Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-07-2010, 04:32 PM   #26
Garth Jones
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 143
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

George Sensei,

Thanks for that great commentary. If the beginning is no good, the rest doesn't really matter. I always appreciated when one of my students manages to hit me. On the one hand, they did a good attack, and on the other they have reminded me that I need to keep training!

I do like Mary Heiny Sensei's thoughts on ramping up the attack as nage gets better.

Cheers,
Garth
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 04:34 PM   #27
donplummer
 
donplummer's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido School of Self Defense/Monticello NY
Location: Lower New York State
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 18
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

IMHO, someone with training, even from a purportedly "peaceful" martial art or self defense system, such as Aikido, will outperform someone with no training in anything, John Doe persay, the majority of the time. I first realized that Aikido had changed my mentality concerning "martial effectiveness" when after only 3 weeks of Aikido training I found my self guiding someone's body to the floor, (as a Night Club Bouncer), instead of simply using my size and strength to subdue them in a much more violent encounter, as I had done for 10 years previous. My Aikido works in a fight. Does yours??

"of all the things I've lost, I ,miss my mind the most..."-mushin-
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 04:49 PM   #28
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 964
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
And if you try to attack with speed and power they think you are aggressive and nobody want to practice with you anymore.
Others become very frustrated and are trying to punish you with very painful techniques. What a life.....
There's got to be a way to ramp up the intensity of attacks without turning the whole thing into a fight or ego game on the mat.

I train with people who will hit me hard, fast, and accurately. With most of these guys and girls, there is just no doubt or question in my mind that they are giving me a high level of energy in the attack because they want to pull me up and make me better. The attack is something they are giving me. If I screw up and take the hit, I go "Thank you!" And there's usually some concern in my partner's face, you know, just a simple "Are you okay?"

Other people....it's like they really just want to hit you hard so that you don't try to partner up with them again. The attack is often followed up by resistant ukemi if you get it right, or cold disregard or even satisfaction if they connect. I don't particularly like the kind of dynamic that develops from this kind of interaction on the mat, particularly if it's one of my sempai doing it.

Anyway, my point is, there's a difference between everybody learning to function at the highest level of intensity that can be sustained between them and the partner they are working with at the moment, and everybody just trying to get in there and hurt each other.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 04:58 PM   #29
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 333
United_States
Online
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

I think that the answer to David Skagg's question is complicated by the mental/emotional aspect of fighting. A student might have superb skills in the dojo, but not have the fighter's mentality that is necessary on the street. Another student might do poorly in the dojo, yet turn into a tiger when physically provoked. Perhaps the former student grew up in a safe neighborhood and has never been in a real fight, and the latter student grew up in a rough neighborhood and has lots of experience in street fights.

The questions in post #9 remain as to whether the student's aikido would be effective (ie., "adequate to accomplish a purpose") on the street. But a fighter would be foolish to limit himself to any particular sort of techniques (if for no other reason than this would give an advantage to an opponent who is familiar with the art the student studies). As George Ledyard wrote in another thread, "if someone comes through the door with bad intentions, that's a fight and it won't be pretty."

So I think that if I were to try to answer the questions in post #9, I would need to know more about the student than how well he (or she) performs on the mat.

Last edited by Dan Rubin : 01-07-2010 at 05:04 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 05:57 PM   #30
Mark Kruger
Dojo: Aikido of Eugene
Location: Eugene/Springfield, Oregon
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 40
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast".
True. It is a very useful paradigm.

Take a pistol draw stroke. The best way to see and feel where the inefficiencies, excess tension, and wasted motion in a draw stroke are is to do them slowly. The same thing holds for aikido technique.

However, the only way to really get fast is to... go fast. This gets really obvious with something like splits or target transitions. You can't learn to see the sights when shooting sub-.2 second splits with a pistol if you don't shoot sub-.2 second splits. Obvideolink: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAnnK63PqF8&NR=1 (No, that's not a machine gun. Yes, he reloaded in the middle of all that.) Jake Di Vita, the gentleman in that video, didn't get that fast by going slow and smooth. He pushs past the comfort zone and gets a little sloppy (but not so far as to be unsafe), then pulls back. Repeat ad nauseaum. The comfort zone gets inexorably pushed farther and farther out this way.

