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Old 05-25-2010, 12:07 PM   #51
Budd
 
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

What happened to the good 'ol days when just being a black belt meant that you were an expert on everything, better looking than 99% of the population and could take on gangs of armed thugs without breaking a sweat??

Now there's all these expectations and analyses going on . . sheeeoooot . .
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:12 PM   #52
"Reflection"
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

I do recognize that not all school and styles of Aikido are lacking in martial intent and effectiveness. I was under the Aikikai but I have visited a Yoshinkan dojo and I was impressed by how that particular school trained. I'm sure there are others here on Aikiweb and all over the world that do practice with martial intent and that's fantastic. I wish more schools are like this.

My point is that these schools are more of the exception than the rule. I'll go on a limb and say that Aikido in general has become lightly regarded because the schools that do aikido more as a martial art are the minority in the aikido universe. Which also why everyone who describes their aikido school will often state that their school practices with fast attacks and some resistance, as if to differentiate themselves from the result of the aikido schools. This knee jerk reaction and statement says a lot, IMHO.

Aikido as a martial artist has something to offer the martial artist out to learn new skills to add to his self-defense toolbox. I wouldn't be taking time to post my opinion here if I thought aikido was completely useless. It's precisely because I see the creeping decline of aikido into a form of new age yoga that I wish aikido could go back to its historical martial roots.

ChrisHein, I agree with your point of resistance. The strategy of aikido is sound. So is the technical syllabus. It's the methodology that needs to be reconsidered. Correctly done and productive resistance is precisely what aikido needs. But a lot of people don't understand that kind of resistance is needed, but that's another topic altogether. The lack of resistance is so common in aikido that IMHO its symptomatic of what I consider a decline throughout aikikai aikido. I don't think that by asking for resistance I'm breaking a cardinal rule or doctrine of Aikido.

I think that aikido needs is to stop declaring itself as being "too deadly to be practiced with resistance" and instead get real and think about how it's being trained. I do think resistance in aikido can be done but it needs to start with not just the schools that are more "martial savvy" but most aikido schools in general. Right now I'm not seeing it happening any time soon.

The aikidoka I see nowadays are content to just do what I call "clock-punching" aikido practice, which is just to rack up training sessions to comply with exam requirements. They do practice the techniques to allow them to perform it better for exams, but based on what I see hardly anyone has ever asked questions like "what if he tries to ___________, what do I do next". I'm not talking about kyu grade students, but yudansha.

For example, I used to have a training tanto in my bag all the time. My sensei used to have us to a lot of tanto dori practice, and we explored the "what ifs", like having uke withdraw the knife if nage couldn't get hold of the knife or attacking arm or if nage was in a bad position for a follow up strike by uke. The attacks weren't as fancy as maybe a kali student would pull off but at least we tried. Just the other day I was invited to an after-practice party at the dojo of a sensei I know and I was surprised to find out that none of the students has a tanto or does tanto dori training expected that their level. They do tanto dori training, but only for a few months and only for those going for nidan. The rest of the time they just do "clock punching" practice. And to make matters worse, the school is in a rather nasty part of town.

I do think that the method of promotion in aikikai aikido is partly to blame for the problem and the narcissists that infest its yudansha ranks.

What's needed to advance in the aikikai ranking hierarchy is through time spent training and demonstration of skill (until yodan anyway). No ego-endangering competition at all. The pressure is solely on not screwing up in front of your peers. But aside from this, the exam is tiring but relatively easy. You get an uke who you're familiar with (and probably trained for the exam with), and if you practiced enough to do the material required (jo dori, tanto dori, etc. ) without looking too bad, you'll pass the exam.

I know that that is an insulting oversimplification of the yudansha advancement process but you have to admit that its fairly accurate.
The training time requires is actually the easy part. Anyone doing martial arts seriously knows that studying any style will require constant and regular training. But the lack of competition and the lack of any method of pressure-testing the examinee IMHO allows for patient people with massive egos to rise in the ranks to dominate the upper levels. Thus we have people who think too highly of themselves and their skills running schools and organizations. In a system with competition, the high ranking practitioners have had their egos beaten and their technique tested. Not so in aikikai aikido. The style does not allow competitions and the lack of martial intent in training are IMHO the cause of various problems.

Like I said, if aikido in general does not live up to its own declared martial potential and it fails as a path of spiritual enlightenment and character development (based on the leading teachers I've seen), then what is aikido curently for?

