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Old 09-11-2009, 10:19 AM   #26
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
The whole Aikido IS a martial art BUT it's not about fighting because of the spiritual/martial interplay, is I think, entirely misleading.

Lest we forget, one of the world's oldest military treatises written over 2500 years ago, states quite clearly - "the highest form of victory is to subdue the enemy without fighting". There is nothing spiritual about that statement. It clearly points to the acme of human skills development, rather than the spiritual loftiness that it is so often interpreted to mean, because, the highest form of victory IS self-victory. Through conquering one's self, are others conquered. Again, the practical rationale of victory over self, and the conduct of war without fighting, is quite clearly a recurring theme throughout the writings:

The issue it seems, is one of perception, and the all-too-human tendency to perceive things by contrast and polarized opposites - hard/soft, light/dark, black/white, good/evil, war/peace, violence/non-violence. It isn't two different things, or even two aspects of one thing - it is one and the the same thing, in as much as a military treatise speaks not to the conduct of warfare as it does to the adept of warfare.

On the surface, that may seem contradictory - that one who exhibits such lofty character traits would engage in covert operations designed to subvert and thwart the enemy.

It is no more contradictory than the oxymoronic cries to struggle for freedom or to fight for peace, by banner waving pacifist activists. The prevention of war, by necessary means, is as legitimate as the overriding desire to maintain peace.

In that sense, martial arts is a transformative practice, on various levels - it is never about fighting... AND all about fighting...

And as someone once said... "[My karate] is never about fighting. Killing, maiming, destroying - yes. But fighting... never."
Suffice it to say, Ignatius, that O-Sensei repeatedly stated that "there is no enemy". Of course he said lots of other stuff but for me, this statement sums up what I am trying to get at with my Aikido.

What's interesting to me is, and I do meet a lot of people who do this art, the ones that seem most concerned with the fighting aspect simply are not very good. I believe that this kind of thinking restricts their abilities. It isn't necessarily so, but there seems to me to be a correlation.

In thinking about what I just said, I suppose its unfair... very few people I meet have very good Aikido... so it's really not fair to blame it on this attitude. What I would say is that the folks who are less concerned with fighting are easier to get to relax properly. There is an inherent tension in win-lose, friend - enemy, defeat or be defeated that interferes with your ability to "join". I mean, how do you train yourself to "join" when your entire thinking is separate and dualistic. I am not saying it can't be done, at least on the level of physical technique... clearly people like Takeda Sokaku and Sagawa Yukiyoshi managed it and they had very individual, me vs them attitudes.

But I think that this type of thinking is not a part of Ueshiba Aikido. I think he was very clear about this. As I said before, I actually do believe that Aikido is a martial art and that it should "work". But I think it was O-Sensei's position that to be really unbeatable, you needed to lose this dualistic thinking.

So that is what I shoot for in my own Aikido and its what I try to teach. I think it is far easier to get someone to develop the proper relaxation and calm interior when one lets go of this whole idea of needing to defeat someone. Because the flip side of that notion is that I can't let him defeat me. Built into that whole way of thinking is fear at its very core. If you want to be a warrior to contend with, lose your fear. Get rid of your fear of death, of losing, of being hurt, etc. Its very difficult to do this when your focus is on how to do these things to someone else.

And, once again, I think that this type of thinking is pretty much useless in ones daily life. Your life will be pretty miserable and you'll certainly be alone most of the time if you treat everyone you meet as a potential enemy and everything you do as a contest that you need to win. I have friends who have this as their default setting and they have had a hard time being happy. I think Ueshiba's Aikido offers a different paradigm that would make people a lot happier and the world a lot better place.

But rather than change themselves to fit the art, people want to change the art to fit themselves. Fearful people create an art which virtually imprints fear. Weak people create an art which is weak. This is why the discussion of what Aikido is supposed to be is so important. Your training will determine what you become. If you do not structure your training to arrive at the goal you want, you won't get there. So we all have to decide what kind of Aikido we want to be doing because it determines what kind of people we wish to become. If you are one of those folks, I believe we call them narcissists, who think that they are just fine and everyone else needs to change, then put your attention on becoming developing the power to defeat all comers, you'll need it.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:00 AM   #27
jonreading
 
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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The emphasis in Aikido has been on making the practice more accessible to the public so that a wider range of people can benefit from doing the training and take the accrued benefits into their lives outside the dojo. This has meant that various standards have been applied to evaluate the training aside from pure "effectiveness".
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But rather than change themselves to fit the art, people want to change the art to fit themselves...This is why the discussion of what Aikido is supposed to be is so important. Your training will determine what you become. If you do not structure your training to arrive at the goal you want, you won't get there. So we all have to decide what kind of Aikido we want to be doing because it determines what kind of people we wish to become...
I believe the first statement is entirely true.. I also believe that we have successfully expanded the art, which is good. But at some point, aikido will be forced to decide what level of instruction in the curriculum is acceptible for the degredation in fighting viability. For example, if we water down our curriculum enough maybe we can just give our black belts for trying real hard (wait...OMG... ).

