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Old 07-17-2002, 07:54 PM   #1
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
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Question What is Aikido?

I brought abilities and movements from other arts to Aikido when I began training five and a half years ago. I came to train and learn, not contend but here's my cunundrum: sometimes these other items get out, no harm done, yet I'm told "That's not the Aikido way". Even though the movement/technique was quite appropriate and effective. Then I'm told that Aikido "has no rules, no boundries". Confusing...to say the least. I love Aikido but...help...

~~Paula~~
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Old 07-17-2002, 08:25 PM   #2
jk
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If it works for you, then who's to say it's not "your" aikido? It may not be their aikido, but whatever...

Of course, that's my knee-jerk reaction. It also depends on who's telling you "that's not the aikido way." If I heard this from my primary aikido instructor, then more often than not, I'd do it the way he wants me to do it, especially if it's something new. That way my understanding of the way he sees the technique/aikido is much clearer than if I were to inject something else in from my past training. However, it may not hurt to ask why something "isn't the aikido way."

Regards,

Last edited by jk : 07-17-2002 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 07-17-2002, 09:29 PM   #3
PeterR
 
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I've been told a number of times that what I was doing wasn't Aikido. My answer is always the same - oh yes it is.

It really means - that's not the way we do things. We being the particular dojo you are in. In the contest of training spontanious expression of technique is not a bad thing, in fact it is what we are supposed to strive for.

That said - I have been partnered to people that instead of working on the technique of the moment go off on a tangent so radical you wonder what they are thinking. Usually far more complicated than what was originally required and tossing basic principles out the window. Nothing spontaneous about it - just clueless.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-18-2002, 09:28 AM   #4
Rev_Sully
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I guess art is interpretation. For a martial art, there are foundations in style and format but then the interpretation is for the individual.

This applies to all things not just Aikido.

What's not Aikido? A roundhouse kick with a big "KI-ahhh" wearing a black satin Gi with a huge Dragon on the back. That's my opinion from a newbie though.

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 07-18-2002, 09:42 AM   #5
ChristianBoddum
 
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Hi there !

Just my 2 cents -

A technique may work well and be of the family tree,but if the idea of aikido is not in it - then it,s not aikido.

A sempai told me the main difference between

Tai Chi and aikido for him was the idea,

to open up the world and show a bigger picture,alternatives,not just to protect yourself.

I'll go with that !

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 07-18-2002, 10:31 AM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Some one (I forget who) told me that as long as I was relaxed and centered, entered and blended with my opponent, and took his balance, than it was probably Aiki.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-18-2002, 12:45 PM   #7
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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First, whoever told you it was not AiKiDo was just giving their opinion. Their opinion may be very worth listening to and have a lot of depth, but, as this forum shows there are plenty of other opinions out there.

Second, my opinion is that there is a certain attitude towards yourself and your uke that makes aikido. There are no rules (in my mind) to what techniques you can use, but there are clear 'rules' about how it feels like when you use them.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-18-2002, 08:51 PM   #8
MaylandL
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Quote:
I brought abilities and movements from other arts to Aikido when I began training five and a half years ago. I came to train and learn, not contend but here's my cunundrum: sometimes these other items get out, no harm done, yet I'm told "That's not the Aikido way". Even though the movement/technique was quite appropriate and effective. Then I'm told that Aikido "has no rules, no boundries". Confusing...to say the least. I love Aikido but...help...
Hello Paula

I'm still grappling with this very question. I've been doing aikido for about 9 years.

I started aikido after doing a number of years in other martial arts (wing chun and jujitsu). Some of what I learnt previously still creeps into my training especially during randori with reactions from sensei ranging from disapproval to guarded praise.

I guess that's part of what training is about. To explore what is possible in aikido. Its difficult to comment without knowing the circusmtances that elicited the comments that you received Paula.
Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
... as long as I was relaxed and centered, entered and blended with my opponent, and took his balance, than it was probably Aiki.

...

Lynn
Hello Lynn

I would agree with that. From this perspective, it may be that there are no rules or boundaries in terms of what the possibilities may be.