I'm sorry if I'm being too blunt but this is just my opinion.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:21 PM   #53
Shannon Frye
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Without a doubt!

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Always beware when someone tries to convince you of the superiority of your chosen path: when someone is telling you what you want to hear, there's an agenda at work.

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:34 PM   #54
Mark Gibbons
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Ruth Rae wrote: View Post
....
The reasons why most folk don't do any of the above these days is because a) we are unable to get insurance to train that way now, and b) most folk are unwilling and / or unable to take the ukemi (or even make the attack) required in those situations.
...
Ruth
Attacks with live weapons and you are worried about uke being able to take the ukemi? Its just my opinion, but most sincere attacks with a marker will probably show that nage would be bleeding in a real situation.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:25 PM   #55
Marc Abrams
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
After 18 years, and 9 months of Aikido, I have come to believe there is no purpose. I am not saying that in a Zen sort of way. I am being flat out blunt and straight forward. There is no purpose. Was there a purpose yes, and some people still hang to those eves. I was one of them for a long time. Perched on the wise old man's scribed out enlightenment paraphrased in his own voices, thrilled me. I tried to wring out each drop of possible wisdom like a wet towel. I anxiously with batted breath waited for the miracles to happen that would direct me in my life.

I worked hard at techniques to master each and every principle.

I was a chump. I didn't realize it until 18 years later. There is no magic, there is no wisdom to apply to my life. Why, because I am not Japanese and Aikido is. Why, because times have changed, people and society has changed. Aikido is archaic, sadly.

Please forgive me for my bluntness.
I am genuinely sorry that you studied "Chump Aikido." I do not mean that as an insult but as a reflection of what YOU created. Aikido is a martial art, like a lot of other martial arts out there. What YOU make of YOUR STUDY of a particular art is ultimately YOUR responsibility.

I came to Aikido searching for somethings and discovered many more things along the way. I am still making discoveries all of the time. My particular prism of reality is such that I realize that most people will never have to be confronted with the necessity of utilizing martial arts training in order to survive an ordeal. My prism of reality has changed a great deal. I came into Aikido as a person ready for a fight (many years of martial arts and fighting sports) and not surprisingly, I would find that with which I was trying to be ready for. I was honest enough to know that this was not who I wanted to be and realized the growing danger of bad consequences of continuing on that particular path.

I am discovering that the true beauty of this martial art is in how I have used it to change my prism of reality while at the same time, becoming more capable than ever before to be able to survive a physical attack. Learning about the true nature of connection "Ai" starts with developing a deeper, more compassionate connection with yourself. Learning which muscles are tense, or where my muscles are relaxed helps me to better understand myself and how I respond to the world around me. Learning how to emulate positive Ki in my daily interactions allows me to better understand myself and connect easier and deeper to those around me. I am developing a sensitivity at an energy level that I would have discounted as nonsense ten years ago. Learning to connect positively to those around me is making my life better and safer. I am just beginning to understand the profound wisdom that O'Sensei shared with his students.

I am happy to say that I am continuing to find new and deeper, positive purposes of Aikido in my life. These purposes are continuing to be reflected in waza and in more and more areas of my life. I have no problem being attacked by a wrestler, karateka,... who seek to find out if what I do works. That is not a focus of my training or a focus in my teachings. My focus is sharing this very powerful transformational art with people in my life. So far, so good...

If you find no purpose in YOUR Aikido then ultimately that is your responsibility to address. It is important that you do find genuine and meaningful purpose in your life through whatever venue you discover. Don't blame an art, take responsibility for where you are on what ever path you choose. Blaming a path only serves to obscure the powerful and important lessons that you can learn when you decide it is time to change life paths.

Good Luck on finding a more meaningful path!

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:17 PM   #56
dps
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
What happened to the good 'ol days when just being a black belt meant that you were an expert on everything, better looking than 99% of the population and could take on gangs of armed thugs without breaking a sweat??

Now there's all these expectations and analyses going on . . sheeeoooot . .
Ahh, the fantasies...er memories of back in the day of our youths.

David
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:49 PM   #57
lbb
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

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My point is that these schools are more of the exception than the rule.
Dude, quality anything is the exception rather than the rule, and finding quality is the buyer's responsibility. Why would aikido be any different?

