some folks have decided that since I find joy in seeing someone do freestyle knowing that every single technique they are doing may not be effective if they did not have an aikido uke, that some how we don't teach real Aikido.
This is where I usually ask for a quote that supports your conclusion, but I need to remember that even if no one said such a thing, your interpretation may still be valid from your point of view.

I can say for myself, I am often keenly aware that not every waza in my own freestyle would work on even a majority of aikido uke providing good strong resistance without also supplying connection. My own level is still so low that for probably 60% of my waza, without uke providing the appropriate connection, I would not be able to throw in anything like the manner I desire. I think my percentage in shite uke keiko is better...maybe I would be sucsessful 60% of the time without uke providing the needed connection (but I would still need some semblence of the proscribed attack).

So, a lot of my focus now is on understanding how to create that connection I need to throw sucsessfully, in myself. So that any uke who comes in contact with me automatically feels that connection if I desire them to feel it. Or doesn't feel it, but is "caught" by it anyway.

This seems a very high bar to me...but one which I feel is necessary to realize the potential of the art.

Quote:
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?
Like Rob, I am kind of flumaxed by the question...what would be the point of training if this were so? I cannot even imagine a mixed martial art gym where this would be so. Every art/science/way has beginners, intermediate, adepts. So there is no way to meet the bar that your question sets.

Therefore, there must be stages, and each stage has it's goals. How you define those stages and goals is up to you, your teacher, and your fellow training partners. These things may even vary from keiko to keiko, even in the same night.

My goal is to reach the highest percentages in these situations that I am capable of using the methodology provided to me by my teachers and fellow students. While I myself am not interested in true competitive training models long term, I see no reason to limit them from my experience simply because I train in aikido. I would want to be carefull how I apply that type of training, and carefull about my mindset during such training.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-02-2008 at 08:43 AM.

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Old 06-02-2008, 08:51 AM   #10
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
...is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?
Use the force, Mary...

Seriously? NO.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:54 AM   #11
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
From the Aikido Teachings article right here on Aikiweb in the words of the Founder:

'Aikido is not an art to fight with enemies and defeat them. It is a way to lead all human beings to live in harmony with each other as though everyone were one family. The secret of aikido is to make yourself become one with the universe and to go along with its natural movements. One who has attained this secret holds the universe in him/herself and can say, "I am the universe."'

You can spin your interpretation of the above quote any way you like, but the simplest reading remains the literal meaning of the words and therein lies the paradox - what is a martial art that is 'not an art to fight enemies with'? How each of us, as students of Aikido, through our training and study attempts to resolve the paradox determines the form our Aikido takes.

Best,

Ron
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7322

Well, maybe you can't take the Founder's words "literal meaning" without context.

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Old 06-02-2008, 08:59 AM   #12
mathewjgano
 
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?
Earnestly,
Mary
As usual, I really like Lynn's remarks. I'd like to add that different people have different proclivities: different people will internalize different techniques at different rates. That said, I think the answer is, "of course not."
"Every" is a big concept. I don't think any school of martial arts has 100% effectiveness. If effectiveness is the central issue then i suppose it's a matter of how likely those different students on average will be able to perform technique in some random situation...and that has a lot of variables.
Regarding the idea of freestyle movement exercises (assuming I'm picturing the idea correctly), i think Don said it best: some will get it, some won't. Some folks see these movements and think "that's not sparring!" and are incredulous or indignant; others simply recognize them as an exercise to be included as part of a whole system of training methods. Feeling how a connection changes has been pretty valuable to me. You don't get much time to feel through your partner when they're tense and fighting against you. Of course a danger with training this way is that potentially a student will get too used to all the slack in the system. I think that if there is a problem with the Aikido world in general, as so many folks have so diligently asserted, I think it must have to do with the slack we allow our partners to play with.
...my two bits anyway
Cheers folks.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 06-02-2008 at 09:02 AM.

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Old 06-02-2008, 09:03 AM   #13
Ron Tisdale
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
I guess you're saying that the answer is so obviously 'no' that the question can't be asked earnestly. If then the answer to Mary's question is indeed no, it must be that some techniques you learn are martially effective and some aren't. So why bother with the ineffective techniques at all?
I think I bother with waza that I would not use in a "live" situation because they allow me to work on principles of movement and interaction that are isolated and distilled. Kind of like certain physical exercises isolate certain muscles so that those particular muscles get a specific workout to prepare them for use in a larger context. Doshinkan aikido has many sets of waza/dosa (technique/movements) that are used in this way, in my opinion. Everything from the basic movements to basic movements with partner, to 10 pivots with partner and related technique.

Quote:
Why not just concentrate on the techniques you know to be martially effective?
I think I answered this above, but if it's not clear, please question me on it some more. In my mind, the goal of working the things I mentioned above is to isolate certain aspects of martial interaction...by strengthening those, I hope to strengthen my overall ability. Personally, I see no inconsistancy in that, with setting a high bar in terms of my ability to handle non-cooperative partners to varying extents.

