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Old 03-03-2009, 08:45 PM   #26
Buck
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote: View Post

Are you agreeing or disagreeing Phil?

One comment I see surface often is that one of Aikido's great things is that it trains you against multiple opponents.
I won't disagree, I'm certain saved my ass in a fight but the thing is if we turn around and assume another martial art is weaker because if it IE "They don't train UFC fighters against multiple opponents!" we, the Aikido community, end up looking like we're grasping at straws.
The LOL is because it struck my funny bone of what was said. I just LOL.


Fighting multiples. When we speak of a multiple attacker situation there is this over-romanticized thing put on it. I understand why there is this stress on Aikido being able to take on many attackers thing. It was to counter the UFC stuff against Aikido.

Aikido does teach to a multiple attack that is all about being attacked by sword wheeling Samurais.

I am waiting for that UFC fight where there is one fighter fighting against 2,3,...12 other UFC fighters at once! It may happen.

I don't think it is a bad thing for Aikido people to say that we train to fight against more than one attacker. It is a fact. It is a fact UFC doesn't and it is about the one on one, and that makes it worth watching. One fighter pitted against another. And age old thing to watch two men pitted against each other where only one man wins. It spans all cultures and countries and goes back to early man.

To be fair and more accurate UFC should be compared to Sumo, and not Aikido. I don't think there is any harm done to Aikido by saying Aikido trains for multiple attackers and UFC doesn't , at least for me, it is a fact.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:16 PM   #27
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Graham,

Thanks for the response. I am not questioning your personal experience. It sounds like you have found good value and insights from your training. If it is working for you fine.

Certainly, each of us has our own experiences and we draw from them and find meaning in many ways and I am sure Aikido has served that purpose for you and for many.

Maybe it is semantics, but I do tend to be a little be very precise in my definition of martial art and like to make people think hard about and answer the question when the say "well, our martial art actually teaches people how not to fight."

Does it really do this, or and should it, or should we simply not reframe it into a politically correct phrase and say what it really is?

I prefer to call it what it really is, and let folks figure out how it might help them and what insights they might get out of it. It may be that it does help them not fight...but that is not what I am teaching them.

I think words must be chosen very carefully, especially when we are talking about something as serious as a martial art. We are teaching people how to do very bad things to other people. With that comes a tremendous responsibility that you accept. I think it is important that we are clear about it to ourselves and our students.

If we are doing anything other than that, then I really believe we are either not qualified to be teaching what we are teaching, (because we don't know better), or we are intentionally reframing it for some philosophical reason to get an agenda or dogma across that we are trying to carry on.

I think aikido in particular has suffered from this in many ways.

Budo is serious business and needs to be approached that way.

That is not to say that we cannot also teach ethics and moral responsibility and help people grow and discover the lessons that surround the marital art or budo, it is just that I think we need to be very honest about what it is that we are doing.

We are teaching people how to fight. It is that simple at the base level.

We are not teaching them how to avoid fights. We are not teaching them how to passively resolve conflict by moving off the line we are teaching them how to skillfully engage other people and render them unable to cause us harm through various applications and levels of force.

It is secondary that we actually probably end up avoiding fights because we develop these skills. Certainly a worthwile goal in my opinion.

We should not pretend that the various ki test and exercises like kokyu tanden ho are doing anything to help us avoid fights, they are exercises to help us learn how to use our selves in more skillful ways.

As far as conflict resolution goes...sure, all martial arts by their nature contain elements of how to resolve conflict. However, I think we do it in some very generic ways that deal with physical force or the application (or not thereof).

Conflict Resolution is something I am very, very interested in for both professional and philosophical reasons. (I am comtemplating gong to George Mason University to obtain my PhD in CR right now actually).

However, CR is a very broad subject area and much of it must be approach situationally. For example, a police officer, a social worker, and a soldier may all have different "rules of engagement" and a spectrum of escalation of force criteria that they must deal with.

I think martial arts can be very helpful in this area as it develops good skills (mental, physically, and spiritually) that can assist us with being properly prepared to deal with stressful situations that may potentially involve physical action. I think MA also provide us a wonderful framework mentally and emotionally to deal with stress at the work place whatever that may be too.