When someone goes to buy a new car, they do research, they kick the tires and test drive and figure out what this car does well, they figure if they like the people they're buying it from and who will service it. If they don't do those things and they buy a car that's a lemon -- or that's a perfectly good car, just not right for what they want to do with it -- then we may say, "Gee, that's too bad," but we also think that they should have done more than they did by way of due diligence. Or, if they buy a perfectly good car that they love, but then their needs and wants change -- say they bought a sports car, but then they get married and have six kids -- we understand that that's what happens when your life changes. We don't blame the car for not being what they really want or for not changing into a station wagon if that's what they need now.

So why, when someone is considering martial arts, do we expect everything to be of awesome quality, and get all outraged when it isn't? When people leave their common sense in their Sunday pajamas, why are we surprised when things don't work out perfectly for them? Why do we indulge this notion that things in martial arts ought to be perfect? Above all, why -- when someone buys a "lemon", or lets wishful thinking get them to sign up for a martial art that isn't going to get them what they want, or goes through some changes and no longer wants what they used to -- do we say that aikido's at fault?

If you want quality, whether it's a steak, a car, or a martial art, you have to be willing to acquire some extra clue, do some extra work, and pay a higher price. That seems so braindead obvious that I'd think we could stop being astonished at the fact, but I guess not.
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Old 05-25-2010, 06:57 PM   #58
ChrisHein
 
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Dude, quality anything is the exception rather than the rule, and finding quality is the buyer's responsibility. Why would aikido be any different?
HA, I love that! So true it's hard to believe it needs to be said!

Reflection, I know 100% where you are coming from. I went through this same deal. It's very annoying and troublesome when you realize the true state of the Aikido community.

However, your only options are:

To quit. Which from what I've read, doesn't sound like something you want to do, like the rest of us, your really like Aikido.

Ignore that which you dislike. Again, from what you're saying this doesn't sound like a real option for you.

Or to create your own practice. To create a group, club or Dojo that works toward the goals you have in mind. You sound like you have a solid foundation, it's probably time to leave the nest.

You're not alone if you choose option 3. There are several of us out there working towards similar goals. Those of use who love Aikido and are not satisfied with its current state of practice. Being independent isn't so bad, in fact for many of us it's the only way to stay sane!

Good luck to you in what ever you choose to do. My email is always open if you'd like to chat about any of this.

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Old 05-25-2010, 08:00 PM   #59
"PhB"
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

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Like I said, if aikido in general does not live up to its own declared martial potential and it fails as a path of spiritual enlightenment and character development (based on the leading teachers I've seen), then what is aikido curently for?

I'm sorry if I'm being too blunt but this is just my opinion.
These are the thoughts your comments provoked. They are not intended to insult anyone, or Aikido. Rather, just thoughts milled into comments FWIW.

The wounds of Aikido will never heal, the politics, the denial, the fantasy, the need to find something spiritually and profound, the esoteric and exotic experience, the never ending story of its validity, and the list goes on. Aikido is a hobby, and those who choose it do so for their reasons. Like all hobbies, it is for enjoyment, to enhancement or enrichment, an escape from the daily grind. Like all martial arts, are a hobby that so many people do for those reasons. Aikido isn't a profession, you don't make money from your skill. There is no fighting venue for it, and if there was it would be popular, as it lacks that Rome blood thirsty Gladiator entertainment quality we (not everyone) love so much in MMA.

What is the purpose of Aikido it seems obvious, it is a hobby that it is to enrich, enhance, add our daily routine. It is the same purpose people go fishing, shop, build model trains, join gardening clubs, learn to sing, just to name a few of the other millions of things people do for enjoyment.

"Reflection" is being honest about Aikido and his opinion. I wonder if he is just as honest and blunt with himself and his other art as he is with Aikido?
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:44 AM   #60
"Deb"
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

There seem to be two things going on here. The OP seems to have a strong desire to be in a sufficiently rigorous environment, and seems to be questioning aikido's ability to provide that rigor on a structural/cultural level.

I'm a relative beginner. I train in a dojo that is way more than sufficiently rigorous for my skill level, and understand exactly how valuable this is. I signed up to learn how to be martial, not dance or comply. I like being shown that my technique isn't working, called out on uncommitted attacks or and knowing that if I lead with my face, it will get hit. I don't like training with deshis who are exhausted at the end of the day and are going through the motions, or rickety or spacey yudansha who are punching the clock.