Happy training all

Mayland
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Old 07-18-2002, 10:06 PM   #9
Abasan
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"Some one (I forget who) told me that as long as I was relaxed and centered, entered and blended with my opponent, and took his balance, than it was probably Aiki."

Not one to nitpick, but Aiki is not exclusive to aikido. But since Osensei went to great lengths to term his art as a do and not a jutsu, I suppose Aikido was meant to be open ended and freely explored (improvised, perverted, marginalised and so on). And Way of/to Aiki sounds good enuff for me.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 07-19-2002, 03:50 AM   #10
Edward
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I guess all of the above is true, except that you have to master the basics before you can improvise. I assume that you were in somebody else's class when you heard the comments. In this case, you have to follow whatever the other sensei is teaching. When you give your own class, then you're free to explore the boundaries of aikido.

I myself have the same problem because of my judo background. My throws can be sometimes quite powerful, but not aikido-like. They lack the grace and style, but not the efficiency. However, I do try my best to practice a pure aikido style.
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Old 07-23-2002, 02:13 PM   #11
Paula Lydon
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Hello, Mayland.

It appears that our backgrounds are very similar. While I always focus on aiki principles and movement, I have a wider, stronger range of atemi, throws, locks, chokes, etc. I maintain a controlled moderate pace when I employ some of these techniques, but still I freak some people out, or piss them off. I've had to deal with all sorts of comments and even having grown men come at me in anger or frustration with real attacks while I was supposed stay controlled and moderate. Now that I've trained in the same dojo for a number of years, those who know my nature aren't bothered and even enjoy expanding their 'play' with me. Thanks for your encouragement. Paula

~~Paula~~
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Old 07-24-2002, 10:46 PM   #12
MaylandL
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Quote:
Paula Lydon wrote:
...

While I always focus on aiki principles and movement, I have a wider, stronger range of atemi, throws, locks, chokes, etc.
One of my Senseis believes that it is important to train in proper atemi. His rational is that you need to understand the dynamics of different atemi in order to incorporate them into aikido and also to defend against them. So its all part of the training. Some of the classes are devoted to punching and kicking drills.
Quote:
...but still I freak some people out, or piss them off. I've had to deal with all sorts of comments and even having grown men come at me in anger or frustration with real attacks while I was supposed stay controlled and moderate.
That's not been a problem for me as such and I am surprised that others see that there is a problem with it an react in the way that you described. I'm curious Paula, when did these comments arise? Did they arise during training in a specific technique following the demonstration by Sensei or did they arise after Randori/Jiyuwaza(sp?)
Quote:
...

Now that I've trained in the same dojo for a number of years, those who know my nature aren't bothered and even enjoy expanding their 'play' with me. Thanks for your encouragement.
I'm glad its working out. All the best for your training.

Mayland
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Old 07-25-2002, 08:52 AM   #13
Paula Lydon
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Hi Mayland,

Usually happens during randori or jiyuwaza, but sometimes during regular practice. We're encouraged to 'do something' if initial tech. fails, not just give up or keep grappling with origional tech. if it's not happening on that particular attack. I spent the first few years of Aikido training trying to override my mind/body wiring so I didn't use movement or techs outside the curriculum, and that really messed with my movement. You know, it's easier to teach someone fresh with no baggage. It's odd, but the range of training in the dojo as a whole has broadened, I think, in the last few years to begin to incorporate some of these other things. Not to a great extent, but at least saying they're out there and teaching beginners how to make a practical fist and throw a decent strike. Improves overall training.

Don't get me wrong; they're all neat people, even the one's I butt heads with sometimes. My head's in there too! Just get upset now and then, but I guess the fire purges.

Thanks again

~~Paula~~
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Old 07-25-2002, 09:09 AM   #14
Genex
 
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Smile

If you think about it you cant really say that is not the aikido way, Look at how many different forms of aikido there are, akijutsu, aikikai, seishin kai. there are loads and their all somebody elses way of doing aikido, i think the big picture is that if you can incorperate several different martial arts together you may create something different or even better (thought about your own dojo?) call it aikidunot ?

this is exactly what Ueshiba did he took several styles and arts and picked the best from each one if it improves your aikido, maybe your sensei is jelous? it can happen my sensei is just green over me cause i'm ace.