However, I don't believe it is our responsibility in martial arts to define for people what conflict resolution should be and how we should react. We don't need to be establishing dogma for folks in this area...it will get them killed possibly (Cognitive Dissonance, another discussion).

We simply need to present martial methodologies for what they are and allow them to discover their own meaning.

We are teaching them how to hurt and kill people. Okay, I will also be a little more "PC" and say "we are teaching them how to resolve conflict". I'd buy that too I suppose as long as we don't define or constrain it to a particular paradigm of application. (I hope this makes sense???)

If we give them enough skill, then they/we should develop more and more choices about how much force and when we use it (hopefully), but we should not define or limit what we teach to them out of deference to some philosophical/dogmatic belief!

On one end of the spectrum you have the "combat effective" model that says, "break the wrist and walk away". On the other end of the spectrum you have "move off the line, harmonize and lay them down gently".

Which one is right? I think it depends on the situation. I think we have a responsibility to learn and teach both extremes and everything in between.

That is why I have issue with the statement "We teach people how not to fight".

It assumes a dogma and at least in my mind, psychologically limits us to what we practice or consider appropriate. It is a dangerous mindset IMO.

I understand what Terry Dobson is saying, and I think that is a noble goal. It is mine at least!

However, I have also heard people that have studied with Terry say he also said alot of other colorful things!

O Sensei as well, also said things that would appear to contradict that. You have to be careful with the context in which these things were said.

Budo presents us an interesting paradox, and I really think it is important that we choose our words and thoughts carefully.

I hope this explains why I posed the question to generate discussion.

I have no issue with your goals, as they are mine as well!

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Old 03-03-2009, 09:25 PM   #28
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
John Furgerson III wrote: View Post
Perhaps what is meant by this is teaching one to make sure a situation can be brought under control in a very fast, efficient way. If one has some type of training, a situation may not get out of hand. Control and harmony can be quickly restored.

If someone is good at Aikido for example, they may be able to end the fight before it really begins.

Hey John thanks.

Good response, but think about this....is there more to it than this? I mean if "fast and efficient" is all we are concerned about then we would just need to train the "just break the wrist and walk away" model. Fast and efficient does not address the issue entirely I think either as it is not concerned with Escalation or Levels of Force.

You'd also have to define the parameters of what is meant by "harmony" and "control".

I think harmony is when two parties walk away from the situation equally happy with the outcome. When I think of control...I am, for example only concerned with myself being happy with the outcome.

I think the situation dictates that outcome. I mean if I am a corrections officer, I am probably not too concerned with the inmate being "happy". But then again, I may be if in the long run it makes everyones life easier having a happy inmate!

Thanks again...this is a complicated topic to discuss for sure!

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Old 03-04-2009, 05:11 AM   #29
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote: View Post

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
How do you actually use a martial art to teach someone how NOT to fight?

I was about to ask the same thing.

Using martial arts to teach someone not to fight?
This sounds like some romantasized thing smeone came up with.
Like someone claiming to be a pacifist warrior.
The goal of my training is to not fight --- with myself. Over the years Aikido training has led me to realize that I carry more enemies around with me in the form of old baggage than I'm ever likely to meet on the street. First and foremost Aikido provides me with a vehicle that enables me to be at peace with myself. If I'm at peace with myself I'm more likely to successfully integrate myself with my environment in a harmonious manner.

The assertion that Aikido is a martial art that teaches you how not to fight is incomplete... it omits the simple fact that the enemies we are learning how not to fight with are ourselves.

Ron
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:47 AM   #30
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Sigh....

Why does everyone talk like the UFC is a martial art? Do you go out and take UFC classes? Who was the founder of UFC style? How many years does it take to get a black belt in UFC?

The UFC is a proving ground for fighters who themselves are trained in systems of combat. Some are boxers, some are jiujitsu experts, some are even TKD guys. These guys train in systems that they feel will win fights, then they go out and well...how can I put this....try to win fights.

Personally, I do not want morality preached at my in martial art class. I had parents and priests for that. I want them to spend their time teaching me how to fight. If you haven't learned to be moral by now your probably going to be an asshole for life.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:20 AM   #31
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

I was asked about my myth comment in my first post.