Quote:
After all, isn't the consensus on these boards that 'real' Aikido must work in 'real life' situations all the time or it just isn't real Aikido?
I'm sorry to say it, but I feel that you are asking a question that contains some foregone conclusions that I cannot accept.

A) I am not sure there is a consensus on this board regarding much of anything, except that most of us enjoy training in various forms of aikido.

B) I have not much clue how to define "Real" Aikido. I enjoy the style of training in my home school...and I enjoy the style of training in at least two other distinct schools on a regular basis in my area as well. All are very different, and very satisfying for different reasons.

C) The kind of "real" situations you mention can vary widely. So again, it's a hard nut to crack. Self defense can be very slippery...maybe in a given situation I can get my odds to 52% sucsess against 48% failure. The balance can literally be that small. And if I slip on a banana peel on the sidewalk, even smaller. Personally, I find a more realistic goal is that in training, I want to work on specific things. And on upping the odds of sucsess with those things against increasing difficult odds.

So that if I must put the entire package together sometime, in a non-cooperative situation, there is a realistic opportunity to tip the scales by that one or two percent in my favor. In my experience so far, that's all you get in those situations. You zig instead of zag...you die. Or get hurt. Or someone you love get's killed...

But that is hopefully a by product of good training...I don't find it to be one of my primary goals at this time.

Quote:
Aren't you being cheated by your instructor if you're learning stuff that you can't take out on the street and defend yourself with?
As long as my instructor is clear about what is being taught, no, I'm not being cheated.

Quote:
And what about those students who, no matter how long they train and how much dedication they exhibit, will never grasp the martial applicability of what they are learning? Is their Aikido any less real than yours?
There are some of those in every school/gym. I think they do the best they can, and for themthat is enough.

Quote:
Must Aikido learning be fear based for it to be considered real?
Again, I see a premise here that I cannot agree with. You presuppose that a wish for a higher percentage of sucsess is fear based. There are many reasons that have nothing to do with fear for a person to push the percentages higher in their favor. To label this desire as fear based seems to be a negative way of viewing someone else's choices. Which is perhaps what is inspiring Mary's threads of late...others have done the same.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-02-2008 at 09:14 AM.

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Old 06-02-2008, 09:11 AM   #14
mathewjgano
 
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
The whole foundation of the art is based on a contradiction...what is a martial art that is 'not an art to fight enemies with'?
Personally, I use the phrase "martial art" pretty loosely. Technically speaking, i'd describe Aikido as a "pax art." There is a huge overlap between the two concepts, but to me the difference seems to fix the paradox you describe. It's not an art to fight enemies with: it's an art of reconciliation with people.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:16 AM   #15
philippe willaume
 
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
It seems like some folks have decided that since I find joy in seeing someone do freestyle knowing that every single technique they are doing may not be effective if they did not have an aikido uke, that some how we don't teach real Aikido.

So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?

Earnestly,
Mary
Well chacun à son gout as we say in France.
That being said, there is difference with pedagogic tools and martial effectiveness.

The idea being the martial side is to make it as hard as it is humanly possible for your opponent to get away from the technique.
No matter how good and how careful, you are cock ups are going to happens.
Since we are all have to go to work the morning after….

As well I think that the "soft stuff" is usually very good to decompose and made apparent bits of the technique. So there is martial value there, even if only in pure pedagogic form and not practical form.

For example to put ki/good bio-mechanics in evidence, you need to get rid of every thing else so by definition that will not be martial any more.
Is that still aikido, yes it is but the parallels can be drawn to almost anything from medieval fencing to horse riding.

I see aikido more along the line of make it work then make it flow (To paraphrase one Sensei)

Phil

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Old 06-02-2008, 09:18 AM   #16
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Re: effectivness of technique

Well said Mr. Tisdale!

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Old 06-02-2008, 09:53 AM   #17
Ron Tisdale
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Re: effectivness of technique

I apologize for coming back once more, but I also feel something else might help to clarify my opinions on the overall topic.

I have had the opportunity to train with three of the main proponents of "internal training" so far; Dan, Akuzawa, and Mike. In none of those settings was uncooperative training stressed. What was stressed was:

A) various solo positions and exercises to build internal connections within the body

B) various breathing exercises (some focus more on breath than others)

C) various cooperative partner exercises for testing and building the internal strength componants.

None of these experiences highlighted non-cooperative training. Dan Hardin did use some non-cooperative situations to highlight the efficacy of his methods. He was able to do the things he did in cooperative sessions in non-cooperative environments. His own personal bent seems to be non-cooperative training along with the things a listed above. But he did not force that bent on me, or any of the people there.

My overall feeling is that these skills are in fact foundational skills if I want my Aikido to reach the highest levels *I* can reach. And my experience is that we as aikidoka for the most part do not spend enough focused, intelligent time on these skills, because they are so poorly understood. I think the response to the posts about this show that lack of understanding.