At the same time, what I find so useful about aikido is not learning how to fight. I feel like I am specifically *not* learning how to do that. The cooperative nature of aikido is a powerful metaphor for how conflict actually works. I get a lot of "Aikido in Everyday Life" lessons from it, that are about avoiding and shaping conflict by understanding the ways in which I am complicit in it. My physical body is in less conflict with the city that surrounds it. I have less conflict at work, in business, at home. Conflicts result in more positive, creative outcomes.

I am the kind of person who needs to learn how to minimize conflict by pretending to fight a lot in a controlled, collaborative way that relies on deploying both empathy and advantage. I do think that this is a sufficiently complex and rigorous thing to do.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:54 AM   #61
ruthmc
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
Attacks with live weapons and you are worried about uke being able to take the ukemi? Its just my opinion, but most sincere attacks with a marker will probably show that nage would be bleeding in a real situation.
We started off slow and built up speed as we learned to react correctly. The sincerity and intention were always present! (Ukemi is more challenging as you have to avoid landing on or dropping the blade.. )

Just as you don't start out doing ikkyo or shihonage at full speed as a beginner, you don't start doing live weapons training at full speed either

A thought for the OP - maybe with our modern risk-averse and litigatious society, many Aikido dojo have been required to water down the martial aspects in order to attract sufficent students to survive, or to comply with insurance requirements?

Ruth
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:03 PM   #62
jxa127
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Hi all,

When I first saw this topic in the "active topics" list, I was surprised to learn that it wasn't an old thread that had been recently reborn. As others have said, this is a topic that people have been discussing and writing about for decades!

Although I let my subscription lapse at Aikido Journal, I used to read pretty much everything by Stan Prannin. He's got a series of articles from the early '90s discussing this very topic! Specifically, he worries about collusion during techniques, a lack of weapons and hamni handachi work, weak attacks and poor follow-through with no resistance, and the poor fitness of many instructors -- not just in one, but in many articles.

This is probably the best example: "Realizing Aikido's Potential":

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=112

In yet other articles, Pranin is concerned that people have lost touch with the spiritual foundation of O'Sensei's art. I interpret that to mean that people think they're doing what O'Sensei said, but they're completely divorced from the entire context of O'Sensei's beliefs or the spiritual foundation of the art.

More recently, Ellis Amdur and Peter Goldsbury have written extensively on the same topics. I won't go into specifics here because there's a ton of writing and discussion with and from those gentlemen on this board.

My main point is that it is not just malcontents with "only' a decade of experience who are looking critically at aikido, its history, its assumptions, and its training methods.

I humbly suggest that aikido can very effective in a number of dangerous situations and there are substantial systemic problems with how it is taught and the very common conceptions of the art.

I think there are some objective measures of how good one is at aikido:

1) Can I really hurt somebody if I punch him or her?
2) Can I take and keep my attacker's balance from the first instant?
3) Can I respond instantly and appropriately to force from any direction?
4) Can I apply a wide range of responses from crippling to gentle and choose that response?
5) Am I moving in a totally coordinated way and generating power from my center?

Honestly, after ten years of training, my answer was no to most of these questions.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:58 PM   #63
"PhB"
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

I would say each individual's "objective measures of how good one is at aikido," is different for each individual also. For some it maybe having a sense of accomplishment is good enough; not seeking perfection, but acquaint to fairly decent. Others the application of or commitment to the spiritual dimensions found in Aikido. For some it is being a good teacher, or being able to thwart a mugger. Or decelerate a conflict or potential hostile situation be it verbal or physical. It is all up to the individual's personal criteria, something not judged.

People fail to see the dynamic sphere that Aikido is. It is not a single minded, single dimension activity. It wasn't made for combat, but rather for the soul.
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Old 05-26-2010, 05:42 PM   #64
jxa127
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
People fail to see the dynamic sphere that Aikido is. It is not a single minded, single dimension activity. It wasn't made for combat, but rather for the soul.
Be that as it may, and I don't necessarily disagree with you, I argue that if you haven't got (or are striving toward) kuzushi, atemi, and mind/body coordination (ki!), against somebody who is not simply falling for you, then you're really not doing aikido.

At least not the aikido that O'Sensei and his students (including his son) were doing.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:39 PM   #65
"PhB"
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
Be that as it may, and I don't necessarily disagree with you, I argue that if you haven't got (or are striving toward) kuzushi, atemi, and mind/body coordination (ki!), against somebody who is not simply falling for you, then you're really not doing aikido.