(_tonight sensei will be throwing me like a rag doll and that last line is pure fiction_)

pete

like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. - The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy on the Pan-galactic Gargleblaster!
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Old 07-25-2002, 06:25 PM   #15
Paula Lydon
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Pete, is that Aikidonut? Sounds nummy! And yes, you're going to die tonight (heehee).

~~Paula~~
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Old 07-26-2002, 08:32 PM   #16
Kat.C
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Well I'm confused now. Isn't aikido a set of techniques? (Yes I know that there are tons of variations on the techniques.) For example; If a friend wished me to demonstrate some aikido to her, I couldn't very well use some karate techniques as well, and call it aikido could I? I mean it wouldn't be aikido, but a mix of aikido and karate, wouldn't it?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 07-26-2002, 09:20 PM   #17
Kevin Wilbanks
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When a person says: "That's not Aikido", they may be refering to a situation where you have changed the rules or the parameters of the situation in a way that isn't relevant to what is being practiced or studied at that time.

We had a group of guys at my prior dojo who started taking BJJ, and were so enthusiastic about their new learnings that they started wrestling with people instead of pinning them at the end of techniques. At first it was interesting, but gradually almost the whole dojo began to resent it. Of course, it was also coupled with a lot of off-mat talk about how much better BJJ 'worked' than Aikido.

I think the problem was that they were essentially introducing a random element into the training which was outside the scope of the implicit agreements surrounding the Aikido training situation.

In Aikido training, many potential variables are agreed to remain fixed in order to look more deeply into something specific. For instance, in practicing a standard Shomenuchi Ikkyo, the attack is predetermined, the response is predetermined. In order to study that particular technique, there is an implicit agreement that many, many possibilities are excluded: the attack will not be switched, withdrawn, redirected, presented as a feint to set up an alternate attack, etc...

If nage suddenly crawls on ukes back and applies a carotid choke in the middle of the technique, it is difficult to see how this is not a violation of the implicit agreements of the prescribed human-interaction experiment, and thus a waste of training time, and 'not Aikido'. It may be of use to the nage's ego or Jujutsu training, but it isn't fair to the training partner or the Sensei.

If this is seen as OK, why not violate some of the other assumptions? Nage could always pull out a fake pistol and say "Bang! You're dead.", then brag in the changing room about how a quickly drawn .357 magnum 'works better' than Aikido.

On the other hand, if some response that isn't within the Aikido ouvre just happens naturally during a more free practice situation, that doesn't seem like any big deal... it may not be Aikido, but if it's not causing any harm or wasting inordinate time, who cares?
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Old 08-19-2002, 04:30 PM   #18
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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Quote:
When a person says: "That's not Aikido", they may be refering to a situation where you have changed the rules or the parameters of the situation in a way that isn't relevant to what is being practiced or studied at that time.
While I think that Kevin is probably usually right about this (and explains it very well), I actually reserve "that's not AiKiDo" for a different sort of situation.

That is, if someone does a technically perfect ikyo but is agressive or forceful with me, I have been known to say, "That's nice, but it's not AiKiDo" (in a situation where I'm teaching the class or in some other way feel like I have a right to be expressing my opinion about it). I'll even use it on myself, when I feel like my 'spirit' is not in the right place.

Let's remember, though, that while this is my opinion and I am willing to stand behind it (ie. explain it and why I hold it), it is not how everybody would see things. Part of AiKiDo, for me is being open to what other people think AiKiDo is, and learning from that. Peter said
Quote:
If you think about it you cant really say that is not the aikido way, Look at how many different forms of aikido there are, akijutsu, aikikai, seishin kai. there are loads and their all somebody elses way of doing aikido,
and I'm afraid I don't agree with him. Having an opinion, and expressing it, is comaptible with (I would say, a requirement for) being open minded. It is because we have such different views that the discussions are interesting. If I throw up my hands and say, "everyone has a different opinion so there can be not truth," I lose my ability to find the truth that is in all those different opinions.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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