I think a discussion of this magnitude is necessary because we need to understand the consequences for those decisions we believe "help" aikido. I think Michael Jordan said, "it takes a lifetime to climb to the top; it takes an instant to fall from it." We need to be careful in what standards we choose to lower, what curriculum we choose to omit, what training we choose to avoid.

I am gonna some like Rush with some fear-mongering here for a minute...
Once we remove something from the curriculum (or lower the standards of the curriculum), it won't be back anytime soon...if ever. That scares the hell outta me. When the effectiveness of aikido dries up, so will the [small] remainder of competent martial artists in aikido. Without intellectual and competent leaders to improve and refine the system, who will become our shihan?

David Lowery says in "In the Dojo," that there is a magic percentage of hobbyists to serious practicioners - I think he says something like the 90% of hobbyists pay for the 10% of serious students to train. We have to make sure we balance our curriculum to maximize potential students while retaining those serious about training. This is a rule of marketing - quantity or quality, right?
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:07 AM   #28
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
What is ironic about this whole conversation for me is I just returned from a Special Operations course on Irregular Warfare where we learned about history, application, and about winning the hearts and minds and the importance "winning by through not fighting".

What struck me about this course is how much it was in line with much of what we all strive to do here, and it was very clear after listening to lectures from some of the leading minds and some of the legends in the Special Operations community about how this all works and should work.

There is alot to "walking softly and carrying a big stick". Alot to that.

So, I do agree with much of what you say George. It really is splitting hairs for me to say that I don't, so I just want to make that very clear.

I agree to a point about what you say about Military Combatives, hand to hand is way down the list. It is not self defense, and it is different. At the base that certainly is one way of looking at it. From a battlefield perspective.

However, much of the change in both Army Combatives and Marine Corps Combatives stemmed from lessons learned from why it did not work to continue to study the Old Applegate/Fairbairn/Sykes methodology, which is very good stuff.

I won't go into it, but Rules of Engagement, Escalation Criteria, Spectrum of force, Developing the Warrior mind, sustainable training methods, safety..all that stuff played a big part in why we adopted the systems that we did. Much of which has alot to do with anything other than the actual art of the violent act of killing quickly and efficiently. It is really in line with Budo.

So, there are alot of guys out there that are very critical that what we are teaching in the military today is ineffective and wrong. I understand and agree with their logic based on the old battlefield model, and I do believe that it is important to train this way too to reinforce good habits that can be called upon in the heat of battle.

Self Defense, well that really is a completely different animal all together, I agree.

What I don't agree is that it is a primary focus of aikido, and aikido is a very ineffective modality for training self defense. So inefficient that it is a by product and we should not pretend or ellude to the fact that it is a benefit at all.

If an instructor wants to teach self defense as a separate and distinct class or seminar that uses aikido principles that is fine and a wonderful thing I think. The focus should be on self defense, dealing with the risk mitigation, scenarios, and focus on neural and emotional override, legal considerations etc.

There are some very good programs that are very efficient in training self defense.

I don't think aikido directly trains self defense anymore than it will help you learn to remain calm when giving a large public speech or playing the piano. Why not list this as primary benefits on the front of our websites?

I think the reason is that we all know that the words "Self Defense" draw folks into the dojo as does the phrase:

"Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury." (Wikipedia)

Another website:

"Aikido is considered to be a non-aggressive style, as the Aikido student does not instigate the attack. The basic principle of Aikido is "Do not fight force with force". Aikido uses very few punches and kicks. Instead, the attackers force is redirected into throws, locks and restraining techniques. Size, weight, age and physical strength differences of the opponents play only a small role, as the skilled Aikido practitioner is able to redirect the attackers energy, keeping his attacker in a constant of unbalance."

http://www.martial-arts-info.com/100/aikido/

I have no doubt that there are many people out there that can tell stories of how aikido has helped them in "self defense"

I have my own stories. In Mozambique in 2006, the awareness that I gained from TMA and Aikido probably kept me out of several bad situations just understanding body language, positioning, and how to avoid being circled by a bunch of guys on the street.

So, I will not completely dismiss the benefits that come from studying the art. Not at all.

My only argument is really splitting hairs over the issue of effectiveness and efficiency of training modalities.

While understanding how to read a situation in Mozambique did work for me. What would have happened if I would have been jumped, knocked over, etc. Did I have the proper training to deal with it? Where did that training come from?

What does a woman do when her kamae, awareness, and relaxed breathing don't stop a guy from pushing her in between two parked cars in a garage?

To me, these are very important and key aspects of self defense and I think it is right for folks to judge the aikido paradigm against these type of scenarios as being ineffective if we are going to list self defense on our websites, yet we don't provide them any real solutions for dealing with this.

They should be able to have there MMA buddy shove them to the ground, mount them, and feel comfortable that they can reverse the situation and put up a decent fight.