Also, if you spend all your time going slow and smooth, you can easily run afoul Mroz' Law: Anything at all will work at 1/2 speed and 1/2 force, Most things will work at 3/4 speed and 3/4 force, A surprising number of things will work at 7/8 speed and 7/8 force, but almost nothing works at full speed and full force. Just because it works slow and smooth doesn't mean it will work when things get interesting. I think alot of martial arts drift into this sort of problem if they don't have an "alive" component in them.

Respectfully,
Mark Kruger
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 07:17 PM   #31
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

agree Mark absolutely. However, for teaching fundamentals and developing the correct Kinesthetics... I have found that you have to slow folks down a bit. However, once you do this, yes then you have to speed it back up and develop the correct reflexes to do it at speed with aliveness.

I agree that we do get caught in the drift you speak of and begin to practice only at a very low level of pressure and non-cooperation and we stagnate.

  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 07:27 PM   #32
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
I think that the answer to David Skagg's question is complicated by the mental/emotional aspect of fighting. A student might have superb skills in the dojo, but not have the fighter's mentality that is necessary on the street. Another student might do poorly in the dojo, yet turn into a tiger when physically provoked. Perhaps the former student grew up in a safe neighborhood and has never been in a real fight, and the latter student grew up in a rough neighborhood and has lots of experience in street fights.

The questions in post #9 remain as to whether the student's aikido would be effective (ie., "adequate to accomplish a purpose") on the street. But a fighter would be foolish to limit himself to any particular sort of techniques (if for no other reason than this would give an advantage to an opponent who is familiar with the art the student studies). As George Ledyard wrote in another thread, "if someone comes through the door with bad intentions, that's a fight and it won't be pretty."

So I think that if I were to try to answer the questions in post #9, I would need to know more about the student than how well he (or she) performs on the mat.
In my combatives classes, I run drills that are designed to produce excessive stress and sensory/neural overrides in order to deal with this issue. You cannot sustain training by training this way all the time, but it is a very important part of training if you are training for real.

  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 07:49 PM   #33
Rob Watson
Location: CA
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 698
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon - lots of folks with lots of guns and bombs etc .... martially effective? If one wishes to measure martial effectiveness one must first define martial effectiveness - easier said than done. In some situations simply standing up ends the encounter and restores calm and is therefor martially effective (the conflict is ended with no more harm).

Such a huge spectrum of application it is mind boggling. Read Clauswitz 'On War' (at one time THE war fighting book) then read the works of John Boyd (the new war fighting paradigm) and realize the problem is much bigger than at first glance.

Maybe war fighting (martial) is not really what one is interested in but law enforcement aspects of conflict and the use of arresting techniques, etc - not really martial arts at all.

Self defense for personal protection or how about executive protection or maybe bouncing ... so many different conflicting constraints that generalized solutions simply cannot fit.

While I would hazard to argue that principles of aikido can be applied in all realms of conflict shiho nage cannot. So the quick answer would be the principles of aikido can be applied to any martial situation effectively in theory but putting them into practice ... well that takes practice. Actual techniques of aikido (or any art) are only applicable in a fairly narrow spectrum of conflict.

General MacArthur can project his intent all he wants but it doesn't help to root out bunkers on Mt. Surabachi!

Shameless plug : George Ledyards 'Principles of Entry' is a must have - I learn something every time I watch even a few minutes of it.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 08:36 PM   #34
L. Camejo
 
L. Camejo's Avatar
Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Canada
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Martial ineffectiveness in a dojo:

If student A is attempting waza X which is supposed to result in a particular throw or a pin when attacked in manner Y and the result is neither a throw nor a pin then waza X is executed in an ineffective manner.

At this point it is student A's job to deconstruct and analyze his waza and address the lacking areas. Student A can then repeat the practice of Waza X with varying levels of resistance and counter attacks thrown in to increase the level difficulty and by extension, the level of skill required to achieve expected result.

