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Old 11-05-2010, 07:50 AM   #26
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Over the last several years I have read threads centered around violence in aikido. This theme also appears as a tangent in many related threads such as spirituality, combat, philosophy, "street" fighting, and so forth.

Inevitably, these threads all acquire a post (or multiple posts) that asserts an aikido person is capable of: A. protecting the attacker from harm, B. disarming an armed attacker, C. avoiding confrontation, D. all of the above. Currently, there are a couple of these very threads active.

I jest here but the point of my thread will be to argue whether it is realistic to expect an aikido person to successfully engage an attacker with a positive result (for all). I define successful engagement as the resolution of conflict without injury to either party (let's go will Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere terminology).

Building from the ground up are we that good? Is it reasonable to expect that at some point my physical abilities will support my philosophical ideology (to engage in confrontation without injury to any involved party)?

I think most of us are all talk. Those who have the necessary skills (to back up their talk) are few and far between. That does not mean I should abandon my philosophy, but it does means I should mitigate my expectations.

Thoughts?
I have heard a lot of folks say that one can use Aikido to protect themselves and yet not hurt their attacker. I laugh at this. If they mean they can use Aikido to avoid a conflict and therefore neither attacker or defender are harmed then ok I can buy that. But when it comes to the physical confrontation I find it difficult to believe that the attacker will not be harmed. Not to mention the defender. Most attackers don't attack with advance notice. It is generally a surprise attack, and while I am very aware of my surroundings people will occasionaly get in close without my noticing them. I would guess that an attacker probably hasn't had the training that some of us have had and can protect him/herself the way an Aikido practitioner could.

Pain is inevitable.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:30 AM   #27
jxa127
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Is it reasonable to expect that at some point my physical abilities will support my philosophical ideology (to engage in confrontation without injury to any involved party)?
Yes -- depending on the circumstances.

I've done it twice (and I'm not really that good), and so have people I've trained with.

One former training partner, who ended up graduating college and working as a cop, used a beautiful nikkyo to take down a semi-violent (belligerent, anyway) citizen and then handcuff him.

Frankly, what I've done, and most of what I've heard from other people falls into the category of physically restraining somebody doing something stupid as opposed to dealing with a cold, calculated all out attack.

BUT not all confrontations are attacks, even if they do get physical.

Maybe, for the vast majority of people studying aikido, the art is best suited to dealing with violent confrontations rather than all out attacks. I don't really know.

Regards,

-Drew

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-Drew Ames
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:37 AM   #28
jonreading
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Well shoot. I am hearing only one side...The right side. HAHAHAHA. Sorry.

I think this cuts to the heart of the matter. Oddly enough, many of the same posters who have replied in other threads under the ideology that confrontation without injury is a valid expectation are not posting to this thread. Many of the same posters who confront these claims are posting to this thread. I appreciate the responses.

The resounding response from the posts here seems to point out that aikido is more about living than fighting. More specifically, it is not realistic to expect that your physical aikido will wholly prepare you to engage in physical confrontation.

Why does this message not resonant with aikido? Or does it? Where is this message becoming diluted or contorted? Clearly there are aikido people who make these claims and believe they are consistent with aikido.

I think Lynn may have touched on the next logical question series. How do we strike the proper balance in training and philosophy? How do I [correctly] translate the philosophy of aikido into my personal ideology? What are my realistic expectations for my physical competency?

If someone walks into your dojo and asks you, "what should I expect?" What is you candid answer? "Something you cannot do for 30 years, then won't be able to explain for 20 years after that?"
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:51 AM   #29
Russ Q
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
If someone walks into your dojo and asks you, "what should I expect?" What is you candid answer? "Something you cannot do for 30 years, then won't be able to explain for 20 years after that?"
Damn near! :-) Because of the learning curve, aikido is a huge commitment and useless in a fighting situation for many years. (Even after obtaining a degree of proficiency (say 10 years in) it has very limited potential as a "fighting/self defence" art IMO). Therefore there has to be more overriding reasons to train. See George's post. Perhaps we can hope for a benelovent confrontation with the drunk or the aggressive panhandler but facing off against someone really bent on trying to hurt you requires a willingness to do anything to win (and having the opportunity to do so). As Lynn says, lets lower our expectations and train harder.