At least not the aikido that O'Sensei and his students (including his son) were doing.

Regards,
If you don't mind me saying, I don't think that everyone has that ability like you to take Aikido to the intended letter. For some of us, we are drawn to Aikido for personal reasons, like attracted to the spiritual Aikido over the ability to apply physical skill in a contest. I know some people work toward the ability to match up the physical and spiritual and reap those rewards. They are concerned with the abilities you kindly laid out for the physical Aikido, but not to the point of a physical conflict. But, rather how that bonds to the spiritual Aikido and its result for them. There is no need to prove anything. It is a personal journey and not a contest.

I appreciate your comments, and hope quoting you didn't offend you, I don't think it did. All too often people come to Aikido with expectations of a physical goal, and those people are very much unsatisfied with Aikido.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:34 PM   #66
"PhB"
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
If you don't mind me saying, I don't think that everyone has that ability like you to take Aikido to the intended letter. For some of us, we are drawn to Aikido for personal reasons, like attracted to the spiritual Aikido over the ability to apply physical skill in a contest. I know some people work toward the ability to match up the physical and spiritual and reap those rewards. They are concerned with the abilities you kindly laid out for the physical Aikido, but not to the point of a physical conflict. But, rather how that bonds to the spiritual Aikido and its result for them. There is no need to prove anything. It is a personal journey and not a contest.

I appreciate your comments, and hope quoting you didn't offend you, I don't think it did. All too often people come to Aikido with expectations of a physical goal, and those people are very much unsatisfied with Aikido.
And not because Aikido can't deliver, or it falls short when it comes to fighting, but because Aikido isn't and wasn't designed to be a combat or tournament art. Aikido is stamped from Bujutsu. It developed beyond when spiritual growth became a focus for Aikido. Aikido prior to the addition of spirituality a.k.a pre-World War Aikido has the greatest and purest elements of physical Bujutsu, and imo is a more reasonable subject for any arguments evaluating the validity of its physical elements. If you're e are going to debate Aikido's ability to deliver in a contest or conflict look at pre-World War Aikido, it was a true Bujujtsu. Today's Aikido shouldn't be judged or strictly held up to fighting standards after World War. Today's Aikido works toward spiritual growth, and judging whether or not it delivers the spiritual goods is a more relevant argument.
I think allot of people become jaded or dissatisfied when they come to Aikido looking use it in a fight. When expectations are place on Aikido by people looking for fighting applications and find that Aikido is no longer about that, but instead is focused on a spiritual growth experience they are often let down and disheartened. Suffice it to say they don't decide to embrace the spiritual experience of Aikido, turning away from the path of violence, and embracing the way of peace. People who like to fight really don't last in Aikido. It doesn't offer what they look for. Those who are looking at Aikido as utilized by the characters of Shihan Seagal in his movies, will undoubtedly be let down by post World War Aikido.

When I spoke of Aikido being stamped in Bujutsu, I am referring to the mental approach adopted by Aikido from Bujustu. Hell's dojo's of pre-World War Aikido wasn't a place where people fought to destroy each other. Wasn't it a place where limits where pushed? Where training was a very serious matter? The intensity level at a high level pushing people beyond the levels of what they thought they could do? A Special Forces training school experience might be an equivalent idea?

That element I am guessing was carried onto the current version of Aikido. I don't think the aim of Aikido is to bust people up with it. But to train hard, pushing yourself to new heights and levels personally and physically. That is my opinion of why people shouldn't merely take a fall, walking through the motions. I agree with you. I part ways here with many when I say, I don't think any of that really was designed or intended within the context of combative fighting. The pseudo combat platform of the Samurai, and the mock attacker with the training scenarios are all within the structure Bujutsu. All of which is grounded in Bujujtsu. Which is used as a form for a greater purpose and experience is termed as Budo. What makes Aikido a Budo is the elements of spiritual growth over the application of combat. When those wires get crossed expectations don't fit result in having some people become disillusioned with Aikido. That fall-out ends up morphing into hyper-critical evaluation of Aikido as a fighting tool.
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:30 AM   #67
jxa127
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

BhP,

Thanks for the discussion. You make some very good points, and I take no offense.