Aikido doesn't heal the sick or raise the dead. I think there is a big mistake when people put things on Aikido that they shouldn't. Aikido isn't something we can turn it into anything we want it to be. That is where the myths come from.

Last edited by Buck : 03-04-2009 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:34 AM   #32
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
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Sigh....
Personally, I do not want morality preached at my in martial art class. I had parents and priests for that. I want them to spend their time teaching me how to fight. If you haven't learned to be moral by now your probably going to be an asshole for life.
I agree though I do think that Aikido like many other martial arts of its time had a purpose to turn martial combat into martial art. That there is a morality, on an individual morality, but a social morality. In the 1900's in New York street fighting and street violence was a common part of society. It wasn't very civil times then in that city. Aikido and other martial arts of that time, like Judo etc. basically is geared to change that ruffian Japanese mentality that was affecting Japanese society from moving forward. All that is similar to the 1900s in New York and how a change there too had to be made for the sake of social progress. Aikido is also similar to the purpose for the birth of sports in the 1700's in this country; culturing young men in things that now have become good sportsmanship, fair play, etc. The west unlike Japan, we had many institutions and stuff to teach morality. We were long out of our feudal periods and already made that shift to a modern society. Japan was a johnny-come-latey in these area of things.

Aikido as a martial art deals with the Japanese individual in relation to their society. It really doesn't teach individual personal morals or is the mental therapy stuff across cultures. Here is the other thing, to teach any of that kind of stuff really is dependent on the moral character and personality of the Sensei. Honestly, Aikido doesn't prepare any Sensei to be in the role of therapists, moral teachers, spiritual leaders, etc. and that responsibility. It is just expected?!? Basically it is gained through the journey of training. That is one big assumption for those who are not Japanese.

Because of that stuff, Aikido is wide open to personal and individual interpretations like being discussed now. What is over looked is Aikido's societal mission to better society by to turning the ruffian into a gentlemen, and not into anything else- the general idea. Taking parts of the old moral Japanese codes and revising it to fit the purpose of Japan's new direction into (or fit into) the modern world. Really, I think any of that cant apply so much in today's western society.

If you take a cross section of those people who start Aikido, you will find that they are already gentle people. That the goal of Aikido is already achieved before they walk through the dojo doors, one in most cases. People who seek out Aikido in general well educated, intelligent, successful and contributing members of society. Who have already a general morality in place from other sources. The problem here is the goal of Aikido being already met before we actually start crates a void of sorts. Because of the strong obscure message of Aikido. So then because of that message not being understood clearly people feel that message needs to be fulfilled( even though it has been already). In that case, we find other ways of fulfilling that message resulting in the mix of other things which we then attribute to Aikido. The result of that is the personal experience stuff.
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:01 AM   #33
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
Sigh....

Why does everyone talk like the UFC is a martial art? Do you go out and take UFC classes? Who was the founder of UFC style? How many years does it take to get a black belt in UFC?

The UFC is a proving ground for fighters who themselves are trained in systems of combat. Some are boxers, some are jiujitsu experts, some are even TKD guys. These guys train in systems that they feel will win fights, then they go out and well...how can I put this....try to win fights.

Personally, I do not want morality preached at my in martial art class. I had parents and priests for that. I want them to spend their time teaching me how to fight. If you haven't learned to be moral by now your probably going to be an asshole for life.
Great post Don.
UFC breeds two negitive aspects I find.
1. People who brag ad nauseum about how great all things UFC are. Often these people seem like in order for themselves to feel better about their own martial arts they need to cling onto X fighter who uses their style in UFC as a sort of validation all the while putting other people down.

2. Other people who's martial art isn't in UFC who feel the need to prove or point out ways that their martial art still works. Pointing this out isn't always a bad thing but I think it's unhealthy when someone feels the *need* to as a sort of justification or validation.

It all just seems like posturing to me.

With regard to your comment;

"Personally, I do not want morality preached at my in martial art class. I had parents and priests for that. "

I see where you're coming from but I also see some reasons *to* teach it in class.