Cheers,

Russ
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:51 AM   #30
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, very few people walk the talk in any area of life.

There is often discrepancies between fantasy expectations and reality.

Should we lower our expectations or raise the quality of our training?
Hi Lynn,
Well, raising the quality of the training is difficult. Given the thread about "is twice a week enough?" one can see that there is a certain lack of will in that area. Not to mention the issue of the steadily increasing average age of the average Aikidoka. There are whole dojos now where no one is young enough to even train as you would have to train if street application were your intention.

Then there is the need to change the form of the practice if that is to be the focus. I taught police, corrections, and security personnel for fifteen years. I have had plenty of my students apply techniques I taught them against resistant subjects quite successfully. But what I taught wasn't Aikido, it was Aikido based Defensive Tactics. People who are doing standard Aikido as it is done in the vast majority of dojos are fooling themselves if they think they are training for "applied self defense" or preparing themselves to fight other highly trained martial arts practitioners.

If practical application is your focus, which it was with my Defensive Tactics System, the techniques need to get smaller. There absolutely must be atemi waza. Now that atemi waza does not necessarily have to be impactive... in the LE world atemi includes "distraction" techniques such as a slap or even a pinch, something that causes pain or even just physically shifts the subject's attention.

The vast majority of the ura versions of Aikido techniques you throw out... No one in the real world is going to run around you in a circle. You have to totally retool the ukes... In the real world, the uke is not interested in the study of connection. He will let go, withdraw, break connection, resist, try to escape, clinch, and pretty much all of those things that an Aikido uke is taught from day one not to do. If you want to be prepared to fight with non-Aikido folks, you need to train with partners who are not acting like Aikido folks.

Every time this subject comes up, the few folks who have actually successfully used Aikido techniques for self defense contribute their success stories as proof that Aikido "works". I am not saying Aikido doesn't work. I am saying that the entire structure of the art as it has been developed since it stopped being called Aiki Budo is not designed for this purpose, if it ever was. Ellis Amdur has a lengthy discussion of this whole thing in his book Hidden in Plain Sight. There are many people who would debate whether Daito Ryu was really ever such a system.

Anyway, if you have successfully applied your Aikido for self defense, you encountered a subject that was not anywhere near as well trained as you were, or even trained at all. Bad guys may be dangerous but they are typically not formally trained.

There was a female karate instructor out here in Seattle many years ago who was assaulted as she entered her home. It was a true life and death encounter. The assailant clearly knew she had training and attempted to neutralize her by cutting at her eyes with a knife. They fought tooth and nail through her whole first floor and she was able to inflict enough damage that the assailant finally fled. She was in critical condition and sustained a number of permanent injuries.

That is a real self defense encounter. If you think your little nikkyo or sankyo will serve you in that kind of situation you are delusional. This karate teacher didn't have any "less than lethal" techniques in her repertoire and she barely survived. After her recovery she had to completely redo the training at her school to make it more practically oriented.

If you were to do what would need to be done to get Aikido to make sense as a form of practical self defense that would result in a reliable set of skills in a time frame that wouldn't require that training take over your life, by the time you were done, it wouldn't be Aikido any more.

And this whole protect yourself while protecting the other guy thing is nice and can be done in the right circumstances. That's in fact what I taught my police and security folks to do. But I would NEVER teach anyone to respond to a deadly force situation with less than deadly force. If the opponent in a deadly force encounter is not dead at the end, he will be broken. Any other result is just pure dumb luck.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:11 AM   #31
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Are We that Good?