I really only have two additional comments:

1) What people get out of the spiritual side of aikido and what O'Sensei intended are often very different. Peter Goldsbury's series of articles, available here, on "Transmission, Inheritance, and Emulation" are eye-opening in this regard. Naturally, as the art evolved and opened up to the rest of the world after World War II, the core of the art was no longer closely associated with its Omoto Kyo roots.

That's fine. O'Sensei did not insist that his students follow the religion or even fully understand the spiritual foundation of his art.

But that leaves us with a quandary. His closest students sometimes profess to not understanding what O'Sensei was talking about, and so they focused on learning the body skills. They were also really dang good. Now here we are 60 to 70 years later and there are a whole bunch of people who are attracted to the spiritual side of aikido, but they understand even less of O'Sensei's spiritual foundation than his direct students and aren't anywhere near as good.

That's me, by the way.

I was attracted to aikido because of its emphasis on a model for conflict resolution that forged a middle ground between fight and flight. I still believe in the ideal of defending myself from violent attack by controlling my attacker(s) and causing as little harm as possible to him. But that brings me to my second point:

2) All of the above is predicated on actually being able to do aikido well. For me, the spiritual stuff follows from the physical stuff. If I can only do effective techniques with a cooperating attacker, and my only option is the gentle one, then the foundation for the spiritual stuff is weak.

To put it another way, if aikido provides a way to resolve conflicts with minimal injury, and the physical stuff is the expression of the spiritual stuff, and the physical stuff doesn't work, then the spiritual stuff is built on a faulty premise.

Having said all of that, there are folks who have the goods. Aikido does work for them, and they have the solid foundation for the more expansive spiritual side of things. The art has not failed them.

I'm not one of those people (yet?). So from what I've seen and experienced since I started in 1999, is that aiki (which I think of as mind/body and body/body integration) is the core from which all else flows: atemi, kuzushi, effective technique, great ukemi, and takemusu aikido.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:10 AM   #68
"PhB"
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

I appreciate and thank you as well for the discussion. To cap it all off, I appreciate those who take Aikido because they want to take advantage of it's fighting structure. I understand why some are disappointed because it doesn't meet their expectations. For those people it may suit them to have directed their energies into pre-war Aikido. I am assuming they are not happy with Aikido because they took the post war Aikido which we all know doesn't focus it's efforts into using Aikido to fight, but instead to peace.

Aikido (here on in being the post war Aikido) is looked at mostly as a hobby my its general student body. I went into Aikido because of the social benefits. I wanted as well to have some exercise. I wanted something healthy to escape into. I wanted to add more to my life than just work. I am not disappointed by Aikido. Suffice it to say, whether or not Aikido is a butt kicking mopping the floor with your butt fighting system isn't at all important to me. I will go out on a ledge and say my view is true for the major of people who take Aikido.

Everyone has their own reason for taking up Aikido. Not everyone, most, are into going home after practice with dislocated wrists, shoulders, elbows, shiners, broken teeth or ribs. My priority is showing up to work capable of doing what they pay me for. I can't afford to be in hospital unnecessarily. I have a host of other responsibilities. I am no longer twenty-something and full of testosterone. Though I'd like to. Most conflicts in society can be resolved though diplomacy and verbal communication. I don't have to worry about someone physically gunning for me, or forced to fight in a colosseum. I have far more verbal confrontations and threats then I do physically. My real self-defense skills are verbal skills, then physical, thus I have put most my time into dealing in that verbal arena. Each individual has their own reasons for taking Aikido, not everyone is or wants to be a physical warrior. Being verbal warrior in the modern age is to what a physical warrior is in the dark ages.

I do Aikido as a hobby, and I hope those conflicted with whether or not Aikido is an effective fighting system or not, will find peace and resolution.

Thank you to all for letting me comment here.
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Old 05-30-2010, 01:49 AM   #69
oisin bourke
 
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
The added emphasis is mine, and I added it because it hasn't been the case in my experience, which is mostly in other Japanese martial arts. It seems to me that the notion of persistent effort and improvement is pretty deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, and that is by and large reflected in martial arts practice. Unfortunately, many aikidoka don't see this, perhaps because they lack the experience in other styles...and, unfortunately, because some people within aikido are serving koolade in the form of the notion that aikido alone is the repository of various virtues. Always beware when someone tries to convince you of the superiority of your chosen path: when someone is telling you what you want to hear, there's an agenda at work.
Agree wholeheartedly.