Kids today lack a lot of social interaction and empathy for other people. Kids (and teenagers) interact more with halo_player56 while playing Ghost recon on XBox more than they do with their parents and kids up the road.
You said you had parents and teachers to teach you morality, that's awesome but how many other kids DON'T have that?

How many kids get shoved into a martial arts class 3 times a week so their parents can have a break from them? They get home, back on the computer.

I have a lot more respect for people in general because of Aikido. I know it's easy for people to get all weird about Budo and the way of the warrior but how I see it in the military they don't just teach you how to shoot, they teach you when to shoot and when not too.
Personally I see martial arts the same way. They teach you how to fight but they should also touch on force escalation. When to pull your sword out and when to put it away.
I just don't think kids today learn enough of that from their parents and schoolteachers. know what I mean?

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 03-04-2009, 09:21 AM   #34
Cyrijl
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

I usually don't post here because Jun always has to warn me after I do , but I just can't help comment on the stereotypes of the orginal poster.

#1 I have met several UFC fighters. Kenny Florian, Ninja Rua, Joe Lauzon, Dan Henderson. They were all very nice and polite and for the most part soft spoken. If you ever have seen Ninja fight, he usually has a smile on his face, the same smile he has while he trained at my school. Dan was in the olympics. Joe has a college degree in computer science. Kennny grew up in one of the most affluent towns in massachusetts. I didn't grasp a bit of ego from any of them. When I took Aikido, that is all I got was ego. But I don't assume it is caused by Aikido, it is just the way those people are.

#2 I love the UFC. I love mixed martial arts. I have advanced degrees in philosophy from a top notch school and I don't wear TapOut or Affliction T-shirts. I just don't enjoy team sports. I don't drink beer or yell out in public, I avoid fights.

#3 I hate to compete. I entered my first tournament two weeks ago and came in first place. Nonetheless, it is not my thing. I did it to see if I could use my technique against a fully resisting opponent. I didn't even plan on competing until the day of. I didn't cut weight. I didn't train for the event. My first opponent outweighted me by about 15lbs, was pure muscle and tried very hard to stare me down. When I won, we shook hands, I bowed and I walked off the mat. Later on that day the guy and I talked quite a bit. No ego

#4 I don't do Muay Thai as much as I used to because I have never liked hitting people. Even with mouthguards and 12 oz gloves, I can't bring myself to really hit anyone. However, getting hit on a regular basis has gelped me stay out of fights. Much like the competition, knowing that I can take a punch and beat someone bigger means I don't have to worry about a bruised ego "out on the street". What I ran into in aikido (not from the instructors) seemed like a bunch of students whose confidence is largely inflated by the little stripes on their belt and not much more.

Again, I don't think it is an aikido thing or a ufc thing. It is about having good parents and common sense. It is easy to avoid fights. If you need aikido to help you avoid fights, you might need a psychologist not a martial art.

Last edited by Cyrijl : 03-04-2009 at 09:25 AM.

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Old 03-04-2009, 10:13 AM   #35
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
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When I took Aikido, that is all I got was ego. But I don't assume it is caused by Aikido, it is just the way those people are.
Do you mind giving some examples?

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 03-04-2009, 10:30 AM   #36
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
the enemies we are learning how not to fight with are ourselves.

Ron
Masaka Agatsu Katsu Hayahi .

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:31 AM   #37
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

I think if we stick to teaching folks the very core elements of martial arts, and as instructors we make sure that we set a good example as a human being, and we look hard at the character of those we choose to teach...

Then, the whole morality/philosophical thing tends to take care of itself.

I think it is simply enough to focus on the core and the rest falls in place. An occasional discussion about personal responsibility or personal goals and happiness are all okay, but if we get dogmatic about what we are teaching...we are not doing the right things.

We should simply present our teachings without pretext of what we personally believe...that is "We don't teach THAT technique because it is not aikido or not ethical". Simply teach it, and let people make up their own mind and learn their own lessons.

I agree with Grant's assessment above.

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Old 03-04-2009, 10:52 AM   #38
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

I finally met Gokor Chevichyan last Sunday and got a chance to shake his hand...Some of my friends jokingly egged me on to challenge him...and I did...I bet him I could last 30 seconds in the ring with him...LOL

I don't have a point with that little story other than I think Aikido and NHB/MMA can co-exist and learn from each other.

