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Old 11-07-2010, 09:21 AM   #76
SeiserL
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
You sort of keep mentioning that over the years I have been lurking here - could you elaborate? ... Of course, I am talking neither clinical psychology nor scientific discourse or religious doctrine here - those are realms I keep separate from aikido. So, if you could be so kind, what exactly do you mean?
Osu,

That is exactly my meaning.

I hear a lot of talk about Aikido having almost magical mystical healing powers to get our heads unlodged from where they have taken residence.

I agree that Aikido is a brilliant tool and the dojo is supposed to be a great/safe place to train and transform.

But, it is not a substitute for actually doing the work under some one whose expertise is teaching how to heal from life long trauma, how to find philosophical congruence, or spiritual awakening and awareness. Very few people have that expertise.

So when it gets too optimistically philosophical I tend to get protective of people who may buy into the illusion and feel betrayed by Aikido and our community for not delivering on the hype.

The streets taught me to fight. The military taught me to kill. The martial arts have taught me I need to control myself.

Other studies have taught me other lessons. There is no one-stop shopping, one'size fits all, or one quick-fix magic pill.

So being honest about our skill level also requires we be honest about Aikido.

Better?

Thanks for asking.

Rei, Domo.

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 11-07-2010, 09:46 AM   #77
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Sure. Such is the nature of Internet fora.

But if I've never seen your baby, but you still interpret my comments as saying that it's ugly, maybe you have some doubts of your own about its attractiveness. Might be a good idea to go train with some of the people mentioned in these discussions and see what they think.

Katherine
You and Rob are students of the same teacher...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:07 AM   #78
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Re: Are We that Good?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
You and Rob are students of the same teacher...
I know. I've trained with Rob many times. For the record, neither his son nor his aikido is ugly.

Perhaps I should have used "one" rather than "you" in my previous post. I'm sure Rob got my meaning, but others may have been confused.

Katherine
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Old 11-07-2010, 10:18 AM   #79
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
There's a pretty clear disconnect between the training that people will tell you they are doing, and the results I see in the general aikido population. That says to me that there are a lot of people out there who don't know what they don't know.

Katherine
I've read most people as describing what they're striving for more than what they can accomplish at the drop of a hat...but maybe I'm inserting my own "common sense" into their meaning.
Can I protect myself and my attacker? Yes I can. Would I? Too complex to answer honestly. Definately maybe. And none of this has anything to do with how good I think I am at "aiki" (not good, would be the answer to that, btw), because even that can't always help you.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:06 PM   #80
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
You and Rob are students of the same teacher...
Agreed, but also Katherine has been your student for several years now too. That just means that she doesn't think your aiki baby is ugly either - and having a similar background, I'd agree. You are putting a lot of effort into developing aiki for yourself and your students and that will make aikido better. Obviously, you are working towards being THAT good - and we appreciate that.

Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:33 PM   #81
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Re: Are We that Good?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The first set of empty hands forms we learned from Amdur Sensei involved assassinating a guest whom you were serving tea. They were contained in the Araki Ryu manuals under some heading on the order of "How to Defeat a Superior Swordsman". In other words, don't sword fight him. That's real combat or warfare.
That's what I'd call Aikido 101. Recognition and harmonisation with reality. Don't match strength with strength; don't fight people on their battlefield. I'd say that's a fundamental principle behind everything in Aikido.

"Even the most powerful human being has a limited sphere of strength. Draw him outside of that sphere and into your own and his strength will dissipate." O-Sensei.
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Old 11-07-2010, 06:43 PM   #82
Michael Varin
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Re: Are We that Good?

NIce post, Alex.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:29 AM   #83
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Osu,

That is exactly my meaning.

I hear a lot of talk about Aikido having almost magical mystical healing powers to get our heads unlodged from where they have taken residence.

I agree that Aikido is a brilliant tool and the dojo is supposed to be a great/safe place to train and transform.

But, it is not a substitute for actually doing the work under some one whose expertise is teaching how to heal from life long trauma, how to find philosophical congruence, or spiritual awakening and awareness. Very few people have that expertise.

So when it gets too optimistically philosophical I tend to get protective of people who may buy into the illusion and feel betrayed by Aikido and our community for not delivering on the hype.

The streets taught me to fight. The military taught me to kill. The martial arts have taught me I need to control myself.

Other studies have taught me other lessons. There is no one-stop shopping, one'size fits all, or one quick-fix magic pill.

So being honest about our skill level also requires we be honest about Aikido.

Better?

Thanks for asking.

Rei, Domo.
Better!
Thanks for the answer, I agree. Very few people have that expertise....
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:01 AM   #84
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
IMHO, when I look at the way most dojo martial arts (not just Aikido) are taught and the training, we certainly protect our attacker from harm not because we are that good, but because we are that bad.