I also read somewhere a quote from Kisshomaru Ueshiba who said something along the lines of:
"The point of training is so that you can look back on your life and say: "I trained." And that's all there is to it, really."
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:02 AM   #70
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
I was attracted to aikido because of its emphasis on a model for conflict resolution that forged a middle ground between fight and flight.
and this

Quote:
Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
Agree wholeheartedly.

I also read somewhere a quote from Kisshomaru Ueshiba who said something along the lines of:
"The point of training is so that you can look back on your life and say: "I trained." And that's all there is to it, really."
As K. Ueshiba once denied that Daito ryu had much to do with M. Ueshiba's aikido, we must split the world of aikido into two very separate realms.

As Drew and Oisin both note, the modern world of aikido which traces its lineage back to K. Ueshiba and K. Tohei, that world of aikido is a far different entity than the aikido of M. Ueshiba.

In this regard, talking about aikido with both in mind just brings more heated discussions. The modern aikido world spread far and wide and its ideals changed into these notions of spirituality, conflict resolutions, peace, harmony, etc. (NOT saying these are bad things.)

M Ueshiba's aikido was very different and revolved around each individual person becoming something very different martially, such that one lived a bit freer in the world. As M. Ueshiba found when he first met Takeda, all his physical strength failed him utterly and completely. Takeda, martially different, had no trouble handling most people as they relied upon physical strength, timing, body placement, etc. M. Ueshiba learned Takeda's aiki skills and then, because of those skills, it opened a different spiritual door for Ueshiba. A door that allowed Ueshiba to merge his strong sense of spirituality with his strong martial aiki skills.

Modern aikido isn't the founder's aikido. That's neither good, bad, right or wrong. Just different. Modern aikido relies upon spirituality more than martial ability and there will always be heated discussions on its martial effectiveness.

The founder's aikido is rare but making some progress to be reborn. It's martial capabilities are strong, but its spiritual capabilities rely upon each individual person. And each person creates their own level of spirituality. So, more martial than spiritual, in comparison to modern aikido.

The purpose of aikido? Which aikido? Modern? IMO, that's built upon more spiritual than martial. It's worldwide and has devoted, loyal followers. It can be very worthwhile for all the time and training invested. The founder's? That's a tough, rare, and hard road to follow. It isn't for everyone. The martial will outweigh the spiritual for some time and then the spiritual is all up to you. Tough thing to shoulder when handed a boatload of martial power.

But the purpose?

If you're wanting the camaraderie, the focus of being part of something, the group spiritual whole, the feeling of belonging, the training, the spiritual, the harmony, the conflict resolution, etc, then stick with modern aikido. But just don't ever expect that you'll be as good as the founder martially. (For that matter, it won't get you the founder's spirituality either, but K. Ueshiba changed the spirituality for modern aikido.)

If you're wanting the martial abilities of M. Ueshiba, look for Daito ryu aiki. Look in the non-aikido forum. It is readily apparent to those who have experienced this that the abilities of M. Ueshiba are most definitely within one's grasp. Surpassing Tohei, Tomiki, Shioda, etc is not a dream but a very defined reality. But don't expect this to ever give you the founder's spirituality. That's a different type of training, up to each individual to undertake. Without the spirituality, you won't be doing the M. Ueshiba's aikido, but rather another "way of aiki".
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:17 AM   #71
oisin bourke
 
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
and this

As K. Ueshiba once denied that Daito ryu had much to do with M. Ueshiba's aikido, we must split the world of aikido into two very separate realms.

As Drew and Oisin both note, the modern world of aikido which traces its lineage back to K. Ueshiba and K. Tohei, that world of aikido is a far different entity than the aikido of M. Ueshiba.

In this regard, talking about aikido with both in mind just brings more heated discussions. The modern aikido world spread far and wide and its ideals changed into these notions of spirituality, conflict resolutions, peace, harmony, etc. (NOT saying these are bad things.)

M Ueshiba's aikido was very different and revolved around each individual person becoming something very different martially, such that one lived a bit freer in the world. As M. Ueshiba found when he first met Takeda, all his physical strength failed him utterly and completely. Takeda, martially different, had no trouble handling most people as they relied upon physical strength, timing, body placement, etc. M. Ueshiba learned Takeda's aiki skills and then, because of those skills, it opened a different spiritual door for Ueshiba. A door that allowed Ueshiba to merge his strong sense of spirituality with his strong martial aiki skills.