The guy that comes up and Muay Thai clinches them, and kicks them...well they should know how to get that off them, how to deal with the stress overload, and how bad it sucks to fight when you have charlie horses in your legs.

If we put out that shingle, then we need to answer the tough questions. Not whine about how folks have it all wrong on Bullshido.

We open that pandoras box for ourselves when we allow that aurora to exist in our dojo.

I study Aikido because I value alot of what it does for me in the Combatives arena. So, I am not saying that it is ineffective as a methodology. There are many good reasons, that Ledyard Sensei has discussed. Very good reasons.

From reputation, I understand that he teaches a mean shinai seminar that works with neural override and fight or flight instinct.

I understand that he does teach Self Defense classes and is certified in Defensive Tactics.

And he is a very skilled and experienced aikdoka with the same organization I am with, ASU.

So, my issue is not with Ledyard Sensei as he gets it.

However, I think we have a tendency to lament about traditional Aikido and how folks "don't understand" or "give it a bad rap". I think it is a well deserved reputation in alot of cases based on the way we market it, and I think we should work hard at changing that if we think this is an issue.
Hi Kevin,
I think that in your posts you consistently touch on issues which folks need to be thinking about in their Aikido. One of my friends was the former training sergeant for the Special Forces at Ft Lewis. He was tasked with developing a training program which dealt with the fact that the mission has changed for the military.

Increasingly the military finds itself to be engaged in police actions rather than total war. The use of the military for projecting our political will abroad means that we frequently, as now, find our troops in the position in which their actions in winning hearts and minds are as important or even more important than their ability to kill the enemy.

One of the greatest enemies of success in an endeavor like this is the "us and them" thinking that comes with operating in other people's countries with different cultures, languages and customs. War propaganda designed to get the populace behind these military ventures tends to dehumanize the enemy, making them seem "other" so we can get behind the idea that we need to go in and kill them. Then, of course, once we are there, that attitude runs entirely counter to what we are trying to do.

We end up with troops who look at the entire population of the country in which they are operating as "the enemy". It happened it Viet Nam and it made winning the hearts and minds of the people impossible. Chinks, slopes, gooks, etc end up giving you My Lai in the end. Hajis, rag heads,etc give us that same thing today.

To win hearts and minds we need to engage on a personal level with the populace. The goal of keeping our troops safe as a first priority means the use of air power, artillery, and armor whenever possible. This is incompatible with winning over the populace because collateral damage is directly proportionate to the amount of power used and the distance from which it is delivered.

So Aikido training and the values it contains is of great relevance for people in your job. You need to be right in the center of a populace that contains enemies but whom you need to treat as friends. You need to use great restraint when previous militaries simply needed to destroy efficiently. Non-lethal force is important today in ways that it never was before.

As a professional, you need to take what you learn from Aikido and adapt it. There is no way wearing 60 plus pounds of body armor and weapons will allow you to move as we do in the dojo. Things we do like jo tori get adapted to weapons retention, etc. But you have to do the adaptation. The form of Aikido is about developing an understanding of principle in your body and your mind. But if you want to apply those principles they need to be adapted to the particular form of your specific circumstance.

When I was first asked to teach defensive tactics to some Seattle cops who worked in one of our rougher neighborhoods, I asked them the question, "what do you need to know how to do?" and then I showed them what I knew that would accomplish that. Over the course of a couple years we worked out a program which I still think is the equal of any DT program I have seen. I found I had no trouble taking what I had been taught by Saotome Sensei and adapting it to the requirements of their circumstance. But I did have to adapt it. It had to be trained that way for some time. I could not ask my senior Aikido students to walk out right off the dojo mat onto the street and do the job these cops were doing. They know the principles, far better than the cops, but they do not have training in the form of application that these cops need to do in their environment.

So the same thing is true for folks like you... Most of the professionals I encounter say that the most valuable thing about their Aikido training is the non-adversarial mindset it provides. Heckler talks a lot about what he sees as the value of our training for military folks in his book In Search of the Warrior Spirit. It's not primarily technical. Certainly, in the age of winning hearts and minds being central to the success of the mission it is crucial to find a way that allows a paradigm shift from the easier and, at least these days, counter productive "see the enemy and kill him" approach. Especially when you are not really sure who the enemy is, this mindset doesn't allow for the kind of surgical application of force that peace keeping and nation building (didn't we say we weren't going to do that?) require.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:55 PM   #29
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Thanks George for you post. I would say that winning the hearts and minds has always been important. The cold war and Air Land Battle Doctrine of the Cold war era completely forgot this as we began to leverage technology and thought that we could protect ourselves at a distance while influencing actions through missles, economic means and others.

Current thinking says that we must engage, partner, and seek meaningful relationships that are collaborative and interdependent in order to sustain long term and meaningful peace.

I have hope at least that we are working on the right things!

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Old 09-11-2009, 02:26 PM   #30
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Thanks George for you post. I would say that winning the hearts and minds has always been important. The cold war and Air Land Battle Doctrine of the Cold war era completely forgot this as we began to leverage technology and thought that we could protect ourselves at a distance while influencing actions through missles, economic means and others.