One way of testing these skills is to use varying non-cooperative settings. My own personal experience has been that aikido partners (myself included) have a trained, almost pavlovian, conditioned response to cooperate or even resist in inappropriate ways for this type of training. Now that I am realizing this, I find it necessary to watch my own responses in training both as shite and uke VERY carefully. I also must be carefull in how I assess my progress in this area.

I don't have it all figured out, and probably never will...but I'm happy at least working on it, and in finding others who also want to honestly strive to improve.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-02-2008 at 09:55 AM.

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Old 06-02-2008, 10:40 AM   #18
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Mary Eastland wrote:
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?

Earnestly,
Mary

I guess you're saying that the answer is so obviously 'no' that the question can't be asked earnestly. If then the answer to Mary's question is indeed no, it must be that some techniques you learn are martially effective and some aren't.
Well, no, that doesn't follow at all. The question was stated in terms of absolutes: 'every single technique, "every single student...in your dojo", "guaranteed to be martially effective", "every time". There is no technique, in any style, that meets that standard.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:51 AM   #19
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?
And here is my question:

If every single technique that every single student does in your dojo is guaranteed to be martially ineffective every time they throw, then you're teaching the real Aikido, isn't it?

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Old 06-02-2008, 02:46 PM   #20
rob_liberti
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
And here is my question:

If every single technique that every single student does in your dojo is guaranteed to be martially ineffective every time they throw, then you're teaching the real Aikido, isn't it?
I see where you were going but I disagree with it. How about:

If the resistance never progresses past a certain point then HOW DO YOU KNOW if what you are doing in aikido is REAL?

I trust experience. I choose to learn how to NOT FIGHT while remaining safe and effective while someone is trying to FIGHT ME. In that way there can be no fighting in aikido (the attacker is trying to fight, but I'm not fighting back). I have to say just having the ability to be like that in general STILL wouldn't be my definition of "real aikido". I want to manifest such principles so that I can really learn the spiritual aspects of aikido - and approach them from real (and well tested) understanding.

Rob

P.S. In one thread, someone told me I was delusional for wanting comic book hero like powers! (Oh that made me laugh. I would be delusion to NOT want comic book hero like powers.)
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:28 PM   #21
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7322

Well, maybe you can't take the Founder's words "literal meaning" without context.
Then again, maybe you can.

Best,

Ron
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:08 PM   #22
rob_liberti
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Re: effectivness of technique

This is reminding me of getting into literalist tradition of our aiki religion.

As I understand it, the word aiki was borrowed from the okuden level of a sword system (where okugy means DEPTH). I would imagine surface level explanations of anything about aikido are GENERALLY not going to cut it.

I have to wonder in what universe was Osensei EVER known as a straight talker? My gosh, is there some reputation of Osensei I missed where everything - for that matter ANYTHING - he explained was well known for being crystal clear?!

The fact of the matter is that Osensei did have other martial artists attack him and he defeated them without hurting them (in general!). If you can't do that (I can't yet) fine but you're probably not doing Osensei's aikido (yet). If you have no interest in developing such skill then you probably will never be able to do Osensei's aikido. Is the aikido you are doing "real aikido"? I don't know. I just know that wouldn't be my cup of tea for my own path. If you are feeling invalidated by the opinions of others in aikido - you can (1) try to change the majority of their minds, (2) change your own path, or (3) simply not worry about what anyone else thinks. These threads keep coming up looking for option 1. I think that's a tall order. These "please validate my training methods/belief system" threads are ALWAYS going to be met with the same responses.

Rob
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:37 PM   #23
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
It seems like some folks have decided that since I find joy in seeing someone do freestyle knowing that every single technique they are doing may not be effective if they did not have an aikido uke, that some how we don't teach real Aikido.

So here is my question....is every single technique that every single student does in your dojo guaranteed to be martially effective every time they throw?

Earnestly,
Mary
Everytime they've thrown for real it's been martially effective.
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:39 AM   #24
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
The fact of the matter is that Osensei did have other martial artists attack him and he defeated them without hurting them (in general!). If you can't do that (I can't yet) fine but you're probably not doing Osensei's aikido (yet). If you have no interest in developing such skill then you probably will never be able to do Osensei's aikido.
Don't forget that Shioda did the same. Tomiki did the same. Tohei. Mochizuki. So, that covers four of the big names in Aikido. If you aren't working towards developing that kind of skill, just *what* kind of aikido are you doing? This is a serious question.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:58 AM   #25
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: effectivness of technique

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
II have to say just having the ability to be like that in general STILL wouldn't be my definition of "real aikido".
Hi Rob -

Just curious, how would you define "real aikido"?

Quote:
Rob Liberit wrote:
P.S. In one thread, someone told me I was delusional for wanting comic book hero like powers! (Oh that made me laugh. I would be delusion to NOT want comic book hero like powers.)
Do you also want the comic book hero responsibilities that go along with those powers?

Best,

Ron
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