Best

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 09:25 PM   #35
mickeygelum
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
mickeygelum's Avatar
Dojo: Warren Budokan, Ohio USA
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 502
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
If you and I belonged to the same dojo and trained together, would I be able to judge if your Aikido would be effective in a fight ouside the dojo or vice versa.
Would a sensei be able to tell if his students could?
Would a student be able to tell if his sensei could?

David
These questions are puzzling to me... you have stated that you are Nidan in Tae Kwon Do.

Have you never been in the role to evaluate a student or two?

Have you never given pointers to kyu ranks while sparring?

When sparring with your peers, were you able to evaluate their ability to fight?

Do those situations afford you the opportunity to evaluate their skills to determine their ability to fight outside of the dojang?

Do you think you could evaluate if your instructor could fight outside of the dojang?

I am befuddled, help me understand?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 05:27 AM   #36
seank
Location: Victoria
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 132
Australia
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

This is an interesting thread but I would ask one question regarding about focussed attacks to facilitate martial effectiveness per George's post.

I am quite adept at striking with hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. depending on the range, body position, etc. from my training in kyokushin, however I can't attack at more than a fraction of my ability because I can't receive the same in kind. I would go so far as to suggest either nage or myself would be seriously injured in the process (nage if they couldn't effect a technique, me probably if they did!)

Similarly, can you really make something martially effective without testing the rigours of being injured as you are in virtually any fight. We used to train extensively in driving elbows into forearms, knees into shins, etc. in an attempt to overwhelm your opponent - a sort of Pyrrhic victory. The last person left standing was the one who could take the most punishment.

Acting this way turns the whole things on its ear, but is it a true representation of a fight?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 08:18 AM   #37
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 964
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Sean Kelleher wrote: View Post
This is an interesting thread but I would ask one question regarding about focussed attacks to facilitate martial effectiveness per George's post.

I am quite adept at striking with hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. depending on the range, body position, etc. from my training in kyokushin, however I can't attack at more than a fraction of my ability because I can't receive the same in kind. I would go so far as to suggest either nage or myself would be seriously injured in the process (nage if they couldn't effect a technique, me probably if they did!)

Similarly, can you really make something martially effective without testing the rigours of being injured as you are in virtually any fight. We used to train extensively in driving elbows into forearms, knees into shins, etc. in an attempt to overwhelm your opponent - a sort of Pyrrhic victory. The last person left standing was the one who could take the most punishment.

Acting this way turns the whole things on its ear, but is it a true representation of a fight?
I enjoy training knife defenses. I am aware that I would most likely get cut up if I ever had to use those skills. However, I am really not interested in slashing myself open for the purpose of making my training more reality-based.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 09:28 AM   #38
gdandscompserv
 
gdandscompserv's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,214
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Anyway, my feeling is that people need to fix how they train in the dojo and get it to the point at which it actually works within the stylized framework of Aikido itself before they need to start worrying about "combat application" or "martial effectiveness"
That's a keeper.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 10:36 AM   #39
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,633
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Sean Kelleher wrote: View Post
This is an interesting thread but I would ask one question regarding about focussed attacks to facilitate martial effectiveness per George's post.

I am quite adept at striking with hands, feet, elbows, knees, head, etc. depending on the range, body position, etc. from my training in kyokushin, however I can't attack at more than a fraction of my ability because I can't receive the same in kind. I would go so far as to suggest either nage or myself would be seriously injured in the process (nage if they couldn't effect a technique, me probably if they did!)

Similarly, can you really make something martially effective without testing the rigours of being injured as you are in virtually any fight. We used to train extensively in driving elbows into forearms, knees into shins, etc. in an attempt to overwhelm your opponent - a sort of Pyrrhic victory. The last person left standing was the one who could take the most punishment.