Current thinking says that we must engage, partner, and seek meaningful relationships that are collaborative and interdependent in order to sustain long term and meaningful peace.

I have hope at least that we are working on the right things!
It's quite clear that the military seems to get this better than many of our politicians... when we get to the point where we hate the French, who are actually our allies, how do you think we'll approach folks from radically different cultures... I am reminded of the picture that was on someones Wall of Obama pictured with a goatee and beret with the caption, is Obama French? As if that were the worst thing the fellow could think of saying... I despair sometimes...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:39 PM   #31
Marc Abrams
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
It's quite clear that the military seems to get this better than many of our politicians... when we get to the point where we hate the French, who are actually our allies, how do you think we'll approach folks from radically different cultures... I am reminded of the picture that was on someones Wall of Obama pictured with a goatee and beret with the caption, is Obama French? As if that were the worst thing the fellow could think of saying... I despair sometimes...
George:

You must be one of those Afro-Franco Islamic Socialists . See if I invite you to one of my tea parties !

You know George, it must have been hard during the last administration to try and employ the "hearts and minds" strategy since our leaders seemed to be missing their "hearts" and seemed to be out of their minds. I can only hope that we can begin to do a better job.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:01 PM   #32
Jason Morgan
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
There is a difference between the issue of what constitutes an "effective" martial art or an "effective" practitioner of that art.

As Ikeda Sensei says, "It's not Aikido that doesn't work; it's YOUR Aikido that doesn't work.
For a while that statement made sense to me. Then I began to think that if that statement holds true for Aikido it should hold true for many other arts as well:

"Judo works; YOUR Judo doesn't."
"BJJ works; YOUR BJJ doesn't."
"Boxing works; YOUR Boxing doesn't"

However you see many more Aikidoka that the above statement applies to than practitioners of the arts I mentioned. Judo, Brazilian JuiJuitsu, boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, MMA, Kyokushin Karate, and many others produce people capable of defending themselves using their art in a short period of time. A major reason is their training methodology. Boxers use a heavy bag, speed bag, headache bag, and shadow boxing to learn the basics and then they spar. Judoka use an uke/tori relationship in uchikomi practices and then they randori. Kyokushin Karateka use kata and bags and eventually spar. Aikido never seems to move beyond the uke/nage relationship. Even jiyu-waza seems to lack the same feeling that I experienced in Judo randori.

Regardless of whether you call your style a martial art, combat system, or fight sport most people enter under the pretense that they will develop skills to allow themselves to overcome one or more opponents in an unarmed confrontation. This is in fact the selling point for many styles, especially those claiming reality based self defense. The problem is that many of those that claim effectiveness do not deliver. Students are often deluded as to their capabilities and these delusions could place them in a potentially deadly situation.
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:22 PM   #33
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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For a while that statement made sense to me. Then I began to think that if that statement holds true for Aikido it should hold true for many other arts as well:

"Judo works; YOUR Judo doesn't."
"BJJ works; YOUR BJJ doesn't."
"Boxing works; YOUR Boxing doesn't"

However you see many more Aikidoka that the above statement applies to than practitioners of the arts I mentioned. Judo, Brazilian JuiJuitsu, boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, MMA, Kyokushin Karate, and many others produce people capable of defending themselves using their art in a short period of time.
Well, I would debate that... Certainly the folks who focus on competition get strong quickly, so in fights against people who don't train, they give an appearance of competence. But against other trained people? There is no short cut or magic bullet. Training in almost anything SERIOUSLY will produce a self defense capability far above the level of the typical street criminal.

But every martial art has people who have trained for years and taken their art to another level entirely. I saw one of the Machados at he Aiki Expo. His level compared to a practitioner with a couple of years of training wasn't even in the same universe.

Everybody focuses on the fact that a guy with two years of most of these striking and grappeling arts can beat up a two year student of Aikido. So what? Look at what they are attempting to learn...

What we are attempting to develop in our Aikido is incredibly complex. It is far more difficult to do than punching someone out or choking them out. Do you think I am teaching Aikido in my applied self defense classes? Of course not. The first thing I teach is basic striking and the goal is to develop the ability to step in and knock someone out in the shortest possible time. It takes about six months for the average student to start to get some capability (training twice a week).

Quote:
A major reason is their training methodology. Boxers use a heavy bag, speed bag, headache bag, and shadow boxing to learn the basics and then they spar. Judoka use an uke/tori relationship in uchikomi practices and then they randori. Kyokushin Karateka use kata and bags and eventually spar. Aikido never seems to move beyond the uke/nage relationship. Even jiyu-waza seems to lack the same feeling that I experienced in Judo randori.
Well, this is generally true. It's like I said before, if you want to get out there and fight with people from different styles, you will need to change the form of your training. Everybody seems to be upset that their Aikido won't allow them to defeat the local Muay Thai guy. Did you have plans to fight the local Muay Thia guy? Did you do something to offend him?