Modern aikido isn't the founder's aikido. That's neither good, bad, right or wrong. Just different. Modern aikido relies upon spirituality more than martial ability and there will always be heated discussions on its martial effectiveness.

The founder's aikido is rare but making some progress to be reborn. It's martial capabilities are strong, but its spiritual capabilities rely upon each individual person. And each person creates their own level of spirituality. So, more martial than spiritual, in comparison to modern aikido.

The purpose of aikido? Which aikido? Modern? IMO, that's built upon more spiritual than martial. It's worldwide and has devoted, loyal followers. It can be very worthwhile for all the time and training invested. The founder's? That's a tough, rare, and hard road to follow. It isn't for everyone. The martial will outweigh the spiritual for some time and then the spiritual is all up to you. Tough thing to shoulder when handed a boatload of martial power.

But the purpose?

If you're wanting the camaraderie, the focus of being part of something, the group spiritual whole, the feeling of belonging, the training, the spiritual, the harmony, the conflict resolution, etc, then stick with modern aikido. But just don't ever expect that you'll be as good as the founder martially. (For that matter, it won't get you the founder's spirituality either, but K. Ueshiba changed the spirituality for modern aikido.)

If you're wanting the martial abilities of M. Ueshiba, look for Daito ryu aiki. Look in the non-aikido forum. It is readily apparent to those who have experienced this that the abilities of M. Ueshiba are most definitely within one's grasp. Surpassing Tohei, Tomiki, Shioda, etc is not a dream but a very defined reality. But don't expect this to ever give you the founder's spirituality. That's a different type of training, up to each individual to undertake. Without the spirituality, you won't be doing the M. Ueshiba's aikido, but rather another "way of aiki".
Hi Mark,

I think those are fair points.

My point is that training in Budo is just not a cut and dried thing. In my experience (which is admittedly limited) once one settles on an expectation from one's training, one will neglect other aspects of Budo. That's one of the great challenges of training IMO.

The quote I found for Kisshomaru was from Koryu.com:

http://www.koryu.com/library/dskoss6.html
I think it's very relevant to this discussion.

Regards,
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:26 AM   #72
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
...
M. Ueshiba learned Takeda's aiki skills and then, because of those skills, it opened a different spiritual door for Ueshiba.
...
Hi Mark,
Generally, I dont disagree with your balanced appraisal. But the above sentence strikes me as requiring some explanation. "Aiki-skills" TM were the doorway to a "different" spirituality for the founder? What evidence is that based on? Different from what? Would you expand?

Interesting discussion everybody, thanks.

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 05-30-2010 at 09:27 AM. Reason: Removed rhethorical question
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:41 AM   #73
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
The quote I found for Kisshomaru was from Koryu.com:

http://www.koryu.com/library/dskoss6.html
I think it's very relevant to this discussion.
Hi Oisin,
I am not sure how to interpret the K. Ueshiba quote at all. It's tautological, so what is it meant to express?

Diane Skoss, in the article, goes on to say:
"Insights quietly blossom, are nurtured, to sprout further understandings."

which would open up a - probably very individual, possibly very complex - world of insights and understandings. Is that what K. Ueshiba means as well, and does not want to discuss?

I find it slightly sad, though of course understandable, to hint at all those insights and then sort of close the door again. Or maybe I am misunderstanding the intention of both of them?

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 05-30-2010 at 09:50 AM. Reason: forgot address ...
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:36 AM   #74
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
which would open up a - probably very individual, possibly very complex - world of insights and understandings. Is that what K. Ueshiba means as well, and does not want to discuss?
Perhaps it was his way of pointing to the individualized nature of insight? Insight doesn't seem like something which can be transmitted so much as hinted at (particularly the more complex insights), leaving the discovery and determination almost entirely in the hands of the student.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:49 PM   #75
niall
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Re: The purpose of Aikido?

It's a kind of a Japanese approach. Rather than over-thinking or trying to analyze too much just do the training. And - hopefully - you'll understand one day.

I personally heard Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba once make a similar remark - something like if you never missed training that in itself would be enough to become a shihan. I was surprised at the time. It seems to ignore completely the questions of ability and personal qualities like sincerity. It's like the Woody Allen quote: 90% of life is just showing up.

Last edited by niall : 05-30-2010 at 06:55 PM.

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