Acting this way turns the whole things on its ear, but is it a true representation of a fight?
a) obviously, an imbalance between what you can deliver and what you can take back is clearly a reason to tone it down; I was that way when I started. I cam from a Shotokan background (just some college classes) and I could attack far harder than what i could take back. So I had to tone it down until I got my ukemi skills up

b) any encounter with someone who is not operating on the Aikido paradigm will likely be highly impactive. I think this is one of the reasons one develops a more formalized training style. Othewise folks would be injured all the time and you would only have two or three crazed Aikido maniacs training. By having a certain structure to train we can keep things predictable enough to avoid too many accidents and still train in such a way as to isolate the key principles we wish to work on.

c) the desire to go beyond the form is entirely an individual decision. I do not think that it is necessary unless ones interest is largely focused on fighting. The form of physical Aikido technique had meaning for the Founder. Changing that to get to fighting skill is, in a sense, a de-volution of the art. Aikido is quite challenging enough to give one a lifetime of study without feeling that we need to change it from the broad presentation given us by the many teachers who succeeded O-Sensei.

d) what I am simply asking for is that the outer form of the practice have actual content. If there is an attack, I would like it to be a committed attack, regardless of how formilzed it seems to be. If there is a throw, I'd like to actually be a throw that would throw someone who isn't just colluding and running around you in circles.

Aikido practice is designed to change the practitioner in a number of ways. Some are physical, all are psychological. It is a form of character development. It is a practice designed to allow you to have access to the benefits of martial training but with a focus that is not about fighting, in fact about not fighting. I take the non-violent message of the Founder very seriously. But many people think that being non-violent means sucking the life out of the techniques. I think that is wrong. Training with little or weak intention will never reveal anything of any depth about the power of non-resistance. It will never develop the strength of character that would allow one to stand in the midst of conflict with a calm mind. It will never help the student transform what has made him fearful into something more positive.

Weak Aikido is just that, weak. It has nothing whatever to do with what O-Sensei taught. It might be good exercise, it might be a fun way to work out with like minded friends. The dojo can, in fact, be a second family that so many of us crave.

Aikido is an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection. For various reasons it has attracted a group of practitioners who are actually terrified of really connecting. So the fear-based high testosterone boys tend to turn their practice into some kind of martial competition, attempting to cover over their fear with aggression. Folks with less physical prowess tend to go other direction and suck the life out of the practice energetically. Then the two groups snipe at each other over the fact that the other didn't understand O-Sensei's Aikido at all.

In fact, I do not think that either of these groups is doing Aikido as the Founder intended it to be. If ones practice isn't making one less fearful in a substantial way, it cannot be said to have anything to do with the "Art of Peace". Practicing to get strong enough to defeat all enemies isn't really dealing with what makes one fearful. Nor does hanging out with a bunch of like minded folks and enforcing an atmosphere of harmonious cooperation at the dojo. When the practice is designed to make everyone comfortable, it isn't designed to be transformative (except to the most damaged amongst us who may need that to train at all).

Aikido should make us more sensitive but less reactive. It should teach us to have another response to being attacked, physically or emotionally, than to attack back. It should impart confidence without arrogance. It should allow one to interact with ones fellows in a way that doesn't require that they change to fit your insecurities. If it has anything to do with conflict resolution, there needs to be some conflict in the practice so that one can practice resolving it.

All of this start with being honest on the mat. The term for this is "makoto" often translated as sincerity. Insincere attacks, insincere ukemi, will not yield anything of great value. While most people would say that not being fearful is a good thing, I think that most have no actual notion of just how powerful a person is who is no longer operating out of fear. Aikido practice is about discovering this for oneself. Unfortunately it falls short a lot of the time. But that is the fault if the practitioners, not the art itself.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-08-2010 at 10:38 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 10:45 AM   #40
Nicholas Eschenbruch
Dojo: TV Denzlingen
Location: Freiburg
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 308
Germany
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post

Aikido is an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection. For various reasons it has attracted a group of practitioners who are actually terrified of really connecting. So the fear-based high testosterone boys tend to turn their practice into some kind of martial competition, attempting to cover over their fear with aggression. Folks with less physical prowess tend to go other direction and suck the life out of the practice energetically. Then the two groups snipe at each other over the fact that the other didn't understand O-Sensei's Aikido at all.