If you came to Aikido to learn to be a bad ass, you came to the wrong place. Don't screw up Aikido by trying to figure out how to make it fit into your own program. If you put all your attention on making your Aikido effective against boxers, Muay Thai practitioners, BJJ, MMA, CMA, Kyokushinkai karate folks, whomever, by the time you are done it won't be Aikido any more. You will end up with Jason-do. I'm not saying not to do that... it just won't be Aikido when it's done.

Quote:
Regardless of whether you call your style a martial art, combat system, or fight sport most people enter under the pretense that they will develop skills to allow themselves to overcome one or more opponents in an unarmed confrontation. This is in fact the selling point for many styles, especially those claiming reality based self defense. The problem is that many of those that claim effectiveness do not deliver. Students are often deluded as to their capabilities and these delusions could place them in a potentially deadly situation.
Yeah... so what is your point? There isn't a single martial art out there in which doesn't have a quality problem. Judo is probably the best in terms of overall quality simply because it is the least widely practiced and the least commercialized. Since you can't really make a living by running a judo dojo. But basically, the McDojo afflicts every art. Even the koryu have more completely bogus instructors out there than the ones who are for real. There's plenty of horrid MMA out there as well. It's just that in striking arts, if you can hit fast and hard you can hide behind that until you run up against someone who is really skilled. The Dog Brothers call it doing the "Cave Man".

It's all a matter of "caveat emptor". If you want to be able to fight, study an art that is a fighting art. If you want to defeat skilled opponents you'd better have a skilled teacher.

Here's how it works...
A person who trains seriously in almost anything will handle someone who doesn't train. Then there is the difference between sport systems and combat systems. There is an old saying, "If conditioning enters in to it, it's not a combat system." So someone who does a real combat system will finish a sport fighter very quickly. Weapons beat empty hand any time, any day. So, if you really want to do self defense, study Kali or Silat. And then, at any distance over about 8 feet, firearms are the only way to go, although I suppose you could do shuriken jutsu. If the threat is more serious than you can handle with your Sig, call in air support. Oops, that's only for professionals, sorry.

Getting back to reality, anyone who has really mastered the principles from his art on a deep level will most likely defeat anyone from any art who hasn't.

But I keep coming back to the statement that if your interest is primarily in defeating all comers in contest style matches, don't do Aikido and if you do, you better do Tomiki style. If your interest is primarily in street self defense, study a real combat system, and I'd focus on weapons with empty hand as a back up.

If you are absolutely wedded to Aikido but still worry about your ability to apply your technique, cross train and also get your ass over to someone like Dan Hardin who can show you how to make your stuff effective. But I can guarantee you that if your primary focus is on applicability, it won't take long before you are not actually doing Aikido any more. It will morph into something else.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:09 PM   #34
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Good Post George. I agree and train methodologies separately, because each one of them is tried and true and basically is designed to produce results for different things. We can debate all day long about the efficiency of aikido to deliver aiki skills. That is a good subject as many have discovered that frankly alot of folks are simply not training correctly to produce decent aiki skills.

Even if you produce those skills correctly it does not mean you can fight. That is a different set of skills and reguires a different type of training.

I mainly train BJJ these days for grappling, however, we have been getting a few of our guys ready for the All Army Combatives so been modifying training to build strategies to complement and exploit the rules of that particular venue. So, while it is a good base, even when we train for competition we modify our training regime.

Why? because we realize that what we study on a daily basis while a good base, does not make us a good fighter for that situation!

A few months ago I wrote a blog piece called "Don't bring a Knife to a Gunfight".

http://www.budo-warrior.com/?p=157&cpage=1#comment-99

It addresses this issue some I believe.

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Old 09-13-2009, 11:49 AM   #35
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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A person who trains seriously in almost anything will handle someone who doesn't train.
I don't buy it. The evidence I've experienced tells me this is simply not true. If you are for example training complex lock flows for 10 years, and never spar, then come across a tough guy who spazes out and swings wildly you are going to get it. If you are not used to getting hit ( the case for most martial artists sadly) it now comes down to what kind of person are you. Do you crumple or continue. Most people crumple. This is why tough guys can win fights without training and why guys can 'cave man' as you said above.

Even as a serious student of combat sports, it is hard to fight a strong aggressive attacker who is untrained, does unexpected things, and wants to hurt you. I have over a decade of martial arts training. The first time I got punched in the face (should that stil l happen after a decade of training? :-p ) I turned my head away, was hit again, started moving straight back, was hit again, and finally was overwhelmed. Why? Because in all my years of martial arts, I was never really punched in the face. It hurt, I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to stop him. I got confused, lost my distance, and it was over. I had multiple point sparring trophies and a black belt in TKD, over a year in aikido, over a year in Krav Maga previously which was (solely focused on self defense), and was a at the time a serious student of judo and bjj. This was a MMA ruled sparring event where I could of used any of that knowledge, yet I was unable to against just a guy throwing simple untrained swings.