I work with a lot of kids who lean toward surprising and aggressive behavior. This requires a great deal of interaction where things get physical and the outcome MUST be that noone is harmed. Aikido training has enabled me to moderate my use of strength. 5 years in (and I dunno how many confrontations/emergencies) and so far so good.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:20 AM   #32
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Are We that Good?

Something I have pondered a lot in this context recently is what I call for myself the „O-Sensei phantasy“ (please note straight away that this is not about the historical Morihei Ueshiba). It goes somehow like this: Through aikido, it is possible to be invincible, wise and morally superior, regardless of age, fitness and actual fighting experience.

Many an instructor and many a dojo website proclaim or insinuate this, more or less openly.

It can be extended to: I am not there yet, but my instructor is pretty good, and my shihan is certainly almost there, after all he knew the founder. And I am told it takes time, so I will do what I am told.

On a subtle level, this is what motivated my training as an enthusiastic young aikidoka in my first years – though I would have denied it of course, as most people would. In a way I should even be grateful, because I did a hell of a lot of dedicated training at that point...

I then became quite cynical about the O-Sensei phantasy for a while. Nowadays, I am interested in re-phrasing it as a kind of koan for the everyday, on and off the mat: what would it mean to maintain everybody’s integrity, even under pressure, here and now. And work towards the O-Sensei phantasy as a kind of admittedly impossible goal, a bit like „I vow to save all sentient beings...“.

This is not just metaphorical, for me personally there is an absolutely essential physical element there: if I shrink into fear and adversity even through a strong grip, how can I claim to have a mind of integrity under pressure, yet. And so we can step up the intensity. As George Sensei wrote somewhere: if there is not conflict in the training, how can we be claiming to train for conflict....

I have few illusions as to using aikido in a life-or-death scenario against a trained fighter. But I can honestly say that was never a primary goal of mine after, well, maybe 3rd kyu.

The interesting contradiction in relation to the OP : no, I am not that good – but had I not once had the hope/ illusion/ phantasy, I would maybe not have gotten to where I am, which is a great and interesting place.

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 11-05-2010 at 10:22 AM. Reason: increase honesty...
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:52 AM   #33
kewms
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Re: Are We that Good?

How many students of other martial arts have successfully used their skills in a self-defense encounter, with or without harm to the attacker? How many would be able to if the situation arose?

I think any discussion of the question has to include a couple of points that are usually ignored:

* True self-defense encounters are relatively rare, and the vast majority of potential situations can be avoided through lifestyle precautions that have nothing to do with any martial art. Even more can be avoided or diffused through awareness and calm -- attributes that martial arts develop, but which are independent of technical prowess.

* True self-defense encounters are very very serious, involving attackers who often have weapons and actively seek to use surprise, intimidation, and overwhelming force. These conditions are nearly impossible to replicate in a dojo, in any art.

And for that reason, speculation about whether aikido (or any other art) "works" is somewhat pointless. Unless you've been there, you don't know. No matter what your training or level of experience, you just don't know.

Katherine
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:53 AM   #34
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote: View Post
I work with a lot of kids who lean toward surprising and aggressive behavior. This requires a great deal of interaction where things get physical and the outcome MUST be that noone is harmed. Aikido training has enabled me to moderate my use of strength. 5 years in (and I dunno how many confrontations/emergencies) and so far so good.
Hi Lyle,
I actually had a separate program called Options for protective Control which I developed for the Mercer Island School District and then taught around a bit. In Washington State most defensive tactics techniques which are standard for LE and Security are considered excessive force with juveniles unless there is a threat pf physical arm to another one of the kids or a teacher. So normal pain compliance is out. All you can really do is balance control and limb compression. You really need to have a positive size mismatch to exercise that much restraint on a kid who may have a full adult sized body but whom the state considers a child. Juvenile stuff is an art in itself.
- George

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:13 AM   #35
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post

I then became quite cynical about the O-Sensei phantasy for a while. Nowadays, I am interested in re-phrasing it as a kind of koan for the everyday, on and off the mat: what would it mean to maintain everybody's integrity, even under pressure, here and now. And work towards the O-Sensei phantasy as a kind of admittedly impossible goal, a bit like I vow to save all sentient beings...".

This is not just metaphorical, for me personally there is an absolutely essential physical element there: if I shrink into fear and adversity even through a strong grip, how can I claim to have a mind of integrity under pressure, yet. And so we can step up the intensity. As George Sensei wrote somewhere: if there is not conflict in the training, how can we be claiming to train for conflict....
Yes, I think this is what I am getting at. I think that Aikido is about developing such a deep understanding of the connection of all of us that it becomes ones default setting. Training must function as a vehicle to remove fear. Fear is essentially dualistic. If one really wants to make an understanding of connection ones default setting on a very deep level, the issue of fear must absolutely be dealt with. But most martial arts folks think that the fear they need to deal with is the fear of injury. Actually, many of the rough, tough martial artists I know are pretty much fearless when it comes to the physical aspect of confrontation yet they are largely unconscious of how fear based most of their relationship / social interactions really are.

Aikido practice can be and should be about far deeper stuff than merely self defense. Most students of Aikido will never, in their lives, use a single technique they've learned on the mat for self defense. If it isn't about something deeper and more central to ones life issues, why spend all that time and money?

Aikido is a means of personal transformation and development with a martial paradigm. The process of trying to perfect ones Aikido will pretty much push every button you have over time. You either step up to the plate and deal with your stuff or your stuff becomes the limiting factor in your Aikido. That's the purpose of the practice as far as I can see, and is of far more use to the average practitioner than effective street technique will ever be.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:31 AM   #36
jxa127
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post

Every time this subject comes up, the few folks who have actually successfully used Aikido techniques for self defense contribute their success stories as proof that Aikido "works".
George,

I greatly enjoy your posts. Thank you for posting in detail what you've experienced.

Something bothers me about this whole meta-conversation that keeps popping up about whether or not aikido "works," and I'm wondering what your thoughts are.

First, what do you define as "aikido"? From my point of view, what you describe as your "aikido-based defense techniques" are aikido. Why do you consider them to not be aikido?

Second, a common rejoinder in these types of discussions goes along the lines of "of course "aikido" works, or at least mine does." Thereby implying that the art as a whole is sound, people just aren't doing it correctly. The whole discussion of internal strength training and aiki seems to follow from this line of reasoning. In other words, "aikido" works, as long as you do it like O 'Sense did, using lots of aiki.

You write:
Quote:
Aikido is a means of personal transformation and development with a martial paradigm. The process of trying to perfect ones Aikido will pretty much push every button you have over time. You either step up to the plate and deal with your stuff or your stuff becomes the limiting factor in your Aikido. That's the purpose of the practice as far as I can see, and is of far more use to the average practitioner than effective street technique will ever be.
That seems to set up a dichotomy: "effective" aikido for self-defense vs. introspective aikido for self realization. I don't think you're saying that one can't be both deadly and enlightened (for lack of a better word), but it seems really difficult to get both with the broadly accepted training methods.

Am I understanding your point correctly?

Thank you,

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Old 11-05-2010, 11:41 AM   #37
rob_liberti
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Re: Are We that Good?

I personally train aikido to develop direct experience with universal principles.

Over time, I continue to increase the level of attack and resistance to pressure test my physical understanding of the universal principles. I started exploring with dealing with attacks that were not the typical symbolic attacks done in aikido proper a few years ago and, honestly, I found I still had a lot to learn from the simple symbolic attacks but the increased challenge has been rewarding.
My physical goal is to always work more and more towards dealing with an attacker who attacks with aiki-powered MMA and not hurt them. Do I think that is reasonable? I’m not stupid; it’s a stretch goal.

Realistically, I think I can get to the point where I will be able to deal with aiki-powered MMA type attackers and do minimal damage to the attacker.

My reason is simply that for me to be able to do such a thing, I will have to be able to manifest universal principles so well that I’ll be able to manifest my true self. That is my goal. Hopefully, I’ll be able to apply the physical understanding of such principles to some amazing writings about universal principles – that I would, otherwise, not be able to truly understand very well at all. I suspect that this is potentially what O-sensei did with aiki and his study of the Kotodama.

Some people say that it is unreasonable to even want to protect your aggressor. I can see this in general. How about when you work for some institution for mentally disabled people who are very physically strong and go crazy sometimes? How about when you want to keep a teenager from hurting his brother or driving drunk and things escalate? Or, how about when you’re in the dojo and the young newbie gets overzealous and you need to step in?

Am I THAT good? Not yet...

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:44 AM   #38
jonreading
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

I think we can wage a point/counter point debate over "practical" examples of aikido at length. For every good result, I am sure there exists a bad result; possibly bad enough that we do not hear about it because it was a mortal outcome.

I see more specialized training within aikido than I previously remember. I believe this to be a reasonable outsource of training that may satisfy those who require significant combat training (and that loosely falls inside the aikido system). Its really cross-training of sorts, but it also maintains a line between aikido and practical [combat] training.

I have begun to see some leaders in aikido look critically at both the translated and interpretative aspects of aikido. Its like a math problem with an incorrect variable - you can answer the problem, but the answer does not solve the equation. I think we need to look critically at some of our founding principles and philosophy separate of "what O'Sensei did". I think we need to apply a better cultural filter to translating Eastern culture into Western culture.

I do not open threads. However, the recent number of threads concerning this topic finally got me to ask a confrontational question. It is outrageous that I should even ask the question, are we that good? Yet we have threads, posts, and other evidence that confirm there are those training who absolutely think they are that good or that aikido is that good. I think fantasy was used a lot...

Ledyard Sensei mentioned it at the beginning of the thread - it is silly to even ask the question, but yet here we are.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:44 AM   #39
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Re: Are We that Good?

Ideally, if you have trained long enough, you should be able to resolve a conflict with minimal injuries.
Rarely, even in science, does reality approach the ' ideal'.
A determined attacker will also be persistant, they will not stop just because you may have thrawted their first attack.
In reality the attacker will not react the way your uke does.
Nor will they attack at a speed appropriate to your abilities.
Or, for that matter, from a direction you expect.
They will not follow your lead, take a fall or throw appropriately.
In training Aikido, both uke and nage become 'programmed' to a limited number of specific attacks and ways of reacting during the exchange. In order to 'train safely' ukes are programed to respond to techniques in certain ways, take falls and throws in certain ways.
Although the possible variations of techniques available is virtually limitless, reality limits us to what we are familiar with and fewer still to those that come 'automatically'.
Outside of the dojo, things do not work this way.
A determined and persistant attacker will not stop until he is unable to continue. That may only come from restraint, injury, unconsciousness, or unfortunately, death.
The best the Aikidoka can hope for, in my opinion, is to do the least harm while insuring their own survival.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:48 AM   #40
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

George, thanks for your response to my post and all your others as well. I really hope to meet and train with you one day! I never seem to be around when you come to DC or the east coast though!
Jon Reading wrote:

Quote:
I think Lynn may have touched on the next logical question series. How do we strike the proper balance in training and philosophy? How do I [correctly] translate the philosophy of aikido into my personal ideology? What are my realistic expectations for my physical competency?
Very good questions. I think these are probably the most important questions we should ask ourselves. I struggle with this constantly.

I think there is no right answer to this and every one must find their own way. it is a personal issue.

What is important though, is that we ask the questions and honestly seek the answers.

As a soldier, I have contemplated a great deal on the paradox of my personal beliefs toward peace and doing no harm, and the fact that doing harm actually plays a significant role in my life.

My aikido practice helps me reconcile those paradoxes.

A few post on this thread and a great deal of post on other threads deals with the whole concept of "real training", and some how eludes that much of aikido is "not realistic".

I think George Ledyard Sensei covers it pretty well.

I was fairly confused for a long while about my aikido practice...however, today, I am very clear about it and why I continue to do it.

Much like George's experiences...I use my aikido training when training for military tactics...however, as anyone who trains in defensive tactics, combatives, or any other type of program knows....these types of training are very specific, they are taught by qualified professionals that understand the nature of the training methods they are using, they are practices with control measures and parameters designed to ellicit or train particular responses/habits etc. They are very focused.

TMAs like aikido, TKD, BJJ or whatnot...are not those things...although there may be parallels and many similarities.

I think the average student simply does not have a good understanding of the intent of martial methodologies.

That should not be taken as an insult by anyone. It simply means that they do not understand how the stuff/fighting works. Why should they?

So, the realistic expectations of physical competency:

Most people have no frame of reference to establish this. In running we have measured tracks and distances and others we can judge how well we do.

In football and other sports we have rules and scores.

However, in martial arts, excluding competitive segments like Judo, BJJ, and TKD, we really have nothing to measure or judge by other than the picture/image of the "enemy" we have created in our head and rationalized what that looks like and it is based on our worst fear.

It seems rational to us, and so we start practicing something like aikido and the whole transference thing kicks with aikido as the solution set to fix it.

However, if over time, we look at the problem, begin to strip away fear, isolate the issues, we may begin to see our perceived enemy/threats a little clearer and develop more appropriate responses or skills to address them.

So as far as physical competency...I think this is a very, very difficult question to answer.

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Old 11-05-2010, 11:56 AM   #41
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Are We that Good?

IMO, the question we should make to ourselves is not "Are We that Good?" but "Are We Into Orwellian Doublethink?".
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:00 PM   #42
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
George,

I greatly enjoy your posts. Thank you for posting in detail what you've experienced.

Something bothers me about this whole meta-conversation that keeps popping up about whether or not aikido "works," and I'm wondering what your thoughts are.

First, what do you define as "aikido"? From my point of view, what you describe as your "aikido-based defense techniques" are aikido. Why do you consider them to not be aikido?
I consider it to be Aikido when it is based on standard kihon waza and the practice is in the form of normal practice. Now, Saotome Sensei would say that Aikido has no from. So, in that sense, anything that involved technique with "aiki" would be Aikido by his standard. But that might mean stepping in and knocking the attacker out cold and a lot of folks on this forum wouldn't necessarily recognize that as Aikido, although it's the way I was trained.

Quote:
Second, a common rejoinder in these types of discussions goes along the lines of "of course "aikido" works, or at least mine does." Thereby implying that the art as a whole is sound, people just aren't doing it correctly. The whole discussion of internal strength training and aiki seems to follow from this line of reasoning. In other words, "aikido" works, as long as you do it like O 'Sense did, using lots of aiki.

You write:

That seems to set up a dichotomy: "effective" aikido for self-defense vs. introspective aikido for self realization. I don't think you're saying that one can't be both deadly and enlightened (for lack of a better word), but it seems really difficult to get both with the broadly accepted training methods.

Am I understanding your point correctly?

Thank you,
Yes, Aikido practice is broken and needs to be fixed. Much of what people are doing in their practice not only doesn't work "on the street" it doesn't work in the dojo. Forget applied self defense situations, folks can't actually do what they think they can under the controlled circumstances of the dojo. This kind of practice isn't good martial arts nor is it deep spirituality. It's just faux Aikido, an Aikido-like substance with no actual nutritional value. People are either muscling and torquing the hell out of their partners, in other words, absolutely no "aiki" simply application of physical power or they are totally colluding with each other and trying to be O-Sensei without one iota of the foundation to do so and no training method that would develop the skills.

For 26 years I was in the muscle and torque group. We were trained to do this as a martial art and made the fundamental mistake that we had to be really physical and "strong" for the practice to be real. After the first Aiki Expo exposed me to some teaching methodology that made more sense, I realized that I could have kept training the way I had been and would NEVER have developed an understanding of what my teacher, Saotome Sensei, was doing. I devote all my efforts these days to showing folks how to train in a way that will actually result in some skill in Aikido that actually is based on "aiki" principles and not just efficient application of power against weak lines on the body.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:02 PM   #43
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Jon Reading wrote:

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I see more specialized training within aikido than I previously remember. I believe this to be a reasonable outsource of training that may satisfy those who require significant combat training (and that loosely falls inside the aikido system). Its really cross-training of sorts, but it also maintains a line between aikido and practical [combat] training
I agree with this. my Aikido training relates to what I do for training in the military. For example, the use of correct posture we learn in aikido and how to move is identical to the same posture I use for shooting and moving. You could probably say the same thing about football and blocking. At the base level, they are all kinesthetic practices that are based on the same foundational principles.

So why don't we see football players practicing aikido en masse? I tend to beleive the answer is that aikido is not an efficient enough of methodology to spend time on teaching football players how to block! Same reason we don't spend time practicing aikido in the Military even though I believe it directly relates.

So, I do believe that there is a line between practices and we need to be clear about them. The founder's goals are clear to me I think, and I am clear not to confuse them and the aiki method of training with the other methodologies or martial arts I study.

That is, I while the things I do are very kinesthetically related and there is overlap and benefit, I am also cognizant of the fact of why we train them differently.

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Old 11-05-2010, 12:11 PM   #44
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Jon Reading wrote:

I agree with this. my Aikido training relates to what I do for training in the military. For example, the use of correct posture we learn in aikido and how to move is identical to the same posture I use for shooting and moving. You could probably say the same thing about football and blocking. At the base level, they are all kinesthetic practices that are based on the same foundational principles.

So why don't we see football players practicing aikido en masse? I tend to beleive the answer is that aikido is not an efficient enough of methodology to spend time on teaching football players how to block! Same reason we don't spend time practicing aikido in the Military even though I believe it directly relates.

So, I do believe that there is a line between practices and we need to be clear about them. The founder's goals are clear to me I think, and I am clear not to confuse them and the aiki method of training with the other methodologies or martial arts I study.

That is, I while the things I do are very kinesthetically related and there is overlap and benefit, I am also cognizant of the fact of why we train them differently.
Frankly, I am a big believer in taking what you've learned from your outside experience and incorporating it in to your Aikido to make it better. That's why I have crossed trained for 35 years. The elements of the training you receive in the military stress skills that could be and should be in Aikido but are perhaps not, Rather than folks pretend their Aikido contains everything they need to know, they should get exposed to all sorts of different ways of looking at things. You get that through your job. Most folks don't. And then we ar back to the whole "is twice a week enough?" conundrum... If you are going to do decent Aikido you need more than twice a week. If you are going to cross train, you are probably going to need 4 or more days a week unless you are lucky enough to have a dojo which offers alternative training right at he school, and even then, it might require additional time commitment.

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Old 11-05-2010, 12:17 PM   #45
Russ Q
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Aikido is a means of personal transformation and development with a martial paradigm. The process of trying to perfect ones Aikido will pretty much push every button you have over time. You either step up to the plate and deal with your stuff or your stuff becomes the limiting factor in your Aikido. That's the purpose of the practice as far as I can see, and is of far more use to the average practitioner than effective street technique will ever be
.

This is it. For me, my aikido training will undoubtedly be helpful in any kind of real self defence encounter but the reason for training in the first place is personal transformation.....dealing with one's own "shit" is positive martial application in itself, although limited by many potential variables.

Good thread.
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Old 11-05-2010, 12:19 PM   #46
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

George Ledyard wrote:

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Yes, Aikido practice is broken and needs to be fixed. Much of what people are doing in their practice not only doesn't work "on the street" it doesn't work in the dojo. Forget applied self defense situations, folks can't actually do what they think they can under the controlled circumstances of the dojo. This kind of practice isn't good martial arts nor is it deep spirituality. It's just faux Aikido, an Aikido-like substance with no actual nutritional value. People are either muscling and torquing the hell out of their partners, in other words, absolutely no "aiki" simply application of physical power or they are totally colluding with each other and trying to be O-Sensei without one iota of the foundation to do so and no training method that would develop the skills.
I think that this is what gets us into trouble though....and creates the paradox we struggle with. I studied Martial Arts for years and did what I was told to do and struggled trying to do what my instructors told me to do...or better what I was hearing or wanted to hear...and yet found out that I could not fight and was doing alot of things very, very wrong.

It wasn't until I developed a better foundation in fighting skills and basic grappling for me that the light bulb went off and my aikido training started to make more since. It wasn't until I trained with some of the same guys you've trained with over the past couple of years that it began to make even more sense!

What I needed was perspective and a good frame of reference to be able to assess my training and begin to see the value and rationale in methodologies.

I think now, I have a better understanding and when I get with my teachers, I hope I am a much better student and can better listen to what it is that they are really trying to communicate and then try and work with it in a more honest and intended way.

To me, that does not mean that everyone needs to learn how to fight or we need to introduce a great deal of "reality" into our practices such as MMA and change our practices radically.

However, I do think that there are two basic issues that surround the problem.

1. We simply need lots of experiences in many different ways over time in order to be able to have a deeper understanding of our practice.

2. We need competent teachers that understand what the heck they are really teaching and can correctly mentor and bring students along in a sane, rationale, progressive manner, that pushes them to get better.

I think both these things are hard to line up.

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Old 11-05-2010, 12:36 PM   #47
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
IMO, the question we should make to ourselves is not "Are We that Good?" but "Are We Into Orwellian Doublethink?".
while i'm not completely a doubleplus unfan of doublethink, might i suggest groupthink is a factor, as well?
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:12 PM   #48
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Re: Are We that Good?

I think that everyone who trains in Aikido is working toward the goal of being 'that good'.
But, for reasons stated earlier, and lack of infinate training time we can never actually reach it.
That does not mean we should abandon the goal.
We must however train with 'eyes open', see what does work and why.
There is more to what we do than simply 'finding effective technique'.
Are we that good?.... probably not.... but we can try to be!
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:28 PM   #49
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

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David Carey wrote: View Post
I think that everyone who trains in Aikido is working toward the goal of being 'that good'.
I think we already established in the thread on "is twice a week enough?" that this isn't true...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:55 PM   #50
Janet Rosen
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Re: Are We that Good?

Some random thoughts engendered by this very interesting thread....
I didn't start aikido til I was 41... but as a teenager I traveled the subways and sidewalks of NYC in the late 60s through early 70s routinely as late as midnight and my posture and intent could either make me seem invisible or unapproachable; when I was 19 and moved to the blighted Haight Ashbury of SF, for a couple of years I did overnight community street patrols and security at free rock concerts and despite being 5'2" managed to literally jump into the middle of things and defuse/de-escalate, including a couple of situations involving knives. So I know that the idea of "irimi" with voice (yeah girls from Brooklyn kiai pretty good) and body was firmly ingrained decades before I set foot on the mat as well as the idea of keeping safe distances and using body and voice to de-escalate.

But in my normal adult life I don't worry a whole lot day to day about being attacked - I figure the totally random attack is about like the totally random earthquake; it may come some day but I can't walk around preoccupied by it. So I didn't come to aikido primarily for self defense or with any fantasy of being a badass, and I did come to it with a pretty developed moral code already in place. In my past experiences I was lucky; I have never had the misfortune to have someone really come at me with a committed attack - all I can be sure of from past experience is that it's unlikely I'll freeze but beyond that, who knows? ... I'm not in the military or LE, and its not what I'm looking to answer when I get on the mat. Aikido for me is - as others have said perhaps more cogently - a place to work on how I am in the world with other people, in a martial context. No other activity or sphere in which I've ever engaged has provided me this opportunity which is why aikido is so precious to me.

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