In fact, I do not think that either of these groups is doing Aikido as the Founder intended it to be. If ones practice isn't making one less fearful in a substantial way, it cannot be said to have anything to do with the "Art of Peace". Practicing to get strong enough to defeat all enemies isn't really dealing with what makes one fearful. Nor does hanging out with a bunch of like minded folks and enforcing an atmosphere of harmonious cooperation at the dojo. When the practice is designed to make everyone comfortable, it isn't designed to be transformative (except to the most damaged amongst us who may need that to train at all).

Aikido should make us more sensitive but less reactive. It should teach us to have another response to being attacked, physically or emotionally, than to attack back. It should impart confidence without arrogance. It should allow one to interact with ones fellows in a way that doesn't require that they change to fit your insecurities. If it has anything to do with conflict resolution, there needs to be some conflict in the practice so that one can practice resolving it.

All of this start with being honest on the mat. The term for this is "makoto" often translated as sincerity. Insincere attacks, insincere ukemi, will not yield anything of great value. While most people would say that not being fearful is a good thing, I think that most have no actual notion of just how powerful a person is who is no longer operating out of fear. Aikido practice is about discovering this for oneself. Unfortunately it falls short a lot of the time. But that is the fault if the practitioners, not the art itself.
Thank you very much once again, George Sensei. Your writing often helps me clarify my own thoughts on aikido in really important ways. Best for your life and training

N
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 10:48 AM   #41
Eric Winters
Dojo: Aikido of San Leandro and Berkeley
Location: Emeryville, CA
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 81
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

I wish I could put my mind into words like that. This is probably the best post I have read yet on this subject.

Thanks Mr. Ledyard

Eric

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
a) obviously, an imbalance between what you can deliver and what you can take back is clearly a reason to tone it down; I was that way when I started. I cam from a Shotokan background (just some college classes) and I could attack far harder than what i could take back. So I had to tone it down until I got my ukemi skills up

b) any encounter with someone who is not operating on the Aikido paradigm will likely be highly impactive. I think this is one of the reasons one develops a more formalized training style. Othewise folks would be injured all the time and you would only have two or three crazed Aikido maniacs training. By having a certain structure to train we can keep things predictable enough to avoid too many accidents and still train in such a way as to isolate the key principles we wish to work on.

c) the desire to go beyond the form is entirely an individual decision. I do not think that it is necessary unless ones interest is largely focused on fighting. The form of physical Aikido technique had meaning for the Founder. Changing that to get to fighting skill is, in a sense, a de-volution of the art. Aikido is quite challenging enough to give one a lifetime of study without feeling that we need to change it from the broad presentation given us by the many teachers who succeeded O-Sensei.

d) what I am simply asking for is that the outer form of the practice have actual content. If there is an attack, I would like it to be a committed attack, regardless of how formilzed it seems to be. If there is a throw, I'd like to actually be a throw that would throw someone who isn't just colluding and running around you in circles.

Aikido practice is designed to change the practitioner in a number of ways. Some are physical, all are psychological. It is a form of character development. It is a practice designed to allow you to have access to the benefits of martial training but with a focus that is not about fighting, in fact about not fighting. I take the non-violent message of the Founder very seriously. But many people think that being non-violent means sucking the life out of the techniques. I think that is wrong. Training with little or weak intention will never reveal anything of any depth about the power of non-resistance. It will never develop the strength of character that would allow one to stand in the midst of conflict with a calm mind. It will never help the student transform what has made him fearful into something more positive.

Weak Aikido is just that, weak. It has nothing whatever to do with what O-Sensei taught. It might be good exercise, it might be a fun way to work out with like minded friends. The dojo can, in fact, be a second family that so many of us crave.

Aikido is an art that is fundamentally about the study of connection. For various reasons it has attracted a group of practitioners who are actually terrified of really connecting. So the fear-based high testosterone boys tend to turn their practice into some kind of martial competition, attempting to cover over their fear with aggression. Folks with less physical prowess tend to go other direction and suck the life out of the practice energetically. Then the two groups snipe at each other over the fact that the other didn't understand O-Sensei's Aikido at all.