I guess part of this boards job is for some folks to dicuss over and over again thier "issues" with whatever Martial Art they practice...It used to bother me but I don't mind now....

The thread topic is a rhetorical question predicated on if you believe what you practice WORKS FOR YOU...If it does not then go find something else that does...

I know my Aikido works both as a Martial System and as a way to live my life.

William Hazen
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:12 AM   #39
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Masaka Agatsu Katsu Hayahi .
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...9&postcount=78

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Old 03-04-2009, 11:26 AM   #40
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
Sigh....

Why does everyone talk like the UFC is a martial art?
Because everyone uses short-hand descriptions all the time.

Quote:
If you haven't learned to be moral by now your probably going to be an asshole for life.
LOL! Oh THAT's why we shouldn't have some sense of morality in Aikido training! Fortunately about two minutes before you typed that I hit my head and saw the light, so there's hope for me yet. My buddy on the other hand is hopeless so don't bother trying to reach him, poor bastard.

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Old 03-04-2009, 11:51 AM   #41
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
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Do you mind giving some examples?
Sure. I posted one along time ago. But I have two very clear examples.

#1 I used to practice Krav Maga and was looking for something to complement it. I had watched a few aikido classes and decided to join. I spoke with one of the instructors who said it was not ideal of self defense because of the time it takes to learn. I said ok since that was not why I was taking aikido. I thought it was very good to be upfront with potential students. Anyways, I get paired up with this guy who keeps trying to correct my Kamae. (stance<?>) I asked in all earnestly why we stand that way. I had rather tight hips at the time so I kept squaring up more and more. He told me he would just kick me in the groin. So we talked a little bit and he said he did TKD for 3 years and he had to unlearn all of his bad habits and I would have to unlearn all the krav I had done. His tone was very arrogant, not seomthng I can really convey here. At any rate, I tell him to feel free to kick me if I open my stance so we can see what happens. He tried, I checked the kick and he lost balance. I was trying in earnest to learn and to understand the technique and stance. He just thought he was so superior.

#2 This one is even funnier/worse. I get paired up with a smaller woman (prob about 5ft, i am 5'10") who was a black belt or at least wore hakama (i think the rule was only higher levels could wear hakama since not all women wore them). As we are working technique, everytime I try to grab her wrist, she pulls it away before I make contact. I ask her if I am supposed to follow her and she gets quite annoyed and says to me "Well, what else would you do?". I told her if I tried for a wrist and could not grab it I would not just throw my arms out there and lean over. I told her I would probably not do anything. She said I would not be able to help it. Then she said she would elbow me and hit me. This kind of annoyed me becasue she was implying that she was so superior I wouldn't be able to hlpe getting hit. So we tried it. She put her arm out, I tried for the wrist, She pulled it back, I put my hands up, she bent over, I pushed down on the back of her head like I had been trained (to bend the person at 90 degrees to maintain control and distance). I let her up after 1 maybe 1.5 seconds. She was then very angry and told me I wasn't supposed to be talking.

I realize aikido schools probably get alot of jerks coming in trying to pratice their Martial Art in their school.All I can say is that my concerns were in earnest and were always met with hostility by other students. I always try to be as humble as possible. I have gone to other BJJ schools far away from home. And while there have been jerks at those schools looking to beat up on visitors, their frequency was alot less than from the aikidoka I have met.

Also, at the school I attended there wasn't much chance to train with the head sensei (which is another problem all together). I just got back from yoga so I may need to fix some misspellings. And my writing style is a bit lazy. I just didn't want to drone on and on.

Last edited by Cyrijl : 03-04-2009 at 11:54 AM.

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Old 03-04-2009, 12:08 PM   #42
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Quote:
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...It is easy to avoid fights. If you need aikido to help you avoid fights, you might need a psychologist not a martial art.
Nice post, Joseph! I do think avoiding fights, while physically easy, is not easy for everyone, which is why I personally like that Aikido generally includes some sense of basic non-violent intent. I think it's too easy to take such notions for granted (and that we all do it from time to time).

Last edited by mathewjgano : 03-04-2009 at 12:13 PM.

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Old 03-04-2009, 02:00 PM   #43
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Good post Joseph. Are vignettes describe the situations exactly that we end up in when we develop a dogma, preconceptions, or reframing around what we are practicing.

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Old 03-04-2009, 05:26 PM   #44
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

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Joseph Connolly wrote: View Post
Again, I don't think it is an aikido thing or a ufc thing. It is about having good parents and common sense. It is easy to avoid fights. If you need aikido to help you avoid fights, you might need a psychologist not a martial art.
My work would throw up a dozen scenarios a week where it's not so 'easy' to avoid a fight. If that's been your experience, you have cause for much joy.

Incidentally, where I live Aikido is quite a bit cheaper than a psychologist!

"A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing." (O Sensei)
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:28 PM   #45
graham
 
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

Kevin,

Thanks for such a thoughtful response. I'm afraid that time-restraints may limit my reply, but here goes.

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Certainly, each of us has our own experiences and we draw from them and find meaning in many ways and I am sure Aikido has served that purpose for you and for many.
Absolutely. I'm glad you saw that, because the rest of what I said was basically just filler!

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Maybe it is semantics, but I do tend to be a little be very precise in my definition of martial art and like to make people think hard about and answer the question when the say "well, our martial art actually teaches people how not to fight."
That's fine, but I can't really think of a definition of martial art that would forbid psychological elements, including training in things like relaxation and anticipation, that ultimately lead to less actual physical confrontations.

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
If we are doing anything other than that, then I really believe we are either not qualified to be teaching what we are teaching, (because we don't know better), or we are intentionally reframing it for some philosophical reason to get an agenda or dogma across that we are trying to carry on.
I'm not sure that's accurate. In fact, I thought so much about your reply, that I ran past my Sensei the phrase 'Aikido teaches me how not to fight'. FWIW, my Sensei is a 30+ years student of Ken Williams Sensei, who is the most experienced Aikidoka in Great Britain. He completely agreed that Aikido teaches us how not to fight.

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
We are teaching people how to fight. It is that simple at the base level.
I'm not sure it is. I think we are teaching people how to use the minimal amount of force to resolve conflicts. And if there is a way to use no force whatsoever, excellent!

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
We are not teaching them how to avoid fights. We are not teaching them how to passively resolve conflict by moving off the line we are teaching them how to skillfully engage other people and render them unable to cause us harm through various applications and levels of force.
I couldn't agree more; apart from your first sentance. I guess I'd question your logic here. What if the level of force is none? What if part of what Aikido teaches us - at the very least, at the subconscious level and implicitly - is how to so skillfully engage other people that we can resolve the conflict with resorts to physical violence.

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Conflict Resolution is something I am very, very interested in for both professional and philosophical reasons. (I am comtemplating gong to George Mason University to obtain my PhD in CR right now actually).
If you've written more about that anywhere, I'd genuinely love to hear it.

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I understand what Terry Dobson is saying, and I think that is a noble goal. It is mine at least!

However, I have also heard people that have studied with Terry say he also said alot of other colorful things!

O Sensei as well, also said things that would appear to contradict that. You have to be careful with the context in which these things were said.
I don't doubt for a second that I have played fast and loose with my quotes! However, Dobson's 'Aikido in Everyday Life' leads me to think that he would agree with much of what I've written here.

Additionally, even given O Sensei's enigmatic speech, the quotes I have found would imply that it is possible to approach - and teach - Aikido in the way that I have framed it. It may not be necessary to do so, but I think it is possible. And that has been my experience.

Thanks for the dialogue.

"A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing." (O Sensei)
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:37 PM   #46
graham
 
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

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Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Have you ever counted the number of times Aikido is compared to UFC in threads?
More importantly, did you read this:

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PLEASE don't see this thread as an attempt to revive any kind of "does aikido really work?" discussion. Nothing interests me less. Instead, I thought it would be useful to share what I personally love about Aikido...
This is not about comparing Aikido to UFC or MMA, at all. That was merely the context for my thoughts. In fact, to be exact the context was my boredom with such discussions, which lead me to consider that Aikido actually precisely matched what it is that I looked for in a contemporary martial art.

Perhaps I was naive for thinking that would be an uncontroversial point!

"A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing." (O Sensei)
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:31 PM   #47
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

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When I took Aikido, that is all I got was ego. But I don't assume it is caused by Aikido, it is just the way those people are.
My teacher, Saotome Sensei once said "Aikido people are most angry people in martial arts..." While I am not a fan of the way mixed martial arts has gone, we need to be realistic about our Aikido. Aikido really has a hugely passive - aggressive culture. We have an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection but the art attracts folks who do not want to really connect.

So many people have no idea how they might go about applying their technique in a martial situation. If you point that out to them, they respond that Aikido isn't about fighting. Well, it isn't but that shouldn't be an excuse for not understanding your technique.

The fact is that most folks cannot actually do their waza within the Aikido context if they get real committed attacks from ukes who aren't colluding. Forget about applying the techniques against other martial artists... they can't do their techniques against a proper katatetori, they can't actually do an irimi with a partner who is REALLY trying to hit them. This applies to many of the folks teaching as well as the average practitioner. This is particularly prevalent on the West Coast where people are trying so hard to do "spiritual Aikido".

This causes Aikido to have a bad reputation. Ikeda Sensei has said many times, "It's not Aikido that doesn't work, it's YOUR Aikido that doesn't work". Aikido people need to let go of the whole moral superiority thing they have about their art. I love this art. It is my Path. But people who don't know what they are talking about get so superior.

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Again, I don't think it is an aikido thing or a ufc thing. It is about having good parents and common sense. It is easy to avoid fights. If you need aikido to help you avoid fights, you might need a psychologist not a martial art.
Here I disagree... if not fighting were so easy there wouldn't be so much violence around. Most of the violence in the world is done by people who actually think they are doing the right thing had regular parents and were members in good standing of their communities.

Most folks are not particularly emotionally integrated. Budo is about working some of that out. Aikido is definitely about not fighting but I don't mean that the way most folks mean it. Even when it is used for self defense, it is still about not fighting. The UFC is totally about fighting. I am not saying that is bad, but that's what it is about. That doesn't mean that the folks who do the art are more aggressive than folks who don't, or that they are morally not as advanced somehow. I am sure that the best of those guys are quite stellar human beings, just as the worst Aikido people are wretches.

But it simply is a fact that human beings don't do well at not fighting. They fight within themselves, they fight with those around them, they fight with those they love... We are VERY fearful animals and that causes violence against the self and against others, much of which never gets to the physical stage.

Mankind is always in need of practices that help them transform themselves into what they can be from what they are. Aikido is one of them. It isn't the only one, or the best one, but is the one that many of us have connected with. It is our job to make the art as strong as possible but it definitely is about not fighting, on all sorts of levels.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:53 PM   #48
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

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It is our job to make the art as strong as possible but it definitely is about not fighting, on all sorts of levels.
That can't be stressed enough!
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:10 PM   #49
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
My teacher, Saotome Sensei once said "Aikido people are most angry people in martial arts..." While I am not a fan of the way mixed martial arts has gone, we need to be realistic about our Aikido. Aikido really has a hugely passive - aggressive culture. We have an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection but the art attracts folks who do not want to really connect.
But the reason for that disconnect (pun intended) is the key, I think -- I may not be representative, but a huge part of the motivation to seek the art was simply not liking the violence I suddenly discovered lurking in me at a very young age, and explosively expressed one unexpected day and which appealed to me deeply in a troubling and darkly seductive way. That coupled with a slowly dawning realization that I could never possibly in any way actually extinguish it. So I had to harness it.

The type you describe, I think, imagined that they COULD extinguish it -- and so it snuck up and bit them from behind while they were not paying attention.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:02 PM   #50
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Re: Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art

The types of fights most people take martial arts for are pretty easy to avoid. In my years of practice the overwhelming majority of people who train for self defense are afraid of random attacks or bar fights, they are not LEOs, bouncers or in any job which would require them to use force to restrain someone (like a psych ward).

The average person has no need to fight and can easily de-escalate...if not the world would be in constant conflict and we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.

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