I was unprepared because nobody ever rang my bell in years and years of martial arts training. They assumed my repetitive forms and partnered katas would just let me block/catch the strike and counter with some kind of complicated response.

And it is not true. You talk to anyone who is getting into the same situation and they have the same basic story. They were unprepared. Unprepared after 5, 10, 15 years of arts that didn't spar. Even something as simple as adding slapping to a bjj sparring session can crumple a skilled practitioner if he is not used to getting his regularly. What's the saying, "Punching a bjj black belt in the face turns him into a blue belt".

To me, an agressive, untrained, thug is more dangerous then a guy with years of martial arts training. He is strong, fast, angry, doesn't care about life, and has probably had more real fighting experience then you (as in the martial arts student he is attacking).

This is why I advocate real sparring with grappling, striking, clinching, etc for anyone who seriously wants to use anything they are learning against an attacker. I don't do it enough, and it is obvious to me every time I do.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:13 PM   #36
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Quote:
an agressive, untrained, thug is more dangerous then a guy with years of martial arts training. He is strong, fast, angry, doesn't care about life, and has probably had more real fighting experience then you (as in the martial arts student he is attacking).
I agree with Don.

Have seen too many ppl with years of training collapse because in all their years they were never taught to build and maintain a serious survival (or warrior) mindset that will be able to handle most aggressor mindsets and even some killer (asocial) mindsets. Often pure, practiced rage with a singular mind set on total destruction trumps years of training simply because as far as mindset goes, the person with "martial arts" training is bringing a rubber knife to a gun fight. They may have many more tools available than their unskilled attacker but their operating system has not been trained to use those tools under the conditions of a person bent on their total destruction.

This applies to folks who have guns as well. Many, when faced with a target who is moving and will close in a matter of seconds and start to pummel, stab etc. and inflict severe damage, the same confident target shooter is lucky to get off one shot on target, and often that shot will not stop a determined attacker from closing.

Just my thoughts - mind leads body, but mindset empowers action.

LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 09-13-2009 at 08:15 PM.

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Old 09-13-2009, 08:39 PM   #37
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Bottomline is being ahead in the OODA loop is more important than any amount of training or skill. Skill is important. It can get you back ahead or can help you maintain your "lead".

However, regardless of the skill level, if you fail to understand this and don't train for failure of the loop, then no amount of skill or training, no matter how many years makes a bit a difference.

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Old 09-13-2009, 09:05 PM   #38
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Briefly, and with few and far-between, I have gotten into little-mock scraps. The primary reason I don't do this with every buddy I encounter is that for me to go all out and actually test myself in a playful spar is dangerous to me and to my buddy. They never learned how and when to fall. Something I'm thinking about now is when a bigger buddy came toward me...my memory of it isn't a perfect flashbulb...either an attempted grab or bear hug, and I did iriminage up until the throw. I remember the look on his face after I had lowered him and spun him quickly. He looked totally astonished, and his face practically said, "What the?" Then I just let him lift me with a bear hug. These pseudo-spars really are not much fun, although once getting my really strong brother in nikkyo at my shoulder and totally impairing his movement (without following up with an omote or ura pin), did provide me with a mild sense of satisfaction followed immediately by a bitter sense of victory.

Drew
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:41 AM   #39
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
I agree with Don.

Have seen too many ppl with years of training collapse because in all their years they were never taught to build and maintain a serious survival (or warrior) mindset that will be able to handle most aggressor mindsets and even some killer (asocial) mindsets. Often pure, practiced rage with a singular mind set on total destruction trumps years of training simply because as far as mindset goes, the person with "martial arts" training is bringing a rubber knife to a gun fight. They may have many more tools available than their unskilled attacker but their operating system has not been trained to use those tools under the conditions of a person bent on their total destruction.

This applies to folks who have guns as well. Many, when faced with a target who is moving and will close in a matter of seconds and start to pummel, stab etc. and inflict severe damage, the same confident target shooter is lucky to get off one shot on target, and often that shot will not stop a determined attacker from closing.

Just my thoughts - mind leads body, but mindset empowers action.

LC
Of course you guys are both right... failure of training happens, with some frequency. But the fact of the matter is that it isn't the majority of cases that represent this worst case scenario. Law Enforcement personnel routinely deal with violent offenders on a daily basis with less training than we provide a 4th kyu, in terms of practice time. I can attest to the fact that their training is remedial, at best. Yet, they mostly get away with it. Then, every once in a while, one of them dies.

There is no question that mindset needs to be part of ones training. In Aikido, it seldom is. No disagreement there. We use randori for this. With three attackers who will take you down and sit on you if you give up, folks have to dig fairly deep.

If I have a student who is a professional and very likely to encounter dangerous subjects with some regularity, I send them off to InSights training where they can do some scenarios based training with an armored subject. Greg Hamilton and John Holschen, both world class shooters and retired Special Forces, developed a solid program to augment their firearms training.