In fact, I do not think that either of these groups is doing Aikido as the Founder intended it to be. If ones practice isn't making one less fearful in a substantial way, it cannot be said to have anything to do with the "Art of Peace". Practicing to get strong enough to defeat all enemies isn't really dealing with what makes one fearful. Nor does hanging out with a bunch of like minded folks and enforcing an atmosphere of harmonious cooperation at the dojo. When the practice is designed to make everyone comfortable, it isn't designed to be transformative (except to the most damaged amongst us who may need that to train at all).

Aikido should make us more sensitive but less reactive. It should teach us to have another response to being attacked, physically or emotionally, than to attack back. It should impart confidence without arrogance. It should allow one to interact with ones fellows in a way that doesn't require that they change to fit your insecurities. If it has anything to do with conflict resolution, there needs to be some conflict in the practice so that one can practice resolving it.

All of this start with being honest on the mat. The term for this is "makoto" often translated as sincerity. Insincere attacks, insincere ukemi, will not yield anything of great value. While most people would say that not being fearful is a good thing, I think that most have no actual notion of just how powerful a person is who is no longer operating out of fear. Aikido practice is about discovering this for oneself. Unfortunately it falls short a lot of the time. But that is the fault if the practitioners, not the art itself.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 11:23 AM   #42
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 964
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Aikido practice is designed to change the practitioner in a number of ways. Some are physical, all are psychological. It is a form of character development. It is a practice designed to allow you to have access to the benefits of martial training but with a focus that is not about fighting, in fact about not fighting. I take the non-violent message of the Founder very seriously. But many people think that being non-violent means sucking the life out of the techniques. I think that is wrong. Training with little or weak intention will never reveal anything of any depth about the power of non-resistance. It will never develop the strength of character that would allow one to stand in the midst of conflict with a calm mind. It will never help the student transform what has made him fearful into something more positive.
This. I'm going to print this out on nice paper and frame it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 11:24 AM   #43
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,167
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
These questions are puzzling to me... you have stated that you are Nidan in Tae Kwon Do.

Have you never been in the role to evaluate a student or two?

Have you never given pointers to kyu ranks while sparring?

When sparring with your peers, were you able to evaluate their ability to fight?

Do those situations afford you the opportunity to evaluate their skills to determine their ability to fight outside of the dojang?

Do you think you could evaluate if your instructor could fight outside of the dojang?

I am befuddled, help me understand?
It was a question to hear other people's responses not to express my own thoughts.

When you posted a remark about my martial ineffectiveness, I thought that would be a good topic of discussion with a different spin on the "done to death topic of Aikido martial effectiveness".
Sort of lets kick the dead horse in a different way, martial ineffectiveness.

David
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 11:40 AM   #44
chillzATL
Location: ATL
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 847
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

I used to enjoy these sort of threads, but now they're just painful. Everyone bases ineffectiveness/effectiveness on what they do or know. Someone who trains MMA is going to view everything from that perspective. Anything less, to them, is ineffective. The same goes for someone who trains boxing, bjj, etc etc etc. It's so subjective that it's painful to discuss. People with more intensive fighting backgrounds will tell another person that what they're doing won't work in a "real fight", completely oblivious of the notion that their concept of a fight is two skilled people who are tuned to the situation, going at it, but that's just what's real to them. That's why I have to shrug when I hear people like Matt Thornton, who I respect and have little doubt in the effectiveness of his system, saying things like "kotegaeshi is bullshit, that doesn't work in a real fight". In my early years I had to use Aikido in a fight twice and had a classmate who used it once. In all three cases the techniques used were ones that are commonly stated to not work (kotegaeshi, shihonage, kokyunage), yet in all three cases they worked perfectly well and the conflict ended immediately. How can anyone tell me those situations weren't real?

When I first started training I simply wanted to be able to defend myself from the types of conflict I regularly saw. That being street fights, bar fights, etc. To me, that was real and today, it still is. While my view and desire to learn more has expanded over the years, I made sure that what I was doing, at the minimum, was going to prepare me for those situations. I've seen a few fights in my day and I've never seen two trained boxers or MMA fighters going at it on the street. The few times I've seen actual fighting skill on display, it was the defender who had it, not the aggressor. People who have fighting skill rarely walk around the street looking for a fight. You tend to learn very quickly that there is always a bigger fish in the pond. That's certainly not a universal truism, but it's one I feel safe enough making in this context. The point being that it's not hard for an average aikidoka to train at a level that gives them some assurance that what they're doing is going to work for them and is in fact, not martially ineffective.