Compassion is having the skills and psychology to do harm and not doing it. Just not doing it is incompetence.

The dojo is not a temple or psychologist office for trying to get congruence between our physical skills and our psychology (emotional and cognitive, individual and familial), philosophy, sociology, cultural, religious, and spiritual beliefs.
I think there is a lot of truth here. Aikido is unique because our training environment is often deliberately orchestrated to return a 100% success ratio. Our training is often coopertative-oriented. Everything about what we do in the dojo is about minimizing harm.

So is this prevailing mindset a product of a "soft" training environment?

When I constructed this thread, I chose to approach the question by incorporating a dominant mindset into the question; that is, that one can physically support the ideology that a fight can conclude without harm to involved parties. I did so because when you critically review the physical component of aikido, there are a number of threads that address this matter (i.e. "does aikido work in a fight?" or some variation thereof). None of these threads exude a aura of physical competence, let alone expertise. However, if this question is approached from the philosophical side, there is little opposition to the prevailing thought that with enough training, one can engage in a confrontation with confidence and skill sufficient to render the attacker inept while incurring (or delivering) no harm.

Yet in comparison, our competing threads draw very different conclusions... We are not competent to fight, yet if we train long enough you can expect to realize the highest form of aikido, fighting without hurting each other. What (or WTF)? Somebody waks into my dojo and that is the line I am giving them... "Well, Aikido is not about fighting, so you won't actually learn to fight. But, if you train long enough you'll learn how to fight so well that you won't need to hurt anyone when you do [fight]." I'd kick my own ass if I said that... But since I trained aikido I couldn't... But if I trained long enough I could do it without hurting my ass. Shoot.

Last edited by jonreading : 11-08-2010 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:34 AM   #85
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Re: Are We that Good?

Yeah, at the end of the day you can talk it to death. I think the important consideration is that you have a clear expectation of the skills you want to impart while making sure that you have objective measures in place to make sure that you're meeting the required checkpoints in order to hit them.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:45 AM   #86
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Somebody waks into my dojo and that is the line I am giving them... "Well, Aikido is not about fighting, so you won't actually learn to fight. But, if you train long enough you'll learn how to fight so well that you won't need to hurt anyone when you do [fight]."
Don't forget to add he/she can't use aikido in a sport/competition/alive environment because his/her opponent will end dead or crippled for life.

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Old 11-08-2010, 09:19 AM   #87
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
That's what I'd call Aikido 101. Recognition and harmonisation with reality. Don't match strength with strength; don't fight people on their battlefield. I'd say that's a fundamental principle behind everything in Aikido.

"Even the most powerful human being has a limited sphere of strength. Draw him outside of that sphere and into your own and his strength will dissipate." O-Sensei.
You have absolutely no idea to what I am referring. There is zero confluence between what I was doing in these Araki Ryu forms and Aikido. In fact, I would say it was as opposite as one could get.

The whole set of forms was about projecting the mindset that this person was your honored guest. You buried your intention to take him out far below the surface so there was no "leakage" that his intuition would pick up. You actually had to believe the role yourself on some level. At the right moment you released the inner beast. The technique was savage. It required kicking into a very old part of the brain. I have never seen ANYTHING in Aikido that remotely resembles what I am talking about. Anyone who even tried to do his Aikido with the energy that these Araki Ryu forms embodied would be thrown out of any dojo I know of.

Take a look at the Aiki Expo demos of Amdur Sensei's guys doing these forms. Then tell me you think it has anything in common with Aikido, nor would anyone wish it to. This stuff is totally the dark side of the force. Saotome Sensei has taught us what he class "dark side" technique. It is the destructive side of our art, the "Kali" energy. It isn't even in the ball park with the raw savagery of those Araki Ryu forms. Aikido was created to reprogram us so that we don't act from that "old" mind.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 11-08-2010 at 09:25 AM.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:52 AM   #88
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
Hi David,
no disrespect here either, but what baffles me in turn is how many people, when IS/aiki is mentioned, tell me this story or a similar one: oh, we have been doing that all along, how strange that it has been absent from your training. My teacher is great at it.

I have been told that even by a ninjutsu guy from somewhere in the woods in Germany, when I mentioned a seminar with Mike Sigman on a closed German forum.

So I guess I just have to shrug. Sure, you have been doing it all along. We others just missed it.

So to come back on topic: In terms of "are we that good", I guess it just means they are that good, and have been all along - or is that not why you mention it?
I think the best best description I heard was, "Mostly, we are fools dressed in pajamas playing at being a samurai. Every once in a while we learn something."

To argue whether internal power is aiki is another thread. To argue whether atemi is aiki another thread. Many of these threads exist with good arguments. I think the relevancy to this thread is the claim that our training is not consistent with aiki.

I agree with this point. The loooonnnnnggggg learning curve of aikido suggests that whatever it is we are doing, it is not aiki. And that is not to say whatever we did was not valuable either, only that it was not aiki.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:52 AM   #89
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Aikido is unique because our training environment is often deliberately orchestrated to return a 100% success ratio. Our training is often coopertative-oriented. Everything about what we do in the dojo is about minimizing harm.

So is this prevailing mindset a product of a "soft" training environment?

When I constructed this thread, I chose to approach the question by incorporating a dominant mindset into the question; that is, that one can physically support the ideology that a fight can conclude without harm to involved parties. I did so because when you critically review the physical component of aikido, there are a number of threads that address this matter (i.e. "does aikido work in a fight?" or some variation thereof). None of these threads exude a aura of physical competence, let alone expertise. However, if this question is approached from the philosophical side, there is little opposition to the prevailing thought that with enough training, one can engage in a confrontation with confidence and skill sufficient to render the attacker inept while incurring (or delivering) no harm.

Yet in comparison, our competing threads draw very different conclusions... We are not competent to fight, yet if we train long enough you can expect to realize the highest form of aikido, fighting without hurting each other. What (or WTF)? Somebody waks into my dojo and that is the line I am giving them... "Well, Aikido is not about fighting, so you won't actually learn to fight. But, if you train long enough you'll learn how to fight so well that you won't need to hurt anyone when you do [fight]." I'd kick my own ass if I said that... But since I trained aikido I couldn't... But if I trained long enough I could do it without hurting my ass. Shoot.
Hi Jon,
I think you are spot on here, and the only thing I can say is that I believe at least two people posting in this thread are quite actively working on constructing new training paradigms to address the problem. (Some aspects are addressed in the thread about "two days a week") Others sure are out there, and yet others again will say that where they are, there never was a problem, which I hope for them is true. (I myself do not have the expertise to judge any of this.)

Personally, nowadays I am not so much discouraged by the issue, but excited by the new forms of training that we will inevitably see quite soon. (Even if I have the feeling I may have to watch from the sideline of another continent. Well, at least there are DVDs ...) I find the prospect of integrating what is often referred to as "post-war aikido" - the form that spread throughout the world, mixed with other things and touched many lives in positive ways - with a more martial, IS driven paradigm very exciting. If we will get there, who knows.

But I find it much more interesting than the idea that there are some few Japanese 8th Dans left who will forever be our unattainable standard because they knew the founder and we did not.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:24 AM   #90
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post

I agree with this point. The loooonnnnnggggg learning curve of aikido suggests that whatever it is we are doing, it is not aiki. And that is not to say whatever we did was not valuable either, only that it was not aiki.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:40 AM   #91
Lee Salzman
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Re: Are We that Good?

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
With respect to Jon's statement, I think less Schrodinger's cat, more emperor's new clothes. The more and longer we seem to fail at living up to our expectations of aikido, the more certain we seem to become the problem is in us and not the methodology we are employing. Maybe in a perverse way, it is easier for us to believe that than accept we've invested lots of time into smoke and mirrors, at the level of mass delusion on a grand scale.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:44 AM   #92
kewms
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
That's what I'd call Aikido 101. Recognition and harmonisation with reality. Don't match strength with strength; don't fight people on their battlefield. I'd say that's a fundamental principle behind everything in Aikido.
Matching your strength against your opponent's weakness is a fundamental strategic principle going back at least as far as Sun Tzu. It probably appears in some form in every single combat art. It doesn't have much -- if anything -- to do with what makes aikido unique.

Katherine
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:59 PM   #93
dps
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Re: Are We that Good?

In the thought experiment of Schrodinger's cat, a cat is put in a box with a mechanism to release a poison to kill the cat. The box is sealed. Is the cat dead or alive? You do not know for sure until you open the box.

If there are a million boxes and you open up 10,000 boxes and find dead cats in every one of the 10,000 boxes, should you assume that the remaining boxes contain dead cats?

dps
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:36 PM   #94
David Board
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
In the thought experiment of Schrodinger's cat, a cat is put in a box with a mechanism to release a poison to kill the cat. The box is sealed. Is the cat dead or alive? You do not know for sure until you open the box.

If there are a million boxes and you open up 10,000 boxes and find dead cats in every one of the 10,000 boxes, should you assume that the remaining boxes contain dead cats?

dps
You should expect that the next box you open will contain a dead cat. As for what is in the boxes, wait a while and see if things start to stink.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:37 PM   #95
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
If there are a million boxes and you open up 10,000 boxes and find dead cats in every one of the 10,000 boxes, should you assume that the remaining boxes contain dead cats?
You should assume some boxes will contain very angry cats.

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Old 11-08-2010, 01:49 PM   #96
dps
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
David Board wrote: View Post
You should expect that the next box you open will contain a dead cat. As for what is in the boxes, wait a while and see if things start to stink.
Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
You should assume some boxes will contain very angry cats.
So you should stay away from people whose Aikido stink or angry Aikidoka.

dps
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:18 PM   #97
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Re: Are We that Good?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
You buried your intention to take him out far below the surface so there was no "leakage" that his intuition would pick up. You actually had to believe the role yourself on some level. At the right moment you released the inner beast.
Hah! thought of this<. Can you imagine being the guy walking thru the other guys. Reminds me of this< picture...
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:09 PM   #98
Ketsan
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Re: Are We that Good?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
You have absolutely no idea to what I am referring. There is zero confluence between what I was doing in these Araki Ryu forms and Aikido. In fact, I would say it was as opposite as one could get.

The whole set of forms was about projecting the mindset that this person was your honored guest. You buried your intention to take him out far below the surface so there was no "leakage" that his intuition would pick up. You actually had to believe the role yourself on some level. At the right moment you released the inner beast. The technique was savage.
Again that's just normal where I train. You show nothing to your opponent or you show them whatever gives you an edge.

"When your eyes engage those of another person, greet him or her with a smile and they will smile back. This is one of the essential techniques of Aikido." O-Sensei.

This is the single most dangerous teaching (IMO) in Aikido once you understand why they smile back and you realise that people will react in pre-programed ways to certain behaviors, or at least I did.
For me this is just learning to harmonise with the person in front of me; learning to open him up. If I can make him smile just by smiling at him, what else can I do? Well I can make him angry by being angry at him and then he'll walk straight into my trap. I can make him feel powerful by acting weak and again he walks straight into my trap. I can even put the fear of God into him by just quietly looking at him and keeping a blank face and a posture that's relaxed and confident.
This is basic martial arts: "All warfare is based on deception." Sun Tzu
Harmony is the basis of deception; if I do not understand him how can I fool him? If I do not have a connection to him, how can I fool him? And if I'm learning to connect and harmonise with someone in Aikido why would I not use this to my advantage when someone is trying to kill me by using deception? What are we? Samurai wannabes sticking to the honourable code of Bushido which bans trickery?

If you're not doing this you're not doing anything martial. You're creating a nice level playing field and inviting him to do his best; it's UFC stuff.

It might be the case that after all this I then don't have to put his face in range of my boot with rokkyo after elbowing him into semi-conciousness. But that's my choice, it says nothing about the possibilities of Aikido training.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Take a look at the Aiki Expo demos of Amdur Sensei's guys doing these forms. Then tell me you think it has anything in common with Aikido, nor would anyone wish it to. This stuff is totally the dark side of the force. Saotome Sensei has taught us what he class "dark side" technique. It is the destructive side of our art, the "Kali" energy. It isn't even in the ball park with the raw savagery of those Araki Ryu forms. Aikido was created to reprogram us so that we don't act from that "old" mind.
You're talking about forms. Who uses forms in a fight? Also we don't have to be as savage as they are; we just have to be savage enough to win and in my experience Aikido is far more savage than Thai boxing or Judo or Boxing. Or rather I would say that it lends itself to savagery more than those other arts do. Mind you I'm in Chiba's line.
We have an art where you can hit a guy six times with fists and elbows while doing a technique. Actually we have an art where hitting someone with one big strike is the technique.
Consider shomen uchi uchi kaiten nage. You cut them down you've got rokkyo on to stop them getting up and out the corner of your eye you see their mate. Complete the technique or KO him with a kick to the head and move onto his mate? Im not saying it's realistic I'm just pointing out that if needed nice gentle forms can be adapted very simply to become as savage as you could need them to be.

Aikido would appear to have failed to reprogram my mind. But then all the atemi and throwing people about and putting people in jointlock and then throwing them about kinda suggests being savage to me.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:11 PM   #99
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Matching your strength against your opponent's weakness is a fundamental strategic principle going back at least as far as Sun Tzu. It probably appears in some form in every single combat art. It doesn't have much -- if anything -- to do with what makes aikido unique.

Katherine
Exactly my point. It's so fundamental that if you're not doing it claiming what you do as a martial art is a weak claim at best.
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:23 AM   #100
grondahl
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Re: Are We that Good?

Have you ever trained another martial art seriously?
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Aikido would appear to have failed to reprogram my mind. But then all the atemi and throwing people about and putting people in jointlock and then throwing them about kinda suggests being savage to me.
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