If someone is REALLY serious I recommend that they head down to Colorado and do at least one intensive weekend with Peyton Quinn. He wrote
Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training. This book is a must read for anyone who is concerned with application of their martial arts skills. You can check out their website (which is a bit funky) at Rocky Mountain Combat ApplicationsTraining.

This kind of training experience can "cement" the skills you have been developing in the dojo. I can't recommend it enough.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 09-14-2009, 01:12 PM   #40
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

I am almost 31 years old, and I have lived most of my life in Miami, a city probably in the top 10 in the US for danger from attackers. I have never been seriously assaulted in my life, and only tormented by an older brother as I grew up...tormented without cease, but I was never decked or seriously injured. As I would work on model military airplanes with the requisite complete focus, I remember once he wouldn't leave me be or get out of my room, and I slashed his finger with my X-Acto knife. Blood everywhere and I didn't care; happy that he left my room with a whimper. The only other time I got violent in response to his attack was lashing his torso repeatedly with the buckle end of my belt until he was on the floor, and then followed with a few bonus lashes. Some of my friends were only children and told me how lucky I was to have a brother. I assured them they were the lucky ones. When I got to high school and thereafter, my brother had matured in how he treated me. Now we are still not much alike, but close buds nonetheless.

New subject: guns. Carrying a lightweight, chambered, decocked, and ready to fire compact handgun can save a person's life and ruin it in a millisecond. Like in golf, staying in the fairway (not putting oneself in danger) is ideal. The pros cannot even do this 80% of the time. Once in the rough (a dangerous situation), the first thing to do is get out of the trees and onto the fairway. For someone who constantly hits the ball into the dense woods or out-of-bounds, they can practice more until they are in the fairway or light rough less often, or carry a Remington marine shotgun in their bag for defense against savage wild animals or, metaphorically, deadly aggrressive people.

Drew
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:46 PM   #41
Michael Hackett
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Drew,

If you wish to discuss the efficacy of firearms, I'd suggest splitting this off into another thread. Otherwise you might be guilty of thread hijacking with firearms.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-14-2009, 03:20 PM   #42
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

True. My post is more specific to other threads or a new one.

Drew
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:39 AM   #43
DonMagee
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Of course you guys are both right... failure of training happens, with some frequency. But the fact of the matter is that it isn't the majority of cases that represent this worst case scenario. Law Enforcement personnel routinely deal with violent offenders on a daily basis with less training than we provide a 4th kyu, in terms of practice time. I can attest to the fact that their training is remedial, at best. Yet, they mostly get away with it. Then, every once in a while, one of them dies.

There is no question that mindset needs to be part of ones training. In Aikido, it seldom is. No disagreement there. We use randori for this. With three attackers who will take you down and sit on you if you give up, folks have to dig fairly deep.

If I have a student who is a professional and very likely to encounter dangerous subjects with some regularity, I send them off to InSights training where they can do some scenarios based training with an armored subject. Greg Hamilton and John Holschen, both world class shooters and retired Special Forces, developed a solid program to augment their firearms training.

If someone is REALLY serious I recommend that they head down to Colorado and do at least one intensive weekend with Peyton Quinn. He wrote
Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training. This book is a must read for anyone who is concerned with application of their martial arts skills. You can check out their website (which is a bit funky) at Rocky Mountain Combat ApplicationsTraining.

This kind of training experience can "cement" the skills you have been developing in the dojo. I can't recommend it enough.
I'd submit that police have an advantage over their suspect and us in a few ways.

1) Police almost always outnumber their suspects.
2) Police rarely are in an encounter where backup is not on it's way. Hell I can't even get pulled over by a single police car anymore.
3) Police are actually using their skills "in real life" everyday. If all you did was fight on the street you would probably be a better fighter then 90% of the worlds martial artists.
4) In addition to their police training and constant application of fighting in real life, many police also can choose to get martial arts training. For example, there are many officers in my bjj club who comment often how bjj has improved their ability to control suspects.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:55 AM   #44
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

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Don Magee wrote: View Post
I'd submit that police have an advantage over their suspect and us in a few ways.

1) Police almost always outnumber their suspects.
2) Police rarely are in an encounter where backup is not on it's way. Hell I can't even get pulled over by a single police car anymore.
3) Police are actually using their skills "in real life" everyday. If all you did was fight on the street you would probably be a better fighter then 90% of the worlds martial artists.
4) In addition to their police training and constant application of fighting in real life, many police also can choose to get martial arts training. For example, there are many officers in my bjj club who comment often how bjj has improved their ability to control suspects.
Oh yea, and I forgot
5) Police have stun guns, firearms, clubs, handcuffs, and other objects of control.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:23 AM   #45
Michael Hackett
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Don,

I disagree with your points 1, 2, and 3. It absolutely depends on where you work. If you work in a moderate to large city, there simply will be more officers on the street during a particular shift and often at least a supervisor will roll behind an officer on a call. On the other hand, the majority of police agencies in the US have ten or fewer officers and it is common to only have one or two on duty at a time. In rural areas, it is often "one riot-one ranger" with assistance many miles away.

1. Most times the officer is outnumbered by the suspects, at least for the critical first few minutes. Think of domestic disturbances, fights, and suspicious circumstances types of calls.

2. Back-up is frequently on the way I will grant you. But distance equals time and the old joke is "when you need back up NOW, it is three minutes out" has a real basis in truth. Since you do BJJ, you know how long three or five minutes can seem.

3. Cops probably have to use their physical skills much more often than even professional MMA fighters, no question. But the primary skill that keeps 'em alive is the ability to defuse a situation. Keeping a tense situation from escalating is a critical skill used far more often than physical force. One major advantage that officers have is their appearance of authority. Most people they end up having to scuffle with are everyday citizens who are drunk or angry and otherwise law-abiding. Most people will submit to the authority the cops represents with a little jaw-jacking.

I certainly agree with the officers in your BJJ academy. Having a grounding in martial arts is a significant attribute for a law enforcement officer. Besides the specific martial skills the officer will develop, he likely will be in much better physical shape than his peers. When we confront guys freshly paroled and buffed out, our biggest advantage is the ability to outlast him. He may be bigger, stronger and tougher for the first twenty seconds, but they don't get to do much running in prison or other cardio exercise.

The last major advantage, one that I don't think can be quantified very well, is the knowledge that we have to win. If the suspect loses the confrontation, the fight is over and he goes to jail. If we lose, we lose everything and we know it. That gives you an incentive greater than that of your opponent.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:37 AM   #46
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

And oh yeah...
6) If you fight with them, you go to jail for a loooonnnngggg time (as you should). After getting your butt kicked by them and several of their buddies. Not too much incentive there...

Best,
Ron

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Old 09-17-2009, 09:40 AM   #47
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Well, there IS that.

Michael
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:39 PM   #48
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Good stuff,

I hate to be cliche, but "know yourself, know your enemy" and "don't bring a knife to a gunfight".

Being outnumbered or outpowered is never a good thing and knowing that you cannot or will not win the situation is important to consider and I would hope that most police officers have sense enough not to engage in these situations.

I am sure though that there are situations where they must get involved to protect or defend someone else in which they don't have the luxury of "waiting until a better day to fight".

Militarily speaking, since that is what I know...we always try to position ourselves for success and I can't think of really any instance where I would purposely go into a situation without superior firepower or number of soldiers....so I kinda agree with Don as far as the tactical advantage thing goes...at least based on the fact of how we fight in the US Military...we have that ability. Taliban may not, but we do.

So when we are talking about hand to hand situations it is dealing with "point of failure" if we get to that point a bunch of stuff has gone wrong and we are not trying to "win" the fight maybe so much as mitigating loss, "not losing the fight", or regaining control of the fight.

So, yea....winning a fight in competition is much different than "winning" a fight militarily. Actually I think in many ways it is much easier since I simply have to avoid "losing" until my buddy can come along, or I can render the other guy inoperable.

So, in some sense, "combatives" simply need be about being ahead of the other guy.

Sort of the old joke about out running the bear..you don't have to be the fastest guy...just faster than the slowest!

That is why when we talk about "Combatives" it really comes down to managing the fight. OODA, getting ahead of the guy, being agressive, being tough, and being able to turn the tables.

Training this way though It is not necessarily something that is exciting, fun, or sustainable, or intellectually stimulating, so we come up with methodologies that "fit" well.

We train ground fighting for a number of reasons. One it is very useful and point of failure. Two, it is sustainable and safe. Three, it builds warrior ethos. and probably most important, it is fun, measurable and soldiers love to do it.

So, it is a compromise, as everything in life seems to be.

Also, I always point out that in many ways we are "over training". You need to understand the basics of the guard for instance, but having a awesome spider guard, butterfly guard, X guard is not really all that important, but makes for good training and develops principles and skills that will allow you to sweep/reverse a guy or simply holdl him there until help arrives.

However, in reality, you simply probably just need to keep the guy from stabbing you, clubbing you, hitting you, etc until your buddy arrives...or if his does..well...none of it really mattered anyway probably!!!

Anyway, alot of rambling, but good points all the way around by Don and Michael Hackett.

maintaining a honest and healthy perspective on your training is important and understanding WHY you are training and WHAT your training is actually doing for you is important...which I think is the point Ledyard Sensei is trying to make.

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Old 09-17-2009, 01:26 PM   #49
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

As a cop, I would rather know even just the basics of using the knight stick or extending baton than be at the Gracie level of BJJ.

Drew
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:58 PM   #50
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Re: Aikido - Martial Arts - Fighting

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
As a cop, I would rather know even just the basics of using the knight stick or extending baton than be at the Gracie level of BJJ.

Drew
From what I've gathered from talking to officers, bjj allows them to control the suspect on the ground where they have taken them to be handcuffed, and it lets them do this in a way that doesn't "look bad". That means less threats of lawsuits.

But this is not a thread about bjj and police work. I also know police who train traditional jujutsu and other arts.

- Don
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