Again though, it's based on what you know and what you feel you need to be prepared for. If you're looking around the dojo and you can't tell, then you likely have no understanding of what you need to be prepared for in the first place. If you've never thrown a real punch or felt one from someone, even if you're holding pads for them, you have nothing to base it on. If in your training you've never had good, hard, fast, non-telegraphed attacks come your way, then you likely aren't prepared for even the most basic of fighting situations. If you want to be prepared, you need to either spend some time learning a bit more or find someone who already does and can give you some measure of reality. Where you go from there is up to you.

Apart from my rambling, which I had to get out, both George and Kevin stated things perfectly.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 02:22 PM   #45
mickeygelum
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
mickeygelum's Avatar
Dojo: Warren Budokan, Ohio USA
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 502
United_States
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
When you posted a remark about my martial ineffectiveness, I thought that would be a good topic of discussion with a different spin on the "done to death topic of Aikido martial effectiveness".
Mr. Skaggs,

I made no such statement, though since you have, I concur.

Are you going to respond to my query, or just not participate in a discussion you initiated?
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 02:39 PM   #46
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 333
United_States
Online
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
In my combatives classes, I run drills that are designed to produce excessive stress and sensory/neural overrides in order to deal with this issue. You cannot sustain training by training this way all the time, but it is a very important part of training if you are training for real.
I've done a little such training and it was very valuable to educate me on the effects of adrenaline on my mind and body and how to deal with it. But in my previous post I was talking more about the effects of fear than the effects of adrenaline (although I recognize that there's an overlap).

As to David Skagg's questions, I suppose one could determine from practice in the dojo that the student would be effective in a fight, yet at the same time determine that the student's attempts to apply aikido during that fight (whether it's aikido techniques or simply aikido principles) would be ineffective.

As for George Ledyard's posts, I agree with and appreciate everything he's written here. Thanks, George.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 07:58 PM   #47
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.

  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 08:15 PM   #48
thisisnotreal
 
thisisnotreal's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 693
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.
that is because the fear is not about the fighting, losing or even the dying itself. it is about what comes after. same for everyone as it is a great equalizer of all men. this is an issue of beliefs and origins, promises and trust more than ass kicking, my friend.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2010, 09:32 PM   #49
Dan Rubin
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 333
United_States
Online
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.
I agree completely. I've always been afraid of heights, but my first time on the Confidence Course at Quantico (many many years ago) I learned that my ideas about fear had been wrong. I had thought that facing danger meant one must stop being afraid, or must "overcome" being afraid, or must suppress the thought that one is afraid. What I learned that day is that facing danger meant one must act while being afraid. I think that that is what a successful warrior (of any sort) must learn how to do.

However, when I participated in the stress training that I mentioned earlier, I knew that my "opponent" was not trying to injure me, let alone kill me. That by itself distinguishes dojo training from fighting.
  Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2010, 11:43 AM   #50
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,633
Offline
Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I don't think you really ever stop fear. Heck I am just as fearful of dying as I was before I had all my training. Maybe even more so. I think you learn through training how to drive through fear by developing coping mechanisms and habits to allow you to push through it.
It's not that you have no fear... it's that you stop being fearful of as many things. I have a number of friends who are combat veterans, very hard core. Some were really damaged by the experience. But a number of them, especially the guys who had a personal practice like the martial arts, simply ended up as guys who are not scared by the million and one things that effect most folks.

I think that physical bravery is the easiest trait to develop. Just look at the extraordinary acts of courage done by ordinary people put into combat situations or natural disasters. But look at how difficult it seems to be for human beings to stop being afraid of each other...

I have friends who wouldn't bat an eye being on the mat with five guys with sticks trying to hit them... but ask one of them to have a sincere conversation with one of his peers? You'd think it was asking the impossible. The toughest guy you've ever met will let his marriage crumble rather than go to counseling. The prospect of talking about his own feelings is just too frightening.

People are terrified of being hurt by each other. That hurt can take the form of criticism or judgment. It can take the form of rejection. In the extreme you get a young man who shoots another because he was "dissed". Virtually every way in which we are fearful of our fellows produces a way in which we can hurt them. It goes back and forth and the result is a society of people who are terrified of each other. Then, when the powers that be go out of their way to exploit this fearfulness for their own ends, you end up with the kind of crazed, polarized mess we have today.

Aikido training should develop ones awareness of the fundamental connection between all of us. You have to be willing to put oneself into a physically intimate relationship with your classmates. You need to make yourself vulnerable, just as in relationship. There can be no connection, no technique without being vulnerable. Contrary to what many folks who are "fighters" might believe about the art, I think that one of the most important aspects of our training is learning to "lose" i.e. take the fall, receive the technique.

In life we "lose" all the time. My wife dropped divorce papers on me, a student lost his job, a boss rains all over you about something that wasn't your fault, a child is killed in some war far away, a hurricane destroys your home, a fire burns your dojo to the ground, it is endless.

There is no magic technique that keeps one safe from these things. What? You're going to nikkyo the boss when he's being a jerk? What cool fighting technique will protect you from the devastation of a child passing? No, you are taking a hit. After that, it's a matter of how you handle it, what kind of ukemi you take. If you contract around the pain and hold onto it, the hit may be so hard it destroys you. Or you can go with it, let it move through you, and perhaps take it into something more positive.

I believe that Aikido practice, when it done well develops the ability to stand at the center of chaos and be strong, physically and emotionally. At the same time it also helps one realize that the winning and losing model we often buy into in our lives, is simply not functional for most of our human experience. Shit happens. You aren't in control of it, you can't defeat it, resistance is futile. That's the ukemi side. Things are going to happen in which you are taking a fall. Do you want to hit hard and hold that injury in your life or can you take the fall and move on? As a lapel pin I once had said, "Live right, eat healthy, die anyway."

That's the central fact of existence. We are all going to die. Good martial arts training should heighten ones awareness of just how fragile the human being is. At some point, you realize that fighting is really a no win proposition most of the time. As we can see from our various military enterprises in my own lifetime, in doing what is necessary to "win" we end up damaging ourselves on a very core level. The price of such a "victory " will be paid for at least two generations in the damage done to the current participants and the the issues they pass on to their own kids because they haven't dealt with the damage.

It's not that Aikido is unique in this at all. Many of the most amazing, high quality individuals I have ever met are lifetime martial artists. But Aikido is specifically structured to develop this sense of connection coupled with a letting go of attachment to particular outcome. In this interaction with our partners we learn to relax and allow the partner to act as he or she wishes and let the technique become what it needs to. Take musu aiki. And if suddenly we are taking the fall, that's ok too.

While this paradigm might not be the best one for developing fighters for combat, I think it a very good one for developing human beings who can live their lives doing more good than harm, leaving things around them better than when they arrived in the world.

So Aikido can help people lose their fear of being intimate. It can help them to stop worrying about "losing" something when dealing with others. In short, it can help people move out of the "if I'm not winning, then I'm losing" mode of thinking most folks operate under.

So, it's not that we stop being afraid. We just narrow down what we are afraid of to what is of real significance and stop being afraid all the time of what doesn't actually matter. When we stop being afraid we gain our freedom to act.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-09-2010 at 11:46 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Off-The-Mat" Forum akiy "Off-The-Mat" 6 06-02-2008 12:22 AM
Equitable? Mary Eastland General 390 05-11-2005 08:49 PM
Zen and Martial Art (?!) Don_Modesto General 1 12-09-2003 02:25 PM
Something I wrote for a few friends of mine (long) drDalek General 1 11-18-2002 08:44 AM
Article: Thoughts on Bugei Studies by Karl Friday AikiWeb System Training 28 04-27-2002 05:21 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:40 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate